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Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta

April 4, 2014 - Written by Diana

Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta - Cookerati

The lamb neck is often an overlooked piece of lamb that people don’t ask their butcher for. I went to a lamb cutting class and when asked which part of the lamb was the favorite, I don’t remember what my response was, but I remember the response of another person, because he said lamb neck.  The butcher said it was one of the lower costing and under-valued. My Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta is a delicious way to prepare this under utilized part of the lamb that is so delicious.

Lamb neck is a very fatty piece, with a lot of bones, because of this the meat is full of flavor. It also means, that it’s more of a stew piece instead of a steak or thick roast. After you cook it, you have to wade in with your fingers, pull the meat out and the bones and also drain all of the grease to get to the flavor filled stock.  It’s a bit of work, but really worth it. I served it over polenta this time, but a nice root vegetable mash or potato mash would be great. Serving it over a nice thick Sourdough would work well for sopping up that great gravy.

This is not a quick and easy worknight meal.  You can put it into the crockpot, but the meat has to cool, so that you won’t burn your fingers. The gravy will need to cool a little also before you whirl it around in the food processor.

Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Lamb Neck is an often forgotten but very economical piece of meat that is great for stew.
Author:
Recipe type: Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lamb neck
  • 3 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp paprka
  • 1 pint lamb or chicken broth
  • 4 carrots sliced into 3 inch pieces
  • 2 large turnips quartered
  • 3 large tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • (as needed)
  • 1 cup of water
  • cumin
  • all spice
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Using a dutch oven, heat the cooking oil.
  2. Sear all sides of the lamb neck.
  3. Throw onions, garlic, sprinkle with cumin, all spice, ginger and paprika.
  4. When the onions are soft, add 1 pint broth and simmer for about an hour.
  5. Add in the carrots, turnips and tomatoes and simmer until the vegetables and soft and the meat is ready to come apart.
  6. Place the meat on a plate to cool so that you can work with it.
  7. Place the cooked vegetables (except tomatoes and onions) in a bowl with a cover.
  8. Drain the stock into a gravy separator.
  9. Using the wine deglaze the dutch oven and turn the heat off.
  10. Pour the gravy without the grease into a food processor along with the tomatoes and onions or use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth.
  11. Add water to thin and spices to taste and return to dutch oven if you used a food processor.
  12. Pull the meat off the lamb neck and discard the fat and bones then add the meat to the dutch oven.
  13. Slice the turnips and carrots into smaller bite size pieces and add to the dutch oven.
  14. Simmer on low the vegetables, lamb neck meat and sauce.
  15. Prepare the polenta.
  16. Boil 4 cups water.
  17. Add in cornmeal.
  18. Stir until the cornmeal seems suspended and no longer falls to the bottom of the pot.
  19. Place lid on and give it a stir every so often until thickened.
  20. Ladle the polenta into a bowl, place a serving of lamb neck stew over the center.

 

Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

February 5, 2014 - Written by Diana

I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl.  We brought this  – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup.  We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes.  We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).

I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market.  We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement.  The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad.  This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out.  I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.

Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked.  I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up.  I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way.  And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it.  This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.

Ingredients:

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Turkey Soup – from your home made Turkey Broth

November 29, 2013 - Written by Diana

So you’ve cooked those turkey bones and created the wonderful Turkey Broth, now what.  Here’s a 30 minute (or less) recipe for one of those work or run out quick nights. The key to making it quick is to cut the pieces small enough that they will cook quickly, while at the same time a it needs to be a nice size tasty morsel in your mouth. You can swap out the veggies for ones you like better and customize it.  Crusty whole grain bread with some nice butter would go well with this.

Turkey Soup     Ingredients:

Directions:

Heat Olive Oil in Pan.  Sauté Onions, garlic, turnips and carrot.  When they seem almost al dente, add the broth.  After the broth heats to a simmer, add in the turkey and potatoes. Throw in the herbs. When the potatoes are the correct texture it’s ready.

Easy Peasy, well it would be if there were peas.  You can add them if you like.

