Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Week 15: Hummus, Mile High Tarts and John Elway Soup

Thar Te-Blows! 

I can’t explain how excited I was to watch this match-up.  At some point this week’s game became less about the Patriots winning and more about Tebow losing.  This is directly related to this week’s SI cover and Pastor Hanson’s quotes about God being responsible for the current Denver winning streak. My favorite being:

“It’s not luck.  Luck isn’t winning 6 games in a row.  It’s favor. God’s favor.”

Uh-huh.  At the time, a good portion of the United States believed him.  But not New England fans.  It had nothing to do with how pious Tim Tebow is.  It had nothing to do with his level of faith or commitment to religion. It was much simpler.  New England fans knew the one truth the rest of the country was missing.

Not even God himself dares to mess with The Hooded One. 

The Patriots ended up whooping the Broncos 41 to 23 as they clinched a playoff berth and the AFC East Title.  Brady looked great with 320 yards, 2 TD’s and a serious Gronk-esque Spike.  Hernandez ruled the TE spot this week with 129 yards and a TD and Gronk chipped in for another 4 receptions for 53 yards.

In addition to the Patriots winning, the Packers lost.  No offense to Aaron Rodgers, the kid is cute as hell, but “NAH NAH NA NAH NAH.”  No undefeated season for you!  To round out the good news weekend, the Celtics won, CERN found traces of the Higgs Bosom  and adulterer Kobe Bryant was served divorce papers. (About stinkin’ time Vanessa!)

We started the game with some homemade Lemon and Garlic Hummus.  Once you have tried fresh hummus and realize how easy it is to make you won’t be purchasing any more Sabra. Okay, maybe the Supremely Spicy one.  I used this recipe for the hummus http://www.therecipediva.com/recipe/Simple-Hummus-10688, only adding more lemon as a personal preference.  

Lemon and Garlic Hummus

30 Ounces Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ Lemons, juiced
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 ½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
½ teaspoon Cumin
15 Grinds Black Pepper
¼ Cup Water
Paprika, Extra EVOO and Extra Parsley for Garnish

1. Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a blender of food processor.  Blend until smooth.  

Denver Omelets were the most obvious famous food to make for the Broncos game. These are traditionally filled with Ham, Onion and Bell Pepper.  Dan and I subbed bacon for ham, added Gruyere and spiced it up a bit for OB Mile High Tartlets.

Mile High Tartlets

1 Pkg Frozen Phyllo Cups (15)
4 Strips Bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
¼ Cup Green Pepper, minced
⅓ Cup Green Onion, diced
2 Ounces Gruyere, shredded
⅓ Cup Cream
1 Egg Yolk
⅛ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper
⅛ teaspoon Garlic Powder
⅛ teaspoon Celery Salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 and place Phyllo Cups on a parchment lined pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine Bacon, Green Onion, Green Pepper and Gruyere.  Place a pinch of mixture in each Phyllo Cup so they are full, but not overflowing.  
3. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients.  Place a teaspoon of each mixture into the Phyllo cups with the Bacon Mixture and bake 10-15 minutes.  (Add more of cream mixture to each cup before baking if they are not full) Serve immediately.

As the perfect ending to a perfect game we had John Elway Hamburger Soup.  The original recipe was published in an NFL cookbook but I used the one below as a reference.  You will notice that Dan and I added some Hot Italian Sausage and Celery seed, but other than that we stuck to the recipe.  http://www.food.com/recipe/john-elways-hamburger-soup-206457

John Elway Hamburger Soup

1.5 Lbs Ground Beef
1 Lb Hot Italian Sausage
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
6 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Red Wine
1 Can Tomato Sauce (15 oz)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis (15 0z)
1 Cup Potato, diced
1 Cup Carrot, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Frozen French Style Green Beans
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
½ Tablespoon Dried Basil
½ Tablespoon Celery Seed
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large skillet, brown Hamburger and Sausage.  Drain.
2. In a separate large skillet saute Onions and Garlic in Butter.  When Onions are translucent, add Beef mixture.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week 14: Sweet Onion Tarts, Weasel Stew and Fruit and Phyllo Sandwiches.

The Patriots beat the Redskins 34 to 27, bringing their record to 10-3.  Although there were several records set, I never really got into the game.  

Perhaps it was because I was at a baby shower.  

That’s right, a baby shower.  I was shocked to learn that not all females consider relevant athletic match ups before planning social engagements.  Not only that, but I was the only one there who was sneaking peeks at their phone to watch the ESPN gamecast!  Not that the baby clothes and toys weren’t cute.  I love baby booties.....but I love the Patriots more.  Luckily, the Mom-to-Be set a rapid present-opening pace and I was able to get in a good 2 to 3 hours of baby envy and catch the second half of the game. 

