Friday, October 7, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Mac

Bacon Cheeseburger Mac
Since fusion food is all the rage, i decided to fuse two American classics, Bacon Cheeseburgers with Mac & Cheese. The kids love it almost as much as i do. This isn't going to win any low fat awards, but it steals the show for taste. This will make 4-6 servings, depending how big the kids are. Please don't be scared by the ingredients. This is the flavor that kid's love and this melts beautifully without a rue or baking.

8 oz (1/2 lb.) Small Pasta - went with my boy's favorite shells
4 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar- diced or shredded
8 oz Velveeta - Yup, you read it right - diced
1 lb Ground Meat - Lean Hamburger or even Turkey rocks this dish
1/4 lb Bacon - cut into small pieces
1/4 cup Onion finely diced
1 cup Milk
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Grill Seasoning

Bacon rendering
Render the bacon on medium low in a tbsp of oil to get it started. Start water boiling for pasta, cook to desired tenderness when water boils See below for sauce if you want to do everything at once.When the bacon is fully rendered and as crisp as you like it, remove with a slotted spoon to leave the fat for browning the meat, but save the bacon to top later. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes & turn up the heat to medium high to sear the meat. Sprinkle the meat in the pan with grill seasoning as you would a burger, for me a light dusting is just fine. When fully browned, remove with slotted spoon to a mixing bowl, with pasta if done.

Food Critics
For the sauce, you can cook while you make the meat & pasta, or wait until they are done if it's too much at once. Heat the milk and 2 tbsp oil on medium in a medium saucepan. Just before simmering, reduce heat to medium low, add the diced or shredded cheese and whisk until fully melted. Pour over the meat & pasta, mix thoroughly & top with your bacon. MMMMMMM!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mockiyaki Budget Steak and Grilled Chicken

Grilled Mockiyaki Chuck Steak
I absolutely love teriyaki, but do not always have molasses on hand for a "true" teriyaki marinade. If you do, you want....

Soy Sauce- low sodium
Garlic- Fresh minced or Garlic Powder
Pickled Ginger - minced fine
Red Pepper Flake to taste
Black Pepper to taste.

I know there are no measurements, not uncommon in my kitchen. One of my biggest challenges writing recipes is deconstructing what i have done by sight, feel and taste for years into something that others can follow. I would start with about a half cup of soy, and just a tablespoon of molasses, a teaspoon of ginger and a dash of each seasoning.

I found some Chuck Steak, cut from the section just behind the rib eye, so its a delicious brother that needs a little treatment like the marinade. The chuck was half the cost of the rib eye. I pat the steaks dry with paper towel so they sear, and go about 5-7 minutes a side on a medium high grill for 1 1/2" steaks cooked medium rare. For chicken, i go about 8-10 minutes a side on a medium grill. Either way, let your meat rest a few minutes before slicing. Treat the chuck like a flank or skirt steak and cut against the grain for tender and delicious slices. The sweet potato side was rubbed lightly in olive oil, wrapped in foil and turned every ten minutes on the medium grill for 45 minutes.

My Mockiyaki is even simpler. In the freezer bags i use to marinade i squirt & add....

Grilled Mockiyaki Chuck Steak w Sweet Potato
 Soy Sauce- low sodium
 Sriracha - the Asian red hot pepper sauce
 Honey - always in the cupboard
 Pickled Ginger- mince
 Garlic Powder or Fresh Minced.

Shake all the ingredients in the sealed bag, add meat, and let sit overnight for best flavor. For those that have seen my stir fry method, you'll recognize thes ingredients.

Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops
There has been some recent salad activity located in Dad's kitchen, but i am still a carnivore at heart. The next couple of posts are for the meat & carb lovers out there. The grilled Lamb Chops are more abut the ingredient than the method. When I was a child, one of the staple meats was lamb chops. NOT the fancy, Frenched variety on the rack, but the bony shoulder blade chops that are quite a bit more affordable, but just as tasty. Recently shoulder blade chops have jumped in price to about $6-$7 a pound. Far more tasty in my opinion than very cheap cuts of steak for the same price. I figure 2 chops per person for servings.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Mean Green Pasta
The prep is as simple as some Grill Seasoning and 5-7 minutes a side on a medium grill for medium rare chops. I served them here with my Mean Green Pasta, an Asian inspired delight, but also will throw some sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and olive oil on the the grill for about 45 minutes.

