11 October 2018

Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic

Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches and, in this case, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pimento Cheese (pimento is pronounced puh-MIN-uh, by the way wink wink) is an iconic Southern food that's been around for over a hundred years, but my Southern grandmother never mentioned it; I had to learn it on my own! There are many variations, but it's basically shredded sharp or medium Cheddar, mayonnaise and pimientos. 

Delicious on a hamburger, hot dog or bacon sandwich, it's more often just slapped on some soft white bread for a quick sandwich, cold or toasted. Apparently, you can also stuff celery with it, spread it on crackers or dip tortilla chips in it. But I only ever seem to serve it with crudités or in tea sandwiches.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

It "must" be made with real mayonnaise. Many Southern cooks swear by Duke’s mayonnaise, but I have to make do with Hellmann’s/ Best Foods or my Homemade Mayonnaise. Duke's is still made in Greenville, South Carolina, and sold throughout the South. Sticklers for authenticity can always do mail order!

Purists may not add anything to the basic ingredients, but I can't resist a little dill pickle and dill pickle juice along with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. You can add a few chopped green olives, red wine vinegar, Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce, so I might have to give that a try in the next batch. 

Some like it blended smooth, but I'm among those who prefer it a little chunky. Does your family have a pimento cheese tradition? Would you like to start one? I’d love to hear your thoughts on pimento cheese.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese) 


(Makes 3 cups)

1 pound medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, optional 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 In a 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients until well blended. Leave it a little chunky, as I do, or use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you like. Transfer to serving bowl and cover. Chill for a few hours or up to one week.


Pimento Cheese - Pimiento Cheese - A Southern Classic - for dips, spreads, sandwiches, tea sandwiches

2 Serve with a crudités platter, crackers, tortillas chips or bread. Spread on hamburgers, hot dogs or bacon sandwiches. Use it to make a cold or toasted cheese sandwich or, as I have here, tea sandwiches.

Jean

04 October 2018

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner - www.delightfulrepast.com

Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner came to mind as I was perusing the offerings at my favorite meat shop. I love shopping there because it is pristine and all the meat is local, grass-fed (or pastured), sustainable and produced by farmers who practice good animal stewardship. I had the sheet pan dinner concept in the back of my mind and was looking at the chicken when I spied the brats.

I did not grow up eating bratwurst. I grew up avoiding processed meats, so rarely even had a hot dog. But a couple years ago I walked into this shop when one of the owners was making brats—Wisconsin-style with coarsely ground pork. They make all their own sausages with the best ingredients. So I took home four “homemade,” unprocessed brats and haven’t looked back since.

A sheet pan dinner is what I call streamlined cooking. And there are at least a few days a week when dinner really needs to be streamlined. It’s such an easy way to get lots of different vegetables into your diet because they all cook together. Cabbage wedges would’ve been good with this, and I’ll do that next time.

I do a lot of wine reductions but have never even heard of a beer reduction. It was just going to go against my grain to pour that beer down the drain, though, so I thought I'd make a little sauce out of it. Love it!

For more streamlined cooking, Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner


Sheet Pan Bratwurst Dinner - www.delightfulrepast.com


Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner


(Makes 4 servings)

The Brats and Vegetables

4 bratwurst sausages (about 5 ounces each)
1 12-ounce bottle Newcastle Brown Ale
2 medium orange-flesh sweet potatoes (about 22 ounces/624 grams total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
About 3/4 pound broccoli and cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1/8 teaspoon salt 
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

The Sauce

The beer reduction
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch (1/16 teaspoon) crushed red pepper flakes


Sheet Pan Beer Brats Dinner (this photo - beer-boiling the brats) / www.delightfulrepast.com


1 Pierce the sausages six times each with a toothpick or a few times with a knife. Put them in a wide saucepan with the beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave the brats in the beer until you place them on the baking sheet.

2 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line an 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. In a 1.5- to 2-quart bowl, toss sweet potato slices with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Lay out the slices at one end of the baking sheet. Sprinkle them evenly with the cinnamon-salt mixture.

3 In that same bowl, toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Spread them out at the other end of the baking sheet. Put the beer-boiled brats in the center of the baking sheet. Sprinkle the broccoli, cauliflower and brats with salt and pepper.


Sheet Pan Bratwurst Dinner (this photo - ready to go into the oven) / www.delightfulrepast.com

4 Bake for 30 minutes. In the meantime, strain the beer into a glass measuring cup and wipe out the saucepan. Pour the beer back into the saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and adjust the heat to keep it at a slow-ish boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Just pour it back into the glass measuring cup from time to time to check it. When it’s down to 1/2 cup, whisk in remaining ingredients.

