Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

This is a simple but delicious soup and can be made in an hour!  The combination of the onions, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and a pinch of cayenne make it. And, a nice squeeze of lemon adds a little acid and freshness.

Yield 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch ground cayenne
1 ½ quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup red lentils
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Cilantro, chopped – optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, over medium high melt butter.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes
  2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute
  3. Add tomato paste, cumin, pepper, cayenne, combine and allow to bloom for 2 minutes
  4. Add stock, carrot, and lentils.  Bring up to a simmer and then reduce to low.  Cook partially covered for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender
  5. Using an immersion blender partially puree, but the soup should be somewhat chunky
  6. Serve soup with a squeeze of lemon juice
  7. Optional cilantro

Zucchini Bread

We are now in the middle of zucchini season. You will love this zucchini bread!!!

Ingredients:
1 ½ pounds zucchini, shredded
1 ¼ cups packed (8 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  2. Using the large holes of a box grater to shred the zucchini then place in the center of a dish towel, gathering the ends together and twist tightly to drain as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid (you should have ½ to 2/3 cup liquid).
  3. Whisk brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in medium bowl. Fold in the zucchini.
  4. Whisk all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together in large bowl. Fold in zucchini mixture until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts, if using. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  5. Bake until top bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 65 to 75 minutes. Let bread cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Serve.

Tomatillo Salsa

This recipe is very simple and delicious and pairs very well with grilled meats, fish or simply as a dip for tortilla chips!  I’ve experimented with using the tomatillos raw, cooked in chicken stock and fire roasted; we love fire roasted the best.  Roasting the tomatillo highlighted the green, citrusy notes of the fruit.  I should note, this is one recipe you truly shouldn’t substitute canned tomatillos for fresh as it doesn’t work.  You should be able to find the tomatillos in most grocery stores, they are like a small green tomato in a green paper-like husk.  The outer husk should be dry, the tomatillo itself should be bright green, with a fresh, fruity smell.

Yield:  Approximately 2 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb fresh tomatillos (about 8 depending on size), husked and washed
  • ½ Vidalia onion, coarse chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno chili, seeds and ribs removed (you can add the seeds for more heat)
  • 2 small-medium cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • Olive oil for roasting the above ingredients
  • ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice of one lime
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. If you’re going to roast your ingredients on a grill, we recommend using a non-stick grill grid so the garlic and smaller ingredients don’t fall through the grate.  If you don’t have a grill or it’s not convenient, simply use your broiler with the oven rack about 5 inches from the broiling element.  Preheat.

  2. Toss the tomatillos, onion, jalapeno and garlic with the olive oil and place on foil-lined baking sheet or grill grid.  Broil/Grill until well charred, turning to periodically to char all sides, approximately 10 minutes.

  3. Once fully charred, remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle.  Add charred ingredients along with remaining ingredients to food processor and process until coarsely chopped, approximately 7 to 10 pulses.  For additional heat, add reserved jalapeno seeds (minced).

Note:  Best served at room temperature.  This salsa can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  If the salsa loses its bright notes after being refrigerated, simply season with a pinch of salt and additional lime juice; this will make it pop!

Horseradish Cream Sauce

This sauce is the perfect complement for prime rib or any beef.    This recipe is very simple to prepare but it must be made at least 2 hours in advance so the flavors can marry in the refrigerator.  The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a week, depending on the freshness of your ingredients.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish  (see recipe on website)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste).

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients.  Stir until well mixed.  Taste to ensure you have the right balance of flavors, adjusting as you like.
  2. Refrigerate for at least two hours to let the flavors marry.
  3. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving, allowing it to come to room temperature.

Prime Rib Roast

“Low and Slow” is key to the perfect Prime Rib roast.  First start by salting the roast and letting it dry age uncovered in the refrigerator for at least a full 24 hours or up to 4 days.  The longer the roast can dry age this way the better.  The salt enhances the beefy flavor while dissolving some of the proteins, yielding a buttery-tender roast.  We like to serve this roast with our horseradish cream sauce (see website for recipe).

Yield:  6 to 8 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (7 lb.) Prime rib roast, bone in with roast cut from the bones and reserved
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (enough to coat the skillet for searing)
  • Butchers twine
  • Flake salt to finish

Directions:

  1. If the butcher has not already cut the bones from the roast, use a sharp knife and run it down the length of the bones, following the contours as closely as possible until the meat is separated. 
  2. Using a sharp knife cut a one inch crosshatch pattern in the fat cap of the roast.  Rub the Kosher over the entire roast and into the slits.  Loosely place the meat back on the bones, transferring to a large plate or a rimmed backing sheet with a rack and placing into refrigerator uncovered for at least 1 day or up to 4 days.
  3. Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour prior to preparing for the oven, allowing the meat to come to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 170° (This is typically the lowest setting for most ovens)
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until just smoking.  Sear sides and top of roast but not the portion that will rest on the bones as you want to flavor from the bones to come through to the meat.  Place the meat back on the ribs/bones and let cool, approximately 10 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, tie the meat to the bones between the ribs. Transfer roast, fat side up, to a wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and season with fresh ground pepper. 
  6. Place roast in oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 120°, approximately 3 to 4 hours.
  7. Turn oven off; leaving the roast in the oven with the door closed until the internal temperature reaches desired doneness: rare 125°; medium-rare 135°; medium 145°, approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Remove from oven (leaving on the rack) and tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for a good hour.
  9. Prior to serving, turn broiler to high.  Remove foil from roast and form a ball with the foil and place under the bones to elevate the fat cap.  Place approximately 8 inches from the broiler element and broil until top of roast is well browned and crisp, approximately 5 minutes.
  10. Transfer to carving board; cut twine and remove roast from ribs.  Slice meat into ¾ inch thick slices.  Season with flake salt to taste, and serve. 

