Friday, November 28, 2008

Hot Chicken Sandwiches

There a lot of options on using leftovers from big holiday meals, I already cooked crispy bacon and chicken hash for breakfast this morning, now its lunch time and I had another idea, hot chicken sandwiches, First I toasted dinner rolls that were split in half, then I reheated some sliced chicken in the gravy, the hot chicken goes on the rolls then gravy gets poured all over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Duck, Southwest Style

When chicken gets boring, give duck a try. I marinated duck breasts in fresh lime juice, garlic and chili powder for a few hours, then I scored the skin to help in rendering the fat when cooking, the breasts go skin side down into a saute pan with a low flame, after about twenty minutes of slow cooking I drain off the fat (save for another use, its very flavorful) I turn up the heat to crisp the skin, then flip over the breasts to finish cooking. I served the duck breast sliced and fanned out on a bed of slow braised black beans and with a dollop of fresh made guacamole. All I need are warm tortillas to make some duck tacos and you don't want to forget the hot sauce.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flavors of Puerto Rico in Marin County

There is a popular Puerto Rican restaurant called "Sol Food"located in San Rafael, California, it started as a very small restaurant and a few years later a second bigger location opened up down the street. Its a Cool and funky place with lots of tropical plants and a neon lime green building that's hard to miss. The food is classic Puerto Rican with lots of slow simmered beans, rice, grilled meats and the famous fried plantains, which are served either sweet or with garlic and salt. Be sure to try the house made hot sauce, its so good they sell it.
Sol Food, 732 Fourth Street or 901 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, California

Country Style Lentils with Sausage

The calender says its winter but kind of hard to believe when its so nice out, anyway in keeping with winter style meals I choose to make stewed lentils with sausage. I started with finely diced onion, celery and carrots sauteed with bacon and garlic, then I added lentils and chicken stock to cover, I simmered the vegetables and lentils till tender. With the lentils cooking I browned whole link edsausage and finish cooking them in the lentil stew. Check for seasoning and its done. I will make this again when its really cold out then it will be true comfort food.

Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Bacon

A lot of people don't like brussel sprouts because they have somewhat of a strong flavor. I have found that if you treat them like you would cabbage then you might like them better and bacon helps everything! I start by taking the sprouts and shaving them into thin slices using a mandolin, they can also be grated by using a box grater. Next saute thick slices of smoked bacon with sliced onions and garlic, when the bacon and onions are browned and the fat is rendered, add the brussel sprouts and saute till wilted and cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste and maybe add a splash of good balsamic vinegar to give a little sweetness and acidity. Give it a shot, I am sure that you will really like them.

Farmers Market BBQ Oyster's

I took a trip to the Marin County Sunday farmers market today and being a few days till the big thanksgiving holiday it was packed with people shopping for food. I found some nice Brussel sprouts from a farm in the half moon bay area (I will post a idea and recipe for those) At the market there was a huge tent of local seafood on ice, they had a big gas grill to BBQ oysters. Three large oysters for five dollars sounded like a great deal to me.They were simply cooked till they popped open and then basted with chopped fresh garlic and butter, chopped green onions were sprinkled on top to finish. they were really good with a splash of hot sauce.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Trial Run

I was thinking about what to do for dinner the other night, I knew I had a loaf of good quality bread at home to use up. I came up with doing a roasted double chicken breast filled with a basic bread and sausage stuffing. I served this with a side of roasted then mashed sweet potatoes. The first thing to do was to cube the bread and toast it in the oven, while this was going on, I diced garlic, celery and onion and lightly cooked it with a crumbled mild Italian sausage. The vegetable mixture was then mixed with the toasted bread cubes and fresh chopped rosemary. The chicken was place skin side down and the stuffing was spread down the center. Then the breast was rolled up and tied with heavy kitchen string, olive oil, salt and pepper all over and then into a preheated 350F oven, Cooked till the chicken reached a internal temperature of 175F. The chicken will take about 30-40 minutes to cook. For the sweet potato mash I took whole roasted sweet potatoes mixed with boiled russet potatoes which were mashed together and kept them warm. When the chicken is done, I placed it on a plate covered with foil to rest before cutting, at this time I make a simple sauce with the pan drippings, a dash of flour and a splash of white wine, I spooned this over the sliced chicken breast and the sweet potatoes.

Sunday Afternoon at the Races

When its a warm 80 degrees and the race track has one dollar admission, beers and hot dogs then its the place to be.Its not even close to four star dining, but the price is right and maybe a lucky horse pick will put those few dollars back in your pocket.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Indian Spiced Pork Tenderloin

I bought a pork tenderloin with the idea of doing some kind of Indian flavor with it, I used a Indian curry rub which I brushed on the piece of cleaned and trimmed pork. I let the pork marinate and absorb the rub flavors for a little while. During this time I roasted whole sweet potatoes in a hot oven. Next I slowly braised garbanzo beans with garlic and sliced onions till tender. To cook the pork I put it in a hot pan with olive oil to brown on all sides, then place in the oven to finish cooking. The sweet potatoes when cooked will peel very easy and are simply seasoned with salt and pepper, some chopped cilantro finishes the garbanzo beans and the pork is sliced and served.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A taste of Ethiopian Flavors

Photos: Sample platter of various brasied meats, Salads, Goat Cheese and Vegetables,
Ethiopian Harrar Brand Beer, Injera Bread, used for picking up food

My daughter had a dinner with her global studies class at a Oakland Ethiopian restaurant and I was lucky to join her. I don't recall ever eating food from that Country in Africa, so I jumped at the chance. The restaurant is called Addis and is considered one of the best and I have to agree. It has very friendly staff who were helpful with making choices. Our group decided the best way to eat is to just let them send out platters of food. To start we all ordered Ethiopian drinks to try, there were two kinds of Ethiopian beer, lager and stout. Full bodied with spice and a sweetness that everyone was not used to, next came a honey wine which was more like honey mead beer, it had a sweet apple taste with lots of spice. We felt that the sweet and spicy taste of the beer and wine compliments the food and was not to good on there own. When the food came to the table it was served on big pizza trays covered with a large flat bread. There were lots of different stewed lentils, potatoes, vegetables, chicken and beef, a small bowl of hot chili sauce on the side and a huge basket of a form of spongy pancake called Injera, This pancake was your knife and fork, tear a piece with your fingers and scoop up some of the food. The foods seemed very similar to Indian, but a lot milder. It was fun also to watch the kids eat with there hands, they did not get in trouble for this because the parents were eating the same way.

Addis restaurant, 6100 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, Ca, 94609 510.653.3456

All fresh and all good

At my house pizza and pasta dominate whats for dinner. My Kitchen-aid stand mixer makes fresh dough and the baking stone in the oven give us the best fresh pizza, now with new pasta dough attachments for the same mixer, its very easy to make fresh pasta now. To test out the dough attachments I made a basic fettuccine pasta and a simple fresh tomato sauce to go with it. It was simple and really good. Next I will have to get a cow to make my own cheese.