Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Bierocks

When I said that I hadn’t done any cooking lately, I wasn’t completely accurate. I just forgot that I’d made Bierocks a couple of weeks ago.

One of the first questions many people ask is “What the heck is a Bierock?” Basically, it’s a filling of meat and veggies wrapped in either bread dough or pastry and baked to make an easy, hand held meal. Pasties are another name for them. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan they call them Pasties and the workers in the Iron Mines would put them in their coat pockets, hot out of the oven, to help keep their hands warm until they could eat them for lunch. I have my ex-husband to thank for that little piece of trivia lol.

So the reason I decided to make these was that some friends of mine on Facebook started talking about them and I got jealous. They’re actually pretty easy to make so I decided to put some together.

The traditional filling is ground meat (I used beef but you can use lamb or pork or chicken), onions and cabbage or potatoes. Being me, I couldn’t leave that alone so I got a bit fancy. 😉 And because I have a lovely bread machine I made a batch of beer cheddar bread for the wrapping. You can use any flavor of bread dough you like. In fact, if you don’t want to make bread, you can buy frozen bread dough and use that after thawing it out.

Filling:

Ground beef

1 medium onion – chopped

2 cups spinach – chopped

1 lb asparagus – chopped

Brown the beef and onions in a skillet. Add the spinach and asparagus and cook just until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make or thaw the bread. I used 2 ounce portions and put about half a cup of filling in each and wrapped the bread around it to make little pockets. Bake in a 350F oven until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. I brushed butter over the tops after I pulled them out of the oven. This made 16 Bierocks with a bit of bread dough left over (I made a 2 lb loaf). I think I ate 3 and I don’t have a huge appetite so they’re smallish. You can make them bigger if you prefer.

I don’t have any pictures since they’re long since eaten but they were quite tasty. Jene said I can make them again 😀

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Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Edited October 6, 2014: I realized that something was missing… In an effort to kick up the flavor a bit I added a tablespoon or so of dried mustard powder. Definitely getting closer.. I think it needs some parmesan cheese next time.

The store had some really nice red bell peppers on sale so I bought a bunch. Then I had to figure out what to do with them. After mulling it over, I decided on stuffed peppers.

Recipe

6 large red bell peppers

1.5 lbs ground beef

1 cup finely minced fresh mushrooms

1 cup finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced onion

2 TB bacon fat or butter

2 TB fresh basil, minced and divided

1 cup diced tomatoes w/juice (I used canned)

1/2 cup ketchup

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, onions, celery and one TB of basil. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Put the ground beef in a bowl, add the veggies once they are cooked. Add the rest of the basil, the tomatoes, ketchup, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix everything thoroughly.

Cut the top of the peppers off and remove the cores. If the bottoms are uneven, cut off just enough that the peppers will sit evenly in a baking dish. Rinse the peppers.

Stuff the peppers mounding up the filling just a bit at the top. Place in baking dish. Bake about 45-60 minutes.

 

StuffedBellPeppers

 

 

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Kris’s Braised Brisket

I was going to smoke this brisket but decided I wanted to do something where I could fix it and forget it. After reading several recipes for braised brisket, this is what I came up with. I don’t have any pictures because I forgot to take them lol. I actually made this a week ago. Really good stuff. It’s on the list of things to make again.

Recipe

1 4-6lb first cut brisket
3 TB olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs mixed mushrooms (i used white button cut in half and portobello cut into slices)
2 cups red wine
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 to 2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coarse grain mustard
2-4 cups beef or chicken stock
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place a roasting pan on the stove over two burners. Add oil and heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Place the brisket in the pan, fat side down and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, until brown spots start to form. Remove from pan and set aside on a large platter.

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until translucent. (Add a bit more oil if necessary) Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until liquid starts to release.

Add the red wine and let reduce by half. Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and 2 cups of stock. Stir well. Add the brisket back into the pan. Cover tightly with foil and cook for two hours.

At the two hour mark, turn the brisket. Then cook for another 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and starting to fall apart. Add more liquid as needed to make a gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

When I pulled the brisket out of the oven I added about two cups more beef stock because while the onions, carrots and mushrooms weren’t dry, they weren’t gravyish either. The two cups of stock added just enough liquid to make them perfect for a sauce/gravy.

