Friday, November 30, 2012

Horseradish burgers with Havarti (H Squared Burgers)

After several weeks of being gone, I decided to join the recipe swaps hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking.  Two months ago, I started a new job and I just couldn't figure out the balance between the new job and making dinner every night.  I'm very lucky my husband likes breakfast foods, we ate a lot of waffles in those first few weeks.

I joined right in time for the Blogger's Choice Swap, where we can choose whatever we wanted to make.  Confession time: my husband and I are still grilling.  Even though it is winter, the temperatures here are much warmer than they were in Wyoming at this time, so every few weeks we break out a burger, so I thought this Horseradish and Havarti Burger would be a perfect burger to try.

We loved it so much, we started calling it the H Squared Burger because we thought the original name was too much to say. 

Horseradish burgers with Havarti
barely modified from I Was Born To Cook
2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
salt and pepper
sliced havarti cheese
toppings and condiments of your choice (we only used mayonaisse and grilled onions)

1) Put beef in a bowl. Mix in horseradish, salt and pepper. Handform into 8 patties.
2) Grill burgers for about 8 minutes (for medium), then flip. Add cheese. Cover for 1 minute so cheese melts.
3) While cheese is melting, grill the hamburger buns. Serve with condiments and toppings.

These were some of the best buergers that we've had in a long time.  I loved the spiciness from the horseradish with the creaminess of the cheese.  My husband just kept asking if we could make them again, so in the course of a week, we had these three times for dinner.  He usually loads his burgers up with condiments, but he said these don't need anything but a little mayo.  If you grill in the winter, these should be next on your list, and if you wait until warm weather, make sure these are the first burgers you make.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie

Kim, the author of Just Baked, chose a pie theme for this month's What's Baking challenge.  Last year, I made a cheesecake for a holiday get together.  Everyone loved it and said they liked having an option that wasn't so traditional for the holidays. 

Part of what I like about the challenges is that I spend a lot of time looking through other people's blogs that I haven't ever looked at or haven't visited in awhile. I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Just reading her descriptions and seeing her pictures, had me hooked on this recipe.  Mel's Kitchen Cafe has some great recipes, so drop by her blog and check out other recipes like blue cheese and cheddar scalloped potatoes and Cuban street tacos.

Blueberry Cheesecake Pie
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
For the Crumb Crust:9 large rectangular graham crackers (around 1 1/2 cups), crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

For the Cheese Custard:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
For the Berries:
2 cups blueberries, rinsed
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2) In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter. Pat the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes, until very lightly browned and set. Let the crust cool completely before filling. Leave the oven on.
3) In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add the eggs and beat well.
4) Pour into the cooled shell and bake until just set, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
5) While the cheesecake is baking, combine the berries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and cool until lukewarm.
6) Spoon the berries over the custard. Chill for at least one hour before serving.


This pie was really easy to make and very delicious as well.  I have never made a berry mixture to go on top of a dessert, and I learned that it is super easy.   This pie isn't very heavy, so it'd be a great dessert for a holiday with lots of heavy fare.  I'm glad that I continued the cheesecake "tradition" and look forward to next year's cheesecake.

Check out Kim's blog at the beginning of December to see the roundup of great pies!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Messy Giuseppes

In my opinion, while guy food is really good, it is also really messy and not fun to manage while eating.  I like the flavor of sloppy joes, but they are hard to handle, so I really haven't tried to make them.

My mom sent me this recipe from a cooking class that she did, and I was intrigued on the twist, so I decided to give them a try.  It was a win-win in our household too, I got to try a new recipe and my husband got a dish that was a spin-off of one of his favorites.

Messy Giuseppe
recipe from Eckert's Farm in Illinois
Meat Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground Italian Sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup of beef stock
1 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Herbed butter
4 tablespoons butter, softened
5 basil leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste

Hamburger buns
Mozzarella cheese

1) For the meat sauce, heat a deep skillet, or heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil.
2) Add the ground sausage and beef, and cook until lightly browned.
3) Add green pepper, onion, garlic, and spices to the beef mixture and cook for about five minutes to allow the pepper to soften. 
4) Add the wine, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and bring to a boil.  When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for ten minutes.
5) For the herbed butter: Mix the butter, basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
6) Spread herbed butter on hamburger bun and top with mozzarella cheese.  Place under the broiler and toast until golden browned, top with the meat mixture and enjoy.

 I loved these.  I served them open faced and I thought they developed a great amount of flavor in a short time.  The herbed butter really shines through the meat and provides even more flavor.  These are definitely a must try for anyone that likes sloppy joes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mongolian Tofu

I meal plan every week and while I try to stay on budget, most weeks, I end up going about fifteen dollars over.  It isn't a great deal that we go over by that much, but I am a little disappinted every time it happens. 
One week I asked my husband if he'd be willing to try tofu, since meat is $5 or $6 a pound and a block of tofu is .89 cents at the commissary.  He agreed, so I set off to find a good recipe. 
I found out that one of the things that I've been doing wrong with tofu is that I haven't been pressing it.  I think that pressing tofu completely changes the texture, and I'm happy to say that this is one of the first tofu recipes that I've ever enjoyed.  Plus, that week I stayed on budget...two awesome things in one.
Mongolian Tofu
barely adapted from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 green onion, chopped

1)  Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
2)  Add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.
3) In the meantime, mix the soy sauce, water and brown sugar in a bowl .
4) Once the tofu has browned, add the garlic and ginger; saute 1 minute.
5) Add the soy sauce mixture and stir; bring to a steady simmer and then reduce to low. Let simmer for several minutes to thicken the sauce.
6) Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

I didn't have cornstarch, so I just pan-fried the tofu in it's natural form.  I thought it worked well, but I wish I would've cut it into smaller cubes.  Still had a few problems with texture towards the end of the dish, and I think if I had smaller pieces, it would've been better.  The sauce was fantastic and made it taste like a classic Chinese dish.  I can't wait to try other tofu dishes from Mary Ellen's blog.