Friday, December 30, 2016

Champagne Jelly Flutes

three 1/4-ounce packets unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 bottle dry sparkling wine, such as Champagne or Prosecco, chilled
2 cups sparkling pale white grape juice, chilled
8 raspberries
1 tablespoon half and half

   1. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set an 8-cup glass spouted measuring cup inside of it. Put eight 8-ounce Champagne flutes in the refrigerator to chill.
   2. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over 2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan. Let sit until the gelatin softens (it will become translucent), about 5 minutes. Add the sugar then cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently, until the sugar and gelatin dissolve completely, about 5 minutes (dont let the liquid come to a boil). Pour the gelatin mixture into the prepared measuring cup over the ice bath, stirring the mixture a few times until it feels lukewarm. Stir in the sparkling wine and grape juice. Pour 1/2 cup of the sparkling wine mixture into a small bowl then neatly pour the remaining mixture into the 8 flutes.
   3. Refrigerate the flutes and the reserved mixture in the bowl for 30 minutes (the jelly will be lightly thickened). Gently push a raspberry down into the center of each flute with a skewer, letting some gelatin cover it, until the raspberry is held in place.
   4. Add the half and half to the reserved gelatin mixture in the bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture looks like foam. Spoon the foam on top of each flute of jelly. Return the flutes to the refrigerator and chill until the gelatin sets completely, about 2 hours.

Slow Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 3-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into 3-inch pieces
8 small red potatoes, quartered
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 medium lemon, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-1/2 teaspoons paprika

   1. Place carrots, celery and potatoes in a 6-qt. slow cooker, toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place lemon halves and garlic in chicken cavity. Tuck wings under chicken, tie drumsticks together. Place chicken over vegetables in slow cooker, breast side up. Mix rosemary, lemon juice, oil, paprika and remaining salt, rub over chicken.
   2. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170°-175° and vegetables are tender.
   3. Remove chicken to a serving platter; tent with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Strawberries and Champagne Cheesecake

1 cup champagne or other sparkling wine
2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 14 whole crackers)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large egg yolks
20 fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening, divided
1/3 cup white baking chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

   1. Place champagne in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
   2. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2 in up the sides of a greased 9-in springform pan, set aside. Arrange sliced strawberries over the bottom.
   3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, cornstarch and reduced champagne. Add eggs and egg yolks, beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over strawberries. Place pan on a baking sheet.
   4. Bake at 325° for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen, cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
   5. Remove sides of springform pan. For topping, wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. Slice and arrange over cheesecake. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening, stir until smooth. Drizzle over strawberries. Repeat melting and drizzling with white baking chips and remaining shortening.
   6. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners sugar, beat until soft peaks form. Serve cheesecake with whipped cream.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sear-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Port and Cranberry Sauce

   For the beef
1 trimmed whole beef tenderloin (3-1/2 to 4 lb.)
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 medium clove garlic, mashed to a paste
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
   For the sauce
1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallot
Kosher salt
1-1/2 cups tawny port
1 small hot dried red chile, such as chile de arbol
2 cups unsalted or lower-salt beef stock or broth; more as needed
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs. cool water
1-1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter

   Sear-roast the beef
1. Fold the thinner end of the tenderloin under to create an evenly thick roast, secure with twine. Rub the beef all over with 1 Tbs. salt. Wrap it in butcher paper or plastic wrap, put it on a platter or rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
2. Remove the beef from the refrigerator and let sit for about an hour before roasting. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.
3. In a small bowl, combine the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, honey, soy sauce, thyme and a few grinds of pepper, set aside.
4. Heat a flame-proof roasting pan over medium-high heat, using 2 burners if necessary. Add the oil, swirling the pan to coat and then add the beef. Cook, turning with tongs, until well browned on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board, wipe out the pan.
5. Brush the glaze over all of the beef, return it to the roasting pan, and roast to an internal temperature of 120°F for rare, 16 to 20 minutes or 125°F for medium rare, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
   Make the sauce
1. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium low heat. Add the shallot and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the port and dried chile, turn the heat up to medium and boil gently until the mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the stock and the cranberries, bring to a gentle boil, and cook until reduced to about 2 cups, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Remove the chile and discard it. Whisk in half of the cornstarch slurry and simmer, whisking, for a minute. For a thicker sauce, whisk in a bit more of the slurry; if its too thick, add a little stock. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. (If making the sauce ahead, take it off the heat, let cool, and refrigerate for up to 1 day, reheat gently.) Whisk in the butter until incorporated and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Slice the tenderloin 1/2 inch thick and pour any juice that has accumulated over the sliced beef. Serve the beef with the sauce.
      Heat and sweet come together in this deep burgundy sauce thats simply stunning on the holiday table.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Butter and Herb Roasted Turkey in a Bag

   For the turkey
1 16- to 18-lb. turkey (preferably fresh)
1/2 medium lemon
Sea salt
1 medium head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh sage (7 to 8 inches long)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches long)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
4 medium shallots, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
   For the gravy
5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup lower-salt chicken or turkey broth; more as needed
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
Kosher salt

   Roast the turkey
1. Position a rack in the bottom of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Rinse and dry the turkey. Rub the inside of the body and neck cavities with the cut side of the lemon half and sprinkle 1 tsp. salt inside the cavities.
2. Thinly slice three garlic cloves. Carefully slide your hands under the skin of the turkey to loosen it from the breast. Push the garlic slices between the skin and the breast, being careful not to tear the skin.
3. Mix the butter with the thyme, 2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Spread half of the butter inside the body cavity of the turkey. Put the lemon half, 3 sage sprigs, 3 rosemary sprigs, and about three-quarters of the remaining garlic cloves in the cavity. Put the remaining herb sprigs and garlic cloves in the neck cavity. Rub the remaining butter mixture over the skin.
4. Tie the legs together for a neater appearance, if you like. Tuck the wing tips behind the neck, securing any loose skin over the neck cavity beneath the wing tips.
5. Put the turkey, breast side up, in an If You Care Extra Large Parchment Roasting Bag, with seam side up on a large baking sheet. Don't push the turkey all the way to the back of the bag. Add the carrots, celery, shallots, and bay leaf. Seal the open end of the bag by folding tightly as many times as possible toward the top until it snugly fits the turkey.
6. Roast the turkey for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 375ºF. Cut or rip the top of the bag (do this carefully, as the steam will be very hot) to expose the turkey, and put it back into the oven. Roast uncovered until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 30 minutes more.
7. With silicone oven mitts, carefully lift and remove the turkey from the bag. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter or cutting board, and tent it loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes (and up to 1 hour) while making the gravy.
   Make the gravy
1. Strain the juices from the bag through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan, and discard the solids. Bring the juices to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and the chicken broth together until the mixture is smooth. Slowly pour the flour mixture into the saucepan, whisking continuously until the gravy begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, thin it with more chicken broth until it reaches the consistency you like. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking, whisking frequently, to eliminate any raw flour flavor, about 5 minutes more.
3. Whisk in the thyme, rosemary, sage, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and the butter. Continue to whisk until the butter melts. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary.
4. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mildly Sweet Whiskey Chicken

2 pounds chicken thighs
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey or more to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter or to taste
2 large mushrooms, sliced

 1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.
 2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
 3. Cook the chicken thighs until no longer pink in the center and somewhat charred on the outside, about 7 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
 4. Let chicken cool until able to handle easily, cut into strips and put into a large glass bowl.
 5. Stir pineapple juice, bourbon whiskey, soy sauce, garlic cloves, brown sugar and black pepper together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
 6. While the sauce simmers, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms in hot butter until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir into the simmering sauce.
 7. Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken strips and toss to coat.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Shredded Beef Chimichangas

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 (8 inch) flour tortilla
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

 1. Place beef in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Pour in water. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook until liquid has evaporated and beef is well browned, about 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine beef broth, red wine vinegar, chili powder and cumin. Pour over beef. Cover and cook until meat is very tender and pulls apart easily, about 2 hours. Allow to cool, then shred and mix with pan juices.
 2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
 3. Brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. Spoon shredded beef filling down center of each tortilla. Fold ends over filling, then fold sides to center to make a packet. Place chimichangas, seam side down, in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.
 4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Herb Roasted Pork

1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (5 pound) boneless pork loin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
 2. In a bowl, combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub thoroughly all over pork. Place pork in an uncovered roasting pan on the middle oven rack.
 3. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), depending upon your desired doneness.
 4. Meanwhile, place sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, water and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken slightly. Brush roast with glaze 3 or 4 times during the last 1/2 hour of cooking. Pour remaining glaze over roast and serve.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Delicious Black Bean Burritos

2 (10 inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

 1. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
 2. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in skillet, cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook 3 minutes stirring.
 3. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture.
 4. Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla and roll tortillas up.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Easy Barbeque Beef Tenderloin Steak

2 (2 inch thick) steaks beef tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon meat tenderizer

 1. Rub meat with olive oil and crushed garlic. Sprinkle with tenderizer. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
 2. Preheat grill for medium high heat.
 3. Brush grate with oil, and place steaks on the grill. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side or until done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pickled Citrus Shrimp

1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4  teaspoon white pepper
2 small Spanish (yellow) onions, cut into thin rings
2 lemons, cut into very thin circles (be sure to remove the seeds)
  Remaining ingredients
2 tablespoons old bay seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh medium-sized shrimp (16-20 count with tails on), peeled and deveined olive oil
6 large bay leaves or 12 small ones
3 arbol chilies (dried red chili or you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or a large pinch of cayenne)

  1. In a dry pan, lightly toast the seeds. Let cool. In a large glass heatproof bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and all of the seeds. Add the onion and the lemon slices. Toss gently to coat. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Old Bay Seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the shrimp in one layer on a sheet pan. Do not overlap. You will need to do several batches. Drizzle the shrimp with olive oil. Toss well. Sprinkle with the Old Bay mixture. Roast for 7 or 8 minutes for the medium 16-20 count shrimp. You may need a longer or shorter cooking time depending on the size of your shrimp but do not overcook - they will be tough. When they curl up and turn pink, they are done. Remove immediately and transfer the hot shrimp and the juice on the pan into the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat. Add bay leaves and red chilies. Allow the mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours before serving.
        Remove the chilies. Check the seasoning. You can add a dash or two of Tabasco if you like. Serve in a large chilled glass bowl. The shrimp are delicious served at room temperature in colder weather but on a hot day, serve chilled.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sizzling Fajitas

4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, or more to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds beef skirt steak, cut across the grain into
1/4-inch strips
6 whole wheat tortillas, or as needed
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 large onion, cut into slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

   1. Grind garlic with kosher salt with a mortar and pestle until a paste forms. Whisk garlic paste, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, chili powder, sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl; pour marinade into a resealable plastic bag. Add skirt steak strips, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator, 2 hours to overnight.
   2. Remove steak from marinade and shake off excess; discard remaining marinade.
   3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Wrap tortillas tightly in aluminum foil to form a packet and place packet on a baking sheet.
   4. Bake in the preheated oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Keep warm.
   5. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until oil begins to smoke. Saute onion and bell pepper in hot oil until browned and almost tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer onion and pepper to a plate.
   6. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in the same skillet over high heat until oil starts to smoke. Cook 1/2 of the steak in hot oil until browned on all sides but still pink in the center, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer cooked steak to the plate with onion and pepper.
   7. Heat remaining canola oil in the same skillet. Cook remaining steak in hot oil until browned on all sides but still pink in the center, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir cooked steak, onion, bell pepper, and any accumulated juices back into the skillet. Add minced garlic and salt; cook and stir until fragrant and heated through. Remove from heat. Divide steak mixture between warm tortillas.

Spicy Beef Fajitas

1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 anaheim chile peppers, thinly sliced
1 (1.27 ounce) packet spicy fajita seasoning
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, crushed

   1. Combine beef strips, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, onion, anaheim chile peppers, fajita seasoning, olive oil, and garlic in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
   2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the beef and vegetable mixture in hot skillet until beef is no longer pink in the center and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.