Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Week of Menus

Aloha, people! Spring is in full-swing, and I paid my first visit to our farmer's market yesterday.

 Not much but leafy greens available as yet, but it's still exciting. I need to get off my kiester and get my yard ready and plant some stuff. It's kind of pitiful-looking out there now.

Sadly, it probably doesn't look this good.

I have a few more days of menus for you, along with the recipes and shopping list, if any of you want to play along. Here's what I have:

Day One:
Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Butter

Day Two:
Mixed Green Salad with Red-Wine & Dijon Vinaigrette
Roasted Pesto Chicken
Parmesan Potatoes

Day Three:
Pasta with Sausage, Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Cream

Day Four:
Romaine Salad with Roasted Garlic Caesar Dressing
Grandmother's Barbecued Chicken
Buttered Corn on the Cob

A note about day four: This is MY grandmother's BBQ chicken recipe. We'd go to her house down the street to eat dinner and the smell of that sweet, vinegary sauce cooking was just heaven. I had some wonderful meals there (and played a lot of gin rummy). This is chicken baked in her bbq sauce. I didn't put her caesar salad dressing recipe up here because it had raw egg in it, and I don't want anyone getting sick and calling me at 2:00 AM to let me know about it.

Now, listen, children. If you don't like the chicken, please keep it to yourself. This meal has superhero-size nostalgic value for me, and I'd probably lose my manners if someone tried to give me helpful suggestions on what proper barbecue means,  or the "right" way to make a bbq sauce (it's THIS way, by the way). MY grandmother was right.  

MY grandmother. Well, OK, John's grandmother too. Early 1940s. I think this was right before she married Granddad.

And with that, I'll stop threatening you and give you the recipes.

Update: I just learned from my mother that Grandmother got this recipe from her brother Johnny's wife, Helen. Sorry, Aunt Helen!

Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak

1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lb skirt steak, trimmed (I've found that skirt steak can be hard to find. Ask the meat guy or girl at your grocery if they have it. Rumor has it the butcher sometimes swipes it for himself. It's a good cut of meat - very flavorful. If you can't get it, use flank steak, but I'd pound the flank steak thin with a rolling pin or something to tenderize it some.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup pecan pieces
2 Tbs cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary

1. Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the
broiler on high.

2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease the foil with the oil. If necessary, cut the steak crosswise into pieces 8 to 10 inches long. Arrange the steak on the baking sheet in a single layer and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Put the pecans, butter, honey, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor and pulse until well combined and the pecans are finely chopped.

3. Broil the steak until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip it and broil until it’s cooked nearly to your liking, about 3 minutes more for medium rare. Spread the pecan mixture over the steak, patting the mixture with the back of a spoon to help it adhere. Continue broiling until the pecan coating is toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Set the steak aside to rest for 5 minutes.

4. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and transfer to plates. If the pecan coating falls off the steak as you’re slicing it, spoon it over the top.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Butter
(Oh! this is so hard!)
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 Tbs butter
1 each chipotle chile canned in adobo, plus 1 Tbs. adobo sauce

1. Mash the chipotle and adobo sauce together with the softened butter until
well-incorporated. Chill while the potatoes bake.

2. Prick the potato with a fork in several places, and bake at 400 on a baking sheet until done, about 40 - 45 minutes.

3. Cut open potatoes and serve with chipotle butter.
(Wait. What? We're done? Yep.)

Mixed Green Salad with Red-Wine & Dijon Vinaigrette
1 Tbs red-wine vinegar
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp minced garlic (I saute’ mine in a little olive oil first. I cannot abide raw garlic.)
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups mixed spring greens


1. Combine the vinegar with the mustard and garlic in a small bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Just before serving, toss greens in a large bowl with just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat them (you may not need all of the vinaigrette). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Roasted Pesto Chicken
1 cup pesto sauce
6 lbs roasting chicken
2 Tbs flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 Tbs dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat chicken dry. Slide hand between chicken skin and meat over breast and legs to form pockets. Reserve 1 Tbs. pesto for gravy; spread remaining pesto under skin and over breast and leg meat of chicken, in cavity of chicken and over outer skin. Tie legs together to hold shape. Tuck wings under body. Place chicken in large roasting pan. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and Chill)

2. Roast chicken 15 minutes at 450 and reduce oven temperature to 375F and roast until done., about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to platter.

