Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beef Jerky

Guest Post from the Hubby:
I love beef jerky and I have always wanted to try making it myself, but I don’t have a food dehydrator. I recently saw Alton Brown make it using a fan and some household air filters. I made two batches of this delicious jerky. The first time I made it according to the directions and the second batch I added some bourbon to the marinade. Both were delicious and chewy. The only thing I did differently was to cook the jerky for half an hour or so at my oven’s lowest temperature. I did this because I was a little nervous about not cooking the meat. This worked great, the only problem I had was that some of the smaller thinner pieces ended up a little too dry, so next time I make it I probably will not dry the jerky as long in the fan.

Beef Jerky

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Special Equipment: 1 box fan, 4 paper air-conditioning filters, and 2 bungee cords

Trim the flank steak of any excess fat, place in a zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order to firm up. Remove the steak from the freezer and thinly slice the meat with the grain, into long strips.

Place the strips of meat along with all of the remaining ingredients into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours.

Remove the meat from the brine and pat dry. Evenly distribute the strips of meat onto 3 of the air filters, laying them in the grooves and then stacking the filters on top of one another. Top these with 1 empty filter. Next, lay the box fan on its side and lay the filters on top of it. Strap the filters to the fan with 2 bungee cords. Stand the fan upright, plug in and set to medium. Allow the meat dry for 8 to 12 hours. If using a commercial dehydrator, follow the manufacturer's directions. Once dry, store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container for 2 to 3 months.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bourbon Fudge Brownies

These are soooooo good. When I was making the batter, it was a little dry. I added a little extra bourbon. They tasted really good, but when I cut into them them the top cracked a lot. I really liked the crunchy top, but maybe next time I'll add some milk if the batter is too dry. Maybe it'll make them less fragile. Anyway, I will definitely be making these again. They don't taste like bourbon if you are afraid of that. Just a hint of whatever people who like bourbon claim that it tastes like.

Bourbon Fudge Brownies

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Bring bourbon to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. Add flour mixture and bourbon mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.

Spread batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Source: Cooking Light

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sauteed Halibut with Lemon Pesto Butter

This recipe from Cooking Light magazine is so good. It's super easy too. We used pesto that we had frozen in ice cube trays to make little pesto cubes. I subbed regular yellow onions for the shallots so that I wouldn't have to go to the store for a teaspoon of shallots. We also used the tilapia that we had. Tilapia is cheap and easy to find, so I sub it out in a lot of fish dishes. When the fish is done cooking and you spread the pesto over it, you can watch the butter melt over the top. Yum! We had it 2 nights in a row and I can't wait to make it again.

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon refrigerated pesto
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well blended.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fillets evenly on both sides with salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fillets to pan; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with butter mixture.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thai Iced Tea

I first had a Thai iced tea at a restaurant in California. A friend's brother wanted to make it for me (he worked there) and I agreed to try it. I don't really like tea, but this has a sweet, creamy, spicy taste. Not spicy hot, but with some spices in it. This Giada recipe is pretty good. It's a very sweet drink, so not for the faint at heart. Of course the sweet creaminess makes it a good pairing for hot Thai food.

Thai Iced Tea

5 cups water

1/2 cup sugar
5 whole star anise pods
8 black tea bags
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
Mint leaves, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the water, sugar and star anise pods to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Discard the star anise pods and the tea bags and whisk in the condensed milk. Pour into a large pitcher and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve.

To serve: Pour the tea into 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Strawberry Golden Oreo Vegan Ice Cream

I had a bunch of extra almond milk to use up so I made some ice cream for my sister. It was inspired by a blizzard. I think the ice cream tasted like strawberry milk. It was a bit icy, but ok.

Strawberry Golden Oreo Vegan Ice Cream

1½ - 2 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)

2 c. soy creamer (I substituted coconut milk)
1 c. soy milk (I used almond milk)
¾ c. sugar
2 T. arrowroot
1 T. vanilla
Golden Oreos, chopped
Mix ¼ cup of soy milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside. Slice one cup of the strawberries and set aside. Combine the remaining strawberries, soy creamer, remaining soy milk, and sugar together in a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools). Add the vanilla. Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add sliced strawberries and Oreos in the last five minutes of freezing.

Source: A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tadka Dal

I do like Indian food, but we often buy the premade packets of sauce from the Asian market. Indian food can involve a lot of spices, some that are hard to find. My husband definitely had to hit the Asian market for this recipe. He even had to go to an Indian market for the last ingredient. It wasn't a terribly hard recipe--especially since we got to use the pressure cooker. The directions on this recipe were a little confusing on the pressure cooker part. Ours doesn't do a whistling thing like is described. So we waited until the cooker started going and let it cook for a while. It was definitely mushy when it was done. It's supposed to be mushy. The recipe that I linked has some links that describe some of the weirder ingredients. If you are adventurous enough to make this, you will probably need it.

1 cup Toor or Tuvar Daal --mine was actually labeled Moong

1 large tomato cut into cubes
1 tsp ginger paste (we just used minced ginger)
1 tsp garlic paste (we used minced garlic)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable/ sunflower/ canola cooking oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsps melted ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp Paanch Phoran (see recipe below)
10 curry leaves
2 slit green chillies (optional but preferred)
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
Thoroughly wash the Daal and put into a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water to it. Now add the chopped tomato, ginger, garlic pastes, salt to taste, 1 tbsp of cooking oil and turmeric powder to it. Stir well.

Cover the pressure cooker and set on the stove at a high flame. After the first 'whistle'/ pressure release, reduce the flame to simmer and cook for 2 more 'whistles'/ pressure releases. Turn off the fire and release the pressure from the cooker. Now open the pressure cooker and stir the boiled lentils well to blend into a smooth soup-like consistency. If it is too thick, add some warm water and stir till the consistency is right. Heat the Daal through again. It shoudl be piping hot before you carry out the next step in the recipe.

Heat the ghee on a medium flame, in a small pan till hot. Now add the Paanch Phoran and fry till spluttering stops. Add the curry leaves and green chillies and cook till spluttering stops. Turn off the fire and add the asafetida powder. Stir to mix well and add this tempering mix to the boiled lentil mixture. It will sizzle and might splutter a bit, so be careful when you do this. Stir well.

Serve with plain boiled rice.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Green Chile Chicken Casserole

My husband has a fondness for green chiles and casseroles. Can you imagine why he picked this recipe out. Well I don't mind, cause it was delicious. The recipe is from Cooking Light and makes some good leftovers.

Green Chile Chicken Casserole

1 1/3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted (such as Campbell's)
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray
24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Spread 1 cup soup mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 6 tortillas over the soup mixture, and top with 1 cup chicken and 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese. Spread remaining soup mixture over cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.