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Let’s Strip! – New York Strip That is… Grilled New York Strip Steak with Five-Peppercorn Sauce

There’s nothing like a good quality steak every once in a while to make for a really great meal. Unfortunately in the world we live in today most steak is pretty darn expensive so it is something I make very often at home, saving it for special occasions. When Valentine’s Day rolled around this year and Michelle was coming home that day after 3 weeks on the road, that was all special enough for me and I went in search for some good steak. Nothing against the big local supermarkets, but I prefer to use a smaller butcher shop for good steaks. For me, they are usually a better cut of meat and very often the price is better than want I find in the supermarket. Such was the case when I picked up three 3 New York strip steaks and got them for $5 less a pound than they were at the supermarket. I sorted out among the recipes I had and decided to give this one from Guy Fieri a try for some grilled New York strip steaks with a creamy five-peppercorn sauce. I busted out the grill pan and went to work.

Grilled New York Strip Steak with Five-Peppercorn Sauce

4 cups beef stock

Four 16-ounce New York strip steaks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons butter

2 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons fresh cracked five-peppercorn blend

1/2 cup brandy

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Bring the beef stock to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Immediately lower the stock to a simmer and cook the stock until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 45 minutes. Set the stock aside.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Sprinkle the New York strip steaks with kosher salt and black pepper and allow them to sir for about 15 minutes.

Place the steaks on the grill or grill pan, evenly spaced, and grill the steaks for about 2 1/2 minutes. Rotate the steaks a quarter-turn and cook them for another 2 1/2 minutes to create crosshatch sear marks on the steaks. Flip the steaks over and repeat the process on the reverse side of the steaks. Remove the steaks to a baking sheet and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the steaks are resting, combine 2 tablespoons of the butter, the shallots and the five-peppercorn blend together in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until the shallots and peppercorns are fragrant and the butter is beginning to bubble, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the brandy and the red wine. Carefully place the saucepan back on the burner (at this point you could flame the mixture if you want, provided you safely have the room to do so in your kitchen and are familiar with the process; I skipped this in might tight-quartered kitchen). Add the reduced beef stock and the heavy whipping cream, bring the mixture to a boil and immediately lower it to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds, about 8 to 10 minutes. Prior to serving the sauce, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce, then remove the sauce from the heat.

With a sharp knife, slice the steaks into 1/2-inch thick slices, cutting on the bias. Transfer the steak slices to a large serving platter and spoon over the five-peppercorn sauce. Garnish with minced parsley and serve, passing the reserved sauce on the side.

To me there is nothing like a steak that is cooked perfectly to medium or medium-rare. You get the softness of the meat with that nice pink color and the flavor burst in your mouth. Add in this peppercorn sauce, which has a nice mix of red wine, brandy and the peppercorns to add a nice little bite and you have perfect steaks for the night. I forgot to take a picture of the sauce itself but it came out nicely. I served the steaks with some sautéed mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts and a recipe for pan-fried fingerling potatoes and leeks with a honey-lemon sauce that I will share with you tomorrow. Overall it was a very nice meal and a good way to cap off Valentine’s Day and Michelle coming home.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

grilled NY strip steaks

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Sauce

 

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A Heartwarming Winter Meal – Chicken Thigh and Italian Sausage Cacciatore

It doesn’t seem like it could actually get much colder or more miserable around this winter and February has only just begun. We have had enough snow already with more in the forecast for this week to go along with pretty frigid temperatures pretty much every day of the week for the last two weeks. When the weather gets like this, the thoughts of cooking meals, for me at least, turn to things that are warm, rustic and comforting. You want a meal that is going to make you feel warm all over when you eat it. This is the time of year when things like stews and soups are great, and this particular recipe turned out to be somewhat like a stew. I had seen the recipe from Guy Fieri on the Food Network not long ago and it made use of some of the basics around the house to produce a nice chicken thigh and sausage cacciatore so I thought I would give it a try.

Chicken Thigh and Italian Sausage Cacciatore

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian Sausage, cut into large pieces

6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed

1 cup diced red bell peppers

1 head garlic, roasted

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup marinara sauce

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat and add the sausage pieces, searing them until they are browned all over, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate and set them aside. Sprinkle the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper, then sear the chicken in the Dutch oven, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate and set it aside.

