Sunday, November 10, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

1 1/2lb Italian sausages (For a less fatty/greasy version I used Turkey Italian Sauasage)
4 large Potatoes, Cubed into bite size pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
7 slices of bacon chopped small (optional)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups kale - chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth ( I made my own broth with chicken "Better than Buillion"
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup Parmesan Cheese

In a large soup pot, on medium heat cook the sausage enough to firm the outside so you can chop it into bite size pieces, it doesn't have to be cooked all the way through, just enough on the outside to cut.
Remove and set aside.

Add onions bacon and garlic to hot pot, cook until softened. Remove and set aside with sausage. Add potatoes to pot and until partially cooked.

Add chicken broth to pot to deglaze it.

Combine all the ingredients except cream and cheese. Simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked through.

Add Cream and cheese and bring back to a simmer.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

For Jeff and Merrit Bowden

I might have mentioned before how much I love aioli!. I Served this with our grilled chicken sandwhiches the other night. Sometimes I just like something quick and easy to make the dish "special". 
I served this on the side so the family and guests could dress their burger/sandwhiches as they liked. And then I ate the leftovers with anything and everything I could. Great for dipping vegetables or serving with crackers and cream cheese.

1/2 tsp grated garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine garlic and red peppers in the food processor (I used my hand blender). Blend until almost smooth. Blend in the mayonnaise. With the machine running, blend in the oil. Season the aioli, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the aioli to a small bowl. (The aioli can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 7 :Rib Eye Steak with Warm Tomato Jalapeno Salad with Cilantro Chiffonade and Balsamic Reduction

Perfect Summer Dinner

Succulent steak should be kept simple! This warm and light tomato salad is the perfect accompaniment - Acidic and sweet from the tomatoes add a little heat from the Jalapenos and you have a really satisfying, but not carb loaded (only meat loaded) summer dinner!

Ribeye Steaks (I used medium thick cut- 2 was more than enough for me my husband and my 2 girls)
Spade L Seasoning
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Warm Tomato Salad Ingredients
1 Carton Cherry tomatoes (Approx  3-4 cups)
1/2 Red Onion thinly sliced
1 Garlic Clove chopped
1 Jalapeno roughly diced (for less heat remove seeds)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
2 TBSP finely sliced cilantro leaves
Salt and Pepper to Taste
small head of Lettuce

Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 good squeezes of honey

Remove Steaks from fridge approximately 30 minutes before grilling while you prep. While you wait for them to reach near room temperature, make the balsamic reduction. (this step can even be done before hand)

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to bubbling, add honey and stirring frequently, reduce heat to low and allow it to continue simmering until it thickens to the consistancy of syrup. it should coat the back of a spoon really well. Taste it to see if it's to your sweetness and liking.

Remove from heat.

Heat Barbecue with lid on. Create a non direct cooking area (if using a coal BBQ put the coals to one side) if using gas like me, then turn off a section of burners.

While BBQ is heating prepare steaks

Pour a little bit of Vegetable oil and rub over both sides of steaks.  
Sprinkle Spade L Seasoning over steak and gently pat/rub it onto both sides. I like a reasonably generous seasoning on the outside. 

When BBQ is super hot place steaks on direct heat. Let them get nice and hot, you should have some nice grill/char marks. After a couple minutes on this side peek and if ready flip them over.

Allow the steaks to cook for a couple minutes on 2nd side then place them on indirect heat and close the lid of the BBQ. My steaks last night cooked for about 10 minutes. Check on them every now and again. I could tell by touching with my finger how well done it was inside. I was aiming for a rare/medium steak. When I touched the steak and it was still soft but slightly resistant on the top I knew it was done. If you press it and its super firm you have a "well done" steak. 

While I my steaks cooked on indirect heat, heat a pan with olive oil on medium high.
When oil is hot add onions and garlic and jalapenos. Toss for a minute.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.  
Continue tossing them frequently so the tomatoes don't start getting squishy but the onions and garlic no longer have a raw look and taste.
Remove from heat.

When steaks are done to your liking remove from heat, cover and let them "rest".
Place Lettuce, grilled tomatoes and onions and jalapenos, then shaved parmesan cheese, lastly sprinkle some cilantro (really finely sliced cilantro leaves) on top (the cilantro is like the icing on the cake.. don't miss it out)
Spoon some balsamic reduction lightly over salad and on the plate (you want it to join the meat juices!)

Place steak on plate and serve... easy... and so very tasty!

Note: my husband hates tomatoes. I served him the lettuce cheese and reduction --no tomatoes

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 6: Quick and Tasty Grilled Pork Kebabs

This meal is a great quick week-night meal I just made up as I went.  Normally if I was making kebabs I would marinate the meat thoroughly overnight, however, I didn't have that luxury this week and I wanted to try something new so I decided to use ground pork, it's packed full of flavor and the fats keep the meat nice and juicy and tender. In this instance I made 3 flavors, Sweet Thai Chilli, Satay , and then for fun I did Panda Express' Mandarin Sauce. Individualizing these is easy, you simply baste the sauces on while you grill. I threw together a quick noodle stir fry to accompany it and whualla... a tasty, quick meal that my whole family LOVED! the novelty of eating off a stick never wears off in my house!


2 lbs Ground Pork
3 Green Onions, finely chopped
1 TBSP freshly minced ginger
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 TBSP Oyster Sauce
1 generous Splash of Fish Sauce (Preferred brand is Squid)
Kebab Skewers

Basting Sauces of your choice.. obviously I prefer home my Satay Marinade Recipe and Sweet Chili sauces but we don't always have time to make it all, so if you do use pre-made sauces don't be cheap get a really good quality tasting sauce, because there are some really disgusting ones out there!

Satay Sauce
Sweet Chili Sauce
Mandarin (from Panda Express - found this is the Asian food section at walmart and though what the heck lets try this guy)
NOTE: These kebabs can be prepared ahead of time, it just infuses more flavor to the pork. I made mine in the morning while my baby was napping and refrigerated them until I was ready to grill in the evening, that's what makes this such a quick, easy recipe

1. Combine all above ingredients in a bowl, the  best way is to just take off your rings and dig in with your hands until it is evenly mixed through, you want to make sure the garlic and ginger is evenly incorporated

2. Have your bowl of kebab mix, a tray and wooden skewers lined up and ready. I lined my tray with plastic, you don't have to do that it's just sometimes nicer on the clean up.

3. Take a small handful of meat , slightly larger than a golf ball and roll into ball shape.
4.  Gently Press skewer into meat.
5. Wrap meat around the skewer, and work it up and down until it encompasses it evenly.
It should look like this.
6.  Refrigerate when done.
 Heat up your grill and get your individual sauces in bowls with basting brushes ready.
7.  When Grill is hot, place kebabs on direct heat, these cook quickly. Once your first side is browned turn them and baste the cooked side, then flip them again basting as you do it.
You want your sauce to be caramelize and cook onto the meat. Do not over cook, remove from heat and serve hot over your favorite stirfry noodles, fried rice, or for a low carb option remove from skewer and eat with a zesty salad.
Stir Fry Noodles cooked on the side burner of my BBQ!,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 5: Warm Grilled Potato Salad with Garlic Paprika Aoli


Warm Grilled Potato Salad with Aoli
I'm pretty much a sucker for anything with aoli... love it! and it took me a long time to realize how easy it was to make, add it to the warm potatoes and it just melts over them. Just a small amount goes a long way, serve the extra aoli on the side so guests or family can add more to their own taste.
This salad was a great accompaniment to our BBQ Ribs. And leftovers are perfect for scrumptious hash the next morning!
5 Potatoes, peeled, sliced as shown and par boiled (I used Idaho in this instance but it's really up to your preference)
5 slices of Bacon finely chopped
3 green onions chopped
3 small cloves garlic roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste 
Approx. 2 TBS Vegetable oil
Aoli Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves smashed to a paste (sprinkle on some salt and using the back flat of your knife push down and smear garlic until it has formed a paste)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Warm Potatoes with Aioli on the Side
1.  Heat your grill on high for direct grilling. I cooked my bacon on the side burner of my grill, if you don't have one you might need to do that step inside on your stove. 
Use leftover Aioli as a tasty spread on sandwhiches!
2. While grill is heating MAKE THE AIOLI. combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, taste the aioli as you season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Par boiled potatoes then cut into fingerling strips
3.  Make sure your potatoes are rinsed and thoroughly dried. Coat them with oil and sprinkle Salt and Pepper. Place on grill to finish cooking all the way through. It is best to let them be and crisp up. They can take up to 8 minutes to cook. 
 4.  While potatoes are cooking on the grill heat a fry pan or cast iron skillet on side burner. Cook bacon, when bacon is almost done add garlic and green onions (you don't want the garlic to burn, or the onions to be overcooked) Set aside the pan once they are done.
5. Once potatoes are cooked to your desired crispy-ness, remove from the grill and roughly chop into bite size pieces. Then add the potatoes into your pan with bacon, onions and garlic, toss thoroughly to coat evenly with the bacon fats and juices.
6. Quickly fold in approximately 2-3 TBS of aioli while potatoes are still warm. Serve warm with extra aioli on the side.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 4: Grilled Steak with Green Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak from Bobby Flay
I think chimichurri is one of my favorite marinades. The bold flavors can be intensified after cooking by adding more sauce. I served my steaks on freshly grilled corn and flour tortillas.. but it was great the next day on my salad as well.  
The original recipe calls for skirt steak... would have been great but none of the stores in town had any and the closest I could find was Flank Steak... and considering the cost of beef right now this was a super cheap cut of meat. Marinating it simply tenderized it, one cut feeds approximately 6-8 people.
My Oregano plant got quite the hair cut for this recipe.

Flank Steak (If you have skirt steak then grab that!)

16 Garlic cloves
2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak cut crosswise into 3 pieces

1. Marinate the steak in the green chimichurri: Combine the Garlic, Parsley, Oregano, Mint, Red Pepper Flakes, Vinegar and Canola Oil in a food processor and process until smooth.  Put the steak in a large baking dish or ziplock bag, add half of the green chimichurri sauce, and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.  Refrigerate the remaining sauce separately.

marinating in glass dish, I think it would work in plastic ziplock as well.

2.  Thirty minutes before cooking, remove the steak from the refrigerator and transfer to a place.  Discard the marinade.  Heat your grill to high for direct grilling (meaning we will be cooking directly over the flame or heat source)
3.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.  Grill until charred on both sides and cooked to medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove the steaks to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Note: I had my grill heated up and as hot as it would go but one of my burners was not working, I didn't quite achieve the char that I wanted to in this instance.

4.  Cut the meat across the grain into thin slices and top with reserved chimichurri.  Serve with warm tortillas or on a salad.
My Tortillas waiting happily under the plates as the steak cooks.

Day 3: Guasacaca

Venezuelan Guasacaca
What is grilling and BBQ-ing without some great fresh sides.. Here is my latest discovery via Bobby Flay (can you tell I'm a fan?) Mexicans have their own Avocado dip/sauce "guacamole", and here is the Argentinian version of avocado accompaniment, Meet "Guasacaca". It has just a couple more ingredients (one key ingredient being the vinegar) that makes it distinctive and different - great as an appetizer or side for your summer entertaining and grilling


4 ripe Avocados, peeled, pitted & Diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
1/2 poblano chile, finely diced
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
1 plum tomato, halved, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
2 TBSP finely chopped cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
good quality tortilla chips.
Combine the avocados and Garlic in a bowl and mash with a fork until chunky.  Fold in the bell pepper, poblano, onion, tomato, vinegar, oil, parsley, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.