Friday, December 29, 2017

Miscowaubik Potatoes

In 1903, the Miscowaubik Club was founded as a private club for the rich in Calumet.  Named for the Native American term for Red Metal, the Miscowaubik Club was established for "the encouragement of athletic exercise and the establishment and maintenance of places for reading rooms and social meetings."   I have visited it a few times as a guest, and enjoyed seeing Henry Ford's signature on the guest book, along with mine, which was added almost a hundred years later.   I love the stained glass in the billiard room, as well.  (see above picture).  Also, I have been informed that the urinals in the men's room in the basement are majestic marble affairs, complete with Roman columns.   Wonder if Henry used them during his visit with Firestone, Kingsford, et al?

Continuing on my quest to find the great recipes of the Upper Peninsula, I found this recipe for "Miscowaubik Potatoes" in several  of my U.P. cookbooks in  my collection.   These potatoes can still be found on the menu at the Miscowaubik Club today.   So I set out to try it....the original recipe called for boiling 12 potatoes in their jackets, peeling them and then grating them, but I think you could easily just use 3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed.  I made my version with 6 potatoes to make it "family size" instead of restaurant size.

Miscowaubik Potatoes
makes 4 servings

6 potatoes
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 small jar pimentos, chopped
1 large onions, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. paprika
1 T vegetable oil

Boil the potatoes in their jackets until tender. Cool potatoes and refrigerate for several hours or over night. Peel and grate the potatoes on the coarse side of the grater. Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions and cook until they are limp and translucent. Add grated potatoes, pimento, grated cheese and salt and pepper.  Add onions to the mixture and blend thoroughly. Press mixture onto a well-greased 8"x 8"  pan or small baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Dribble salad oil over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350ยบ for about 40 minutes.

They came out delicious!  Nice for a special occasion or for breakfast. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Keweenaw Style Spaghetti Sauce

Italian Hall Memorial Calumet

When I was a student at Michigan Tech, I became acquainted with the local foods, such as pasties, pannukakku  and pickled eggs.   Also, I discovered the unique style of spaghetti sauce served up there...slightly sweet and spiced differently than I had back home in the Detroit area.    In the Hancock, you can taste it at Gemignani's Restaurant, or in local grocery stores up there, you can find it on the shelves as Baroni's Spaghetti Sauce or Rudy's Spaghetti Sauce.   Consulting my collection of Upper Peninsula cookbooks, I found a common theme....the U.P. style favored warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc over garlic and long cooking times

a collector's item

Some Googling told me that carrots and celery and onion are also key ingredients.  So, I decided to give it a shot using some of the plethora of ground beef we have in our freezer.   We split a half steer with our neighbors this year, and with our empty nest, it will take us a long time to eat it all.   Most of the recipes I saw used half ground pork and half ground beef, which is also an option.

Keweenaw Style Spaghetti Sauce

2 T. olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, peeled
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb.  ground beef (or 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. ground pork)
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cloves
dash nutmeg
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
small can sliced mushrooms, undrained
Salt and pepper

In a Dutch oven heat olive oil.   In a food processor fitted with grating blade, grate onion, carrots and celery.   Add vegetables and garlic to pot and cook until soft.   Add ground meat and cook until brown.   Add spices and tomatoes and cook for 1-2 hours, adding water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.    Sauce can be made in bulk and frozen.

Buon appetito

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cowboy Caviar

As usual, Weight Watchers has tweaked their program again this year.    I'm a lifetime member so I picked up the latest program literature and found that they have reduced the total number of points you can have while allowing many high protein foods to the zero points list, like white meat chicken and turkey, fish, eggs, legumes, tofu, etc. along with the usual fruits and vegetables.     It reminded me of a recipe I once tasted called "Cowboy Caviar" which is loaded with a bunch of filling 0 point foods.    I adjusted the typical recipe to make it more WW friendly and more to my taste buds (less oil and sugar, more vinegar and chili powder.    Delicious and perfect for work lunch!  Since there is a lot of chopping involved, I like to use a food chopper to get all the vegetables uniformly small, one like this works well:

Cowboy Caviar

3 T olive oil
3 T  sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (11 ounce) can super sweet corn, drained
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro

In a canning jar, measure the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt.  Shake to combine.  In a large bowl, add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine.  Stir in cilantro.  Add dressing and stir until evenly distributed Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room  temperature.

Is your New Year's Resolution to try to eat more vegetables?  This recipe can help.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Corn Fritters

Last summer, I thought I'd like to try to make corn fritters.   I can remember thinking they were a lot of work for a weeknight dinner, and froze the leftovers individually on a cookie sheet, and then threw them in a bag.    I got them out the other night to have with some ham and they were FANTASTIC!  I forgot how good they were.   I heated them up on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes on 350F.    I will make these every summer when the corn comes delicious.   I'll schedule making several batches on a weekend.    I found a recipe in America's Test Kitchen - modified to our taste.    Here is how I made them.   

4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (3 cups)
1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup finely minced chives
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 t.  cayenne pepper 
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Process 1 1/2 cups corn kernels in food processor to uniformly coarse puree, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl halfway through processing. Set aside.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups corn kernels and ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.  Return skillet to medium heat, add corn puree, and cook, stirring frequently with heatproof spatula, until puree is consistency of thick oatmeal (puree clings to spatula rather than dripping off), about 5 minutes. Transfer puree to bowl with kernels and stir to combine. Rinse skillet and dry with paper towels.  Stir flour, 3 tablespoons chives, cornstarch, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper into corn mixture until well combined. Gently stir in egg until incorporated.  Line rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Heat remaining ½ cup oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Drop six 2-tablespoon portions batter into skillet. Press with spatula to flatten into 2 1/2- to 3-inch disks. Fry until deep golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining batter.   After they cool, put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet, and then in a ziplock bag.   Take out as many as you need for  dinner. 

Great taste of summer in winter!