Check out these handmade wool shoes, they are too cute! They are by Etsy user pink2blue, found here: http://www.etsy.com/people/pink2blue
Back to those records.  As previously discussed, the single-season TD reception by a TE record that Gronk had shared with Gates and Davis now belongs to him alone. Welker had 7 receptions to reach 100 this season and his 4th season in a row with 100+ receptions.  The Patriots won in Washington for the first time ever, and Rex Grossman apparently threw his 4th interception in the Red Zone this year which ties him for the league lead in that category.  (ESPN Stats & Information) 

I have to be honest, as of last week I still wasn’t sure what I was going to make for the Washington Game.  I knew they were known for Sweet Onions, but just about everything else revolved around Shellfish, which is strictly forbidden at ChezOB.  To start we had Sweet Onion and Tomato Tarts.

Sweet Onion and Tomato Tarts

1 Sweet Onion, caramelized
½ Box Frozen Phyllo Pastry, thawed
2 Tomatoes, sliced
4-6 Slices Prosciutto, crisped and drained
2 oz Crumbled Herbed Feta

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Unfold Phyllo and cut into 9 equal squares. Place squares on a parchment lined baking sheet.
2. Place 1 slice of tomato on each square.  Top with Onions, then Feta.  Bake 15 minutes.
3. Remove from Pan and sprinkle with crisped Prosciutto.

Somehow, the gods must have blessed me because I came across this hysterical article by Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper.


(Above picture by floppingout.com)

I've never felt so bad for Redskins fans.  They might be worse off than even Raiders fans.  As a main dish we went with Weasel Stew based on this excerpt:

Weasel Stew: Menu item at the Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, Md., conceived in 2000 after the Redskins broke their training-camp lease with the local college. Jack Kent Cooke and Maryland lawmakers had worked out a 10-year, $331,000-per-year deal, designed to bring tourist dollars to western Maryland, as part of the agreement that brought the Redskins to Prince George’s County. Shortly after buying the team, Snyder defaulted on the deal so he could hold training camp at Redskins Park, where he charged $10 admission and $10 parking. In 2001, Snyder paid the school $750,000 to settle the matter. The school used the money to establish an endowment named for Cooke.

I cannot recall where I got this recipe for Weasel (Beef) Stew, but it’s a ChezOB favorite.  I popped this in the crockpot before the Baby Shower and it was ready to eat when we came home.

Weasel Stew

1.5 Lb Beef Stew Meat
3 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 Cups Beef Broth
2 Canw (11 ½ oz) V8
2 Celery Ribs, Chopped
3 Medium Carrots, chopped
1 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Bay leaves
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon dried Thyme
¾ teaspoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Cold Water
½ Cup Frozen Corn
½ Cup Frozen Peas  

1. In a 3 quart slow cooker, combine first 12 ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until meat is tender.  Discard Bay leaves.
2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until smooth.  Stir into stew.  Add corn and peas.  Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thickened.

For Dessert we used the other half of the Phyllo to make Fruit and Phyllo Sandwiches.  The idea came from another one of McKenna’s excerpts:

Vanilla: Flavor of ice cream that Snyder left to thaw in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s office TWICE in one season to let the coach know the owner felt his schemes were simplistic, or vanilla. John Feinstein wrote that Snyder’s second delivery, after a loss to Dallas, consisted of “three giant canisters of melting 31 Flavors ice cream” and a note that said “I do not like vanilla.”

Fruit and Phyllo Sandwiches

Assorted Fruit, rinsed and macerated
½ Box Frozen Phyllo Puff Pastry, thawed
4 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
2 Tablespoons Chocolate Sauce, warmed

1. Preheat oven to 400.  Unfold the Phyllo and slice into 6 equal pieces.  Place pieces on parchment lined paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.
2. Remove and slice each puff in half like you would a sub roll.
3. Place opened puff on a place and fill with 2 scoops of Ice Cream and 2 Tablespoons fruit.  Close puff drizzle with chocolate sauce.  Serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Week 13: Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Indiana Potato Salad and Gingerbread Galore

Ashley, Erica, Jess and I + Candy = Amazing!  Honestly, after this weekends cooking and crafting, I think we deserve a cool nickname.  Like the 4 Horsewomen of the Hearth or something equally cheesy.  Check these out:

That is the best looking neighborhood since Mr. Rogers went off the air.  From left to right we have The Peppermint House (Mansfield Manor), The Gaga House (Hoser Hut), The Gingy House (Chateau Cordell) and the Candy House (Chez OB).  

The only team that played better than us ladies on Sunday were the Patriots. They rocked.  Well, they rocked for 3 quarters, which was enough to win. Gronk had a 3 TD down day and although he didn’t set a record for 3 receiving touchdowns in a game by a TE, he did tie Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis for most receiving TD’s in a season by a TE with 13.  I sincerely hope Gates and Davis aren’t too attached to that record. Brady didn't set any major records (comparatively), but he did move into a tie for Sixth Place with Warren Moon on the All Time Touchdown Pass List.

