Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Beef & Barley in the Slow Cooker

It is a crazy time at work so I have been looking for recipes that I can fix and forget while I am away. With a little prep the night before to chop the vegetables, it is a quick prep to put everything into the pot before I head to work.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley
adapted from Food Network Magazine November 2011

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast cut into in two pieces
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered
4 stalks celery, quartered
6 carrots, peeled and quartered
2 medium leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 sprig thyme
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup water
1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low, for about 8 hours.
Skim off any excess fat. Transfer the beef to a cutting board, let cool slightly and slice or shred into bite-size pieces. If you like a thinner stew, add additional beef broth to create your desired consistency. Divide among shallow bowls and top with the beef. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad with Basil-Parmesan Dressing

Getting some of the last last zucchini and summer squash of the season from the farm share.  There is always an abundance of summer squash and zucchini in the share. I am forewver trying to find new ways to cook it so we do not get bored.

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad with Basil-Parmesan Dressing
adapted from Bon Appétit July 1999 

2 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
2 medium summer squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar 
Cooking spray
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Place zucchini and summer squash on large sheet and coat lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Grill vegetables until tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool.

Cut vegetables diagonally into pieces. Place in large bowl. In a small bowl,whisk the basil, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and oil to combine. Pour over the squash and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Salsas & Guacamole

My family loves hot and spicy food. Realizing that many people do not, I always try to have a mild salsa option available. The guacamole give a creamy component that turns down the heat  of the very hot Hatch chile salsa.

I had never heard of Hatch chiles until there was a taste test of them at Wegman's a couple of years ago. The Hatch chile is from Hatch, New Mexico and is only available fresh at the end of August, beginning of September.

Fresh Tomato Salsa, Guacamole, Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa
Roasted Hatch Chile Salsa
adapted from Cooking Light September 2013 
3 Hatch chiles 
1 pound tomatoes 
4 shallots, peeled 
3 unpeeled garlic cloves 
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
Kosher salt 

Broil the chiles, tomatoes, shallots, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet until charred on both sides. Remove chiles from pan and place them in a bag, sealed for about 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, peel the garlic and place itin the bowl of a food processor with the tomatoes, shallots, cilantro and lime juice.
Remove and discard skins, tops, and seeds from chiles. Add them to the bowl of the food processor; Pulse to your desired consistency.

Fresh Tomato Salsa 
adapted from Gourmet December 1990 
1 lb  tomatoes, seeded, and chopped 
1 small onion
1 fresh jalapeño, seeded
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Finely mince the onion jalapeno in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the tomato in the food processor. Add to the onion .jalapeno mixture. Mix in the lime juice and cilantro. Allow to stand for about 1 hour before serving for the flavors to blend.

2 avocados
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 Tbsp chopped tomato
Juice of 1 lime
Garlic salt, freshly ground black pepper

Place the avocado, onion, jalapeno, tomato and lime juice in a small food processor. Process until desired consistency. Season to taste with garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Salads for our Labor Day Eve BBQ

We had a great time with some friends last evening. Warren cooked chicken and steaks on the grill and I made salads to accompany.

I am a purist when it comes to my potato salad. But I also do not like huge chunks of egg. If you prefer your egg chunky, just coarsely chop instead of getting out the food processor.

Potato Salad
adapted from Bon Appétit July 1995
1 1/2  lbs potatoes
1 1/2 Tbsp  white wine vinegar
1 hard-boiled egg
3 Tbsp chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped scallion, green part only
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/6 cup chopped Italian parsley
6 Tbsp mayonnaise
5 oz plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp Dijon mustard 
Herbed Kosher Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water just until tender. Drain, cool slightly, peel and cut into 3/4 inch dice. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Drizzle with the vinegar over the warm potatoes. Mix the onion, scallion, celery and parsley into potatoes. 

