Category Archives: recipe

Cafe Apacalypto : Cuban Pork with Navy beans and new Potatoes

From the pantry:

8 Oz. Jar of Navy beans

1 quart Mason jar of seasoned Cuban Pork

(Boston butt, onions, garlic, Cilantro, pepper cloves, oregano and Coriander)

Powdered onion

Granulated Garlic

Salt

Pepper

1 1/2 TBLS. Olive oil

1/4 Tsp. liquid smoke

Cumin

 

From the Garden :

1 small Tomato (Really, small) , chopped

5 Small red and green Jalepenos (watered frequently to reduce heat), sliced

3 sprigs of fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 pound of medium new red potatoes, sliced

 

Heat a large skillet and remove the lard from the top of the pork

Add the lard and drain the juice from the pork

Reduce until most of moisture is gone

Add 1/2 TBLS. Olice oil

Add Potatoes in single layer and cook on medium heat for 10 Min.

Season with salt, pepper garlic and onion powder

Add beans in a layer on top and sprinkle liquid smoke

Add Jalepenos and 2 sprigs of Cilantro along with tomato

Cook additional 10 Min.

Heat another large skillet with 1 TBLS, of olive oil and add pork

Season with salt, pepper and a large sprinkling of cumin

add last sprig of cilantro

Cook while stirring until moistue is gone and pork begins to fry

Transfer to pan with potatoes and beans topping evenly

Simmer for 10 minutes and then….

Enjoy the apocalypse

 

 

 

The wife has started canning

So we ended up with about 40 Lbs. of onions

This is one of the first batches and it was cooked up in a giant vat with browned chuck roast, caramelized onions ,beef shanks and about  2 gallons of beef broth

It was seasoned with beef stock,red wine, fresh Rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, marjoram, garlic,Cumin, pepper and Basil

We opened a jar last night (It was Cold and brisk out) and served it up with creamy Brie and

Ciabatta rolls

Mouth heaven

 

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https://i2.wp.com/gatherforbread.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Artisan-Ciabatta-Rolls.jpg

 

 

Hot Pork tenderloin sandwich

These are a Midwest specialty, served throughout farm country

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. Olive oil

Pork loin/tenderloin cut into slices 3/4″ to 1″ thick (6)

4- Eggs beaten for batter

2- cups Panko bread crumbs

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Sliced onion

Dill pickle chip

Cheddar cheese

4- 1 Qt. zip lock bags

Preparation

*Heavily salt,pepper and garlic both sides of sliced pork

*Insert a slice into a zip lock bag and pound with a meat hammer until 1/4″ thick (Use the side with the small starred teeth” Replace baggie as needed. Pork will beat out about double in size

*Set pork to the side and beat eggs

*Lay out a layer of bread crumbs on a large cutting board

*Dip each pork slice into the beaten eggs and then push into the bread crumbs by hand.When one side is coated heavily flip over and coat the second side. Set aside, stacking if needed

*Preheat a pan to medium high and put in 2 Tbls. of the oil

*Fry 4 to 5 minutes checking for scorching then add rest of oil and flip (Time may be adjusted due to heat. Pork should lose pink but not be dry)

*Cook 4 minutes and then flip and put a slice of cheddar on until softened

*Serve on a deli hamburger roll topped with Mustard, Dill pickle chips and sliced onion

 

Italian meatball sandwich

Ingredients:

Basic meatball recipe from previous post

10″ sub roll

1 -20 Oz. jar of good pasta sauce or home made

1-cup Dry red wine

1/2 medium onion minced

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 Tsp. sugar

3 – slices aged provolone cheese

Mozzarella cheese finely shredded

1- Tbls. Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tspn. Oregano

Sauce and meatball Preparation:

*Preheat oven to 400

*Put onion  in shallow pan and add olive oil cooking until clear

*Add wine, garlic and meatballs and cook on high until wine is reduced to near nothing

*Add sugar and jar of pasta sauce

*After sauce is heated thoroughly, simmer on medium heat for 20 Min. stirring frequently

Sandwich preparation:

*Cut roll open and spoon about 2 Tbls. of sauce onto roll (While hot) spreading with a spoon onto both sides

*Put on Provolone cheese

*Cut meatballs in half and place on roll

*Spoon more sauce over meat balls and add Parmesan cheese

*Add shredded Mozzarella and sprinkle on oregano

*Spoon on enough sauce to just cover cheese

*The top of the sandwich should be open fairly wide to melt cheese

*Turn oven to broil and place sandwiches in closed oven 6  from broiler

*Cook until cheese is melted and brown spots are starting to appear in it

 

 

 

 

Italian meatballs for subs or sauce

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Italian sausage ground or removed from casing (Hot preferably)

1.25 Lbs. Ground pork

1 cup of Italian bread crumbs

1 Large egg

1/2 a medium onion minced

1 Tsp. black pepper

1 Tsp. powdered Oregano

1 tsp. basil

2- cloves of Garlic crushed

Preparation:

*Thoroughly mix the pork and Italian sausage together

*Sprinkle the dry seasonings onto the pork and mix in by hand

*Mix in the onion and garlic

*Mix in the bread crumbs

*Beat the egg in a bowl and knead into mixture

*Separate mixture and form into meatballs about 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter

Cooking:

*Brown the meatballs in olive oil over medium low heat

turning frequently to avoid scorching

*Cook until done entirely through and onion is tender

(About 20 Min)

Makes about 20 meatballs

(See next post about what to do with them)

 

Southern cornbread Enchiladas(Casserole)

Skill level- Easy

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Fairly deep pan (3″) 8 “X 8″ or could be done in two loaf pans

1 1/2 pound ground chuck or better

1 – Medium onion, chopped

4- Seeded and veined Jalapeno peppers (Substitute Poblano if you want no heat)

2- cloves chopped garlic

2-16 ounce cans of quality red enchilada sauce

(Hatch, El Monterey etc. If all you can get is old el paso or  Chi Chi’s, take a pass on this or make your own)

2 Tsp. garlic powder

2- Tbls. Chili powder

12- Oz. Queso blanco cheese shredded

8 Oz. Colby cheese shredded

1- 9″ skillet cornbread 1″ thick (Not sweet) or any corn bread cut to 1″

*Note: Using 9” you will have some left over

DIRECTIONS

*Fry the hamburger with the onion, jalapenos and garlic. Keep warm

*Cut cornbread to fit into pan, lining the bottom completely

*Have the enchilada sauce heated in a pan and pour half over

the cornbread

*Sprinkle on half of the chili powder and half of the garlic powder

*Spread a layer of Queso cheese on evenly using half of required amount

*Spread the hamburger mix evenly over the top

*Put on the remaining Queso and Colby cheese

*Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with

remaining chili and garlic powder

*Cook in pre-heated 350 oven for 35 minutes

*Let stand 5 minutes before serving

NOTE: If you are after the real Enchilada and don’t mind

serious prep time go here:

https://eatgrueldog.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/authentic-homemade-tex-mex-chicken-enchiladas/

 

 

Pasta Florentine with Italian sausage red sauce (Or vegetarian)

Very easy recipe. If you time it right about 45 Min. from start to finish

Ingredients

9″ X 11″ Baking pan

1/2 a box of 12 Oz. jumbo pasta shells (About 14)

3-Italian sausage links (Eliminate the sausage for vegetarian)

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 Tsp. sugar

3- glasses of decent red wine

1- 20 Oz. jar of decent red sauce or home made

(I used Bertolli Italian sausage from the jar)

6-Tsp. Garlic powder

1 Tsp. salt

2 Tsp. Fine ground pepper

5 Oz. (1/2 package) frozen spinach, drained and warm

8 Oz.- Ricotta cheese

!/2 C. Grated Fontina cheese

1/2 C. Grated Parmesian/ Romano cheese (Dried type in the can)

1- 8 Oz. bar cream cheese, softened

1- 8 Oz. package of shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400

*Start by peeling the sausage and breaking into small pieces

Add the onion and fry in olive oil until browned and onions have caramelized

Add 2 Tsp. of sugar and stir until caramelized

Add red at high heat wine and stir until almost all the liquid is gone

Add the jar of red sauce, 4 Tsp. of Garlic powder and turn down to simmer

Keep the sauce hot the whole time the recipe is being made

*Cook the shells for 10 Min. after boil  in 4 Qts. of heavily salted water with a Tbls. of oil

