Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chinese Pot Roast

This is a tried and true recipe that is in the oven as I type this text:

Chinese Pot Roast


1 (4 pound) beef chuck roast (bone in or not)
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.  We like ginger)
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

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, pouring the gravy over the roast.

Cook's Notes:  I am using a rolled roast for tonight's meal.  It was handy and defrosted.  I am cooking the meal in a Dutch oven, which I will use later to make the gravy.  I will make rice to compliment this roast, and some sort of tossed greens.  As ever, cocktails at 6:30PM, sharp.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Beef and Lamb Chipotle Chili

We made chili tonight at the Cafe.  I found a recipe for Chipotle Chili and made a few changes to it with the items I had on hand.  Try serving it with some sour cream and grated cheese.  This recipe is a keeper.

Beef and Lamb Chipotle Chili

- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 TB bacon fat (or olive oil)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small can of chipotle pepper(with seeds) finely minced
- 1 TB adobo sauce from chipotle can
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 12oz package of frozen squash (defrosted)
- 1 16oz bag frozen corn
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 bottle of beer
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 can (14.5oz) crushed tomatoes

1. Brown meat with fat in pan.  Drain the meat and set aside.
2. While the meat is browning, finely chop the onions and garlic.  Cook chopped onions, garlic, chipotle pepper, chili powder and squash in the same pan the meat was browned in for 7-8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer this mixture into a large pot.
3. Place the browned meat into the same large pot.  Add the frozen corn, tomato, beef stock and beer into the pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. After 30 minutes, taste the chili and adjust seasoning to your  taste.  Cook the chili for 30 more minutes and then serve.
4.  Add sour cream and grated cheese to the chili, if desired.

Cook's Notes:  This is a variation on a recipe I saw on a cooking blog.  I substituted frozen squash for fresh squash, and I added the corn.  I also used a can of chipotle peppers and I minced the peppers before adding them to the  pot.  If you do not like lamb, you could just use ground beef.  I used lamb because the original recipe called for it and I have a pounds of frozen ground lamb left from a 1/2 a lamb we bought last year.  The chili was spicy, but not too hot

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken Piccata

We will be making a tried and true recipe in the Cafe tonight: Chicken Piccata.  Along with some sort of to be determined salad, we will serve this dish over angel hair pasta.  Thanks to our friends at Art of the Table, we will enjoy this meal with a bottle of "The Tillerman" from the Hook & Ladder Winery.  We have recently become a bit more adventurous with our white wine pairings, so we are looking forward to trying this wine.  As ever, cocktails are at 6:30PM, sharp.


  • 3-4 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)


  1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Place additional flour in a shallow baking dish.  Dip the chicken into flour to coat and shake off the excess flour.  Mix 1-1 tablespoons butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour into a measuring cup and gently warm the mixture in a microwave oven and set aside.
  2. 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.  Remove the chicken and place on a platter.  Tent the chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  3. 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 chicken into skillet and warm the chicken to 3-4 minutes, then serve.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Deirdre's World Famous Salad

This salad recipe is a variation of a recipe a friend of ours shared with us last year.  You must be warned that if you do not like blue cheese or walnuts, this salad is not for you.  Here is what you need:

- 1/2 head radicchio, torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 head Boston Bibb lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup roasted walnuts
- 1/2 Braeburn apple, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces.
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey

Whisk the oil, vinegar and honey until an emulsion is formed.  Place the radicchio, lettuce, blue cheese, walnuts and sliced apple into a bowl.  Pour the emulsion in the bowl and toss.  

Yield 4

P.S.  Deirdre's husband proudly posted this recipe.

Maple Mustard Ham Steak

We made this in the Cafe tonight.  It was easy to make and gave the ham steak a very nice taste.  Here is what you need:

- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 ham steak

Mix the mustard, syrup and cider vinegar.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade.  Prepare a fire in the grill.  Cook the ham steak for approximately 5 minutes.  Flip the steak and brush the marinade on the steak.  After 4-5 minutes, flip the steak again and brush more of the marinade on the steak.  Repeat flipping and marinating the steak until it it done.  Remove the steak from the grill, place it on a cutting board and cover it with foil.  Allow the steak to rest for 8-10 minutes.  Slice and serve the ham, and pour the reserved marinade over the ham.

Cook's Notes:  We microwaved the reserved marinade for approximately 30 seconds to warm it up.  We then spooned the warmed marinade over the ham and it was delicious.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Often, broccoli is an either/or food. You either love it or you don't.  Here in our home,  we love it.  (Ok, I LOVE it, Paul likes it).

Here is, through trial and error, my very favorite broccoli recipe.

Fresh broccoli, as much as you want, rinsed and dried.
Olive oil
Fresh pressed garlic
Seasoning (I use Mickey and T's veggie rub)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400.  Toss the broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and seasonings.
Put the broccoli in an oven-safe pan.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your broccoli.

Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Here I return the broccoli, with cheese, into the oven on broil for 2-4 minutes.

The garlic makes it for us.  It's virtually eliminated the vampire problem here.  Enjoy!