Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet Potato Chowder & Cod

Prep /Total : 50 minutes Makes 7 cups 4 to 6 servings
Spicy sausage, sweet potato, and saffron brighten up familiar halibut in this chowder. Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes. Notes: Choose dark red saffron threads (not orange or yellow).

1                 tablespoon olive oil
2                 andouille sausages (6 to 8 oz. total) 1                onion (6 to 8 oz.) 
1/4             teaspoon saffron threads (see tip)
3                cups reduced-sodium chicken broth  1                sweet potato
1/4             cup whipping cream
                        **salt **
2                pounds cod , boned and skinned 1                green onion 

1.         Pour olive oil into a 4- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat; add andouille sausages, sliced 1/4 inch thick, and stir often until beginning to brown. Add onion, peeled and chopped, and stir often until limp. Add saffron threads, chicken broth, and sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potato is barely tender when pierced, about 5 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste.
2.        Meanwhile, rinse halibut and pat dry; cut into 1-inch chunks. Lay chunks on top of soup, cover, and cook until halibut is opaque but still moist-looking in the center (cut a piece to check), about 10 minutes. Gently stir soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with thinly sliced green onion.

TIP : You may substitute saffron powder , but  use  only 1/8 teaspoon .

Wine pairing:
Arneis, a lively Italian white (the name means "little rascal"), is an almost perfect match for the cod chowder, although a mineral-rich, aromatic dry Riesling works well too.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Potato Crispy Puffs

PREP /TOTAL TIME: 1 hour  40  minutes
Makes :about 60 fritters                  VEGETARIAN

These enticing Chilean potato puffs, known as papas duquesas, are a cross between mashed potatoes and french fries.

2-1/4                   pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
                              **Salt **
1                         large egg, beaten
1                         tablespoon unsalted butter
2                         tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2                         tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2                      cup all-purpose flour
                           **Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg **
                           **Vegetable oil, for frying**

1 .             Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook for 1 minute over high heat, shaking the pan frequently to dry out the potatoes.
2 .             Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Stir in the egg, butter, dry milk, cheese, flour and nutmeg; season with salt. Using floured hands, roll the potato mixture into 1-inch balls; you should have about 60.
3 .              Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in batches of about 12, fry the potato balls over moderately high heat until they are browned on 3 sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, season lightly with salt and transfer the potato balls to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining balls.
4 .             When all of the puffs are fried, reheat them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve at once.
Make Ahead The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring the potato balls to room temperature before frying.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Peas and Cream Buffalo Chicken

Start to finish: 50 minutes        Makes 6 servings

1                   tablespoon  unsalted butter
8                   ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch cubes
2                   tablespoons  hot sauce, or to taste
8                   ounces whole-wheat orzo or whole-wheat Israeli couscous
2                   cups frozen peas
¾                  cup low-sodium chicken broth
3                   ounces  blue cheese, crumbled
1                   cup finely chopped celery
1.           Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2.           While the water heats, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce and a hefty pinch of salt, then set aside.
3.           Add the orzo or couscous to the boiling water, stir and cook according to the package instructions until it is almost al dente. Add the peas, then return the water to a boil. As soon as the water returns to a boil, drain and add the peas and pasta to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute, or until the pasta is tender.
4.          Add the blue cheese and simmer until the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened. Transfer to 6 bowls and top each portion with some of the celery. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Prep / Total time: 3 hours (30 minutes active)
Make 8 servings
4               large poblano peppers
2               red bell peppers
2               tablespoons olive oil
2               cups of chopped red onions
3               pounds boneless country ribs or pork butt
        **Kosher salt and ground black pepper**
1              tablespoons ground cumin
8              large raw tomatillos (about 12 ounces.)
8             large cloves garlic
1             heaping cup fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
½            cup lime juice (about 4 limes)
1             quart  low-sodium chicken stock
1             12-ounce bottle beer (any variety)
½            cup jarred sliced jalapenos, or more to taste
2            15-ounces cans hominy, drained
Flour tortillas, tortilla chips or rice, to serve
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
1.        Place the poblano and bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven until they blister, about 15 to 20 minutes, using tongs to turn them halfway through. Transfer the roasted peppers to a heat-safe bowl, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam for 7 to 10 minutes, then remove them and slip off the skins. Cut out the stems, then remove and discard the seeds.
2.         Finely chop the roasted red peppers. Set the poblanos aside.
3.         Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy duty pasta pot over medium. Add the olive oil and the onions. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
4.         Season the pork with salt, pepper and the cumin. Add pork to the pot with the onions and brown on all sides.
5.         Meanwhile, peel the tomatillos and cut into quarters. In a blender, combine the tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, poblanos and 1 teaspoon of salt. Puree for a few minutes or until liquefied. This may take a few tries and you may need to stir the contents of the blender a few times to make the tomatillos and cilantro blend together. Set aside.
6          Once the pork is browned, add the chicken stock, the beer and the pureed tomatillo mixture. Stir well, then add the jalapenos and reserved red peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours, or until the pork breaks into pieces easily and the liquid has reduced by about a fifth. About 30 minutes before the stew is done, stir in the hominy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Corn Soup with Asparagus

A quick and easy soup that is jammed with fresh vegetables and comes together in about 30 minutes.
Combine seasonally perfect asparagus with the sweet taste of frozen corn and a heap of fresh thyme. The result is light, yet fresh and filling.
If you want to bulk it up a bit, shrimp or diced chicken would be a great addition.

Start to finish: 40 minutes     Makes 6 servings

1             tablespoons olive oil
¼            cup chopped shallots
3             cloves garlic, minced
1             large sweet onion, diced
2            medium carrots, peeled and diced
3            celery stalks, diced
6            cups low-sodium chicken broth
1            bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
3            tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
16          ounces frozen baby corn
         **Salt and ground black pepper**
In a large stockpot over medium, heat the oil. Add the shallots, garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until the onion is tender and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the asparagus, thyme and corn, then cook just until the asparagus is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bacon-and-Bourbon Collard Greens

Prep / Total time: 4 Hour 40 Minutes             Makes  6 servings
Brown sugar, bourbon, and ale beer elevate a traditional collards recipe to a whole new level.

4                  thick bacon slices
3                  tablespoons butter
1                  large sweet onion, diced 
1                  (12-oz.) bottle ale beer
1/2               cup firmly packed brown sugar 
1/2               cup bourbon
1                  teaspoon dried crushed red pepper 4                  pounds fresh collard greens, trimmed and chopped
1/2               cup apple cider vinegar
1                  teaspoon salt
1               teaspoon  red pepper  flakes

1.        Cut bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; add bacon, and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Sauté onion in hot drippings 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in bacon, ale, and next 3 ingredients; cook 3 minutes or until mixture is reduced by one-fourth.
2.        Add collards, in batches, and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until wilted. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 1 hour or to desired degree of doneness. Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Beer-Batter Fried Pickles

Prep Time: 15 Minutes       Fry: 4 Minutes        Makes 8 servings

Serve this Alabama-original fried pickles at your next barbecue for a fun twist on a favorite condiment

2            (16-oz.) jars dill pickle sandwich slices, drained
1           large egg 
1           (12-oz.) can beer 
1           tablespoon baking powder
1           teaspoon seasoned salt
1-1/2     cups all-purpose flour
                **Vegetable oil **
Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

1.      Pat pickles dry with paper towels.
2.      Whisk together egg and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add 1-1/2 cups flour, and whisk until smooth.
3.      Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 375°.
4.      Dip pickle slices into batter, allowing excess batter to drip off. Fry pickles, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Drain and pat dry on paper towels; serve immediately with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce.
I used Vlasic Kosher Dill Stackers.

                 **Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce**
Prep Time: 10 Minutes         Makes about 1 cup

3/4        cup buttermilk
1/2        cup mayonnaise 
2           tablespoons minced green onions
1           garlic clove, minced 
1           teaspoon hot sauce
1/2        teaspoon seasoned salt
            ***seasoned salt **

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Garnish, if desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sweet Beer Bread

                                         Makes 1 loaf
Make this easy, flavorful bread recipe to pair with an appetizing dip or a hearty bowl of soup .If you like cheese, be sure to check out the Cheddar-Chive variation, below.

3                   cups self-rising flour
1/2                cup sugar 
1                   (12-ounce) bottle beer*
1/4                cup butter or margarine, melted

1 .          Stir together first 3 ingredients; pour into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.
2 .         Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Pour melted butter over top. 3 .         Bake 10 more minutes.
*Non-alcoholic or light beer may be substituted.*

Cheddar-Chive Beer Bread: Add 3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives to dry ingredients. Proceed as directed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beer-Battered Fried Fish

                            Total: 30 Minutes Makes 8 servings
Any type of white, flaky fish may be substituted for grouper.

