Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gluten Free Banh Mi Romaine Boats

Bursting with color and fresh flavor, this recipe is a gluten free version of the Vietnamese sandwich called a Banh Mi.  Traditionally served on a crusty and rich baguette, this style cuts calories and fat tremendously.  I enjoy the super crunch the Romaine lettuce provides, mimicking a crisp crusted bread.  There is no harm in eating 3 or 4, and not having to worry about the fallout.
The protein for this dish is marinated overnight, so this dish comes together quite literally in minutes if the prep work for the veggies is done ahead of time as well.  A mandolin makes crazy light work of the English cucumber and the radishes( I stacked the radishes after using the mandolin and cut them into matchsticks)  Pork is used for this recipe, as is in the traditional,  but I marinate this in a Chinese BBQ marinade to give it that brilliant color and flavor profile. I have written an adaptation to this marinade below to achieve very similar and desirable results.
Chinese BBQ Marinade:
1/2 c.beet juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tbsp. Cane or granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice
1 tbsp. white distilled vinegar
2 tsp. fish sauce or Miso
2 tsp. onion powder
Combine ingredients in small bowl.
1-1 1/2 lbs. pork loin, cut into thin strips
Pour marinade over protein, press out air in resealable bag, refrigerate 4 to 24 hours for fullest flavor and color.
When ready, drain.
Saute over medium-high heat until desired done-ness, at least 145*F.
Serves 4-6.


Radishes, matchsticks
English cucumber
Carrots
Cilantro
Romaine Lettuce

Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce:
1/4 c. mayo or Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp. Sweet Asian Chili Sauce
1 tbsp. Sambal Oelek or to taste
1 tsp. Miso
Combine ingredients in small bowl.  Serve along side Romaine Boats.
























Monday, September 28, 2015

Spinach Beef and Bacon Stuffed Shells

This recipe is great for a week night meal, full of nutrients and relatively easy to make.  Considering on-hand ingredients, it is easy on the wallet as well.  The filling boasts a healthy dose of spinach and three cheeses, including Cottage, Mozzarella and Parmesan.  A small amount of cooked crumbled bacon adds depth to the flavor profile as well as subtle smokiness.  The sauce can be home made or store bought, depending on your time constraints and it can be prepped ahead of time and baked when ready.  The family received this recipe well, including my nephew and his little girl, Saniah, she is 9 months old!  My 8 year old Bronwyn loved them too.
Recipe:
1 12 oz. box jumbo shells
1 lb.ground beef
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 10 oz. chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess moisture
3 tbsp. cooked and chopped bacon or turkey bacon
1 c. cottage cheese
1 c. Mozzarella cheese, divided
2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 24 oz. can Roasted Garlic and Onion spaghetti sauce
1 15 oz. can your choice spaghetti sauce
sugar to taste, optional
parsley for garnish, optional
Sharp White Cheddar for garnish, if desired
Olive oil for drizzling
SPST
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Prepare pasta in salted water,  according to instructions, cooking until just short of al dente, about 6 minutes.
Rinse and stop cooking process under cold running water.
Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, brown beef with onion over medium high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic. SPST.
Drain beef mixture and set aside to cool slightly.
While mixture is cooling, combine spaghetti sauces and sugar to taste in medium pot and bring up to temperature.
In a medium bowl, fold together beef, spinach, bacon, cottage cheese, 1/2 Mozzarella and 1/2 of Parmesan and egg.
While sauce is heating, use a teaspoon to fill shells with beef mixture.
Divide heated sauce among two spacious baking dishes, and nestle shells evenly among the two.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 25 minutes or until shells are heated through and internal temperature reaches 180*F.
Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheeses and return to oven until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
Let stand for several minutes before serving.
Garnish with white Cheddar.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Denese's Corn Flake and Buttermilk Biscuits

