Sunday, April 21, 2013

00 Gauge Goulash

Growing up slave had only heard of Goulash as Hungarian Goulash. However this simple hash of basic ingredients will become four completely different tasting meals to help you stretch the food budget without compromising the dinners you serve your Master!

1 lbs Ground Beef
1 Green pepper cut up
1 sm onion diced
1 stalk celery minced finely
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup macaroni pasta almost fully cooked
1 12 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables


cook pasta according to package directions but stop about a minute or two before it is done.
Brown the ground beef and drain. Dice green pepper, onion, celery and tomatoes then add to skillet.
Once the temperature is back up, carefully add mixed vegetables and pasta. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally just to get everything mixed, but be careful, this makes a very full skillet.

Let simmer to blend flavors for at least 5 minutes and serve as a one dish meal. Pad the meal with some bread or rolls and a salad.

Now divide the leftovers into three equal bowls and seal. After a day of something else, take out one of the bowls, dump it in the skillet with 2 cups of pizza sauce, let that simmer for 5 minutes sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and serve as an Italian casserole. Maybe add some Italian Garlic bread and a glass of wine!

Then after yet another day, take the second bowl out and make a cheese sauce, mix together in a baking dish and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Take yet another day with something else before going back to the final bowl, this time, pour in a bottle or can of beef gravy, Serve it like a Box Dinner, but add some bread sticks and some warmed fruit for dessert.

Now then you have fixed four meals out of this over seven day and each looked and tasted completely different. Don't you think Master will be impressed not only with your cooking but the care you have shown to be frugal with His money while not scrimping on great meals fit for the Master.

This is just one example of how you can put the magic of the Five Mother Sauces to work for you!


Gettin Saucy

We barely touched on sauces before. Now slave wishes to show you how these can come in handy. For Eggs A'la Goldenrod we made a white sauce with Wondra flour (it always works). However you should know how to make this with the cheaper all purpose flour.

white sauce is often called a Bechamel Sauce

Without getting too technical, the French list five sauces as the “Mother” Sauces.

Brown sauce: Think gravy, ever make that from pan drippings? We will!

Tomato sauce: We made that for the pizza.

Emulsions: Usually an egg white base. It is a way of suspending oil in a liquid. Think Mayonnaise or Hollandaise sauce.

Veloute: Some sort of white or clear stock as a base and thickened with a roux (rue)

Bechamel Sauce: This always uses milk as the base and is thickened with a roux. These are: white sauce, cream sauce, cheese sauce.

OK: What is a roux? Equal parts of flour and butter. This is cooked while stirring so that it doesn’t turn dark brown. It is then added to hot milk or other stock and boiled so that it thickens the mixture.

For some reason, slave has always had problems with a cooked roux, unless it was to make brown gravy. So that's why the use of Wondra flour is preferred. However all is not lost! A new character comes along to save the day: Beurre manie !

Beurre manie: kneaded butter (Burr mahn-YAY)

Take a stick of real butter, chop it in large pieces in a bowl. Add ½ Cup flour. Now stick your hand in there and work this all together. Unlike margarine, butter will soften by being “worked”. Keep your hand wet, this helps. Don't tell me this is the first time your hand was covered with something greasy!
Once the flour is well incorporated into the butter, roll it to the size of large marbles. Cool in the refrigerator until they are firm then transfer into freezer bag.

Now when you need a white sauce or really any kind of thickening, Heat the stock (milk) drop in a couple of these marbles and stir! You will never have to worry about floury lumps again!

Hope this was not too technical for you. Slave wanted to let you in on the secrets of these basic sauces. Armed with that you are free to create all of the wonderful meals you can think of.

So lets put some of this to work and slave shall show you how handy they are.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Power Exchange Pizza

In the last 50 years Americans have claimed the pizza as the go to party centerpiece. Once you get the basics of the crust down, just about anything goes as a topping!
Yes, you can save time and buy a store brand pre-made pre-frozen disk that contains God only knows what. But where is the “serving”: the act of loving creation that brings forth this hand wroth yeasty aroma and crisp texture, the true historical offering? No you don't have to make it a perfectly round work of art. You don't have to throw it spinning in the air (Never attempt this in a kitchen with a ceiling fan – You don't want to know what that causes)
Most importantly the process is simple! Really! Make it FUN!

1 tablespoon pure olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1½ teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour (for bread machines) separated
1 teaspoon instant yeast (package rapid rise yeast) This is sold in little envelopes in sets of three
2 teaspoons olive oil
Olive oil, for the pizza crust
Flour or Cornmeal for dusting the pizza peel (the thing that looks like a shovel for placing and removing the pizza from the oven.)