                          **Vegetable oil **
2                    pounds grouper fillets, cut into pieces
1                    teaspoon salt
1/2                 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2              cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2             teaspoons sugar 
1                   teaspoon salt
1                   (12-oz.) bottle beer
1                   teaspoon hot sauce

1.          Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a large Dutch oven; heat to 360°.
2.          Meanwhile, sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.
3.          Whisk together flour and next 2 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in beer and hot sauce. Dip fish in batter, allowing excess batter to drip off.
4.          Gently lower fish into hot oil using tongs (to prevent fish from sticking to Dutch oven). Fry fish, in 4 batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place fried fish on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan; keep warm in a 200° oven until ready to serve.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beer-battered "Fried" Onion Rings

Makes 3 servings (serving size: 4 onion rings)

1                    large sweet onion  
1/4                 cup low-fat buttermilk 
1/4                 cup light beer 
1                    egg white  
1/2                 cup all-purpose flour 
2                    tablespoons olive oil 
                    **Vegetable cooking spray** 
1/2                 teaspoon coarse kosher salt 

1.         Cut onion into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and separate into rings. Select largest 12 rings, reserving remaining onion slices for another use.
22.       Whisk together buttermilk, beer, and egg white in a small bowl until blended.
3.         Dredge onion rings in flour; dip into buttermilk mixture, coating well. Dredge again in flour, and place on a baking sheet.
4.        Heat 2 tsp. oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt pan to coat bottom of skillet. Add 4 onion rings to skillet, and cook 1 minute on each side or until golden. Wipe skillet clean. Repeat procedure twice with remaining onion rings and oil. Place fried onion rings on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
5.         Bake at 400° for 3 minutes. Turn onion rings, and bake 3 more minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately .

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lemon Dill Cod

Cook Time: 25 Minutes         Prep Time: 15 Minutes
                            Makes 4 servings
Cod gets a twist with lemon and dill. Aluminum foil can be substituted for parchment paper.

4                 (5-oz.) fresh cod fillets 
1                 teaspoon salt
1/2              teaspoon pepper
2                  lemons, sliced
1/4              cup shredded carrot
2                 tablespoons fresh dill
2                 tablespoons fresh parsley
2                 tablespoons butter

1.          Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
2.          Cut parchment paper into 4 (13- x 9-inch) rectangles. Place 3 lemon slices crosswise in center of 1 parchment rectangle. Top with 1 fillet. Repeat with remaining lemon slices, fillets, and parchment paper rectangles. Sprinkle fillets evenly with carrot, dill, and parsley. Top each fillet with 1/2 Tbsp. butter. Fold 1 side of parchment paper over fillets; tuck excess parchment under fillets, pressing folds to form a crease.
3.        Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Plants With Secret Identities

Spring is the time to think about your garden . This year why not introduce a few plants that can help around the house . These specimens aren't just pretty faces . Each one can help keep your home safer or healthier .
Aloe :
Aloe Vera ---
A sun-loving evergreen with spiky yellow-orange  flowers .
Uses : The "jelly" in the  aloe leaves  can soothe  burns , itches  and dry skin .
Fun Fact :
The  charmer  Cleopatra  used  aloe in her  skin regimen .

Bambuseae ---
A fast growing  grass  with a hollow woody stem .
Uses : This versatile  wonder  can be used as a privacy fence . Harvested  , the  wood  can be used for  construction or  ornamental  crafts .
Pro Tip :  The young  shoots  of the bamboo  plant  are the key  to many Chinese  dishes .

Lavandula angustifolia ---
An herbaceous  bush  with  fragrant purple  wands .
Uses :  Attracts  helpful  insects  , repels  rabbits , can be used in cooking . The smell of lavender is lovely  and is used  both as a cosmetic  scent  and a treatment  to reduce  stress .
Fun Fact : Queen Victoria  drank lavender  tea  to ease her headaches .

Lemongrass :
Cymbopogon nardus ---
A  graceful  ornamental  grass  with a pleasant  smell .
Uses :  Mosquito-repelling  citronella  oils  come from this plant  . It also  lends  a citronella  flavor when used as a spice .
Pro Tip : Rub the leaves  on your  clothing  to keep the bugs at  bay .

Spearmint :
Mentha spicata ---
A plucky , fragment  green herb  with spiky leaves .
Uses : Repels  mice  , and leaves  can settle some  stomachaches  . Oil  cultivated  from the plant  gives off a  pleasant  smell .
Po Tip --- Add bourbon , sugar  and water  for the traditional mint  julep .

Spider Plant :
Chlorophytum Comosum ---
A favorite and hardy houseplant   with cascading  runners .
Uses : Can help filter  out  carbon monoxide  , formaldehyde   and other  gases .
Fun Fact :  NASA  researched spider plants  to help filter  air on  the Space  Station .

