Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rosemary Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love them even more for breakfast.   There is a local diner in Eastown, Wolfgangs, that serves the best rosemary potatoes anywhere.  We set out to replicate their success. 

As many potatoes as you wish, diced.
[I use a very sharp knife and dice the potatoes into small pieces.  I find they cook better and more evenly this way.  I expect that you could make them larger and bake them, but I haven't tried that].
Seasoning.  I use Mickey and T's All American
Fresh rosemary.  Rinsed, dried, and smashed into teeny, tiny pieces.  

I cook them in olive oil with a medium to low heat.  I like mine a little crispy, so I crank up the heat the last few minutes.  

Two hints that we use that make these potatoes the very best.

First, dry the potatoes after dicing.  This absorbs the water and helps in the cooking.  If you forget, it won't ruin it but it does help.

Second, whip this up the day before you want to cook them.  Let the potatoes, the seasoning, and the rosemary sit overnight and get, as Emeril says, all happy. 

Hmmm, delicious.  I always make enough for two batches.  Cheers to good eats!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner

I am happy to report that our dinner on Christmas Eve was an unqualified success.  Rosemary Garlic Chicken was a also perfectly complimented by a bottle of 2009 Gregory Graham Chardonnay.  You can read more about the wine here.  Of course, Deirdre had to snap a few images, because that is what she does...



I was even able to use my kitchen hammer to flatten out the chicken breasts:



Cheers!


The almost finished product:


Tonight we will make Pan Seared Filet Mignon.  Bon appetit!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner

This is what we will be serving at the Cafe tonight for dinner:

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken


4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Using a rolling pin, pound the chicken between 2 sheets of wax paper until they are of uniform thickness. Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and the garlic browns. (Don't burn the garlic.) Add the chicken breasts and cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Add the salt, pepper, vinegar, chicken broth, rosemary and thyme. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 3 minutes longer or until the chicken is fork-tender. Remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Increase heat to high and boil the sauce until thickened or syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

Cook’s Notes:

    Slice the garlic, do not crush it. I do not know why but the sliced garlic makes this dish taste a lot better.
    Serve with plain cous cous or rice.
    Use fresh rosemary, if possible. It really makes a difference in this recipe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chicken Piccata

This is an incredibly easy meal to make and it has a very elegant taste. I made it last night as part of my continuing birthday celebration (I had bronchitis for my birthday, so we pushed out the celebration day out to 2 December). Give it a try and serve it over angel hair pasta.

Chicken Piccata

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Additional all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup drained capers
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional)

Place the chicken between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat pounder or a rolling pin, lightly pound the chicken to 1/4 inch thickness, the cut the chicken into strips. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Mix 1 tablespoon butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl until smooth. Place additional flour in a shallow baking dish. Dip the chicken into flour to coat and shake off the excess flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium high heat until golden brown (5-7 minutes a side). Remove the chicken and place on a platter. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Bring the wine, lemon juice and broth to a boil in the skillet over medium high heat. Whisk in the butter flour mixture and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the capers, parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Place the cooked chicken back into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Cook's Notes:

1. I sometimes cut the chicken into bite size pieces, instead of pounding the breasts and cutting them into strips.

2. I often serve this over angel hair pasta. It is a nice combination.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops

Since we did not cook a turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, we are not trying to eat our way through a couple pounds of turkey leftovers. Last night, I grilled a couple of Delmonico steaks. Tonight, I am going to once again fire up my Weber and grill a couple of pork chops. Deirdre and I are still debating the side dishes, but I am fairly confident that there will be some tossed greens, maybe some sort of rice.

Back to the main course, the pork chops. We are using the All American Seasoning from Mickey. We love love love his products and tonight I sprinkled some of his All American Season on the chops. The piggies are quietly marinating in the fridge and I know that they will turn out great, all because of Mickey's seasoning.


I took a gamble this past summer and purchased some of his stuff at Oscoda's Art on the Beach fair in June and I am a believer. As readers of this blog know, I am a little picky about the ingredients I use when I cook. I can't say enough about Mickey's products. Take a moment, look at his website and see if there is a rub or a seasoning you might want to try. Mickey's stuff is awesome.





Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Ex on the Filet Mignon with Shallot Pepper Cream Sauce

I am happy to report that our Thanksgiving meal was an unqualified success. Here are some images of the preparation of the meal.

