Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spicy London Broil Marinade...mmmmmm

So this is a real simple recipe that can not only feed a handful of people but will really taste like you cared enough to DO something new and not just dump in the old McCormick packet of seasoning we all know so well. Plus, in case the word spicy up top didn't tip you off, this is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of smoky spice.

For starters, I used a cut of beef that is often referred to as a London Broil - but you can also use a thick cut of flank steak or a top round cut. After rinsing the meat and patting it dry, slice shallow cuts into the top and bottom so that the marinade can seep in, and then set it aside with a healthy sprinkle of sea salt and ground peppercorns.

Now for the marinade, you want to mix 2 tbsp of olive oil, at least 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, at least 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp Sriracha hot chili sauce, 2 minced cloves of garlic, at least 2 tbsp of a spicy brown mustard (I used kosciusko brand - not Gulden's, people!) and a few pinches of dried thyme. Whisk all of the ingredients together and then set your meat into the liquid and spoon it over the exposed portion of the roast. Finally, sprinkle the top of the meat with some chili powder (I use ancho).

Place the covered dish into the refrigerator for at least four hours (more is always better!) and try to flip the meat at least once halfway through the marinating process.

To cook, we did 9 minutes per side of the meat at high heat on the grill, and it was the perfect degree of medium-rare. However, if you'd like a little less pink, add a few minutes on the grill.

Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed arugula, topped with grated semi-hard, Italian cow's milk cheese.

- Melissa

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simmered Cannellini Beans with Rice, Vegetables

We all know side dishes get monotonous so sometimes you have to think outside the box - or at least, read this blog and let me do it for you. A few months ago I had a side at a restaurant that stuck in my head because it was not only tasty, but different. It involved cannelloni beans (a.k.a. great northern beans) and some carrots, but beyond that I can't tell you what specifically was in it. Nevertheless, I decided to create something similar here at home and this is what I wound up with!

 First things first, you need to get the rice started. I recommend short grain brown rice. Put two cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring it to boil, then add in a cup of rice and and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes while continuing to check on it. When the liquid gets low, add a little water and then stir, stir, stir for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, flat stainless steel pan, heat olive oil and then toss in two cloves of minced garlic. Dice 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of celery and 1/4 cup onion. Add these to the pan once the garlic has started to brown and then cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes before adding in a can of drained cannelloni/great northern beans. Continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes but reduce the heat and add a pinch of salt, a little freshly ground {white} peppercorns and some chopped parsley.

Finally, you want to take the softened rice and stir it into the skillet with everything else. Continue to simmer for about five more minutes over low heat, stirring to ensure that the flavors blend.

Served as a refreshingly crisp yet tame side with spicy dry-rubbed buffalo chicken breasts.

- Melissa

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Macadamia encrusted Mahi-Mahi and Rosemary White Truffle Potatoes

While I always love to cook, sometimes I am just in the mood to really 'bring it' in the kitchen arena and remind my husband just how good he has it, haha. So last weekend I made macadamia encrusted mahi-mahi, rosemary and white truffle roasted potatoes and a salad that was mind-blowing on its own. Here's how you can replicate this evening...

For starters, you'll need to get the potatoes started as they take the longest. I chose small/medium red potatoes and I cut them into four pieces per potato, so fairly sizable chunks - skin on, of course. I tossed them in a large metal bowl with a mixture of olive oil, pink himalayan sea salt, white ground peppercorns, some sprigs of freshly cut rosemary and white truffle oil. You can find white truffle oil at any high-end grocery/gourmet is pricey, but I recommend buying a small bottle and rationing it out - so worthwhile for the richness alone. Anyway, once the potatoes are coated with the mixture, move them to a baking sheet and bake them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Now take the fish steaks (ours were frozen and purchased at Trader Joe's - I recommend fresh obviously, but do what you can!) and after rinsing them, lightly salt and pepper both sides. In order to coat the fish, you need to first dip it in coconut milk. However, if you don't have coconut milk, you can make a substitution with regular milk whisked with powdered ginger - its a close second, taste-wise. Once they are coated with milk, roll the fish through the breading mixture (1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 2 tbsp wheat flour and 1-1 1/4 cups of freshly ground macadamia nuts, coarsely ground) and then place them on a baking sheet that is lined with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and crunchy.

As for the potatoes (which were cooking at a lower temp), you can leave them in while the fish cooks, but keep an eye on them to ensure they don't get TOO crispy, aka burnt. If they're getting done, just pull them out.

Served with a mixed green salad topped with crispy prosciutto and a homemade white balsamic vinaigrette and paired with a cucumber sake-tini. On a night like this, life was just GOOD.

- Melissa

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