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Desert in a cup

6 Apr

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

24 Dec

Today we are cooking the traditional Christmas turkey dinner with all the fixings. It’s one of our most favorite meals of all time.

We start off prepping a few side dishes consisting of mashed potatoes, sweet yams, glazed carrots, and a homemade sausage stuffing.

Now it’s time to work on the turkey.  After a long night of brining, its time to prep the turkey for roasting. We stuff it with aromatics of apple, rosemary, onion and cinnamon, get the pan prepped and oil up the turkey for a nice golden roasting.

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Our favorite recipe is Alton Browns Good Eats Roasted Turkey recipe which can be found at this link http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html
After prepping the turkey and all the side dieshes for about 4-5 hours, it’s time for our feast!

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Chicken Soup For The Soul

12 Sep
Grandma always said, “Chicken soup is good for you!”
When it starts to get colder and the weather is dreary and dark,  it makes for a nice setting to make a large batch of chicken broth.Cooking up a batch of broth always warms the entire house with a very nice aroma that lasts all day long as I slowly cook the broth on the stove for hours on end. Chicken broth is nice to have around – it’s used in a wide variety of recipes for soups and sauces that we make.

I like to make a big batch of broth and freeze it in small containers and jars to have on hand whenever a recipe calls for it. Sure I can (and do) use the packaged broth and the cubes to make broth, but to me, having home made broth is the absolute best, and its fun to make.
Chicken broth is good to make when you have left over chicken or turkey bones and parts from a prior dinner – why waste them? Make a good batch of chicken broth and you can get more bang for your buck out of your poultry and you’ll have some home made chicken broth on hand when you need it.
I found that occasionally the supermarkets have chicken on sale and you can get a whole chicken or parts (thighs etc 4-5lbs) for around $5 or $6 dollars, which will make about 5 quarts of broth.
My favorite, and what I consider a good basic recipe, is the one by Alton Brown. It’s got a good foundation and I like his ideas for techniques to get the most out of all the flavors.
Grab a very large pot that can hold 2 gallons of water, and a steamer basket
Here’s the recipe which can be found on the Food Network website

Ingredients

4 pounds chicken carcasses, including necks and backs

1 large onion, quartered

4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2

4 ribs celery, cut in 1/2

1 leek, white part only, cut in 1/2 lengthwise

10 sprigs fresh thyme

10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems

2 bay leaves

8 to 10 peppercorns

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 gallons cold water

Directions

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Set opened steamer basket directly on ingredients in pot and pour over water. Cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. Skim the scum from the stock with a spoon or fine mesh strainer every 10 to 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking and twice each hour for the next 2 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately in large cooler of ice or a sink full of ice water to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solidified fat from surface of liquid and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring to boil for 2 minutes.

Use as a base for soups and sauces.

Cooking with Spices

20 Aug

Spices for taste

Spices are what make our food preparations better tasting – the mixtures and results are the science of culinary art. There are so many flavors, hot, sweet, salty and more. The mixtures and concoctions of spice blends are endless.

Wikipedia has a great description of spices:

spice is a dried seedfruit,root,  barkleaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.[1]

Many of these substances are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious ritualscosmetics,  perfumery or eating as vegetables. For example, turmeric is also used as a preservativeliquorice as a medicine;  garlic as a vegetable. In some cases they are referred to by different terms.

In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring purposes.  Herbs, such as basil or oregano, may be used fresh, and are commonly chopped into smaller pieces.  Spices, however, are dried and often ground or grated into a powder.  Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form.

For this dinner I made Sri Lankan Beef Curry (recipe below). The blends of the spices coriander, cumin, fennel,tumeric, black pepper and salt made for a savory beef with a nice texture and heat added with the coconut milk and minced jalapeno’s. This is one very tasty dish that I highly recommend everyone try making at least once.

Recipe from myrecipes.com

YIELD

8 SERVINGS (SERVING SIZE: ABOUT 2/3 CUP BEEF MIXTURE AND 3/4 CUP RICE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 3 cups light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 (1 x 3-inch) lemon rind strips
  • 6 cups hot cooked basmati rice

PREPARATION

Cook coriander, cumin, fennel, and turmeric in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 7 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.

Combine toasted spices, black pepper, salt, and beef in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeños; sauté 3 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove onion mixture from pan. Recoat the pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Return onion mixture and beef to pan; stir in milk, vinegar, and rind, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until beef is very tender. Discard rind. Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Smoking Salmon

3 Aug
The BBQ Domain

I’ve been into BBQ’ing since I learned to play with matches and roasted my first hot dog over an open flame on my moms bbq in our backyard. I still remember that day, I burned the hot dog to a crisp, but I liked the crunchiness, it tasted good. What did I know? I was only a kid.. I’ve learned a lot since then…

I love to BBQ/Grill/Charcoal/whatever you want to call it, I think it’s some kind of neanderthal trait in our DNA that makes us desire to cook meats over an open flame…. it’s a lust for fire that seems to always mesmorize us so much when we’re sitting around a campfire at night staring at the dancing flames.

As we all know there’a a lot more to BBQ’ing then just slapping some raw meat on top of some burning coals. There’s direct and indirect cooking, there’s charcoal types, gas and propane and then there’s smoking...

Smoking meats is a different and very unique way to cook meats and create incredible flavors.

There’s a saying that must always be followed when smoking meats – do it LOW and SLOW. That means smoke the meats on a very low heat (150-250 degrees at the most).

I have an electric smoker box (pictured to the left) that works ok but I’d prefer the big green egg.

Last weekend I made some smoked salmon using the following recipe for brining.

Ingredients
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
2 large salmon fillets (pin bones removed)

Directions
In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar, brown sugar and peppercorns. Spread extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the fish and top with an equally long layer of plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the plastic. Lay 1 side of the fish skin down onto the rub. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place second side of salmon, flesh down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Fold plastic over to cover then close edges of foil together and crimp tightly around the fish.

Place wrapped fish onto a plank or sheet pan and top with another plank or pan. Weigh with a heavy phone book or a brick or two and refrigerate for 12 hours. Flip the fish over and refrigerate another 12 hours. Some juice will leak out during the process so make sure there’s a place for the runoff to gather.

Unwrap fish and rinse off the cure with cold water. Pat salmon with paper towels then place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the fish is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.

Smoke fish over smoldering hardwood chips or sawdust, keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 150 degrees F and 160 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

The Golden Cadillac Drink, created at Poor Red’s

31 Jul


Poor Red’s, Home of The Golden Cadillac

After a fun day of riding my motorcycle in the local hills with my wife, we like to stop by a small historic western tavern in the town of El Dorado called Poor Red’s where we enjoy a nice cold drink after a day out riding in the summer heat.  www.poorredsbbq.com

Poor Red’s is a small restaurant and bar off the beaten path where stepping inside the door is like stepping back in time.  It’s truly one of a kind, a must see place.  I wonder if Guy Fieri knows about it?

Poor Red’s is famous for their award winning BBQ, and also for a world famous drink they concocted called The Golden Cadillac.  This drink tastes so good it’s like having a vanilla shake, but you can never drink it fast because you’ll get a brain freeze.

The sweet after-dinner type drink is made with the Italian liquer Galliano and a few other items (recipe below).  The Golden Cadillac drink made Poor Red’s the largest consumer of Galliano in the world.  That’s huge for such a small place, world’s largest consumer! right there in the tiny town of El Dorado, so far away from Italy.

If you can’t make it over to Poor Red’s, here’s the recipe for

The Golden Cadillac

- Ice
- Heavy Cream
- White Creme de Cacao
- Galliano

In a blender with the motor on high blend 5 ice cubes, crushed, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, and 1 ounce each of white crème de cacao and Galliano for 15 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth, and pour the mixture into a chilled saucer-shaped Champagne glass. Makes 1 drink.

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