I like my meat very, very lean so an Eye-of-Round roast is right up my alley. It is cut from the rear leg of the cow and although lean it can be tough if not cooked properly. This method uses a combination of spices to create a rub that are easily found in most kitchens. Once the roast has been prepped it is seared in a hot pan on all sides and then transferred to the oven for about 40 minutes. Water is added to the drippings as the roast rests to deglaze the pan and then reduced to create an au jus that concentrates all of the flavors of the rub and the roast. Delicious, lean and a little bit rare . . . a perfect roast (and perfect roast beef sandwiches to follow).
EYE-OF-ROUND ROAST AU JUS (Serves 8)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the rub ingredients. Sprinkle over both sides of the beef. Using your fingertips, gently press the rub so it adheres to the beef.
- Heat a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the beef for 8 minutes, or until seared on all sides, turning every 2 minutes. Leave in the skillet.
- Roast for 40 minutes, or until the beef registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. The beef will continue to cook while standing, but don?t let it overcook or it will become tough.
- Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup water to the pan drippings. Bring to a boil over high heat, scraping to dislodge any browned bits. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by three-fourths (to about 2 tablespoons), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Slice the beef diagonally across the grain. Arrange the slices on a serving platter. Drizzle with the reduction.
The beauty of this salad is in its simplicity. Crisp, raw asparagus tossed with a beautiful creamy caesar vinaigrette — Yum! This dressing is a fabulous combination of ingredients that include red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire and a bit of anchovy paste. The addition of mayonnaise turns this vinaigrette into a creamy sensation. Although this is a “raw” salad, I prefer to blanch the asparagus in salted water before it is tossed with the dressing. That method tenderizes the asparagus as it maintains the bright color, texture and nutritional content.
RAW ASPARAGUS CEASAR SALAD (Serves 4-6)
- 2 bunches (or about 2 pounds) pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 anchovy filet)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Combine mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste in a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with the dressing. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
~ SeriousEats.com ~
Fresh caught North Carolina Flounder — beautiful white flesh with a mildly sweet flavor that is packed full of high-quality protein. This recipe is a perfect method to maintain all of the healthy qualities of the fish while adding some great flavor to it as well. Get two pans going on the stove at once — One to create the stuffing using onion, garlic, lemon zest, and a bit of salt and pepper. The other to put together a delicious cream based cheese sauce. I wish I had added some chopped parsley to the sauce to brighten both the flavors and appearance of the dish. I chose to use fresh spinach, so I chopped it up and added it to the onion along with the garlic to allow it to wilt properly. Once finished the flounder filets are stuffed and placed in a casserole dish on a bed of cooked rice. The cheese sauce is spooned over the fish and rice and baked for 25 minutes at 350 F. The fat in the cheese sauce creates a barrier around flounder, maintaining its moisture and producing a perfectly cooked final product. A delicious one dish meal — served here with a Summer House Salad.
BAKED STUFFED FLOUNDER (Serves 4-6)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for the sweat and for seasoning fillets
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning fillets
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 10 ounces grated Cheddar
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flounder fillets
- 3 cups cooked rice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium saute pan over low heat, melt the butter; add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the spinach and lemon zest and cook until just heated through. Season with the salt and pepper, add the parsley, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
- Place the heavy cream and wine into a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese and stir until melted. Set aside and keep warm.
- If the fillets are large, cut in half. Season each filet on both sides with salt and pepper. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the fillets and roll the fish around the mixture. Place the rice into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and spread evenly. Place each roll on top of the rice, seam side down. Pour over the cheese sauce and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
This installment of “Cooking with Christopher” is all about the whipped cream. How many kids have never enjoyed freshly made whipped cream — You mean it doesn’t come in a tub?! The key to success is a combination of ingredients and technique. Always use heavy whipping cream and take the time to chill your bowl and beaters. It makes a huge difference . . . believe me! You can use a whisk to beat the mixture by hand, but for a quicker and less tiring method try using an electric mixer, a food processor, or my favorite – an immersion blender. Beat the ingredients together until stiff peaks form. If you over-whip your cream it will start to get stiff and clumpy. Don’t give up, just add a little bit more cream and things should smooth out nicely. This recipe can be put together easily — it is a perfect recipe for little ones to accomplish with supervision. I didn’t add any additional sugar to the strawberries. The doughnuts are plenty sweet already. Slice open the doughnuts, add a layer of whipped cream, some strawberries, more whipped cream and you are ready to serve. Enjoy this quick and easy dessert and find a little one to share in the preparation. More fun for everyone!
GLAZED DOUGHNUT STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (Serves 4)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 glazed doughnuts, halved horizontally
- 1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Beat cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a chilled glass or metal bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Place the bottom half of one doughnut on a plate. Spoon 1/4 cup whipped cream onto the doughnut, arrange 1/4 of the sliced strawberries over the whipped cream, and then spoon another 1/4 cup whipped cream over the strawberries. Top with remaining doughnut half. Repeat with remaining doughnuts, cream, and strawberries.
