Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Doctor is In

Some of the recipes I get asked for most often are my cold-busting tea and soup. Both rely heavily on garlic. I'm not sure of the exact scientific reasons behind WHY garlic has the magic touch, but I've heard many accounts of antibacterial and antiviral properties.

The tea was recommended to me by an elderly Chinese lady (who I used to work with at a mortgage company, just to remove any air of mystery or worldliness that might surround that statement). Over the years, I've learned to listen to pretty much whatever old ladies tell me, because the advice is generally fairly good.

For the tea, the concoction is pretty simple:

1. Smash a clove of garlic with the side of a big knife; discard the skin.

2. Pop the garlic clove into a mug of hot water OR pop the garlic clove into a mug of non-hot water and microwave it for 1 - 1.5 minutes. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.

3. If you don't have time to let it come to a reasonable temperature, pop an ice cube into the concoction and stir until it dissolves. Or you can just let it cool off on its own.

4. Discard the garlic clove. If you like, add some honey or a squeeze of lemon and stir. If not, don't.

5. Drink it all as quickly as you can.

6. Brush your teeth. (Or at least pop a mint.)

Repeat up to 4 times a day, like you might with Airborne or Emergen-C. Way cheaper than either of those options.

And then there's the mid-day, "I just came home sick from work" Lunchtime Method...

Heat up a pot of chicken or miso broth and load it up with LOTS of sliced garlic. If this is all you have, you can stop there, but I will generally chop and throw in any veggies or noodles/rice I have on hand. (Carrots are particularly good. Let those cook a good long time until they're soft. And at the last second, a handful of spinach leaves is also a good touch; cook just until they're wilted.)

Serve up a cup, add in a healthy squeeze of sriracha hot sauce (as much as you can handle) and mix it in until your soup is a nice shade of orange.

Have a big glass of water, a glass of orange juice, and a box of tissues nearby. Eat the soup, utilizing as much of the water, OJ, and tissues as needed. (That soup should make your nose run like crazy.)

Once the soup is gone, take a nap. You should feel a good deal better when you wake up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Damn you, meat pies!

I adore meat pies. Yes, sweet pies are great, but I could eat a savory pie every day for the rest of my life and never come close to getting sick of it.

This is the last remaining meat pie from the batch I made this weekend. It's not the prettiest of the batch -- it's merely the last pie standing.

"Dana, why didn't you take a nicer picture of one of the better-looking pies right after you made them?"

I have several answers to this question...

1. I had company.
2. I was in the middle of a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.
3. I was terribly hungry.
4. I forgot.

I could continue, but those are the only reasons that really count.

The recipe was Frankensteined from this wildly wonderful meat pie recipe, plus my taste buds, my laziness, and a bit of influence from the tastes and dietary restrictions of my guests.

The Amazing Disappearing Mini Meat Pies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cold butter
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp cold water
2 eggs
1 tsp white vinegar

1 smallish potato
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp. miso paste
Handful of grated parmigiano-reggiano

Mix the flour and salt in the large bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks, and cut the chunks into the flour mixture until it becomes crumbly. (I use a KitchenAid mixer and it does beautifully.) Beat 1 egg with the vinegar and water in a separate bowl or glass. Add the egg mixture to the dough and beat until mixture form a ball. Wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cook potato in microwave and set aside. Place onion and celery into a large frying pan on a medium heat with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Pick the rosemary and thyme leaves off the woody stalks, finely chop them, and add to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry and stir for 10 minutes. Put the vegetable mixture into a large bowl.

Place garlic into a large frying pan on a high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Fry and stir for a few minutes, add the ground beef, a pinch of salt and pepper. When the ground beef becomes brown, add the tomato paste, beef broth and miso paste. Lower the heat, simmer for 15 minutes until most of the liquid has reduced. Turn the stove off. Mix in grated Parmesan until it disappears. Add the vegetable mixture into the beef mixture and mix well. Scoop out potato flesh, and mix into filling, roughly mashing the potato bits but allowing some chunks to remain. Allow to cool; add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out dough thinly and cut into rounds about 4 inches in diameter (working in batches as needed). Have a small glass of water handy and beat remaining egg in another glass or bowl. Using your hands, form meat into small puck-type shapes about an inch smaller in diameter than your dough rounds. Lay a puck on a round of dough, dip your finger in the water and wet the edge of the dough, then place another circle of dough on top. Pinch and seal the edges. Lay mini pie on a greased baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the pies. (You might have leftover filling, which is OK because it tastes great alone.) Brush the tops of the pie with beaten egg, slit the tops of the pies to vent, and pop em in the oven. Bake until golden, about 25 - 30 minutes (depending on whether your oven sucks like mine).

Makes 10 mini pies.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You know you're a dork when...

... instead of ordering a pizza during your Harry Potter movie marathon, you make this.

Yup. It's Harry Pott-za.

(I'm almost ashamed of myself. But I'm not, because it tasted awesome.)