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Citrusy Tequila Turkey

November 26, 2013 - Written by Diana

 

 

Thanksgiving is the big kahuna of family meals so when you invite your family or your in-laws to your Thanksgiving dinner, it had better be good.  I remember going to my sister-in-law’s and how they tormented her about whether her turkey would be dry.  I felt so bad for her, but she was used to it, growing up with 5 brothers who show no mercy.  In our family the women were the forced to be reckoned with, so the dynamic was more of encouragement.  Either way, it’s nerve wracking to try and come up with a dinner that everyone will be tasting, so I’m sharing an interesting twist on turkey using one of my favorite ingredients – Tequila.  This is a sweet citrusy turkey with a little tequila kick for your Thanksgiving Dinner. I hope your Thanksgiving dinner brings you a great family meal whether or not you have a Citrusy Tequila Turkey.  Feel free to pare down the ingredient amounts based on using a smaller turkey, since this recipe is for a huge one.

Ingredients:

Tequila Turkey

Directions:

Preheat over to 325 degrees F

Wash turkey well and pat dry then set turkey in roasting bag next set into roasting pan. Stuff cavity of the turkey with 1 lemon quartered, 1 orange quartered, 2 granny smith apples quartered, and 1 white onion quartered. Add Fresh sage and thyme bundle.Pour 1 cup of honey over the top of turkey, add salt and pepper to taste, and 2 teaspoons of garlic salt to the top of turkey. Cut 2 sticks of butter into half inch pieces and place around the bottom of the turkey in the bag. Inject one cup of Maestro DOBEL tequila into the turkey. Pour one cup of Maestro DOBEL tequila over the turkey in the roasting bag.

Place turkey in a roasting pan and bake for 5 hours

Easy Gravy-Strain the juices that have accumulated in the bag, skim off any fat, pour the turkey drippings into pan, add cup of flour and salt and pepper to taste. Stir on med. Heat until all the flour is mixed well.

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Roast Chicken

May 29, 2013 - Written by Diana

Here’s a simple and easy Roast Chicken that’s practically fail-safe.  This is a reprint of one of my favorite recipes to prepare

This is a good comfort meal when you need to sit down for a family meal that anyone can prepare.  I do mean anyone.  I have a clay baker that I bake my chicken in, but you can use a roasting pan if you like.  I added some ginger and lemongrass to give it a zingy springy flavor along with garlic, cause I love garlic. I usually bake the chicken and about half way through throw the potatoes and spinach into the pan – use whatever fresh vegetables you like best.

Roast Chicken  -Cookerati    Ingredients:

Directions:

Lightly spread Olive Oil over the chicken.  Place garlic under the skin – all over.  Grate ginger and lemon grass and sprinkle that under the skin of the chicken, plus throw a little in the cavity along with some of the garlic.  Sprinkle the other herbs and spices along with salt and pepper on top.  Place the chicken into the roasting pan, or clay baker, slice an onion and place around the chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 325.

In a bowl, places chopped up veggies and sliced potatoes, sprinkle with some herbs, salt and pepper and toss.  Twenty minutes before the chicken is done – add the potatoes and veggies to the baker and recover.  You can uncover about ten minutes before the end if you want a crispy skin, but we don’t eat the skin, so we don’t do that part. The chicken needs to be 165 deg F, but I’ll take it up to 155, and then let it sit for about ten minutes.  It will rest and go up to about 165.  A meat thermometer is one of my best friends.  I don’t cut apart the chicken to test like my mom used to, just poke it with the meat thermometer.

 

This chicken is delicious, easy and oh so good.  My husband sits and picks the bones clean, there’s never enough left for another meal.

 

Roast Chicken
 
An easy but delicious roast chicken dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 whole Chicken
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 onion
  • ginger
  • lemon grass
  • thyme
  • sage
  • pepper
  • salt
Instructions
  1. Lightly spread Olive Oil over the chicken.
  2. Place garlic under the skin – all over.
  3. Grate ginger and lemon grass and sprinkle that under the skin of the chicken,
  4. plus throw a little in the cavity along with some of the garlic.
  5. Sprinkle the other herbs and spices along with salt and pepper on top.
  6. Place the chicken into the roasting pan, or clay baker, slice an onion and place around the chicken.
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 325.
  8. In a bowl, places chopped up veggies and sliced potatoes, sprinkle with some herbs, salt and pepper and toss.
  9. Twenty minutes before the chicken is done – add the potatoes and veggies to the baker and recover.
  10. You can uncover about ten minutes before the end if you want a crispy skin, but we don’t eat the skin, so we don’t do that part.
  11. The chicken needs to be 165 deg F, but I’ll take it up to 155, and then let it sit for about ten minutes.
  12. It will rest and go up to about 165.
Notes
A meat thermometer is one of my best friends. I don’t cut apart the chicken to test like my mom used to, just poke it with the meat thermometer.

Pressure Cooker Brisket in a Pinch

April 25, 2013 - Written by Diana

Today I had plans for a brisket – all day in the crockpot, or smoking – plans for a slow cook.  Alas, planning isn’t any good without the follow through.  So here I had the brisket – small about a 1 1/2 lb brisket – targeted for dinner, but i was too late to go the slow way.  Brisket cooked fast is chewy and tough, it needs time, unless you have a pressure cooker.  I put that brisket under pressure, went for a walk with the dog and when we came back, it was ready to eat (the stove was attended, so no worries).  The meat pulled apart easily, and the sauce ingredients had all melded together quite nicely for a good swish at the end with the pulled meat.

I’ve used the pressure cooker many times as a way to fix a meal quickly without losing the flavor or moistness. Since there is less evaporation due to the seal, you need a little less liquid but it’s still pretty juicy.  The most difficult part for me is always when I have to wait for the little button to go down, so that I can separate the pot and lid.  It’s always amazing how the meat is ready to fall apart after such a short time.

Ingredients:

Heat up the oil on the bottom of the pressure cooker. When the oil is hot, sear the brisket on all sides, while sauteing onions and garlic.  After the meat is browned on all sides, dump all of the other ingredients in, nestle the meat  and put the lid on, and seal it.  After about an hour, take it off the heat and wait for the button to go back down.  Using two forks, pull the meat apart and swish around in the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

The chipotle seasoning can make it spicy, so you can leave that out if you think it will be too hot.

 

Pressure Cooker Brisket in a Pinch
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
When you don’t have all day to slow cook a brisket on the grill, a faster shortcut is to use the pressure cooker
Author:
Recipe type: Barbecue
Ingredients
  • 1½ – 2lbs Brisket
  • 3 tbs oil
  • ½ onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can tomatoes (I used my home canned – Quart jar)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • pepper
  • salt
  • chipotle seasoning (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat up the oil on the bottom of the pressure cooker. When the oil is hot, sear the brisket on all sides, while sauteing onions and garlic. After the meat is browned on all sides, dump all of the other ingredients in, nestle the meat and put the lid on, and seal it. After about an hour, take it off the heat and wait for the button to go back down. Using two forks, pull the meat apart and swish around in the sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  2. The chipotle seasoning can make it spicy, so you can leave that out if you think it will be too hot.

 

Rosemary-Date Crusted Rack of Lamb

March 28, 2013 - Written by Diana

Serving Lamb for Easter has become a tradition in my home, and every year we knock it out of the park.  One of my favorite pairings with lamb is dried fruit and wine.  I ground up dates and added stonefruit vodka and rosemary to create a paste.  After baking in the oven, the paste set up into a crust that was chewy and went well with the lamb rack chops. Really yummy! The photo is awful – I can’t go back and fix it – but you can probably see how the crust set up.

 

Date and Rosemary Encrusted Rack of Lamb

 

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In the magic bullet or another food processor – drop in the dates, garlic, shallot, and alcohol.  Pulse until smooth.  Add olive oil to thin out.  We want a liquidy paste.  Not too thick or thin.  Easily spreadable, but not sliding off.  Add half of the rosemary, salt and pepper, and pulse more.

Salt the outside of the lamb and sear in a hot pan- use one that can go into the oven, or use one pan for the stove and another casserole pan for the oven.

Slice down part way between the chops about one third of the way down.  You want to stuff the date mixture down into the lamb and cover the whole outside top of the rack. Chop fine the rest of the rosemary and sprinkle over top. I forgot to cover the bones with aluminum to keep it from burning and for the photo – I also forgot to sprinkle the rosemary over top this time.

Place in the oven and using a meat thermometer pull out when the rack temp is about 140.  Let it sit for 15 minutes to rest and so the temp can come up a little.

 

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
1 rack of lamb prepped for cooking Large handful of dates 1 cup stonefruit OYO vodka (or plum wine) 5 cloves garlic peeled 1 shallot diced Rosemary Salt & Pepper Olive Oil
Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 rack of lamb prepped for cooking
  • Large handful of dates
  • 1 cup stonefruit OYO vodka (or plum wine)
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 shallot diced
  • Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In the magic bullet or another food processor – drop in the dates, garlic, shallot, and alcohol.
  3. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Add olive oil to thin out.
  5. We want a liquidy paste, not too thick or thin-easily spreadable, but not sliding off. Add half of the rosemary, salt and pepper, and pulse more.
  6. Salt the outside of the lamb and sear in a hot pan- use one that can go into the oven, or use one pan for the stove and another casserole pan for the oven.
  7. Slice down part way between the chops about one third of the way down.
  8. You want to stuff the date mixture down into the lamb and cover the whole outside top of the rack.
  9. Chop fine the rest of the rosemary and sprinkle over top.
  10. Place in the oven and using a meat thermometer pull out when the rack temp is about 140.
  11. Let it sit for 15 minutes to rest and so the temp can come up a little.
Notes
I forgot to cover the bones with aluminum to keep it from burning and for the photo – I also forgot to sprinkle the rosemary over top this time.

 

Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Rack of Lamb

March 26, 2013 - Written by Diana

A rack of lamb makes an elegant display for a special meal.  It’s not difficult to prepare, but you have to watch to make sure it’s not overcooked.  The display of lollipop chops on top of polenta or even mashed potatoes is a great way to serve it individually as well.  This is a savory presentation of a rack – and one of our favorite ways to eat it.

Rosemary-Garlic Rack of Lamb Roast

Ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Your butcher should trim the rack, so that it’s ready to cook.  Sear the rack on all sides to seal the juices in.  Place all of the other ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Then with a basting brush or your fingers, spread the herbs & spices all over all sides of the rack.  Place in a roasting pan (ours was a glass pan).  Wrap foil on the chop bones so that they don’t burn.  I used one piece cover all the bones, but you could wrap them individually if you like.

Place the roast in the oven – it should cook about 20 minutes per lb.  Check the middle of the roast with the meat thermometer, it should read about 140-145  for medium – take it out earlier if you want it less cooked.  With any roast, the ends will be cooked more than the middle.  Let it stand for ten to 15 minutes for the juices to settle.

Slice the lamb down between the chops to separate and serve.

This was so yummy good, we love garlic and rosemary together.

Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Rack of Lamb
 
This is an easy but delicious (and impressive) main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • I Frenched Rack of Lamb
  • 2 – 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs of fresh rosemary (or dried)
  • 2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. The roast was trimmed in class, and ready to be used.
  3. Sear the rack on all sides to seal the juices in.
  4. Place all of the other ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  5. Then with a basting brush or your fingers, spread the herbs & spices all over all sides of the rack.
  6. Place in a roasting pan (ours was a glass pan).
  7. Wrap foil on the chop bones so that they don’t burn.
  8. I used one piece cover all the bones, but you could wrap them individually if you like.
  9. Place the roast in the oven – it should cook about 20 minutes per lb.
  10. Check the middle of the roast with the meat thermometer, it should read about 140-145 for medium – take it out earlier if you want it less cooked.
  11. With any roast, the ends will be cooked more than the middle.
  12. Let it stand for ten to 15 minutes for the juices to settle.
  13. Slice the lamb down between the chops to separate and serve.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Corned Beef Dinner

March 16, 2013 - Written by Buff

This is one of my favorite meals and I get to cook it only once or twice a year – once on St. Patrick’s Day [March 17th for those not in the know] and again when either the mood strikes me or I have special guests. Well, the other day we had special guests in and not only did I make this special dinner, we actually sat at the Dining Room table!

Corned beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beef Tenderloin with a Mushroom Wine Reduction

February 22, 2013 - Written by Diana

 

Beef Tenderloin Over Creamed Kale

Beef Tenderloin Over Creamed Kale

My husband picked up a Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin from Bluescreek Farm Meats this week and I knew it was the beef we could use for a special dinner.  I was looking forward to trying out the tenderloin – which I’ve never cooked before. I love an opportunity to try out something new, but it can be a little scary trying out something new when you know if you mess up. That’s it, we’re eating it anyway because we spent the money already. This one though, this was a big winner.

I researched the best cooking methods, and there was a consensus that high heat quickly was the way to go.  I couldn’t use salt, because my husband is on a low sodium diet and meat carries its own sodium, so I wanted a way to keep it moist and flavorful but without added sodium.  I decided to try out my dehydrated mushroom powder on the tenderloin.  Last year I took mushrooms, dehydrated them, and then pulverized them to make it into a powder.  I think mushrooms in gravy compliment steak. I mixed up some garlic powder, paprika and the mushroom powder, and then smooshed it up with some softened butter.  My steak had been sitting out coming to room temperature, which helps it to become soft and pliable.  I took the butter paste and rubbed it all over the steak.

The biggest hurdle to this perfect meal – was my husband didn’t know exactly what time he would be leaving work since he had to work on a project later than usual.  His task was to call when he was leaving work.  In the mean time, I put my cast iron grill pan into the oven and let it heat up at 450 degrees.  As soon as he called, I put a few pats of butter in the pan and placed the tenderloin on top  and put it into the oven.  I set the timer for 17 minutes because I was going to check the internal temperature at that time to see what the internal temperature was. My creamed kale was ready in a glass dish so that it would be tossed into the oven while the beef was resting.  I sliced shallots,  mushrooms and a couple of green onions and set it aside.

When the timer dinged, I checked the beef tenderloin and it was 135 degrees.  I have seen suggestions for 120, but my husband won’t eat rare meat or medium rare, medium is the lowest he would be happy with.  I took the tenderloin out and stuck it on a separate plate with an aluminum tent over top.  Then I added the chopped mushrooms and shallots and a couple of tablespoons of butter into the pan the beef was cooked in, on top of the stove over a low temp.  The mushrooms and shallots were sauteed until soft, removed from pan and set aside.  A cup of wine was added to the pan and simmered until reduced by half.  When it was reduced by half, the mushrooms and shallots were added back in and sauteed for about a minute.

Place the Creamed Kale on the plate, slice the beef tenderloin on an angle, place on top, and spoon the mushroom wine reduction over top.  My goodness this is good stuff.  The beef was pink, soft, tender and delicious.  Wow, that was good.

Beef Tenderloin with a Mushroom Wine Reduction
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Beef Tenderloin cooked uncovered in a cast iron pan in high heat. Pan sauce with mushrooms, shallots and red wine reduction. Serve over creamed kale, creamed spinach, polenta or mashed potatoes.
Author:
Recipe type: Beef
Serves: 3 – 4
Ingredients
  • 2 to 3 lb beef tenderloin
  • butter
  • 2 tsp dehydrated mushroom powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • shallots
  • mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  2. Let Beef tenderloin sit out to come to room temperature.
  3. A couple of softened pats of butter should be mixed in a small bowl with mushroom powder, paprika and garlic powder.
  4. Smoosh and mix the butter with the mushroom powder and spices until it is all mixed in as well as it can be.
  5. Take cast iron pan and melt 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  6. Rub the smooshed butter all over the tenderloin – massaging it well.
  7. Grind fresh black powder over top.
  8. Place the tenderloin in the cast iron pan and place into the oven uncovered.
  9. Set the timer for 15 minutes and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. If you like your beef rare – take it out when the internal temperature reaches 125.
  10. My husband likes it medium so, I took it out at 135.
  11. Remove the tenderloin to a plate and tent with foil.
  12. Slice mushrooms and shallots.
  13. Place the cast iron pan back on the stovetop and melt 2 tsp butter in the pan.
  14. Saute the mushrooms and shallots in the pan until soft and remove them from pan and set aside.
  15. Add 1 cup red wine, scrape the bits off the bottom and reduce the wine by half.
  16. Add the mushrooms and shallots to the wine and saute for a minute.
  17. Place the tenderloin over top of the creamed kale (or spinach, or polenta, or mashed potatoes) spoon the mushrooms, shallots and sauce over top.
  18. Grind a little more pepper over top.