a simple man's love for food, life & star wars

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Leftovers Recipe: Panko Breaded Potato Croquettes

So I leftover potatoes and ham from our Xmas dinner and was looking for a creative way to do something with these 2 ingredients that wasn't a breakfast or a casserole. So I thought.."what the hell! Let's make some croquettes!"

Panko Breaded Croquettes

       In theory, croquettes are a great way to use leftover potatoes or even mashed potatoes. You simply make your favorite kind of mashed potatoes and then mold them into little egg shaped croquettes. As a tip, you should have plenty of flower around to dip your fingers in so your hands do not stick to the potatoes while you are shaping and handling them. Once you make the egg shaped croquette, you then take your finger and poke it into the center to create a little hole that you can fill with whatever stuffing mixture you decide to make. Once you have your croquettes made, you will need an egg yolk wash and then lightly dip them in whatever breading you choose. For my croquettes, I am using some Panko crumbs. After they are dipped in the breading, just flash fry for 1-2 minutes per side and then eat em up!

Here are the mixtures I made:

Ham & Cheddar Mixture
1/4 small yellow onion
6 oz cooked ham
1 small clove garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste 

Saute off your onions & garlic, then add the ham mixture and let cool. After cooled, mix with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Red Pepper & Cheese Mixture
1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
1/2 small red pepper finally chopped
2 cloves garlic finely choppped
Pinch of Paprika

Heat small skillet on medium heat with about a pinch of oil in it and then add the diced onions & pepper and saute till onions are lightly brown then add garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes. Lightly salt and pepper to taste. After mixture is done, put in freezer to cool for 2-3 minutes. Then mix sauteed veggies with the cheeses of your choice...I am using more french and Italian cheeses.

Post meal notes:
1.) Be sure to make the croquettes thin. I made mine a bit to big and they felt more like mashed potatoes rather than croquettes. 
2.) Come up with a nice remoulade to serve with the croquettes for dipping.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leftovers!!: Beef Roast Fajitas & Mashed Potato Cheddar Cakes

Leftovers are my favorite thing in the whole world! You can do so much with leftovers...and generally I tend to discover how to make new and exciting variations of recipes I have been using. Tonight, I decided to take the leftover Beef Roast and make it into fajitas. I simply chopped up an onion, red pepper and green pepper and fried them up. After they were about 80% done, I added some chopped garlic & paprica and then added the leftover beef roast, shredded up like Carnitas.   I also did my favorite thing to leftover mashed potatoes....I made them into Mashed Potato Cheddar Cakes!

I take a skillet and get it smoking hot and then I take handfulls of my leftover mashed potatoes and flatten them into patties, about 3 inches wide and half an inch thick. Then I sprinkle some cheese on the top of the patty and lay that sucker right on the pan. You fry that side for several minutes so the cheese gets nice and crispy and then flip it and do the same thing to the other side. You end up with this crispy Cheese It tasting crust on the potatoes...it's super delicious!

Anyways, here is the final product with the fajitas and some rice.

Beef Roast & Oreo Truffles

We had some friends over for dinner tonight so the Mrs made up a delicious dinner for us. A 5 lb Beef Roast, some delicious mashed potatoes &  green beans with bacon. 

Beef Roast with Veggies

 Beef Roast with Potatoes & Veggies Recipe:
  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  coarsely chopped onion
  • 1  cup  dry red wine
  • 4  thyme sprigs
  • 3  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 4  large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 2  pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.
Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.
Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid.

We also decided to make some Xmas Cookie baskets for our neighbors, my coworkers and my client. the Mrs made her  Graham Cracker Praline Bars & some Oreo Truffles.Now these Oreo Truffles are the best thing ever!! they taste as good as any high end truffle you would pay $5 per piece for...and what's even better is that they are SUPER simple to make!

Oreo Truffles
Oreo Truffles Recipe:
1 Package of regular Oreos
1 Package of Cream Cheese
1 Package of Almond Bark

First you have to smash up the Oreos!!
Then you mix the smashed up oreos into a large bowl with the package of cream cheese. Mix it until it's like a thick batter, then you take out about a spoonfull of the mix and roll them into balls. After, you take all of the Almond Bark and put it into a microwave safe bowl and nuke it until it melts. Generally you do it about a minute at a time and stir in between nuking sessions. Then you take the balls of Oreo goodness and drop them in the melted chocolate.  Fork them out and set them on foil or parchment paper to cool and let the chocolate harden.  Presto you have Oreo Truffles in 30 minutes!

