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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Top Five Foods to Avoid « Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Top Five Foods to Avoid « Chef Marcus Samuelsson.

After having gone to the doctor yesterday for my three month visit and gotten fairly good feedback, I know I could still do better as far as watching what I eat and serve to my family. This blog post from Marcus Samuelsson could not have come at a better time as it outlines five food types that we should all do our best to avoid if we want to be healthier. I know it’s much easier to say than to do with some of these things, but I am going to make a better effort. Take a look and see if there are things you can cut out to make things better for you and your family!

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Cooking Websites

 

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Lunch with My Sweetie at the Shannon Rose Irish Pub

Michelle and I were out and about running errands yesterday in Northern New Jersey and saw a place that seemed like it would be great to have lunch. It is called the Shannon Rose Irish Pub. There are a few of them in Northern New Jersey and it was the first time we had come across it. Since it was lunch time anyway, we figured we would stop in and give it a try.

The site in Ramsey, NJ is quite spacious with a very large bar in the center room. We were greeted nicely by a hostess and offered the opportunity to sit outside and eat or dine in. We opted for inside and enjoyed the decor that was around the place. Our server Ryan immediately introduced himself and offered us drinks while we looked over the menu. Michelle opted for a Diet Pepsi (no Diet Coke, to her disappointment) and I decided, since we were in an Irish pub, that I was going to have a Guinness. I noticed that they offered a Black and Tan made with Guinness and their own Shannon Rose Amber Ale, so I decided to give that one a try. our drinks arrived quickly and I have to say the Black and Tan was very good with the right balance of Guinness and ale.

The menu itself was plentiful but not overwhelming. There was a great choice of typical pub and bar fare mixed in with some entrees. Many of the dishes offered also include and Irish slant, which is a nice touch. Since we were there for lunch, we opted to go for burgers to keep it simple. Michelle decided to have the Dublin Burger. It is a hamburger with Irish cheddar cheese, Irish bacon, onion and tomato. The thing she loved the most is that you had the option between french fries or tater tots! Of course, she chose to have the tater tots. I went for the Guinness Burger, which was a hamburger with their own specially made Guinness barbecue sauce. It is typically also served with the Irish cheddar, which I opted not to have. I went just for fries myself.

The burgers arrived in a very timely fashion and we were very happy with them. First off, the burgers are served on toasted English muffins, which we both loved. They were cooked to perfection, nice and juicy and medium, just the way we ordered them. The fries I had were also cooked perfectly, not soggy or over cooked, but just right. Michelle loved the tater tots. The burgers were a pretty decent size and very filling (and also served with a nice deli pickle spear on the side).

While we would have loved to have room for dessert or another drink, we were both pretty full. Ryan did let us have a look at the dessert menu as a reference for the next time we return. It has some great choices, among them a homemade Irish soda bread pudding, Bailey’s ladyfingers and a Guinness cake. The table just behind us had ordered desserts and they seemed like large portions that looked great, so you could easily share.

I would definitely go back to Shannon Rose again. We had a very nice meal, great service and the prices seemed quite reasonable for the drinks and the food. They have live Irish music there often; on every Sunday at 4 PM in fact. They also offer a Sunday brunch that you could check out. It seemed they have a great balance of pub food and dinner food to choose from. I could easily see just sitting at the bar and having a drink or two and hanging out to watch a game or just be with friends. If you live in the area, I would recommend stopping in to check it out.

That’s it for today. Michelle and I don’t go out that much so it’s nice to be able to say we went to a place that we enjoyed. Give them a look if you are nearby Ramsey and see how you like it. Until next time, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Eating Out, Restaurants

 

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Friday Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw and Spicy Mayo

It was hard to resist trying the recipe of the picture on the front cover of the April issue of Bon Appétit magazine. The picture of the fried chicken sandwich that they had on the front looked too good to pass up, so I thought I would give it a try. The recipe itself for the sandwich, the spicy mayonnaise and the Slavic goes with the sandwich were all very easy to prepare.

Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw and Spicy Mayo

1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 cup bread-and-butter pickles slices, plus 1/4 cup pickle juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
1 cup buttermilk
2 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved crosswise
Vegetable oil (for frying)
4 white sandwich rolls
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

To make the spicy mayonnaise and slaw, mix the garlic, mayonnaise, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; cover and chill. Toss the onion, jalapeno, cabbage, pickles, and pickle juice in a large bowl to combine; cover and chill.

