Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuna Tataki

This is a classic Japanese style tuna dish that has a lot of flavor. My boy Ty was in town so we decided that Tuna would be a great appetizer for the heavy steaks that were to follow (check back in a day or so for the entree). It is important to get a really fresh piece of tuna and preferably the bottom end of the tuna loin rather then a tuna steak. This take 10 minutes, cost $25 and feeds 4 people.

Tuna Takai
1 oz vegetable oil
12oz Tuna loin end, halved into two long strips
4 teaspoons, black sesame seeds
1/8 cup Ponzu Sauce
1/2 cup carrots, shredded on a box grater
1 jalapeño, razor thin sliced

Start a medium frying on high heat and add the oil. Roll the two pieces of tuna in the black sesame seeds until coated well. Sear the tuna in the pan for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove and let stand on a baking rack. Place the shredded carrots on the plate and fill the bottom with the ponzu sauce. Slice the tuna loins into 1/4 inch piece and fan out over the carrots. Top the slices with the thin cut jalapeño and serve.

This very easy to do dish is a great snack or appetizer for any meal. The balance of the sour ponzu sauce, with the sweetness of the carrots, spice from the jalapeños and richness of the tuna makes a great flavor combination. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blood Orange - Grapefruit Smoothie

Another great after workout smoothie with some seasonal blood orange juice. I also added frozen banana and strawberries, flax seed, grapefruit juice, coconut water and ice. Exactly what I needed to boost my vitamin and potassium levels.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Grilled Toast and Sliced Tomato

I love breakfast. This quick setup came from simply being super hungry after a good workout. It costs about $6 takes 20 minutes total and feeds one hungry dude.

Soft Scramble with Veggies and Cheese
1 tablespoon EV olive oil
1 teaspoon salted buteer
2 tablespoons organic red onion, diced
2 tablespoons organic white onion, diced
2 tablespoons organic red, yellow and orange bell pepper, diced
handful of organic spinach, chopped
1 organic plum tomato
2 tablespoons Manchego Cheese, diced
2 tablespoons fresh dill and basil, chopped
3 organic farm raised eggs, scrambled with a teaspoon of heavy cream
salt and pepper

Start a medium sautee pan on medium heat and add the butter and oil. Cook the onions and peppers for 4 minutes or until soft. Now add the tomatoes and spinach and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs and stir rapidly. Once the egg starts to setup add the cheese and fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Keep it all moving until you get the desired texture.

I also grilled some potato bread on the panini press and then buttered it up. I also sliced a second organic plum tomato, seasoned it with salt and pepper. Put it all together and you have great breakfast in 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Herb Crusted Grouper with Mango Salsa, Bok Choy and Blood Orange Beurre Blanc

I haven't made fish in a long time although it is probably my favorite protein. My wife is highly allergic so I normally don't even bring it into the house. She was away so a friend of mine, Lucas, came over and we decided to make a great lunch that included some Black Florida Grouper. This dish costs about $40 feeds 2 and takes about 1 hour.

Mango Salsa
1 ripe mango, diced
1/4 organic red onion, diced
1/8 cup total red, yellow and orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 organic white onion, diced
2 limes, juice only
1 lemon, juice only
1 teaspoon jalapeño pepper, chopped fine
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped (cilantro is normally used but the store was out)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and let stand in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Yeah

Blood Orange Beurre Blanc
1/4 bottle dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 small organic white onion, chopped
2 tablespoon of salted butter
1/2 teaspoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon blood orange juice

Start a small sauce pan or pot on low heat. Add the wine, vinegar and the onions and let it cook until almost all of the liquid is gone. About 3-4 tablespoons should be remaining. Strain out the onions and add the sauce back to the pan and turn it to super low. Whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Once incorporated, add the cream and blood orange and mix well. Serve within 15 minutes.

Herb Crusted Grouper
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh globe basil, chopped
salt and pepper
2 - 8oz pieces of fresh Florida Black Grouper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start a medium sautee pan on medium high and add the butter and oil. Roll the fish in the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is very hot add the fish and let it cook for 3 minutes on each side or until its gets a nice brown sear on each side. Remove the fish from the pan and place it on a baking rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Place it in the oven and let it cook for 12 minutes. It should be flaky and tender. Thats it.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 organic white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
2 heads of baby bok choy, bottoms removed

Start a medium sautee pan on medium low heat and add the butter, oil, onions and garlic to the pan. Let that cook until the onions and garlic begin to get color. Add the bok choy and cover for 3 minutes. Uncover and let cook for about 2 more minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

So I laid down the bok choy, placed the grouper on top and then topped the fish with the mango salsa. I then spread the beurre blanc around the plate to bring the whole dish together. I have to thank Lucas for buying the food and keeping me company. I love how the dish turned out as grouper is one my favorite fishes. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rock Shrimp and Lobster Risotto topped with Shredded Stone Crab

I was shopping at the supermarket the other day and they had rock shrimp and baby Maine lobster tails for a great price. How could I turn that down... obviously I can not. They also had some great prices on stone crabs so I grabbed a jumbo claw as well. Now I had to figure out what to do with it and then it hit. The most awesome risotto ever. This costs about $25 dollars and can feed 4 people. It takes 1.5 hours to complete. Risotto requires the use of warm water or stock in the preparation. I created my own veg stock for this recipe but you could use water or store bought stock if you wish.

Vegetable and Lobster Stock
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 vidallia onion, chopped
cut off pieces and scraps bell peppers
lobster shell, cleaned
parsley stems
8 cups of water

Start a large sauce pot on medium heat. Add some olive oil and then all the vegetables. Let them cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Now add the water, lobster body, herbs and salt. Let that cook for at least 45 minutes.

Rock Shrimp and Lobster Risotto
1/2 organic white onion, diced
1 vidallia onion, diced
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup total of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced
2 cups Arborrio rice (risotto rice)
1/4 bottle of white wine
6-8 cups of vegetable stock
1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

1/4 pound rock shrimp, halved
1 baby Maine lobster tail, meat removed and large diced
3 tablespoon, salted butter

1 jumbo stone crab, meat removed from the shell and shredded

Start a large high sided sauce pot on medium low heat (4 of 10) and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add the chopped vegetables and stir, let cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Now add the 2 cups of risotto. Stir the rice until it begins to toast a bit and becomes translucent, about 4 minutes. Now add the wine and stir until all of the wine has cooked off. Now add three ladles of the homemade warmed stock. Stir the rice well until all of the liquid is almost all absorbed. Then add three more ladles of stock and stir it in again until absorbed. Stir the pot every 2 minutes or so, don't walk away. Keep adding the three ladles of stock every time the liquid is almost gone. It should take about 30 to 40 minutes for the rice to stop absorbing the liquid rapidly and begin to get tender. About 5 to 7 times of adding the stock. Once you have added about 3/4 of the stock start the seafood.

Start a small sautee pan on low and add the butter. Once the butter is melted add the lobster and shrimp and let it cook for about 10 minutes turning occasionally. This is called butter poaching.

Turn off the heat on the risotto and add the Romano and Parmesan cheeses and mix well. Add the butter poached seafood along with the butter used to cook them into the risotto and fold it all together, being gentle not to beat up the rice in the risotto. Finish it off with the parsley add salt and some pepper to taste. Scoop it on to a plate and top it with the shredded stone crab, garnish with a parsley sprig.

The stone crab adds a great richness to this dish that is great even without the additional crab. The tenderness of the rice and creaminess of the dish are the keys to making it an amazing dinner. Buon Apetito!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cracked Pepper Mill Turkey and Jalapeño Havarti on Potato Bread Panini

This was a real spicy sandwich. I started with some Jalapeño Havarti and Cracked Peppermill Turkey. I made a spicy dressing by mixing 2 parts mayo to 1 part spicy brown mustard and 1 part "Jerome's Jamaican Hot Pepper Sauce" which is straight fire. I dressed both of the potato bread slices, laid the turkey, then some thin sliced apple to bring down the heat, then fresh spinach and topped it with the Jalapeño Havarti. Press it for a few minutes on the panini press and viola, a ridiculously spicy lunch. I sliced the remaining apple and made it a side. You kind of need the apple to cool you off between bites of fire. Yum!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Breakfast Smoothie

This is great for right after a morning workout. I blended frozen strawberries, blueberries and banana with coconut water, almond milk, acai berry juice, apple juice, yogurt, flax seeds and ice into a tall glass of healthiness. This has a great mix of protein, minerals and vitamins to start the day off the right way. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Panini

It doesn't get more classic then this vegetarian Italian style sandwich. I added some roasted red peppers, fresh basil and a balsamic spread to make it sing a bit. You do not want to press this sandwich for too long of you will get the tomatoes hot and that is never good; so put the balsamic spread, then the red peppers on the bottom, then tomatoes, then the basil and finally top with fresh sliced mozzarella and bit more balsamic spread. The balsamic spread is simply 2 parts mayo to one part balsamic vinegar mixed well. I also had a ripe Thai Guava and I sliced it, salted it and served on the side. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Braised Chicken with Italian Style Green Beans

This recipe is really getting back to the theme of the blog. I had the leftover sauce from the short ribs I made earlier in the week as well as some green beans. I used the sauce from the short ribs to braise the chicken breast making a delicious and tender dish.

Braised Chicken
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 cups Short Ribs Gravy
1/2 cup water
2 free range chicken breasts
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Start a medium sautee pan on medium high and add oil. Season chicken with salt & pepper and sear in the pan for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Pour in gravy and the water and mix. Now place the whole pan in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove breast and coat with sauce.

Italian Style Green Beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed of the ends
1/2 a head of radicchio, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

Start a medium sautee pan on medium heat and add the oil. Add the red onion and stir constantly until the onion begins to soften a barely brown. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Now add the chopped radicchio and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the beans are firm but tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Squeeze some fresh lemon on top and there you have it.

This quick meal from leftovers took about 45 minutes from start to finsih and was delicious becuase of the great slow cooked short ribs sauce. The benas have the sweetness from the red onion, bitterness from the radicchio and acidity from the lemon juice which made them a balanced side. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Veggie and Cheddar Omelet

I love making breakfast. I have about 10 different ways that I make omelets. I guess the style depends on the fillings and my mood. I felt like this folded style would work good for this prep. This takes 10 minutes, costs about $4 and feeds one or two depending on how hungry you are.

Veggie and Cheddar Omelet

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 cup of red onion, diced
1/8 cup of bell peppers, diced
1/8 cup of fresh tomatoes, diced
chuck of aged white cheddar, chopped
fresh parsley
2 large cage free organic eggs, scrambled

Start a large sautee pan with the oil. Add the veggies and sautee until desired tenderness. Season with salt & pepper and remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add a bit more oil to coat the bottom. Turn heat to medium low and add the eggs. Coat the pan evenly with the eggs, season with salt & pepper and let cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the veggies to one half, the the parsley and cheddar cheese. Turn off the heat and fold the omelet, its easier if you use two spatulas at once. Slide it out of the pan and serve.

I added some watercress for greens and a toasted whole wheat english muffin with butter to finish off the quick and delicious breakfast. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Braised Beef Short Ribs with White Sweet Potato Mash and Green Beans

Braised short ribs are an awesome warm me up type of meal for the cold weather we have been having. As always, good product creates a good result so make sure you get some beefy ribs. I have been getting organic white sweet potatoes from the grocery store recently and they are awesome, especially mashed. I added some green beans just to get the meal rounded out in flavor and to get some extra veggies in the mix. It cost about $35 including the $10 bottle of wine and feeds 4 people. Total time is about 4 hours, 1 of which is actual work.

