Tuesday, May 31, 2011

History of Spiedies (SPEE-dees)

Spiedies (SPEE-dees)

As the summer kicks off, I thought I'd write about Spiedies (SPEE-dees), which have become a lake favorite for us.  Appropriately, my camera was set on the "nostalgia" setting when I took these photos last summer.

For the perfect Spiedies fest, you need to get soft sandwich rolls, fresh corn, green beans and beef tips and chicken cubes from the butcher...

and make a fresh, crisp salad.  We are still love the Arugula, Tomato and shaved Grana Padama version

The key to great Spiedies is to marinate the meat for at least 24 hours (some people do it for 3 days) in the Spiedies marinade of your choice. 

We use the State Fair version as well as Lupo's which Sarah introduced us to.   But you can make your own using the recipe below.

Christine found this article on the background of Spiedies and sent it to me.  Thanks, C!

History of Spiedies

Spiedie Sandwich (SPEE-dee) –

The name comes from the Italian spiedo meaning “kitchen cooking spit.” Originally made from lamb, they are now made with virtually any meat. It is chunks of lamb, pork, chicken, beef, or venison that has been marinated for days in a tart sauce and then grilled on a metal skewer, usually over charcoal or gas.

They originated with Binghamton, New York's Italian immigrant population in the 1920s. Augustine Iacovelli from Endicott, New York is believed to have popularized the Spiedie by introducing them in his restaurant, called Augies, in 1939.

The original sauce, which he called Zuzu, was wine vinegar, water, lemon juice, garlic and mint. His spiedies caught on so well among the local railroad workers and shoemakers that for years every little corner grocery had a spiedie stand on the street in front of it.

The traditional way of serving is between sliced Italian bread with extra sauce poured on top. The Spiedie, skewer and all, is then inserted in sliced Italian bread. The bread is used as a sort of mitt, wrapping around the meat. Pull out the skew and you then have a wonderful and delicious hot sandwich.

People who live in the area eat them at restaurants, from street vendors, buy from supermarkets, and even make their own at backyard cookouts. Spiedies have been completely integrated into the food culture of the region, and natives who have moved away from the area have been known to have commercial spiedie sauce shipped, by the case, to their new homes.

Spiedie Sandwich Recipe

2 pounds meat (chicken, lamb, pork or beef), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes*
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 loaf Italian or French bread, thickly sliced
Metal Skewers

* Use boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, top round steak, or leg of lamb.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar. Add garlic, bay leaf, red pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; stir until well blended.

Place prepared meat in a large resealable plastic bag set into a shallow dish. Pour marinade mixture over meat and close bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for a least 24 hours and up to 3 days; turn bag occasionally to distribute marinade. Remove meat from refrigerator and let stand in marinade at room temperature for 2 hour; drain, reserving marinade.

Preheat barbecue grill. Thread 4 to 5 cubes of meat onto each metal skewer. Place onto hot grill and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until done to your preference, basting with reserved marinade. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

To serve, fold the bread over the contents of the skewer and pull the skewer out, leaving the meat sandwiched within the bread.
Makes 6 servings.

Beef Spiedies
(Celine Hughes, Vestal)

3 pounds boneless beef; cubed
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2/4 cup fresh sweet basil; chopped
4 clove fresh garlic; chopped
3/4 cup Italian parsley; chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint; chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Combine marinade ingredients. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for three days. Skewer; grill over hot coals. Note: This recipe is one of the winners of the 2002 Spiedie Fest Balloon Rally Expo cooking contest.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Oldest Brownie Recipe by Raquel and Carole

Oldest Brownie Recipe by Raquel and Carole

Welcome to our newest guest bloggers, Raquel and her friend, Carole.  Raquel has been one of the tasters of the brownie bake-off, and got interested in the origin of the brownie. 

She and Carole looked up the oldest brownie recipe they could find.  The first one had molasses, no chocolate.  In 1904, in Home Cookery, they found what seems to be the oldest brownie recipe that used chocolate. 

Most everyone has these simple ingredients on hand.

Oldest Brownie Recipe
adapted from Home Cookery, 1904

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
pinch salt
2 squares chocolate.  They used Baker's semi-sweet chocolate.
The recipe called for nuts but Raquel dislikes nuts, so they were left out, probably 1/2 cup

They both liked it. (And I did, too.)

It had an impressive flaky top.

There were no instructions so they used their best judgment with great results.

First, they melted butter and chocolate together in microwave.
Then added sugar and flour and salt to cool it down.
Then mixed in eggs and vanilla.

Poured into oiled pan
350 degrees for 1/2 hour
in 9x9 pan.

The brownies were flaky on the top and chewy inside.  The chocolate flavor is mild, because only 2 squares of Baker's chocolate are used.  It is a very simple recipe using ingredients most of us have on hand. 

Thanks again to Raquel and Carole for contributing!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Feijoada by Tom

Tom's Feijoada

Monday has become by default international night and often my time to prepare dinner.  Believe it or not, my inspiration for this meal came to me while I was watching "The Big Smoke-Off" on Food TV the night before.  I'm not sure I have the program title exactly right, but it is close enough.  The idea was something with a smokey taste yet something I could do inside on another one of our rainy days.  So I combined the idea of smokey tasting meats into a one-pot meal.  Well almost one-pot because I did complement the dish with jasmine rice.

