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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.

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.

 

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.

 

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Once a year, we seem to be able to find spaghetti squash in Yucatan. This was it! If you have never baked a spaghetti squash it is so simple. When it is done baking you take a large fork and shred it et voila – spaghetti! The simple version is to bake it and the add your favorite spaghetti sauces (commercial or homemade) and lots of Parmesan cheese,

This version is a little more time consuming but well worth it. Take a look –

Spaghetti SquashThe original recipe called for the filling to be baked inside the upturned squash. It was very difficult to shred the squash with the filling in it and thus I adapted the version and filled the shredded squash, mixing the filling into it.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Cut the spaghetti squash in half horizontally and remove the seeds. Put squash cut sides down in a baking dish with a half inch or so of water. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Test with a fork for tenderness.

While it is baking, prepare the stuffing as shown below.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 large cooking onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoning to suit your taste
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of salsa (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Heat oil in pan.  (I like to use my wok) Throw in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Throw in the onion and continue to sauté until tender.

Add ground beef and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.

Add other seasoning such as Italian as you wish*

Mix in the cheese. Mix in the salsa.

Keep warm until the squash is tender.

Turn the squash over on a plate leaving on the outer shell, shred with a fork being careful not to break the shell.Fill with the ‘stuffing”.

Top with sour cream, more salsa? BBQ sauce?

 

 

 

 

Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp

“Honey, I’m home!” (for all of those familiar with that old greeting from some TV show?) Welcome back former followers. Your encouragement is appreciated. A recent house sitter left behind some really nice frozen shrimp and (Pinterest to the rescue) I decided to thaw them out- 24 beautiful specimens which only required peeling and deveining. Once done, I put them in some cold water with a little salt and put them back in the refrigerator awaiting dinner prep.  Some fresh asparagus was also waiting to be used. Everything came together with very little prepping…

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cocktail sauce for dipping (1/2 cup ketchup + 2 tablespoons horseradish)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on the sheet. Evenly distribute olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands and spread out again.

*Place the pan in the oven and roast the shrimp until just pink, firm and cooked. This should take 9 minutes. When done sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with whatever side you have chosen.

*NOTE…since the oven was on I also roasted the asparagus which was drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. If you choose to do the asparagus, put it in the oven 10 minutes before the shrimp and leave them in until the shrimp are done.

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French Onion Pork Chops

This marks recipe 350 on buenprovecho.me. At this point I have decided to end the blog, but it will remain accessible to my many followers. Thanks for following along all these years. Hopefully you’ve found a few that you enjoyed…

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These were quite awesome, especially since we both love French Onion Soup! Fairly easy to make as well. This recipe serves four as indicated, but since I only wanted to do TWO chops, I halved all of the ingredients except the olive oil. I didn’t want the onions to BURN! As you can see by the photo, I served it with fresh roasted asparagus, adding some Parmesan cheese flakes a few minutes before they were done in the oven.

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FRENCH ONION PORK CHOPS

Serves: 4 Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large sweet onions, sliced

7-8 fresh thyme sprigs (plus additional for garnish, if desired)

1 teaspoon salt (plus additional for the pork chops)

½ teaspoon pepper (plus additional for the pork chops)

1 tablespoon butter

3/4 cup beef stock (I use low-sodium)

¼ cup dry red wine

4 boneless pork chops (seasoned with salt and pepper)

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

2 or 3 Baby Portobello mushrooms sliced

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

-In a large, oven proof skillet over medium heat, caramelize the onions in the olive oil along with the thyme sprigs (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the beef broth, butter, salt and pepper. Five minutes before the onions are caramelized, add mushrooms.

-Simmer to reduce the broth (about 5 minutes).

-Remove the caramelized onions to a bowl and keep warm, Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.

-Pat the chops with a paper towel to dry. Spread Dijon mustard on both sides of the chops and season each with salt and pepper to taste.

-Return the skillet to medium/high heat and brown the pork chops on both sides (approximately 3 minutes per side). Remove chops to a plate.

 

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

This used to be one of our favorite salads at a local restaurant. This recipe beats theirs! Yeah, there are two halves there!

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Shrimp stuffed avocado                        Author: Layla Pujol

Yield: 8-10 stuffed avocado halves

Ingredients

  • 4-5 firm ripe avocados
  • 1 lb medium sized cooked shrimp (OR 2 cans of tiny Shrimp uncut)
  • ½ medium red onion, diced finely
  • 2 radishes, diced finely
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 2 celery stalks, diced finely
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 5 tbs. mayonnaise
  • Lime juice from 1 lime
  • Salt/pepper to taste (I like cracked peppercorns)
  • Cilantro chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chop the cooked shrimp in half, if desired keep a few whole to garnish OR use whole if small)
  2. Combine diced onions, radishes, bell pepper, celery, eggs, shrimp, ½ of the lime juice and aioli or mayonnaise in a bowl, mix well. Can be kept refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Taste and salt/pepper if necessary.
  4. Cut avocados in half, remove seed and peel carefully.
  5. Drizzle remaining lime juice over avocados, this help keep them from darkening too quickly.
  6. Use a spoon to stuff avocados with shrimp salad filling.
  7. Add any garnishes and serve immediately.