Video

How to Steam Broccoli Perfectly Every Time

Delicious basic steamed broccoli recipe! How to steam broccoli so that it stays vibrant green. The easiest way to cook this wonderful vegetable.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4

Steamed broccoli is the best cure for over-indulgence I know. It’s cleansing, healthful, high in vitamin C, protein (45% of the calories in broccoli are from protein), and fiber.

How to steam broccoli so that it comes out perfectly every time?

The most important thing to know about steaming broccoli is that cooking the broccoli any more than 7 minutes tops risks overcooking it. After 7 minutes the broccoli will turn it olive green, instead of that beautiful vibrant green color we want.

So, to make sure the broccoli is perfectly cooked, here are a couple tips:

Tip 1: Get the steaming water hot and steamy first, before adding the broccoli to the steamer basket. A quick way to get the water hot is to use a tea kettle.

Tip 2: Set your timer for only 5 to 6 minutes. Smaller florets of young fresh broccoli may only need 5 minutes to cook, larger florets of more mature broccoli made need 6. I recommend starting with 5 and then testing the broccoli with a fork to see if it is cooked through.

As for serving the broccoli, the easiest way to dress broccoli is to dot it with dabs of butter. My favorite way to eat broccoli is to toss it with lots of freshly ground black pepper, and sprinkle it with a little seasoned rice vinegar. (Black pepper, by the way, is one of those perfect pairings with broccoli.)

My parents love their broccoli served with a little mayonnaise on the side, which is surprisingly good. You can also do olive oil and lemon zest (pictured above), olive oil and balsamic vinegar, etc. Good with toasted slivered almonds or toasted sesame seeds too.

The easiest way to cook broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of broccoli

Many options here:

  • Olive oil, butter, or mayonnaise (use olive oil if cooking vegan)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon zest or juice, balsamic vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar
  • Toasted almonds, toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of broccoli

Many options here:

  • Olive oil, butter, or mayonnaise (use olive oil if cooking vegan)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon zest or juice, balsamic vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar
  • Toasted almonds, toasted sesame seeds

Method

1 Prep the broccoli crowns and stems: Cut the crowns away from the large stems of the broccoli. Break the crown up into bite-sized florets. Rinse the broccoli florets thoroughly.

Peel and discard the thick outer skin of the stems. Slice the stems or cut them into quarters lengthwise.

2 Bring steamer water to a boil: Place 3/4 to 1 inch of water in a saucepan with a steamer and bring to a boil. (Note that is you don’t have a steamer, you can simply put the broccoli directly into an inch of boiling water.)

3 Add broccoli, steam 5 to 6 min: Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 5-6 minutes. The broccoli is done when you can pierce it with a fork. As soon as it is pierce-able, remove from heat, place in serving dish.

Note that green vegetables like broccoli will turn from vibrant green to drab olive green at about the 7 minute mark of cooking. So, watch the time, and don’t let the broccoli overcook!

4 Dress with your favorite topping: Dress to taste with butter, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon zest or juice, seasoned rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, ground black pepper, toasted almonds, or sesame seeds.

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Roasted Garlic

How to roast whole heads of garlic in the oven so you can eat warm, toasty cloves right out of the garlic head.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

Years ago a friend of mine showed me how to roast garlic whole and eat the warm, toasty cloves right out of the head. How wonderfully simple! And perfect for garlic lovers.

Roasting garlic changes the chemical makeup of the garlic so that it’s easier to digest. You can eat a lot more garlic if it is completely cooked, with fewer side effects than you would get from eating raw garlic. (If you’re into chemistry, you can read more about this process in the Wikipedia.)

Eat the caramelized roasted cloves directly out of the heads, or add them to pasta dishes, mash them up and spread them over toast, or mix them with sour cream for a dip.

If you are sensitive to raw garlic, you may find that you can much more easily eat roasted garlic.

How to Roast Garlic

Ingredients

  • One or more whole heads of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients

  • One or more whole heads of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

1 Preheat your oven to 400°F (205° C). (A toaster oven works great for this.)

2 Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic.

3 Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

4 Put garlic in baking pan or muffin tin: Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. (A muffin pan works great for this, as it keeps the garlic bulbs from rolling around.)

5 Drizzle with olive oil: Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.

6 Cover the bulb with aluminum foil.

7 Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-40 minutes, or until the cloves are lightly browned and feel soft when pressed.

8 Cool and remove roasted garlic cloves from their skins: Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

Eat as is (I love straight roasted garlic) or mash with a fork and use for cooking. Can be spread over warm French bread, mixed with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes, or mixed in with Parmesan and pasta.