A pizza stone – They are basically cheep and indispensable! Even if all you ever bake are the cheapest frozen pizzas from the store – this will help them taste better – also it is the secret for baking pies that are done on the bottom! Just stick them in the oven before you preheat! ..I always give it an extra 15 minutes to make sure the ceramic is heated through.

Keep your counter top clean and sanitized! You need a fairly big ceramic bowl for the dough to rise in. Glass will also work but stay away from plastic and metal.

The Magic of Yeast:
Yeast is a living microscopic beastie, that you have to wake up, warm, feed and then get it to start farting. That rises the flour mixture, doubles its size and give it the elasticity for you to mold however you wish!

In a medium sized bowl, pour in 3/4 cup of warm to the touch tap water (ideally at 105 degrees F.) Not warm enough, and it doesn’t wake the yeast, too hot and it kills the yeast. Now stir in the yeast from a single envelope. You should start to see a reaction.

Notice in the ingredients, a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of oil. Always measure the oil first, leave the light coating on the spoon when you measure the honey so it will all slide out! Also any time you have to open a bottle of sticky liquid, keep a wet paper towel handy to wipe the cap and the top & threads of the bottle. You'll never have a lid stick!
Stir this and add 1 cup of the flour to the mixture. And let sit for a couple of minutes.

Put this in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low as you add the other cup of flour and the salt. This is just to thoroughly get everything mixed together maybe 1 ½ minutes.
Now change the attachment to the dough hook that you have first sprayed with cooking spray. Yes this assumes you have a civilized kitchen with one of these great mixers. If not, all it means is that your arms are going to get a good work out by kneading the dough.
With the dough hook on a speed of no more than 2 or 3, let the machine knead for about 15 or more minutes. The dough will pull away from the sides of bowl and climb the hook!

Dough is affected by the weather so no recipe will be exact. Touch it! Feel it. If it seems too wet add flour a tablespoon at a time.
If it feels too stiff, add water a TEASPOON at a time. Poke it with your finger. If any dough remains, mix it a few more minutes and try again. You are looking for the stickiness of a post-it note.
Now let the dough rest, uncovered for 5 minutes.

Pull out a small piece and push it into a disk. Press this with your thumb, then slowly stretch this sideways. If dough is ready it will allow a thin membrane to develop that you can see light through. It is called the Bakers Windowpane. Tried to get a picture of this but ran out of hands.

Sprinkle flour on the counter and your hands place the dough in the middle. Even if the machine has worked perfectly, you still want to knead it by hand. Press down with the heel of your palm and push. This literately gives you the feel of the dough. Keep doing this for maybe 4 or 5 minutes. Then form it into a smooth ball.

Now the dough gets to grow!
Place it in a lightly oiled or sprayed large bowl and turn it over so it has oil all over it. Please go lightly, you don't want it soaking in an oil bath. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. You want the dough to double in size.
Tip: mark the size with a magic marker on the out side of the plastic so it will be easy to see how it has grown.
With the oven off, place a 9 X 13 cake pan full of the hottest tap water onto the bottom rack, then the bowl on a rack right above and shut the door.
Allow just over an hour for the dough to rise. If you have plenty of time and plan ahead, this can be done overnight in the refrigerator, but who has the time or the space in there?

This is a good time to make sure your meat toppings are already cooked.

Now when ready, take off the wrap and push the dough down with your fist. This recipe will make enough for two good sized pizzas so cut it in half and cover the other with plastic warp for cooking latter in the week, it will keep that long in the refrigerator, and develop an even greater taste!

Pre-heat the oven to 425 with the pizza stone already in there.
Flour the counter and roll out the dough to the size you wish. Turn it slightly with each roil of the rolling pin. If it doesn't hold and shrinks back, just give it a few minutes to rest and try again.

Since I don't have a pizza peel, I just used a cookie sheet that had been floured. You can use cornmeal for this but it can get gritty on the bottom. Personal taste.

Note about the Toppings:
The biggest mistake amateurs make is to pile on way too much stuff. Less is more. In fact one of the most popular pizzas in Italy is the “Margherita” is uses only tomato sauce, thyme and oregano leaves and hunks of Mozzarella cheese.
I used ¼ lbs well cooked ground beef, mushrooms and cheese.

Secret to the BEST sauce:
Yes there are plenty of jars you can buy that will taste good. However when the very best is so easy to make why not?

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in puree (about 3 ½ cups)
½ medium carrot, finely grated
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, or thyme leaves either works, if using dried, limit to 1 tablespoon, but fresh is better.

