Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cuban Spiced Pork Tenderloin and Soffrito Rice

This new recipe was full of a wonderful combination of flavors.  I also served this with black beans topped with Mariana's garlic,lime infused olive oil.  A Mojito would be the perfect drink to accompany this meal.  Leftovers make good tacos, sandwiches and even stir-fry.

1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups white rice
2 pinches saffron or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 pork tenderloins, trimmed, about 2 1/2 pounds total weight
4 cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons anise seed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 limes, zested
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning) or coarse salt and pepper
EVOO - Extra-virgin olive oil, or vegetable oil, to coat
Optional garnishes: chopped mango or kiwi, or chopped cilantro and scallions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat medium pot with tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add oil and bacon and brown bacon. Add onions and peppers and saute 5 minutes. Bring broth to a boil. Add rice. Cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, until rice is tender.

For pork, cut 4 slits into each loin and nest garlic and bay into meat. Place meat on nonstick baking sheet. Combine the spices. Coat meat with oil. Rub spices over the pork tenderloins and place in oven. Roast meat 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let juices redistribute, then slice and serve with soffrito rice and garnishes of chopped tropical fruit or chopped cilantro and scallions.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Deep Fried Cornish Hens

David was wanting to try to fry some hens the way we've done our turkey before.  They turned out great!  They were crispy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside.  It doesn't take long to cook at all either. 

It's very important to not fill your stockpot more than half full with shortening or oil, to allow for the inevitable boiling up when the hens are added. Also, be sure the hens are at room temperature and fully dried so the fat temperature doesn't drop dramatically from the shock of an ice-cold bird.

2 (1 - 1/2 pound ea) Cornish game hens
shortening or oil for deep-frying
freshly ground pepper
lemon wedges for serving

Rinse the hens and pat completely dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides. In a stockpot, melt shortening over high heat to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and heat it to 375 degrees F. Carefully put 1 Cornish hen in the hot oil. Deep fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. To check for doneness, using a wire mesh skimmer (slotted spoon is fine) and tongs, carefully remove the hen from the stockpot and insert instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone - it should read 180 degrees F. Transfer to wire rack and keep warm in oven while frying the other hen. Let the second hen rest for 5 minutes after removing from oil.

Serve whole, or use a cleaver to split the hens lengthwise. Serve with the salt, pepper, and lemon wedges, letting each person season his or her hen to taste.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"It" or Chocolate Sauce

This is another McQuaid classic.  So easy yet perfect to satisfy any chocolate craving.  Another option for a more decadent sauce is add some chopped up, frozen Snicker bars to the sauce after the chocolate has melted and right before serving.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 squares of unsweetened chocolate

In a double boiler empty the sweetened condensed milk.  Add the chocolate and cook over medium high heat until chocolate is melted.  Serve over ice cream.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Starbuck's Pumpkin Bread

A thick slice of moist pumpkin bread Starbucks-style is the perfect companion for your morning cup of joe.  This has great flavor and is very easy to make and is one of my girl's favorite Starbuck's treats.

1 - 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat eggs, sugars and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed for about 30 seconds. Add pumpkin and oil and mix well.  Pour dry ingredients into the wet stuff and mix well with your electric mixer. Pour the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pan. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until the top is dark brown and a toothpick stuck into the center of the bread comes out clean.  When the bread is cool, remove it from the loaf pan and use a bread knife to slice it into 1-inch thick slices.

Makes 8 slices

TIDBITS: This bread freezes perfectly. Simply seal any leftover slices in a zip top bag or wrap them in plastic and pop them into the chiller. To serve, microwave one frozen slice on high for about 45 seconds and it'll taste like it just came out of the oven.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crab Toast

Also a great use of leftover crab and great served with the Crab Bisque recipe I previously posted.

