Isn’t it Rice to Hear from You?

By Geekmom

This summer in Ohio has been hot with a capital H. Some very good things have happened – spending time with my parents and seeing the excellent adults into which my children are slowly and not so slowly growing. Some not so happy things have happened as well and at the top of this list is losing my assistant speech coach to Dayton and her fiance. The fortunate part of today’s world is that I will still hear from her frequently – at least I better! As TheLexy is searching for a new job, she is being quite the domestic goddess. This is not an easy skin for her as she normally overworks herself and is never at home.

With the current change of scenery (Did you catch that pun TheLexy? All those plays you also helped me with inspired that.), she needs to make perfect rice. This girl doesn’t like doing anything that is not 100% perfect. So for her is my Baked White Rice Recipe. It always turns out and it is extremely easy.

Baked White Rice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place 2 cups white rice in a round and buttered casserole dish. (Make sure that you don’t use too big of a casserole and that it has a lid or that you have foil to cover it tightly.}

On the stove top, heat 4 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Pour over the rice and bake 30 minutes covered.

At the end of the 30 minutes if you still have water, replace the lid and bake 5 to 10 more minutes.

Another Kind of Sloppy

By Geekmom

I know it has been too long, but other things have been taking control of my world. Teaching my darling students, the play, and speech season took its toll on my time. The Saint and the helper monkeys required me as well. The zombie marmots have also wanted me. Imagine that! Since summer started, I have been helping my amazing parents in their strawberry patch. I am now a star at making jam. They only picked about 230 quarts of strawberries this year.

At the end of the year, I promised Senora a recipe and now here it is.

Sloppy Hot Wing Joes
2 T olive oil or vegetable oil (I have used both)
2 lbs ground chicken
onion powder to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1/3 to 1/4 hot sauce (depends on the heat you want)
1 c tomato sauce

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add meat and cook thoroughly and break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook until desired thickness. Serve on rolls. Serve with ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, or blue cheese crumbles.

For a tasty variation use 1 1/2 c of BBQ sauce instead of the tomato sauce. This makes hot barbeque Sloppy Joes.

Tomato Sauce or Tomato Gravy… Location, Location, Location

By Geekmom

The amazing K.A.Stewart has asked for a tomato sauce recipe. Well… here in NE Ohio, sauce is usually made with meat and the other is called marinara. In New Jersey though, I have heard, that our sauce is their tomato gravy. Whatevs…. it is good on pasta.

She asked me if I made mine with anything weird. I said no and then proceeded to tell her that I use pork neck bones. She said that is weird. This could get interesting.

Geek Pantry’s Tomato Sauce

*Two or three pounds of pork neck bones (You can use pork steaks or pork chops. You can also use italian sausage links but… adjust the spicing.)
*2 qt whole tomatoes
*2 29 oz tomato puree
*small can of tomato paste if you want the sauce thicher
*4 cloves garlic or 1 1/4 tsp powdered garlic
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp onion powder (You can use real onions – a small one. I cannot.)
*1 T. sugar

Cook the above until meat comes off the bones. I usually leave it on med low for about three or four hours. Cool to room temperature. Remove all of the meat. I usually use the meat for sandwiches. If you want a very meaty sauce, you can put it back in. Add the following and cook until desired thickness:
2-3 tsp dried basil
2-3 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes

My advice is to put the 2 tsp of each, let it cook, taste, and add more if you want more. Don’t be afraid of the pepper flakes. It just adds a bit of zing!

K. A. Stewart… Be Brave

By Geekmom

So I have two recipe requests from the amazing K. A. Stewart. They are not connected, so please understand. They are, however, sweets for which she has a hankering.

The first is peach pie. It really isn’t peach season, but I am betting that it can be made adequately with frozen peaches if they are thawed first.

Peach Pie ( 9″)

Mix together the following:
4 c. sliced peaches
4 T. flour
7/8 to 1 c. sugar (Depends on the sweetness of the peaches)
1/2 t. nutmeg

Prepare the bottom crust of the pie. Fill with the mixture. Cut up 1 1/2 T butter over filling. Put on top crust and cut vents. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 35 minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls

Heat 1 c. milk, 1/2 c. sugar, and 1 t. salt to lukewarm (just take the chill off the milk). Mix in two packages of dry granular yeast (4 1/2 t.). Add in two eggs (room temperature) and 1/2 c. melted butter (just melted, not too hot). Add 4 1/2 to 5 c. flour. (Add the first two cups, mix in well. Add the next two cups. Save the last 1/2 to 1 c. to use while kneading the dough.)

Turn dough out on floured board and knead until the dough is just kissing the board. It will be slightly soft, but it will not stick. Raise in oiled, covered bowl. Raise until doubled. Punch down. Raise again until doubled.

Turn out onto a board and roll out to a 9″ by 18″ rectangle. Spread with 2 T of softened butter. Mix 1/2 c. of sugar and 2 t. cinnamon. Spread out on the butter. Roll up the long way. Cut into 1″ slices and place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Raise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. (Mine tend to go closer to 25 minutes.)

Ice as you wish or eat as they are.

Cheers to the Local Butcher

By Geekmom

If you have spent any time buying meat lately, you will have noticed that the cost of everything is going up.  My father, a butcher all his life, and I have discussed this in detail.  Poor cuts of meat or good cuts… it all costs a great deal more than it did a year ago.  Despite this, there are some things for which I must splurge.  Frankly, when I do wish to spend the extra nickel… or dollar, I go to Catullo’s.  They have things there that make my heart sing.  What is even nicer is that this is a real butcher shop in the traditional sense. They support local.  You have to respect that the money spent there is not going to South American cattle ranches.

This is a picture of my honorary daughter, Gamegirl, when she came into town two years ago at Catullo’s.  I just had to show her its greatness.

One particular thing I love there is their Country Sausage (I think that is what it is called… I am old and the memory is going.  It is their not Italian sausage.)  I love using it to make Sausage Gravy.  It is lean enough that I don’t even need to take off extra grease.  In other words… it makes my life easier.  Better yet, it tastes amazing.  Mmmmmm.

I twittered this picture to Danny Catullo’s account and promised him the recipe.  After too long a time, I am finally getting to it.

Sausage Gravy

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

4 1/2 T all-purpose

2 1/4 c milk

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1/4 t salt

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat.  (I use a non stick pan.)  Make sure to break up the meat while you are cooking it.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to bowl.  Add the flour to the sausage grease.  If using a fatty sausage, only use 2 T of the grease.  Heat the grease and add the flour.  Cook and stir about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and simmer until thickened.  Stir in the sausage, salt, and pepper.  (I always add a little more pepper as I really like pepper.)

Spoon over split biscuits.

Buttermilk Lard Biscuits

*Note:  Working with Lard is nothing like using Crisco.  Lard is tetchy.  Once the liquid goes in, overworking it will give you hockey pucks instead of biscuits.  My mother taught me how to use it and frankly, I love the taste of it.  AMAZING.  If you are scared, just use Crisco.  Not as amazing.)

1.  Mix together:

2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2.  Cut in 1/4 c lard.  You can work this as long as you want and it won’t turn into hockey pucks.

3.  Make a well in the center.  Pour in a third of the buttermilk.  Dust the lard mixture over the buttermilk.  Repeat until it is somewhat layered and then stir until just barely mixed.

4.  Put the dough on a floured board and knead lightly about  six times until it is just pulled together.

5.  Roll it out to desired thickness.  The old Betty Crocker book says 1/2 inch, but I like them a bit thicker.  Cut into desired shape.  Place just touching on a cookie sheet.  (This helps them to be higher.)

6.  Just pull remaining dough together and keep cutting them out.  The last one I just let look like Frankenstein’s biscuit because I don’t want to work the dough too much.  Amazingly, they all want that one!

7.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

As a final comment, I have to say it… Catullo’s Country Cured Bacon is a drool worthy addiction!  I put it in everything.  Cheers to the local butcher!