Add the mushrooms, pearl onions, red peppers, roasted garlic and the red pepper flakes to the pot and season them with salt and pepper. Saute the mixture until the vegetables are softened and the pearl onions become translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the red wine and bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes, deglazing the pan and scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

In a large roasting pan add the browned sausages and the chicken thighs, the sautéed vegetables and the chicken stock and marinara sauce. Tie the thyme and rosemary into a bundle using butcher’s twine or kitchen twine and add it to the pan. Stir all of the ingredients together and transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Cook until the chicken thighs are cooked through and tender and the sauce has thickened, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the herb bundle and serve the cacciatore on a large serving platter, garnished with the parsley.

I did make a couple of changes to the recipe as I went along. I removed the skin from the chicken thighs as I thought it would get flabby during the cooking even after searing it and there was already enough fat in the dish from the sausage. I also used a mix of different colored peppers, using red, yellow and orange peppers. Finally I added some grape tomatoes along with the marinara sauce to give the dish a little more flair and fresh flavor. I loved the mix of the chicken and sausage and all of the vegetables together and I served this over rice and it was delicious. I think you could also serve this with pasta, noodles or even a risotto and it would be just as good and the leftovers tasted even better the next day for lunch with the flavors having a chance to meld even more.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

chickenandsausagecacciatore

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Poultry, Sausage

 

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Going Meatless – Sparrow Veggie Burger

Everyone once in a while I do try to make a meatless dish so we can stay away from red meat. We don’t eat a lot of it here, but every little bit helps some, right? It’s also no secret that I watch a lot of Food Network, especially when it isn’t baseball season, so a few weeks ago Michelle and I saw Diners. Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy Fieri  was a restaurant in Queens where they made this really great looking vegetable burger. Now most vegetable burgers I have had in the past have left a lot to be desired but this one looked like it had some great stuff in it so  I wanted to give it a try. It took me a while to track down a recipe online and even then it was not very specific so it took a little manipulation on my part to make this one work.

Sparrow Veggie Burger

2 shredded carrots

1 shredded zucchini

1 cup barley, cooked

Corn off the ear of 1 cob

1 cup green peas

1 large sweet potato, cooked

handful of scallions

Panko breadcrumbs

1 diced red pepper

5 large chopped mushrooms

1 cup cooked brown rice

Pita bread

Lettuce or bean sprouts

Pickles

Sweet Cayenne Mustard Sauce:

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt or mayonnaise

3 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1/2 cup grain or Dijon mustard

3/4 cup agave or maple syrup

Mix the carrots, zucchini, cooked barley, corn, green peas, sweet potato, scallions, breadcrumbs, red pepper, mushrooms and the cooked brown rice together in a large bowl until blended. Allow the mixture to sit for 1 hour so the flavors can meld together.

While the vegetables sit, make the sweet cayenne mustard sauce. Mix the yogurt or mayonnaise, the cayenne pepper, mustard and the agave or maple syrup together in a medium bowl with a whisk until smooth and well blended. Set the sauce aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.For the veggie burgers, measure out six-ounce portions – about the size of the palm of your hand – and form patties for the burgers. Place the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cook the patties in the oven until they are cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable and heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the patties to the skillet and cook until the burgers are browned and crunchy on the outside, about 4 minutes per side.

Drizzle the sweet cayenne pepper sauce inside a pita. Add the lettuce or bean sprouts to the pita, then add the veggie burger and the pickles and drizzle with more sauce if desired. Repeat with the remaining burgers.

