Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Simmer Down Now: French Onion Soup

After the delicious French onion soup I had at Pracna over in NE Minneapolis today I decided to take a crack at it myself.  Although I did not have any ramekins handy to place the soup under the broiler what I did have turned out great.

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • marsala wine

  1. heat up pan and add  butter
  2. slice onions and add to melted butter mixture (do not brown the onions)
  3. once the onions are translucent add the evoo and marsala wine
  4. add the beef and chicken broth
  5. cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  6. top oven safe bowls with cheese
  7. broil for 3 minutes or until browned

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

NUT FREE! Alternatives to Peanut Butter

Peanut allergies are becoming more and more frequent among American children. In fact many schools have a NUT FREE zone that segregates the allergic children from the fun loving peanut eating children. What are alternatives for people who either can't eat peanuts (like me) or people who have a child with peanut sensitivity?

Sandwich Substitutes:

1. Cream Cheese
2. Guacamole
3. Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
4. Hummus
5. Vegetable Purees
6. Salad Dressing
7. Bean Dip
8. Soy and Sunflower Butters: Soy Nut butter tastes a little funky on it's own but is a good in stir fry and other Asian inspired dishes.
9. Other Nut Butters: Some people that are allergic to peanuts are also allergic other tree nuts as well. Proceed with caution.

Peanut Butter Alternatives - Top Nine Substitutes for Peanut Butter

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Art of The Perfect Poached Egg

Picture of a perfectly cooked poached egg
I have tried Numerous times to attempt poaching an egg.  Unfortunately I have failed miserably each time.  Today however I stumbled upon a website solely dedicated to the perfect poached egg.  Hopefully with these detailed instructions I too will be able to cook a perfect poached egg.  I wanted to pass along the knowledge to those of you who have been punked by the egg on numerous occasions....

The Perfect Poached Egg

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wine and Food Pairing for Dummies

I spent a lot of time researching the art of wine and food pairing.  Unfortunately most of the articles I found were written by wine snobs for wine snobs.  I finally stumbled upon a simple straight forward article that I was able to understand.  So instead of reaching for my handy two buck chuck or Hess Chardonnay next time I am going to pair my vino of choice with the dish I'm cooking.

Below is some of the information I gleamed from the articles I read:
  • Complementary and Contrast are a "big deal"
    • Complementary: choosing a wine that is similar to the food that you are preparing.
    • Contrast: choosing a wine that is also dissimilar to the food that you are preparing.
Key characteristics that can complement or contrast with a meal are:
  • Flavor: earthy, herbal, fruity
  • Intensity: scale from weak flavor, moderate flavor, to very flavorful
  • Texture: from crisp and firm to soft and supple
  • Weight: light-bodied, medium-bodied, and full-bodied
For those of you who are like me and do not have the educated pallet that it takes to determine all of these characteristics I have listed classic pairings below:

  • Oysters and traditional, unoaked Chablis
  • Lamb and red Bordeaux (Chianti is good with lamb, too)
  • Port with walnuts and Stilton cheese
  • Salmon with Pinot Noir
  • Amarone with Gorgonzola cheese
  • Grilled fish with Vinho Verde
  • Foie gras with Sauternes or with late-harvest Gewürztraminer
  • Braised beef with Barolo
  • Dry amontillado Sherry with soup
  • Grilled chicken with Beaujolais
  • Toasted almonds or green olives with fino or manzanilla Sherry
  • Goat cheese with Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé
  • Dark chocolate with California Cabernet Sauvignon

To Read More visit How to Match Food With Wine  

                          Sunday Morning Shrimp and Sausage Omelet

                          I was trying to think of a great hangover breakfast for the weekend and after spending 20 minutes staring in my fridge I knew what I wanted to make. SHRIMP OMELETS!!! I did a little research first to make sure it wasn't a completely weird combination that no one would dare to eat but after some online validation I decided to give it a shot. I am not a fan of measuring cups so I guesstimated the measurements. Hope you enjoy!

