Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dry-Aged Standing Rib Roast - Prime Rib

Dry-Aged Standing Rib Roast w/Au Jus

1 (4-bone-in) standing rib roast, preferably from the loin end
1 Tbsp. Lawry's Season Salt
1 Tbsp. Horseradish
1 Tbsp. Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. Fresh garlic - crushed
1 Tbsp. Fresh rosemary - finely chopped
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
4 sage leaves

Remove any plastic wrapping or butcher's paper from the roast. Place the standing rib roast upright onto a half sheet pan fitted with a rack. The rack is essential for drainage. Place dry towels loosely on top of the roast. This will help to draw moisture away from the meat. Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38 degrees F. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer. Change the towels daily for 3 days.

Remove the roast from the refrigerator and let sit for at least 2 hours to come up to room temperature. While roast is coming up to temp, combine all ingredients for Rub in a separate bowl.  Completely cover the roast with Rub.  Remember to rub the bones as well.

Preheat oven to 250°F.  Place the roast in a roasting pan.  Place a probe thermometer into the center of the roast and set for 115°F.  Turn the oven down to 225°F and roast until internal temperature is achieved (around 30 min./lb. of roast).

If you have a convection oven, use Convection Roast at 225°F and the crust will be perfect and you won't have to blast it at the end.

Remove the roast and turn oven up to 500°F.  Cover with heavy-duty foil. Allow the roast to rest until an internal temperature of 125°F is reached.  Place the roast back into the preheated 500°F oven for about 10 minutes or until you've achieved your desired crust.  Remove and transfer roast to a cutting board. Keep covered with foil until ready to serve (at least 15 min).

Degrease the juices in the roasting pan.  Use grease for Yorkshire Pudding.  Place the pan over low heat and deglaze with 1 cup of water.  Add the wine and reduce by half.  Roll the sage leaves in between your fingers to release the flavors and aroma.  Add to the sauce and cook for 1 minute.  Strain and serve on the side.

Best Braised Pork Ever - Comfort Food 101

I have been trying to perfect a good braised pork recipe for a while now, and I think I may have done it.  Whether served over rice, mashed potatoes or pasta (egg noodles, penne, etc.) this is comfort food at its best - and it's pretty damn easy, just takes a long time in the oven...

Serves: 4 with leftovers
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 3 hours

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 6 large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
4 fresh thyme stems, 4 fresh oregano stems tied w/a string.  Or use ~1 tsp. dried leaves of each.
2 bay leaves
1 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and working in batches brown the meat on all sides until a golden crust forms.  Transfer the pork to a plate.
2. To the pan add the onion, celery, and carrot and sweat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and sweat another 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes to cook off the raw flavor and caramelize it.  Sprinkle with the flour and cook another 2 minutes to cook off its raw flavor.  Whisk in the wine and reduce it by half.

3. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, then stir in the beef stock, herb stems, and bay leaves.  Add the water if liquid does not come up to the top of the pork.  Do not cover the pork with liquid. Cover the pan and place it in the oven to braise until the meat is fork tender, about 3 hours.  I suggest stirring everything after 1 ½ hrs. to make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom of the Dutch oven.

4. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve over your choice of rice, pasta (egg noodles, penne, etc.), or tasty mashed potatoes.

Spring - with a hint of winter...Welcome to Utah!

This is a weird time of year in Utah, 70°F one day and then snow the next.  Not sure what to wear, eat, do outside, do inside, it's a real quandary (I know, not a word I usually use but seemed to fit).
So, in trying to eat healthier and still have a relatively quick weeknight meal, I'm trying to use a lot of chicken thighs. Let's face it, more tasty, less expensive and can take overcooking if it happens.  This dish combines the comfort quality of roasted chicken with the spring-time ingredients of asparagus and white wine.  We served this over white rice with a salad, but you can serve it however you would like!
Yield:  4 servings

