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How to

Beer Steamed Stuffed Artichokes & How to Stuff an Artichoke

 

Here’s my artichoke. We’re going to gut him and stuff him with bacon.

And then cook him in beer.

 

 

The first step is to trim. Start with peeling off a few layers of the outside leaves They’re tough and not very good, don’t feel bad about getting rid of them.

And if your artichoke has a long stem, trim it so that it can stand upright, with its leaves pointed at the sky. That will come in handy later.

Then you are going to cut off the pointed tip of the artichoke.

 

Then use a pair a kitchen sheers, (or, lets be honest regular scissors will be fine) to trim the pointed tips off of all of the leaves.

 

Starting at the outside and working towards the inside, pull the leaves outward.

 

Once you get to the inside leaves that are yellow and purple, you are going to want to remove these. There is a lot of waste with stuffed artichokes, just accept it and move on.

This part isn’t easy. If you are having a hard time, that’s normal. The best way to do it is to dig at it with a melon baller. And swear at it a few times to put it in it’s place.

Feel the inside to make sure it’s smooth and none of that hairy choke is left behind. If it still feels fuzzy, keep digging. And swearing, if it helps.

Squeeze half a lemon into the cavity of the artichoke.

 Next you want to make the filling (recipe below).

Stuff the filling inside the middle of the artichoke. Starting at the outside, spread the leaves out and press the filling inside the leaves, work your way in until all the leaves are full.

Place in an oven safe pot, standing upright. Pour 1 1/2 cup citrusy wheat beer into the bottom of the pot.

Cover with a lid or tin foil and bake at 375 for 40-60 minutes or until the outer leaves come away easily.

Beer Steamed Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 4 large artichokes, prepared as above
  • 1 large lemon
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups citrusy wheat beer

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Prepare artichokes as instructed above, squeeze 1/4 lemon into the cavity of each artichoke.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat, cook the bacon until browned. Remove from pan, and chop. Drain off most of the bacon grease, leaving about 2 tbs in the pan. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Add the garlic and stir. Add the mushrooms and cook until dark brown. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients as well as the chopped bacon (other than the beer), stir until well combined.
  4. Stuff the artichokes as instructed above.
  5. Place artichokes upright in the pot, fill with 1 cup beer.
  6. Cover and cook until outer leaves come away easily, about 40-60 minutes.
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Homemade Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Dip Plus How To: Roast Garlic & How To: Caramelize Onions

One big food blogger secret is that we rarely make recipes more than once. It’s true. And sad. It’s this constant race to provide new, fun, exciting, creative content for you that leaves us little time to revisit those recipes that we love. Of course, there are always those few recipes that we will make all the time, for the rest of our lives even if it means missing an opportunity to create a new post. This is one of those recipes for me. All I want to do now is make it all over again and add bacon and parmesean cheese. 

So addictive, creamy and delicious. 

It’s a simple recipe with only a few ingredients. It isn’t hard to make but it does take time to develop the flavors, time that is well worth it. I’m moving myself and my family away from process’s foods as much as I can, a little at a time and this is my way of having that onion dip that everyone’s mom used to make with the instant soup mix packet, but with loads more flavor and no mysterious chemicals. 

Also, I’m going to show you the right way to cut an onion. 

And how to roast garlic. 

Two skills that I hope stick with you for the rest of your life. My kitchen would be a much different place without onions and roasted garlic. 

Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Dip

1 whole white onion (I used a Walla Walla Sweet onion)

1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tbs, divided

1 large head of garlic

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 cup sour cream

salt and pepper to taste

How to cut an onion:

Cut the onion in quarters. 

With the tip of the knife close to the center, make vertical cuts all the across the onion, about 1/4 inch apart.

Then cut the onion in the other direction, cutting across the cuts you just made. 

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. The key to caramelizing onions, and not BROWNING them, is: low and slow. Heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmery, then reduce the heat to low and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally until the onions are soft and have turned an amber color. You want them to have that amber color or the sugars in the onion haven’t been caramelized yet and the flavors are not developed. This will take between 30 and 40 minutes, but you only have to stir occasionally so it isn’t a lot of work.