For the chicken, whisk the flour, pepper, and half teaspoon of salt in a shallow bowl. Pour the buttermilk into another shallow bowl. Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, allowing the access to drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken again in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Pour the oil into a large, heavy skillet to a depth of half-inch. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium heat until the thermometer registers 350°. Fry the chicken until Golden Brown and cooked through, about three minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet; season with salt.

Spread the cut sides of the roles with butter. Heat and another large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the roles buttered side down until browned and crisp, about one minute. Spread each role with spicy mayonnaise. Build the sandwiches with the roles, the chicken, and the cabbage slaw.

The sandwich itself was awesome. The crispy chicken with the spice from the mayonnaise and the tang of the slaw was a perfect combination. I think if you wanted to cut some fat out you could either use less oil for frying or even try oven-frying the chicken, though it may not come out quite as crispy. For the slaw, I used a bag mix of cole slaw cabbage instead of slicing the cabbage itself. I really liked the way the pickles and jalapeno added great flavor to the slaw and the sandwich. I think you could easily change the recipe around some and not use the mayo if that is what you wanted and go with some mustard or just have the slaw with it instead. I served the sandwiches with some potato salad as a simple side, although Sean opted to have tater tots instead.

That’s it for this recipe. I do have another post to put up about a restaurant we ate at this weekend so that one will follow shortly. I also have a few recipes to try this week, including crab cakes with oven fries, a sweet and sour pork stir fry, and another from Bon Appetit that was on the cover of the most recent issue for griddle cakes. Check back this week and see if you like any of them. Until next time, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Cooking, Poultry, Salad, Sandwiches, Sauce

 

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20 Cookie Recipes That Will Take You Back to Childhood: BA Daily: Bon Appétit

20 Cookie Recipes That Will Take You Back to Childhood: BA Daily: Bon Appétit.

Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Personally, I love when Michelle makes a homemade chocolate  chip or oatmeal raisin cookie. There is nothing in the world just like it. Bon Appetit has put together 20 cookie recipes that will bring you back to those when days when Mom or Grandma would pull a tray of cookies out of the oven for you. Check it out and see if you want to try one of your own.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Cookies, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dessert

 

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Monday’s Simple Stir Fry

For most people, Monday turns out to be the one day of the week where you really don’t want to do any cooking. It’s back to the weekly routine of school, work, after school activities and by the end of the day, you’re too exhausted to even think about having to cook something for dinner. That’s why Monday makes the perfect day to do something like a stir-fry  It’s quick, easy and gives you the chance to use either leftovers or any abundance of vegetables that you may have lying around the house. For me, yesterday turned out to be one of those days. I happen to have just a small package of beef in the freezer so it lent itself perfectly to this stir-fry recipe I found at America’s Test Kitchen for stir-fried beef and broccoli with oyster sauce.

Stir – Fried Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

1 pound flank steak, cut into 2 inch wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8 inch thick slices
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons chicken broth
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut on diagonal into 1/8 inch thick slices
1/3 cup water
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 medium scallions, sliced half-inch thick on diagonal

Combined the beef and the soy sauce in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ten minutes or up to one hour, stirring once. Meanwhile, whisk the sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a measuring cup. Combine the garlic, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a small bowl.

Drain the beef and discard the liquid. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef to the skillet and break up any clumps; cook, without stirring, for one minute, then stir and cook until the beef is browned around the edges, about thirty seconds. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a skillet, and repeat with the remaining beef.

Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the now empty skillet; heat until just smoking. Add the broccoli and cook for thirty seconds; and the water, cover the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Steam the broccoli until tender – crisp, about two minutes; transfer to a paper towel – lined plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the skillet; increase the heat to high and heat until just smoking. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear the center of the skillet; add the garlic and ginger to the clearing and cook, mashing the mixture with the spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then stir the mixture into the peppers. Return the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add it to the skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and evenly distributed over the beef and broccoli, about thirty seconds. Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with scallions and serve.

As with most stir-fried dishes, I served this one with white rice. Of course you could easily substitute brown rice for the white if that is what you prefer. Also, I did not have any fresh broccoli on hand; however, I did have a package of mixed frozen vegetables in the freezer which were ideal for a stir-fry  I try to keep one of these on hand to make a quick stir-fry whenever we need an easy meal and it worked last night. This bag in particular had broccoli, water chestnuts, snap peas, and carrots. It was a very simple meal, the sauce tasted great and I was all done with the cooking within fifteen minutes. It is a perfect meal for a day on the run.

