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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

La Nueva Ropa Vieja



I found this recipe a few months back in The Kansas City Star and thought it look good and simple. It goes together simply and turns out really nice. I served it over rice with warm tortillas, but it would also taste great on toasted onion buns. You can do all you chopping the night before and assemble it in the morning pretty fast. I changed this slightly from the written recipe, they called for 2 teaspoons of bottled garlic and I hate using that stuff and I used 2 red bells as opposed to 1 red and 1 green.
La Nueva Ropa Vieja
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
2 lbs. skirt or flank steak
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and olive oil
2 cups cooked rice
Put tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add sliced onion and place beef over them. Spoon some of the liquid over the beef. Add the sliced peppers and pour diced tomatoes evenly over the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Before serving, use two forks to pull beef into shreds. Stir together and serve over rice.
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Monday, April 28, 2008

White Chicken Chili

I think I originally came across this recipe in an advertisement for cheese. I have made alterations to it and this the recipe I now use. You can use any type of white beans in this recipe, I wanted to try butter beans because I've never had them. You could also use ground turkey in this recipe, but I find those packages of pre-cooked chicken save so much time on a week night.

White Chicken Chili

1 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
1 (7 oz) can diced green chiles
2 cups whole milk
1 (15 oz) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
6 oz. cooked chicken, chopped
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar, shredded

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook until onion is limp , stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cumin, white pepper, corn, green chiles, milk and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and stir occasionally. Cook for 10 minutes, stir in chicken and season with salt. Stir in cheese and serve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mashed Cauliflower

This recipe is a great alternative to mashed potatoes. You can serve it to people who don't like cauliflower and they won't even realize what they have just eaten. This recipe comes from George Stella, who used to have a show on the Food Network during the whole lo-carb craze. The recipe makes 4 servings.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 medium head cauliflower
1 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. minced roasted garlic
1/8 tsp. straight chicken base or bouillon
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh chopped chives
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for 6 minutes or until well done. Drain well, do not cool, pat very dry with layers of paper towels. In a bowl with an immersion blender, puree hot cauliflower with cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base and pepper until smooth. Garnish with chives and serve with pats of butter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soft Molasses Cookies

I found the recipe for these incredible cookies in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. The cookies turn out nice and soft, with some intense spice flavors. If I make these again, I would leave out a 1/4 tsp. of the ginger and a 1/2 tsp. of the cloves, just to see if they make an even better cookie. I ended up making my cookies a little bigger than the recipe called for, so I baked them for about 15 minutes and i rolled my dough in raw sugar as opposed to granulated.

Soft Molasses Cookies

8 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Granulated sugar to coat cookies

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugar. Beat in molasses and eggs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour to stiffen the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball, about 2 Tbsp. of dough or 1 ounce. Roll each ball in the sugar to coat. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased or parchment lined cookies sheets.
Bake for 13 minutes. They will have flattened, but won't brown significantly. They should be soft on top and barely colored.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Drunken Pintos with Cilantro and Bacon

On Saturday night, our friend, Stacy invited a group over to her house for dinner.She made some great fajitas and we all had a really good time. I asked her if I could bring over one of my favorite bean dishes and she said yes. This recipe comes from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. I love his cookbooks and his restaurant in Chicago. I altered the recipe a little bit this time, but will print the original. I added extra beans and cooked chorizo this time, but actually prefer the recipe as written.

Drunken Pintos with Cilantro and Bacon

8 oz dry pinto beans
1/2 cup (2 oz) cubed pork shoulder (or extra chopped bacon)
4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 small white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
Salt, about 3/4 tsp.
1 1/2 Tbsp. tequila
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Rinse beans and place in 4-qt. pot. Add 5 cups water, remove any beans that float, then add pork shoulder or extra chopped bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium -low and gently simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Stir the beans regularly and add water as necessary to keep liquid a generous 1/2 inch above beans.
In a medium skillet, fry bacon, stirring until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of drippings and return pan to medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Scrape onion mixture into beans, taste and season with salt. Continue simmering to blead the flavors.
If the beans seem to soupy, boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the consistency of a nice, brothy bean soup. Just before serving add tequila and cilantro and serve topped with crispy bacon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

This is a recipe that I I have made in the past and just came across. It comes from Giada De Laurentis, with a few minor changes from me. It's fairly quick and simple and tastes great. Plus it's a little something different than typical red sauce baked pastas.

Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 qt. whole milk at room temperature
Pinch fresh nutmeg
Sea salt and white pepper
1 cup grated fontina
1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned
8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. dry rigatoni
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a 2 qt. saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Always stirring, gradually add milk and whisk until smooth and creamy. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg, 1/2 cup fontina, prosciutto, mushrooms, salt and peppers. Set aside.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water. Add pasta and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the pasta a little hard since you are cooking a second time in oven. Drain, return to pot and add sauce. Mix well until pasta is coated with sauce.
In a greased 13x9 baking dish, pour pasta. Smooth out top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Sot with diced butter and bake 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Pizza Grilling Stone


I have always wanted an outdoor pizza oven and one of these days I will have one. but until then, I have this wonderful pizza grilling stone. Some weeks back, Dan and I were at Crate and Barrel when we came across this. The packaging says that it duplicates the effects of a brick oven and is great for pizzas, quesadilla and more. The stone distributes heat evenly for a perfect, crispy pizza crust.
The stone is dishwasher and microwave safe, but is not intended for stove top use. You can cut the pizza on the stone without worrying about the stone being damaged. I used my own crust, but you can use this with frozen pizza dough, a prepared crust or even a frozen pizza.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

I'm actually posting on the same night that I cooked! With my new job taking all my time, I have hardly been able to cook, let alone sit at the computer and write about it. This week, I'm only working 9 hour days as opposed to 10 hours so I have a little extra time. I actually wanted to grill out tonight, but it was way too windy and cold. I decided to prepare the pork loin inside and create a rub for it. It turned out perfect, just the right amount of heat and salt.

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. aleppo pepper
1 1-lb. pork tenderloin
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first 6 ingredients and rub over entire pork tenderloin. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat; add olive oil. When oil is hot add meat and brown on all sides. Place skillet in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Let the tenderloin rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Campanelle with Chicken and Peas

This recipe was adapted from one I found on www.discoverbarilla.com. Their recipe uses farfalle and did not have chicken. Since I didn't have any farfalle, I used campanelle. Campanelle is my favorite pasta shape and means bell flower. I have made other versions of this pasta, but this one is very simple and good.
Campanelle With Chicken and Peas
1 box (1 lb.) campanelle pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
3 oz. prosciutto, diced
6 oz. cooked chicken
1 1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add prosciutto, peas and chicken and saute for 3 minutes. Add wine, simmer until reduced by half. Stir in half and half, cream and cheese, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Serve sprinkled with extra Parmesan.

Mocha Angel Cake


This recipe was given to me by someone at my old job. I was told that the cake was wonderful and would be a favorite. It did not go over to well at my house. My icing did not turn out right, although the flavor was good, it just kind of slid of the cake. The cake itself was okay, but I prefer a plain angel food.
Mocha Angel Cake
1 package (16 0z) white angel food cake mix
1 Tbsp. cocoa
1 1/2 cups cold coffee
1 package (2.8 oz) whipped topping mix
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
4 tsp. cocoa
Prepare cake mix as directed on package, except stir cocoa into dry cake mix and substitute cold coffee for water. Bake and cool as directed.
prepare topping mix as directed on package, except use skim milk and stir in sugar and cocoa during last minute of beating. Spread onto cool cake, serve.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Something Different at Senor Tequila

Last night , Dan and I headed to Senor Tequila, for some of our favorite Mexican food. It seems that I always order either the Tacos de Carne Azada or the Enchiladas Rancheras, with the occasional bowl of Caldo de Pollo. I wanted to try something different, so I scoured the menu and decided on the Carnitas ($9.75). The thing I love the most about the Enchiladas Rancheras is the wonderful chunks of moist and crispy pork that top the dish and the carnitas description sounded like the same thing. The Carnitas are pork tips served with rice and beans, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion, avocado, jalapenos and corn or flour tortillas. This dish did not disappoint me, the pork was cooked to perfection and was just the right amount of food. I now have a new favorite dish to decide upon.
Senor Tequila is located at 6502 North Oak Trafficway, Gladstone MO 64119.

I Miss Cooking

Three weeks ago I started a new job and I have not had the time to cook , let alone sit at the computer and post about it. I am working for a retail store and we are setting it up and getting it ready to open. I have been working 10 hour days or more, which does not leave much time to post. Thank goodness for takeout and Lean Cuisine! One big plus was that my mother was staying at my sister's while she looked for a place to live and there were some very good mom cooked meals with plenty of leftovers. Things will start to settle down and I will be able to catch up, I even plan on cooking tonight since I am off!! Now the question is , "what will I cook?"!!