Sunday, February 28, 2010

Steakbomb Subs, Grass-fed Style!

It may not seem it, but we're not big meat eaters in this house.  But when we go for it, we go for the best we can buy: locally raised grass-fed & finished beef. I bought two Delmonico steaks last night (aka boneless top sirloin) thinking a particular house-sitting guest was coming over, but he never made it. So, what to do with two steaks?  "What about cheese steaks?" I asked my hub. Talk about dumbing down expensive cuts! But, oh, was it so worth it!

Thing is, grass-fed beef can be awfully tough if seared in a pan the traditional way. Grass-fed meat likes 'slow an' easy' methods, so turning our steaks into thin slices that would take all of 4 or 5 minutes to cook was actually ideal. Gimme the knife!

A couple medium onions from the FM and one red bell pepper (alas, Mexican soils and water for our food once again...) made their way into my pan once the olive oil was shimmering. Turned the heat down to low, and added some love (s, p & other seasonings)...

Secret ingredient: a good splash of red wine (cab sauv) vinegar. Why? It adds huge flavor and eventually contributes to tenderizing the meat!

Fresh mushrooms for our region come up from PA, and these babies were prime for the pan--firm, white buttons all nice and sliced up...and happy to meet their destiny.

Saute the beef strips until cooked through.  (Grass-fed beef, btw, is high in omega 3's & 6's!

Now, most Philly cheesesteak/steakbomb recipes on the Net express sincere devotion to one ingredient that will never be found in my refrigerator: Cheese Whiz. Cheese Whiz?? Aaack. While I had some really nice local goat cheese in the fridge that had buttery tartness to offer, it wasn't enough. So while we were out picking up wine (I'm telling you, we are IN TRAINING for Amador...), we stopped and grabbed a somewhat-local (that is, if you live in Wisconsin) wedge of a Danish-style Fontina cheese. Fontina is a semisoft cheese with excellent meltability, and it's flavor is creamy and mild. It also shreds well. It was superb for this dish...

Note to self: 12" sub rolls are huge. Next time use smaller hoagies. Or invite friends over.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Enchiladas Verdes and Friends

Today marks one week before we fly off to Sacramento for our 5-day tour of Amador wine country. Our wine touring companions, aka the "crew," were over for dinner and to review my menu for 14 that I posted a few blogs back. I think we got it all figured out...what with all the wine flowing the way it was (we're in training afterall! ;~)

Dinner: enchiladas verdes (authentic corn tortillas filled and rolled with tender, juicy, organic chicken, local monterey jack and cilantro, and smothered in an organic poblano and tomatillo sauce). It's a dish that I have a love-hate relationship with at this time of year: love the dish, hate the fact that poblanos and tomatillos can't grow in New England in February. I know one thing, though- I am going to stockpile, blacken and freeze poblanos this summer, like I did with all my excess sweet peppers last summer. No more of this 'poblanos from 3000 miles away' crap. Simply char your whole peppers, let cool, and then wrap tightly in baggies. I individually froze mine for easier use. While the crunch factor will be lost, you'll still have all the flavor, and then some. It's totally worth it.

The recipe I used was nabbed from an ATK episode--last season's, I think, and still unavailable online unless you register with ATK--and I haven't yet turned it into my own, so I thought I'd simply share pix of my nicely blackened organic poblanos that go into making the sauce. I complemented the sauce, too, with my very last pint of locally grown husk cherry salsa (our CSA grows husk cherries). Husk cherries, btw, are small tomatillos - found in the same genus as tomatillos. Sadly, the six of us ate the entire pan of 12 enchiladas before I remembered to take a picture! What a dummy, eh?

The peppers need to have that beautifully charred skin removed because it's bitter. After stemming and removing the seeds, coat the halves in olive oil and broil for as much as ten minutes right underneath the heating elements. Add seeds back in to the sauce if you want heat. Overall, expect a nicely tart yet sweet flavor from the peppers and tomatillos. With cumin and garlic and cilantro, it really tastes fresh and light, and is sure bet for entertaining.

For the complete recipe, simply register with ATK's site "for free" here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

French Toast and Sundays

What is life without Sunday morning breakfast?  The relaxing environment of the early morning sun reaching through the windows, music quietly playing, hubby on the couch with his is sweet!  Speaking of sweet, I couldn't help but turn Abigail's beautiful braided loaf of peasant bread into French toast, complete with delicioso maple syrup from Sugarmomma's and blackberries that I picked from our brambles last summer and froze.  My last four eggs from last week's fm made this happen.  Can't wait for the fm next Saturday!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Browned Butter Style

A new style of making cookie dough has been born in this house,

My Favorite Coffee Mug

Here in New Hampshire we're still experiencing temps in the 30's-low 40's during the day. There's still snow on the ground in my area, but the chippies have been seen emerging from their wintering dens for nearly a week now. The red squirrels are seemingly more active and acting more territorial, and there were five species of woodpeckers evident at my feeders the day before yesterday. I love that the Spring Equinox is only a month away. Check out my 'Spring Equinox' page for fun, inspiring ways to celebrate spring foods.

Two weeks from today...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brownies, Or Chocolate Butter?!

After seeing a recent you-know-who brownie "Throwdown" that took place in the neighboring state to our west (VT), two things occurred to me yesterday afternoon:

Turkey Burgers

Last night at 6:30 I started brainstorming dinner. Yup, at 6:30. My hub is so completely patient with this quasi-idiosyncratic behavior of mine; he leaves me to my devices knowing I will pluck some sort of fantabulous dinner out of my...refrigerator. Or as was the case last night, my freezer. And, we ate by 8! This madness is what happens when you sneak off to...