Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wine Braised Beef with Onions

Growing up I loved having pot roast, it was one of those things you would look forward to having on a sunday evening. Chris bought a Le Cresuet pan the other day and we have been waiting to make a slow cooked meal in it. I love the pan, it is so great, especially the orange color.


3 onions
2 shallots
1 (2.5) pound beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon pot roast
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle of red wine- I say don't cook with it if you wouldn't drink it.
12 small potatoes- cut into pieces
4 carrots- peeled and cut in pieces

First you need to cut up the onions and shallots, which could bring out a few tears. I have heard that running the knife under water can help, but I always seem to shed a few tears. Cut them into about 1/2 inch slices, keep them sort of big. Because they will shrink and dissolve in the cooking process.
Now you want to pat dry the beef and season all over with ground pepper and salt. Heat the oil in your pan until in shimmers. Place the beef into the pan, hot oil may splash up, so be careful. Cook the beef for about 8 minutes on each side. Then you can take it out and set aside on a plate.
Place the onions, shallots and bay leaf into the pan. You can add a little more oil if you feel that you need it. Cook this for about 25 minutes, you will want to scrape up all the little bits from the bottom of the pan, so that the onions get nice and coated.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Add the wine to the onions as well as the beef and any juices that are left on the plate. Bring this to a boil. Then put the top on the pan and place in the oven for about 3 hours. After 3 hours, take the pan out of the oven and throw in the carotts and potatoes. This way they won't be over cooked, place the pan back in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Then take it out and you are ready to serve. Scoop out some beef and top it with onions and carrots and a little juice from the bottom of the pan. I know this recipe has a lot of cooking time, but it is well worth it and your house will smell so good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fish Tacos & Baja Sauce

Fish tacos are one of our favorites. They are so light, delicious and bursting with flavor. They are really simple to make and it is fun to change up the normal taco routine. It's also great to make up some margaritas to drink along side, soon we will post our fav margarita recipe.

Fish Tacos

1 pound firm white fish, cut up into 1/2 inch pieces - we used catfish this time
1 12 ounce bottle beer - something light (a pilsener would work well)
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup beer - same type as above
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
fresh corn tortillas- you can heat them up on your stove top
1 lime
1 cup cheese - monterey jack, or whatever you have on hand.
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 red onion cut into thin slices

Combine the fish, taco seasoning and beer in a bowl. Stir well and refrigerate for about an hour. If you have more time then even better.

After the fish has chilled, it is time to make the batter for the fish. First combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Then add in 1 cup of beer and the hot sauce.

Now, take the fish out of the marinade and put into the batter. Make sure that all of the fish gets coated.

Heat up the oil in a pan. You will want about 1 1/2 inches of oil in the pan. Make sure it gets nice and hot....please be careful around hot oil.

Cook the fish in batches, cook it for about 4 minutes at a time. When it is done, place it on paper towels to let it drain.

Heat up your tortillas and then place about 2-3 pieces of fish on each taco, squeeze lime over the fish and top with cheese, cabbage, red onion and then baja sauce (the recipe is below).

Baja Sauce

1/2 cup yogurt- or you can use sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 small jalapeno seeded and diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Combine the yogurt, mayo and seasoning. Stir well and then add in everything else.
Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sausage Rolls

Ok, so these things are delicious! Whenever I have a party, people insist that I make them. One time, my friend Margo called to say she was running late, but wanted me to make sure that I saved a few rolls for her. The recipe comes from my sister in-law's mother Peggy. Peggy made these at a christmas party a few years back and I think I ate the entire plate. If you need a quick little something for your guests to nibble on then this is it!

1 sage sausage roll- jimmy dean works fine.
1 white onion- chopped fine
1 8 ounce block of cream cheese
a pinch of thyme- if you have it.
2 packages of crescent rolls

First, brown the sausage with the onion. Once it is cooked through, drain the grease. Now, pour the meat mixture into a bowl. Then add the cream cheese. Stir until everything is incorporated.

When it is all mixed up, place it in the fridge to firm it up. While it is in the refrigerator you can get out the crescent rolls.

Unroll them and then cut them in half, so the sausage rolls are a small little bite. Just cut each triangle into 2 smaller triangles. Now it is time to stuff them. Put a small dollop of mixture into each roll, then fold up the corners.

Once you have stuffed them all, you can either bake them right away, put them in the fridge until your guests come over, or freeze them and use another day. There is usually a little extra meat mixture left over, which you can freeze as well. To cook, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake them for about 10-15 minutes on the center rack.

I guarantee if you serve these at your next party, you won't have any leftovers.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pork & Potato Salad

The weather is finally starting to change in Chicago, which means it is grilling time. We love to pull out the grill and cook up some delicious grub. Chris has a small suitcase grill, that we carry up to the roof top when we want to grill. It works really well. It is from Crate and Barrel, I looked on the site but they don't seem to sell them anymore. Any grill will work just fine. Last Sunday, we decided to make pork with potato salad and a side of asparagus. It was so delicious and it was nice to sit outside and eat our meal.

Marinated pork

4 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup chopped scallions

a few hours before you are going to grill, combine the maple syrup, soy, molasses and scallions. Mix it up really good and then drop the pork chops into the mixture and coat everything really well. Now you want to place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least a few hours and up to overnight.

When they are done being marinated, place on a hot grill and cook about 4 minutes a side, depending on how hot your grill is. Most pork will be pink in the middle, so don't be scared. You can always use a meat thermometer

Let them rest, and then you are ready to eat.

Now onto the side dish

Dill Potato Salad

This potato salad is slightly tangy and light.

8 smallish potatoes red or yukon gold- we actually used Klondike Goldust.
1 cup yogurt- of course we used our homemade yogurt, see below for instructions.
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 lemon squeezed

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until tender with a fork. While you are boiling them combine the yogurt, dill and lemon. You can put this in the fridge while you are waiting for the potatoes.

Let the potatoes cool before you cut them. Then you can either slice them or cut them more into cubes, whatever you prefer. Then toss them into the yogurt mixture and you have potato salad.

To add the asparagus to the dish, we just tossed them with some olive oil and salt & pepper. When we put the pork on the grill, we just tossed them on there. Make sure to rotate them a little and they will most likely cook faster than the pork.

Just add a beer and you have a delicious summer meal!