"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beef Braised in Red Wine with Porcini Mushrooms

Wow, this one is a keeper, it's one of my favorites.  I usually serve it with a great Barolo.  The beef improves in flavor if made 3 days ahead.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pound sliced pancetta, finely chopped

6 oz. dried Porcini mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 (4- to 6-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
2 (6- to 8-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups full-bodied red wine such as Ripasso Valpolicella, Gigondas, or Côtes du Rhône
2 cups water

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Heat oil in a 4-5 qt. heavy ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

Meanwhile, pat meat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Brown meat in hot oil on all sides, about 10 minutes total. (If bottom of pot begins to scorch, lower heat to moderate.) Transfer to a plate using a fork and tongs.

Add pancetta to oil in pot and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sauté, stirring, until garlic begins to soften and turn golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add water and mushrooms, bring to a simmer, then return meat along with any juices accumulated on plate to pot. Cover pot with lid and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Transfer meat to a cutting board. Skim fat from surface of sauce and discard along with herb stems. Boil sauce until reduced by about one third, about 5 minutes, then season with salt. Cut meat across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices and return to sauce. 

If making ahead of time, do not slice beef.  Cool completely in sauce, uncovered, then chill in sauce, covered.  To reheat; cover and place in a preheated 350°F oven until hot, 25 to 30 minutes, then slice meat.

Serve with Creamy Polenta (recipe follows) and enjoy!

Creamy Polenta

This method of preparing this classic dish eliminates the need for constant stirring.  By covering the polenta while it cooks, moisture builds up in the saucepan and you can still obtain that creamy consistency without all the elbow grease!

4 C. water
1 tsp. salt
1 C. polenta (not quick-cooking) can substitute yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 C. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring water and salt to the boil in a 3 qt. heavy saucepan, then add polenta in a thin stream, whisking.  Cook over medium heat, whisking 2 minutes.    Reduce heat to low and cover pan, then cook at a bare simmer for 45 minutes, stirring with a long-handled spoon for 1 minute after every 10 minutes of cooking.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter and cheese until all is well incorporated.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Lasagne Rolls with Roasted Tomato and Eggplant

I found this recipe in the Jan. 2007 Gourmet magazine and fell in love with it the very first time I made these beautiful rolls.  This one is well worth the effort.  The vegetables can be roasted 1-2 days in advance and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered.

For sauce:
2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds eggplant (preferably baby Italian), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup water

For filling:
1 pound ricotta (preferably fresh)
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For pasta:
6 dried lasagne noodles (long, narrow, and curly-edged; not no-boil; 6 ounces)

Make sauce:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Oil a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish and a large shallow baking pan.

Toss together tomatoes, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in baking dish, then arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in 1 layer. Toss eggplant with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in baking pan.

Roast tomatoes and eggplant, switching position of dish and pan halfway through baking, until tomato skins are wrinkled and beginning to brown and eggplant is golden brown and tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool vegetables slightly in dish and pan on racks. (Leave oven on.)

When tomatoes and garlic are cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board (do not clean baking dish). Cut each tomato half lengthwise into 3 pieces and coarsely chop garlic. Transfer to a large bowl, then stir in eggplant and water.

Make filling and pasta while vegetables for sauce are roasting:
Stir together all filling ingredients until combined well.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Lay noodles flat on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry with paper towels, then cut in half crosswise (you will have 12 noodles).

Assemble and bake lasagne:
Move upper oven rack to middle position.

Spread out half of vegetable mixture in uncleaned baking dish. Lay 4 noodles on a work surface, then spread 3 tablespoons filling evenly over each noodle. Roll up noodles tightly and put rolls, seam sides down and without touching, in vegetable mixture in dish. Make 8 more rolls with remaining noodles and filling in same manner, transferring to dish.

Lightly brush rolls with water, then spoon remaining vegetables over rolls. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stir Fried Bell Peppers, Onions, and Red Cabbage

2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 each red, orange, and yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 C. shredded red cabbage
1/2 C. celery, sliced thin on the diagional
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp. red curry paste
soy sauce to taste

In small bowl combine vinegar, sugar, curry paste, and stock.  Mix well until sugar and paste fully dissolves.  Reserve on the side.

Heat a large saute pan or wok over high heat.  Add oil and heat until oil starts to smoke.  Add onion, peppers, celery, and cabbage.  Stir often and saute until vegetables start to get tender (3-4 minutes).  Add garlic, cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add vinegar mixture and cook until vegetable liquid turn into a glaze and vegetable mixture thickens.  Add soy sauce, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve and enjoy!

Spring Onion and Ginger Rice

1 C. Jasmine rice
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 spring onions (green onion or scallion), sliced thinly
1 medium carrot, sliced thin on the diagonal
1/2 C. thinly sliced porcini mushrooms
2 C. chicken stock (can substitute water)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium pot over high heat.  Add oil and heat until shimmering.  Add onions, carrots, and mushrooms.  Stir, saute until wilted, add ginger and garlic.  Cook for two more minutes.  Add rice, stir well and heat for a minute or two.  Add stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Mixture should taste like a soup.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Cook until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, keep covered and let rest for 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.  I served this with  a Broiled Salmon Fillet with an Oriental Horseradish Crust.

Broiled Fillet of Salmon with Oriental Horseradish Crust

This ones a funny story.  It's a recipe born in the moment, pulled out of the hat.  I started out thinking I would make something that combined salmon with washbi, make a crust on the fish, serve with steamed rice and vegetables.  I was positive that I had washbi powder in the house, but was mistaken and the following was just what I threw together.  It got raved reviews from both the 13 year old and the perpetual 29 year old in the house.

1-2# Salmon fillet, skinned an deboned
1/4 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. fresh ginger minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. green onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. ground fresh chili paste
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. hoisin sauce
a couple of drops sesame seed oil
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat broiler to high.

In a medium bowl combine all marinade ingredients.  Place fish skin side down on a greased 1/4 baking sheet.  Spoon 1/2 of marinade over the top of fillet making sure all sides are coated.  Cover loosely with plastic and place in the refrigerator, let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and sprinkle the top of the fish with panko bread crumbs, drizzle with oil and place fish under the broiler.   Cook until top turns golden brown and fish is medium rare 6-7 minutes (this will vary with thickness of fish).  Let rest 3-5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

I served this with spring onion and ginger rice, stir fried vegetables.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Farfalle and Broccoli Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

I recently found this recipe at Epicurious.com and it's absolutely fabulous!  It makes a great acompainment to any picnic or BBQ.  Ease to make and a real crowd pleaser, what more can you ask for?  Enjoy! 

1# broccoli, tops cut into 3/4-inch florets, stems cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 # farfalle (bow-tie) pasta

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 cups), crumbled
6 green onions, chopped
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook broccoli stems in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Add florets and cook until stems and florets are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to strainer. Refresh under cold water. Drain.

Bring same pot of water to boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water.

Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, and vinegar in large bowl. Add half of Gorgonzola cheese. Using rubber spatula, mash until cheese is almost smooth. Stir in remaining cheese. Add pasta, green onions, celery, parsley, and broccoli; toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Tilapia with Yellow Tomato Broth

1# Tilapia
1 Tbsp softened butter
1/4 C. Panko bread crumbs
Seasoning mix (combine onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1# ripe yellow tomatoes, peeled and rough chopped with liquid reserved  (can substitute plum tomatoes)
1/2 C. white wine
pinch red pepper flake
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, rouch chop
1 Tbsp. fresh Thyme, rough chop
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp green onion, sliced very thinly

Place a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add oil and get hot.  Add onions and sweat until tender, add garlic, mix and cook for two minutes.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add tomatoes and liquids, reduce heat and cook 20 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, parsley, thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

While broth is finishing, preheat oven to 400°F.  Season fish with seasoning mixture on both sides and place on oiled baking sheet.  Spread soften butter on top of fish and then evenly sprinkle bread crumbs on top.  Place fish in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes.  If needed finish under broiler so bread crumbs are golden brown.  Fish should be firm to the touch, but not dry.  Remove and reserve warm.

In a warm shallow soup bowl, spoon some of the broth and solids.  Top with fish and garnish with thinly sliced green onions.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Everything But The Kitchen Sink Salad"

This is a fun one.  Be creative.  You can literally put anything into this you like, the more ingredients the better.

For the Salad-

Romaine Lettuce, chopped
Tomatoes, any type you like- cut into bite sized pieces
Pasta (I prefer bowtie or fussili) or Potatoes, cooked and chilled (I've even used cooked and cooled rice before in this)
Olives, drained well. (whichever type you prefer)
Pickles, cut up
Cucumber, sliced
Hard boiled egg, sliced
Carrots, shredded
Cheese, any type you like, shredded or sliced in bites sized pieces
Celery, sliced
Sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries
Array of vegetables, green beans, broccoli, corn, peas, cauliflower, cut into small pieces (whatever you have in the frig, just cooked and chilled)
Red onion, sliced
Meat is optional, use whatever you prefer.  Just make sure you cut whatever you use into bite sized pieces. I've done grilled chicken, shrimp (poached or grilled), sliced steak, any leftovers work well.


1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
any fresh herb you like, chopped fine (I enjoy dill, thyme, parsley)
1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil*
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad: Depending on how many people you are serving will determine the amount of each ingredient you use.  In a large bowl toss all ingredients together.  Reserve chilled.

Dressing: In a separate mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the oil.  While whisking, slowly drizzle the oil into mixture to create emulsion.  You can do this in a blender or with a wand if you want also.  You may need a little more oil depending on your tastes if dressing is a little bit too acidic for your taste.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Dress salad just before you plate it.  Serve and enjoy!

Weekly Menu August 22nd - August 27th

Charbroiled Bone-in NY Strip Steak
Caramelized Balsamic Red Onions
Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad
Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Butter

Grilled Tilapia with Yellow Tomato Broth
Summer Vegetable Slaw
Steamed Rice with Green Onions

Wednesday- "Happy Birthday to Me"
Lobster Boil with Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Sausage, Corn and Potatoes
Roasted Garlic and Thyme Baguette

"Everything but the Kitchen Sink Salad" with Grilled Herb Chicken

Grilled Salmon with Braised Fennel and Prosciutto
Baby Greens Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Honey, and Thyme Vinaigrette

Birthday Dinner- Ocean Prime

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Barbecue Beef

Also from Gourmet, May 2007.  This one is super easy to make and very flavorful!   Take the 15  minutes to make this version of BBQ sauce, it will not disappoint.  The meaty cut of beef holds up very nicely to the zest of the sauce.  Definately a big hit in my house.

3 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard
1- 1 1/4# flatiron steak (1' thick)- also called boneless chuck top blade steak
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
5 Tbsp. water

Stir together brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and mustard in a bowl.  Pat steak dry and rub 2 tbsp. of seasoning mix all over it.  Reserve remainder of seasoning mix for the sauce.  Let steak sit at room temperature while making sauce.
Preheat gas grill, get hot.  Meanwhile, cook onions in oil in a medium saucepan over moderately high heat until golden brown- 5 to 10 minutes.  Add ketchup, worcestershire and remainder of spice mix, stir.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, stir occaisonally, cook about 5 minutes.  Carefully transfer to a blender and add the water.  Blend until very smooth.  taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.  Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
Once grill is heated, using a towel oil grill rack and the grill steak, covered 4-5 minutes per sidef or medium rare.  Brush steak all over with some of the sauce and grill 30 seconds per side.  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Cut steak into thin slices and serve with remaining sauce.  Enjoy!

Scallion Biscuits

I found this in the May 2007 Gourmet and they are excellent.  They're great with eggs and also with any barbecue.

2 C. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 c. chopped scallions
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. whole milk

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.  Whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Blend in butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add scallions and 3/4 cup milk and stir with a fork just until the dough forms.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 times, do not over work.  Pat into an 8-inch square (1/2" thick).  Cut into 16 squares and transfer to a buttered baking sheet, about 1 1/2" apart.  Brush with remaining tablespoon of milk, then bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I love to make my own Hummus.  It's so easy and tastes so much better than you can buy in the store.  This makes a terrific dip served with warm flat bread or it makes a great substitute for mayonnaise on a sandwich.

