Monday, December 19, 2016

Slow Cooked Ropa Vieja

I live in Texas. So when the temperatures drop below 80, it's time to pull out the slow cooker to let dinner cook slowly during the day. Why I associate a slow cooker with cooler weather is beyond me. It doesn't heat up the house. Plus, it's a major life saver when we are scrambling to get a healthy dinner on the table after work. I need to work on pulling out my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker year round!

This recipe calls for many herbs and spices, but they are simple ones that you will have on hand. They create a hearty dish filled with so many layers of flavor. Simply served over a bed of white rice with a side of sautéed plantains makes a perfect Cuban meal.

Slow Cooked Ropa Vieja
By Tonda
Adapted from Authentic Cuban Shredded Beef "Ropa Vieja" Cubana from Just a Pinch

2 medium yellow onions, diced small
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 medium yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 medium jar of fire roasted red peppers, sliced thin
20 jalapeno stuffed olives
3-4 pounds rump roast
8 cloves of garlic
1 handful curly parsley
6 sprigs cilantro
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 packet Sazon Goya seasoning with Culantro and Achiote
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 Cup ketchup
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup beef broth
2 large bay leaves

Layer the onions, peppers and olives in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the roast on top. Add garlic, parsley, cilantro to a small food processor and process until chopped fine. Add oregano, cumin, garlic powder, Goya seasoning, salt pepper, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, Worcestershire, and white wine. Process to blend all of the dry spices with the fresh herbs and garlic. Add ketchup, tomato paste and beef broth. Process again to blend. Pour mixture over the roast. Add 2 bay leaves. Set the Hamilton Beach slow cooker to low for 8 hours. Once the roast is ready, shred the beef in the cooking liquid. Serve over rice.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Golden Graham Cereal Butter

Have you ever had the cookie butter from Trader Joes? It is so delicious. If you have I am sure that you love it just as much as everyone else. It has a huge following. Now let’s take this one step further – Have you read the ingredient list? No. Don’t. Trust me on this. It has an oil base. Yikes. I knew that I had to come up with a healthier option for my family, while keeping it just as delicious. My husband didn’t think my version would be as good as the original. My kids were more than happy to be my taste testers, they quickly declared it to be better than the original!  My husband finally tried it and ‘oh wow’ ‘this is so good’ ‘this is way better than I thought it would be’ came out of his mouth. I guess he didn’t have much faith in me making a healthier version of cookie butter. I think that you will love this just as much as my family does. If you have fifteen minutes make it. You can thank me later as you are eating it off of a spoon. Don’t worry that happened here also.

Golden Graham Cereal Butter
By Lindsay O’Connor
Inspired by Trader Joe's

1 1/2 cups Golden Grahams cereal
2 cups cashews – I used lightly salted
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Salt as needed

1. Place Golden Grahams cereal in food processor. Process for 15 seconds or until the cereal has become powder, remove the powder to a bowl and set aside.

2. Add cashews and process until completely smooth and loose, scraping down the bowl as needed. It can take up to ten minutes, depending on your machine. You might think it won’t work, but it will. First the cashews will be sandy, the oils will start to release, then it will turn into a ball in your processor. Once it hits the ball stage you are only a few minutes away from perfect cashew butter. Take a look at the picture above to see the stages your cashews will go through.

3. Once your cashews are processed, add your white chocolate chips. Process for one minute or until the chocolate has melted.

4. Add the powdered cereal and process until it is incorporated into your cashew butter. Taste and add salt if needed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Grilled Shrimp And Pineapple Skewers, With A Warm Coconut “Cocktail” Sauce!

Back in 2013, 37 Cooks started a group discussion about coconut oil. We realized we all had quite a bit to learn about coconut oil and many of the other coconut based products available. We had the opportunity to work with products from Tropical Traditions. We began experimenting and ultimately conquering our fear of cooking with coconut. When I received my jar of Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate, I stared at it for several days before I had the courage to remove the lid and sample the coconut cream. I was amazed at the delightful flavor! My immediate thought was to stick with a “Tropical” themed recipe. What pairs well with coconut? Pineapple! I can’t resist grilled shrimp in the summer, so it was an easy decision once I realized how versatile the coconut cream could be. I am confident once you try this delicious recipe for grilled shrimp, you will be ready to start your own coconut journey.

Grilled Shrimp And Pineapple Skewers, With A Warm Coconut “Cocktail” Sauce!
By Susan Ritchie-Hubbard

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
1 fresh pineapple peeled, cored and cut into at least 1” chunks (reserving any juice)
1/3 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate (with a very rich coconut flavor, 1/3 cup is plenty!)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice (I had enough pineapple juice from preparing the pineapple, but store bought is fine)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Metal or bamboo skewers (If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling)

For the warm coconut cream cocktail sauce:
The coconut cream concentrate is just that. Concentrated! I warmed the coconut cream slightly on a low temperature in the microwave. Microwaves vary, but I did 20 seconds at 50% power. This resulted in a creamy consistency. Combine the coconut cream, sour cream, mayonnaise, sambal oelek, pineapple juice and sea salt in a bowl. It will solidify somewhat because of the coconut cream. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. This sweet and spicy cocktail sauce beautifully showcases the fresh, intense flavor of the coconut cream concentrate!