Drain shells in cold water after cooking and set aside

*Mix all of the cheeses together in a large bowl except the Mozzarella, and add

the spinach, remaining garlic powder, salt and pepper

*Take the 9″ X 11″ Pan and using a spoon coat the bottom of the pan with red sauce

about 1/4 ” thick

*Stuff the cooled shells with Approx. 2 Tbls. of cheese mixture

I use a regular coffee type spoon from the silverware drawer

I heap it extra high and scrape it off into the shell. The shell will not

close and will be stuffed until the top is wide open

*As each shell is stuffed arrange them in the baking pan in a single layer

cheese side up. Continue until pan is full

*Spoon the remaining red sauce over the top smoothing it until all of

the shells are covered

*Bake @ 400 for 15 minutes and then remove from oven

*Turn oven down to 350 and sprinkle Mozzarella cheese heavily over the top

*Return to oven for 10 to 15 Min. or until cheese is melted

and is speckled with brown spots

*Remove from oven and let cool for 4 Min. before serving

Slow cooked pork picnic

fresh-picnic

How about some heavenly slow cooked pork?

Fantastic as a roast, great for sandwiches and makes the best Cuban sandwich in the world

I roasted one on the 4th after I did all of my smoking

I was literally all day and evening on the ribs and chicken and decided to do the picnic in the oven

Here it is below:

One fresh pork picnic (Uncured) 10 to 11 Lbs., skin on

Salt

Garlic powder

Worcestershire sauce

Baking pan larger than the picnic

Grate to put in baking pan that will elevate the meat about 2″

To prepare the meat take a slender paring or boning knife and insert it into the meat most of the way

Twist the knife until there is an opening and pour the Worcester sauce into the cavity

Do this in about 12 places on the part with no skin

When done sprinkle heavily with garlic powder and salt

Place the rack in the baking pan and put the picnic on it skin side up to protect the meat

Place the pan in the center of a pre-heated 220 degree oven along with a pan of water placed in the bottom of the oven

Go to bed

Cook picnic for 11 hours before checking temperature

At 11 to 11 1/2 hours your Temp. should be reading 170 Deg.

Because of the large bone in the center I give it an additional 45 Min. from that Temp.

After 45 Min. your final temp. will be 185 Deg.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 Min. or so

The skin will be tough and crusty but separates easily from the meat for carving

Enjoy

pa1b04_fresh_ham

If you want to make a Cuban, go to the deli and get black forest ham sliced 1/4″ thick, Cuban bread, provolone cheese and dill pickle slices

Pork goes on first at about 3/4″ thick

Then the ham and cheese on top

Pickle slices gets put on about 1″” apart

Sandwich is topped with two lines of yellow mustard running the length

Heat two frying pans to press the sandwich

Place the sandwich in a pre-heated frying pan and cover with a sheet of foil

Take the second frying pan and using hot pads press the sandwich with the bottom of the pan

Once it is pressed leave the pan on top to finish cooking

It is done when the bread is grilled but not crunchy and the cheese is melted

 

 

Gotta break a few eggs…..

sandwich

My wife is amazed at how I can destroy a kitchen just to make a couple of sandwiches

You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette

And sometimes you have to make a mess to make something good

Yes, that is an actual photo from making just two sandwiches

She does start to get irritated if I do it three times a day

But especially in this case it is worth it

Don’t believe me?

Try the recipe below

I know ,Wirecutter would think it is one of those gay sandwiches

But I believe that I have achieved culinary perfection

Ingredients:

Baked chicken breast that is pull apart tender (Warm)

Cooked Bacon marinated at least 10 Min. with liquid smoke before cooking (Warm)

Edam cheese (Gouda can be substituted)

Ciabatta rolls (The more tender the better)

1- Ripe Avocado mashed *

1/4 C. finely chopped Spinach*

3- Large red globe grapes minced*

2-TBLS Cream cheese*

1-slice Edam cheese 1/4″ thick

1-Tsp. Grey Poupon or similar mustard*

1/2- Tsp. salt*

1- Tsp. pepper*

2-tsp. Garlic powder*

1/2 Tsp. lime juice*

1 -Tsp. 1st cold pressed olive oil *

1 -TBLS red wine vinegar

1-TBLS Balsamic vinegar

1- 1/4″ sliced Tomato for each sandwich

Butter

Start by marinating the Tomato slices in the Balsamic and red wine vinegar for at least 10 minutes

Mix all of the asterisked ingredients together making sure the cream cheese gets mixed in well with the avocado and dry ingredients

Slice the Ciabatta rolls and butter the cut side and grill at medium heat until golden brown

While the rolls are grilling put butter on the grill and lay the Edam cheese directly on the grill removing when it begins to soften

Put the Edam on the top of the roll and then the bacon

Take chunks of of the chicken breast and put on the bottom of roll adding a very liberal amount of the Avocado mix on top

Add the marinated tomato slice and then assemble the sandwich

Perfection

 

 

Dinner is calling.

