Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mere's Homemade Ranch

Mere's Homemade Ranch

1C Mayonnaise*
1C Buttermilk
1/2 t black pepper (freshly ground is best)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1t fresh thyme leaves
1T finely chopped parsley

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl or large measuring cup and whisk until smooth.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use, up to a couple of weeks.

* You have to use actual, full fat mayo.  I prefer Hellman's or Duke's.  If you MUST go low fat, you can substitute half or all of the mayo for full fat Greek yogurt BUT the flavor and texture will not be 'ranchy.'  

The Chicken Pie pictured above is adapted from Jamie Oliver's Spring Chicken Pie with a couple of changes:
  1. I used small Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed.
  2. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in, skin-on. 
  3. I substituted lemon thyme for the tarragon.
  4. I substituted chopped baby spinach for the watercress.
  5. I forgot to add the mustard...Sophie and Mike loved this without it though. (Sophie loved it so much, she had leftovers for breakfast this morning.)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tri-Tip Roast

Tri-Tip Roast with Mushroom Sauce

For the meat:
1 2-3 lb. Tri-Tip Roast*
2-3 T fresh rosemary, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil plus more for searing

For the Mushroom Sauce
1 lb button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1/2 C dry sherry
1/4 to 1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 C beef stock

On a plate, mix the rosemary, garlic, olive oil and a good pinch of S&P.  Place the meat on the plate and rub the mixture all over.  Leave to marinate on the counter for an hour or two to bring the meat to room temperature.  

Set the oven to 400F.  While the oven heats, heat a heavy cast iron skillet on the stove to smoking.  Add olive oil to the pan and sear the meat on all sides then pop it into the oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 130F for medium-rare or to your desired doneness.  Remove the roast to a cutting board, sqeeze over the lemon and cover with foil while you make your shroom sauce.

Put that cast iron skillet with the meat drippings back on the stove and turn heat to medium.  Add your mushrooms and stir them around in the goodness.  Saute over medium to high heat until browned on all sides.  Stand back and add the sherry.  Once it's reduced to about half, add the cream and beef stock and any drippings from the meat.  Let this bubble away until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. 

Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

*Sometimes called a Sirloin Tip Roast, Newport Roast or Santa Maria Roast

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 lb. pasta of choice* 
12 oz. bacon, chopped into smallish chunks
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb baby spinach, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 to 3/4 C heavy cream
1C grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  While you're waiting for it to boil, fry up that bacon in a nice big skillet** until it's nice and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and let the pan cool down a bit.  Also, grab a large measuring cup (I use a 4C) and beat the eggs.  Add enough cream to measure up to about 2C.  Season with S&P, nutmeg and add the cheese. Set aside.

Once the pan has cooled a bit, pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon grease and add the minced garlic. Once it sizzles and is fragrant, add your spinach.  I turn off the heat at this point so it just barely wilts.  Leave it alone until the pasta is cooked, one minute less than the cooking time on the package for al dente.  Right before you drain the pasta, pull out about a cup of the cooking water and set aside.  

Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the garlic and spinach.  Stir, stir, stir until all the noodles are coated in the loveliness.  Now is the tricky part...with the heat OFF, add the egg mixture and stir like crazy.  Turn the heat back on to low but DO NOT WALK AWAY, stand there and stir until the sauce starts to thicken.  If you go off and fold laundry or something you will end up with scrambled egg pasta, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...but not what we're going for here.  If the sauce gets too thick, add in some pasta water.  If it's too thin, cover the pan and let it think about what's its done for 5 or 10 minutes.  

Garnish with parmesan and lots of black pepper and eat.  Serves 2 adults and 2 greedy kids.

*I've used the traditional spaghetti, fettucine in the pic, kids favorite is fusilli or 'telephone cord' pasta.  This isn't exactly a traditional recipe but I add the spinach to sneak some veg into my kids.
**I use my favorite pan, a 5qt Le Creuset braiser (THANKS MOM!)

Welcome to Dinners with Mere

Welcome to my brand spanking new blog!  You may have already seen my Instagram posts about our nightly dinners. Long story short, I've had quite a few requests for recipes so I will post them here.  Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.