Archive for October, 2013

Paella Mixta

Paella MixtaI just perfected my recipe over the weekend. We had a celebration dinner for my sister, who just finished up a grueling schedule of straight chemo and chemo/radiation, so I wanted to make something very special for her and those who have helped her get through this. Paella is the perfect dish because it combines both meat and fish. It originated in the fields of a region of Spain called Valencia, which is on the east coast.

When I went tooling around the web way back when I first started to think about putting this together, I found one person who complained about a recipe being nothing more than “rice with stuff in it.” I started thinking about this and determined that it’s a perfect description for Paella. So, frankly, I don’t know what his problem was. It’s also a great description for Jambalaya (which I promise to add very soon, since I have a great recipe in my head for that).

I would recommend you purchase a Paella pan. You could, of course, use a large all-purpose skillet, but a Paella pan is just perfect and can be used for other things…like Jambalaya!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. cut in 1-inch pieces

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz chorizo cut into 1/4-inch slices and peeled

8 oz Serrano ham, diced

1/2 lb squid rings

1/2 lb langostinos (Chilean lobster tails)

20 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup red. yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1.5 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2.5 cups short-grained rice (Valencia preferred)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

30 strands of saffron threads

2 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

Place the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and all it it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to steep. Heat oil in a 15-18″ Paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, shrimp, ham, squid rings, and chorizo to he pan and cook until brown, remembering to turn occasionally. You don’t want it to burn. Remove the shrimp and squid rings to a plate, leaving the meats in the pan.

Add the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, saffron broth and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

Now, add the rice and distribute it evenly with a spoon. Add peas and return the squid rings to the concoction. Cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed a good portion of the liquid. This should take about 12 minutes. Your Paella pan will definitely be bigger than the burner, so it’s important that you turn the pan every couple of minutes to ensure that the rice cooks evenly. Do not worry if the rice “burns” a bit on the bottom. This is perfect. It’s one of the important things that happens with Paella. Adds to the incredible flavor.

Turn the heat down to “low” and add the reserved shrimp. Give the concoction one stir. Nestle the mussels into the liquid (hinge side down). Allow it to cook without stirring until the mussels have opened, the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This should take about 5-10 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the burner and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This is crazy good stuff.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Eggplant Roll-ups Italiano

Eggplant roll-upsI remember when I was a kid, the thought of eating eggplant grossed me out. Man, was I DUMB. I can assure you that, once I was older and on my own, doing my own cooking and experimenting with flavors, things changed dramatically on this front.

Like stuffed mushrooms, there is almost nothing you can’t do with eggplant. However, I am starting off with this particular recipe because I made this just this past weekend for an event at my house. People simply could not get enough of these.

Ingredients

3 medium-large eggplants

1 medium Vidalia onion, minced

1 cup flavored breadcrumbs

8 oz prosciutto, sliced thin, cut in to very thin strips

3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

4 oz thick-shredded Mozarella cheese

1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

1 tsp fresh chopped sage

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 tsp crushed red pepper

6-8 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

3 tbsp coarse salt

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Several fresh parsley leaves (for garnishing)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Do not peel the eggplant! Cut it lengthwise into 1/4″ slices. Salt with the 3 tbsp coarse ground salt and place it in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Then, wash them well with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

To prepare the pine nuts, prepare them by chopping coarsely. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees.

Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to a large skilled and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes (until wilted). Add the breadcrumbs and stir continuously until they are browned. This will take about another 10 minutes.

Place the mixture in a large bowl with the toasted, chopped pine nuts, the proscuitto, herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper, Parmesan and Mozarella cheeses. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush both sides of the eggplant with the remaining olive oil and place them on a oiled baking sheet. Bake on the top shelf of an oven until lightly golden on both sides for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and pile them on top of each other to steam for about 5 minutes. This will make them easy to roll.

Divide the filling evenly among the eggplant slices. Place the filling on the wide end of the eggplant and roll them up. Place them on an oiled baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake the rolled eggplant appetizers for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove them from the oven and place them on a serving platter. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves. These are delicious right out of the oven, or after they have cooled for about ten minutes.

Cook’s Note: These can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. When you’re ready to bake the final product, remove them from the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before placing them on an oiled baking sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

White Chocolate Chili Cheesecake

White Chocolate Chili CheesecakeI’m not much of a sweet eater, but I do have my weaknesses. Cheesecake, in all of its various iterations, is one of those big weaknesses. So, it’s probably a good thing I don’t make it often.

This particular version of cheesecake is extremely outrageous, combining sweetness with just a hint of heat. If you think dark chocolate is great with chili, just wait until you get a taste of white chocolate with chili. The combination of cream cheese, Mascarpone and heavy cream makes for a very dense, rich cheesecake.

