Sunday, January 17, 2016

Recipe: Penne Primavera with Basil Cream Sauce

1/2 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente

2 T. olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 c. chopped sweet onion
1/2 c. thinly sliced carrot
2 c. small broccoli florets
1 c. chopped zucchini

1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
salt & pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet heat olive oil and add onion. Fry until soft and browning.
Add carrot and saute 2 minutes. Add zucchini & broccoli saute 1 minute, add water and cover. Steam veggies until al dente, approx. 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter on med. low heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cream and boil, stirring with a whisk. Turn heat down to simmer. Add parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl or pot, combine pasta, vegetables and sauce. Stir to combine. Serve with grated parmesan and red chili flakes.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Easy, Slow-Cooker Gumbo

We ate the gumbo so fast, I didn't get any photos! So here's a fresh harvest from my garden instead.

Slow-Cooker Gumbo

2 tbs olive oil
4-5 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed

1/3 cup bacon grease or olive oil
1/2 cup flour

4 cups chicken unsalted chicken broth
1 lb. smoked sausage or andouille, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 can (14.5oz) unsalted stewed tomatoes, chopped1/2 can (3oz) unsalted tomato sauce
1 lb. frozen or fresh okra, sliced
1 tbls sugar
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 tbls hot sauce (Tapatio or Tabasco)
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
2 tsp cajun seasoning

2 tbls worchestershire sauce
1 tsp gumbo file
1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Brown the chicken : In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat olive oil and brown chicken thighs until golden on both sides. Put them in the bottom of a 6qt slow cooker.

The Roux : In same heavy skillet, heat chicken drippings with bacon grease/oil on high heat and slowly add flour, stirring constantly with a whisk.  (DO NOT BURN - if the roux burns at all, it is completely unusable) Continue to stir until roux begins to brown and lower to medium, or medium-low heat. Continue to stir and brown until it reaches a dark milk chocolate color or reddish brown. For instructions on making a perfect roux, or to buy a pre-made jar check out this site

Whisk 2 cups of chicken broth into the roux and remove from heat.

In slow cooker, add all ingredients (except worchestershire, file and shrimp.) Add remaining 2 cups chicken broth and top it all with the roux mixture.

Cook on High for 4 to 4-1/2 hours. Remove chicken from pot, shred with a fork, return it to the pot and stir well. Add shrimp, worchestershire sauce and file. Stir well and cook, covered for an additional 20 min. Stir again, serve over grits or rice.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thai Grilled Beef Salad

Healthy and flavorful! I love to make this dish with veggies fresh out of my garden, but good organic veggies work great too. You can also substitute the beef for any meat or tofu of your choice.

Thai Grilled Beef Salad

• Grilled Beef •
1 lb. top sirloin steak or flank steak (scored)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Combine soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add meat and marinate for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally. On a very hot grill, sear meat until desired doneness. Set aside to rest. Once cooled, slice against the grain into 2" strips (1/4" or thinner.)

• Toasted Rice Powder •
2 tablespoons uncooked rice
Toast the rice in a small, very hot, dry skillet, stirring often, until golden brown. Remove from heat and grind in a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle until a course powder is achieved.

• Salad •
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted rice powder (recipe below)
1 teaspoon ground dried red chili
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 fish sauce
1/4 fresh squeezed lime juice
1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
2 persian cucumbers, chopped
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock, onion and garlic to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the beef and warm it in the stock for 1 minute, stirring to coat all of the meat. Remove from heat. Add to the beef: green onion, shallot, cilantro, rice powder, dried chili, serrano chile, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Toss well.

Toss lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and mint and arrange on a large plate or platter. Over the top of the salad, add the beef mixture.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

4th of July Chili Throwdown Recipe: Thunderpaw Chili

Historic Rimrock Ranch Cabins, Pioneertown CA

This year, July 4th was celebrated at Rimrock Ranch Cabins annual Pi-Town Chili Throwdown.  No fireworks (too big of a fire hazard in the hi-desert) but plenty of heat from a variety of chili pots. Contestants competed in 3 categories, Carnivore, Vegetarian, and "Hillbilly Chili" (everything else.) From creative names and colorful table setups and costumes, the day the is all about food and friends. Oh, and the chili competition is fierce.

My entry this year was named by my son and his friends. "Thunderpaw Chili" is named after the powerful paw punch of our 130 pound puppy, Jake Thunderpaw.  While we didn't win, we had a great time tasting chili and I perfected this new recipe.  I recommend doubling the recipe if you plan to feed a crowd. I transferred mine to crock pot to keep it warm once it was done.

Thunderpaw Chili

3 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
2-3 c boiling water
3 slices lean bacon, chopped
2 lbs boneless tri-tip or chuck steak, cut into 1/2 cubes
2 tbls oil
2 c. white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbls chili powder
1 tbls cayenne or ground chili
1 tbls  ground cumin
3 tbls dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tbls black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbls dark brown sugar
1 can (14.5oz) petite diced tomatoes in juice
12 oz stout beer (I use Aztec Brewery's "Noche de Los Muertos")
2 c. beef broth
1 tbls fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Chiles - Toast chiles in a skillet over medium heat, turning often, until puffed up and blistered, 2-3 minutes.  Once cooled, cut in half, remove and discard stems, cores and seeds. In a bowl, hydrate chilies by covering them with boiling water. Set them aside to soak.
2. Meat - Cook down bacon in large Dutch oven or chili pot over medium-high heat. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up grease. Working in small batches, use bacon fat to brown beef (approx. 3 minutes on each side.) Add more oil as needed. Transfer meat to a bowl.
3. Chile sauce - In a blender, combine softened chiles and 1/2 cup soaking liquid into a blender; puree.
4. Season - Remove any excess oil from the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring often. Stir in cumin, oregano, bay leaf, pepper, salt, chili powder and cayenne powder. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add chile puree and raise heat to medium-high, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
5. Simmer - Return all meat to the pot. Add tomatoes, beer, and beef broth.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce to medium heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 1-1/4 hours. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, or until sauce is thick and meat is tender. Discard bay leaf, stir in lemon juice and cilantro.  Serve.

* Garnish Suggestions - fresh cilantro, dried oregano, chopped scallions, mild crumbly Mexican cheese (fresco or panela), avocado

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Calendar

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"Local holiday treasure! #juanitas #leucadia "

Every Christmas our local taco shop prints up calendars with a variety of different artwork.