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Friday, October 26, 2007

Dinner Tonight: Chicken w/ Caramelized Onions and Gouda Cheese


Caramelized Onions are a very easy and savory addition to a variety of meals. Like I said it's easy to make but it takes a little time to get them perfect.

I first peeled and chopped one yellow onion into strips approx. 1/2 inch long. I heated olive oil in a large non stick saucepan. I used enough oil to coat the bottom plus about a tablespoon more. Let the oil get hot then add the onions. Stir the onions around so all of the pieces get covered with oil. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of white cooking wine. Stir the onions every few minute. After about 15-20 minutes the water in the onions will have completely evaporated and the sugar in the onions will begin to caramelize. You want the onions to get a nice golden brown color to them. When they are done transfer them onto a plate and set aside.

For the chicken I used thin sliced cutlets. Rinse the chicken, pat them dry and add salt and pepper. Break one egg into a bowl add a touch of milk and beat with a fork. Heat up about a tablespoon of oil into a skillet and let the oil heat up. Dip the chicken in the egg batter allowing the excess batter to drip off and add to the skillet. Cook the cutlets until they are nice and brown on both sides.

For this recipe I used a nice imported Gouda Cheese that I shredded. I put a layer of onions over the cutlets. I used just enough onions to cover the top of them. I proceeded to added the cheese on top of the onions. Heat up your broiler on high and put the chicken underneath the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble and remove immediately and serve.
I served this with a warm baby spinach salad. In a skillet heat a 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil. After the oil is heated up add one bag of washed baby spinach. Add a few drops of soy sauce and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Toss the spinach until it starts to wilt a bit, remove and plate.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dinner Tonight: Infrared Grilled Steak w/ Glazed Carrots & Sugar Snap Peas






Why is it so hard to make a steak at home at the same level you would get a high end steak house? One reason of course is the quality of the steak but I will get into that another day.
The other reason high end steak house's steaks are so good is because they are cooked in ovens that generate heat that home ovens and grills simply can't duplicate. Take for instance the popular steak house chain Ruth Chris. Their steaks are cooked in ovens that go up to 1800 degrees. Cooking steaks in temperatures that high instantly chars the outside of the steak creating a shell that will keep the juices sealed inside. The result a delicious steak cooked well on the outside but still rare and juicy on the inside.


Just recently infrared burners are becoming readily available on house hold grills. I have a Perfect Flame grill from Lowes that has three normal burners and one infrared burner. Infrared burners can reach heats greater than 700 degrees and will cook a one inch steak in minutes perfectly charred on the outside and juicy and rare on the inside.


Tonight I prepared a shell steak or a strip steak on my grill. First I applied a dry rub consisting of brown sugar,paprika, white pepper, salt and touch of cayenne pepper. I rubbed this mixture on both sided of my steak. I then started my infrared burner on high and let it heat up for two minutes and then threw my steak on it. I left it on for two minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it two more minutes. The outcome is perfectly cooked juicy medium rare steak.


For my vegetable side I peeled and sliced two small carrots length ways into approx two inch pieces and added to boiling water. I let that cook for three minutes and added a hand full of peas and boiled for one more minute. I then put the veggies into a colander and ran it under cold water to stop the cooking process. I then added a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pinch of fresh minced ginger to a sauce pan with a splash of water. After the brown sugar was dissolved in the mixture I added the veggies to the saucepan and cooked for about six minutes.

Tips:

* Always let the steak rest before you cut it. The juices need to redistribute throughout the steak. Let it rest for at least for five minutes if not longer

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dinner Tonight: Tofu Stir Fry




Tofu. Either you love it or you hate it. I must admit at one point in my gastronomic life I too shunned the spongy white bean curd but now I am tofu admirer. Even my wife who does not like Asian food of any sort is beginning to change her tofu hating ways. Below is a recipe for what I had for dinner tonight. I am going to list the ingredients that I used but feel free to use whatever you have in the fridge.



1 14 oz package of extra firm organic tofu drained and cut in cubes
1 bunch of shitake mushrooms sliced(approx 12)
1 hand full of pea pods
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 small shallot
1 pinch of minced fresh ginger
1 hand full of chopped bell pepper
2 small organic carrots peeled and chopped
1 dash of sherry
1 squirt of mustard
2 dashes of soy sauce
1/2 of cup of chicken stock
3 tablespoons of canola oil
1 tsp of corn starch dissolved in a little cold water

Before cooking tofu you must drain it. Place the tofu block on a plate and then place another plate on top of the tofu. After that place something heavy like a can of soup on the top plate to apply pressure on the tofu. Leave it for 20 minutes then dice it.
Add the oil to a hot pan or wok and let it heat up on high heat until it is very hot. Add the tofu and gently stir for few minutes until it gets a little browned and remove from pan. Add garlic,ginger and shallot and let them cook for a minute or so. Then add mushrooms, bell pepper ,carrots and pea pods. Lower the heat a little and cover for a couple minutes. Add sherry,soy sauce,stock,mustard and corn starch. Stir regularly and when the mixture starts to thicken add the tofu back in. Stir a few more times and serve the stir fry over rice or noodles.
Yields 2 to 3 servings

Tip:
*When stir frying it is very important to have all ingrients prepared and at arms length ready to be cooked

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dinner Tonight: Apple Cheddar Sandwich


After a hard day at work there is nothing like coming home to a nice apple sandwich right? As funny as it may sound this is actually a very delicious sandwich and its a nice change of pace from a hamburger. In this method I am using baby arugula and a curry mayonnaise to add extra flavor. Actually the marriage of the peppery arugula, the sweetness of the apple, and the sharpness of the cheddar with the spicy curry is quite complimentary.



Method:



Now, I just made one sandwich so I can not really give exact measurements but this is what I used. I sliced one Red Delicious Apple into thin slices. I discarded the slices with a lot of skin on them because I find the skin too chew. I sprinkled some lemon juice on the apple slices to prevent them from browning. After that I mixed a table spoon of mayonnaise with a dash of curry powder and a squirt of lemon juice. Please be careful with the curry a little of it goes a long way. Whisk the mixture together and spread it on the bottom of a roll. Place the arugula on top of the mayo mixture. I used enough arugula to completely cover the bottom of the roll nicely. Now its time to arrange the apple slices on top of the arugula. Apply the cheddar cheese on top of the apple slices. I like to shred the cheese first because it will melt more evenly.

Set your ovens broiler on low. Try to tuck the arugula underneath the the apples slices because they will burn when put underneath the broiler. Put the sandwich underneath the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble and remove immediately. If you want the top part of the roll toasted put it under the broiler for minute or so.

Tips:
*Substitute the arugula with watercress
*If not using baby arugula be sure to remove the stems from the leaves
*If you do like like curry try using cayenne pepper

First Post

This is my first blog and my fist post. I am not much of a talker but you may find some interesting content from time to time. Subject Matter will revolve around food,recipes, product reviews and general commentary
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