Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I am fortunate that I live in Florida and I can grill year round. As a matter of fact, Floridians stop grilling at this time of year, except for major holidays like the 4th of July, as it is too hot and humid to be standing next to a hot grill. I, on the other hand, grill at least 3 or 4 times a week, year round. It is simpler and less fattening and the flavor is incomparable.
I lived for 10 years on the top floor of an apartment building in Key Biscayne. You can imagine what that can do to a griller, as buildings do not let you barbecue because of fire hazards. I was bombarded with all types of grilling substitute gadgets for Xmas, from family and friends who knew how much I missed it, to no avail. After trying an indoor electric grill and an outdoor mini gas grill I decided to chance it and get arrested. I purchased a small Smokey Joe from Webber, hid it in the corner under a big plant and orchestrated a process of lighting and cooking depending on the sunset. The grill would get lit as the sun went down so neighbors wouldn't see the flames, and cooking did not take place until it was dark, so no one could see the smoke. As I lived on the top floor overlooking the ocean, I did not have neighbors upstairs to complain and if I was lucky, the smoke would blow into the ocean. Thank heavens for the friends and neighbors who stood in a circle around the grill to shield it from getting spotted from the neighbors across the street. I have to admit I almost got caught on more than a couple of ocassions! All that for a simple barbecue!
Now you know that I have earned my stripes in the barbecue department although I am still working on my second stripe in the baking category.This is a simple everyday recipe for chicken which can be marinaded ahead and cooked in less than an hour. If you are in a hurry, you can cut the marinade time to 30 minutes, but try not to.
Prep: 15 min., Chill: 2 hr., Grill: 40 min.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1/4 C olive oil
1tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C crushed mint leaves
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) cut-up whole chickens*
Stir together first 6 ingredients until blended.
Place half each of mojo mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal. Repeat procedure with remaining mojo mixture and chicken, placing in a separate zip-top plastic freezer bag. Chill chicken at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.
Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 35 to 40 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.
*8 skinned and boned chicken breast halves and 8 skinned and boned chicken thighs may be substituted for whole chickens. Chill in marinade at least 1 to 2 hours, turning occasionally. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done. On the other hand, I strongly recommend you buy chicken with skin on and remove it before you eat it. You will get a moister chicken inside with lots of flavor.
Mojo criollo is a wonderful blend of orange and lemon juice, garlic, onion and spices. There are four or five brands, all are good, but I prefer Goya. Nowadays, it can be found in the Spanish section of most grocery stores. If you can't find it, go to my Amazon store in the lower right column of the blog. Once you try it, you will not be able to live without it! You can use it as a marinade for meat, seafood and pork.
Friday, May 29, 2009
3/4 cup chopped almonds plus
1/2 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
6 to 8 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered.
1. Put chopped almonds in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to toast, about 3 minutes.
2. Add milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks, and whisk well to combine. Cook, whisking almost constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil.
3. While sauce is still hot, strain it through a sieve and let cool a bit. To serve, put a cup of strawberries in each dish, drizzle with warm sauce and garnish with slivered almonds. Sauce will keep, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Even though we have beautiful flowers and shrubs here in South Florida, to me there is nothing like Spring (and Fall) in New England. My friend and classmate (CRH) Libby Wilkie of Libby Wilkie Designs in Poughkeepsie, New York just posted some pictures of what is blooming in her garden this Spring. It made me pea green with envy, particularly of the lilacs. I can close my eyes and smell them. They remind me of the lilac bushes next to my bedroom window in my house in Connecticut. For two weeks, sleeping in that room was like sleeping in heaven. I've posted so many pictures of our blooms here in Florida that I thought I should give equal time to the blooms in New England. Besides, Libby and I are kindred spirits...We love Westies, have blogs and tweet!
