Sunday, February 27, 2011

Prego Rolls

Yup, this one is sooooo delicious that I couldn't resist taking a bite before taking the picture! My mother-in-law made this for us when we went to visit them in Cape Town this year. It is so fast and easy to make and so so so so satisfying and yummy. The egg just oozes out and creates the most complimentary creamy sauce to the peri-peri steak. And the arugula gives it a fresh peppery taste.
Peri-peri sauce is a South African staple. It is Portuguese in origin, but adaped a little for South African tastes. We used Bushman's peri-peri sauce, but Nando's is also good. You should be able to find this at your local No Frills or Loblaws, but if you have no luck, try the Nando's chain restaurant...they'll have it for sure. There is no other flavour substitute for peri-peri I'm afraid. If you can get a hold of the actual peri-peri powder, then all the better. Not sure where you can find it in Toronto though? Perhaps in a Portuguese grocery shop? You can leave a comment if you know where to get it.

2 large thin cut beef steaks (sirloin should do it..)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp peri-peri sauce
1/2 tsp peri-peri powder (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
2 large crusty rolls,
2 large eggs
2 handfuls of arugula

Marinate the steaks in the garlic, peri-peri sauce/powder and lemon juice for a few hours in the fridge.
Quickly toast buns in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Get out 2 skillets...this goes really fast. Heat one skillet on high and flash fry the steaks for about 2 minutes on each side. Cook 2 eggs in the second skillet on medium either sunny-side up or over easy, but do not allow the yolks to set completely. Put the steak and egg on the bun and top with arugula. Squish down so the yolk breaks and makes a runny sauce. Eat up...this is a messy one, so have napkins nearby!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken with Artichokes and Mushrooms in Avgolemono Sauce

My best friend married into a Greek family, and every time we go and visit them in Chicago, we often end up at a Greek restaurant. And let me say Chicago has amazing Greek food. Don't get me wrong...I have love for our own Greektown on the Danforth here in Toronto, but every time I go to Chicago and eat Greek food there, I'm always surprised at the different variety of dishes I find on the menu. Sometimes I even have to this really Greek food? Because when I think Greek, I have to admit that I think of roast lamb, souvlaki, feta and garlic. I have since learned, that there are other delicate, milder flavours used in Greek cooking. When I discovered avgolemono sauce, I think I fell in love. The creamy, lemony, savoury flavour is both tastebud awakening and light and mellow at the same time.
In discussion with my best friend's m-i-l, she told me about this dish she makes with avgolemono sauce and chicken with artichokes and mushrooms. I just HAD to ask for the recipe and make it when I got home. It was so good that even baby gobbled it right up!

2 chicken breasts sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
1 can artichokes, drained and quartered
1 cup water

Avgolemono Sauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 large lemon)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup hot broth or cooking juices reserved
1/3 cup freshly chopped dill (my own addition)


Saute the onions garlic and mushrooms in a skillet until soften and golden. Add chicken and brown slightly. Add water, cover and simmer on med-low heat until chicken is cooked through. Reserve a few ladle-fulls of the hot pan juices/broth (approx 1/3 cup)
Prepare the avgolemono sauce:
With a hand mixer, whisk eggs until pale and frothy. Slowly stream in the lemon juice and then the cornstarch. Very slowly stream in the reserved hot broth so that it does not curdle the eggs. Once the sauce is well incorporated, pour it all into the skillet, mixing well. Turn the heat on low and allow the mixture to heat through and thicken to a creamy consistency and do not allow sauce to boil. Sprinkle fresh dill, stir well and serve over rice or orzo. OPA!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Braised Short Ribs Penne

This is just one of those really hearty meaty dishes that will warm you up on a winters night. Braising marbled meats like beef short ribs for hours in the oven, makes them soooooo juicy and fork tender. I remember seeing this recipe from Everyday Italian on the Food Network. I couldn't remember the exact recipe, so I just made up my own. This would be a GREAT dish to make for a dinner party or a potluck, because it is not only delicious and satisfying, it is really easy to make and shredding the meat like this stretches pretty far... plus short ribs are not really an expensive cut of meat. Serious good eats.

4 large short rib slabs
1 large onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 can tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 box penne

1 clove garlic, minced
zest of one large orange

Preheat oven to 325 F
In a dutch oven, brown the short ribs in olive oil on both sides.
Saute onions, celery and onions until soft. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, pepper and 1/2 of the beef broth. Bring to a boil and cover and transfer to the oven. Braise for about 2-3 hours. Check on the liquid halfway through and add the rest of the beef stock.
Boil penne to al dente.
When meat is fork tender, remove from sauce and shred with 2 forks, removing the bones and excess fat.
Skim the sauce of oil and puree slightly with an immersion blender. Add shredded beef back in and top with gremolata mixture (the heat from the sauce will melt the garlic and orange mixture slightly and give an amazing flavour). Drain penne and toss with the sauce. Eat with a salad and bread.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni

Bacon cheeseburger meets mac & cheese. What more do I need to say? It's comfort food heaven.

1 lb lean ground beef
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups macaroni
1 cup shredded cheddar (I used the Tex Mex shredded cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard (or yellow mustard...whatever you like to put on your burger)
2 tsp Ketchup

Boil macaroni in a large pot of salted water for 11-12 minutes or until desired
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels, set aside. Drain away fat from the skillet and brown the ground beef.
Make a hole in the middle of the skillet and saute onions and garlic until fragrant.
Add oregano, thyme salt and pepper and tomatoes and mix well and leave on low heat while you deal with the macaroni.
By now, the macaroni should be cooked. Drain water and while macaroni is still hot, add cheese and mix until melted and gooey. Stir in the sour cream, dijon mustard and ketchup. Then add the beef & tomato mixture from the skillet and the bacon. Stir everything together and season with more salt if needed. Serve with additional ketchup and mustard if you so please. I recommend you eat this in your pjs. It's that comforting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Char Kway Teow

Wow, it's been a while since i've blogged some recipes! A friend reminded me that she liked to get recipe ideas from here, so I will keep on posting when I remember.
Over the weekend, I went to T&T to take advantage of some of the CNY sales, so we'll be indulging in Asian food all week. Sunday night, I made enoki beef rolls and char kway teow. Char kway teow is a really popular dish in Singapore, and during my visit there last February, I ate my fair share in the food courts...ahh...Singaporean food courts...I miss you! Here's my recipe for char kway teow. Enjoy.

1 package of fresh ho fun (rice) noodles (you must use these the same day as you buy them, or they get hard and dried out)
1/2 lb thinly sliced beef
1 clove minced garlic
1 inch minced peeled ginger
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups spinach
2 green onions chopped

1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp kecap manis (thick sweet soy sauce or sugar if you can't find it)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup beef stock

In a colander, gently wash noodles under hot tap water, carefully separating them.
Mix ingredients for sauce in a measuring cup and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large frying pan on med/high heat and fry garlic and ginger quickly until fragrant. Add beef, and stir fry until cooked. Add beansprouts, and saute until softened. Gently stir in noodles and cook through. Add spinach to wilt gently and pour sauce over, while tossing gently. Just before serving, sprinkle with green onions and give a final gentle toss.