Saturday, February 18, 2017

Braised Chuck Pot Roast

I first made this in college, when I heard that all you had to do was rub a chuck roast with the contents of a Lipton dry onion soup mix packet and pop it in the oven for a. The key words that applied were "easy, "cheap," and "tasty."

The more I made it, the more I embellished the recipe: Browned the meat, added veggies, added spices and thickened the gravy. The more I learned about food and cooking, the more fun turned into interesting science.

And over all those years—about 50 now—this is the first time I'm writing down the recipe. Can you believe that?

  • CHUCK ROAST, 3-4 pounds
  • OLIVE OIL, 3+ tablespoons
  • CARROTS, 3-4 medium, peeled, cut into 2" pieces
  • ONIONS, 2 medium, wedged
  • RED POTATOES, 5 small, halved
  • ROSEMARY, ½ tablespoon, crushed
  • THYME, ½ tablespoon, crushed
  • BEEF BROTH, 14.5-ounce can, or equivalents 
  • FLOUR, 2 tablespoons
  • COLD WATER, ¼ cup

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
  2. Lightly sear the onions in olive oil in a Dutch oven and set aside. Repeat with the carrots and potatoes separately.
  3. Brown the roast on all sides, then rub the onion soup mix into the top. Add the vegetables into the Dutch oven, and sprinkle in the rosemary and thyme. Pour the beef broth over everything.
  4. Cover tightly. Cook on the middle rack for two hours, then remove the carrots and potatoes into separate serving dishes.
  5. Bump up the heat to 300°F and cook for 1½ to 2 hours longer, until the meat practically falls apart. Cut the roast into chunks and arrange in a flat casserole.
  6. Make a flour slurry and thicken the remaining liquid in the Dutch oven. Pour over roast chunks. Serve with the carrots and potatoes. 

That's it.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Here’s a Chinese restaurant favorite that was a big hit on the kitchen table the first time I made it.

You’re going to have leftover sweet condensed milk, but you can use it to cream your morning coffee, or spread it on Saloon Pilot crackers (my late father-in-law's favorite).

  • WATER, 1 cup
  • WHITE SUGAR, 2/3 cup
  • WALNUTS, ½ cup
  • MOCHIKO, ½ cup
  • MAYONNAISE, ¼ cup
  • LARGE SHRIMP, 1 pound
  • HONEY, 2 tablespoons
  • SWEET CONDENSED MILK, 1 tablespoons
  • VEGETABLE OIL, 1 cup (for frying)

  1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and add walnuts
  2. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and place walnuts on a cookie sheet to dry.
  3. Whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy, then stir in the mochiko to a pasty consistency.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Dip the shrimp into the mochiko batter, then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels
  6. In a medium serving bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweet condensed milk. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top and serve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Slow-Cooker Beer Beef

Beer gives this moist chuck roast a special flavor, especially when combined by the herbs, spices, and tangy vinegar imparted by Italian dressing.

If you end up with a lot of sauce liquid when the beef is done, do what I did. I reduced it by about half, then thickened it a bit with a flour slurry, using about a tablespoon of all purpose flour whisked in a quarter-cup of tap water until smooth.

  • CHUCK ROAST, 1, three-pounds
  • SALT, ½ teaspoon
  • BLACK PEPPER, ¼ teaspoon
  • GARLIC, 4 cloves
  • RED ONION, 1, sliced
  • BEER, 1 cup (drink the remainder of the bottle as a reward)

  1. Place the chuck roast into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. Place the garlic cloves on top of the roast. Add the red onion, then pour over the Italian dressing and beer. Place the bay leaves on top.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-10. Don’t open the lid during the cooking time. 
  3. Discard the bay leaves and cut the meat into large chunks.
  4. Smash the garlic with the back of a fork and stir the garlic into juices.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Crab and Artichoke Dip

You need to know that this recipe makes a helluva lot of rich cheesy dip. I thought I'd make it as a dinner entree and it turned out great. 

But three of us could only handle about a fourth of what I made. The original recipe called for kosher salt to taste, but the final dish turned out a bit salty. So I eliminated salt from the list of ingredients.

It makes a great morning omelet, too.

  • CREAM CHEESE, 8 ounces, softened
  • MAYONNAISE, 1 cup
  • MONTEREY JACK CHEESE, 1 cup + 1/2 cup
  • PARMESAN CHEESE, 1/2 cup finely shredded
  • ARTICHOKE HEARTS, one 14-ounce can, chopped finely 
  • GARLIC, 2 cloves, minced
  • LUMP CRAB MEAT, 12 ounces
  • GREEN ONIONS, 2 sliced
  • BLACK PEPPER, freshly ground, to taste
  • PARSLEY, 2 tablespoons, chopped 
  • BAGUETTE, 1, sliced and toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1 cup Monterey Jack, Parmesan, artichokes, garlic, crab meat, green onions and worcestershire. Season with ground pepper.
  3. Transfer the dip to a 10” cast iron skillet or a flat casserole and sprinkle the remaining Jack cheese on top. Bake until warmed through and bubbly, about 17-20 minutes, until the top is nicely toasted.
  4. Top with parsley. Serve warm with toasted baguette slices (garlic bread).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

BBQ Kalua Pork Sandwich

Take the barbecue pulled pork sandwich concept, throw in a little Hawaii flavor flair, and you end up with an amazing sandwich that you just can't stop eating.

You should have all the ingredients on hand, except maybe for the kalua (pit-smoked) pork, which is readily available in Hawaii supermarkets or online.

And, there's a minimum of prep and mixing involved, unless you have a special cole slaw recipe and make an incredible potato salad. I'll leave those up to you.

You'll notice there are no amounts given in the ingredient list. Just use what you have, as much or as little as it takes to make enough sandwiches to feed your horde. A carton or package of kalua pork makes 3-4 sandwiches.

  • SESAME SEED HAMBURGER BUNS, 1 or more packages
  • BUTTER, quite a bit, softened
  • BARBECUE SAUCE, store-bought or homemade.
  • SWEET ONION SLABS, 3-4" diameter, ¼" thick, one per sandwich
  • COLE SLAW, store-bought, KFC, or homemade

  1. Break up the kalua pork in a pan, squirt in a more-than-adequate amount of your favorite barbecue sauce. Mix and heat through.
  2. Butter the insides of the buns and pan toast them until golden brown. Remove them to your cutting board.
  3. Cover the bottom of a bun with an onion slab.
  4. Pile the BBQ kalua pork high on onion.
  5. Top with a ridiculous amount of cole slaw and the bun's top half. Try to keep the sandwich from toppling over.
  6. Serve with potato salad and a dill pickle spear (or 2, or 3), and plenty of napkins. Goes great with beer or an ice-cold Coca-Cola®.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Taco Cake

I found another winning recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. If you love Mexican food—tacos in particular, I think you'll like this variation on regular tortilla tacos.

The only thing is that it's quite time-consuming. There's a lot of chopping and slicing to get the mise-en-place right.

I also spent quite a bit of time stacking the layers, trying to get the ingredients distributed evenly, all the way out to the edges. Didn't do too great a job; consequently, my "cake" bulged in the middle and sloped down the sides.

Yet, I will say it was delicious. I mean, what the heck, it was a giant taco and I love tacos!

  • GROUND BEEF, 1-1/2 pounds
  • TACO SEASONING MIX, 1 package 
  • BEEF STOCK, 2/3 cup
  • CORN NIBLETS, 1/2 cup
  • CHERRY TOMATOES, 1 cup, diced
  • BLACK OLIVES, 1 can, chopped
  • GREEN ONIONS, 1/2 cup, finely sliced 
  • CHEDDAR CHEESE, 1 cup, shredded

  1. Brown the ground beef, drain fat.
  2. Add taco seasoning and beef stock. Cook down 5-10 minutes.
  3. Spoon a couple of ladles of the beef mix onto a tortilla.
  4. Sprinkle on about 1/4 of the corn, tomatoes, olives, green onions and cheese.
  5. Repeat 3 more times.
  6. Top with the final tortilla and sprinkle on the remaining beef mixture and cheese.
  7. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with sour cream, and salsa or pico de gallo.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Punahou Portuguese Bean Soup

Every year during the annual Punahou School Carnival weekend, my son brings home a container of Portuguese bean soup from the carnival. They’re pretty famous, you know—the carnival and the bean soup.

I got to hankering for some bean soup a short while back, and looked up the recipe. It had one ingredient I’ve never put in my Portuguese bean soup before: Potatoes. So anyway, I thought I’d give it a try, tweaking it a tiny bit to my tastebuds’ expectations. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my new veggie chopper that I bought from a Facebook ad.

You know what? I like it! The soup and the chopper. Therefore, it’s the recipe I’ll be using from now-on-in, and I’ve thrown my old recipe away.

Just so you know, this recipe makes a lot of soup—at least a gallon, maybe more.

  • HAM BONE/HOCKS, 1-2 pounds
  • KIDNEY BEANS, two 15-ounce cans
  • POTATOES, 2 large, cubed
  • CARROTS, 3 large, diced
  • ONION, 1 medium, chopped
  • CRUSHED TOMATOES, one 16-ounce can
  • TOMATO SAUCE, one 16-ounce can
  • PORTUGUESE/LINGUISA SAUSAGE, at least 1 pound sliced in circles
  • ELBOW MACARONI, 1 cup uncooked
  • GARLIC, 2 cloves
  • SUGAR, 1 teaspoon
  • SALT, 1 teaspoon
  • PEPPER, 1/2 teaspoon
  • CABBAGE, 1 medium head, cubed

  1. Boil ham hocks or ham bone in 2 quarts of water, about an hour, until tender (save the stock). Cut meat from the bones, chop up.
  2. Bring ham stock back to a boil; chopped meat and all the remaining ingredients except the cabbage.
  3. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.
  4. If too thick, add a little water.
  5. Add the cabbage, cook another half-hour until tender.
  6. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed.