Tag Archives: FoodNetwork

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice

  • Servings: 2-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Mango Sauce and Coconut Pineapple Rice
IMG_0949IMG_0952IMG_0947IMG_0946IMG_0944
Last Saturday on Foodnetwork’s “The Kitchen” they did a show titled “Winter Escape” where they made food from the Caribbean. You know lots of coconut and Pineapple flavored stuff. They brought in Caribbean chef named Julius Jackson
who made some of his coconut fried shrimp with the mango dipping sauce. It just looked and sounded really good to me so I gave it try. Sunny did a marinated skewered pork with a side of coconut pineapple baked rice. So I made that too.

I was an admitted shrimp hater when I heard them described as the roaches of the sea but I came back around and now will have them on occasion. One of the best things about them is how fast and easy they are to cook. You can whip up a batch in no time.

This turned out well. My only complaint was my crust didn’t stick as well as I wanted. I didn’t have enough oil to submerge the shrimp so it’s really my fault because I had to jack with them while cooking to make sure they fried evenly. So I likely did most of the damage but the crust that did stick was delicious with that pop of sweet and chewy coconut shreds in the batter. I thought the sauce was good but a little too tangy and could have used a little more sugar and more heat. As for the rice it turned out great with this mellow coconut back not with a punch of sweet from the pineapple. Also this was the first time I baked rice outside of a casserole and it turned out nice and fluffy. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:
6-10 Shrimp per person (peeled, deveined, butterflied, tail in tact)
Peanut or Vegetable Oil to cover 5 shrimp at a time.

Batter (wet)
3 eggs
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of Sriracha
pinch of Cayenne
2 tsp of Paprika
Kosher Salt

Batter (Dry)
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup + of sweetened shredded coconut
1 tbs of corn starch
1 tbs of white sugar
1 tbs of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne

Mango Sauce
1 mango skinned and diced
2 limes juiced
1 tbs of sugar
1/4 cup of Sriracha (less if you want)

Coconut Rice
1 cup of Jasmine Rice
2 tbs of Butter
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of canned diced pineapple
pinch of cumin
2 pinches of Paprika
Pinch of Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. The rice takes the longest so I started with it by preheating my oven to 350 degrees. In a sauce pan heat up the coconut milk, butter, water and spices until they simmer. Rinse your rice until it becomes clear. Pour the rice into your simmering liquid and then pour that mixture into a 8 x 8 baking dish. Add the pineapple and spread everything until its even. Cover tightly with foil and cook in the over for about 30 minutes. Don’t peak until 25 minutes passes.

2. For the shrimp.. heat your oil in a pot that will contain/fry about 5 shrimp a time without touching. You want your oil to heat to 350-375. Your shrimp are likely going to be cold so take that into account. I mixed my wet batter ingredients in one pie dish and the dry batter ingredients in another pie dish.

As I shelled, deveined and butterflied my shrimp, I placed them into my wet batter mixture as if it were a sort of marinade. If you haven’t deveined shrimp I will try to describe it but you could also probably find a video on youtube. I grip the tail and remove the shell keeping the last part of the shell in tact near the tail’s end. Carefully with a sharp and small knife make strokes right in the middle of the curled side of the shrimp. You will see the vein and simply grab it and pull it out and should remove in one piece. Small stroke your knife until the large part of the shrimp lays flat on that big end. The reason for this is it not only looks cool but it gives you more surface area so you have more crust.

3. Once your oil is hot, take five shrimp at a time and remove them from the wet batter and put them into the dry batter until fully coated. Carefully lay them into the oil and cook for about 3-5 minutes when the crust is nicely browned. Remove them and place them on a wire wrack to drain. Work in batches until done.
IMG_0936IMG_0939
4. For the sauce I put everything in a blender and blended until smooth.

Fluff your rice and plate everything up. Enjoy.
IMG_0950IMG_0941

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Pizza Margherita

IMG_0316IMG_0315IMG_0313IMG_0312
While I am still working on my pizza dough experimentation my Basil has been thriving in my herb garden. Tonight we were going to hunker down and watch the World Cup Finals. So I picked up a ball of dough at our favorite pizza joint and decided to make a Margherita pizza. This pie really turned out well. Thin crispy crust, perfectly melted mozzarella with a super simple tomato sauce and my fresh basil.

