Springtime 2015



It's been a snow-filled and cold winter in the mid-Atlantic and northeast states. We welcome Spring, arriving at 6:46 PM Friday, March 20. Spoiler: Snow expected!

Gettin' Our Corned Beef On!



Corned beef brisket on the oven, redolent with pickling spices, getting ready for the long slow simmer!


Cabbage, cored and quartered, ready to jump into the pool!


It's that time of year again -- when the entire house is filled with the aromas of spices and corned beef. It's been simmering on the stovetop for hours, and soon we'll be sitting down to our favorite way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Add your own special touches with a pint of Guinness and a slice of Irish soda bread!

Ingredients

One 4-lb. corned beef brisket, thin cut (get the best you can find)
2-6 tbsp. pickling spices
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
One large onion, peeled and quartered
One medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 quarters

Process

1. Put the corned beef into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 tbsp. pickling spices. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Skim the gray residue that comes to the top of the pot. Cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Skim residue. Add 1-2 tbsp. more pickling spices to make up for ones you skimmed away.
3. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours on medium heat.
4. Add potatotes, onion, more water (boil it first) to cover corned beef. Adjust spices by adding more if needed. Simmer 30 minutes.
5. Add cabbage and simmer 30 more minutes.

Serve with Irish soda bread and a pint of Guinness! Top of the evening to you, mateys!

Basic Roast Chicken on a Wintry Night

There's nothing quite like the aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven! 

Here's our can't fail method for a savory chicken.  Best of all, your oven does all the work!


Preheat oven to 375F.


1. Cut a 4 lb chicken into 8 pieces.


2. Put into roasting pan, and sprinkle liberally with herbes de Provence, 


3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over all.


4. Add a tad French salt (we use fleur de sel) and freshly ground pepper melange, some crushed fresh garlic cloves and a few tablespoons butter cut into small bits. 


5. Roast at 375F for 90 mins, basting half way through. 


Serve with your favorite smashed potatoes and haricots vert.

A made for all seasons dinner, not just for a wintry night. Use any leftovers for your chicken pot pie!

Jambalaya! Laissez les bons temps roulez!



Here's an easy and delicious way to celebrate Mardi Gras! We use Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix, to which we add:

• 3-4 thinly sliced chicken breasts, sautéed and seasoned until just tender, cut into 2" pieces
• 1/2 to 1 lb. extra-large shrimp, sautéed with garlic and butter
• 2-3 large andouille sausage links, sautéed in 1/2 tsp. olive oil until just cooked through and sliced into 1" pieces

Note: Do not overcook any of the additions because they will cook further in the jambalaya mix.

Follow package directions, add the chicken, sausage and shrimp. Serve with a salad.  Ready in 45 minutes or less. 

Laissez les bons temps roulez!
DRY ROASTED RIBS 
Low-carb, almost no sugar


Our recipe for dry roasted ribs is a delicious alternative to slathering sugary, high-calorie, carb-laden sauce. Containing almost no sugar, all you need is an oven set at 300F for four hours, a little water, and the delicious ingredients that are listed below. We served these with our Poblano Cornbread (recipe follows). This rub works equally well with chicken, just turn up the heat to 375F after 3 hours and roast for another 30 minutes, until brown and crispy.

Preheat oven to 300F

Ingredients

2-4 lb. rack of ribs
1 T high-quality smoky paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T cumin, or more if desired
1 T ground chili seasoning, or more if desired
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
Generous grind 5 pepper medley (Williams Sonoma)
2 T dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt or fleur-de-sel (Williams Sonoma)
Water

Take ribs out of refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes).

Mix spices well in bowl, rub generously into both sides of a rack of ribs. Place ribs on a sheet pan that has been fitted with alum foil to catch drippings and place ribs on a wire rack over pan with 1/4 c water beneath rack. Roast in oven 4 hours, turning every 20-30 minutes, replenishing with 1/4 c water as needed.




SOUTHWESTERN POBLANO CORNBREAD

 

For our Super Bowl 2015 celebration, we whipped up an easy batch of buttermilk cornbread, spiked with some southwestern corn for added spice and texture. Thanks to The Food TV network and Paula Deen for guidance on this savory treat. Less than an hour from start to finish, here's how we did it:

Ingredients

2 large eggs, beaten with a fork
1-1/2 c buttermilk OR 1 c whole milk + 1/2 c sour cream
1 c southwestern corn (includes chiles, poblano peppers and other Tex-Mex ingredients - we used Del Monte in a can)
6 T melted butter
2 T butter for pan

1 c white cornmeal
3/4 c flour
1 T sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda


Process

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan with butter.
3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.
4. Mix all wet ingredients except for corn in smaller bowl.
5. Gently fold in Southwestern corn.
6. Pour into baking pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Enjoy with your favorite chili or chicken 'n' ribs!




Elegant Cauliflower Gratin -- Fast, satisying, meatless, and low carb!


We love cauliflower all the time, but it is especially wonderful now during these cold winter months, when it is plentiful, so satisfying, and a true "comfort food." It's versatile as well -- we've roasted it, sautéed it, made delicious soups from it (where it starred and also played a supporting role!). 

This week, we created a sumptuous gratin ... lots of savory cheese, baked and topped off in the broiler for a few minutes to brown the crust. We used gruyere, but for an extra bite you can add grated or shaved parmigiano reggiano to the top before broiling. For extra crunch, add a 1/3 cup of Panko breadcrumbs and a dot or two of butter. Special and spectacular on your dinner table, or as a main meatless dish, accompanied by a salad.  Best of all, it's a thoroughly user-friendly recipe: You can make this gratin in less than a 1/2 hour, prepare it in advance and broil it just before eating,

Ingredients
One large head cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and broken into large florets
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock)
1/3 c. butter (approx. 5 tbsp.)
1/3 c. flour
1/8 tsp. high-quality paprika
Salt (kosher) and pepper (freshly ground) to taste
1/2 c. - 1 c. shredded high-quality gruyere or white cheddar
Optional : 1/3 c.  parmigiano reggiano1/3 c. Panko breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp. butter cut in dots

Process
Preheat oven to 375F

1. In a large saucepan, boil cauliflower florets in 2 c. salted water for 3-5 minutes, until firm but not soft. Drain and when dry, place in a butered oven-proof open casserole dish.
 2. In a saucepan, melt butter, add flour and stir over low to medium heat until a roux is formed. Slowly add cream and stock until thick and bubbly, sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Add gruyere or cheddar and stir well until melted. (Reserve 1/4 c. cheese for topping.)

 3. Pour over cauliflower.

 4. Sprinkle with more paprika, and parmigiano reggiano if desired. Sprinkle reserved gruyere or cheddar. Bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes or until golden.

5. Sprinkle with Panko breadcrumbs if desired and broil on high for 3 minutes until browned and bubbly.

6. Serve with an icy glass of white wine and salad for a satisfying meatless dinner, or as an elegant side with roast chicken or grilled steak.

Note: This recipe easily serves four as a side dish. Your guests and family will go back for seconds, so if you want to double the recipe, be sure to use a casserole dish large enough to spread out the cauliflower in a single layer so that most of the pieces get browned in the broiler. We like the crispy topping best.