Very finely mince the egg in a small food processor getting it very small but being careful not to turn it into a paste.until 

Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard in small bowl. Fold in the minced egg. Season dressing with herbed salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix into potato mixture.

Unlike my preference for very traditional potato salad, I like unusual pasta salads without very heavy dressings. Although this dressing is made with mayonnaise, thinning it out with some milk makes it much lighter.

Macaroni Salad with Peas and Ham
adapted from Gourmet August 1997
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
4-ounce piece cooked ham, chopped
1 celery ribs, minced
6 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup frozen tiny peas
1/4 cup mayonnaise
 fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp low-fat milk
Herbed kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper 

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, adding the peas to cook for last 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Make sure the macaroni and peas are well drained.
In a large bowl toss together the macaroni, peas, ham, celery, and parsley. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice and milk. Season the dressing to taste with the salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss well to combine.

Many coleslaw recipes are way to sweet for me. This one remains crunchy and has a little zip! It can be made with red or green cabbage. I just happened to have red from my farm share on hand.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw
adapted from Gourmet June 2008 
1 lb red cabbage, cored finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt & Freshly ground pepper

Toss all vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise and vinegar. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper then toss with slaw. Allow to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sometimes Tasty Food is Not Always Pretty Food - Baked Fish in Wine

This recipe is a very tasty, very simple preparation but just does not look pretty on a plate. It is just too white. I even tried add a little chopped fresh parsley to a serving to make it look prettier and it looked forced. So we went with it in it's unappealing appearance. Luckily I was not serving it to anyone but my family who doesn't usually care what the food looks like and frequently gets annoyed with me when I am taking blog photos when they want to eat.
This recipe is adapted from a cookbook I got on a wine tour of the NY Finger Lakes. Recipes From the Wineries of the Great Lakes by Joe Borrello, Raptor Press 1997 p.84.
I got a bottle of jalapeno wine at the PA Food & Wine Show in Lancaster, PA this year. It is produced by Cardinal Hollow Winery in Lahaska, PA, Montgomery County. It is definitely a wine to cook with , not drink but when used in a recipe like this or to deglaze a pan, it creates a nice low level heat to the dish.

Baked Fish in Wine
1 lb swai or other firm white fish
1 can reduced fat cream of celery soup
1/4 cup Riesling, or other white wine
2 Tbsp jalapeno wine  (or the same white wine above)
Salt and freshly group pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the fish in a baking dish. Pour the soup and wine(s) over the fish. Sprinkle with parsley and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil.
Bake the fish for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for about an additional 10 minutes until lightly browned.
Serve the fish topped with the sauce.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Jalapeno & Tomato Roasted Chicken Thighs

What a great taste from a few simple ingredients. Not a great pic but a tasty dish.

I left the seeds in the jalapenos and it had a mild-moderate kick. If you like a milder heat, removed the seeds and ribs.

The leftovers are great in sandwiches., To kick the sandwiches up another notch use Sriracha Mayo from Empire Mayonnaise Company from Brooklyn, NY.

Jalapeno & Tomato Roasted Chicken Thighs
adapted from Gourmet February 1995

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
5 chicken thighs
1 tomato sliced
2 jalapeño chilies, sliced
1 small onion,sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced 
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Preheat oven to 450°F. 
In a bowl stir together oil and lime juice. Add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Arrange chicken legs, skin sides up, in a roasting pan and season with salt and Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Add the tomatoes, chilies, onion, garlic to the remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Spread vegetable mixture around chicken legs in one layer. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. 

Serve chicken with the vegetables. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Smores Dip

This is the best way to make smores without having to worry about your marshmallows catching fire.

Smores Dip

2 1.55 oz. Hershey Bars
Large marshmallows
Graham crackers

Preheat the broiler.
Break the chocolate bars into small pieces and line the bottom of a broiler proof dish. Top with enough marshmallows to cover the chocolate.
Broil until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch carefully this does not take very long.

Serve with graham crackers for dipping.