Monday, December 31, 2012

Westward Ho.....

Another Post Christmas Celebration with the folks out in Western Nebraska. We brought along the usual fare that seems to be a hit at this occasion...Stromboli, of course and Antipasto Salad. Just so easy to cut up and serve and snack on all day if there is any left. The Stromboli disappeared quickly once cut. I saw much go into the microwave and get eaten up quickly. Even the one that I had created extra for us at home was eaten with gusto as a dinner substitute the Friday before we left. Seems like no matter how much is made it is never quite enough. I know the nephews were prowling for it Sunday morning but none to be found.

Stromboli
Antipasto Salad

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Dinner

Much like last year we served the favorites of the kids. A nice New York Strip roast about 12 pounds, Gene's potatoes and Roasted Parmesan Onions, green beans with toasted almonds. Much to our surprise, the boys and Nick's friend Amanda got a reprieve from work and were able to join us for most of the evening. It was quiet and wonderful.  All the recipes have been previously posted.

Ben and Mackenzie were out pretty early so they opened their stuff together but poor Nick had to be cajoled into opening his things by himself. The kids gave and got some great gifts this year. The big hit was a Nexus 7 tablet and Brenda's Kindle Fire HD. So cool and accessible are these devices. I got a bag I pinned on Pinterest.

A great time was had by all.

A perfectly cooked roast. Removed and tented at 130 degress, it was delicious.

The Parmesan Onions were sublime.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eating Omaha....Taxi's Grille and Bar

Our last Eating Omaha for 2012 found us at Taxi's Grille and Bar for a great dinner with a few extra friends and family last night. We normally got out as a foursome but with the holidays and family members in town, we had a few extras with us, Matt and Lori's daughter Ali and Lori's mom, Annette and Mackenzie showed up. The place was festively decorated for Christmas to be sure and the atmosphere was lively and full of patrons. Reservations are recommended for sure as folks like to linger over dinner.

The waitress answered our questions and explained the menu as well as the specials. She mentioned a Blue Cheese  and Cabbage soup which piqued some interest to which she brought us a sample. I had a cup after that and it was excellent. Really.

The service was prompt and friendly and the food was superior. Ali had Pan Seared Scallops that I could have wrestled her for. Mackenzie had a Crab Cake Salad that was also delicious. Matt had a Rib eye covered in melted Blue Cheese that looked tasty and the rest of us had the special. I know, I don;t normally order specials. They are usually never a bargain and sometimes they are not good. Tonight was a different story. It was expensive but a perfectly cooked 7 ounce Fillet with a Portabella demi glace was well worth it. Fork tender and juicy, I savored every mouthful. The dinner was a hit for everyone. The tab was moderate.

Tonight we have to pick up the pplace for the arrival of guests after church tomorrow and our traditional soup supper. I need to bake some bread and cook the soup after work. We have a few coming over since a lot of folks celebrate the day as we do but not the Eve. Looking forward to the New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Confectionary Christmas Concoctions.....

We both have work things this week and mine is tomorrow so the ladies I work with requested the peppermint popcorn I made last year from the Bake at 350 site. It's really easy just melt a package of white almond bark and 1 tbl of solid shortening, stir in a package of crushed candy canes and pour over popcorn (I just bought the local brand, Vic's) 2 bags) I added mint M&M's and little candy cane decorations. For Brenda , she choose the puffed corn extra large package. Same drill as mine but she added peppermint mini marshmallows. We stirred it all up and then spread it on waxed paper to harden up a bit.

I made some wings for dinner so they were busy getting delicious while we worked. I think everyone at work will be pleased with my efforts, Brenda's will for sure.



So how yummy does that look? Thanks to my blogging pals for the inspiration!

Monday, December 17, 2012

What's in the pot today.....

Mackenzie chided me for not posting lately. We have been busy with shopping and errands and while I have been cooking I confess that I haven't cooked that much. A pizza here, a pot roast there. Today I placed a very large chuck roast in the crock pot before heading to work. Brenda was off but out of the house most of the day. I came home and the house smells terrific. A regular Sunday Pot Roast worthy of company was ready to rock and roll when I got home but again we so much to do. We will have quick bite before heading out the door.

So, I began last night and cut the roast into 4 inch by 2 inch planks about 2 inches thick. Dusted in flour and browned in a hot skillet. I put them aside and in the fridge till morning.

Into the crock pot I quartered 2 onions and chuncked about 5 carrots. I added a small bottle of Cabernet, a teaspoon of thyme leaves, 2 bay leaves, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and a package of Beef Stock concentrate.

In the a.m. I placed the meat, a 8 ounce package of mushrooms sliced and the rest of a box of chicken stock. On went the pot and I went to work. After I came home I opened two cans of potatoes. I know, but I love canned spuds and I didn't want to buy a bag. Those are in the pot now. I ladled off about 4 cups of broth and added that to a saucepan with a 2T flour, 2T butter roux. Gravy is done, a bit of Kitchen Bouquet to make it a nice color. Here it is:
Pot Roast good enough for company
 

My pizza from last week. I made 2. One with burger and shrooms and this pepperoni beauty!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eating Omaha....Marrakech

On Sunday after Liturgy we met with Jeff and Michale at the Marrakech. They had tasted this place at Taste of Omaha this summer and had been dying to go back. The favorite was the Chicken Shawarma which I have had before at El Basha but here it was fresher and tasty to be sure. The menu was rather small with few choices. Michale had the special which was a wedding pie (Pastilla) stuffed with dark meat chicken and almonds but came with a hefty price of $20. Not your average lunch fare. It was a bit pricey for lunch and I was confused when we left because the other 3 entrees were on special for $4.95 that day but none us were charged that. The total lunch bill with tip for the four of us was $80.

We tried the sampler platter for appetizers and it was delightful with a variety of tidbits including Falafel, Hummus, Samosas and 2 ratatouille's with a side of pita triangles. The chai tea won my wife's seal of approval and the waiter/ owner described its making in detail. Very nice little cozy place with an on line menu. Don't be afraid to go outside you comfort zone.


Chicken Shawarma Recipe

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eating Omaha...Jaipur's





For my birthday this year we ventured out of the norm and ate at an established Indian restaurant in the heart of West Omaha or at least where West Omaha begins, Jaipur. This had been an Omaha standard for many years in the middle of Rockbrook Village. A quaint little place with beautiful painted walls and a great atmosphere. A very complete Indian menu is offered as well as custom beers but tonight we opted for wine, a nice Cotes du Rhone. We had a full house as all the kids were able to join us and we had a party.

Samosa's and Papadum were first to hit the table with a spicy but cooling Mint Chutney. Everyone ordered something different so we could try a lot of things on the menu as well as a few assorted Indian breads. All us boys ordered a Lamb dish, Madras Curry, Rogan Josh and Korma. The gals ordered chicken dishes, a Tikki Masla and Tikki Korma. We passed then all but the Madras was super spicy hot. I loved it but it took some getting used to. I had leftovers today and my heartburn returned instantly. (It does not deter me from eating what I love though.)

The rice that came with one of the dishes was perfumed with Cardamom seeds. They have a vaguely citrus-y orange note and very floral. So delicious and unexpected. The meal was delightful and expensive but we knew that in advance. This is not a cheap place to grab a bite. The service was wonderful and doting. All in all a great experience and fine dining.

I will definitely be making some of this food in the near future. Yum.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Christmas Eve feast?

New home for some old friends..finally

A few years ago, the parish of St. John Greek Orthodox church came to an impasse and part of the parish left to establish a mission church in the western part of the city. Starting out from nothing with just a few borrowed items, the church did not have the traditional feel of an Orthodox temple.  I felt like it needed a little something to help it along so Brenda and I lent a few icons of our own to the parish. As time went by I was asked to paint the traditional icons for the front of the church which I did gladly. Those icons traveled with us to our new temporary home on 90th and Q.

A year after the move,  the Grand Island Greek Orthodox Church Holy Trinity folded and shutdown. All of their stuff came to us at the All Holy Spirit Greek Church and the priest decided (unilaterally) to remove my icons and replace them with some "real Greek" icons. I don't think anyone in the parish even noticed.