You can also do the ribs in a slow cooker/Crockpot which makes it a lot easier. Just cook the veggies first, puree them and then add everything to the Crockpot and let cook for 4-6 hours.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

3 Large beef short rib, about 3 pounds
1 teaspoon olive oil or veg oil
1 cup of carrots, chopped
1 cup of onion, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped
1 cup of red, yellow, orange bell peppers, chopped
1 cup roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of nutemeg
3 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 bottle dry red wine, Cabernet, Rioja or whatever you have
1 box Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
2 tablespoon salted butter.

Start a large ovenware pot with lid on medium heat and add the oil. Season ribs liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. The pot should be nice and hot by now. Add the beef ribs cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden browned. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the veggies to pot and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until soft. Remove the veggies and puree in a blender or food processor. Add liquefied veggies back to the pot and add seasonings. Let that cook for another 7-10 minutes. Now add the red wine and the stock and let that cook together for 10 minutes. Add the beef ribs bone side down and turn off the heat. Cover the pot wit the lid and place in the oven at 275. Let this cook for at least 3 and up to 5 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and the ribs from the sauce. The bone should literally fall out. Set aside and let them cool. Strain the sauce using a fat separator. If you want a smoother sauce you can then strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Add the sauce back to the pot and turn it to medium low. Slowly whisk in the butter and adjust the salt and seasoning levels to taste.

Cut the fat and the bone from the rib, this should give you a cube of soft tender beef. Slice the beef into 1/4 slices and gentle place back in the sauce. Let that cook for another 20 minutes. Remove the beef and serve, top wit the sauce.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 large organic white sweet potatoes
1 large organic regular sweet potato
2 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of kosher salt

You should already have the oven on at 275 for the short ribs. Wrap the potatoes in aluminium foil and put in the oven for two hours. Once very soft remove the potatoes, unwrap and remove the skin. Add the potatoes, butter and salt and mash together. The potatoes are so good they really don't need any other seasonings.

Sweet and Sour Green Beans
1 lb of fresh green beans, trimmed of the ends
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Blanch the green beans in some boiling water for 3 minutes and the plunge into a bowl filled with ice water. Once cooled remove and pat dry. Start a medium sautee pan on medium high heat. Add butter vinegar and sugar, let cook for 2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediatly.

I did not strain my sauce but I will do it next time I make them. Not that it changes the flavor, it just makes it a bit more refined. The sweet mash and the sour greens beans were the perfect compliment to the rich beef and sauce.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prime Veal Chop with Roasted Chestnut Sauce, Twice Cooked Polenta and Roasted Mushrooms

This monster meal is a new twist on traditional Northern Italian fare. My friend Ty was in town and he loves to eat so we hit the grocery store and I got to work. I listed the items in the order in which you should cook them. This meal costs $80, feeds 2 and takes 3.5 hours total.

Twice Cooked Polenta

1 quart, half and half
4 cups, vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons of salt
6 cups, #2 ground corn meal
1 stick, unsalted butter
1/2 cup, fresh grated Parmesano-Reggiano

Cooking polenta is a time involved process. If you don't want to spend the time get instant polenta. Start the half and half and stock in a large pot over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to let off steam add the salt. Now begin SLOWLY adding the polenta while stirring the mixture vigorously. This ensures a smooth final product. It will take a few minutes to add all off the corn meal to the pot. Turn the heat down to simmer and let that cook for 3 hours. You must stir the mixture every 3 to 5 minutes over the course of cooking it. Add the cheese and butter at the end and mix well again, add salt & pepper to taste. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. You can serve it like this. To make twice baked polenta, spread the polenta into a half sheet pan of large baking dish. Place the polenta in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Roasted Vegetables

1 package baby Portobello mushrooms, halved
1 Italian Eggplant, chopped same size as mushrooms
4 large shallots, cut into thirds
10 large cloves of garlic, peeled
12 Italian Chestnuts
5 stalks, fresh thyme

Start oven on 375. Wash and chop the mushrooms, eggplant and shallot. Lay out in a single layer in a sheet pan. Drizzle with EV olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Bake for 45 minutes or until very tender.

