Sunday, January 31, 2010

Martha & Me dinner and other things

 Second in my series of dinners from the Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home cookbook is her dinner of:

Tart Apple Bistro Salad
Hanger Steak with Caramelized Shallots
Oven Baked Shoestring Fries
Carmel Pudding


Here's a photo of my ending product!  Looks like a massive serving of potatos - must have been my husband's serving (he love's potatoes!).  

First I had to find Hanger Steak so I went to one of our good groceries - Busch's here in Ann Arbor.  I asked the meat market person and she had to go in the back to ask another butcher (maybe she wasn't a butcher).  Then she took me to the meat area where things are packaged up and found a package called "skirt steak."  So I guess that is similar.  It reminded me of Flank Steak, probably a less expensive model.  Anyway, the hanger steak started out with caramelized shallots.  I had not used shallots before but found those at the store and they were quite tasty carmelized prior to cooking the steak in the same pan.  I use our big black iron griddle.  

The salad - Tart Apple Bistro salad was suppose to have romaine lettuce and frisee but I skipped the frisee.  Granny apples were the tart apples.  The dressing was delicious and easy to whip up.  

Now the next part was hard - oven baked shoestring fries.  I was suppose to use a "mandoline" to cut the potatoes into the shoestring shape.  But I don't have a mandoline (not the musical intrument) so we just used our box gratter (my husband helped with this chore as I was about to do mashed potatoes instead!).  So the shoestrings were not long shoestrings, but were shorter and chunkier.  They were baked in the oven  and were very good.  But my photo does not look like the photo in Dinner at Home cookbook!  

I had thought about having company to share this meal with us but decided not to and am kind of glad I didn't.  I was in a flurry after trying to get everything completed at one time.  And as you'll see the dessert didn't exactly come out as planned.

The dessert was Caramel Pudding.  This one used gelatin with the eggs and cream and that part was really delicious.  It was the caramel which was problematic.  We love creme caramel and this is similar.  I guess I must have overcooked the caramel as first, after melting the sugar, then setting it aside as mentioned, it got hard.  So I re-melted it and thought that was ok.  Well, after putting the caramel over the top of the custard and coming back later, the caramel was hard on top!  So even though the custard was very good, my caramel topping was like hard candy!  

All in all, it was a good meal.  It is always fun to learn some new things in my cooking!  And to buy and utilize some ingredients that I usually would not pick.  State tune for the next Martha & Me blog!


And to change things here - last week I worked at the Plymouth, Michigan Ice Festival.  My job was with the Puppy Mill Awareness Group to talk about how puppy mills are not good places.  Do not buy your dogs/cats from pet stores who get their animals from the puppy mill where they are raised in small cages under poor conditions.  This was also in conjunction with the Humane Society of Huron Valley here in Ann Arbor where I volunteer as a dog walker.  It was freezing cold (even though it was in the 30's last weekend).  After standing around for 2 hours you get kind of chilled but it was interesting to talk to the public about puppy mills and animals. I was chilled the rest of the day!  Here are some photos of the ice festival and Rudolph the real dog from a puppy mill who goes around with his owner talking to schoolkids about the subject.  Rudolph is blind and deaf so has to use his nose -- thus the name Rudolph.  


And I took some photos of someone carving a sculpture and a couple animals!

Next blog I will show some of my Valentine's Day beads and jewelry!  At the top is my heart with a frog on it -- I think he is cute.
Check out my web site for more.

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