1 large clove garlic
1 15 oz can chick peas
1/4 c. tahini
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. warm water
salt and pepper to taste

Start your food processor and drop the garlic clove into the bowl and mince.  Stop and scrap down.  Add chick peas and tahini, process to a paste.  Add lemon juice and water.  Mix until smooth.  While processor is running slowly drizzle oil into mixture and emulsify.  Add spices, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

Mexican Salad with Beans and Roasted Corn, Lime Vinaigrette

This makes for a great light dinner.  I usually top this salad with some fresh corn tortilla strips that I fry crispy and salt to add some crunch.  You can also serve it with some warm tortillas and fresh salsa.  Add some grilled shrimp or Mahi-Mahi if you'd like.  Also lends nicely to some sliced steak, carnitas, or chicken.  Make a couple of margaritas and you have a fiesta!

1 head Romaine, washed, dried, and chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a 15 oz. can black beans, washed and drained
1/2 a 15 oz. can of pinto beans, washed and drained
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 C. roasted corn (Trader Joe's has it frozen)
1/4 C. chicken stock
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. each- chile powder and oregano
1 tsp. each cumin and red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. shredded manchego cheese*

A Spanish sheep's milk cheese. Manchego adds a nice salty, nutty flavor to dishes.  Substitute: Pecornio Roman

Lime Vinaigrette-
1 tbsp minced onion
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. lime juice
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. lime zest
salt and pepper to taste

Make vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a blender and mix until emulsified.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Reserve and let flavors develop.

Heat skillet over medium high heat and add vegetable oil.  Once hot add onions and bell peppers.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Add chile powder, cumin, oregano, pepper flakes, and roasted corn.  Mix well cook another minute.  Add stock, tomatoes, and beans, mix and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add lime juice and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.   Remove from heat and reserve warm.

In a bowl lightly toss the chopped romaine in some of the lime vinaigrette.  Plate a serving of the dressed lettuce greens and top with warm vegetable and bean mixture.  Sprinkle some of the green onions and cheese on top, serve and enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Menu August 14th - August 19th

Mexican Salad with Beans and Roasted Corn, Lime Vinaigrette
Fresh Tortillas and Garden Salsa, Avocado

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables, Wild Mushroom Ragu
Romaine Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan, Creamy Garlic Dressing

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary
Roasted Potatoes with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
Baby Green Beans and Tomatoes with Crumbled Feta

Turkey Meatloaf
Green Onion Mashed Potatoes
Wilted Spinach, Curried Shredded Carrots

Schezwan Vegetable and Chicken Stir-fry with Peanuts
Chinese Rice with Ginger and Peas

Dinner out

Dinner out

Dinner out

Dinner at the Dirty Dog Cafe- Grosse Pointe Farms, Mi

The first thing that comes to mind about this place is WOW!  If you don't want to keep reading, just go.  This was one of the best evenings we have had in some time.  I've wanted to try this place ever since it got such raved reviews in "Hour Detroit" magazine.  With the girl at camp, Jeanne and I decided yesterday to go try it out and see what all the buzz was about.  We were not disappointed, we had a blast. 

Think cool jazz club meets fine dining.  They have two seatings, a 6pm and 8:30pm.  This is due to the performance during dinner.  If you go to the early show you have to be out by 8:15pm for the next seating.  The late show goes an hour and then there's a 10:30pm encore performance that you can sit through.  We went to the 8:30 seating.  You want to show up early as there are no reserved tables, first come first served.  I liked this (I'm always early), as you're rewarded for being one of the first to arrive.  We got to choose our table and picked a super spot right up front close to the musicians.  When you book your reservation they charge a $10 per person cover charge for the show.

So, we pulled up and were met by the complimentary valet right in front.  Dropped the car and walked in through a beautiful, massive carved wood door and instantly the decor says, Rat Pack hip.  Very hip, man.  You almost expected to see Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. at one of the tables.  It's not a large space, but also it doesn't feel small.  It's like I said, it gives you that very cool jazz club feel.  The place is immaculate, very clean.  The bar is straight back, the tables are covered in white linen, staff in pressed black dress.  The area where the musicians will be is set up by the front off to your right.  A very intimate feel.  The space is dimly lit, not too dark, with colored accent lights illuminating the ceiling.  When we arrived it was this cool blue and later morphed to an amber to give the room a totally different vibe while the show was going on.   It's the kind of place that makes you feel welcome and there's an air of "somethings going on" and you want to be a part of it.  It also helped that as the 8:30pm crowd started to show everyone was dressed to impress, no kids, and there were many beautiful people.

