Roast Beef with Mustard

I was walking through the grocery store a few weeks ago and came across chuck roasts that were on sale, buy one get one free.  Hardly one to pass up a good deal, I bought a couple and set about to make something with one of them — the other I might use to grind my own beef.

After researching a series of recipes, I didn’t follow a single recipe, but instead I took elements from several.  I was also excited to be using a seasoning I had picked up at North Market Spices when I was in Columbus, Ohio this spring.

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Roast Beef with Mustard

1 chuck roast
10-15 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 Tbsp sazon spice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bring the roast to room temperature, cut several slits across the top and stick one garlic clove in each slice.  Spread mustard on top of the roast and sprinkle spice blend over the beef.  Bake in oven for 2-3 hours, or until it reaches the temperature you prefer for the doneness level of beef.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

I have been working hard to get rid of things I don’t need lately.  Some of this is recognized in my cooking through cookbooks, quilting through items that are in my stash, knitting up dishcloths left and right to get rid of the balls of yarn, etc.  I recently went through my closet and started to get rid of a number of different clothing items that don’t fit, aren’t what I thought they would be, etc, as well as some that have been in the rotation, but which have holes.  While I was looking through some ingredients in my cupboard, I had picked up a jar of caramel sauce and some chocolate chips with the intention of making this dish, so I thought I would take the time to throw the food together.  Plus, with all of my ice cream making as of late, I had the

While I was looking through some ingredients in my cupboard, I had picked up a jar of caramel sauce and some chocolate chips with the intention of making this dish, so I thought I would take the time to throw the food together.  Plus, with all of my ice cream making as of late, I had the KitchenAid mixer out (usually stored under the island in my kitchen) and thought I could put this together.

This recipe came from the Minnesota Catholic Daughters cookbook.

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chocolate Caramel Bars

2 1/4 c flour
2 c oatmeal
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c cold butter or margarine
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped pecans
1 jar caramel ice cream topping

In a bowl, combine 2 c flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Set half aside for topping, press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13×9 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and pecans.  Whisk caramel topping with remaining 1/4 c flour until smooth; drizzle over top.  Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting.

Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

The minute I came across this recipe for Cranberry Honey Lime Scones, I knew I wanted to try making them.  So, for the last several months, this recipe has sat in the queue, waiting for me to find the most obscure ingredient, and then finding a time to make it.  Last week, my opportunity presented itself as we began to celebrate the summer being here at work.  I think the recipe turned out quite well, although the lime became almost overpowering in the recipe.  I’m not sure if my zest got to the pith and became bitter, the oil became bitter, or the lime juice brushed on top became overpowering, but something was a little bit bitter.  I also wondered if a little sprinkle of sugar or some increased honey would balance that out better for me.

That being said, I enjoyed this recipe a lot and would include it on my future recipes-to-make plans.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair Prize-Winning Recipes Cookbook.Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

Cranberry Honey Lime Scones

5 c flour
2 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lime
15 Tbsp butter
6 oz pkg dried cranberries
1 c heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp lime oil
1/2 c honey
1 egg, beaten

Mix flour and baking powder.  Add zest of 1 lime.  Cut in butter in corn size pieces until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Mix in cranberries.  In a separate bowl, mix cream, 2 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, lime oil, and honey.  Mix until well-blended.  Add to dry mixture; mix but do not overmix.  Roll out into 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut into circles with biscuit cutter.  Place on floured and buttered baking sheet.  Mix beaten egg and remaining lime juice.  Brush on top of scones.  Bake in 450 degree oven for 13 minutes.

Salty Caramel Ice Cream

This recipe came from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook.  I haven’t done a lot of ice cream before, as you’ve likely noted, but as I shared last Friday, I’m trying to really focus in on ice cream this summer, and Jeni’s cookbook is a great place to start.  I especially like it because it doesn’t use eggs in the ice cream, so I”m not having to temper that with a custard.