Here are the shallots on my food processor:

Here are the filets seasoned with pepper:

No description here is needed:

Heating the filets prior to cooking them on the stovetop:

Into the oven to get the filets up to ~100F:

Warming up:

Making the sauce:

Our Thanksgiving table:

Well, we did have turkey on our table on Thanksgiving Day:


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner: The Main Course

We tend to be a little unconventional when it comes the Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, I have made a whole turkey with all the traditional side dishes. However, when it is just me and Deirdre, cooking a turkey, even a small one, yields a lot of leftovers and we end up throwing a lot of it away. So tonight I am cooing up two beef filets.

Here is the recipe:

Filet Mignon with Shallot Pepper Cream Sauce
· 1/4 cup coarsely crushed black peppercorns
· 4 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2 inches thick
· salt to taste
· 1 tablespoon butter
· 1 teaspoon olive oil
· 1-2 shallots, finely chopped
· 2 T cup beef broth
· 1 cup heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 275F. Place the peppercorns into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the beef tenderloin filets with salt on both sides, and coat both sides with crushed peppercorns. Place the filets on a cutting board or dish and cover with foil. Let the filets sit at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.

After the filets have warmed, place them in a pan and put the pan in the pre-heated oven. Cook the filets until they have reached an internal temperature of 95F (12-15 minutes). Once the filets have reached an internal temperature of 95F, take the filets out of the oven.

Melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat in a heavy skillet (not nonstick) until the foam disappears from the butter. Gently place the steaks in the pan, and cook until they start to become firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 3 1/2 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C).

Remove the steaks to platter, and cover tightly with foil. Cook the shallots in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then pour the beef broth into the skillet, and use a whisk to stir the broth and scrape up any dissolved brown flavor bits from the skillet. Whisk in the cream, and simmer the sauce until it is reduced and thickened, 6 to 7 minutes.

Place the steaks back in the skillet, turn to coat with sauce, and serve with the remaining sauce.

Cook's Notes: This was an easy and incredibly easy dish to make. It has an incredibly sophisticated taste but it could not be easier to make. We will serve this meal with a bottle of Educated Guess Cabernet.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Apple Pie: A Thanksgiving tradition

Ever since I can remember, I liked apples. I liked apples is all forms. I especially like apple pie, or I used to say as a small child in my dyslexic world, "Pie apple." My mother found the recipe below in a newspaper, probably the Detroit Free Press, and it became a staple in our home for Thanksgiving.

Of course Deirdre had to document my work preparing the pie (and she helped peel and cut up the apples):




Apple Pie Ingredients:
• 3-4 lbs Braeburn or MacIntosh apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
• Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix or Jiffy Pie Crust Mix
• Sugar
• Cinnamon
• Nutmeg

Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 of remaining pie crust mix
Teaspoon Cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Peeled and cut apples

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 of the remaining pie crust mix
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon

Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Follow the directions to make the crust for a single pie crust and
reserve the remaining crust mix. The Betty Crocker or the Jiffy mix work well with this recipe.
The remaining pie crust mix is an important part of the filling and the topping, so split in half
the remaining pie crust mix for the topping and the filling.

In a large bowl, mix well the filling ingredients. Pour the filling into the waiting pie crust.
Mix the topping ingredients into the same bowl and sprinkle the topping over the pie filling and
place into the pre-heated oven, and bake the pie on the lower rack of your oven. Check the pie
at approximately 35 minutes (normal cooking time is 40-45 minutes). Cook the pie until you
see the apples bubbling.

I prefer to use Braeburn or MacIntosh apples as they bake well. Avoid using Red Delicious
or Granny Smith apples as they tend to be too bitter for a good pie





Here are a few images of the finished product:



Deirdre and I will enjoy a slice or two of this pie with our Thanksgiving meal. Look for that recipe soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Paul's Chili

I purchased a couple of whole beef tenderloins recently. I asked the butcher to trim the tenderloins and grind the trimmings. These trimmings make an excellent chili. As luck would have it, we felt like making a pot of chili for dinner tonight. Below is the recipe I used:

Chili con Carne

2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 carrots, sliced
3 lbs boneless beef chuck, ground coarse
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon crumbled dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot cook the onions in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and carrots, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the beef and cook it over moderate heat, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and the red pepper flakes, then cook and stir the mixture for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, cider vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. After the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 60-90 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 15 more minutes.

