Monday, February 27, 2012

Crispy Potato Bake

Ok, so this is actually the first recipe that I can credit to Pinterest, it was posted via, and turned out fabulously! I got so many complements but it was honestly so easy. Cutting the potatoes takes a level of skill and patience, but don't have to be perfect or even cut as thin as I have, however the thinner the cut the crispier the potatoes will be.

What you'll need:

3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp ev olive oil
5 lb bag of russet potatoes
2 medium shallots, sliced
Sea salt
Fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and combine with olive oil, pour half of this mixture into the bottom of your casserole dish. Rinse, peel and slice potatoes. Working one by one, keep the slices of the potato together so as to retain the shape of each potato, transferring the whole sliced potato into the dish using your chef's knife. Once your potatoes are all arranged in the dish, brush with remaining butter mixture and then top with sliced shallots and fresh ground sea salt. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil, top with several sprigs of fresh thyme and then return to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown in color.

It turns out looking quite impressive!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Venison Pot Roast

This is a traditional roast recipe which uses venison instead of beef. You can substitue the venison with a eye-of-round roast if you prefer. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

As a note, I like to cook my roast the night before, let it rest for about 20 minutes, slice it and place it in a tupperware with the vegetables and gravy. This allows the meat to absorb a lot of the juices from the gravy and become extra tender. This is especially helpful when working with venison.

Serves 4 to 6

1 3lb venison roast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups baby carrots, left whole
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced in half
3 celery ribs cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tbs garlic, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth


Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and cook for 5 minutes per side or until browned. Place the meat in a dutch oven. Arrange carrots, mushrooms, celery, onions, and garlic around the roast. Sprinkle with thyme.

In the skillet the venison was browned in, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, scrapping browned bits from bottom on skillet with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and beef stock and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened. Pour over the roast.

Cover and cook the roast on low heat for two to three hour until the roast is tender (if you are using beef you need to increase this time about one to two hours). Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

Shrimp Salad Lettuce Wraps

I have really gotten into using lettuce wraps instead of bread for sandwiches. The shrimp salad recipe below can be served in a lettuce wrap, over a salad, or on bread.

Serves 4

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large shrimp-- peeled, deveined and chopped
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pesto (see recipe finder)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 head Boston lettuce


In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until opaque, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the corn and let cool.

In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, pesto and lemon juice. Add the shrimp-corn mixture, bell pepper and scallions; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in boston lettuce leaves.

Carbonara Quiche

Two of Travis's favorite dishes are pasta carbonara and quiche. So he requested that I make a hybrid Carbonara Quiche! Below is what I came up with.

Serves 4

1 pie dough (refrigerated)
½ cup cubed pancetta
½ cup yellow onion, diced
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup parmesan
¾ cup mozzarella
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the pie dough in a 10-inch wide tart pan, pressing the dough into the corners. Line the frozen crust with heavy duty aluminum foil or with parchment paper. Allow for a couple inches to extend beyond the sides of the tart or pie pan. Fill two-thirds with dry beans or other pie weights. If you are using a pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any spillage.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven, remove the pie weights (the easiest way to do this is to lift up the foil by the edges) and the foil. Using the tines of a fork, poke little holes all around the base of the crust. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly browned all over. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the crust is baking, place the cubed pancetta in a cast iron and brown. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until soft. Add in frozen peas and cook for 2 more minutes. When the crust is complete add the pancetta and pea mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the mixture.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Pour over the cheese/pea mixture.

Bake until quiche is just set, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer quiche in pan to a rack to cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Southwest Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Every Saturday I bring food to Travis at work. I try and bring something that I can make the night before, is easily portable, and can be shared with others. I have found that soups tend to fit all these categories and are a big hit! This soup was no exception.
For the cooked chicken you can use chicken from one rotisserie chicken or cook your own. I have found the best way to prepare chicken for a dish that calls for it precooked is to cook bone-in chicken quarters with the skin removed in a dutch oven in chicken stock for 1 to 2 hours. Then shred and chop once cooked and cooled.

Serves 8 to 10

3 32oz cartons chicken stock
2 10oz cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
4 cups cooked chicken
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs fresh lime juice


In a large dutch oven combine stock, diced tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, onion, celery, carrots, and jalapeños. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Add the chicken, cilantro, cumin, and lime juice to the soup. Simmer for 10 more minutes until heated through.

Patty Melt with Cole Slaw and Cucumber Tomato Salad

Ok so it is not the best photo but you get the idea!

I love patty melts, bread is so much better than buns, especially rye bread. The mixture of the rye bread and caramelized onions (with sour cream, YUM!) gives this dish a unique twist on a traditional patty melt. As the burger is heavy, I served it with two lighter sides, cole slaw and cucumber tomato salad.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons butter
5 onions, 4 thinly sliced and 1 peeled
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 pounds ground beef sirloin
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
12 slices of rye bread
6 slices of tomato (optional)


Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep caramel in color and very soft, 35 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the beef broth and cook until all the liquid is almost absorbed. Let cool, then discard the bay leaf. Stir in the sour cream.

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the beef in a bowl and season with the Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Grate 3 to 4 tablespoons of the peeled onion over the meat. Mix the meat, but do not overwork it. Form 6 patties. Drizzle the skillet with EVOO. Cook the burgers, turning once, for 6- 8 minutes for pink centers.

Turn the heat on cast iron to low. Place the burgers on the bread and top with the onion mixture and tomato. Melt 1 tbs of butter in the skillet. Place the sandwiches in the cast iron and toast on both sides like a grilled cheese.

Tip: When toasting these I use a lid that is smaller than the cast iron and put directly over the sandwiches, then I manually put pressure on the lid. This weight helps get a great toast on the bread and form it into a true patty melt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Old Bay Shrimp and Pasta

Hey, so I know it's been a while but I made a yummy light shrimp and pasta dish tonight for dinner that I thought I would share! It was super simple and easy to throw together. My recipe would serve 2 but can easily be made for more.

Shrimp Boil:

10 raw frozen jumbo shrimp
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, quartered
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp butter
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients into a pot of boiling water and simmer on medium until shrimp are fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes (since my shrimp was frozen).

Using a slotted spoon remove the shrimp and lemons. Serve over a bed of pasta or rice. I used whole wheat spaghetti and tossed it with butter and chopped parsley. Squeeze the extra lemon juice over the dish and enjoy!

On a side note I am here forward pledging to do more blogging and (attempt) to pull my weight! Happy Valentines Day!