Sunday, November 16, 2014

Baked Apples with Butterpecan Ice cream and Salted Caramel Sauce

I made these last night and thought they were spectacularly good-so easy and do-ahead. Our dinner last night was rich, so I served 1/2 an apple per person.

Serves 4-8 

4 Granny Smith apples, halved, seeded, and cored with a melon baller
1 lemon
Cinnamon powder
Fresh nutmeg, grated
Brown sugar
Brandy or rum
8 tsp butter

1 pint premium butter pecan ice cream (I used Talenti gelato)
Caramel sauce- the best you can get (I used Smuckers)
Kosher salt or coarse sea salt

Place apple halves, skin side down in a baking dish. Squeeze lemon juice over apples. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and nutmeg, put a spoonful of brown sugar on top, and pour a little brandy into the the little cup you created when you cored the apple with the melon baller. Put a pat butter on each one. Pour some more brandy around the apples. Cover and bake for 40 minutes or so. Baking time will depend on the size of your apples. You want them fork-tender, but not collapsed into mush.

If you make these ahead, rewarm them. Place 1 or 2 apple halves in each bowl. Top with a small scoop of ice cream. Put a big spoonful of caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately. 

Crabmeat au Gratin

I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cajun-Creole cooking by Terry Thompson-Anderson. I changed a few things, and next time I'll change a few more, but this is delicious!
I made the sauce in the afternoon, cooled it to room temp and folded in the cold crabmeat. Then, I put it in my mom's adorable shell shaped gratin dishes and tpped it with cheese-there was easily enough for 6. I Put the dishes in a roasting pan, covered it, and refrigerated until dinner time. It took longer to cook since it started cold, but it was super easy.

1 lb lump crabmeat (I used the homogenized kind)

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped (I used a Hungarian pepper for its mild flavor and heat, but next time i'll  use red bell pepper)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne (I used emeril's essence)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks, beaten (I added this.)
Juice of 1-2 lemons

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (next time I'll use parmigiano-reggiano)

6 servings

Grease a 13x9 baking dish or 6 gratin dishes. Pick through the crab, disgarding bone or cartilage, but don't break up the lumps. 

Melt butter in a 12" skillet and add all the veg, sauteing until onion is translucent.  Add the flour and cook, stirring 3 minutes ( don't let it brown).  Add milk slowly, stirring constanly, and bring to a boil. Add bread crumbs and seasonings, stirring. Add a 1/2 cup os hot sauce by big spoonfuls to egg yolks, stirring constanly, and then add egg yolk mixture back to sauce. Let cook another 3 minutes, stirring. 
Add the lemon juice to taste. Taste and correct seasonings.

Put into greased dishes and top with cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Serve with hot french bread.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Delicious Spanish meatballs (albondigas deliciosas)

Made these tonight and served them with yellow rice. They were scrumptious! Taste a bit of your hungarian pepper.  If it happens to be a hot one, be sure to devein and deseed or use less.

Serves 4
1 1/3 lb ground chuck
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
1/2 hungarian pepper, chopped fine
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto or serrano ham
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/2 cup sherry
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mexican oregano (or 1/2 tsp Italian oregano)
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked spanish paprika
Liquid drained from 1 can of chopped tomatoes

Mix all together, adding more liquid if it doesn't seem moist enough. Put a tbl of mixture into a microwave proof dish and microwave on high 40 seconds. Taste and correct seasonings. Form mixture into meatballs.

1-2 tbl olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/2 hungarian pepper, chopped fine
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto or serrano ham
1/2 cup chopped Spanish chorizo
1 can chopped tomatoes, drained and pureed
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mexican oregano
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked spanish paprika

Saute onion, garlic, peppers, prosciutto and chorizo in olive oil. Add tomatoes, sauce, herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil. Add meatballs and bring sauce back to simmer. Cover and let cook about 10 minutes. Uncover and let simmer about 20 minutes or until sauce is reduced.
Serve with yellow rice.

Yellow Rice

Saute a few tbl of chopped onion if you have it. Add 2 cups chicken stock with a good pinch of saffron and bring to a boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add 2 cups rice, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered another 5 minutes.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Asian-style chicken thighs

I made this tonight for Phillip who, although he works at PF Changs, still wants Asian food all the time.

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbl hoisin sauce
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
1 tbl chili garlic paste
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 tbl ginger, minced
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
1 fat garlic clove, minced
1 tsp chili garlic paste, or a chopped, fresh serrano chili
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pinch of sugar

Preheat oven to 350

Mix everything put salt, pepper, and 5 spice together and place in plastic bag or bowl with chicken, coating well. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and 5 spice, and let stand at least 1/2 hour.  Line a roasting pan with release aluminum foil and place chicken and marinade in pan. Bake for 30 minutes, turn and bake 15 minutes more til glazed.  Serve with rice and sauce.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Chicken fricasee

Saturday night, we stayed in to watch the Auburn-Ole Miss game. It was a cold, nasty night, and I wanted something savory and delicious--chicken fricasee filled the bill. Serve this with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

1 tbl olive oil
1 cut up chicken, seaoned with salt,pepper, and garlic powder reserve back, neck, and wing tips for a quick stock
1 thick slice pancetta, diced (you can substitute regular bacon or even ham, but you'll need more olive oil if you use ham)
1 onion, chopped (reserve end for stock)
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
2 tbl flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbl tomato paste
1 tsp dry thyme
1-2 bay leaves
Salt, pepper

Set oven to 350

Put neck, back, and wing tips in saucepan and cover with water. Add a stalk of celery and the ends from your chopped onion. Add a boullion cube and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer.

Fry the pancetta til brown in olive oil in a dutch oven. Remove from pan and reserve. Add season chicken and brown in batches. Remove from pan.  Add onions and saute til translucent. Add garlic and   Flour and saute till flour has cooked, about 3 minutes.  Add red wine, stirring. Add back pancetta and chicken. Add about 1 cup of chicken stock, stirring to scrape up all the brown bits.  The liquid shouldn't cover the chicken completely. Add tomato paste and herbs, and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Turn the chicken skin side up. Cover and bake in oven 30 minutes.  Remove lid and let bake another 30 minutes until sauce is reduced and chicken skin is crisp.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Halloween healthy chili

I always make chili and pumpkin pie for Halloween, but this year Phillip wanted pecan pie for his birthday. With plenty of delicious pecan pie  I only had to whip up some chili. I wanted to make a healthier version, one full of vegetables. If you want to make this lower cal, you could substitute ground turkey for the ground sirloin. I chop all my vegetables in the food processor which really makes this go fast. If you don't have a food processor, just grate the carrot and zucchini.

Serves 8

1/2-1 lb ground sirloin (90% lean) 
3 fat garlic cloves, papery husks removed
2-3 carrots, in chunks
1 zucchini, in chunks
1 red pepper or banana pepper in chunks
1 onion, in chunks
1 can rotel
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cans red beans drained ( use 2 cans if you only used 1/2 lb of meat)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbl sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tbl chili powder
Salt, pepper
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 cup water + 1 chichen bouillion cube or 1 can beef broth if you use turkey 

Brown meat over medium high heat, season with salt, pepper, some chili powder and smoked paprika.
While meat is browning, mince garlic in food processor.  Add carrots and mince fine. Add zucchini and mince fine. Add onions and peppers and chop coarsely.  Add all vegetables to meat and saute, seasoning with salt, pepper, some more of the spices.  Now add tomato products and beans. Taste and add more of the spices. Rince out your food processor with water and add to the chili along with the boullion cube. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook, partially covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.