I purchased one of those Presto gas powered pizza ovens because it can get up to 900 degrees. I prefer to stay at 700 degrees to let the crust really crisp up. So really the only thing I made here was the sauce and it was super simple because I cooked the two cloves of garlic in olive oil and added crushed San Marzano tomatoes and 2 tsp of sugar. I also used low moisture mozzarella cheese.

We recently saw an episode of Best 5 Pizza Places in the US on FoodNetwork. It showed the Chicago joint called Pequod’s that does a deeper dish but they line the edges of their pan with cheese so as it cooks it makes a nice crispy cheese edge. Jill tried it on one of the pies and it really did turn out perfectly. (if you’re into burnt cheese).

Ingredients:
pizza dough
14 oz of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
handful of fresh basil
2 tsp of sugar
2 tsp of crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese
Low moisture Mozzarella

Directions:
1. Made the sauce by cooking the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes and then adding the tomatoes and spices.

2. I took a non stick square brownie pan and put some olive oil on the bottom. I spread out the dough to the edges and then added some parm, then the sauce and finally the mozzarella and basil. IMG_0308

3. My oven was right around 700 degrees so it took about 6 minutes to cook.
IMG_0310

Attempt at Pequod's crispy cheese edges
Attempt at Pequod’s crispy cheese edges

Chicken Tikka Masala #3

Chicken Tikka Masala #3

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Chicken Tikka Masala #3
IMG_0182IMG_0179IMG_0177
There are many meals that I want to “master” or perfect. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of those. I’ve had a few that would unquestionably show up on my death row last meal menu. I just love all the things going on in a good one. It’s like a complicated Indian inspired pasta sauce. Burts of tart, tang, smoke and of course that beautiful slow heat make it irresistible to me.

For those who claim that they don’t like Indian food or “curry”, this dish can actually be 100% absent of actual curry. Mine has some but not that much. You should try it if you have never had it.

My last attempt at it was largely from Aarti’s recipe (foodnetwork) and it was really good but I can’t help to search on ways to improve or at least put my twist on the dish. So this time I pulled about four recipes that were highly rated. I highlighted ingredients that were absent from the other recipes and also circled the ones that were the same. My strategy was to create a base of ingredients and techniques that were consistent and then add to them unique ones from the other ones.

This turned out super. The use of lemon really really punched up the tang and gave it a brightness. Also the brine and broil on the chicken was most excellent. Most definitely will that be included in my technique going forward.

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts (cut into bite sized pieces)
Add chicken thighs if your people like them
1 large onion (diced)
1 bunch of cilantro
6 cloves of garlic
1 lemon
4-6 Roma tomatoes
2 tbs of fresh ground ginger
2-4 serrano pepper
3 tbs of ghee
1 cup of heavy cream
1 28oz can of Tomato sauce or puree
2 tbs of tomato paste (optional)

Spices
4 tbs of Cumin
4 tbs of Paprika
2 tbs of ground coriander
3 tsp of tumeric
3 tsp of ground curry powder (optional)
1-3 tsp of cayenne pepper
2 tsp of Kosher Salt

Brine

2 cups of plain full fat greek yogurt
Spices mixed and toasted (above) set aside 4 tbs for sauce
6-8 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbs of mashed fresh ginger
1 tbs of Kosher Salt
Juice of 5-6 lemons
1/2 cup of water

Directions:
1. Make your spice mix and create your brine in a large zip-locked bag. Trim and cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bag and let it marinate for at least 3hrs. Better over night.
IMG_0172
2. When ready make the dish, preheat your oven on broil. Line a sheet pan with foil. Remove your chicken from the marinade and pat it dry as you can. Place it on the sheet pan along with your Roma Tomatoes, Serranos and broil until there is a char. I first put my pan on a lower rack (10mins) , removed any liquid, and put it up on the top rack and watched it until there were some charred ends. When done remove and set aside until time to add to your sauce.

3. Sauce. While my chicken was cooking, I started on the sauce by melting my ghee in a large pot (medium heat) and cooking my onions. I minced the ginger and garlic into a paste and added it for a minute or so. Now I added the remaining four tbs of the spice mix to “bloom”. Stir for about a minute. Now add your tomato sauce/puree and turn it to low and let it simmer and reduce for 30mins. I then added the roasted serranos and rough chopped Roma tomatoes and about 1/2 a bunch of rough chopped cilantro. Cook on low for another 30 minutes.

4. Now remove from the stove and let it cool a bit. CAREFULLY pour into a blender. I have a variable speed blender and I turned it on the lowest setting with no lid. If you lid the mixture and blend while it’s hot you will have a mess on our hands not to mention some burns. I was able to slowly blend this mixture until smooth.
IMG_0174
5. Pour the mixture back into the pot on the stove and warm it up to eating temperature. Add your chicken. Let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Now stir in your cup of heavy cream. Taste. At this point you can add extra spices, juice of one lemon, and/or tomato paste to finish it off. I did the lemon and tomato paste. Serve with Naan bread and over rice with some fresh cilantro.
IMG_0178IMG_0181

Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken

Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken
IMG_0113IMG_0109
When I can’t sleep I can always count on the Foodnetwork playing Triple D. I eat that show up because most of those places are the kind of places I like to eat. So I saw an episode where he was in Hawaii and some guy named Mike sells chicken and pork on the side of the road. He has a truck bed with rotating rods and loads them up with bird or snout and cooks them over hot coals.

Huli Huli technique is a three step process that includes a brine, a rub and a baste. This extra care of the chicken creates a interesting depth of flavor, not to mention tenderness. I planned on cooking my chicken on kebabs in my homemade tandoor oven but the weather wasn’t cooperating so I used my skillet instead. Skin on, bone in would likely be best but Jill is funny about chicken (no white bits can be showing or she will pick at it).

The dry rub is spicy and earthy but the Huli Huli sauce is sweet and tangy. I served it with brown rice and a broccoli salad. For the broccoli salad I wanted it cold and also wanted to use some pineapple that I had on hand. It was a great balance to the chicken. Really nice meal. Next time, I want to grill it for an extra layer of depth.

Ingredients:
2 free range air chilled chicken breasts
Brown rice

Brine
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup of Sugar
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves smashed
1 lemon juiced with halves used

Dry Rub
2 tbs of garlic powder
2 tbs of Kosher salt
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs of onion powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of black pepper

Huli Huli Sauce
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup of soy sauce
2 tbs of Sherry wine vinegar
2 tbs of Sriracha
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger

Directions:
1. Cube your chicken into kebab sized pieces and place them in a bag. Place a saucepan on low heat and add your brine ingredients. Remove and add ice until “cool”. Add the brine to the chicken.
IMG_0103

2. When time to cook, remove the chicken and pat it dry. Season with the dry rub you created. Skewer your chicken and cook until done.

3. While the chicken is cooking, make your huli huli sauce by adding the ingredients in a sauce pan and cooking to combine and reduce. Use some of this sauce to baste your chicken while cooking to caramelize for another level of flavor.

4. Serve over brown rice and top with the Huli Huli sauce.

IMG_0111IMG_0110IMG_0108

The Texas Burger

The Texas Burger

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The Texas Burger
IMG_0078IMG_0081
Today is National Burger Day. So there is that… That is not why I made this burger. I did so because one of my favorite shows to watch is the “The Kitchen” on Foodnetwork. Geoffry Zakarian is my guy. I end up picking up great tips, recipes and ideas from their show.

So they have a contest around burgers by state. So I started thinking about The Texas Burger. Houston’s Hickory Burger is one of my favorites. It has BBQ sauce which is very Texan. We are also known for beef and BBQ brisket so I thought I would make a brisket/pot roast and grind it up into my 80/20 ground beef mixture. Got to have some local Texas bacon. Cheddar cheese and finally an ode to Chuy’s Mexican Food I whipped up Jalapeno Ranch. All of that Texas goodness between…. you got it.. Texas Toast. Drops the Texas mic, grabs belt buckle and spits. Okay none of that happened.

Such a great burger! I was worried the Texas Toast my have trouble standing up to the BBQ sauce and Jalapeno Ranch so I put them under the broiler to toast them up and to give them some structure. No sides needed for this burger. A Shiner Bock is all you need.

Ingredients:
J-dawg Sauce (recipe in the blog) with an extra kick of BBQ sauce in it and a little mustard.
Jalapeno Ranch (recipe in the blog)
Mexican Pot Roast / Brisket (recipe in the blog)
1 lbs of 80/20 free range organic Texas beef
Texas thick cut Bacon (2 slices)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Texas Toast
Shiner Bock Beer

Directions:
1. Make your sauces, shred your cheese.

2. I re-ground my 80/20 ground beef with my cooked brisket. You obviously wont use all the brisket in this mixture so grind in about 1/4 or 1/2 pound. I made four patties. I also loosely packed my meat..a tip I picked up from GZ on his burger he made a while back. IMG_0075

3. I crumbled my crispy bacon on top of my patty. On my toasted Texas Toast I slathered Jalapeno Ranch on the bottom and my BBQ sauce on top. Topped my bacon covered patty with fresh extra sharp cheddar cheese (not melted).
IMG_0081IMG_0084

Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette
IMG_9912
Super easy and healthy chicken salad recipe that is great for a easy night recipe. Katie Lee has a new cook book coming out and made this on Foodnetwork’s “The Kitchen”. Jill commented that she wanted me to put that on the menu this week.

It’s very springy, light, bright and easy. You can whip this up in about 7 minutes. There is a technique called “Paillard” which is basically flattening the chicken to and even thickness so cooking is fast, consistent and juicy because you aren’t drying out 80 percent of the chicken to cook the thickest part perfectly. It’s always worth using this technique on any meat you can for consistent juicy proteins.

Ingredients: 2 people
2 Air Chilled Free Range Chicken breast
1 box of Arugula (8 cups)
Radishes
Red wine vinegar
Sugar
Walnut
Honey
Juice of half a lemon and zest
1/2 teaspoon of grainy mustard
1 tbs of Olive Oil
Dusting of Granulated Garlic, Pepper, Kosher Salt
Shaved Pecorino and Manchego cheese

Directions
1. Clean and slice radishes. Put them into a small bowl and cover them with white wine vinegar and then mix in about a tsp of turbinado sugar. Refrigerate. IMG_9910

2. Wrap your chicken in plastic wrap and with a mallet lightly pound the thick part of the chicken breat until the entire thing is the same thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and salt, pepper and garlic dust both sides of the breast. Bring a grill or grill pan to medium heat. When hot, add the breasts and cook about 4 minutes per side.

3. While your chicken is cooking, I heated up a small pan and toasted some walnuts. I removed them from heat and put them on parchment paper and covered in honey and let them cool. Top with a little Kosher salt.

4. Flip your chicken, and make your vinaigrette by putting your lemon juice, olive oil, grainy mustard in a bowl and whisk until incorporated. IMG_9911

5. Remove chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. Cut on the bias and plate the chicken. In a large bowl mix your greens and vinaigrette. Stir with tongs 20 times. Plate on top of the breast or next to it. Add your radishes and honey walnuts.
IMG_9908IMG_9909IMG_9917

Drunken Pork Sandwich (Tortas Ahogadas)

Drunken Pork Sandwich

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Drunken Pork Sandwich
IMG_9617
One of my favorite shows is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri on the FoodNetwork. Those are the places I like to try when I am traveling. What I like about it is that most of those places do a few dishes really well or they put a unique spin on their version. We go to Cabo yearly and like to try various places. We almost have a full slate of places we like, so it’s hard to fit in new ones.

On Guy’s Big Bite he and Jonathan Waxman made this sandwich called Tortas Ahogadas which I think translates to Drunken Sandwich. Guy got the idea from a little shack he went to while filming an episode of Triple D in Cabo San Lucas. Sad to say the little stand is now gone, but tried to keep it alive with his own spin on it. The way he talked about this sandwich made it a must try for me.

This thing is pretty awesome. It does take a while to make given several steps but it’s not too crazy. Soft and spicy pork butt shredded on a simple roll, smothered in this spicy tomato sauce topped with pickled onions and pico. You get smoky, tangy, sweet, spicy all in one bite. It’s fabulously messy with juices dripping off your hands. And I get to have it for lunch for the next two days.

Ingredients:
Sandwich:
Rolls
Butter for the rolls
Dukes Mayo
Cilantro
Pickled Onions (ingredients below)
Tomato Sauce (ingredients below)
Braised Pork Butt:
2 tbs chili powder
2 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs granulated garlic
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt, fat trimmed, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces
1/4 cup canola oil
2 bottles of Mexican beer

Tomato Sauce:
6 to 8 dried chile de arbol (soaked in warm water)
2 tbs oil
1 white onion (diced)
1 jalapeno (seeded and diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
One 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup of Mexican Beer
Kosher salt and black pepper

Pickled Red Onions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion (sliced into long strips)
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp of cayenne
2 tbs of honey
pinch of cinnamon
1/ cup of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf

Directions
This has four parts… the pork butt, the tomato sauce, pickled onions and pico de gallo.

1. Start with the Pork butt. Trim a lot of the big fat parts off the butt. Then cut it into 3 or 4 big chunks because you want to maximize the sear but also allow it to be covered in the beer. Mix your rub and apply it to the pieces of pork butt until well coated. Preheat your oven to 375 or Crock pot. In large cast iron skilled on medium high heat, add some high heat oil like canola or grapeseed and sear the meat on each side. Takes about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and de-glaze with the beer. If you use the oven make sure the meat is covered with beer and then wrap in foil and put it into the oven for 4 or 5 hours. Let it cool and shred with a fork.
IMG_9602
IMG_9614

2. Pickled onions: Cut your onion into ribbons. In a medium heated pan add some oil and then the onions to soften.
Add the spices, honey, and vinegar and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Let it cool and then put it in the fridge until ready to use. IMG_9606
IMG_9616

3. Tomato sauce will take about 70 mins. Start by soaking your dried chilies in warm water for about 20 minutes. I microwaved some water for two and half minutes then added the chilies and put another measuring cup on top to ensure they are submerged. (see below)
IMG_9607

Take a large pot and put it on medium heat. Add some canola oil. Dice your onions and add them to the pot to sweat for 5 minutes. Next add your minced garlic, jalapenos and chilies. Let those also sweat for about 4 minutes.
Then add your spices and liquids and let this simmer for 50 minutes.
IMG_9609
Use an immersion blender or carefully pour your tomato sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.

4. Pico: I took four tomatoes, one onion, one jalapeno and a handful of cilantro and diced it all up. I then squeezed the juice of 1.5 limes and salted and peppered to taste.

5. Assembly. Butterfly your roll and butter each side. Place it in your oven on broil until brown and crispy.
Add you shredded pork. Top with your tomato sauce and then add your pickled onions and pico and cilantro. Lastly slather a little Dukes on the top side of the roll. Grab three or four napkins and a beer or cocktail and enjoy.

IMG_9622

Spaghetti and Roasted Meatballs

Spaghetti and Roasted Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IMG_9541
IMG_9536
While watching FoodNetwork’s “The Kitchen” show, they were siting that their poll states that spaghetti and meatballs is the number one comfort food. I love a good spaghetti and meatballs but in the south I would bet that fried chicken, dumplings, BBQ or some casserole would top the list.

When I think of Spaghetti and Meatballs, I think of my brother. My mom makes every kid’s favorite dish for his or her birthday. It’s funny because once she locks in that it is “your” favorite she doesn’t depart. My brother must have said he liked her spaghetti and meatballs in high school and to this day when we get together for birthdays you can bet that on my brothers day he is getting his spaghetti and meatballs.

So back to the recipe.. Geoffrey Zakarian showed how he roasted his meatballs. I usually fry mine in a cast iron skillet but typically have to babysit them by rolling around to get a good crust on each side. Roasting is a no fuss way of accomplishing the same thing without the hassle.

GZ has been hitting it out of the park with his recipes. He adds a few unique steps that really make a huge difference. I did depart from his recipe quite a bit. Mine was absolutely fabulous and I am sure his is even better. He used panko bread crumbs but I had two heels of my sourdough loaf left and used them. He also uses ground pork and pork sausage but I didn’t feel like grinding my pork so went with Turkey Sausage (kinda odd but it worked). I did screw up the noodles by over salting my water. The water is supposed to taste like the sea but not the Dead Sea.

Ingredients:
Meatballs
5 tbs of bread crumbs (Panko, I used Sourdough)
6 oz of heavy cream
1/2 cup of finely diced yellow onions
3 cloves of finely diced garlic
1 tbs of finely diced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup of finely diced parsley
1 egg
5 OZ of grated parmsean cheese
1 tbs of canola oil
12 oz of ground veal
12 oz of ground turkey breakfast sausage

Sauce
20 oz of San Marzano Tomatoes or Rao’s jarred Arrabiata Sauce
1/2 finely diced onions
1 tbs of Basil (fresh if you have it)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup of Red Wine
1 tbs of tomato paste

Spaghetti noodles cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:
Here is you tackle this. The meatballs need about an hour to set up so tackle them first. If you like concentrated sauce like I do you can make them and start your sauce right after that and let it simmer OR you can start it right after you put them in the oven.

1. Pulse your bread crumbs in a food processor until they are fine. Now this was odd to me but pour them into a bowl and add heavy cream. the crumbs are going to suck this cream up and you are going to be left with a pretty thick bowl of goo. GZ used panko so I don’t know if they reacted the same as my sourdough crumbs. Don’t freak out.

2. Take the onions with a tbs of canola oil in small pot or the same pan you’re going to use for your sauce. Sweat them out on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Then chop and add your garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 3 minutes and then remove from the heat to let the mixture cool.

3. Now everything you see in the meatball ingredients goes into a mixer. Mix this until everything is incorporated. You might need to do some hand work on the bread crumbs if you get lumps. Roll the balls into the size you like. I prefer smaller meatballs to maximize the amount of crust I can get with each bite. Put the meatballs onto a sheet pan, cover and let them set up in the fridge for an hour. You can cheat if you’re time crunched. IMG_9525IMG_9526

4. Two stepper… In a preheated oven at 425 degrees place your meatballs in the middle rack. Set your timer to 25 minutes. Right after start your sauce.

5. Stay with me here. You are going to have three pots on the oven. One for cooking the pasta, one for the sauce and the third we are going to use as a landing spot for the pasta.

For the sauce follow the same process you did for the meatballs by sweating your onions in a medium to large pot on medium heat. When onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the rest of your sauce ingredients and let it simmer. If you like rich sauce cook it longer but careful not to burn it. IMG_9527

6. When your meatballs are done, remove them and set them aside. Start your pasta water by bringing it to a boil with salted water. 3 tbs or so of Kosher salt. I don’t know the size of your pot or how high your fill it. Cook to the directions on the box to get them al dente. IMG_9528IMG_9530

7. Ladle in a cup or so of the sauce into the third pan/pot and then take your noodles directly from the pot using tongs and add them to the pan. The point of this it to introduce the noodles and the sauce so that you get full coverage. Add the meatballs to the non-noodle sauce pan to get those two acquainted.
IMG_9531IMG_9534
IMG_9533
Serve by plating your noodles first and then top with the meatballs. You can leave the extra sauce on the side or spoon a little on top. Apparently that technique of putting sauce on top is a “no no” but I don’t see big deal.

IMG_9535
IMG_9542

GZ’s Ricotta Gnocchi

GZ's Ricotta Gnocchi

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

GZ’s Ricotta Gnocchi
IMG_9341
On Saturday morning, I have developed a habit of watching “The Kitchen” on Food Network. This last episode they have a segment called Geoffrey’s Sunday Dinner or something like that. GZ cooked up a really simple ricotta gnocchi that seemed really good or the other hosts were good actors.

Jill has been traveling and so I thought it would be a perfect dish to make to welcome her home. For the most part I followed GZ’s recipe. My grocery was sold out of pancetta so while I could have used bacon instead, I went with prosciutto. Given it wont render out the fat that pancetta or bacon would, I added it with the garlic because it will crisp up pretty quickly. I also had a red onion on top for a salad I made earlier so I used that.