Serves 6

The chili has about another hour to go. We also have sour cream and grated cheese to top the chili. Yum!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

Several months ago, Paul made this dish.  It was AH_Mazing and we vowed to make it again.  He updated some of the spices and we have some additional ideas if you would like to make this.  True confessions, I am not a big fan of lamb.  A rack is lovely once in a while but I normally find if oddly tasting and way too greasy for me.  This recipe is wonderful - the taste is great and it's not greasy at all. 

Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

    1 lb ground lamb
    1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon coriander
    1/2 teaspoon dry mint (new)
    1 small red onion, half finely chopped and half thinly sliced
    Kosher salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup couscous
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    3 plum tomatoes, sliced
    1/2 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
    1/4 cup Feta cheese for the mixture (new)
    4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (for topping)

Pre-heat a broiler. In a bowl, combine the lamb, Feta cheese, apricots, coriander, chopped red onion and salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into meatballs, approximate 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a broiling pan. Broil until cooked through, approximately 12 minutes.

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

From 2011-11-18

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the couscous per the directions on the box.

From 2011-11-18

Again while the meatballs are cooking, mix the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. When the meatballs are done, spoon the couscous onto a plate, serve the meatballs on the couscous, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and Feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing.

From 2011-11-18

Cook's Notes:
This was an incredibly easy meal to make. Paul used the food processor to chop the apricots and the red onions. This time, he added a 1/4 cup of Feta into the lamb mixture and dried mint to the dressing and HOKEY-SPITBALLS it was incredible. It was nothing short of delicious.  We might add a little bit of honey in the drizzle next time.  We served it with a wonderful red and it was the best Friday night meal.  Quick, easy, and so delicious! Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tuscan Pork Roast

Tuscan Pork Recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.com

    1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed
    1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients; rub over pork roast. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 1-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F, basting occasionally with pan juices. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Why the strikethrough?  Because I can never follow directions. It's both a blessing and curse really. I made the paste and did let the pork roast sit overnight.  Then, I threw it in the slow cooker.  Slow cookers are made JUST for people like me.  I have no idea really what I am doing.  A few hours into cooking, I threw a little chicken broth and white wine in. 

I wish that I had a smell-o-blog because this house smells divine.  There is no way that this isn't going to be fabulous. 

Cheers!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicken Curry

We felt a little spicy on Saturday, and that called for Chicken Curry and Apple Curried Cous Cous!

Chicken Curry

Ingredients:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds chicken breast filets, cut into strips
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup chicken stock (or broth)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:
1. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the chicken and cook until browned, 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat to medium-low, simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Slowly add the heavy cream and simmer (do not let the mixture come to a boil) for 3-4 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken and the sauce to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes: Be careful not to let the sauce boil after you add the heavy cream. If you are looking for the “Curry Powder,” it is the mix of cumin, coriander and ginger. Finally, the more red pepper flakes you add, the spicier you meal will be. Enjoy this meal with rice or cous cous.

Now, the Curried Apple Cous Cous recipe:

Curried Apple Cous Cous
Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- 3 green onions, washed and chopped
- 1 box Near East Cous Cous
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup pine nuts
- small handful of mint

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the butter, cumin, coriander and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the chopped apples and cook for 3-4 minutes, enough time for the apples to soften up and absorb some of the spices. Scoop the apples from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir in the green onions and cook them until they are soft. Add the water and bring to a boil, then stir in the cous cous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to fluff up the cous cous. Stir in the apples, pine nuts and chopped mint.

Serves 6

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday Pot Roast

    1 (4 -5 lb) beef roast, any kind
    1 (1 1/4 ounce) package brown gravy mix, dry
    1 (1 1/4 ounce) package dried Italian salad dressing mix
    1 (1 1/4 ounce) package ranch dressing mix, dry
    1/2 cup water

Directions:

    1    Place beef roast in crock pot.
    2.  Mix the dried mixes together in a bowl and sprinkle over the roast.
    3.  Pour the water around the roast.
    4.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Cooks notes.

I am a tweaker.  With the water, we added a little red wine.  We added vegetables - potatoes, a turnip, and carrots and put them in after the the beef had cooked for about two hours.   About 4 hours into the cooking, we added some beef broth.  Oh, and a little more wine.   In retrospect, I don't know that we really needed it.

In the end - magnificent.  It was delicious.  Meat was delectable and the veggies, just right.  Hmmmm....  help yourself.  Please share any tweaking you do.  :)


Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/to-die-for-crock-pot-roast-27208#ixzz1ahoqNHvE

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CROCK POT BAR-B-Q

 I have the lead on our Sunday slow cooking.  In the fall, we use the crock pot every Sunday.  I am  a BIG fan of crock pots. 

Here's what is on the menu for tomorrow courtesy of Allrecipes.com. 

CROCK POT BAR-B-Q   

1 fresh pork picnic or pork shoulder
2 c. vinegar
2/3 c. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. thyme
6 tbsp. prepared mustard
Few shakes of hot sauce to taste

Remove as much fat as possible from meat before cooking. Mix sauce ingredients and pour over pork in crock pot. Cook 12 hours (all night on low setting).

The next morning after cooking, remove meat from crock pot and cool until able to handle. Spoon fat from top of sauce in pot. When meat has cooled, separate all fat from meat and cut into pieces. Put meat back in sauce and cook over low setting until dinnertime.

Follow up on Monday!  Happy eating. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Post-Ex on the Yummy Honey Chicken Kebobs

I made the Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs last night and I am happy to report that this recipe was a home run. I marinated the chicken for about 24 hours, occasionally shaking the Tupperware container that was holding the chicken and the marinade. I cooked the kabobs for about 14 minutes and they were done. One thing I will probably do differently the next time I make this recipe is to place the chicken and veggies on their own kabobs. The chicken needs to cook a lot longer than the veggies need to cook. This recipe is a keeper.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs

I found this recipe on the website www.allrecipes.com. I am going to make this for dinner tonight. Updates to follow as conditions warrant.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic
5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
skewers

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper.
Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush
onto kabobs while cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and
peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at
least 2 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat the grill for high heat.

Drain marinade from the chicken and vegetables, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

Mustard Marinated Flank Steak

I needed to create a marinade for a flank steak and I was limited to what I had on hand at our cottage. Below is the marinade I create with the ingredients in my cupboard.

Mustard Marinated Flank Steak
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Place all the ingredients into a zip-lok bag and let the meat marinate overnight.

Prepare a fire in a grill. Remove the steak from the back and discard the marinade. Place the steak on the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes (medium rare). Turn the steak once while cooking. Remove from the grill when done and place on a cutting board.

Cover the steak with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut along the grain of the steak and serve at once.

Cook's Notes: This was a very good marinade. I cooked the steak for ~12 minutes, turning it once after about 6 minutes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lamb Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

We are slowly finishing up the lamb we bought last year. Deirdre found this recipe and we both thought it would be yummy. We were right.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 small red onion, half finely chopped and half thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
Pre-heat a broiler. In a bowl, combine the lamb, apricots, coriander, chopped red onion and salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into meatballs, approximate 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a broiling pan. Broil until cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the couscous per the directions on the box.

Again while the meatballs are cooking, mix the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

When the meatballs are done, spoon the couscous onto a plate, serve the meatballs on the couscous, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and Feta cheese. Drizzle with the dressing.

Cook's Notes:
This was an incredibly easy meal to make. I used my food processor to chop the apricots and the red onions. It was nothing short of delicious. Here are a few images of the preparation and the meal.

Here are the lamb meatballs on the broiler pan:

The sliced plum tomatoes:

More meatballs:

Placing the meatballs on the couscous:

Drizzling the dressing on the meatballs, tomatoes, couscous, onions and cucumbers:


We will definitely make this meal again. However, next time, I might add some Feta cheese to the ground lamb. Updates to follow as conditions warrant.

Basil-Garlic Grilled Pork Chops

In preparation for the whole pig we recently purchased, we have been trying new pork chop recipes. If you like limes and basil you need to try this recipe.

Basil-Garlic Grilled Pork Chops

Ingredients
  • 4 (8 ounce) pork chops
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Directions

Toss the pork chops with the lime juice in a bowl until evenly covered.
Toss with garlic and basil. Season the chops to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
Cook the pork chops on the preheated grill until no longer pink in
the center, 5 to 10 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer
inserted into the center should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Cook's Notes:
We like limes so I juiced two limes for this recipe. Also, I placed the marinade and the piggies in a zip-lok bag and marinated the chops over night. The chops were nothing short of delicious.

Breakfast

This is new for us.  I don't know that I have ever posted a breakfast recipe.  And we are on a huge feta cheese kick right now.  So I had all the ingredients for a terrific breakfast, sans Paul, because well, he doesn't eat eggs.

2 eggs, beaten
a few cherry tomatoes (as many or as few as you wish), quartered
a dash of white wine
a shake of basil
feta cheese

Heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil and warm up the tomatoes.  Over medium heat, add the egg mixture and let it cook until it starts to firm up.  Add the cheese.  Cook until done, depending on how you like your eggs.

You see how my cooking style differs wildly from Paul's precise measurements. I'm a 'this looks good' kind of cook.   Oh, and this is a "Samson Approved" breakfast dish.  I like it too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary and Vinegar Marinade

Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary and Vinegar Marinade

6 servings

1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 cups olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pounds flank steak

1. In a large bowl combine the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar,
Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, mustard, rosemary,
both olive oils, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until
thoroughly blended. Reserve once cup of marinade for later use.
2. Add the steak to the remaining sauce in the zip-lok bag and
marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Prepare a fire in the grill. Cook the flank steak to desired
doneness. 4-6 minutes per side for medium rare.
3. Remove the steak from the grill and place on a cutting board.
Loosely cover the steak with aluminum foil and allow the steak to
rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the steak along the grain
into half-inch slices. Serve at once with the reserved sauce.

Cook's Notes: I made the marinade on Friday night and placed the steak and the marinade in a zip-lok bag. The steak marinated overnight and cooked it last night for dinner. The marinade permeate the steak and I will definitely make this again. I drizzled a little of the reserved marinade over the sliced steak and it complimented the meat well.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

BBQ Curried Shrimp

This meal was sorta thrown together. We had about half a pound of frozen uncooked shrimp that we needed to cook at our cottage. A few weeks ago at an event in Oscoda called Art on the Beach we wandered by a booth with a person named Mickey who sold his personal line of rubs and seasonings. We purchased a few bottles of his stuff and we found them to be fantastic. We bought more of spices and one of them was called "A Taste of India." It was essentially a curry seasoning. We decided to use this seasoning with the shrimp and we were not disappointed. Here is the recipe:

- 1/2 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon Mickey's "A Taste of India" seasoning
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

In a small bowl, combine the seasoning, olive oil, red wine vinegar and the red pepper flakes, if used. Mix the ingredients well until the oil and the vinegar emulsify. Place the shrimp in the bowl and mix to coat the shrimp. Cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

While the shrimp is marinating, place 4-5 skewers in water and let them soak for at least an hour.

Prepare a fire in your grill.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade and discard the marinade. Skewer the shrimp and when the grill is ready, place the skewers on the grill. Cook the shrimp, turning every 2 minutes until the shrimp is done. Remove the skewers from the grill and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes: This was an incredibly easy meal to make. Next time, I will add more of the Indian seasoning. I cooked the shrimp for 6 minutes. They were fantastic! I would also recommend that you poke around Mickey's website. While his website is not the slickest on the planet, his seasonings are amazing!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

BBQ NY Strip Steak Recipe

Deirdre found this recipe yesterday. Technically, it was e-mailed to her, but she found it nevertheless. We had a couple of rib eye steaks in the freezer, just East of the Equator, so we thought we would give this recipe a try. We were not disappointed. The steaks were amazing. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup steak seasoning
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (1/2 pound) New York strip steaks
Directions

- In a bowl, mix the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, steak seasoning, red wine vinegar,
basil, and Italian seasoning. Pour into a large resealable plastic bag. Pierce steaks on all sides
with a fork, and place in the bag. Gently shake to coat. Seal bag and marinate steaks a minimum
of 2 hours in the refrigerator.

- Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade. Place steaks on the
grill, and cook 7 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.

Cook's Notes:
I used McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning as the "steak seasoning" ingredient. Also, I marinated the steaks for 6 hours and cooked them for about 5 minutes per side. The flavor of the marinade permeated the meat and I will definitely make this dish again!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grilled Teriyaki Marinated Pork Chops

It has been a busy week here, just East of the Equator. I am making an easy dish tonight for our dinner: Grilled Teriyaki Marinated Pork Chops. Here is the full menu:

- Teriyaki Marinated Pork Chops
- Tossed Greens with Croutons and Creamy Ceasar Dressing
- Long Grain & Wild Rice
- 2009 Crios Torrontes wine (Argentina)

I am using a store bought teriyaki marinade. I put the piggies into a large Ziplok bag ~9AM and poured the teriyaki sauce into the bag. The chops have been quietly marinating for the past 9 hours. I will take them out of the bag ~7:30PM and put them on the grill.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Post-Ex on the Ribs

I am happy to report that the ribs served last night were fantastic. The Rib Rub was a perfect compliment to the sauce I applied the last few minutes the piggies were on the grill. I would recommend the Rib Rub from Mickey & T's Rubs and Spices anytime.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BBQ Pork Ribs

What is more fitting for a Fourth of July weekend meal that BBQ pork ribs? That is what will be cooking in the Cafe later tonight. A few weeks ago, Oscoda had its annual "Art on the Beach" at the Oscoda Public Park downtown. There were lots of artisans selling their wares, but there were also a few people selling cooking stuff. One of those people selling cooking stuff was Mickey. I was intrigued by his spices, so for a mere $20 I purchased 6 bottles of his spices. Two of the bottles were "Rib Rub." I am giving his rub a try with the piggies tonight. First, I purchased a package of ribs from Sam's Club, then I cut the ribs into approximately 8 inch sections. Then I liberally applied the Rib Rub to the piggies:


Here is a picture of the Rib Rub:


And here is the finished product:


The piggies are quietly marinating with the Rib Rub in the fridge. I will fire up the grill ~6PM and put the piggies on when the charcoal is ready. Once the ribs are done, I will add KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce to the meat. Deirdre will make her world famous Chopped Salad and crusty bread will also be served. Updates to follow as conditions warrant.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The other white meat

We found a whole bunch of pork on sale. We bought it. Hence, LOTS of pork recipes. Here is what's cooking tonight at the cafe.

Modenese Pork Chops

2 tablespoons butter
2 (1 inch thick) pork chops
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced


In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook chops in butter, turning once to brown evenly. Pour in wine, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until chops are tender. Transfer pork chops to serving plates, and spoon sauce over the meat.

Hmmmm ... yummy. Cheers!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Burgers

We are tired.  We have been up north all weekend so "the royal we" didn't feel much like cooking.  So burgers on the grill it is.

Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
4 hamburger buns, split

Per others' reviews, we skipped the salt.   We grilled some buns, baked some crinkly fries, and put oranges in our Oberons!   Happy summer cooking.  Cheers!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sesame Honey Grilled Shrimp

We had a Surf & Turf themed dinner just East of the Equator last night. The turf part was easy enough: I took two beautiful ribeye out of the fridge about an hour before I put them on the grill and we seasoned them with Montreal Steak Seasoning. As for the surf, Deirdre and I have been on a bit of a shrimp kick the past few weeks. We scoured the internet for some new recipes and we found a recipe that looked very good.


Here is the recipe:

Sesame Honey Grilled Shrimp
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of line juice
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1lb uncooked lg. shrimp, peeled and drained
- 5-6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for an hour.

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt. Add shrimp, turning to coat marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Prepare barbecue (medium high heat). Remove the skewers from the water and remove shrimp from marinade. Skewer the shrimp, placing 5-6 shrimp on each skewer. Place the skewered shrimp on the grill shrimp until done, 3-4 minutes approximately each side.

Cook's Notes: We marinated the shrimp for 90 minutes and they turned out great. This recipe uses a lot of sesame oil, but the flavor of the shrimp is amazing. Because of the honey, the shrimp sort of carmelized, so the shrimp did not have much of a pink color when they were done. If you like any of the ingredients in this recipe, you gotta try this recipe.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday night Surf and Cluck Dinner

It has been a little slow at the Cafe recently. Work has been getting in the way of my blogging, but it does pay for our slice of paradise on Lake Huron. Speaking of East of the Equator, we had a Surf and Cluck dinner last night: Margarita Grilled Shrimp and Cajun Chicken.

From East of the Equator, Summer 2011

 Here are the recipes:

Margarita Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients:
- 1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined - 3 T fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, minced - 1/4 t ground red pepper
- 2 T fresh lime juice - 1/4 t salt (optional)
- 3 T olive oil - 5-6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
- 2 T tequila for 1 hour

1. Combine the shrimp, garlic lime juice, olive oil, tequila, cilantro, red pepper and salt in a bowl and mix. Cover and place in a refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
2. Prepare an outdoor grill. When the charcoal is ready, drain the marinade from the shrimp and discard. Thread the shrimp on the skewers,
3. Cook the shrimp on the grill until the shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes per side

Cook's Notes: I cooked the shrimpies for ~ 6 minutes and they turned out great. next time, I will add more red pepper. This recipe is a keeper.

