Friday, June 15, 2018

Instant Pot Carne Guisada



Dear Lauren,

I handed your dad a cookbook last night and said, hey, take a look and see what looks good to you for the weekend. So he chose five recipes and marked them with those little 3m page stickers I like. Then he said, carne guisada sounds good.

Oh? Was that one of the recipes in the book?

No, I marked chicken fried steak, Iowa skinnies, biscuits and sausage gravy, Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and funeral potatoes. But carne guisada sounds good.

I decided to come up with a recipe for the Instant Pot. Why Not? It's summer and who wants to heat up the kitchen with a stew on the stove or a braise in the oven? Not me.

This recipe is adapted from one I found early on in my internet research. Reading over it, I knew the complexity of flavor would be there. I made a few changes, including to the cooking method.  We loved it. Serve this over rice, in a tortilla, or simply as what it is, a stew - a spicy, Tex-Mex stew. You can garnish it with chopped onion, chopped cilantro, avocado, or anything else you like.

1 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons avocado oil, divided
1.5 pounds top sirloin, trimmed, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 tomato, (seeded over a strainer and bowl, tomato juice reserved), peeled, diced
1 cup water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
reserved tomato juice
1 teaspoon beef Better than Bouillon, optional
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
2Tablespoons all purpose flour


Toast the cumin in a small skillet for 5 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and place the cumin in a bowl or plate to cool completely.

Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add 1 Tablespoon avocado oil. When the indicator shows Hot, add around 10 pieces of the beef and sear them, making sure not to crowd the pan or the beef will steam. Remove each batch of the beef to a plate when seared and add 10 or so more pieces until you've seared all of the beef.

Add the sliced onion and jalapeno with a little splash of the water if needed. Stir the onion and jalapeno into the bottom of the pan to deglaze the pan. Cook about 1 minute. Add the garlic, stir about 30 seconds. Add the remaining tablespoon avocado oil, stir, add all spices (cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder) and stir. Add the diced tomato, water, tomato sauce, reserved tomato juice, and Better than Bouillon, if using. Stir well. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the Instant Pot liner.

Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set on Sealing, Manual, 40 minutes. While the stew cooks, make the roux.

In a small skillet over medium-low hear, add the avocado oil to the pan. When the oil is very hot, add the flour a bit at a time and stir well and constantly with a small whisk. Continue to add the flour, continually whisking, until all the flour is incorporated and the roux is a golden color which will take about 2 minutes. You are not looking for a dark roux like when you make gumbo, this roux is simply to be used as a thickener for the stew. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the carne guisada has finished cooking, do a Quick Release, and reset the Instant Pot to Saute.* Once the stew comes to a simmer, stir in half the roux. Check the thickness of your gravy.  Add more roux until you reach the desired thickness.** Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.Turn off the Instant Pot. Serve.

*Quickly taste the beef to make sure it is very tender. If it isn't, you can place it back under pressure for 10 minutes. I don't believe that step will be necessary.
**I used about 1/2 to 2/3 of the roux.

Love,
Mom

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bacon Braised Rice

I received three notes yesterday from three people. Where is this recipe, where is that recipe, where is the other recipe? Three notes, three people, three recipes. It told me I had fallen behind on my blogging. I thought about why this had happened and then I decided there was no use in shaming myself! I am very much an admirer of my blogging friends, like Donna Currie at Cookistry, who never, ever fall behind. I do. but I'm trying to get caught up today with the blog posts I have been wanting to write the most. This is one of them.

I'm in a cookbook group and last year we all cooked from Edward Lee's Smoke & Pickles.  I'm not really a big rice fan but who doesn't love bacon? So I tried this recipe and everyone loved it! My favorite thing about it is I learned if you are out of parsley, you can chop up the inner leaves of a bunch of celery. WOW! Paradigm shift! I have celery almost always! The parsley in my herb garden is hit or miss and if I keep parsley from the store too long it quickly gets moldy so this is a great tip for me. Hope it is for you as well.


Braised Bacon Rice
adapted from Smoke & Pickles

8 ounces slab bacon*, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken stock, homemade preferred, of course!
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 cup white rice, we use Jasmine
2 Tablespoons celery leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Cook the bacon over low heat in a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot until all the fat is rendered. Add the onions, the celery, and the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the next three ingredients and then add the two liquids. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the contents of the pot to a boil.  Add the rice and lower the heat to medium to medium-low depending upon your stove top. Simmer for about 16 minutes uncovered. At this point, most of the liquid is absorbed and you can add the celery leaves, butter, salt and pepper. Leave on the hot stove until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Serve.

*If you don't have slab bacon on hand, you can use the kind of bacon you like, cut into a dice or lardons.


