Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spicy Veggie Soup

2-cartons of Veggie Soup Stock
1-bottle of V8 Spicy Hot
2-bags of frozen italian style veggies*
1-lb of italian sausage**

Cook the italian sausage thoroughly, drain.

Put the Veggie Soup Stock into the soup pot, then slowly add the V8 Spicy Hot until it is spicy to your tastes.  Bring to a boil.  Add the veggies and the sausage, and allow to boil for at least 20 minutes then simmer.

*You may always use fresh veggies if you have them or you may use other varieties of frozen veggies.
** Ground Turkey makes and excellent substitute but doesn't have the added italian seasonings.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipes from "Happy New Year!" menu

This year we enjoyed a "small plate" dinner along with a large assortment of appetizers. The below recipes (except the spicy cabbage, which is a full batch) are primarly made for 2 people. You will need to expand the recipes as you see fit to serve more.

Grilled Teriyaki Tuna Plate

2 Tuna steaks Teriyaki marinade with a little olive oil

Grill tuna over Medium-Hot coals for about 2 minutes per side for "medium-rare" tuna. On this particular occasion I think my coals were slightly hotter because the tuna did not turn out medium-rare, but rather slightly pinkish. However, the tuna was perfectly tender and tasty! This was the first time I have ever made good tuna steaks. I grilled according to the time on the Publix package (instead of grilling it to death!), and I believe had my coals been slightly less hot (it can be hard to judge, but I honestly should know better by now, I have grilled for many years), they would have turned out medium-rare. Just the same, they still turned out moist, tender and delicious! Pull off the grill, loosely cover with foil, let sit just a little, then slice and fan out on 2 plates. Serve with dabs of Wasabi Mayonnaise (see below).

Wasabi Mayonnaise

Wasabi powder or paste Mayonnaise

Mix wasabi with mayo till at the desired taste/heat level. I mixed mine with both the paste wasabi and some dry, and it turned out to have quite a bit of heat! But it was very good. Small dabs on the plate, in between the slices of fanned-out tuna, was perfect.

The Sides:

"Fried Rice" Risotto

Around 1/4 cup short grain rice pat butter Olive oil
dash white wine around 1 cup chicken broth (you be the judge)
1/4 cup chopped "stir fry" vegetables around 1 tbsp soy sauce

Melt butter and olive oil in small saucepan. Pour in rice and stir around, lightly sauteeing it in the butter and oil mixture for a bit. Add the wine, stir. Add half the chicken broth and stir. Keep stirring here and there, encouraging the rice to absorb the liquid. You will ultimately have to be the judge of how much liquid (broth) you need to pour in, depending on the consistency you want. Add the stir fry veggies (I just used a mix of frozen stir fried veggies...carrots, broccoli, etc, which I thawed first). When adding the last addition(s) of chicken broth, add the soy sauce and stir around. If your risotto is not too "soupy" (depending on if you like it soupy or firmer), you can pack some in small "molds" (like tiny bowls) that have been lightly oiled, then unmold them on your plates like I did (see picture in "Wine n' Chat "Happy New Year!" blog").

Spicy Cabbage

1 head green cabbage Olive Oil "Tony Cacheres" Creole Seasoning
Kosher salt water

Thinly slice up the cabbage on a slicer or in a food processer. You can do it by hand with a sharp knife and it will work fine, but it may take slightly longer to cook down. I like to use a rather deep, wok-shaped pan (non-stick) to do mine. Put the pan over medium-high heat. Pour olive oil in the pan then dump in the cabbage shreds and stir around to coat with oil and sautee' them a bit (they will be mounded quite high in the pan, but don't worry, they will cook down quite a bit). Stir around a bit more. Then add a little water (maybe 1 cup) and cover the pan with a lid (this will help the cabbage to "steam down"). You don't want "stewed cabbage", so don't make the mistake of putting in too much want this water just to help steam it down (and prevent burning)...the water should evaporate by the end of cooking. You just need to keep an eye on it to be sure the water hasn't cooked entirely away during cooking. Every now and then, lift the lid and stir the cabbage around. After awhile, when it has wilted down pretty good, remove the lid, add a generous amount of olive oil, stir around, add the Tony Cacheras Creole seasoning (or another Creole/Cajun seasoning you may prefer), and stir around, letting the cabbage further wilt down and any remaining "puddle" of water in the pan to evaporate. Taste the cabbage for seasoning. You may want it spicier or saltier. Most seasoning blends come with salt in them, so it's a good idea to not add salt till after you are finished adding your seasoned blend. This batch will make plenty more than 2 people can eat at once. But it refrigerates well and can be eaten the next day or so, or shared with family and friends. Enjoy!

We also enjoyed a spread of appetizers, such as the usual chips n' dip, mozzarella sticks and mini corn dogs. But we enjoyed a few specialty appetizers as well:

Baked Tortilla Cups with 2 fillings

Fajita-sized flour tortillas, cut into quarters canola oil cupcake pan

Oil the tortilla quarters...I just dip my fingers in oil and rub it on them, both sides. Push each quarter into a spot in a cupcake pan (gently pushing the center down to the bottom), the 3 sides will stick up along the sides of each cupcake spot in the pan. If you make a total of 12 baked quarters (standard cupcake pan), 3 tortillas, that will be more than enough for 2, especially along with your other appetizers! Bake the tortilla "cups" at around 350 degrees till they lightly brown. Unmold them and put them on a platter, they are now baked firm and can hold whatever filling you like!

Filling # 1: "Southwest Eggroll" (adapted from Chili's Restaurant Appetizer)

Grilled chicken breast, diced canned black beans (1/2 can), drained
roasted, diced red bell pepper diced canned green chilies
frozen corn kernels (1/4 cup?) generous amount of cumin (1/2 tbsp?)
salt, pepper, "taco" or "fajita" seasoning to taste
shredded cheddar (1/4 cup?) salsa (a couple tbsp) squeeze of 1/2 a Lime

Mix filling ingredients, heat in microwave for a bit. Mound hot filling in half the tortilla cups. Top with sour cream OR mix up a batch of Avacado-Ranch sauce (peel and mash a ripe avacado half with some ranch dressing, a pinch of salt, a splash of lime juice). Enjoy!

Filling #2: Spanakopita

8-10 oz. Frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry) Feta (1 cup?)
Olive Oil squeeze lemon white pepper splash white wine
Cavender's All Purpose Greek seasoning
Good pinch garlic powder/granulated garlic or minced garlic, if desired*

Warm olive oil in saute' pan. Add spinach and stir around, sauteing. Add a splash white wine. Stir around. Add squeeze fresh lemon juice and crumbled feta (as much or as little as you like...the feta will start to "melt" some and will become dispersed throughout the spinach as you stir). Add the seasonings, keep tasting till done to your liking. (Remember: You probably won't need salt, feta is pretty salty on it's own. For this reason you should also go easy on the Greek seasoning blend, tasting as you go). Put dollops of the hot filling into the other half of the baked tortilla cups. Enjoy!

Roasted Mango-Chili Mayo to go with mini crab cakes

We purchased a box of gourmet mini crab cakes which were simply luscious! This mayonnaise went perfectly with them:

1/2 a ripe mango, peeled Olive oil bottled chili sauce
prepared mayonnaise

Lightly coat the mango with the olive oil and broil (or grill) to help caramelize the flavors of the mango. You don't necessarily need to see black char on it. I actually put mine next to some red peppers I was roasting, and the peppers turned black before the mango. But I took them all out at the same time and the mango was done perfectly! Cut up the mango and blend in a blender or small food processor. Scoop the mango puree' into a bowl and stir in some mayo (1/2 cup?) and some chili sauce (this is entirely up to your will need to add some and taste as you go! I think I added around 1/8 cup). Gently stir around and serve! Delicious!! A sweet and spicy, decandent blend.

Hope you enjoy these recipes! And they aren't just for New Years!

On the Menu--Recipes   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital