Monday, March 28, 2011

Tarragon Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce

This sauce is light, fluffy and creamy in texture and still packs quite a punch with it's flavor. It's super easy to prepare and will impress your guests. The cream is gluten free and vegetarian. It can be served over any cooked potatoes, vegetables, fish or meat. I want to try it on fried oysters next!

1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
spoonful White Balsamic Vinegar or Lemon Juice
2 spoonfuls (or to taste) Tarragon Dijon Mustard

Use an immersion or hand blender to whip the cream just until soft peaks form. Don't over whip the cream or you'll make butter. As soon as the cream forms soft mounds, it's done.

Add the vinegar.

Add the mustard.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rice and Veggie Balls

I used a combination of left over rice and vegetables from the night before to make these little vegetarian rice balls for lunch. The rice was cooked in apple juice, chicken stock and thyme, but you can use any cooked white rice. You can also use any vegetables that you want, I used these because they were in the fridge.

Oil for frying
Fresh Thyme
Rice - cooked
1 Egg - beaten
1/8 cup Flour
Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Heat the oil over medium high heat.

The onion, garlic, parsnips and apple were cooked in a little olive oil just until the onion became clear. They were left over from another meal. The other veggies were used raw.

Dice all of the vegetables into very small pieces.

Stir the vegetables, herb and rice together.

Mix in one egg and just enough flour to bind the mixture.

Pinch some of the mixture out of the bowl and form it into a ball about the size of a racquetball or golf ball.

Spread the bread crumbs on a plate.

Lightly roll the rice ball in the bread crumbs. Then set it aside, on a plate.

After you have formed one ball, rolled it and set it aside, do another. Continue this until all of the mixture is rolled and breaded.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

Black Sheep - Minneapolis
600 Washington Ave N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
612.342.COAL (2625)

Black Sheep - St Paul
512 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
651.22.SHEEP (74337)

I've eaten at Black Sheep about five times now. It's quickly becoming my favorite pizza in the Twin Cities. The crust is thin with a slight chard taste - a nice chard taste, like good BBQ. Unlike Punch and Pizza Nea the crust at Black Sheep has never been soggy. It's always light and very crispy, probably from the coal burning oven and maybe a little love.

The menu is't huge, but it's ample. They have four or five salads but I've only had one, the Harvest Market Salad. It's details change from time to time but arugula, roasted seasonal veggies and a tasty homemade dressing seem to be a constant. It's so good, I have to get it every time that I'm at Black Sheep.

The pizzas are available in two sizes, large and small. A perfect size meal for Tony and myself at Black Sheep is a small pizza, one salad, and two beers. We've tried the large, but it's too much for us. I'd say the small is good for two people, or one with a big appetite and a large will feed four. They're priced between seven and twenty dollars each.

I don't have a favorite pizza at Black Sheep, yet. I like to try a new combination each time. I think it might be the only place that I've had capers on a pizza. I'm going to try the #8, Chicken and Pickled Peppers on my next visit. The last pizza we ate was the #1 (cheese and sauce) with garlic added. Sounds simple, I know. It's the simplicity that allows you to taste the freshness of the ingredients. The sauce is a little sweet and tangy, the cheese light and stringy, the garlic was super thinly sliced and spread all over the pizza, just the way I like it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Texas Chili

Texas chili never has beans in it and many people say it shouldn't include tomatoes either, although mine does. Traditional, Texas chili is made with meat, spices, and stock only and served topped with raw onions. In Texas it's commonly ordered as a 'Big Bowl of Red'. It's red color comes from the chilies and other spices and so does it's heat.

1 T. cooking oil
1 small Onion - diced
1 rib Celery - finely diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper - diced
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper - diced
3-6 cloves Garlic
1 lb Ground Turkey or Beef
1 lb Turkey or Pork Sausage (removed from casing)
1/2 heaping t. Cumin
1 1/2 t. Chili Powder
1/8 t. Cinnamon
1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper
1/4 t. Smoked Paprika
1 T. Dried Oregano
1/2 t. White Pepper
1/2 t. Black Pepper
1/4 t. Salt
2 Chipotle Peppers (seeds removed) - finely chopped
1 T. Adobo Sauce (from chipotle can)
1 15oz can Tomato Sauce*
1/2 28oz can Whole Tomatoes* (broken up)
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
splash Soy Sauce

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, celery and bell peppers to the hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are clear.

Add garlic to the pot and cook for two more minutes. Then remove the vegetables from the pot and set them aside.

Put all of your meat into the pot. Use a spatula or spoon to break the meat up as it cooks.

As the meat starts to cook add your sautéed vegetables back into the pot and mix them into the meat. Continue to break the meat up.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry seasonings together. (On my list of ingredients above, it's from the cumin to the salt.) It makes about two tablespoons of spice mix.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Please read my Chicken Stock post before reading this one. This post is a continuation of that one. Thank you!

EVOO or Butter
1 Leek bottom white and lite green parts only - sliced and cleaned
2 Celery Ribs - cut into small pieces
Garlic - chopped
Ginger - chopped or grated
10 cups Chicken Stock
Fresh Parsley - chopped
2-3 Carrots - sliced
2 cups Chicken (cooked) - shredded or chopped
3/4 - 1 1/2 cups Noodles (depending on how noodlely you like your soup)

Heat the oil in a large pot.

Add your leeks and celery. Cook for two minutes.

Stir the garlic and ginger into the pot. Cook for another two minutes.

Carefully add the stock to the pot.

Bring the stock to a boil.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicken Stock

Tony was sick last week and requested chicken noodle soup. It's nice and light and good for your belly, even if you are feeling well.

I started by making chicken stock. I think that in a soup like chicken noodle where the broth is a star it's important to have a lot of flavor in the stock. When you make your own, you can add lots of vegetables. I use left over bits from previous meals. The same veggies that can be used in vegetable stock can be used in chicken stock. Use any that you have on hand. You also have better control over the amount of salt and fat that go into your own stock. But if you must, you can use a store bought one.

1 Onion - roughly chopped, peel on
3 Carrots - roughly chopped
4 Celery stalks - roughly chopped
6 Garlic cloves - crushed
Ginger trimmings (peel)
Bell Pepper trimmings (tops and bottoms)
Bay Leaf
1/2 Chicken* (1 leg, thigh, wing, breast, back, neck)
Green tops of Leeks
Parsley stems
Rosemary stalks

*The neck, back bone, giblets, and wing tips are great for stock. I don't use the kidneys, liver, or heart. I removed the skin from the chicken before I cooked it to lower the fat that I'd have to skim out later. Always rinse your chicken in the sink under cold water, then pat it dry with a kitchen or paper towel. Remember to clean all surfaces that come in contact with raw chicken!

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a stock pot, or any large pot.

Add the next eight ingredients to the pot and sauté for a few minutes.

Salt and pepper the chicken and place it in your pot.

Fill the pot with water, be sure the chicken is covered.

Bring the water to a boil.

Lower the heat so that the stock will simmer and add the rest of the ingredients. (Your herbs and soft vegetables.)