Friday, December 31, 2010

Puttanesca Recipe

Pasta Puttanesca.

I love a good puttanesca and this recipe is not only good, it is very simple. Start by slicing some good salami. You can use pepperoni or an Italian sausage or leave the meat out all together.

Use some oven roasted tomatoes or a 16 oz. can of tomatoes.

If using the meat, gently saute' it to crisp it a bit. Remove from pan and set it aside.

Fry a few anchovies in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until they disintegrate.

Add about 5 diced garlic cloves.

Saute' the garlic in the anchovy oil just until it softens.

Add the tomatoes.

Add about 3/4 cup of pitted Kalamata olives. You can add them whole or cut in half.

Add about a cup of drained capers.

Return the salami to the pan.

Add a cup of tomato sauce and a cup of white wine.

Give it a good stir.

Add a tablespoon of ground black pepper and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Boil some pasta to al dente. I used rigatoni but you can use whatever you like.

Always boil your pasta in salted water. It is the only chance you have to flavor the pasta. It is the difference between a bland dish and a good pasta.

Mix the pasta thoroughly with the sauce.

Serve it with some grated parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Happy New Years Eve to everyone!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Teddy Under the Tree

I have been showing so may recipes recently that I have been neglecting the pup. She has taking to napping under the tree.

Every afternoon at nap time she settles in right underneath it. Maybe she thinks Santa will return with more treats.

She has even started dropping her toys under the tree.

She is never very happy to have a camera pointed at her. Especially at nap time.

I woke her up when I started snapping photos.

She went back to sleep quickly though.

She rolled on her side and did a bit of stretching first.

Look at those giant paws.

And then plop....back to sleep.

She always crossed her front paws when she sleeps.

One more look as if to say, enough already!

And then the snoring begins. Don't let those tiny incisors fool you for a minute. Those things are like needles. And on either side of them are giant cuspids (canines) from hell.

Puppy dream land.

I wish I could sleep like this.

Two seconds to fall into total unconsciousness. Unless the doorbell rings!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fideo Recipe

Have you ever eaten fideo? If you haven't, I think you should. This is some serious Tex/Mex comfort food. Sometimes it is really nice to just throw something together quickly which is fresh tasting and comforting all at the same time.

There are many recipes for fideo but this is the one I always make:

Heat four tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.

Add one pound of angel hair pasta broken in half.

Roll it around to coat it with the oil.

Stir it and keep turning it over. You have to be careful not to burn it and you want to brown it evenly. Use a wide pot if you have one.

It will start to brown around the edges. Keep rolling it around until all of it is evenly golden brown. Frying the pasta this way gives it a very unique texture in the finished recipe. It is chewier and nuttier tasting than regular angel hair.

Add four cups of beef broth and a bay leaf or two.

Add two tsp. of cumin, 2 of dried oregano.

Add a 16 oz. can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes or which ever ones are your favorite.

Add about 1 1/2 tsp. salt.

Add a teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper.

Then add 3/4 cup of diced raw onion. The onion in this dish stays a bit crunchy.

Bring it to a simmer and cover the pot. Stir it a couple of times while cooking for about 12-15 minutes. Make sure the pasta is cooked evenly.

You can finish it off with many different toppings. You could serve it with cooked chorizo. I've sprinkled mine with Queso Fresco but Monterrey Jack or cheddar would be good too.

Sometimes I add hot pepper flakes and fresh cilantro.

This is really a wonderful quick meal that kids would like too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Braised Beef Sandwiches

This is a delectable sandwich. I had a chuck roast I needed to use so I made a version of Julia Child's beef a la mode. You can make this with red wine but I was out of it so I substituted beer.

Start by pouring 6 tablespoons of a combination of olive oil and bacon grease. Saute' 3 anchovies in the oil until they disintegrate. I know I keep saying this but please try using the anchovies. They leave no anchovy flavor but rather add a deep caramelized flavor to the dish.

Finely dice a head of garlic. The garlic cooks through and caramelizes as it cooks so this dish does not end up with a pungent garlic flavor.

Use 4 or 5 large onions. These cook down a lot while cooking so don't be afraid to use a lot of them.

Sprinkle the roast liberally with salt and cracked black pepper on all sides.

Cover with a dusting of flour.

Sear on both sides in the hot oil until a crisp brown crust forms. Remove the roast from the pan and place on a plate.

Slice all of the onions.

Saute' them in the hot oil scraping up the drippings on the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic.

Stir around and continue to cook over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. The onions will still be crisp.

Add 2 bottles of beer.

I save my rosemary stems for recipes like this. I dry them and then when I have a piece of meat to braise or a stew or soup that needs to be simmered, I add the stems and they give me plenty of flavor.

Return the roast and any drippings to the pot. Add beef broth to almost cover the roast.

Add 3 tablespoons of beef demi glace.

Add 2 tablespoons of Maggi.

I also added a few fresh stems of rosemary.

Cover the pot and braise in a 275 degrees oven for about 4 hours.

The meat is ready when it is falling apart. Shred the entire roast.

Return the shredded beef to the juice in the pot.

I like to let this sit in the frig overnight to soak up all the flavors.

Use hearty rolls. I used mini chiabattas. I spread them with garlic butter and placed them under the broiler until they just turned golden.

Pile on the beef and add some of the juice.

If you know any beef lovers they will be in beef heaven eating these. Another good, cheap, easy recipe for the masses.

This would also be wonderful serves over mashed potatoes or pasta!