Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day: Corned Beef & Cabbage (in a crock pot w/ a can of Guinness)

I made corned beef for the first time. It was 1. super easy 2. super yummy. Yay, me!!! I used this recipe and changed the serving size to 4 and also threw it in a crock pot because I like to use my crock pot. Although the spice measurements were different, I upped everything to 1/4 teaspoon to make it easy for myself.

beef brisket (I used a 2.85 lb. brisket because it was the smallest I could find at the grocery store)
1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves, all spice, black pepper)
3 carrots
2 medium potatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 green cabbage cut into wedges
1 can of Guinness draught (if you read the instructions, the person was firm about getting draught and NOT stout)

The ingredients:

1. Brown the brisket

2. Rub the brisket with the spices
3. Throw the brisket in the crock pot.
4. Empty the can of Guinness. Add vegetables (minus the cabbage) and water to cover the meat.

5. Set on low for 8 hours.
6. Flip the meat over halfway (this could be optional)
7. Add the cabbage and set for another hour.
8. Remove meat from crock pot and slice across the grain. Serve with veggies and some dijon mustard.
9. Enjoy with an Irish brew!

After dinner, J said to me "You should try the corned beef in a can to taste the difference." And my reply was "No. Who would want to do that?" This guy was in the US Army for six years - and let's just say - lived like one before I met him. So...there ya go!

For dessert, we had mint chocolate chip ice-cream.

We had leftovers, so I added the corned beef and some bell peppers to our scrambled eggs for breakfast the next morning. Yum! Happy St. Patrick's Day ;D

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cold, Wet Friday Soup: Oxtail

While the rest of the country is enjoying record setting temperatures, sunshine and an early Spring, it's super "cold" and wet in Northern California. (I put cold in quotes because I grew up on the East coast and it gets cold there. I've acclimated to the weather here, so I'm kind of a wimp and really dislike being cold.)

So, it's been a long week with the time shift, things have been a little off. It rained really hard on Friday and I thought it would be nice for J to come home to a nice warm comfort soup for dinner. I braised the oxtails for hours (pretty much all day) with the vegetables and it really turned out great. I tried to replicate my mom's oxtail soup and it was pretty darn close :) I served it with a small bowl of rice and fish sauce with chili peppers for dipping.

Veggies: carrots, potato, celery
Garlic cloves
Herbs: I used what I had, some thyme but you can use pho seasoning if you have it, star anise, peppercorns, etc.

The most critical step is to rinse and then parboil the oxtail. Parboiling is basically boiling the meat in rapid water for 10-15 to remove the impurities. Rinse and then you can start the soup. I simmer the oxtail for about 2 hours with the herbs and then add the veggies in for the rest of the day.

The end result is some really tender  fall-off-the-bone meat. The broth is very light, so we usually eat this with a small bowl of rice and a side of fish sauce with crushed chili peppers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flat Iron Steak With Red Wine Sauce

Even though I had a glass of wine with the lamb I still had some red wine left over. I didn't want it to go to waste, so I made another great meal. This one is from my girl Giada De Laurentiis. She's not really "my girl" but I met her at a book signing a few years ago (the pic is somewhere) and she (said she) liked my name and asked if I was Vietnamese. Anyway, the recipe can be found here, from Food Network.

So, I followed the directions, because why mess with something if all the reviews says it great? Plus, why wouldn't you follow a recipe if you're making it for the first time? That could just be me. Anyway... here is Thursday's dinner. Oh, and the sauce really was great!

Some meat shots:

I served it with a side of greans and the left over garlic & chive mashed potatoes from the previous night. Still good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shanks

Meh - I'm not really happy with my plating or this photo.

While at the grocery store, I got all kinds of protein. I picked up this rack of lamb. Thinking I'd like to add rack of lamb to my "Things I've cooked" list. 

I only used half of this rack because I'm only cooking for two. Which turned out to be these three pieces here. As you can see, one piece is significantly larger than the other two.

I used this recipe submitted to Food & and followed the instructions (I'm good at that).  It actually turned out really good and now I can say I made lamb shanks. Yay, me! I served this with mashed garlic potatoes & chives, some green beans and carrots - because I love veggies.

Veggies for braising. I was upset the grocery store didn't have fresh bay leaves, WTF? So I had to settle for dried ones. 

Here it is with the wine and all.

Baby carrots, green beans and potatoes.

Chives (as if you don't know what chives look like). I think they're pretty.

Garlic mashed potatoes & chives.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Taco Night: Barbacoa Tacos

Since we had a bunch of tortillas, I decided to thaw the leftover barbacoa I made once in the crock pot. I did a copy cat recipe of Chipotle's and boy, it was delish! We had a little left, so I froze it and now was the perfect time to use it up. I made a corn salsa and a salad (as usual).

J gets two tacos and an extra serving of meat because he's a guy and eats more than I do.

Breakfast Burritos

I needed something different. Every morning I make a breakfast sandwich. It's on a whole grain english muffin toasted, has a slice of 2% American cheese, a slice of turkey bacon and an egg and we garnish it with sugar free grape jelly. Every. Single. Morning. J is perfectly happy with this - he really likes it. I like it too, but sometimes I forgo the english muffin and make cheese eggs and eat it with the turkey bacon. Sometimes I have oatmeal. I just get bored. So, I got us some healthy tortillas and made breakfast burritos. The ingredients are pretty much the same. except I added chopped baby bell peppers to the mix. Just a small change, but it was what I needed.

Ingredients (makes 2 = 1 serving):
1 egg
baby bell peppers
1 slice of turkey bacon
hot sauce
2 tortillas

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Taste of Home: Maryland Crab Cakes

It was Monday night, the first work day after the time change. It was a hectic day - I was running late for a lot of things. It was 7:30pm and I had no idea what to make for dinner. Luckily, I had just bought some fresh crab meat at the grocery store earlier.

I threw together a salad with crab cakes and called it dinner. So...what makes this Maryland crab cakes? The Old Bay. Yeah, we always have Old Bay with our seafood back home.

1 lb. Fresth Crabmeat
1 beaten egg,
1 tablesppon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I used whole grain)
1 teaspoon Worcesteershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
Old Bay Seasoning
Panko or bread crumbs

Mix all these ingredients together and form into patties (I was able to get 6 patties out of this batch). Fry for about 4 minutes on each side.

I served it on top of a bowl of greens.