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CookTeaser

Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking

Monthly Archives: August 2012


RECIPE

Serves 2

A CookTale

Yesterday our friend Todd, Vegetable grower supreme, dropped off a cornucopia of just-picked Vegetables. The bounty included perfect huge Bell Peppers. No way would they be allowed to sit on the counter and (as the saying goes) vegetate. The moment the idea of what to do with them came to me, last evening’s dinner was decided. With no self-modesty, I believe the result was sensational, from the point of view of eye & especially taste appeal.

INGREDIENTS

2 Green Bell Peppers (seeds removed, tops carefully sliced off & set aside)
4 oz of Spaghetti
8 oz of Marinara Sauce (homemade or Raos’s)
8 oz of Ground Beef
Kosher Salt & Pepper

METHOD

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add Spaghetti & cook following box directions. Drain into a large mixing bowl. Add the Marinara Sauce.

3. In a non stick frying pan cook the Ground Beef briefly until the raw color is gone. Add to the mixing bowl.

4. After mixing the ingredients together, fill each Pepper with the stuffing. Cover with the tops & carefully secure with a few toothpicks.

5. Roast for 40 minutes or until the Peppers have completely softened & have begun to char.

6. Allow to slightly cool & serve.

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RECIPE
Serves at least 8

A CookTale

Our friend Oxana, who has run Phil, Rita and Lucy Silvestri’s home and life for the past two decades, was the inspiration for this dinner. Cathie spent an evening with the family last week, and when I called, Oxana picked up the phone. I out of habit asked “what was dinner?” The answer was “Russianburgers”. They turned out to be oval-shaped Burgers made with a Meat Loaf mix and special Spices and served with Sour Cream. “Sour Cream, Is everything in Russia served with Sour Cream?” Her response was, “what’s better?” My recipe, traditional in our kitchen, is from America’s favorite Cook’s Illustrated, and if there was a Food Olympic, it’s guaranteed to bring home the Gold and a few slices for dinner.

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 Onion, chopped in a medium dice
1 Red Bell Pepper chopped the same way
2 Garlic Cloves , minced
2 large Eggs
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp table Salt
1/2 tsp ground black Pepper
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 C whole Milk or Evaporated Milk
2 lb of a top quality Meatloaf mix
2/3 C Saltine Crackers , crushed (about 16),
1/3 C minced fresh Parsley Leaves
3 Slices of Bacon (lengthwise depending on loaf shape)
кислая сливк Sour Cream (optional)

METHOD

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat Oil in medium skillet. Add Onion & Garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.

3. Mix Eggs with Thyme, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Pepper Sauce, Milk or Evaporated Milk. Add Egg mixture to Meat in large bowl along with Crackers, Parsley, & cooked Onion and Garlic. Mix with a fork until evenly blended and Meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture sticks, add additional Milk or Evaporated Milk, a couple tablespoons at a time until mix no longer sticks.)

4. Turn Meat mixture onto work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into an approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape. Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking pan. Arrange Bacon slices lengthwise over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking Bacon tip ends under loaf.

5. Bake Loaf until Bacon is crisp & loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.
Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.


 

RECIPE

Serves 2 generously

A CookTale

It seems that every six months or so, we get a craving for Calamari in one of its many forms. Served as stuffed whole bodies, or deep fried to a crispy tenderness, or as a savory stew with or without Baby Octopus. It’s obvious which won out, and the dinner was easy. The well-seasoned Fettuccine with Butter and fresh Pepper supplied the starch.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb of Calamari (1/4″ rings)
28 oz can of whole Tomatoes
2 C of Marinara Sauce (homemade or Rao’s)
1 C of White Wine
1 TB of fresh Lemon juice
1 TB of EVOO
2 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
1 medium Red Onion (diced)
1/2 tsp of Sea Salt + 1 tsp of Black Pepper
1/2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
2 TB of Salt Capers
1/3 C of flat leaf Parsley (chopped)

METHOD

1. Slice the Calamari into rings about 1/4 inch thick. Set them aside.

2. In a large deep saute pan, add the EVOO & the Garlic & Red Onion. Saute until translucent & tender. Add the canned Tomatoes, the Marinara Sauce, White Wine, Lemon Juice, EVOO, Salt, Pepper & Red Pepper Flakes. Simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes to give the flavors time to blend.

3. Add the Calamari to the sauce. Continue to slowly simmer for about another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test for tenderness — the Calamari should be tender & the sauce very savory. Add the Capers & the chopped Parsley, combine it all, & it’s ready to sit atop the bed of Fettuccine.


RECIPE

Serves 2

A CookTale

Merguez Lamb Sausages are an occasional treat. Served with Cannellini Beans or a bitter Green like Broccoli Rabe, it’s a lively main course. Add the highly spicy North African condiment Harissa that traditionally accompanies Merguez, and you might want your next offshore holiday to be to Morocco, specifically, Marrakech.

INGREDIENTS

4 to 6 Merguez Sausages (ours came from Heather Ridge Farm or they are available online)
14 oz can of Cannellini Beans
Half a 14 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
Red Onion (1/4″ dice)
1 Garlic clove (sliced)
EVOO
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
Basil leaves (cut to a chiffonade)

METHOD

1. Add 1 TB of EVOO to a hot pan. Cook the Merguez, turning from time to time until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Set aside.

2. To the same pan add the Garlic, cook for a few minutes, then add the Onion. When the Onion has softened, add the Tomatoes & then the Beans. Cook the Stew for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add a few ounces of water if necessary.

3. To plate, place a bed of the Bean Stew on the plate topped with 2 or 3 Sausages. Serve Harissa on the side.


RECIPE

Serves 2

A CookTale

Whoever coined the phrase “variety is the spice of life” had to be planning dinner…specifically a fish dinner. To explain, last evening’s Swordfish was a mere 5/8″ thick, while the Swordfish we enjoyed a month ago, was almost 2″ thick. Same kind of Fish prepared in a totally different manner. Realizing that purchasing a 2″ cut of Swordfish might not be easy, this is a manageable solution. Also the Mediterranean Salsa, though similar, contains alternate ingredients.

INGREDIENTS For the Swordfish

2 Swordfish Fillets 5/8″ to 1″ thick (skin removed)
1 TB of sweet Paprika + a sprinkle of hot Paprika
Sea or Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
4 oz of Butter softened (more if needed)
1 TB of EVOO
Balsamic Glaze (available online from Roland Foods)

METHOD

1. In a small container, add the EVOO, Paprikas & Salt & Black Pepper. Whisk to emulsify & combine. Brush both sides of the Swordfish, set aside.

2. Heat the saute pan to high, add the Butter & the EVOO. When the Butter stops sizzling, add the Swordfish & saute both sides, weighted down with a grill press for 1 minute per side. (Remember that we like our Fish on the rare to medium rare side. Cook yours according to your taste, but do not overcook.)

3. Remove with a slotted spatula & drain on paper towels. Transfer to a holding plate & cover with tin foil to keep warm.

4. To plate, add a Swordfish Steak, top with the Mediterranean Salsa. Garnish with the Balsamic Glaze & serve.

INGREDIENTS For the Mediterranean Salsa

1/4 C of Raisins
1/4 C of dried Cherries
2 TB of EVOO
1 Small Red Onion (1/4″ dice)
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Large Red & 1 Yellow Tomato, pulp removed & cut to 1/4″ dice
10 Black Olives, pitted & quartered
1/4 C of Salt Capers
Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

METHOD

1. Soak Raisins & the Cherries in lukewarm water for 30 minutes to plump them up. Drain and set aside. Do the same in another bowl with the Salt Capers to remove the Salt.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients. Paper towel dry the Raisins & Capers, & add them as well.


RECIPE

Serves 2

A CookTale

Our dear friend Lucien Kneip returned from a Salmon fishing trip in Northern Canada and presented us with the best evidence of his success, Wild Canadian Smoked Salmon. What a treat, vs the factory processed Smoked Salmon available locally. Adding the Horseradish Sauce brought it a higher dimension, worthy of a first course at a dinner party. Here is the easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS Horseradish Sauce

3/4 C Sour Cream
1/4 C Mayonnaise
2 TB prepared white Horseradish
2 TB chopped fresh Basil
1 TB fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Soy Sauce
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

METHOD

Mix ingredients together & add Salt & Pepper to taste. Plenty for 2 and you’ll have a lot left over.


RECIPE
Serves 2

A CookTale

What remained from Sunday’s great Rib Eye was at least half of the original 2-1/2 pounds with the bone. Ample enough to add to an assembly of sauteed fresh Vegetables into what is for some unknown reason is known as Hash. Leftovers turned into the next evening’s dinner is a meal we look forward to, as we surely did last evening. Four delicious plates on two evenings from one delicious slab of Beef.

INGREDIENTS

12 oz of leftover Rib Eye Steak (or Porterhouse)
1 Red Bell Pepper (cut to a 3/4″ dice)
1 Green Bell Pepper (cut to a 3/4″ dice)
1 large Red Onion (cut to a 3/4″ dice)
6 large White Mushrooms (quartered)
1 Russet Potato (cut to quarters)
3 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
2 oz of Veal Demi-Glace (dissolved in 1/3 cup of water)
1/2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper
1 TB of EVOO + 1 TB of Butter (for the pan, more as required)
Thyme Leaves

METHOD

1. Prepare the first 7 ingredients as suggested. Place each in individual bowls.

2. Heat a small saucepan with 1/3 cup of Water. When it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer & add the Demi-Glace. Whisk until dissolved to a rich Stock & set aside.

3. Heat a large saute pan, add the EVOO & Butter (adding more if required). Saute the Vegetables one at a time, as each is cooked, add to a large bowl. Do not cook the Rib Eye, but add it to the bowl.

4. Remove the contents of the bowl to the saute pan, add the enriched Stock & gently toss it together. Sprinkle on the the Thyme Leaves.

5. Ready to plate.