Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lamb Meatballs with Apricot-Habanero Chutney

Just a little bit ago I got the most wonderful gift from my friend, Shabnam, at FlavorN'Spice. 
Among other things, she sent me an awesome Butternut Squash from her garden, a beautiful silk scarf, some woven placemats and a homemade Apricot-Habanero Chutney she paired with a cheese and cracker tray.
I had also recently purchased some pastured ground lamb from one of my favorite farms, Thames Farm, so my mind was whirling with recipe ideas. Hmmmm, why not pair some lamb meatballs with the chutney? And so this culinary journey began! Wow what an amazing pairing ... tender, slightly spicy meatballs, in a sweet and tangy chutney. Amazing!!


1 lb. ground lamb
1 tbls. dried minced onion
2-3 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 tsp. tarragon leaves
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Chutney Sauce
1/2 - 3/4 cup Apricot-Habanero Chutney
1/3 cup raw, local honey

Preheat oven to 350.  Put all ingredients for the meatballs together in a large bowl, and mix with hands to thoroughly combine. Shape into 1-inch meatballs (approx. 16 meatballs) and place in a covered casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake meatballs 20 minutes, covered, or until cooked through. Remove meatballs from oven and drain grease. Return meatballs to casserole dish.

While meatballs are baking, mix apricot-habanero chutney with honey and heat on your stove-top in a small saucepan until bubbly and well combined. Pour sauce over drained meatballs in casserole dish and stir to coat. .

Bake meatballs with sauce another 10 minutes. Remove from oven; serve meatballs over hot, cooked rice.

Yield:  4 servings


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Barbecue Beef Brisket

Since it's typically very HOT during the summer in South Carolina, we find ourselves using our grill many, many times to keep the heat out of the kitchen.  Yesterday it was 100 degrees here, so it was definitely a grilling kind of day.  We took the opportunity to grill a Beef Brisket I'd purchased recently from Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville, who raises 100% grass-fed Angus beef. The brisket was tender, moist and absolutely delicious as you will see.

1 - 3-4 lb. beef brisket
barbecue sauce of your choice

Remove beef brisket from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, 30 minutes to one hour.

Place brisket fat side up on a large piece of aluminum foil (large enough to completely encase brisket) sprayed with cooking spray.

Liberally apply barbecue sauce over brisket using your hands to massage it into the meat. Seal up aluminum foil by bringing ends together and folding to secure. Be sure brisket is entirely sealed inside the aluminum foil (you may need to add another piece of foil).

Place brisket on grill over low-off-low heat and cook 4-5 hours or until brisket is falling apart tender.

Remove brisket from grill, unwrap on a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before carving.

Slice brisket WITH the grain for serving slices, or ACROSS the grain for shredded beef. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.


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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Peppered Beef & Gravy

The best thing I like about cooking a large piece of beef on the grill, or oven, is what you can do with the leftovers. I took some thin slices of the Grilled Hanger Steak we enjoyed the other night and made this Peppered Beef & Gravy. This would also work well with round steak, or any other inexpensive cut of beef. It was great over rice, but would also work over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. 

2 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1 tsp minced ginger (I used ground ginger)
1 cup beef stock (I use homemade)
1 1/2 lbs. beef, thinly sliced (any type of inexpensive beef works, such as round steak)
1/3 cup red wine
1 tsp course-ground black pepper (or more to taste)

2 tbls soy sauce
1/3 cup flour

In the morning, marinate beef strips in wine, pepper, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and beef stock; cover and set aside in the refrigerator (6 hours or more). When ready to cook, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add marinated beef to a 9 x 9-inch casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle flour over all and stir to mix well. Cover and bake one (1) hour or until gravy has thickened and beef is tender. Serve over rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes with the veggie of your choice.

Cooks note - Marinate overnight and cook in a slow cooker for 8 hours the following morning = dinner ready when you get home.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Fresh Summer Pasta

Light summer pasta made easy with fresh tomatoes!  This is a great side dish with Italian Seasoned Grilled Chicken or other grilled meats and only takes minutes to throw together. When you are bored with the usual potato or pasta salads, give this Fresh Summer Pasta a try.

1 large handful fresh pasta (I used some from Rio Bertolini's Fresh Pasta Co.) or any thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1-2 tbls. Olive oil
Course-ground black pepper
1 medium to large fresh tomato, diced
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a large handful of pasta and cook in boiling water until al dente; drain and add diced tomatoes, drizzle on some extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, oregano and pepper.  Stir to combine, return to burner (you have turned off), cover and let sit until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with shredded Parmesan cheese.


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Grilled Hanger Steak

Probably one of the "lessor" known steaks, but prized for its great flavor, is the Hanger Steak.

 hanger steak is a cut of beef steak prized for its flavor. Derived from the diaphragm of a steer or heifer, it typically weighs about 1.0 to 1.5 lb (450 to 675 g). In the past, it was sometimes known as "butcher's steak" because butchers would often keep it for themselves rather than offer it for sale.

Hanger steak resembles flank steak in texture and flavor. It is a vaguely V-shaped pair of muscles with a long, inedible membrane down the middle. The hanger steak is usually the tenderest cut on an animal and is best marinated and cooked quickly over high heat (grilled or broiled) and served rare or medium rare, to avoid toughness. (source:  wikipedia)
I recently purchased a side of 100% grass-fed Angus beef with another friend, from Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville, and this was one of the first steaks we tried from that order. Believe me when I say it didn't disappoint! It was absolutely delicious, moist and tender.

1.5 lbs. hanger steak, trimmed of excess fat and silver-skin
2 tbls. olive oil
2 tbls. whole peppercorns
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 large sprigs rosemary (leaves and stems), roughly chopped

Place hanger steaks in a shallow baking dish or plate and rub with olive oil. Add peppercorns, garlic cloves,
rosemary and 1 tablespoon salt and rub until seasonings are evenly coating surface of steak. Transfer to a plastic zipper-lock bag and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. 
Remove steak from refrigerator and let come to room temperature 30-60 minutes. Season with more salt, if
desired, and grill steak on a sear burner or over high heat 4-5 minutes per side and continue grilling and
turning steak frequently until internal
temperature is 130 for medium rare. Remove from heat, cover with foil 
and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Slice against the grain and serve immediately.

Yield:  4 servings


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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sweet & Hot Sticky Wings

Chicken wings ... those wonderful, tasty wings we love to devour, either hot or mild, sticky or sweet! We love wings and have enjoyed them many, many times, but after I made Asian Sticky Wings recently, I wanted to try my hand and Sweet & Hot Sticky Wings. Oh boy, were these ever good. My husband said "that's a keeper" and believe me, not all of my recipes are keepers! He was licking his fingers and smacking his lips the entire time, saying "mmmmmmmmmm, dang these are good!!"

1/2 bag chicken wings, frozen
1/3 cup hot sauce
1/2 cup local, raw honey

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix hot sauce and honey in a large bowl until well blended.  Taste and adjust with more hot sauce or more honey to suit you, but you do want it to have a bit of a bite.  Toss wings in sauce to coat, reserving remaining sauce, and place in a 11 x 7-inch baking dish sprayed well with cooking spray (I used a glass baking dish). Bake 30 minutes, remove from oven and turn wings to coat well, adding more of the reserved sauce over all.  Return to oven and bake 15 more minutes, or until wings are well caramelized and sauce is thick and sticky over all. Discard any used sauce.  Serve while hot.


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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Easy Cajun Chicken and Rice

This is so easy to make and delicious to eat! It does have a bit of a bite to it, so adjust seasonings to your liking. Super-simple one dish meal, preps in 5 minutes, cooks in 30 minutes = done!

2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 cup long-grain rice
5-6 chicken tenders, cut into cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Parsley flakes to sprinkle over top

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add chicken stock, rice, diced celery, cubed chicken tenders, Cajun seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine; cover and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Sprinkle parsley flakes over top and serve immediately.

Yield:  4 servings


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