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Beef Steak Fajitas

Classic Tex Mex fajitas recipe, made with strips of skirt steak, onions and bell peppers, and served sizzling hot with fresh tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Best Steak For Fajitas

Classic Tex Mex, fajitas (pronounced fah-hee-tas) are typically made with grilled strips of skirt steak with onions and bell peppers, and served sizzling hot with fresh tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

You can make fajitas with steak or chicken, or even make it plain vegetarian. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for steak fajitas.

How to make beef steak fajitas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of flank steak, skirt steak or carne asada
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced with the grain, not against the grain as one would normally slice an onion. Slice first in half, and then slice off sections a half inch wide at widest point.
  • 2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • Salt

Steak Fajita Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, finely chopped (be careful not to touch your eyes or anywhere near your eyes after handling a jalapeño pepper!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, including stems

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of flank steak, skirt steak or carne asada
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced with the grain, not against the grain as one would normally slice an onion. Slice first in half, and then slice off sections a half inch wide at widest point.
  • 2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • Salt

Steak Fajita Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, finely chopped (be careful not to touch your eyes or anywhere near your eyes after handling a jalapeño pepper!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, including stems

Method

1 Marinate the steak: Mix all marinade ingredients. Coat the steak with the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, or longer in the fridge.

Before you cook the meat, wipe off most of the marinade and sprinkle the steak with salt.

2 Sear the steak on both sides: Set a large cast iron pan or griddle over high heat and let this heat up for 1-2 minutes. Add the tablespoon of oil to the pan and let this heat up for 1 minute.

Add the steak, frying on each side for 3 minutes, or to desired doneness. 3 minutes per side will yield approximately medium rare doneness for an average cut of flank steak.

Carne asada and skirt steak will need less time. If the pan starts to smoke too much, reduce the heat to medium-high. You want the steak browned, not burned.

Remove from pan and let sit, tented with foil, for 5 minutes.

3 Cook the vegetables while the meat is resting. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the onions and bell peppers.

Let these sear for 1 minute before stirring, then stir every 90 seconds or so as the veggies sear. Cook for 5-6 minutes total.

4 Slice the meat across the grain into thin slices. If you slice the meat at an angle, you will be able to get your slices pretty thin. These cuts of steak are flavorful but can be a little tough, so thin slices will really help make it easier to eat.

5 Serve immediately with shredded cheese, salsa, shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and warm flour tortillas. (Hint for warming tortillas – put in microwave over a paper towel for 20 seconds on high heat.)

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Chile Verde

Authentic Mexican pork chile verde! with chunks of pork shoulder slow cooked in a roasted tomatillo and jalapeno chile verde sauce. So good!

Ready in:

  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8

Walk into almost any taqueria in this country and you will find chile verde on the menu. The chile will likely be made with chunks of pork shoulder, slow cooked in a green chile sauce of jalapeño chiles, garlic, and tomatillos.

It’s a favorite filling for burritos and tacos, and wonderful just on its own with a bit of rice and tortillas.

Many recipes call for puréeing raw tomatillos and adding them to the pork to cook. In this recipe we roast the tomatillos first, browning their skins, to bring out more flavor.

I recently begged this recipe from my Acapulco friend, Arturo who was surprised I wanted it. “But Elise, it’s so easy, anyone can make chile verde.” Gracias, Arturo. We loved it.

How to make chile verde (video)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Pinch of ground cloves

To serve:

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Spanish rice

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Pinch of ground cloves

To serve:

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Spanish rice

Method

1 Roast the tomatillos, garlic: Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well.

Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.

If you want the additional flavor of chilies other than jalapenos, you can add a couple Anaheim or poblano chiles. Either use canned green chiles or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.

2 Purée tomatillos with garlic, jalapeño, cilantro: Place tomatillos, skins included, into blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins, add them to the blender. Add chopped Jalapeño peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

3 Sear pork on all sides: Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides.

Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside.

4 Sauté onions and garlic: Pour off excess fat, anything beyond a tablespoon, and place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes.

5 Add pork, oregano, tomatillo sauce, stock, ground cloves: If your skillet is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde, with the sauce and meat, then add the pork back to the pan. If not, get a large soup pot and add the onion mixture and the pork to it. Add the oregano to the pan.

Add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meat). Add a pinch of ground cloves. Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)

6 Simmer 2-3 hours: Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Spanish rice and warmed flour tortillas or freshly made corn tortillas.

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Green Chile Cornbread

Flavorful and tender Green Chile Cornbread! Packed with corn, cheese, and Anaheim or Hatch green chiles.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 12 serving pieces

Finally. A green chile cornbread that is moist, flavorful, and filled with corn and chiles!

I’ve been experimenting for a couple of years now and believe we now have a winner.

Do you like green chiles? I grew up eating Anaheims. They are best when roasted fresh over flame, but you can easily used the canned chiles.

How to Make Green Chile Cornbread (video)

If you use canned chiles and want the heat, make sure you look for the cans that say “hot”, not “mild” on them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 cups of chopped, roasted green chiles (Anaheim or Hatch) (2 7-ounce cans of whole green chiles, drained, chopped)
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)

Method

1 Preheat oven and prep baking dish: Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish.

2 Make the batter: In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar. Beat the sour cream and eggs into the butter sugar mixture.

Add the milk and the dry ingredients, a third at a time and alternating wet/dry.

Mix in the green chiles, corn, and shredded cheese. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

3 Bake: Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes, or until top is browned, the center springs back when pressed down, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool almost completely before serving.

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Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

Classic Mexican soup made with meatballs (albondigas), green beens, onions, and chicken stock. A family favorite.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Albondigas soup is a traditional Mexican meatball soup (“albondigas” means “meatballs” in Spanish) that my mother has cooked for our family for more than 50 years.

It is our version of comfort food.

A simple soup base is made with sautéed onions, garlic, broth, and tomatoes. Into the bubbling soup you drop meatballs made with ground beef or ground turkey and rice.

The meat creates its own additional broth for the soup. Carrots, green beans, and peas are also usually added to the soup.

What makes the flavor of albondigas soup distinctive is the chopped mint in the meatballs. I once complained to a Mexican chef about the lack of mint in his cookbook’s albondigas soup recipe, and he looked at me with surprise and said, “my mother puts mint in her albondigas!”

You can, of course, skip the mint, substitute with a little fresh oregano or some cilantro, but to me, the soup’s not the same without it. You can also vary the vegetables added, depending on what you have on hand and what’s in season.

How to make albondigas soup

If fresh mint is not available, you can use a couple teaspoons of dried mint from herbal mint tea.

You can vary the vegetables depending on what you have on hand. Spring peas in their pods instead of shucked peas, for example. Or you could add some chopped fresh zucchini or corn.

My mother often puts a couple extra tablespoons of chopped fresh mint directly into the soup.

Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the ground beef, we do it often.

Use spearmint or Mexican yerba buena for the mint in this soup (not peppermint).

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound of green beans, strings and ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup of raw white rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh spearmint leaves
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • A dash of cayenne (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, crumbled, or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method

1 Make the soup base with onion, garlic, broth, tomato sauce, carrots and green beans: Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pot (5-qt) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add stock, water, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add carrots and string beans.

2 Prepare the meatballs: Mix rice into meat, adding mint leaves and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in raw egg. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

3 Add meatballs to soup, let simmer, add peas: Gently add the meatballs to the simmering soup, one at a time. Cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour.

Add the peas towards the end of the 1/2 hour. Add a few pinches of oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne, to taste.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

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Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread

Simple and gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread, or Pão de Queijo, made with tapioca flour, milk, eggs, olive oil, and cheese.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Enough batter for 16 – 20 mini muffin sized cheese breads

Our tour of Brazil continues. After posting the moqueca recipe, several of you asked if I had a recipe for Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread, sort of like a chewy cheese puff made with tapioca flour.

As a matter of fact, I do! My friend Bill gave me this recipe years ago, a favorite from his Brazilian wife Silvia.

I’ve made it several times, each time with different cheeses. Talk about addictive! I’ve cut Bill’s original recipe down to just a third, because if I actually made a full batch (48) I could conceivably eat them all.

There are several ways to make Pão de Queijo. One method includes cooked potatoes. One method is sort of like a pâte a choux in which you cook the dough first.

The quickest, easiest, short-cut method is what I describe here (and the only way some of my Brazilian friends make it). You put the ingredients in a blender. Pour them out into a mini-muffin tin, and bake.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make a big batch of batter and just store it in the refrigerator (for up to a week), pouring out just as many mini-muffins as you want to eat. You can even cook them in a toaster oven.

The only weird ingredient is tapioca flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes it, and you can find it at Whole Foods. Tapioca flour is gluten-free, so this cheese bread is great for gluten-free eaters.

Tapioca Flour

$11.94 on Amazon Buy

How to make Brazilian Cheese Bread (video)

The recipe as presented is fairly basic. Feel free to dress it up a bit with herbs or spices of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg*
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference, we get good results with feta cheese (no need to grate), or fresh farmer’s cheese (if using fresh farmer’s cheese, you may want to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)

*It helps when baking with eggs to start with eggs at room temperature. If you don’t plan ahead (that would be me, usually) you can put the egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to gently take off the chill of the fridge.

Special equipment:

  • One 24-well or or two 12-well mini muffin tins. Mini muffin tins are about half the size of a regular muffin pan. The muffin openings are about 1-inch deep, and 1 3/4 inch wide at the top.

Method

1 Pre-heat oven, prepare mini-muffin tin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread a small amount olive oil around the insides of each well of a mini-muffin tin.

2 Blend ingredients: Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.

3 Pour into mini-muffin tin: Pour batter into prepared mini-muffin tin, not quite to the top; leave about 1/8 inch from the top.

4 Bake: Bake at 400°F in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and nicely browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.

Eat while warm or save to reheat later.

Note that Brazilian cheese bread is very chewy, a lot like Japanese mochi.

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Tuna Patties

Quick, easy, delicious tuna patties! Best thing you can make with canned tuna. Kid-friendly, Budget-friendly.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 patties

Tuna patties!

All you have to do is say these two words and I’m flooded with childhood memories. We kids are only a few feet high, have tiny feet, scabbed knees, and boundless energy.

In between chasing each other around the dining room table we are squealing to our mother, “We’re having tuna patties!”

We were enthusiastic about food, to say the least. And always hungry.

Back then, this was one of my mother’s go-to dishes. No idea what her recipe was, and it’s been so long since she’s made them, it’s long forgotten.

This recipe is as close as I can come to what I remember, probably with a few added flourishes.

What I love about the recipe is that I almost always have the necessary ingredients in the pantry and fridge, the patties are incredibly easy and quick to make, and they’re budget friendly too. Oh yes, and they taste great! (At least to us. Big fans of canned tuna here.)

How to make tuna patties

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna (5 to 6 ounce cans)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, green onions, or shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A couple squirts of Crystal hot sauce or tabasco
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna (5 to 6 ounce cans)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, green onions, or shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A couple squirts of Crystal hot sauce or tabasco
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Method

1 Drain tuna: Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. If you are using tuna packed in water, reserve a tablespoon of the tuna water, and add a teaspoon of olive oil to the tuna mixture in the next step.

2 Mix tuna with mustard, bread, zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, chives, hot sauce, salt, pepper, egg: In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, chives, and hot sauce. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the mixture before adding the egg to see if it needs more seasoning to your taste. Mix in the egg.

3 Form into patties, chill: Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place onto a wax paper lined tray and chill for an hour. (You can skip the chilling if you want, chilling just helps the patties stay together when you cook them.)

4 Sauté in skillet: Heat the olive oil and a little butter (for taste) in a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve with wedges of lemon. You can also serve with tartar sauce on slider buns for a tuna burger.

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Giblet Gravy

Classic gravy made with the giblets (neck, liver, heart, gizzard) from a turkey or chicken.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 3 cups of gravy

Giblet gravy, a gravy made with the choicest pieces of the bird, is the queen of gravies. So full of wonderful flavor from the giblets and drippings.

What are giblets?

Giblets are comprised of the heart, gizzard, liver, and neck of the chicken or turkey. They are often found in a small bundle inside the cavity of the whole bird.

You can make gravy from the giblets of either a turkey or a chicken, though I think it’s more usual with a roast turkey. The giblets are bigger, and there’s more meat to put in the gravy.

How to make giblet gravy

To make the gravy, you first make a stock from the giblets, which cooks on the stovetop while you are cooking your turkey.

When the bird has finished roasting, you combine the stock, along with chopped up cooked giblets, with the roasting pan drippings to make the gravy.

You can also make giblet gravy with a few hard boiled eggs and 3 tablespoons of chopped pimentos thrown in.

Do you make giblet gravy? If you do, what are your variations? Please let us know in the comments.

Check out our video on how to make giblet gravy!

We’ve included the liver in our giblet gravy, which gives it a richer flavor. If you simply cannot abide with even a hint of the taste of liver, you can leave it out.

Giblet gravy is usually served “chunky”, if you want, you can purée it for a smoother gravy.

