Thursday, April 28, 2016

Marinated Sirloin Tip Roast

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Did you know? 
Sirloin Tip Roasts come from the round is a kind term for the rear end of the carcass. Those muscles are well exercised, so round cuts tends to be a bit tougher and leaner than cuts from the loin. Round cuts do well if they're cooked with moist heat, and many of them can also be roasted, as long as they're not overcooked.  A Sirloin Tip Roast makes a delicious roast if cooked properly. It's a lean cut of beef making it suitable for roasts, beef kabobs, sliced thin for roast beef sandwiches and more.


Oh my goodness ...  AH MAZ ING!!! It was juicy, tender, succulent, and everything you'd want in a good beef roast. The best beef is raised on pasture, antibiotic and hormone-free on small local farms where humane husbandry and respect of the animal its whole life is first and foremost. It beats any other beef I've ever had for flavor and taste. And there was little to no shrinkage when cooked, which is even better. This delicious roast is from my friends at Seldom Rest Farm in Kershaw, South Carolina. You can read all about my trip to their farm here.



Recipe
Ingredients
1 - 2 or 3 lb. Sirloin Tip Roast
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 tbls. prepared mustard
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/2 tbls. course-ground pepper

Method
Mix all ingredients in a large gallon zip-top bag; add roast, seal bag, and let marinade overnight or at least 23 hours in the refrigerator. Remove 1 hour before cooking and let come to room temperature,

Preheat oven too 500.  Spray a small roasting pan with cooking spray, or line it with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray (makes clean up a breeze).

Remove roast from marinade and roast in 500 oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 325 and continue to roast an additional 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 130-135 for medium-rare. (cooking times vary; check temp of roast after 20 minutes - remember it will cook longer while it's resting).

Remove roast from oven, cover with foil and let sit 15-20 minutes before carving to give the juices a chance to redistribute.  Slice thin and serve in sandwiches or with au jus from the pan along with your choice of side dishes.



Enjoy,
Mary

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Beef Short Ribs

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Wanting to create something different than your usual beef short ribs, my husband and I decided to slow cook them on the grill. He does this by seasoning them and wrapping them in several pieces of foil, well sprayed with cooking spray. After about 2 1/2-3 hours over low heat, they are finished by opening the foil pack and drizzling with raw local honey. Mmmm mmmmm good, falling off the bone tender and delicious!


Did you know?
Short ribs are a cut of beef taken from the brisket, chuck, plate, or rib areas of beef cattle. They consist of a short portion of the rib bone, which is overlain by meat which varies in thickness. There are two major types of cuts: The "flanken," which is cut across the bone and leaves the bone just 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) in length, and the "English," which is cut parallel to the bone and leaves the bone up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length. English cut short ribs may be served individually, or three or four may served connected to one another (a style known as the "plate"). Short ribs are popular in many international cuisines.  Short ribs generally require long periods of cooking in order to break down the connective tissues in the meat and make the meat tender. Methods of preparation include braising, stewing, and sous-vide. Short ribs may also be barbecued, a popular method that subjects the beef to high heat in a relatively short period of time.



Ingredients
1 package grass-fed beef short ribs (we used ribs from our friends at Solo Verdi)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1-2 tsp. dried minced onion
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. or less garlic sea salt
Course-ground black pepper
Pecan oil or olive oil
Raw local honey for drizzling at the end of cooking time

Method
Combine all spices in a small boil and stir in just enough oil to make a paste. Liberally apply the paste to the top of each short rib section.

Seal ribs tightly in aluminum foil and grill over low-off-low heat 2 1/2-3 hours (cooking time may vary; you want them to be falling-off-the-bone tender).

Open foil and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes. Ribs are done when bone slips easily away from the meat. Drizzle honey over ribs during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.

Remove from grill and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

To serve cut rib rack into sections of 2 ribs each if rack is not pre-cut.


