Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Salmon

Sometimes the simplest dinners are the best and tonight’s was no exception. I had purchased the back end of a farmed Atlantic Salmon from Cotsco a few days earlier. Similar to the horse’s ass, this piece included the tail, which I cut off, grateful that I hadn’t purchased the front end. I hate when something I plan to eat looks directly at me.

Normally, I avoid farmed fish, but The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch had this posted to their website and the gentleman in the fish department at Cotsco assured me that their’s were raised in inland tanks.

SALMON, FARMED INCLUDING ATLANTIC

There are many environmental problems related to farming salmon, which means most are ranked “Avoid.” However, efforts to reduce some of these environmental impacts by raising fish in inland tanks have been successful. Salmon from these farms are a “Best Choice.”

This recipe can be made with a half of a fish, as I used tonight, with fillets or with salmon steaks.

From start to finish the active time involved in this recipe is no more than 5 minutes, which is about how much time most of us have at this time of year.

Ingredients:

Salmon

1 clove garlic

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

2 tsp Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp Chili Paste

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

1 Tsp Mirin

1 Tbsp Peanut Oil

1/4- 1/3 cup Wasabi Mayonnaise (May use Mayonnaise mixed with Prepared Wasabi)

Preparation:

Preheat Oven to 350 (if you have Convection use it)

Crush garlic in a Garlic Press into a small bowl. Crush ginger into the same bowl. Add Soy Sauce, Chili Paste, Sesame Oil, Mirin and Peanut Oil into the same bowl and whisk all ingredients together well.

Place your fish in an ovenproof ceramic dish and pour marinade over the top. Let it sit 20 minutes to an hour.

When fish is finished marinating add Wasabi Mayonnaise to the top of the fish.  Depending on the size of your fish and the amount of coating you like, you may use anywhere from the 1/4 cup I used to 1/3 cup.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I served our salmon with Cauliflower which I tossed with a couple of Tbsp of EVO and about 1 Tbsp Garam Masala and Sea Salt. I roasted the cauliflower for about 35 minutes. If you have been following this blog, by now you know that I think Garam Masala goes with everything. Trust me when I tell you it is wonderful on cauliflower and a great accompaniment to this Asian influenced salmon.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Bon Apetit!

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Comfort Food redefined for 2012! Torte with Garam Masala Scented Chicken, Pear, Bacon, Chestnuts & Pama

So much to do today and no time to stop and grocery shop. Lots of meats in the freezer- it’s Colorado and you never know when you may get snowed in for a few days.  This even happened to me once!

I have to make something interesting and delectable. Not only am I trying to stockpile posts so I can enjoy my holiday without dumping this whole blog on Margo, but I am getting a new stove!

Sure a sane person might wonder, why wouldn’t she wait to cook on her fabulous new gas range? Having longed for a gas cook top for so long and being nudged onward not only by the lopsided old burners, but the fact that now only 3 burners are functioning, the Brit and I have decided to bestow new kitchen appliances on each other for our anniversary in January.

But, as decrepit as my old stove top may be, it has served me well and been there through thickening sauces and thin pancakes. So it seems only fitting that it kind of go out with a bang.

What to make I pondered, as I stared at the boneless breast of chicken I had removed this morning from the freezer. I wanted to use one of my new spices I bought from Penzey’s yesterday.  I always love to play with new things. I noticed the bottle of Pama, from last week’s Butternut Squash, Pear & Pama Soup…hmmm…I also have Bosc Pears to kill. And if there is anyone actually following this blog, by now they have figured out that in my world, very few recipes are complete without Garlic, Baby Bella Mushrooms and Chicken Broth!

I am calling this a Chicken Torte instead of a Chicken Pie because I believe it to be deserving of a classier sounding name, but if you disagree, just let me know!

Ingredients:

3 cloves Garlic, sliced thin

1 small Yellow Onion, large chop

2 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon, large dice

1 Bosc Pear, peeled and cut in large dice

1 Free Range, Organic Boneless Breast Chicken, cut into large dice

1 Celery Stalk, small dice

3-4 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

½ tsp Garam Masala

½ cup Low Sodium, No MSG Chicken Broth

½ cup Organic, Non Fat Milk

3 Tbsp Pama

4 Roasted Chestnuts, crumbled

2 Tbsp Flour

Preparation:

Cook bacon in heavy saucepan until crisp, but not burned. To do this you must stir often.

Pour out about half of the fat, then add onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, until soft.

Quickly stir in Garam Masala, stirring constantly for about 1-2 minutes, until the most amazing fragrance you can imagine begins to spill into your home.

Add celery, mushrooms and pear and the chicken. Stir until chicken turns white; about 3-4 minutes. Crumble the chestnuts over the top and stir to combine.

Now add the Pama and cook to dissipate the alcohol for another 3-5 minutes over low heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk and cook over low heat for ½ hour.  To finish, mix 2 Tbsp Flour with cooking liquid to make a thickening agent and then stir it back into the pot. Cook for another minute or two to thicken.

Next up, was my quest for a Pie crust w Coconut Oil & Spelt Flour. Why?  Because I have some Spelt Flour and it is healthier than white flour and I think the coconut oil will blend well with the Garam Massala. I found this recipe in my cyber travels: http://apronofgrace.com/2011/flaky-pie-crust-using-coconut-oil/.

Then I found this one with Vodka….really? But it’s Smitten Kitchen and Deb is a rock staress, demi-God, so I just had to take a peak….and I love what she says about pie crust recipes:http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/11/pie-crust-101/

So my pie crust came about like so:

Ingredients:

1 cup Spelt Flour

1 cup King Arthur’s Flour

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

1Tbsp Sugar

1 stick Butter, cut into small pieces

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

3 Tbsp Ice Water

Preparation:

Put Flour, salt, sugar, butter and coconut oil in bowl of Food Processor with Knife Blade. Pulse to combine into a grainy substance, not yet sticking together, yet more dense than flour alone.

With machine running, slowly pour ice water through the Feed Tube to combine. Dough will form a ball or pretty close.

Dump dough onto a sheet of Plastic Wrap, roll into a ball, pat down and refrigerate for at least a few hours.

Now here’s where my apology comes in: I forgot to take pictures until my dough was a ball.

There really wasn’t that much to see, other than the sandy dough before I gathered it together into this ball in my Susan B Komen Pink Saran Wrap.

I then rolled it out flat into a circle, as best I could.  I am not a great baker.  My baking always tastes good, but it is not always pastry chef pretty. Actually, I call it rustic.  I then pressed my circle into a spring form pan like so.

To be completely honest, I had thought I would have had enough dough to make a top for my torte. At a minimum, a lattice like one. Truth be told, I barely had enough dough left to make these:

I then placed my empty shell in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. Once it came out of the oven, looking much the same as when it went in, I might add, I then filled it with the chicken mixture and placed the hearts on the top.

Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour more, with a sheet of parchment fitted on top of the torte. Remove parchment after about 25 minutes to allow hearts to brown.

Thank you for dutifully cooking many families meals since the 1970’s, Old Stove.  Your simplicity and functionality has served me well for the past seven years we have spent together.

Oh, and just so you know, the Brit thought tonight’s dinner was “Good Comfort Food”, which I think is the best send off an old stove could have.

 

The Chimichurri Steak Recipe I stalked Emerson for a month for!

As you may recall I returned from our Thanksgiving sojourn to Lake Tahoe raving about a young chef, Emerson Bamaca, boyfriend of Sammie, daughter of our hosts Betsy and Steve. You following?

At first I thought Sammie had fallen in love with this man because he is adorable and sweet, but then after seeing “M” in action in the kitchen, I discovered one more factor that certainly must have influenced her stomach to join her heart: this man can cook!

After stalking both of them for a month, Sammie finally sent me M’s recipe for Chimichurri Steak, which you simply must try. Emerson served these as an appetizer, sliced really thin on a diagonal and then eased onto skewers, making them great finger food. You could also pile a slice atop thinly sliced baguette if you prefer. Or, for those who, like me, find this recipe the bomb, you could just serve this as a steak dinner for two!

Ingredients:

2 Boneless Rib Eye Steaks, 1 ½ inches thick

½ bunch Chopped Parsley

½ bunch Chopped Cilantro

1 clove Garlic, chopped

1 Shallot, chopped

½ Red Onion, sliced

3 Tbsp Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp Garlic Powder

3 Tbsp EVO

1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1 TbspCayenne

1 Lemon, juiced

¼ cup Water

Preparation:

Place the steaks in a Zip Lock Bag. I always pierce my meat with a two pronged fork before marinating to insure that the juices permeate the meat.

Mix all other ingredients and pour into Zip Lock Bag with the steak. Marinate at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator. In my world this could be done a day or even two ahead, as I could not get too much of the intense flavor of this delicious marinade.

Remove the steak after marinating and leave it out for 5 minutes.

Pan sear or grill over medium heat with a little EVO in the pan. Cook 5-6 minutes per side for medium rare; a little longer if you want to kill the poor beef!

Slice, serve and enjoy!

P.S. I apologize for not having a photo of the steak skewered and plated, but there were a lot of people there and I think I just rushed to insure that I got to eat some before they were all devoured!

Slow Roasted Prime Rib served with Brussel Sprouts roasted win Truffle Oil & Lemon and Popovers


Our friends Randy and Victoria were coming over for a long overdue dinner last night. Randy is the owner of HiTech Appliance , the showroom I go to when I want to drool over the latest and the greatest in kitchen appliances, outdoor kitchens, and tantalizing brick pizza ovens. A girl can dream, right?

Anyway, I got my beloved Electrolux Oven from Hi Tech and so I decided to put it to good use in preparing our dinner. I also wanted to prepare a dinner which would allow me the luxury of enjoying my guests and not have me in the kitchen much after their arrival.

Margo and I had made our appetizer the day before, so my Smoked Turkey Mousse was already refrigerated and ready to be unmolded onto a plate and surrounded with thin slices of crusty French bread. The Butternut Squash, Pear and Pama Soup  I had whipped up the day before made a lovely starter and required nothing other than reheating.

For our “playdate” in Margo’s kitchen the other day we had also made a rich and delicious desert of Almond Meringues filled with a Grand Marnier/Chocolate Mousse. It is my sincere hope to post this recipe at a later date when I master the technique of making them look as lovely as they tasted!

Certainly if we had thought to make a video recording of our adventure it would have been amusing, if not in the manner we desire. As I attempted to pipe the meringue onto a baking sheet, a tad bit did actually come out of the plain tip on the end of the pastry bag. Sadly, far more came out of the large opening at the top of the bag and all over my hands. Having licked them clean, I arrived home quite nauseous and probably a couple of pounds heavier. As I have always conceded, a baker I am not.

The only thing left to make was the actual dinner itself! I had purchased a Bone-In Prime Rib for the occasion and I took it out of the refrigerator early in the day to warm to room temperature. I then rubbed it well with Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper.

My roast included 2 ribs and weighed in at a tad over 4 pounds. I had decided to slow roast it and for medium-rare the cooking time would be 45 minutes per pound, so I began my prep at about 4p, as I planned to serve dinner around 815p.

Slow roasting makes a delicious Prime Rib. The meat comes out quite uniform in color, so you will want to sear the outside of your roast on the stove top prior to putting it in your oven. I have seen recipes that suggest heating EVO to do this, but I think the meat sears just as well in its own fat. I simply heated a large Calphlon over medium high heat until it was quite hot and then began my sear with the fatty top of my roast.

Once the meat was seared on all sides (with the exception of the cut sides), I rubbed two generous Tbsps of fresh Horseradish Root, which I had chopped to a fine powder into the top and sides of my roast. Next, I did the same with 10 garlic cloves, which I had first smashed with my meat mallet. I took pieces of the garlic and stuffed them into the crevices between the meat and the fat, as well as piling much of them on the top of my roast. I followed the garlic with fresh Thyme and Rosemary, pressing leaves into the meat and piling whole springs on the top.

I placed my Rib Roast on a rack in a roasting pan and surrounded it with whole Baby Bella Mushrooms, small Onions, Carrots and Potatoes. One thing I did not do, which I will do in the future is to add about ½ cup red wine to the pan. I used the Convection Roast setting on my oven, which I had preheated to 175. If you are not using convection, your oven should be preheated to 200.

The reason I suggest the wine, is that my roast retained all of its juices, which caused my carrots to come out dehydrated, yet tasty. Adding a bit of wine will give you some Au Jus for your meat, something my guests and I had to live without.

In the adage of “Waste Not, Want Not”, I used the fat from the pan I seared the meat in to coat a muffin tin, to be used to bake Popovers.

Ingredients:

2 Eggs

1 Cup Flour

¼ cup pan drippings from the roast

1 Cup Whole Milk

S&P

Preparation:

Whisk the eggs, add milk and finally, the flour and S&P. Put aside until roast is finished to add the drippings.

Apply fat from searing pan in a thin layer to muffin tins with a basting brush.

Preheat oven to 400 about 15 minutes before your roast will be ready.

When roast is done, remove from oven, suck out pan drippings with a basting bulb and add to your batter. Pour mixed batter into muffin tins to fill completely. Your Popovers with do just that: pop over the top of each compartment!

For a vegetable, I made a simple roasted Brussel Sprouts. I cut each Brussel Sprout in half and put them in a roasting vessel. I used a lovely boast shaped white oven proof dish that could go right on the table. I tossed my Brussels with a couple of Tbsp Black Truffle Oil, Sea Salt and the juice of ¼ Lemon and then roasted them at 350 for about 30 minutes.

The timing went like this:

1)      Cook roast for 3 hours. Remove from oven. Reduce heat on that oven to warm.

2)      Cook Brussel Sprouts at the 2 ½ hour mark and move them into the oven you just took the roast out of to keep warm.

3)      Increase heat on the oven the Brussel Sprouts came out of to 400. This should only take a few minutes to go from 350 to 400.

4)      Put Popovers in the 400 oven for about 15 minutes with the Roasting Potatoes you removed with the roast. This will make the skin crisp and delicious.

5)      About 5 minutes before the Popovers are done, carve the meat.

Bon Apetit!

Rack of Pork Roasted with Herbs, Vegetables and Potatoes


As of late I have been noticing a number of recipes for a Rack of Pork. I had never heard of this cut, but I love Rack of Lamb, so I found myself intrigued. While surveying the offerings at the Cotsco Meat Counter today, I decided to pick one up and give it a try.

In reading about the cut online, I discovered that it is simply a Pork Loin Roast, with the bones. Rave reviews described it as being infinitely more tasty and succulent than a traditional Pork Loin Roast, which can often be dry and bland. The more I read, the more excited I became to give this a try.

I actually cut my rack into three as it is only the Brit and I for dinner tonight. I do want to make something special for him, as this is his last night of teaching for this semester, so it is a call for a celebration of sorts. Anyway, I gave Margo one of the three Racks after self butchering, and I am anxiously awaiting her rendition of said Rack of Pork.

I began mine with a marinade:

Marinade Ingredients:


Whisk together:

1/3 cup Zinfandel Wine Vinegar

1 TbspDijon

¼ cup EVO

1 tsp Wildflower honey

1 sprig fresh Rosemary, pulled apart

1 sprig fresh, Thyme, pulled apart

Put the Rack of Pork in a Freezer Bag with the marinade and marinade at least 3 hours.

Vegetables & Potatoes:


You can really use any vegetables you think will roast well: Brussel Sprouts, Turnips, Fennel, Acorn Squash, Zucchini, etc. I also think Fingerling Potatoes would be fun and the multi-colored ones very pretty. I used Yukon Gold because I previously purchased a lifetime supply at Cotsco!

2 Potatoes, quartered

1 Parsnip, peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces

2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 3-4 inch pieces

¼ Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 3-4 in cubes

2 Beets, peeled

4PearlOnions

4 Baby Bella Mushrooms (again, these are a staple in my kitchen and I get a large basket each trip to Cotsco)

Preparation:


Preheat oven to 450. I used convection roast.

Toss the vegetables and potatoes with 1-2 Tbsp EVO, Sea Salt, Pepper, Fresh Thyme, Rosemary and fresh, shredded Sage leaves in the bottom of a small roasting pan.

Place the marinated Rack of Pork on top of the vegetables and potatoes. Set aside the bag with the marinade.

Finely chop 4-5 cloves of garlic and a 4 inch piece of peeled, fresh horseradish. Press this into the pork, both on top and on the sides. Some of this will fall off into the vegetables; this is ok.

Put roasting pan in oven and immediately turn oven down to 350. Roast for about an hour or until the internal temperature is 145. Remove from oven, transfer meat to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables and potatoes to a serving bowl and place roasting pan on stove top over medium heat. Deglaze pan juices with the marinade and reduce marinade by half. In a small saucepan, make a roux with 1 tbsp butter and 1 ½-2 tbsp flour. Add to reduced marinade and serve over meat.

So, everything they say about this cut of meat is true. The pork was flavorful, tender and moist. I like pork anyway, but I know I will lean towards a Rack of Pork from now on, in lieu of a boneless tenderloin. Yes, it is more fatty, but it is not terribly fatty and I would easily trade my portion of potatoes to enjoy this tasty treat.

As for the Brit….

Well, if the clean plate doesn’t say it all, I will quote him. “Probably the 5th greatest meal you have ever made me.” Considering I have cooked for him most nights for two years now, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!

Our Million Dollar Sauces? We need your help!

So, yesterday while the snow fell and we were hunkering down in our own toasty abodes, working on this blog none-the-less, Margo called all excited about a cooking contest where we can win $1m in royalties. This sounds very appealing to me and would definitely help give us a great answer when asked “What is the purpose of your blog?”

The contest just specifies sauce but Margo had mentioned creating recipes for Barbeque Sauce and I needed to cook those ribs I took out of the freezer yesterday anyway.

Somehow we ended up creating our own, internal, SaucyCooks contest and this is where you, the reader, comes in. Oh, it won’t be quite as easy as just reading. What we are hoping is that you will actually try and make our recipes and (a) tell us which one you prefer and (b) if you have any ideas as to how to improve our sauces. Naturally, you are welcome to create your own sauce and compete right along with us for the $1m prize. All we ask is that if you do win you take us somewhere really schwanky for dinner!

Because we are asking you to make both my recipe below and Margo’s recipe, which will follow shortly, the recipe is for a small batch. This amount was more than ample to make my ribs with more than half left over for another use.

 Not for Babies BBQ Sauce

1 Tbslp Canola/Grapeseed/Olive Oil Blend

1 small Onion, plus 3 cloves Garlic, grated in Food Processor

1 finely chopped Serrano Pepper, seeds included

¾ c Organic Catsup

1/8 c Tia Maria

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tspDijonMustard

1 ½ Tbsp Wildflower Honey

1 Tbsp Molasses

1 tsp Cider Vinegar

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp SmokedApplewoodSeaSalt

1 Bay Leaf

1 Star Anise Pod

½ tsp Oregano

¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper

¼ tsp Chili Powder

½ tsp Tumeric

1 cup Water

Heat oil in saucepan and add Serrano, Onion and Garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes until soft.

Add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the water and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Now add the water, stir it in and allow to cook down over low heat for at least 30 minutes (I cooked mine for 2 hours).

If you are interested, I cooked my rack of Baby Rack Ribs, on a rack for 7 hours at 175 convection. I rubbed them with some spicy salt, comprised of dried Chipolte, Sea Salt, Smoked Paprika and a touch of dried Thyme, before tossing them into the oven.

About 90 minutes before serving I basted them with the above BBQ Sauce about once every twenty minutes. Just before removing them from the oven I gave them one more brush with the sauce and turned up the oven to broil. It was only about 5 minutes until they looked like the picture above. I served them with diced potatoes, tossed with Black Truffle Oil, Fresh Sage strips and Sea Salt and then roasted to a golden brown. Our vegetable was Organic Baby Spinach cooked in 1 Tbsp. EVO in which I had already browned 4 cloves of garlic, slivered. After I added the spinach I sprinkled it with 1/2 tsp grated fresh Lemon Zest and Sea Salt. If we hadn’t gobbled it all up so fast I would have included a picture!

Footnote: The Brit says this was hitting his threshold for heat, so let the buyer beware!

Chicken Roulette’s with Bosc Pear, Smoked Fontina and Prosciutto in a savory Mushroom, Shallot and Vermouth Reduction

So Margo mentioned that she had a plethora of Bosc Pears left from her massive Cotsco pre-holiday shop yesterday. As we pondered the possibilities of recipes we could make to use up her pears, we also recognized that it had been quite some time since we had had ourselves a girl’s dinner. We had planned on getting together to work on this blog today anyway and it just so happens that the Brit is teaching tonight, so we decided to finish off our afternoon with kitchen experimentation culminating in a lovely dinner for two.

We had to run to Whole Foods to pick up some shallots and as we gathered the shallots, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some parsnips that I had wanted to make a soup with later this week. As I approached the parsnips I noticed that in the neighboring bin was fresh horseradish root. I have never cooked with this before and thought perhaps we should try so I broke a 4 inch piece off of one of the rather large roots in the bin and tossed it in our cart.

Here’s what we came up with, and I must say, it was pretty darn good.

Chicken Roulette’s with Bosc Pear, Smoked Fontina and Prosciutto in a savory Mushroom, Shallot and Vermouth Reduction

Ingredients:

2 Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts (pounded until they confess or are ½ in thick, which ever comes first!)

4-6 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

1 large Shallot, finely minced

1 Tbsp EVO

2 Tbsp Butter, divided

¼ Cup Flour, for dredging and thickening

2 Slices Prosciutto

About ½ Bosc Pear, thinly sliced

2 Slices Smoked Fontina

S&P

1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Thyme

1 Cup Low Sodium, no MSG Chicken Broth

½ Cup Extra Dry Vermouth

3 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 Convection, 375 if using traditional bake setting

Salt and Pepper breasts and then dredge with flour, shaking off excess. Top chicken breasts with a layer of sliced pear, then fontina cheese, and finally topping with prosciutto. Roll the chicken breast and secure with toothpick.

Melt 1 Tbsp Butter, with 1 Tbsp EVO over medium heat in a large skillet. Add chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add Lemon Thyme.

Add chicken to pan and brown on all sides, making sure to brown ends as well. I use a fork and hold the ends to the pan to accomplish this. Remove chicken to an oven proof pan. If using a convection oven, place on rack in the pan. Put chicken in oven.

Deglaze the skillet, scraping the bottom to get all of the browned bits dislodged and stir in chicken broth, vermouth and champagne vinegar. Increase heat to bring to a boil and then cover, decrease heat to low and simmer to reduce liquid by one half. This will take about 15 minutes.

Siphon about 1 Tbsp or so of the liquid from the skillet into a cup. Add about 1-2 Tbsp flour to make a thick roux. Add roux to the skillet and stir to combine and thicken the sauce. Once this is accomplished swirl in the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and season to taste with S&P.

Remove chcken from oven and reintroduce to the sauce in the skillet.

Serve and enjoy, being careful not to ingest the toothpick.

Asparagus steamed with Garlic and Lemon Rind

We used skinny Asparagus and trimmed the ends off. Place in skillet with about 1 inch of water. Add a smashed garlic clove and a piece of lemon rind. Cover, bring to a boil and cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Serve with melted butter or not!

 

Yukon Gold Smashed Potatoes with Ricotta and Fresh Horseradish

Ingredients:

4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8’s

2 Tbslp Butter

2 inch piece of Fresh Horseradish, peeled and very finely chopped

¼ cup Part Skim Ricotta (I used this because I had in the refrigerator. You can use this or cream cheese, or sour cream or milk or cream, depending on your preference or what you have.)

¼ cup Organic Half and Half

S&P

Thanksgiving Oink Fest

So we went a bit dark over the holidays….so sorry. The Brit and I travelled to Tahoe for the holiday to share it with close friends and the added bonus for me was to cook in her dreamy kitchen. In my next life I too will have a Sub Zero, plus two added HUGE freezer drawers, two equally enormous refrigerator drawers, warming drawers, a heating station nestled under my exhaust fan and a Wolf stove. I am honestly not certain that I am any more enamored with her Wolf oven than I am with my Electrolux oven, but I do have gas burner envy!

There were ten of us for Thanksgiving dinner and we had enough food for fifty. Note to self, next year take menu and cut off at least one third of the dishes.

The preparations began in earnest Wednesday and with three of us cooking, we all agreed it was pretty much stress free. The hero chef of the hour was definitely Emerson, boyfriend of Samantha, my BFF’s step daughter.

              

Here is M expertly removing the backbone and breaking the breast of our butterflied 26 pound turkey, which we brined for 24 hours. I am fairly certain that I got this recipe from Food and Wine a couple of years ago. I know that this was the third year I made it, but sadly my recipe copy bears no logo or name, other than Katherine’s Butterflied Turkey with Apple Cranberry Glaze.

Brine Ingredients:

2 ½ cups Kosher Salt

1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar

½ cup Coriander Seeds, cracked

6 Star Anise Pods

2 tsp White Peppercorns

6 in unpeeled piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

6 cloves Garlic, smashed

2 tsp ground Corriander

Preparation:

Bring 6 quarts of water, the spices and the sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat. Make sure to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add another 6 quarts of cold water to cool. Place turkey in double bagged garbage bags, add brine and keep cold for 24-48 hours before cooking. We kept ours outside and turned it every 6 hours or so. Make sure to rinse turkey well before baking to avoid a salty bird.

Glaze Ingredients:

6 cups Apple Cider

1 4 in piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

2 cups Fresh Cranberries

3-5 dried Red Chili Peppers

1 cup Molasses

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Preparation:

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened and reduced by about half. Whisk occasionally. This will take 30 minutes.

Turkey Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 375. Place butterflied turkey, breast side up, on rack in pan. Roast for an hour and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 to 160. Continue to roast, brushing with the glaze every ten minutes until brown and crisp. This will take about a another 45 minutes to an hour. Our 26 pound bird cooked in 2 ½ hours total.

The entire menu was as follows:

Appetizers:

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Capers and Red Onion, served with Crackers

M’s Sriracha Steak-This was a knock out and I have written to ask for the recipe. Stay tuned! They served this with Skewers and sliced French Bread. I just guzzled the juicy pieces of meat and didn’t burden it with bread.

M’s Caprese Salad –Again, awaiting recipe. They used Cherry Tomatoes and small balls of Fresh Mozzarella. Hmmm, hmm good. They served it with slices of French Bread, like a Brushetta.

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with a Spicy Remoulade

First Course:

                          

Betsy’s Simple Caesar with homemade Parmesan Crustini

The Main Event:

                                                                                                                      

Turkey

Cranberry, Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Brussel Sprouts roasted with EVO, Garlic, Lemon and Parmesan

Spicy Stuffed Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Pumpkin Souffle

MashedYukonGold Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Homemade Cranberry Sauce withOrangeJuice, Zest and Cointreau

Deserts were the usual suspects: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan Pie. Surprise, surprise: they were barely touched!

 

Fast, Easy and Cheap Chicken & Pasta

It’s not just for girls anymore!!!

Anyway, Saturday night rolled in and we had company coming for dinner. We were both thrilled to see Pilar, she is one of our favorite people, and I did not want to be spending the little time we seem to have together in the kitchen. I was also a tad bit cooked out, as both Margo and I have been cooking up a storm, testing holiday recipes and preparing for a hibernation of some sort, judging by newly acquired layer of fat.

I post this recipe here not because this was the most wonderful meal I have ever made. Rather, I post this recipe as a testament to my kitchen philosophy that anyone can throw things together without a recipe and 99/100 times it will be good, if not great. Eschewing this philosophy will also allow you to utilize whatever is in your refrigerator and pantry and see far less food go to waste; another pet peeve of mine left over from the starving children from China who I grew up with.

Ingredients:

Serves Four

1 whole Chicken Breast

2 cloves Garlic, minced

10 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Penzey Mural of Flavor

S&P

1 Tblsp White Sugar

1 Tbslp Grated Lemon Zest

1 Tbslp EVO

1 cup Greens (I used Beet Greens because I had them, but I would have preferred Kale)

8 large Broccoli Florets, blanched

½ Medium Red Onion, quartered and sliced

¼ Cup Shredded Parmesan

¼ Cup Organic Half and Half

1 can Chicken Broth

2 Tblsp Capers

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Box Pasta- I used Whole Grain Spirals

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Preparation:

Cut Chicken Breast into 4 pieces and pound with Meat Mallet on a Board, until about ½ in thick. Sprinkle generously with S&P and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor on both sides.

As you can see in the pictures, I had dredged my chicken pieces in Panko mixed with Herbs and a bit of Shredded Parmesan. I would not do that again. It didn’t really add anything other than carbs to the dish!

Heat EVO in a large Skillet over medium heat. Add Garlic and Red Onion and stir for a couple of minutes until soft. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, stir and add mushrooms and cook for another minute.

Add Chicken and cook for about a minute on each side, just to brown. Add Greens and cook about 2 minutes to wilt.

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Add Lemon Zest, Capers, Chicken Broth and Lemon Juice. Stir in, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low to reduce liquids by half.

Meanwhile cook Pasta to Al Dente, drain and place on serving plates.

When broth has been reduced, stir in Parmesan and Half and Half. Add Broccoli and serve over pasta.

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Moist Mango Meatloaf

One thing that I pride myself on is my ability to cook. I know I am a great cook, as I get a tremendous amount of feedback, in the way of praise, from EVERYONE I cook for, with the exception of my husband. The Brit and I have been married just under two years now and his lack of enthusiasm for the meals I lovingly create for him has made me keenly aware of the fact that marriage is about thinking about your partner, in every way, including menu preparation!

When I have asked Colin how he feels about my cooking, he tells me that if he has eaten all the food on his plate then that is a good indicator that he liked the meal. I attributed this at first to his being British, but now I know that this is not so. I lean towards Pescatarian, with a small amount of poultry thrown in for good measure, but it appears that my husband is a carnivore. It is not that he dislikes fish or chicken, he just LOVES MEAT!!

My decision not to eat meat has never been a moral one, but rather one of health. I actually enjoy beef occasionally and by using organic, grass fed beef (http://www.dakotabeefcompany.com/) I created an area of compromise in my relationship! Last night I made an adulterated version of Amy Reilly’s “Moist Mango Meatloaf” from her cookbook “Fork Me,SpoonMe.”

( http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Me-Spoon-sensual-cookbook/dp/0977412008 )

Not only did the reserved Brit groan and exclaim “Well done” between every third bite, but he woke up this morning extolling the virtues of last night’s dinner!

Here is my Adulterated Version of Amy’s Moist Mango Meatloaf:

Ingredients:

2 lbs Dakota Organic Grass-Fed Beef (available at Cotsco)

2 tsp salt

2 tsp Green Curry Paste (available locally in Denver at H-Mart)

2 eggs

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Tblsp Golden Plum Sauce, plus a little more to glaze loaves

1 mango, peeled and diced

¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs (Japanese Bread 

 


 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with Green Curry Paste and Golden Plum Sauce

Mix meat into Egg Mixture to blend, then stir in Onion, Panko and Mango. Mix thoroughly with hands and then fill loaf pans with meatloaf.

Brush with Golden Plum Sauce.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking for one hour.

You can vary the amount of Green Curry Paste depending on your affinity for heat. I love spicy foods and Colin really enjoyed this, however, he mentioned it was at his outside comfort line for heat!

I paired the meatloaf with a Simple Roasted Cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a head of cauliflower into 1/8th chunks and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle with Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper, and Oregano. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (I used the Panko because they were already out, but you could use Seasoned Bread Crumbs, or evenRye would be nice) and Grated Parmesan Cheese. Drizzle a tad bit more Olive Oil over the bread crumbs and cheese. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Bon Apetit! If you do try this recipe, please write back and let me know how you like it. Thanks!

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