Cajun Chicken


Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup olive oil - Garlic powder to taste
- 2 1/2 t Cajun seasoning - 2 1/2 t lemon pepper
- 2 1/2 t dried Italian seasoning - 4 skinless chicken breasts

1. In a shallow bowl, mix the oil, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and lemon pepper. Place the chicken in the dish and turn the breasts to coat them in the marinade. Cover and place in a refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Prepare an outdoor grill. When the charcoal is ready, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
3. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook until done, 8-10 minutes per side.

Cook's Notes: This was an incredibly easy dish to make and it was delicious. For Cajun seasoning, I used Emeril's Essence. Also, I had never heard of "Italian seasoning" until I saw this recipe. Conveniently, I found a bottle of Italian Seasoning at Meijers. After the chicken was done, I placed the breasts on a plate and covered them with aluminum foil and I allowed the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before I served them. I will definitely make this recipe again!


We washed it down with a delightful wine.  

From East of the Equator, Summer 2011
Cheers from East of the Equator!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chinese Pot Roast - revisited

This recipe is unbelievable.  Even in the summer.

From 2011-05-20

1 (4 pound) boneless beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cups water
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger  (I used 1/3 of a cup.  I like ginger)
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

I can never add the ginger recipes call for. It's my shortcoming, for real.
From 2011-05-20
From 2011-05-20

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Coat the chuck roast with garlic salt, pepper and mustard powder. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the roast and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

In a medium bowl, stir together 3 cups of water, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger and celery seed. Pour over the roast and then cover the roast tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until the roast is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

When the roast is done, remove it from the pan to a serving plate. Set the pan of drippings over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir together cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water. Pour into the boiling liquid and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve the roast with the gravy poured over.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture meal

Tonight is a good meal.  Just in case.  #rapture   Hong Kong Flank Steak
Flank Steak 
1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/4 dry sherry 
1 T minced fresh ginger  (I never follow directions.  I probably used 1/4 a cup) 
1 T minced garlic
1 T sesame oil
1 T peanut oil
1 T rice vinegar 
1 T honey
2 t hot chili oil
salt and pepper to taste 

Mix it all, put it in a zip lock bag.  Let it marinate for at least 8 hours, overnight preferable. Cook until desired doneness.  We like it rare.  6 minutes each side. 

Here is the rest of the menu.  
From 2011-05-21

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A nice slow cooked pork shoulder

Our lazy Sundays are coming to winter's end.  Soon our Sundays will be mostly composed of sunrises, crashing waves and walks on the beach.   Having a Sunday to lounge and a pork shoulder to cook, I thought I would fire up the slow cooker before storing it for the summer.  I found what looks to be a fabulous recipe, again courtesy of Allrecipes.com.


A Nice Slow-Cooked Pork

INGREDIENTS:
1 (3 pound) pork shoulder roast
1 quart vegetable broth  (I used chicken broth and cut it in half)
1 cup sherry (per others input, used 1/2 a cup)
3 cups peeled, chopped potatoes (I used 3 potatoes as that's all I had)
2 cups pearl onions (I used a large, white onion quartered)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (only because Paul doesn't eat mushrooms)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary (I used fresh and more because I LOVE rosemary)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the pork roast in a slow cooker. Pour in the vegetable broth and sherry. Mix in the potatoes, onions, mushrooms, rosemary, and pepper. (I set everything on top)
2. Cover, and cook on Low at least 8 hours, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Season with salt to taste.

As you can see, I almost never follow directions.  It's sort of a thing for me but I live with it.  :)  I also added five carrots, two cloves of garlic and a little red wine vinegar.  Many of the comments said that there was too much liquid so I cut way back and will check it throughout the day.  It looks delicious.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vodka Martini with Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives

In general, I am not a clear liquor drinker. I do not like gin, I tolerate tequila, and I can occasionally drink vodka. Well, last weekend our friends Mike and Pam introduced us to a vodka martini with a blue cheese stuffed olive. I thoroughly enjoyed the drink. It helped that Mike is a fantastic mixologist, too! I decided to try my hand at making a couple for me and the missus. Click here for some images of my work. Here is the recipe I used:

- 3 oz. vodka (I used Absolut)
- 2 capfulls of Martini and Rossi White Vermouth
- ice

Place a hand full of ice into a martini shaker. Pour in the vodka and the vermouth. Shake for 30 seconds or so and let the liquids sit for 1-2 minutes. Place an olive into a chilled martini glass, and then pour the liquid from the shaker into the glass. Yield 2 vodka martinis.