6 garlic cloves, mashed with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a mortar or on a cutting board
1/4 cup fresh sour orange juice (from Seville oranges) OR 1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila (optional)
2 tablespoons ground chiles (ancho or New Mexico)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup olive or vegetable oilTwo 1/2 to 1-inch thick chuck steaks, cut closest to the prime rib
Salt and freshly ground pepper24 corn tortillas, preferably handmade (or the freshest machine-made you can find)
1 pound mild white cheese, such as Mexican casero, California Monterey Jack or Wisconsin Muenster or brick, cut into 1/2" x 1" strips
6 fire-roasted pasilla chiles or 10 Anaheim chiles sliced or equivalent canned green chiles, preferably Ortega brand, slicedGarnishes:
Salsas of your choice -- such as green chile salsa and salsa cruda
Blade pot roast is also called bone- in chuck steak. I just bought one at the Winn Dixie here in Miami. It is the chest bone of the animal, and consequently, very inexpensive, flavorful and quite delicious. It was on sale for less than $3.00/lbs.
Don't change anything, particularly the sherry!
A delicious and simple roast recipe with a very tasty gravy. Great and economical for big families, particularly those with teenage boys! I like it with mashed potatoes, but it goes well with noodles. Pot roasts do not photograph as nicely as souffles, but believe me, they are just as tasty.
Mix 2 tbsp flour, salt and peper in a small bowl. Pat over the beef covering all sides. Brown beef in hot oil in a large skillet
When browned, remove to a platter, add mushrooms and brown those for a couple of minutes. Remove them, bring roast back in the skillet and pour pot roast sauce over the beef and add the onion. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the mushrooms and simmer for 1 more hour.(Check after 45 mins.)
Remove the beef to a platter and reserve the sauce in the pot. Discard the bay leaf.
Mix the remaining water and remaining 2 tbsps. flour in a bowl. Degrease sauce in pot if desired. Stir flour/water mixture into reserved sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Serve over beef.
The photo is from http://www.nancysrecipes.wordpress.com as mine didn't come out the way I wanted and she had the recipe on her blog.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
My kids, like Pavlov's dog,were conditioned to expect a certain sequence to their meals. If we had artichokes with hollandaise sauce one night, it was a sure bet that meringues were around for dessert. On those weeks when Picadillo appeared one day, they could bank on their favorite, Little Pigs in a Blanket, to appear a couple of days later. They are still so conditioned, at ages 35 and 37, that on my last trip to Atlanta last week, and after a meal on Friday of Picadillo with the works, the famous pigs were requested for my last night. Now my daughter in law, as well as her grandparents, who received the leftover leftovers, are new fans to the dish.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tonight, while reading Mark Bittman's Blog, I was reminded of this recipe which I made for a dear friend from Geneva, no less, a couple of months ago. About the only thing I have a lot of respect for in the world of cooking is a souffle. Let's face it, they are not exactly what you would call a sure thing, so why bother when there are so many other good chocolate desserts? Because they are yummy, that's why. I must have made a really bad one way back when, because i've got a real mental block against them...until I made this recipe. Granted, it is not Le Cirque's or La Grenouille's, but it is very very good, and it will make you proud!
Time: About 45 min
Yield: 2 servings.
About 1 tablespoon butter for dish
1/3 cup sugar, plus some for dish
3 eggs, separated
2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 2-cup or one 4-cup soufflé or other deep baking dish(es). Sprinkle each with sugar, invert it and tap to remove excess sugar.
2. Beat egg yolks with all but 1 tablespoon sugar until very light and very thick; mixture will fall in a ribbon from beaters when it is ready. Mix in the melted chocolate until well combined; set aside.
3. Wash beaters well, then beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until whites hold soft peaks; continue to beat, gradually adding remaining tablespoon sugar, until they are very stiff and glossy. Stir a good spoonful of whites thoroughly into egg yolk mixture to lighten it; then fold in remaining whites, using a rubber spatula. Transfer to prepared soufflé dish(es); at this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
4. Bake until center is nearly set, 20 minutes for individual soufflés and 25 to 35 minutes for a single large soufflé. Serve immediately.
Watch this video of Bittman making the souffle!
The Minimalist: By Public Demand: Chocolate Soufflé (February 11, 2009)
3 leeks, chopped
1/2 bottle of dry white wine
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 large bag of clams
8 sprigs of dill
In a tall pot, sautee the leeks in the butter until soft and translucent. Add the clams and the wine to cover them by about 3/4 full. Add dill, parsley and fresh pepper. Cover and steam until all the clams are open. About 15-20 mins. Discard those that don't open. Add the cream and steam for another minute. Serve with a nice crusty bread, a salad and a nice dry white wine or rose.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Just received this email from Wine Enthusiast which I'm passing along. A great looking piece to chill your wines in the summer, at a great discount. I don't have an agreement with these guys, just thought i'd pass it along in view of my post a couple of days ago. If you only want the carafe with chilling piece, scroll down to my amazon store on the right and look under wine.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Preheat oven to 400 Cooking time: 10 Minutes
4 large eggs
4 TB Le Sueur's petit pois (small early peas)
4 TB chopped ham or prosciutto
2 TB Heinz Catsup
Salt and Black Pepper
Butter for greasing molds.
Grease two gratin dishes with butter. Break two eggs in each. Add 2 TB petit pois to each serving, together with the ham or prosciutto. Squirt about 1 TB catsup over each plate and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-11 mins. Remember, the eggs will continue to cook once you take them out of the oven, so make sure you under cook them a little so they don't become hard boiled. Everyone should be at the table and ready to eat before you serve them.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
My favorite kitchen mate is my daughter, Christina. She will be great cook one of these days. Whenever we get together, we gravitate towards the kitchen; like this afternoon, when she decided to show off my crab cake recipe with a few additions of her own. The ingredients are the same, except she gives it a final dredge in Panko and fries them in sesame oil. I loved it...but what I love the most about my 36 year old daughter is that after all these years and in spite of her independence, she still calls me Mommy!
1 lb lump crab meat
Thursday, May 14, 2009
When the words room temperature (in French “chambré") were coined centuries ago, dining rooms were much cooler than those of today. Huge rooms were heated only by a log fire and, certainly, “room temperature” was never intended to mean the temperature of our present-day, centrally-heated or air conditioned homes.
The right temperature for red wine is about 15.5°C to 18°C (60° to 65°F). Regional and vin de table wines may even be served a little cooler. To achieve this, particularly in the summer, I usually stick the bottle in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes prior to serving. In the summer, I have seen the French stick a bottle or red wine right into a bucket of ice, particularly if it is a vin de table and you are in a bistro. The grand crus are a different story.
White and rosé wines are served slightly chilled (around 10°C or 50°F) and one hour on the shelf of the refrigerator will bring them to the right temperature. Most of us tend to chill them too long. Try this sometimes, particularly with a good Burgundy, such as a Mersault, and you will taste a big difference. I usually place them in an ice bucket for a half hour prior to serving .
Champagne and other sparkling wines take longer to chill and are left in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you use an ice bucket, an hour should be more than enough, although this is one time when too cold is not an issue for me.
Young wines are served COOLER than old wines
Do NOT FORGET that wine heats up in the glass during the meal . A wine served at between 6°C (43° and 46°F) in a room having a temperature of 18°C (64°F) will reach a temperature of 10° to 12°C (50° to 54°F) within about 10 minutes. Keep an ice bucket nearby so you can place the bottle back after pouring.
Mistakes with white wines:
Over-chilling or icing
Leaving in the refrigerator for over two hours
Using the freezing compartment or the freezer
Putting ice-cubes in the wine (I kill people for doing that!)
Mistakes with red wines
Serving them too warm or too cold
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
2 Beef Tenderloin Filets
2 strips of Bacon
Make sure your tenderloin steaks are at least 1 1/4 in thick. Two hours before grilling or pan frying, marinade in Worcestershire Sauce and black pepper. Take out of refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and bring to room temperature. Light your grill or preheat the oven. Wrap tenderloins with bacon, secure with toothpicks.
Grill about 5-6 minutes on each side for medium rare, depending on thickness. Let rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and sear on both sides until well browned, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the steaks to an oven-proof baking dish and place in the oven. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare.
Serve with Bernaise Sauce and French Fries. (Psst..Ore Ida's Frozen Golden Fries taste like the real thing i.e. imagine a Paris bistro, particularly since you will be dipping them in Bernaise)
If you follow my directions, exactly, you will have a Bernaise Sauce to rival any first rate restaurant's in Paris or New York, with very little time and effort.
3 egg yolks at room temperature
8 oz. butter
3 TB tarragon vinegar
1 TB fresh tarragon
1 TB minced shallot
2 TB Vermouth or dry white wine.
In a saucepan reduce the tarragon vinegar, tarragon, shallot and wine to about 1 TB.
