Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beef and Guinness Stew

 This has been a bad week for me health wise. I caught a cold in my chest and head. Then my knee, which has been bothering me for a couple of weeks, really started bothering me. I finally went to the doctors for the knee and he thinks I tore the meniscus. I have to go for a MRI later this week to confirm the diagnosis.
My wife, Annette, loves it though she can come up to me kick me in the knee and run. I can't yell at her or chase her. She really hasn't done that, but I think she has thought about it a few times.

Annette has been craving winter comfort food. Of course she is constantly cold and starts craving winter comfort food in August, if the temperature drops below 85 degrees. This weeks craving was beef stew. Here is the recipe I made.

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
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, October 23, 2011

Grilled Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala has been a family favorite for years. My dad found a recipe somewhere, probably in the Detroit Free Press and started making it. The recipe doesn't call for Marsala, but a dry white wine. Growing up I didn't even know Marsala was a wine. Eventually I figured out the wine thing. Then I took a cooking class with Paula, from bell' alimento and learned the Italian way to make Chicken Marsala. Paula's version was incredible and became my new favorite. This weekend I invented a new version, that takes most of the fat and calories out of the dish but leaves a lot of flavor. The 2 previous versions have between 3 to 6 tbs of butter plus 3 tbs to 1/4 cup of olive oil. My version uses 1 tbs of butter and no olive oil.

Grilled Chicken Marsala
2 chicken breasts
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup Marsala wine
1 tbs butter
1 tsp parsley, chopped for garnish

Preheat grill to medium high.

Take one 3 foot long piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half. Fold each of the 2 sides over about 1/2 inch. Repeat so the sides have been folded twice. Then fold the bottom up about 1/2 inch. This will give you 3 sides folded over and the top with an opening. Add all of the ingredients, except butter and parsley, then fold the top over twice each time about 1/2 inch. Cook for about 10 minutes, then flip over and cook another 10 minutes. If you have bigger or smaller chicken breasts you will have to adjust cooking time. The breasts will be poached/steamed at this point. Open the packet , be careful of steam. Dump the contents into a skillet, except the breasts. I left the breasts on the grill to add a little color to them. Take the skillet and place on a stove over high heat. If you only have a little liquid add more Marsala to the pan so you have about 3/4 cup of liquid. Cook until liquid evaporates to about 1/2 (3/8 to 1/2 cup). Add the butter and cook until butter is melted.

I served this over polenta, you could also serve over rice. Put breast on top of polenta or rice. Then cover with Marsala, mushroom and onion mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Asian Tuna and Noodle

I have a list of dishes that I keep thinking to myself someday I am going to remake this recipe. One of those recipes is Tuna Noodle Casserole. I want to make a version that people will want to eat, instead of the goop my mom made that had canned tuna and cream of mushroom soup. This recipe started out to be the remake but some place in the middle it took on a life of its own and became an Asian Tuna and Noodle dish. I think if I made it again I would add something like broccoli to it, to give it color and more texture. I added the water chestnuts but they didn't work as well as I hoped. I have used the sauce for the noodles on spaghetti and several types of Asian noodles. I have also used the noodle sauce for different types of meats when making Asian dishes. the sauce is very versatile.

Asian Tuna and Noodle
2 tbs canola oil
1 tbs honey
1 tsp sesame Oil

6 oz egg noodles
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 small can of water chestnuts

2 green onions, finely chopped, green part only

Put tuna ingredients in a resealable plastic bag and let it set for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.

Preheat grill to high. I like my tuna red in the center so I put it on high so the outside gets color, but inside is still red. Start a pot of water on to boil to make the noodles. The honey in the marinade will make the grill marks really stand out.

In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients for the noodles, except the noodles and the water chestnuts.

Add the noodles to the boiling water. Check the package for cooking time. Remove and drain when done.  Toss them in the bowl with the soy sauce mixture and add water chestnuts. Toss to coat all of the noodles.  Let them sit until Tuna is ready.

Grill the tuna about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Place noodles on plate and top with tuna steak. Garnish with green onion.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Risotto With Chianti and Mushrooms

 A while back I ordered some new cookbooks, none of them were released yet. Last week they started arriving. It's fun coming home from work and finding a new treasure in the mail. This last one was the best. I got The Italian Country Table by Maxine Clark. I admit I ordered this book so I could get free shipping and a bigger discount on my order. Turns out every page has a recipe that I want to cook. I could not decide what to make first. I finally handed the book to my wife and said pick something for dinner. She selected the Risotto with red wine mushrooms and pancetta (Risotto al chianti, funghi e pancetta). The book gives the American name and then the Italian name like I wrote it. I shortened the name to make it easier for titles and tweeting. I did make a couple of changes because I did not have the exact ingredients on hand and I will explain them below.

Risotto With Chianti and Mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
3 oz pancetta or other smoke cured bacon, finely chopped (I used regular bacon)
1 red onion, finely chopped
7 oz cremini or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped (I used white mushrooms because I just bought a pound)
1 oz dried mushrooms, (I added this to make up for the flavor I lost by using the white mushrooms) let them soak in the chicken broth
2 1/2 cups risotto rice (I used arborio)
1 cup Chianti
6 cups hot chicken stock
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
For Garnish:
A couple of large mushrooms sliced
2 tbs parsley, finely chopped

Heat the chicken broth and add the dried mushrooms if using.

Heat 1/2 the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, when it starts to crisp add the onion and mushrooms. Cook until soft and translucent.

Add the rice and cook until it smells toasty, it will start becoming opaque. Add the wine and cook until it disappears.

Add 1 cup of the stock and cook until absorbed. Add another cup and cook until it is absorbed. Continue the process for about 20 minutes until you are down to 1 cup of broth, only cut back and add only 1/2 cup of broth at a time. When you are down to 1/2 cup of broth and the rice is getting tender, but has a little bit of bite to it. Add the remaining olive oil and Parmesan. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Add the remaining broth and cover pot with lid. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Put into bowls and garnish with mushroom slices and parsley.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Limoncello Shrimp and Big News

I am rerunning my Limoncello shrimp recipe this week, because of a special event that happened in my family that prevented me from cooking this weekend. My son, Joel married the love of his life Meghan. Here is a picture of the happy couple with the grumpy old married couple. Welcome to the family Meghan.

Limoncello Shrimp

Do you ever get a recipe idea stuck in your head, I have cooked it 5 or 10 times in my head. Tonight I finally cooked it. I am glad I did as this has to be one of the best recipes I ever invented.

Limoncello Shrimp

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon thyme, you could use any green herb that isn't real strong flavored
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup Limoncello
1 tsp butter

In a saute pan heat oil. While oil is heating mix the garlic, lemon zest and thyme together. When oil is hot but not shimmering add the garlic mix. Let it heat up until it becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp. Toss the shrimp to coat with garlic mixture. Cook until shrimp is cooked 3 to 4 minutes depending on size. Remove shrimp from pan. Wipe out any burned garlic. Add Limoncello to pan and let it reduce to about 1/2 the original amount. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Drizzle this over the shrimp. The sauce will be very sweet but when it is added to the shrimp the flavors will balance out.