1/2 lb lump crab meat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 tbsp minced green onions
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
3 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 tbsp heavy cream
8 slices brioche, or home-style white bread
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine the crab meat, egg, egg white, green onions, parsley, garlic, salt and white pepper in a food processor and pulse until blended but still chunky.  Add the cream cheese and pulse until smooth and thick.  Add the cream and pulse until just blended, being careful not to over process.  Spread 1/4 of the crab meat mixture on each of 4 slices of bread, spreading it to the edges and smoothing the top.  You can fry like this or place another slice of bread on top and press down to make a sandwich.  Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the crab toasts to the hot oil, in batches if needed and cook until golden on  on the first side, about 3 minutes, Crab mix facing top if you didn't make toasts into a sandwich.  Turn and cook until golden on the second side, about 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  To serve, cut each toast diagonally into halves or quarters.  Serve alongside the Crab Bisque I previously posted.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crab Bisque

Here's a great use of our leftover crab meat after one of our big crab boils.  This is especially good in the fall and winter months.

3/4 cup  bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 - 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
4 bay leaves
2 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
6 gumbo crabs, each cut in half
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/2 cup brandy
8 cups water
1 tsp liquid crab boil (Zatarain's
Concentrated Liquid Shrimp and Crab Boil is best)
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green parts only
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb lump crab meat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Crab Toasts (recipe to follow)

Combine the flour and oil in a large non-stick saucepan pan and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture's the color of peanut butter, about 10 minutes.  Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt and cayenne.  Cook stirring often until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the  halved crabs and tomatoes and stir to mix.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add the brandy, water and crab boil.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Add the green onion and parsley.  Remove the bay leaves.  Remove from the heat and add the cream.  Mix to blend.  Ladle into individual serving bowls and sprinkle with 1/4 cup crab meat.  Top each with a half crab and a crab toast.

Serves 8

WARNING:  Be very careful because there will be shells floating in this soup.  Warn your guests of this!!  The shells add such great flavor,its worth having them in the soup.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mariana's Pork Roast

Fall is when I really enjoy slow roasting meats, making the house smell all fragrant and wonderfully good.  My In-Laws were raving about a dish that my Colombian sister-in-law's Mom, Mariana makes.  I couldn't wait to try this recipe and it did not fact, it turned out phenomenal!  The meat was literally falling off the bone, so tender and moist.  The gravy that results from the marinade, the garlic and the meat juices is to die for.  Along with some good crusty bread, we served this with black beans and rice and of course with Mariana's fabulous accompaniment made of garlic and lime infused olive oil.  The roast is also delicious with mashed potatoes or peeled new potatoes cooked with the pork.  For leftovers we made authentic tacos with corn tortillas, some cilantro, diced onion, feta cheese, lime wedges and salsa...also delicioso!!  You could use the roasted pork for pulled pork sandwiches, topped with cole slaw and your favorite barbecue sauce for some Memphis style sandwiches.  Although time consuming, it's worth marinating the meat 4 days (rotating frequently), but it's so easy, inexpensive and out of this world in flavor!

7 - 8 lb pork shoulder blade roast
1 - 24 oz bottle Goya Mojo Criollo Marinade (you can find in the latin section of store)
10 garlic cloves cut into slivers
pepper to taste

Get the pork shoulder and poke it all over with a paring knife and insert garlic slivers into holes.  Use a lot.  Then marinate it in a whole bottle of the Goya Mojo Criollo juice for 3 or 4 days, turning if necessary so that all of the meat gets covered.  Then put in pan with the marinade, cover with foil and cook at 275 for 4 or 5 hours til very tender, basting frequently.  Take the finished roast out of the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing the meat.  Transfer the marinade/juices into a saucepan, heat over medium high heat.  Skim off the fat from the finished juices to make a delicious gravy. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Cassidy especially loves these cookies, she's our pumpkin-anything fanatic.  I got this recipe from our longtime friend, Rob Moss.  We're still baking up these tasty treats, 20-something years after Rob shared this recipe with me.  

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dates or raisins (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Icing (recipe to follow)

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well.  In a separate bowl combine flour, soda and salt; mix well.  Add to pumpkin mixture.  Add the remaining ingredients: mix well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Ice while cookies are hot.

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

Boil over medium-high heat butter, milk and brown sugar.  Let cook.  Let cool.  Stir in powdered sugar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sara's Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Served with Garlic Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

My Mother-In-Law, Sara's classic, signature holiday feast is Roast Beef served with Yorkshire Pudding, Garlic, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and of course, Caesar Salad.   This meal is a favorite indulgence for our family of five from time to time also.  The leftover roast beef makes heavenly sandwiches when served on home-style rolls slathered with Hellman's mayo, a touch of horseradish and salt and pepper to taste.  

