Food & Drink

June 23, 2014

Stir Crazy: Gear up for the 4th with steak rub, cookies

Time to start gearing up for the Fourth of July. For companies promoting summer food and all its accessories, I liked the history on hot dogs that French's Mustard send me. In particular, I smiled over these two nuggets:

* The first words Mickey Mouse ever uttered in a cartoon were "hot dogs," in "The Karnival Kid," 1929. The cartoons he was featured in previously were silent ones.

* Hot dogs were the first food to be eaten on the moon. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. ate hot dogs on their 1969 mission.

Make a good steak any time of year even better with this recipe from food writer Leah Eskin, of the Chicago Tribune.


2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves

1 teaspoon smoked ground paprika

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Soften: Heat a small heavy dry skillet over medium. Toss in garlic and cook, shaking skillet now and then, until garlic is blackened in spots and soft, about 10 minutes. Set garlic aside to cool.

Crush: Measure salt into a mortar (or small electric spice grinder). Peel garlic and mash into salt. Mash in remaining ingredients.

Season: Rub about 1 teaspoon on each side of a steak during the last few seconds of grilling. Also good on pork and chicken.

Makes about 1/4 cup, enough for 6 steaks.

Long name; short recipe

Whether you are a gluten-free household or just want to try a new cookie recipe, this one from covers all the bases -- minus the flour. This make a small batch of 12 cookies, so feel free to double or more to feed a crowd.

Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

1 cup oatmeal

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a food processor, grind oatmeal until it resembles flour; bigger pieces are OK.

3. Add cubed butter, sugar and peanut butter and process until cookie dough forms.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

4. Roll out small balls of cookie dough and flatten them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cookies should be about 1 inch in diameter and spaced 1 inch apart from each other. They will spread just a bit.

5. Bake 12-15 minutes, until edges are slightly browned and cookies are set in the middle.

Weekend sweetener

Blogger Nikki Barton at shares a tasty cream-cheesy-cinnamon roll breakfast that you assemble the night before you bake it. Put this together Saturday night and bake it Sunday morning.

Overnight Breakfast Bake

2 cans (12.4-ounce) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

8 ounces cream cheese

6 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with shortening, or spray with cooking spray.

2. Separate dough from both cans into 16 rolls; return icing to refrigerator. Arrange rolls as evenly as possible in baking dish. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool completely, about 30 minutes.

3. When rolls are cool, cut each into 9 pieces, cutting lengthwise into 3 pieces then cutting each piece into thirds. Remove half of pieces from baking dish. Distribute remaining half of pieces evenly in bottom of baking dish.

4. Cut block of cream cheese into 8 rows by 5 rows to make 40 small squares. Evenly distribute cream cheese squares over roll pieces in baking dish. Layer second half of roll pieces evenly over cream cheese. Set aside.

5. In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, cinnamon, half-and-half and vanilla with whisk until well-combined.

Pour egg mixture evenly over top of casserole. With back of spoon, press mixture down so rolls pieces absorb as much of egg mixture as possible. Cover dish with foil; refrigerate overnight, 6 to 8 hours.

6. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover baking dish; bake 45-60 minutes, or until browned and set. (Keep an eye on casserole dish after 45 minutes. Online commenters said 45 minutes was not enough time for cream cheese to melt completely.)

7. Place small scoops of icing over warm casserole; let stand until melted. With knife or metal spatula, carefully spread icing over top of casserole. Serve warm.

Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail,; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

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