Wednesday, January 31, 2007

well braised

From my "New Best Recipes" Cookbook comes this gem...Braising is my new favorite cooking methods - and as the author of the New Best says, it is one of the greatest triumphs of cooking to turn a tough cut of meat into something tender and succulent...So, take some time on a Sunday night to enjoy this beautifully simple recipe:

Lamb Braised in Red Wine & Onions:
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 2-3

You'll need:
4 - 3/4 in. thick shoulder cuts of lamb, trimmed
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 C. Red Wine
1 small can chopped tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Fire Roasted chpped tomatoes)
2 T. Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

First, trim excess fat off lamb. Season with salt and pepper on each side.

In a skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil, add lamb shanks. Do in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding. Sautee on medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side, remove and place to side. Drain excess fat from pan into a receptacle, but leave the brown bits in the bottom.

Place pan back on medium heat, and add the other T. of olive oil, and the onions. Sautee the onions for 4 minutes, then deglaze the pan with 1 C. red wine. Add the chopped tomatoes, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sauteed lamb back into the pan, and cover.

Place in a 350 oven for 2.5 hours.

Enjoy with creamed spinach, a salad, and the rest of the bottle of wine!

tagine dream

My innagural attempt at cooking Indian food was not so bad! I chose a hearty chicken dish, coupled with aloo tikki, or little potato patties.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Active prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive prep time: 24 hours
Cook time: 3 hours
Serves: The Masses

You'll need:
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 3 inch piece ginger root, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 T. Tomato Paste
  • 1 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 C. Plain Yogurt
  • 1 T. garam masala spice blend
  • 1 T.
  • 1 T. Salt, Black Pepper
  • 1 Can crushed Tomatoes (to be added later)

For the marinade:
Crush ginger and garlic and blend into paste (food processor would be easiest, but I used a garlic press for both the ginger and the garlic). Add the juice from one lemon, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and garam masala. Blend until smooth. Add the vegetable oil, blend again. Add the yogurt, blend. Add the chicken, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

To cook:
Add the crushed tomatoes to the chicken mixture, and stir. Put the whole mixture into either a tagine, or a pot with a lid on it. Bake at 250-300 for 3 hours.

Serve over basmati rice.

Aloo Tikki
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

You'll need:
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 T. Madras Curry
  • 1 T. Salt
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 oz. frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
Boil potatoes until tender, then mash.

Blend peas, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, vegetable oil, and madras curry. Add mashed potatoes and blend well. Form the potatoes into small patties, then let sit for 1 hour.

When ready to cook, use a nonstick pan and cook one batch at a time. Sautee them on medium heat for 2 minutes a side, and add 1 T. oil per batch (too much oil and they will fall apart, not enough and they will not sautee properly).

Enjoy with sauce of yogurt and tobasco sauce.

easy, cheesy, beautiful

"Food is not about impressing people. It's about making them feel comfortable." -Ina Garten

Broccoli & Cheddar Flan
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Cook time: 25 minutes.
Serves: 5 large servings, 8 small ones.

You'll need:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 C. whole milk
  • 1.5 C extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 C. Parmesan, shredded
  • 2 - 10 oz. packaged frozen chopped broccoli
  • 10 to 16 oz. hash browned potatoes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 Vidalia Onion, shredded
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 T. Butter
  • 1 T. Vegetable Oil
Optional: Prosciutto

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In either a nonstick pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (large), melt the butter and oil together. Add the hash browned potatoes, sautee until they begin to brown, then add the shredded onion. Sautee until cooked through (~10 minutes frozen, ~15 fresh), then let cook on low heat undisturbed for two minutes. (The potatoes will act as a "crust" for your flan.)

Defrost the chopped broccoli in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and the milk. Add the salt and pepper, then the cheddar and the parmesan.

When the potatoes have been cooked thoroughly, place all the chopped broccoli on top of the potatoes. Spread evenly. Pour egg mixture over the top of the broccoli (the cheese will automatically rise to the top, and the egg will distribute itself throughout the broccoli).

Bake until the flan has set (when you wiggle the pan in the oven, the middle should be firm, not wobbly). Allow the cheese on top to become a deep golden color.

Optional: Place 8-10 pieces of prosciutto in oven for 5-7 minutes, until they become cooked. Crumble, and garnish flan with prosciutto & shredded parmesan.