~ from AllRecipes.com ~
I can’t believe that in all my years I had never prepared barbecued ribs! Not so difficult — especially if you bake them in the oven for a few hours the day before. This recipe starts out with a spice rub and a trip to the oven for 2 to 3 hours. Each rack is wrapped in aluminum foil to protect the ribs and the catch all of the dripping for use in the sauce. It is recommended that they rest until the next day in the refrigerator so that the flavors permeate throughout the cut. The drippings are combined with a bit of chicken stock and mixed with barbecue sauce (either homemade or store bought). The ribs are only on the grill for about 10 minutes of so — basted with barbeque sauce to create a beautiful lacquered finish. Allow the racks to rest for a few minutes and then cut into individual ribs before serving. Tender, falling off the bone, deliciousness . . . Not to be missed.
BARBECUED RIBS (Serves 6)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Place each rack of ribs on a double layer of foil; sprinkle rub all over ribs. Wrap racks individually and divide between 2 baking sheets.
- Bake ribs until very tender but not falling apart, about 2 hours for baby backs and 3 hours for spareribs. Carefully unwrap ribs; pour any juices from foil into a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup; reserve juices. Let ribs cool completely. DO AHEAD: Ribs can be baked up to 3 days ahead (the flavor will be more developed, and the cold ribs will hold together better on the grill as they heat through). Cover and chill juices. Rewrap ribs in foil and chill
- Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Add broth or water to rib juices, if needed, to measure 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in barbecue sauce to blend.
- Grill ribs, basting with barbecue sauce mixture and turning frequently, until lacquered and charred in places and heated through, 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut between ribs to separate. Transfer to a platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce.
Barley is a whole grain that has a great ‘al dente’ chewy texture and a bit of a nutty flavor. It is considered to be a cereal grain, but I like to serve it as a hearty side or in soups or stews. In fact, I think I was first introduced to barley by Campbell’s in their Vegetable Beef Soup. Although it is both delicious and nutritious, you just don’t see it served very often. I was looking for something different to dish up as a substitute for rice. This recipe fit the bill nicely – it moves along quite quickly and yields a beautiful, tasty offering. You can prepare the barley in advance and really cut down the prep time. I chose to simmer my barley in chicken stock to add another flavor element to my dish. Red onion is added to a hot pan and sautéed for a few minutes before garlic, cardamom, spinach, lemon zest and lemon juice are added. As the spinach begins to wilt, the barley is added along with feta cheese, slivered almonds, and golden raisins. Once the mixture is heated through you are ready to serve up a hearty, healthy, beautiful side. Ron doesn’t think that it needs an extra drizzle of lemon juice before serving this dish up. He felt that it overpowered the palate a bit since it already had a good amount of lemon zest and lemon juice added already. We enjoyed this so much that I am going to try looks for other ways to bring barley back to the table.
Note: If you don’t have cardamom in your pantry, try using 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1/2 t. nutmeg as a substitute.
PEARL BARLEY WITH SPINACH AND FETA (Serves 4)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 4 cups baby spinach, stems removed
- juice of 1 lemon + 1 more to serve
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cups cooked pearl barley
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup almonds, slivered
- ½ cup golden raisins
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add spinach, cardamom, lemon juice and zest. Cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds.
- Add cooked barley, feta, almonds and raisins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through if serving warm drizzle with the juice of one lemon and chopped fresh parsley.For a great salad option: store in an air-tight container in fridge and serve cold, drizzled with more fresh lemon juice.
Our local market had fresh caught tuna on sale and I just couldn’t resist. The secret to preparing tuna is about controlling heat. It is important to bring the tuna to room temperature before cooking. When you add cold tuna to a hot pan it steals some of the heat away from the pan and drops the temperature. The idea is to add your fish to a hot pan and sear it quickly and evenly. You don’t want the tuna to cook all the way through. Just sear it on each side for about a minute and a half and then on the sides for about 20 seconds each. You are rewarded with a tender, juicy tuna steak surrounded by a crispy sesame crust. Perfection! Served here over Pearl Barley with Spinach and Feta.
SESAME-CRUSTED TUNA STEAKS (Serves 4)
- 4 tuna steaks (1-inch thick, about 6 ounces each)
- 1/3 cup white sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
- 2 t. toasted sesame oil
- 2 T. soy sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- vegetable oil
- Combine the white and black sesame seeds on a plate and spread in a thin layer.
- Whisk the sesame oil and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle a little of the mixture over each tuna steak and rub with the back of a spoon to cover the entire surface. Season with a little black pepper, then turn the steaks and repeat the process.
- Dredge the tuna steaks in sesame seeds (sides included), pressing gently to ensure they cover the fish evenly and completely.
- Film the bottom of a heavy pan with a small amount of vegetable oil, then heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, add 2 of the tuna steaks and sear just long enough for the white sesame seeds to develop a little golden color, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side. If desired, you can use tongs to gently support the steaks and sear the edges of the steaks all the way around as well, 15 to 20 seconds total should be enough time.
- Transfer the tuna to a cutting board and repeat the process with the remaining steaks.
- Cut the tuna steaks into thin slices and arrange over fresh greens. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi for dipping, steamed rice on the side and a garnish of sliced scallions.
~ from MyGourmetConnection.com ~