Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beef and Potato Empanadas

I'm happy to report summer continues to go well here at the McQuaid homestead.  I haven't been blogging for awhile because Avery confiscated my camera for her trip to Colorado.  So thankfully, she's back home safe and sound and I'm back and I'm ready to get cooking new and interesting dishes again.

I've been trying to come up with the perfect empanada recipe and I think I'm getting close.  I prefer my empanadas to be crispy as opposed to the more traditional method of the outer coating being more cornbread-like.  

Another use for any leftover filling, is simply serve over some cooked, white rice and serve with some warmed tortillas and Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce on the side....And you've got yourself a nice, hot lunch or a quick-fix dinner.

1 - 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 large Russet Potato (microwave for 2 - 1/2 minutes), skinned and cubed
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Videlia onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TBSP jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
pepper to taste
2 tsp Tony Chachere's, divided
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
Filo sheets, cold, cut into 5" circles, using 4 layers of dough, prepared just prior to stuffing, so the dough doesn't get too melted
melted butter
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Saute' potatoes in hot olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Cook until just starting to turn a golden color.  Season with pepper and 1 tsp of Tony Chachere's.  Set aside.

In Another pan brown the ground beef with onions.  When the meat is close being browned, add garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, oregano, red pepper; mix well.  Season with pepper and 1 tsp of Tony Chachere's.  Add Worcestershire; mix well.  Add the potato mixture: mix well.  Taste to see if it needs any more seasonings.  Cool the mixture before assembling the empanadas, so as to not melt the pastry.

Once the filling is good and cold, start by brushing the pastry rounds with a little melted butter (that's not hot).  Mound about 1/3 cup of the filling in the middle of each pastry round.  Fold over to form a half-moon, pie shape; crimp the edges with a fork.  Brush the empanadas with a little more melted butter.  Place them on a cookie sheet that has been greased well with butter.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes.  Serve hot and with serve  Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The OC Part 2

David, Dylan and I headed out to go hear some live music at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff for the first time last night. We started our evening off by eating at one of our new, favorite finds in the OC...the "Greek Bakery and Cafe," ...again, where we enjoyed their amazing Gyros. By far, these are the most authentic, tastiest, and best Gyros we've found in town. It's BYOB, so bring your favorite bottle of wine to accompany your favorite Greek dish. If you love Greek food, this is the place to go. We promise you will not be disappointed.

The Kessler Theater was built in 1942, and was recently bought by Edwin Cabaniss and his wife Lisa. After a major renovation, with Jeff Liles as their musical consultant, this place is a great venue to see live music, poetry readings, art exhibits and who knows what might be next?! There's a very cool bar in the lobby, it's totally kid friendly (they even have a babysitter to watch the little ones upstairs), it has a fantastic vibe and is just all around cool. The bartenders were very attentive and took care of our every need. The space is perfect...hardwood floors, a small balcony and everyone has a great seat with nice sightlines and sound. We believe The Kessler has come closest to recreating the live music scene we had when Caravan of Dreams was around. We saw four acts...Chandler Nash, Phoenix Hart, the INCREDIBLE Ruby Jane and Floramay Holliday.  Chandler, Phoenix and Ruby range in age from 15 to 17.  All four of these young ladies are incredibly talented.  We look forward to seeing another show at The Kessler real soon.

Check out a short of clip of Ruby Jane, age 14, tearing it up on the violin. She takes violin playing to a completely different level.

Cuban Sandwich

As you may have noticed, I've been on a bit of a sandwich kick lately. With it being summer and the kids are home a lot more (well, at least Dylan usually is), I find myself making lots of sandwiches. We all love these tasty, crunchy heaps of goodness. This is the perfect recipe for the leftover pork tenderloin I roasted the other day.

1 Pork Tenderloin, roasted sliced thin (great use of leftovers)
1 lb deli ham, sliced thin
Dijon Mustard (optional)
8 thin slices of Swiss cheese
Dill pickle slices
4 slices of Cuban bread or hoagie rolls
Matouk's Calypso Sauce (optional-spicy)

In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Thinly spread Dijon mustard on one side of each slice of bread. Put 1 slice of bread in the skillet and layer cheese, then sliced tenderloin, then ham, pickle slices and another layer of cheese. Top with another slice of bread. Press into pan with spatula and turn over and toast the other side of the bread after adding a little more butter. Serve with Matouk's Calypso Sauce on the side, it's a very spicy sauce so use sparingly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Here it is summer again and I'm finding very little time to work on my blog. Oh well, finally we're having a somewhat "normal" summer again and I'm loving every minute of time I get to spend with our kids! As usual, we've been spending lots of time in the pool, because we're already experiencing a brutally, hot, Texas summer, nearing the 100 mark each and every day. Gotta love summer in Texas! =)

Anyway, here's an easy, but tasty recipe for Roasted Pork Tenderloin. I serve this with some apple sauce, rice and a steamed green vegetable. The leftovers make fantastic Cuban Sandwiches (recipe to follow).

1 - (4-pound) boneless pork loin, with fat left on
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Place the pork loin on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, massage the mixture onto the pork loin, covering all of the meat and fat.

Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 425 degrees F and roast for an additional hour. Test for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, remove the roast from the oven. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook while it rests.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Sliced Green Apple

Here's another version of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The crunchiness of the bacon along with the tartness of the apple and Dijon mustard...A wonderful combination of flavors! Yet another recipe I will be making again.

8 slices country-style white bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
12 ounces farmhouse Cheddar, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 slices bacon, cooked to desired crispiness
1 green apple, thinly sliced
Dijon mustard

Heat griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Alternatively you can use your panini press if you have one.

Assemble sandwich: Generously spread Dijon on 4 slices of bread. Top with slices of Cheddar, 3 pieces of bacon, apple slices and additional Cheddar. Place the remaining bread on top and spread with butter. Place on skillet buttered-side down and butter the remaining side. Cook until cheese is slightly melted and bread is browned. Flip the sandwich and continue to cook until cheese is thoroughly melted and sandwich is golden brown.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chocolate Pudding

This was my first attempt at making homemade Chocolate Pudding. I doubled the recipe in fear this wouldn't feed all five of us. I recommend refrigerating overnight, it was too runny after only 4 hours, although, that didn't stop Dylan from sampling his portion. =)

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.

Pour the pudding into 6 small cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.

Just before serving pour the cream into a chilled bowl. Whip the cream with a whisk or a hand held mixer, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Take care not to over-beat the cream or it will be grainy. Serve each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

Unfortunately, Avery has been spending her first few days of summer sick at home. As bummed as I am that she's sick, I must admit, I've loved having her here, all to myself. Since she's had her car it seems as though we don't see her hardly at all. David took Dylan and Cassidy to the lake to start off the summer's activities, which is always a special treat. We love hanging out at the lake.

I made Avery one of her favorite dishes in the hopes to help get her better. I hate when one of my kids is sick, although I love taking care of takes me back to when they were babies. Avery and Cassidy really will be in college before we know it! It's amazing how quickly time flies by. This recipe is for my girls, because they tell me this is their favorite, ultimate comfort food.

You can cheat and use a store-bought roasted chicken, but your cheating yourself from creating an exceptional broth. The brown bits that are left after the braising process are little flavorful morsels of greatness that add tremendous flavor to the broth.

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole chicken cut up
6 cloves garlic, smashed
4 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 quarts low sodium chicken broth
5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
4 black peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 of a package of egg noodles
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Heat olive oil and braise the chicken pieces to start. Towards the end of the braising of the chicken, add garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. Pour in chicken broth over the vegetables, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for at least an hour. Shred and de-bone the chicken. Bring the soup to a boil; add noodles and chicken and boil on medium-high heat for 8 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of freshly grated Parmesan, olive oil (optional), and parsley.

**You can cheat and use a store-bought roasted chicken, but your cheating yourself from creating an exceptional broth. The brown bits that are left after the braising process are little flavorful morsels of greatness that add tremendous flavor to the broth.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Homemade Basil Pesto

Here's an awesome twist on a favorite, comfort food classic, Grilled Cheese. This turned out so good, Avery said she may never go back to the traditional Grilled Cheese again. You can cheat and use store bought pesto to make it easier. The mozzarella was so stringy, and was ooey, gooey goodness at it's best!

4 slices thick-cut sourdough bread
1 ball (1 pound) fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1 cup fresh basil pesto, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Basil pesto:
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To make pesto:

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still rough-textured.

To build the sandwich:

If you have a panini press, turn it on to warm up; otherwise, set a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich. Drizzle olive oil over skillet's surface and place sandwiches on the hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet over the top to form a "press". Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace weight. The sandwich is ready when golden brown and mozzarella has melted around the edges.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Key Lime Pie

What better dessert in the summer, but Key Lime Pie, especially after a nice Mexican feast. So simple yet so good!

1 - 9 " graham cracker pie shell or chocolate cookie crust
1 - 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime juice
Zest of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla
Whipped cream

Combine milk, egg yolk and lime juice, zest and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream and garnish with thin lime slice.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Elotes or Roasted Corn with Lime and Chili Seasonings

This is a dish you typically see street-side vendors selling in Mexico. Here in Dallas you can find a vendor selling them outside a taqueria like Fuel City in downtown. So yummy and the perfect summer vegetable to prepare, especially with our "Brisket Taco" recipe.

3 tbsp Hellman's mayo
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp finely grate Cotija cheese or Parmesan will do
1/2 tsp anejo or regular chili powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
4 ears fresh corn or to simplify use 1 - 2 canned cooked sweet corn

Prepare grill if using fresh corn. In the unshucked corn, add a pat of butter to place on heated grill. Combine mayo, lime zest and juice in a small bowl. Combine chili powder, red pepper, cumin and salt in another small bowl. Place corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill corn 12 minutes or until tender, turning frequently. Remove corn from grill. Let cool. slice corn off of cob and place in saucepan to reheat with a pat or two of butter to keep moist. In a small mug or cup layer strained corn, sprinkle spice mixture, layer a little cheese repeat until mug or small cup is full. Garnish with cilantro (optional)