 How to roast garlic:

This is very easy and gives you the most incredible tasting stuff. If you haven’t roasted a head of garlic yet, you should. 

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut the top off of the head of garlic. 

Place on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil. 

Fold the foil up over the garlic into a tight packet. Place in a baking dish (I use a muffin tin) and place in the oven. 

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until garlic is soft and starting to turn an amber color.

Once you have brought out those incredible flavors in your garlic and your onions, break out the food processor. 

Add the softened cream cheese, sour cream, onions and squeeze the garlic head until the soft cloves pop out and add them to the food processor as well. 

Process until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

So simple, so good. 

Next time, I’m gonna try it with bacon and Parmesan cheese. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Printable: Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion Dip

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How To: Roll Cut and Stuff Pork Loin

This isn’t a recipe. Not really. It’s how to actually cut this sucker so you can stuff food inside of it. 

What you’ll need:

1.5 lb pork loin

Sharp knife

Kitchen twine

Whatever you are going to stuff your pork with

Bread crumbs

Baking dish



Preheat oven to 375. 

Place your pork loin on a cutting surface. This is a basic diagram of where you will be cutting. 

Start cutting closest to the cutting board, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the bottom of the loin

Don’t cut through, stop with about 1/2 inch to go. Then open the loin like a book that you are about 3/4 of the way through, with more pages on the left than the right. 

Make your final cut, bisecting the thicker side of the loin.

 Open the final flap. 

I like to trim off the uneven front and back, making it cleaner and easy to stuff

Stuff your pork with your stuffing. Need some suggestions? I’m here to help you. 

Here is a gorgeous loin from the beautiful and fabulous Elizabeth of Guilty Kitchen. Click on her pork loin picture to take you to her recipe, featuring bacon, feta and spinach. 

Here is another one from Bellalimento, featuring spinach, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms, click on the picture for the recipe.

OK, now that we are back from those gorgeous blogs, we can continue. 

fill your open pork loin with your desired filling, leaving about 1/2 inch on all sides. 

My filling is just a simple olive oil, garlic, spinach, gorgonzola and bread crumbs. 

Starting at the side closest to you, roll the pork tightly. 

Once that is rolled, cut about 2 feet of kitchen twine. 

Tie one end of the twine tightly around one end of the loin. 

Place the long end of the twine about two inches down the top, center of the loin. Securing the two inch line in place with your thumb, bring the rest of the twine underneath the loin. 

Bring the kitchen twine back underneath the twine elbow you just created and pull tightly. 

Continue this process two of three more times down the length of the loin until you reach the end. Secure tightly at the far end. 

Roll the loin in bread crumbs and bake at for 30-40 minutes of until the internal temp is about 160. You still want a slight hint of pink in the center of the loin. 

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How To: Make Stuffed Cupcakes

If you are a cupcake person, learning to stuff them is just an essential skill. Really, ESSENTIAL. Slight exaggerations aside, stuffing cupcakes brings them to the next level, adding another flavor, another texture and another dimension.

I’m going to highlight three common cupcake stuffin' techniques today, each one  has advantages and it will largely depend on what you are stuffing with to decide which one to go with.

The first method is to stuff pre-cooking. This only works with a filling that can be baked. I use this a lot to stuff cupcakes with cheesecake. Yep, cheesecake stuffed cupcakes.

First, you will need your two components, the cupcake batter and the filling batter (like cheesecake, or cookie dough). These can be the same flavor of different flavors. For my Key LIme Pie cupcakes, I used a white cake batter and a key lime cheesecake batter.

First, fill your cupcakes only half way full

Using a spoon, make a well in the middle but pushing the batter up onto the sides of the cupcake papers.

Fill the well with about 1 tbs of the cream cheese mixture.

Bake until the cupcake batter is done, the cheesecake filling will cook at about the same rate. You want to make sure not to over cook your cupcake batter. 

