Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guinness Beef Stew

 Today is the first day in a long time where the temperature won't climb above the 50's for the high and the low will be in the 40's. Naturally my thoughts turn to cool weather food. Beef stew was what we decided on. 
Beef and Guinness Stew
1 1/2 lb. beef, cut into bite size pieces (I had London Broil that I cut up, but you can use stew meat from grocery store)
2 tsp canola oil
1 bottle Guinness beer
enough beef broth to make 4 1/2 cups of liquid when combined with beer
2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in beef broth and beer
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
3 carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
4 oz mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp cold water

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil. Add the meat and cook until browned. Add the rosemary and pepper. Then add the beef broth/bouillon/beer mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour.

Add the potatoes, carrots, celery and onion and bring back to boil. While waiting for it to boil mix cornstarch with cold water. When stew starts to boil add cornstarch mixture and let it boil for 1 minute, while stirring. Turn back down to simmer. Let simmer for at least 1 more hour. The longer it cooks the better it is. This is one of those meals where it is even better if you reheat it and eat it the next day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Simple Salmon

This is a simple recipe I found in my files. I am not sure where it came from, so if it is yours let me know. The original recipe only has 3 ingredients, I added a fourth to give it a little kick. If not try it, it's so simple and delicious. The sugar will met and create a glaze.
You could switch out the mustard for another "sticky" substance and add herbs and spices to the sugar for different flavors.

Glazed Salmon

1 salmon filet
Dijon Mustard
Brown Sugar
Cayenne Pepper

Preheat your grill to high.
Spread just enough mustard on the salmon to cover with a thin coat. Next put enough brown sugar to cover the filet on a plate. Mix the cayenne pepper with the figure. Put the salmon, mustard side down into the sugar. Make sure the sugar evenly coats the whole filet. Put the filet on the grill and cook until it reaches the desired doneness. Serve immediately. In the picture I served over sautéed spinach with mushrooms and bacon crumbled over it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork
With college football season gearing up, I thought I would run my favorite tailgating meal. 
This recipe is based on Cook's Illustrated's North Carolina Pulled Pork from Slow Cooker Revolution. I could not find smoked ham hocks so I substituted the bacon for the hocks, hoping to keep the pork flavor but add some smoke flavor. The bacon had completely disintegrated, during the long cooking time. I also switched paprika for smoked paprika to give it more of a smoked flavor. Remember true NC pulled pork sandwiches are served with coleslaw on the bun with the meat.

North Carolina Pulled Pork
6 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika (original called for regular paprika)
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tbs fresh ground pepper
1 5 pound boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and quartered
6 oz bacon (original called for 3 smoked ham hocks)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Mix 3 tbs of brown sugar, the paprika, chili powder, cumin, 2 tsp salt and 1 tbs pepper in a large bowl. Poke the pork all over with a fork. Roll the pork in the sugar mixture until completely covered. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

Lay the bacon across the bottom of the slow cooker. Unwrap the pork and lay it on top of the bacon. Pour the broth over the meat. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 5 to 7 hours on high or 9 to 11 hours on low.

Remove the pork form slow cooker and let it cool. The bacon should have dissolved into the cooking liquid. Let the cooking liquid cool for 5 minutes then skim any fat off the top.

Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan, skimming any bits and pieces out as you pour it. Cook until you have about 1 cup of liquid left, this will take about 30 minutes. Add vinegar, ketchup, liquid smoke and remaining 3 tbs of brown sugar to liquid. Whisk it and bring to simmer. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Shred the pork while the sauce is reducing. This should be easy as it will be falling apart as you touch it. Toss the pork with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce. Put the remaining sauce on the table, so people can add more if they like.
NC style pulled pork with the slaw on the sandwich.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Blueberry Chutney

After a very stressful last couple of months, my wife and I decided to take a mini-vacation to Pensacola, Florida with weekend to see our son and daughter-in-law. Then this uninvited guest announced he was coming as well. His name hurricane Isaac. Ok maybe we will change our plans.
In the mean time we decided Atlanta would be an alternate vacation spot. We can stay with my little sister and there will certainly be things to do. What Isaac has decided to curve east after coming ashore and Atlanta is going to get up to 8 inches of rain.
Friday after work we go to get in the car and hear a loud popping sound. The car will not start. The car was towed to the dealer. They called Saturday to say that the temperature sensor was bad and it thinks the car was overheating and shuts down.
Well before going on vacation I should update the maps on my GPS. Ok the GPS won't install the new maps. Email Garmin support. After three days they have me send them files from my GPS as I have apparently discovered a glitch in their GPS that won't let certain models be updated. Glad I paid for that lifetime of updates. Actually they are working with it and trying to get it to update without me returning the unit.
Maybe we should stay home and work.

Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Blueberry Chutney
Apple-Blueberry Chutney
1apple, seeded and cored and cut into small pieces
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup orange juice or lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Put everything in a pan over medium heat. Cook until fruit is soft and liquids have almost evaporated. You will have a very thick fruit with a thick sticky sauce. If you serve over mixed greens like I did you can leave some of the liquid and drizzle over the greens like a salad dressing.

Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin
olive oil, just enough to cove meat
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat a grill to medium.
Drizzle olive oil on tenderloin. Sprinkle salt and pepper on pork tenderloin. These are the pork tenderloins that come 2 to a pack and are long and skinny. I have mentioned these before and someone always confuses them with a pork loin which is much larger like a roast. Place tenderloin on grill and close the lid. Cook for 8 minutes. Flip the tenderloin over close the lid and cook for 6 minutes. Turn grill off and leave tenderloin on the grill for 6 minutes with lid closed. This will give you slightly pink and very juicy tenderloin. You may have to adjust the cook time a little based on your grill.

I served this on a bed of mixed greens with a few pecans thrown on top of the greens. Then I sliced the tenderloin at an angle to give me long skinny slices. Then topped the pork slices with chutney.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

Want a quick and easy dinner for those hot days of summer? Try this sandwich. 

Shrimp Salad Sandwiches
16 shrimp, 21-25 count 
2 tbs light mayo
1 tbs light sour cream
1 green onion, white and green parts finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 Dill weed
2 slices tomato
2 lettuce leaves
2 buns

Makes enough for 2 sandwiches.
Boil shrimp. When they are cooked rinse under cold water. Cut he shrimp into 2 or 3 pieces.
Mix everything except tomato, lettuce and buns in a bowl. Place lettuce and tomato on bun. Then spread the shrimp mixture on the bun.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weeknight Paella

 I'm back, for this week anyway.
This is a quick recipe you can make during the week, it is not a true paella, but it has the flavors of paella. A great way to use up leftover rice and meats. The great thing about paellas is that you can use just about any meat, seafood or you can even do vegetable versions.

Weeknight Paella
2 spicy sausages, cut into 1/2 inch coins I used hot Italian Chorizo would be good
1 cod fillet, cut into bite sized pieces or any firm white fish
1 ham steak, cut into bite size pieces
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 to 1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2/3 cup peas, frozen
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 pinch of saffron, optional
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil
Parsley for garnish, I also used some saffron threads for the pictures

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle the saffron threads on the tomatoes, this will soften them and let the flavors combine. If you don't let the saffron bloom in liquid it will be stringy and the flavor doesn't develop. Add sausage and ham. Cook until they start to take on color then add the fish. Add the rice, tomatoes, garlic, smoked paprika and pepper. When the rice is warmed through add the shrimp. When the shrimp takes on color add the peas. Cook until peas are heated through.

Place on plate/bowl and garnish with parsley.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Scallops with Zucchini Fritters

This is one of those meals that I created as I cooked, no recipes in my head to start with. I had decided to make scallops. I was going to incorporate tomatoes as my wife is going out of town this week and I will be living the bachelor life. Our garden has been producing tomatoes, so we had a bunch I was going to have to use or I would have to eat them everyday while she was gone.
My wife decided that she was going to bake zucchini bread. Instead of making a large loaf she decided to make little loafs. While she ended up with 2 cups of shredded zucchini left over. So she tells me figure out something to make for dinner that uses shredded zucchini. I was Iron Chef'd, a mystery ingredient was added to my meal. Here is what I made.
Scallops with Zucchini Fritters
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil, enough to cover bottom of pan to fry fritters

2 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
8 scallops
10 roma tomatoes, cubed into thick pieces
2 green onions, finely chopped, reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white wine
1/2 lemon, juiced

I have never made fritters before this. You will have to eye this and maybe add more flour or only 1 egg. It will depend on how wet your zucchini is. Eggs act as the liquid and flour and parmesan as the thickener. Mix everything together but the olive oil and one egg. If mixture is dry add the second egg. If it is to wet add more flour. Take some of the mixture and make a pancake if it holds together you are ok. Heat oil in medium pan and cook the fritters. You should get 4 fritters, keep them kind of thin. Cook until golden brown on one side then flip and cook until second side browns.

Heat pan over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, set aside. If there is enough bacon fat add scallops if not add 1 tsp of olive oil. Remove from pan and add the scallops. Cook until they brown on one side and flip over and remove when second side starts to  take on color. Add oil if needed then add the tomatoes and onions. When tomatoes start to get soft add wine and lemon juice. Cook until wine and lemon juice reduce.

Put fritters on plate, spoon tomato and onion mixture over fritters. Top with the scallops. Sprinkle bacon and reserved green onion over the top.