Monthly Archives: June 2006

broiling sausages – crispy!

Thank goodness for this blog. Even if no one else reads it, it gets me to jot down stuff that I would never remember, otherwise. Or, not be able to read my handwritten notes. I had done this before, but had forgotten to write it down and had to do the Internet search all over again.

Broiling sausages (the raw kind)

Cover the bottom of the broiler pan with water, about 2 or 2 1/2 cups for my pan. I found instructions for 5-6 inches from the flame. I think I was further than that with the pan in the lowest slot. The instructions said 10 minutes each side, but check at 7 minutes. Somewhere between 7 1/2- 8 minutes worked for the chicken sausages I just broiled. If you do it, watch closely the first time and then write down what works for you. Actually, these chicken sausages were a bit less in diameter than standard sausages I get from Farmland or from Shaws, so 10 minutes might be okay for them.

With the water in the bottom of the pan, you get pretty close to the crispness you get if you cook them on the grill.

I was actually planning to roast a chicken tonight, but I forgot to brine it earlier! Tomorrow again. 🙂

1st roast beef I’ve cooked since I was a teen

The last time I made a roast beef dinner was when I was in my teens – and it came out great. But, I never got around to trying it again until now. Just not sure of what cut to use – or didn’t want to buy an expensive cut and risk messing it up, etc. And, I hadn’t even considered it over the years until I got married about three years ago and started really learning about cooking meat.

BUT – I had a chance encounter at Shaw’s while shopping the other day that got me to buy a roast. There was another woman looking over the roast cuts and we got into conversation, both noting the neither of us were sure of the best cut for a roast beef, at least for a smaller dinner crowd. Then, one of the butchers showed up and we asked him. Turns out semi-boneless rib roast was on sale and, while only steak cuts were out, he told us that another butcher was cutting some roast cuts. 4.49/lb versus 8.49 or so per pound, regular price. I wandered away and when I came back there was a 2.30 lb cut there and the butcher (same one still there) said it would be perfect for two and some leftovers. I grabbed it. WELL, it was a great cut at a great deal.

It looked like a REALLY thick steak cut – wider than high, but too thick to think about grilling or broiling. I checked around for roast cooking instructions and decided to go with 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then using 13-15/lb at 325 for the rest of the time.

I also made a rub of minced garlic, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and crushed dried rosemary and let the roast sit at room temperature for about and hour and a half with the rub on it before putting it in the oven. Then, after the first 20 minutes of the high temperature, I added quartered red potatoes and some chunks of onion that had been tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper – but I could have added them at the beginning, since I had to cook them further after the roast was done.

I checked the roast after another 20 minutes at 325 and the instant read thermometers (I have an analog and a digital and don’t trust either of them!) were reading lower than 100, so I let it go another 15 minutes or so after that. My instant read thermometer was then reading pretty high – in the 140s or more, but the juices were still red and, after slicing in to check, I deemed it done. And, it was great. A nice pink in the middle, tender, etc. And, given that it was not very thick, the pink middle was actually most of the meat. But the outside was nicely browned.

After the meat was done, I put it on a board covered with foil to rest and put the taters and onions back in the oven. I also added sliced fresh mushrooms and covered the pan with foil and turned up the heat back to 400. After 20 minutes, they were all cooked, but I drained the juices into a sauce pan so they could dry roast for another 20 minutes. I drained the meat juices from the cutting board into the saucepan, too. That made a nice light sauce for the meat and potato, onions, and mushrooms when I served. I steamed some asparagus at the end, and it was a lovely meal. Easy prep, good price since the roast was on sale (reminder to self – go get another roast or two to freeze while it is still on sale!) and easy clean-up, since there was only the roast pan and two easy-clean saucepans for the asparagus and the sauce.

So, next I will try some other cuts for roast beef – more economical when at regular price, and see how that goes. I wonder what cut my Mom always used….I know it had to be an economical one! But hers always came out great. Have to check out her recipe box…

whoever thought meatloaf could be this good?

Well…. between a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, a tip my husband learned from his Dad, and one of those meatloaf pans with an insert so the fat drains out that my friend Lori gave me, a last-minute decision to make meatloaf for the first time in over 10 years turned out a culinary delight! As in YUM!

My guess is that the recipe was not all that different from your average meatloaf recipe. It did call for “meatloaf mix” or 1 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb each of ground pork and ground veal, but a lot of recipes call for that. I grew up with all beef meatloaf. I loved my Mom’s meatloaf. She kept it moist by poking a number of holes in it and pouring milk over it just before baking. But, Steve told me I should use 1/3 ground pork to 2/3 ground beef and boy, did that make a difference! Cheaper than the three-meat mix but mighty tasty. The good folks at Farmland in Wakefield ground/mixed the pork and beef for me right on the spot, for 2.79/lb.

Steve is allergic to eggs, so I used the blender to mush up flax seeds with water (about 1:3 or so flax seed to warm water and then some more water so it would pour out of the blender) to replace the eggs, and I also added about 1/2 cup grated carrots. Sauted onion and garlic, added 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup yogurt, and Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, thyme, salt and pepper…and fresh parsley leaves (1/3 cup)

350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours…it was really good! I served it with swiss chard and corn on the cob. I was going make mashed potatoes but figured the corn was starch enough – and was way easier to prepare since, once the meatloaf was in the oven, I wanted to do other things.

Anyway – it’s a keeper for this household. Economical, easy, oatmeal and carrots for fiber, etc., and lots of fat drains out in that handy meatloaf pan with the insert – and it was still really moist. I love it when a whim turns into a great meal!