Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Little Texas Beer and Bourbon

All right. Let's get all the misconceptions out of the way. Yes, bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States. No, it doesn't just come from Kentucky or Bourbon County Kentucky. Bourbon must be at least 51% corn, but this can be corn produced anywhere, like say... Texas. And it must be stored in new, charred oak barrels. These are the basics of Bourbon. You can also read about this in my Bourbon Notes.
This fun submarine-y looking thing is where all the magic happens
So with that in mind on Christmas Eve my family, sans littlest sis who had to work, went on a beer and bourbon tour at Ranger Creek Brewstillery, right here in San Antonio. If you are in town and have a chance, I definitely recommend it. At $5 for 3 beers (+ keepsake pint glass) and an extra $2 for their bourbon tasting, it's a steal. And they don't skimp on the product. Starting the tour with a full pint glass of the first beer, they do a brief explanation of how they came about as a brewery and a quick 101 on beer brewing and then they're off showing you around.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cookies!

There's nothing about Christmas Cookies that wouldn't warrant an exclamation point at the end. They're festive, sugary cutouts in all various shapes, slathered in buttercream frosting and dusted with all kinds and colors of sprinkles. They make me so happy, just to look at or to pop one in my mouth... for me it's on the top of my "Christmas is here" checklist. My Mom makes them each year, but this was the first time I'd been around early enough to help decorate in a few years, and so tonight, my first evening at home, my Texas home, we sat and decorated.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seven Fishes in Five Dishes

Being home for the holidays means I get to finally hang out with my whole family, which as it so happens hasn't occurred since May of 2010. And I'll be away from my city, my home, for over 2 weeks. So as a little nod to my oh so Italian Brooklyn home, I decided to put on a Seven Fishes dinner. Originally meant to just be 3-4 fishes, once I actually got to the fish market my stomachs made all the decisions and I turned it into  a pretty aggressive seven fishes in five dishes dinner.
The stone crab claws were our number 1 last minute decision. Meaty, unctuous, delicious... if you haven't tried them yet, book a trip to Miami asap and go here. Or if you can't do that, just check with your local fish market, as these puppies are in season right now. Oh, and they're also a sustainable fish, as they aren't killed to get their claw meat, the crabs just regenerate another one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lamb Steaks with Orzo Pilaf

Appliance Love: My Cuisinart Food Processor

If you couldn't tell from the amount of pesto I've been making lately, I am head over heels in LOVE with my food processor. It's a Cuisinart Prep 11-cup that I got as a birthday present from my wonderful parents (probably hinting a little when they decided on an 11-cup over the 9 or 7) in a beautiful stainless steel color, but it also comes in white. The 11 cup is a bit pricey at $200+ but the 7 and 9 are much more affordable at $130+ and $150+ respectively, but don't come with the dough control technology, which I'll admit, I haven't used yet as I make my dough's by hand but will probably take advantage at some point in the near future.
Did I also mention that it is insanely easy to use. So much so that when I first put it together I was making it much more complicated than it needed to be, but it does come with a handy little DVD that you can watch to actually see how it comes together. Basically it just slides and snaps in. And... if you recall one of the many reason why I hated my former food processor, this one is quiet. Not silent by any means but I don't feel like I'm in danger of disturbing my neighbors, much less my ear drums. It also processes fairly quickly to allow you to get those great silky smooth purees but not so fast that you don't get the chunky quality when desired. And 11 cups is perfect for me to double, or even triple a recipe, as I am quite fond of freezing things back, though when I do make individual servings it doesn't hinder the machine either.

Pesto di Pistacchio

Pesto di Pistacchio
1 1/2 c. packed basil
1 c. olive oil
1 c. dry-roasted pistachios

2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. packed parsley
1/4 c. finely grated piave- or parmesan
1 tsp. lemon zest

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper- optional
3 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Process all ingredients except the salt and pepper in a food processor until it comes together (I prefer mine a little chunkier with the nuts but it's to your preference), then add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Garlic Ancho Chile Roasted Cornish Hen

Garlic Ancho Chile Roasted Cornish Hen
1/4 c. olive oil
1 Tbl. white wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves peeled
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbl. ancho chile powder
1 Tbl. lemon juice
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cornish game hens
1 lemon- cut in half

1.Remove hens from packaging and pat until dry. Remove anything from the cavity (gizzards, neck, etc) and put into a large plastic bag.

2. Combine the top 10 ingredients listed above in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the hens. Seal plastic bags and let marinate for 24 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 450. Once heated, bring temperature down to 350. In a roasting pan lay hens breast side up, try to get as much of the marinade/rub over and insert 1 half of a lemon into each cavity. Bake for 45 minute, until skin is crispy and juices run clear. Tent in aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spicy Peanut Noodles

If there's one food fear I can say I faced fully head on and mastered this year, at least in the extent of making something that's not only edible but pretty darn delicious, it would be Asian food. Now when I say "master" I'm taking major liberties, as I am no Chen Kenichi... yet, but I can whip up a pretty tasty stir fry. And that's a lot more than I could say a year ago. For also being the number one thing that I'll order take out of, well at least I can now make a homemade meal for not only a fraction of the price, but a meal where I'm controlling most of what goes into my meals as far as meat, veggies, sodium, etc are concerned.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tuna Orzo Pasta

Tuna Orzo Pasta
1/2 c. orzo- I use tricolor
1- 7oz. can of tuna packed in olive oil
1 strip of bacon
1 small onion- sliced thin
1 garlic clove- sliced thin
1 small head of radicchio- sliced thin
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Dollop of Dijon mustard or pesto- optional
Grated hard cheese-optional

1. Set a salted pot of water to boil and once boiling, throw in the orzo and cook per instructions- or until orzo tastes al dente. Drain and put pasta back int he warm pot. Cover and set aside.

2. While pasta is cooking, in a saute pan cook the bacon. Remove, drain and crumble when cooled. Remove bacon fat until there's just approx 1 teaspoon left. Add the onions, radicchio and garlic. Cook until tender and onion is translucent over medium high heat. Add in oregano, crushed red pepper, drained tuna and the cooked bacon. Add in the orzo and mix well. Serve with pesto or mustard or an optional grating of a hard cheese (like Parmesan or Piave) over.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pesto di Prezzemolo

Before I tell you what's in that particular pesto I'm going to ask you to trust me. This is delicious, so bright, green, just beautiful. And to have such a burst of not only color but flavor as the winter months get into gear... well that's just heaven. This is a parsley pesto, flavored with salty anchovies and briny olives, some garlic cloves that pack some punch along with a little crushed red pepper. And of course a few healthy dashed of white wine vinegar and finished off with a few pinches of grated piave.
I taste tested the pesto after I made it on some little crostini, but found worked best tossed with my tuna orzo pasta. It's almost like a chimichurri, but taken up a notch or 2 with addition of the anchovies, olives and cheese, so even over a steak or lamb might be equally delicious. And of course, letting it sit in the fridge overnight will just help to meld and marry all those delicious flavors.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...