Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shrimp Cakes, Beef and Potatoes oh my

Woke up to 5 voicemails on my work phone. Questions from "Will this dog pajama fit my 50 pound lab" to "how long will it take this dog shirt to get to me"... all questions that are answered on our FAQ page on our site, but that is ok. I am learning to be nice and after all they pay my bills right? I do love my job and I realize some people would rather me just tell them than read it. I am going for a short work day today. I want to cook and get some wii in if possible.

Today's Menu:

gamberetti dolci (shrimp cakes)
Brasato di manzo in salsa di vino rosso (Beef braised in red wine sauce)
rafano aglio purè di patate (horseradish garlic mashed potatoes)

Ok I got the beef through coupons 4 lbs for $8.
The shrimp was on special, buy one bag, get one free
The potatoes were 10 lbs for $3
The rest of the ingredients I fill my pantry with as they are on sale. As for herbs. They are growing outside in my garden as well as anytime I use lemon, lime or orange. I live in Cali... so they all grow outside.

The recipes are below. Please note that you really need to start with the Marinated Braised Beef first, because it needs to cook for 3 hours. These are easy recipes and when done the presentation can be such that you would find at a gourmet restaurant. You can do it!

Gamberetti Dolci to serve 4 ( you can double if you want it as a main course)

The shrimp cakes have a spicy sun-dried tomato and red pepper sauce. The shrimp are not too finely chopped so it gives it a good texture. I got the base recipe from "The wine lover cooks with wine" but I changed it up and added some of the Le Cordon Bleu techniques to it. Listen, I promise that this is not hard. I have written it out step by step with pictures and how to prep. You can do it! Especially when your local grocer has buy one get one on shrimp!! Fresh shrimp is great but in our busy lives sometimes you gotta just get the bag that is already cleaned and deveined. In a shrimp cake it won't matter much.

Everything you will need: olive oil, shrimp (12 ounces cleaned, shelled and deveined), white wine, mayo, Dijon mustard, fresh flat leaf parsley (listen folks, you really need to use fresh herbs ok?), fresh tarragon (or if you HAVE to, dried tarragon), fresh chives, tobasco sauce, balsamic vinegar, panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Things you can prep ahead (From now I will call this section: SOUS)
  • mince parsley into 2 TB
  • mince chives into 1 1/4 TB
  • soak 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in water
  • chop 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • mince 1 TB green onion
  • mince 1 1/2 fresh basil
Heat 3/4 tsp oil over medium heat (usually means about 375). Add the shrimp and 1/4 cup wine and cook 2-3 minutes until they are evenly pink.

Using a slotted spoon (don't drain... USE THE SPOON), transfer the shrimp to a bowl. When cooled enough to handle coarsely chop the shrimp. This is important. No mushy shrimp please. If it is mushy then the texture will be all wrong. Then Simmer leftover liquid for about 30 seconds to cook-off alcohol and fishy taste, then set aside.

In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup mayo, 3/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 TB minced parsley, tarragon, chives, tobasco sauce, balsamic vinegar, and pan liquid and whisk thoroughly.Add chopped shrimp and bread crumbs. Gently form 4 patties ... you may need to add more bread crumbs. cover and refrigerate FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR.

For the sauce you need: sun dried tomato halves, oil, onion, minced green onion, red bell pepper, capers, FRESH basil, cumin, cayenne pepper, white wine, chicken broth, salt and pepper, mixed greens (I used butter leaf lettuce).

Soak tomatoes in a bowl of water for 45 minutes. Drain, and then chop. In skillet heat oil add 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 TB minced green onion, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, and the sun dried tomatoes. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add 2 tsp capers, 1 1/2 TB minced basil, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1/8 tsp cayenne (if the kids weren't eating it I would add 1/4). Cook for 2 more minutes. And 1/2 cup dry white (chardonnay always works for me) and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook to reduce by half. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add another 1/2 cup chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

Putting it together:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet to 375 . This is where I love to have an electric skillet because you can control the temp. If you don't have one, I would recommend getting a thermometer. If the oil is too hot it will burn, if it is not hot enough, then they are left too oily. Add 1 TB oil (canola works best for me for frying).sauté the shrimp cakes until browned on one side (5 minutes) turn carefully and cook until browned on 2nd side.. Usually 3 -4 minutes) . Put in pan and cook in oven until cooked through... about 5 minutes.

I used butter lettuce as a garnish on top of the pepper sauce. Here is the finished appetizer:

Rafano aglio purè di patate (Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes)

Horseradish and garlic go so well together, especially when served with beef. For this recipe you must use Yukon gold potatoes. Russets are too grainy and it will not turn out right.

You will need 3 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes. I head of roasted garlic. 2 TB horseradish, 2 TB Minced fresh thyme, ½ cup whole milk, 6 TB unsalted butter, chicken stock, salt pepper

  • mince fresh thyme
I have a handy garlic roaster. If you don’t then. To roast, cut off the whole heads ¼ of the way from the top.
 Place in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool for 5 minutes then squeeze the garlic out from its husk. I am telling you this handy garlic roaster is $29 and I use it 2-3 times a week. Takes 20 minutes and you just push a button.

Any way bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil add 1 TB salt. Once it returns to a boil put potatoes in. ( you peel after you boil.. it is all the rage in cooking school. ) Drain, let cool slightly, peel potatoes. In food processor or blender, process the potatoes in batches until almost smooth. If you process them too long they will become like glue so don’t do that. Transfer them to large bowl after each batch. Add roasted garlic, horseradish and thyme. Blend. I use my hand blender. Transfer potatoes to a large saucepan. Place over low heat and stir in the milk and butter. Thin if necessary with chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Serve now or keep warm in a low oven for up to 30 minutes.

Brasato di manzo in salsa di vino rosso (Beef marinated in red wine sauce)

You will need: oil, 1 4lb beef roast, 1TB butter, 3 TB coarsely chopped yellow onion, 2 TB coarsely chopped carrot. 2 TB coarsely chopped celery. 1 ½ cup red wine (Pinot Noir, not cab). I cup beef broth, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes. Pinch of thyme, 1/8 tsp Marjoram.

  • 3 TB coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 TB coarsely chopped carrot
  • 2 TB coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a skillet to 375 degrees. Poor enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Salt and pepper all sides of roast. When heat reaches 375, brown the meat on all sides. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
In a casserole dish that has a lid, Put 2 TB oil, butter and chopped onion, carrot and celery. over moderate heat melt butter. I don't like mushy vegetables, so I just barely braise mine. If you like mushy veggies then cook til they wilt.
Drain all juice off meat into a skillet, Put the meat into the casserole dish on top of the veggies like so:

add wine and boil for 1 minute only to get all the browning residue off the pan. Pour on top of the meat and veggies in casserole dish. Add broth to the dish. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring heat up to a boil. Then cover and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Turning the meat every 30 minutes so it stays juicy. If all liquid evaporates before the 3 hours add 3 or 4 TB broth more.

Here is the finished meal. Oh my, it really melted in my mouth. I wanted to eat more. It was so good. I really highly recommend this.

Once my fancy white plates get here I can make it look all fancy gourmet. They shipped. I wonder how long it will take?
Ok that is all for now. I won't always post all the recipes. but I was feeling like I needed a challenge today.

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