Category: side dish

Halina’s Cranberry Sauce

By , November 20, 2007 10:12 pm

My 2nd mother, Halina, gave me this recipe. It’s divine! The Grand Marnier was my idea though.

1 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup pineapple juice
2/3 cup sugar
2 shots Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
Dash of ground nutmeg

Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse under cold water, discarding any stems or rotten cranberries. There are always a few in each bag. Take one cranberry and eat it raw while looking at yourself in a mirror. You should have made a funny face.

In a heavy sauce pan mix sugar and pineapple juice and throw in the cranberries and nutmeg. Cover and bring to a boil. When the boiling begins you should hear the cranberries starting to pop open. Remove cover and stir. Reduce heat slightly and continue slow boiling while stirring very often. After about five minutes all of the cranberries should have popped. Smash any cranberries that appear to be intact with the back side of a spoon. Cook another minute or two while continuing to stir. After it has a jelly-like consistency, remove from heat and spoon into a bowl. Cover and cool completely in the fridge.

Happy Thanksgiving! Yankees suck!

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Garlic Infused Rice

By , June 18, 2007 9:54 am

My trick for cooking rice in a rice cooker is to add one teaspoon of salt, one smashed garlic clove and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil per cup of rice to the water and rice in the cooker before cooking. Every now and then I use chicken broth instead of water for a nice flavor twist.

A good rice cooker should reside in the kitchen of every self-respecting cook. They make rice quick and easy. I use rice in at least half of my dinners. Below are a few links to some good rice cookers, varying in price. Yankees suck!

Steak Pizzola

By , June 12, 2007 4:58 pm

So I finally had an evening to myself where I could be alone in the kitchen, drink some beer, pump some tunes, try something new and chronicle it. There are few things in the world better than a good steak. Add in pan roasted garlic-basil cherry tomatoes and you have a smash hit.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 steaks of your choice (I only made one this time)
1 pint vine-ripened red cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dried
1 Large clove garlic, minced
6-8 Fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

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Pre-heat your oven to 475°. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in olive oil. Season the steaks with salt & pepper and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, until well browned. Actually, just as you flip the steaks, add the minced garlic to the side of the pan and make sure it gets some of the olive oil. Sauté the garlic as you sear the second side of the steak. After the steak is browned on both sides and garlic is getting toasty, move the steaks aside and add the cherry tomatoes and basil to the garlic. Stir gently to coat and season with salt & pepper.

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Place the skillet in the oven and roast until the steak is cooked to your liking and tomatoes begin to burst. I roasted mine for about ten minutes and it came out medium. A bit over cooked for my tastes, but it was awesome anyway. Serve with a side of pasta with the tomatoes spooned over the steaks. Try making it with fresh oregano instead of basil, or a mix. Have fun! Yankees suck!

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By , February 21, 2007 3:57 pm

I absolutely love risotto. I’ve never tried to make it before. I wanted a delicious side to the Korean BBQ Chicken I made last weekend. I took a nose dive into some of my Italian cookbooks and cruised around the web a little for information on risotto ingredients and preparation techniques. Here’s what I found …

A quick read on risotto history and recipes can be found here. Most of my cookbooks really didn’t explain what risotto really was and the caveats on preparing it. One recipe I found in Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen really caught my attention. It explained that once you understand how to prepare a basic risotto, you can parlay that skill into making any type of risotto you could imagine. The basics are the key to pretty much all cooking and just about everything else in life.

I followed Lidia’s “master plan” for preparing risotto and made a few of my own changes along the way. Nice!

4½ cups hot chicken stock
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced
1 leek, white parts only, trimmed, cleaned and chopped
6 scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
2 cups Italian Aborio rice
â…“ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter, cut into four pieces
â…“ up freshly grated Parimigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pour the chicken stock in a small sauce pan and keep it hot over medium heat. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and stir in the onions. Sauté the onions until softened, about four minutes. Stir in the leeks and white parts of the scallions and sauté for another six minutes. The onions should start to brown. Stir in the rice making sure all of the grains get covered with the oil. Keep stirring often for the next two to three minutes until the edges of the grains become translucent. Pour in the wine and let it boil. Keep stirring the rice till the wine has evaporated.

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Season the rice with salt and ladle enough of the hot chicken stock into the sauté pan until it barely covers the rice. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to maintain a lively simmer. Continue cooking while stirring constantly until all the stock has been absorbed and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir. Continue cooking, pouring the remaining hot stock in small batches. Each addition of stock should be only enough to completely moisten the rice. Continue doing this until the stock has been absorbed. All this should take 15-20 minutes from the time you added the wine.

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Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and green parts of the scallions until the butter is completely melted. Stir in half the grated cheese. Taste the risotto and add more salt if you like and then add the freshly ground black pepper. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.

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I like a creamy risotto so I used another two cups of chicken stock. This also added to the cooking time since I had 50% more stock to absorb. I also squeezed a little lemon juice at the end. This basic recipe can be taken into an infinite number of directions. Try adding some smoked chicken at the end. I’d like to add some saffron to the chicken stock next time I make it. Shrimp risotto should be good. Maybe I’ll try making an asparagus risotto. I’m guessing all I would have to do is add some steamed & chopped asparagus tips to the risotto at the end of the cooking. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Arrivederci! Yankees suck!