Prime Veal Chop

2 bone in Prime Milk Feed Veal chops, about 18oz each
Salt & Pepper

Turn large sautee pan on medium low heat. let it get hot for about 19 minutes. Salt and pepper the veal liberally. Place in the pan as shown. Let it cook for about 12 minutes on each side or until it gets golden and carmelized. Add a pat of butter to the pan and coat each chop. Place chops on a baking rack and place them in the 375 degree oven for 12 minutes. Take them out at let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve over the twice cooked polenta and roasted vegetables.

Italian Chestnut Sauce

1 tablespoon EV olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1/2 vidallia onion, chopped
1/8 cup marsala wine (or white, red, madiera etc)
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
12 Italian chestnuts, roasted, halved and meat removed
2 tablespoons of butter

Take the chestnuts out of the oven after a half hour (they should be cooking with the veggies). Let them cool for a few minutes before you start cutting them open and scooping out the inside. It takes a little work. Reuse the same sautee pan that was used to cook the veal chops. As soon as you take the veal out of the pan and put it on to the baking rack, start this sauce. Add a little olive oil if necessary and turn the pan to medium low. Add the shallots and onions and let it cook for 15 minutes or until softened. Add the wine and stir while allowing the wine the cook off. Once the wine is reduced all the way, add stock and let that cook for 10 minutes until reduced. Add the chestnuts and stir together. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

I used a ring mold to cut out the polenta cake. The veggies were super soft and delicious. The veal chop was like sashimi when we cut into it. It was a perfect through and through medium rare. The slow and low cooking method really works well with thick cuts of meat. Finally the chestnut sauce added some extra earthy flavors to the mix and really rounded out the whole meal. Buon Apetito!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Prime Roasted Beef and Cole Slaw on Rye

This sandwich hits all the right notes. I first toasted the bread on the panini press, otherwise the bread would get soggy and the cole slaw would get hot, neither of which is a desirable outcome. I started with the prime roast beef they have at Epicure, a local high grocery store, which is perfectly cooked rare. Then I dressed the meat with a bit of the creamy horseradish sauce listed below. Finally it was topped off with the shredded cole slaw they also had at Epicure. The rich meat, spicy dressing and sweet creamy cole slaw make this a perfect sandwich in only a few minutes.

Creamy Horseradish Dressing

1 tablespoon, sour cream
1 teaspoon, prepared horseradish
1 dash, Worcestershire sauce
fresh cracked pepper

Mix all ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Florida Stone Crab

Its that time of year in South Florida. Stone crab season runs through the winter and is one of my favorite treats of all time. The crabs are caught in traps and then only the large claw is cut off and the crab is thrown back in to regenerate a new claw. The claws are flash steamed on the boat or at the local dock and chilled. Claw sizes go from medium, to large, jumbo then colossal. This is a jumbo claw. Then are served cold with a mustard sauce that consists of sour cream, powdered mustard, horseradish, cream, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, mayo, A-1, white vinegar and seasonings. I served a bit of coleslaw on the side.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fontina Stuffed Chicken with Herb Roasted Heirloom Potatoes

The base recipe for this dish was given to me by my old friend Dennis, aka Dnas. So D this one is for you. I tweaked the provided recipe, Fresh Rick's Style, to make it easier to complete, look great and taste amazing. I found some organic
heirloom potatoes at the Publix near my house. Heirloom potatoes are purple, red and yellow skinned potatoes that come from old seed stock and have never been chemically treated or scientifically altered. I also added some large cloves of organic garlic and pearl onions to the create the perfect side dish for this creamy chicken dish. This recipe feeds 2, takes 1.5 hours and costs about $20.

