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!