(#beef, #beefjerky )
A few weeks ago I was in the office and needed a little break, so me and a co-worker went across the street to the drug store. He was working out later and wanted something high protein and didn’t like the selection of powders. I just said “try some beef jerky.”
He looked at me funny and asked “isn’t that bad for you?”
I laughed and said “slim jims are bad, really greasy and high in fat, but normal beef jerky is low calorie, high protein, and low fat. But the drawback is that it is high in sodium”.
Long story short, he looked at a packet and confirmed the information I gave him and we got some to take back to the office. When I got home that night, I looked for dehydrators on Amazon. I decided to make my own damn jerky with less salt. I ended up buying the Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator.
I called up Mean Joe and he got me some extremely lean organic grass fed beef:
I marinated the meat for 12 hours with a simple recipe:
2 lbs of extremely lean beef cut into 3/4 inch long strips
6 crushed bulbs of garlic
3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon of McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning 29 oz
1. Allow the meat to marinate for 12 hours in the refrigerator. Place the meat on paper towels before you start to dehydrate to get off any excess liquids.
2. Follow the directions of your dehydrator – but mine is a round multi-leveled system. I placed the meat in the trays and re-stacked them once they were full…
3. Based on volume, allow the device to dehydrate the meat for 7-14 hours. I took mine out at 7 hours because the meat was starting to look crispy.
4. Place the completed jerky on paper towels again to soak off any grease.
5. Place in mason jars or plastic bags and refrigerate for maximum freshness.
( #cheese )
I found this recipe via Simply Recipes. Check out that site for more information and pictures.
1 rustic loaf of bread, unsliced, either Italian or French
12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (less or more to taste) chopped pickled jalapeños
1/4 cup chopped green onions, including greens
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread almost all the way through (not all the way) in a cross hatch pattern, spacing an inch between the slices.
2. Place the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Toss with the green onions and jalapeños. Pour over with melted butter and use your clean hands to toss, to distribute the butter evenly through the cheese.
3. Place the bread on a large sheet of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the bread) on a baking sheet. Stuff every crevasse with the cheese mixture. Wrap with the aluminum foil.
4. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover the foil from the bread and cook for 10 minutes more, until all of the cheese has melted.
( #meatballs )
NOTE: You can use whatever meat you want for this recipe, but I used a blend yesterday so that is what I am going to use in the directions.
1 lb – ground Beef (80/20)
½ lb – ground veal
½ lb – ground pork
3 slices of Italian bread (cut off crusts and cube)
½ cup of milk
½ cup of breadcrumbs
½ cup of grated cheese (parm-reg)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
½ large Spanish onion (diced)
3 cloves of garlic (pressed/diced)
½ cup of white wine
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
You have to make the sauce first because you will line the pan when baking the meatballs.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Get a sauce pan and set stove top to medium heat. Add olive oil and let it warm up. Then add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes.
3. Add the garlic cook for 3 more minutes
4. Optional: Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to the onions and garlic and stir.
5. Bring the heat to high and then add the white wine to glaze the onions (1-2 minutes – don’t let it burn)
6. Add the crushed tomatoes, mix everything well.
7. All the oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper to the sauce. Mix well and then drop heat to a simmer.
8. Allow the sauce to cook for 15 minutes (leave the sauce in the pan, you will need this setup later)
9. Get a deep cookie sheet and line the pan with the tomato sauce. Set it aside until you are ready to roll the meatballs.
10. In a large bowl, soak the bread you cube in the milk. Let it get really soggy to the point that it falls apart.
11. Add the two eggs and the oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic salt, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix well.
12. Add the meat and mix with your hands. Then add the grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Continue to mix well with your hands.
13. Start to roll the meat into balls with your hands (I like them to be the diameter of a half dollar, or just a little bit smaller). Place the meatballs onto the cookie sheet that you put the sauce on.
14. Put the meatballs in the oven for 40 minutes.
15. Heat up the tomato sauce again and when the meatballs are done, put them in the pan and toss them around for 5 minutes to soak up the tomato sauce flavor.
Serve them in a bowl alone, in a sandwich, or with pasta.
( #Enchilada )
Since it is a busy week, I was looking for something simple to cook in the crock pot. I came across a version of this recipe over at SkinnyTaste.com but I had to tweak it due to my raging hatred of cilantro.
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
8 oz can tomato sauce
1-2 tsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (or more to taste)
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes.
2. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Pour into crock pot.
3. To the crockpot, add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
4. Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
5. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt to taste.
I made this salad on Xmas Eve and people really seemed to enjoy it. Here is the official recipe.
