Sunday, January 15, 2006

A menu for the third week of January, 2006

This week is my first week of graduate school! Since I now have a major tiling project to do in our basement as well, this week is going to focus on quick, easy to prepare meals.


This meal if an old Italian family recipe, taught to me by my mother. It features thin cuts of beef (or, in my case, venison) first pan-fried with a light coat of flour and then cooked in the tomato sauce that I use for my pizza. When served with mashed potatoes and peas, it becomes a lovely comfort-food meal.

Lean beef or venison, cut into large, 1/4" thick slices. For this purpose I will frequently use a couple of cuts off of a rump roast (be sure to cut across the grain) or London Broil or the like. If you have a hard time cutting the meat thinly, you can also use cube steak, though it is a bit more expensive.
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

1 large can crushed tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, cut into chunks
Olive Oil
~2 tsp oregano, to taste.

Before you start cooking the meat, first make the sauce. This is the same as my pizza sauce, and is very simple. Cook the garlic cloves in a splash of oil until they are golden brown, then add the crushed tomatoes and oregano and simmer, covered, while you cook the meat.

For the meat, I will ususally use the round roast or blade roast of venison, because it is a large lean cut that makes it easy to cut thin steaks from. I cut the steaks about 1/4" thick, across the grain, and then tenderize them a bit on the cutting board by pounding them with a mallet. Put a bit of flour on a plate and generously sprinkle it with salt and pepper - this will be used to coat the meat, so you don't need very much, just enough for however much meat you're planning to cook.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dredge your tenderized steaks through the flour and fry them in the pan until you just see the blood start to break through the floured surface, then turn them and fry on the other side for 30-60 seconds. You want to make sure that the oil wets all the flour to allow it to brown, so add more olive oil if needed. Be sure not to overcook the steaks - they will be just browned and the breading will be slightly bumpy on the surface. As soon as the steaks are cooked, transfer them into the pan of sauce and allow them to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Roast Chicken! This meal has some stories behind it, but you'll have to buy our book to read them, if and when it comes out! This meal is simplicity in itself, but has flavor that reaches above and beyond its humble ingredients.

1 whole chicken, about 4 lbs.
3-4 cloves garlic, cut into 1/4" chunks.
Olive Oil
3-4 potatoes.

Skin and quarter the potatoes lengthwise to make spears and use these to line a baking pan (Pyrex works well). Your chicken will be roasted atop the potatoes so that all of the drippings soak in and make the potatoes utterly delicious.

To prepare the chicken, simply wash it inside and out, then put the chunks of garlic along with about a teaspoon of rosemary into the body cavity. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper to coat the inside of the body cavity. Sprinkle salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil over the entire skin of the bird and use your hands to work the oil into the skin a little and make sure that the bird is fully coated. Place the prepared bird, breast-side down, on the bed of potato spears and roast at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If your oven tends to cook hot, start with an hour and use a knife to check the thighs to see if they are done (the thighs tend to cook most slowly).

Serve with a green salad, and enjoy! Beware: this dish has been known to have aphrodisiac properties!

Linguine with Clam Sauce

... recipe to come ...

Szechuan Shrimp

... recipe to come ...

Polenta with mixed meat ragu sauce. (NOT the brand, the style!)

... recipe to come ...

Poached salmon with homemade hollandaise sauce and asparagus

... recipe to come ...

Chile rojo shredded pork burrito with homemade tortillas, refried beans, and lettuce.

... recipe to come ...


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