September 20 – September 26, 2021
Monday: Leftover Ribs and Beans with Warm Leek and Tomato Salad with Poppy Seeds
Tuesday: Corn and Sausage Pasta
Wednesday: Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
Thursday: Leftover Soup and Salad
Friday: Crispy Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Salad
Saturday: Pizza, Salad
Sunday: Flank Steak with Corn and Bacon Salad
We’re a bit late with this week’s blog because on Thursday, our regular posting day, we spent the morning and early afternoon celebrating the life of HH, grandfather to many of our nieces and nephews, husband of a great lady who created the Roman Catholic version of a coming out party in Pittsburgh, father of three of our best friends and relations, and one of the great businessmen of our city (his company is now spread across the Midwest and Atlantic states).
In spite of his success and wealth, HH was a man of simple tastes and would as readily discuss his recipe for white chili as business or the economy. His taste in food reminds me of my Dad, who, in his final years, would ask me if I could pick up some baloney and bread on my next trip to the market. That whole generation, born in the first few decades of the last century, fought in WWII and never heard of arugula or knew how to pronounce shallots.
Among HH’s particular favorites were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, saltines topped with American cheese and tuna or ham salad, and that white chili I mentioned above. It really was excellent and I remember, when I first got interested in cooking, speaking to someone who thought that we ought to mass produce and market it.
HH passed away in his one hundred and first year after a life well and joyfully lived. I wish you could have heard the remarkable eulogies of his grandchildren and our friend, Father Drew. By way of paltry compensation, here are two recipes that you might like. (And don’t be afraid of peanut butter and jelly or those cracker appetizers that HH loved.)
One more thing, before the recipes. A friend of ours recently mentioned that the blog has been irregular over the last few months. It struck us that, as with sleep and Latin verbs, irregular is not a praiseworthy adjective. So, nostra culpa – we shall try to do better in the future.
And you may remember that we promised last week to give you a recipe for the food that most appealed in last week’s roster of menus, based on your feedback. That food (drum roll, please) was creamy eggs with mushrooms and shrimp. But there was also a request from ‘older Bill’ for the crispy Compté Burger recipe. And since older Bill is really getting up there in years, we hate to do anything to upset his already fragile existence. So, you’ll get a two-fer below.
The eggs are really one of the most comforting dishes I’ve have in a long time, and the burger is full-out umami and cholesterol – a spectacular occasional indulgence (don’t forget to wipe your chin). The burger recipe is offered first so that Older Bill doesn’t fall asleep in his Lay-Z-Boy before he scrolls down to it.
CRISPY COMTÉ FRICO CHEESEBURGERS
(adapted from Food & Wine, September, 2021)
The basic idea here is to bond the hamburger buns with a good melting cheese. If you can get a French Comté, good for you. In Pittsburgh, Gruyère is widely available and a great substitute.
Timing: 50 minutes
Ingredients: Serves 4
8 oz. Comté or Gruyère Cheese, shredded (2 cups)
4 brioche buns, split (regular buns will work)
1 ½lbs. ground chuck
Large red onion, thinly sliced
Butter Lettuce leaves
2 ½ tablespoons canola oil (you’ll be using 1 ½ for the onions and 1 for the burgers)
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons kosher salt (you’ll use ½ for the onions and 1 ½ for the hamburger patties)
1 ¼ teaspoon black pepper (you’ll use ¼ for the onions and the rest for the patties)
Shred Cheese – Preheat over to 425 F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange eight ¼ cup mounds of shredded cheese, about three inches apart – you can do this in two batches, if you haven’t got a large enough sheet pan.
Flatten the mounds into 3-inch circles.
Put the sheet pan into a 425F oven and bake the cheese until edges look dry and lacy – about 7 minutes.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and quickly place split buns, cut sides down on top and press down on the cheese. Let the buns and cheese stand for 5 minutes and then slide the parchment with the buns off the sheet and set aside until ready to serve.
While the cheese is baking:
Shape the beef into four 4-inch wide patties, making an indentation in the center of each with your thumb. Set aside.
(Now you’re going to caramelize the onions – use your own method or the one below.)
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in a large cast-iron skillet (we used a non-stick black steel) and heat over medium high. When hot add the onion and ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and cook, stirring frequently until slightly softened and browned at the edges. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned at the edges – maybe 7 more minutes. Now add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed – 1 minute or so. Transfer onions to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.
Season the patties with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium high- and then, working in batches if your skillet isn’t large enough, cook the patties – about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and let rest.
Remove buns with their crispy cheese from parchment paper (use a spatula if necessary) and spread a tablespoon of mayonnaise over the cheese on the bottom half. (If you have a Beez in the family, use ketchup – although it will mask the nutty taste of the cheese.) Top with a patty and ¼ cup of the onions and then lettuce. Put top of bun over the whole shebang and enjoy.
Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms and Shrimp
(adapted from WSJ – Sat/Sun issue from some time in Sept, 2021)
(Alas, no pictures of this one)
This is a perfect meal for one of the first chilly nights of autumn. It is massively flavorful, i.e., not ideal if you’re trying to cut portion size.
20 minutes, if you’ve prepped everything and grill or toast the bread while you’re cooking the eggs.
14 ounces wild mushrooms or baby bellas torn into bite-size pieces
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons crème fraiche (you can use softened cream cheese as a last-resort substitute)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
For serving: 4 slices grilled or toasted read
Thaw shrimp, peel and devein if necessary
Measure out crème fraiche, olive oil.
Get four slices of bread.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium non-stick pan. If you only have a large non-stick, like us, use 11 or 12 eggs.
Heat over medium-high and, when hot, add mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned in spots, maybe 4 minutes, although we cook a little longer since we like a bit of crisp in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook 1 more minute, then transfer to a plate.
Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and, when hot, add the shrimp and season with salt. Sauté until just pink – 2 minutes. (You’ll be cooking them some more in the egg mixture.) Transfer shrimp to a plate, but leave the drippings in the pan.
Grill or toast the bread now.
Swirl remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the drippings and pour in the eggs. Stir in about ¾ of the sautéed mushrooms and 3/4 of the shrimp. Continue stirring to form plump curds. Now stir in the crème fraiche and when the eggs appear about half cooked turn off the heat.
Keep stirring until eggs are mostly set.
Season the eggs with salt and scatter the remaining mushrooms and shrimp over the top. Enjoy.
Serve immediately with grilled bread.
How To Make
1Melt butter on stove. Add flour and make a roux. Add the chicken stock and bouillon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add spices and cook until thickened.