3. Pour pan juices into glass measuring cup; degrease. Add wine to roasting pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine mixture and any drippings from platter to pan juices. (Note: If the bottom of the pan is burned and blackened, don’t use the roasting pan – just start with the heavy small saucepan and add the wine and platter juices to that.) Add enough broth to measure one cup. Transfer to heavy small saucepan. Combine 2 Tbs. broth and flour in bowl; stir until smooth. Add to saucepan. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Mix in cream and reserved 1 Tbs. pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish chicken with basil. Serve with gravy.

Parmesan Potatoes
4 large russet (Idaho) potatoes, cut lengthwise into eighths
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
chopped fresh basil

1. Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 375F. Place potatoes in a roasting pan. Add oil and red pepper and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender on inside and crispy on outside, turning once, about one hour. Sprinkle with parmesan and basil.

Pasta with Sausage, Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Cream

by Joanne Smart (A Fine Cooking Recipe)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
1-1/4 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup (about 6 oz.) oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb. dried farfalle or fusilli
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into bite-size pieces with a spoon, until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon off the fat if it's excessive. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, scraping up any browned bits in the pan, until most of the wine is evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cream, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens slightly, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the parsley and 2 Tbs. of the Parmigiano. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to its pot, add the sauce and the reserved cooking water, and set the pot over high heat. Gently toss the pasta for 30 to 60 seconds and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among warm bowls and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs. Parmigiano and 2 Tbs. parsley.

Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
This recipe is a little fussy, but it's really worth it. If you have a night when you're not racing to throw something on the table, give it a try. A Caesar salad does go well with this menu, though, so if you don't want to do this particular one, add a bottle of good Caesar dressing and some croutons to the shopping list.

1 head garlic
3 1/2 Tbs olive oil, plus 1/3 cup
2 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
3 cups French bread cubes
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 head curly endive, trimmed
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
1 1/4 cups parmesan cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Peel off papery outer skin from whole garlic, keeping head intact. Place in small casserole dish. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over garlic. Season with pepper. Cover; bake until garlic is very soft and pastelike, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool garlic.

2. Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Mix 2 1/2 tablespoon oil and rosemary on baking sheet. Season with pepper. Add bread cubes and turn cubes in oil mixture to coat. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Cool.

3. Squeeze garlic to remove cloves from skins. Place in small bowl and mash with fork to form paste. Transfer paste to blender. Add fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce and hot pepper sauce and puree. With machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil. (Croutons and dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

4. Reserve outer endive leaves for another use. Tear enough inner yellow leaves into bite-size pieces to measure 3 cups. Place in large bowl. Add romaine. Pour dressing over. Toss well. Sprinkle cheese and croutons over salad. Toss gently. Season with pepper and serve.

Grandmother's Barbecued Chicken
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs ketchup
3 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 large lemon, juiced
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash red pepper
8 chicken thighs with skin and bones


1. Mix all ingredients together until blended. Salt and pepper chicken thighs and place in a Pyrex pan. Pour sauce over thighs. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

4 Sweet potatoes
4 idaho potatoes
Fresh rosemary
Pesto sauce
Fresh basil
Spring salad greens (about 5 cups)
Yellow onion
Flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
Corn on the cob (as many as you need)
1 head curly endive
1 head romaine lettuce

French bread

1 ½ lb. Skirt Steak (if you can’t get skirt, use flank)
5 lb Roasting Chicken
1 ¼ lb. Hot Italian Sausage
8 chicken thighs (skin and bones on)

Pecan pieces
Kosher salt
Chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce
Chicken stock
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil
Dijon mustard
Kalamata olives
Sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed)
Farfalle or Fusilli pasta (Penne will work)
Brown sugar
White vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Dry mustard
Chili powder
Anchovy paste (this is probably going to be with tomato paste and pastas)
Tabasco sauce

Whipping cream (2 cups)
Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Dry white wine

Here's the printable, .pdf copy.

Week of Menus 7

1 comment:

Beth said...

Andie your grandmother can't deny you that is for sure. Pretty lady!! (or should I say ladies?)


I love that pecan crusted skirt steak!!!