Archive for April 25th, 2011

April 25, 2011

Un-Traditional Easter Dinner

Since our family had to postpone Easter dinner until next weekend, I decided to make Braciole for Easter. It’s a dish I attempted and failed at before so it was time for another try.

Braciole is an Italian dish made with steak (sirloin pounded into think strips, or flank steak pounded to about a 1/4’”) stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese, and herbs, then stewed in a tomato sauce.

Technique: Braising. Braising and stewing begin with searing meats to lock in the moisture and create a good crust on the meat. Another great side effect of Braising is the sauce. Braising uses a small amount of liquid so by the end of the cooking process the sauce has reduced and developed deeper flavors.

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I begin with the tomato sauce since it should simmer for 30-minutes, then I use that time to make the stuffing and prepare the steak.

Tomato Sauce

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion, finely diced

8oz mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup white wine

crushed red pepper

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

4-5 basil leaves

salt and pepper

In an oven safe pot saute the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms until they are softened. Deglaze the pan with the wine and allow to cook about 3 minutes.

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Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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After 30 minutes add the torn basil leaves to the tomato mixture and stir.

Steak

1 flank steak

1/2 c bread crumbs

2 eggs

1/4 c parmesan cheese

1/2 bunch of parsley

1 clove garlic

salt and pepper

NOTE: Add other ingredients to the stuffing such as, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, green onion, spinach, mushrooms, etc…

(Next time I am going to try spinach, provolone and sun dried tomatoes, and I won’t process it in the food processor).

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Place all the stuffing ingredients in a food processor and process until it’s paste-like.

Lay the steak out on a cutting board and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Spread the stuffing over the steak, then roll it up starting with the narrow end.

Tie the ends and middle with kitchen twine. Sear the steak on all sides until it is brown, then add it to the tomato sauce. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. The longer you cook it the more tender the meat.

I served the Braciole with roasted asparagus and basil butter orzo.

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April 25, 2011

Caesar Dressing–on a lighter note

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You have heard me gush about him before, and I fear I may have a crush, but I love Jamie Oliver and his recipes never disappoint!

This is a recipe that I have been looking to find for a long time. A Caesar dressing that tastes like something you would get from a great restaurant – by that I mean a high class restaurant that clearly makes homemade kick-ass Caesar dressing.

Let me also preface that I usually do not opt for salad dressings or most savory recipes that use yogurt, but because it was Jamie I decided it was worth a try. Boy am I glad I tried!

This recipe has the graininess of the grated parmesan, the saltiness of the anchovies, and the classic garlic flavor that a great Caesar has! All on a lighter note because it’s made with yogurt and no eggs. You will be super impressed how good this recipe.

1/3 cup greek yogurt (lowfat or nonfat)

2 anchovy fillets, mashed

1 garlic clove (I used 2)

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

Salt and pepper

(Note: parmigiano-reggiano is what REAL authentic Italian parmesan is called, everything else is not authentic but still damn good).

Now I realize some of you may have an aversion to anchovies, even if you are well aware that it is in your Caesar dressing, maybe you just have a tough time handling the anchovies. If this is you, you should get over it because you are really missing out on anchovies. I know, I’ve been you before, but I pushed through my fear and jumped and I won’t go back. Anyway, in the event you just can’t do it, you can use 1 Tablespoon of capers and whatever brine you scoop up with the Tablespoon of capers from the jar instead.

Now, I roughly chop the garlic and mash the anchovy, but then I put it all in a blender and let the blender run a few minutes. If you don’t have a blender then finely mince your garlic (or even mash it) and then mash the anchovy (to mash (garlic or anchovy): sprinkle a little salt on it and use the side of your knife and mash it into the cutting board).

If you don’t have a blender: Whisk yogurt, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, and Worcestershire. Then whisk in the olive oil and cheese.

Toss the dressing with romaine lettuce, chicken is a yummy addition, and some homemade croutons. Top with shredded parm and some freshly ground pepper.

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