This feijoada recipe is entirely my doing.  Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil; and as far as I can tell, no two families make it exactly the same way.  Feijoada is essentially several different kinds of meats (beef and pork principally), black or red beans and rice.  So my ad libbing a bit from standard feijoada recipes is perfectly acceptable.  If you like chili, I guarantee you will like this take-off of a Brazilian standard.


Servings:  a lot!  Freezes well for left-overs.

1 package hot Italian sausage links - about 1 pound
1 1/2 pounds beef steak - any inexpensive cut will do
~1 pound pork tenderloin
1 package smoked chorizo link sausage
1 half-package smoked bacon
1 large sweet onion coarsely diced
1 green bell pepper coarsely sliced
1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1-32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2-15 ounce cans black beans
3 bay leafs
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

1 large skillet for sauteing vegetables and browning the meats
1 large cooking pot for holding all of the ingredients and simmering the feijoada

Coarsely chop the vegetables and set aside.  Cut the meats into ~1 inch bite-sized pieces.

Start by browning the bacon and rendering the fat.  Once the bacon is good and crisp, remove from the pan into the large pot for actually cooking the feijoada.

Using the bacon fat, saute the vegetables until soft, which will take 7-10 minutes.  Once the vegetables are soft, transfer into the cooking pot.  Now lightly flour the meats and brown them in the skillet.  I needed to divide the meats into two batches in the skillet to make sure that I got some semblance of even browning.

Transfer the meats into the cooking pot.

Now add all the other ingredients:  diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, cumin, ancho chili powder, liquid smoke, bay leaves, black beans.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Simmer for several hours, if you can.  This will make even the toughest cut of beef tender.  But at a minimum, simmer for one hour.

This dish goes best with a mild rice, like jasmine rice.  Prepare per the package directions.  Use the rice as a base for the feijoada.

Remember my guarantee.  If you like chili, you will really like this feijoada recipe.  Great on a rainy day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tom liked these Triple Chocolate Chip cookies so much, he asked me to save the recipe. Tom is known for his chocolate cookies so I was pleasantly surprised he thought this recipe was a keeper.

I started with the recipe on the inside of the box of Land O'Lakes butter, but used a mix of chips, and a pinch of salt.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Land O'Lakes butter box

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened (I was using unsalted, so I added a pinch of salt.)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar ( I used light)
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
12 ounces (2 cups) of chips, a mix of semi-sweet, dark, and white

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.  Reduce speed to low.  Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

For large cookies:  Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating midway, until golden brown.  Do not overbake.  Remove when just beginning to turn brown and cracks are still wet. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets. 26 jumbo cookies.

For medium size, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating midway, and until golden brown, but not overcooked. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets. 4 dozen.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Open-Faced Spicy Sloppy Joes by Tom

Open-faced Spicy Sloppy Joes by Tom

We decided that it would be nice to have a simpler meal than some of our more complicated concoctions.  So in the morning, I suggested that I make sloppy joes.  Something that we have not had for quite a while.  Always looking for unique recipes, I did a search of "best sloppy joe recipes" and found one that I thought looked interesting. 

What made this recipe unique is the inclusion of hot ground Italian sausage along with ground beef.  This addition adds a bit of zest to the taste while retaining the traditional sweetness of a sloppy joe recipe.  We both thought it was pretty good, but probably not one for those who do not like spicy foods.  Worth a try though!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium size sweet onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound hot Italian ground sausage
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Chop all of the vegetables:  onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, garlic, and the celery.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, saute the vegetables until they are soft.  Add the dried oregano to the vegetables while sauteing.
Remove the sauteed vegetables from the skillet onto your cutting board or a plate.

Saute the ground beef and the sausage.  Be sure to keep breaking up the meats as you are sauteing it.  You want the pieces of meat to be small in the final dish.

Add back the sauteed vegetables to the meat mixture.  Now add all the other ingredients and stir well.  Bring back to a low boil and then cover and turn the heat down to simmer.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow all of the flavors to marry.

To accompany this recipe, I steamed a broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mixture.  I also served it with baked potatoes.  In hindsight I would have rather used a thinner hamburger roll.  Just a tad too much bread to meat ratio.  But it still tasted good!

Easy and tasty.  A good combination.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Honey Buns

Honey Buns

Yes, Houston, we have honey buns.  I emerged from the kitchen covered in flour, short on patience, and a little bit sticky, but my first attempt at gooey, doughy yeast buns was a success.

Leftover honey from winter led to looking through my recipes and finding a honey bun recipe I clipped a year or two ago, and then buying the special ingredients like mascarpone cheese and creme fraiche to make them over Easter when Emily was here, but not actually doing it, and then being under pressure to make them over the weekend before the expiration dates. 

