Monday, November 19, 2007

Chipotle @ Home

The Spouse has been craving flank steak lately, so I decided to just crock one for fajitas. While the meat was crocking, I decided to just go all out. The result was Chipotle/Qdoba @ Home.... for not as much trouble as you'd think!

Seasoned Flank Steak
2 pkgs taco seasoning
beef broth
red wine
fresh cilantro, minced

Add about 1 cup of beef broth and 1/2 cup red wine to crockpot. Mix in the taco seasoning and cilantro. Place flank steak in. Add broth and red wine to cover. Cook on low for 5 hours. Remove flank steak and shred. Separate fat from seasoned broth. Replace flank steak and decanted broth in crockpot and keep warm.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime (about 1 oz)
~2 tsp fresh cilantro, minced

Combine all ingredients in a 3 quart pan. Bring to a boil, stir once, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes or until rice is done.

I also served up black beans, sauteed onions and red and green peppers, cheese, more fresh cilantro and salsa verde. Yum!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Seafood Enchiladas

It's dinners like this that are the reason I don't take photos. The food tasted wonderful, the presentation...not so much. Simply put, the seafood mix was too watery for the tortillas, so they sort of fell apart. Note for next time: sauteé the seafood mixture before adding to the tortillas to remove excess moisture.

Seafood Enchiladas

1 lb shrimp, cooked and diced into 1/4" pieces
1/2 lb lump crab meat
4-5 scallions, finely diced
1 can green chiles
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp sour cream
shredded cheese and salsa
enchilada sauce

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Sautee in a pan to remove excess moisture from crab and shrimp. Remove from heat. Add in sour cream and stir to combine.

Place about 2 large spoonfuls down the center of a tortilla. Top with shredded cheese and a bit of salsa. Roll the tortilla up and place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with all of the mix. Top with enchilada sauce. Bake at 375º for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Irish "Root" Soup

There's a wonderful Irish pub and inn here in Milwaukee called County Clare. They have fantastic food, great beer, wonderful ambiance. It's one of our favorite places to go for dinner. I love everything on their menu.

Except their Root Soup. The recipe is online and has been copied far and wide as the model for Traditional Irish Root Soup.

The problem is, it tastes nothing like the root soup we had in Ireland. It's far too sweet. And it was a lunch staple for us the 2 weeks we were over there, so we sampled plenty of it.

So I set about to try and re-create it. However, I did deviate from the "root" vegetable world to do so. Instead of using sweet potatoes, I used butternut squash (I had one left from the garden). Instead of celery root I just used plain celery. But, ultimately, it was a very good first stab at it. Next time I'll try to find an appropriate substitute for the squash and use celery root.

Irish "Root" Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
2 medium leeks, sliced, white part only
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
Vegetable stock (about 32 oz)
Dry Vermouth (about 1/2 cup)

Season the squash and potatoes with salt and pepper and roast until done.

While they roast, heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Add in onions and leeks. Sauteé 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add in carrots and celery. Sauteé another 3 minutes.

Add about a cup of broth to deglaze the pan. Add in roasted squash, potatoes, remaining broth and a dash of vermouth. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes. Season to taste and let soup cool completely.

Puree soup in blender in batches until smooth, adding more vegetable stock as necessary. Return soup to pot and re-heat over medium heat until hot. Serve immediately with a slice of brown bread.

Note: If you don't add too much stock, there's no need to add any heavy cream, making this a healthy yet intensely flavorful soup.

Wine Pairing: Guinness, baby. The only way to go.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole

DH has been working incredibly long hours lately. He gets home from work, logs on and works all night long, only taking a break to eat whatever I place in front of him. So I've been doing almost all of the cooking lately. It's exhausting.

Saturday he had to work all day at the office and I wasn't about to slave over a stove that evening for the 5 minutes of time I'd get with him. So I crocked this instead - huge hit for a long, miserable day.

Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pcs.
1 lb. turkey breast tenderloins, cut into 3/4" pcs.
1 med. onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 med. carrot, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 med. stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
2 cans (14 1/2 oz.each) ready-to-serve chicken broth
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 box uncooked wild rice mix (keep seasoning packet)

Cook bacon and turkey in 10" skillet over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until turkey is brown. Stir in onion, carrot and celery. Cook, 2 min., stirring occasionally; drain. Beat 1 can of the broth and the soup in 3 1/2 qt. slow cooker, using wire whisk, until smooth. Stir in the remaining can of broth, the marjoram and pepper. Stir in turkey mixture, wild rice and seasoning packet. Cover and cook on HIGH 30 min. Reduce heat to LOW. Cook 6-7 hrs. or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wisconsin Beer Brats

There is so much misinformation out there on how to properly cook beer brats. There's a Bobbly Flay recipe out there that commits nearly all the cardinal sins but because he's the "grill guy", I'm sure everyone thinks it's correct.

First big mistake that "the pros" tells you to do is boil the brats in beer. Never, EVER boil brats. Ever. You will burst their casings. Instead, you need to warm the beer up first, THEN place the brats in it once you've reduced it to a very low simmer.

Second is garnishes - never put yellow mustard on a brat. The correct accompaniment is Düsseldorf mustard (brown or dijon works as well).

Third is buns - hot dog buns are not an acceptable substitute. If you can't find brat buns, make them.

Lastly, this is a simple dish. There is no need for soy sauce, chili sauce, etc. in your batter (the mix of onions and beer). If you have good brats, they should speak for themselves. Don't ruin them with fussy preparation.

Wisconsin Beer Brats

1 white onion, sliced and divided
2 bottles of beer
1 package uncooked bratwurst (generally 4-6 per package)
1 package brat buns

Place beer and half the sliced onion in crockpot or dutch oven. Heat until beer is warm and very gently simmering. Add in uncooked bratwurst. Cook on low until you're ready to grill.

Heat grill to medium. Grill brats for about 10 minutes, browning on all sides. While brats are cooking, sautee up the remaining onion in some olive oil or butter and sprinkle with paprika while sauteeing for a bit of flavor.

Serve with sauteed onion, mustard, relish and whatever else strikes your fancy. I'm a purist, so there's no ketchup on my brat (or hot dog).

We actually had a mix of turkey brats and jalapeno brats from a local butcher. I served them with oven fries and a salad. Yum.

Wine pairing: Beer! I prefer local microbrews but if you feel like slumming it, there's always Miller High Life (the champagne of beers) or MGD.