Monthly Archives: November 2012

Who needs Vegas, when you have the NY Strip [steak that is]…

Tonight I was in the mood for a big piece of meaty goodness… what better way to satiate that craving than with a hefty NY Strip! To go along with these beauties… garlicky broccoli rabe…
So prepping the steaks was simple… salt and pepper; yes that’s it! Then a chance to come to a perfect room temp and then it was time to cook these sexy little beasts up…
After a toss on a searing hot grill pan just until medium and it was time dig right in…
The steaks were juicy and full of flavor, while the broccoli rabe cut through and offered a wonderful balance to these hefty bad boys! To wash it all down… a velvety Pinot Noir.
This dish truly came together beautifully!

at a low simmer…


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a true Italian classic…

So since today was such a cold and snowy day, I decided that something with a bit of spice was perfect for dinner! Originally I had other dining ideas, but figured that can be done tomorrow… To warm us up this evening, I made some luxurious bucatini amatriciana!
I started by rendering some pancetta, once crisp they hung out on the side… then in the same pot and using the pancetta fat, it was time to sauté onions and a healthy handful of crushed red pepper. After the onions became translucent, into the pot went a can of San Marzano tomatoes that I passed through the food mill, along with a can of tomato purée. After seasoning appropriately, back in went the rendered pancetta and I let the sauce simmer down a bit…
While simmering, I threw some bucatini into boiling, salted water and cooked till al dente. As soon as the pasta was just right, into the pot of sauce it went for a vigorous spin to coat perfectly, finished off with freshly grated pecorino and then it was to the island to devour!!
Spicy from the crushed red pepper, salty from the pancetta and all around delicious… I love recreating these classic restaurant dishes when dining out during the week isn’t an option!

at a low simmer…










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S[mash]ing good!!

So tonight, in order to be certain not an ounce of Thanksgiving deliciousness went to waste, I literally tossed everything that I had left together and whipped up my idea of an open-faced twice baked Thanksgiving potato!
The last of the leftover succulent turkey breast and remaining mash got a stir with some rendered bacon, scallions and a hefty helping of shredded cheddar…
This light and airy concoction was cooked off till the top was browned, the edges crisp and golden and the cheese melted and gooey…
Fluffy, cheesy and full of goodness… all that was missing was… well nothing actually!
It’s not the typical meal I would throw together, but it was better to make use of what I had, rather than throwing it out…

at a low simmer…






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say cheese[cake that is]…

After a fantastic holiday weekend full of spending time with family and friends, unfortunately reality is kicking back in…
To prepare for another week, what better way to gear up than with a slice of velvety caramel pecan cheesecake in a graham cracker crust!
Two packages of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, pecans, caramel and a graham cracker crust [store bought or homemade, there are no judgements here!] are all that is needed to create this delightful masterpiece…
For the pecan caramel base, chopped pecans are stirred into a sultry caramel sauce and poured into the graham cracker crust… The cream cheese and sugar are whipped until combined, then the vanilla and eggs are added in and blended together. This creamy mixture is gently eased into the crust and then baked in a 350 degree oven until set. After cooling down and then chilling in the refrigerator, it was time to slice and enjoy…
Sweet, creamy, nutty and buttery… this slice of heaven is well deserved and for me guilt-free!!

at a low simmer…

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the big day, full of big flavors!!

The last few days have been filled with preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday… numerous runs to the market, prep work of some appetizers, as well as the big important part… the turkey!
The appetizers were endless… fresh mozz and tomato, stuffed mushrooms, marinated artichokes, along with a variety of others…
The main course was equally as vast! A nineteen pound turkey that was seasoned with my special ingredients [as well as ALOT of butter], fluffy stuffing, sautéed carrots, mashed potatoes, various sweet potato dishes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower sautéed in garlic and oil, as well as quite a few more…
After a quick cleanup and resting period, it was time for dessert… where oh where was one to put these?? Homemade pumpkin pie, coconut custard, a pecan cheesecake, cakey pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, cream puffs and an apple pie…
Stuffed is not a word to describe exactly how I’m feeling now, but once a year it’s acceptable and allowed!

at a low simmer…




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not your usual ‘pie’…

Tonight we took a trip across the pond… a hearty shepherds pie was on the menu!
A gorgeous, meaty boneless leg of lamb was cubed up, salted and dusted in some flour… Into a hot cast iron pot coated with olive oil went the lamb! Cooked until all sides were beautifully browned and then put to the side while some carrots, celery and leeks were tossed in to soften up. Once softened, in went some garlic, tomato paste and then a hefty bottle of Guinness to start up this party! After the beer reduced down, the lamb went back into the pot, along with some fresh herbage and homemade stock. Then on went the lid and it was time to simmer everything for an hour until slightly thickened…
While the ‘stew’ was cooking away, it was time to prep the potatoes… yukon golds got a peel, dice and bath… after cooked, they took a ride through the food mill and then some mash was born!!
Once the stew was done thickening, the lid came off and in went a bag of frozen peas… cooked just until the peas were warmed thorough, it was then time to assemble this ‘pie’…
The ‘stew’ was layered in the bottom of a baking dish, while being tucked in by a fluffy blanket of the mash. Under the broiler until browned and bubbly, then it was time to eat!!
Piping hot and full of tummy-warming goodness… this is definitely a winning dish and perfect for a hungry crowd!

at a low simmer…














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rice and roll…

Between market runs for Thanksgiving necessities and starting our Christmas decorating, who had the time to cook! A nice evening out was just what we needed anyway… great company is what made it even more impressive and exciting!
On the menu, but more importantly on our plates was a phenomenal array of Japanese fare… sushi rolls, tempura this- teriyaki that, along with delightful desserts made the evening picture perfect.
Looking forward to our next evening out… definitely sooner, rather than later!

at a low simmer…

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tall, dark and…

On such a chilly night, the only thing I could think of having to warm myself up was a thick, luxurious, spicy hot chocolate.
Shards of chocolate were gently melted in a shallow pan of simmering milk and cream… everything was constantly whisked until completely smooth.
Once everything was melted, a nice hit of cayenne was added in to really bring home the spicy element!
Poured into tall mugs, this sultry and silky concoction was a perfect way to close out the evening… the cayenne gave a gentle poke in the back of our throats, while the chocolatey mixture soothed it all out!
Looking forward to the next wintery evening to enjoy another…

at a low simmer…

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dishing it up!

So tonight I decided on a simple pasta dish for dinner…
To start this delightful meal, I sautéed some beautiful chicken sausages until nicely browned. Once these were cooked, I pulled them aside and in the same pan heated some olive oil, along with chopped garlic and crushed red pepper. After everything became fragrant, I added in a can of chickpeas that I had smashed up… this mixture simmered for a few minutes and then the sausage was added back in!
For the finale, I tossed this creamy concoction with some beautiful ribbed pasta and finished everything off with freshly grated pecorino and chopped parsley!
The flavors were fresh and vibrant, a touch spicy, but absolutely popping!
The only sad part would be that this left not much for leftovers… guess it will be a pb&j for my lunch tomorrow [not that I’m complaining]…

at a low simmer…









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pulling out all the stops!

So for a hearty Sunday supper, I decided something cooked low and slow was in order… a succulent pork shoulder caught my eye at the market so the decision was easy… pulled pork draped over a sweet, chunk of cornbread!
Seasoned only with salt, I started by simply browning the pork on all sides in a heavy pot. Once browned, into the pot went two bottles of root beer, along with a bottle of BBQ sauce! I used a pretty large bottle since this was a large hunk of pork shoulder, as well as two bottles of the root beer since I wanted to make sure there was enough liquid to cover about half of the shoulder…
The lid was popped onto the pot, and then into the oven for three hours on 350 degrees [turning the shoulder once halfway through cooking process]… for the last thirty minutes, the lid came off to help concentrate the liquid down and make it almost syrupy!
After everything was finished cooking, it was time to shred! The shredded shoulder was then tossed back into the sauce and stirred until completely coated… [I picked constantly while shredding, but shhhhh!!! don’t tell anyone].
Once it was time to eat, I couldn’t control myself! The flavors were incredible… salty and sweet, slightly spicy and almost gingery. The cornbread played a perfect balance to this whole story and made me want more than seconds [don’t judge!]
This is going to make one hell of a sandwich tomorrow for lunch…

at a low simmer…







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