Monday, October 29, 2007

Crockpot Beef Stew

I've been meaning to make this for ages. Mainly because I wanted to see how it would taste with lavender. Monday Night Football seemed appropriate (GO PACK!), so I whipped this up quick in the morning. I'd forgotten to add garlic to the roast itself, so I added it to the gravy. Turned out fantastic! The Spouse said it was better than his mom's (sorry Mom).

Crockpot Beef Stew

1 lb top round roast
3 medium potatoes, roughly diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 small bag baby carrots
1/2 package green beans
1 pkg onion dip mix
beef broth (about 2 cups)
fresh ground pepper
lavender sea salt

broth from crockpot
corn starch
garlic powder

Coarsely chop up round roast into 1" to 1 1/2" chunks. Sautee in a pan until lightly browned. Drain and set aside. Combine beef broth and onion dip mix.

Layer in crock pot onions, potatoes, carrots, green beans and beef. Add pepper and salt to taste (I used a healthy dose of each). Pour broth mixture over beef and veggies. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Separate beef and veggies from broth and set aside. Place broth in fat separator and then pour into skillet. Warm over medium-high heat. Meanwhile combine 1/4 cup COLD water with 2 tbsp corn starch. Add corn starch mixture to warmed broth and season to taste. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil until you reach your desired thickness (about 1 minute). Pour gravy over stew, stir and serve.

Wine pairing: HRM Rex Goliath Central Coast Shiraz

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made this up north last year for The Spouse and I and LOVED it. But the batch I made last night was MUCH better. This time I used diced tomatoes instead of stewed and the result was a much heartier, almost chili-like quality. Delicious. You can either dice the chicken breasts up before adding them to the crockpot or cook them whole and shred them afterwards. Add more broth if you want a soupy consistancy.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans diced tomatoes, mexican-style
2 cans black beans
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 cup salsa
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf

cheddar or mexican-style cheese, shredded
tortilla chips, crushed
lime wedges
sour cream

Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. To serve, add a handful of tortilla chips to the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with garnishes as desired.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chicken with Green Olives

This is a Cooking Light recipe that has become a household staple. Last night I didn't feel like fussing with the stove, so I made it in the crockpot. I also used some leftover home-marinated olives. Turned out delicious. Below is the crockpot version. Follow the link above for the original.

Crockpot Chicken with Green Olives

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Dash of ground red pepper
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup pitted green olives

Combine dry spices. Add to crockpot, pour broth over and mix well. Add in onion, garlic and chicken. Cook until chicken is tender, removing the cinnamon stick about halfway thru the cooking time (I cooked it on high for about 2 hours).

Serve with couscous.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burgers

In an attempt to eat less red meat, we're having at least one, if not two, vegetarian meals a week. We've made portobello mushroom burgers before but this time DH wanted a twist. So I made up a stuffing and they turned out delicious!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burgers

1/2 cup feta cheese
1 shallot
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into quarters
bread crumbs

Other ingredients:
3 Portobello mushroom caps, with stems and gills removed
1 medium onion, sliced
Whole wheat hamburger buns

Roast the red pepper, shallot and onion (I did this under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, pulse feta in a food processor with enough milk to get a slightly creamy consistency. Don't add too much milk - the juice from the veggies will add more moisture.

Blend in the shallot and half of the red pepper. Empty into a bowl. Add about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of bread crumbs until mixture achieves desired consistency (mine looked about as firm as hamburger meat).

Stuff into mushroom caps. Grill until done (I used the George Foreman grill - watch them CAREFULLY or they will disintegrate into pancakes).

I served them up burger style, topping with swiss cheese, roasted onions and more red peppers. But I'm sure you could serve them straight up.

The Stuffing also would make a great generic mushroom stuffing. You could also convert it to a dip easily (don't add the breadcrumbs or extra milk).

Wine Pairing: I served this with a Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Asian Hot Pot Redux

About a year or so ago I made a very tasty Asian hotpot using not-so-Asian ingredients (green beans, for example).

Yesterday I revisited the idea, with a few twists. My main inspiration was the pound of firm tofu sitting in the fridge.

Asian Hot Pot Redux

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I actually used a mish-mosh of open vegetable and chicken broth)
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound angel hair pasta (could also use cellophane noodles)
3/4 pound Chinese cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/8-inch slices about 1/2 inch wide and 1 1/2 inches long
3 scallions including green tops, sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return to pot.

While pasta is cooking, in a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, and salt. Bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Add the hot ginger broth to the pasta along with the cabbage, tofu, mushrooms and scallions. Bring back to a simmer and cook. While broth is coming to a simmer, sautee chicken in a separate pan. When cooked thru, add to broth and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and let sit about 1 minute. Serve hot.

p.s. I added a dash of chili sauce to give it a kick. Yum.
p.p.s. This is obviously easily made vegan/vegetarian by removing the chicken and substituting in vegetable broth for the chicken broth

Wine Pairing: I pulled out a bottle of Alsatian Pinot Blanc. It paired beautifully, I think. Another option would be a Viogner.

Steak Marinade & Seafood Fritatta

Steak Marinade
Olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Lime Juice (plus the limes tossed in)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place steaks in ziplock bag, pour marinade over and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Grill and enjoy!

Bonus! the leftovers can be used to make mean fajitas. We combined some leftover BBQ chicken, the leftover steaks, onions, peppers, covered them with fresh lime juce and sauteed them up with seasoning (including the limes tossed in for flavoring). Place mix in a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, roll up and bake on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes.

Seafood Frittata
4-6 eggs
various seafood, mixed together (we had a mix of crab, shrimp, tuna and sea bass) and sprinkled with fresh lime juice

Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Whisk eggs thoroughly and add seafood to mix. Spray pan with cooking spray, reduce heat to medium and add the egg mixture. Cook the eggs, gently pulling the sides away from the pan to allow the batter to flow underneath, until the mixture is set and top is just runny. Using creative kitchen techniques, flip the mixture onto a plate and then slide back into the pan (or just use a frittata pan if you have one. or finish it under a broiler, if possible). Finish cooking until the eggs are done. Slice into wedges and serve.

Back in the kitchen!

We were away on vacation for a week, so I didn't have too much new to post. I'll be working on a few new ones this week. Lots of Asian-themed foods. I'll also post the steak marinade "recipe" from last week, plus the seafood fritatta I made with leftovers from dinner out. Mmmmm.