Thursday, August 1, 2013

Quinoa the Reich -- The Naked Vine's Quinoa Chili

My happy cooking accident led to a new vegetarian favorite.

This little bit of deliciousness started out as a humble side dish. Between not having a couple of the original recipe's ingredients, a misread of a couple of amounts, and several "You know, I bet adding this would taste gooood" inspirational flashes, I ended up with a big potful of vegetarian-friendly chili that I'll happily recreate.

Since we're in the low 60's in the beginning of frickin' August, I didn't even have to wait for football to crank this up:

The Naked Vine's Quinoa Chili

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
6-8 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
3 chipotle chilis from a can in adobo, diced, plus 1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. fresh, diced
1 roasted red pepper (jarred is fine), diced
4 c. vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 bottle stout beer
salt to taste (I start with 1 tbsp, but YMMV)
1 tsp. sugar

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium  heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until the onion starts to brown, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Cook 1 minute. Add chili powder, coriander, and cloves. Stir and cook 1 minute.

Add everything else. Bring to a boil. Cover and cut the heat back back to a simmer. Cook for a couple of hours, until quinoa is done and the sweet potato and beans are very soft. Add additional liquid if your quinoa is extra-thirsty.

Top with sour cream, chopped cilantro, and some diced chives or scallions around. If you've got a bottle of something Bordeaux-ish with a slight chill on it around, crack it. You'll thank me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sauer Times (Mike's Sorta Sauerbraten)

There's nothing quite like finishing a major school project and soothing the aching eyeballs with a big honkin' dish of comfort food. In this case, my take on a slow-cooker recipe for sauerbraten. Mmm...beef in thick, vinegary gravy over noodles. What's not to love?

  • 3 lb rump roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 5-6 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 tart apple, cored, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 c. dry rose wine (or 3/4 c. white wine and 1/4 c. red wine)
  • 2 tbsp. malt vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 c. gingersnap cookies, broken into large chunks
  • egg noodles

Put everything but gingersnaps in a large ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge overnight. Before leaving for work, dump everything (except the gingersnaps) into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

About a half hour before serving, remove the beef from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Increase the heat to high and toss the gingersnaps into the liquid. Make your noodles. When the noodles are almost done, take an immersion blender and pulverize the heck out of the stuff that's still in the slow cooker. Slice your beef into thick chunks and add to the slow cooker to reheat.

Serve over noodles. Eat with a contented smile on your face and, if you've just finished a midterm, a couple of ibuprofen. Wine pairings are tough with this one because of all that yummy vinegar. A Riesling's probably your best choice, but if you want red wine, think Zinfandel/Primitivo.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Australian Fry-Up with Spicy Bacon

  • Eggs
  • Toast
  • Baked Beans
  • Bacon
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the paper in a single layer. In a small skillet, combine the honey, coriander and cayenne and cook over high heat until melted, about 1 minute. Brush the spiced honey on one side of the bacon and bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on the thickness and fattiness of the bacon, until sizzling and browned. Transfer the bacon to paper towels, glazed side up, to drain and cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, make your eggs and toast however you like. Heat the beans. Serve.

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Chicken & Kumara (Sweet Potato) Curry

(This recipe accompanies Naked Vine New Year 2013 -- A Taste of Australia.)

  • 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into thin slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, thinly sliced (although if you use the stuff in a tube, few will notice)
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 medium sweet potato (kumara), cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth or white wine
  • 2 Tbsp of Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Cut the chicken thighs into strips or chunks.

Heat the oil in a wok on a medium-high heat and partially brown the chicken for about 1-2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add onion to the wok and fry for about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add a little more oil if the wok gets dry. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the lemongrass and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the tumeric, curry powder and chili powder and fry for 1 minute.

Add the sweet potato (kumara) and sugar. Stir well. Add the coconut milk, broth or wine, fish sauce and cilantro. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil.

Once the curry is boiling add the chicken and then turn the heat down to low and cover. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Serve curry on a bed of jasmine or basmati rice and garnish with more cilantro.

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- King Prawn Salad with Peas, Asparagus, and Sweet Almond Dressing

  • 1 lb. king prawns (big freshwater shrimp)
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 4 c. rocket (also known as arugula)
  • Sweet Almond Dressing
Light your grill. Preheat oven to 425. Toss red onion wedges with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast until soft and starting to caramelize, stirring a couple of times -- about 10-15 minutes.

Toss asparagus with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Grill until crisp-tender and slightly charred -- 5 minutes.

Shell prawns. Toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Thread on skewers and grill until cooked through -- 2-3 minutes per side.

Blanch peas by dropping into boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water.

Cut asparagus on the diagonal into 3-4" pieces. Toss rocket, peas, onion, and asparagus with dressing. Remove prawns from skewers and arrange on top. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Sweet Almond Dressing

(This recipe accompanies Naked Vine New Year 2013 -- A Taste of Australia.)
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp. egg white
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Put almonds and sugar in a food processor. Process to an even consistency, stopping from time to scrape almonds from sides and bottom of processor.

Add egg white and almond extract and process to a paste.

Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and process until emulsified.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Mussels in White Wine & Garlic Sauce with Pepperoni & Yellow Pepper

(This recipe accompanies Naked Vine New Year 2013 -- A Taste of Australia.)

OK, folks. If you want to ding me for not being "authentic" with my mussel preparation, feel free. Then bite me. The idea here was for it to be easy, so as not to detract from the revelry. Trust me, you'd want to swim in this sauce. And doesn't this look tasty?

  • 1 package frozen Kroger (or brand of your choice) mussels in white wine and garlic sauce
  • 4 oz. or so good quality pepperoni, cut into small dice
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into small dice
In a large pot, saute pepper and pepperoni until slightly browned. Increase heat to high and add mussels. Cook according to package directions. Either eat as shown or pull the mussels from the shells, put them back into the broth, and serve as a bouillabaisse. 

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Lamb Kabobs with Mike's Garligorge Sauce

(This recipe accompanies Naked Vine New Year 2013 -- A Taste of Australia.)

  • 1-one pound lamb steak, cut into four long strips
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • Mike's Garligorge Sauce
Combine all ingredients besides sauce in a ziploc bag and shake well. Marinate for a couple of hours (overnight is best). 

Heat a grill to medium high heat. Grill to desired doneness (about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare). Plate up with a salad. Serve with Garligorge sauce, sides of your choice, and a Barossa Shiraz.  

Mod Ozzfest 2013 -- Mike's Garligorge Sauce

(This recipe accompanies Naked Vine New Year 2013 -- A Taste of Australia.)
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. coarse salt

Put garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. Add lemon juice and blend. Stop a couple of times to scrape smashed garlic from sides of container. When garlic is appropriately pulverized, add olive oil and salt. You can either add the oil in a slow stream while blending, or just dump it in and puree until the mixture is the consistency of thin mayonnaise.

You can refrigerate the sauce if you're making it ahead. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.