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Our Favorite Hearty Beef Stew

Yields 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Lbs of Beef Stew Meat
  • 1/2 a cup of dry red wine
  • 1- 6 Ounce jar of Tomato Paste
  • 1-24 Ounce jar of Basic Marinara sauce
  • 1/4th of a cup of Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp’s Olive Oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • 5 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tsp’s of fennel seeds
  • 1/4th Tsp of black peppercorns
  • 1 Tsp of Salt
  • 1 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 3 Shallots
  • 1 Fennel Bulb
  • Chives to garnish (optional)

How to re-create this recipe:

  1. Rough chop your garlic, carrots, red onion, shallots and set aside. Slice your Fennel bulb (discarding the outermost fibrous layer).
  2. Add your Olive Oil to a 4 inch deep saute pan. On medium/high heat sear your meat about 3 minutes on each side to develop a nice brown crust on them.
  3. Add your red wine and let that cook for a few minutes until most of the wine gets absorbed. Add your tomato paste, rough chopped veggies, garlic and fennel and give that a good stir making sure all veggies are coated. Cook that for another few minutes.
  4. Add your Marinara Sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of water and stir all ingredients together well.
  5. Add your bay leaves, fennel seeds, salt, black peppercorns, paprika, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and sage. Give that a good stir. Cover and cook/simmer for 2 hours. Adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
  6. Pair with a grain of your choosing and enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: The beef is a good source of protein and provides us with an antioxidant called Glutathione, which helps protects the cells of our bodies from cellular damage. Beef is also rich in minerals and helps to prevent iron deficiency. Beef is also high in B vitamins.

Tips when cooking: This is my family’s favorite hearty beef stew to eat in the wintertime. It’s very rich, filling and has a intense smoky flavor profile. I make it regularly and my son enjoyed learning how to sear meat for the first time! I pair it with whatever grain I happen to have handy in my pantry. This time I paired it with Jasmine rice which I cooked just following the most basic cooking directions. There are endless amounts of choices as far as grains go. Some to consider may be quinoa, farro, buckwheat, brown rice, basmati rice, etc… For the wine I used a 2019, 19 Crimes/ Cali Red (rapper snoop doggy dog is on the cover!). It’s a fantastic blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Merlot. A Syrah would be a great wine to use because it complements the flavor profile of this stew being smoky, herbaceous with red and black fruits and peppery. Adding mushrooms would also be a fantastic addition to this stew.

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Spot Prawn Risotto

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb of Spot Prawns
  • 16 Fluid Ounces Clam Juice (I used Bar Harbor brand)
  • 2 1/4 cups of Seafood Stock
  • 1/4th of a cup of Spot Prawn Roe Liquid (see steps below)
  • 1/2 a cup of Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/2 a cup of dry white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 5 Shallots (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp’s unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1/8th of a tsp of Saffron Threads
  • 2 Tbsp’s of snipped chives (plus a little more for garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp’s of Olive Oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

How to re-create this recipe:

  1. De-frost your Prawns by placing them in cold water for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Place a colander in your sink and next to it place a fine mesh sieve over the top of a small sturdy container.
  2. After 40 minutes, remove the shells and place them directly in the colander. It’s ok if your prawns are still semi-frozen (they defrost pretty quickly). If you find prawns with roe in them, very carefully remove the roe and place it in your sieve.
  3. After your done shelling your prawns, take the back of a small spoon and press the roe into the sieve, catching as much of the roe liquid as possible. Reserve this liquid.
  4. Finely chop your shallots, then de-vein the prawns. Afterwards, slice the prawns in half so your pieces are bite sized.
  5. In a small stock pot, combine the seafood stock, clam juice and roe liquid and bring up to a simmer. Afterwards turn down heat but make sure this mixture remains hot throughout the cooking process. Have a ladle handy.
  6. In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots, season them with some salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and until they are softened and slightly translucent (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to thoroughly coat it. Be careful not to scorch the rice.
  8. Add the saffron and the wine and cook, stirring occasionally until all the wine has been absorbed.
  9. Add 1 cup of the combined stock/clam juice and stir constantly on low/medium heat until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock about 1/2 a cup at a time, frequently stirring, making sure it is absorbed between adding additional cups of stock.
  10. When you are down to about 1 cup left of stock to add, preheat a large saute pan, add your butter and saute your prawns in it on medium high heat for about a minute on each side. They will be done and turn opaque quickly.
  11. When all your stock has been added, your risotto is al dente and the sauce is thick and creamy, add your snipped chives, lemon zest, sautéed prawns and mascarpone cheese. Give that a good stir and cook for a minute longer. Adjust your seasoning with salt.
  12. Serve in bowls and add some more snipped chives on top. Enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Spot Prawns are a fantastic source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, contain iron, zinc and vitamin E. They taste rich, buttery and super sweet and are also a highly sustainable species! They are sustainable because they are caught using deepwater traps which reduce by catch.

