Sunday, February 27, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I was up in Park City a few weekends ago for a ski trip.  We had this amazing house, with a gorgeous kitchen, and a beautiful view.  We decided to make Breakfast Burritos one morning and picked up this amazing black bean and corn salsa to go on top.  I decided to make it at home.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa:

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of cooked frozen corn
1 tomato, chopped into bite size pieces
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or any sweeter vinegar)
few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine all in a bowl and toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning.  Enjoy on Breakfast Burritos or with chips or as a refreshing side dish.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Caesar Salad - The Way to my Dad's Heart

I've said it before, I grew up eating a salad with almost every dinner my mother made.  Usually, it was some sort of leafy green, add tomatoes, radishes and some green onion to a red wine vinaigrette, and that was our tasty, every day salad.  I started introducing a Caesar Salad a bit ago and my father loves it.  Whenever I'm home, he begs me to make it.  My mother could have prepared an entire meal, salad included and he will still ask me to make it for him.  A conversation goes like this:

Dad: "Oh please sweet, just a little Caesar Salad?"
Me: "Dad.  No."

So this post is devoted to my dad, it's not his birthday, or Father's Day but there are certain things that just remind me of him some days, and Caesar Salad is often one of them.  My father is truly unique.  He let me sit in his lap and drive up the driveway when I was seven (totally legal), jump from the top of the refrigerator into his arms as a toddler, has trouble pronouncing words like "yeast" and "onion" with his Polish accent, and lastly, he is convinced that he is a "cool dad."  After all the years of laughing, driving, jumping, joking, and laughing again, he is my father that I love, the only father that I know and could ever be so lucky to have.

Dad - I love you and thank you for keeping things, well, interesting.

Anyway, back to reality, I made this for dinner a few nights ago.  I know some of you may be wary about using anchovy paste but trust me, you don't taste it, it just has a rich and complex saltiness that perfects the dressing.

Caesar Salad:

Serves 4 people
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped into 1/2 inch strips
Parmesan cheese, freshly graded

1 cup of day old, cubed bread - I used a baguette or some sort of dry bread
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder

In a saute pan, add the oil to medium high heat.  Add the bread and let toast in the oil, take the heat down to medium.  Season with salt and pepper and turn once the bread has a nice golden brown color.  Toast on the other side for a few more minutes and then put into a seperate bowl, sprinkle with a few dashes of garlic powder (if you do this in the hot pan, the garlic powder will burn and taste like well, burnt garlic and metal - super delicious).  Let the croutons cool.

Salad Dressing:
2 egg yolks
1/2 to 1 whole lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp anchovy paste - or a good squeeze (comes in a tube at the grocery store)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
dash or two of Worcestershire
1 garlic clove, finely minced
salt and pepper
garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil

In a sauce pan, heat an inch or two of water to a simmer.  Combine everything but the olive oil into a metal bowl and place on top of the simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.  Whisk rapidly for a minute or two until the egg yolk mixture thickens up a bit and lightens slightly, making sure that the eggs don't curdle or get chunky.  Take off the heat immediately and wipe off the hot water from below the metal bowl (or just place on a kitchen towel).  Whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream until you get the consistency you desire.  Thin custardy consistency is what I like, but to each his own.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.  Place the dressing at the bottom of your salad bowl and put the lettuce on top.  Sprinkle the croutons on top along with the Parmesan cheese.  Toss at the very last minute before serving/eating.  Enjoy Daddy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Green Beans with Shallots, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

Green vegetables are a big part of my life.  I've grown up always having a green vegetable and a salad with dinner.  They're tasty, nutritious and really easy to make.  I made up this side dish in college and love it.  You steam or boil some green beans and throw in some garlic, shallots, raisins, some sort of nuts and you're home!

Green Beans:

1 bunch of green beans
1/4 cup raisins
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds
salt and pepper
olive oil

Either set up a steamer or boil some water.  Steam/boil the green beans for 1-2 minutes, 30 seconds before you take out the beans, add the raisins and let them plump up a bit in the water/steam.  Immediately take everything off the heat and put into ice water to stop the cooking process.

In a saute pan, heat up a bit of olive oil and sweat the shallots for a minute or so.  Add the garlic and the cooked green beans and raisins.  Season with salt and pepper and at the last minute add the nuts.  Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentine's Filet Mignon

The boy and I are going to Sociale on actual Valentine's Day.  However, all wouldn't be right in Whoville if I wasn't able to cook him a meal for Valentine's Day.  I figured some steak would be a great jumping off point to start planning our menu.  I created this marinade a log time ago and LOVE it!  It makes the beef slightly sweet and tangy but always tender.  Let marinade for at least 2 hours before cooking.

Since it is Valentine's Day, this post is dedicated to the boy.  He puts up with me, my family, my lack of know right from left when driving, and my snoring at night. 

Marinated Filet Mignon:

2 Filet mignons
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup dry white wine
splash Tabasco
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. brown sugar or some honey
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 shallot, roughly chopped into a few pieces
1 knob of ginger, roughly chopped
1 scallion, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
bunch of cilantro or parsley (optional)
1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. canola oil

Put all ingredients (minus the oil) in a zip lock bag and marinate for a few hours, or overnight.  Let come to room temperature when ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Heat a pan to medium high, add oil.  When the oil is hot, sear the meat on both sides for about 4 minutes.  Pop in the oven for 5-10 min.  Take out when medium rare.  Serve with a baked potato and some vegetables.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pulled Pork Sliders

This past superbowl weekend I made Pulled Pork Sliders for everyone to enjoy.  I made my own BBQ sauce and cooked the pork shoulder in the pressure cooker.  If you don't have one, a crock pot works as well as sticking the pork in a very very low oven for a long time.  I served it with my own coleslaw on top of a brioche bun.  Now this recipe is actually 3, cooking the pork, making the BBQ sauce, and making the coleslaw.  It's a long post, but the satisfaction that your tummy gets after ingesting one of these is pretty mind boggling.


1 pork shoulder
1/2 cup rub, recipe below
1 beer, I liked Sierra Nevada or some dry white wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1/2 onion
1/2 jalapeno
1/2 head garlic

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. salt and pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder (ancho is preferred)
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tbsp. garlic powder

Coat the entire pork shoulder with the rub and let come to room temperature.  If you're using a pressure cooker or a crock pot, sear the meat in another pan and then transfer to the pressure cooker or crock pot.  Add the beer, onion, jalapeno and garlic.  Cover and cook for at least 2 hours, until fork tender. *If using a regular pot, stick it in the oven at 300 F for at least 4 hours (I didn't say this recipe was quick).

BBQ Sauce:
1 tsp. ish  vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. dry oregano
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. chipotle
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. Worshershire
Splash of A1 steak sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 large can tomato sauce

In a sauce pan, heat the oil and sweat the onions for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add good pinches of salt and pepper, the spices and everything down to the Worshershire.  Let the brown sugar coat everything and cook for a few minutes.  Add the last 4 ingredients and stir to combine.  Let bubble slowly for 45 minutes uncovered, taste halfway and adjust for seasoning.  It will get darker and thicker as it cooks more.  It will start of tasting very much of tomato, but will eventually begin to taste like BBQ sauce.  If you like it sweeter, add more brown sugar.  Want more vinegar, add a few more splashes.  Adjust the sauce the way you want to.

Once the pork is tender and cool to the touch, add the shredded pork to the BBQ sauce and stir to combine.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving so the flavors can merry.

1/2 bag of shredded cabbage
1/2 bag of shredded carrot and broccoli slaw from TJ's
1 gala apple, cut into thin strips
3 scallions, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced (optional)

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sugar
3 tsp vinegar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp pepper

In a small sauce pan on low heat, warm the vinegar, milk and mayonnaise till combined.  Add in the spices and stir to combine.  Taste the dressing, it should be light, sweet, tangy and above all else, tasty.  If it's a little thick, add some more milk, you want a salad dressing consistency.  Combine everything and taste for seasoning.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

Toast a bun, add the pulled pork on the bottom, top with some coleslaw, add the top and open mouth.