Enjoy,
Mary

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Spicy Mexican Rice

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Spicy Mexican Rice doesn't call for a lot of ingredients, and it's delicious as a side dish with most any meal. I used fresh tomato sauce I had previously "put up" over the summer, some pickled jalapeno peppers, chili powder, black pepper and ground cumin to make this easy dish. This rice would be great served with some Spicy Chicken Enchilada Casserole.



Recipe
Ingredients
1 cup long grain rice
1 - 16 oz. jar tomato sauce
1 tbls. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1 tbls. pickled jalapeno pepper slices (or less according to taste)
1/2 cup water
2 tbls, butter

Method
Place rice, tomato sauce and all other ingredients in a rice steamer or large sauce pan. Cook according to rice steamer directions, or bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is evaporated.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Caramel Apple Oat Muffins

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Power packed muffins made with rolled oats, caramel apple jam and chopped pecans. Baked muffins are dipped in melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for a delicious breakfast treat, or snack. Perfect little "on the go" breakfast, pack in lunches, or take on a picnic. They also freeze GREAT so make up a double batch and freeze some for another time.



Recipe
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened + more for melting and dipping tops of muffins in
1/2 cup caramel apple jam (or your favorite apple jam)
Cinnamon Sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl combine first 7 ingredients; stirring to combine.  Make a well in the center and add egg, milk and softened butter, stir just till moist, don't over stir. Stir in jam and pecans. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (baking time varies depending on the type of oven you are using, so check muffins after 20 minutes, and continue baking if necessary). Remove muffins from oven, tip tops in melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over top.

Yield: 12 large muffins (I used an 8 section muffin pan for slightly larger muffins than the standard 12 section muffin pan)


Enjoy,
Mary

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring Farm Outing to the Kershaw County Farmers Market and Goat Daddy's

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Finally it was Spring in South Carolina and we were headed out to the opening day of the Kershaw County Farmers Market. We also had lunch planned at Frenchy's Authentic Cajun Cuisine, and a tour scheduled at Goat Daddy's so we had a busy day ahead.


We planned to meet at the market at 10 a.m., then shop and visit with some of our favorite vendors. Wow, what an opening day it was. Lots of vendors, some old and many new, and a lot of people turned out to make it one of the best opening days ever.


We wandered around, stopped and looked at all the goodies offered, then went around again making our selections from one vendor or another. There were some great pickling cucumbers and local asparagus at one vendor, heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms at another and so much more. You could literally buy chicken, eggs, pork, lamb, beef, milk, cheese, butter, fresh local seafood, veggies, jams and jellies, herbs, raw local honey, plants, soaps, herbal oils, baked goods and so much more. Who needs a grocery store when you have all this? It was awesome!


After about an hour or so or wandering around the market and shopping, we got all our purchases in our coolers and headed over for our lunch stop.

Frenchy's Authentic Cajun Cuisine is fairly new restaurant located in downtown Camden, South Carolina and family owned and operated by Doug Hebert and his wife, Dee Dee. Doug is Cajun and brought a wealth of his families tried and true recipes to the restaurant. Of course, owning a restaurant must be in his blood as his late father, Robert "Frenchy" Hebert and mother, Freida, owned and operated La Petite Louisiane in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Crawfish Etouffee

We arrived just before their opening time of 11 a.m., but the door was quickly opened and we were welcomed and seated immediately. Our server quickly came over and took our drink orders, while we all perused the menu. While it is not extensive, it does have great variety with a little something for everyone. First up was an appetizer order of Boudin Balls with Remoulade sauce. I had never tried them before, but oh, they are delicious.

Shrimp Creole
Guided by one of our group who's husband is from the Cajun region of Louisiana and Texas, we all ordered our meals and enjoyed the appetizer while we waited to dig in. There was Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and oh my goodness, Beignets baked fresh and served warm.
Beignets
It was fun talking with Doug while we were there and I asked him the age old question, what makes the best gumbo? His answer was the roux! "Without the roux you make from scratch, and cook slowly all day until it develops into a deep, rich brown color, you got nothing," he said. We also listened to some of his families history stories and the passion this recently retired Air Force veteran has with Cajun cuisine. It was also particularly nice to hear he sources all his fresh produce locally; now that made me smile.

