Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Family Style Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Family Style Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
"But Matt," I hear you say, "you already put up a Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe. What is so different about this one? What makes it family style?"
A few things actually! This recipe does not have beer in it, to make it a little more family friendly; it has two different meats, to appeal to everybody; and it is a one pot wonder, as the dishwasher, I appreciate whenever I can make less work for myself.
This is a simple recipe and everything flows well, one step in to the next. It is a very hearty entree, good for the cold nights coming, and it makes plenty of leftovers.

Ingredients:

1 lb spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, sliced
48 oz pasta sauce
parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a stock pot, cook your pasta till al dente according to the package instructions (here are some tips to making better pasta). Strain and leave in the colander while you make the rest of the dish.

Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium heat until it shimmers.

Add in your ground beef and sliced sausage and brown until cooked through before adding in your pasta sauce and bringing it to a simmer over low heat.

Add your cooked pasta back in and serve, garnished with grated parmesan.

P.s. This would go amazing with my Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Irish Redhead

My wife, Laura, had been going through some stressful times and she needed a drink. She tends to drink very slowly, so it had to be strong, but not taste strong. I searched my kitchen for some inspiration, and came up with this. All the ingredients in this recipe are by volume (the imperial system is confusing).

Ingredients:

2 strawberries washed and trimmed
.5 oz of demerara sugar
1 oz of Ribena* or blackcurrant juice concentrate
2 oz of Irish whiskey**

Directions:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the strawberries and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the Ribena and whiskey. Fill the shaker with ice and shake thoroughly to combine and aerate. Pour through a cocktail or hawthorn strainer into a lowball or rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy!

*Ribena is a British blackcurrant juice concentrate and is pretty much the only brand of the stuff I have been able to find in stores. I was first exposed to it when my family went on vacation to the UK and I fell in love with it, and I was so glad when I saw it in my local grocery store. If you can find a different variation, I am sure it will work just as well.

**If you replace the Irish whiskey with American rye, you have a cocktail I call a Strawberry Blonde, also named for my wife.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Mexican Risotto

In recognition of Hunger Awareness Month, I wanted to make a dish out of cheap, shelf stable ingredients. This is a slight modification of a dish I've made many times now and that I have dubbed Mexican Risotto. You can either serve this dish as a main dish, it's got plenty of protein, or a great side dish.

Ingredients:

1.5 tbsp taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
¼ C canned pickled jalapenos
¾ C arborio rice

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in all the ingredients and stir to combine. Don't drain the beans and corn, you are going to need that liquid to cook the rice. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the rice is cooked and tender. Serve.

If you can, some great additions are: chopped onion, chorizo, monterey jack cheese, sour cream, and/or crema. Alternatively, you could always stir in some chopped or shredded chicken and a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Traditional Shortbread Cookies

I love The Great British Bake-Off, I just really wish they would put more seasons on Netflix. Watching that show inspired me to start doing some more baking, and I thought I would start with a pretty simple and traditional English biscuit, traditional shortbread.

Shortbread is traditionally build off a 1:2:3 ratio, 1 of sugar, 2 of butter, and 3 of flour. I've stuck to that traditional ratio here but added a little almond extract since it is my favorite shortbread flavor.

Ingredients:

2 oz (by weight) sugar
4 oz (by weight) softened butter
6 of (be weight) AP flour
¼ tsp almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth then slowly add the flour in until a batter is formed. Chill the batter for 30 minutes before rolling out to a ¼ inch or 1 cm thick sheet. Cut into small rounds and bake for 30-45 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp. Let the cookies cool completely before serving or they won't have the satisfying snap that any good English style biscuit should.

Feel free to fancy them up by dipping in melted chocolate or caramel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lamb Meatballs

I did not make shepherd's pie for St. Patrick's Day, so I ended up with a pound of lamb mince (that's British for ground) in my fridge. I felt like doing something completely different with it and made these greek inspired lamb meatballs.

Ingredients:

1/2 C unseasoned bread crumbs
2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 sprig of rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 oz shredded pecorino romano cheese
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
1lb of ground lamb

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine everything except the lamb in the carafe of your blender or food processor, and blend into a fine powder. Thoroughly mix your seasoning powder into the lamb and form the mixture into 1.5 inch or golf ball sized meatballs.

Space the meatballs out about an inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes or until the meatballs reach and internal temp of 160.

I recommend serving with fettuccine, wilted baby spinach, shredded pecorino romano, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh ground black pepper. Pro tip: after I drained the pasta, I quickly added the olive oil and spinach. The olive oil kept the pasta from sticking and the residual heat wilted the spinach perfectly.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Far Cry 5 Montana Burger

Far Cry 5 came out recently, and to celebrate this great game, I decided to create my Montana Burger. What is Montana known for? Game burgers! This bison burger is packed with sweet and savory umami flavor and is excellent paired with my maple glazed bacon.

Ingredients:

2 large white onions
½ C demerara or light brown sugar
1 lb ground bison
2 tsp salt (divided)
2 tbsp oil (divided)
¼ C ketchup
2 tbsp maple syrup
sesame seed bun
mayo
maple glazed bacon
cheddar cheese

Directions:

Slice the onions into medium slices. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onions and 1 tbsp of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions have significantly darkened, about 10-15 minutes. Once the onions have reached the level of brown that you like for sauteed onions, turn the heat off and add the sugar. Stir constantly and allow the reserved heat to caramelize the sugar onto the onions. Remove from the pan so they do not burn.

While the onions are cooking, form the ground bison into 4 patties and lightly salt each with a ¼ tsp of salt. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet until the oil is shimmering. Sear the burgers, about 3-5 minutes on each side, until an instant read thermometer reads 155 internal or until juices run clear. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.

Mix together the ketchup and maple syrup and, once the burgers are rested, brush the glaze onto the paties.

To serve, I toasted my sesame seed buns on one side under the broiler with a thick slice of cheddar cheese on the top slice. I then put a thin spread of mayo on the bottom, and added 4 half slices of my maple bacon, topped with a generous heap of caramelized onions, the glazed patty, and then the top bun with the melted cheese. And, since Far Cry 5 is a bit of  a violent game, I finished the whole thing off by stabbing it with a steak knife.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

I really love Indian food, I've been on a bit of a curry kick recently and this one has always been my favorite. One of the problems I have with making Indian food is that, depending on how stocked your spice cabinet and fridge are, it can cost more per plate than take-out. Especially because many curry recipes call for higher quality cuts of meat which usually dry up in a long simmer, tend to be more mild in flavor and so get lost in the heavy spices, and really are not in the spirit of a good curry which would use every part of an animal possible for the dish.

I wanted to solve some of these problems by making a recipe that mostly relies on dried herbs and powders. While fresh is preferable, it can be harder to find, depending on your local grocer and the season, and having the dried version on hand can make this a much easier recipe to make without having to plan a separate shopping trip. Also, I don't tend to cook Indian flavors every day, so when I buy fresh, some ingredients can go to waste.

Ingredients:

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
1 C whole milk yogurt*
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tbsp ghee or butter
1 small onion, diced
½ C tomato paste
2 tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 C heavy cream
¾ C fresh cilantro, chopped (plus some sprigs for garnish)

Directions:

Mix together the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin together in a bowl. Stir half that mixture, 2 tbsps, into the yogurt. Pour the marinade into a zip top bag, add the chicken thighs, and smosh around to make sure you have even coverage on the chicken. Place in the fridge and let marinate for 4-6 hrs.

In a large, heavy bottom stock pot or dutch oven, melt the ghee over medium heat and add the onion, tomato paste, cadmium, and red pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and the tomato starts to brown. Stir in the remaining half of your spice mixture and fry them, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes, or until they are browned, but not burnt. Your kitchen should smell amazing by now.

Add the can of tomatoes, with the juice. Use a potato masher to break them up into smaller chunks. Bring to a simmer and and stir, making sure you are scraping and browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Those bits are the most flavorful bits and you don't want to leave them behind. Once you have a simmer going, pour in the cream, and add the chopped cilantro. Bring it back up to a simmer and stir occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 20-30 minutes, depending on how you like it.

While the sauce reduces, preheat your broiler on high. Place the marinated chicken thighs on a cooling rack placed on a foil lined baking sheet. Broil the chicken on high for 10 minutes, or until the some areas on the chicken start to blacken.

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, it won't be cooked all the way through yet. Add to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with rice and fresh cilantro sprigs.