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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Slow Braised Lamb Shank With Creamy Polenta.

This lamb shank was braised for five hours on a very slow heat.
This is the recipe I used for the Polenta.

Ingredients and Method:

4 cups water
Salt to taste
1 cup medium-grain yellow polenta
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream cheese

1 Heat water lightly seasoned with salt to a boil over high heat, about 5 minutes. Quickly whisk in the polenta until fully incorporated.
2 Lower the heat to a low simmer, add the butter and allow the polenta to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

I added Jalapenos and chopped garlic to the recipe.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Angel Hair Pasta, Clams, Capers And Fried Breadcrumbs

This was made with canned clams. I read an article in the New York Times today by their food editor about making a dish once or twice a week with stuff you only have in the fridge or the cupboard. All serious cooks should do this when they can. It helps you get creative in how you approach cooking and it cleans a lot of stuff out of your kitchen.
Here is the article:

Fresh Tomato Soup With Potato Garlic Dumplings And Sour Cream

For the dumplings: I boiled 3 medium sized russet potatoes. Pass them through a potato ricer and return to the hot stove and dry them out as much as possible stirring with a wooden spoon. Allow to cool then add enough flour to make a kind of potato dough. Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper and some chopped herbs of your choice. Knead this until it gets tight and the form it into quenelles between the palm of your hands. Place in the fridge for a half hour or so then poach them in some stock or just plain salted water and add to the soup.
Lots of recipes call for eggs in these dumplings but I find that they are just fine without eggs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fettucinni With Vegetables And Fresh Tomato Sauce

Was in Eugene all day today. When I got home I made this in a hurry. It was delicious. Sometimes when you make a dish without a lot of thought and preparation it turns out better than one you spend the whole day on. This was the case here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Italian Sausage And Mash

We all know that bangers and mash is a very English dish, n'est ce pas?
Well, this is the Italian version. What makes it Italian is the Italian sausage that i found in Safeway and the fact that there is garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese in the potatoes. The sauce is just a slowly simmered mix of peppers, onions and tomato with the addition of some white wine, tomato juice and garlic to finish it off. It was really good.

Moroccan Root Vegetable Tajine

My favorite exotic dish.
This dish has been made and posted many times. If you want the recipe just do a search for 'tajine' on this blog and you will get the post with the recipe.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bacon, Lettuce, Egg And Tomato Sandwich With A Bean And Chorizo Soup.

This was a good one. This sandwich is know as a BLT in the trade. I threw in a hard boiled egg for good measure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Southern Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes And A Salad.

I love fried chicken but only the kind I make myself. This chicken is marinated overnight in buttermilk with the addition of chopped garlic and paprika. The next day it is drained and dredged in a seasoned flour and fried in a shallow fat.
There are a million recipes for fried chicken and you just have to find the one that suits you the best.
This was great.
Of course it is not very good for you but that's alright from time to time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Turkey Casserole

Chicken or turkey





Heavy cream

Broad lasagna type pasta


Bay leaf

Sweet red and green peppers.


Thyme and bay leaf.

Poach the chicken with some a carrot, an onion and a stalk of celery as if you were making chicken stock. When it is cooked remove the chicken or turkey from heat and keep warm. Strain the stock.

Make a small roux and make a sauce using the chicken stock and the roux. Be sure to cook the flour taste out of the sauce. This is called a chicken veloute. You will find it on the internet.

Cut all the ingredients up into fairly large pieces and cook them slowly in some virgin olive oil. Add the onions and the peppers first and then the celery and the carrots and finally the mushrooms. Add a dash of vinegar and burn it off to counter the sweetness of all those vegetables.

Then add a few tablespoons of white wine and reduce that until dry. By this time the vegetables should be cooked but still be al dente.

Break up the pieces of chicken and add them to this mix.. Add some frozen peas. Reheat the sauce and cook the pasta. When it is cooked add the pasta to the chicken and pour the sauce over the whole mix. Crush a few cloves of garlic and add them too. Add some heavy cream and fold in so as not to break up the chicken and vegetables. Correct the seasoning. Place into and oven proof dish sprinkle with white breadcrumbs and cheese and bake to a golden brown.

Make more sauce than you think you need because you need a lot of sauce with this.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meatloaf Sandwich On A Jalapeno Bagel.

Yesterdays meatloaf on a Jalapeno bagel with oven fried potatoes.


A Delicious Mess

Meatloaf finished with mashed potatoes sliced tomatoes, garlic and cheese. Pretty good. Enough left over for a sandwich tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Nice Drop Of Soup

It turned quite cold here so I made a little soup. This is a navy bean, tomato and bacon soup. There is no real recipe for it because I just made it up with things that I had on hand.
One thing I really liked about french life was the way in which delicious things were made from the most common product and leftovers. It like living in a world of natural cooks and I don't remember meeting anyone who didn't know how to cook. Of course most of the people I knew were chefs or in the hotel industry so I suppose that was normal.
Soup is a basic of french life and they have hundreds of recipes. It is eaten with crusty bread, a salad and a bottle of wine
If you watch any of the older Jean Gabin films, among many others of course, a tureen of soup is served for dinner every night. Maybe that is why I make such a lot of soup. My inner Jean Gabin.
There is no real recipe for this soup here. I chopped up a carrot / half an onion /stick of celery/ I then put a big piece of bacon in the a saucepan and let it give off some fat. Then i added a drop of vinegar which I quickly burned off. I then added the beans and the tomatoes with chopped garlic, a bay leaf or two and a sprig of thyme. I added a little flour to keep it together, seasoned it, brought it to the boil and then put it into the slow cooker where it is right now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spicy Gambas, Cappellini, Fresh Tomato Sauce And AsparagsTips

