Archive for January, 2013

Asian Flavored Hot Wings

sriracha-hot-wingsI love a lot of different kinds of food from different countries, but I’m no food snob. I don’t mind telling you that burgers and wings are two of my favorites. You don’t have to wait for the Super Bowl to enjoy wings. They’re great any time. In fact, it’s snowing out right now and I’m making these wings tonight.

This recipe is good for a dozen wings. Feel free to double or triple it for larger quantities of wings. I’m not going to tell you to marinate these wings for an hour or so. The idea here is to marinate overnight if possible…at the minimum six hours. The longer, the better.

Ingredients

12 chicken wings, trimmed and cut

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

4 tbsp fresh lime juice

Zest of one whole lime

2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger (I often use the fresh ginger in the jar or the paste)

1 tbsp of honey

2-3 tbsp Sambal Oelek or Sriracha Chili Sauce (depending upon the heat level you want)

1 tbsp sesame oil

Chopped chives

Directions

Wash the wing sections and pat dry.

Whisk all of the ingredients together with the exception of the chopped chives, and place the marinade in a plastic bag or bowl with the wings. Be sure that they are evenly coated. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or, at the very least, for six hours. It’s a good idea to rearrange the wings a few times during the marinating process to ensure that they are marinating evenly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the wings and the marinade in a foil-lined pan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to “broil” and brown for an additional 10-12 minutes.

Place on a serving tray and top with chopped chives. Serve hot with lime wedges.

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Salmon With Mustard-Dill-Caper Sauce

salmon filletsSalmon is incredible, and this dish can be made with either salmon fillets or salmon steaks. Frankly, I prefer the fillets, but that’s a personal choice. I’ve made this dish both ways. When cooking the fillets, I often have the skin removed because many people would rather not deal with the skin. However, fillets are much more tasty when you leave the skin on. It’s entirely up to you.

When we make this particular recipe, you need about a pound of fillets. If you’re making salmon steaks, you can cook four steaks. This is a delicious dish. Everything about the sauce works together well here, the dill, the mustard, and the capers.

Ingredients

16 oz salmon fillets or 4 salmon steaks

1 tsp finely chopped lemon peel

8 oz plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh chopped dill (or 2 tbsp dried dill weed)

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp capers

Olive Oil

Pink Himalayan Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Whisk together the lemon peel, Greek yogurt, dill, chives and Dijon mustard. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, heat up a heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat. Brush the salmon with the olive oil and season with pepper and pink Himalayan salt. While the fish is cooking, add the capers to the sauce.

Cook the salmon over medium-high heat for five minutes on one side, and from 5-7 minutes after turning. (It will take longer if you’re cooking salmon steaks.) The salmon should flake when touched with a fork.

Place the sauce on your plates and sit the salmon on top. This dish is awesome with my Oven-Roasted Asparagus!

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Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

brussel-sproutsLet’s talk about Brussel Sprouts. I know. Don’t turn up your nose. If you cook them right, they really aren’t bitter. We don’t want to eat them raw. We don’t want to boil them. But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve made true Brussel Sprout haters into Brussel Sprout lovers with this recipe. And there are a whole lot of good reason to eat Brussel Sprouts. I’m not going to go into detail in this blog, but you can click here for a rundown. Depending upon where you buy these, they come two ways. Either they are sold individually (sometimes prepackaged) or what I like to call “on the vine.” Doesn’t matter which way you buy them.

Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite things. Generally speaking, I like them quite brown when they come out of the oven. Sometimes when I take these out of the oven, they are crunchy (which I like). But really, you get to decide when to take them out. All that really matters is that they are soft (you can tell by checking with a fork) and browned to the degree you want them to be browned. This is where you apply that “think outside the recipe” thing.

Ingredients

1-1/2 lbs Brussel Sprouts

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp rainbow pepper

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp Tuscan Seasoning (I use McCormick’s; great stuff)

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle (you can make a reduction by yourself, or you can buy it ready to go)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Trim off the bottom of the sprout, remove the outer layers and cut in half. Be aware that sometimes a few leaves fall off. Don’t toss them if you’re a lover of crunch. I throw them in the pan.

Toss the sprouts with the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, rainbow pepper and Tuscan seasoning. Place them in a roasting pan.

Roast at 375 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on serving dish, and drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle.*

Add-Ins: These are delicious just as is, but I’ve got to tell you about bacon. Every once in a while, I like to  cook about five slabs of apple cider cured bacon (Carando makes a good one) nice and crispy, then break them up. (A nice alternative is chopped Pancetta, which is Italian bacon). Before serving, toss the sprouts with the bacon, then apply the drizzle. Wow! Another great add-in just before serving is a half cup of parmesan. Can’t go wrong. Hell, use both the bacon and the parmesan.

*You can make your own drizzle by dumping a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar in a heavy bottom pot. The only other thing you need is a stirring implement and plenty of time. You don’t want to simmer the vinegar. It has to be a slow process that can take up to two hours. Be sure to vent your kitchen, especially if you have kids. They can get pissed off with the smell.

Alternatively, Vervacious in Maine makes some delicious Balsamic Drizzle. I’ve used the Espresso Balsamic and the Chocolate Balsamic in the past. There is a link to Vervacious on the blog. Other specialty stores also carry this.

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Slow Roasted Pork Butt

pork_buttYeah, I know. There are leaner cuts of pork but, frankly, they’re often short on flavor. The slow roasting process helps to get rid of a lot of the fat in the cheaper cuts and they are definitely better tasting. I made this roast a few days ago, and when the pork was sliced there wasn’t much fat at all. Best of all, the kids didn’t complain about what they were eating.

Generally speaking, the roast either comes tied with string or not. I prefer when it is tied. If it isn’t available tied, I tie it myself. You can use bone in or boned. I happened to use boned the last time around.

Again, the measurements on the spices used here aren’t critical. You can certainly adjust to your own taste, but the combination of spices included here is amazing. I highly recommend it.

Cooking the roast at a very high level initially will help to brown the roast and sear in the flavors.

Ingredients

1 3-1/2 to 4 lb. pork butt (bone in or boned)

1 tbsp dried crushed red peppers (if you’re worried about the heat, use rainbow peppercorns here)

1 tbsp minced garlic

whole garlic, roughly cut

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tbsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Directions

The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 500 degrees. While waiting,  stab the pork butt and insert chunks of garlic. I’m not going to tell you how much you should put in; it’s a personal call. I happen to like garlic.

Then, mix all the rest of the ingredients together to form a paste. Rub the paste over the entire roast: Top sides and bottom. Place the roast in a pan with a rack. Because this will drip while roasting, I added water to the bottom of the pan to keep the smoking down. It also helps keep the roast moist.

Roast the pork but on 500 degrees for the first 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 250 degrees and roast for an additional 2-1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.

 

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Good Karma Slow Cooker Mega-French Onion Soup

french-onion-soupFrench Onion Soup is one of my all-time favorite dishes. When it comes to soup, there’s just about no equal. Of course, the one absolute requirement is plenty of good cheese on top. None of this little dollop stuff. This is a slow cooker recipe, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of caramelizing the onions first. You can simply throw all of the ingredients into a slow cooker without this step, but it’s a much richer soup when you caramelize.

For the stock, I’m calling for a ready-made beef stock. However, if you make your own beef broth, there’s no comparison. At some point, I will put my recipe for beef broth on this blog, but I haven’t used it for a while and want to tweak it a bit first. So, without further comment, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

6 tbsp butter

3 large Vidalia onions

1 large Bermuda (red) onion

2 medium shallots

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 leek stalk

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp Demerara sugar (white sugar is okay here if you don’t have this)

1/2 cup dry sherry

7 cups beef broth

1 tsp sea salt (I used Red Himalayan last time around)

1 tbsp dried thyme

2 tbsp Herbes de Provence (there are varieties of this; use the one that includes Lavender)

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Baby Swiss or Emmental cheese

French Bread slices

Directions

The first step is to cut the onions into rings and to rough chop the shallots. When cutting the leek, toss the very white part at the bottom, but cut the base into rings and then cut the green stalk into rough 1″ pieces. Make sure you wash the leek well because they tend to harbor dirt.

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions/shallots/leeks and cook until they are translucent (about 10 minutes). Then, add the Demerara sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes. Within the last two minutes, add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the mega-onion mixture to a slow cooker, add the broth, thyme, Herbes de Provence, pepper and salt (add more salt to taste if need be; this is a conservative amount). Cover the slow cooker, set it on high and cook for about 4-6 hours. If cooking on low, it’s about 6-8 hours. The timing is a personal call, but I prefer the “high” setting.

Slice the French bread into 1″ pieces and toast in a toaster oven. Spoon the soup into onion soup bowls, float the toasted French bread in the middle and completely cover with cheese. You can either put your oven on broil and broil the cheese until it bubbles or put it in the microwave. Top with chopped chives (optional for you, but not for me).

This recipe will serve about eight people. If you’re not feeding eight, you can keep it in the fridge for a few days and eat it again. I did that, and then I froze one container for later. Is it better fresh? Probably. But who’s quibbling over such a delicious dish? Not I.

 

 

 

 

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