For the grilled shrimp:
Preheat the grill to high. Medium-high if you have WeberQ. Grilling at a high temperature helps caramelize the pineapple and gives the shrimp a very flavorful char. Alternate the shrimp and pineapple chunks on the skewers (I had enough pineapple to make an additional pineapple skewer). Grill the skewers until the shrimp are barely opaque, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the shrimp and pineapple skewers to a clean plate and loosely cover with foil. Gently heat the coconut cream cocktail sauce in a small saucepan (over medium low heat) or in the microwave (at 50 % power), until it melts into a creamy sauce. If using the microwave, stir the coconut cream sauce every 30 seconds.

To serve:
Remove the shrimp and pineapple chucks from the skewers and arrange on a serving plate. (I happened to have some small bamboo cocktail picks, so I put 1 shrimp and 1 pineapple chunk on each pick.) Drizzle the coconut cream cocktail sauce over the shrimp and pineapple. If desired, garnish with additional chopped pineapple. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Past Sponsors Challenge

Since 37 Cooks first started on this fun journey back in 2012, we've had the chance to work with some wonderful sponsors. The Spice House, Bob’s Red Mill, Dorot, Teet’s, Lock-n-Load Java, Sciabica, Honey Ridge Farms, Wild Hibiscus, Marx Foods, Slap Ya Mama, and so many more. We even got to work with a couple of our sponsors twice!

For our last challenge of 2016, we thought it would be fun to do a Past Sponsors Challenge. We asked our cooks to share a favorite product from one of our many previous sponsors. Something that they absolutely love and still use today. We also told the cooks that if they had more ideas for a particular challenge, but had already submitted the maximum number of recipes at that time, this challenge was a great opportunity to share another dish! Sweet, savory, baked, fried, grilled. We told the gang, anything goes!

Enjoy these delicious creations from our cooks, featuring products from some of our favorite past sponsors!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Prosciutto, Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Pizza

Howdy! My name is pronounced keer (like beer)-sten and I’m a seasonal eater. Since 2006 I’ve been eating with the seasons via Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm shares.

At home I cook for my kids and my frequently-vegetarian sometimes-deployed spouse, as well as baking for my book group and donating to the PTO-sponsored teacher luncheons. I work as a prep cook in the scratch kitchen of a local Italian restaurant.

I write the website Farm Fresh Feasts where I share how I feed my family year round using fresh (and preserved) produce from the farm share. Typically my recipes involve some sort of locally-sourced ingredient—but not always! Sometimes it’s just a great deal at the store. To help other folks like me, wondering what the heck to do with kohlrabi or beets or a case of oranges from the marching band Fruit Fundraiser, I created a Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. This alphabetically-structured resource helps folks use the fruits of their farmers’ labors, not waste them, because I hate to throw out food. I even compost the vegetable waste from work!

Eating local, seasonal produce means that my cooking changes over the course of the year depending on what’s grown nearby. We eat salads and grilled items in the summer, soups and baked items in the winter, and on warm Fall or cool spring days anything goes.

One entree I cook year round is pizza. In the summer, when my 1920’s era house cannot cope with a blazingly hot oven, I grill my family’s Friday night pizzas. This photo shows my first ever grilled pizza—I was so proud!

I started making pizza when I was trying to economize after I became a stay at home mom. It all began with an excellent book—The Best Pizza is Made at Home by Donna Rathmell German. Trying several of the doughs and suggested toppings gave me the courage to branch out on my own. Now my oldest is in college, at work I make 4 gallons of pizza sauce at a time, and I still make pizzas at home nearly every week. It seemed fitting to share a pizza recipe with ya’ll.

Prosciutto, Fig Jam and Goat Cheese Pizza
by Kirsten Madaus of Farm Fresh Feasts
This recipe is based off a panini recipe in the pamphlet accompanying a George Foreman grill a dozen years ago or so, and makes a 12-inch pizza

1/4 cup fig jam
1 pound pizza dough 
Parchment paper
3 Tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 slices prosciutto, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
A couple of grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F. If you’ve got a pizza stone, make sure to preheat it as well. If you don’t have a pizza stone a cookie sheet will work.

Warm the fig jam briefly (I microwaved mine for 40 seconds), stir, and set aside. Crumple a sheet of parchment paper then flatten it back out—this keeps it from curling up.

Stretch the pizza dough and lay it on the parchment paper. I just use my fingertips for this, and have a pretty good photo tutorial on my Pizza Primer post.  You may need to dust the paper with flour, semolina, or a splash of olive oil depending on the stickiness of your dough.

Spread mascarpone cheese across the dough in a thin layer. Top with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto. Dot goat cheese crumbles in the open areas. Drizzle the warmed fig jam over top.
Add a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Bake the pizza, parchment paper and all, on the stone for 5 minutes. Shimmy the paper out from under the pizza and bake the pizza directly on the stone for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly and the prosciutto is crispy. Cool on a rack a few minutes, then slice and serve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Steak Kue

My parents owned Gee's Restaurant in Houston, Texas for over 35 years. Opened in 1955, the menu featured dishes that were truly the epitome of Cantonese cuisine: Chicken Chow Mein, Egg Foo Young, Sweet & Sour Pork, Moo Goo Guy Pan, and War Shew Duck. I often wax nostalgic about the restaurant and these dishes, and make my own versions as often as I can. One of the classics on the menu was #66 - Steak Kue. At the restaurant, it called for searing one of our "Club Steaks" (boneless ribeye) on the flat top grill, which was on the "American" side of the kitchen, then carried over to the "Chinese" side of the kitchen. There it where would be cubed and added to a wok full of vegetables, and finished with a quick sauce that included "a Touch of Oyster Sauce."

For my version, I wanted a wok-friendly way to cook the steak, so I simply gave the cubed ribeye a quick flash stir-fry, then cooked all the vegetables, adding the steak back in at the end. The assortment of vegetables can be anything you wish, but the key to this dish is truly that "Touch of Oyster Sauce."

I hope you enjoy this retro recipe as much as I did!

Steak Kue
by Gary Gee
Serves 4

2 pounds boneless beef tenderloin or ribeye, cut into approximate 1" x 2" cubes
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 cups coarsely chopped bok choy
1 large carrot, sliced into coins
1 cup sliced celery
4 stalks asparagus, chopped
4 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 oz water chestnuts, sliced
4 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cooking sherry or white wine
1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with
1 teaspoon warm water
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add oil to wok, and swirl to coat. When oil begins to smoke, add beef in a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds or until beef begins to release from wok. Turn and cook another 30 seconds, until well-browned. Remove beef from wok, keeping warm on a platter. Leave behind only about 1 tablespoon of oil (add more if needed). Add ginger, garlic, and next 7 ingredients. Toss to combine. Add light soy sauce and sherry, stir, and cover for 1 minute to steam. Return beef and any accumulated juices to the wok, then add dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and cornstarch slurry. Stir to combine, and cook until sauce forms and thickens, about 1 minute more. Drizzle with sesame oil, remove to a serving platter, garnish with green onions, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

I’m not sure how “retro” a recipe is from 1986 but I ran into a problem finding my mother’s old recipe books. We recently packed up her house and they are all in a box in storage! So, I rummaged through my own collection and found my old “Southern Living 1986 Annual Recipes” book. It’s full of recipes that call for canned this or jarred that. I picked out a couple of recipes to try and landed on a chicken enchilada recipe. I thought I could surely make it super yummy without using canned cream of chicken soup! I added spinach to the recipe (my 13 year old son protested but I won). I also made a béchamel sauce using chicken stock and heavy cream to substitute for the canned condensed soup. It was a winner winner chicken dinner! Served it with doctored up canned black beans (yes, I did use canned beans). You can take the girl out of the 80’s but you can’t take the 80’s out of the girl!

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas
by Maryjo
Adapted from the Easy Chicken Enchiladas recipe from Southern Living 1986 Annual Recipes

3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup sour cream
2 cups packed fresh spinach
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 fresh corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter over medium high heat. When melted, add the flour, stir around until the flour is coated and continue to stir for about 3 minutes on medium high heat so that the flour taste will be cooked out of the sauce. Add the chicken stock and whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic powder, stir, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add the chopped cooked chicken, sour cream, spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, green chiles, chopped onion, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and the roux. Mix well.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet and fry each corn tortilla for 5 seconds on each side (to soften them up). Add a little more oil if it runs low. Place the tortillas on a paper towel to drain.

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch casserole dish with non-stick spray. Put about 1/3 cup of the chicken and spinach filling onto each tortilla, rolling them up and placing each tortilla seam side down in the casserole dish. Note: I had filling left over, which I put into a zip top bag and threw into the freezer for another quick meal another day.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and add the remaining ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Change the oven from bake to broil and turn up the heat to 450ºF. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream, or pico de gallo, or sliced avocados, or black beans, or all of the above. Olé! 1986 Style!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Herbed Chicken Casserole

In the early 1980's, a friend of mine gave me this recipe. Over the years, this has proven to be my favorite dish for entertaining during the week. The casserole may be made the day ahead, refrigerated and then baked the day it is to be served.

Herbed Chicken Casserole
by Tamela K.

3 chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups rice, slightly under cooked and drained
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup sauterne or white wine
1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 3-ounce can mushroom slices with liquid
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Brown chicken breasts in melted butter on stove top in pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place cooked rice in casserole dish with browned chicken on top. Saute the onions until soft in the pan which the chicken was browned. Add soup to the onions and stir until smooth. Slowly add sauterne or wine to onion mixture, stirring well. Add water chestnuts, mushrooms and thyme to the sauce pan.
Pour the mixture over chicken and rice. Cover and bake for an hour, or until tender.