Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hoisen Beef, Bok Choy and Asian Noodles

My employer and I went to a small Asian market in Hillsborough, NJ looking for some unique ingredients. I was looking for Chicken Feet. I found them. Also being low on seasonings I picked up a new Hoisen sauce, and  few other goodies.

I am not sure why Hoisen from their store is so much better than the one I normally buy at the market, but this dish was amazing. This was the third time I have made an main entree with it.

1 fat trimmed (around edges) Ribeye- sliced thin, large cut onion, cilantro, rice wine vinegar, and a squeeze of lime you let it sit in fridge for half an hour. When ready over medium-high heat place meat pieces with 1 medium chopped onion, mushroom slices, and 3 tablespoons oil into the hot wok or pan. When meat begins to brown, and onions turn translucent (you can start with onions if you would like, then add meat and mushrooms); quickly add about 2 tablespoons Hoisen, and then quickly add 1/4 tablespoon beef stock. Cook another four or five minutes. You can serve sauteed bok choy and tossed somen noodle (cooked corn, edamame pieces, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce) as side dishes.

To add heat  to the dishes, because I love spicy- I served this sauce I found at Whole Foods, Nuclear Sauce. Its like a vegetable salsa, and similar to jalapeno pickled veggies my dad would make in Texas; it has the most incredible flavor. You have to watch how much you mix in, it is NUCLEAR! Hubby evidently did not hear me say this over and over that night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Am Crazy For Mustard!

This sure makes me realize how I have wanted mustard lately. We had sandwiches with mustard last week, I added mustard to my Asian grill this past Sunday. This meal and my Irish meal. I love mustard! What better than a mustard dill combo on the salmon I made. Hubby loves his Copper River Salmon, so I found to selections to play with. And I decided to throw some mustard and dill in the potato salad.

Mustard oil, sour cream, lemon juice and dill were the key ingredients to these two dishes- in the potato salad, as a marinade for the octopus, and the Copper River Salmon. I made Coho and Sockeye versions purchased from Whole Foods.

It was really simple and good!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Food Parade Dinner

Its St. Paddy's Day, er uh I mean Saint Patrick's Day...

The Daily Spud started a traditional Parade of Irish Food last year, and I got in on it at the last minute, but this year I am on time with a meal of Green Stuffed Chicken, Twice Baked Irish Beer Mustard Stuffed Tator's.

We are going out tomorrow to watch a fellow writer Grace's husbands band at a Hillsborough pub, so I had to get it together early.

The Daily Spud also has a great Irish Beer Mustard recipe I decided to mimic. Bake some potatoes you have cut in half, I used some yukon gold's (on the bigger side). Place in a baking dish, roll in olive oil, and cover with foil. Bake 350 degree oven for 45 min or so.

Uncover and then let them cool; take out the insides of each cooked potato half; place in a mixing bowl. Mix in a good amount of the Irish Beer Mustard, onion, cheese, heavy cream and salt to taste. Just to make sure it screamed of Irish Beer, I drizzled more on each potato before stuffing. Spoon mixture back in potatoes and sprinkle with cheese of your choice.  Bake again until golden brown- uncovered in 350 degree oven for about thirty minutes.

Butterfly the chicken breast, but only thin enough to roll (if needed pound them in between plastic wrap). Then marinate chicken breast in a good dose of pesto over night. The next day I rolled them around a frozen spinach, heavy cream and cheese mixture. If any spinach is left over I placed on bottom of pan and place rolls on top. I mixed pesto with some chili paste I had made previously and rubbed on top, and placed some spinach mixture on to of that; add a splash of chicken stock to keep from drying out too fast. Bake uncovered on bottom rack.

Bake for 45 min in 350 degree oven (frozen spinach mixture helps keep them from drying out).

Once cooked, spoon spinach and chicken into bowl and place potatoes around the chicken. Serve with a beer of your choice- Irish Stout!

I decided this totally would be good with a piece of salmon, or smoked salmon pieces mixed in the potatoes for an appetizer!

To join in, send an email to paddysday [at] thedailyspud [dot] com including:

- Your name
- Your blog name
- A link to your blog post
- A title for your dish or drink
- A picture of same (preferably 500 pixels wide, 72 dpi)
- Anything else you’d like to tell me about it
- Include a link back to this post and use the logo above if you like

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Fun Beef Tenderloin Presentation

My friend Phil Southard called me for cooking information. I was flattered. He is one of those friends I really enjoy hanging out with, because we 'seriously' talk writing, music, and food. He enjoys cooking. Phil does a great job at it too.

He called to tell me a couple of beef tenderloins were purchased for a New Year's Ski weekend meal, and wanted to double check his knowledge on preparing them. "Should I leave them whole or cut into steaks", he asked. Telling me the group would want various temps on the cuts of meat, I suggested he cut steaks and pan sear. Only if there was no access to a grill. Then he could cook them off in the oven if someone wanted a 'well-done' version, goodness forbids!

It does happen you know. I also reminded him the meat continues to cook as it rests. We have to remember not to judge by cutting into the meat and risk the wonderful juices to escape. But do not over cook it either. If you are unsure on the timing, then use a meat thermometer (piercing it will let juices escape). I have always cooked 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick steaks on the hot side of the pan or grill to 7 minutes (medium rare) on first side, flip 4 minutes on the other side, and find it comes out perfect every time.

Please remember everyone's ideal cooking time for a steak depends on thickness of meat and actual cooking method and temperature. The thinner the steak the shorter the cooking time. Electric and Gas stove tops vary, as do Gas Grill or Charcoal cooking (direct heat/fire cooking). These times were based on 2 inches of Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) steak cooked in a non-stick pan over electric burners on an old stove, so a longer cooking time for done'ness.

PS- I also realize there was no instruction on adding heavy cream to final sauce recipe, so please forgive the video. Add it in right after the cognac and setting juices are added and cook on high heat a few more minutes, but do not burn.

Music by Julio Aguirre y Castro of Madrid, Spain.

Photos by Todd Turpin

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Who Wants Dessert?

Lemon Cake that is!

I love citrus flavors. So simple, not too sweet, and something other than chocolate. My grandmother made this lemon bundt cake when I was growing up. She would take cherry jello powder and after placing half the batter in the pan, she would sprinkle the powder around the middle, then put the rest of batter and bake.

Lemon Bundt Cake

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 2/3 cups raw sugar, not as sweet)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (I used 1 cup yogurt)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I used 4 T)
zest from 1 or 2 lemons (I used limes and lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease and flour a small bundt or tube pan. Zest and juice your lemon.

With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the milk. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the lemon juice, zest and vanilla.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a spatula, and turn out the cake onto a rack to finish cooling.

These are the directions from my grandmothers recipe, I however beat the ingredients by hand, but you alter and do things the way you feel comfortable.

The icing is powder sugar, lemon and lime juice and zest, with 1 teaspoon of yogurt.

I of course only have a few small slices, hubby took the rest for his lunches. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roasted Lamb- Was it worth the wait?

I know, it looks picked over, but the waitress tore it apart! -Roasted Oven Lamb.

One of our many eating adventures in Spain that has me longing for more... Yes, it was worth it...did the long line give away how good it was? Or was it the fact Haro only had a few restaurants open for lunch, and this was the longest line?

The big meal is often eaten between one and four o'clock in the afternoon in some areas of Spain. Or you have a big meal later in the day, after eating tapas and wine at local bars around four or after.

We were staying in the Rioja region, my son had headed back to Madrid to return home, and being up early to take him to the train station...well, we were really hungry by the time we finished exploring.

The food gods were looking down on us, because this was one of the most unique places we had seen in the villages. They have been around for one hundred years. The line was out the door and around the corner, but we were told it would only be about fifteen minutes...over a half hour later I was still talking it up to hubby, but he agreed...the food was worth it. The entertainment of watching the lamb go in, and coming out helped keep you engaged. A few people around us spoke some English, so we practiced our bad Spanish.

The family passes down the business from generation to generation, and this is one great investment. They also make their own wine locally. Something you cannot buy in the Undited States.

A meal is served around the plate of lamb, depending on how many are sitting at the table, and then all sides are family style. I was intrigued by the oven. A complete stone encased wood burning oven. I wished some bread or pizza had been on the oven, we would have taken some to go for our dinner!

The server brings the lamb to the table on a wooden board (the clay bowl is hot!) and removes the meat from the bone for you...there was so much we asked with our GPS language helper for a doggy bag...lost in translation as she returned with simply a plastic we figured out how to say 'To Go', and she boxed it up.

Upon leaving I purchased a clay plate for my own fancies, and will share my own leg of lamb meal I recently cooked. This plate is bigger than a Moroccan Tagine, the same affect, but more room for ingredients to go around the lamb for flavor. I obviously do not have a wood burning oven to give the lamb that crisp outside like we enjoyed at Restaurante Terete.

Location- Haro is a locality and Spanish municipality, located to the northwest of the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, being head of its region homónima and the most important population of denominated High La Rioja. It is contiguous with the province of Burgos by Montes Obarenes to the North and with Álava by the Ebro to the East.

Did I mention how fantastic the wine was? We are enjoying a bottle with the lamb meal I made right now...if I remember correctly, we had two bottles at lunch...gosh how did I drive back to the hotel...