This turned out perfectly. Overall really simple but serves and appears sophisticated. The gnocchi is super soft and delicate and the simple tomato sauce is just a perfect comforting dinner. For the guys out there, this might be a good Valentines Day dinner.

The link to Geoffrey Zakarian’s recipe on FoodNetwork.
 http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/ricotta-gnocchi.html?oc=linkback
IMG_9349

Ingredients
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups AP Flour
Basil leaves to garnish

Prosciutto Tomato Sauce
1 package of prosciutto diced. GZ used pancetta
1/2 cup diced  red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
smidge of anchovy paste
One 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup of Red wine (Malbec)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Make your gnocchi by combining the ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs and 1 tsp of Kosher salt in a bowl.  Whisk until well combined and then add the all purpose flour in the thirds. First third of flour,  stir until mixed together and then the 2nd third, stir and finally the last third of flour.   Make the a ball and set the dough aside. Olive got hit with some flour
IMG_9335

2. Make your sauce by softening the red onion in a oiled pan on medium heat.  Once sweated out add your prosciutto and garlic and stir for another minute or two. Pour in your tomatoes and let that mixture simmer.
IMG_9336

3. Bring another pot of salted water to a boil while prepping your gnocchi.  Dust a counter or cutting board with a little flour. Take your dough in three batches. Roll it into a “snake” shape you used to make when you were a kid playing around with play dough.

Cut little bite sized pieces and place them on a cooking sheet lined with parchment and semolina flour or AP flour.  Once all the dough is cut, cover with a towel until you’re ready to boil them.
IMG_9327

4. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove with a spider and add them into your sauce.  Cook and and let the gnocchi absorb some of the sauce.
IMG_9340

Serve into a bowl and top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
IMG_9345

Alex’s Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Vinaigrette

Alex’s Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Alex’s Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Lemon Vinaigrette
IMG_8792
For Thanksgiving I am usually the “sides” guy given that my Mom and Mother-in-law claim the rights to turkey and stuffing. Given that they purchase the turkey from Greenburg’s in Tyler, TX I am trying to elbow my way into making a turkey for an alternative to the smoked turkey.

I like to check out the cooking shows as they ramp up to thanksgiving to see what sides they are whipping up. FoodNetwork had a show where a gaggle of star chef cooked Thanksgiving at Bobby Flay’s house. Alex Guarnaschelli made these cauliflower steaks that had everyone gushing. While I am not a huge fan of cauliflower, the fact that she had a little Indian flair pulled me in. My family keeps holiday meals pretty traditional so I like to bring some sides that raise an eyebrow and make people say… hmm this is great.

Tips: Alex suggests boiling the “steaks” first. Be careful here not to get them too tender bc they will fall apart (mine did). I also kept the “end caps” and used those also.

The coconut milk and cardamon give it a creamy flowery taste complemented with the heat from the red pepper flakes and then the punch of acid with the vinaigrette really works well. The gremolata was just too strong for my taste so I used this very sparingly
IMG_8795

Ingredients:
2 heads of cauliflower
2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk (13.5oz ea)
2 tbs of cardamon seeds, crushed lightly
1 tsp of red pepper flakes

Vinaigrette

2 tbs of lemon juice
2 tbs of Dijon mustard
2 tbs of red wine vinegar
2/3 cup of olive oil

Gremolata
1 cup of flat leaf parsley chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic minced

Directions:
1. As Alex describes…think steaks so cut it in half and then slice off one side so that it is flat on two sides like a steak. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and carefully put the steaks into the water to tenderize them (6-8mins). Be careful to not over cook!!! Remove and let them drain and cool.   Mix the coconut milk, crushed cardamon and red pepper flakes. I marinated these for two days.

2. Vinaigrette: mix the ingredients together and whisk until combined.

3. Gremolata: chop and mince and mix together the zest, parsley and garlic. This stuff is really strong so taste it to get an idea of how much you would like to use.

4. Heat your oven to 375 degrees and place these steaks on a sheet pan and cook them for 12mins and right before severing them, hit them in the broiler to put some color on them. Top with vinaigrette and gremolata before serving.
IMG_8795