Wednesday, July 16, 2008

American Onion Soup

For 2 main course servings or 4 first course servings:
Peel, halve and coarsely chop one large Vidalia onion. Saute in bacon fat 20 minutes until it begins to soften. Sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar and continue cooking until it is quite soft and caramelized. Add 3 cups chicken or turkey stock and two mashed cloves of roasted garlic, 1 tsp chili powder and ¼ tsp celery seed. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, shred 2 cups Velveeta or American cheese and fry 4 slices of bacon. Crumble the bacon. Preheat broiler. Fill a serving bowl with Texas Toast croutons and ladle soup over. Spread a generous amount of shredded cheese over and sprinkle lightly with chili powder. Add crumbled bacon and broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown around the edges. Serve immediately. (For an extra kick, use pepperjack cheese and garnish with chopped jalopeno instead of bacon. C’mon – I dare you.)
Suggested side dishes: Tossed Salad, fresh fruit for dessert.

Suggested next courses: Grilled steaks, sweet corn on the cob, loaded baked potato.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Spam R & D

Spam Parmesan
For two servings:
Lightly brown four slices of Spam on both sides in a little oil in an oven-proof skillet. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup each plain bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Add 2 Tblsp melted butter and work into a crumbly paste. Put two thin slices of Roma tomatoes on each slice of Spam in the skillet, sprinkle a pinch or two of dried basil over the tomatoes and spread with the cheese-crumb mixture. Broil until cheese-crumb topping is golden brown. Serve hot with garlic mashed potatoes.

Spam Alfredo
Julienne a 7 oz. can of turkey Spam. Brown the strips lightly in a skillet. Set aside.
To make the sauce, melt ¼ cup butter in a saucepan. Stir in 3 Tblsp finely chopped onion, 4 cloves roasted garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook and stir over medium heat until onion is soft and garlic is incorporated. Stir in ¼ cup flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in 2 cups half & half (or milk) and cook and stir until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese and the Spam strips. (Add more milk, a little at a time if sauce seems too thick.) Heat through. Serve over spaghetti or noodles, with freshly made French bread.

Cube one 12 oz can Hickory smoked Spam. Thoroughly soak wooden skewers. Thread Spam cubes and alternate with fresh pineapple chunks, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and Vidalia onion wedges. Broil or grill until Spam is lightly browned and vegetables are slightly soft. Drizzle with honey-mustard sauce. Serve on a bed of buttered white rice with more honey-mustard for dipping.
Sauce: Whisk together until smooth ½ cup Dijon mustard, 1 Tbslp Tamari, 2 Tblsp brown sugar and ½ cup honey.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Cheese Spread

Shred Velveeta to measure 4 cups. Stir in ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup chopped pimentos, 1 Tblsp sweet relish, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp pepper.

This makes good stuffing for celery. It goes well with those Keebler Bistro corn bread crackers, too. Or any other cracker you like as well as the tiny, sliced rye bread. Add a slice of green or black olive for garnish.

Recipe works well with cheddar or any other cheese you might prefer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventures in Spam

Spamology 101

Well, my friends, Nellie has been busy exploring the world of Spam. And I don’t mean the kind that clogs up your inbox, I mean the edible kind, made by Hormel Foods.

Every year in mid-July or so, the city of Fremont, Nebraska hosts a 3 day party known as “John C. Fremont Days” in honor of (who else?) John C. Fremont, the explorer, pioneer and early day settler for whom the community is named. One of the events of this celebration is the annual Spam Cookoff. Nellie has her heart set on participating in the cookoff and with that in mind has been exploring the weird and wonderful world of cooking with Spam. Did you know they make more than one kind now? The pork products include the original flavor, a bacon flavor, a Hickory smoke flavor, and a lite version of each one as well as a couple of turkey versions, all available in the regular 12 oz size can and a 7 oz can.

Anyway, due to a number of reasons, the details of which would bore you to tears, Nellie missed the deadline for recipe submission to the officials and judges and will not be in the Spam cookoff this year.

However, the research and development in preparation for this much anticipated and exalted event has yielded some interesting results which Nellie is now sharing with you.
Good luck. And if you don’t care for Spam, ask for a suitable substitute in the comments and Nellie will gladly and graciously respond.

Melt 4 Tblsp bacon fat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Saute ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion and ½ cup finely chopped celery in fat until vegetables are soft. Stir in 1 cup uncooked, long-cooking white rice and 4 cloves roasted garlic. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat until rice is milky and opaque and the garlic cloves are incorporated. Stir in one 14 oz can vegetable stock, ½ julienned roasted green pepper, ½ julienned roasted red pepper, ½ tsp Louisiana hot sauce and 1 Tblsp Nellie’s Creole seasoning. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer 20-25 minutes until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, cut one 12 oz can Hickory smoke Spam and one 12 oz can turkey Spam into large (about 1-1 ½ inch) cubes. Over medium heat in a lightly oiled skillet, lightly brown the Spam cubes. Stir the cubes into rice mixture when rice is fully cooked. Add one 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained and one 6 oz can tomato paste. Cook over medium low heat until all is heated through.

Personal Breakfast Bowl
Lightly butter an oven proof cereal or salad bowl. Tear one slice bread into fine cubes and place in bowl. Over the bread cubes, sprinkle ½ Tblsp minced onion, ¼ cup of your favorite shredded cheese and ¼ cup finely diced Bacon flavored Spam. Tear another bread slice into fine cubes and top the Spam and onion layer. In a separate bowl, beat two medium eggs with 2 Tblsp milk and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the layers in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature and bake in a 350 F oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle on another layer of cheese and cook an additional 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

More recipes coming. Check back in a few days.