• The 2006 Weblog Awards



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Roasted Garlic Recipe

My dad and I have often joked about the fact that we must have Italian ancestry through his family - we both love Italian food! We’ll never know for sure - Dad was adopted - but decided it doesn’t matter anyway, because we’ll eat like we are. For me, I am always seeking out Italian style recipes that are new, bold and fun to learn. One element that I discovered in many of the new dishes I found was roasted garlic. I looked awhile before I found a roasted garlic recipe that I liked and was easy to do.

What’s so good about roasted garlic? Garlic has a pretty bad reputation for being bitey, smelly and overpowering, right? Well, roasting garlic will mellow out the flavor and aroma, while developing a flavor that is incredible - sweeter and much more subtle than its raw form. Many of the dishes you see in restaurants that have a garlic cream sauce (or a cream sauce of any kind, at times) will be made with roasted garlic. Additionally, it is unbelievable what roasted garlic will do to a nice garlic bread (I’m drooling just thinking about it!) - and you can even spread it like butter on a piece of crusty bread. Trust me on this - this is a good recipe to have in your hip pocket to pull out as needed.

Ingredients

1 head of fresh garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - aka EVOO - (no substitutes), enough to coat

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Break the head of garlic into individual cloves. Do not peel the skin off. Place the cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil and toss them in a teaspoon or two of EVOO (just enough to coat the cloves).

Fold the foil into an airtight pouch and place in the oven for about 30-45 minutes (I put on a cookie sheet "just in case"). When the garlic is done, and cooled a bit, simply squeeze it out of the skin - the flesh should just slide out simply - like toothpaste. Use it in your favorite recipes, or you can refrigerate in an airtight container for a few days.


Rachael Ray’s Super Sloppy Joes

So, for a long time I used to crack open a can of sloppy joe sauce and mix it with some hamburger for a quick meal for the family. Then I saw the "30 Minute Meals" episode where Rachael made these homemade sloppy joes. They are awesome. The flavor is so much better and doesn’t have that processed taste the canned versions do. Rachael also shared her potato salad recipe on the show, which is an excellent compliment to sloppy joes. I do have to say I believe my potato salad recipe is better - sorry Rachael!

Once you make these sloppy joes, you will have a hard time going back to the canned stuff, I promise!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted and buttered (I don’t butter mine as a preference)

Instructions

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops.

My Two Cents: I recommend chopping the onion and red peppers fairly small - then you can get the kids to get their vegetables in because they won’t even know they are eating them!

recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray