Saturday, November 28, 2009

Potato and Spinach Casserole

I picked up a great cookbook called Cooking for Two by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. This next recipe took some time, but was well worth the effort.

You need some butter, a large potato or 2, an onion, frozen spinach, 2 large eggs, feta, dill, parsley, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

First thing is to thaw the spinach and then squeeze all the excess water out of it. Set it aside for now. Get a pot of water boiling for the potato slices.

Chop up the onion and the parsley.

Peel the potato and then cut it into thin slices. The book said to use a peeler to do this, but it was sort of difficult...

I think next time I will just use my mandolin slicer. This was a pain.

After you slice the potatoes and blast out a few choice curse words in frustration, get the slices into some water. If there is an easier or obvious way to do this with a vegetable peeler and I am just a doofus, please let me know.

Drain the potato slices then drop them in the boiling water, let those go for about 2 minutes, but don't cook them through.

Get the potatoes out of the hot tub and drain them.

Put the slices on a towel to further drain.

Melt some butter in a skillet and get the onions in.

Cook those for about 4 minutes then let them cool for a bit.

While the onions cool get your eggs, dill, parsley, pepper, cinnamon and salt in a bowl so you can easily add it to the food processor.

Dump it all in a food processor with the spinach, feta and the onions.

Give it a whirl until its a thick chunky paste. YUM.

Melt some more butter and we can start to assemble this bad boy.

Grease a casserole dish, I am using another great vintage Pyrex dish.

Layer in your first layer of potatoes.

Then smear some of the spinach mixture.

Do two more layers and finish with the potatoes on top.

Now pour that butter we melted all over the top of it. You really can't go wrong if that is the last step in the recipe 'drown it in some butter'. Pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

This looks like something you'd get at a fancy restaurant and pay way too much for.

If you've got some vegetarian pals you'd like to impress I would definitely give this recipe a try. It was absolutely delicious and the spinach is good for you so it sort of cancels out all the butter you poured over the top, sort of.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cowboy Beans

I lost the recipe for this, but it is pretty darn simple so just follow along :) Plus it was so good I HAD to share it. First thing, get your oven preheated to 400 degrees and lets gather some ingredients.

You will need a beer, garlic, ketchup, liquid smoke if you've got it, pepper, tabasco, cider vinegar, beef jerky, a can of pinto beans, flour, onion, ground meat, ground mustard and some salt and pepper. You will also need a tomato and some brown sugar, but those didn't quite make it to the picture.

So lets get prepping!

Chop the onion, about 2 tablespoons.

Drain and rinse your beans.

Chop up one clove of garlic.

You want the beef jerky in small pieces and its impossible to cut with a knife, but scissors work great. You want about an ounce or so.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (or more if you like your beans on the sweeter side) and chop your tomato. You may also want to measure out your flour at this point, you need about a teaspoon.

Ok so lets start cooking. In an oven proof pan, start browning your ground meat, its half a pound in this recipe. I used some pork. You only want to cook for about a minute, until it loses its raw look.

Add in the onion and cook for another minute. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 10 seconds stirring constantly.

Stir in the flour and let that cook for about 30 seconds. Stir it well then cook for a minute.

Add in the beef jerky and the tomato and give it a stir. Let that cook for about 2 minutes.

Add in 2 tablespoons of ketchup, a teaspoon of vinegar, 1/4 teaspoons of liquid smoke, a dash of tabasco, the brown sugar, a dash of mustard powder and the salt and pepper. Let those flavors combine for a minute or two then its time to bring on the beer and the beans.

Stir in the beer and get everything nice and combined. When it is all stirred up, let it simmer for about 3 minutes then get it in the oven.

Let it cook up in the oven for about an hour or until you can no longer wait another minute because it smells so good. Give it a stir from time to time to keep it from sticking.

Dish it up and serve it with a nice cold can of beer, just like a cowboy would like it. This particular beer is from Trader Joe's, one of my favorite stores. This is a perfect meal for a chilly fall day, I hope you give it a try!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eating in Amsterdam

I thought I would share some of what I had to eat while in Amsterdam. As you all know the hubby doesn't really care for food so he watched me eat a couple of meals while he sipped a nice cold beer :)

We got some pizza at our favorite pizza spot in the main plaza area, it is the best pizza I have ever had.

The hubby had a nice big bacon burger at the Koepel Cafe, it looked amazing and of course came with great fries. The Dutch love their fries!

I had some cream of mushroom soup with some bread. The soups at the Koepel are the best.

Of course we had some delicious beers that you can't get in the US.

Giant pancakes!!

More Giant Pancakes!! :)

Another traditional Dutch food, Croquettes. These were stuffed with veal and were delicious.

And finally my favorite...

MUSSELS. Yum. The hubby was somewhat mortified watching me eat these, but he was a good sport. Of course we also got plenty of fries with Mayo or "Fritessaus" as they call it. We had a great trip and I recommend you go check out Amsterdam if you ever get the opportunity.