Author Archive | Ghee Whizz

Shhhh … Listen! Do You Hear the Sound of Sous Vide?

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

No. You can’t hear the sound of sous vide because it’s silent. And powerful. And will transform the way you cook … especially proteins. Never again will you worry about what temperature is right for chicken, beef, pork or seafood. There’s no carry over cooking, so the temperature you prefer for your steak, for example, is guaranteed to be rare, medium rare, or even medium well if that’s the way you like it.

What’s this all about anyway? If you aren’t familiar with sous vide, I’ve had several weeks to use mine and it is a revelation. I’ll take you through the process using the humble chuck roast to produce two different dishes. The cut of meat is the same. The time and temperature varies between roast beef (a fraction of the cost of a rib roast) and a typical pot roast braised on the stovetop or in the oven (think luxurious and fabulous flavor).

Many months ago, the cool folks at ChefSteps.com announced a crowdfunding campaign to support their sous vide cooker, Joule. The video on the Joule link is super. As an early adopter, there was a deep discount on the unit and like many such projects getting off the ground, there were some considerable delays past the anticipated ship date. No matter. It’s part of the adventure of helping great products launch. Now you can order Joule here and here.

It used to be that sous vide was a strictly restaurant technique. The equipment was massively expensive and a rig costs in the plus $1,000 range. But sous vide (which is French for under vacuum) was actually invented for home cooks to make their dishes reliably delicious. It didn’t take off as a home appliance largely due to the high cost. But restaurant chefs love it because a steak can be sitting happily in medium-rare 130 degree F water, waiting for a patron to order it and the chef to sear and sauce it at the last minute. Faster service, exact degree of doneness and satisfaction all around.

Like many electronic devices from cell phones to smart TVs, early incarnations of inventions are massively expensive, but if you wait it out, the price plummets. Even a year ago, top-rated sous vide cookers like the Anova were $300. Now on Amazon.com, the price is around $150 and during Amazon Prime Day, it was $99! So the technology is at the point that it is practical for a cook whose kitchen is well-equipped. Makes a great present!

I have to give a shout out to Nomiku as well. This dynamic duo couple—chef and physics dude—toured the country teaching tekkies how to build a DIY sous vide cooker after the chef was dazzled by the ones in her professional kitchens. After time they decided to engineer a cooker that didn’t need a blueprint to construct. And their cookbook, is a gorgeous collection of restaurant-worthy dishes you can make even if you don’t have a degree from a cooking school.

This is the set-up you use for whatever brand of sous vide cooker you have:

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

Joule Sous Vide Set-up

A deep pot to submerge your cooker and your food.

While vacuum sealing your ingredients is ideal, you can also use a ZipLock freezer bag (but not the kind with a slider). The ZipLock freezer bag is safe to use with food in this application, and strong enough for the normal cooking times. If your roast is going to cook for more than 12 hours (I have a pastrami cooking away for 48 hours) then you really should use the vacuum sealer bags. I had a Food Saver on the shelf that I really didn’t use for its intended purpose (freezing food) but I use it now at least every other day. But you can simply add your ingredients to the sous vide bag, lower it into the water and secure the top to the side of the pot with clips, as shown in this video. I’ve made several versions of chuck roast over the last few weeks. The one below was not seared, and I didn’t remove the fat deposits. Not searing the roast didn’t markedly change the flavor, but the chunks of fat were unsightly, so I take them out now when I made roast beef. Because of the higher temperature for a pot roast, it isn’t as noticeable, so I don’t bother with the trimming.

 

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

Chuck Roast in Sous Vide Bag

For long cooking times, I found these ping pong balls on Amazon which cover the water surface and minimize evaporation. You could use aluminum foil over the top, too.

Sous Vide Joule with "cover"

Sous Vide Joule with “cover”

Once the roast is seasoned and bagged, choose your temperature. I set the sous vide for 135 degrees F for the roast beef and cooked it sous vide for 48 hours, and for the pot roast I used 160 degrees F. and 24 hours. I seared the pot roast in a skillet as well prior to sealing it up. The roast beef was company worthy and is rib roast quality at a fraction of the price. The pot roast was succulent and tender with loads of juice for gravy.

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast

To accompany the roast, I’ve got a salad that was instantly dubbed Klaatu Burrata Nikto by Harris and Linds. #scifinerds I started out using the traditional caprese salad ingredients, but found the textures too similar. Over time I’ve added various items. Right now I like thinly shaved fennel, sliced green olives, cucumber as well as tomatoes. For lunch and this photo I also added some thin-sliced ham. Burrata is a mozzarella shell with creamy, soft stracciatella inside. Stracciatella used in this sense is a riff on traditional Italian ice creams or soup. Currently it’s Harris’s hands-down favorite salad. He prefers lettuce-free salads, I’ve recently discovered. While this recipe is not paleo, it is primal, so if you’re down with dairy, it’s all good.

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad

The playlist features this year’s Grammy nominees and as usual, Louisiana is well represented. Enjoy!

Roast Beef
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Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
Sous Vide Chuck Roast Two Ways
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Servings Prep Time
8servings 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8servings 10 minutes
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For the roast beef
  1. Remove the large fat deposits from the roast. You'll have to cut into the roast here and there to do this, but don't cut pieces from the roast. You could leave the fat in, but the presentation at serving isn't as nice. Using twine, pack the meat into a roast shape and tie at intervals to maintain the shape. Continue to the searing.
For either roast
  1. For either roast, heat the oil or ghee in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the seasoned roast and brown on all sides 3-4 minutes per side.
For the roast beef
  1. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 130 F for medium rare or 140 for medium. You can also set the temperature for higher or lower for your preferred doneness. Cook for 48 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Joule Sous Vide Set-up
  2. Add roast to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
For the pot roast
  1. After searing the roast, lower heat to medium and add chopped onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add broth and wine and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up browned drippings. Add roast and onions to sous vide bag and seal or lower opened bag into the pot with the sous vide bag open. Secure top of bag with clips to the side of the pot to keep water from getting into the bag. Sealed bag can just be lowered into the water.
  2. Fill a large stock pot 2/3 full and submerge sous vide cooker as directed by your cooker's directions. Set cooker temperature to 160 F. Cook for 24 hours, checking periodically to be sure the water level hasn't decreased. Add water as necessary to maintain level. The temperature will quickly return to the temperature you've set.Flavorful and Tender Sous Vide Pot Roast
For either roast
  1. Remove roast from the sous vide bag, carefully retaining the juices. Pat the roast dry. If desired, heat 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and sear roast on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove to cutting board and cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Make gravy by adding juices to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the juices for 2-5 minutes, taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve, slicing the roast against the grain. Pass the gravy separately.
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad
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Klaatu Burrata Nikto Salad This embellished variation on a caprese salad is a melange creamy, crisp, juicy textures and flavors. It may not make the earth stand still, but it sure is good.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
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  1. Distribute vegetables and ham evenly among 4 servings dishes. Nestle burrata half on top of vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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Grilled Tuna and Thai Coleslaw

Paleo Grilled Tuna

Grilled Tuna: Paleo, low carb and delcious

I’ve long been a fan of America’s Test Kitchen, and related magazines and sites. Before science and food prep combined to help us understand why certain techniques worked and why some recipes failed, ATK was churning through scores of tests ensuring that soufflés would rise, chickens would would roast to golden perfection and vegetables would be bright and delicious.

But having mastered some many techniques and great recipes, things began to change. I had to adapt favorite dishes to a healthy, paleo profile and decline to make many of the recipes offered each month because they couldn’t be modified. And I wanted to go beyond the scope of Cook’s Illustrated et al.

I read today that Christopher Kimball, who founded the America’s Test Kitchen empire, and branched off to a new venture called Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, is being sued for copying the model he created. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes. In the meantime, I received newsletters over the last several months with teasers about the new magazine, website and cooking school and the first recipe, Thai Coleslaw was a total winner.

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street 177milkstreet.com

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street 177milkstreet.com

Made with Napa cabbage, coconut milk, lime juice and featuring chopped cashews, this is a coleslaw game changer.

Paleo Thai Coleslaw by Christopher Kimball's Milk Street

Paleo Thai Coleslaw by Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

I paired this delicious side dish with easy-to-make Grilled Tuna. A fast, heathy and welcome supper, I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we have.

