Mexican Chilaquiles Recipe

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Chilaquiles has been called a simmered casserole. Made of tortilla chips simmered in salsa and topped with crema and cheese, this hearty Mexican breakfast dish is a favorite of many.

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Chilaquiles, Mexican Recipe
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine salsa and chicken broth in skillet.
  2. Submerge tortilla chips in mixture. Add chicken and epazote, if desired.
  3. Simmer over medium-low heat about 5 minutes until tortillas are soft but not mushy.
  4. Serve warm drizzled with Mexican crema and sprinkled with diced onions and crumbled queso fresco. Top with eggs cooked any style, or serve the cooked eggs on the side.
Recipe Notes

Caution: chilaquiles are easy to overcook, watch them closely while they simmer. It’s better to serve them slightly undercooked than overcooked.

You can substitute sour cream thinned with a little cream for the Mexican crema.

Instead of salsa verde, you can use red, tomato-based salsa.

Instead of queso fresco, use shredded Monterey Jack.

Additional toppings: sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, or pico de gallo.

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Meatless Vegetarian Pasta Sauce (Sugo Finto)

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Sugo Finto - "Fake Sauce" - uses celery, carrots and onion in a red wine tomato sauce to produce a rich, hearty flavor for pasta without meat. I learned this recipe at a Tuscan cooking class at Fattoria Corsignano near Siena, Italy. You won't miss the meat, I promise!

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Pasta Sauce, Meatless (Sugo Finto)
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Finely dice carrots, celery and onions.
  2. Sauté in olive oil until the onions are translucent and everything is well cooked and tender. Add a clove of diced garlic here if you like.
  3. Add red wine and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and cook, uncovered, for 30-45 more minutes to allow the flavors to blend, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Serve warm, over al dente pasta, and sprinkle with fresh-grated Parmesan.
Recipe Notes

Fresh basil leaves are a good garnish. Crusty bread and red wine are good partners!

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Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe

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Authentic Tuscan recipe for ribollita, a wonderful bread sou straight from Italy!

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Soup, Tuscan Ribollita Recipe
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, kale or spinach, Savoy cabbage, chard, leek, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and celery.
  2. Saute' the onion in a little extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add the rest of the chopped veggies to the pot and cook about 10 minutes more until softened.
  4. Mash half the beans in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add all the beans and their water to the soup pot and stir well.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer about 2 hours. Add water if necessary to keep the soup from getting too thick.
  7. Cube the stale bread and stir into soup. Add more water, if necessary.
  8. Simmer 10 more minutes. Soup should be hearty and very thick.
Recipe Notes

Ladle into bowls, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty fresh bread on the side.

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Meat Ragù Recipe from Santa Giulia Wine Estate, Montalcino, Italy

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Homemade recipe for hearty meat ragu. I got the recipe straight from the winemaker's mother (via some translations!) in Italy at the Santa Giulia winery near Siena. Ladle over homemade tagliatelle and you're instantly transported to Tuscany!

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Pasta, Meat Ragù Sauce
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mince the onion and saute it in olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat until tender.
  2. Add the ground meat and cook until brown.
  3. Add red wine and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add tomato puree.
  5. Cook 2 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add water or stock as needed during cooking time to keep the sauce liquid from sticking.
  6. Serve over pasta.
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Cold Summer Gazpacho Soup Recipe

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The best summer no-cook dish of all time: gazpacho, a chilled soup of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, lime and tasty seasoning. Serve with a fresh baguette for a perfect lunch on a hot day.

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Soup, Gazpacho Recipe
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put the tomatoes in a bowl.
  2. Peel and seed the cucumber. Finely dice the cucumber, celery, bell pepper and onion. Press or finely dice the garlic. Add everything to the bowl.
  3. Juice the lime. Stir in the lime juice, Sriracha sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Roughly chop the cilantro. Place it in a blender with 1 1/2 cups of the tomato mixture. Pulse until smooth. Add back to the bowl. Mix well. If you like the gazpacho completely smooth, blend all of it.
  5. Chill for at least two hours and up to two days. Serve with a garnish of sour cream, Greek yogurt, fresh chopped scallions or cucumber. Lay a piece of fresh baguette or garlic toast alongside.
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Meatloaf Recipe

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Savory delicious family-style meatloaf, perfect for Sunday dinner or any night of the week. Easy to make and serves 10-12 people, this recipe can be modified to serve more or less. Makes great leftovers and freezes well.

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Meatloaf Recipe
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Tomato-Basil Glaze
Meatloaf
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Tomato-Basil Glaze
Meatloaf
Instructions
Tomato-Basil Glaze
  1. Combine all glaze ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half. Cover and keep warm.
Meatloaf Proper
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions in the oil for 3 to 5 minutes until they begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute or so until the garlic is soft. Do not overcook. It's better to undercook a little so the cooking finishes in the oven. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Place all the meatloaf ingredients except the bacon in a large bowl.
  3. With your hands, combine everything well. Do not overwork; the meat should still look like ground meat, not a paste.
  4. Line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil. Form a loaf with the meat approximately 7x11 inches in the pan, leaving at least an inch between the loaf and the pan on all sides for even cooking.
  5. Brush the loaf with half the glaze.
  6. Place the bacon strips in a single layer to cover the loaf.
  7. Place in a preheated 375 F oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature at the thickest part of the loaf is 160 F. Do not cook longer; overdone meatloaf is very tough.
  8. Remove from oven, cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the rest of the glaze on the side.
Recipe Notes

Substitute 1/2 cup ketchup for the tomato-basil soup in the glaze, then just heat the mixture through instead of reducing it.

