Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Braised Veal with Mushrooms and Onions

You may have the idea that we like braised meat dishes. We think they are tasty, endless in variety, and a good meat stretcher. Start by browning 1 or 2 slices of bacon which has been cut up. Mmix 8 oz. of veal stew (or lamb or beef or chicken) with 3T seasoned flour. Brown the veal in 3T olive oil. Remove the meat and gently brown 2 cloves of minced garlic along with 1T dry thyme and 1 bay leaf. Saute 8 oz. sliced mushrooms in 2T olive oil and 2T butter. Sauteing removes the excess water from the mushrooms. Add 1-14 oz. can of dice tomatoes and mix with the mushrooms. Deglaze the meat pan with 1/4C dry red wine and then add the mushrooms, tomatoes and the meat back to the pan. Cover and bake at 275 degrees for 2 hrs or until the meat is fork tender. After 1 hr. of cooking add several small whole raw onions. We served the dish with boiled fingerling potatoes, a crusty bread and steamed broccoli. Garnish with fresh parsley.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Carne Guisada (Mexican Beef Stew) - Adapted from Various

Toss 1-1/4 lbs. of beef chuck or beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes (this served 2 gen-erously), with 3T flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat in 2-3T olive oil. Remove the meat and add 1 medium diced onion, 1 seeded and diced jalapeno pepper and 2 cloves of minced garlic. When the onions are soft, add 3t ground cumin, 1t cayenne pepper and 2T tomato paste. When the spices are fragrant add 2C of liquid (we used a mixture of beer and beef stock but you could also use wine or just stock or even water). Bring to a boil and then cover and place in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hrs., until the meat is fork tender. One recipe included diced potatoes but we chose to leave them out. Use a fork to "pull" the meat apart. We served the stew with home made salsa, avacodo, grated cheese and fresh cilantro on warm tortillas. Along side are refried beans and rice. Obviously, the heat can be adjusted by using more or less jalapeno and cayenne. A very tasty beef dish!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Olives - Adapted from Bon Appetit

Here's another easy brazed chicken recipe. Make a spice mixture containing 1t ground cumin, 1/2t paprika, 1/2t fine sea salt and 1/4t cayenne pepper. Toss 6 thighs with the spice mixture. Heat 1T olive oil in an oven-proof pan and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken and add to the same pan one medium fennel bulb sliced into 1/2" pieces and 1/3C Kalamata olives. Stir until the fennel softens. Deglaze the pan with 2C chicken stock, 2T fresh lemon juice, 1/2C dry white wine. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and place in a 300 degree oven for about an hour or until the chicken is "falling off the bone" tender. Remove the chicken, fennel and olives to a warming plate and thicken the cooking liquid with 2T corn starch in 1/2C water. We served the sauce over Acini De Pepe but rice would work as well. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pork Chops with Shallots and Pears - Adapted from Bon Apetit

The recipe calls for a pork tenderloin but we had some nice thick Costco pork chops so we adapted. Start by seasoning the pork with salt, pepper and dry thyme. Brown the pork in 2-3T olive oil and then place it in a 450 degree oven until the internal temperature is 140 degrees or until the juices run clear(about 15 min. for these chops). Remove the pan from the oven and remove the pork from the pan. To the pan add 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 medium diced shallots and 1/2 of a pear in 1/8" slices and saute until the pear slices begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with 1/2C dry white wine and 1/2C stock. Finish the sauce with 2T butter. Serve the sauce over the pork. We served boiled fingerling potatoes topped with the sauce but you could use pasta or rice as well.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chicken Biscuits with Wedge Potatoes and Peas

This is a good use for leftover chicken (yet another one). Start by making a white sauce. Melt 2T butter in a sauce pan, add 2T flour and warm until bubbly. Add 1/2C milk and stir until the sauce thickens and boils. Add 1-1/2C cooked diced or shredded chicken, 4 oz. sauted mushrooms (don't use raw ones because the water they generate with make the dish soggy), 1-1/4C shredded cheese, we prefer white cheese. Stir together until warmed through and then set aside. Seperate the biscuits from an 8 pack of Pillsbury Grands Bisquits and press all 8 into 5" circles. Put the chicken mix on half the the circles and top with the others. Seal the edges with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 min or until the biscuits are nicely browned.
The potatoes were cut in eighths and baked at 375 degrees for about 40 min.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken with Arrabiata Sauce - Adapted from Food and Wine

Arrabiata loosely translated from Italian means angry mood. This sauce has a definite hot edge to it. Of course, how hot is up to you. The only difference between this sauce and others we have had is the size of the diced vegetables. That too, you can very to suit. Start by browning chicken pieces in 3T olive oil. Remove the chicken and remove all but 3T of oil. Add a diced red onion, yellow bell pepper and pablano. Saute until the peppers are tender. Add 3/4t crushed red pepper, a bay leaf and 1/2t dry thyme. Stir until you can smell the herbs. Stir in 2 cloves minced garlic and 1-14 oz. can of tomatoes; they can be whole or diced. Return the chicken to the pot and place in a 300 degree oven for one hour. Serve the chicken and sauce with your favorite pasta. We like a shaped pasta to hold some of the sauce. Serve any type of wine you like from a crisp dry white to a big red and crusty bread.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ciappino - Fish Stew

Fish stew sounds inadequate for this dish. There are many recipes out there; this is an adaptation of many of them. Choose whatever fish you like and is fresh. For three of us, we chose 12 mussels, 12 clams, 4 scallops, 4 shrimp, 1/2C crab meat, and 1/3lb firm white fish, in this case cod. Calamari would make a nice addition but we couldn't find any this time. We made the stock needed by steaming the shell fish in 1/4C water and making the resulting broth up to 8 oz. Saute a medium onion, diced 1/2C diced celery 1/4C diced fennel bulb and 2 cloves minced garlic until the onions are tender, not browned. Add 1 bay leaf, 1t each dry oregano, thyme, and basil plus 1/4t or more cayenne pepper. When the herbs are toasted, add the broth, 3/4C dry white wine and 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes. Simmer this mixture for 30 min or so. When you are ready to serve add the fish in this order (because of cooking time): cod, shrimp, scallops and finally add back the steamed shell fish. Serve with a dry white or rose` wine and a good crusty bread.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lemon Fennel Baked Trout Filets with Tomato Fennel Salad Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus

Long title for a simple meal. The trout filets were seasoned with salt and pepper sand-wiched thinly sliced lemon and fennel frowns and were baked at 400 degrees for about 10 min. The tomatoes and thinly sliced fennel were dressed with a white wine vinegar vinaigrette. The fingerling potatoes were slow baked on a bed of kosher salt at 200 degrees for about 45 min. They were very moist and tender. The asparagus was simply steamed in the microwave.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Black Bean and Beef Chili - Adapted from

We used black beans out of the can but if you use dried ones they need to be precooked so allow time for that. Brown 2lb. ground beef in a large soup pot. Remove it and drain the fat. Dice 1 large onion. Saute 1/2 of a large onion, diced until the onion is soft but not browned. While the onion is sauteing, puree 1 14 oz. can of black beans, 1- 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with their juice, 1 medium chipotla chili pepper and 2T of adobo sauce until it is smooth. When the onion is done, add 2T chili powder, 1T oregano, 1 clove of minced garlic and simmer for 5 min. Return the beef and add 2-14 oz. cans of drained black beans and the puree. Simmer for 30 min. Just before serving add a handful of chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of 1/2 of a lime.
The topping was made by combining the other half of the diced onion, a diced avocado, chopped cilantro and the juice of 1/2 of a lime. Serve with tortilla chips.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Day Tradition

At our house we combine our German and Southern Heritage by having roast pork, sauer-kraut, and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. This year we added some potato pancakes made from the leftover filling of twice-baked potatoes. We combined the filling with 1/4C flour and a slightly beaten egg and frying them until golden. The pork loin and sauerkraut had half of an onion, 2 cloves of garlic and a quarter of an apple added and simmered slowly together on top of the stove. The black-eyed peas were cooked from dry but you could use canned or frozen if you prefer. Greens of some sort would also be a nice addition as would a piece of corn bread. Happy New Year to all!