For music, I’ve selected a three (!!!) hour playlist of Louisiana music. This extravaganza was compiled for our daughter’s recent wedding rehearsal dinner. Harris and I flew to New England with six pounds each of frozen crawfish tails for etouffée and six pounds of Kartchner’s fabulous boudin for appetizers. There was a huge salad, roasted chicken, and my Paleo Apple Crisp for dessert. We also made some mighty powerful Hurricanes for our 25 guests. It was a blast, the wedding was sublime and wonderful time was had by all.

Paleo Grilled Tuna
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Grilled Tuna
Grilled Tuna: so easy, so good! Take a tip from Cook's Illustrated and marinate the tuna for a full hour in olive oil.
Grilled Tuna
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Grilled Tuna: so easy, so good! Take a tip from Cook's Illustrated and marinate the tuna for a full hour in olive oil.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 5minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 5minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
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  1. Season tuna liberally with salt and coarsely ground pepper. Add tuna to gallon, zip top bag. Add olive oil. Let marinate for 60 minutes at room temperature. (If pressed for time, marinate at least 15 minutes.)
  2. Heat grill pan over medium high heat for five minutes.
  3. Place tuna and olive oil in the heated grill pan and cook for 3 minutes. Turn and cook additional 4 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.
  4. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro or chives.
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Paleo Thai Coleslaw by Christopher Kimball's Milk Street
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Thai Coleslaw
Thai Coleslaw from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street. Slightly adapted.
Thai Coleslaw
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Thai Coleslaw from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street. Slightly adapted.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
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  1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and chili. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk until combined.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, radishes, peas, cilantro and mint. Add the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Stir in the cashews and serve.
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Creole Shakshuka

Creole Shakshuka

Creole Shakshuka

It’s pretty hot in south Louisiana and sometimes a salad for supper doesn’t cut it. But I wanted something fresh and lively. I don’t do breakfast except for coffee. Occasionally I’ll have what amounts to brunch on the weekends, but I love eggs and thought of this dish for dinner. Tunisian in origin, shakshuka is a tomato and bell pepper sauce that has eggs poached in it. While nice on it’s own, I wanted to make it more substantial. So I added some fabulous smoked deer sausage from Kartchner’s and creolized the seasonings. If you haven’t been to Kartchner’s in Krotz Springs, it’s so worth a trip! The boudin is amazing. And the cracklin’s are the best; I refer to them as paleo pig candy. 🙂

Eggs, tomatoes and herbs

Eggs, tomatoes and herbs

If there is a more versatile ingredient than an egg, I don’t know what it is. Eggs can be hard boiled, scrambled, fried, poached, and shirred. If you separate the yolks and whip the whites, eggs are magically transformed into soufflés and meringues. A wonder of nutritional goodness, eggs have regained their place in the hall of fame of good real foods. And compared to other nutrient-dense ingredients, eggs are cheap. I’d like to think that paleo peeps are a strong reason that eggs are once again recognized for their contribution to health. And one of our goals is to have more grassfed and pastured options in our kitchens. If you don’t have yard birds of your own, or can’t make it to the farmers market, don’t despair, the good news is free-range eggs may become more available. And make this egg recipe! It’s delicious.

To accompany the shakshuka, I thought creamy avocados and bright, fresh citrus would be welcome. So I’ve paired the egg dish with a grapefruit and avocado salad.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

New music this week … dance, dine and enjoy!!

Creole Shakshuka
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Creole Shakshuka
Creole Shakshuka: quick and easy for weeknight supper, or the star of your next brunch. Paleo, gluten free, low carb and delicious.
Creole Shakshuka
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Creole Shakshuka: quick and easy for weeknight supper, or the star of your next brunch. Paleo, gluten free, low carb and delicious.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 25minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
25minutes
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  1. Over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet, add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage to a plate and reserve.
  2. Add olive oil to now empty skillet and add onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and celery and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and roasted peppers. Season to taste. Bring to a rapid simmer and lower heat to medium low. Return sausage to skillet and combine.
  3. Crack eggs into the tomato sauce, leaving a bit of room around each eggs. Cover and simmer until egg whites are set and yolks are desired consistency, about 5 minutes for runny yolks. Garnish with parsley and green onions.
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Grapefruit Avocado Salad
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Grapefruit Avocado Salad
Juicy pink grapefruit and luscious avocado with a refreshing citrus dressing combine into a perfect summer salad.
Grapefruit Avocado Salad
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Juicy pink grapefruit and luscious avocado with a refreshing citrus dressing combine into a perfect summer salad.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
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  1. Make dressing: combine lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Distribute baby spinach on salad plates. Alternate grapefruit sections and avocado slices on top of spinach. Drizzle with dressing.Grapefruit Avocado Salad
Recipe Notes

