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 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.


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