This recipe calls for cookie crumbs as the base. The last time I made this, I used graham cracker crumbs because I had a limited amount of time to get this done for company. Feel free to get creative. Crushed Nilla wafers maybe?  It also calls for 14 oz of white chocolate. Make it a high quality brand. I used Ghirardelli the last time around.

You will also need an 8-inch springform pan.

Ingredients

1.5 cups cookie crumbs

1 stick melted butter

8 oz of cream cheese, softened

1 cup heavy cream

9 oz Mascarpone cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp Trappist hot pepper jelly

14 oz white chocolate, melted

Directions

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. This will make it easier to transfer the cheesecake to a serving dish when done.

Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl. Press onto the base of the springform pan. Refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes.

To melt the white chocolate, place in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering (not boiling) water and stir constantly until melted.

Beat softened cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until it is smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, and beat until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the chilled springform pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.

Prior to serving, garnish the top with Ghirardelli white chocolate morsels.

 

 

 

, ,

Leave a comment

South-of-the-Border Shredded Beef

Mexican shredded-beefThis is an easy yet incredibly flavorful recipe. It’s ideal for Tacos, Mexican pizza, or Enchiladas. The key to this dish is the use of a slow cooker, and a combination of the right spices. If you don’t want to use taco shells or flour tortillas, you can simply serve this beef on shredded lettuce, with accompaniments like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and Queso Blanco on the side.

The best cut of beef for this recipe is a chuck roast, about 2.5 to 3 lbs. It’s best to cut it into 3 or 4 pieces before embarking on your flavorful journey, and trimming off any large pieces of fat that may be present.

Ingredients

2.5 to 3 lb chuck roast

2 tbsp olive oil

14 oz beef broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp dried cilantro

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp coriander

3 oz tomato paste

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Directions

Cut the chuck roast into four pieces, trimming any large pieces of fat off the meat. This will help the spices reach every area of the meat. Season with salt and pepper, and sear the meat in a skillet on high until all surfaces of the beef are browned.

Place the beef broth, tomato paste, onion, Jalapeno pepper, and the spices in the crock pot and give it a stir. Submerge the meat in the liquid.

Set the slow cooker to high and cook for four hours, then lower the temperature to “low” and cook for an additional hour or so. It’s important that at least 2-3 inches of liquid is in the crock pot throughout the cooking process. This should not be a problem with a slow cooker.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. By now the slow cooker should automatically move to the “warm” setting. Return the beef to the liquid until ready for use.

Remove with tongs and place it on your serving tray. All I can say is “Yum!”

 

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Indonesian Chicken Wings

Asian Soy WingsI’d have to say that soy sauce (or Tamari) is one of those ingredients you should never be without. However, this recipe calls for Indonesian soy sauce, or Ketjap Manis, which is slightly sweeter and thicker than traditional soy sauce. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to buy this at your local grocer. You would definitely have to go to an Asian market to buy it. Or you could make your own without much effort. Therefore, I’ve included a recipe for this delectable little condiment at the bottom of this recipe.

I love Asian food. They say that the Chinese invented noodles and the Italians perfected it. I think that’s a perfectly legitimate claim. But Asian food is so much more than Chinese and Japanese. Indonesian and Vietnamese food is amazing. So are these wings.

Ingredients

2.5 lbs party wings (these are wings that have already been trimmed and separated)

1 cup Ketjap Manis (recipe follows)

2 tbsp Sambal Oelek

2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned is fine)

2 tbsp ginger paste

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup lime juice

Chopped scallions or chives (for garnish)

Directions

The first order of business is to make the marinade, so this is a simple recipe because it requires you to mix all the ingredients together (except the salt and pepper). Whisk to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.

Put the wings in a resealable plastic bag along with the concoction, and marinate overnight. I like to use a toothpick on the wings and poke holes in them prior to marinating. This helps to infuse the wings with the sauce.

When you are ready to cook the wings, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the wings in a single layer in a long baking pan. Pour in the marinade. Season with salt (lightly) and fresh-ground pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning at least once to cook on both sides. Prior to removing the wings, turn them again and put the oven on “broil” for about 5 minutes.

Remember to put on the hood of your stove and open a window as you might generate a little smoke.

Remove the wings to a serving tray and get ready to feast. Garnish with chopped scallions or chives. These are delicious!

How to Make Ketjap Manis

Ingredients for Ketjap Manis

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup water

1 cup dark soy sauce

7 tbsp dark (blackstrap) molasses

1 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Directions

Combine the dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves.

Then, increase the heat to high and cook until the syrup begins to thicken. This takes about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. This can be stored for 2-3 months (covered) in your refrigerator.

 

, , , , , , ,

2 Comments

%d bloggers like this: