Sunday, April 05, 2009

Geography, History and a Recipe

According to Southern rules I am a Yankee in that I am from "above the Mason-Dixon line." But really I consider myself from the Midwest. You can argue this point all you want but I have done my research! The Mason-Dixon line does NOT extend west of PA. That being said, I am not sure why it is called Mid WEST because more than half of the Midwest states fall in the Eastern half of the United States. But I digress...badly!

Long before the word "slider" became so mainstream...There was White Castle. The king of all Midwest (though you can get them in NY and New Jersey along with a few NON Midwest states), late night, especially after drinking, regret it in the morning foods. When we travel "back home" to Indy that is usually one of the first places we go. Sometimes we even pick them up on the way into town. Even if we are just there for a few days we often have them several times. Let me tell you we LOVE our White Castle!

Now I know that you can buy them frozen in the grocery store and I do give in to the craving occasionally and buy them. They are not bad ... but not the same. One thing they don't have is dill pickle slices, which in my opinion is essential. My Son, however (Mr. Eats nothing Green) will argue that point.

Years ago I made a "White Castle" Sloppy Joe using Cream of Onion soup but I cannot seem to find that anymore. I did a little research and found this recipe on Recipezaar. Yes, I know this is far from Gourmet cooking but its quick, easy and actually quite tasty. Its not the real thing but it sort satisfies my craving.

"White Castle" Sloppy Joes
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 Package dried onion soup mix
  • 1 cup hot water
Brown ground beef with onions. Drain fat. Stir in flour. Dissolve soup mix in hot water and add to meat. Simmer for 10 mins.

Place meat mixture on bun and top with cheese and dill pickles if desired.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Bubbly Little Dessert

Late last summer I finally broke down and bought myself an ice cream maker. I had been wanting it all summer.Every time I would see a recipe for yummy sounding ice cream I would say " I am going to buy one" So, in August I did it!
The first time I used it I quickly learned that "ready in 20 mins" is a LIE! First of all the "bowl" must be frozen. This is best done OVERNIGHT! The ingredients for the ice cream ususally have to be heated and then COOLED. This is best done.....OVERNIGHT! Now, once you add the cold ingredients to the frozen bowl. It does only take 20 mins to "make" but then you need to let the finished product "firm up" in the freezer , for about 2 hours!
How many times have I made ice cream since that first attempt. UHH, that would be a big ZERO. I thought about it many times but always at the last minute and as you can see from the above paragraph, that does not work. I finallydecided to store the bowl in the freezer so at least that part would be ready for the next time I decided thought about making ice cream. That was sometime in October I think.

Last week I invited my friend Marlana over for dinner. I decided the night before that I was going to make this Champagne Sorbet. BUT, I did not make it out to get the champagne..or the grapefruit that night. By the time I got home from church and shopping for the ingredients for was too late, AGAIN.

But I had the ingredients and now its been almost a week with 4 grapefruits sitting in a basket on my table. Now I do like grapefruit.But ,not enough that I am going to eat all 4 before they go bad. So, today for no special occasion at all we are having Champagne Sorbet.
Despite the time involved in all the steps, it is quite easy to make. I used sparkling wine instead of champagne. The directions I got from Simply Recipes stated you could make that substitution. I think that next time though I am gonna try with the Champagne. The finished product though very good but a bit sweeter than I expected.

One thing that I was hoping for was a sort of "sparkle" but in order to get the alcohol to freeze it has to be boiled. Which not only burns off the alcohol but removes the "fizz". The recipe suggests drizzling a teaspoon of the Champagne over top of the sorbet when serving to give a little of that back. I did that and liked it very much. In fact I liked it so much that the next time I added a little lot more than a teaspoon and it was like a grown up Champagne Float ...mmmm quite tasty!

Someone also suggested placing the finished Sorbet in a bowl without a lid then placing that in a cooler with dry ice for a few hours. According them the CO2 the dry ice gives off will "infuse" the sorbet. I am definately going to try that! I will let you know how it works out.

Champagne Sorbet (from Simply Recipes)
1 1/2 cups Champagne Sorbet
1 cup Sugar
1Tbs Light Corn Syrup
1 tsp lemon and/or grapefruit zest
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Pour champagne, sugar, corn syrup, and zest into a saucepan. Bring to a vigorous boil so that the sugar completely dissolves, remove from heat.
Strain into a stainless steel bowl (will help cool down faster), add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Chill completely.
Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker directions. Transfer mixture to a storage container and freezer in your freezer until firm.
Makes about 1 quart.