Before we knew it, time had flown by and it was time to leave and head out to Goat Daddy's, our farm tour of the day. So excited to see this new farm start-up and see how they're progressing and hear their vision for the future of the farm. We all got back in our cars and played "follow the leader" travelling down the highway, and off on some twisty roads until we arrived at our destination, where our host for the day was waiting to open the gate and begin our tour.


Goat Daddy's Farm is located in Elgin, South Carolina on 25 wooded acres where they raise Heritage breed Australorp and Serama Chickens, Bourbon Red Turkeys and Guineas, in addition to their namesake Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Immediately upon arriving and parking we were impressed. There was a horse just grazing loose around the yard, various chickens running about, along with a tom turkey and his hens.



We met owner Josh Slade, and after introductions all around, he began telling us about the farm. Our first stop was to see 2 giant Emu's and a couple of small ponies hanging out in a large fenced area. Apparently Emu's make great farm guards and can kill a coyote. Who knew? I didn't. Off in the distance in the nearby woods you could see guinea hens running around having fun, and just around the corner were more turkeys, chickens and a couple pot bellied pigs (who are pets). The farm also manages a parrot rescue where they had a variety of birds inside an enclosed outdoor aviary. So cool!


As Josh continued the tour, a couple things became very apparent; there was literally no "farm smell" whatsoever, and all the animals were residing harmoniously with each other. Their philosophy is to allow all the animals the freedom and space they need to thrive, and thrive they do. It was almost tranquil, it was so quiet just watching contented animals go about their daily routine. Chickens allowed to run around, eat bugs and scratch in the dirt, goats tromping in the woods, peacocks showing off their fan for us, or turkeys just walking around the yard. This is exactly the type of farm we love and embrace; a small South Carolina farm practicing sustainable agriculture and doing it with the utmost respect for the animals they raise.


Future goals and expansions include a Grade A Goat Dairy operation, a DHEC certified kitchen, and converting an existing heated and air conditioned building into a farm store with outdoor patio, hosting brunches and farm to table dinners.

We had the most amazing time visiting Goat Daddy's and seeing all their animals. Before we knew it, the time was coming for us to leave. Josh had put aside one of their processed chickens for me to take home, along with some fresh herbs, a huge sweet potato, and exceptional asparagus all grown on the farm. There were also eggs to buy and a variety of goat soaps. After making our purchases, and thanking Josh for his time, we were ready to head home.


It was a great day shopping local, eating local and exploring a South Carolina family farm. What they do, and the products they produce, is nothing short of awesome. I look forward to the progress at Goat Daddy's Farm and can't wait to visit again.

When I got home, and put things away, I decided to make a simple Spring Pasta Primavera with the fresh asparagus I got from Goat Daddy's and some sugar snap snow peas from our garden. Doesn't it look delicious?


See RECIPE here.

Check out Goat Daddy's Facebook page: Goat Daddy's
144 Tomahawk Trail, Elgin, South Carolina

Until next time,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Pasta Primavera

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Shopping at my local farmers market or farms makes me very happy. It's easy to buy delicious fresh, seasonal produce that has such a superior taste when it didn't have to travel thousands of miles to get to me. I especially love early Spring here in South Carolina and the arrival of my all-time favorites, asparagus and sugar snap snow peas. They are so versatile and there are things you can cook with them from stir fry's to frittatas, quiches and more.


This Spring Pasta Primavera takes advantage of the delightful taste of fresh asparagus and sugar snap snow peas encompassed in a creamy, cheese sauce tossed with pasta. It's great for a meatless meal on it's own, or pair it with some of your favorite grilled meats. Yummm!



