Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cajun Beef Burger

Servings: 4

  • Oil Spray
  • Swiss Cheese slices - 4
  • Tomato - 2, sliced
  • Onion - 1 sml, sliced
  • Green capsicum - 1 sml, sliced
  • Lettuce - as required
  • Honey Smoked BBQ sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Sriracha Hot sauce (optional)

  • For the patties:
  • Ground Beef - 1 lb (450 kg), 95% lean meat
  • Cajun Seasoning - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Onion - 1 med, finely minced
  • Jalapeno - 1, seeded and finely minced
  • Parsley - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Breadcrumbs - 1/2 cup

  • Cajun Seasoning: (yields about 1 cup of spices)
  • Onion powder - 4 tbsp
  • Garlic powder - 3 tbsp
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tbsp
  • Paprika powder - 1 tbsp
  • Cayenne pepper - 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tbsp
  • White pepper - 1 tbsp

  • 1. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients for the Cajun seasoning. Use the amount required and store the rest in a sealed container, in a dark cool place (spice cupboard) for future use. If you do not want to make your own seasoning use any store bought kind.
  • 2. In a large bowl, mix in the ingredients (except the onions, jalapeno and parsley) for the the beef patties. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Mix it well and thoroughly with your hands. Cover with a plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 hour for the flavours to develop.
  • 3. After the 1/2 hour, mix in the chopped onions, jalapeno and parsley to the ground beef. Divide into 4 equal portions and form into 1 cm thick flat disks. The patties will look quite big, but once you cook them they will puff up and shrink a bit.
  • 4. Heat your stove-top griddle (if you do not have a griddle use a non-stick pan), spray a bit of olive oil and add the chopped onions and capsicums with a pinch of salt. Saute on high heat till they are caramelized. Remove and set aside.
  • 5. Wipe off any oil residue from the griddle with a paper towel. Heat it up till smoking hot.
  • 6. Add some oil spray to the griddle and add the beef patties. You need the oil spray for lubrication since the meat is 95% lean. Do not poke or move the patties. Let it get a good sear for 2-3 min. Flip and do the same on the other side. Cook till your preference of rarity. I like mine well done.
  • 7. Meanwhile, prepare the buns. Toast the buns on both side until warmed up. Arrange a slice of lettuce, then 2 slices of tomato on the heel (bottom half) of the bun. Top it with ketchup, BBQ sauce and Sriracha sauce. Do all these when the beef patties are about to come off the griddle, otherwise your buns will get cold.
  • 8. Once you are happy with the cooking (rare, med-rare, well done etc.) of the beef patties, add a slice of the Swiss cheese on top of the patty and top it with a portion of the sauteed onions & peppers.
  • 9. Cook till the cheese melts. Swiss cheese melts really fast and will melt down to your griddle. Do not worry about it, as it will come off, and that toasted, crunchy bit of the cheese is really yummy.
  • 10. Once the cheese has melted, carefully transfer the beef patties with a spatula on top of the buns. Top it with the crowns. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Curry Roasted Potatoes

Servings: 4

  • Yukon Gold potatoes - 1.5 lb (750gm), skin-on and cubed
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Jalapeno - 2-3, sliced lengthwise
  • Curry powder - 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil - 3-4 tbsp
  • 1. Thoroughly wash the potatoes to remove any dirt. Cut them in cubes and set aside.
  • 2. In a bowl. mix in the spices with the olive oil and 2 tbsp of water. Toss the potato cubes in the spiced oil.
  • 3. Heat your oven to 180C(350F). On a baking tray, spray some olive oil. Scatter the potatoes on the tray and loosely cover with a aluminum foil. Roast for 30 min then remove the foil and roast for 15-20 min more till the potatoes crisp up on the edges.
  • 4. Once the potatoes are roasted, take them out of the oven and transfer to a serving platter.
  • 5. Mean while, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the sliced onions and jalapeno and 1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of the curry powder. Saute on high heat for 3-5 min till the onions become a little brown on the edges. Make sure not to caramelize them or over cook them. The onions and the jalapeno should still stay a bit crunchy. Turn the off.
  • 6. Scatter the fried onions and jalapeno over the roasted potatoes and serve as a side to steak or grilled fish.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Creamy Lamb Stew