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Blackberry Ice Cream

Harris’s garden is bursting with early summer fruits and vegetables. It’s so amazing to wander around the yard and into the greenhouse and “make groceries” as they say around here. I found tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and Harris froze quarts of blackberries, dewberries and other berries that I used for this week’s menu. The ice cream is paleo and I’m serving it at the Whole Foods demo next week along with my recipe for Chocolate Almond Cake, also paleo, but without the sea foam frosting. Cake and ice cream is natural pair and icing would be too much of a good thing.

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream

I found the Bloody Mary Steak Salad on Food52.com. As soon as I read the ingredients, I knew it was a winner. The recipe was created by Ali Slagle. She said to thank her later, and I did. I changed up the recipe a bit by adding olive oil to the dressing, cucumber and avocado. What a nice break from a lettuce-heavy salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

Bloody Mary ingredients: the base for a vibrant salad.

The rich, delicious steak married perfectly with the raw, salty, creamy and crunchy vegetable elements. And the dressing has all the punch of a Bloody Mary … which would be a great accompaniment, if you’re so inclined.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

“Steak” your claim to a fabulous summer meal.

This salad is versatile. Chicken would be amazing, as well as cooked shrimp.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

Cooked shrimp is a seafood alternative to the steak.

New tunes for a summer day. Hope you enjoy.

"Steak" your claim to a fabulous summer meal.
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Bloody Mary Steak Salad
Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Bloody Mary Steak Salad
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Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe on Food52.com, this Bloody Mary Steak Salad is as delicious as it is versatile.
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
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Instructions
  1. In a small bowl add the vinegars, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, celery salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Whisk in olive oil.
  2. Slice the steak into bite-sized pieces (after resting from grill). Drizzle with dressing and toss, coating well.
  3. On a large platter add the remaining ingredients. Add the sliced steak. Toss, adding more dressing as desired. Serve immediately.
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
Paleo Blackberry Ice Cream
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Use any type of berry for this Blackberry Ice Cream. Cooking the purée changes the taste from fresh and bright to rich and smooth.
Ingredients
Servings:
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Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Mash the berries well or purée in food processor. Strain through a mesh sieve placed over a bowl, and using a plastic scraper press as much pulp as possible through the sieve. Scrape the underside of the sieve occasionally to remove the purée to the bowl. Set aside.
  2. Use the purée as is or place in a small sauce pan and bring to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is syrupy and thick, 10-12 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl add coconut cream and coconut milk (don't refrigerate either of these prior to using, the cream gets very hard). Add the blackberry purée and remaining ingredients. Taste for sweetness, adding more honey to taste if desired. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. Place blackberry mixture in ice cream machine. Process according to machine directions. Place in lidded container and freeze.
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Steak Diane

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots

It’s been a wild, crazy six weeks. On April Fool’s Day, Harris woke up needing to go to the hospital. He was in the middle of a heart attack. That’s what 30+ years of smoking will do. What could have been a terrifying experience, turned out to be surreal in the extreme. An hour and half after we arrived, Harris had passed through the crisis. The wonderful people at Opelousas General Hospital were simply the best. And by ten that morning, we were able to see Harris in the ICU. At the next visiting time at three, he actually looked like he’d been sunbathing all morning. His color was so dramatically improved. Of course there were monitors and a blood pressure cuff, an IV for medication, but he was so much better for the two stents … much better. One artery was completely blocked, the other 80% and there’s still a third that has to be taken care of next week. That will be an overnighter, but without the emergency aspect.