Amaretto Honey from Eataly

Amaretto Honey (center) and Apricot Mostarda (right). The
honey steals the condiment show at Eataly in Chicago.
This is a picture of a jar of amaretto honey in Eataly Chicago. They served it with an Italian meat, cheese and bread platter and my friend Tamela and I fell in love with it. She bought some that day and I didn't. I really regretted the decision so I went back the next day and bought some along with a Wineskin to seal it up and take it home in my suitcase (which worked really well, by the way!) When I went back to Eataly, the area where they sell the honey was empty! No more honey? I struck up a conversation with a lady who worked there and she not only found me some honey (I bought two!), she told me that it is made by combining 8 parts honey to 1 part amaretto liqueur. Warm it in the top of a double-boiler and then stir in toasted , slivered almonds. So easy! So unique and delicious! If you are in a town with an Eataly, I highly recommend you go as often as possible (we visited three times in as many days in Chicago in April 2016!), you won't regret it!

Zucchini Tart

Dear Lauren,

I've absolutely fallen in love with Sheet Pan Suppers cookbook. You cook the whole meal on one sheet pan! Clean up is a breeze and of the ten or so recipes I've made, all but one has been outstanding and the other one was still good! I've given a copy to you, Cojo, Louise, Rebbekkah, and Patrick, and I am certain I've worn out my facebook friends with photo after photo and take after tale of cooking from this book! I think this zucchini tart is my favorite recipe but that's hard to say. The Arctic char, the flank steak, the chicken sausage with mushrooms and onions, and the tilapia tacos were all fantastic. SO were the figs, the bruschetta, the French toast casserole, the pesto chicken turnovers, and the cod on potato rafts! You see what I mean? GREAT BOOK!  Go look at my Instagram for photos of more of these dishes if you like.


Zucchini Tart
based on Sheet Pan Suppers cookbook


1 sheet frozen puff pastry*, thawed per package instructions**
all-purpose flour, for rolling out the dough
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces herbed goat cheese
4 medium size zucchini
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 with the oven rack in the center. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the thawed puff pastry with a rolling pin to a little smaller than the size of your sheet pan. If you make it slightly too big, you can trim off the edges with a pastry scraper. Transfer the puff pastry to a parchment lined sheet pan. Use your pastry scraper to make slight indentions (do not cut all the way through) around the edge of the pastry to make a 3/4 inch border. Dock the pastry inside the border with a fork about every inch or so. Place the sheet pan in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. If your cream and goat cheese are room temperature you can simply mix them together with a spoon in a bowl. If they are still cold, place both in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and then stir them together until combined. Set aside. Cut both ends off the zucchinis and slide a vegetable peeler down the length of each zucchini to make dozens of zucchini ribbons. You can also use a mandoline. Place the ribbons in a bowl and add a large pinch of salt and several turns of pepper and toss. Set aside. After 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator, remove the sheet pan with the pastry and spread the cheese mixture inside the 3/4 inch border. Take a paper towel and pat the zucchini dry - the salt will have caused the zucchini to shed some moisture. This is an important step, you do not want a soggy tart. Arrange the ribbons by the handful (or in any artistic display you can conjure) and drizzle the olive oil over the zucchini. Bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the zucchini is browned in spots. Serve warm or at room temperature. We have also eaten leftovers of this tart straight from the refrigerator - it is delicious any way! 

Love,
Mom

*I made this with both Dufour and Pepperidge Farms puff pastries. Dufour is much more expensive and yes, it is tastier. You will love this tart regardless of the brand you use.
** Do NOT try to unfold puff pastry until it's thawed or you will tear it.


Gingersnap Cookies and Molasses Cookies - The Same Cookie

This cookie post is always going to be my favorite. It involves all of my favorite things. My husband, my friend, a grandmother, and sugar. Did you see the photo that I made as big as I possibly could make it? Those cookies are GOLD in this house. For about twenty years, Willie has been asking me to make molasses cookies just like he likes them. I tried and I tried and I tried and I failed...a lot. Luckily for me, I was introduced to a wonderful woman, someone Willie knows and respects and who is associated with his work. I first met Tamela when she was hosting a dinner in Willie's honor. She told me later she was very nervous about meeting me! I found that hard to believe! She said the way Willie talks about me I am the perfect woman! Ha! That's so nice to hear! But as Tamela quickly learned, I am just a quirky lady who likes to talk a lot! Tamela joined my cookbook group and one day she shared a photo of some cookies she made from her grandmother's recipe. She generously shared the recipe with all of us and has allowed me to share it with the world! 

Grandma's Ginger Snaps OR
Willie's Favorite Molasses Cookies
by Tamela's grandmother

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoons ground ginger (I usually use 1 3/4 teaspoons.)
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all ingredients and roll dough into balls. Roll cookie balls in sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F.