Honey Buns
adapted from Martha Stewart magazine, not sure which issue
Makes 9 (plus two extra portions of dough for future use)

For the dough:
2 T. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/2 cup honey (any type)
2 t. coarse salt
1 t. vanilla
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
vegetable oil, for the bowl

For the filling and topping:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey (any type) plus more for brushing and drizzling
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 T. sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup chopped pecans

I made the dough the night before.  Notice there aren't any photos.  It was challenging to figure out to follow the recipe which wasn't clear enough for me as a newbie to making yeast rolls.

Make the dough:  sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  This didn't happen.  Maybe my water wasn't warm enough to start.  So I microwaved it for a 5 seconds, hoping that it would start to foam if it got warmer, but then I was stressed that I had killed the yeast.   

Whisk milk, butter, eggs, honey, salt and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed.  Add yeast mixture, and whisk for 1 minute.  Switch to dough hook, reduce speed to low, and add 4 cups flour.  After flour is incorporated, raise speed to medium and continue kneading.  My mixture looked awful.  Sort of like butter bits suspended in a milky solution, but it looked better after I added the flour.  Maybe my eggs and milk and butter weren't warm enough.  They are supposed to be at room temperature.

Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough no longer sticks to the bowl.  My dough kept sticking so I just kept adding flour.  About an extra cup.

Raise speed to medium-high, and knead for 10 minutes.  (Alternately, knead by hand until smooth, 15 to 20 minutes.)  My Kitchenaid stand mixer really got a workout.  The machine wobbled and was very hot by the end.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough is very smooth, about 5 minutes.  My turn for a workout!  Five minutes is long time to knead!  Glad I had a machine to do the first part.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and set aside in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  I used our oven for this step.  Earlier I heated it to the lowest setting, then turned it off, and left the door open.  Inside it was probably in the 80's by the time I put the dough into rise.  This step went well.  My yeast was not dead!  The dough doubled quickly.

Punch down dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 3 portions.  Roll each into a ball.  Freeze 2 for up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator before using).  I put two in the freezer and one in the fridge overnight, tightly wrapped in plastic.

In the morning, I continued.

Make the filling and topping: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in honey, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from heat. Let cool. Combine mascarpone and creme fraiche in a bowl. Mascarpone is like Italian cream cheese, and creme fraiche is like a fancy, more expensive version of sour cream.

Roll remaining dough into a 10 by 13 1/2 inch rectangle.  Brush lightly with honey, spread mascarpone mixture evenly on top, leaving a 1 inch border, and sprinkle with pecans.  Starting on one long side, roll dough into a log.  Pinch along seam to seal.  Cut into nine 1.5 inch slices.

Pour honey mixture into a 8 inch square baking pan.  This is the sticky component.

Place buns, cut sides down, in pan, 3 to a row.  The two smaller ones, the runts of the roll, capsized.  Next time I will know to have the filling spread evenly across all the roll before slicing them.

Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.  Mine grew too big for the pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place oven rack in lower third.  They are getting gigantic! Oh, no!

Bake buns, rotating halfway through, until brown and bubbling, about 1 hour.  I lost most of my sticky sauce when the pan overflowed.  Good thing I put them on a cookie sheet to catch the drips.

(If buns darken too quickly, cover with foil.)  I foiled mine, but they still burned a little.

Set a wire rack on a baking sheet.  Immediately invert buns onto rack.  Drizzle with honey, and serve warm.

The sugar and honey formed a candy-like surface, similar to a caramel apple, which was a little too chewy for my taste.  But, the dough inside was soft and had a good flavor.

I missed the traditional flavors of cinnamon and whatever else is in a sticky bun. Honey was nice, but seemed too mild. So, with my two remaining portions of dough, waiting to be used in the freezer, I am going do a little research and then attempt to make traditional sticky buns. 


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Magic Chocolate Ice Cream a.k.a.Frozen Mocha Mousse

Frozen Mocha Mousse

I was intrigued when I saw this recipe in a copy of Cook's Country which came in the mail unsolicited. An ice cream made without a machine?  So, Emily and I made it over Easter weekend and it really was easy, but give it plenty of time to freeze before serving, at least 6 hours. The trick is the sweetened condensed milk. It's not really ice cream, but more like a mousse, and very good.

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream
or Frozen Mocha Mousse
adapted from Cook's Country
Makes 1 Quart (1 large Glad-type 4 cup storage container)
1 t. instant coffee or espresso powder
1 T. hot water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 t. vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream

For the mocha base: 

Combine espresso powder and hot water in an extra- large measuring cup or microwave safe bowl.  Let stand until the coffee dissolves, about 5 minutes. 

Add chocolate, sweetened condensed milk,

and microwave for 10 seconds and stir until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute.  Stir in vanilla and salt.  Let cool.

For the cream:

With a whisk attachment on the electric mixer, whip the cold cream on medium-high speed until it makes soft peaks, about 2 - 3 minutes.

This gave me time to mess around with my camera on micro to see if I could take a closeup of the tulips I picked from the yard.

I should have been paying more attention.  By the time, I checked my cream it was a little past soft peaks. No worries.  It would still work for the mousse.

For the mousse:

Add one third of the cream into the mocha base,

and fold until combined.

Then pour it all into the remaining whipped cream,

and fold carefully and gently until completely uniform in mocha color.

Pour into a 1 quart freezer container, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 weeks.

If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface before freezing.