Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saltimbocca by way of the piggy

Our sage is growing so beautifully right now, so that I am searching for sage recipes.  I wish we had as much luck with the basil.  It has not been doing so great this year.

So things came together when I found two 1 1/2 pounds pork one get one free.  Saltimbocca came to mind.  I did not use veal, but this pork was just as good and less costly.  This recipe will be made again, and again.   I also had proscuitto on hand since we bought a large package earlier this week to wrap around cantaloupe, used it in a roasted Brussels sprout recipe and was glad I could us it for this recipe.

This sage is so perfect, I just want to roast a turkey!!

I sliced the roast and pound it as thin as I could.  I used my rolling pin between two pieces of plastic wrap. It worked so nicely.  Followed the recipe exactly.  It is  Tyler Florence recipe so you can't go wrong.

Saltimbocca Alla Romana
courtesy Tyler Florence

4 (5 ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets ( I used pork)
4 slices thinly slice proscuitto
8 fresh sage leaves
all-purpose flour for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
Lemon wedges and sage leaves for serving

Put the cutlets side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece and cover with another piece of plastic.  Gently flatten with a rolling pin or meat mallet until pieces are about 1/4 inch thick and proscuitto has adhered to the meat.  Remove the plastic wrap and lay a couple of sage leaves in the center of each cutlet.  Weave a toothpick in and out of the meat to secure.  Dredge meat in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.

Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium flame.  Put the veal in the pan, prosciutto side down first.  Cook for 3 minutes to crisp it up and then flip to saute the other side for 2 minutes, until golden.  Transfer to a serving platter, remove toothpicks and keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan and stirring, bring up the delicious flavor from the bottom.  Let the wine cook down for a minute to burn off the alcohol.  Add the chicken broth and remaining butter.  Swirl the pan around.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca and garnish with sage leaves and lemon wedges.  Serve immediately.

This is definitely a quick recipe and worth a try.  Veal is pricey, but pork works just great.  Would even be great with a well pounded chicken breast.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Delicious Beef Stew

I have always had a love for a good beef stew.  We both enjoy a good beef daube, but it is not a time saver and does take some care until it is brought to the table.  So when I saw Penny at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen  post a Skillet Beef in Wine, I knew I had to try it.  It is almost the same recipe except for a more tender cut of beef and no bacon or Cognac is added.

We followed the recipe exactly and it was so delicious!!!  Perhaps next time we will experiment a little more, start out with some bacon, maybe pearl onions, dash of tomato paste, rosemary and bay leaf.  A shot of Cognac or brandy would be a nice addition also.

Sounds like we are getting back to the original daube recipe such as Dorie Greenspan claims is her "to go to" recipe.  I am fortunate that The Trout likes to use the knife and he does a great job with slicing and chopping.  With all that done in advance, this stew comes together quickly.

Without a doubt, you will not go wrong with Penny's Skillet Beef in Wine.

Skillet Beef in Wine
  from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 onion chopped
1 pound red potatoes cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 con low sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup red wine

Cut the steak into 1-inch cubes.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon oil and place over medium-high heat until hot.  Add steak cubes and cook 4 minutes or until steak loses its pink color and is browned on all sides.  Remove steak cubes to a platter and drain the skillet well.

Re-coat the skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.  Place over medium-high heat until hot.  Add carrot, mushrooms, onion and potatoes; saute 5 minutes.  Return steak to skillet.  Add thyme, salt, pepper and beef broth and stir well.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Place flour in a small bowl and gradually add wine, blending with a whisk.  Add to steak mixture and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes for until thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally.  Add 1 tablespoon butter at this time to add some gloss and richness to the stew.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jicama Salad

Have you tried jicama?  It is a crisp, white fleshed tuber with almost a bland taste.  The crispy part is what is important.  It can easily be added to any salad to brighten up other vegetables.  When cut into small sticks, it has the consistency of water chestnuts.

We have had two salads this week with this crisp vegetable.  Just peel and cut and add vegetables that you have in your refrigerator.  Then, a quick vinaigrette and you have a very nice salad.

Jicama Salad
recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

1 large jicama, julienned
2 large carrots, julienned
1 cup red onion, finely sliced
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
1 tomato, julienned
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Combine jicama, carrots, red onion, both peppers, tomato in a medium bowl.  Whisk together lime juice, vinegar, honey, olive oil and cayenne and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cilantro and let sit for 30 minutes.

I know that there are several of you out there who proclaim you do not like cilantro.  I truly believe it is one of my favorite herbs.  As with all things that taste strange to you, I only put this thought into your mind.  Give it one more try.  Cilantro and lime together to a perfect combination.  I really think you will like this salad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Have you tried Biscoff Spread?

I have heard Biscoff Spread mentioned many, many times in the last few weeks.  My curiosity got the better of me, so I asked Robin Sue at The Big Red Kitchen as to what "is this stuff?"  Sweet Robin got right back to me and told me it is a spread made in Belgium and asked me if I had ever eaten the thin, brown cookies given out on Delta Airline flights.  Oh yes, I did remember.  I just did not recognize the name.  In fact, if you were ever on a Delta flight with me, I was the one walking down the aisle asking if I could have your cookies!!!

So, on my next grocery visit,  I thought I would just "look" to see if the store carried it.  Oh yes, top shelf, right over the peanut butter and sitting next to the Nutella.  Thought for a few minutes, read the label, and decided it wouldn't hurt (?) to buy it and check it out.  Yes, you guessed it, I was eating it out of the jar by the spoonfuls.  So very delicious.

I started looking for recipes for this.  Robin had a great recipe here, but I wanted something simple where I could use this addictive spread and hurry to get it out of the house.  I found a recipe for cookies, don't remember where, but I made a couple of changes and we had the best smelling cookies baking in the house this morning.  Hurried some to the neighbors for fear of getting hooked again.

Try these cookies...if you dare.  They are delicious!!!

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

I added 1/4 cup chocolate chips.  Raisins probably would have been the right addition, but I do not care for raisins unless they are chocolate covered....I know......

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff spread, sugar, brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and just firm around the edges.  Cool the cookies, if you can wait.   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen (which is just enough to cause problems)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Red Snapper with Mango Shrimp Salsa

On our third fish/seafood for the week, we finally picked up some red snapper.  We have avoided this fish because we just did not know what to do with it.  But we were lucky as we found a recipe in our file dating back to 1997 from Two Hot Tamales.  

Do you remember when cooking shows first started on television?  These two ladies, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger introduced us all to slightly different cooking.  We really wanted to cook a whole red snapper, but they were out at the fish market and so we got two beautiful fillets.  It worked out great for us.

We do think the Mango Shrimp Salsa that topped this fish is what made the dish.  A lot of chopping and dicing, but it came together quickly and we enjoyed it a lot.  And no, we did not add the 3 serrano chilies as the recipe called for.  First of all, we couldn't find any this week, so we substituted 1 red jalapeno and it was just enough heat.  It was also our first time using tomatillos.  We have seen them a lot, but again, did not know what to do with them.  We asked for 3 at the local market and unbeknown to us, when we arrived home we had at least a dozen.  Also asked for 1 jalapeno and came home with at least a dozen.  Will have to figure out what to do with the rest.

Red Snapper with Mango Shrimp Salsa
  from M.S.  Milliken and S. Feniger

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup diced raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lime
Juice from 1/2 orange
3 serrano chilies, seeded and diced
3 Italian Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tomatillos, husks removed, seeded and diced
1 small mango, peeled and cubed
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 red snapper filets, about 6-8 ounces each
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the grill to make a hot fire.

To prepare the salsa, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet, over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic.  Saute 2 to 3 minutes, then add the shrimp.  Saute 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the shrimp turns pink.

Add the fruit juices, chilies, tomatoes and tomatillos.  Cook just long enough to warm the tomatoes and combine ingredients.  Remove from heat and gently stir in mango and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside

Coat the fish with oil on both sides.  Season with salt and pepper.  Grill the fish on one side 5 minutes or less.  Carefully turn and grill about 3 minutes or less.

Spoon the warm salsa over the grilled fish and garnish with springs of cilantro.

Very nice salsa, but we really enjoyed the flavor of the snapper.  Odd that we have never tried it before.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fish, shellfish and fish again

Things are finally coming around at home.  I am feeling better and the knee is cooperating enough to walk with no pain.  That is a big relief.  We have not been tackling new recipes, but some of the good oldies.  Trying to lose a little weight so we are having 3 nights of fish or seafood which we both love and just don't eat often enough.  A couple of these recipes we love so much and I have posted in the past.  They are good enough that I invite you to take a first or second look.

Salmon Burgers with Cilantro Mayonnaise.  This time we passed on the mayo and placed these wonderful, tasty burgers on lettuce with a lemon vinaigrette.  Delicious and so easy.

This is a picture of last nights' burgers or patties.  They are so simple to prepare.  We usually buy a side of salmon at Costco and then bring it home to cut into serving pieces to freeze.  The tail end tends to get a little thin, so this is perfect for the burgers.  Simply cut up and pulse in a food processor with the other ingredients.  I form the patties and chill for a short time before a quick fry with little oil in the pan.  So darn good...really!!

This is not your mama's salmon patties out of the can.  I know you will love this.  I hope you try them.

Giada's Spicy Mussels, Clams and Shrimp.  So, so good.  We have been making this recipe since 2003 and we have never, ever gotten enough of it.  Because of the weight thing...ahem...we did pass on the crusty bread this evening.  Difficult, but not impossible.

Now tomorrow, we are trying a new recipe using red snapper.  I will post this.  I am already knowing this will be great because of the lovely salsa that goes on top.  Stay tuned.