Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Squash and Apple Soup with Sausage

This is a recipe that belongs to Greg and Mina. We all cooked together on this one. Start by browning 1lb of Italian link sausage, mild or spicy, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. In a large soup pan add 1 winter squash (Hubbard, Acorn or Butternut), peeled and diced, 1 Granny Smith apple peeled and diced, 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced, 1 leek cleaned and thinly sliced, 1 head of roasted garlic, peeled, 1 rib of celery diced, 2 cans of chicken stock and a bouquet garne containing fennel seeds, coriander seed, star anise, black pepper corns and rosemary. Crush the seeds roughly with a rolling pin. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are very soft. Remove the spice packet, whir with a stick blender and add the sausage. We added sea salt to taste and grated parmesan cheese at the table. A very interesting combination of flavors. Also, some of us think the addition of curry would be nice.

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Standing Ribroast with Twice Baked Potatoes and Green Beans with Raddicchio

The roast and the potatoes have appeared here before but the bean dish is new and Karen is respon-sible for it. Start by cleaning and snapping 1lb of fresh green beans. Arrange them on a large baking tray with 1 head of radicchio which has been shredded. Mix in one full head of peeled garlic cloves. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 min. The beef was rarer than it looks here. We served dinner with a wonderful 1998 Chateau Baudens Medoc given to us by our friend Roland Simon from Belgium. Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Beef Bracciole with Asparagus and Asiago Cheese

Start by sauteing 4oz. sliced mush-rooms and setting them aside. Cut the bracciole (thinly sliced top round steak) into about 1/4lb. pieces. Blanch 3 asparagus spears for each piece of meat. Rub each piece with freshly crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Place 1/2 of a sandwish sized slice of cheese along with 3 (or more) asparagus spears on each on each piece of meat. Roll into packages and secure with toothpicks. Brown the meat in an oven proof pan. Place the pan in a 450 F oven for 10 min. At the same time, cook some pasta according to package directions. At the end of 10 min, remove the meat from the pan and deglaze with 1/4C dry red wine. Add 2T corn starch which has been mixed in 2C beef stock. Bring to the boil and when the mixture thickens, add the muchrooms. Serve the sauce over the meat and pasta.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Curried Spinach and Lental Soup

We made some changes to the original recipe, mostly in cooking times, to suit our tastes. First, sort and rince 1C dry lentils. We used nice green French ones. Put them in a pot with 2qts of stock, chicken or vegetable, and 2qts of water and simmer them gently until they are just tender. This took about 45 min. Add 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 2 carrots pealed and diced, 1 rib of celery diced, 1 medium potato, diced and 1T curry powder. Continue simmering until the vegetables are tender, another 20 min. At this point we decided to add 1/2lb diced keilbasa but the soup would do fine without it if you prefer. Just before serving, add 10 oz. of chopped fresh spinach. Top with 1T red wine vinegar. These cooking times give spinach with a nice fresh green color and lentils that were "al dente".


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Char Siu Rack of Lamb with Smashed Redskins and Spinach

For those of you who don't think that you like lamb, try this dish. We think it would work well with individual chops as well as the rack. The best we can discover Char Siu is a general term for "BBQ" in chinese.
First, we made a marinade by combining some crushed Sqechauan pepper corns, 1t; 1T minced fresh rosemary, 1 clove minced garlic, and 4T soy sauce. Put the lamb in the marinage, turning to coat and refrigerate for 2-3 hrs. While the lamb is marinading prepare the glaze and the salsa.
For the glaze mix 1/3C hoisin sauce, 1/3C soy sauce, and 3T honey and set aside.
For the salsa combine 1 mango pealed and diced, 2T chopped bell pepper (We like to use a variety of colors which we get off the salad bar for small amounts rather than buying whole peppers), 2T chopped onion, 1T chopped mint leaves, 4T soy sauce, 2T honey, 2T fresh lemon juice and 1T plum sauce. Allow the mix to rest for an hour so the flavors meld.
Prepare the lamb by brushing with the glaze and broiling or grilling to the preferred doneness (med-rare in our case) about 15 min. Turn the lamb two or three times and apply more glaze as it cooks.
For the spinach wilt 1 lb. fresh spinach in boiling water then press dry to remove all of the water possible. Just before serving warm with 3/4C chopped basil, 3/4C ricotta cheese, 2T butter, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4C whipping cream. Serve immediately.
For the potatoes boil redskins until tender then drain and smash them in an oven proof dish. Drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and put in a 450 F oven for about 20 min. They will stay warm while you cook the lamb.
We served a big red Zinfandel with it.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Chicken Braised with Ginger and Star Anise

First, we couldn't find star anise at our store so we supstituted 5-Spice. Start by sauteing 1t of szechaun pepper corns in 2T peanut oil. When the pepper is fragrant remove it from the pan and crush them. Julienne a 2" long piece of fresh ginger and add it to the pan along with 2 cloves of minced garlic. Saute until golden brown and then add the meat of 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs that have been cut into bite sized pieces and seasoned with the pepper. Toss until the chicken is browned. Add 1/3C rice wine, 1/2C light soy sauce and 1T honey. This is the point where you add the star anise, if you have one; we substituted 1T 5-spice. Simmer about 20 min. until the chicken is done. We served the dish with rice and steamed broccoli. Very tastey and it went well with a dry white wine.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cumin-Cinnamon Scented Chicken Balls in Tomato-Basil Sauce

For the meatballs, mix 2T plain bread crumbs, 2 Cloves garlic, minced, 1t ground cumin, 1/2t ground cinnamon, 1/2t ground pepper, 3/4t salt and 1 1/4 lb ground chicken. Mix well and form into walnut sized balls. Refrigerate for a few minutes so the balls are firm then brown them in 4T olive oil. When they are nicely browned, add 2C of your favorite tomato sauce and simmer until the chicken balls are well done. Top with fresh basil (or dried if you dont have it) and serve.
For the beans, blanch green beans in boiling water for 2 min. then remove and set aside. In 1T olive oil, saute gently 1/4C diced mushrooms, 1/4C diced kalamata olives and one garlic clove thinly sliced. Add the beans back to heat through.
We served the dish with pasta and the sauce from the chicken on the side.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thai-style Turkey Noodle Soup

We still have some leftovers from Thanks-giving and soup sounded good so we looked up a few Thai recipes for soup and shuffled them to come up with this soup. Start with 2 qts. of stock. Ours was made from the Thanksgiving turkey. Add the juice of 2 limes, 1/3C Thai garlic chili sauce, 2T fresh ginger, thinly sliced, 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, 1-2C diced turkey, 1/4C chopped cilantro and 1/2- 14 oz. can of coconut milk (left from the curry beef below). Add as much extra heat as you wish. We added two crushed dried chilis. Add 1C of chopped mushrooms which have been sauted. Simmer the mixture for 30 min or so to allow the flavors to meld. Cook the noodles in the stock. Top with fresh chopped cilantro. A good hardy "hot and sour" soup.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Coconut Beef Curry

So as to avoid confusion, we halved the full recipe that is given here. Start by browning 2lb. beef stew meat in 2T olive oil. Add two sliced onions, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2T ground cumin, 2T paprika, 2T red curry paste (you can buy curry paste from firey to mild so choose the one you like, but, some heat is nice), and 1t cinnamon. Stirr until fragrant. At this point the original recipe calls for placing the mix in a crockpot. We had used only 1 lb. of meat, so decided to cook in a low heat oven instead of the crockpot. Whichever you choose, add 1lb. baby carrots, and 4 medium diced potatoes. Add 2T tomato paste, 1/2C water, and 1- 14oz can of coconut milk. Stir and place in a 250 F oven for about 3 hrs or until the meat is fork tender. In the crockpot, cook on low for 8-10 hrs. We served it with steamed broccoli and crusty bread for the wonderful sauce that is generated. Enjoy a "big red" wine with this dish.