Let's get to the service and food.  We started at the bar.  The bartender was attentive and mixed some killer cocktails.  J had a Cosmo, in her expert view it was flawless.  I started with a Belvedere, very cold with a twist of lemon.  You can't screw it up and he didn't.  In front of you was a never ending white bowl of freshly popped, popcorn.  A great counterpoint to the drinks.  Simple and perfectly seasoned.  The hostess approached us and we were invited to choose our table, we settled the bar tab, took our drinks and went to our two top.  

From here the evening just got better and better.  It's always a good sign when you see multiple items on the menu you want to try.  When presented with this quandary, I usually fantasize about getting one of each and I guess I could, but would quickly need a new wardrobe.   We started with an order of the Flash fried Calamari with Roasted Pepper Tomato Sauce.  The squid was done perfectly; crisp on the outside and tender to the bite.  The sauce was very flavorful, good acidity and had a slight zing, but not overwhelming.  The presentation was inviting and sophisticated being served in a simple white deep bowl.  A great dish.

The performance started just before our appetizer hit the table.  The Johnny Trudell Quintet was awesome.  Admittedly, I am not the biggest Jazz fan, but they were great, I enjoyed the music and would happily see them again.  They were very lively, super entertainers and fun to watch.  The show made the dining experience a even more memorable event.

For her entree, Jeanne ordered the Prime Flat Iron Steak.  It was pan roasted with Oregon black truffle butter and came with Duck-fat fries.  I rarely do steak out, unless at an exceptional place that specializes, but the Prime Filet just spoke to me.  It was also pan roasted, served with forest mushrooms and hericot verts.  It was accompained by a sauce foyote, a variation on classic Bearnaise.   We both ordered our beef  medium-rare and they nailed it, perfect.  I too got a side of the Duck-fat fries, had to do it; they were crisp, expertly done, and addictive.  The thing dreams are made of.  I would give both dishes a solid "A".  With dinner we got a bottle of  '07 California Cabernet, a great match for our steaks.  Dessert, was a shared  Warm Apple "Betty" served in filo with caramel ice cream.  Talk about gilding the lily!  This was over the top, but without being too complicated.  Just simple ingredients done extremely well.  A great ending to a great meal. 

Needless to say, we will be going back.  Next time we'll be bring friends and share this gem!

Rib Eye Steak with Olive Vinaigrette

Olive Vinaigrette-
1 C. black olives
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Rib eye
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence ( typically made of mixing thyme, fennel, rosemary, oregano, savory, tarragon, mint, marjoram, and chervil.  In France this is made with fresh herbs and used by the handful.  Dried is how I use it or I use some of the herbs from Jeanne's garden to substitute)
salt & pepper, to taste

Start food processor or blender and drop clove of garlic in to mince.  Stop and scrap down bowl.  Add olives and vinegar.  Puree mixture.  While processor is running, drizzle oils into mixture to make emulsion.  Should be pretty thick. Season with salt and pepper, reserve.

Preheat grill.  Season steak with herbs, salt and pepper.  Grill steak (I like med-rare).  Let rest for 10 minutes, slice on platter and drizzle vinaigrette over the meat.  Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pacific Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 Salmon Fillet, skinned and deboned
  • Chimichurri Sauce -
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Turn on your food processor and drop in garlic to mince.  Stop and scrap down the bowl.  Put the parsley, cilantro, capers in a run processor to finely mince. Add the vinegar and pepper flakes.  Pulse to combine.  While processor is running drizzle in olive oil and mix until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper.  Let sit for 30 minutes so that the flavors blend.
Heat broiler to high.  Coat fish with Chimichurri sauce and place on baking pan.  Place fish under broiler, starting close to the heat elements for 3 minutes.  Lower rack and continue to cook fish under broiler until done, I like medium to medium rare on my salmon, so maybe another 8-10 minutes.   Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Put extra sauce in bowl and serve with the fish.  Serve and enjoy!

Baked Orzo Pasta with Fontina and Peas

  • I love this dish.  I saw Giada De Laurentiis prepare this and was immediately hooked.  It's both decadent and flavorful.  A spectacular side-dish to make any meal an event!

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.