Hey hey foodies! I know that it has been awhile again, but you should know the deal by now if you are just coming in: I have health issues and such, sometimes I’ll be gone for months. I have some exciting news in any case in that my husband just went through the gastric sleeve surgery, and I am making efforts to stick to healthier grub for the most part. As you know, my blog is not about dieting, although I will put a special diet recipe up every now and then so as not to leave people out. I will still post, but only when the mood strikes me.
Today I have for you some Scotch eggs, super easy meal to make and so very yummy. I am doing the baked version, the traditional is deep fried.
So what are Scotch eggs?
They are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and dredged in breadcrumbs, then deep fried (or in this case, baked). They were made somewhere in England, not Scotland, around the mid 19th century and was an easy way to carry your lunch around when working. They are now a widely popular street food and pub grub in Great Britain, and in pubs about the world.
My first encounter with these puppies was when one of my best friends showed me how her dad makes his, and it is a delicious end result you get because of the ketchup and the saltine crackers he uses in the meat. I have since learned the more traditional route of making them and I shift between two different recipes.
They are actually easier than they look and have only a few ingredients. I am going to give you my version of them in a baked state. These are hardly considered diet food but if you can get away without deep frying them, I think it'll be just fine.
That flour doesn't act as a glue, and there may or may not be cracks in the exterior when one is done baking their delicious Scotch Eggs, but that flour turns the juices into a little bit of a gravy instead, which adds to the creaminess of the egg yolk. I am just going to assume that the yolk turns out a bit runnier in the deep fried version, but I never tried making that. I absolutely recommend that you give this dish a dry, even someone else's recipe, because you are missing out if you don't!
What is really cool about just one egg is that you get meal of convenience and it's also pretty dang filling.
A little bit about Shawna
Shawna and I go way back. We met in high school and chummed it ever since. We were such good friends that we drew pictures together, we drank lots of coffee at the awesome Fourth Coast Cafe, and we love each other as sisters. She and I have been through thick and thin, along with our other friends, Lacey, Inga, Kittie, Dawn, and a few other people.
She is our resident Snow White... You know, opens the shutters and sings to the birds and into wells?
Anyways, I guess I owe Miss Pegasus for some of the recipes I have learned over the years, including the eggs. I hope my rendition brings you as much joy as hers did.
Struggle Meal #2
Have you ever walked into your grandma's house and been greeted by the smell of her home cooking? Beef and vegetable soup steam is wafting in the air and causing you to salivate and think, "Damn, that smells good?" My grandma is not so fond of cooking anymore because of her joints bothering her, but I still associate the smells of her cooking with her house; it is only second after the smell of her cedar chest that makes me happy.
My grandma is famous among family and friends for a few particular dishes: the aforementioned soup, bean soup, and beef and noodles. My grandpa runs a business where he does taxes for people, and back in the day, his employees would request the beef and noodles because it is that good.
I got lucky in that my mom cooked that for my sisters, my dad, and me when we were younger. Of course, I did not have the same appreciation for it then that I have now because I was picky and loathed gravy... But as I grew older, I began to eat it with joy in my heart.
This meal is something grandma just threw together and everyone loved it. My mom told me that my Uncle Steve would eat a whole bag of noodles with the beef and gravy just on his own. It is the kind of food that you make and there are rarely leftovers if at all, which I can tell you is the truth because Bruce ate the hell out of it last night.
It is the kind of food that makes me glad for my grandma. She won't be here forever, which is a sad truth nobody really wants to think about... She says so every time I see her, though... And I want to have as many memories as I can have with my sweet, kindhearted, soft spoken, goofball of a grandma. She is one of my favorite people in the world and I am so glad to have her in my life.
She means the world to me, and so does her cooking.
Let's talk about why it's a struggle meal.
Normally people don't associate steak with struggle... After all, it's a treat, right? The great thing is that steak can be pretty cheap if you get a cut that is normally tough and have less fat or flavor than something like a porterhouse. 1 lb of beef bottom round or eye of round, for instance, is one of the least expensive cuts of beef that you can get at around $4. That is still kind of pricey, right? But think about stretching the meal.
