Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I really have to rename this blog.  

We moved out of Door County about 6 months ago, relocating to where I grew up, in the Central Sands of Wisconsin.   The lands of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, what naturalists call the Oak Savannah.  Here, the soil is like beach sand, the water table is at shoveling depth, irrigation is the rule for farming, and the farmers grow things like potatoes, cucumbers, peppers and some anemic looking corn.  Like the general store in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", we live in a geographical oddity...we're about 1 hour from everywhere, if everywhere encompasses the Fox River Valley cities, Madison or Stevens Point.   Clear blue lakes with sand bottoms and untinted water abound.  Wildlife such as cranes, turkeys, deer and a few wolves and bears abound.  Giant pine trees stand like soldiers at attention in orderly rows, next to woods full of various types of oak and jack pine.   The sound of blue jays and whipoorwills fill the air, which smells of pine and sand.

I could really use some help in renaming this blog...bring on the suggestions.  On with the recipe!

This hot beef sandwich recipe is so easy that it doesn't even need pictures.  This is a perfect 'start before work, come home to dinner' meal that's good any time of the year.   In fact, we're having it tonight.

You need:

1 crock pot
1 3-4 pound chuck or other cheap beef roast
1 bottle of lager beer
1 small onion, cut up
1 or 2 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded (optional)
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons beef bouillon powder
Salt, pepper

Rub the roast with salt and pepper, set in crock pot.  Pour bottle of beer in the crock pot, throw rest of ingredients in the crock pot.  Set on high for 6 hours (medium if you need it to cook longer).   Roast should fall apart easily.   Spoon beef onto buns.  You can serve as is, or use condiments such as horseradish, raw onion, pickled jalapenos, swiss cheese slices, etc.   Very tasty and so easy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A lot of times, I'll throw together a dish that has no real basis for being.  It's not really like an actual signature dish like Shrimp Alfredo, but maybe more in 'the spirit of'.  I won't consult a recipe or recipes as a starting point, I'll just 'wing it'.   At times, that means using what I have on hand in the cupboards and refrigerator, at other times, it means using whatever I toss in my shopping cart, and still other times, it's a combination of both.

Such is the case with "Shrimp Almikay".  I originally made this one Sunday afternoon when my dear wife Kathy was tasked with taking our son back home to Platteville, WI, where he attends college, about a 6 hour round trip from our home.  I wanted to make something 'nice' for her...and being that pasta is one of her favorite things to eat, I drove about 20 miles to the nearest larger grocer and wandered the aisles and threw this recipe together in my head.  It turned out so well that I made it again last night, and decided to name it and cycle it in to my favorite recipe box and into this blog.

This recipe is relatively quick and easy and unpretentious enough to use alfredo sauce right off the grocer's shelf.

You'll need:

1 jar of Alfredo Sauce (Both times I have used Newman's Own Roasted Garlic)
1/2 box Angel Hair Pasta
1 bag 31/40 Uncooked Frozen Shrimp
1/2 Lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1 T minced garlic
1/3 stick butter
3 T Olive Oil
1 T Salt
Black pepper
Small wedge Parmesan Cheese

Start by thawing and peeling the shrimp.  Melt butter on medium/high heat in a fry pan.  Dump jar of Alfredo Sauce in saucepan over low heat.  Add minced garlic, 2 T  Olive Oil and wine to fry pan, toss in Shrimp.  Cook shrimp til firm and pink, reduce heat to simmer.  Squeeze 1/2 lemon over Shrimp.  Simmer shrimp for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced.  Add entire pan contents to Alfredo Sauce.   Heat water for pasta in large pot.  Add 1 T Olive Oil and 1 T Salt to pot, cook noodles til Al Dente (just to the point of being 'done', not past...almost 'chewy' yet...this is so that the noodles will soak up some of the sauce).   Drain noodles, serve on plates, spoon alfredo/shrimp sauce liberally over the top, grate fresh parmesan cheese on top.  Enjoy!

About the Author

Mikay is an avid cook, musician, sailor, writer and computer dork who lives in Sturgeon Bay, WI in the heart of Door County with his wonderful wife Kathy and their 3 dogs.

He loves to share his recipes and develop new ones. He's been on Green Bay's Fox 11 "Good Day Wisconsin" show and is working on a cookbook as well.