Sunflower :
Helianthus Annus ---
A garden favorite  with a tall stem  and large  bright yellow  blooms .
Uses : The  flower makes for home décor  , and the seeds  can be roasted  and eaten .
Fun Fact : Plant sunflowers to help draw  away insects  from  delicate plants  nearby .

A little warm weather  here  and  my mind is  on gardening ,  stay tune   because there is more to  come  on canning  and freezing  when the  crops  come  in , oh  yeah    ;-D  .  Nee

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Zucchini Pie

Prep: 25 minutes ... Bake : 20 minutes ... Makes 6 servings

1                       package (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
2                       medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and quartered 1/2                    cup chopped onion
1/4                    cup butter, cubed
2                       teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2                    teaspoon salt
1/2                    teaspoon garlic powder
1/2                    teaspoon pepper
1/4                    teaspoon dried basil
1/4                    teaspoon dried oregano
2                       eggs, lightly beaten
2                       cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4                     cup cubed fully cooked ham
1                        medium Roma tomato, thinly sliced
Whether you're making sauces, salsas, salads, or just a snack, fresh and juicy tomatoes make any recipe better!

1.               Separate crescent dough into eight triangles; place in a greased 9-in. pie plate with points toward the center. Press onto the bottom and up the sides to form a crust; seal seams and perforations. Bake at 375° for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
2.               Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute zucchini and onion in butter until tender; stir in seasonings. Spoon into crust. Combine the eggs, cheese and ham; pour over zucchini mixture. Top with tomato slices.
3 .               Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
Medium-Bodied White Wine :
Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztramine

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saltimbocca Lemony Chicken

Prep / Cook : 35 minutes      Serves 4 (serving size: 1 cutlet - 2 tablespoons sauce )

Saltimbocca means "jump in the mouth"–apt for a fast dish that marries woodsy sage, bright lemon, and salty prosciutto.

4                            (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/8                         teaspoon salt
12                          fresh sage leaves
2                            ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
4                            teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
1/3                         cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/4                         cup fresh lemon juice
1/2                         teaspoon cornstarch
                                  **Lemon wedges (optional)**

1.            Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place.
2.            Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
3.            Combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Chicken cutlets are lined with fresh sage and wrapped with prosciutto in this quick recipe fit for special occasions. Serve this light and savory dish over a bed of angel hair pasta or polenta to catch all the sauce.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hummus - Pine Nuts & Spiced Beef or Turkey

Prep / Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes   plus  overnight  soaking      Servings : 2 cups

The unexpected topping of sautéed ground beef and pine nuts adds texture and deep flavor to this extra-creamy chickpea spread.

1               cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, drained and rinsed
**Kosher salt**
2              tablespoons tahini
2              tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
              **Freshly ground pepper**
1             garlic clove, crushed
2             tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1             tablespoon pine nuts
3             ounces lean ground beef  (ground turkey)
               **Pinch of ground allspice**
               **Paprika, for dusting**

1 .       In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderately low heat until the chickpeas are tender, 45 minutes; add more water as needed to keep them covered; drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid.
2 .       In a food processor, puree the chickpeas with the reserved cooking liquid, tahini, lemon juice and garlic until very smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper, then scrape it into a shallow bowl.
3 .       In a small skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the pine nuts and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pine nuts to paper towels.
4 .        Add the ground beef to the skillet and season with salt, pepper and the allspice. Cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to paper towels. Spoon the meat and pine nuts onto the hummus, drizzle with the olive oil and dust with paprika.

 The hummus can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Juicy Spanish Garnacha blend.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jambalaya Chicken, Shrimp, and Ham

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2             pounds unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp 
1-1/2       pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes  
1             teaspoon salt 
1/8          teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/8          teaspoon ground red pepper 
2             tablespoons vegetable oil 
1/2          pound cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
4             garlic cloves, chopped  
2             medium-size yellow onions, chopped (2 cups)  
2             celery ribs, chopped (1 cup) 
1             medium-size green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup) 
3             cups chicken broth 
1             (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes  
3              green onions, chopped (1/2 cup) 
2              tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
2              cups uncooked long-grain rice 
1              teaspoon hot sauce 

1.       Peel shrimp; deveined, if desired.
2.       Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt, black pepper, and red pepper.
3.        Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken, and cook, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove chicken using a slotted spoon.
4.        Add ham to Dutch oven, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove ham using a slotted spoon.
5.        Add garlic and next 3 ingredients to Dutch oven; stir to loosen particles from bottom. Stir in ham and chicken. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
6.         Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 35 minutes. Add tomatoes and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in shrimp and hot sauce; cook, covered, 10 more minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bacon & Morels with Teres Beef Medallions

PREP /TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes      SERVINGS: 4 

Teres major is an ultra-lean steak that's sometimes referred to as mock tender. Its similarity to the tenderloin makes it a great substitute for filet mignon. 