I’ve traveled to Columbus, Ohio on an annual basis for the past ten years or so, when my sister first moved out there.  I may have had a Jeni’s ice cream at some point before, but more often than not, we eat Graeter’s.  However, when I was there for a conference earlier this spring, there was a Jeni’s across the street from our hotel and I knew I had to try some.  It was delicious.  So when I decided to start making more ice cream at home, I knew the Jeni’s cookbook was a great place to start.

I wanted a bit of chocolate in this recipe, so I went searching for some rolos in the grocery store — do you remember a few years ago when they had mini rolos available already unwrapped?  I couldn’t find them, but I did find Milky Way caramel bites.  I put them in the freezer and ran them through the food processor to chop them into bits and pieces.


Salty Caramel Ice Cream

Jeni’s Salty Caramel Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pkg Milky Way caramels

Danger! This is the dry-burn technique. I don’t add water to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream. Here is an overview of what you are going to do:

Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color — like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color (see note above). Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.

Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

I have mentioned my intentions for making more ice cream this summer.  About the same time I obtained the ice cream maker, I also acquired a smoker, which I haven’t used often enough.  I blame it on not being home all the time and rarely having a day when I’m here most of the day, but that might not be legitimate.  Either way, using the smoker has not been something I’ve done frequently.  There’s also the possibility that I’ll never be as good as my dad, just like there are a few recipes my mom makes that I refuse to do because I can’t get it quite right…

I decided to try and use the smoker a little more and when pork was on sale, I bought a pork shoulder and found this recipe on the Sweet C’s Designs website.  It was really good.  It had a nice amount of bark, and I really appreciated the additional flavor offered by the cardamom and cinnamon.  I heard on a podcast a couple weeks ago about the role of cardamom in recipes and this seemed like a fun way to add it.

So, for a week, I snacked on this pork.  I added it to eggs, salads, sandwiches, and ate it on its own.

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

Best Smoked Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder or Boston butt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp seasoning salt
2 Tbsp ground pepper
3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp celery salt
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cardamom

Mix ingredients except for pork together in a bowl.  Remove the pork from package, pat dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature.  Apply rub and refrigerate overnight.  Soak wood chips overnight in water.

Remove meat from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.  Prepare smoker.  When coals are glowing and gray, add the pork to the smoker.  Keep the meat as far from the fire as possible.  Add a handful of wet wood chips/block to fire.  Cover and let cook.  You’ll want to keep your temperature between 200 and 225 degrees.  It should take 12-14 hours to smoke a 7-10 pound butt.

Cook until meat is at least 185 degrees, but it will pull apart easier if it gets to 205 degrees.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

I was ready to eat a summery meal last week and was came across the recipe for Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons in the Ruth Reichl my kitchen year cookbook.  This is the first recipe I’ve made out of her cookbook, but as the academic year came to a close, I’m making a commitment to cooking at home with more real food.  I was about to make some sausages to eat and potatoes sounded really good.  I’m not always a potato fan, but the idea of putting some together seemed incredibly appealing on this night.  I had seen this recipe the day before in the cookbook and the idea of lemon with potatoes in a crisp form was exactly what I wanted.

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukons

Crisp, Lemony Baby Yukon

3 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes
3 c chicken stock
1-2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, smashed
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the chicken stock into a medium-sized pan and stir in the zest of a lemon or two and the smashed garlic.  Add the potatoes, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, reserving the lemon zest from the stock, and allow them to cool a bit.  Put them on a sheet pan that is liberally covered with olive oil.  Gently flatten eat potato, using the back of a chef’s knife, a rolling pin, or a small skillet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and the lemon zest, and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit more salt.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Summer is here!  With that, it’s salad season and I found several recipes I had written down for salads in one location or another.  This (very simple) recipe for blackberry spinach salad ended my day with some brightness and cheerfulness after several days of eating a quick meal here or there and whatever I could so glamorously shove in my mouth to either a) stay awake or b) provide some brief sustenance.  Then, as I planted my garden and saw the lettuce and spinach starting to appear, as well as some blackberry bushes I planted last year, I remembered this recipe and knew I wanted to put it together the next night.

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Blackberry Spinach Salad

3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 pint fresh blackberries (or substitute strawberries, etc…)
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, toss together baby spinach, blackberries, goat cheese, green onion, and walnuts.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette dressing