Well, it’s been a while since I’ve taken you on a little trip up to the Comfort Food Diner, but I made up a little concoction this week I just have to share. I suggest here that my vegetarian and vegan friends go for a little walk, or perhaps visit some other sites. This post is not for you.
Left-over Pot Roast Pasta
To make this delicacy, you first have to have some left-over pot roast. In this case, along with a generous chunk of roast, I also had the liquid I braised it in, complete with a few chunks of carrots, a few mushrooms and some onions that had pretty much been cooked down into sauce. You need it all.
First, resist the temptation to simply make up a pot roast sandwich. Let’s save that for another day. Instead, prepare the left-over roast by breaking it up into smaller pieces. Next, choose your pasta. I leave this choice entirely to you. Bring a big pot of water up to a boil and toss in your pasta.
While the pasta starts cooking, coarsely chop up lots of garlic. Add some olive oil to a heavy pan, heat it up and gently start cooking the garlic. Add in generous quantities of dried chiles. I dry my own scotch bonnets in my handy mushroom dehydrator because I like them plenty hot but you might find red chile flakes from the market more to your taste. Don’t let the garlic burn. Instead, add two or three cups of pasta water, then when the pasta is a couple minutes away from being ready, add the left-over pot roast to the pan with the garlic and water, along with whatever braising liquid and veggies you have with it.
When the pasta is just this side of being fully cooked, drain it or for long pastas, simply fish it out with tongs, and add it to the sauce and roast bits, tossing it about for a minute or two. Shut the heat off and add in a generous amount of freshly grated Italian cheese (your choice which one) along with a handful of chopped up parsley or basil. Toss it one more time. Finish with some fresh ground pepper, and enjoy with a cold beer.
I was asked for mushroom recipes in a recent comment. Here’s one.
First go collect some puffballs.
You need two pans for this. In one, add a little olive oil and start some onion cooking. Add garlic, tomatoes from the garden, perhaps some zucchini or some swiss chard. Season with fresh garden herbs and a healthy pinch of hot chiles.
Meanwhile…. season breadcrumbs (I mix in some of my standard bbq rub) in a bowl and in another bowl add 3 eggs and mix them up with a fork.
Slice puffballs to 3/8 inch thickness more or less. Dip in egg then dredge in breadcrumbs. Then fry these up using vegetable oil so they brown on both sides.
Plate the puffball slices and add generous quantities of your veggie mixture on top along with plenty of fresh ground pepper.
I enjoyed mine with a cold ale.
I hope the weather cooperates and the rain goes away. I plan to roast a ham on the bbq, roast a variety of veggies in the oven, and serve pierogi and kielbassa as a side. We have one vegan in the crowd and for him I’ll have an additional interesting veggie dish. I still have to pick up my ham at the butchers and do a bit more shopping this morning.
Each Easter we make paska, or Easter bread. We don’t get too fancy about all the decorative braiding that some people do, but we make some rockin’ good bread every year. We bake the loaves in coffee cans and we make plenty so we can give paska to our friends. This year we’re making two batches. The first batch is rising up by the woodstove right now.
Our paska is a slightly sweet egg loaf enhanced with plenty of lemon zest. We use different sizes of coffee cans. The loaves in the smaller cans are tall and look like silos. Later, I’ll post some pictures.
A simple dinner tonight – jumbo shrimps, marinated with a chipotle marinade, grilled on the bbq and served up with roasted spicy sweet potato wedges.
I made a most delicious frittata last night. I started by heating some good olive oil in my trusty cast iron pan, added a shallot, some onion, a zucchini, and some mushrooms, frying them together with a little smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I broke 3 eggs in a bowl and beat them with a fork, adding a splash of milk along the way. I poured the eggs on the veggies and while the eggs set on the stove, I turned on the broiler. After two or three minutes on the burner, I put the cast iron pan in the oven under the broiler. When the eggs started to turn golden, it was ready to cut into wedges.
Here are The Hot Frittatas:
I’ve published this before, back on the old blog, but I still get requests so I’m going to publish it again. When I was growing up we just called them “meat sticks”. They are a tremendously tasty holiday treat. For all my vegetarian and vegan friends, might I suggest you visit some of the fine blogs on my side-bar while the omnivores in the crowd take this in.
This is a two day process. On day one, you cut the meat and marinate it and on day two you cook it. There are people who make this using chicken but that’s just wrong. Proper meat sticks are made with pork. And if you’re thinking, no problem, I’ll get a nice lean pork loin, forget that. It has to be a chunk of pork that’s at least a little fatty. Beyond that, you get to choose.
You’re going to need the right sticks. You can get them at many Polish delis. If you ask for sticks for patychky, they’ll give you the right ones. They’re about 6 inches long and stout, unlike those flimsy bamboo sticks people use for grilling shrimp.
I’m going to admit up front that my marinade is a little different than my mom’s. I’m all for tradition, but I’m just going to tell you flat out that mine is a little better, and it’s simple too. Here’s what you do. Cut up an insane amount of garlic. In fact, cut up as much garlic as you would consider to be an insane amount of garlic and double it. There, that’s better. Then add a beer to it. Cut up your pork into generous cubes. By generous, I mean about 1.5 inches in any direction. If you make them smaller, they’re going to dry out and you’ll be disappointed. Trust me on this. If your pork isn’t covered with marinade, add more beer until it all gets nicely covered. Stretch some plastic wrap over the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day…..
Skewer the pork. Usually it takes 3 or 4 chunks of pork to cover the stick. I like to only leave a little bit of the stick showing at the bottom. When these are ready to go, you need two bowls. In one, beat up a few eggs. In the other, pour in some breadcrumbs and add some salt and pepper. Don’t tell anyone, but I also add a little bit of ancho chile powder and just a wee bit of cayenne.
Next, you’ll need a big heavy bottom pan. I use a large stainless steel pan and it works fine. Add a generous amount of vegetable oil. Don’t use olive oil because it will burn. Also, get a roasting pan ready. Cut up some celery into strips and line the roaster with the celery. The object here is to use the celery to keep the patychky off the bottom of the roaster. This is Tuffy P’s mom’s trick and it works great. Heat up the fry pan with the oil on medium-high. Dip a few patychky in the egg and then roll them in the breadcrumbs, then a few at a time, brown them in the oil, then when they’re really nicely browned, place them in the roaster on top of the celery. You can pile them on top of one another, no problem.
Now, roast the patychky in the oven at about 350F. After about 50 minutes, open up a beer to enjoy while you test a meat stick. I like these to be fairly well-done without drying out. You may have to test two or three to make sure they’re perfect. Enjoy.
Ok, so you want to make some insanely delicious holiday goodies but you’re not an accomplished baker and you don’t have much time…try this today.
You will need:
1 box of Ritz crackers (regular sized box, regular Ritz)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 package of Skor bits (they sell them along with the chocolate chips and that kind of stuff in the baking section of most grocery stores)
- Take the bag of crackers out of the box. Unleash all your pent-up aggression on the bag. Bash it until you have Ritz crumbs (or simply put the contents in a food processer for a couple seconds…your choice).
- Dump the cracker crumbs in a bowl. Dump the Skor bits in with them.
- Open the can of sweetened condensed milk and dump it in with the rest of the stuff.
- Stir it around until it’s all mixed up. It should be a sticky gooey mess.
- Line the bottom of a baking dish with parchment paper. Dump in the gooey mess and even it out in the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
- Let it cool in the baking dish.
- Once it’s cool, put it in the fridge for a half hour.
- Cut into squares. If there are any squares left by the time your friends come over, they’ll enjoy these with coffee. They’ll want to know how you made them. Tell them you were tutored by a famous French pastry chef, and that one day if they have 7 or 8 hours, you’d be happy to show them how it’s done.