Friday, April 29, 2011

Kick Up That Meatloaf !

Same old boring meatloaf recipe?
Try kicking it up a notch.

Try adding 1 or more of these:
1/4 cup of medium red salsa
1/4 cup of dark or light raisins
sauteed green, orange, or red peppers, red or yellow onions
2 tbsp. of bacon bits
2 tbsp. of red ketchup
2 tbsp. of chopped cashews

For a lighter side substitute ground turkey for ground beef.
Add 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil to keep the turkey moist.

It never hurts to try something new.

Kick it up!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy as pie - fastest way to make a quick pizza

Easy as pie - fastest way to make a quick pizza.
You can make a quick pizza when you are short on time or when your kids are at home and in a rush for something eat.
Start with a pizza dough from Trader Joes, Whole Foods or your local supermarket.
Flour your pizza tray or pizza stone  with a thin layer of all-purpose flour and role out the dough.
Flour the pizza again if it is wet or sticky.
Let the dough rest and dry.
Spread your favorite barbecue sauce on top of the dough.
You could make your own, or if time is an issue, try using my favorite sauce: Sweet Baby Ray's.
You should be able to find it at Safeway, Lucky's or any other supermarket chain.
Dice up 1 red onion and sprinkle on top of the pizza.
Add 1 oven roasted or pan broiled chicken breast.
(An easy process is to salt and pepper  a chicken breast and cook it an a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes until it is thoroughly cooked, moist but not dry.) Poultry seasoning can be added if you like.
 Cube the chicken breast and mix the chicken with 1/4 cup of the same barbecue sauce.
Add the cubed chicken to the pizza.
Sprinkle on a handful, roughly 1/2 cup of  blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese.
Bake at 375 - 400 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.

Ciao !


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stir it up - easy tips

Instead of buying an expensive balsamic vinegar, try this quick tip:
Pour a cheap balsamic vinegar in a pan over medium heat. Constantly stir it until it starts to boil.
Turn the flame off.
The reduction sauce will be sweet and as good as any expensive vinegar.
Taste great over asparagus.
Grill your favorite veggies with the sauce or just pour over them.
Vegetables such as red onions, or red,yellow,orange peppers.
Go wild and try it over your favorite fruit.
Just add kosher or sea salt to kick it up a notch.

A simple syrup is nothing more than 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.
Cook over medium heat until you reach a medium consistency.
Great for adding to fancy cocktails like mojitos.

Watching your weight?
Make whipped cream by substituting light cream for heavy cream and adding 1 packet of Splenda instead of sugar. Whip to a stiff peak.

Stir it up !

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Way to My Heart is via Fried Chicken

I love Fried Chicken. Always have - always will !
I remember my friend Tony Pioppi's mom made simply the best Cold Fried Chicken.
Brings back great memories. Thanks Tony and mom.
Most recently, my wife introduced me to a local restaurant that offered a fried chicken sandwich.
A fried chicken sandwich with a cabbage / onion slaw on an artesian roll.
I call it: "Fried Love of My Life."
Sorry quiche. This is mas bueno.
The recipe in layman's speedy terms would be:


1 small red onion sliced very thin.
1 cup on red wine vinegar.
After slicing the onion, toss the onion with the vinegar and let stand for 20 minutes.
I like it chilled in the fridge.
Drain the vinegar  from the onion and add:
1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, (about 3 cups) thinly chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped.
Mix well with the onion.

1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1tsp. of salt

Mix the vinaigrette by slowing pouring but well blending  the olive oil in the mix and add to the slaw mixture, again chill in the fridge.
A good hour and the vinaigrette and the red wine vinegar will enhance the flavor of the slaw.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt, (add pepper if you like) sprinkled on each breast
1 quart of Buttermilk
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 quarts of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of salt
1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1 tbsp. of Cayenne pepper
Season the chicken. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Pour buttermilk in a large shallow bowl or in a large Ziplock bag. Add chicken making sure buttermilk overs all of the chicken.
Chill in fridge for 1 hour.
Pour vegetable oil in a large pot. Raise vegetable oil temperature to 365 Degrees.
In a shallow bowl, stir together flour, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Lift chicken out of buttermilk batter, dredge in flour. Repeat the process by adding chicken back in the buttermilk and re-flour a 2nd time.
Cook the breast in the hot oil 5-7 minutes.
I like mine golden brown and extra crunchy. Say: YUM 3x.

