"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.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Menu 3/29 - 4/3

Seared Salmon with Caper Butter
Steamed Broccoli
Baby Kale Salad, Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette

Tandoori Style Chicken
Sautéed Zucchini Squash

Stir-fried Vegetables with Pork

Oven Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Onions

Bison Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

Passover Seder
Chicken Soup with Dill and Spring Vegetables
Smoked Salmon served on Baby Bibb Lettuce cups, Caper and Onion cream
Brisket in Red wine and wild Mushrooms
Zucchini Spears with Pear and Parmesan
Apple, Almond, and Prune Matzo Brei

Smoked Fish Cakes with Beet Vinaigrette

Serves 8

Beet vinaigrette:
2 medium red beets (about 8 ounces total)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Fish fritters:
1 12-ounce skinless cod or pike fillet
5 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil, divided
8 ounces smoked whitefish, skin and bones removed, flaked
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 piece matzo, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

For beet vinaigrette:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender, 50-60 minutes. Let cool. Peel and cut into 1/4" cubes.

Whisk lemon juice, horseradish, and vinegar in a medium bowl; gradually add oil, whisking to blend well. Season with salt. DO AHEAD: Beets and vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

For fish fritters:
Heat oven to 400°F. Place cod on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 tablespoon oil. Roast until just opaque in center, 10-15 minutes. Let fish cool, then flake with a fork.

Mix cod, whitefish, eggs, shallot, matzo, chives, 2 tablespoons dill, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl. Season with pepper and mix vigorously to combine (mixture will be stiff). DO AHEAD: Fritter mixture can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

Reduce oven temperature to 200°F; set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop scant 1/4-cupfuls of fritter mixture into skillet; press gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, turning once and adding more oil if needed, until golden brown and crispy around edges, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to prepared rack. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining fritters.

Mix beets into vinaigrette. Serve fritters with vinaigrette; top with dill.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

Here's another very good preparation for slow and low pork.  Great for throwing it it before you leave for the day and dinner is ready when you're home.  Enjoy.

3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt (if desired, you can cut back on the salt by only using 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired, you can cut back on the pepper by only using ½ teaspoon of cayenne)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup honey
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half

Special equipment - Crock Pot

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.
Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.
Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.
Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Menu: 3/21 - 3/27

Grilled Salmon on a bed of Puréed Parsnips
Roasted Beets with a Citrus Vinaigrette
Steamed Broccoli

Beef Teriyaki with Chinese Vegetables
Brown Rice with Scallions

Chicken with Red Thai Curry

Carnitas with Salsa Verde
Romaine Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Onions
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Basil Oil
Chopped Salad with Roast Garlic Dressing

"Left-over Night" - Let's clean out he frig

Roast Beef with a Horseradish and Herb Crust
Wild Mushroom Ragú
Sautéed Spinach
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Braised Chicken Legs with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Cilantro

Here's another great, simple dish the family will love and its's easy on the pocketbook. Pureeing the garlic, onions and cilantro, then cooking them with the mushrooms in chicken fat, gives this tomato-based sauce an incredible depth of flavor.  It's easy to make and everyone will think you slaved away, but we'll know that wasn't the case.  It'll be our little secret.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 whole chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound white mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup tomato sauce

In a very large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook them over moderate heat, undisturbed, until they begin to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the garlic cloves with the onion and cilantro leaves. Add the garlic and onion puree to the mushrooms and cook over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce. Return the chicken legs to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer the sauce until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Season the braised chicken legs with salt and pepper, transfer them to plates and serve with the sauce.

Braised Chicken Legs with Herbs

Here is a delicious, easy, and inexpensive family meal adapted from Cal Peternell’s, “Twelve Recipes,” published in 2014 by HarperCollins.  I love bringing humble ingredients together, preparing them well and turning out fantastic crowd pleasing fare.  As with all braising technique, there are two steps to the process; searing the meat in fat on high heat to obtain a beautiful crispy, crusty outside and then cooking it low and slow in liquid until very tender.  These two steps can lead to endless riffs on the recipe and can take this where ever you want it to go.  First, season the chicken and brown it well in a pan. Salt, pepper and flour are what’s called for in this basic recipe, but adding some paprika would be a delicious option, or some cumin, coriander, paprika and a dash of cinnamon and caraway for a scent of Morocco. Then, braise it in liquid — white wine for the classic, red wine for a coq-au-vin feel, or with beer, chicken stock or plain water.  This recipe call for the braising in the oven, but you could easily do it on the stovetop as well, simmering the chicken slowly beneath a lid. Pair with rice or boiled potatoes, with couscous, with big hunks of garlic bread.

6 chicken legs, thigh and drumstick together
 Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
 All-purpose flour, for dredging (I substitute rice flour)
4 to 5 tablespoons neutral oil, or unsalted butter
¾ cup white or red wine, beer, chicken stock or water
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
3 sprigs of thyme, rosemary or sage, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock, or water
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley leaves

Season chicken legs with salt and pepper and let them sit for a while, 15 minutes to an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 450°F.

Put a cup or two of flour in a large bowl, add half the chicken and tumble the legs around to coat.
Set a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons oil or butter and allow to melt and foam. Shake excess flour off the chicken legs and slide them into the hot pan in one layer; adjust the heat so the legs sear nicely. When the legs begin to brown, after about 5 minutes, turn them over to brown the other side, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and repeat with remaining legs, adding more oil or butter if the pan seems dry.
Pour off the grease in the pan and add the wine or other liquid to the skillet, scraping at the sticky bits. Let simmer over medium heat until pan is completely deglazed. Pour that liquid into a small bowl and set aside.
Add remaining oil or butter to the pan and allow it to heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened nicely, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for a minute or so, then return all the chicken to the pan, skin side up, along with the reserved glazing liquid and between 1 and 3 cups stock or water, enough to come up the sides of the chicken, about half way. Bring to a simmer and then put the skillet in the oven.
After 5 minutes or so, reduce the oven heat to 325°F and cook until chicken is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. (Test for doneness by inserting a slender-bladed knife into the meat. It should pull out easily.) Remove the skillet from the oven, lift the legs from the skillet and put them aside again. Pour the liquid contents of the skillet into a small bowl and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so, letting the fat rise to the surface. Use a small ladle to skim off and discard the fat, then return liquid to the pan, along with the chicken. Bring back to a simmer on the stovetop, then return to the oven for 5 minutes or so before serving, sprinkled with the chopped parsley, or save to reheat later.

The Menu: Feb. 28th - Mar. 6th

Seared Salmon topped with a Sticky Asian Glaze
Green Beans with Garlic and Red Chiles
Roasted Carrots with Honey and Spice

Braised Chicken Legs with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Cilantro
Chopped House Salad, Shallot Vinaigrette

Bison Meatloaf
Mashed Cauliflower with Chopped Kale and Green Onions
Roasted Beets with Caramelized Onions and Marcona Almonds

Mahi-Mahi Lettuce Wraps with Green Salsa
Smashed Avocado
Mixed Green Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Pulled Chicken tossed with Sriracha, Honey, and Lime
Romaine Salad with Oregano-Cumin Vinaigrette

"Everything but the kitchen sink" Salad
(My version of a left-over dinner night)

"Steak and Martini night"