14 January 2010

Kabobs and dog biscuits.

Two nights, two very different styles of kabobs. Yesterday was the Chicken Souvlaki, tonight the Moorish Pork. Both were equally delicious, albeit very different from one another. Both yesterday's and today's dishes allowed us to use ingredients that we normally don't, namely wine and vinegar. I've learned quickly that white wine, if used to marinate too long, will dry out meat. If it's used for the correct amount of time, it can be such a great addition to food.

The souvlaki was marinated a tad bit too long. My guess is it was not just the white wine, but the lemon juice that led to the dryness to the chicken. It could also be that I cut the meat into too small of pieces. Even with it being slightly dry, the flavour was amazing. Fresh, clean and with a hint of citrus and oregano. Just a marvelous pairing with the deep flavours of the sun dried tomato and mushroom couscous. It was only the second time that I've had couscous, and I LOVED it! I don't understand why more people don't make it; boil water, pour in dry couscous, let set for 5 minutes and you're done. How easy and quick is that? And to be a pasta dish, it has such a light texture. It's deceptively filling.

The recipe for the couscous came from AllRecipes.com. You can find it here.

Chicken Souvlaki
From the Williams-Sonoma Grilling & Roasting Cookbook

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 chopped bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes

1. In bowl, combine olive oil, wine, lemon juice, onion, garlic, bay leaves oregano and salt and pepper.
2. Add chicken to coat and allow to marinate for 1 hour up to overnight.
3. Thread chicken cubes on to pre-soaked bamboo skewers.
4. Cook over medium hot grill, or under broiler in oven.

For every bit that yesterday's chicken had a clean and citrus flavour, today's Moorish Pork had a deep earthy and spicy flavour. Such a change from the norm that I make with pork. And coupled with the Roasted Potato Salad, it was pure bliss! Staci also added in some wonderful french bread that she picked up today, and some soft garlic cheese. I can't help but be happy that we've not had a "bad" recipe yet. Everything has been delicious, hearty, and full of flavour, so much so that I'm having trouble picking new recipies, because I want to keep making this stuff over and over. The Roasted Potato Salad will definately be a regular in the house. It was easy to make, thought it takes a while, and the texture is so very different from the normal mayo or sour cream based potato salads. The tartness that the vinegar brings to the mix only adds to the earthiness of the potato.

Moorish Pork Kabob
From the Williams-Sonoma Grilling & Roasting Cookbook

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flake
ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pound lean pork cut into one-inch cubes

1. Mix together the garlic, salt, coriander, paprika, cumin, thyme, pepper flake, olive oil and lemon juice. Add ground pepper to taste.
2. Mix in pork cubes and allow to marinate for 1 hour, up to overnight
3. Thread marinated pork on to pre-soaked skewers.
4. Cook over medium-heat grill, or under broiler.

Roasted Potato Salad
From the Williams-Sonoma Grilling & Roasting Cookbook

3 pounds baby red potatoes
2/3 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons dry white wine, divided
2 tablespoons extra vergin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar, divided
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons tarragon
3/4 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
pepper to taste
3 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash potato, and place on baking sheet whole. Cover with coarse salt and bake in the oven till tender but firm.
2. Remove potatoes from oven, clean off salt from skin and slice while still warm. Add slices to bowl and toss with the extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the vinegar.
3. Add shallots and tarragon to the potatoes, stir gently and set aside.
4. In small bowl, combine the pure olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar and mustard. Season with Pepper to taste. Pour over the potato mixture and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
5. Before serving, toss in green onions and parsley.

Of course, with all of this good food, our poor Scottie dog, Finnigan, has not had his share of "the hooman food", so I thought I'd make a homemade dog-treat for him. The Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Bisucits that I found on AllRecipes.com sounded like an easy, and good treat to make for him. He's eaten 5 small biscuits, and is begging for more. I think they're a hit. (And for those of you that are wondering, yes I tried one; they taste like stale banana bread.)

Try It! You might like it...or maybe you'll order pizza.

12 January 2010

Swordfish...no, not the Halle Berry Movie

Yesterday, ah yesterday. I cooked the lamb (above) but didn't blog about it, and I learned that I need to know more about different cuts of meat. My first experience with lamb recipes was actually a rib chop, yesterday I cooked a loin chop. Loin chops are a much tougher cut of meat, not meant for quick-cooking under the broiler. I'd definitely recommend the rib chop if you're cooking the recipe.

Today was a much simpler recipe, Marinated Swordfish with Wilted Greens, Pine Nuts and Bacon. I don't typically go for seafood items, but swordfish is quite nice. I like the thickness of the meat, and how well it holds up to being cooked. It was a tasty dish, and easy to prepare. The recipe was actually meant to be cooked on the grill, so as we get closer to summer, I may try this one again. I'm sure that cooking over an open fire, instead of in a pan, would make for an even tastier meal.

The greens that I cooked tonight were a mix of Kale, Chard, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens and Spinach. I modified the Swiss Chard with Bacon recipe from my first post to include toasted pine nuts, and some red pepper flakes for heat. Everything else remained the same. I'm not totally sure, but either the mustard greens or the turnip greens had a strange bitterness that I didn't enjoy. Overall though, I'm still impressed with the fact that Staci and I are both eating greens. They're much better than I could have imagined.

The recipe for the marinated swordfish, if you're interested, can be found here. I'd recommend it as a summer dish. The citrus flavour mixed with the dryness of the white wine really played well with the meatiness of the fish. I'm wondering if the marinade would hold up well with other types of fish. I'll have to try that another day!

Try it! You might like it...or maybe you'll order pizza.

10 January 2010

Bangers and Rice

Staci and I have our weekly menu planned, and I'm very excited! Monday is the only real cheat-night, as we're re-doing the lamb that we did last week. I'm trying a different cut of meat this time, an actual shank, rather than the rib. I'm going to make the same sauce again, and use less cucumber to see if it will end up thicker than last time. We're branching out a bit this week, but still some great hearty items.

Monday - Lamb Shanks and Greek Yogurt Sauce.
Tuesday - Marinated Swordfish with Skillet Greens
Wednesday Chicken Souvlaki with Tomato and Mushroom Couscous
Thursday - Pork Kabobs with Roasted Red Potato Salad
Friday - Dine-out Night.

I opted for the easy route today at lunch. Staci and I went out with family yesterday, and while we were shopping we saw these delectable chicken sausages with spinach. I made a group of them today, and I'm saving the rest for next week for an awesome recipe that we found. To jazz it up a little, I paired it with some spiced rice and a brown butter and sherry glaze.

Spiced Rice
ormaybepizza recipe by Alde

1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup basmati rice
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flake
1/3 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 cups chicken stock

1. In saucepan over medium heat melt butter and add red pepper flake and garam masala.
2. Add rice, stir regularly till basmati takes on slightly golden colour.
3. Pour in chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook till all liquid is absorbed.

Chicken Sausage with Brown Butter Sherry Glaze
ormaybepizza recipe by Alde

5 chicken sausage with spinach links
3 tablespoons of butter, divided
1/4 cup cooking sherry

1. In pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add sausage links. Cook until warm throughout and browned on the outside.
2. Remove links from the pan. Add in remaining butter and allow to melt in pan. Pour in sherry and reduce until alcohol is cooked out.
3. Arrange links over rice, spoon glaze over dish.

Try it! You might like it...or maybe you'll order pizza.

Late-night Jitters

I didn't make the roast chicken and potatoes tonight, but I did find something better: my own "Take That McD's Frappe!" recipe. Staci and I both are addicted to the caramel frappe that was just introduced by McDonald's. I wanted to try my hand at making one that would taste just as yummy, and cost a great deal less. Of course to be able to make this, we had to go out and pick a couple up to "taste test".

I think that the one that I made today was pretty good, and definitely close to being on-par with the McDonald's Frappe. Now, having the McDonald's one, and the home one, Staci and I are both up late with no sign of wanting to sleep.

Take That McD's Frappe
ormaybepizza original recipe by Alde

1 shot espresso, cooled
1 cup ice cubes
2 tablespoons milk
5 scoops vanilla ice cream
3 tablespoons caramel sauce
whipped cream

1. Add all ingredients to blender.
2. Pulse blender till ingredients are almost smooth.
3. Pour into glass, top with whipped cream and drizzled caramel sauce

I'd recommend that you use a really high-quality caramel when making this recipe. The better the caramel, the stronger the caramel flavour. I used a vanilla bean ice cream on this to give it a more pure taste, and went with a flavoured coffee, though regular of both would probably be just as good.

Try it! You might like it...or maybe you'll order a McDonald's Frappe.