                          Shrimp and Sausage Omelets

                          • 6 pieces frozen raw shrimp
                          • 3 breakfast sausage links
                          • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
                          • 1 cup fresh raw spinach
                          • 5 cloves of garlic
                          • olive oil
                          • Parmesan cheese
                          • 4 egg whites
                          • 2 whole eggs
                          • 3 tablespoons of 1% milk
                          • 2 leafs of basil

                          1. Thaw shrimp and peel off shells.
                          2. Meanwhile heat up cooking oil in a pan
                          3. Slice up garlic and cook on low until soft
                          4. Chop shrimp, sausage, and spinach.
                          5. Cook shrimp,sausage, and red peppers with garlic until nearly done
                          6. Remove garlic, shrimp, and sausage with a slotted spoon
                          7. Combine eggs, milk, basil, and spinach
                          8. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook on low
                          9. Add shrimp and sausage mixture back to pan
                          10. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
                          11. Fold omelet over and serve

                          Saturday, April 3, 2010

                          What a Pear!

                          I make it a point to try and bring a dish to any party if possible. In a crunch I have found that this dish is both simple to make and a crowd pleaser. I have been considering adding additional fruits but I have not quite figured out the combination yet.

                          Crispy Prosciutto and Pear Cups

                          • 3 oz prosciutto thinly sliced
                          • 1 ripe Bartlett pear finely diced
                          • 1 t fresh lemon juice

                          1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut prosciutto into 24 two inch squares. Place one square overlapping any tears in each cup of a mini cupcake tin. Bake until fat turns golden about 15 min. using a fork immediately transfer to a paper towel to drain. cool completely. In a small bowl, combine pear and juice place 1/2 t in each cup just before serving.

                          Friday, April 2, 2010

                          I'm beginning to recognize a theme...BACON!

                          The other night I had invited some friends over for a party and didn't realize that I had gotten an RSVP from everyone until about two hours before the party.  After I got finished slamming some glasses of wine and freaking out I pulled a few appetizers together with items I found in my fridge.  They were a hit!

                          Shrimp and Bacon Egg Rolls


                          • I bag frozen raw shrimp
                          • 1/2 lb of bacon
                          • 2 cups grated mozzarella
                          • 3 cups fresh raw spinach
                          • 1 package egg roll wrappers
                          • cooking oil (corn or vegetable)

                          1. Thaw shrimp and peel off shells.
                          2. Meanwhile fully cook the bacon in a pan
                          3. reserve the grease
                          4. chop bacon, shrimp, and spinach.
                          5. Combine with cheese
                          6. place a small amount of the mixture on an egg roll wrapper
                          7. roll up the wrapper and seal with a small amount of water
                          8. add cooking oil to bacon grease and heat up pan
                          9. cook each egg roll on medium heat for approximately 6 minutes

                          BACON BACON BACON!

                          I'm going to go ahead and say that you can NEVER go wrong with bacon. This dish turned out a little spicier than I would like so next time I will use either less jalapeños or a more mild pepper. This dish was pretty simple but full of flavor!

                          Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken

                          • 4 chicken breasts
                          • 4 slices of bacon
                          • 1 jalapeno
                          • 1.5 C fat free mozzarella cheese
                          • chopped cilantro
                          • 1 shallot
                          • 3 cloves of garlic
                          • Old Bay Seasoning (or any other seasonings you have on hand that you like)
                          • Garlic Powder
                          • 1/2 C BBQ sauce
                          • 1/2 C Chicken Stock

                          1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
                          2. Prepare a large baking dish.
                          3. Chop shallot, garlic cloves. Add cheese and seasonings.
                          4. Slice Jalapeno into thin round slices.
                          5. Pound chicken breasts between two pieces of cling wrap until they are thin.
                          6. Place shallot, garlic, cheese and seasonings mixture onto flatted chicken breast.
                          7. Roll up chicken breast and wrap chicken breast in bacon. Repeat until each of the chicken breasts has been rolled up and wrapped.
                          8. Sprinkle top of chicken with Jalapeno slices.
                          9. Whisk together BBQ sauce and chicken stock.
                          10. Poor mixture over chicken.
                          11. Cover baking dish with tin foil.
                          12. Place in oven.