Now we took the Oreo Truffles and mixed them with the Praline Graham Cracker Bars to make some cute Christmas tins.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lumpia & Spicy Chorizo Soup

Today is our last day in Denver on vacation so the misses decided to make some of her Spicy Chorizo n Kale soup. This soup is something of a new family tradition of ours....usually it's a sign that winter is here when she decides to whip up a big batch of this.

Spicy Chorizo n Kale Soup Recipe:
1 lb. spicy pork Chorizo (I generally just use one package, so it's not always exactly a pound)
1/2 lb. smoked bacon - chopped (I use turkey bacon to make it healthier)
1 qt. water
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
3 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
3 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
3-4 cups chopped kale (One large bundle will do, you can sub swiss chard if needed, but I love kale)
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper - to taste

-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown chorizo, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
-Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are almost tender.
-Add chorizo and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
-Add kale and half and half to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

You can add more hot sauce, like Cholula, if it's not spicy enough for you. Serve with a really spongy bread for dipping!

I thought what better thing to accompany this then to cook up some of my mom's Lumpia. For those of you that don't know, Lumpia is a famous Filipino dish that is our version of an egg roll, only way better! Our family recipe is filled with ground beef, pork and carrots...and you serve it with some sweet and sour sauce. The recipe for this is coming soon...gotta get it together for the blog. 

Lumpia Recipe:
1 lb lean hamburger
1 lb lean ground pork
1 white onion medium size
1 red onion medium size
1 red or green pepper medium
2/3 stalks celery finely chopped
2 medium carrots finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten

Mix all mixture together.
You can add water chestnuts (chopped) for crispness

Buy the lumpia wrapper that’s already separated…it’ll make the job a lot easier

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Last Meal in Calif. - Recipes: Steak Marinade, Roasted Potatoes & Praline Graham Cracker Bars

Rather than get into why I am doing this blog...who I am...or what I stand for...I thought I would just get to the meat and potatoes of it all.....  
HAPPINESS IS FOOD and Star Wars is all you need to watch to learn everything you need to know about life

So tonight is our last night in California, visiting my mother and family in Sacramento. Thankfully, the decision was made to have a final home cooked meal, rather than a standard going away dinner at a restaurant. Now the thought of this excites me....years of happy food memories from my childhood come swirling around in my head. You see, my family was notorious for cooking up meals that were larger than life....delicious, eclectic and flavorful. If you were a friend of the family or even a  friend of a friend, you knew that our house was the place to go for great food in portions that were always obscenely large!. I could feel it in my bones that tonight would be no different!

So you get the true effect of the size of meals we tend to have  in this house..we also had the following foods to compliment the mentioned items below: home made pasta salad, a loaf of sourdough bread, lemon cheesecake & some decadent coconut ice cream. Now off to the main courses!

Grilled Ribeyes, 10 oz (8 for 8 people I might add) & grilled asparagus.
Now the trick to all of my moms delicious steaks is her marinade...so good it would even put a smile on the Evil Emperors face!
1 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup of sweet rice vinegar
1 lemon squeezed
a whole bunch of chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

The trick is to ALWAYS marinate for 24 hours and to use a plastic bag with just 1 or 2 steaks, depending on the size. This allows you to use less marinade to cover each steak and the stay full immersed in the marinade for the entire time.

Once you add in some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some sweet rice vinegar, you end up with this wonderful hint of sourness mixed with this salty sweetness. It's truly the best marinade I have ever had.

Now on to the rest of the meal.....
Grilled Halibut (with the same steak marinade) and roasted potatoes
 Now these potatoes were truly special. This recipe belongs to my father in law...
4lbs of small russet potatoes sliced
3/4 stick of butter cut into 6 segments
1 chopped up sweet Hawaiian onion
1 chopped up yellow onion

Just put it all in a pan, mix it up, cover with foil and throw it on the grill for 30-40 minutes
He insists that the key is to spray an obscene amount of Pam on the pan which helps to mix with the butter juices and assure that the bottom potatoes are brown and not stuck to the pan.

And there is more!

 A simple mixed green salad with strawberries & feta cheese with a bit of olive oil.

Lastly....there is my wife's yummy dessert!
Praline Bars from graham crackers, brown sugar & crushed nuts.

24 graham cracker squares
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
...1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

Heat oven to 350. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet (make sure it has sides to catch run-over).

Heat brown sugar and butter to boiling in a saucepan. Boil for one min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.

Pour sugar mixture over crackers; spread evenly; sprinkle with nuts, then bake for 6-10 min, until bubbly. Cool and eat

Hope you enjoy...may the force be with you!