Posts Tagged ‘butter’

Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak Skewers with Basil Butter

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

First, I got a grill. Then, Rachael Ray dedicated a whole issue of her magazine to grilling recipes. The magazine had a great feature listing tons of grilled skewer recipes, including this one.

The dry-rub gave the steak an awesome flavor. It was slightly sweet with a smoky, spicy flavor. David grilled the skewers expertly, and we finished the steak off with a pat of basil-spiked butter. These were awesome. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Dry-Rubbed Flank Steak Skewers with Basil Butter
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, June/July 2010

  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 16 slices
  • 16 cherry tomatoes

In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil; season with salt and pepper; refrigerate.

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons each sweet smoked paprika, garlic powder and extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon each chili powder, dried basil and dried thyme and 2 teaspoons dry mustard. Add 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 16 slices, and 16 cherry tomatoes; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Thread 2 pieces of steak, ribbon-style, and 2 tomatoes onto each of eight 12-inch skewers. Cover and grill, turning once, until the steak is just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Top with the basil butter.

Note: When grilling with skewers, it’s a good idea to soak the skewers in water for 15-20 minutes before loading them up with food. Wet skewers are less likely to burn over the high heat of your grill.

A Gnocchi Fiasco

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I am a pretty good cook, and I don’t mind saying so. I don’t think I’d be blogging if I wasn’t. Often, my friends will make comments like “Of course it’s good, you made it!” or “Everything you make tastes good, Teri.”

I’m here to tell you that that is not always the case. Sometimes…things happen. Like with these gnocchi.

We’ve got this Meatless Monday thing going on, as you know. So far, we’ve had Chipotle Bean & Cheese Burritos, Fake Lasagna (Cheese only, obviously!), and Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Panini with Fresh Mozzarella. I’m still struggling to find a meal where David truly doesn’t miss the meat, but we’ve been doing pretty well with the dishes we’ve tried. Last week, I attempted a dish from the “Hearty Pastas” section of Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta: Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce. It sounded delicious, and Giada made the gnocchi sound almost simple. The pictures were beautiful, and I really like gnocchi in general, but have never tried to make them. I thought with a crusty Italian bread and a Caesar salad, we’d have a pretty good meatless meal.

And if the gnocchi had worked out at all, we probably could have.

I’m not sure what went wrong. I thought I was doing the right thing. The dough came together, I rolled it out like play-dough snakes and cut the gnocchi into one-inch pieces. The recipe sounded so simple. Giada promised they were worth the work, even though gnocchi are available at your regular store. She lied to me.

Most of the gnocchi just crumbled in the water. They crumbled further when they hit the butter sauce. I ended up with a saucepan full of extra-gummy, gluey, greasy-from-all-the-butter mashed potatoes. Yuck. (I also tried to use light butter, which was a mistake. It melted way wrong, and tasted worse than margarine! I can’t blame Giada for that part, but the damage was already done.) We ended up ordering a four cheese pizza from Homemade Pizza Company. They saved dinner!

I’m posting the recipe from Giada below, in case anyone with real gnocchi experience has some ideas on how to correct the recipe, or maybe a more trustworthy gnocchi recipe to share. I’ll admit, I’m a little leery of trying gnocchi again–seemed like a lot of work, and in this case, all for nothing. Once bitten, twice shy, and all that.

In the meantime, I will take comfort in the fact that over at the Food Network website, two people seemed to have failed at this recipe for every one person that made it work, so it’s not just me.

Here's what the gnocchi should have looked like, from The Food Network

Gnocchi with Butter Thyme Sauce
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (1-pound) russet potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano

Directions

Cook the butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the thyme leaves. Set aside.

Pierce the potato all over with a fork. Microwave the potato until tender, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut the potato in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; discard the skin. Using a fork, mash the potato well. Mash in the salt and pepper. Mix in 3 tablespoons of the egg; discard the remaining egg. Sift the flour over the potato mixture and knead just until blended.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface into a 1/2-inch-diameter rope (about 20 inches long). Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece of dough over a wooden paddle with ridges or over the tines of a fork to form grooves in the dough.

Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water until the gnocchi rise to the surface, about 1 minute. Continue cooking until the gnocchi are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the hot thyme-butter in the skillet. Toss to coat.

Spoon the gnocchi and butter sauce into shallow bowls. Top with the Pecorino and serve.

Note: Absent some expert advice (and I don’t think Giada is reading!), I don’t think I’ll be trying this again. Just too much work to risk it not turning out again. And I can get gnocchi off the shelf anywhere, including my local supermarket.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I finally had my cousins over for dinner, and after much discussion, decided on a menu. My intention was a sort of “Choose Your Own Alfredo” bar, with fresh homemade fettuccine, creamy alfredo sauce and the choice of garlicky shrimp, grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, or any combination thereof. In reality, I forgot the broccoli, but no one seemed to mind too much. The rest turned out fantastic. The chicken was just marinated in Italian dressing–nothing too fancy. And the alfredo was the same alfredo I’ve made before. So this post is about the shrimp. I made Barefoot Contessa’s Baked Shrimp Scampi from the Back to Basics Cookbook.

And Yum! Assuming I can scrounge up some people to help me eat them again, I’ll be making these again for sure.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) of butter at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
  • lemon wedges, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and toss gently with olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Allow to rest at room temperature while you make the butter/garlic mixture.

3. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until combined.

4. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down in a glass baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture in an even layer over the shrimp. Bake for 10-12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note: This was simple, delicious, and beautiful–pretty much everything a Barefoot Contessa recipe promises. I enjoy seafood, but Leah and David won’t touch most of it, which means I don’t make it very often. It’s nice to have this recipe in my pocket, for when I need it. These would be great tossed some linguine and parmesan cheese, too.

Chicken Kiev

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I have liked Chicken Kiev ever since I was a little kid. We used to get these frozen Chicken Kiev pieces from Market Day or Sam’s Club, and I was always excited to have them for dinner. There were other versions of the same product stuffed with cheesy broccoli or ham and swiss cheese, but for me, Chicken Kiev, with its crunchy outside and tender, buttery inside, was the best out of all of them.

It’s kind of surprising that I haven’t tried to make it more often. I came across this recipe through Photograzing, and decided to try it. Other recipes I’ve seen have used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded them thin, and then wrapped them around pieces of herb butter. The problem with that approach is that not only is it a little on the messy side, but it’s very hard to make sure that the chicken is sealed up properly–and if it’s not, you just get chicken baked in a pan of butter, which is not the same at all real Chicken Kiev, which bursts with a warm herb-butter sauce as soon as you cut into it.

The other problem with those recipes is that they require a long stay in your fridge–most want you to chill the stuffed chicken breasts overnight before cooking, to help that butter stay inside the chicken where it belongs. This recipe, however, used ground chicken formed around cold pieces of butter. It worked perfectly, and was both easier to work with and much more fool-proof. Every one of my Chicken Kievs came out perfectly.

IMG_2108

Chicken Kiev
Adapted from The Five Star Foodie, via Photograzing.

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de provence, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 stick chilled butter
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil

1. Put chicken and onion through a meat grinder, according to manufacturer’s directions, and place and in a large bowl. Add egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and 1 tablespoon of herbs to the bowl. Mix well by hand until the mixture is smooth. This part feels a lot like making a meatloaf, and really–that’s the texture you’re looking for. Form four equal-sized patties, place on plate or cutting board and flatten them.

2. Cut the stick of butter in half and roll each half into a thin log. Work with the butter quickly, so that it stays as cold as possible. Sprinkle a small plate with remaining teaspoon of herbs de provence and roll the piece of butter so that it is coated on all sides. Place one butter log in the middle of each patty, and shape the chicken into a small loaf around the butter so that the chicken mixture covers the butter completely.

3. In a shallow dish, mix panko breadcrumbs, garlic, and Parmesan. Coat the chicken patties with breadcrumbs. I thought I might need to batter the chicken pieces with egg before dipping in the breadcrumbs to get the mixture to stick, but the chicken loaves were plenty moist enough. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

4. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. You need enough to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot (the surface will start to shimmer), brown the chicken loaves quickly. It doesn’t take long–maybe one or two minutes per side. Turn carefully with tongs (you don’t want to puncture the chicken as you turn it!).

5. Bake in a 375 degree oven, in an oven-safe dish lined with parchment paper, for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. I used a 9 x 13 pyrex dish.

Note: I’ve always liked to have Chicken Kiev with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes, since each of those options gives you something to soak up the delicious herb-butter sauce from the chicken.

I had to make several changes to this recipe, because the ground chicken that I had was super-moist–much too wet to stick together–so I added the breadcrumbs and a little more egg to that mixture.

I was perfectly content to grind my own chicken, since I have a meat grinder attachment for my kitchen-aid mixer that doesn’t see as much use as it should. I also always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts on hand. That being said, I think you could probably use a store-bought package of ground chicken without too much difference. You might not need as much of the breadcrumbs in that case, because I don’t think the mixture would have anywhere near as much moisture.

If you know anyone that received a food grinder attachment (for Father’s Day, perhaps?) recently, this would be a good recipe for them to start with.

French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I’ve had my eye on this recipe since I first got the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook for Christmas. I think I even pointed it out to David while I was skimming through it around the Christmas tree at Grandma’s house.

Looking for something to make on a lazy Saturday, I flipped through Back to Basics and noticed this recipe right away. I was surprised I’d never gotten around to making it, because really, it was one of the first recipes I earmarked in this book.

When it came time, though, I ended up skipping the whole steak part. We had some good quality New York Strip steaks on hand, so I didn’t feel justified going out and buying the hanger steaks that the original recipe calls for. Plus, we don’t have a grill at our apartment (yet, anyway). So basically, I borrowed Ina Garten’s recipe for Provencal Butter to melt over the steaks, and stuck with our usual method for cooking steaks: Alton Brown’s, shown in this post.

Even so, I have to say that I was impressed. Dave and I were both unsure about the butter on steak thing. I know it’s traditional, I know it’s common, and I know people like it, but it just never sounded that great to me. I’ve been converted. This herb butter brought such great flavor to the steak. When you sliced into the meat, the butter just melted down into every piece. It was really fantastic.

I also got to use my herbes de Provence from The Spice House!

steak

Barefoot Contessa’s French Bistro Steaks with Provencal Butter
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook

For the butter:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

For the steaks:

  • 4 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • kosher salt and coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 hanger steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each

For the butter, put the garlic, capers, chives, thyme, zest, and pepper in the small bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until completely mixed. Transfer butter mixture to a piece of parchment and roll it into a log, twisting the ends (like an old-timey piece of candy). Store in the refrigerator.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill.

Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle each one with herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to take the chill off of the meat.

When the grill is hot, grill the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Place the steaks on a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the meat crosswise diagonally and serve hot with one or two pats of the prepared butter on top.

Note: I’m sure this was not the last time that I’ll make an herb butter like this. We used the leftover butter on baked potatoes, crackers, and slices of bread–it was very versatile. I can imagine 100 different flavor combinations, too!