Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Family Circle Great Ground-Beef Recipes," "John Michael Lerma's Garden Country," "Cool Entertaining"

Date I made these recipes: July 5, 2010

Family Circle Great Ground-Beef Recipes by the Family Circle Food Staff
Published by: A New York Times Company Publication
© 1965, 1966, 1971
Recipe: Double onion burgers – p. 24

John Michael Lerma’s Garden County by John Michael Lerma
Published by: Syren Book Company
ISBN: 0-929636-50-3
Recipe: Cherry Tomato Pie – p. 171-172

Cool Entertaining by Irma Rhode
Published by: Atheneum
© 1976
Recipe: (My Grandmother’s) Apple Cake – p. 151

Well, there’s no time like the 4th of July to break out the All-American items—with variations of course!

Burgers were kind of a given but I’m not exactly stocked with burger books (even fewer hot dog books). After a careful shelf by shelf search, I pulled this one out at Memorial Day and kept it on my dining room table so I didn’t forget that I had it. (Because trust me, out of sight, out of mind!)

Next, I felt that something fresh from the garden was in order and so I pulled John Michael Lerma’s Garden County book off the shelf. I was almost set to make a pasta salad using tomatoes and corn but the recipe for the pie (and of course, pie is usually a given on the 4th of July) sounded more interesting.

Finally, I also yanked out Cool Entertaining a few month’s back in anticipation of the summer holidays but sheesh, people, finding a recipe I liked was a challenge and a half. Practically everything in the book required that the meat or vegetables be encased in clear gelatin and while I’m not opposed to it, I wanted something a little less wobbly for the day and so went with apples…but not in a pie.

So back to the pie…John Michael Lerma can often be seen on the Food Network in pie-making competitions. He also wrote another cookbook about pies, one that I have yet to bake from, but will soon. Actually, I mean that my husband will bake a pie fairly soon seeing as how he’s the “pie guy” in our family. I conscripted him into action this afternoon, pleading with him to make the crust so that I could concentrate on the filling. When I make a crust, it’s okay. When he makes one, it’s divine! And so he cracked open a beer and got to work—love that about him!

And before I beat the pie topic to death…I have a love/hate relationship going with Top Chef (not to be confused with Top Chef Masters that I love!) and last week, everybody had to make a pie. And people, to my amazement, this year’s contestants who claim to be chefs copped to never having made a pie at all or maybe making it once.

What the ???!! How can you be a “chef” without ever having made a pie? This is just inconceivable.

Now I know, I know—in chef-land there are those who are pastry chefs and those who are not and usually the twain never meet. But honestly, folks, how many of us non-chefs starting baking and cooking when we were youngsters? My guess is a lot. So if you then go on to cook for people for a living, it seems like a no-brainer that you should know how to make all kinds of food. The fact that some of these contestants didn’t know how just seems odd to me.

And speaking of odd…every year on Top Chef, there’s one contestant who stands out as being the biggest a-hole of the season. (Having an ego is one thing but displaying it for all to see on cable TV is another!) This year, it’s Angelo, who is one of the aforementioned “non pie guys.” The dude never made a pie before—ever. So of course, it stands to reason that the first time out of the chute, he manages to make a respectable pie. Hate.him.

Previous year’s villains have been Mike Isabella (season 6), (make that Ickabella—or, if you are a true Minnesotan, make it Ishabella!) whose misogynist thinking was a total turnoff to me and thousands of viewers and Illan Hall, winner of season 2. Just the image of his smug mug makes me want to change the channel. So of course, who shows up as guest judges at the Judge’s Table on this week’s show? Mike and Illan. Lord help me, Jesus!

CORRECTION: I could have sworn Illan was shown in the previews but when I watched the show last night, he wasn't there. My bad...but I still don't like the guy. And I still can't figure out why, out of all the former contestants, Mike Isabella was there. But to make up for that snafu, the judges did include cutie pie Bryan Voltaggio, last season's runner up. That I can live with!

Well, anyway, as I am wont to do, I digress. So here’s my selection of 4th of July recipes guaranteed to make you feel patriotic.

By the way, the following lyrics from a song that I sang in childhood, kept running through my head as I put the pie together:

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she bake a cherry pie, Charming Billy?
She can bake a cherry pie, quick as a cat can wink her eye
But she's a young thing and cannot leave her mother

Catchy, right?!!

Double Onion Burgers – makes 6 servings
1 large Bermuda (purple) onion, peeled (I used a Vandalia onion and it was glorious)
¼ cup salad oil
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¾ cup soft bread crumbs (1 ½ slices) (I used a hamburger bun)
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup catsup
6 slices bacon, halved

Cut Bermuda onion into 6 slices; arrange in a single layer in a shallow baking pan; pour salad oil over top. Bake in a moderate oven (350) for 20 minutes.

While onion cooks, mix ground beef lightly with chopped onion, parsley, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper until well-blended; shape into 6 patties about 1 inch thick.

Place one each on a baked onion slice; spread with catsup; top each with 2 half slices of bacon.

Bake 30 minutes longer, or until bacon is crisp and meat is done as you like it.

Ann’s Note: dang, these burgers were yummy. I was thinking about grilling the stuff but the weather was bad so I went with the oven instead and am glad I did.

Cherry Tomato Pie – serves 6 to 8
Note: plan on allotting at least 1 hour to chill the dough.
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher or Hawaiian salt
½ cup cold all-vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup cold water
1 large egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
For the filling:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ pounds assorted cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Kosher or Hawaiian salt

Make the dough by first combining all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and butter (these should be cold as directed). Using a pastry blender cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Drop by drop, add the cold water. Mix in with the fingertips; do not use your hands as the palms will warm the dough. Continue mixing water in until the dough begins to hold together without being sticky but not crumbly.

Divide dough into two pieces and place each in plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap and press down to form a disk. This will make rolling out easier after chilling. Finish wrapping in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at last 1 hour.

Lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate with butter or vegetable cooking spray. Roll out dough and place in pie plate. Return to the refrigerator until the filling is ready. Roll out top crust.

Next, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a heavy-bottom skillet over medium, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Do not brown the garlic as it will become bitter. (Ann’s Note: And so will you if you end up with ruined garlic!)
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, mustard, and pepper. Blend in the cooked onions and cherry tomatoes. Stir to mix well.

Remove bottom pie crust from refrigerator and layer with half the cheese. Cover with tomato and onion mixture. Spread remaining cheese evenly over the mixture. Brush edges of pie crust with egg wash. Attach top crust, fold edges together, and crimp. Create a decorative edge. Brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher or Hawaiian salt.

Bake for 30 minutes. (Ann’s Note: plan on allotting more time for this. After 30 minutes, the crust was still soft and the cheese wasn’t melted. I put it back in the oven for another 30 and that seemed to do the trick. But everyone’s oven is different so check the pie after 15 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake it.)

Let pie cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving.

My Grandmother's Apple Cake – 8 servings (that would be the author's grandmother, not mine)
NOTE: This dish is supposed to cool overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
2 large apples (I found one was sufficient but buy 2 just in case)
Strawberry jam
½ cup sugar
9 medium egg yolks (NOTE: medium egg yolks are required. If you only have large, you should be fine using them in this recipe. If you only have extra-large, I’d check on the internet for conversions)
9 medium egg whites
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 9-inch springmold

Heat oven to 325. butter the springmold, then place a round of aluminum foil over the bottom and butter again. This is to prevent discoloration of apple slices. Peel and core apples. Cut them into rings and place into mold in one layer. Fill center of apple rings with strawberry jam.

Beat together sugar and egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add flour and mix. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding cream of tartar. First fold in 1/3 of egg whites into egg yolk mixture, then reverse and fold into egg whites. Pour dough over apples and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool in the mold overnight. Place on a coffee tin, push rim down and turn cake upside down on a service plate. Take off bottom part, then peel off aluminum foil.

No comments: