Author Archives: reg45

A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

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In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

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I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

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Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Just in time for News Year’s Eve! As a change this year I decided to have Oysters Rockefeller in place of the usual escargots. Alas, they were impossible to find as fresh and on second thought I did not want to have to shuck them. Third choice was either mussels or scallops. NO mussels to be found. I had to settle on frozen scallops. This recipe from Closet Cooking was not only simple, but really awesome with the mustard sauce. Since I neglected to take a photo, this is the photo which accompanied the recipe.

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It was perfect with the broiled asparagus AND very perfect with the leftover mustard sauce, so much so that |I had an idea for using this sauce on Eggs Benedict some time.

Let me know if you try it! It made a great and simple romantic dinner for two.

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time:10 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes Servings: 2

  • 1-pound sea scallops (about 1 inch thick) I used ten scallops
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard (or grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Pat the scallops dry and press on the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Met the butter into the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the scallops and sear until lightly golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the heavy cream, mustards and lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve the scallops in the sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Option: Replace the butter and oil with bacon grease or butter yet, start by cooking 4 strips bacon, use the grease to cook the scallops in and sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the scallops just before serving!

Option: Add 1/4 cup chicken broth or seafood broth or white wine to the pan before adding the cream and deglaze the plan by scrapping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers.

Option: Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the sauce!

I chose not to use any of the options this time around!!

Happy New Year!!

Ham and Bean Soup

For those of you serving ham for Christmas here is an easy recipe for leftovers…LOL

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Easy Ham and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans (in Mexico I used a large can of charros)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley

Instructions

Add olive oil to 5-quart soup pot and set over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot add in the carrots and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions just start to soften and turn translucent.

Add in the garlic and thyme leaves and stir to combine.

To the pot add all the beans with the juice from their cans, chicken stock, diced ham and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened.

Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley and serve hot. I put a dollop of sour cream on top when we had it…

Shrimp and Sausage Skillet

Quick and easy dinner using only a skillet, cutting board and a knife! And it looks spectacular too!

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Shrimp & Sausage Skillet

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil divided
  • 1-pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning or Old Bay seasoning
  • 12 ounces sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices (I used Argentinian chorizo)
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 lb green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red pepper cut into 2-inch slices
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once shimmering, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook about 2 minutes, and then flip the shrimp over and sprinkle with the seasoning. Cook another minute or two, until no longer pink, then transfer to a plate.
  1. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Once shimmering, add the sausage and sauté until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add the vegetables and continue to sauté until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp back to the pan and warm through before serving.

Biscotti with Ginger, Orange and Cashews

Calling all coffee lovers! Found this recipe for a great biscotti cookie for dipping in that morning or evening coffee. Or, just nibbling away whenever…NOT just for Christmas!!

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Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Bacon Mushroom Spinach Frittata

When you wake up an hour or so before your spouse you might as well make a nice breakfast, right? If you have too many eggs and spinach you might as well put them to use. “Alexa, what can I make?” Oops, I forgot I don’t use Alexa. “Pinterest, what can I make?”

Firstly if you did not already know it, a frittata is essentially an omelette which you prepare in an ovenproof skillet and finish in the oven. This can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner…so give it a try!

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I N G RE D I E N T S:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms or whatever you have on hand, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach fresh or a small package of frozen unthawed
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • small red pepper chopped for colour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, basil, oregano, thyme and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. (OR cheat and use precooked bacon)
  4. Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet (adding a little oil if using precooked bacon), and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir in spinach and tomato until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in egg mixture and bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons, until well combined. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2 minutes. Top with remaining bacon.
  6. Place into oven and bake until top is set and golden brown, about 14-15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

I really should make up a Costco Cookbook, since many of the recipes are found because the quantities are so large to use in a short period of time, especially in vegetables! This one was found on Pinterest, since I needed to use up asparagus before it started to spoil. Thanks Pinterest and Costco…Of course, the beauty of this was only one pan to clean!

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One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3-6 chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts (breasts pounded to even 1/2 inch thickness – (Mine were already butterflied so no pounding, silly, chicken thighs)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh herbs for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan/skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and herbs and cook another minute or so until the garlic is fragrant.
  1. Reduce heat to medium, add chicken to pan, and cook for 5-7 minutes, then turn over and cook another 5-7 minutes. (Chicken should be nearly, but not completely cooked through by this point)
  1. Scoot the chicken over the sides and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the empty portion of the pan. Once the butter is melted, add asparagus. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, rotating throughout, for 4-6 minutes until tender and chicken is completely cooked through.
  1.  Serve immediately garnished with freshly cracked black pepper and fresh herbs if desired.

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

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Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.

KETO Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t know about you, but chicken pot pie is one of my fall favourites. That creamy chicken and vegetable filling is so warming and comforting. 

Although this recipe included a coconut flour crust, I ignored it and it became my Chicken Pot Pie without a crust! The choice is yours…

Keto Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 small white onion diced
  • 1/4 tsp.salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp.poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp.rosemary
  • pinch of thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken diced
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese OPTIONAL

Instructions

  1. Skip cooking the chicken and buy a ready roasted one! Cut up 2 1/2 cups…
  2. Saute onion, veggies, garlic cloves, salt and pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter for approx. 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  3. Add heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, poultry seasoning, thyme and rosemary. Simmer (covered) for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add the diced chicken.

Optional – Stir in 1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

 

Maple Thyme Roasted Brussel Sprouts,Carrots and Parsnips

Last of the fall vegetable recipes since they are becoming scarce. These were great! Great with the scalloped potatoes…

Maple Thyme Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, and Parsnips

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped, peeled parsnips, cut into ½” chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped, peeled carrots, cut into ½ ” chunks (about 3 medium)
  • 4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on size
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the oven racks on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  2. Divide the vegetables between two large rimmed baking sheets in a single layer.
  3. Place the olive oil, maple syrup, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle half of the mixture over each pan of vegetables and toss well to coat. Place one pan on the upper rack and one on the lower rack, and roast for 15 minutes. Switch the pans from upper to lower and vice versa, and roast 10-15 minutes more or until caramelized and softened.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted veggies