This was a simple yet incredibly elegant cocktail before we made dinner.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Filet Mignon with Pepper Cream Sauce

1/4 cup coarsely crushed black peppercorns
4 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2 inches thick
salt to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
2 T cup beef broth
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat an oven to 275F.

Place the peppercorns into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the beef tenderloin filets with salt on both sides, and coat both sides with crushed peppercorns. Place the filets on a cutting board or dish and cover with foil. Let the filets sit at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.

After the filets have warmed, place them in a pan and put the pan in the pre-heated oven. Cook the filets until they have reached an internal temperature of 95F (12-15 minutes). Once the filets have reached an internal temperature of 95F, take the filets out of the oven.

Melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat in a heavy skillet (not nonstick) until the foam disappears from the butter. Gently place the steaks in the pan, and cook until they start to become firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 3 1/2 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Remove the steaks to platter, and cover tightly with foil.

Cook the shallots in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then pour the beef broth into the skillet, and use a whisk to stir the broth and scrape up any dissolved brown flavor bits from the skillet. Whisk in the cream, and simmer the sauce until it is reduced and thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Place the steaks back in the skillet, turn to coat with sauce, and serve with the remaining sauce.

Cook's Notes: This was an easy and incredibly easy dish to make. It has an incredibly sophisticated taste but it could not be easier to make. We served this with a bottle of Educated Guess Cabernet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday night salad

Saturday night, we had friends Yvonne and Gary over for dinner.  Paul made a magnificent honey and rosemary rack of lamb.  Yvonne asked to bring the salad and how happy we were that she did.  WOW.   You need to make this sometime.  

Radicchio with blue cheese and pears 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
2 small radicchio, ends trimmed and leaves separated
2 small beurre bosc pears, quartered, cored and cut into thin wedges
Blue cheese crumbled  (No amount here ... I love blue cheese so more is better.  You can decide on amount based on your personal taste)
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Mix everything.  Eat.  It's amazing.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

I really felt like some soup today.  It's been overcast, dreary, feeling-colder-than-it-is kind of cold, damp cold, lugubrious.  Our soup days are coming to an end (hip, hip, hooray) so I thought I would take advantage of the weather.

Saturday night, I made a fabulous meatloaf and decided on baked potatoes to go with it.  Having seen this recipe earlier in the day,  I threw a couple extra potatoes in to bake.  I am SO GLAD that I did.

Baked Potato Soup courtesy of Allrecipes.com.

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley

Directions
In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Cook's notes
Because I can never really follow directions, here are a few changes that I made.
I never took out the bacon.  And I am really glad that I didn't.
I used 4 cups of chicken broth instead of 3.
I should have used a few more potatoes.

It is fantastic.  And really easy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pork-a-Palooza

This weekend we went hog wild. Using the pork that we purchased last year, we made the following dishes for dinner each night:

Friday Night: Parmesan and Sage Pork Chops
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rosemary-Sherry-Pork-Chops/Detail.aspx
We followed this recipe to the letter. To our surprise the Parmesan cheese adhered quite well to the chops.

Saturday Night: Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rosemary-Sherry-Pork-Chops/Detail.aspx
Truth be told, Deirdre and I did not make the sauce per the recipe. I bought a bottle of Sweet baby Ray's BBQ sauce and poured it over the ribs. The meat cooked for 8 hours and it was literally falling off the bone.


Sunday Night: Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Tangy-Slow-Cooker-Pork-Roast/Detail.aspx

We have yet to enjoy Sunday night's meal, but I can tell you that our dinners on Friday and Saturday night were nothing short of outstanding. Here are a few images of what has become known as Pork-a-Palooza:



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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Easy Slow Cooker French Dip

INGREDIENTS
4 pounds rump roast
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French
onion soup
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
6 French rolls
2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS
1. Trim excess fat from the rump roast, and place in a slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion soup and beer. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Split French rolls, and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes, or until heated through.
4. Slice the meat on the diagonal, and place on the rolls. Serve the sauce for dipping

Cooks Notes
I used Founders Centennial IPA.
From 2011-02-20

And I used Beef Consume' and French Onion Soup.
From 2011-02-20

I did not trim the fat.  Ours didn't have that much on it.  It looks and smells magnificent.