Servings: 4-6

  • Lamb stew meat - 3 lb (1.5 kg)
  • Sour cream - 2 cups
  • Ghee/clarified butter - 1 cup and 2 tbsp (separated)
  • Whole dried chilies - 5-8 pieces, or 1 fistful
  • Cinnamon sticks - 2 whole sticks (3 inch long piece)
  • Cardamon pods - 6-8 pieces.
  • Onions - 2 lrg, thinly sliced and 1/2 lrg (separated)
  • Garlic cloves - 5, minced
  • Ginger root - 2 inch pc, grated finely
  • Roma/plum tomatoes - 3 med, sliced lengthwise.
  • Jalapeno - 2, seeds removed and sliced lengthwise
  • Cumin powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp
  • 1. Rinse and drain the lamb quite thoroughly. Set aside.
  • 2. In a non stick dutch oven or deep pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil, add the ghee/butter. Once heated, add the dried chili peppers (whole), cinnamon and cardamons. Saute for 1-2 min till the chili peppers develop a darker colour.
  • 3. Add the onions. Saute on low-med heat till the onions caramelize a bit. Add the ginger, garlic, and salt. Saute for 3-4 min on low-med heat.
  • 4. Add the lamb to the pot. Stir to combine with the onions. Saute for 3-4 min.
  • 5. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, 1 cup of sour cream, and all the tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer on low-med heat for 1 hour. Remember to stir in occasionally.
  • 6. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the 2 tbsp of butter. Add the 1/2 lrg sliced onions and the jalapeno, saute till they caramelize. Turn the heat off and set aside.
  • 7. After the 1 hour mark, check whether the lamb is cooked and soft enough to your desired level. If not, simmer for 1/2 hour more.
  • 8. Then stir in the remaining sour cream and simmer for 10 more min. Turn the heat off. Add the fried onions to the lamb and let it rest for 10 min before serving.
  • 9. Serve with polao or plain rice. Bon Appétit!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grill Chicken Salad

Servings: 4

  • Chicken breasts (boneless) & wings - 2 lb (1 kg), with skin-on
  • Baby spinach - 4-6 cups, fresh, rinsed and drained
  • Strawberries - 2 cups, sliced into bite size pieces
  • Pears - 2, cut into bite size pieces
  • Lime juice - 2 tbsp, freshly squeezed
  • Salt & pepper - to taste
  • Honey - 1 tbsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp

  • For Marinade:
  • Salt - to taste (account for the saltiness of the chicken stock)
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Chicken stock - 2 cups
  • Italian seasoning - 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • 1. Prepare the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients. Soak the chicken in the marinade, seal and marinate overnight, refrigerated or minimum of 2 hours.
  • 2. Heat your oven to 350F(180C). On a baking sheet spray some olive oil. Place the chicken pieces and spray some more oil over the chicken. Loosely cover with a aluminum foil and roast for 45 min. This is to keep the chicken breast meat moist and juicy.
  • 3. After the 45 min, remove the foil and broil/grill the chicken for 4-5 min or till the skin is crispy and charred. Remove from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the salad.
  • 4. Chop the pears and strawberries to bite size pieces, set aside. Rinse the baby spinach carefully to get rid of any dirt, place in a colander to drain off any excess water. Tear the large leaves of the baby spinach or leave it whole.
  • 5. In a large bowl whisk together the honey, olive oil, lime juice, salt & pepper. Toss the fruits in the dressing gently as not to mash up the fruits. Add the spinach leaves and gently toss to combine everything.
  • 6. Back to the chicken, leave the chicken wings as they are, but cut up the chicken breast fillets into 2 inch long and 1/2 inch wide pieces.
  • 7. In serving plates, arrange 1/4 of the spinach-fruit salad and then top it with a portion of the grilled chicken. Bon Appétit!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tandoori Chicken Sandwich

Servings: 4

  • Sandwich bread roll - 4
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lettuce - 4 leafs, or to preferred amount
  • Tomato- 2, thinly sliced
  • Red Onions - 1/2 sml, thinly sliced

  • For the chicken:
  • Chicken breast - 4, skinless & boneless
  • Plain yogurt - 1 cup
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice - 1 tbsp
  • Shan Tandoori spice mix - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp

  • For Dressing:
  • Plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Lime juice - 1 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Ketchup - 2 tbsp
  • 1. In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients for the marinade, and
  • marinate the chicken fillets for 2 hours.