INGREDIENTS: Main Dish
2 large handfuls of chicken or turkey
1 large handful of cashew nuts
1 handful of dried cranberries
2 teaspoons ground all-spice
a handful of fresh mint, leaves picked (optional)
a handful of fresh coriander, leaves picked (optional)
4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves such as chicory, rocket, spinach, watercress
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
juice of 2 clementine
juice of 1 lime
1 pomegranate, halved
1/2 red onion, peeled and coarsely grated
extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
To Make the Dressing:
1. Since Clementines are small I like to use two. Roll it, then cut it in half, and then squeeze into a large bowl.
2. Cut the pomegranate in half (try to pop out a few seeds and set them aside), and squeeze hard to break the seeds and release the juice.
3. Grate the red onion and add that to the bowl
4. Add the fresh lime juice
5. Add the olive oil – the general rule of thumb is add as much oil as there is liquid in the bowl, but I suggest a little less.
6. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce (this is the only salt compound), then the sesame oil.
7. Peel and grate the ginger. Get the shavings and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
8. Whisk like crazy.
Putting It Together
1. In a large frying pan set on medium low heat, add the chicken or turkey (lightly coat the pan with oil or use a non-stick). The great thing about this dish is that it uses leftovers. If you don’t have cooked chicken or turkey, prepare it anyway you like, but you want chunks of meat (you can also use a nice fish). 2. Then add whole cashews and cranberries. Toss the ingredients in the pan to mingle the flavors and then add the all-spice. Let it simmer.
3. In another large bowl, get all of the greens (salad leaves, coriander, mint – clean them first!) and mix them together.
4. De-seed the chili pepper and finely dice it. Set it aside.
5. Back to the chicken, add some honey to the pan and mix around to give texture and crust. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a bit (so the greens do not wilt).
6. Add the cooked ingredients to the greens, add dressing to taste. Place chili pepper and pomegranate seeds on top as a garnish.
( #DrinkingMadeEasy, #Campari )
My first article for Drinking Made Easy is up live! Please go to the site and check it out.
Funny note: My first commenter already owned me for suggesting that Campari is still made from bugs. I think I am going to like writing for this blog.
Update: DME’s links are down, here is the full story…
Like most people of Italian decent, my first experience with Campari was at a relative’s house. “Here… drink this” as a red concoction was shoved into my hand. Was I about to drink a guido version of a Shirley Temple? No. The back of my tongue immediately started the detecting the presence of bitterness and it soon become the dominating sensation.
After I finished half of the drink, my relative informed me I just drank “bug juice.” Spitting out the sip in progress, I yelp a panicked “seriously?”. I just received a nod. I thought I was detecting B.S., so I decided to do some investigation about this beverage to get the real scoop.
Campari is a bitters that hails from Italy. It was “officially” created in the late 1800s and the recipe, like Coca-Cola, remains a secret. There is one aspect of the formula that is confirmed: the deep red color was achieve using carmine dye composed of crushed cochineal insects. Notice that I used the term “was” in my previous sentence… it is a bit unclear if the carmine dye is still used or if it was replaced with an artificial substitute (I am willing to bet that it has not).
Regardless of its chemical makeup, Campari is an acquired taste. I decided to spend the weekend trying to come up with simple cocktail with a Campari base, it was not an easy task. Traditional mixers like cranberry and orange juice enhance the bitterness but do not compliment it (and the juice was too sweet). I tried a few sodas, both clear and brown, with minor success (standard cola is not as bad as you would think). I also tried pairing it with vodka, which was passable but not the winner I was hoping for. I was out of my league and decided to search the Internet for suggestions… which lead me to the Americano.
The Americano combines Campari with Vermouth and club soda. I thought it was an odd name for an Italian beverage, so I did some digging: The drink was originally called “Milano-Torino”, but it became popular with American tourists visiting Italy during prohibition. The crafty Italian bartenders decided to change the name to lure in said tourists and the name stuck. Another interesting fact about the Americano – iIt was the first drink ordered by James Bond in Casino Royale. Iif it is good enough for 007, it is good enough for me!
Having become acclimated to the bitter flavor of Campari all weekend, the Vermouth added the mellow clean element that I was searching for. With the right combination of flavors, the bitterness of the Campari mingles well and becomes an enhancing characteristic in the drink. Served cold, the drink is refreshing and makes for an excellent summertime cocktail. Bugs or not, this is a drink I could get behind.
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
lemon twist or orange slice for garnish
1. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice cubes
2. Add the Campari and Vermouth together
3. Top off with club soda and garnish with citrus fruit
It is recommended that you drink a Campari cocktail before you enjoy a meal to help open up the taste-buds.