That’s the only recipe for today. Tonight I have the fish tacos planned, which I have posted on here before. If you want to check the recipe for that, you can always check out the previous post I did. I do have a couple of other meals planned for later on in the week, including one for a fried chicken sandwich with spicy slaw and mayonnaise. We are also planning on having some chicken salad sandwiches later on in the week and I am looking to see if there is something new like can do with them or something new and interesting for a side dish. We’ll have to see what I can come up with. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Vegetables

 

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Sunday Chicken and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

I decided to get back to making a regular Sunday dinner and this week as I hadn’t done it a couple of weeks. I had picked up some chicken earlier in the week and a whole chicken makes great Sunday meal. I wanted to find a recipe that would make things a little different and I had seen this one on the Food Network about a week or so ago and thought I would give it a try. It is Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous. I had never made it before and it looked good on the TV so we figured what the head lets give it a try.

Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous

For the Chicken:
2 whole garlic bulbs
1 lemon, zest stayed and juice
1 large bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 4 to 5 pound chicken, cut into eight parts

Couscous:
Kosher salt
2 cups medium size Israeli couscous
Extra virgin olive oil
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Large pinch saffron
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
3 scallions, white and green, sliced thin

For the garlic chicken: preheat the oven to 350°. Put the garlic bulbs straight on the oven rack and roast them until they are soft when squeezed, about thirty minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Turn the oven up to 375°.

While the garlic is roasting, prepare the chicken. In a food processor or bowl, add the lemon zest and juice and set aside. When the garlic bulbs are cool, slice the tops off and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the bowl or food processor along with the thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Add a little olive oil and purée or mash into a loose paste. Massage the mixture all over the chicken pieces and allow it to sit for at least one hour.

For the couscous: bring a pot of well salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook until it is about two-thirds of the way cooked through, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove it to a plate, drain the fat and add the celery and onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another two minutes. Add in the saffron, zucchini, cooked couscous and chicken stock. Stir well to combine, and then taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Transfer the mix to a ovenproof dish. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, in the couscous and add some more chicken stock, if needed, to keep things moist and cover the pan with foil. Add some more chicken stock to keep everything moist. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if using, and cover the pan with foil. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan. Roast the chicken for approximately 20 minutes, and then remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and top with this scallions before serving.

The chicken came out very moist and had a nice flavor to it because of the garlic paste that was used. I had never made couscous before, so it was little different for me, but I think it came out okay. I don’t think I put enough salt in the water when I was preparing it initially because it tasted like it could use a little more seasoning. Use your best judgment and see what works well for you. I also did not use the pine nuts as they are quite expensive and not something I normally use at all so I just left them out of the recipe. Overall I think it turned out pretty well and if you didn’t want to use couscous I think you could easily substitute white rice or brown rice and this recipe and it would turn out just fine.

Earlier in the week, Sean had asked me to get some strawberries and make something for dessert with them. Of course, this time of year the first thing I thought of was strawberry rhubarb pie. I love the taste of the fresh strawberries with the rhubarb and I hadn’t made this pie before so I had to scour around for a recipe to use. I found one at Williams – Sonoma and I also found one through America’s Test Kitchen. I liked aspects of each one, although the one from America’s Test Kitchen did not include any rhubarb so I sort of combine the two recipes and used the best of both to see how it would come out.

Strawberry – Rhubarb Pie

Two rolled out rounds of basic pie dough, or store-bought pie dough
4 pints (about 3 pounds) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled and quartered lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons low sugar or no sugar pectin
Generous pinch table salt
1 tablespoon juice from one lemon
3 cups rhubarb, trimmed and sliced half-inch thick (four or five stalks)
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°.

For the filling: Select 6 ounces misshapen, underripe or otherwise unattractive strawberries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. In a food processor, process the berries until they are a smooth purée, about 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You should have about 3/4 cup of purée when you are done.

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, pectin, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the berry purée, making sure to scrape the corners of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to a full boil. Boil, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent scorching, for two minutes to ensure that the cornstarch is fully cooked (the mixture will appear frothy when it first reaches a boil, then will darken and thicken with further cooking). Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, pick over the remaining strawberries and halve any that are still large. Mix the berries and the rhubarb into the bowl with the glaze and fold gently with a rubber spatula until everything is coated evenly. Place one dough round in the bottom of the pie plate and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Transfer the berry mixture to the dough-lined pan. Dot the fruit mixture with the butter. Place the second dough round carefully over the top of the filled pie. Trim the edges neatly, leaving a slight overhang and crimp the edges to seal the pie. Brush the top crust with one lightly beaten egg. Using a small knife, cut five or six slits into the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.

Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the pie to cool completely to set. Serve at room temperature or re-warm in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving.

I think the pie turned out great myself. It was still just a little bit runny but not much. I think using the pectin instead of tapioca did seem to really help, and it gave the strawberry pie a nice strawberry jam-like flavor to it. I think once it has been sitting in the refrigerator overnight it will have set up even more and taste even better. Of course, you want to serve this with fresh whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

That’s all there is for today. I do have a few recipes planned out for the week, so we’ll see what we can get to as far as what we want to put up here. I do know I am making fish tacos this week at some point and I have posted a couple of different recipes for them on the air, so it is likely I’ll be using one of those if you want to check out and see what the recipe is like. I do also have a recipe I want to try this week for chicken sandwiches and will have to see what else comes along during the week. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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I forgot to take a picture of the chicken to go along with this. Sorry about that 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Cooking, Dessert, Dinner, Pasta, Pie, Poultry

 

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Spring Cleaning: 5 Outdated Kitchen Tools You Should Toss Right Now | Food Republic

Spring Cleaning: 5 Outdated Kitchen Tools You Should Toss Right Now | Food Republic.

I admit it – I have four out of the five tools they are talking about here and I never use them at all so I really should get rid of them. Check out this posting from Food Republic and you too can help to clear up some space in your utensil drawer or your counter when you realize how little you use or need these things.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Cooking Websites, Equipment

 

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Asparagus and Chicken Stir Fry

Since it is spring and asparagus has been in abundance lately, I have been buying a lot of it. It is a vegetable we all like in my family and in a variety of ways. I have had a lot of it around the house this week and decided last night to make some use of it with this chicken and asparagus stir fry recipe I found at Food Network. It’s light and easy, only taking me about fifteen minutes to prepare, just enough time to cook up some rice to go along with it.

Asparagus and Chicken Stir Fry

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch plus one teaspoon

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon dry sherry

3/4 cup chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 bunches medium asparagus (about 2 pounds), woody stems trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

Freeze the chicken breasts for 20 to 30 minutes and then thinly slice the chicken against the grain into strips. Toss the strips with 1 clove of the garlic and about half the ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the sherry in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Mix the remaining corn starch with the chicken broth or water.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus, scallions, remaining garlic, remaining ginger, 1/4 cup of water and season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry until the asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Heat the same skillet until very hot and then add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Return the asparagus to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a full boil to thicken. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter and serve with white or brown rice.

The great thing about any stir fry is that you can add whatever you like to it. There are many other spring vegetables you could add to the mix right now, like fresh peas, or you can go with any of your favorites, like mushrooms, onions, carrots, green beans, sprouts, broccoli… the list can go on and on. You could also substitute for the chicken and use shrimp, pork, beef or no meat at all and just go with the vegetables if that is what you are looking for. I think any of the options are good, but I really liked this recipe as it is. The asparagus was nice and crispy and the chicken tasted great from the marinade. I think the fresh ginger really made the dish and the cornstarch mixture put  a nice glaze on the chicken.

Nice and simple for today. Today being Wednesday and usually a busy day around here, I don’t often cook anything new. We either have leftovers or something equally as simple, like burgers. I do have another chicken recipe I will be using later this week as well as the recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, so check back for those towards the end of the week. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Cooking, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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Grilled New York Strip Steaks and Sweet Pea Risotto

As promised, I did try a couple of new recipes last night for dinner. The first was from Williams – Sonoma and covered the main entrée for the evening, which was grilled steaks with cherry tomatoes and basil. It was pretty easy to make, although using the indoor grill pan always causes a problem around here with the smoke detector. After a few minutes of wrangling with this smoke detector, everything else was just fine.

Grilled Steaks with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more, to taste
2 New York strip steaks, each about 1 1/4 pound and 1 1/2 inches thick
8 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Brush a cast-iron grill pan with the oil and heat over medium high heat until hot. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, the 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Rub the spice mixture evenly onto both sides of the steaks. In another bowl, combine that tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the steaks on the grill pan and cook, turning once, until nicely grill marked, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, or a grill in till they are done to your specific liking. Add the tomato mixture to the pan during the last two minutes of cooking. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for five minutes. Transfer of the tomatoes to what warmed platter. Cut the steak crosswise into 1/4 inch strips and arrange on the platter with that tomatoes.

