Nov 19, 2011

Flat Iron Steak and Sweet Potato Fries

For dinner tonight, I had steak and sweet potato fries. A rare treat, but yum! As an accompaniment, I purchased frozen sweet potato fries (Alexia is the brand) from Costco and whipped up a little fry sauce (see recipe below) to go with it. Add a small tossed salad (which I didn't ;-) ), and you are set!

2 flat iron steaks (the recipe I have called for flank steak, which I'm sure would be good, but the butcher recommended flat iron steak, which he said was less expensive and more tender)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Lay steak in a glass casserole dish and poke the meat all over with a fork. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the steak, cover, and marinate for several hours or overnight. Remove the steak from the marinade and broil or grill 4 to 5 minutes per side (meat should be slightly pink in the middle). Let the meat rest and then slice on the diagonal. Note: The original recipe I have says that you can heat the leftover marinade in the microwave until boiling and pour over the cooked meat, but I didn't do that this time.

To make fry sauce, which is practically a staple in Utah, mix about 2/3 cup mayonnaise with 1/3 cup ketchup and blend well. I also added a teaspoon of barbecue sauce and some garlic salt. People sometimes add a bit of mustard or dill pickle juice to the mixture. Experiment and find what you like best.

Nov 13, 2011

Sweet and Sour Mustard Sauce

This creamy sauce is a delicious accompaniment with ham. It makes ham just a little more fancy. The recipe comes from a former neighbor, Becky Ririe.

2 cups whipping cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
4 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 cup vinegar

Blend the cream and egg yolks together and set aside. Combine sugar, flour, and dry mustard in the top portion of a double boiler over boiling water. Gradually add the cream mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Gradually stir in the vinegar. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Nov 10, 2011

Pumpkin Bars

This is one of my mom's favorite bar cookies, and mine too. These are so easy to whip up, and they freeze well.

4 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 small can (about 15 ounces) pumpkin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
Whole pecans (optional)

With an electric mixer, blend the eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin; set aside. Stir together the dry ingredients and then combine with the pumpkin mixture and beat until blended. Pour mixture into a greased and flour-dusted 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan, or divide between two 9-inch square baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees until edges begin to pull away from sides and center springs back when lightly touched, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Frost with a double batch of Penuche Frosting. Vanilla cream cheese frosting also works great. Adorn with a whole pecan on each square. Makes 75 to 80 1-inch squares.

Nov 6, 2011

Apple Crisp

I'm going to interrupt Pumpkinpalooza briefly for an apple crisp recipe. This was served at a recent dinner with family and friends. What I find interesting about it is that it includes graham crackers. But most importantly, this apple crisp is delicious comfort food. This recipe comes from my sister Emily.

4-6 large apples
16 graham cracker squares (2 1/2-inch squares)
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter, melted

Prepare topping first. Finely chop graham crackers with food processor (I just put them in a Ziploc bag and rolled with a rolling pin). Combine crumbs, sugar, oats, flour, and spices. Add butter and mix well. Peel, core, and slice apples. Prepare enough apples to fill a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish 3/4 full. Spoon topping mixture over apple slices. Microwave on high for 12-15 minutes, or until apples are tender; turn dish after 6 minutes. (I wanted the topping somewhat crisp and my dish didn't fit in my microwave so I baked the crisp in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the apples were tender). Cool slightly. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Nov 1, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Wow! I'm in pumpkin heaven! Although I just tried this recipe for the first time tonight, these are some of the best muffins I've ever made! Warm and delicate muffins, just out of the oven, with a deliciously sweet cream cheese filling. So good! Two thumbs way up for this recipe even though it takes a little more work than normal.

This recipe, which my friend Angie led me to, comes from a blog called Annie's Eats. I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter except when it came to the topping. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with Annie's topping, and I'll probably give it a try next time, but I decided to do a little experimenting. For half of the muffins, I thought that I'd go "topless" and sprinkle nothing at all on them. They are already plenty sweet and plenty rich. For the other dozen muffins, I did more of a brown sugar streusel topping. I mixed together about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a few tablespoons flour (no butter). I also scattered some chopped pecans across the top. Anyway, BOTH options are wonderful, but I think I have a slight preference for the brown sugar topping.

Anyway, give these a try. You won't be sorry.

Makes 24 muffins

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)