For the Roast Beef:

4 - 6 pounds beef rib roast
8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil
5 sprigs rosemary leaves, chopped (optional)

3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown Gravy (recipe to follow)

To make the roast beef, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the roast beef on a clean work surface.  Make small slits all over the prime rib and fill each slit with a slice of the garlic.  Rub with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place into the preheated oven; cook for about 15 - 20 minutes per pound for rare meat, about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Baste the roast with olive oil and the drippings in the bottom of the pan.  The last 30 minutes of roasting time add rosemary and garlic to olive oil, adding more oil if needed.  Remove roast from the oven and let rest, covered, for about 15 -20 minutes before slicing or until until thermometer reads 145°F. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F, and beef will be easier to carve.) For medium, bake uncovered 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes or until thermometer reads 150°F. Cover beef loosely with foil and let stand 15 to 20 minutes or until thermometer reads 160°F.  Save all the drippings for the Yorkshire Pudding.

Yorkshire Pudding:

Crisco shortening, melted (vegetable oil will work)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs

While beef is standing, make Yorkshire Pudding. Measure pan drippings, adding enough shortening to drippings, if necessary, to measure 1/4 cup. Divide hot drippings in muffin pans; place pan in oven and heat until hot. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. In medium bowl, beat flour, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the eggs with wire whisk just until smooth. Pour batter into pan of drippings and oil. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until puffy and golden brown (pudding will puff during baking but will deflate shortly after being removed from oven).  Do not open oven while baking; serve immediately with beef.

Brown Gravy:

2 tbsp margarine  or butter
1 thin slice onion
2 - 3 tbsp all -purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine

1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Heat butter in 1 - 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat until melted.  Cook and stir onion in butter until onion is brown; discard onion.  Stir flour into butter.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until flour is deep brown; remove from heat.  Stir in broth and wine.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Corny Dogs

In honor of the State Fair of Texas David and I decided to try and duplicate Fletcher's legendary Corny Dog.  We bought our frankfurters at Kubys to ensure good quality.  Although our version didn't win any beauty contests, the taste could easily rival our favorite corny dog producer.  With this recipe, you can create your own legend.

8 frankfurters
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup milk
Shortening or peanut oil for deep frying
Wooden skewers (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)
Yellow mustard for dipping
Boil the franks for a few minutes. Remove from water and drain.

Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, oil and milk. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing well.

Insert the skewers to within 1/2 inch of the top of each frank. Coat each frank evenly with cornmeal mixture. Deep fry, a few at a time, in hot shortening or oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with lots of yellow mustard. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasting pumpkin seeds has long been a fall tradition in the McQuaid household.  We roasted our first batch (of many) for the first time this season last weekend.  What a wonderful salty snack these make.  

A great idea was posted by my brother-in-law, Eric, "...add any spices you can get your hands on like tandoori spice, or herbs de Provence or chili powder with a touch of cayenne pepper..."  I cannot wait to try some of these ideas, I don't know why we haven't been more adventurous with our seeds.  I appreciate your suggestions, are all over the art of pumpkin seed roasting.  =) 

pumpkin seeds 

Basically, you pull the seeds out and wash them and pull off all the pumpkin pulp.  Let them dry.  Then put in the oven at 375 degrees with a few tablespoons of butter, stirring them every few minutes so as to not burn them.  When they begin to show signs of browning, salt them generously, and continue to stir them to get them evenly browned.  Once lightly browned, take out of the oven and put in a bowl lined with paper towel.  Eat them whole.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mozzarella Sticks

Fried mozzarella sticks are one of my weaknesses, especially when served with a tangy Marinara sauce.  I found this recipe online and couldn't wait to try it.  This is another recipe that will join our repertoire, because they were mouthwatering good!  My kids ate these up.  MS are great appetizers to serve while spending a Sunday afternoon watching football.  It's worth freezing them for at least 24 hours prior to frying.  

1 - 1/2 cups Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
1  cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
16 oz Precious mozzarella string cheese, each stick cut in half
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups Marinara Sauce

Stir the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with your favorite Marinara Sauce.  

It's good to serve in batches and keep the rest warm in the oven.