Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli

I'm not a huge crock pot kind of girl but do appreciate the ease of using one.  Working full time can put some limitations as to what I can cook during the work week so I have been trying out a few one pot meals that can simmer all day.  This one passed the test.  The best part is that there are only two of us so this recipe provided leftovers for a few days for lunches. Tons of flavor in this dish and minimal effort.  I think I could get used to this...

Prepare all of the ingredients and start by grating the ginger.

Mince the garlic and chop the peppers.  I used some Hungarian wax peppers from our garden.

Chop the onion.

This is a beef round chuck roast chopped into strips.  Season it liberally with salt and pepper.

Add everything into the pot along with the liquids.  How easy is that?  Time to cook and forget about it for a few hours.

We cooked ours on low for six hours and this is what it looks like when done.

Remove about two ladles full of the cooking liquid and pour into a glass measuring cup or bowl.

Whisk 3 tablespoons of cornstarch into the liquid until smooth.  This will thicken up the sauce.

Chop up some broccoli.

And drain some water chestnuts. Add broccoli, water chestnuts and cornstarch mixture back to pot and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes.

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli
serves 4-6
2 c. beef broth
1/2 c.low sodium soy sauce
2 T. Worcestershire
2 t. toasted sesame oil
2 T. sriracha sauce
1 t. fish sauce
1/4 c. honey or brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped peppers (your choice, green, wax, jalapeno)
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. beef round chuck roast, chopped into strips
3 T. cornstarch
1 head or broccoli, stems removed and tops chopped into chunks
1 can of sliced water chestnuts

prepared brown rice

In a crock pot, add beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire, sesame oil, sriracha, fish sauce and honey.  Stir and turn on machine.  Add garlic, ginger, peppers, onion and beef.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

With ladle, remove about 1 cup of liquid from pot and pour into a bowl.  Whisk in cornstarch and stir until smooth.  Add cornstarch liquid back to pot along with broccoli and water chestnuts.  Cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes.

While broccoli is finishing cooking, prepare about 4-6 servings of brown rice. Serve in bowl with beef spooned over rice.  Garnish with peppers and sesame seeds.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Corned Beef Hash with Sriracha Rosemary Aioli

I am a huge fan of going out to breakfast.  One of the main reasons I like to go out rather than make it at home is because it takes a substantial amount of time and effort (and dishes) to make a restaurant quality meal at home.

For instance, I love eggs benedict and potatoes but Matt like pancakes and bacon.  Can you imagine all of the dishes that would go into making that? Pans for each the hollandaise, bacon, poached eggs, pancake batter, pancakes... I'm getting exhausted just thinking about it!

This corned beef hash is quite the opposite.  It is quick, easy but most importantly, hearty and delicious. This would also be great with some leftover steak for a nice "steak & eggs" dish.  Actually, now that I just wrote that, it sounds even better than corned beef!  Have some fun this weekend and make some breakfast for the ones you love!

It is really important to prep all of your vegetables prior to cooking.  Once you start, this goes pretty fast.   Also, make the aioli before so it is finished when you are ready to plate.

You want all of the vegetables and beef to be diced around the same size.  Have your butcher but the corned beef 1/2 inch thick.  

I like to bake my potatoes in the oven at a really high heat versus cooking in the pan.  The end result is a potato with a crisp outside and fluffy inside.

Saute until softened.  I don't like to crowd the pan too much so I took these out and cooked the corned beef separate.

It should be about time to remove the potatoes from the oven.  

Crisp up the beef.

Add the veggies back in.

Finally add the potatoes and keep warm over low heat while you fry the egg.

For this sauce, I like to chop the rosemary and garlic together with some kosher salt until very fine.
Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  If desired,  you can add water, one tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce out.

Corned Beef Hash
preheat oven to 425 degrees
2 c. diced potatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. butter
1/4 c. diced red bell pepper
1/4 c. diced green bell pepper
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 lb. corned beef (sliced 1/4 inch thick and into cubes)
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, fried sunny side up

Chop all vegetables and corned beef.  You want the beef, potatoes, peppers and onion to be around the same size dice. Line a cookie sheet with foil or silpat.  Scatter potatoes over sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.  About halfway through cooking, remove pan and flip potatoes with spatula so they can evenly cook.

In a large skillet,  melt butter over medium heat. Add peppers and onion.  Cook for 5 minutes until tender.  Remove from pan and transfer to a bowl.  Add corned beef to pan and cook over medium heat until crispy.  Add peppers and onions back to the pan and cook over low heat.  Remove potatoes from oven and add to corned beef mixture.

To serve, top with fried egg and a side of Sriracha rosemary aioli.

 Sriracha Rosemary Aioli
1/4 c. mayonaise
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 t. chopped rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, rosemary and garlic together in a small bowl.  If desired, thin out with 1-2 tablespoons of water.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Southern Fried Chicken

In the past year, Matt and I have made a conscious effort to purchase our meat from local farms when possible.  If not, we always buy pasture raised, growth hormone and antibiotic free meat from the grocery store. I hate to be a "Debbie Downer" but the factory farming of animals is appalling.  Do you ever see chicken breasts at the grocery store that are the size of a large eggplant?  Well that is not natural.  I realize it is difficult to look at, but I highly suggest if you are not familiar, do a little research on the factory farming of animals.  It literally changed my entire way of thinking about meat.

