Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hot Chocolate Yum!

The recipes from smitten kitchen are typically high quality and well thought out. This recipe is no different. It makes a good cup of hot chocolate. The mix is so good that I made some extra to take with me for a ski trip. :)

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch
3 ounces (85 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder, any kind you like
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a tiny segment of fresh vanilla bean
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until powdery. Don’t have a food processor? Chop or grate the chocolate until it is as fine as you can get it, and stir it into the remaining ingredients. Mixture keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

To use: Heat one cup of milk (coconut, almond or others would work here too) in a saucepan over medium heat until steamy. Add 3 tablespoons hot cocoa mix. Whisk over heat for another minute or two, until it begins to simmer and mix is completely dissolved. Pour into mug, top with mini-marshmallows or a dollop of whipped cream and hide somewhere nobody will make you share or give it to someone you love.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pikes Peak Roast

I recently bought a 1/2 cow with some friends and one of the cuts was a Pikes Peak Roast. I had no idea what that is, so I did a little searching and found the following recipe. I think it's a winner. My wife loved the gravy! And it's gluten free. :) I was surprised that there are no herbs included so I added a nice bunch of fresh thyme and a bay leaf for the cooking phase and removed the thyme when blending the sauce into the gravy. 

Also, I would hold off on adding the extra water until you have blended the gravy. That way you can add water as you like to get the desired thickness.

Pikes Peak Roast (Heel of Round)

Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 2 1/2 – 3 h
Total time: 3- 3 1/2 h
Yield: 6


3 lbs 8 oz pikes peak roast (Heel of Round)
2 Tablespoons oil
1 onion, large, chopped
3 carrots, big, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups red wine
3 cups water, divided (2-1)
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper


Preheat your oven to 325 F. 

Wash the roast and pat it dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a bigger dutch oven on medium-high heat, add the oil, and brown the roast from all sides really well. Remove roast from the pot and add the onions and carrots and cook until well done and browned.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Pour the red wine into the pot. Stir well to loosen all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of water and the tomatoes.

Return the roast to the pot and place the pot with closed lid into the oven. Cook for about 3 hours or until the roast is very tender.

Remove pot from the oven and the roast from the pot. Add one cup of water and mix the sauce with a stick blender until well pureed. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the roast against the grain into 3/4 inch slices. Return the slices to the pot and cover with the sauce.

Serve with some egg noodles and green salad.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie

I randomly came across this recipe and it sounded really yummy. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I think the problem was that I did not use Soy milk which is much sweeter than goat's milk so the smoothie did not have enough sweetness to balance the strong peanut butter taste. Oh well. Don't substitute. :)

1 serving:

1/2 cup of Soy Milk
2 tablespoons Peanut Butter
1 whole Banana
1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats

Mustard and White Wine Braised Chicken

Another winner recipe from Saveur. I really like the legs, but I know some people prefer the breast meat and I think this recipe would work fine with bone-in, skin-on breasts.


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. chicken thighs and drumsticks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup whole grain mustard
1 tbsp. finely chopped thyme
2 tbsp. roughly chopped tarragon, for garnish


1. Heat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; working in batches, cook chicken, flipping once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside. Add shallots and garlic to pan, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3-5 minutes. Add wine, stock, mustard, and thyme; bring to a boil. Return chicken to the pan with any juices, cover with a lid, and transfer to the oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°.

2. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and keep warm. Return saucepan to stove; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 8­-10 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken; garnish with tarragon.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Perfect Steak with Roast Pepper Salsa

There are lots and lots and I mean lots of videos about cooking great steak. And over time I noticed some themes. How to use salt, how to get a good sear, etc. Lately I have noticed that people are cooking steaks slower at first in the oven, letting them rest, and then searing them at the end on high heat. This produces a very evenly cooked steak all the way through with a thin seared "crust" around the edge. I must say, this method is pretty darn good. 

4 steaks
1 T vegetable oil
1 T olive oil
1 lb. sweet mini bell peppers
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 T capers, chopped
1-1/2 t adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo
White wine
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Roast peppers in the oven until they start to bubble and char.

Place the peppers in a ziplock bag or airtight container to let them steam for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, reduce the temperature of the oven to 275. 

Drizzle vegetable oil over the steaks. Cook steaks on a rack over a roasting pan for approx 45-60 minutes until 125 degrees.

While the steaks are cooking, peel the skins from the peppers and discard tops, seeds and skins. Sometimes cold water helps the peeling process. Don’t worry if every bit doesn’t peel.

Roughly chop the flesh of the peppers and set aside.

In a small pan, heat olive oil on medium. Cook the tomatoes until they start to break down. Add the peppers and capers and adobo. Mix well and simmer partially covered until it starts to thicken.

Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of white wine and let simmer again for another 5 mins or so.

Once the steaks are done, let them rest up to 10-15 mins while heating a cast iron pan on high heat.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper and sear them for 1 minute per side including the edge. 

Serve the steaks immediately topped with salsa. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mr. B's Gumbo Ya Ya

This recipe comes from Saveur, and as usual, I think it is excellent. Because I'm not a big fan of butter both from a taste perspective and health perspective, I have experimented with making the roux with oil. I used olive oil and gluten free flour according to the proportions (1 c oil to 1-3/4 c flour) listed in the roux article.


1 (3 ½-lb.) whole chicken
2 medium onions (1 quartered, 1 finely chopped)
3 stalks celery (2 halved, 1 finely chopped)
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 medium carrots, halved
2 sprigs thyme
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ cups flour
1 each red and green bell pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
1 tbsp. Creole seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
Cooked white rice


1. Bring chicken, quartered onion, halved celery, peppercorns, 2 bay, carrots, thyme sprigs, and 10 cups water to a boil in an 8-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until chicken is cooked through, 35-40 minutes. Remove chicken; cool, then shred meat. Strain stock; discard solids and set aside.

2. Heat butter in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring, to make a dark roux, 18-20 minutes. Add remaining chopped onion, celery, and bay, plus bell peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add andouille, Creole seasoning, cayenne, dried thyme, and chile flakes; cook until fat begins to render from sausage, 3-4 minutes. Stir in 5 ½ cups of reserved stock (chill remainder for another use); bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring, until thickened, 8-10 minutes. Add chicken; cook until hot, 2 minutes more. Serve with white rice.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Chicken-Chile Soup

This recipe is from Justin Chapple via Food and Wine. 

Time to break out the frozen turkey broth from Thanksgiving! I also had to use pasilla chiles and they were great. They were spicy and added a great depth of flavor to the soup. 

I cooked the chiles, onion, and garlic by themselves for a bit and let them brown nicely. The chiles especially got good and charred before adding the coriander.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 poblano or pasilla chiles—stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
Kosher salt
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (1 1/4 pounds)
Two 15-ounce cans hominy, rinsed and drained

Chopped cilantro, sliced radishes and lime wedges, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chiles, onion, garlic, coriander and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the chiles are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Season the soup with salt. Ladle into shallow bowls, garnish with cilantro, sliced radishes and lime wedges and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.