Out of here for the weekend

Pork Tacos

3 lb. pork shoulder roast cubed and browned.

4 cloves crushed garlic.

1 Medium onion diced.

1 can rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies.

2 Tbls. chili powder.

Couple dashes of liquid smoke.

Slow cooker until it is falling apart.

Fry corn tortilla in oil 2 seconds then fold. When that side is browned flip and brow the other side. Stand up to drain on paper towel.

Serve with shredded cheese, lettuce and sour cream.

8 Days Left to Sign Up-Feeding Your Tribe Now,and During A SHTF Event

“Learn the procedures and techniques to safely feed your tribe  under    any conditions-and provide proper nutrition needed,as people will be under stress and healthy,great tasting food not only boosts morale,it helps your tribe fight off diseases,and keeps everyone in top physical and   mental shape.

You can send one member of your tribe to take the course,and they can relay the information to the rest of your group.Your team,tribe,group,clan whatever you call them can’t survive for long eating MRE’s,beans and rice-learn how to keep everyone well fed, good food keeps everyone mentally and physically healthy,fewer people will succumb to colds,flu and other diseases that will run rampant in any long term grid down scenario.

One of the things that people often do not consider important is feeding your tribe,group,clan,team ,etc. as a group.

Cooking for large groups of people is not like having a backyard BBQ,or a holiday meal at your aunt Millie’s house.

There’s procedures you have to follow-just like anything else,there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things.

Do things the wrong way,and everyone you just fed will be grabbing the TP and running to the nearest toilet-or to the woods for the next 24-48hours.

I spent over 20 years as a professional chef,I was the executive chef at private country clubs and first class hotels.

I also cooked for an outfitter on backcountry elk hunts,cooking for the hunters, the guides,and the rest of the staff way back in the mountains,it was usually a 2 day horseback ride to get to camp.

I spent a couple years working fishing boats out of Wanchese N.C. and working for the fish companies on the docks unloading boats and cutting fish.

I am offering a series of 3 classes on cooking for large groups of people,both under “normal” conditions,and in SHTF

events with no power,and no natural gas to operate stoves and ovens.

I’ve taught cooking classes in the past-my boss at the time volunteered me to teach the class,at the request of the hotel’s general manager.

I’ m going to use the same methods I used back then,except rather than a 3 day series of classes,I’m going to condense the three days of classes into a one day class.

I will do a series of three classes,each one building on the previous class material,so the classes have to be taken in order,you have to have completed the first class to be able to take the second class an so on.

If there is interest in more advanced classes-I will offer those as well.

Here’s the description of what I will cover in the first class…

Cooking For Large Groups”

From Here:http://starvinlarry.com/learn-the-procedures-and-techniques-to-safely-feed-your-tribe-under-any-conditions-and-provide-proper-nutrition-neededas-people-will-be-under-stress-and-healthygreat-tasting-food-not-only-boosts/

Trust me, it is not going to be the Sunday barbeque

There is a reason that they have cooking courses called ” Industrial cooking” that are year long classes

This is something really worthwhile and priced right

 

Making Bacon better

I know that some of you are going to accuse me of playing God, but it’s not like that.  Would you buy an out of the box 1911 without improving it?

Or an AR15?

So why not bacon?

I know that to some it is the smoky , sacrosanct, sliced food of the Gods, but even great things can be improved upon.

Even Bacon.

How you might ask, in my arrogance, could I possibly improve bacon?

Read on if you dare.

Here is the key to bacon improvement; a simple marinade of things that naturally go with bacon anyway.

I know bacon lovers across the country just spit mouthfuls of coffee out, but hear me out, it works.

For each 2 slices of bacon, drip 4 or 5 drops of soy sauce on it (The good stuff of course), a liberal dose of liquid smoke, garlic powder and a heavy dose of black pepper.