Tips when cooking: To de-vein your prawns, hold one between your thumb and your middle and pointer finger. Take a sharp pairing knife and run it down the middle, on the backside of the prawn. When the inside flesh is exposed, place your knife under the vein and pull it out, placing on a wet paper towel. Cooking the dish will take about 25 minutes and using the liquid from the roe is completely optional. It definitely adds more depth of flavor and added a beautiful coral color while cooking. Other options for dry white wines are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris. You can discard your prawn shells or rinse them in the colander and save them to make a stock for future cooking.

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Tender And Juicy Coulotte Steak With A Barbecue Marinade

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Lbs of Coulotte Steaks
  • 1 Lb of Campari Tomatoes
  • 3.5 fluid ounces of Sherry Vinegar
  • 5.5 ounces of brown sugar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2.5 Tbsp’s of Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Star Anise Pods
  • Vegetable Oil as needed
  • Maldon Sea Salt (for garnish, optional)
  • A 1 Steak Sauce for serving (optional)

How to re-create this recipe:

To make the barbecue marinade:

  1. Slice your tomatoes in half, drizzle vegetable oil on them and blister them in a hot cast iron skillet. 
  2. Add your tomatoes, sherry vinegar, brown sugar, ground fennel, coriander, black pepper, paprika and worcestershire to a blender or a food processor and blitz all the ingredients to a puree consistency. 
  3. Pour the puree into a saucepan, add your Star Anise Pods and cook over medium heat for about 35-40 minutes until the sauce reduces and becomes thick and fragrant. Remove your Star Anise pods and pour the puree back into your blender. Puree on high until completely smooth and afterwards cool to room temperature.
  4. While your puree cools down, clean out your cast iron pan and remove any extra silver skin on the steaks. Don’t trim all the fat off the steaks because that will give it more flavor while they cook.
  5. When your puree has cooled off, pour half the mixture in a deep pan, place the steaks on top of the puree and pour the other half over the steaks, making sure they are coated evenly. Cover with plastic wrap, place in fridge and marinade for up to 4 hours. (Prior to cooking the steaks, let them sit out at room temperature for about an hour).
  6. Pre-heat your cast iron pan on medium high heat, remove some of the excess BBQ marinade off your steaks and sear the steaks for about 2-3 minutes on each side so a nice crust forms. Afterwards place them in a oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for 30 minutes for a medium rare doneness. You can crank up the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes for a medium well doneness.
  7. Make sure you let the meat rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving it. Season the meat with some Maldon sea salt and enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: This is considered to be a more leaner cut of meat then many other cuts. 1 – 3oz portion yields just 79 calories (excluding any extra flavorings such as sauces, etc). It’s a great cut of meat to incorporate protein into your diet, as it has 15 grams of protein for a 3 oz portion.

Tips when cooking: The Coulotte is a cut of steak from the top sirloin (a.k.a top sirloin cap). It is popular in Brazilian-style steakhouses (known as picanha). It’s a juicy, tender cut of meat with a good amount of marbling. This roast can also be used for kabobs, steak sandwiches, stews and stir-fries. A Chimichurri sauce would also work great with it. I love this BBQ sauce because it is so versatile and the flavor is intense, zesty and acidic. I used it in a previous recipe when I marinated Porgies in it and then broiled them.

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Charred Brussel Sprout Salad With Creamy Goat Cheese, Crispy Bacon, Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

  • 20 Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce (sliced into strips)
  • 3 Oz crumpled goat cheese
  • 3/4th cup of cranberries
  • 1/3rd cup of toasted Hazelnuts
  • 8 strips of bacon (cooked well done)

For the dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove (finely minced)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp’s fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp’s red wine vinager
  • 1 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 cup Olive Oil and 1.5 tsp, divided

Putting it together:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, line a sheet tray and toast your hazelnuts for about 8 minutes until toasty and fragrant. Afterwards crank up the heat to 400 degrees, place 8 bacon strips on a sheet tray and bake until crispy (about 18-20 minutes). Afterwards, place the bacon in between some paper towels to absorb the oil.
  2. Wash your lettuce, dry it well, and cut it into strips. Remove the outermost layers of your Brussel sprouts and using a mandolin or food processor, slice all your sprouts and place them on a long parchment lined sheet tray , drizzle the 1.5 tsp of olive oil on them, season with salt and pepper, toss all the sprouts together until evenly coated and cook for up to 15-20 minutes (tossing occasionally) until the sprouts look cooked and charred.
  3. While that’s cooking, you can make your dressing by putting your minced garlic in a small bowl, add your honey, lemon juice, red vinegar, pomegranate molasses and then whisk in your olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add your sprouts to a medium sized serving bowl along with your lettuce, hazelnuts, cranberries and goat cheese. Crumple your bacon into the bowl add your dressing and give that a good toss. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Brussel Sprouts are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins C and K as well as have folate, calcium, iron and potassium. Having a diet that is high in cruciferous veggies such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower is said to reduce certain types of cancers.

Tips when cooking: I recently purchased this trio of Olive Oils at Trader Joe’s. They made for fantastic dipping and salad dressings. I used the one from Spain to make this salad dressing. I loved it’s fruity, smooth and buttery finish. They’re fun to use as an olive oil tasting at home! I think this salad would also work beautifully with blue cheese crumples.

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Lobster Bisque

(Yields 8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 Lobster tails
  • 4 cups of Lobster or Crab Stock (see previous 2 posts)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (finely chopped)
  • 2 Celery stalks (finely chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon leaves (plus 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon for garnish)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp’s tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp’s All purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup dry white wine ( I used Chardonnay)
  • 3/4th cup light cream

Putting it together:

  1. Fill a small stock pot up with 4 cups of water and a generous amount of salt. When it reaches a boil drop your lobster tails in and cook for 6 minutes.
  2. Afterwards, strain your liquid (making sure to reserve it!) and once lobsters have cooled a little take the meat out of their shells (see tips below). Cut the meat into small desired chunks.
  3. Heat the butter on medium heat in a medium sized stock pot. Add the mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) and fresh herbs and cook until veggies soften (about 6 minutes).
  4. Stir in the minced garlic, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another two minutes.
  5. Mix in the tomato paste until all the veggies are coated, sprinkle your flour on top and continue to cook for another two minutes.
  6. Pour in the wine, simmer until the soup is reduced by half. Stir in your stock and cayenne pepper, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the liquid has slightly thickened. Make sure that your cream is pre-heated.
  7. Take the soup off the heat, VERY CAREFULLY , transfer to a blender and blend the soup until it is completely smooth.
  8. Return the soup to low heat, stir in your cream and adjust your seasoning.
  9. Add lobster chunks to the center of your serving bowls, ladle the soup into them and garnish with freshly chopped tarragon. Enjoy!

Nourishment for your body: Lobster is a great source of protein, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, and contains multiple vitamins and minerals. However, it would be wise to eat it sparingly due to higher amounts of sodium and cholesterol compared to other crustaceans.

Tips when cooking: To remove your lobster meat: Place lobster tail on your counter with the back of the tail facing up. Use sharp kitchen shears to cut down through the centre to the end of the tail. With your thumbs and fingers, open the shell to loosen it from the meat, opening the meat away from the shell side walls. Pull the meat up from the bottom of the shell to seperate the shell from the meat underneath it. Other white wines that can be used are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Viognier, and Semillon. You can use a hand held immersion blender to puree this soup, but pureeing it in a blender (especially a vitamix blender) will give you a much smoother consistency. Other nice garnishes for this soup can be croutons, fennel fronds, creme fraiche , fresh parsley.