The second method is to bake the cupcakes and fill them later. Once your cupcakes have baked and cooled, you can create a hole in the middle in two ways.

The first way is to use a paring knife to remove a cone shaped section of the middle of the cupcake.

Don’t remove the bottom of the cupcake.

The second method of stuffing pre-cooked cupcakes if to smash a hole in the middle with the handle of a wooden spoon.

This does create a denseness at the bottom of the cupcake, but that can work to your advantage if you are using a particularly moist filling, like jam.

Use a piping bag to fill the hole that you have created in your cupcake. If you don’t have a piping bag, you should get one, but in the mean time use a Ziplock bag with a bit of the bottom corner cut off.

Then, just frost as usual. I used chocolate ganache to frost these, but this also makes for a great filling.

Enjoy!

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How To: Make The Perfect Pie Crust

I have a mild obsession with pie dough. Once I started to make (and modify) Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough in 2007, I realized that it is not only about a million times better than store bought crust, it takes about 8 minutes of active time. There is no downside. If you have never made pie dough, do it. Seriously, seriously, DO IT. If you are going to go through all of the trouble to make a pie, don’t even think about debasing it with a store bought crust.

I started writing for Honest Cooking this week. My first article is about the science behind pie dough. How the exact same ingredients can give you such different results and how I pledge my baking allegiance to Foolproof pie dough. For that article I wrote about the Cooks Illustrated version. For this post, I will give you my slight variation on that recipe.

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 10 tbs butter (1 stick, plus 2 tbs), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Step one:
Combine 2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse a few times until its combined. Add the butter and the shortening and process until it forms a ball around the blade, about 2 minutes.

Step two:
Add the remaining flour and process until well incorporated, about 1 minute.

Step Three:
Move to a bowl and add the water and the vodka, combine with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Combining the liquid in the food process will destroy the effects of the vodka, and your hands may warm the fats too much. The dough will be very moist, but if it is too moist to stay together, add a little more flour.

Step Four:
Split into two equal sized portions and form into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, about two hours. Because this dough is so soft, it is very important for the pie dough to be very cold and very firm.

Step five:
On a very well floured surface, place one of the disks, add flour to the top of the disk as well.

Roll out into an even thickness. Marble rolling pins are very cold and don’t disrupt the fat inside the dough, making them an excellent choice for rolling pie dough. When you place your dough in the fridge to chill, add your marble rolling pin as well, allowing it to chill.

Step six:
This recipe is very soft and will fall apart while being rolled. Although some people like to use the rolling pin to assist with moving the dough from rolling surface to pie pan, it tends to fall apart too easily with this method. The easiest way is to fold the dough circle in half, then in half again, forming a triangle.

Place the point of the triangle in the center of the pie plate and unfold the dough.

Trim the dough, leaving a half-inch overhang past the edge of the pie pan. Form a fluted edge around the top of the pie crust.

Baking:
If you want to bake this before it’s filled, prick several holes in the bottom with a fork. Line the inside with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 375.

This crust can also be filled and baked immediately, whichever your recipe calls for.

How To: Make Round Meatballs

I got a request last week (yay!)  for a How To post about round meatballs. Most pan fried meatballs have the same issue, flat on three sides, in a pyramid shape, as opposed to the pretty round ones.

There are three methods to making meatballs round, but all start the same way.

Mix up your favorite meatball recipe making sure to use a binding agent (such as bread crumbs, oatmeal or even rice). For this post, I used the following:

2 cups lean ground beef

3/4 cup sweet italian sausage, casing removed

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 egg

Mix it up really well (your hands work best for this) and use a small cookie scoop to grab a meatball sized portion.

This will allow you to have uniformly sized meatballs.

Roll them in your hands to make them as round as possible.

This is where the methods will deviate.

Method 1

The first method is to boil them. This will give you perfectly round meatballs without much fuss. Just drop your meatballs in a pot of boiling liquid. You can use the sauce you intent to serve them with, water or broth and cook until the internal temp reaches 165 or until, well, they are cooked when you break them open (about 6-10 minutes depending on size)

This method works great to give you really pretty and uniform meatballs, as well as infusing liquid to make them juicy. As for me, I like the caramelized char of a pan fried meatball, so I’d take a misshapen one over a boiled one any day, but if looks are what you are going for, boiling is a great options

Method 2

Baking. Some people swear by this method and love the way the meatballs taste after baking. Next to boiling, it is a really healthy method, saving the calories of the oil in pan frying. Heat your oven to 350, place your meatballs on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for about 15-18 minutes. I baked half of my meatballs, and pan fried the rest. The baked meatballs did still have a slight flat spot where they sat on the pan but the flavor was great. They did lack that browning on the outside that I love.

Method 3

Chill then pan fry. Place the meatballs on a plate and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. You want to be able to brown the outside before the inside knows whats going on and has a chance to sag. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a pan until it is very hot and almost smoking. Get your meatballs out of the fridge and place them in the hot pan. Grab the handle of the pan and pull it back and forth over the burner so that your meatballs never have a chance to settle.

Cook for about 5-8 minutes, make sure that the meatballs are cooked through before serving. I just broke one open but you can also break out the thermometer and make sure the temp is at least 165.

Here are the final product of Method 2 (baking) and Method 3 (chill then pan fry).

Method 2 is on the left and Method 3 is on the right.

Of all the methods, chilling and pan frying was my favorite. They aren’t as perfectly formed as boiled ones,but that browning taste that I love came through beautifully. Another factor to keep in mind is that lean meat cooks better, while fattier meat may leave empty pockets where the fat has melted, making your meatballs misshapen.

If you have a request for How To Mondays, you can email it to me at jackie@domesticfits.com or leave it on my Facebook wall at

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How To: Make Roasted Garlic Butter

I’ve been smearing this stuff all over pretty much everything this weekend. The growing list of food that has been slathered with roasted garlic butter at my house include: steak, chicken, asparagus, potatoes and just plain 'ol bread. I have a wicked addiction to garlic, and now that it’s in spreadable form no food is safe in my house.

Roasted Garlic Butter

1 head garlic

2 tbs olive oil

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the top off of your head of garlic and expose the cloves. Place it on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil.

Fold the foil up tight around the garlic, place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

Place the stick of butter in a food processor. Squeeze the head of garlic into the food processors, pushing the softened cloves out of the head. Be careful not to get any papery skin into the butter mixture.

Add the salt.

Pulse until combined.

Garlic butter can be served softened, or chilled. To chill the butter, place on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log.

Refrigerate until chilled and then cut slices and serve over warm meat, seafood and vegetables.

 

How To Make Homemade Paper Lanterns

I started making these a few weeks ago for my daughters upcoming birthday party and I’m at a loss for what to call them. Paper Orbs? Lanterns? Balls??? Whatever name they end up taking, they are really easy to make and turned out pretty darn cute. I hope to have some great pictures of them to share after my daughters party, I made 15 to hang from the patio awning. Here is my step by step DIY:

To start, the materials you will need are

2 pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper, 2 brads (long ones), a hole punch and a paper cutter

Cut each piece of paper into about 10 strips each, for a total of 20 strips (these can also be made with using only 10 strips, like on my Baby Shower post). I just pushed the page flush with the edge of the paper cutter to begin with, making each strip about 3 cm wide and I ended up with about 10 evenly sized strips

 

Then, punch a hole in both ends of each strip

Stack up the 20 strips and put a brad through the holes on each end

To open the thing (orb? lantern? ball?) place it in a "C" shape and gently pull each strip out, in order, until they are all evenly spaced

 

Then attach at string to the brand, making a loop and tying it again above the brad so that it hangs level to the ground

 

You can add a flame-less candle (please, no actual fire, just LED’s) if you are going to use them for evening outdoor parties. It is pretty cold and rainy right now so the idea of evening parties on my patio makes me happy enough to add them just for the hope that it will happen soon!