One traditional option is the addition of chopped hard boiled eggs to the gravy. If you want to try that, chop up 3 hard boiled eggs finely, and add them to the gravy in step 6.

Ingredients

  • Giblets (neck, gizzard, heart, liver) from a turkey (or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cups water
  • Drippings from the turkey or chicken
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour (or 2-3 Tbsp of cornstarch, dissolved first into 1/4 cup of water)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mustard (yellow or Dijon)

Turkeys and chickens are usually sold with the giblets wrapped in waxed paper or plastic, located inside of the cavity. On a turkey, some of the giblets may be found in the neck cavity as well.

Method

1 Brown the giblets in butter: Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan on medium-high heat. When hot, add the giblets to the pan. Brown them on all sides.

2 Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic: Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

3 Add bay leaf, thyme, water, bring to simmer: Add the bay leaf, thyme and water. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, partially cover so that some steam escapes, and cook on a low simmer for several hours, while the turkey (or chicken) is cooking.

4 Strain the stock, mince the giblet meat: Once the bird is close to being done, strain the giblets and stock through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Set aside the stock. Remove the giblets from the sieve. Finely mince the giblet meat. If you want, you can pull some of the meat off of the neck and mince that as well.

5 Add flour or cornstarch to roast drippings: Once the bird is done, move it to a cutting board to let it rest. Pour off the excess fat (all but a tablespoon or two) from the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over two burners of the stovetop set over medium heat.

Add the flour (or cornstarch slurry) and whisk it into the drippings. Stir in the minced giblets. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring while cooking.

6 Add stock and minced giblets: Add the strained giblet stock to the pan drippings and giblets and mix well to combine. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the gravy thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of mustard (to taste). Check for salt and add more salt to taste if needed. Serve it as-is, or purée the gravy in a blender for a smoother texture.

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Flourless Lemon Almond Cake

A gluten-free, light and airy lemon cake make with almond flour, eggs, and sugar. Perfect for a holiday dessert!

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Holiday meals can be so heavy, it’s refreshing to have a dessert that is relatively light, like this flourless lemon almond cake. This is a classic cake recipe, if I’m not mistaken, from southern Spain.

The basic ingredients are simply almond flour (finely ground blanched almonds), eggs, sugar, and lemon zest. No butter or wheat flour. The cake behaves a bit like a soufflé in that it gets most of its rise from the eggs in the batter, and then gently falls as it settles.

I’ve included a bit of baking powder to help the cake maintain a bit more structure as it cools. The result is a light and tender crumb, softly sweet and lemony. You could easily twirl some raspberry sauce around it, or add a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!

How to make flourless lemon almond cake (video)

It helps to separate the eggs first, while they are cold, and then let them sit to come to room temperature as you prep the other ingredients.  Eggs are easier to separate when cold, and they perform better as leavening agents when at room temperature.

When whipping egg whites, make sure your equipment is perfectly clean. Any fat (or even bits of egg yolk in the whites) can keep the egg whites from properly whipping up.

If almond flour is not available at your market, you can grind up blanched, slivered almonds in a food processor until very finely ground.  I would start with a little more than 1 1/3 cups. Our local Whole Foods carries a Bob’s Red Mill brand of finely ground blanched almond flour which is what we used for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs (large), separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature (see how to separate eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest, packed
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar, divided 1/4 cup (50 g) and 1/4 cup (50 g)
  • 1 1/2 cup lightly scooped (144 g) finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure your baking powder is fresh!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Special equipment:

  • 8 or 9-inch springform pan

Method

1 Preheat oven, prepare pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175 °C).  Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 8 or 9-inch springform pan, and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray.

2 Beat egg yolks, lemon zest, 1/4 cup sugar: In a large bowl, beat together with a wooden spoon the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

3 Whisk almond flour, baking powder, cardamom, beat into egg yolk mixture: In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground cardamom, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until well combined. The mixture should resemble a thick paste.

4 Whip egg whites to soft peaks: With an electric mixer with a very clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed.

When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of vinegar (both the salt and the vinegar will help the beaten egg whites maintain better structure, as will the sugar in the next step).

As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the egg whites. Beat until soft peaks form.

5 Fold beaten egg whites into almond mixture: Stir a third to a half of the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture to loosen it and make it lighter.

Then gently fold the remaining whipped egg whites into the batter, a large scoopful at a time.

6 Scoop batter into pan, bake: Gently scoop the batter into the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake at 350°F (175 °C) for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan.

Release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake (on parchment) to a cake serving plate. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.

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