I have great news: Gronk is coming to Worcester!  Booyah!  Gronk will spike the puck on February 24th before the Worcester Sharks host the Providence Bruins. The Sharks are also reimbursing Gronk $7,500 for his famous spike against the Jets.  For more information, click here: http://www.sharksahl.com/story.asp?story_id=2874

We started the day having Calzones and White and Red Pizzas from Buonos Italian Bakery in Providence, RI.  You can’t bake better bread than the Buono family does.  If you haven’t tried it before, stop by next time you are in the Providence area.  http://buonosbakery.com/aboutus.htm

Our Friends Eric and Erica made some fabulous Wings and Cole slaw.  For these recipes and more, check out :https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Improper-Chef/205571772839179

Dan and I made Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches and Indiana Potato Salad.  The Pork Tenderloin sandwich is our own recipe and the Indiana Potato Salad is adapted from Allrecipes user AnnBarbara.  You can find the original recipe here http://allrecipes.com/recipe/indiana-potato-salad/detail.aspx , or try our kicked-up version below.

Indiana Potato Salad

  • 8 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Cup Green Onion, chopped
  • 8 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled.
  • ½ Cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ Cup Sour Cream
  • ½ teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Celery Salt

1. Peel and cube potatoes.  Boil for 8 minutes or until slightly tender.  Drain and let dry.
2. Preheat oven to 350.  
3. In a large bowl, combine Potatoes, Cheese, Onion, Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, Salt, Pepper and Celery Salt  Mix well.
4. Pour the Potato mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.  Top with Bacon bits and bake for 1 hour or until cheese is browned.

*Next time we plan on adding 1 teaspoon of Creamed Horseradish to the mixture before baking. If you try it let me know your thoughts!

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

  • 8 Thin Sliced Boneless Pork Loin Chops
  • 8 Potato Rolls
  • 1 Quart Buttermilk
  • 2 Cups Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Mustard Powder
  • ½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Dill Pickle Slices
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Thin Sliced Onion

1. Using a meat tenderizer, pound each tenderloin to between ⅛” and ¼” thickness.  Place in the bottom of a 9x13” pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine Buttermilk, Mustard Powder, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Marjoram and Cayenne.  Pour over the tenderloins and cover.  Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
3. In a large pan, warm oil for frying.  While the temperature is increasing pour breadcrumbs into a pan.  Dredge tenderloins in the breadcrumbs and drop into the oil frying for 2-3 minutes per side in batches of 2.
4. Prepare each Bun with Mayonnaise, Mustard, Dill Pickle Slices, Onion and Tomato, add the warm tenderloin and serve immediately.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 12: Philly Cheese Steaks and Fries

I can’t remember the last time I was so content.  The Patriots are dominating, I got to see the Virginia side of the family, I shopped 'til Dan dropped on Friday, we picked out and trimmed our tree AND THE CELTICS WILL BE BACK FOR CHRISTMAS!.  It’s been an exciting two weeks.

The Kansas City game made me happy. Brady had 234 yards and a pair of TD’s to Gronk.  The Defense also stepped up for the second week in a row with two interceptions by Kyle Arrington.  Dan was at the game, and the picture below is from his seats.  

It’s not actually his picture.  I had to ask Kayla for one since Dan didn’t bother to take any.  Nice seats huh?  Thank You Mr. Kuchar and Regular Kuchar for the seats and Thank You Kayla for the photo.  While Dan didn’t photo-document his trip to Foxboro, he did take mental notes which he has graciously agreed to share with myself and all 8 of my followers :)

So I went to Monday Night Football at Gillette, even though Laura and I had to get up before dawn the next day to drive to Virginia.  I'm not going to tell you I was too hungover to drive. I'm not going to tell you that it was pretty either. I played through the pain, and so did Laura.
The best way to sum up the night, is with this equation:
Monday Night Football + Beer + A shot + Baked Beans + Steak tips = Pepto Bismol + an ugly odor in the car for 10 hours on Tuesday
Highlight of the night:  A friend of a friend, back on furlough from Afghanistan, told gnarly war stories during the tailgate session.  Without getting into too much detail, I'll just say this about the strangest story he told us:  On Thursdays in Afghanistan, those who practice the local religion believe that God's back turned to all terrestrial affairs all day, every Thursday.  And so from sunup to sundown, they can sin without recourse and I'm told that things get very, very weird amongst Afghani men in the community.  I'd say more but you can google it.  Either way, If I were the Chiefs coach I'd still name any Afghani off the street over Palko at quarterback.

I can't believe he was able to get furlough, gnarly and terrestrial all in the same paragraph. The man has skills.

Moving on.

The Philly game has left me ecstatic.  Brady had another phenomenal performance with 361 yards and 3 TDs.  2 of these went to my fave Wes Welker and 1 went to Gronk, who made Dream Team Leader Asomugha look amateur. BJGE even chipped in with another 2 rushing TD’s and 44 yards.  (I already admitted he was Okay, what more do you want!) Dan and I obviously used this match up as an excuse for homemade Philly Cheesesteaks and we had 5 Spice Fries on the side.

5 Spice Fries

  • 3 Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • Chinese 5 Spice
  • Cayenne Pepper

1. Wash and slice potatoes into wedges.  Soak in Ice Water for 30 minutes, then drain and let dry.
2. Preheat oven to 425
3. Coat Potato wedges with Vegetable oil and cover in Chinese 5 spice and Cayenne and mix. I don’t measure the spices, I just make sure there is a good amount on each wedge.  If not, I add more and mix again. I would start with about 1 teaspoon of 5 spice and ½ teaspoon of Cayenne, but you will probably add more.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, flipping halfway.

Philly Cheese Steaks

  • 2 Martins Hoagie Rolls
  • 1 Lb Rib Eye Steak
  • ½ Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 4 Ounces Velveeta
  • ¼ teaspoon Celery Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • ½ Cup Shredded Cheddar

1. Slightly freeze beef and cut into thin strips.
2. In a Pan, melt butter and mix in flour. Cook 2 minutes and add millk and spices.  Whisk together over medium heat until thickened.  Slowly add velveeta until creamy.  If more cheese is needed, add ½ Cup Shredded Cheddar.
3. In a large pan, sear beef and immediately add broth to make an au jus.
4. Place meat in sub roll and top with cheese.
*Dan and I added Peppers/Onions to ours, ‘cause that’s how we roll. :)

Happy Cooking!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 11: A BBQ Bonanza

Tyler Palko?!?!?! 

Nice headband buddy.  

This is absolute bullshit.  There are only 2 reasons to get excited for a Kansas City game.  

Number 1: The food.  Anyone who doesn’t like BBQ can stop reading my blog right now because they obviously suck at life.

Number 2: Matt Cassel.  Cassel is the only NFL quarterback to have never started a college game.   The poor man played behind The Great Carson Palmer and the Great Big Joke Matt Leinart at USC.  He then rode the bench for 3 full seasons as Tom Brady’s backup before getting to start in 2008 after Brady injured both is ACL and MCL against none other than the Kansas City Chiefs.  Although we didn’t win any titles that year, Cassel did get us into the playoffs.  Not to shabby for a Backup.

But Alas, Cassel managed to injure himself, handing the game over to Tyler Palko.  


Before we get to the food (oh the delicious food!) I want to talk about something very important.  Last night’s American Music Awards.  They were awful.  It opened with rap’s #1 Hot Mess Nicki Minaj, (is it just me or does she look like Helena Bonham Carter’s long lost daugher? ) and it never improved.  Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Inglesias, Joe Jonas, Lionel Ritchie... What is it, 2005? The only amusing part to the AMA’s was  when I walked into the kitchen and looked back just in time to see Dan take a flying leap off the loveseat and over the coffee table to steal control of the remote.  Now that is a man with moves like Mick Jagger.

Back to the food.  Dan is going to tonight’s game and as much as I love food, making 8 lbs of it for myself didn’t seem like the best idea.  Instead we made it one day early and invited the Lesperances over for a little Sunday Funday action.  Erica made these incredible BBQ Chicken Tartlets.  For the recipe, hop on over to www.theimproperchef.com

Kansas City Beef Brisket

5-8 Lbs Beef Brisket, trimmed
4 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
2 teaspoons Meat Tenderizer
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Pepper
2 teaspoons Celery Salt
2 teaspoons Onion Salt
2 teaspoons Garlic Salt
2 teaspoons Nutmeg
2 teaspoons Paprika
⅓ Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire

1. Trim Meat.
2. Season meat with Liquid Smoke, Tenderizer, Salt, Pepper, Celery Salt, Onion Salt and Garlic Salt. Wrap in foil and let sit overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 275.  Season with the remaining ingredients and wrap in foil.  (Wrap well, the Brisket will dry out if there are any holes).  Bake for 5 hours.

OB Baked Beans

53 Ounces Pork and Beans (Extra Large Can) Thoroughly rinsed and drained.
6 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
⅓ Cup Light Brown Sugar
⅓ Cup Molasses
1 Onion, caramelized and diced
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Celery Salt
1 Cup Zesty BBQ Sauce
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and diced


1. Combine all in a 3 quart casserole and bake, covered, for 75 minutes on 325 OR combine in a crockpot on low for 6-8 hours.

Happy Cooking!