Cut the rolls in 1/2, place slaw on bottom of rolls, top off with the fried chicken.

Note, for an extra kick, I like to add either a tbsp. Red Hot sauce or vietnamese chile pepper sauce to the buttermilk for that extra ZING... kick in the pants.
Also, I finally realized the reason for the extra crispiness of the chicken is the double-dippped batter.
I bet Tony's mom could have told me that. Sorry, mom.

A glass of 2008 Napa Valley, Vintjs Cabernet Sauvignon picks up the spiciness of the chicken.
Add a Godiva chocolate candy for my sweet toothe.

Bon Appetite !

Friday, April 22, 2011

Slow Cooker - Beef or Pork

Even though I am not a patient guy, lost it all after the birth of my 2nd daughter, I realize some things are better when you wait.
Slow cooking. Crock pot. Yes, the slower the better.
Now the question since I am a carnivore, is... beef or pork?
Either is fine in a crock pot. The idea is to have a pork shoulder or beef round roast slow cook in a nice large crock pot. The meat will tenderize when the proteins are broken down.
Here is a quick easy recipe. Too bad the slow cooker takes so long...
I like a pork shoulder with 1 side of fat still on the meat. Fat is flavor.
This is a good pulled pork recipe.
Pork shoulder.
1 big jar of GREEN salsa
1 btl. of Newman's Own Lite Italian Dressing.
1-2 cups of white wine. ( I like Miner's 09 Napa Chardonnay)
and 1 -2 cups of H2O

I put 1 -2 cups for the wine and the water depending on the size of your pot.
Place the shoulder in  the pot, add the ingredients and slow cook on high until
you can tear the meat apart with a fork. I usually start this late night and let it cook on high until the morning. Or depending on the size of the pot and the shoulder, it could cook down between 6-8 hours.
My wife loves the smell of the slow cook pork recipe permeating throughout the house.

Take the pork shoulder out of the pot. Remove the fat form the top. Shred the pork with a fork into pieces.
I usually take a couple of corn tortillas, shred some cheddar cheese on top and slightly broil until the cheese melts. Place the shredded pork on top, add avocado, sour cream, and red or green salsa. Done.
Finish, by patting yourself on the back for making this recipe, by toasting yourself with a nice glass of that 09 Miner Napa Chardonnay.
Salud !

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine

QUICHE is a simple recipe that everyone would love. Simple to make even if you have never been to culinary school or throwdown like Bobby Flay. Easy to make with a refrigerated pie crust, 6 large eggs, 1.5 cups of heavy cream, 1.5 cups of swiss or gruyere cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Now if you are a real man like me you NEED to throw in a lb. or more of cooked, crumbled canadian BACON and / or cooked sweet Italian SAUSAGE. Toss in some chopped herbs. Oregano, Parsley. Dice up some onions and green peppers.
Layer the onions, peppers, sausage, bacon, cheese in the bottom of the pie crust. Mix the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and herbs and pour over the top.
I like to cook this at 350- 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden and crusted on the top.
Now that's fast!
Now for something that takes a little more time.
Take a little time to sip and enjoy a good wine with your recipe.
 Chardonnay or a sauvignon blanc would be delightful with this dish. Conn Creek Winery makes a nice  09 chardonnay and  09 sauvignon blanc.
Both can be stored from 09 on for 4-5 years from date of purchase.
Even a red wine would be enjoyable. Who says white wine has to be paired with pork or fish?
The other night, I  had a 93 Villa Mt. Eden cabernet sauvignon signed by the winemaker Mike McGrath.
I should have saved this wine for the quiche.
A quick recipe and a wine for the ages.
Life is Good!