I served this over garlic mashed potatoes which were awesome.

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Oven Baked Pot Roast

Jene and have I have been eating a lot of chicken and pork lately. I had a craving for some beef. So in addition to the 5 lbs of hamburger, I also got a couple of nice London Broil steaks. I got a rough idea from another source but then turned it into something completely different. Now, you’ll notice that the title of the post says “pot roast.” That’s because we decided that london broil is really much too lean for this sort of long cooking period. The flavor was there but the meat was really dry. So this would be perfect with a tough fatty cut like chuck roast.

Recipe

3-4 lbs of Chuck Roast

1 28oz can of San Marzano (or stewed) tomatoes – I used San Marzano because I could

6 cloves garlic minced

1 large onion chopped

several fresh sprigs lemon thyme (you can use normal thyme)

4-5 large fresh basil leaves torn into pieces

4 large celery stalks chopped

4 large carrots chopped

1 – 1.5 lbs crimini mushrooms quartered

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the london broil in the bottom of the pan, season with a bit of salt and pepper. I laid the springs of thyme directly on the meat. Pour the tomatoes over the steak. The San Marzano tomatoes were whole in the can so I broke them up with my hands a bit. I sprinkled in the torn basil, minced garlic, chopped onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Total cooking time is about 2.5-3  hours (possibly longer, you want the meat fork tender).

Post eating note: Don’t bother with the basil until the very end. The flavor is too delicate for this long of a bake. Sprinkle it over the dish about 15 minutes before you pull it out of the oven.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a day to appreciate love. Usually people think about it in terms of romantic love but I prefer to think about it as love in general. The love we feels for our friends and family, the love we feel for the around us in general. It’s a day to remember compassion and acceptance to to kiss our sweethearts. Well, if you kiss your pets you’ll probably get fur all over your face and yes, I did lol. So here’s to all of you who take time out to read my blog. I love you!!

Now, in case you’re wondering what I fixed for dinner… Ribeye Steaks with Lemon Basil Fettuccine in cream sauce and tomato/asparagus salad. It was a simple meal but tasty and satisfying. For dessert we had a glass of Orange Moscato and Gingerbread Spice Chocolate.

The ribeyes were seasoned with plain salt and pepper and a bit of butter at the end. For the cream sauce I melted 3 TB of butter in a saute pan, added 1/3 cup of heavy cream, a tiny pinch of nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Once the cream had reduced by about half, I tossed in the fettuccine and about 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese. This creates a coating of cream and parmesan on the noodles without leaving it swimming in a thick, greasy sauce. Finally the tomato/asparagus salad is the one I’ve posted here.  It wasn’t anything new or particularly excited but there’s a great deal of satisfaction in a meal well cooked.

I hope everyone enjoyed their day and spent it with people you love. 🙂

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Steaks with Sauteed Mushrooms

There is nothing better than a good sale on ribeye steaks. Safeway had ribeyes for $5.99/lb when I went to the store tonight. I only got four steaks though because I had other stuff to get and a tight budget. (I used a chunk of grocery money paying off my car lol.) Since I am low on energy tonight I decided to cook something really simple and basic. For the steaks I heated my griddle over medium heat. While it was heating I seasoned the steaks with Penzeys Mitchell Street Steak Rub and started the mushrooms.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Shallots and White Wine

sliced mushrooms (however much filled my 10 inch saute pan lol)

1 TB butter

2 ounces white wine

2 TB dried shallots

Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add the shallots, white wine and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until the moisture cooks out and the mushrooms start to brown.

As far as the steak goes, I cooked it for about 5-6 minutes a side for medium rare. Finally I steamed up some broccoli as a side dish.steaknmushrooms

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Beef Stroganoff

I adore beef stroganoff. The tang of the sour cream and bite of the worchestershire sauce are perfect with the earthy mushrooms. Of course, the perfect stroganoff is served with noodle so this batch isn’t quite perfect but it’s pretty darn good anyway.