The smoking’s over. And Harris is really committed to paleo. He always liked the meals I prepared for him, and he ate well at home. Out at lunch, restaurant dining, and random snacking and soda drinking was a different deal. And when we went to our new MD, the tale was told in black and white … or should I say in green, yellow and red. My lipid numbers (and not just the usual four that most docs test for) were in the green range, Harris’s were mostly yellow and red. It was a dramatic difference.

We’re all good though. I’m so very thankful.

I tried something new with this post. Instead of preparing the meal during the day and being left with re-heatables or lunch that was supper worthy, I decided to take a chance and prepare our dinner, photographing the resulting dishes. And that’s what I did last night. Lighting has been the bane of my photographic existence, and I think I finally came up with a workable solution. Which even means photos as I’m preparing a meal. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops (pun intended).

We often have pan-seared steak, and it needs a sauce or salsa or relish in my view. A charcoal-fired rib eye is ideal on its own, and Harris has his own blend of oak and pecan wood to add smoky flavor to a nice steak. I like the idea of Steak Diane, but many versions don’t quite make the mark for me. My version is very similar, but I think it hit all the right notes.

For veg I thought peas and carrots would be nice. Some paleo peeps avoid peas and green beans, but my feeling is that if you can eat it raw or barely cooked, it’s fine. Our future son-in-law is British and I’ve long wanted to do my own take on mushy peas. With this side, you’ll have a creamy mash, and colorful greens.

Mashed Peas

Mashed Peas

And what is more natural with peas than carrots? These are gently oven braised in broth with a bit of butter and honey … so good! And they’re so tender, you can add back their lovely green tops by inserting parsley stems in the tops of the carrots. This menu is great for steak night Saturday or an impromptu dinner party.

Braised Carrots

Braised Carrots

For music, the menu lent itself to the French for some reason, so voilà! Bon appétit!

 

Steak Diane with Mashed Peas and Braised Carrots
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Steak Diane
The classic Steak Diane with its sophisticated flavors comes together in minutes for a feast of beefy proportions.
Steak Diane
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The classic Steak Diane with its sophisticated flavors comes together in minutes for a feast of beefy proportions.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Trim the outside layer of fat from the steaks. With a meat pounder or heavy skillet, gently flatten the steaks to a 1/3-inch thickness. Season liberally with salt, pepper and cayenne.
  2. Heat heavy cast iron or other skillet over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. (Turn on the vent.) Add tallow to skillet. Carefully add steaks and sear for 2 minutes. Flip and sear an additional 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
  3. Add brandy, if using, to skillet, and with a long match or butane lighter with a long stem, ignite the brandy. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Turn the burner on to medium heat. Add the grated shallots and stir, 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  4. When broth has reduced a bit, about 5 minutes, swirl in the butter until just melted and add the Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat to medium. Add chives, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Return steaks to the skillet, warming them in the sauce until desired doneness is reached. Serve.
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Mashed Peas
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Mashed Peas
Fresh, creamy and bright: Mashed Peas are a side dish with a difference. Flavored with shallots and the fresh herb of your choice, they're downright delicious!
Mashed Peas
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Fresh, creamy and bright: Mashed Peas are a side dish with a difference. Flavored with shallots and the fresh herb of your choice, they're downright delicious!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Add peas and shallots to saucepan and add 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir, cooking only until peas are warmed through, but still bright green.
  2. Drain the liquid from the pan and add peas and shallots to blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and purée until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Return mixture to saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Serve.
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Braised Carrots
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Braised Carrots
As lovely cooked as they were fresh in the bunch: braised, tender and sweet carrots.
Braised Carrots
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As lovely cooked as they were fresh in the bunch: braised, tender and sweet carrots.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4serving 5minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4serving 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
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Servings: serving
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In an oven proof, 12-inch skillet, arrange carrots in a single layer. Add broth, honey, butter and seasonings. Heat skillet over medium heat until broth is warmed and butter is melted.
  2. Cover skillet and place in oven. Roast for 30 minutes or until very tender, but not browned. Check liquid after 20 minutes and add a bit more broth or water if the skillet is dry.
  3. With a small paring knife, make a slit at the top of the carrot. Insert parsley sprig if desired.
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