When things like this happen I start to seriously question my mission in the church. I am absolutely sure God meant for me to do this and has guided my hand as best he could in this vocation but these events trouble me more than you would know.  Sadly, I do not have a lot of support from Orthodox clergy regarding iconography and frankly I am a mediocre painter at best.
These, now discarded, works came back into my possession. I lent them to a struggling mission in Ames, IA for a while but the church did not take off and I picked them up again. They have been in my front room for the last few years leaning against the wall. My lovely bride is very, very tolerant. I have a lot of icons in my front room that serve various purposes through out the Liturgical year. She is a saint,  really.

I called the Antiochian Bishop to see if he had a place for them and he did have a mission in Texas that would take them. I had several conversations by email with the mission. The priest was thrilled but the parish  was less so and made a statement to the effect of being "stuck" with icons they did not want to endure for the next 20 years. How's that for a vote of confidence? I could not even give them away....really? *Sigh*

 I debated selling them on Ebay but I wasn't  I could verify they would go to a Christian home and then I finally got in touch with a wonderful Catholic priest (who had commissioned me in the past) and asked if would have a place for them and he gladly accepted the icons from me. I feel like at least the are going to be in a place where they will be used for their actual purpose.  So its time to say goodbye to these old friends who have been standing in my front room for quite some time.  Thank you Father Carl Salinitro for taking these for me. God Bless.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

BBQ Chicken.......indoors

Today was a busy day with a little shopping and little church and a bit of cooking. Ben stopped by before work to pack a lunch and have some dinner but no other takers tonight so there are some leftovers for the rest of the week.

I made a BBQ chicken recipe for Alex Guarnaschelli from her Alex's Day Off show. I love her stuff and her attitude towards cooking and dining.

I cut this sauce recipe in half but here is the whole deal. I used fat chicken thighs because they were $1 a pound (really?) and they cooked up tasty and crisp and delicious.

Ingredients
  3 cups ketchup
  2 cups cider vinegar
  1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  1/2 cup light soy sauce
  1 cup light brown sugar
  1 cup dark brown sugar
  2 tablespoons dry mustard (preferably Colman's)
  2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  1 cup chili powder
  1 "knob" fresh ginger (about 4 inches), peeled and cut in 3 pieces
  5 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  2 lemons, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

I cut this in half for about 12 thighs.

Combine all in a sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove ginger and lemons and reserve 1 cup of sauce to pass. I lined a pan with foil (non stick) and dredged each thigh in the sauce and arranged on the baking pan. I salted and peppered the thighs and baked at 350 for 20 minutes then turned them over. I removed them, drained some of the liquid from the pan, painted them up with sauce again, raised the oven temp to 400 and baked them 10 minutes or so on each side.

Tasty and moist with crispy skin and a great sauce.
 

It's All About Bob!

Saturday we were invited to the Kropp's house to watch the miserable spanking the Huskers got at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers.  Bob and his lovely bride, Kim, made a variety of tasty soups and we had some other pot luck items. I pulled a recipe off of Pinterest and made a Cheesy Pull Apart bread. It was deemed "crack" by the author but I am not so sure. I think I would definitely rewrite the recipe on this to improve it's overall flavor and amp it up a bit with stronger flavors.

Bob was a little upset with me because I had not mentioned him in the blog so I did him one better and included a photo also....

Bob and Tom...buddies for 30+ years.

 
The Bread recipe:
 
1 stick of butter melted
1/8 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tsp  onion minced
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T poppy seeds
3 tsp parsley minced
12 oz grated cheese ( I used PepperJack but next time Asiago or a stronger flavored cheese might be better.)
 
Add the first 7 ingredients and  ix well. I added salt and pepper. Cut the loaf in in X slices but not thru the bottom. Place on foil and using a spoon, spoon the butter mix into all the cuts. Stuff the grated cheese into the cracks and cover the loaf with another piece of foil and seal tight. Bake for 20 minutes and uncover , bake another 10. Bake at 350.
 
Personally, I would cook the onion and garlic in the butter first and definitely choose a stronger flavored cheese.
 
Always a great time at the Kropp's whatever the occasion. Nice people.
 
 
 

 
 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pizza night....and a consistent crust

Lately I have been still making pizza but not nearly as often due to the high carb count. I have been experimenting with smaller dough amounts since it's just the two of us lately. Last night after work I mixed up a quick batch. Brenda worked late and I did not want a cooked pizza just sitting around waiting for her so I made a small dough batch, divided in half and made two smaller crusts, almost personal pan size but a little larger. Since it was Wednesday, I used mushrooms for the topping of choice, a smattering of sauce and Red Pepper flakes ( a generous quantity on mine) with some cheese blend from Kraft.

I started with just a scant 2 cups of flour and my food processor. I have  Cusinart 7 cup with a dough speed that just makes this so easy. 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good glug of olive oil. Enough warm water to just make the dough ball clean the bowl. Let it run for a short bit then set the timer and let it rest 20 minutes. Pulse it again after the time is up for a few times then put it in an oiled bowl to let it rise. I placed mine in the oven in "Proof" mode covered with plastic.

Divide the dough after a doubling and roll it our to a 10-11 inch circle. I know, I rolled it. Whatever. I place it in a screaming hot oven (400) on the cast iron pizza stone (or regular one, they are both in the oven). The dough puffs and bubbles nicely and gets just a slight color then remove it to a wire rack for assembly. About 7 minutes or so.

I cannot seem to make a raw finished pie slide off the peel to save my sorry soul, therefore I prebake and it is great. No more topping cooking other than on the crust and it seems to make no big difference to the pie. The crust is thin and crunchy and delicious.

Since Brenda worked till 630 I simply asembled hers when she said she was on her way home, popped it in the oven and it was ready by the time she got settled.  Yum!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! A day of feasting.............




Everything is just so. The brined turkey is moist and juicy. The gravy is fantastic especially after adding a cup of juices from the bird. The rolls are always a big hit for Benjamin so I make a lot of them. They make great sandwiches. I cooked an extra breast since there never seems to be enough white meat but everyone insists on a whole bird (for presentation I guess). Nothing special here, no secrets or special recipes. We try something new every year. this year we saw a recipe for French Onion casserole. It looks good so far don't know how it tastes yet.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bird brining...101

So...yesterday I took the 18 pounder and the extra breast from the fridge, cleaned them and got them ready for the brining process.

Firstly, find a container* big enough to brine the bird. That was a challenge. A few months ago I posted a "Pot Love" article and that's the pot I used. It is at least 5 gallons or more. It took a LOT of brine but the basic recipe is the same...1/2 cup salt to 8 cups of water with 1/2 cup of sugar. I laced the brine with peppercorns, Rosemary and garlic. 24 hours in this wet brine then out tonight for a nice dry out in the fridge, uncovered to help the skin crisp up. That ought to do it. 

*For normal peoples, I found that the large chip bag from Qdoba makes an excellent heavy duty brining bag also. My bird was a bit too large for that this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And let the cooking begin....

What? Already? You betcha. The frozen bird has been in the fridge since Saturday and is thawing nicely thank you. Tomorrow he gets brined along with the extra breast I thawed out.

Yesterday, I made the gravy stock by roasting a turkey wing (the wing  weighed about a pound and a half, a formidable bird) and a garlic bulb. After roasting, I placed these and some carrots, onions and celery (all unpeeled) into a pot and covered with water. To this I added salt, peppercorns and poultry seasoning. Simmer away for several hours then strain, mash the solids and collect the goodness in a bowl for the fridge. Gravy is just a roux away. The complete recipe is on the blog, search for "Turkey".

 I opted for store bought pies this year to relieve some of the fuss and the rest is gonna have to wait until Wednesday. So much to do and so organized this year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eating Omaha....The Bohemian Cafe

Dumplings and kraut today! Who in Omaha of a certain age does not remember that tune played on the radio as an ad for the Bohemian Cafe? Such nostalgia it had to be our destination for our restaurant tour of famous eateries.
Very old school. My memory did not serve me last night as I took a left off of Martha Street instead of a right and we went several miles out of our way deep into South Omaha before turning around on P Street and heading back north. Funny how you drive by a place so many times and misplace it in your mental map.
We started off the evening with a charming waiter and a Dirty Martini made with premium spirits for just $5. Matt had a Czech Beer that was really tasty.