Okay, here are a couple of things we noticed in this recipe. First, this recipe makes a lot more than the 6 portions the recipe purports to make. We had over twelve patties when all was said and done, so you can bake them and freeze them so you always have some ready to make when you feel like having one and just defrost it and bake it in the skillet. Second, these burgers do not hold together well because there is not much to bind them. We actually experimented with another batch and added 1 beaten egg to the mix and they held together much better than the first batch. From what I have been able to see about the Sparrow Diner, while they call it a burger, it is not really served as a burger that holds together, which is why they serve it in a pita, which is fine, but we wanted more of a burger texture so we added the egg and served it on a hamburger roll. Finally, for the sauce, I cut back on the cayenne pepper. Three tablespoons is a lot of cayenne pepper, so if you like it hot, go for it, but if you want something milder, cut back a bit and you will have a great sauce. Michelle and I both liked the results of the burger. It had great flavor with all of the vegetables and we enjoyed. In the interest of full disclosure, Sean hated it. He didn’t like the taste and said it didn’t hold together well, but I think for the majority of teenage boys who hear they are having burgers for dinner it was an understandable reaction. He did eat it, but he wasn’t happy with it, so next time around I guess it is just for me and Michelle.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I’ve been really busy lately so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I want, but I am going to try harder to keep up regularly since I still have lots to share. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Sandwiches, Sauce, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Who Needs Take Out? Homemade Mu Shu Chicken

As much as we all love Chinese takeout, let’s face it – it can get expensive if you eat it too often and there are times that even when you get food from your favorite takeout place that the meal seems less than inspiring when you eat it. With that in mind, why not try to make some of your favorite meals right at home? Very often they are a lot easier to do than you think and even with all of the ingredients may cost less than what it would cost to get it from a takeout place. When I saw this Guy Fieri recipe for Mu Shu chicken, I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off since it involves making your Chinese pancakes, which are basically like crepes. As intimidating as the thought was, the reality seemed much easier and I wanted to give it a try.

Mu Shu Chicken

1/3 cup hoisin sauce, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons  soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red pepper, seeded, membrane removed, julienned
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium head green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 medium head purple cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup shaved bamboo shoots, drained
1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 eggs, beaten
2 recipes Chinese Crepes, recipe follows
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional
1 small bunch scallions, finely sliced, optional
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving, optional
Sriracha, for serving, optional
For the Chinese Crepes:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 eggs

For the Mu Shu chicken: Whisk the hoisin, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, garlic and ginger in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced chicken thighs and toss them  to coat them evenly with the marinade. Marinate the chicken, covered, at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once 5 minutes of marinating time remains, heat a large skillet over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to heat. Using a slotted spoon, strain the chicken and  add it to the very hot skillet. Cook, allowing the chicken to brown, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and the onion slices, allowing them to soften, and cook for another minute. Next, add the cabbages and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until just browning, about 2 minutes. Push the chicken and vegetables to the side of the skillet and stir in the mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside, keeping the contents warm.

Place a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the beaten eggs to the skillet, allowing them to scramble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once cooked, break up the eggs with a rubber spatula and add them to the chicken. Toss the mixture to combine.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce on each Chinese Crepes. Top with some mu shu chicken, sesame seeds and scallions. Add the cilantro leaves if desired. Roll up the crepe and serve with Sriracha if desired.

For the Chinese Crepes

:
In a medium glass mixing bowl, whisk the flours, salt, 1 cup of water, the sesame oil and the eggs; the batter should be smooth and free of lumps.

Heat a 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Very lightly coat the skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle in 1/4 cup of the batter. Gently rotate the skillet for a few seconds, swirling the batter to create a thin, even layer over the bottom. Cook the pancake until the underside is pale and just firmed up, about 1 minute.

Flip the pancake over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove it from the skillet and transfer it to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel. Continue with the rest of the batter until all the pancakes have been made. Keep the pancakes warm until ready to serve.

This was a very tasty dish that was easy to make. Granted, there are a lot of ingredients involved and you need to leave yourself some time for some prep work to get everything together and ready to go so you can just cook. This is what you should do for every stir fry dish anyway because the actual cooking time is pretty small, usually smaller than the prep time. The taste of the sauce is fantastic and really adds to the chicken and there are tons of great vegetables in this dish. The crunch from the cabbage and the water chestnuts go great with the carrots and mushrooms and the chicken. As for the crepes, they were not hard to make at all. I only tore one in making them, and it was the first one I made. After that, I got the hang of it and make sure you let it cook the full minute before you try to flip it to make sure it flips nicely. Guy actually adds some sliced scallions to his crepes while they cook but I left them out this time since I was just trying to get them cooked successfully. I think they came out well and everyone seemed to enjoy them. I would definitely try making this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another great recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, One Pot Meals, Poultry, Vegetables

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

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simple cooking recipes

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