Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

What’s Cooking

Cooking

One thing I do, and do well, is cook. Check out Studly’s waistline if you don’t believe me. Yet it has always frustrated me to read a delicious sounding recipe and then have to figure out what to serve with it. Beans or peas? Fried or boiled potatoes? To salad or not. You get the idea. We’re not talking rocket science, but a clue or two from those big-buck chefs, whose books I constantly buy, would sure help.

So today don your aprons and grab those skillets because we’re taking a giant step to ease the burden of the overworked woman.

Every month a new menu will be posted. Please feel free to email me your thoughts, suggestions, or your favorite recipes. We’re all in this cooking thing together and might as well help out each other.

April’s Choice

Baked salmon steaks are a delightful treat and not outrageously expensive. Tease your taste buds with this combination of sweet and spicy. Add your favorite green vegetable, rice, and a cool white wine like Pinot Grigio for a delicious and quick dinner.

Salmon Steaks

3 salmon filets no more than 1 inch thick
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
Splash white wine
2 tbsp. butter
3 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp. pine nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 425°F

Pam aluminum foil and lay it on a cookie sheet oiled side up. Place the fish on the foil.

Combine sugar, mustard, and wine in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Spread the blend evenly over the salmon to cover it. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes.

Turn the oven to broil. Move the fish to 4 inches from the heat. Broil for 2 minutes or until golden.

While the salmon is baking prepare the green onion topping.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Stir in pine nuts for extra crunch. Add onion. Sauté until the onion is soft and lightly colored. Set aside.

Add a dollop of topping to each salmon steak and serve.

This recipe serves 2

March’s Choice

Beef is a favorite with Studs and most men. Beef on bones is like manna from heaven to them. Must be something carried over from caveman days. Here’s an easy recipe that will satisfy the beefaholic in your life. It goes great with boiled or mashed potatoes and a fresh salad.

beef short ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs

2-3 pounds beef short ribs cut into 2-inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper to taste¼ tsp. thyme
½ cup flour
2 tbsp. lard or solid shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, pressed
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 cup beef stock
2 small bay leaves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Pat ribs dry. Grind pepper over the meat. Pour flour into a paper bag. Add 2 – 4 ribs at a time. Shake bag gently to coat the meat. Remove the ribs and set on a large plate. Continue until all the ribs are coated.

Melt the lard or shortening in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add ribs and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan. You’re better off to brown the meat in batches. Return ribs to the plate. Lower heat to medium.

Add onions and carrots to the same pot. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. Add garlic. Cook for 45 – 60 seconds.

Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape in any brown bits clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Nestle ribs in the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and then place in the oven. Braise the ribs for 1 ½ hours or until the meat shows no resistance when pierced with a fork.

Arrange ribs on a clean platter and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Strain the braising liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Press down hard on the vegetables to extract the juices. Discard vegetable. Skim off the surface fat.

Bring the pan to a hard boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes to intensify the flavor.

Pour the sauce into a gravy boat and serve alongside the ribs.

Happy Cooking!

February’s Choice

Winter and early spring Saturday nights are the perfect times to relax with a hot meal that’s not only easy, but satisfying. This menu is also the ultimate Super Bowl Halftime meal. Extra freeze and reheat great. Enjoy!

• Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili
• Corn Bread
• Ice Cold Beer

Photo by Mister GC

Sloane’s Super Bowl Chili

6 tsp. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 green pepper, chopped fine
4 cups beef stock, not broth
3 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. ground cumin
3 bay leaves, remove before serving
5 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
2 cans Bush’s chili beans in mild sauce
1 tsp. baking soda*

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir in ground chuck and green pepper. Brown the meat, breaking up clumps as you cook, about 10 – 14 minutes.

Transfer the contents to a 3 quart saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ingredients except beans and baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or low. Simmer until the chili reaches your desired thickness. This step may take an hour or more.

10 minutes before serving stir in beans and baking soda. Heat through and serve.

Some people like to top their chili with a dab of sour cream or grated cheddar cheese. Both are super with this recipe.

*Adding a small amount of baking soda to any bean dish helps reduce or eliminate the intestinal problem some of us incur when eating beans.

Serves 8

Corn Bread

1 package Corn Muffin Mix

Follow the easy package directions.

You can also bake this recipe in a pie tin, and then serve in wedges.

Either way, be sure to have butter or margarine to slather on your warm corn bread.

January’s Choice

January is National Soup Month. Because of that, it is my pleasure to present you with two delicious and easy soups you will enjoy making and eating. And they freeze well, too.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

1½ pounds broccoli
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup onions, chopped
¼ cup red pepper, chopped
4 tbsp. flour
6 cups chicken stock
¼ cup dry sherry
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. ground thyme
8 black peppercorns or fresh ground to taste
2 pinches of nutmeg
3 eggs yolks
1 cup heavy cream
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated* optional

Cut off broccoli florets and set aside for another meal. Chop stems and branches.

Melt butter in a 3-4 quart saucepan. Add all the broccoli pieces, onions, and red peppers. Sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Do not let the onions brown or the soup will be bitter.

Sprinkle the flour across the vegetables, and then stir to coat them as evenly as possible.

Add all the remaining ingredients, except the last three. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and lower the heat to a hearty simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Add the nutmeg off heat. Strain the soup from the pulp. To do this, pour the soup into a large bowl. Wipe out the pot with a paper towel. Set a colander over the pot, then carefully pour in the soup mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to extract the liquid. Discard the pulp and return the pot to medium-low heat.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup. **

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste and season with pepper if necessary.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 8 bowls.

*My granddaughter likes to sprinkle a fair amount onto her soup. I prefer it heated in the soup as it melts better.

**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

Minestrone (Vegetable) Soup

½ cup dry white beans, navy or Great Northern
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup zucchini, unpeeled, scrubbed and diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red potatoes, diced
⅓ cup celery, diced
5 strips bacon, diced
¼ cup onion, chopped
½ cup leeks (or substitute onions), chopped fine
2 cups drained diced tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup rice

Garnish
½ tbsp. dried basil
½ tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Soup
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Add the beans and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Return the pan to the stove, and over low heat simmer the beans uncovered for 1-1½ hours, or until they are barely tender. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt the butter over moderate heat in a heavy 10-to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the peas, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Toss constantly with a wooden spoon to coat the vegetables. Cook 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Fry the bacon in a heavy 6-to8-quart saucepan over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but retain the grease in the pot. Stir in the onion and leeks. Continue to stir until the vegetables are soft and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, vegetables from the skillet, chicken stock, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the rice, beans, and bacon. Cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.

Garnish
Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well.

To Serve
Ladle into individual bowls. Sprinkle with herb/garlic mixture. Pass a bowl of grated cheese.

This recipe makes 8 bowls.