Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grilled Strip Steak w/ Mushrooms and Potatoes

I felt that I had struck gold when I tried out a new marinade idea for steaks one day, so simple and fabulous I want to keep it a secret, but so delicious that I MUST share! You may be thinking, 'yeah, yeah, I've heard that before', but my tasters and I agree that this really brings the beef to life!  The fish sauce adds umami notes and  contributes to the  beef 's simple but stunning flavor profile, while the un-sulfured molasses provides depth, color and only the slightest sweetness with major caramelization properties.  Serve with your favorite veggies and starch and the meal will be a winner every time, broiled, baked or grilled!
1 part fish sauce per 2  parts molasses
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp. fresh herbs
1 tbsp. olive oil
Whisk ingredients together and place in resealable bag.
Toss steaks in bag to coat and press out excess air and seal.
Marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.
Grill or cook as desired.  This marinade will accommodate 4 steaks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tripe A La Mode de Caen

Tripe is an inexpensive and quite popular ingredient around the world and has been utilized for centuries. It is the stomach of an animal, particulaly cows.  There are four types in Bovines, blanket, honeycomb, book and reed, honeycomb being the most revered.   Getting some to jump on the bandwagon however, is a somewhat daunting task to say the least.
Beef tripe falls into the category of Offal, or variety meats including internal organs and glands like sweetbreads, chittlins' and the stomach. Liver and kidneys is also in this group.
Latin Americans enjoy cooking with tripe.  I too have a recipe fashioned in that medium, Panza de Res y Chile Ajo, thinly sliced and fried or stewed.  The French sometimes opt for the low and slow cooked method with vegetables and and/or wine and ciders, from which this recipe is inspired, minus the cider, Calvados and hoof!! (which is what the initial recipe and namesake includes)  It is certainly worth the effort and the results are phenomenal.
I originally ran across a recipe similar to this one while watching a syndicated show featuring Julia Child, The French Chef, teaching Americans how to cook like the French debuting in the early 60's.  As many well know, she is one of the pioneer chefs who brought French cooking to the average American kitchen.
1 pkg. beef honeycomb tripe, about 5 lbs., washed, patted dry and cut into about 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
4  cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 large bay leaf
2 soft beef bouillon cubes or 8 cups beef stock
about 2 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
olive oil for drizzling
In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, drizzle with olive oil and add onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf and bouillon cubes.  If using stock, add after the vegetables have cooked for several minutes and become aromatic.
Add tripe and stir to coat.  Fill vessel with enough water to cover protein and bring up to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and cook for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, transfer to 350*F oven and bake for additional 8 hours or until unctuous broth remains and the tripe is very tender.  Add more water or stock as needed during cooking process.
Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
Remove bay leaf before serving.  Garnish with Chervil or Parsley.
Serve with crusty buttered bread if desired.  Serves 8 to 10.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thai Style Clam Chowder

This recipe is my latest installment of Dormitory Favorites featuring Ramen noodles.  It also happens to be my latest submission into a Ramen Noodle Contest .  Versatility is this food's middle name and the possibilities are quite endless.  I fashioned this dish in the style of a budget friendly clam chowder, which will serve as a filling and delicious up-spin to it's predecessor.  The prep takes very little time and the results are fantastic.  Complex and bright flavors help to make this recipe stand out among others. 
 I was excited especially about using Lime Thyme from my herb garden for the first time.   It was a wonderful gift from my nephew Rob, son of my sister Terry.  The  Farmer's Market in Roanoke, where he resides is fantastic, chock full of fresh produce, grass-fed beef , flowers, herbs, jewelry and crafts, along covered sidewalks, buzzing with patrons!  We went on an excursion while I was visiting and I procured amazing finds like delicious organic and local herbed Chevre, local country ham, side meats, and chervil!  Thanks for a wonderful time Robbie!
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 tbsp. AP flour
6 c. water
1 tbsp. sambal oelek
2 pkg. Chicken Flavor Ramen, with seasonings
1/2 c. good quality unsweetened coconut milk
1 6 oz. can chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
Lime Thyme for garnish
In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium high heat.  
Add celery and onion and cook until translucent,about 4 minutes. 
Sprinkle in flour and cook additional minute.
Whisk in water, sambal oelek and clam juice and bring up to a boil.
Once boiling ,add Ramen and seasoning packets.  
Cook for about 4 minutes and turn off heat.  
Stir in coconut milk and clams.  
Garnish with Lime Thyme, Cilantro or both!  Serves 4-6.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo! TexMex Beef Casserole

This recipe was created for a one dish meal commemorating Cinco de Mayo.
Familiar  and delicious flavors lace this simple to prepare and a joy to eat beef casserole filled with simple pantry ingredients and wonderful spices like cumin and chili powder. My 6 year old Bronwyn enjoyed the dish enough to request seconds as her after school snack the next day.  This dish of course can be enjoyed anytime and can be prepped ahead , just leave off the corn bread crust until ready to bake.
2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped  onion
1/3 c. celery, small dice
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 c. diced tomatoes
1 10 oz. can condensed tomato soup
1 14 oz.can french green beans drained
1 14 oz. can or fresh corn kernels, drained
2  c. cheese sauce or 2 1/2 cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. salsa
1 box corn muffin mix
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 375*F.
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, brown beef with onion, celery and garlic.
Drain beef well.
Add chili powder and cumin.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add tomatoes, soup, green beans, corn, cheese and salsa.
Fold together and heat until bubbling, about 5 -7 minutes.
Transfer to greased baking vessel and spread evenly.
Prepare muffin mix according to instruction, adding about 1/3 cup EXTRA milk then add :
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
dash or Sriracha to taste
Stir until just blended and spread over beef mixture.
Bake uncovered until golden, about 15 minutes then cover loosely and bake additional 15 -20 minutes.
Let stand several minutes before serving.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Feel free to halve recipe or prepare in two small dishes and freeze one for later.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tomato Braised Pork Loin w/ Artichoke, Parmesan and Oregano Stuffing

This recipe is  another installment of my fun with stuffing things.  This dish will make for an amazing dinner and presentation especially for the up and coming Mother's Day!  The stuffing is filled with nutrient rich artichoke hearts,supplying substantial amounts of protein, iron, magnesium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Additionally, it pairs well with the grated Parmesan and Oregano, picked fresh from my herb garden.  Panko is the binder because of it's versatility and graceful yet subtle presence.
 Assembly is easy, only requiring minimal legwork. The loin I used is a portion of a whole loin, about 1 1/2 lbs to 2lbs., which has been butterflied and pounded to about 1/3 of an inch thickness.  I am excited about any protein or recipe that involves using butcher's twine, but I misplaced it somewhere in the remodeling process in the kitchen lol.  Alas, not being easily deterred, I simply wrapped the loin tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for an hour or so to facilitate the idea of the loin keeping it's shape during searing and braising. Be sure to start the searing process seam side down.
 I served this loin with Garlicky Rice and the reduced crushed tomatoes, infused with bay leaf, garlic, olive oil and sugar to taste.
1 1/2 to 2 lb. portion of Pork Loin
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, chopped and squeezed of excess liquid
1/2 c. Panko
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp. fresh julienne of Oregano
1/2 tsp. Coriander
1 25 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
sugar to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 350*(if using butcher's twine, otherwise this can wait until after loin has been refrigerated)
Butterfly loin that has been rinsed and patted dry.
 Layer several overlapping pieces of plastic wrap on cutting surface, long enough to accommodate the flattening process.
To Butterfly: Turn loin lengthwise, with short side facing you.
With a sharp knife, make a cut across the top third portion of the loin to the opposite side, taking care to stop cutting about 1/2 inch from the end.
Flip loin over and repeat process.
Cover with several more pieces of plastic wrap and flatten or pound, using a rolling pin to about 1/3 inch thickness.
 Remove top layer of wrap and SPST.
In a medium bowl, combine artichoke hearts, Panko, Parmesan, half of garlic, Oregano, Coriander and a drizzle of olive oil.
Spread mixture within 1/2 inch of protein borders.
Starting from one end, roll snugly lengthwise until cylinder is achieved.
Secure with butcher's twine.
Alternately, tuck ends of loin and wrap  loin tightly in bottom layer of wrap, folding in (like rolling a burrito) and refrigerate for at least an hour.
In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, drizzled liberally with olive oil, SPST outer loin and sear on all sides until browned.
Remove from pot and reduce heat.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and add bay leaf, remaining garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and sugar to taste.
Let simmer, stirring often for about 5 minutes.
 Place loin back in pot.
Cover and braise in oven WITHOUT basting until done, about 25 minutes.  Remove from sauce and let stand before slicing.  Serve as desired with tomato sauce  Serves 4-6.