Meg’s Cooking Corner

Friday, May 29, 2009

Time to Barbecue!

Summer weather doesn't usually arrive till June where I live, so we are so happy this week to finally have perfect weather. Of course that means it's time to dust off the barbecue and put my husband to work! Here are a couple of our favorite marinades. Find more recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge, and at Tasty Tuesday and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday.

I got this great steak marinade from my friend Stephanie a few years back. It's so easy to throw together and makes a great freezer meal. For freezer meal: just pour the marinade over your steaks in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze. Then pull it out 24 hours before you want to serve it and let it marinate while it defrosts in your fridge. Unfortunately, my boys were so hungry last time we had this that I forgot to take a picture!

Steak Marinade

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger (use less if using fresh ginger)
1 tsp monterey steak salt (or other grilling salt)

Combine all marinade ingredients. Remove fat from steaks. Flank the steaks (diagonal cuts 1 inch deep) and put into a ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Grill until done to your liking.

This great chicken marinade is from The Sisters Cafe. This chicken is great in many dishes or by itself. I usually double the recipe and freeze the extras to use in other dishes later. (I'll post their fantastic pesto pizza soon that uses this chicken in it).

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken
Juice of 1 lemon (approx 3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 pound chicken breasts (I use tenderloins if I'm not grilling it, otherwise I cut thick chicken breasts into smaller pieces)

Combine all marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag and place in fridge overnight. Grill (or cook in frying pan). Serve with sides of your choice or cut into bite-sized pieces and add to desired recipe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Focaccia Bread and Buttermilk Cornbread

I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I love fresh, homemade bread. I don't always have time to make my favorite yeast rolls and breads in time for dinner, so I often rely on quicker breads. (BTW, I realize I haven't posted any of my roll recipes yet. It's hard to share those special roll recipes, but I'll work on it!!)

This Focaccia Bread recipe is a great one from the blog Finding Joy in my Kitchen. Check it out for step by step pictures. It takes an hour for the two rising steps, and 30 minutes to cook, so make sure you plan ahead. Don't have that much time? Try the cornbread or my already posted quick Amish Biscuits.

I have tested many cornbread recipes through the years, and this recipe is a winner. The secret: buttermilk! If you haven't used buttermilk before, see my tips on it here. I'm not sure where I originally saw the recipe, but since then I have seen it several places where the only variation is using either 1 or 2 eggs. I prefer it with one egg, but you can decide what you like!

No-Knead Focaccia Bread
(cut ingredients in half to make an 8x8 pan)

3 1/4 cup flour
1 envelope Rapid Rise yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 2/3 cup very warm water (120-130 degrees F)
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and water. Stir until well mixed. Spread the dough into a greased 13x9 pan. Cover and let dough rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp olive oil over the top of the raised bread. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke multiple holes in the dough to create an uneven surface. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and herbs over the top. May sprinkle additional salt on top, if desired. Let bread rise, covered, for an additional 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.

Buttermilk Cornbread

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 eggs (I use one)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter. Stir in sugar and egg(s) and beat well. Combine buttermilk and baking soda then stir into butter mixture. Add cornmeal, flour and salt. Stir until well mixed. Bake in greased 8x8 pan at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lemon Bars with Rhubarb Topping

One of my favorite parts of spring is when my rhubarb is ready to cut from the garden. I grew up loving rhubarb, so I am always suprised when people don't know what it is. It looks like red celery and many people think it is a fruit, but it is actually a vegetable that can be traced back to China in 2700 BC.

As rhubarb is very tart, is pairs wonderfully with strawberries. In fact, strawberries and rhubarb are all I have planted in my garden so far. Rhubarb pie, cobbler, jam and muffins are usually what we make with our rhubarb. So when I saw this recipe for lemon bars with a rhubarb topping, I got excited, espcially since I love lemon. This recipe comes from my King Arthur Flour cookbook. Make these bars this week and bring a little spring into your kitchen! Find this recipe and more at Foodie Friday, Made from Scratch and at the Grocery Cart Challenge recipe swap. Also find more rhubarb recipes at Tammy's In-Season Recipe Swap.

TIP: The rhubarb sauce would also be wonderful served warm over vanilla ice cream, or over pancakes, yogurt, pound cake and angel food cake.

Lemon Bars with Rhubarb Topping

8 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour
2 large eggs


8 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp cornmeal
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 large lemons)

Rhubarb Sauce:

2 pints strawberries
2 cups diced rhubarb (4-5 medium stalks)
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Few drops of red food coloring (0ptional)

Preheat the oven to 350. To make the crust: in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour and eggs, mixing until well blended. Lightly grease a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan. Press the dough into the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake the crust for 8 minutes.

To make the lemon filling: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, cornmeal, cornstarch, salt, eggs, and lemon juice. Spread over the crust. Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 25-28 minutes, until the top is lightly browned on the top and edges.

If you just want lemon bars, cool them completely and dust with confectioners sugar before cutting into squares.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Topping: To make the glaze, rinse the strawberries and rhubarb. Dice about 1 cup of the strawberries. Place the rhubarb, diced strawberries, salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan. Over low heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Add the remaining sugar and the cornstarch dissolved in the water, return the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Let the mixture cool slightly. Add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired. Dice the remaining berries and mix with the glaze, then spread over the filling.