Friday, January 05, 2007
My first Rachael Ray recipe
Hamburger and Onion Stuffed Bread
Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats Copyright 2005
1 baguette (day-old is fine)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dijon or spicy brown mustard, to dress the bread
4 slices deli Swiss cheese, folded to cover the bread or 6 ounces Gouda or smoked Gouda, sliced to fit the bread I used Swiss
Chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf parsely, for garnish I omitted this
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Crisp the bread in the low oven, split lengthwise, then cut in half again to make 4 bread boats and hollow out the bread. I used 1 1/2 baguettes and made 6 boats. Switch the broiler on.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO. Add the meat, season liberally with salt and pepper, and brown and crumble it, 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add the Worcestershire and remove from the heat.
Spread a little Dijon or spicy brown mustard across the bottoms of the breads. Fill with the meat and onions and top the filled breads with the cheese. Melt the cheese under the broiler and garnish with the chives or parsley.
Yes, this is what I needed the baguettes for. I'd have to say it was worth baking my own baguettes. I really liked these stuffed breads, as simple as they seem. I loved the toasted, crunchy, chewy bread and the simple toppings enhanced it without overpowering it. The mustard was pretty key - if you don't like mustard, I put something else with a bit of zip on the bread. This recipe is very basic but she offers more involved versions of stuffed bread too. I just love the concept. I thought they were a nice change of pace from hamburgers or sloppy joes.
I picked this recipe because it was the simplest one in the book. I don't know what it is about Rachael Ray's recipes but they seem complicated to me. It's one thing to watch her whip something up on her show - it looks simple. But when I see the recipes printed out, my head starts spinning. Maybe it's all the fresh and sometimes unique ingredients (which is great but sometimes pricey) or the fact that her recipes are usually for entire meals and designed to be cooked as a meal (the directions jump from one thing to the next and back so it's hard to separate the elements of the meal if you don't want to make the entire meal).
The recipes are all designed with her usual 30-minute constraint and the methods aren't complicated so it's perplexing why so many of them seem like a lot of trouble to me. I really don't think they are - this is just my initial perception when flipping through this book (and also her other books in the local library). When I'm faced with a cookbook like this, I find it helps to go through the book page by page and list every recipe that I would ever possibly want to make. That forces me to look at the recipes more closely and I usually come up with a good list of recipes that I can refer to without wading through the entire book again.
I have to say this about Rachael Ray - her recipes, at least the ones in this cookbook (I can't vouch for the others), are somewhat unique. I love Paula Deen but her recipes are not exactly original. A good percentage of them probably appeared on a product package at one time or another. Giada DeLaurentis is wonderful too but her cooking is pretty standard fare for the most part. RR manages to offer recipes that are different, yet still very appealing. I want to eat most of her recipes, I'm just a bit overwhelmed by the thought of gathering all of the ingredients and preparing them myself.
One thing that bugs me is that many of the recipes are variations of a main recipe and she will just tell you to omit this, add that, etc. My brain is too scattered to absorb that kind of information. She doesn't include many pictures either but otherwise, I'm happy to own my first Rachael Ray cookbook.
Blast From The Past: Sour Cream Cake from my son's birthday a year ago. I think I'm going to use the same recipe this year. We're having a family party next weekend.
Question of the Day: Rachael Ray - Yay or nay?