Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Yes, you need to make these. Like ... Last year!

Even here in North Carolina, it has been frigid with near-zero temps. It is ... Dark. Dank. Depressing. Everyone, it seems, has a cold or a cough (including me) and my colleagues at work.

I dream of warm, afternoon-food. Mid-day fare after a morning shift of chilly work.

So, I fixated on this recipe; or, rather, it fixated itself upon me! Such is food. Often, the table sets us... We don't set it.

I nervously assembled  a 9 x 13 pan of these little puppies to take to work at the grocery store to share with my colleagues. They were baked in the bread oven (thanks, Mary!).

Why "nervously?" I had never made them before and I researched a zillion similar recipes, each with its unique spin. After getting a sense of the original recipe, I started on my own.

Use packaged Parker House dinner rolls, usually found in most deli/bakeries. One dozen is usually made to fit into a 9 x 13 pan. I used a foil pan for easy clean up. Swiss cheese is the traditional one to use, but I'm not overly fond of it, nor are others. I went for the blend below.

These were a real hit and I will definitely be making them again!

  •    BUNS:
  • 3/4 to 1 pound thin-sliced deli ham. I used ham-off-the-bone
  • 4 oz. shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 7 - 8 oz. sliced, extra sharp, white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 12 Parker-House rolls
  •     SAUCE:
  • 1-and-one-half sticks of butter, melted (12 ounces, preferably unsalted)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (start with less and add more if needed)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons dried, minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 - 3 shakes Cayenne pepper
  • 1 good tablespoon poppy seeds (add last)

Lightly spritz foil pan with non-stick spray. Using a long serrated knife, slice each layer in half. Place bottom layers in pan. Spread with mayo. Layer half the ham over the rolls. Sprinkle with the Italian cheese mixture. Layer the white Cheddar slices over the shredded cheese and then layer that with the remaing ham. Cover with the tops of the rolls.

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the poppy seeds. Taste and re-season as necessary. When satisfied, stir in the poppy seeds. Evenly distribute the sauce mixture over the tops of the rolls, brushing a bit as necessary. 

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake, covered for ten minutes. Uncover and bake an additional ten minutes. Remove from oven and watch them disappear.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Computerless ... Kitchenless ...

After a great run of six years, it appears my iMac desktop, love of my life, has bitten the dust. It was a workhorse, for sure. Even, more accurate, a muscled-team of oxen. Of course, I am an electronic amputee without it. Fingers crossed all my important data can be retrieved from the hard drive. In the meantime, my mosquito voice to the world is only through my iPad Mini.

It will be a while before I can afford a proper "computer." Anyway, so much appreciation to those who visit and then share KB recipes with others ... Love you ALL!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chicken with Cabbage and Potatoes

Here's a one-pot peasant dish at it's finest and a good way to stretch your food budget by using lots of veggies. I used chicken legs because they are still inexpensive and hold up well to the braising. Pork "side meat" may be difficult to find. Basically, it is unsmoked bacon and not overly salty like salt pork. (I'm sure one could use bacon with no harm--it's just expensive).

This will make its own "juice" as the vegetables cook down. You are seeking a stew-like consistency. Of course, you could easily make it into a "soup" by adding some chicken stock.

For this batch, I used half red potatoes and some chunks from a sweet potato.

It's not the prettiest dish when done, but it is warm and filling. This would be nice served with a side of wide, buttered noodles.

To make it vegan, simply omit the meats and simmer for a shorter period of time.

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced (8 full ounces)
  • 4 small red potatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 small carrots, slice and diced
  • 1/2 large onion sliced and diced
  • 1, 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup pork side meat, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tabasco sauce, several shakes or to taste
  • Smoked paprika 
  • Butter

In a medium Dutch oven, mix the vegetable ingredients, thyme, caraway seed if using, and side meat together. Give a few shakes of Tabasco and smoked paprika. Salt and pepper the chicken legs. Place on top of vegetable mixture. Dot chicken legs with butter. Cover. Slowly bring up to heat and simmer 60-90 minutes until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, skin, de-bone, and add back to pot.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Shallots

Believe it or not, there was a time when a pork tenderloin was only a few dollars. Boy, do I miss those days. Today, one will pay upwards of seven to eight dollars for one!

Pork tenderloin was one of my favorite meats to prepare. Quick and easy. Lean and nutritious. A cinch to pop on the barbecue. (I've included links to my favorite recipes at the end of this post.)

When I saw some in the grocer close-dated and marked down to four bucks, I grabbed the two that were left. One I just seared and baked. But I wanted to be a bit more adventuresome with the second one.

If you don't like star anise, use a bit of Chinese Five Spice instead--maybe 1/4 teaspoon. This had lots of flavor going on. I paired it with plain white rice.

Don't let it marinate for more than two hours. I like my pork just a bit rosy in the center--about 145 F. degrees on an instant-read thermometer. 


  • 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (I only use Lee Kum Lee)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, pressed or crushed and minced very fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme flakes, lightly crushed
  • several shakes smoked paprika
  • 1/2 small star anise, slightly crumbled or 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1, 1.25 lb. pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
Mix the first eight ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste. Re-season to taste remembering most of the marinade will cook off. Place tenderloin in a plastic bag and add marinade. Massage a bit. Place in refrigerator and marinade for at least one hour and no more than two.

When ready to assemble and bake have the following prepared:

  • 4-5 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (about 4-6)
  • 1 tablespoon flour mixed with--
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2-4 tablespoons dry white wine (or stock)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (a good nob)
  • Pre-heated oven at 400 F. Degrees

Heat an an oven-safe pan (about 7-8 inches) over medium heat until hot. Add a bit of butter and olive oil. Remove tenderloin from marinade. Shake a bit but do not dry it off. Add to pan. Is fine to curl it around the pan the sides of the pan. Sear on four sides until brown. You are not cooking it, just browning the outside.

Add the dry white wine and butter to de-glaze the pan. Allow alcohol to cook off a minute or two. Add sliced mushrooms. Continue turning the pork as mushrooms cook a bit. When mushrooms begin to give off their juices, add some of the flour/stock mixture. You probably won't need all of it and will want to add more half way through the cooking process.

Transfer pan to oven. Bake for about twenty minutes, adding more stock mixture if necessary after about ten minutes or so. Roast until instant-read thermometer registers 145 F Degrees. Remove from oven. Tenderloin will continue to cook in hot pan. OR ... after removing from oven ... transfer tenderloin to serving plate/board. Tent with foil for about ten minutes before carving. Add a bit more butter/stock/wine to drippings in pan with mushrooms. Place on low heat on a burner. Stir. Combine. Taste.

Carve tenderloin into 1/4-inch slices. Place around rice. Drizzle rice with pan drippings or a bit more soy sauce. Top with mushroom mixture.

Lovingly, serves two. Piggishly, one. Frugally, three. Anorexically, four.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Garlic