September 30, 2015

When you miss Texas and you can't visit (Carne Guisada)

A disclaimer, this was another social life gets in the way of fancy Sunday cooking post. Hence how I just stop with the photos before the finished product. As usual the socialness was great and the food wasn't affected. Anyway, I lived in Texas for two years. I say Texas and not Austin as my job made me feel like I traveled small towns for a living and I was hardly in Austin. My time in Texas really made me appreciate New Orleans, but it also turned me on to things I would have never experienced had I not lived there. One blog I picked up on my feed while I lived there was Homesick Texan.  It really has some great Texas recipes and anecdotes that helped me try to make my adopted home state more familiar.  

Not only did my sister and I get flank steaks at Costco recently, we also split a chuck roast. I made pot roast recently, and I don't have a crock pot yet to make daube (recipe to come).  I have been trying to coordinate a trip back to Austin to visit my friend for what feels like months now. Football and social season are in full swing for me and so is a busy travel schedule for her.  No trip to Austin is going to happen now anytime soon, but I figured I could use that roast to take a culinary adventure to Texas! Enter this recipe for Carne Guisada.  I had some of the ingredients on hand, it could be yummy as leftovers and was worthy of a fancy Sunday cook. Perfection!  Full recipe after the photo play by play.

They didn't have serranos so I nerded out yet again and got some hatch chiles while they still had them.
I cut mine into bigger chunks because I was planning on creative leftovers.
You will want smaller pieces if you want  more of a shredded texture.  Which you probably will.
Brown your meat on both sides until all the pink is out (doesn't need to be cooked through)
Don't plan on taking your contacts out before or after this, you are screwed either way!
No garlic yet so it doesn't smell like usual wonderfulness
Chopping fresh herbs is a chore I will always volunteer for!
Add in everything else to get the long cooking process going.
Bring to a boil and then cover and cook through the entire Saints loss.
Cook longer to stew while you stew over it!
The finished product, although it wasn't quite thick enough for me...
I decided to make a roux to thicken, guess it is gumbo time soon!
I removed a half cup of the sauce and added to my caramel covered roux.
After this, I ate it over rice, put it in a tortilla to make tacos and also made something creative that you will see tomorrow.  It is such a nice spin on a traditional stew and can be put in or on pretty much everything.  I am sure you could pop this in the crock pot all day as well and get something yummy.

Carne Guisada (borrowed from Homesick Texan)(which I am not one as I am home now!)

4 pounds of chuck or bottom round beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons of oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted with chiles)
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
2 serrano peppers, diced (I used hatch)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano (I used 2 tbsp chopped fresh)
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
2 cups of water
1 12 oz. bottle of dark Mexican beer such as Negro Modelo
Optional roux:
1 tablespoon of flour 
1.5 tablespoon oil

In a large pot or a Dutch oven, brown the beef on medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of the oil, you will have to do in batches

Remove beef from pot, add the other 2 tablespoons of oil and cook on medium heat the onions and chiles for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Throw in the browned beef, add the herbs, spices, water, tomatoes and beer and mix everything really well. Turn up the heat to high, bring the stew to a boil and then turn heat down to low and simmer for five hours, stirring occasionally.

Note on roux:

Remove 1/2 cup of sauce.  In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add flour.  Stir with a whisk over heat until it is the color of caramel.  Add reserved sauce and combine and then add back to pot.

This and some warm tortillas with cheese is the bomb.  Really good over rice with or without beans, or used as a topping for salad, in a quesadilla, whatever.  If you try it over something I haven't mentioned, please let me know!

Happy Cooking!


September 29, 2015

Steak and potatoes, lower carb and lady style (Marinated skirt steakand sweet potato stacks)

I love trying new things and eating non-traditional food.  I was raised by a momma who wasn't that way, she loves her meat and potatoes.  Therefore, nothing is as comforting and yummy as a steak and a fully loaded baked potato.  Now that I am over thirty and trying to keep my girlish figure those kinds of meals during the week are few and far between!  

I had pinned these sweet potato stacks awhile ago and wanted to try them since it feels like fall. My sister and I went to Costco together recently and decided to split a pack of skirt steaks.  I usually make a citrus marinade or use some soy and Worcestershire sauces for my skirt steaks.  I was in Baton Rouge for an appointment and decided to stop in at Trader Joe's and stock up on cheap wine staples.  I picked up their Island Soyaki marinade on a whim and I am so glad I did.  This stuff is delicious.  I can't wait to try it on something else and to try and replicate the flavor of it myself.  

As for the sweet potato stacks, they came out very yummy despite me not having the right equipment. I know I had a muffin pan but perhaps I hid it while unpacking or maybe it belonged to the ex.  Oh well, I improvised!  Also, I refrained from using a mandolin even though I own one.  Last time I used it for sweet potatoes I almost had to visit the emergency room and lost a fingernail (sorry for the mental image). Full recipe after the montage.

