Monday, September 18, 2006

Beef Medallions with Blueberry Sauce

This sounds like such and odd combination. However, I absolutely love recipes that make me raise an eyebrow and wonder..... it just begs me to try it. Much like the Summer Shrimp Salad . I really enjoyed this combination and it paired so well with warm cornbread and salad. The only thing that I would change is the amount of blueberry sauce. There was ALOT. I would love it if someone could advise a use for the extra??

The only thing I changed was the method in which I covered the meat in flour. I always coat meat using a 1 gallon ziploc. It's so much easier. Just put ingredients in and shake to coat. (It also makes for less dishes to wash....always a plus!)

According to Williams-Sonoma:
15 minutes to prepare

15 minutes cook time

4 servings

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 lb (500 g) beef tenderloin, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp minced shallots
3 Tbsp. brandy
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Whisk flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper together in a bowl. Spread on a plate. Dredge meat in flour to coat, shaking of excess.

Melt butter with oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute meat in batches until lightly browned and about 2 minutes per side. Using a wire skimmer or tongs, remove to a plate and keep warm in a low oven (150F/65C) Add shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Add brandy and stir to scrape up browned bits.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in blueberries. Add broth, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup (3 floz/80 ml), 4-5 minutes. To serve, place meat on a warmed platter and spoon sauce on top.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Autumn's In Season

After reading some "diet" books and cook books, the common theme to most of them was Always by Fresh and In Season Produce. Because I've been spoiled in California, I was always able to get just about any fruit or vegetable any time of the year. Since our move, I've been learning to dive deep into my cavemen roots and try to instinctively learn about what fruits and vegetables are best to cook with at a certain time of year. I came across a fantastic list of in-season produce that I thought I would document for myself and share with everyone. Late Summer and Fall is generally considered to be the Harvest Season, so there are many, many different types of fruits and vegetables to choose from around this time. Some of these are fairly exotic. However, many of these I could use for seasonal recipe ideas.

apricots, dried
Bell Peppers, Purple
bok choy
broccoli rabe
brussel sprouts
Currents, dried
green pears
Jerusalem artichokes (these are not an artichoke)
oranges, navel and mandarin
red chiles
squash, orange flesh
swiss chard

Purple Cabbage, Apples & Bratwurst

As the rain comes down and the temperature drops, I'm dreaming of warming up the kitchen with the rich aromas of Autumn's food. OK, that was my attempt of being poetic. (Not so good:) Actually, my girlfriend Patrice suggested going to the Library for cookbooks. What a great untapped resource. They had a lot of the Williams-Sonoma books that I adore. I found this recipes in Williams-Sonoma's Main Dishes book. It's reasonably healthy but something that the man of the house will enjoy! I find that when cooking Brats, cheap beer works just as well if not better in the boiling process. I boil my brats in beer and then brown them in the pan according to the directions below. Josh didn't like the apples much, but he did like the "chicken" and "purple noodles". Tonight I'll be trying Beef Medallions with Blueberry Sauce. Wish me luck!

According to the Book:

20 minutes to prepare
30 minutes to cook
4 servings

1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) chopped onion
1/2 head purple cabbage, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. butter
3 Golden Delicious apples, cored and thinly slixed
4 bratwursts
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar or lemon juice

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and saute until cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add chicken broth, reduce heat to low cover and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add apples and saute until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and keep warm. Reduce heat to medium, add bratwursts, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Stir vinegar in cabbage. Serve bratwursts on top of cabbage, sliced if desired, surrounded by apples.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

BLT Pasta

Another fabulous recipe from Real Simple Mag. BLT stands for Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich. The sandwich usually consists of bacon, lettuce, tomato & mayonaise and is usually fried up or toasted in a pan on the stove. This recipe is very similar to the sandwich except the sandwich bread is replaced with rigatoni or penne (or any pasta of your choice. Tonight, I'm using spaghetti.) and the mayonaise is omited. This is great for a fast week night meal. Serve with a crisp salad and crusty bread. YUM

By conversion, I'm Jewish. I could never give up my bacon though! I just love it too much. However if you are trying to steer clear of pork for whatever reason or if you just don't have bacon in your fridge, try using a slices of smoked luncheon/deli meat like turkey or chicken. I hear that it gives the same kind of effect as bacon.

Unfortunately, the commissary fails to carry arugala leaves. These used to be my favorite salad leaf back in the states because of the peppery/nutty flavor. I've had to replace the arugula with baby spinach since in Japan. You may favor to do the same.

16 ounces of rigantoni or penne
12 slices of bacon
1-7 ounce package of arugala leaves
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes quartered
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I used sea salt or regular salt!)
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Cook the bacon first and place on paper towels to drain grease. This way you can get it "out of the way". While cooking the bacon, set a pot of water for the pasta to boil, cook pasta and drain.

Reserve bacon grease but leave some in the pan to keep arugala from sticking. (Be sure not to just keep the grease in the pan. The arugala will absorb all the grease and Leaving you with slimy arugala and tomatoes sticking to the pan) Return skillet to medium heat. Add the arugula and stir until it wilts, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the arugula to the pasta.

Add some reserved bacon grease to the pan. Return skillet to medium heat and cook tomatoes for 2 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to the pasta and arugula and toss. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved bacon grease. Crumble the bacon over the top, season with the salt and pepper, and toss again. Serves about 4 ENJOY!!