Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Bean Chili

Our high school homecoming tailgating party is tonight. A big pot of chili was definitely in order. Here's a recipe I've been tweaking for years. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, etc.

2 T. olive oil
3 small onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 medium jalapenos, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 cans of Rotel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 - 3 T. ground cumin
2 - 3 T. chili powder
2 t. smoked paprika
salt to taste
1 can chili beans (undrained)
1 can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions, peppers and jalapenos. Cook until softened, about 7 - 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add ground chuck and increase heat to medium high and cook until meat is completely browned. Drain fat if necessary.

Add remaining ingredients in the order listed. Cook over low heat for several hours to allow flavors to develop. Check seasoning and adjust if desired by adding additional chili powder. 

Add toppings if you'd like and enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli

Such a wonderful, comforting soup. This is an Italian classic brightened with fresh herbs. You can also use any small shaped pasta.

4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 T. olive oil
1 T. unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup elbow macaroni
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onion, pancetta and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, beans, and sachet of herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the sachet.

In a blender, puree 1 cup of the bean mixture until smooth, then return the puree to the saucepan. Cover and return the soup to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni, cover and boil, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season the soup with pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

From Giada's Family Dinners

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp served in this spicy, garlic-infused oil are irresistible. Use medium or small shrimp (36-40/pound). The high heat used to cook the shrimp for this recipe would burn the outside of larger shrimp before they cook through. 

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 t. red pepper flakes
1 pound small or medium shrimp, peeled
1 t. salt
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish

Heat oil in medium skillet over high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cooking stirring for 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Season with salt. When the shrimp have turned pink and are opaque throughout, remove from heat. The shrimp should be slighty undercooked because the heat will continue to cook them. Divide into individual ramekins and top with parsley and serve sizzling.

From The Cuisines of Spain

Columbus Day

We celebrated Columbus Day by enjoying dishes from Italy in his honor and also Spain in honor of Queen Isabella for funding the trip!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mexican Cheese Grits with Jalapeno

Y'all know how I love to cook on Saturday mornings.  Today we enjoyed sausage, fried potatoes with smoked paprika and thyme, over easy eggs, and Mexican Cheese Grits.  Grits are a blank slate that can be prepared with dozens of ingredients and always be delicious.

2 cups water
1/4 milk or heavy cream
salt to taste
1/2 cup quick cooking grits
1 cup shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 green onions minced, white and some dark green (save dark green to garnish)
1/4 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. smoked paprika

Bring water and milk to a boil.  Add grits and stir to distribute.  Lower heat and cover.  Stir occasionally and cook for 12 minutes.  Turn off heat and add cheese and remaining ingredients.  Stir until well blended and serve.  Garnish with the green onion and additional shredded cheese if desired.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bavarian Apple Torte

Without a doubt, this is probably one of the best desserts I've ever baked. Rich, creamy and delicious. This may be THE perfect Fall dessert. 

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 t. vanilla extract
3 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon

Combine the first four ingredients. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Pour over the crust. Combine topping ingredients; spoon over filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until the center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife.

Thanks to Alyson Armstrong via allrecipes.com

Schweinebraten = German Style Roast Pork

This was the perfect choice for the entree of our Oktoberfest meal.  The wonderful aroma of roasting pork with the onions and carrots seasoned with caraway seeds and marjoram will have everyone at the table on time for this meal.  Take a few extra minutes and make the gravy to go along with the pork.  It will send it over the top.  You know you can trust me, right?  : )

4 -6 lbs. pork shoulder or 4 -6 lbs. pork butt
2 T. caraway seeds 
2 T. marjoram
1 tablespoon salt
2 t. ground pepper
2 T. cooking oil
3 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water or 1/2 cup stock or 1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup beer
2-3 T. flour
2-3 T. butter

Rub the entire roast all over with the oil and sprinkle with caraway, marjoram, salt, pepper.  Let stand for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray your roasting pan with cooking spray.  Place the vegetables into roasting pan and pour liquid of choice.

Place the roast, fat side down, in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables.

Cover tightly and roast for one hour. Remove from oven, uncover and turn roast fat side up. Cut decorative diamonds into the fat, insert meat thermometer and replace, uncovered, back into the oven for approximately 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165° F.

Remove from oven and take out of roaster; cover with foil to preserve temperature, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and save the vegetables to serve on the side.

Measure pan juices; add enough chosen liquid (water, wine, stock, or beer) to make 2 cups. Make a roux by blending the flour and butter together very well in a saucepan; add the pan juices and bring to a simmer. For additional richness, the gravy may be finished with a little butter, cream or sour cream.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kroketten (Potato Croquettes)

I wasn't sure about this recipe when I read it and now that I've cooked and eaten these, I'm still not sure.  In extremely simple terms, think breaded and fried mashed potatoes.  They could definitely have used some "zing."  Remember that when you make them.  Adjust seasonings accordingly.

2 large potatoes
2 T. Salted Butter
1 Egg
3 T. flour
Pinch of Nutmeg
Milk, if needed
Oil for frying

For the coating:
Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Wash and peel potatoes.  Cook them in boiling salt water until they are soft.  Remove them from the heat, drain, and allow to cool.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.  Add the flour, butter, egg, and nutmeg, and mix together.  Add only enough milk (if necessary) until dough holds together.  The dough should not be soggy.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a log that is about the thickness of 2 fingers. Cut the log into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

On a plate, mix the egg.  On another plate, add some bread crumbs.  One-by-one, dip a krokette in the egg, coating the entire krokette.  Roll the krokette in the bread crumbs, making sure the entire krokette is coated.

Heat oil in a frying pan or deep frier.  Fry a few kroketten at a time until they are crispy and golden brown.  Allow excess fat to drip off.  Serve immediately.


Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

This was the perfect side dish for our Oktoberfest meal. Perfect use of apples three ways:  cider, cider vinegar and fuji apples.   Thanks Epicurious.com

1 garlic clove, smashed
3 T. unsalted butter
2 lb. red cabbage, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 Gala or Fuji apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/2 t. caraway seeds
2 whole allspice (optional), crushed
1 1/2 T. apple-cider vinegar

Cook garlic in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add cabbage, apple, cider, caraway, allspice (if using), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Add vinegar and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grilled Brats with Spicy Mustard

Easy nibble to put out for the hungry guests while you finish up the main event.  eat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Grill the brats until browned and slice diagonally. Serve with spicy mustard.

Oktoberfest Table Setting

Usually when I plan a meal around a holiday or an event, it comes together fairly smoothly.  This one...eh, not so much.  I thought I had in my mind what I wanted, but it just wouldn't work.  Here's the result for Oktoberfest 2011.  A mixture of place settings from Chef's catalog, a few of Sweet Harold's treasured beer steins and a little bit of Germany thrown in for good measure.