Fontina Stuffed Chicken Breast
Cheese Filling
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 red onion, thin sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
4 slices Fontina cheese, about 1 oz
1 tablespoon of panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Start a medium pan on low and add oil, butter and onions. Let it cook for ten minutes or until the onions are soft and lightly browned. Turn heat off and add Fontina and basil. Let that cook for a few minutes until the cheese melts, stir. Add bread crumbs and pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir into a single mass.

2 chicken breasts, medium sized free range
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
cooled Fontina cheese filing

Preheat oven to 375. Clean fat off of chicken breasts and trim off the "tenderloin". Use a pairing knife to cut a deep slit in the chicken breast by pressing firmly on the top of the breast and slicing from the center. You want to make a pocket so don't cut it in half, insert the knife and try to slice as deep as possible into the top and bottom so you can get a lot of filing inside. Stuff breasts with Fontina filing careful so you don't break a hole in the breasts, do not over fill. Mix the two kinds of bread crumbs and coat chicken on each side. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler to low and broil the chicken on one rack from the top for about 5 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown. Take out and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Yum!

Roasted Heirloom Potatoes
2 pounds small organic heirloom potatoes (fingerling of dutch marble will work too)
1 bag of pearl onions about 1/2 lb, peeled
10 large cloves of garlic, whole
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, rough chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, rough chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Toss potatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper and put on a large baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes. Take out and sprinkle the fresh herbs on top as well as some more salt and pepper. At this time also add the chicken to the oven. Let the potatoes cook for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is done.

This was the best meal I had in a few days and the best potatoes I have had in a long time. The chicken filling is creamy and delicious and acts as the sauce. Thanks for the recipe Dennis. If anyone else has a recipe they want me to Fresh Rick's up send it over, I can always use inspiration and love trying new stuff. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ham and Fontina Panini

Ham and cheese is a classic. I used Boarshead Maple Glazed Ham and some slightly aged Fontina. Fontina is a soft, cow's milk Italian cheese from the Aosta Valley in North West Italy. It is soft when young, but aged Fontina becomes hard and more pungent. Its great either way but for a panini the younger and softer is better. I also used some arugula, sliced red delicious apple and a strawberry mustard dressing as toppings. 2 Sandwiches for about $5. Takes 10 minutes.

Ham and Fontina Panini

4 slices of 5 grain Italian Bread, 3/8" slice
1/4 lb maple glazed maple, split between the two sandwiches
1/8 Fontina cheese, thin sliced, spilt between the two sandwiches
1/2 red delicious apple, thin sliced
1 handful fresh arugula

Strawberry Mustard Dressing

1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon strawberry preserves

Dress all four pieces of bread on one side. Lay ham down, folding it into three. Top it with the sliced apple then arugula. Now lay two slices of cheese on top. Press for 2 to 3 minutes on the panini press. Let it rest on a baking rack for a few minutes to cool. Slice and serve with some grapes for a great lunch.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orange Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice

This was the first "Chinese" food I ever made from a recipe. I really loved the basic flavors of food court chinese orange chicken so I found the recipe to Panda Express' Orange Chicken. I have since modified the recipe to improve the quality and flavors of the dish. The roasted broccoli was something new I tried also and it was also incredibly delicious. I had my wife's family over for dinner so this recipe feeds 8 people. It costs only about $20 and takes about 1.5 hours.

Orange Chicken

1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 lbs of free range chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons Chinese 5 Spice powder
3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon of sesame oil
6 scallions, chopped
1/2 a white onion, fine chopped
2 tablespoon of fresh ginger, fine chopped
5 garlic cloves, fine chopped
1 tablespoon of red crushed chili flakes
1 Serrano chili pepper, fine chopped

1/8 cup mirin (rice wine)
2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (can used carton OJ)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest, fine chopped

1 tablespoons black sesame seeds
sliced orange
scallion tops, chopped

Start the two oils in a large pot on medium heat. Mix the flour, cornstarch, 5 spice and salt then add the chicken pieces slowly. Make sure chicken is very well coated. Shake off the excess and then add the pieces to the hot oil in batches. Make sure you only do a few pieces at a time and do not over crowd the pan. Cook chicken for about 2 to 3 minutes on each or until golden. We will cook them through later in the orange sauce. Set them aside on paper towels.

Once the chicken is finished, pour off most of the remaining oil. Add the 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the pan and turn it on medium. Now add the onion, scallion, pepper, ginger, garlic and hot peppers. Cook that for 3 minutes stir constantly. Now add 1 cup of orange juice, soy sauce, sugar and zest. Turn the heat to medium low and let cook for 5 minutes. Now add the golden chicken to the sauce and the final 1 cup off orange juice. Let that cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Scoop into a large serving bowl and top with sesame seeds, orange slices and scallions.

Roasted Broccoli

2 packages of organic broccoli
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 handful of chopped ginger chunks
1 lemon sliced
2 tablespoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice

Start the oven on 400 degrees. Place a casserole dish filled with hot water on the bottom shelf. This will create a humid oven. Peel the broccoli stems and chopped each head of broccoli into quarters. Arrange in a half sheet tray. Top with sliced onions ginger chunks and lemon. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Spray the broccoli with vegetable oil using a mister. Roast broccoli on top shelf for 25 minutes or until its begins getting color. Salt and pepper again and serve.

I also made some brown rice and served that along with the chicken and broccoli. This is always a hit with everyone and tastes way better then takeout Chinese. At $20 for eight servings it is also significantly cheaper. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Turkey Pastrami and Machego on Whole Grain

Another day another sandwich. Turkey pastrami is awesome and the salty richness of machego creates I good balance. I put some stone ground mustard and fresh parsley for bite and crisp, threw it on the press and viola. Dried plums and figs on the side made for a delicious and healty sandwich experience. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Fall Veggies

I haven't made a meatloaf in years, maybe ever, because they are always dry, never quite that tasty and defiantly not very healthy. Then I had this idea to use ground turkey instead of ground meat to lighten the dish and increase the protein to fat ratio in my favor. This turned out soft, supple and very tasty meatloaf. Its very easy to prepare feeds 4 plus leftovers, takes 1.5 hours and is under $20 with the roasted veggies.

Turkey Meatloaf
1.5 lbs of ground turkey (1 package, not breast meat only)
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1 Anaheim chili, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup ketchup (they have ketchup without HFCS now!)
2 tables spoons BBQ sauce
1 table spoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sautee the onions, carrots, garlic and chili in a small pan on medium low until it softens, about 7 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool. Mix the milk and the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and let stand. Now mix all of the remaining ingredients including the milk soaked breadcrumbs and cooked vegetables with the turkey. I use a large fork and large glass bowl then kind of whip it all together. Scoop the mix into a loaf pan (9x4x4 high glass or metal pan). Spread the mixture even and top it with a bit more breadcrumbs. Place it in the oven on the middle rack and let it cook for 45 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes, slice and serve.

Pan Gravy
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon wondra flour or AP flour, mixed into 1 tablespoon of hot water
The pan juices from the meatloaf

Start a small sautee pan on low and melt the butter. Mix the hot water and flour until it forms a paste. Add the paste to the butter and let it cook for 10 minutes or until it gets lightly golden brown. Once meatloaf is done, carefully pour out all the juices from the pan and add them to the pan. Whisk this together and let it cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat until its gets to the desired thickness. Spoon over sliced meatloaf.

Roasted Fall Vegetables
2 cups okra, chopped
2 medium beets, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup of dried figs, halved

Chop all the vegetables to roughly the same size. Put in a large baking dish and toss with some EV olive oil and salt & pepper. Let it cook in the same 350 degree oven as the meatloaf for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beets are soft. Scoop and serve.

