3.31.2012

Breakfast Sandwich

Mmmm, breakfast.

I surprised HH with something a little different from the Diner the other day, this breakfast sandwich which was just scrumptious.

There are just so many good elements to this breakfast sandwich and when you put them all together, its mm, mm breakfast. Hey! Maybe that’s what I should call it, the Mm Mm Breakfast Sandwich!

The next time you are at the Diner for breakfast you have a few things to choose from:

Mm Mm Breakfast Sandwich
The Queen’s Eggs
Beer Pancakes
HH’s Breakfast Potatoes and Man Food (two eggs over medium with bacon)

Wow! The menu is growing.

3.29.2012

Pop Pulled Pork - Part Two

That delicious Pop Pulled Pork recipe that I made a month or so ago in the oven, I wanted to try in the crock pot. The recipe calls for at least six hours of cook time, so I did six and a half hours in the crock pot and it looked like this.



It wasn’t browned, it wasn’t pulling apart, it just wasn’t right. So I heated up the oven to 350˚, cooked it for another hour and a half and it looked like this.


Okay, that’s what I’m talking about!

Here’s what HH had for dinner at the Diner.


Here’s what I had for dinner at the Diner.


Literally, that’s what we had for dinner. I was so catch up in getting the pulled pork right on a rainy, wintery March day that I forgot about anything else! Luckily there was some apple sauce and some good crusty bread to balance out the meal- at least a little.

3.27.2012

Shephard's Pie

With St. Patrick’s Day this month, I wanted to serve something special at the Diner. Corned Beef and Cabbage was out. Green beer and green bagels didn’t sound very appetizing. And although Green Eggs and ham was on the breakfast menu (scrambled eggs with spinach and thinly sliced ham), I needed to find something for dinner.

This year, Shephard’s Pie was the way to go - lots of potatoes, some sautéed root vegetables and, in this case, ground beef in thickened sauce-like gravy. Although it wasn’t that spectacular, it wasn’t too bad. I don’t think this will become a staple on the St. Patrick’s menu at the Diner, so the search is on for something else next year.












Shepherd's Pie
Recipe courtesy Melissa d'Arabian, Food Network
Ingredients

Garlicky Potato Topping:
• 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
• 10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup beef broth
• 4 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Nonstick cooking spray
Filling:
• 4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 to 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped, (about 1 cup)
• 3/4 cups frozen peas, thawed
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 (12-ounce) bottle light or dark beer
• 1/2 cup beef broth
• 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions
Prepare potato topping: In a large saucepan add the potatoes and garlic and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a large bowl. Add the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the broth, butter, salt and pepper, and beat on low speed with a hand mixer until the potatoes are light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup broth. Do not overmix. Cover and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch round baking dish with nonstick spray.
Prepare filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and almost crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate; set aside.
Add the oil to the drippings in the skillet and put over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat, until the beef begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots, peas, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring, until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the beer, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes Add the cooked bacon, the broth, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread the potato topping evenly over the beef mixture. Bake until the filling is hot, the topping is lightly browned and the edges are bubbly, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

3.25.2012

Catching Up and Scott's Sauce

Before I tell you about Scott’s Sauce, let me say that March has been a very busy month. Very busy.

I was off in Imperial County thinking I was going to have delicious Mexican food for about five days in a row. In anticipation of that I made sure the week before I was eating well with “The Queen’s Eggs” as it is called at the temporary Diner. The Queen’s Eggs consisted of scrambled eggs with sautéed fresh spinach, thinly sliced ham and sharp cheddar cheese added in. Then when the eggs are plated, some fresh ground pepper, fresh (although not homemade) mild salsa and half a sliced avocado are placed on top. Lunch consisted of a turkey and provolone sandwich with fresh spinach, not-quite-in-season tomatoes and the other half of that avocado.

So with all the good, healthy eating underway, the Mexican food fest was to begin! But due to weather and stuff and stuff and more stuff, alas, only two days of delicious Mexican food occurred, both at the same place. There was no Mexican food tour as was highly anticipated, and only one special quesadilla was gobbled up.

Anyway, back to Scott’s Sauce – while in Imperial, I run into Scott, the creator of Mama’s Smokin’ Sauce. This year he snuck me a small jar from his stash since he had not stocked up before his below sea level trip south, and he gave me something new –Grandpa’s Honey Spice BBQ & Dippin’ Sauce.

I know how wonderful Mama’s Smokin’ Sauce is, although I need to get some really good chips to indulge – perhaps a trip to El Indio is in order. Then there’s Grandpa’s Honey Spice BBQ & Dippin’ Sauce, the new sauce on the block. This one’s a little sweet, a little mustardy, and a little tangy. Pretzels dipped in this would be wonderful. Or perhaps some chicken “fingers” marinated in the sauce with some sweet potato tots, mmm I can’t wait! Get ready HH!

Thank you Scott, you should be selling this stuff! Maybe you just need the right outlet, like a Sauce Festival or something. Oh, what a coincidence! Holly’s Diner is looking into developing a Sauce Festival; we’ll have to send you an invitation. But for now, it’s still on the back burner…

3.01.2012

"Hamburger"

How good does this look?!

This is Melanie’s “hamburger” made with vanilla wafers, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie, shredded coconut and some frosting.

It IS delicious, but not in the way it initially looks (savory) but in a surprising way (sweet)!