Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lentil & Sausage Soup

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Large Link of Linguica Hot Sausage - Diced
1 Large Onion – Diced
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
1 Large Carrot – Diced
5 Gloves Garlic – Peeled and chopped
2 1/3 Cups Dried Lentils
1 Cup Red Wine
2 1/4 Quarts Water
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – Drained
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper

In a large pot over med/high heat add EVOO and sausage.  Cook for about 5 minutes to render the fat.  Add in onions and cook 5 minutes, Add celery, garlic and carrots and cook for 3 minutes.  Add in wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in dried lentils and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add in water and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add in bay leaves, thyme and tomatoes.  Simmer, partially covered for about 30 - 35 minutes.  Take out bay leaves, add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to taste.  The lentils should have a bit of a bite to them.  If they are mushy, you’ve over cooked them (they’re tricky so just watch the time).

Serve with a nice piece of crusty bread to sop up all the broth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roast Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 Package Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (about 12)
1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning (or Taco)

In a bowl combine seasonings and coat chicken.  In a large pan add the apple juice and then the chicken.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  Cool for about 15 minutes then remove the chicken and shred.  Put the remaining juices in a small saucepan and reduce by half. Skim off the fat and set aside.

1 Cup Wild Rice (I used a wild rice mixture)
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
6 Cups Water - boiling

Over high heat in a med. sauce pan add the bacon fat and the rice.  Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the water, cover w/ lid, reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 45 minutes.  Drain off any residual liquid.

4 Tbsp Bacon Fat
1 Med. Onion – Diced
2 Carrots – Diced
2 Celery Stalks – Diced
6 Garlic Cloves – Minced
½ Anaheim Pepper – Diced
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Cumin
¼ Tsp Cayenne
¼ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
8 Cups Chicken Stock - boiling
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Black Beans – Drained
1 Cup Frozen Corn
5 Corn Tortillas - torn

In a large pan add the bacon fat, onion & carrots.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Add the celery and garlic and cook about another 3 minutes.  Add the Anaheim pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes and cook another 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, the reserved from earlier chicken juices, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add in the chicken thighs, tomatoes, black beans and corn.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add in the torn corn tortillas and cook about 10 minutes.

Take 10 Corn Tortillas (taco size) and cut into strips.  Spray w/ cooking spray and sprinkle w/ fajita seasoning.  Bake on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve soup w/ a garnish of the baked tortillas on top and maybe a few slices of avocado and a squeeze of a wedge of lime.

Bacon Pistachio Brittle

2 ½ Cup Sugar
1 ¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Butter
1/8 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Espresso Powder
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Package Bacon – Rendered slow and cooked till extra crispy - chopped
1 ½ Cups Pistachios – Chopped

Line a cookie sheet (w/ sides) with parchment paper.  I used an 11 x 16” pan.  Spray generously w/ non stick spray.

In a large sauce pan (I used a Dutch oven), over high heat combine, sugar, corn syrup, water, salt, butter, cayenne pepper & espresso powder.  Stir with whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes or until candy thermometer reads 290 degrees.  NOTE:  You HAVE to use a candy thermometer and get the temperature to 290 or it won’t work).

Add baking soda.  It will foam up, don’t worry.  Keep stirring and whisk in bacon and pistachios.  You must work quickly because this reaction happens FAST.  Pour mixture onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly.  Let cool for about ½ hour, then crack brittle and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

1 Pkg Chicken Thighs – Bone in, Skin on (about 12 pieces)
2 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Pepper
1 Onion – Chopped
2 Carrots – Chopped
2 Ribs Celery – Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves – Smashed

2 Cups Wild Rice (I used a rice blend)
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
6 Cups Water - Hot
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Roasted Mushroom Spice (I make my own but you can use 1 cup chopped fresh Crimini mushrooms)
Pinch Cayenne

1 Med. Onion – Diced
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
4 Carrots – Peeled /Diced
1 Cup Green Beans – 1/2” cut
1 Cup Potatoes – Peeled / Diced
1 Med. Zucchini – Diced

In a large pot add chicken, salt, pepper, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cover with water to about 1” from the top.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook about 45 minutes.

In a medium sized pot, add bacon fat and rice.  Stir to coat and cook (constantly stirring) about 4-5 minutes.  Add in water, pepper, mushroom spice (or mushrooms), cayenne.  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook about 45 minutes.

Once cooked, remove chicken from pot and let cool.  Remove bones and skin and shred chicken.  Strain broth and skim fat.  To the broth, add in chicken, onion, celery, carrots, green beans, potatoes, zucchini.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add in rice and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Delumpkin Pumpkin Cake

1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup strong, cold coffee
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup Werther's Caramel Specialties Caramelts, chopped (15 candies) or butterscotch morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter for 2 minutes in microwave. Remove and add the pumpkin, cold coffee, vanilla and sugars, stirring to combine. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, stirring well to combine. Add the eggs and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined; add flour and mix only until all the flour is incorporated into the batter. Stir in the chopped Werther's candies (or butterscotch morsels) and turn into a 9x13-inch baking pan that has been greased and floured (I use Baker's Joy spray). Bake for 30-37 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Cool in pan on a wire rack until completely cool, if frosting.

Delicious, silkily moist pumpkin cake that can be dressed up with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream or enjoyed completely naked.

Recipe courtesy of: 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Beef Stew

2 1/2lbs cubed beef
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8 tbsp EVOO (4 tbsp into 2 batches)

2 tbsp EVOO
1 Medium Onion – Diced
3 Large Carrots – Diced
3 Ribs Celery – Diced
1 Cup Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
5 Cloves of Garlic – Minced
2 Med. Potatoes- Peeled & Diced
1 Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbsp Grain Mustard
1 cup Green Beans – ½” dice
1 cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Frozen Corn
4 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Water

In a large bowl cover the beef in flour, salt, pepper. Shake off the excess. In a large pot over med/high heat add 4 tbsp EVOO. Add the beef in 2 batches and brown on all sides and then set aside.

Add in another 2 tbsp EVOO and onions.  Cook for 2 minutes then add in carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in red wine, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and cook for 5 minutes

Add in green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in peas and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes then add in beef broth and water.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, adjust seasonings and then serve.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pork Loin Veggie Lo Mein

1 Cup Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
1 Cup Green Beans – ½” slices
½ Bunch Asparagus – ½ “ slices
1 Cup Broccoli – Chopped
1 Cup Red Peppers – Sliced & Cut in ½
1 Savoy Cabbage – Shredded
2 Cups Pork Loin – Cooked & Sliced
1 Cup Bean Sprouts
1 lb Spaghetti

4 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Peanut Butter
½ tbsp Ginger – Grated
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Green Onions – Diced (for garnish)
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds (for garnish)

In a large sautee pan over med/high heat add 2 tbsp EVOO.  Add mushrooms and cook on each side to brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove mushrooms.  Add about 1 tbsp EVOO and add in green beans, asparagus, broccoli.  Cook about 5 minutes until browned.  Remove from pan.  Add 1 tbsp EVOO and cabbage.  Cook about 8 minutes until caramelized.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti according to directions (about 8 minutes).  Reserve about 1 cup of liquid if needed to thin out sauce.

While pasta is cooking, in a small pan over med / low heat add soy sauce, sesame oil, mustard, brown sugar, peanut butter, ginger and chicken stock.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to combine and not burn.

In a large bowl add in the pasta, veggies, bean sprouts, cooked pork loin and the sauce.  Combine fully.  If needed to thin out the sauce add in some of the pasta water.

Garnish with green onions & sesame seeds.  Enjoy.