Zucchini Bread


3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini (peel, cut in half lengthwise and spoon out seeds before grating)
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 325°.  Beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Add zucchini. Add dry ingredients (and nuts if desired). Grease and flour two loaf pans (8 ½” x 4 ½”). Divide batter equally between the two loaf pans. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I have gotten picky about my Ranch since trying Martzetti’s Simply Dressed® Ranch Salad Dressing. The problem is that I can’t always find the Simply Dressed in the ranch flavor. So when that happens I make my own ranch dressing. This basic recipe tastes perfect.

3/4 c mayonaise
3/4 c sour cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 scallions, roughly chopped
Small handful of parsley
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping sauces, more for dressing.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers will keep for 2 – 3 weeks.


I use a squeeze bottle for use on salads and small storage containers for use as dipping sauce.

Beef Tenderloin Filet

Beef is best!  At about $25.00 a pound, tenderloin is the best of the best. Like most people I typically forego the filet for a ribeye or other less expensive cut of meat. Those steaks are good but in no way are they “better” or “comparable” to tenderloin. Be for real people!

While grilling a filet is popular way to prepare it, I prefer mine pan seared and oven roasted. That’s how they do it in your favorite steakhouse. Since all they do is cook for carnivores I’m sure they know a thing or two.

First things first. Take that meat out of your refrigerator and let it warm up. 30 to 40 minutes at least. You don’t want to cook it cold. Preheat your oven to 500º Fahrenheit with your oven safe skillet (seasoned cast iron is best) and baking pan or sheet inside the oven.

Note: I do not have a cast iron pan. I use stainless sauté pans with stainless handles. I am able to put the pan directly in the oven from the stove top.

Always buy your meat from a good meat market. Do NOT buy it at the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Seriously!

When seasoning your filet, less is more. That’s the difference between a tenderloin and a ribeye. You don’t want to mask the “meat” flavor of your filet. It’s that good. I just brush a little oil on the filet and season with sea salt, ground pepper and little bit of garlic powder. I press the spices into the oil brushed surface of the meat.  Flip and repeat.

Once your oven has preheated take out your skillet and place on a hot burner. Immediately place steak(s) in skillet and sear undisturbed (meaning don’t touch the meat or lift it or push it around) for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip steak with a set of tongs and toss in several tablespoons of butter. Sear undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes. You can lift and tilt skillet and baste with butter. This is OK and is not disturbing the meat.

If your skillet is a little too hot lift from burner and turn the down heat. It’s not rocket science people!

Using tongs remove filet from skillet and set in preheated baking pan in oven. I roasted mine for 6 minutes and it came out rare. You know your oven. If it runs hot better take it out at 4 minutes. If it’s like mine and you want it medium rare let it roast UNDISTURBED for 8 minutes or so.  You get the idea. You can roast it with a meat thermometer in it if you are nervous and don’t feel you can trust your oven 😛

Temps for beef tenderloin doneness:

Rare:
120° to 125°F
(Center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion).

Medium Rare
130° to 135°F
(Center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion).

Medium
140° to 145°F
(Center is light pink, outer portion is brown).

If you want it med well or well done you shouldn’t be eating meat that costs $25.00 a pound! Go buy some cube steaks and dress them with ketchup!

After you have roasted your filet the proper length of time remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil. The meat will continue to cook. Let rest for about 4 minutes.

Behold my beautiful birthday filet!

Bon Appetit!

Mayfair Oven Fries

I can’t find this recipe on the internet anywhere. That doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. It is from Dierbergs supermarket’s kitchen.  I can’t find it by searching the recipes on their site. It was published in one of their newsletters a couple years ago.

The historic Mayfair Hotel in downtown St. Louis first opened in 1925. Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Cary Grant and Irving Berlin were some of it’s most famous guests. Perhaps they enjoyed a salad with this eponymous dressing! We’ll keep the delicious tradition going with Crusoe’s Mayfair Dressing as the secrect ingredient in our crispy, savory potato wedges.

Mayfair Oven Fries

MAYFAIR OVEN FRIES

  • 2 russet potatoes (about 10 ounces each)
  • 4 Tblsp Crusoe’s Mayfair Dressing
  • 3/4 c whole wheat or regular panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Additional Crusoe’s Mayfair Dressing for dipping

Preheat oven to 450°.

Cut each potato lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick sticks; place in large reclosable plastic bag. Add the 4 tablespoons Dressing; toss to coat.

In a shallow dish, combine panko, salt and pepper. Roll each potato stick in crumb mixture; place in a single layer on parchment-lined backing sheet.

Roast in the oven until potatos are tender and browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with additional Dressing for dipping if desired.

Obviously if you are not in St. Louis like me, it would be difficult for you to go to Dierbergs and pick up Crusoes dressing. But don’t despair. You can make it from scratch and it will probably be 10 times better!

MAYFAIR DRESSING

  • 1/3 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 whole anchovies
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fresh ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Accent seasoning  aka MSG (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil1
  1. A St. Louis tradition. Use a food processor to make dressing.
  2. Blanche onion and celery very briefly (5-10 seconds) in boiling water and drain.
  3. Combine everything except eggs and oil in processor and blend for 2 or 3 seconds.
  4. Add egg and blend again.
  5. Then, with processor on, slowly dribble in oil to make creamy mayonnaise type dressing.
  6. Run processor until dressing is very smooth.
  7. Correct salt and pepper seasoning.
  8. This will keep for a week or so if covered tightly and refrigerated.

Baked Chicken Tenders

Simple and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken tenders
2 Tbls mayonnaise
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Mix chicken tenders & mayonnaise in a bowl to lightly coat the chicken with mayonnaise.
  3. Mix breadcrumbs & cheese in a gallon size ziploc bag.
  4. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Put 1-2 chicken tenders in the ziploc bag with breadcrumb mixture and shake to coat.
  6. Place chicken tenders in a single layer on baking sheet.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  8. Gently flip each tender and bake an additional 9 minutes.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

You can use your own spices to vary the basic recipe.

Spicy Chicken Tenders

I used Panko Breadcrumbs and added cayenne pepper to my mayonnaise.

 

Italian Herb & Parmesan Chicken Tenders

I added Italian Seasoning to my plain Panko breadcrumbs. You can alternatively just use Italian breadcrumbs.

Interesting Observation

1. The sport of choice for the urban poor is  BASKETBALL.

2. The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is  BOWLING.

3. The sport of choice for front-line workers is  FOOTBALL.

4. The sport of choice for supervisors is  BASEBALL.

5. The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS.

And….

6. The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is  GOLF.

 

THE AMAZING CONCLUSION:

The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls  become.
There must be a ton of people in Washington playing marbles!

Summer 2011 Weather

They called for average temperatures and “not at as bad as 2010,” but I guess I forgot how hot it was last summer. We are all feeling it this year. Everyone I know all over the country is complaining. But with a level of humor and acceptance if the pictures below are any indication.

I think the last picture just about sums it up. I’m right between the U and the M.