After applying the ingredients rub it in gently with your fingertips and let it sit for about ten minutes. For saltier bacon use a little less soy.

You will notice that above I stated that it was for each “2 slices of bacon” and here is why; I cook it in the microwave.

Yes, that’s right, I admit it, the microwave. I realize that to some I have just committed a sin of epic proportions and am to be banished to bacon lovers hell, but these days that is how I cook it most of the time. I know that my readership will probably be cut in half and assassins dispatched upon that revelation, but the truth is it comes out really good and without the spatter and mess.

If you decide to try it, always stack the bacon in piles of two, not by the single slice which cooks unevenly.Put it on a large heavy plate with a minimum of 8 slices total and cover with paper towels, tucking them under the plate. Cook for 8 minutes and then check. for doneness and draining the grease off. !0 minutes is usually enough to do 5 double stacked slices.

When done remove to separate plate and pat down with a paper towel.

In my next post I will let you in on how to use that bacon to make the worlds best BLT.

Love me or hate me

I noticed that I have been picking up a lot of lady followers in the past few weeks so I am re-posting a recipe from Valentines day dinner.

It is exquisitely delicious and easy to make.

You will either love me or hate me… My wife still hasn’t decided which when I push stuff like this on her at 10 O’clock at night..

Dark chocolate covered strawberries

1-Extra large jumbo size strawberry

1- 2″ X 2″ square of 60% cacao dark chocolate ( I use  ghirardelli )

1 1/2- Tbls. pomegranate juice

2 Tsp. of butter

Slice up a large and deep red strawberry; the bigger and the redder, the better.

Heat the pomegranate juice and butter, stirring constantly until the pomegranate juice is reduced by half.

Reduce the heat and add the chocolate square ,cooking until melted.

While still hot, pour over the sliced strawberry and enjoy.

It pairs well with dry red wine.

There are 3 ways into a womans heart

1. A paid off house

2. Strawberries covered in hot chocolate

3. What I have listed below

Trust me, this one is worth doing. Not many things in life are so simple and so easy and so good. Don’t let her see you make it and she will think you are some type of genius. Start to finish it takes 3 minutes tops.

One  small flour tortilla- 6″ or so

2 slices of cream cheese 3/8″ thick

2 Tsps. Dried Parmigiana  cheese

1 1/2 Tbls. Cherry or raspberry preserves

Enough Canola oil to fill a small pan 3/4″

Put the listed ingredients into the tortilla shell and fold into a square, being sure to overlap the closure.

Flatten the whole thing, seam side down, using gentle pressure with the palm of your hand

Heat the oil to around 325 to 350 or in other words pretty hot

Lift the square up on a fork keeping the seam held closed , and gently slip it into the oil, seam side down

Fry about 45 seconds or until golden brown then flip and fry on the other side

Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel

The inside should remain just a little cool while the outside should be hot and crunchy

If it absorbs oil, then your heat is not high enough and you need to try again

Authentic Homemade Tex Mex Chicken Enchiladas

I made this last night and it went directly into the freezer. I also made the red sauce for eggplant Parmesan (Heavy on the Italian sausage and red wine). Tonight will be beef stock for Beef  bourguignon made with red wine ,beef short ribs, beef shanks and chuck. Saturday is going to be a smoker day with a giant slab of ribs and chicken thighs along with bacon wrapped dates. Sunday is going to be a large chuck roast, topped with sliced onions, 1 can diced tomatoes and two teaspoons of beef bullion stock then sprinkled with garlic and cumin. After slow cooking at 300 degrees, it will be torn up for fajitas.  Momma’s gonna’ eat good when she gets out.

Enchilada sauce

6-Oz. Dried Ancho Chili peppers

3-Oz. Dried Guajillo peppers

3- Oz.- Dried New Mexico Chili peppers (Also called California)

3- tablespoons tomato paste

Chicken filling

5- Chicken Quarters (Leg and thigh)

1- Quart Chicken broth

1-Tbls. salt

1- Bulb of  Garlic peeled and minced (At least 10 cloves)

2- Medium Onions finely chopped

2-4 Oz. cans of diced green chilies

1 1/2 Lbs. Chihuahua cheese , shredded (Colby/Jack or Mexican blend can be substituted)

Large package of yellow corn tortillas or a bag of Masa to make your own

This is a mild recipe with very little heat. Normally I would add a big handful of Arbol chilies to put some smoke to it.

