Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

I was introduced to this recipe many years ago at a Pampered Chef Party--I think it was the reason I purchased my Food Chopper. I usually dice using my favorite chef's knife but sometimes The Chopper is the best tool for the job.
I made this Fruit Salsa for book club--it was a hit! I forgot how much I like it. It is fresh and delicious, I think your family will love it.

Fruit Salsa
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 pint strawberries, chopped
2 kiwi, peel and dice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons jam or jelly
Mix fruit in a bowl. Combine zest, juice, sugar and jam. Gently combine mixtures. I used my Food Chopper for the apples and strawberries. I think I got carried away while chopping the berries, next time I will hold back a bit. I'm sure this recipe would work with different fruits. The apples give great texture. Whole raspberries or blueberries would be a great addition.

Cinnamon Chips
Flour tortillas (I like thin tortillas)
cinnamon sugar
Cut tortillas into strips or wedges, place on baking stone. Spray lightly with Pam or water and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until crisp and lightly brown. Cool. A drizzle of chocolate is always a good thing.
Printable Recipe

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Roast Beef Dinner--by Greg

When our kids come to visit they always request a roast beef dinner cooked by their dad. Greg has this meal perfected. He makes the meat, gravy and mashed potatoes. I take care of the sides and the dessert. It is a perfect team effort.
When my health declined and Greg was released from his 5 year calling as a bishop of our LDS ward he suddenly had time on Sunday. He wanted to help with Sunday Dinner. He wanted to find a foolproof Roast Beef recipe, one that made delicious gravy.
My past attempts at this meal were sometime good, sometimes not so. I did what my Mom did--put a roast in a pan, cooked it for hours and hoped for the best. Sunday dinner was always yummy at Mom's.
Long story, we'll shorten it. So Greg wanted a recipe were he could have controlled results. Cook's Illustrated to the rescue. I had their cookbook The Best American Classics on my shelf. It had a simple pot roast recipe. From this recipe came The Perfect Roast Beef Dinner.
This recipe is not difficult but does require cooking time.

Perfect Roast Beef
1 boneless beef roast, about 3.5 pounds. We use rump roast but I'm sure you would have success with a pot roast or chuck eye roast
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small rib celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
1-1 3/4 cups water
Pat the roast dry with paper towel, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven, I use a le Cruset pan. When the oil is shimmering add roast and brown on all sides. This will take about 8 minutes. Transfer the roast to a large plate. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browning begins. Add garlic and sugar, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths, scrapping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Return the roast and any accumulated juices to the pot. Add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the roast. Place a large piece of aluminum foil over the pot and cover tightly with a lid. Bring the liquid to a simmer then transfer the pot to the oven--heated to 300 degrees. Cook turning the roast every 30 minutes until tender. This will take about 31/2 to 4 hours.
Transfer the roast to a carving board, tent with foil to keep warm. Strain drippings. Allow fat to come to the top (we use a fat separator). Use drippings to make gravy. 
Gravy is simple--for every cup of drippings you need at least a tablespoon of fat (there is usually plenty of fat in the drippings). Mix 2 tablespoons flour in some water, whisk well, you don't want any lumps! Add flour/water mixture to 1 cup warm drippings. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Let boil gently for 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings. We come from a long line of gravy loving ancestors. 1 cup of gravy would never do. Just increase amounts--keeping proportions the same. Today Greg made about 4 cups of gravy. He used 3 1/4 cup drippings, mixed 8 tablespoons flour with 3/4 cup water.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Prairie Flower Quilt for Mom

My mom loves flowers her yard is a blast of color each summer. I saw a pattern for a Prairie Flower Quilt, it had Mom's name on it! I had to run with it. The pattern comes from Missouri Star Quilt Co. MSQC has lots of fun video segments that demo different quilts. I watched this demo several times until I felt confident enough to start cutting and sewing. It was a fun quilt to make, the blocks were big--over 13 inches. I used Miss Kate, a fabric line by Bonnie Camille for Moda. This is a fun fabric line with lots of color--just like Mom's flower garden.

I wanted to do a scrappy back, I got carried away and it turned out very scrappy. It is fun. It was quilted at The Quiltmakers on a long-arm quilting machine. She did the quilt freehand--it is beautiful with many fun details.
Happy Mothers Day to the best Mom ever!