My grandma was feeding a family of six with about a lb of the stuff at a time, and there is enough cooked that there COULD be leftovers once they are stretched out. So you have the beef, and you have a can of condensed broth, which is about $1 or so depending on what the label looks like... A bag of egg noodles is around $1, 50 cents worth of onion, 10 cents worth of garlic, pennies worth of the seasonings and flour. My grandma would use two bags of noodles, so tack on another buck and call it good. That makes it less than $8 to feed a family of 6, so just over a buck a plate. That is with inflation.
I am going to give you two recipes for this. First will be the original recipe which I highly suggest you make before you try it with my adjustments. Her recipe is simple and quick and mine is a little more complex out of experimentation to develop more flavor notes. My recipe is still cheap, it's only a difference of a few quarters.
1 lb beef bottom or eye of round, thinly sliced into strips
¼ cup flour for dredging
2 TBSP Canola oil
1 small onion, sliced
2-4 cups beef broth/stock
4 cups egg noodles, partially cooked
Salt, Pepper, Horseradish, garlic, parsley all to taste
1 lb beef bottom or eye of round, thinly sliced into strips
2 egg whites
½ cup cornstarch
1-2 teaspoons or a big dash of Worcestershire sauce (traditionally, soy sauce is used)
1 medium Onion, chopped
¼ cup bell pepper
2-4 cloves Garlic
1 TBSP Horse radish (Optional)
2-4 cups Beef broth or stock
1 bag egg noodles (Or no yolks)
2 TBSP butter
Salt, pepper, celery seed, parsley to taste
I hope you try both versions!
Even though this started off as something thrown together, it is just one of those things that feels like home. It is a gift I wanted to share with you because I felt that it deserved some recognition. Maybe it will give you good feelings and make you think about your own grandma like it does with me.
It is savory and the gravy is nice and silky, and it's sort of like eating a bowl of beef and noodle soup but with gravy instead of broth. Like I said, you should try her version first because it's the best. Mine is good too, but it isn't the same as grandma's...
With that being said...
Every time I mention the name "Slumgulean," people give me that puzzled look wondering what in the world I am talking about, and there is a story behind it and how it has been a part of my family for a long time. The answer to the question is that Slumgulean is a struggle meal; a poor man's breakfast/dinner that my grandma used to throw together in order to feed four boys and use up some ingredients that she had readily available.
Back in the day, my grandfather worked for Ekrich, delivering their product as a truck driver, and my grandparents would end up with a butt ton of sausage and balogna to eat throughout those years. One of the ways my grandma would fix smoked sausage would be to throw it into her Slumgulean and it would be stretched out with other ingredients that were inexpensive but nice and filling.
She would slice the sausage up and fry it along with the taters, add some other ingredients and round it off with some eggs, and boom! My father always spoke fondly of it and how he could never quite get it to taste just like hers... Hell, I can't ever get anything to taste just like my mom's, but that is because it differs from individual to individual, even if you think you added the exact measurement of each ingredient within the recipe.
I have had so many variations of this dish and have two or three favorite combinations of what is essentially a "garbage hash." It is not as unique as some might think, really, but it is special enough to me that I decided to write this blog post to honor my dad's original post on the old site, and to honor my grandma because she cooked with love. In fact, my dad had written his blog post right before the final crash of Foodie-zoo, and it would not sit well with me if I didn't say something about it.
It is true that my dad had a limited bank of recipes that he cooked and tasted awesome... He made the BEST home made bread, his biscuits were like fluffy little clouds, his beef stew and his chili were to die for, and his breakfasts were awesome. It was one way that him and I bonded, as I had bonded with mom over the stove too. When it came to the hash, he always brought grandma up and how hers was the best.
I don't remember the first time that he made it for me... I had always assumed he put his nasty, canned corned beef hash into it... You know, the stuff that looks like canned dog food and smells like it too? Yeah, so you can probably imagine that I wasn't even interested in trying it for the longest time. In fact, I refused to even look at it when I was a kid because of how my mind associated it with the stuff in the can.
I believe I was a teenager when I actually began to pay attention to some of the things that he cooked. The first things were his breakfasts, of course, and how he taught me that you do not need milk to make the perfect, soft scrambled egg that was still fluffy and tasty. I watched him throw various things into a pan, and I actually gave myself a chance to smell it and enjoy the aroma. When I tried it, I was in for a pleasant surprise... It was good... I mean, REALLY good.
Him and I would talk from over the counter since the kitchen at my mom's house is not that big, and he would tell me stories about grandma or grandpa, adventures in truck driving and such. There was a hilarious story about how grandpa would truck drive and smoke in his sleep, shifting gears with one hand and puffing on an invisible cigarette with the other. My dad would take a clothes pin and stick it between the forefinger and middle finger, and sure enough, Grandpa would "puff" on the clothes pin... We're talking about the round ones, not the ones with springs. I am sure if dad had done that one, there would have been hell to pay.
As it was, my grandpa would wake up with the clothes pin between his fingers and he would get mad and cuss.
My dad also told stories about my grandma and how she would knock people upside the head with a fireplace poker for cussing in her house. I guess that she was a spitfire while she was alive and she had all the respect in the world for it and for the fact that she was also the sweetest person alive when she wasn't provoked into being irate. I don't remember anything about her, I don't remember ever seeing her or cuddling her, but my dad explained to me that she loved my older sister and me to the moon and back, we were the apples of her eye because she had wanted granddaughters so badly after raising four boys. I wish I had gotten to be around her longer than three years because she had a wealth of things I could have learned from her, like quilting and knitting. I am happy to say that I at least have the legacy of her hash browns, even as insignificant as it may seem to others. It means the world to me to be able to connect with my grandma.
So if you are up in heaven listening to my thoughts as I type this blog post out, grandma, know that I am so glad to have a recipe to share with the world because you made one up.
Ingredients per two people:
2 TBSP Canola or Vegetable oil
1 TBSP Butter
6 oz of whatever meat you want (optional, I usually choose bacon if I have it, or breakfast sausage. I have seen dad use ham and smoked sausage before.)
1 potato of any size, shredded, sliced, or diced
1/8 cup of sliced or diced onion
1/8 cup bell pepper (Optional)
1 slice of whole wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and paprika all to taste
1 egg. beaten
1 handful (About 1/2 cup) of cheese of choice (Optional)
I hope that this recipe makes you as happy as it has for three generations of my family. Maybe you will find yourself telling stories while cooking it in the future. It is a small bit of comfort in these days where we are uncertain as to whether we can safely feed our families and be able to put some nutrition in, even if it isn't what a fitness guru would call "healthy eats." The point is to line your belly when you are hungry, and this stuff is super filling and very delicious.
Have a good day, my friends and...
Mothers Day was yesterday; my sisters and I wanted to do some things that were special for my mom, given that it's been a rough time since dad left us. We put together a brunch and my older sister asked me to make something to bring, and one of mom's favorite things that I make is an easy chocolate mousse, or what other people would call a whipped dessert since it isn't traditional mousse.
I was going to make a strawberry sauce for it and maybe some other fruit, but my strawberries were freezer burnt and my plans had to change. I remembered the bananas I had sitting around, all ripe and brown looking in their overly sweet glory. I remembered that my mom liked banana pudding, so the bell went off in my head: I would make banana mousse and I could put the chocolate in as chunks, which would make it appropriate for a brunch dessert after all.
Before I get into the recipe, though, I want to talk about my mom. My dad was not the only person who contributed to this passion of mine, it was my mom that taught me a few basics like boiling water and making boxed foods like mac n cheese, or spaghetti. The story she told me about her own cooking was that she wasn't a very good cook when she was first married to my dad, but she never really said that was why she was teaching me some things.
She did the best she could at the time, but it was hard for her when dad had gotten sick from driving truck and could no longer work. She'd work rough hours at a nearby nursing home during second and third shift, thus leaving my dad to do the cooking while she did everything she could to keep food on the table. I remember how she would buy a lot of pork chops because those were some of the cheapest, and a lot of ground beef for the same reason, but she didn't get to eat them with us.
Mom told us later that it was really hard for her to keep the hours she did because she missed her babies. By the time she got home, she was asleep, she couldn't see us off to school, and she didn't g et to see us much at all during her second shift job. Finally, she decided to go to school to better her life as well as ours, was able to get a better job with better hours and we were able to eat better food.
Needless to say, I appreciate my mom's role in encouraging my knowledge of cooking and being supportive of me when I decided to go to culinary school. Mom, I hope that you read this because writing out my feelings tends to be much more eloquent than my sometimes stumbling words.
More about the dessert
This dessert is so very easy and delicious that you might be surprised. The secret to making this non traditional mousse is cream cheese or Neufchatel instead of gelatin, which not only gives it the thickness it needs, but it adds depth to the flavor of the dessert.
The end result is something wonderful... If you are a fan of bananas, anyways. I absolutely loved the texture it had after it chilled overnight. You can, in fact, freeze this one and make a lovely ice cream of sorts, it is that velvety. The flavor of the bananas is subtle after only an hour, and stronger overnight. The dark chocolate balances out the sweetness (No added sugar, by the way!) to the dessert and makes for a rich flavor combination. Fair warning, it's not quite diet food either, but a little bit does go a long way.
Speaking of Bananas!
I am pleased as punch to update you on QDFoodie's cute kitchen food. The kick starter campaign is now in full swing, and they could use some help from friends all over to make their dream into reality. For as little as a $2 donation and simply spreading the word through social media, you will be a big help.
You could end up with a gratitude gift of one of my favorites out of this collection, the banana measuring spoons that are both metric and standard, as well as in braille. These wonderful tools are for a good cause, helping kids of all sorts to develop a love for cooking as well as adults who happen to like cuteness such as these.
I am looking forward to testing these babies out, and you will help make that happen.
Be sure to check them out at their Kickstarter Campaign!
I am one of those people that eyeball things that sound odd or off putting to me. For instance, pumpkin spice might be good in my coffee (I honestly wouldn't know) but it would not be good, at least in my mind, in my chocolate pudding or some such. When I first heard about Mac n Cheese soup, there was a big part of me that was turning my nose up, and the kid in me who liked her Kraft to be soupy even though that was not how it was supposed to be made was all like, hell yes!
So I thought about it, and I decided I would give it a try. I wanted it with more stretch, however, so I got the idea to add some burger into the mix because, why not? People make chilli-mac and cheese burger mac, why not go ahead and put some burger into my soup? So I did, and I made the right call. The soup was very delicious, and my husband liked it so much that he ate three bowls. That is a compliment because he's such a picky eater.
I had the urge to throw some broccoli in because, hello, broccoli and cheese soup... But I resisted, and that was also the right call. I wouldn't eat broccoli with a hamburger, so why would I put it in a soup based off of such? I would, however, eat it with some sauteed green peppers, so that is what I did instead.
As usual, I looked around the internet for recipes, saw a bunch, and then decided just to do my own spin which I am sharing with you. Just like in all recipes that I post, I think about the flavor profile... What can I do to make it better? For instance, I didn't really look for a Mac n Cheeseburger soup, just mac n cheese soup. I threw the burger in because I thought it would stretch it along and make it taste good. I was right.
Here is my take!
I apologize for the lack of visuals, but I hadn't actually planned to blog this one. I wanted to try it before anything, and seeing as it was delicious... Well, here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
I don't know where to begin with this blog post, as I am opening up a little on some things.
First of all, I am sorry that my posting can sometimes be sporadic, but I have some tough health issues happening. I am constantly battling with my stomach. You see all this awesome, and sometimes not so awesome, food that I make, and I can't always eat it because I am sick to my stomach. It's a bummer, but I am okay. At least I get to taste it!
Right now, I am waiting on results from a biopsy done to my gut when they found inflammation again. Signs are pointing to an inflammatory disease, which means that I will have to specialize in a completely different diet and my recipes are subject to big changes in the future. Until I know anything, I eat what I want in moderation (mostly) and in the meantime, I will post regular recipes.
I bring this up because I am thinking this means a new format for some of my recipes... Do I do two recipes, a regular one and then the specialized one like I was doing before? I don't know yet. Hopefully, I will know what is going on before too long so I can have a plan of action.
I also want to bring up that I have done several recipes in the last few weeks to try and get ahead, but I did get really ill in the last few weeks, hence me not posting. I am going to go ahead with the one freshest on my pallet.
Thank you for your support and understanding!
Chicken Fried Steak!!
This is another one of those non diet foods, you're forewarned!
I have avoided the making of chicken fried steak like the plague for the longest time. The first time I ate it, it was disgusting... There was a certain flavor to it that I found rather gross that I couldn't put my finger on. Add to that, I still had a diversion to gravy at the time. I don't remember quite how this happened, but if memory does serve me right? Well, I think my mom bought already breaded cubed steak to fry up one time for chicken fried steak, and there was a certain sour taste to it.
If I had to pin point this flavor after looking through different recipes for this food, it would probably be buttermilk. I am almost 99% positive that this is what it was! Half of the recipes that I saw had buttermilk in them, which makes sense because fried chicken sometimes has buttermilk in it that works well with chicken but I don't think it does for beef. I could be wrong, but I wasn't about to use it.
So yeah, I made it, and I dubiously tried a tiny little piece off the end of one fillet, curling my lips defiantly in the process of bringing the food to my pie hole... Then I gingerly took the piece in, chewed, and to my delight, it was delicious. I decided to plate stuff before I could devour the rest of my portion, leaving nothing to be pictured.
My husband was quite please that I made this meal, too, and he gave me a kiss for doing it because he knew that I was kind of on the fence about making it... But I owe it to you, my readers, and myself, to revisit my old foes so that I can make recipes about them. And yes, this recipe is based on ones from around the internet, but I didn't stick to them, I took liberties and it worked.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe as much as I did, but I will probably not be eating this very much at all because, well... Obvious reasons. That is not to say I am telling people not to eat this stuff, so much as to eat it in moderation!
A little history lesson, it is believed that chicken fried steak came from German influence back in the mid 1800's, I can concur that it is much like wienerschnitzel! It did remind me of that, something I had the pleasure of trying in culinary school.
The batter is nice and crispy, there was no sour taste to the steak. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe and I promised my husband that I would make it again.
Sometimes the joy of food blogging is more than just about getting to try new things... It is also about getting to interact with my readers, offering to take requests for recipes because sometimes it's good to learn about foods you didn't necessarily know about before. For instance, I had no idea that I would get to make this kind of thing and never even heard about Frittelle before this experience. My friend didn't directly request this particular recipe, but a recipe from Italy, or more specifically, from Venice, as she is big into Venetian and Italian culture. I went looking for the perfect recipe that I could hopefully afford, and I saw Frittelle.
This was a new experience for me in general... Not just the fact that I get to make Italian donuts, but the fact that I had never fried a donut in my life. I worked in a department store bakery where the donuts were frozen and had to go into the ovens at night to get packaged for mornings so people could grab their breakfast and go... Furthermore, rum soaked raisins? I had never gotten to make those before either and I will tell you how to do that too. My grandmother actually gave me an entire, unopened fifth of rum to play with, but otherwise, the booze is the only expensive part and it's optional to put the raisins in anyways. I suggest you do it just for the experience, however, as the flavors somehow work.
I had so much fun playing when it came to this food. The rum soaked raisins are so easy that there is no need for a recipe... You just take a container (I used a plastic jar), put as many raisins as you are going to use and pour in enough rum to cover the top of them. That's it. Once you are done with the raisins, don't get rid of that rum -- You can put more raisins in or use it in another recipe (like rum balls). Let the raisins soak for at least 24 hours, though the longer you let them pickle, the better they will be.
The making of the donut pastry itself was easy peasy and didn't take much ingredients at all. The best thing about it was the smell of the lemon zest, which definitely added a certain amount of freshness to the experience. I initially thought that the rum raisins would be weird in there after tasting one, but it actually worked really well with that citrus. All in all, I was glad to have been able to have this experience and I think I will definitely be making these again!