1 3- to 4-lb. chicken, trimmed and cut into 8 pieces, or 8 bone-in, skin-on thighs
Lawry’s Season Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, halved and then sliced thin
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/3 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1/3 c. dry white wine (or double the chicken stock if not using wine)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse and dry chicken thoroughly, then generously season with salt and pepper. Massage 2 tablespoons butter over and under the skin.
2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and onion and sauté until soft, careful not to burn garlic. Place chicken skin side up on top of vegetables (avoid overlapping chicken) and roast until internal temperature is 165°F, 30 minutes – If using convection roast, time should be around 20 min. and if you desire crispier skin, finish chicken under broiler.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate to rest and cover loosely with aluminum foil.  Return skillet with onion and pan drippings to the stove.  Add stock and wine and season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then add asparagus and mushrooms.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pan to release brown bits.  Reduce temperature and simmer until asparagus is almost fork tender, 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and stir into sauce.
4. Add chicken and juices back to skillet and spoon sauce over chicken.  Put dish back in oven for about 5-6 min. for everything to come up to temp.  Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with parsley. Serve over rice/potatoes/pasta.

Dessert First...Almond Torte

Not really being a baker, pastry chef, etc. I usually like to stick to things I can do with the ingredients I can find in whatever portion I think works best.  For me, measuring properly then baking exactly usually tends to be more of a pain in the ass than is worth it.
However, in my old age I have found a soft spot in my heart for baking certain things...
One of those is a dessert that a friend of ours brought over and we devoured in about 25 minutes; and to top it off, it's very easy.  This almond torte is great with coffee, after dinner, midnight snack...Whatever!

¾ cup Sugar
1 cube Butter, softened
2 Eggs
¾ cup AP Flour
¼ tsp. Almond extract
¼ tsp. Vanilla extract
Slivered Almonds

Preheat oven (preferably Convection) to 325°F, and grease and flour an 8” round baking dish
Cream sugar, butter and eggs together until well incorporated.
Mix in flour, almond and vanilla extracts and mix well.
Pour into prepped baking dish, sprinkle with slivered almonds and put in oven, in a water bath.
Bake for 45 min. or until golden brown on top. A toothpick in the middle should come out clean.

Wait as long as you can for it to cool, then slice and enjoy!!!

Bulgogi Beef

BULGOGI (Korean BBQ Beef)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups beer
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups white sugar
½ cup sesame oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
½ Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger/powder
½ Tbsp. onion powder
pinch Korean red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
2 pounds rib eye steaks, thinly sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch slices
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Toasted white and black sesame seeds, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving
Kimchi, for serving
Note: Sprinkle meat with baking soda and let sit for 1 hour or so.  Rinse well then proceed...
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and onion powders and Korean red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the sliced rib eye and let marinate for 1 hour.
2. In a large cast-iron pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat.  Drain the meat, set aside marinade. Working in batches, cook the meat, flipping once, until caramelized and golden, 1-2 minutes per side. 
You can also grill the meat for a smokier flavor. Transfer to a platter.
4. While meat is cooking, reduce marinade for ~10-15 minutes to serve over dish.
3. Garnish the bulgogi with the scallions, sesame seeds and more pepper flakes, then serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

I have had Bulgogi on many occasions, beef sliced thin and piled over rice.  This recipe uses larger pieces of meat and in my opinion is much more satisfying.  The marinade can also be used for Korean Short Ribs.

Family Favorites - Chicken Tortilla

½            Onion, chopped
1              Garlic clove, chopped
1T           Canola Oil
2              Chicken breasts, shredded (Rotisserie, grilled, whatever way you wish to cook it)
½ t         Salt and Pepper (S&P) - to taste
1t             Cumin – to taste
¼ c         Chicken Stock/White Wine/Milk - more or less to thin consistency of the sauce
2              Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1              Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2              Cans of Ortega Roasted and Diced Green Chiles
Layer Items…
12            Corn Tortillas cut into pieces (about 2”X2” or so)
1 lb.        Grated or Shredded Cheddar/Jack/Pepper Jack any combination of cheese
In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in oil until fragrant, about 2 min.
Stir in Chicken and cook for about 1 min. 
Add Chicken Stock/White Wine to deglaze pan and sauté for approx. 2 min until it reduces a little. 
Add cumin, S&P, soups and green chiles. 
Stir, warming/cooking for about 2-3 min.  Add more seasoning to taste, if needed.
Assembly and Cooking…
In a Dutch Oven, add a little of the sauce to cover the bottom.  Add a layer of Tortillas, then spoon/ladle in a layer of sauce, then a layer of cheese.  Repeat until the sauce is gone and you have a layer of cheese on top.
Cook in a 350° oven, covered for about 30 min. until the middle of the casserole is bubbling.  Remove lid and cook for an additional 10 min. until cheese is a little browned and bubbly.
 Over white rice, with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, sour cream, salsa, whatever you like to make it more or less “South of the Border".

PETA Chili

Halloween is not necessarily one of my favorite holidays, but I do celebrate with Chili for those who come around.  Even members of the local church come by for their Halloween Fix.

I call it PETA Chili, (NOT after my least favorite spin on a piased, self righteous, irrational group), my version stands for "People Eating Tasty Animals".  Nine pounds of meat and seven hours to make, it's pretty damn good if I do say so my damn self!
Here's the recipe:
PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) Chili
6 Tbs. Oil or Lard
2 Cups Chicken Broth
4 lb. Pork, cubed approx. ¼ - ½ in.
3 lb. Beef, Cubed approx. ¼ - ½ in.
2 lb. Ground Turkey
12 oz. Beer – Pilsner type, Domestic if desired i.e.: MGD, or Mexican i.e.: Pacifico or Mexicali
7 Cups Peeled, chopped tomatoes
¼ Cup finely chopped celery (~1 med. Stalk)
2 tsp. Sugar
3 Cans Orgega diced green chiles
3 tsp. Ground Oregano
3 tsp. Ground Cumin
3 tsp. Fine Black Pepper
4 tsp. Salt
5 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Fresh Cilantro (~ ¼ Bunch Chopped)
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme (~ 6 Sprigs Chopped)
6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 Cups Purple Onion, diced (~1 large)
1 Cup Red Pepper, diced (~1 medium)
1 lb. Monterey Jack Cheese
Limes – cut into wedges for use immediately before eating
Sour Cream

In a 2 gallon pot, simmer the chicken broth while preparing remaining ingredients.
In a 2 quart saucepan combine celery, tomatoes and sugar.  Simmer 1 ½ hours, or until all ingredients are completely tender.
Put the following into 12 oz. of beer and stir until all lumps are dissolved: Oregano, Cumin, Black Pepper, Salt, Chili Powder, Cilantro and Thyme.
Add tomato mixture, chiles, beer mixture, and 3 cloves garlic to broth in the 2 gallon pot.  Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a low simmer.
Note: When browning the meat, use 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, salt and pepper.
Brown pork in a skillet with about 2 Tbs oil.  With a medium size skillet, it is advisable to brown only half at a time.  The pork should become white on all sides and fully separated.  Do not overcook at this point.  Add pork to the 2 gallon pot and bring to a low boil for about 30 min – pork needs a ½ hour start on the beef and ground turkey.
Brown turkey in a skillet with about 1 Tbs oil.  Add turkey to the 2 gallon pot.
With the balance of the oil, brown the beef.  With a medium size skillet, it is advisable to brown only half at a time.  The beef should become white on all sides and fully separated.  Do not overcook at this point.  Add beef to the 2 gallon pot and bring to a low boil for about an hour.
Add chopped onions and peppers and cook at a low boil for about 2 – 3 hours, stirring with a wooden spoon every 15 – 20 min.
Remove the Chili from the stove and allow to cool for about 1 hour.
After Chili is cool, refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the spices to permeate the meat and the flavors to meld.
Reheat and serve or can be frozen in freezer Ziplocs.
About five minutes before serving, grate the Monterey Jack and add to the chili.  Stir with a wooden spoon until completely dissolved.  If only reheating part of the chili, use about 1 oz. per serving (to desired taste).
At service, add the juice of one large lime or two small limes for the whole pot.  Individual servings can be served on the side for use immediately before eating.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and Oyster Crackers, saltines, Sourdough French Bread or your favorite rolls/bread.

The Great Sonoma Secret...Marinated Chicken

Growing up in the small town of Sonoma, California, we had a lot of activities that centered around the Plaza and the whole town got involved.
One of the things I remembered from a July Celebration in the town was the marinated turkey roasted over hot coals in big pits at the Plaza and then passed out on paper plates (I'm sure they sold it, but as a kid I just remember eating it, not the transaction involved in getting it on the plate).
My parents were friends with the guy who ran the turkey ranch for Nicholas Turkey Farms (more on Nicholas later) who supplied the turkey, and after a lot of pestering he told me the recipe for the marinade - Soy Sauce, 7-Up, Oil and a secret ingredient.
For years I tried to duplicate this marinade, trying herbs, spices, garlic, anything I could think of...it was close, but I could never get it to taste like I remembered.  Then, one day it dawned on me...we lived in Sonoma, in the heart of Wine Country...yep...WINE Country.
So, with equal parts (1 cup) Soy Sauce, Canola Oil, Chardonnay and a can of 7-Up I ventured out to marinade the turkey, then grill it over an open flame...PERFECTION!
This marinade works well with all poultry, but has a better flavor with the dark meat.

1 cup Canola Oil
1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup White wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.)
1 can 7-Up (I prefer 7-Up to Sprite or any of the other shitty alternatives)

In a large container with a lid, mix all ingredients.
Add your favorite poultry to the container, making sure the marinade covers the meat entirely.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and for as much as 24 hours.  Make sure to stir everything every so often as the marinade does tend to separate and the meat at the bottom will be darker due to the soy sauce if you let it sit for too long.

Now about Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms...
Nicholas bred and raised turkeys for commercial distribution on farms throughout California.  Many of us high school students worked for Nicholas at various times in our high school career.  I personally worked in the hatchery located in town, doing anything from maintenance and cleaning to eventually working my way up to delivering of the baby poults to the farms.
Anyway...Nicolas was known for producing award winning turkeys and bred their turkeys with extremely large breasts, sometimes two to three times the industry standard.   Now you know!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Chicken Broccoli

This is an all-time family favorite that Parker still asks for as his Birthday Dinner...


½ Onion, chopped
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp. Canola or Olive Oil
2 cooked Chicken breasts (approx. 1 lb.), cubed.  Rotisserie, grilled, however you wish to cook it
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash - to taste
½ tsp. ground Coriander
¼ cup Chicken Stock/White Wine/Milk - more or less to thin consistency of the sauce
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Cup Mayonnaise (may need to add more to taste)
1 lb. Broccoli steamed or blanched
1 ½ to 2 lbs. Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Jack or whatever you like)
Plain bread toasted and diced into croutons to cover the top of the casserole (I lay the bread out in the pan before toasting so I’m sure I have enough)
1 cube butter - melted

In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in oil until fragrant, about 3-4 min.
Stir in Chicken and cook for about 2 min. to warm through.
Add Chicken Stock/White Wine to deglaze pan and sauté for approx. 2 min until it reduces a little. 
Add Mrs. Dash, Coriander, S&P, soup and mayo. 
Stir, warming/cooking for about 2-3 min.  Add more seasoning to taste, if needed.
Line the bottom of a 9X13X2 pan with broccoli.  Pour sauce over the broccoli and make sure it mixes in around the pieces.  Top with a layer of cheese, then the croutons, then pour the melted butter over the croutons on top of the casserole.
Bake at 350°F for approx. 35-45 min. until you see it bubbling in the middle.
Serve over white rice.