Honey Soy Sesame Salad Dressing

Trying a new salad dressing can completely wake up even your oldest , or most tired salad mix. My wife recently brought some Spinach Salad to work as a Thank You to some co-workers, but along with the Greekish dressing, I wanted to give a choice to the punchy vinegar taste of the Greekish. The sweet and tangy of the Honey Soy Sesame was the perfect option to offer a very different but equally delicious flavor. Adjust your 'dashes" below to your own taste. My 'part' when i am testing is usually a 1/4 cup.

1 part Rice Wine Vinegar
1 part Soy - low sodium if available
1 part Honey
2 part Vegetable Oil - I had Canola on hand
Sesame oil - Small Drops - can be very overpowering
1 tsp - 1 tbsp Pickled Ginger - minced very fine
Dash Red Pepper Flake
Dash Black Pepper
Dash Garlic Powder

I put everything except the Vegetable oil in my container or mixing bowl to blend well. I do this for all salad dressings, as it helps the dry spices, salt or sugar get dissolved first, and not suspended in the oil. Then i whisk or shake in the oil, tasting & adjusting pepper etc.In my local market, the pickled ginger is in the Asian foods aisle along with the Rice Vinegar and more Sesame Oil choices. I do not buy the Roasted Sesame Oil, VERY strong, tough to control, but if that is the flavor you love, make it your way. The pickled ginger and the Sesame Oil store best in the fridge.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beef Stew

Beef  Stew
Been overcast for so long, gotta go with some stew even though it's not that cold yet. Everyone has their own spin on beef stew., and i've played with a few different methods. The mood hit me today for tonight's dinner, so no marinade here. Feel free to marinate the beef overnight in some red wine, Worcestershire Sauce, garlic rosemary & thyme for extra intense flavor, but don't be scared if you want stew today and no patience. This stew is quite delicious already.

As an alternative cooking method, brown the meat, de-glaze with wine and add everything to a slow cooker on low for about 6 hours, but the potatoes get overdone in my opinion.

1 1/2 lbs Stew Meat cube into bit size pieces - about 3/4 inch
1 1/2 lbs Baby Potatoes - no peeling required - dice same - cover w  water to prevent browning
1 medium Onion- diced rough. (today's was a purple onion, so exciting)
2 Carrots - sliced bite size - i like the bias
2 Celery - sliced bite size
2 Parsnip - sliced bite size
4 cups (32 oz, or 1 qt) Beef Stock - low sodium
1 cup red wine - today's was lifted from my Mother -In -Law's Vin Rose in the big green jug!
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp dry Rosemary - dried works just fine or 3 tbsp fresh if available, mince with knife or spice mill
2 tbsp dry Thyme - same as above
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Olive Oil as needed

Browned Stew Meat
As you look through the ingredients, it may not jump out that this was an "on hand" recipe. After a frantic errand filled morning, i simply forgot to get Vidalias, my onion of choice, some Cabernet, my red wine of choice, and some fresh herbs. We always have dry on hand, and i am tired of being made to feel guilty about using them and the same goes for my big green jug of Vin Rose. It's been Maria's (mom-in-law) wine of choice for years and the Maria has a black belt in cooking.
Stew Vegetables

Pre-heat an 8 qt pot (cast iron works great here, need to get me some) on medium with a couple of  tbsp Olive Oil. Toss the meat with the herbs, salt and pepper. Then toss with the 2 tbsp of flour to lightly coat the meat evenly. If there is flour & herbs left in the bowl, put aside for now, but keep them. Depending how wide your pot is, you may need 2 or 3 rounds of browning the meat. Drop the meat in the pan, giving the pieces plenty of room so they do not steam. We are looking for nice golden brown char on the meat here, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a bow and replace as needed until all the meat is browned. You may need to add oil in between round, and don't worry about the bits sticking to the pan, we'll get to those.

Drop the heat t medium low, toss in the veggies, NOT the potatoes, and saute to help them develop their flavors with a little salt and pepper. When the onions start to turn translucent, add the 1 cup of wine and use a spoon or spatula to work in the bits on the bottom of the pan. FLAVOR is there waiting for you. Simmer & reduce the wine by about half. Add a couple of tbsp Beef Stock to the leftover flour and herbs, whisk together well, and add to the pan with the rest of the stock. Bring to a simmer cover for one hour, stirring occasional and tast for salt and pepper. After an hour, drain the potatos and add to the pot. Simmer for one more hour. Serve with some fresh warm bread and Enjoy!