Ingredients
2 cups bow tie or farfalle pasta
2 tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
Small handful of local, fresh asparagus
Small handful of local, fresh sugar snap snow peas
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, shredded + more for topping on pasta
1/3 cup cream or full fat milk
1 tbls. minced Italian parsley
salt and pepper

Method
In a large pot, add enough salt so that the water tastes salty. Bring the water to a boil.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions until just al dente.

When your pasta is about 5 minutes from being done, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot.
Add the asparagus and snap peas and sauté until bright green, but still crisp. Add the minced garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta. Add the cheese and cream or milk to the vegetables and then add the drained pasta and parsley. Toss to coat and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3-4 servings



Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Grilled Parmesan Potato Wedges

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Nothing could be easier than these Grilled Parmesan Potato Wedges. They make the perfect side dish to any grilled meats and are so simple to prepare!

Recipe
Ingredients
3-4 medium red or Yukon gold potatoes
2 tbls olive oil
1 tsp parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Peel potatoes if desired and cut into wedges. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, parsley leaves, salt and pepper.

Place potatoes in a grill pan sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grill over medium indirect heat approx. 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked and browned, stirring often. Sprinkle with more cheese just before serving.



Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

BEST Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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I've been on the quest for a good yellow cake for a long time. Oh yes, there are tons of recipes out there, but I wanted one with good taste and texture, light and moist, tender and delicious. It's not as easy as it seems. Other cakes get their flavor from different ingredients, such as spices, applesauce, carrots, chocolate and more, but yellow cake has to hold its own relying on achieving great taste with just butter, eggs and vanilla.



This quest was not as easy as you would think. How many eggs, what type of flour, was the vanilla extract used important. What would make it  "pop" on its own merit? Several of the things I found out along the way:

Don't cheat on ingredients!

  • Use organic unsalted butter (preferably from a local dairy)
  • Use farm fresh eggs from a local farm where the chickens are allowed to eat grasses and scratch in the dirt ... why, because the yolks are rich and creamy and a deep yellow/orange
  • Buy the best vanilla extract you can afford
  • Use full fat whole milk (no sense in cheating on fat now)



Recipe
Ingredients
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the pan
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbls. vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Method

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans or one 13 x 9-inch pan (or spray with baking spray).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer, mix the butter and granulated sugar on high speed until fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk in 3 batches, mixing for a few seconds after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix 1 final time.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake until done (a wooden skewer inserted in the cake should come out completely clean), 28 to 30 minutes, or 40 minutes for 13 x 9-inch pan.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

For the chocolate buttercream frosting: 
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Using a mixer, cream butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting. (double for layer cake)

(original recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Blueberry Ricotta Cake

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I found myself with some leftover ricotta cheese recently and wanted to find a good way to use it up. Do you ever do that? Buy something for one use and find you have more than enough of it for something else? Happens to me all the time! I mean it's not like you can buy ricotta in a small container, even when you only need 1/2 cup, but I don't want to waste what's leftover either.


Not looking to repeat an Italian dish again, I wanted something sweet. I've made Mini-Ricotta Cheesecakes before and they are delicious, but I wasn't after that this time. I wanted blueberries and something, but what? And then I remembered a cake I'd seen awhile ago with a cake layer, fruit layer and ricotta cheese topping layer. Yep, that one sounded perfect so I set out to make it. Glad I did, it's delicious! (original recipe from King Arthur Flour).


Recipe
Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Topping
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Method
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 9 x 2-inch springform pan.

For the batter: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, shortening, egg and vanilla, beating till smooth. Spoon the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the blueberries over the batter.

For the topping: In a small bowl, beat the eggs till frothy, then beat in the cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread this mixture evenly over the blueberries.

Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until it's golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool to lukewarm before serving.

**Optional - mix a few blueberries with 2 tbls of sugar and 1 tsp orange zest. Serve cake slices with berries and sugar/orange zest sprinkled on top.

Yield: 12 servings

















Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content