Saturday, October 31, 2009

America's test Kitchen Baltimore Style- Beef

Last night was beef testing night. Robby, Aveline, and I headed over to Finn and Joanne's to begin our evaluation of three local beef farms. Finn and Joanne have been buying from Roseda Beef for a while and I have always been impressed with the steaks and burgers they have made for us. This year we are planning on going in on a cow with them. After some trouble we have managed to purchase and install an extra freezer in the basement for our cow. So in the interest of fairness I decided to give 2 other local beef farms a taste off against Roseda. So I headed to the farmer's market and got ground beef from Hickory Chance Farm and from Albright Farms

First Joanne shapped and weighed the patties to make them look uniform, she then labled the plates with a letter and handed them off to Robby. Robby then changed the letters to numbers and wrote down the changes. So this way no one knew which burger came from which farm.

Finn salted perfectly and then cook the burgers outside on the grill. Now for the taste test!

The votes were split down the middle. Robby and Joanne for Hickory Chance farm and Finn and I for Albright farms. Roseda was our least favorite.

Becuase the Roseda burger was frozen for almost a year and becuase we like eating beef with Finn and Joanne we are going to give all the farms another test and buy some steaks.
Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dinner- Sausage Winter Squash Casserole

After many days of rainy cold weather and a brave trip to the farmer's market I have managed to cook and now blog! I had sausage leftover from pizza night with Finn and Joanne on Friday and in an attempt to use the sausage in a non-Italian way (mostly to make Robby happy because I could eat Italian everyday) I made this great recipe. It is from the first ever Cook Book Club book The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.

The recipe was easy to follow, a variation on their Winter Squash Casserole recipe made to be a main dish. The squash can be a little intimidating but a $1 a squash from the farmer's market it is worth the guts it takes to peel. I put it in the boiling water for about 10 mins then peeled and sliced it into the casserole. There are plenty of leftovers so we will be enjoying this next week.

3.5 pounds winter squash, such as butternut, kabocha, or acorn
1 pound hot Italian sausage
5 tbls unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 tbls extra virgin-olive oil
2 large yellow onions chopped
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2.5 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/5 cup bread crumbs. preferably homemade, toasted
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or pecans, toasted
2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a baking dish or 4-quart casserole.

Place 3 quarts water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the squash to the water, return to a boil cook for 6 mins. Drain set aside and peel and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut Sausage on a bias into 1/2 inch pieces and cook until brown in a saute pan.

Melt the butter in the stockpot and add the oil. Add the onions and saute over medium-low heat until translucent about 8 mins. Add the warm squash and buttermilk, eggs, sausage, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds, and 1 1/3 cups cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until ingredients are well combined.

Spread mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 45 mins. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds and 2/3 cup cheese over the casserole. bake for 15 more minutes, or until the pumpkin seeds turned brown and the cheese is bubbling and gently browning.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Cookbook Club Blog

Well it has finally been done, our very own Charm City Cookbook Club blogsite. My dear friends have created this wonderful site where we can all post our pictures and comments together about Cookbook Club. Check it out!