8             slices of bacon 
2             beef teres majors (about 1 pound each), cut into 8 medallions 
**Freshly ground pepper** 
2             tablespoons vegetable oil 
16           fresh morels, rinsed, or dried morels—soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained and rinsed 
4             large scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths 
1/2          cup Madeira 
3/4          cup mushroom stock or low-sodium broth 
2            tablespoons cold unsalted butter 

1. Wrap a slice of bacon around each beef medallion and secure with toothpicks. Season with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the medallions and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, 2 minutes; turn and cook for 1 minute. Add the morels and scallions and cook over moderate heat until the scallions are tender. 2 .  1.      Transfer the meat to a plate. Cook the vegetables for 2 minutes more, add the Madeira and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the meat and stock and simmer over moderately low heat, turning, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 140°, about 3 minutes. Transfer the meat to plates; discard the toothpicks. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, spoon over the meat and serve. 

Suggested Pairing :
Ferrari - Carano   tart cherry-inflected, earthy Barolo. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pickled Peppers and Fried Catfish

Prep / Total time : 35 minutes Makes 4 servings

1-1/2                  cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4                  teaspoons table salt
2                        teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4                        large eggs
1-1/2                 cups plain yellow cornmeal
4                       (6-oz.) catfish fillets
                       **Vegetable oil **
Pickle Peppers (recipe Below)
Combine flour and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together eggs and 2 Tbsp. water in another dish. Combine cornmeal, 1 tsp. salt, and remaining 1 tsp. pepper in a third dish. Sprinkle catfish with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Dredge fillets, 1 at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess. Place on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Pour oil to depth of 2 inches in a cast-iron Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Fry fillets, 2 at a time, in hot oil 6 minutes or until done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve with Pickled Peppers                Pickle Peppers:
                          Makes 3 pints
Total: 12 Hours, 50 Minutes

I used sweet mini bell peppers and jalapeños, but any variety like serranos, Fresno, Thai, or poblano peppers will also work well.

12              ounces assorted hot and sweet peppers, sliced (such as jalapeño peppers and sweet mini bell peppers)
2               cups white wine vinegar
3/4            cup white vinegar
1/2            large Spanish onion, thinly sliced 
3               garlic cloves, smashed
1-1/2         tablespoons kosher salt
1-1/2         tablespoons granulated sugar
1               tablespoon black peppercorns
1               tablespoon coriander seeds
1               teaspoon dill seeds
3               bay leaves

Divide peppers among 3 (1-pt.) canning jars. Bring white wine vinegar and next 9 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Divide hot mixture among jars. Cover with lids; screw on bands. Let stand 30 minutes. Chill 12 hours before serving. Store up to 3 weeks.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Herb Anchovy Butter Minute Steaks

PREP / TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes SERVINGS: 2 
This great recipe calls for pounded-thin top round steaks that are very quickly cooked, then served in a stack with ample amounts of anchovy-herb butter sandwiched in between the steaks.(you can  adapt  to  your  family size)

2                tablespoons chopped anchovy fillets in oil, drained 
1                shallot, minced 
2                tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1                stick unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1/4             cup equal parts chopped parsley, tarragon and chives 
1/2             teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 
2                tablespoons canola oil 
12 to 16     ounces top round—sliced crosswise into 4 slices, each slice pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness 
**Montreal steak spice, for seasoning (see tip)* 

1.        In a skillet, combine the anchovies, shallot and vinegar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the anchovies break down and the vinegar has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mash the anchovies with a wooden spoon. 
Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add the butter, herbs and pepper and mix well. Scrape the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log or pack into an airtight container. 
2.         In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until smoking. Season the steaks on both sides with the Montreal steak spice. Working in 2 batches, sear the steaks over high heat for 30 to 40 seconds per side until well browned outside but rare. Transfer the steaks to a rack set over a baking sheet. 
3.         On a serving plate, stack the steak slices with a big pat of the anchovy butter between each slice. Top with a big pat of butter and serve immediately, dividing the stack at the table. 
Make ahead the anchovy butter can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Montreal steak spice, which includes garlic, coriander and cayenne, is based on the spices used in Montreal smoked meat. It's available at supermarkets. 
Suggested Pairing :
There are great values to be found in Bordeaux's Haut Médoc region. The Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are superb with this dish.