In a large pot add the Broth , garlic, onions, chilies and chicken and salt. Add enough water to just cover the chicken.

Boil on low heat for an hour then remove chicken to another pan. Remove onions and chilies with a straining spoon and set aside. Skim off the fat from the top of the stock and discard.

Prepare the dried chilies by cutting the tops off, opening them length wise (I use scissors) and removing the seeds. Make sure your exhaust fan is on and your windows are open then add the chilies to the Chicken stock.

Boil the Chilies for 1 hour 45 Min. in a pot with a tight fitting lid ,stirring occasionally to help break them down. When the chilies are done boiling stir vigorously to help remove any remaining flesh and then strain the mix into another large pot.

Use a large plastic or wooden spoon to force the moisture and some of the flesh through the strainer.Once that is done slowly add 3 cups of water into your strained peppers and stir. Force  this moisture through also with the spoon.

After the mix is strained, rinse your original pot and slowly pour it back into it. Chili peppers ALWAYS come with sand and you will try to leave it in the pot you strained into. Once in the pot, reheat and add the tomato paste. If too much water boiled away another cup or 2 can be added. If you make it too thin, a shot of corn starch and an extra Tbls. of tomato paste will thicken it.

While the sauce is cooking, use 2 forks to remove the chicken from the bone and shred it. I kind of shred it as I remove it using one fork to hold the quarter and pull at it with the other. It can be done in a food processor to save time, but be very careful not to over do it.

Not enough makes it chunky and it will not absorb sauce; too much makes it mushy and the consistency does not sit well on the palette.

After the chicken is shredded add the green chilies and onions back in. Add enchilada sauce into the mix, stirring vigorously until the chicken is very moist. Bring chicken mixture and sauce up to temperature at this point. Both should be hot for the assembly procedure.

Fry corn tortillas about 1 1/2 seconds or until limp in a skillet. Remove from oil and drain on plate or platter with paper towels. Lay each tortilla out one at a time in a fair sized glass baking dish and spoon filling in and top with shredded cheese. Use just enough filling and cheese to still be able to roll it and set it fold side down. As you roll them, push them together tightly in the pan.

Once all of the enchiladas are rolled, top with remaining cheese and pour sauce over the whole pan. The sauce should entirely cover all of the enchiladas and pool up a little in the corners.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 for 2o Min. (Provided that you mixed everything warm ,bordering on hot) and be careful not to over cook. You can tell when it is about done because you can see the stuff boiling through the side of the pan.

When done remove from heat and let stand about 5 Min. before serving.

Valentines day dinner

I know this is a little out dated, but I have been sick since right after V-Day. I took the wife to the Dr. on Wednesday and while I was in her office she looks at me and says “Boy, you really look like crap”. (Thanks!) So she looks down my throat and finds that ,apparently, I have a world class case of Strep.

She said it was lucky that I wandered in when I did,  because in another day or two I would have ended up in the hospital. So I am on a course of strong antibiotics and back to posting as I improve.I don’t have a lot of spunk at the moment so instead of say , an explosives recipe, I will give you my V-day dinner recipe.

Hope you can find some element in the below  to use to improve the status of your taste buds.

Boneless rib eye steaks with raspberry sauce and Brie

Broiled Maine  Lobster tail

Baked Yukon Gold Potatoes with Aus jue

Stuffed Portobello mushrooms

Asparagus cooked in Raspberry vinaigrette

Strawberries with melted chocolate sauce

Yeah, I really went out on a limb. I am the kind of guy that usually lets a steak stand on it’s own merits. Let a flame kiss it a little, pour a little smoke on it and call it done.

But not this time

This time was special, so I had to risk screwing the whole thing up. It was not only valentines day, it was also our 25th wedding anniversary. No re-do’s on this one.

That’s right, the perfect time to try to improve on a steak.  No pressure, just make it better than it already is. Out do God, that’s all you have to do.

Everything in the end came together with perfection. Raspberry sauce ended up being the perfect compliment along with the Brie.

Just remember, if you cook this, you are not a fag, no matter how fancy it is. Steak is a man’s world no matter how you serve it.