Two things inspired me for this recipe, a surplus of buttermilk and a cacophonous amount of corn flakes.  I initially processed the flakes into crumbs, as an add- in to breading and for various other fried or oven fried recipes.  Alas, fried foods are not a mainstay in our home, so they were more or less just hanging around. In lieu of shelf life, I became curious as to how to utilize the crumbs in a way  I hadn't before.
I  love making homemade biscuits for my family, usually on a Sunday morning, at least twice a month.  I fiddled with the ratio of flour to crumbs and was satisfied with a 3 to 1, flour to corn flake crumbs.  The biscuits came out beautiful and with a unique flavor profile, accommodating sweet and savory fillings.
The corn flake crumbs lend a whole grain appearance to the bread.  The texture is supple and interesting.  The addition of the corn flake crumbs also add a plethora of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A, D and C. These puppies also pack a mean punch of B vitamins, Iron, magnesium and potassium.   The family received them well and I have been making them in place of my usual buttermilk biscuits. So next time the box of corn flakes gets low and you crave something new and good for you, give them a try.  These may become you next favorite thing, perfect for slathering the jams and jellies you made from this summer's fruit and veggie harvests!
Recipe:
3 c. AP flour, sifted
1 c. corn flake crumbs, processed finely
1 tbsp. double acting baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
6 tbsp. frozen butter
1 1/2 to 1 3 /4 c. buttermilk, plus a little for brushing
Preheat oven to 450*F.
In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.
Add salt and corn flake crumbs. Stir until well blended.
Cut in lard or vegetable oil with fork until flour seems grainy and takes on a pebbly appearance.
Grate in butter, bit by bit, tossing in flour blend, making sure gratings get singularly coated with flour.
Add buttermilk gradually, until stirring creates a loose sticky ball.
Pour out onto lightly floured surface.
Lightly flour hands.
Press dough out with hands, and fold in half. Repeat about 6 times.
With lightly floured hands or rolling pin, press or roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
*For thinner biscuits thus more biscuits, simply roll out to about 1/4 thickness.
Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and transfer to large un-greased baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
*For a softer sided biscuit, place only about 1/8 inch apart from each other, so they will bake against one another and can be pulled apart when finished.
Brush tops of biscuits with buttermilk.
Bake until risen and golden, about 15 minutes, depending on oven.
Remove from oven and brush with butter if desired.
Transfer to paper towel lined vessel and cover loosely until ready to serve.
Makes around 1 dozen biscuits.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Asian Inspired Ginger ale Grilled Chicken

Beer can chicken is all the rage these days. There's nothing quite like the smoky and delicious flavor of a well seasoned protein kissed with a charcoal flame alongside your favorite summertime sides.  This recipe is inspired by a hot summer's day, beer and chicken.  I used an all purpose Asian spice blend and ginger ale to accompany the smoky wonderfulness that is grilled meats.  I brine these birds in a seasoned rice vinegar tinged brine to facilitate some extra flavor and moisture elements. Try this version or maybe experiment with some other carbonated beverages to see what other awesomeness you can come up with.
Recipe:
2 3 1/2 to 4 lb. chickens
1 c. vinegar
1 c. ice water
1/4 c. kosher salt
1/4 c. sugar
pinch or two red pepper flakes
1/4 c. Asian spice blend
ginger ale sodas
olive oil for drizzling
SPST
Bring vinegar,salt, sugar and pepper flakes up to a boil.
Remove from heat and add ice water.
Allow to cool completely and pour over chickens. Turn to coat well.
Place in large air tight container or one that can be covered tightly with plastic wrap.
Marinate for 6 to 8 hours or overnight,turning several times during marination process.
Drain and rinse chickens, pat dry.
Rub with olive oil and about 1/4 c.spice blend each.
Oven roast or grill.
When charcoal is ready, pour about 1/3 of ginger ale from each can and carefully add slits towards the top of can.  Space equally around.
Slide chicken down over opening of can and grill until thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 180*F., about 1 1/2 hours, depending on temp of coals.
Serves 8 to 10.

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Smokinhotchef
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