Typical sides are mashed potatoes and green beans.

 

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Spicy Cajun New Orleans Shrimp Recipe

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This spicy Cajun shrimp recipe is easy to prepare and quick to cook. Use over rice, grits or even a salad for a fresh seafood treat. Don't like hot food? I give options to make them milder.

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Shrimp, Spicy Cajun New Orleans Recipe
Marinate shrimp in a spicy Cajun seasoning mix then quickly fry it up with onions and garlic for a wonderful New Orleans treat.
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fry bacon until crisp. Alternatively, place strips on rack on baking sheet and bake in preheated 375 F oven for about 30 minutes til crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
  2. Mix shrimp with seasoning in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat skillet on medium heat. Melt butter in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add onions. Saute for about 5 minutes until onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and saute an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add marinated shrimp to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp begin to become firm and slightly pink, about 4 minutes. Add remainder of olive oil and saute for about 1 minute more to infuse the oil with the seasoning. Immediately remove from heat.
  5. Serve in a bowl over rice, grits or salad greens, drizzling the extra, infused oil around sides. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and sliced scallions on top.
Recipe Notes

I use Emeril Lagasse's Essence spice mixture. Use less seasoning for less spicy shrimp. For more spice, add cayenne pepper to taste. For no spice at all, use a seasoning mix without cayenne.

Do not overcook the shrimp. They turn hard and rubbery if overcooked.

Serve over rice or Asiago cheese grits. These shrimp are great over a green salad, too, even chilled.

 

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Utopenci, Czech Pickled Sausage Salad Recipe

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This cold pickled sausage salad makes a good appetizer, potluck contribution or game day snack. This recipe makes a lot, but you can reduce it easily for smaller portions. It's gluten-free and wonderful with beer and dark bread.

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Utopenci, Czech Pickled Sausage Salad
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Cuisine Czech
Prep Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 5 to 7 days
Servings
pounds
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Remove the skin of sausage and cut into ½ - inch slices. Toss with cayenne. Peel and slice onions into thin rings.
  2. Combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and spices in a heavy stockpot to make brine. Mix well and bring to boil. Make sure you have a strong kitchen fan or open window for this step; the vapors from the boiling brine mixture are overwhelming. Boil for one minute; remove from heat and allow to cool to 125° F.
  3. Layer sausage and onions alternately in gallon jar or earthenware crock. Press each layer well. Continue layering until jar or crock is full. Add layer of bay leaves to finish.
  4. Fill jar with brine to cover contents. Seal. Store in cool, dry, dark place for five to seven days. Serve at room temperature with dark bread and cold Czech beer.
Recipe Notes

Can be stored in refrigerator up to one month.

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Hirschgulasch: Bavarian Venison Goulash/Stew Recipe

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Recipe for authentic Bavarian venison stew, or Hirschgulasch. My dear German friend not only gave me her mother's family recipe, but she also gave me a hands-on tutorial on how to do it. Delicious!

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Stew: Hirschgulasch (Bavarian Venison Goulash) Recipe
Delicious, rich authentic Bavarian venison stew.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cut venison into large, uniform cubes; if the cubes are too small the meat will be dry and chewy.
  2. Dice the onions.
  3. Brown the venison in a large, heavy pot/Dutch oven with a little olive oil over medium-high heat on top the stove in small batches. Remove each batch to a bowl. Once it’s all browned, add all the venison back into the pot.
  4. Stir in the onions and tomato paste with a wooden spoon. Deglaze the pan by scraping the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan while stirring. The onions provide the moisture for the deglazing.
  5. Add thyme, marjoram, stock, juniper berries, bay leaves, lingonberry preserves and wine, stirring after adding each ingredient.
  6. After all the ingredients come to temperature, the stew should be gently simmering. Adjust the temperature to achieve this. Cover the pot and let simmer for one hour. If the simmer is just right, you should not have to stir the pot for the entire hour.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the bacon and slice the mushrooms. Render the bacon in the skillet until crispy and brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  8. Fifteen minutes before the goulash is finished simmering (45 minutes after it started), stir the bacon and mushrooms into the pot. Replace the cover and continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the crème fraîche to the goulash. Stir well. Taste and add salt, pepper or more lingonberry preserves, if necessary.
  10. Serve warm with noodles or Spätzle and a spoonful of lingonberry preserves on the side.
Recipe Notes

Juniper berries (Wacholderbeeren in German) are a staple of Bavarian cuisine, but if you can’t find them use a sprig of fresh rosemary, a shot of gin, or 2 extra bay leaves instead. Or simply omit the juniper berries entirely.

Use sour cream instead of crème fraîche, but sour cream is not as rich and is more tangy. Sour cream tends to curdle over heat, so be sure to remove goulash from the heat first before you add the sour cream.

Goulash is self-thickening, but if you want it thicker, add a slurry of 2 tablespoons flour mixed with ¾ cup water to the pot a few minutes before it’s done, while it’s still simmering. Cook it long enough afterward so that there is no floury taste.

This stew is tailored for venison, but you can use stew beef or chicken, too.

Serve over Spatzle noodles.

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