5 Drizzle sauce over all, or let each person sauce his own plate. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

27 September 2018

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way - a quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake / www.delightfulrepast.com

Chocolate cake is always a hit at any gathering. I'm not that keen on chocolate myself, but nearly everyone else in the world is. My quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate buttermilk sheet cake is served right from the pan—perfect for any large casual party. I took it to a big party on Saturday and it disappeared in no time. Everyone was talking about it! 

Inspired by a cake popular in the '70s, Texas sheet cake, I developed this recipe for a larger, more flavorful, slightly less sweet cake. It yields 32 servings and can be made start-to-finish, including frosting, in under an hour. The only special equipment required is a half sheet pan, the same one I use for my Meyer Lemon Sheet Cake and many other things. Hope you'll try it and let me know what you think.

It has just enough espresso powder to punch up the chocolate flavor without giving it a coffee flavor. But if you don’t use coffee, it will still be delicious without it. And if you have buttermilk on hand, you can use it instead of the cider vinegar-milk. For those who pay attention to such things, one serving of this cake, with the frosting, comes in about 3/4 teaspoon under my maximum daily sugar allowance.

I go a little nuts with the pecans (no pun intended); you can use half the amount or none at all, whatever suits you. For less rustic looking, perfectly smooth and shiny little squares for afternoon tea, I'd be willing to sacrifice the pecans.

Are you a fan of sheet cakes? 


Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way - a quick and easy feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake


(Makes 18x13x1-inch half-sheet, 32 servings)

The Cake

1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) water or cold coffee*
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 packed cup (1.5 ounces/42 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa*
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (12.5 ounces/354 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (12.25 ounces/347 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cider vinegar plus milk to make 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The Frosting

1 teaspoon cider vinegar plus milk to make 1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml)
1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 packed cup (0.75 ounce/21 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 firmly packed cups (12 ounces/340 grams) unsifted powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams) finely chopped pecans, toasted

* I always buy organic, fair trade certified coffee and chocolate products.



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray half sheet pan (I have both this heavy-duty half sheet pan and this Nordic Ware lidded half sheet pan) with cooking spray; don’t try to make-do with a smaller pan, or the batter will overflow.

2 In 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, cocoa and espresso powder. Heat, whisking occasionally, over medium heat until the butter melts.

3 In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisking for about 30 seconds sort of sifts the dry ingredients. In 2-cup glass measure, stir together vinegar and milk; let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in eggs and vanilla extract. 

4 Add warm cocoa mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine (set the pan aside, as is, for the frosting); beat for about 30 seconds. Add the soured milk mixture and beat for another 30 seconds. (A wooden spoon works perfectly well, but I use an English cake whisk, a kind of stainless steel wire spoon that has been made in Britain for over a hundred years.)

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake - Texas Sheet Cake My Way (this photo - my favorite whisks, including the English cake whisk) / www.delightfulrepast.com
The English cake whisk is the one at the bottom

5 Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly (5 to 10 minutes) on wire rack while making the frosting. The slight cooling before pouring on the frosting gives the cake a better texture. In 1-cup glass measure, stir together vinegar and milk; let stand for 5 minutes.

6 In same 2-quart saucepan used for the cake (no need to wash it), combine butter, soured milk, cocoa, vanilla, espresso powder and salt over low heat. When butter is melted, bring to a boil; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, whisking vigorously until smooth. Stir in toasted pecans. 

7 After cake has cooled slightly for just 5 to 10 minutes, pour warm frosting over warm cake and spread quickly. Cool in pan on wire rack. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

20 September 2018

Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf - Classic Comfort Food

Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf - Classic Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com

Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf can also be made with ground beef, if you prefer. Either way, I use old-fashioned rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs, so this will work for those on wheat-free or gluten-free diets. 

I remember watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen or Cook’s Country a long time ago about meatloaf. Their aim was a meatloaf without many vegetables “because it’s a meatloaf not a vegetable loaf.”

Well, I’m the opposite. I like lots of vegetables in my meatloaf. And I cook them well before they go into the mixture. It gives the meatloaf better flavor and better texture.

I’ve gone years without making a meatloaf, then I make one and wonder why I waited so long. Along with Perfect Mashed Potatoes, it’s such a true comfort food. Nothing complicated, just good and comforting.

Love having Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls with it, but not this time. And it makes the best meatloaf sandwiches! What do you like on your meatloaf sandwiches? I like lots of mayonnaise, a little mustard and just a tiny bit of ketchup. 


Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf - Classic Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com


Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf


(Serves 8 to 10)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper or carrots
1 6-ounce package crimini or white mushrooms, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup ketchup (plus 1/4 cup for top, optional)
1 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 pounds (0.91 kg) lean ground turkey
1 pound (0.45 kg) thin-sliced bacon (streaky bacon in UK), optional

1 In 12-inch skillet, heat oil and cook onion, celery and bell pepper or carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until any liquid from the mushrooms is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley and ketchup. Set aside to cool.


Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf - Classic Comfort Food (this photo of prep) / www.delightfulrepast.com


2 In large mixing bowl, stir together oats and milk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in egg, then add vegetables. Add turkey and 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours. This will firm up the mixture so that it will form a tidier loaf. If you’ve worked with ground turkey, you know what I’m talking about.


Turkey-Mushroom Meatloaf - Classic Comfort Food (this photo meatloaf ready to go into oven) / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet pan with foil (you will regret it if you don’t!); spray lightly with cooking spray. Form chilled meatloaf mixture into a 15x4-inch loaf on the foil-lined pan. If using ketchup, spread ketchup over loaf. If using bacon, arrange bacon slices crosswise over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking ends under loaf.

4 Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it reaches a temperature of 165F/74C on an instant-read thermometer. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean

13 September 2018

Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart

Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Frangipane Galette was not going to be on the blog this week. But when I found peaches were still available, the planned post had to be bumped for something, anything, peach!

Peach Cobbler is another favorite, and you can check my Recipes index page under Desserts for more peach recipes. I’m a real peach fan, so this is pretty much peach headquarters during the season. 

For me, an unsweetened shortcrust pastry balances out the sweetness of the filling. But you may also use this lightly sweet shortcrust pastry. A bit of softly whipped cream would not go amiss, but I just wanted to focus on the peaches.

If I can get my hands on some organic figs, soon I’ll be making my Fresh Fig Frangipane Galette. Soooo looking forward to autumn. I’m not going to miss summer at all, except summer fruit, especially peaches. Summer's last hurrah. 


Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart / www.delightfulrepast.com


Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart


(Makes one 9-inch tart/6 to 8 servings)

The Pastry - Shortcrust

1 1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (6.67 ounces/189 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk, reserve the white for filling

1 tablespoon cream, milk or water

The Filling - Frangipane and Peaches

4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces/50 grams) sugar
1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) super-fine almond flour (ground almonds)
1 egg plus the reserved egg white
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
About 3 medium (15 ounces/425 grams, total) perfectly ripe peaches
A bit of cream or milk

2 tablespoons (0.5 ounce/15 grams) sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar



1 Add flour and salt to work bowl of food processor; turn on for about 3 or 4 seconds to combine. Add chunks of butter; pulse to a crumb texture. Add egg yolk and cream; pulse until the dough starts clumping together. This is to be a crisp, more cookie-like crust, rather than a flaky pastry; so there's not quite the concern about over-processing. Flatten slightly into a 4- to 6-inch round disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

2 In 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Take off heat, and stir in the sugar, then the ground almonds, egg, almond extract and salt until well combined. Set it in the refrigerator until the pastry has chilled for 30 to 60 minutes. 

3 Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Roll out the pastry to a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured 13-inch square of parchment paper. No need to trim the edges; this is supposed to be rustic. Leave the pastry on the parchment and slide it onto a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed baking sheet at least 10 inches wide; it will hang over the side until you’ve folded the edges in).

Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart (this photo the easy pastry) / www.delightfulrepast.com
You know how you usually try to carefully roll out the pastry to have smooth edges and perfectly round shape? Not for this! With a rustic tart, irregular edges are a good thing, adding to the rustic appearance.

4 Wash, dry—no need to peel—and slice the peaches. I do it like this: Quarter peach, cut each quarter into 3 or 4 wedges, cut wedges in half. For a fancy tart, I would not cut the wedges in half; would arrange the lovely wedges in a nice pattern. But this is a rustic tart, so no need to "arrange" anything! You should have about 2 cups or so of peaches. 

5 Spread the frangipane over a 9-inch circle in the center and scatter the peach slices over it. Fold the edges in, sort of pleating as you go. Brush the pastry with a bit of cream or milk and sprinkle on the sliced almonds, pressing them in a bit to make them stick. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Peach Frangipane Galette - Rustic Tart (this photo the finished product cooling on its baking sheet) / www.delightfulrepast.com

6 Bake for about 35 minutes. Leave on baking sheet to cool for 25 minutes before moving to serving plate. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites.

Jean
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