  • 2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Spray some olive oil on the foil and place the chicken fillets side by side. Spray some more olive oil over the chicken.

  • 3. Place the tray in the broiler and broil/grill the chicken for about 10 min on each side or till cooked through and a little charred.

  • 4. Take the tray out of the oven, cover with a piece of foil
  • and let it rest while you organize the sandwich condiments.

  • 5. Chop the salad items and set aside.
  • 6. In a bowl mix in the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
  • 7. Drizzle some olive oil on the inner side of the bread roll and put them in the broiler for 1-2 min max.
  • This is just to crisp up the bread a bit.
  • 8. Once the bread is toasted, arrange the sandwiches as such, first spread a generous portion of the dressing on the heel of the bread roll, then place the lettuce, tomato, red onions, and top with a chicken fillet, ending with the crown of the bread roll.
  • Serve immediately. Bon Appétit!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Simply Steak

Servings: 4

  • Cube steaks - 4, 1/2 lb each
  • Light Soy Sauce* - 4-5 tbsp
  • Vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper - 1.5 tbsp, coarsely ground
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Onion - 1 med, thinly sliced
  • Canned capers - 1 tbsp , drained of the liquid
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. In a seal able bowl mix in the soy sauce, vinegar, chili powder and black pepper. Marinate the beef steaks in the mixture, sealed, for 24 hours, refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature before cooking.
  • 2. Heat your stove top grill** till smoking hot, spray some olive oil on the grill and grill the steak 3-5 min on each side for well done, or less if you like it rare.
  • 3. Remove and let it rest in a foil wrap for 10 min before serving.
  • 4. Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick pan, spray with olive oil. Add the onions to the pan and saute on high heat till they caramelize a little.
  • 5. Add the capers, a pinch of salt, the sugar and saute for couple of min. Remove.
  • 6. Serve the steaks topped with the caramelized onions and a side of roast potatoes or any side of your choice. Bon Appétit!
* If you have high sodium or concentrated soy sauce, then make sure to dilute it a bit with couple of tbsp of water.
** If you do not have a stop-top grill, you can also use a iron skillet. Just make sure it is smoking hot, so that the beef will cook real fast.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Garlic-Parmesan Roast Potatoes

Servings: 4-6

  • Red Potatoes (medium sized) - 2 lb(1 kg), skin-on, cubed
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil - 1/2 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese - 2/3 cup
  • Garlic Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp*
  • Curly parsley - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • 1. Wash the potatoes very well to remove any dirt. Cube them and rinse them once more to get rid of the starch.
  • 2. In a roasting tray, toss the potatoes with the garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt and olive oil.
  • 3. Heat your oven to 375F (190C). Cover the potatoes with a piece of foil and roast them for 30 min. After the 30 min mark, increase the heat to 450F (220C), discard the foil, stir the potatoes to rearrange them and roast for 10-15 more min. Keep a watch so that the potatoes crisp up nicely without burning.
  • 4. Take the potatoes out of the oven and sprinkle the Parmesan and chopped parsley on top. Toss to coat evenly. Serve as a side to grilled fish or meat. Bon Appétit!
* I have only used half a tsp since the Parmesan cheese is salty. However, you can adjust to your preference of saltiness.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cajun Grilled Chicken

Servings: 4

  • Chicken drumsticks - 2 lb (1 kg), you can also use whole cut-up chicken
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Garlic powder - 1 tsp
  • Ginger powder/paste - 1 tsp
  • Cajun* spice - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Lime juice - 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil - 1/2 cup
  • 1. In a bowl, mix in the all the ingredients except oil. Marinade the chicken pieces in the yogurt mix for 24 hours, or minimum of 2 hours, refrigerated.
  • 2. On the day of cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
  • 3. Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Spray some olive oil on a baking tray. Pour the 1/2 cup of oil over the chicken, coat evenly and lay the pieces flat on the baking tray.
  • 4. Roast for 30- 45 min, turning the chicken pieces every 15 min and basting them with the reserved marinade.
  • 5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, broil/grill the chicken pieces to get a charred crispy look. Serve with a side of green salad.