This recipe is going to list the ingredients but no measurements because it all depends on what you like in flavor.

Recipe

Beef sirloin steak cut into bite sized pieces

sliced mushrooms

diced onion

cream of mushroom soup

sour cream

worchestershire sauce

dried dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

I start by sauteing the onions and mushrooms in a skillet. Then I add the beef and get it all browned. If there’s still a lot of liquid in the skillet, drain it off. The stir in the cream of mushroom soup, as much worchestershire sauce as you want, a can of cream of mushroom soup and the dried dill. Stir it around and let it come to a simmer. Stir in the sour cream and taste for seasoning. I like mine to have a little heat from the worchestershire with the taste of the dill coming through pretty strongly.

Now, tonight I took some grey squash, julienned it and steamed it to use as “noodles.” It came out really pretty tasty although I would have preferred some home made egg noodles lol.

 

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Kalbi Style Short Ribs

One nice thing about having so much ethnic diversity is that I can easily get cuts of meat that weren’t so common in the Midwest. One of these is the cross cut short rib. Cut across the bone to about 1/2 inch thick, this is a popular cut among the Asians and Hispanics. One of my favorite ways of cooking it is to marinate it in Asian flavors (soy, ginger, garlic, onion and sesame) then grill it. So while I was out running errands today, I picked up a few pounds of short ribs. The following is a rough recipe for the marinade to make Kolbi Style Short Ribs.

Recipe

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic finely minced (I actually grated it on my Microplane)

1 TB finely minced scallion (I grated some yellow onion because I was out of scallions)

2  TB turbinado or brown sugar

1 TB sesame oil

1 TB fresh grated ginger (I love my Microplane)

Mix everything together in a large bowl, allowing the sugar to dissolve. Turbinado sugar will take longer than brown sugar to dissolve so give it that extra time. Add the meat and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for as long as possible. Today they got about five hours but over night is fine too.

Heat the grill to high, grease the grate. Put the meat on and cook for about 3 minutes per side. This is a thin cut and doesn’t take long to cook. Serve it up with some sticky rice and veggies.

 

This picture on the left is the ribs sitting happily in their bowl. Above you can see them on the grill, a particularly nice picture. And finally, the finished product. I think the recipe is still missing something but Jene says I’m being silly. He said the flavor is awesome. I think it needs just a touch of acidity, maybe some rice wine vinegar… We’ll see what happens next time I make them. 😉

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Greek Style Beef & Pepper Casserole

So this recipe is what happens when I’m running low on ingredients and start putting random stuff together. I had some ground beef that was thawed enough to crumble and brown but not thawed enough to make burgers (if that makes sense). I also had the gorgeous peppers I wanted to roast. I originally thought of stuffing the peppers with the beef but realized the meat of the peppers was too thin to hold up to that. For some reason, I thought of a Greek dish called Moussaka.

Moussaka is a casserole style dish with a layer of egg plant, topped by seasoned ground beef and a thick cream sauce. I didn’t have any eggplant but I had those beautiful peppers from the farmer’s market, ground beef, onions, seasonings and feta cheese. It was easy enough to whip up some cream sauce 🙂 Instead of putting the peppers on the bottom, I put them on top of the beef because they were so thin and delicate. I will mention that moussaka doesn’t have feta cheese in it but I love feta lol.

To see a picture of what moussaka looks like click on the link to the Cooking with Anne webiste.

Recipe

2 lbs mixed sweet peppers – roasted, peeled, seeded and opened down the side

2 lbs ground beef

1 medium onion – chopped

dried oregano to taste

salt & pepper to taste

lemon juice/lemon peel (enough to add flavor but not drown the beef)

2 cups crumbled feta cheese

2 cups cream sauce (see the Chicken Pot Pie recipe)

panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Brown the beef and onion in a skillet, adding the oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon peel. I also added some dried minced garlic. That’s personal preference. The lemon and oregano are what give it the greek flavor. Once the meat is browned, set it aside to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, mix in the feta cheese. Spread this mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer the opened up sweet peppers over the top, kind of like a crust. These peppers were long, thin peppers and covered the meat in two thin layers. Spread the cream sauce over top, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for about 30 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden.