This would be a good meal for you to cook on your outdoor grill as well. If you have the proper tools to cook that tomatoes right on the grill you can do them outside as well. I cooked the steaks to him about medium, which is the way we prefer to have it. These spice rub that is applied to the steaks adds great flavor and seems to go very well with the tomatoes and basil.

As a side dish, I decided I wanted to make some risotto. I looked around for a few different recipes, and I wanted to try to find one that would make good use of some of the spring vegetables that are around right now. The best one I found came from Marcus Samuelsson on his website at Food Republic. It was for a spring peak risotto and sounded really good.

Spring Pea Risotto

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 to 6 cups chicken stock
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 bunch asparagus stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh peas, shelled
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat the chicken stock to a warmed simmer. In a large stock pot, or any heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium low heat. Add the minced shallots and a pinch of salt, and sauté until the shallots are translucent. Add the rice, stir for about one minute until the grains begin to become translucent around the edges.

Pour in the wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add one ladle of stock at a time, stirring frequently until all the liquid is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock, and stir frequently until liquid is absorbed again. Repeat this process until almost all the stock has been used in the rice is cooked but still al–dente. The entire process should take about twenty minutes.

About five minutes before the rice is done cooking, stir in the asparagus and the peas. Add more chicken stock as necessary to continue cooking the rice. Once the rice has achieved the desired texture, stir in the Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and fresh mint. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Admittedly, making risotto is a lot of work. It requires constant attention and stirring on the stove. While it can be taxing, it is certainly worth the work that you put into it. I especially liked this recipe because of the fresh peas and asparagus that are used. It is the perfect time of year to try to incorporate some of the your spring vegetables into a dish like this and they tasted great. I would certainly make this dish again.

Those of the recipes for today. Tonight, I do plan to make some type of chicken and I have a couple of different recipes to choose from. Check back tomorrow and see which one I have decided to go with and see if you like the recipe yourself. I do have a couple of recipes for later on in the week that I plan to make. One is for another chicken dish, the other is for a strawberry rhubarb pie. I think both will be pretty good. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Beef, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Grilling, Rice, Vegetables

 

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Simple Margherita Pizza

We were all feeling kind of lazy yesterday. I normally cook a big meal on Sunday for dinner but I just didn’t feel up to it yesterday so we were looking for something simple. Sean actually suggested Margherita pizza, which I had not made before but it sounded like a good idea so I decided to go for it. I looked around for a good recipe and I found this simple one online at Food.com so I decided to go with this one.

Margherita Pizza

1 12-inch thin pizza crust

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3-4 large basil leaves,cut into strips

2 small tomatoes, cut thinly

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle the olive oil over the pizza crust. Use a brush to spread it around evenly to make sure it covers all of the crust. Disperse the finely chopped garlic evenly over the crust. Spread the mozzarella cheese throughout the top of the crust, trying to keep the layers of cheese as thin as possible. Place the thinly sliced tomatoes across the entire pizza. Lightly salt and pepper the tomatoes. Spread the fresh basil leaves over the pizza crust, making sure to cover some of the tomatoes and some on just the cheese itself. Cook the pizza in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy and the cheese is melted to your specific liking. Add the Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, if using. Slice and serve.

Just a few things about this recipe. I used Boboli crust since one, I had some on hand, and two, I don’t usually make my own pizza dough. You could easily substitute your own pizza dough or any store-bought dough in this recipe if that is what you prefer. I also put mine on a pizza stone in the oven and I really think it makes a big difference. The crust comes out much crisper, which I personally prefer. We also made a sausage pizza to go along with this one and had a side salad to round out the meal.

You can’t get much simpler than that and it does taste great. The fresh tomatoes, the olive oil, the garlic and fresh basil really made it for me. I just love the smell of fresh basil and the kitchen smelled great while it was cooking. Using a really good olive oil seemed to make a good difference too, so if you have a good one, this is a good recipe to use it on.

I do have a few recipes planned out for this week, including the one I am making tonight of indoor grilled steaks with tomato and basil and some sweet pea risotto. Check back tomorrow to see the recipes and how they came out. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!001

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Pizza

 

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