Place the 3 yolks in the blender. Melt the butter on medium heat until bubbly. Turn on the blender and blend yolks for about 30 seconds. Add the bubbling butter in a steady stream and when finished, imediately add the tarragon reduction. In less that 10 seconds you are done. The trick here is to have the yolks at room temperature, the butter bubbling and the tarragon reduction ready to go. The reasoning is the butter cooks the egg yolks, that is why the eggs have to be room temp and the butter bubbling. Immediately after you pour the tarragon reduction, you will see the sauce thicken in the blender. The whole process takes less than 5 mins from start to finish. Just don't pick up the phone in the middle of the whole process!!
Serve with a nice Bordeaux or robust Cabernet from California.
Tonight we had a first rate dinner for two for less than $35.00...and here's how. The menu was pretty cool....Filet Mignon with a Bernaise Sauce, French Fries (or Pommes Frites if you want to be elegant) and a wonderful 2000 Bordeaux. Candlelight and a full moon were on the house. At $8.99/lbs. at Costco, two beef tenderloins were approximately $12.00; the bottle of wine, a 2000 red Bordeaux I got at a bargain was $15; and the Bernaise and the pommes frites were, give or take, another $5.00. Total cost for 2 people = $35.00, tax, tips and delivery included. A simple salad and a slice of Arun's cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream wrapped up the meal. Where in the world can two people eat like this for this price? On a Saturday night?
Folks, if you are on a budget, love to eat, and can light up a stove or a grill, do yourself a favor, stay home and eat well. Anything else is travesty. Set a pretty table, light up the candles, and turn on some music and you've got yourself a date evening. Use your imagination and your "business skills" and with very little work and some planning ahead, you can still think it's the 1990's and happy days are here again. I know, I know, your view doesn't look like the one on the left...neither does mine... but it was a pretty picture, its late and I couldnt find a better one. Just use your imagination...we all have to, these days...
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
As you may have noticed, your recent emails contain only a partial content of the posts. In order to read the full article, please click on the title and it will redirect you to the full content as it appears on the blog. This has been done on purpose to get you to come back to the site. Why?? Let me explain how blogs work. First of all, their content is free to subscribers so the only way bloggers can make money, and not a lot, is to get advertisers on their site. Advertisers want to know how many subscribers you have and how many hits you are getting on your blog. The way it was set up before, you were getting the full content in your emails and nobody was coming back to the main blog. It was my mistake and now I am fixing it and apologize for the confusion.
Bloggers live and thrive from their subscriptions, so please, if you know anyone who would enjoy or benefit from my blog, pass it on and encourage them to subscribe. IT'S FREE!
I've also noticed that some of your subscriptions are unverified. When you subscribe, you will get an email asking you to reconfirm the subscription, which you must do in order to receive my uninterrupted and yummy posts.
Thank you for subscribing and do make comments on the blog. I look forward to them, good or bad. That's the only way I can produce good content and keep you entertained and coming back.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Until fairly recently, Arun had a very senior position as head of IT for a Wall Street firm and now writes a blog called A CIO's Epilogue. If you want to know everything about IT and in the process meet a very nice man, visit his site. I have designated him Lindaraxa's Chief Technology Officer, a job Im sure he treasures. Today he asked me if I let people contribute recipes to my site. I told him no, only friends and family. So, with that in mind (drumroll), here is Arun Manansingh's Quick Cake for Tough Times.
1 pk Yellow cake mix (I find Duncan Hines Moist yellow cake to be the best)
1 small vanilla instant pudding (the cheaper the better)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable Oil
1 cup orange juice (with pulp)
1 cup confection sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup orange juice (same as above)
1 teaspoon of orange zest
Mix cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil and orange juice together.
Pour into greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Glaze: Mix above ingredients together. Boil on very low heat ingredients for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly until glaze begins to harden. Pour over cake.
Arun's Note: You can substitute the orange for any juice you like. I have tried Apple and mango and it comes out great.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
My daughter in law, Jan Marie, loves salmon. By this I don't mean she likes salmon, rather she LOVES salmon. Any time, anyway, anywhere. Baked, broiled, steamed, sauteed, with chipotle, on a sandwich, with eggs, you name it, she loves it. A real salmon fan. If she lived in Alaska, she would swim upstream to spawn. So with that in mind, this is "dedicated to the one I love", as I am fairly sure she hasn't had it this way..but with her, you never know.
Cook Time: 9 min
Yield: 6 servings
1 side fresh salmon, boned but skin on (about 3 pounds)
For the marinade:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good soy sauce
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 TB honey
1TB Dill weed
Light charcoal briquettes in a grill and brush the grilling rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking.
While the grill is heating, lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, mayonnaise, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and sprinkle the dill weed. Allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes. Turn again skin side down, coat the side without the skin with the rest of the marinade, and flip back and grill for another 5 minutes. If you have a rack to grill fish on the grill, it works wonders.
Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Serve with jasmine or coconut rice
I love asian style rices with fish. The mix of sweet and sour works wonders with any rice. This is one of many combinations that I make. It goes well with the Asian style salmon. Triple the recipe for 6.
1 Tb butter
2 chopped scallions (green and white part)
1 TB fresh ginger minced
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 C coconut milk
1 C chicken broth
1 C jasmine rice
1/2 C slivered almonds
Sautee scallions and ginger in butter. Add curry powder. Add Rice saute for 1 min. Add the coconut milk, broth and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook until all broth is absorbed. Place a folded paper towel between the pot and the lid to absorb steam. Replace lid and turn off. Add almonds, correct salt and stir with a fork.
Leave rice alone after you add water. Cook in low heat. If you need to stir use a fork
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Ever since I started this blog, I have become a frequent visitor of the local library. When I zero in on a subject, I become obsessed and spend hours on end doing research, which used to mean I went out to the bookstore and bought everything on the subject. Now that I'm on a budget, the library is my best friend. When I started this blog about a month ago, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging so the first thing I did was take out every book on blogging I could find, beginning with Blogging for Dummies. As luck would have it, "blogging" is next to "cooking" and I have been making a dent there too. Last week , I happened to take out Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the Worldand found the book so good, that I decided to add cookbook reviews to the blog. Now, keep in mind I get as excited reading recipes as most people get watching porn but as the owner of over 100 cookbooks, I have to be very selective before I decide to give it a home. If it has at least 3 recipes I can't wait to try, it's a keeper. I started reading this book about an hour ago, on a full stomach, and I must have about 20 pink Post-Its all over the place. Here is what I like about it. Mark Bittman writes a column for the New York Times called The Minimalist. I usually just glance at it since I like to get more involved with my cooking, but this is exactly what I like about this book. It is a no-frills approach to dishes once considered esoteric and too complicated to try in your kitchen. Everything you have ever enjoyed but were afraid to cook is here. In my case Indian food has always been taboo...too different from what I cook to even think of trying in my kitchen. I've spent years looking for a good curry recipe and to date I have only made it once and not very satisfactorily. This book has everything, from Chimichurri to Kung Pao Chicken but most importantly, the recipes are simple, authentic and straightforward. I only have this book for 25 more days but I can guarantee you that if my children are not reading this and thinking Mother's Day, I'm getting a copy in 26 days.
The other book I took a hard look at is Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. This was recommended to me by my daughter, no less, so I paid attention. It is an excellent book and a must have for any cook, particularly aspiring ones. It covers everything, from frying an egg to making a souffle, all beautifully illustrated and explained. It also covers sophisticated techniques like how to trim a tenderloin and practical ones like how to light a grill, with grilling times. Very, very nicely done. Another must have for all cooks and a great shower or wedding gift.
Now back to House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Streetby William D. Cohan on the fall of Bear Stearns and the reason I'm on a budget and writing a blog. Also, a very good book.
Friday, May 1, 2009
African violets are out in full force at most major markets and grocery stores. I just picked up these for $2.99 each. They make beautiful centerpieces and last quite a while. If you are having a large gathering and a buffet table, use them as centerpieces aranged in baskets of 3 or more with the names of the mothers in the party. If it's a small dinner or luncheon, set one on top of each mother's plate or, if you want to splurge, with a place card on top of each of your guest's plate. It's an inexpensive way to be generous. If instead you are a guest for Mother's Day, bring one to your hostess. It's a nice touch. Make sure you keep some for yourself!