The meatloaf should be super tender but stay together. Slice it and serve it over some of the veggies. Top it with the sauce and you have a pretty easy meal in about an hour. Plus those veggies and super healthy and the turkey is low in saturated fat. This may be a new dish in the rotation because both times I made it, it was delicious and mysteriously was gone the next day. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Egg with Zucchini-Potato Cake

This quick breakfast looks fancy but was really easy to make. All you need is a ring mold and a box grater. I used some of the tomato sauce I made for the clams the other day for a garnish and because ketchup wasn't sexy enough for this presentation.

Zucchini Potato Cake

2 oz vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
salt and pepper

Using a box grater, grate the zucchini and the potato. Use a salad spinner or lay the grated potato and zucchini on some paper towel to absorb the natural moisture. Once dried a bit mix the two together well. Start a large sautee pan on medium and add the oil. Add the zucchini and potato mixture and stir it up. Once cooked through a bit, form it into a single piece, like a hash brown, and let it get golden on one side. Flip it and let it get golden. Thats it.

I toasted a piece of rye bread and then buttered it. I used a ring mold to cut the bread into a perfect circle, this will be the base. I then used the same ring mold to cut a circle out of the potato and zucchini cake and placed that on the bread. Finally, I cooked an egg sunny side up and used the ring mold to cut a perfect circle from that as well. I warmed the tomato sauce and put two swipes on the plate. Add a bit of basil for garnish and you have a great looking breakfast in the same time as it takes to make a sloppy looking breakfast. Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu in Mushroom Cream Sauce with Wilted Spinach

This was the first complex recipe dish I had ever made. It was all grilled cheese and bologna sandwiches before this. The reason for cooking was my first real "date" and I wanted to impress, I think I was about 16. It was a challenge for my first culinary endeavorer but I got it done with some short cuts and both the food and date worked out well. Looking back, that was an amazing day. This is my current version. Since I haven't made it in a few years I added some new techniques. This feeds 4, takes about 2 hours to make and costs about $25. The recipe normally has rosemary but I didn't have any so I substituted with thyme and marjoram.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 oz Vegetable Oil
4 Chicken Breasts, sliced into two thin pieces, lightly pounded
8 slices of good deli ham (I used Board's Head Maple Glazed)
8 slices aged swiss
2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped fine
16 toothpicks
1 cup of all purpose flour
salt and pepper

Cut the "tenderloin" off of the chicken so you have a nice even whole breast. Now cut the breast into two by laying you knife on the cutting board and running it back and forth evenly and slowly creating two thin chicken cutlets. OR you can by thin cut chicken breast and make it easier. Lightly pound out the chicken between two sheet of plastic wrap, make sure you don't pound it to thin, there should be no holes.

Mix the mustard, honey and herbs in a small dish. Coat one side of the breast with mustard mix and place one piece of ham and one piece of cheese toward the thinner end. Starting at the thinner edge, roll the chicken up and secure the roll by sticking in the toothpicks. Pull the roll tight before inserting the toothpicks. Season the rolled chicken with salt and pepper then coat with flour.

Start a deep large frying pan or large pot on medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the chicken in batches, turn a few times to get a golden crust on each side. This take about 2 to 3 minutes per side. We do not have the cook the chicken all the was through at this point. Just get the good color and set them aside on a plate, we will cook them thorough later.

Mushroom Cream Sauce

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 package of button or crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper

In the same pot that you cooked the chicken, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and let cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Now add the butter and mix, then add the flour and mix well, let that cook for 3 minutes or until flour is incorporated. Now add the white wine and let that cook down, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream, herbs and stock then salt and pepper to taste. Let that cook down for 10 minutes.

Now add the chicken back to the mushroom sauce and let that cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove the chicken and then take out the toothpicks, they should come out easy now.

I cooked some onions in a sautee pan then I turn it up to high. I threw in my spinach and turned off the heat. I let the spinach cook for about 3 of four minutes and constantly stirred. Lay down two chicken rolls and then spoon some of the sauce over the top. Serve the spinach on the side and you have a love making meal. Buon Apetito!