Sous Vide Cooking

We have recently started cooking Sous Vide and love it!! Cooking Sous Vide has many benefits. By cooking food in a sealed bag in water at lower temperatures for longer, you can expect enhanced textures, flavors and tenderness, not to mention a range of other health and lifestyle benefits. With extremely precise temperature control, the same dish can be prepared time and time again achieving the same perfect results.  Below are the products we like and they are all available on Amazon, just click the produce image to purchase

Red Onion Jam and Gorgonzola Tartlets

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

Now this is very worth making, as there are multiple uses for red onion jam.  It is great with beef or chicken or just as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 chopped Red Onions, about 2 cups
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • ½ Cup of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Packages Mini Phyllo Shells, we use Athens brand
  • 5 Tablespoons Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sauté Onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 20 minutes
  2. Add garlic and allow to bloom for about a minute
  3. Stir in the next 6 ingredients, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes (or until most of the liquid has evaporated)
  4. Allow to cool
  5. Preheat oven to 350°
  6. Place phyllo shells on a cookie sheet, spoon ½ teaspoon of Gorgonzola into each and top with 1 teaspoon of jam
  7. Bake 10 minutes

Old Settler’s Baked Beans aka Cowboy Baked Beans

These baked beans are always a crowd pleaser. I almost always double or triple the recipe for a crowd and it’s never a problem. You can also use different meat, depending on what’s local and available. One time I made them for friends in New Orleans and used Tasso ham which gave the beans a real kick! Remember, most recipes are just a guide to success!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Decide on the vessel you plan to cook your beans in and set aside.  I prefer to use an oven safe heavy Dutch Oven or a large Crockpot.
  2. Brown the ground beef.  Once browned, drain off the fat and transfer the browned meat to the pot you are using to cook the beans in.  Repeat above steps with the bacon.
  3. Sauté the onion until translucent in olive oil (okay, a little bacon grease would be good as well) adding a little salt to make the onions sweat then some freshly ground black pepper.  When almost finished (about 4–5 min) move the onion to one side of the pan and add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 min) then combine with the onion.  Transfer the onion and garlic to the pot.
  4. Open and drain and rinse Kidney and Butter beans and add to the pot
  5. Open baked beans and pour off much, but not all, of the sauce and to the pot
  6. In a small bowl combine brown & white sugar, catsup, dried mustard, and molasses. Mix thoroughly and add to the pot
  7. Gently mix together all ingredients in the pot, while incorporating parsley
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, then reduce to 250 degrees for an additional two hours stirring Occasionally

Braised Short Ribs Sous Vide

YIELD:  4 Servings

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

Short ribs are a cut of beef made up of short sections of rib bone, along with meat.  These succulent little ribbies combine characteristics of chuck and rib.  They have rich marbling with deep flavor.  Pre-searing the ribs helps to develop flavor and to prevent overcooking.  We suggest serving with polenta, couscous, or riced cauliflower.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 beef rib cut into four portions
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1.5 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1.5 oz veal demi-glace
  • Pinch of chili flakes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set the Sous Vide to 167 degrees
  2. Season the ribs with salt and pepper on all sides
  3. Heat skillet to medium high, allow the pan to get hot and sear ribs on all sides ( 2 minutes on each side)
  4. Remove ribs and set aside
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, celery, and carrot to the pan ( you may need to add a little additional oil) and cook until tender
  6. Add garlic and tomato paste and incorporate
  7. Add wine to deglaze
  8. Add demi-glace, and chili flakes
  9. Reduce heat to low and simmer to reduce to a thick glaze
  10. Set aside to cool
  11. Once the ribs and glaze have cooled cover each rib with the glaze
  12. Place in cooking bag and vacuum seal
  13. Add sealed bag to heated water and ensure completely submerged.  Cook for 24 hours ( for long cook times like this it is important to cover pot to reduce evaporation)

Enjoy!  

Prepared Horseradish & Horseradish Sauce

Have you ever made your own prepared horseradish?  It’s truly quite simple and very good.  Of course, prepared horseradish is not the same as horseradish sauce but it is a key ingredient.

Horseradish is a perennial plant of the family Brassicaceae.  It is a root vegetable used as a spice and prepared as a condiment.  The plant is believed to be native to Southeastern Europe and Western Asia and is commonly used worldwide.  The plant is very easy to grow.  Many Kosher markets carry the root in their produce department, especially around Passover as this is part of the Seder plate.  Simple take a piece of the root and plant in full sun a few inches below the soil.  Do this and you’ll have Horseradish for years to come!