Michael (ftmichael) wrote in ljrecipes,

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Today is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day in the US.

As always, all measurements are in US units. See http://www.onlineconversion.com/cooking_volume.htm for converting measurements.

* McDonald's Chicken Sandwich: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02061.htm
* Filet Mignon with Green Peppercorn Cream Sauce: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02062.htm
* Tomato-Herb Chicken: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02063.htm
* Orange Baked Ham: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02064.htm
* Smoked Salmon Pizza: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02065.htm
* Baked Macaroni and Cheese: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02066.htm
* Cold Cure Soup: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes/01276.htm
* Bread and Butter Pudding: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/02068.htm
* Low Carb Frozen Peppermint Patties: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes2/0805lc.htm
* Diabetic-Friendly Sesame Chicken Salad: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/vdiab.htm
* Low Fat Rocky Road Fudge Bars: http://www.e-cookbooks.net/recipes4/vlfat.htm

Kelley's Cooking Tips

Leftover Food Tips:

* Cool leftover French toast, then freeze it in single layers. Store in self-sealing plastic bags. Pop in your toaster to reheat.

* Combine leftover mashed potatoes with chopped onion and shredded cheese, then bake. Tastes like twice-baked potatoes with less work!

* Leftover spaghetti noodles? Add diced raw vegetables and enough bottled Italian dressing to coat for an easy and refreshing salad.

* Form balls of leftover mashed potatoes around cubes of cheese, roll in Parmesan cheese or crumbs and broil until golden brown.

* To heat leftover tortillas, grease a skillet lightly with oil and place over medium heat. Dip tortillas in water and quickly steam-saute them on both sides.

Have a cooking question? Kelley has your answer! kelley@e-cookbooks.net

Make It Snappy, and the Richer, the Better
by Mark Bittman

If you think of crackers as little bits of pie crust, or fast-cooking bread, you quickly comprehend why they’re so easy to make. Which only makes it more befuddling that no one does, since packaged crackers are universally overpriced and often contain ingredients with which you’d never cook, starting with artificial ones and continuing with dough "conditioners" and preservatives.

Crackers can be made with just flour and water (as in water crackers, or matzo), but like almost everything else, they’re better with richer ingredients. These, typically, are butter, oil, and milk or cheese or both, along with flavorings like seeds, herbs and spices. I like a simple, flakey, buttery cracker, often with cheese. This could stem from my childhood addiction to Cheez-Its.

This is basically pastry dough rolled out thinly. But it’s easier in a way, because while you want to keep a pie crust tender, and therefore work the dough as little as possible, here you can beat it up a bit. You’re going for a substantial bite, and developing the gluten - the protein in the wheat - will help you get that. Even if you have to roll the dough out more than once, even if you roll it thrice, the crackers will only become flakier.

Once you get the hang of it, which will take exactly one try, play around. You might skip the cheese and add freshly chopped rosemary or thyme to the dough. Swapping pepper for salt as a topping makes a difference. Or top with minced garlic or onion, sesame or poppy seeds, or whatever is on your favourite commercial cracker. In every case, you are going to make it better.

Parmesan Cream Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
Coarse salt, pepper, sesame or poppy seeds, minced garlic or whatever you like for sprinkling (optional)

1. Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit; continue to add liquid a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky.

2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. Transfer sheet of dough to prepared baking sheet (drape it over rolling pin to make it easier). Score lightly with a sharp knife, pizza cutter or a pastry wheel if you want to break crackers into squares or rectangles later on. Sprinkle with salt or other toppings.

3. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin.

Rigatoni with Steak Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 (12 oz.) rib-eye steaks
Salt and pepper
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (26 oz.) jar marinara sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 pound dried rigatoni pasta
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large frying pan over high heat. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Cook the steaks until they are brown but still rare in the centre, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to a plate and set aside to cool. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan. Sauté the onions and carrots until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes, with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Add the garlic and oregano, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat to allow the flavours to blend, about 10 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, trim off any fat from the steaks, then cut the steaks into bite-size pieces and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rigatoni and boil until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Drain the rigatoni.

Toss the rigatoni and reserved steak pieces and any accumulated juices from the steaks with the sauce to coat. Transfer the pasta to bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese shavings and serve.

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