Posts tagged: Basil

Pesto Falso

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). Pesto in its basic form is basil, garlic, salt, pine nuts and olive oil — that’s it! Making fresh pesto can be a little expensive, so I developed this recipe to help reduce cost, but still retain that great pesto flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 ounces sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon dried Basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

Directions:

Add cilantro, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until well mixed and all ingredients are finely chopped. Next add the almonds and again blend until well mixed and finely chopped. Now drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. That’s it — enjoy.

Basic Marinara

This is a basic marinara sauce, and is a great starting point for creating your own recipe or just experimenting with new flavors. You can use this sauce in a variety of dishes from basic pasta to a chicken or veal Parmesan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (26 oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (1/2 cup fresh chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden being careful not to burn. Add onions, basil, parsley and pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with liquid. Break up tomatoes with fork. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally. The sauce can keep up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For variations you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of fine ground meat such as Italian sausage, chuck, sirloin, chorizo, chopped pancetta or even chopped pepperoni.

Italian Sausage Meat Sauce

Fucilli tossed with Meat Sauce and garnished with Grated Romano Cheese

Fucilli tossed with Meat Sauce and garnished with Grated Romano Cheese

Any pasta can be used with this meat sauce which is also known as a bolognese.  I normally use Fusilli because the meat sauce clings to it easily. I serve this meal in a bowl with a spoon and top it with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, medium chop
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced (red preferred)
  • 2 tomatoes diced (approximately 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 4 1/2 ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed

Directions:

Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until semi soft being careful not to burn them. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned. Drain sausage.

In pot with drained sausage, stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix in oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, cumin, fennel seed, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 1-2 hours, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.

Jucy Lucy – Texas Style

The Jucy Lucy was invented in Minneapolis, Minnesota, either at Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club, which location is still up for debate (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jucy_Lucy).

A Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger having the cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts, resulting in a molten core of cheese within the patty.

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 3 tbs kosher salt
  • 3 tbs fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tbs Worcestershire sauce (Try Me – Wine & Pepper brand suggested)
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 shots vodka (Absolut Peppar recommended)
  • 1 medium white onion finely minced
  • 4-8 finely chopped jalapenos (as needed)
  • As needed, and to taste
    • Havarati (Jalapeno or Habanero)
    • Jack (Jalapeno or Habenero)
    • Spreadable extra sharp cheddar (Black Diamond preferred)
  • 1/2 lb Cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 8 onion buns
  • 16 slices pancetta
  • garlic butter spread

Directions:

Patties

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sirloin, pork and bison. Add onion, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, basil, cayenne, crushed red pepper, cumin seed, tomato sauce, brown sugar and vodka. Mix all ingredients thoroughly (I use my hands and just get dirty with this step). Once meat is well mixed, separate into 1/2 pound portions.

On wax paper take 1 portion of meat mixture and divide into equal parts and shape two patties. On 1 patty, preferably the larger of the two, add 2-3 tablespoons of cheese cut into small cubes approximately 3/8 inch  in size in the middle of the patty or spoon in spreadable cheese, leaving 3/4 to 1 inch to the edge of the patty. Top cheese with 2 tablespoons of minced jalapeno. Place the second patty on top of first patty, crimp edges with fingers and reshape into a single patty. Place a slice of pancetta on both sides of the patty.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees and cook patties 4-5 minutes per side.

Mushrooms

In a medium skillet, add butter, red wine and vinegar, over a medium/medium high heat until butter is melted. Once butter is melted, add mushrooms and garlic and saute until wine and vinegar are mostly reduced and mushrooms have softened. Remove and set aside for burgers.

Burger

Jucy Lucy - Texas Style

Jucy Lucy - Texas Style

Add garlic butter spread to both sides of buns and toast on grill for approximately 1 minute. Add grilled patty, sauteed mushrooms, a leaf of butter lettuce (cupping the rest of the burger). Let burger rest for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Another great alternative for this burger is simply serving with green chili sauce.

A Little Bit of Everything

The basis of this dish comes from my mom – “Mother Unit”. It was one of the first dishes I asked her to teach me. I’ve taken it and tweaked it over the years. If you are looking for an easy but filling comfort food meal, this is as good a place to start as any.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef 95% lean or better
  • 1/2 lb Ground Pork
  • 1/2 lb Ground Lamb
  • 1/2 lb Ground Bison
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 2 large Jalapenos
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 2 10 oz cans of Cream of Mushroom
  • 3 lbs Red Potatoes “C” size
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup milk
  • Shredded Mozzarella

Directions:

Meat and vegetable mixture

Meat and vegetable mixture

Start by cutting the potatoes into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes. Added these to a large pot with water and boil for 45 minutes. The rest of the dish can be prepared while the potatoes boil. Chop the bell peppers and onion into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sized pieces. Cut and de-seed the jalapenos and  into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sized pieces. Peel the carrots and slice into small slices. In a seperate, small sauce pan, blanch the carrots for 3-5 minutes. In a large pan, I use a Paella pan, add the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beef, pork, bison, lamb, in that order separating and stirring in each for 1 to minutes before adding the next. Once all meat has been added, add 2 tablespoons of salt and pepper and one tablespoon of oregano and basil. Continue stirring and mixing until all of the  meat has been browned. Add the two cans of cream of mushroom and thoroughly mix. Let stand on heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to deep casserole dishes, (I have to use 2). The casserole dishes should be filled approximately 1 1/2″  deep.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the potatoes have been boiled, drain and add butter cut into small pieces, 2 tablespoons of fresh ground pepper, and 1/2 cup milk. After the butter is mostly melted, use a hand mixer to mix the potatoes, add milk as necessary. Remember you can always add milk but can never take it away. I always mix in an empty sink as the hand mixer may spray some potatoes out of the pot.

Layer the top of the meat and vegetable mixture with an even layer of the mashed potatoes. Top with a layer of  Mozzarella cheese, and place in oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve.

Variations:

When fresh English Peas are in season, I will add a cup when I add the meat.

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