COOKING IN MISSOURI, IOWA, MINNESOTA and ARKANSAS

Here are a few random recipes (in no particular order – I’m feeling scattered lately) to share with everyone; nothing fancy, just good tasting comfort dishes mostly. And, uses for leftovers whether from your cooking or what is brought home from a restaurant meal.

Serendipity played a part in bringing the three sets of travelers together in the RV park in Independence, Missouri yesterday. Lori & Jerry Hansen of San Tan Valley, Arizona on one side of us and Donna & Jim Downey of Auburn, Kentucky on the other and we came together to chat after we were all settled in and that chat lasted until late into the night. We learned so much from their travels (which we have not experienced yet) and I hope we gave them a few insights into ours.
Sept 22 Lori and Jerry Hansen, Donna Lori & Jerry Hansen and Donna Downey
Sept 22 Donna and Jim DowneyDonna & Jim Downey

To find 6 folks together with so many common interests – cooking, yakking, drinking, eating – how can we not talk non-stop? It will take me a month to try all the ideas I got from Jim, who grills and smokes and loves to try new dishes he hears about on food shows. Sound like someone you all know?? Surprisingly, both the men had been U.S. Rangers, so it was really interesting listening to their ‘tales’ of Ranger days. In addition, Jim and Roy were able to reminisce about M113 tanks!

This morning Jim brought over some seasonings for me to try: a spicy dry rub for ribs, which I will use and make a Kentucky/Southern type vinegar sauce keeping true to his roots. He also gave me a sample of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning to use on burgers. I should be able to find it in this neck of the woods to buy, but I’ve never seen it on the west coast. Besides flavoring a burger, he also told me how to make a grilled onion that he and Donna love –
Sept 23 grilling onion halves 1???????????????????????????????

Cut an onion in half (between stem ends) without peeling. Rub the onion with a little olive oil and grill over medium heat cut side down for about 18-20 minutes until you have a nice char; carefully turn over and position so the cut side of the onion is level on the grill. Top each half with a dollop of butter and sprinkle liberally with Tony’s Chachere’s seasoning (I was a little shy with it and will certainly use more next time).

Grill for another 12-15 minutes. Because I can’t get away from the heat source on my camping grill, I jerry-rigged with my fire bricks and an oven rack and finished the onion after the 12-15 minutes on the rack for an indirect cooking.   All in all, the onion was perfectly cooked after a total of 50 minutes.  Have to say this was the best grilled onion I (and Roy) had ever tasted. This will be the go to method.

Jim’s idea for a burger has to be mentioned also – sprinkle with the Chachere’s
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Seasoning (again, I was a little too stingy with it the first time using, again) and topped with Pepper Jack cheese…a little mustard and tomato and we were in heaven again!! But, the onion really was the star of the day! Thanks Jim, I’ll certainly be looking for this seasoning. (P.S. Just finding out from west coast friends – this seasoning is readily available all over our area!)
BBQ BEEF BREAD PUDDING

I had leftover steak and we’re in Kansas City/Independence, MO, so what better sauce to combine and work with than K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce. What a match made in heaven.
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This recipe is really off the wall!!! In addition to steak and BBQ sauce, I had a tube of  Pillsbury rolls and the end result is just plain comfort food! Chicken or Pork would work very well in the dish, also. Serves 4 4 to 6 oz. (about 1 cup) cooked steak, roughly chopped 1/2 cup diced onion 1/2 T. minced Jalapeno (seeds/membrane left in/on) 1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I had Masterpiece – original) 3 Pillsbury Grand’s Home-style refrigerated original or buttermilk buicuit (I just baked the other five off for sandwiches later) 3-4 oz. cheese (I had mozzarella, jack, and cheddar)
Garnish: tomato slices shredded lettuce Sauté onions and jalapeno (and leftover potatoes if you have) until onion is soft. Transfer to a large bowl; add the steak and toss with BBQ sauce. (If you have raw steak, coarsely chop and cook with onions and jalapenos. Remove 3 biscuits from container (save others for baking) and cut each into 8 pieces. Gently toss the biscuit pieces with the beef/BBQ sauce mixture. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and dump the beef/biscuit mix into the dish. Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, making sure the biscuits are cooked thru.
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Options:  Doubling the recipe allows you to use all 8 of the biscuits – use a 9”X13” baking dish for this amount.

HOT HAM DIPS
I’ve had a craving for ham lately and with little freezer space available, I opted for a ham slice to play with. First up – Hot Ham Dips, adapted from a recipe I found on www.plainchicken.com

For a fuller flavor dip, make a demi-glace for dipping the sandwiches – Knorr’s makes a great powdered mix to work with. To use in place of canned broth or consommé: 1/4 cup demi-glace to 1 cup hot water. Allow to simmer 6 minutes, then add ham slices and warm through.

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp garlic powder
4 sandwich rolls/buns of your choice, split
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb thinly sliced ham
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef consommé or beef broth (see note above)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 thin slices red onions

In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add 1 tsp garlic powder and combine.

Place rolls on a baking sheet; brush cut sides with garlic butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a large saucepan, combine broth consommé and 1/2 tsp garlic powder; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Place ham into beef consommé and garlic. Heat ham for 30-60 seconds, until slightly warm. Using tongs, place ham on rolls and top with a slice of onion. Serve sandwiches with remaining broth for dipping.

SPARKLING RHUBARB LEMONADE
While we were with our friends, the Behrendt’s in Minnesota, Laura offered us a drink she found using her home-grown rhubarb – Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade. What a delightful refreshing drink it is. We had it both days we stopped in and she graciously shared the recipe with me. For a summer drink, you can’t go wrong offering your guests this thirst quencher adapted from Food52 newsletter from TheRunawaySpoon.  Serves 6

3 1/2 cups water
5 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (20 oz.)
3/4 cups sugar
2 3 – inch strips lemon zest
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups lemon-lime soda or sparkling water

In a saucepan, stir together the water, the rhubarb pieces, the sugar, the lemon zest and the mint. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Let the rhubarb mixture cool, the strain it through a wire-mesh strainer set over a large pitcher. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the lemon juice and soda. Serve over ice, garnished with a sprig of mint.

Or, for Laura’s drink: Makes 1
1 shot Vodka
1 shot 7 up
1 shot rhubarb lemonade
Fill with ice and enjoy.

Guess I’d better stop for now – I’m getting hungry!

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