 

Here’s a picture of the pretty peppers roasting on the grill. The next picture is what the beef and feta cheese look like mixed together. Finally, the last picture is the finished product. I could have let it brown a little longer but I was hungry and it smelled SO good! And yes, it tasted really good too 😀

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Epic Tomato Sauce and Pappardelle Pasta

When I said I wasn’t going to be cooking over the weekend I wasn’t entirely truthful. I took part of the kitchen with me to Darren’s house and made dinner for us Saturday night. To give you an idea of how sad Darren’s kitchen is, he tried to give me a large pot, his only largish bowl and his cutting board because he didn’t realize they actually belonged to him lol.

My post yesterday was about the Spice and Tea Exchange on Fisherman’s Wharf. The other half of Saturday’s shopping trip was visiting the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building off the Embarcadero in SF. I’ve been living here for almost five years and this was the first time I’d ever made been. I have a new favorite farmer’s market and fortunately, it’s far enough away that I won’t go broke buying mushrooms and other fresh produce, high end meats, oysters/seafood and cheeses. Yes, you can find all those items there.

So here’s a list of what I got and where…

3 types of squash (round zucchini, gray squash, small yellow squash) – outside produce vendor

light green and red sweet peppers – outside vendor

fresh basil – outside vender

chicken of the woods, chanterelle and lobster mushrooms – inside, Far West Fungi – I could rhapsodize about this store for hours.. I could also spend a couple of hundred dollars buying nothing but fresh mushrooms. I LOVE mushrooms and the selection made my mouth drop and then I drooled all over myself, Jene and Darren. They have the basic white, cremini and shitake mushrooms… Oyster mushrooms are fairly standard for a mushroom vendor. From there it gets really exciting. Not only did they have the standard golden colored chanterelles, they had yellow foot and BLACK chanterelles! They had beautiful, bright red Lobster mushrooms and Chicken of the Woods which I’d heard of but never seen for sale. I will be going back next time I want to make mushroom risotto to get some of those lovely colors and textures.

Guanciale – inside at Boccolone. This is salt cured pork jowl. The flavor of the meat is similar to prosciutto but much fattier. Perfect for frying up to render the fat.

chuck roast – inside at Prather Ranch Meat Co. Chuck roast requires a long simmer to make it tender. This melted in our mouths.

This picture is the produce from the market that went into the sauce.

So here’s the recipe for the sauce I finally made.

2 quarts tomato sauce (I used the home made sauce I canned the week before.)

.40 lb guanciale – chopped

2 lbs chuck roast – cubed 1″

1 lb mixed mushrooms (I used chanterelle, lobster and chicken of the woods) – chopped

1.5 lbs mixed squash – chopped

2 small sweet peppers – chopped

1 medium onion – chopped

Fresh basil

Put the tomato sauce in a large pot over low heat.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, fry the guanciale to render out the fat. Add the beef in small batches to sear. Add to the pot with the tomato sauce. The chicken of the woods mushroom is large flat disk of a mushroom. It’s also very dry. It requires a long low simmer to achieve anything resembling a decent texture. I put it in with the meats at the beginning of the cooking. I let this mixture simmer for about 3 hours.

Using the same large skillet as for the meats (leave the remaining fat in the pan) add about 1 TB of butter, the remaining mushrooms, the onion and peppers. Sautee until the mushrooms release some water and add to the sauce. Simmer for another 45 minutes. Then add the chopped squash. Bring the heat up to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Add chopped basil to taste. Serve over a hearty pasta.

For this dish I made pappardelle noodles. This is a traditional italian egg noodle (the same dough make fettucine or linguine) it’s just cut wider, about 1″ wide. The wider noodle stands up better to a heavy sauce. And, crazy that I am, I sat at Darren’s making noodles from scratch. It was worth it 🙂

Darren doesn’t own a strainer so to prevent the noodles from being soggy, I put them in a dishtowel. Odd but effective. Here you can see the wide width of the noodles. And here is a bowl of noodles topped off with the sauce and some grated parmesan cheese.

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