So simple!  Marinade, meat, butter, cheese, rosemary, sweet potato and garlic.
This is about a 1.5 pound skirt steak.  I used 1 cup of marinade.  I had a lot leftover of both.
Chop garlic, rosemary and sweet potato
Mix cheese, garlic, rosemary and melted butter in a bowl.  Please don't drink it despite the temptation!
Add the sweet potatoes to that mixture and mix with your hands to coat.
I realized I didn't have a muffin tin so I improvised with cookie cutters
melt a smallish pat of butter and add steak.
Cook on each side for 7 minutes.  Look at that crust!
When cooked, let it rest. You will be sorry if you don't
I wouldn't call it a fail, they look pretty good!
The perfect medium.  You could probably do 5 on each side if you want rarer.
A dainty dinner for a little to no carbing lady.

Marinated skirt steak:

1.5 pound skirt steak
1 cup marinade of your choice
1/2 tbsp butter

Marinate the steak in a leakproof bag with marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is bubbling, add steak.  Cook on each side for 7 minutes. Transfer to a ridged cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Sweet potato Stacks:

1 medium sweet potato, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 12 standard-sized muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Thinly slice sweet potatoes. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, Parmesan and rosemary. Add sliced sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Layer potato slices into muffin pan and fill to the top. (They will shrink down as they cook.) Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 35 minutes, depending on thickness of your sweet potatoes, until edges and tops are golden brown, and potatoes are tender.

Let cool for 5 minutes before removing with a spoon. Top with reserved butter garlic mixture. 

Happy Cooking!


September 28, 2015

The little salad that tried (Shaved Brussels Sprouts salad with apples and cranberries)

I LOVE Brussels Sprouts. Well, I should take out that all caps, not as much as I love garlic, but close! I want fall to get here so bad so I can wear my fancy new boots I snagged at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.  This salad screamed fall to me so I decided to make it for the week.  It only lasted through Tuesday unfortunately as it is not meant for week long consumption, especially when you put the dressing on it before you parcel it out. 

I got in trouble with the work besties as I left what was supposed to be the third installment of it in our shared fridge, and on Friday it was not smelling delicious.  It was so delicious the first day though I highly recommend making this for a gathering  or for dinner to be eaten in one sitting.  I subbed white cheddar for the gouda and added grilled chicken to give it a kick of protein.  Full recipe after the play by play.
The cast of characters minus the chicken, I decide to add it later.
Thinly slice your apples into matchsticks.  Watch your fingers!
Thinly slice your brussels sprouts, watch your fingers even more closely!
Mix them together.  What a lovely shade of green!
Add your cranberries to break up the green party.  Wish for Christmas and remember
to let Halloween and Thanksgiving have their day.
Mix your dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.  Or do a tupperware and cover
it and shake it like a polaroid picture (Is that stuck in your head now?)
Grate your cheese.  Or skip this step if you bought pre grated.
Add the cheese and toss.  
Grill some chicken if you like and chop into bite sized pieces to add protein.
Add the dressing and serve.

Brussels Sprouts salad with apple (Borrowed from Pink Parsley)
2 lbs brussels sprouts, sliced thin with a knife or shredded
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded aged gouda, or extra sharp cheddar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Slowly whisk in the oil until it's incorporated. Add the shredded brussels sprouts and toss to coat well. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
Fold in the shredded apples, gouda, and dried cranberries. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. 

September 27, 2015

Prepping for the week (September 28-October 3)

Happy Football Sunday all!  The Saints are killing me this season but at least I have LSU and Leonard Fournette to keep my football loving self happy!  I had a great weekend of friends, food, pure barre and football watching.  And had a great time at our office BBQ.  There was a mean game of scrabble, what else do you expect from a bunch of lawyers!
Nerd alert!
Is Wiggy a word?

Hope yours was even better!

Tonight I am making Carne Guisada and will be making various leftover creations from it for lunch and dinner.  Cook once and get three meals!  

Some new pinterest finds will appear on the blog soon as well as the above carne guisada. Full post tomorrow!

Happy Cooking,


September 25, 2015

Making up for a non published post ("Fancier" chicken and fully loaded mashed cauliflower)

I had a post in my wheelhouse from two months ago that I thought about posting this week but decided to just keep it in drafts.  It was supposed to be my usual signature meal, a fancily prepared bone-in chicken breast and a yummy side.  I planned to make that on the evening in question, but it was a bad mood day for me (for valid reasons).  I wasn't into the meal and I had to read Who Moved my Cheese (If you haven't read that yet, get on it!) again that weekend so it was a really mediocre post and dinner.  I decided to make fancier chicken again now that I am in a WAY better state of mind. (Even though I had to step away from typing this just now to kill a roach, with wings, shudder)

I had some leftover mashed cauliflower in the freezer (yes, go ahead and murmur of course you do Missy!) so I used that to make fully loaded cauliflower based on this recipe.  Basically what you would do to make your cauliflower is cut a head of cauliflower into smaller pieces, boil for about 10 minutes until soft and then puree it in the food processor with about a 1/2 cup of liquid (milk, chicken broth, half and half the water it cooks in, whatever tickles your fancy).  I ran out of breadcrumbs, so I used part of a packet of Lipton Golden Onion Recipe Secrets instead.  I usually use about 2 cups of breadcrumbs for 4 pieces of chicken.  Full recipe after the photo montage.

 I am posting this in Meal Plan Monday with Southern Plate and Southern Bite as well!  Link on over!

The fancy bacon is because I need to practice for Hogs for the Cause.
Also, those are regrown green onions!  See how here

September 23, 2015

Pizza, because of football (Ricotta, cured meat and greens pizza)

I went to see my beloved LSU Tigers play last Saturday in Baton Rouge.  I didn't eat much all day, just a few tailgate bites and drank a good bit of bourbon (who am I?) before the game so by the time I got back to New Orleans I was starving!   I wanted to watch the Ole Miss/Bama game and cheer hard for Ole Miss.  I digress, but I was a fake but avid Ole Miss fan (when they didn't play LSU) for 5 years due to a boyfriend and I will only cheer for Bama if they are playing the self proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). Suffice it to say I felt I had a valid rooting interest.  

I looked in my fridge and found leftover mustard greens and some ricotta and cured meat from my Sweet Swine of Mine meeting the week before.  I happened to have some leftover pizza dough laying around so I thought, why not make all that into a pizza!? I deserved it, I walked a bajillion steps, sweated my patootie off, lost one of my lucky earrings, and successfully avoided the ex while still getting to see our mutual friends. Oh and the Tigers won! So yeah I made a weird pizza, it was delicious! Make sure you preheat your stone, oven should be at 425.  You can find my pizza dough recipe here.

Clockwise starting with Meat, greens, ricotta parm/romano/Asiago, pizza sauce,
 garlic, and pizza dough.  All on pizza stone which would next be preheated.
I cheated and rolled it out with a rolling pin.  It worked!
I dressed with meat, then greens,  ricotta and then cheese mix
I used this handy tool from the pampered chef to thinly slice the garlic.
You know I love garlic! 
The finished product, I am so proud of myself!
Garnished with a little red pepper flakes.  So yummy!
There is no full recipe here as it was an example that you can basically put anything on pizza dough and top it with any type of cheese and it will taste amazing!  I am so proud of myself for actually rolling out the dough and transferring it to the hot baking stone and having a pretty finished product! And try ricotta on your pizza, it's not usually my favorite but I love it now!

Happy Cooking!


September 22, 2015

Terms of endearment, such as Potlikker (braised mustard greens with bacon)

So I love a rabbit hole.  Wikipedia ones, pinterest ones, when I used to be able to find the Pioneer Woman's original installments of black heels to tractor wheels and so on and so forth.  I saw something in the Rouses' in-store magazine about a food blogger conference I want to go to put on by the Southern Foodways Alliance.  I decided to follow them on instagram and all the other social media outlets.  Their username is Potlikker!  One of my favorite terms! Potlikker is the leftover broth from slow cooked greens.  Your grandma will tell you that's where all the good stuff (vitamins and whatntot) goes.  I enjoyed this article on them and then went on a potlikker rabbit hole.

One of my favorite recipes for family get togethers is the Spinach Madeleine recipe from the Junior League of Baton Rouge's cookbook that my mom makes. It uses potlikker, but doesn't call it by it's proper name!  My mom makes it with pepper jack cheese instead of the Velveeta and jalapeƱos. Here's another rabbit hole find, it used to call for the Kraft jalapeƱos cheese in the roll.  It was discontinued and thousands of  Louisiana ladies petitioned Kraft two bring it back just for that recipe. But I digress...

I made those wraps last week and said I wanted to add something to it.  The budget was blown this pay period so I had to eat them again out of the freezer.  I decided to make some greens on the side to go with them.  At 2.99 for a big mess of them and bacon and onions on hand, it was a no brainer!

You'll need: Three pieces of sad bacon, red wine vinegar, a pound of mustard greens and onion.  Not pictured, chicken broth.  It was warming in the microwave on the stove.
Slice bacon into pieces and slice onion and then cut in thirds.

mmmm bacon
Once bacon starts to brown, add onions.  Smells so glorious!
Add a little bit of red wine vinegar and scrape up some of the brown bits

Add the greens and cook until they reduce down by half

Add chicken broth and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes
The finished product ready for lunch!
And here is the potlikker. I drank a little and then put the rest in the fridge for a rainy day.

Braised mustard greens:

One onion sliced and then cut in half
3 pieces of bacon cut into pieces
One pound of mustard greens
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 cups chicken broth 

Heat the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until starting to brown. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add red wine vinegar and scrape the brown bits.  Add greens and stir and cook until reduced down by half.  Add chicken broth and stir.  Cook over medium heat covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with hot sauce or pepper vinegar.

It's amazing how a big mess of greens will wilt down to such a small amount! But man are they tasty!

Happy cooking!