This tastes so fresh and has a light crisp as opposed to that heavy feel you might get with some donuts. I suggest a light dusting with the powdered sugar as opposed to completely coating it so that you can show off the pastry (that and it doesn't really need a heavy hand with the sugar). As I said, I had SO much fun with these and I showed restraint by only making three at a time (and I gave some of the dough away). They were so yummy that it was hard not to want to eat a bunch!
If you have a request recipe, please do let me know! I had a blast! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Happy Eating, foodie friends!
I have already established to you all that Spaghetti is my all time favorite, or one of my favorite meals to make and eat. Sometimes, though, you have to change it up so it's not always the same thing. Sometimes I like to change how I cook the onions and the green peppers, caramelizing the one and roasting the other in order to elevate the flavor. Sometimes I like to add fennel seeds or use the sauce for a different pasta with different meals in mind. Once you have the sauce down, you have many possibilities for what you can do with it. One thing that I do upon occasion is make meatballs.
Making meatballs is an artform. If you know how to make meatballs, you pretty much know how to make a good meatloaf as they are similar in how you prepare them. The key to a great meatball is to make sure they aren't rubbery or crumbly, and that is all in how you work the mixture. It's like a good biscuit, you don't want to overwork it!
Either way you look at it, this is a good recipe to have under your belt (or any good meatball recipe) just for the sake of opening up new doors in your list of things you can do with dishes.
I wish I had some awesome story from my past I can tell you about these, but I just like Meatballs. That's all.
As I said, I wish I had some cool story to tell you about how I learned to make meatballs, but I don't, I just... like them. Although, I did dislike them as a kid. I guess tastebuds change? Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short blog post.
Oh, Canada... I thought you guys were nuts when I first saw Poutine becoming a trendy food, but then again? We have our weird things too... I mean, we do have sausage gravy and biscuits in America... It took me a long time to decide whether I wanted to make this dish or not, and obviously, my curiosity won out because, well, you see the picture above, don't ya?
I consulted one of my friends, Jake, who lives in Canada, just to make sure I got as close to traditional as I could. I had decided to make this when I saw cheese curds at Wally World. I was all excited, I planned this out for two months, and then I got to Wally World and the curds were gone. So I had to make due. I ended up using shredded cheese.
This was a fun dish to make, and pretty easy even if it takes time to do it. Of course, I made mine mostly from scratch. I will tell you this, you will not want to make a big batch for yourself, you'll want to start small because this dish is so filling, but so worth every bite of it.
I had so much fun eating this... It's super yummy! I suggest you try it the home made way before you go out and try them elsewhere or making them the short way with frozen fries and such. It is so fun! Enjoy this one, Foodies, and give a salute to Canada!
While I know how to make mousse from scratch, it is generally not my favorite thing to do because it takes FOREVER, okay? Yes, there are sometimes where shortcuts aren't going to kill you. Like, for instance, if I can get away with making chocolate mousse without having to bloom gelatin, I will. This recipe will take a little more effort than making pudding and folding whipped cream in, and it tastes almost as rich and is about as decadent as the original. You ready for it?
Easy Mousse w/Variations
Ingredients | Equipment
In your mixing bowl...
Place your cream cheese and whip it.
In your double boiler....
Put your chocolate chips in, make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the container or bowl, and that your water is at a light boil. Melt your chocolate gently, stirring constantly with your wooden spoon.
Pour the chocolate over the cream cheese...
Using the whisk or mixer to incorporate chocolate and cream cheese together thoroughly. Make sure to scrape as much chocolate from the one bowl into the other.
Make your whipped cream by whisking vigorously into another bowl...
Or use premade stuff... Put that into your bowl and fold into the chocolate and cheese mixture to make a nice, fluffy mixture. Place top on bowl, then put into the fridge and let it sit for at least an hour.
FOR OTHER FLAVORS:
Add instead of chocolate
Have fun licking the bowl!
The Eccentric Foodie
Deviled Eggs are just deconstructed egg salad. ;)
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.