I think cappellini is just another word for angel hair pasta although and Italian would probably find a difference.
This dish is just the pasta in a fresh tomato sauce with a 'clean out the fridge' assortment of mushrooms, peppers etc. You can use anything you want as long as it goes with the dish.
The shrimp were marinated in chili flakes ( you can use something else like lime and cilantro, garlic and olive oil ) I like spicy. Once all the components are ready you just keep them warm and then arrange them tastefully on a warm plate and finish it off with a little grated Romano cheese.
Important to remember not to rinse the pasta when you take it out of the boiling water. Just strain it and put it into your sauce. It makes all the difference because the sauce coats the pasta better if you don't refresh it.
If you work this well the only things you will have to buy are the shrimp and asparagus, about $4.00. You can use any kind of pasta and the rest of the stuff should be on hand in the kitchen anyway. It is hard to go wrong with this type of dish.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nuttin' Like A Good Feijoada

This dish has been posted before on this blog but I made it again tonight. It is one of my favorite dishes from the wonderful cuisine of Brazil. It is the national dish in fact. Of course there are a lot of things missing here that you can really only get in Brazil but it was delicious just the same.
It is a stew of black beans, sausages, pork and pigs feet. In Brazil they use a carne de sol which means beef dried in the sun. They also put pigs ears and pigs tails into the dish. It was a dish for the slaves with all the rest from the master's table put into it. Hence the ears, feet and tail. The rest of the pig would be used for the masters.
It takes a good 3 hours to cook and it is served with collard greens , rice, manioc flour which is used instead of bread to soak up the juices.
A slice of orange is served on the side of the plate with some salsa. It is a festive dish which is always served in a clay pot and all the garnish in smaller pots. In the North they use red beans and in the south ( Rio ) they use black beans. I prefer the black beans myself.
Once you taste this dish made well you won't forget it.
I have heard that there are as many recipes for feijoada as there are cooks in Brazil. Here is a simple one.


8 cups dried black beans

3 pounds carne seca (Brazilian salted cured beef)

2 pounds sweet sausage (I use Portuguese choriço when available)

2 pounds baby back spareribs

2 bay leaves

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

The night before, soak the beans in a large bowl with water to cover at least 3-4 inches. Soak the carne seca in water to cover. The next morning, drain the beans and place in a large pot with water to cover by at least 3 inches. Bring the beans to a boil in medium heat.

Meanwhile, cut the carne seca into 1-inch pieces. Cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces. (When I use the Portuguese sausage I usually prick it with a fork and simmer it for ten minutes in enough water to cover; then I cut it.) Cut the ribs into 2-rib sections.

Add the carne seca, sausage, ribs and bay leaves to the beans. Simmer for about 2 hours or until soft (Goya brand black beans usually take about 2 hours) , stirring from time to time, adding water as necessary to keep beans covered. Keep an eye on the beans so they don't burn at the bottom!

Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add two ladlefuls of beans and mash them. Put this back into the pot. It will thicken and season the beans.

Continue to simmer gently for at least another hour, adding water as necessary. A good feijoada should have a creamy consistency when done. Remove the bay leaves. Some people take the meats out at this point and serve them separately on a platter. I like to leave them in with the beans, it keeps them hot. Serve the feijoada and garnishes in ceramic bowls and platters, it will add a touch of authenticity!

To serve feijoada, put a mound or rice on your plate and place a ladleful or two of feijoada on top. Arrange oranges and couve around the sides. Sprinkle the beans and couve with farofa and add a spoonful of sauce to the side.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Salmon And Tartiflette Potatoes

This is a recipe from France that I found the other day. It looks more complicated than it is and it is very good. I didn't note things like garlic, salt and pepper etc in the recipe. That is all common sense. I also adapted this recipe for the housewife. You don't have to follow it exactly you can add and subtract things, for instance the original recipe calls for boiled potatoes but I prefer baked so I baked them. You can use a different cheese, you can add chopped tomatoes etc etc.
The salmon is just pan fried and deglazed with some balsamic vinegar and white wine then topped with a little guacamole.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of sliced onions
1/3 of a pound of smoked bacon turned into strips
3 large baker potatoes
1 lb of sliced roblechon cheese/ I used sharp cheddar
Some heavy cream and a little milk
bake the potatoes and let them go cold
Slice the onions and cut the bacon into strips
fry the bacon in a pan and when half way cooked add the sliced onions. Cook the onions all the way through and put to the side.
Butter the bottom of a ovenproof dish
Slice the potatoes into thick slices and cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of these slices
Spread the onions and bacon over this layer and sprinkle the cheddar on top
Cut the cream with one quarter milk, sprinkle a little more cheddar on top and bake in a medium oven.
Finish under the grill.
Do not cook this too much as the cream will turn to butter and the dish will be too fatty. Remember that all the ingredients are already cooked so it won't take as long as a normal gratin potato.