Lately, we have been buying most of our meat and eggs from Brunty Farms.  They are a sustainable farm located in Akron, Ohio.  Their meat is more expensive than the grocery store but we have made cuts elsewhere so we can know where our meat comes from. And you can taste the difference!  I think its because the animals have happy lives, an organic diet and plenty of access to grass and sunshine.  The best part is you can can make a monthly trip, pop it in your freezer and thaw the day before you plan to cook it!

And because I had this lovely little bird, I figured I would cut it up and make some fried chicken!  My mother would always tell me how her Grandma Budde would make the most delicious fried chicken every Sunday with a brown paper bag and a cast iron skillet.  No one knew her recipe but I like to think that this one is close.

If you have time, soak chicken in a salt brine overnight. You could even soak it in the buttermilk mixture as well.   Pat chicken with paper towels until dry.  This will make for crispy skin.   As you can see, this is about a 4 pound chicken.

I chose to cut it up myself.  It's not as difficult as you think and when you buy your chicken straight from the farmer, it is sometimes the only option. Use a sharp boning or chefs knife. Here is great tutorial video on how to do this.

Time to get everything ready before you start to bread and fry.  First up, heat the oil.  The herbs add great flavor.

Make the buttermilk mixture.

Season the flour in the bag.

Put chicken in and shake, shake, shake!

Remove from flour and place int the buttermilk.  I am a bad blogger and forgot to take another picture of the buttermilk soaked chicken going back into the flour but it is a very important step so don't forget!

Remove herbs from the oil.  Chicken should be sitting in the brown paper bag right now waiting to take a dip in the oil.

With tongs, place chicken into oil and fry on each side for about 6-8 minutes.

The temperature of the oil will drop to around 325.  This is a good temperature to fry.  It will provide enough heat to cook the chicken through but also make a crispy skin.

Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.  Season with salt and pepper and place in a 300 degree oven to keep warm.

Southern Fried Chicken
1 3-4 lb. whole fryer chicken, cut into 12 pieces
3. c. flour
2 T. kosher salt
1 T. black pepper
3 T. garlic powder
3 T. onion powder
2 T. smoked paprika
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 t. thyme
1 t. oregano
5-6 c.buttermilk
1/4 cup sriracha
1 T. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
2 sprigs of each fresh rosemary and thyme
Peanut oil for frying

**If you have time, soak the chicken overnight in a salt brine.  1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water**

preheat oven to 300 degrees

Remove chicken from water or package and pat completely dry with paper towels.  If chicken is whole, cut into fryer pieces.  For the wings, I like to separate the drumstick from the wing and split the breasts for a total 12 pieces.  More chicken!  Set aside.

In a large brown paper bag (you might want to double up in case there are any holes), add flour, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, parsley, cayenne, thyme and oregano.  Shake to combine.

In a separate bowl, add buttermilk, sriracha, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

In a cast iron skillet, heat about 2 inches of peanut oil and fresh rosemary and thyme to 350 degrees. Do not let the oil go above 350 degrees or the chicken will burn.

Working in batches of 4 pieces, bread the chicken.  First, place the bare chicken pieces in the bag-o-flour and shake to coat.  Remove with tongs, shaking off excess flour, and place in the buttermilk mixture.  Finally, add buttermilk coated chicken back to the flour and shake again to coat.

Remove herbs from oil.  Place chicken, skin side down, in the hot oil.  Remember that the dark meat will take longer than the white meat so it is best to fry the breasts and smaller wings together. Cook chicken on each side for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.  Season with kosher salt.  Place in oven to keep warm.  Continue frying chicken pieces and placing in oven until the entire bird is fried!

Serve on platter with lemon wedges and honey.  Garnish with fried herbs.    

Monday, September 23, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Bisque

This may be one of the last tomato recipes featuring tomatoes from our garden.  Sniffle. Sniffle.  Sadly, our tomato plants are starting to die and most of the fruits are just sitting there all green, refusing to ripen. But, I had a ton of ripe heirlooms that were just begging to be made into my famous tomato bisque.  

I have been making this soup for a very long time.  The recipe has been passed along to many of my friends, all of which claim this as their go-to recipe for a unbelievable tomato bisque. 

It is so simple to make.  I'm talking easy-peasy.  Ten ingredients including the salt, pepper and olive oil.  Roasting the tomatoes, onion and garlic in the oven almost caramelizes them and concentrates their natural sugars. Here, I served it with white american grilled cheese squares but brie also pairs beautifully with this soup.   

We grew a few different varieties of tomatoes in our garden.

Nothing better than a home grown summertime tomato.

Liberally season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Fresh out of the oven.

Transfer directly to pot.

Pout stock in, bring to a simmer and reduce.

Add cream.

Stir and cook for a little bit more time to reduce.

Blend up!

Add basil.  You can blend this up or leave as is. Finally, stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Bisque
6-8 tomatoes, chopped into wedges
1 onion, chopped into large chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 T. olive oil
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
8 basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with foil or a silpat.  Chop up the tomatoes onion and garlic and evenly spread them over the cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until caramelized. Watch the garlic.  You don't want it to burn.  Sometimes I end up taking it out about 5 minutes early.

Remove sheet from oven and immediately transfer vegetable and juices into a stock pot.  Be sure to get all of the juices and bits as they will add lots of flavor.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Cook over medium high heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes so it can reduce a touch.  Add cream and stir to combine.  Cook for another 10-20 minutes to reduce.

Use an immersion blender to smooth it all out.  You can also transfer it in batches to a regular blender.  Add basil and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with some crusty bread or a variation of grilled cheese.    

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