The ladies ordered first. Brenda had the Jager Schnitzel with dumplings, Sweet and Sour cabbage  and egg drop soup. Lori had the Goulash, Matt the Schnitzel too, I had the duck.
So much food to enjoy, so little stomach left everything was delicious but not altogether expected. Brenda generally likes the veal as cutlets deep fried to a golden brown and smothered in gravy. Her dish was slices of veal braised in sauce. Very good but not her favorite gravy. She liked the gravy of my duck better. The dumplings were pillows of heaven and were sliced off a giant dumpling and covered in gravy this fare is not for the faint of heart! We are both big cabbage fans so the kraut was fantastic, I loved every bite.
Lori's tender chunks of beef in a paprika flavored gravy was tender and moist. My 1/2 duck was golden and crisp, cooked just right, the dark meat falling off the breast. I brought 1/2 of it home as well. Each of us had a different sauce or gravy over our meal. The dumpling portions were too ample and we had to leave one behind. It is very old world and quaint inside and has not been updated in years but I am not sure what I would update at this late date.
Tasty Jager Schnitzel

Goulash

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pot Luck at work... Beef for Tacos for a crowd

We had a reason to gather and gather we did. Every so often and much more frequently lately, we are organizing Pot Lucks at work. They are a lot of fun, a little work and plenty of eats, usually for 2 days. Our local food supply here in the hospital has become prohibitively expensive and most of the choices are somewhat less than healthy. I signed up for some Nacho Cheese and Taco Beef. I found the recipe below on All Recipes and adjusted it for 25 folks or about 3 pounds of ground beef. It went pretty far actuallyy although it did not look like much at first. 
I also bought a gallon can of "concentrated" cheddar cheese sauce. This was actually not too bad. With a can of Rotel and a pound of Chorizo it was actually quite tasty. We would definitely do this again.

Restaurant Style Taco Meat
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 tablespoons corn
flour
4 1/2 teaspoons chili
powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned
salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried minced
onion
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon
granules
1/4 teaspoon ground red
pepper
1 1/3 pounds lean ground
chuck
1 cup water
DIRECTIONS:
1.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn flour, chili
powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and seasoned
salt. Stir in the paprika, cumin, garlic salt, and sugar.
Blend in the onion, bouillon, and ground red pepper,
stirring until all spices are well blended.
2.
Crumble the ground chuck into a large skillet over

medium heat. Cook, stirring, until browned. Remove
from heat, rinse meat with hot water, and drain water
and grease from beef.
3.
Return meat to skillet, and pour in seasoning. Stir in
water. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until
most of the liquid has cooked away, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Game Day snacking!

Its another Saturday in the Big O and the game is on at 2:30 p.m. today so that means a kitchen tailgating extravaganza.

Started digging in before photos  but still delicious.


Stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar then wrapped in Bacon. How bad can that be?
Starting with Teriyaki Ribs, Chicken Wings (of course), Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, various dips and stuffed acorn squash since pumpkins are hard to find anywhere this year in Nebraska or at least here, in Omaha. All the recipes are here on the blog already except for the Corn Dip.

Corn Dip

1 can drained Fiesta Corn (has red and green peppers in it)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/3 c Mayo
1/3 c Sour Cream
1/4 cup Chopped Chilies
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix and chill.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

San Marzano in reach

Ok so I know this weird and nothing to get excited about but....my local Walmart is carring San Marzano's! Yay!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Swiss Tomato Soup

This soup, quick and easy and great with a good old grilled chesse is better than just tomato soup.

Swiss Tomato Soup

1 can of diced tomatoes and juice
1 can cream of mushroom
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 c sour cream
pepper to taste
chopped chives
5-6 slices of processed swiss cheese

In a sauce pan, mix the tomatoes and soup, sugar and pepper. Heat till boiling, turn down heat, add the chesse and sour cream. Do not boil but after the cheese melts, use you immersion blender and make the soup smooth. Add chives and serve.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemde Marinara....thanks to the Italian Dish

Marinara Sauce


makes 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 cup grated carrot
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  • a few fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
In a large heavy pot, gently heat olive oil, onions, sea salt and a little freshly ground pepper (and the chili pepper, if using) and saute over low heat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and saute another 5 minutes. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and their liquid and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon (or just crush them with your hands, like I do). Add the herbs and sugar, if you are using it. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Puree the tomato sauce either with an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cancun dining and play

I love lonely beaches

grilled seafood lunch at the buffet

Mexican sunrise

Beach seafood grill

al fresco dining at it's finest

Martinis at 6 every evening before diner
 
We have been enjoying full days of fun and sun and the food offered here at our favorite resort here in Cancun. The Excellence Playa Mujeres has 9 restaurants available but the average stay is somewhat less than that. So far we have been to the Agave which serves mostly authentic Mexican fare, the Lobster House and the Basmati which serves Indian food. So far all three have been excellent. We went to the Lobster House twice it was so good the first time.  Funny but we have never been to the resort on a Tuesday and what a great surprise! They had a beach cerviche bar and served your choice of grilled seafood. Crazy good.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seared Ahi Tuna and Aloo Gobi


Yum I do love my Ahi Tuna. I came home and marinated 2 fillets in mayonnaise and stir fry sauce before placing them on a screaming hot cast iron pan for 3 minutes per side. I had to make the Aloo Gobi beforehand since the tuna cooks so quickly.  Recipe for the veggies is under Vegetables. Great dish with seafood as a matter of fact we had it with Mahi last time. So tasty and unusual paired with a nice Cabernet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Birthday Girl....

Now, normally we are in Mexico for Brenda's birthday but due to circumstances beyond our control we are headed out a bit later this year so I get to cook for her. Her favorite food besides Veal Saltimbucco? Meatloaf. Yes I rarely make a meatloaf but for her...anything. I decided to take it up a notch and stuff it with Swiss and mushrooms like our favorite eatery, Runza.  And, surprise, mashed turnips again. Yes we just had them Sunday but no mashed taters in this house due to the extraordinary carb load.

So to get started:

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 8oz package baby bellas
1 medium onion eggs
1/2 c bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic
10 or so slices of baby Swiss
salt and pepper

I sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil. I set them aside and sauteed the garlic and onions till translucent.

Combine the meats, eggs, bread crumbs and onions and garlic. Flatten on a sheet of wax paper to a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Cover with cheese slices and mushrooms.

Roll up jelly roll fashion. Bake at 350 for about 90 minutes. I use a glaze made with ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce during the last 15 minutes.
Rolling the meat loaf
 
Ready for the oven
 

Dinner is served


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Short Ribs and Mashed Turnips


Our local mid town Hispanic Market had an ad in the mid town paper with short ribs on sale....cheap. Never one to pass up a bargain (ask anyone) I stopped after work and picked up 4 pounds of beefy heaven for Sunday dinner. Now, the last time I made these they were fatty and not a lot of meat and just Ok but this time they had a crazy amount of meat and looked great. I have looked up a bunch of recipes including the ultimate recipes but I think I going to settle for a more traditional approach and use my Beef Bourguignon recipe for the greater part.

Tonight I browned the ribs in a bit of their own fat and settled them into the crock pot on a bed of onions for a early morning start. To this I added a few strips of bacon, a few cloves of crushed garlic, some thyme and 3 bay leaves and into the fridge for the night. Tomorrow I shall begin the process with 4 cups of beef broth, a splash of red wine and a long slow cook.

To the rendered fat I added a 1/2 cup of flour and made a nice copper penny colored roux. I set that aside for thickening unless I decide to make a buerre manie instead.  I hope these live up to my expectations but darn they look good.

I will serve this tomorrow over a bed of mashed turnips. I know, sounds so gross to the basic turnip hater but these are great as a mashed spud substitute and they have a very unique clean flavor I love. If it weren't for the sugar spike, spuds are always my first choice but things as they are, I am always looking for a carb substitute and these are crazy good. A few mushrooms added late in the cooking tomorrow and we will have a feast to match our cold snap (the heat is on today).

Finished Short Ribs in a beefy gravy with mushrooms. Delicious but a lot like pot roast and more work. I'll stick to a pot roast next time.






Lean meaty ribs

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dirty Martini's at Bravo Cucina Italiano



I found out that I love a nice Dirty Vodka Martini. Now generally I prefer top grade vodka but every Wednesday, at the newly opened Bravo's here in the metro, they have $5 Martinis made with Sobieski Vodka. I have to admit it was a great martini. Paired with a few Gorgonzola stuffed olives and I was in heaven. I sided that with a nice Caesar salad and a bowl of Lobster Bisque and Wednesday just became my new favorite day of the week.

Ok the restaurant is very new and they are working out some kinks. I had a second martini (I told you I liked them) and made arrangements for my lovely bride to drive. Thes econd one arrived on a tray with a Raspberry Martini meant ofr another table. There was a raspberry seed in my glass and I could taste raspberry ( I have a very good taster) so perhaps the shaker was not as cclean as it could have been. I did not send it back but I will if it happens again.  Overall the place is great and we sat outside, wonderful!

Teriyaki glazed Back Ribs



I had to make these again for my pal Matt. We were headed to their house to watch the game and having some late dinner type tail gate food. Earlier in the day I pulled a package of the ribs from the freezer cause Matt liked them so much the last time. I was making chicken wings anyway so the oven was already on.

This recipe is from the link I gave earlier to Tyler Florence's Ultimate show.

First, prep the ribs. I remove the membrane on the bone side and give them a good coat of 5 spice powder, salt (easy you're using Soy Sauce later) and pepper. Into the oven on a foil lined pan at 300 for a good 3 hours.

For the glaze:

1 cup low sodium Soy Sauce
1 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 c Hoisin Sauce
3 T ketchup
3 T rice vinegar
1 Red chili split
2 garlic cloves smashed
2 inch piece of ginger smashed

I used my Ginger Garlic paste from the Indian store and it worked just fine.

Put this all in a pot to boil then simmer for 20 minutes till its thickened and reduced. This is also great for Salmon but baste the ribs in this and return to the oven for 10 minutes, baste again, bake again then remove. Watch them as the sauce will burn if you let it. The result are fantastic mahogany colored ribs that taste great.  Garnish with green onion and sesame seed if desired.

The game turned out OK, we won but not sure we should have and Lori made some of the best stuff too. Stromboli and stacked meats and cheese and olives on skewers. The hit of the night was some Cajun Shrimp dip Lori had made. So good.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A slow cooking week for us....

I had made a whole batch of Chili Colorado Burritos and enchiladas but none of the kids were available to eat so we froze them all for a later date. I set aside a bowl of chili for Brenda but that did not even get eaten. We have been preoccupied with the deck removal and patio installation porject. Seems to be taking longer than we expected and our daily routine is interrupted and my grill is barely accessible so I have not been cooking as usual. We are learning to cook for two now and the fridge does not seem nearly so full. Any leftovers that I plan for lunch sometimes get taken for an after work dinner if one of the kids has been doing multiple shifts. Twelve hour nights can take its toll.

Since we are still in the early stages of empty nest syndrome, I feel a little obligated to have enought for stop by company and just in case situations. They are getting less and less but for someone who loves to cook, its tough scaling back. I am definitely a large scale cooker, the bigger the better and I really love doing multiple meals at the same time. On Saturday I had made a few pizzas, the crust is really quite nice lately so I must have turned a corner, chicken wings and started the Chili Colorado for burritos. Seemed like the kitchen was a mess all day though.  Mackenzie came over after the game but wasn't hungry so we had lots to snack on for the rest of the weekend.

I did get a Natural Gas installation on the patio and converted the new grill to Natural Gas so I am excited about that part of the project. We were a little diappointed to not find patio furniture this late in the year and my search for the perfect outdoor lighting has been a bust so far but gives me something to plan for all winter.
Not quite done yet

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Painting Progress

Last few days have been strengthing the proplasmos, beginning to apply features and round out faces.






Eating Omaha...Dinker's Bar



I have not been to Dinker's in years and I am not sure anything has changed...but I didn't see a Foosball table so maybe it has. A great little bar in South Omaha close to where I grew up and spent some evenings there with friends in my 20's. Perhaps a few too many evenings.
Touted as Omaha's Best Burger just recently in the local paper, Matt has been there for lunch a few times and remarked the crowd is Mercedes to trucks with ladders for the lunch crowd.
The food is great, the burgers fresh and patted out to order with some amazing combinations. I had the Buffalo Blue Cheese burger, Brenda enjoyed a Jalepeno Burger, Lori had a Patty Melt and Matt had a BlueJay Burger. All of them were delicious with fries or onion rings.
None of us tried the Haystack Burger famous for its fried egg topping (and the winning burger BTW) but frankly it looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. A few pitchers of beer and we were well satisfied. Cash only though so beware and you order yourself but the food is delivered.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zucchini Curry


- submitted by Dahlia on 09-16-2008 
(Zucchini Sabzi, Zucchini Kurma)


Ingredients
Zucchini - 2
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Tomato - 2 (finely chopped or pureed)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tblsp
Green Chiles - 2 (finely chopped)
Corriander-cumin powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp (or as needed)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - for garnish
Salt - as needed
Oil - 2 tblsp


- submitted by Dahlia on 09-16-2008 





Method
1. Chop the zucchini into big chunks. Heat 1 tblsp of oil in a pan and shallow fry the pieces. Keep it aside.
2. Remove the zucchini pieces from the pan, add an additional tblsp of oil and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds.
3. Saute the onions with the green chiles for 10 minutes until they turn nice golden brown.
4. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
5. Add the tomato pieces/puree and let the mixture cook for atleast 10 minutes until the  tomatoes are pulpy.
6. Add all the dry spice powders- chili powder, corriander-cumin powder , turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt.
7. Add the zucchini pieces and required water. Bring the gravy to a boil .
8. Simmer the gravy till oil floats on top. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
9. Finally, add finely chopped cilantro and switch off. Serve hot with any roti varieties or rice.

Tips & Variation
     - You can also roast 3 tblsp of grated coconut, make a fine paste of it and add to the gravy. This gives nice thickness and taste to the curry. (Here is Ivygourd curry made in a similar way.)
     - Another variation is to add 1/2 cup of coconut milk to the gravy at the end and just heat it through.
     - You can also substitute zucchini with other vegetables like ivygourd (tindoora, kovakai) or any dried beans (lima beans, kidney beans, butter beans etc).


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shrimps and veggies

I had about 9 nice large roasting shrimps in the freezer and a bit of cauliflower, some fresh zucchinis, canned spuds and a desire to make that Indian vegetable dish again. The shrimp were easy,  just roasted in a shallow pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper at 350 for 15 minutes or less.

I had picked up my missing spices at the local market. They had a whole section of bulk spices cheap, so I used a little brown mustard seed and cumin seed and followed the recipe I posted earlier (yes Virginia, I actually use my own blog!) Tasty.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Dinner

We just arrived from a roadtrip to visit Brenda's folks in Loomis Ne (pop 382) and returned with a box load of squash, cucumbers, beets and tomatoes.  From the road, I asked Ben to put some ribs in for Chinese spareribs (again) since he and the others had not yet tried them. They were fragrancing up the house as we walked in. So with all the fresh veggies and a few leftovers from last week, a stir fry dish was in order to compliment the ribs.

I have broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash and snow peas. A few green onions and some garlic will round out the dish I am sure.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Proplasmos....the first layers

 

After the gilding the painting begins. First layers are called 'sankir' or 'proplasmos' and set the foundation for the icon. Laying in the raw underlayment, it will be painted over several times to make a more opaque layer before the highlights begin. This stage looks a bit random and colors are tried and painter over until the right mix is achieved then the highlights begin and shapes become round and folds appear. It's a process.





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