In a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven with lid, saute the onion until it starts to turn transparent (a pinch of sugar helps keep the fried onion smell down). Add grated carrot.
Place a bowl in the sink for the tomatoes and liquid. With your hands squeeze each so that they are all squished together. Sounds gross but you have to trust me on this. Set aside.

Smash the cloves of garlic with side of kitchen knife, this loosens the skin so it peels easily. Cut the clove lengthwise. If you see a small line of green sprout starting to grow there, flip it out with point of knife. Garlic has less than half the liquid onions have so add these now and stir until they just start to turn a light tan, any more and the taste will be bad. Add the herbs. Pour the squished tomatoes and liquid into the onion garlic mixture and lower the heat to a slight simmer. Put on the lid and let the flavors writhe together in the darkness. Stirring occasionally and tasting.

If it tastes too sharp or vinegary add a bit more shredded carrot. Let this go on slowly until mixture is reduced by half and thickened. 30 minutes to an hour. Remove any leaves. Let cool and seal it in a jar until needed for up to a week. Trust slave with this. It makes the best sauce. You can personalize it with a touch of red pepper flakes, a touch of sugar, and of course: salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly dust the “peel” with flour, place the dough on and prick with a fork all over. Spread no more than 3 or 4 tablespoons of sauce on the dough.

Sprinkle on toppings and cover with shredded cheese. Shake it side to side lightly just to make sure it will slide off onto the pizza stone and back again. If you like, brush the outer ring with oil so that it browns nicely.
Slide it onto the stone and let cook for about 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes before cutting and serving.

Sliding the pizza onto the stone
Practice! You will be amazed at how great you feel serving this.
Experiment with using 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat. Try adding herbs to dough. Try different cheeses, try one without meat, try different meats, just remember drain them well and if you use bacon it will make more grease, so use sparingly.

With each one of these recipes you create, your confidence will grow. That will improve your performance and Master will be VERY pleased.

Forever His

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pink and juicy: Desert Dysfunction

Super Moist Strawberry Cake with Cheesecake Mousse 

It's a good healthy dessert and it's only 3 pts. (for 16 servings and 1 pt for the topping if you're on Weight Watchers!)
Serves: 16 servings
To serve place a piece of cake on a plate and top with a dollop of cheesecake mousse. Optional strawberries with sugar

  • 1 large zucchini, finely grated & squeezed dry (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (1-pound and 2.25-ounce) package strawberry cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
  • 1 (12-ounce) package soft silken tofu
  • 1 (3.9-ounce) package instant Cheesecake pudding
    • (recommended: Jell-O)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (8-ounce) package whipped topping (recommended: Cool Whip Lite)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat with cooking spray the bottom only of a 9 by 13 inch cake pan.
Set finely grated zucchini in a mesh strainer over a bowl and lightly press with a spatula to release water.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, vanilla, eggs, egg whites, nonfat yogurt, and applesauce. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Fold in drained grated zucchini until well incorporated then pour into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. 
Mousse Topping:
While cake is baking, combine tofu, pudding mix and vanilla in a bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping with electric mixer on lowest speed. Whipping will just reduce this topping so take it easy.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with strawberries and a dollop of mousse.
PS: As this makes a very moist cake, try other combinations!
Try this with Devils Food cake, substitute 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon for the Vanilla, also ½ teaspoon of instant coffee crystals. In the mousse: Use chocolate pudding mix + 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon.
Some time you might try this moose with berries and maybe some cake cut in cubes for a parfait!
Don't be afraid of trying things like zucchini in a cake or tofu. Slave had to ask where the tofu even was in the store. (produce)

Faithfully Owned By Master Indy:

Monday, April 1, 2013

French Toast

This is the way my Great-Grandmother would make French Toast for my brother and me as kids. Have never found it like this anywhere else, in any restaurant or cook book! Since it uses a batter that is very much like a crepe, I submit that this recipe has more of a valid claim to being “French” Toast than just dipping bread in a scrambled egg!

5 slices of bread
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 Eggs
½ Cup milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Heat 3-4 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium high heat.

Mix the flour and salt, then add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Whisk together just until no big lumps.

Dip first piece in batter then fry in skillet. Turn when patches of golden brown show.

Do this first one by itself!. I was amazed to find that most chefs agree the first one usually does not come out right, so it is disposable!

This recipe will make four slices. And just maybe enough to try as a crepe.

Serve buttered with syrup! My Great-Grandmother always made hers from dark brown sugar!

If your Master doesn’t care for syrup, try this adjustment to the batter: add 2 tablespoons sugar and a teaspoon of Cinnamon. 

Since my Great-grandmother never wrote a recipe down or measured things this took awhile to reverse engineer for you here. Feel free to come up with a freakish fetish name for this one and comment it back!

Grateful to be Master's property: