Horse Whip

ImageThis is a picture of a vineyard in March.  Not much going on.  I like this picture because of the mountain and the sky.  Expansive open range….and not a single sign of the busy, hectic, have to be on time everywhere you go life that I lead.

Contrary to the vineyard, this is a recipe for one of the most exciting spreads ever.  My sister found the recipe, but neither one of us remember where it came from.  One day I texted her and asked if she had that recipe for that “horse whip.”  So now I share it with you.  I call it “Horse Whip” and as my six year old says when things seem simple, you’ll find the recipe to be “easy peasy lemon squeasy.”

Horse Whip

Ingredients

3 T Prepared Horseradish

1/4 c. Sour Cream

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 T. Mayonaise

1 T. chopped chives

Directions

Blend all ingredients together and refrigerate for two hours prior to serving.  Horse whip is amazing served as an accompaniment to perfectly grilled steak seared with just salt and cracked black pepper or alongside ham or simply roasted pork roast.  You can spread it on sandwiches too.  Your dining companions will be asking you for this recipe and all you have to say is, it’s “Horse Whip”.

Enjoy!

Corned Beef Shepard’s Pie

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Combine traditional corned beef brisket with the simple yet savory of all pies, a shepards pie says “St. Patrick’s Day Dinner” like none other.  Doesn’t that look great?  Situate this entree on the table along side a pitcher of your favorite beer and dive in.  This pie has nice texture and great flavor.  After assembled, you can bake it off immediately or you can  refrigerate for up to 2 days until you need it.

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I stopped by the store to pick up a corned beef brisket and upon approaching the meat case I noticed a gentleman filling his basket with corned beef.  He paused after taking four of them and pawed around in the case looking for more.  I waited patiently and watched his mind work.  When I see shopper’s in the store buying certain items that I’m also after, I often wonder what they are making with all of it.  On this day, there was no sale.  Maybe it just thrills me to think about all the wonderful brisket possibilities.  I wonder what he was going to do with all that brisket.   I was very curious and wanted to find out.  He walked away and so did my urge to ask.  Perhaps one day, I will buy that much at once, but for this recipe, you only need one.

The size of your brisket will depend on the number of people at your house for dinner and the dish you are planning to serve it in.

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Ingredients

1 beef brisket with flavor packet

2 C. beef broth

1 C. chopped onions

1 C. chopped carrots

4 large russett potatoes, peeled

3/4 C. milk

2 pats butter

1 T. flour

1 – 14 oz. can tomato puree

4 oz. of tomato paste

3/4 C. frozen peas

1/4 C. finely chopped, fresh parsley

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Directions

In the morning, place the beef brisket, flavor packet, beef broth, onions, and carrots in a crock pot on low and cook for 8 hours.

Add skinned and chopped russet potatoes to a large pot of salted, boiling water.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Remove the potatoes to a bowl.  Add butter, milk, salt and pepper and mash until smooth.  If you over-mash, your potatoes will develop gluten and become rubbery.  You can use a ricer if you have one which results in smooth mashed potatoes.  (*My husband says that when I cook, I try to dirty every dish in the kitchen.  While that might be true, at least I’m using my kitchen gadgets and Im not convinced he could say the same for the tools in his shop!”)

Remove vegetables to a separate dish.  Place the beef brisket on a cutting board and using forks, pull apart the meat until it is shredded.  Discard the excess fat.  In a large pot, add the vegetables and beef.  Sprinkle with the flour and stir.  Turn heat on high and add 1 cup of the left over beef broth from the crock pot, tomato puree and tomato paste and gently stir until combined.  Cook until thickened.  Turn down heat to low and stir in peas.

Spray the dish your shepards pie will be going in.  Place the meat and vegetable mixture in the dish and using a heat-safe rubber spatula, spread out to all sides.  Sprinkle the top with fresh finely chopped parsley and cover immediately with mashed potatoes.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  It may take longer if you just took it from the fridge to the oven.  The potatoes should be golden brown on top.

Enjoy!

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Winter Meat Pies

Winter Meat Pies

My family asked me to make meat pies for Christmas dinner.  These are a bit time consuming to make but they assemble quickly and there is enough to make additional pies of any size and freeze for an easy and delicious winter weeknight meal.  These can either be made as a hand-pie, in ramekins, or in cute shorty mason jars.  They will come out of the oven piping hot so be careful.  The meatpies I made were in ramekins and I used a biscuit cutter to make them round and a baby tree cookie cutter to make them festive.  Using a heart cookie cutter would be adorable for Valentine’s day or shamrock for St. Patrick’s day…you get the picture.  There’s no end to your creativity, so go for it.  😉

First off, I enlisted the help of my beloved sister.  I love it when she comes to cook with me as you can see from my blog, we cook together a lot.  Cooking with her thrills me.  I simply can’t get enough time with her in the kitchen.

If you want to have this entree for dinner, you will need to start the night before.  If you were having a dinner party, you could actually make these ahead of time and freeze them until you were going to use them.  They look impressive and you won’t have a dirty kitchen when your guests show up!

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Ingredients

2 lb. chuck roast

1 white onion, sliced

4 carrots, rough chop

1 C. mushrooms, rough chop

1 C. dry red wine

2 C. beef broth

salt & pepper

Slurry: 1 t. cornstarch, 2 T. broth

1 sleeve of crushed Saltine crackers

2 T worchesterchire sauce

1 t. ground rosemary herb

1 t. ground onion

3 T. chopped fresh italian parsley

1 pkg. ready made pie crust

1 egg, whisked

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Directions

Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper.  Add olive oil to a heavy pot and turn the stovetop on medium high.  When the pan is hot, sear the beef on all sides in a heavy pot.  Add the beef through salt and pepper above to a crock pot, cover and cook on low overnight.

In the morning, use a slotted spoon and remove the meat and vegetables to a bowl and set aside.  Pour the broth into a stock pot, place on the stove on medium high until it comes to a boil, turn down to low and simmer until the broth reduces to about a cup and a half.  This will take quite some time.  Later, you will add a slurry to the reduced broth (a slurry is a mixture of 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 T broth).  This will thicken your broth so it will now be a gravy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also add a pat of butter to make the sauce a little richer but this step is optional.  Stir until thickened or until it coats the back of a spoon and then turn off the heat.

When your meat and vegetables have cooled, place them on a cutting board and chop them into small pieces.  You can even use a food processor if you are in a hurry, but be careful not to grind it into a paste which can happen quickly.  The goal is for the pieces to be bitesize, about a half inch in size.

Add the chopped meat and vegetables to a very large mixing bowl and add ingredents from Saltine crackers to parsley above.  Add the gravy you made above.  Using a large spoon, mix meat filling gently until combined.  Set aside.

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Preheat oven to 350.  Butter inside of ramekins or a casserole dish.  Using a spoon, place meat filling in dishes.  You can fill close to the top edge of the ramekins, and about 3/4 the way up if using a casserole dish.

Roll out your refridgerated, ready-made pie crust on the counter using flour so it doesn’t stick.  Roll to desired thickness and cut out circles for ramekins.  Place the circle on the ramekins to cover meat filling.  Use a festive cookie cutter as described above and gently press into the top of the pie crust.  Its up to you whether you want to remove the cut out piece or not.  I liked the look of them left in.

Assemble your eggwash mixture:  1 egg and 2 T water.  Mix with a fork until blended.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the pies with the eggwash.  Place pies on a foil covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Remember:  Freeze them (for up to two months)!  You and your sweetie or your family can have them all over again.  If you are making them for Valentine’s Day and you have extra, use shamrock cookie cutters on the rest and take them out for St. Patrick’s day!  Serve with green beer and look how amazing you are!

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Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Here we go.  Get ready for Fall meals again.  My favorite.

I made the slow roasted pork shoulder (also called picnic or Boston butt roast) for dinner this Sunday for the family.  Fall off the bone delicious.  Takes about 4 to 5 hours of roasting, but it is well worth it.  This roast is for Sundays.  The reason is that you have to start it a day early, so keep that in mind.

Ingredients

1 beautiful 7 to 8 lb. bone in pork shoulder (Boston butt)

3 t. black peppercorns

2 tsp fennel seed

3 T kosher salt

1/4 C. sugar

2/3 C. apple cider vinegar

2/3 C. brown sugar

Directions:

Start a day ahead.  Place your pork in the bottom of a deep oven safe, heavy dutch oven or roaster.  Using an electric coffee grinder (or morter and pestle) grind pepper and fennel seed until very small.  In a bowl, blend together pepper and fennel seed mixture with salt and sugar.  Be sure to use kosher salt.  If you use table salt, it will be too salty.  Cover the pork with the mixture and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight (preferred).

The next day, turn your oven on to 325 degrees.  Pour out liquid and lightly rinse pork.  Place in the baking pan.  Pour 2 cups boiling water over the top and cover tightly with foil.  Roast pork for four hours.  It will steam in the waterbath.  Check on it once or twice to make sure there is enough water in the bottom of the pan.  When the pork has completed cooking, the temperature of the meat will register about 190 to 195 degrees.  Remove from oven and turn on the broiler to heat.

In another bowl, add the vinegar and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Poor in pan juices and stir until combined.  Pour over the top of the pork and broil for about 10 minutes watching carefully so the sugars don’t burn.  It should have a very nice, deep, dark crust.  Heavenly.

When it has completed cooking, let it rest.  Carefully transfer to a nice serving platter of proportionate size and poor pan juices over the top.  Serve hot.

This roast is really enjoyable and your guests will be over the moon.  The only problem you will have making this dish is buying a big enough roast!  Everyone wants seconds!

Easy Ham Glaze

This ham glaze is super easy and delicious.  You can use it on a whole ham, spiral sliced or slices of ham from the meat case.  I have to say, this is an original recipe and it will be your go to recipe when you are preparing a ham for guests that looks and tastes amazing.  If you are using a whole ham, it may be helpful to you to use a very sharp knife and score it in a criss-cross style prior to glazing.  You’ll be glad you did.

Ingredients

The juice of two oranges

1/2 t. Five Spice

3 T. Cognac

3/4 C. Honey

Directions

Combine all the ingredients and place it in a medium saucepan.  Slowly heat the mixture, stirring often until it comes to a slow simmer.  At this time, you will have cooked the alcohol off and you can remove the sauce from the stove and let stand breifly to cool and thicken.  If you are using an open flame, please use caution as alcohol is flammable.

Using a kitchen basting brush, baste ham and place it in the oven on 375 degrees for 20 minutes until top is brown and toasty.

Enjoy!

A Spicy Italian Calzone

Pour yourself a glass of full bodied red wine and serve yourself up some Spicy Italian Calzone.  The picture really speaks for itself.  Your salivating taste buds can’t wait, so get started!

If you have a bread machine to make your calzone dough, go for it.  Use the pizza dough recipe that came with it and follow the bread machine directions.  It will be a “dough” or “manual” cycle.  If you need a bread machine pizza dough recipe, I have included one below.

You can make these ahead of time and pop them into the oven when your company arrives or you can make it right now just for you!

Calzone Filling Ingredients:

½ lb. spicy Italian sausage

½ C. red peppers, chopped small

5 oz. pepperoni or turkey pepperoni, chopped

1/2 C. chopped kale, stemmed removed

1/4 C. mushrooms (optional)

1 1/2 C. pizza sauce, divided

1 ½ C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Filling Directions:
In a skillet, brown the Italian sausage.  When almost done, add red peppers and cook down for about four minutes.  Add the pepperoni, kale and 1 cup of the pizza sauce.  Stir together and cover with a lid for four minutes until kale is tender.  Turn off heat and set aside until ready to assemble calzone.

Calzone Dough:

¾ C. water

2 C. white bread flour

½ t. dry milk

1 T. sugar

½ t. salt

2 t. active dry yeast

If you don’t have a bread machine, your taste buds are still in luck.  Many pizza locations actually sell their pizza dough if you want premade dough.  Another option is to purchase it from a grocery store.  Usually it’s located in the refrigerated section next to the sweet rolls.

Directions for Calzone:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When your dough is done rising, take it and roll it on a floured work surface in a long, oval shape.  When baking, your calzone is going to puff up so make sure the dough is rolled as flat as possible.  Make sure you cut strips into your dough, along all sides, about 1 inch apart.

Spread remaining pizza sauce over center of dough and using the back of a spoon, work out to the sides, but omit the strips.  Place calzone filling in the center and again, work it out to the sides.  Cover with mozzarella cheese.

Starting from one end, fold up the end strips toward the middle of the calzone.  Working from each side alternatively, crisscross strips of dough over filling, pressing down and sealing with a drop of water.  Brush top with melted butter and bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

You can serve this alone or with a green side salad of choice.

Delicioso!

Meat Lovers Chili

This recipe is by request.   My friend said, “I want a bean-less chili.”  I omitted the beans and added bacon instead.   If you are a meat-lover, this is the chili recipe for you.   This chili is great for lunch or dinner on cold winter days.  For breakfast, you can wrap it in a tortilla with scrambled eggs on the weekends.  Serve this with sides of cheddar cheese, green onion tips, radish slices, avocado slices and tortilla chips.

Ingredients

4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped

1 lb ground beef

½ C. chopped white onion

½ C. chopped red pepper

3 T. chili powder

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 t. hot sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, with juice

1 14 oz. can tomato sauce, with juice

1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies, with juice

Directions

In a deep skillet, brown the bacon.  Remove the bacon from the pan onto paper towels to cool.  Add the beef to the pan and brown.  When the beef is nearly done, add the chopped white onion and red pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat and transfer contents to a crock pot and cook on low for four hours.

Enjoy!

Tiffany’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

It’s really cooked chicken in a spicy buzzard wing sauce, with a twist. 

If you’ve been reading my blog, I should have included the word “sister” in the title since my very favorite thing to do is to have my sister over and cook a meal together.  The day usually starts with grocery shopping and then we come home and work all day on some elaborate meal that is always amazing and perfect.  In the end, we are sagging at the dinner table with full bellies and empty wine glasses.   Then we make plans to do it all over again the next time she’s in town.

Grocery shopping with her brings on a whole new dimension for cooking.  She has so many great ideas.  She introduces me to all kinds of possibilities, then I add something to it and we’re off to the races. 

For me, this recipe was born in the “Sauce” department of the local grocery store.  We were talking about Frank’s Hot-n-Spicy Wing Sauce and she said it makes people really happy if you mix in a packet of Uncle Dan’s Southern Ranch Dip and make chicken sandwiches out of it.  I’m all for making people happy, so I pulled the bottle off the shelf and put it in the cart.  If people are gettin’ happy, no wonder they call it “buzz sauce”.  I forgot to mention that there are times that I think she’s pulling my leg on what’s good and what isn’t.  She’s always right on the money.  You can’t make this stuff up.  Table for two please!

 Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 C. Frank’s Hot-n-Spicy Wing Sauce

1 small package Uncle Dan’s Southern Ranch Dip

1/4 C. water

2 hoagy rolls

1 T. butter

2 stalks of crisp lettuce

Bleu cheese dressing or bleu cheese crumbles (optional)

 Directions

Place the chicken, wing sauce, dip mix and water in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Remove chicken from the crockpot to a cutting board and slice lengthwise to desired thickness for sandwich.  At this point, if you wish to add more wing sauce, use the remaining from the jar.

Slice hoagy rolls in half lengthwise and spread butter on each cut side.  Place under the broiler on high for about 3 to 4 minutes to brown.  Remove from oven and place chicken slices on toasted hoagy and add lettuce.  Top with remaining toasted bun. 

You can also spread the hoagys with blue cheese dressing or add it on the side.  Now that right there just about bursts the happiness meter.

Enjoy!

Red Snapper in a Roasted Bell Pepper Cream Sauce

*** Before I begin, I want to apologize to my blog followers.  Things were hectic for a spell and further complicated by catastrophic computer issues.  I’m back and ready to get the great recipes as of late on the blog!  Thanks for checking in on me. 
You’ve heard it before.  When cooking, buy what’s fresh and what looks good in the case.  My local fish monger had fresh red snapper and I chose to serve it with a roasted bell pepper cream sauce.

Now you can do it the long way and roast the bell peppers yourself over an open flame either on your gas range or on the grill, then put it in a closed brown paper bag for about 20 minutes and peel.  Like that’s not a lot of work!!  Or, you can simply buy your roasted red bell peppers in the jar, like Mezzetta, which come from California and are very good quality.

Ding! Ding!  Table for two please!

Ingredients
1 lb red snapper fillets
2/3 C. roasted red peppers (Mezzetta)
2 cloves garlic
dash salt and pepper
1/2 C. white wine
2 T whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. chopped flatleaf parsley
Preparation
Remove fish from wrapper and rinse in cold water.  Pat dry with paper towel and set aside.  Combine the roasted red  peppers, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Pour red bell pepper sauce into skillet over medium heat.  Add white wine and stir.  Add fillets and cover with lid.  Steam fillets over medium low heat until done, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove fillets onto serving plates. Going back to your sauce, turn off heat and add whipping cream and stir until combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon sauce over fish and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

Chicken Curry with Lime and Tomatoes

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Chicken Curry with Lime and Tomatoes
This week was a dandy.  I mean that with every possible amount of sarcasm.  Sometimes one feels overwrought with the problems of the world, but we must remember, it’s always worse somewhere.  I love to cook because its an outlet of artistic expression, its creative and amongst many other reasons, it is the only thing I really have control over.  When the week is tough, there’s always cooking.
I get to the end of most weeks and I usually can’t remember how they started.  I chose to leave it all behind me and left work to take the kids to the park and be a kid with them.  We even took the car through the car wash for fun.  After making them dinner and getting them all settled, I opened a cookbook my sister got me for Christmas titled Curry Cuisine and opened it to this malaysian recipe.  I poured a glass of one of my absolute favorite wines, a Kestrel 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, turned on some low groovy music and got down to cooking this spicy and delicious meal.  There is something to say for taking your time and enjoying the experience.
This recipe comes out of the book Curry Cuisine, but I did change it to suit my taste.  I added the bell peppers, made substitutes for the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and Balachaung and left out the chicken thighs.  If you happen to have these things on hand use them.  If not, here is your recipe:
Kye thar hin
Ingredients
2 T. peanut oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 sliced red bell pepper
1 sliced orange bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. ground tumeric
1 T. ground coriander
1 dash cinnamon
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. lime zest
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut lengthwise and again through the center
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
3 T. lime juice
1 1/2 t. red chili sauce like Sambal Olek
1 T. fish sauce
1/4 C. hot water
1 t. sesame oil
chopped cilantro
3 T. roasted peanuts
4 C. cooked jasmine rice
Preparation
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pour the peanut oil in a skillet and when very hot, add onions, garlic and peppers and stir fry for about three minutes.  Add the tumeric, corriander, cinnamon, lemon and lime zests and chicken pieces.  Stir fry for about 6 to 8 minutes until all your ingredients are beautifully colored and slightly browned.
Add the tomatoes, lime juice, chili sauce, and fish sauce.  Stir and cover the pan to simmer for three minutes.  Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup of hot water and sesame oil.
 
Transfer skillet contents to oven safe casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and spoon over hot prepared rice.  Garnish with cilantro and peanuts. 
Serve with your favorite wine!