What's Cooking - 2005
To help you celebrate in style, Studly came up with a holiday beverage that’s easy to make and lip smackin’ good.
Vodka & Pineapple
3 pineapples cored, peeled, and cut into rings
1.75 liters of your favorite vodka
Large wide-mouth glass container with a secure lid
Place the pineapple rings at the bottom of the container in any design you fancy. Pour the vodka on top. Be sure to cover the pineapple by at least 2 inches. You don’t have to refrigerate as the alcohol preserves the fruit. Check periodically to be sure the vodka level is still well over the pineapple.
To serve, pour over ice in a cocktail glass or swirl it with ice and then pour into pony glasses.
Another Studly Gem
Drinks served at a bar or restaurant on those nice little napkins can be a pain when the paper clings to the bottom of the glass and smacks you in the chin. To avoid the problem lift your glass and sprinkle salt on the napkin. Voila! No more stick.
Black Olives in Oil
1 can medium pitted black olives
3 garlic cloves
Glass jar with a secure lid
Drain the black olives and pour them into the jar. Crush the garlic into the jar. Pour in the olive oil to cover. Refrigerate at least 1 week. The mix will become thick and cloudy. It’s okay, that’s the oil solidifying.
To serve, set the jar on the counter until the oil becomes clear and normal consistency, which will take several hours. Spoon out the quantity of olives you wish to serve into a pretty dish. Be sure to have toothpicks. Put the jar back in the fridge for future use. You can refill with more olives and the mixture can stay good for up to three months.
Every cook has more to do over the holidays than prepare extravagant meals on a nightly basis. Here’s a menu to ease some of that burden.
December’s Choice for an Easy Italian Dinner
• Italian Sausage
• Texas Toast Garlic Bread
• Chianti Wine
3-4 plum tomatoes diced
Virgin olive oil
Fresh Basel leaves
1 clove fresh garlic pressed
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh mini Mozzarella balls quartered
Cook the pasta al dente. While its boiling sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 – 2 minutes. Don’t let it burn or your dish will be bitter.
Drain the pasta well. Add the oil/garlic mixture, Mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. Toss well.
Serve the freshly grated Parmesan on the side.
Italian sausage mild or hot
½ cup water
Red & yellow peppers cleaned & cut into strips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lay the sausage in a baking dish. Add the water and bake covered for 25 minutes.
Lay the peppers across the sausage in any pattern you like. Sprinkle the Oregano across the top. Drizzle on a little olive oil. Bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.
Do you like to cook without specific measurements? Or are you a hard and fast type cook? If garlic is your thing toss in another clove, or maybe you aren’t fond of oregano so hold back on the amount suggested. Make this and any other recipe work your way. Hell, you might even decide to use an herb that’s not listed. Go for it! Some of the greatest recipes were developed when a jar accidentally spilled into the pot.
The big tip for the month – don’t use Pompeiian Olive Oil. It’s too strong and lacks the subtlety required for all my recipes.
• Chicken Cacciatore
• Fresh Hard Rolls or a loaf of French bread from your local bakery
• Crisp Dry White Wine like one of the Soave’s
1 whole chicken cut up
Oregano to taste
¼ C. olive oil
1 medium red pepper sliced
4 medium peeled & quartered potatoes
1 Tbl butter
1 medium onion quartered
Handful of clean Morel mushrooms
Early in the morning or the night before drop a handful of salt into a glass or aluminum bowl. Add just enough water to dissolve the salt. Drop in your cut up chicken, add enough water to cover the meat, and put into the fridge until ready to use. This can be done up to two days in advance of cooking the chicken.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dry the chicken pieces well with paper towels. In a heavy 10-12 inch skillet pour in the oil until a haze form over it. Add the chicken and brown over moderate heat. After its browned, lay the chicken into a baking dish large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably.
In the same pan add the potatoes and onion, sprinkle with oregano. Brown well then lay over and around the chicken.
Sauté the red peppers in the oil until almost tender. Add the 1 Tbl of butter and the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are coated well and warmed through. Pour this mixture over the potatoes and chicken scraping the pan to get all the browned pieces. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Tomato & Garlic Sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
¼ can water
1 teas dried basil
1 medium glove garlic crushed
Use the same skillet and sauté the garlic for a few seconds over moderate heat. Pour in the tomato sauce. Add the water to the tomato sauce can, swirl around to collect any residue, and pour into the pan. Toss in the bay leaf, basil, and pinch of sugar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
After 1 hour test the potatoes with a toothpick. If, and only if, they’re done then ladle the sauce on top and bake another 15 minutes.
Now you could buy the bagged stuff, or maybe it’s time to try something different. If you’re in an adventurous mood the following isn’t hard at all but the quantities are definitely up to you.
Zucchini scraped and sliced
Red leaf lettuce washed well
Sweet onion sliced
Cucumber scraped and sliced
Toss your desired quantities well and chill in the fridge until dinner. Grab your favorite Paul Newman dressing or try:
Oil & Vinegar Dressing
¼ C. red wine vinegar
½ C. olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
The amounts will have to be adjusted to work for your quantity of salad.
Just before serving sprinkle the red wine vinegar onto the salad and toss well. Pour the olive oil on a little at a time so the salad is not saturated and toss well. Lace the mixture with the basil, oregano, toss well, and store the salad in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
• Beef Braised in Stock & Red Wine
• Egg Noodles, follow the package directions
• Fresh Hard Rolls or a loaf of French bread from your local bakery and you won’t need butter
• A nice red wine preferably Merlot, Charles Shaw is cheap and good
Beef Braised in Stock & Red Wine
1 tsp Pressed garlic
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ C. coarsely chopped carrots
8-10 half-inch pieces of bacon
¼ C. coarsely chopped celery
3# English Cut Roast or Rump Roast
½ C. dry red wine
3 Tbl butter
2 C. beef stock
1 Tbl olive oil
1 ½ C. drained canned tomatoes, chopped
½ C. coarsely chopped onions
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the garlic, oregano, pepper, and bacon together. Make deep incisions in the beef and insert the bacon.
In a heavy 10-12 inch skillet melt 1 Tbl Butter with the olive oil over moderate heat and brown the beef evenly.
Melt the remaining 2 Tbl over moderate heat in a Dutch oven. Combine the onions, carrots, and celery on a cutting board and chop them together until fine. Stir this mixture into the butter in the Dutch oven, stir frequently, for 10 mins. or until it’s soft and lightly colored. Place the browned beef on top.
Discard most of the fat from the skillet, pour in the wine and boil it briskly over high heat, stirring and scraping in the browned fragments. When the wine’s reduced to about ¼ cup, add it to the Dutch oven with the beef stock, chopped tomatoes, and bay leaf. The liquid should come about a third of the way up the side of the beef. Add more stock if necessary. Bring it to a boil over high heat, cover tightly, and braise in the middle of the oven for 2 hours or until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
Next, and this is really important, pour yourself a glass of the red wine, grab a good book, and read for the duration of the cooking time.
To serve, transfer the meat to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 10 mins. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a serving bowl, pressing hard on the vegetable to extract all their juice. Skim off as much fat as possible. Slice the meat and arrange so the slices are overlapping. Moisten the slices with a little of the sauce and enjoy.
Your stove and countertop will be a mess from boiling down the wine. No problem! Grab the glass cleaner. A few sprays and it wipes right up.
Don’t worry about the quantity if you and your favorite partner are the only ones at the dinner table. Slice off just the amount of roast you think you eat then when the meal is over freeze the rest. It’s great for those days when you’re too busy to bother with more work.