Marinate the steaks for 2 1/2 hours with soy sauce, 1/2 the amount of Worcestershire, garlic powder and pepper. Broil with the rule of 3’s….  3/4″ steak ,3 Mins. flip, 3 Min. flip, and a final  3 min. Add a Tbls. of Brie on the last Min. and serve with a Tbls. of Raspberry sauce.

Raspberry sauce is 10 large raspberries, 4 Tbls. pomegranate juice, 6 drops of Worcestershire sauce (Lee and Perrins),garlic powder , 1 Tsp. of corn starch and 1/2 Tbls. of butter. Cook on low heat until reduced by half, strain out the solids and add the corn starch to thicken.

The baked potatoes are knocked out of the park with the Aus Jue. Take beef broth and reduce it to about a quarter of it’s original volume. It should be reduced until it is strong and salty. While it is being reduced , dump in all of the classic beef seasonings; Cumin (A must), heavy black pepper, oregano, marjoram, garlic,bay leaf, onion, a dash of brown mustard and a Tbls. of butter.  Scoop out the potato and mash with a fork, adding Aus Jus until moist. Put the potato back into the skin to serve.

The asparagus is cooked in a raspberry Vinaigrette dressing with garlic added and (Waaaaiitt for it) butter. I was running out of time so I did not make the dressing and used store bought. It still came out superb. The key is to use the youngest asparagus that you can find. Put it in a frying pan in one layer and cook with the dressing and butter until tender.

Stuffed portobello mushrooms were Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs, sun dried tomatoes, chives, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion. After removing and discarding the gills, the stem gets chopped up with the bread crumbs and seasoning. Broil one side for 5 min. then add all the stuff and bake for 15 at 350.

Lobster tail gets melted garlic butter after soaking for 20 min. in saltwater.Pepper it up with Paprika and broil it for 6 to 7 min. I don’t actually eat fish of any type , but I was assured that the lobster was quite good.

Now here comes the best part; Chocolate strawberries. Slice up a large and deep red strawberry; the bigger and the redder, the better. Take one 2″ X 2″ square of 60% cacao dark chocolate ( I use  ghirardelli ) 1 1/2 Tbls. pomegranate juice, 2 Tsp. of butter. Heat the pomegranate juice and butter until the juice is reduced by half then add the chocolate square. Cook until melted then pour over the sliced strawberry.

All of this was served up with with a good bottle of Coppola merlot.

Sunday dinner

Mesquite Smoked Salmon filets with cucumber dill sauce

Brown rice Pilaf with shiitake mushrooms and marinated soybeans

Cucumber and Tomato salsa with blackened yogurt dressing

I don’t even eat fish, I just cook the hell out of it.Medium heat on the smoker for 2 hrs. with the smoke poured to it.

Cucumber dill sauce is equal parts sour cream and cream cheese with finely minced cucumber, raw onion, dill and garlic powder. Finished off with a shot of salt and enough lemon juice to make it tart.

Cucumber tomato salsa is chopped tomato and cucumbers heavily salted and marinated until tart in lime juice with a shot of 20 Yr. Balsamic vinegar added.

The key to the Blackened yogurt is to use Greek yogurt with 10% milkfat. It is not as sour as regular yogurt and is smooth and creamy. The salsa gets topped with yogurt and then, get this, it gets sprinkled heavily with blackening seasoning.(Cajun season also suffices)

I know it sounds disgusting, but it is not, it is magic. It can also be used to top fish such as blackened grouper or salmon

The brown rice pilaf is brown rice, heavy on chopped onions, shiitake mushrooms and soy beans that have marinated for a minimum of 4 Hrs. in quality soy sauce

Throw this stuff together and have a bunch of happy mouths.

And now, just because I’m a nice guy…

My secret Guacamole recipe

2-soft ripe Avocados

Heavy salt, pepper and garlic powder

(When I say heavy, I mean heavy, it has to taste salty to work)

And now the secret part that I don’t divulge when the Guacamole hater suddenly becomes a Guacamole liker

2- Tablespoons of finely shredded lettuce

It’s a simple recipe and killer good. The lettuce adds a texture to it that gets rid of the gooiness that seems to so offend some palettes. Hope someone tries it out and enjoys it. I got it as a teenager from the grandmother of a Mexican friend.  If any one else is involved in the culinary arts as I am and needs Mexican recipes, let me know. I have Huevos rancheros, enchiladas, sopapillas, tortillas and Tamales with the pork roast roasted on the grill.