Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I *heart* Sausage Rolls

I found this recipe on the Recipezaar website: a virtual, user driven, ever expanding recipe box.
An Aussie woman submitted this recipe, and i figure, they knew their sausage rolls in AUS!

6 pre-rolled puff pastry sheets, halved
1 kg ground sausage
1 cup fresh breadcrumb or dried breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk


1 Pre-heat your oven to 220c.

2 Lay all the sheets of pastry out on your counter top.

3 In Australia, this pastry comes interleaved with plastic, which I still leave on at this stage.

4 Mix together the meat, breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, milk and salt and pepper.

5 The mixture will be quite sloppy-this keeps the sausage rolls moist.

6 Whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk together in a small bowl.

7 Fill a large piping bag (no nozzle) with the mix and squeeze out a long line of mix down the long edge of the pastry-about 1/2 an inch in from that edge.

8 Roll up, peeling the plastic away as you roll.

9 Seal the inner edge with a little of the egg mix.

10 Cut each of these rolls in half.

11 I like to make an indent with a sharp knife in the middle of each of these smaller rolls to make them easier to eat.

12 Prick each roll a couple of times with a fork.

13 Repeat this until all the pastry and mix is used.

14 Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg mix.

15 Place in the oven and cook for 5 minutes.

16 Reduce the heat to 200c and cook for a further 20 minutes.

17 Remove to a tray to cool a little before serving them with ketchup or (my favourite) BBQ sauce.

My Notes:

We use a mix of ground pork and ground veal for our "sausage". I've also tried ground white turkey and ground pork which was very taste (and heart healthy.) ;O)

So, i figure we will not need 6 sausage rolls tempting our bellies, so i make 6 and save the rest of the meat mix for tomorrow night's dinner. The meat mix, with a little parmesan and an egg and a splash of milk, is ideal for Italian meat balls.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Favourite Chocolate Frosting

The stuff Mom made ever since i started having birthday cakes. :O)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (but my secret ingredient is Wondercocoa brand cocoa)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

When using Hershey's, you'll get the average tasting homemade chocolately frosting. When i use Wondercocoa, the frosting tastes like your eating fudgy brownie batter! It all depends on your taste. :o)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dry Bean Preparation

I acquired this "back to basics" recipe a few years ago visiting Cd'A. Preface: some areas of ID have higher percentage of Mormon families in the city populations than SLC, and Cd'A is one of those places. There is a great store next to the WW in Hayden called Wishful Kneads. It is run by a Mormon couple that share the experience of their teachings when it comes to food prep, self sufficiency, and storage by offering tons of classes ranging from homemade canned soups to sandwich bread to good ol' beans and rice (and other grains). Their store is great-it's all local as can be, floor to ceiling shelves loaded with flour, grains, yeast, jams and syrups made locally from MT, relishes, kitchen tools for efficiency.
Trying to decide what to buy there is a huge problem for me. I'd love to order the whole store and bring it back home with me.
I was able to talk with the store owners a bit and glean some insight from them as to how to prep basic supplies. Favouring is totally up to you: spices, herbs (boquet garni being my favourite--especially because you don't have to chop tiny herbs up for what seems like hours!), veggie combos (like "The Holy Trinity"), and depending on the season which cooking liquids you'd use.
Here then is the prep for any dried bean. The only cross reference check i need to make is with Alton Brown's bean prep regarding black beans--apparently they don't need to soak as long.

Other basic preparations to follow for the common food staples.
Dry Lentil Prep

source: Wishful Kneads, Cd'A, ID
Dry Peas Prep

Throw in some carrots, finely diced onions, thyme (to taste) and ham and you've got split pea soup! YUM!

source: Wishful Kneads, Cd'A, ID

Popcorn A La Stovetop

And to reference Alton Brown again, the best way to pop corn on the stove is in one of those large aluminum baking bowls. Pour in ingredients and top with aluminum foil, place bowl on burner. Not sure how this works with gas stoves, but on my electric burners, it's great!

And, if you don't salt and butter your popcorn too much, you can use the leftovers for breakfast cereal in the morning.
Rice Prep

source: Wishful Kneads, Cd'A, ID
Old Fashion Oatmeal

I found this recipe a reader sent into an issue of Mother Earth News last year. Sub-ing milk for the water we usually use as the cooking liquid really makes a huge difference in the tastiness of the finished product. :o)
Spicin' It Up:
add cinnamon to taste. Serve with 1/2 pear, diced, and drizzle of 1 - 3 tsp honey.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mom's Salsa is the best--for a really quick salsa.

You have to be thinking ahead though, because it tastes so much better the day after it's made...and the day after that, and the day after that, and especially the day after that. :o)

1 can fire roasted diced toms
1-2 cloves garlic (i always add more cause i was Italian in a former life)
1 small can diced green chilis
crushed red pepper flakes to your taste
1/2 small onion, diced finely

Mix these up the night before tacos, nachos, or your next guacamole craving and you'll be good to go.

If you like salsa a little less chunky, you can whir it up a bit with your whirring instrument of choice.