Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chicken Fried Venison

Chicken Fried Venison
Chicken Fried Venison
Over the weekend, my dad gave me some venison steaks. I almost immediately decided that some chicken fried venison was in order. So I grabbed some potatoes to make some home fries and got to work!

The Recipe:

  • Venison Steaks
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Marinate the venison in enough milk to cover for 4 to 6 hours. The amount of milk you use, will largely depend on the size of the container and how many venison steaks you have. 

After the steaks have marinated in the milk, mix together some flour, salt, and pepper. To be honest, I didn't measure this. I just used what I thought was enough. It's always good to have extra. Generously cover the venison in the flour mixture.

Chicken Fried Venison
Chicken Fried Venison
In a cast iron skillet, heat about a half inch of oil. To test if the oil is hot enough, sprinkle some flour in it. If it sizzles with the flour, it is ready. Place the venison steaks in the oil. Cook about 5 to 7 minutes a side. 

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Stuffed Shells
Stuffed Shells
I always loved getting stuffed pastas when I was little when we would go out to eat. It seemed so exotic! How did they get the stuffing inside the pasta? Now not that I've mastered the art if pasta making, I'm still in awe of people who can make tortellini, but in my house we like to make our own ravioli and stuffed shells! Today's recipe is for stuffed jumbo shells.


The Recipe:
  • 2 15 Ounce Containers of Ricotta
  • 1 Package of Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Recipe Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup Shredded Chicken (optional)
  • 1 Box Jumbo Shells
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Salt and Pepper

Equipment:
  • Piping Bag
  • 13x9 Baking Dish
  • Food Processor

In boiling water, cook the jumbo shells until slightly al dente. Set aside.

Combine 1 container of ricotta with the tomato sauce. Set aside.

Using a food processor, combine the remaining​ container of ricotta with the spinach. I don't measure it, but I go off of color. A light, pale green us a good mix. You'll know it when you see it. Mix in some salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken if you are adding that to the mix.

Using a piping bag or 2 spoons, fill each shell with the ricotta mixture. Position each shell face up in the baking dish. Once the baking dish is full, pour the tomatoe sauce and ricotta over the shells. Then cover it up with the mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, usually about 30 minutes.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No Sugar Tomato Sauce

For as long as I can remember, I've added sugar to my tomato sauce. Whether I'm making something quick or an all day affair, I've used sugar to cut down on the acidity from the tomatoes. The other day, I decided to try something different. Instead of the usual sugar, I added some carrots to the sauce. The naturally sweet carrots took care of the job the sugar usually performs, and added some extra nutrients too!

The Recipe:

  • 1 Large Onion - Diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - Diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks - Chopped
  • 3 Carrots - Peeled and Chopped
  • 2 Large Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil
  • No Sugar Tomato Sauce
    No Sugar Tomato Sauce
  • Olive Oil

In a heavy bottom stock pot, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the remaining ingredients. 

From here, there are 2 different routes to take: 

The high heat method, which can be little risky, but can make the in less than an hour. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Be careful with the high heat method, because tomatoes can burn very easily. just make sure to stir the sauce often to prevent burning. 

The low heat method, which is definitely the safer route. Once the onions and garlic are ready, reduce to the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. The low heat method will allow all of the ingredients to break down and help the flavors come together, without the risk of burning.

Either way, I like to use a heat diffuser with my sauce, to help evenly distribute the heat around the bottom of the pot.

Once the sauce is cooked, I like to blend everything together with an immersion blender, to break down all the large pieces.

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is one of those things I always heard was really hard to make. But once I watched someone make it, and how simple it is, I had to try it fr myself.

The Recipe:

  • 1 Onion - Diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 1 Quart Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter - divided
  • 1 Package Portobello Mushrooms - Sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • Spinach - Rough Chopped (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Mushroom Risotto
Sauté the rice in butter
until translucent





In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a slow simmer. In a heavy bottom Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Over medium-high heat, sauté the arborio rice until translucent, or not quite browned.



Remove the rice from the pot. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sauté the onions and garlic until slightly browned. Deglaze the pan with the dry white wine. Return the arborio rice back to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper.


Mushroom Risotto
Add the broth one ladle
at a time

The next step is where it can get a little tricky. It's not hard, it just takes patience. Add the chicken broth to the rice, one ladle at a time. The rice is going to slowly absorb the chicken broth. Don't rush it by turning the heat up too much or the chicken broth will evaporate instead of absorbing in to the rice. Stir the rice occasionally. As the chicken broth absorbs into the rice, add another ladle one at time.






When the last ladle of broth has been added, add the mushrooms. The mushrooms will cook quickly. When the broth is fully absorbed, the mushrooms are done.

Mushroom Risotto
Add the spinach
at the very end




If you are adding the spinach, stir it in just before turning off the heat. The remaining heat in the rice will cook it.







Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the ricotta and mozzarella cheese. 




Some other variations to try are mushroom and asparagus, summer veggies, or pumpkin for the fall!


Happy eating!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a staple in our kitchen. We always have a mason jar of it in the fridge. It comes in handy for sweetening drinks and coffees and using as a base to make other flavored syrups. It is so easy, I'm surprised they sell it in the store!

Simple Syrup
Simple Syrup in my trusty Mason Jar
The Recipe:
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
Add the water and sugar to sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Stir with a whisk until all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. See how easy that was!

Note: Although the recipe is for 1 cup, it is easy to convert to any quantity. Just make sure that amount of water and the amount of sugar are equal.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Best Houston Coffee Shops

Anyone who knows me really well, knows that I drink a lot of coffee. So it seems fitting to compile a list of my favorite coffee shops around Houston. This list was surprisingly hard to make. There are so many great places to get a cup of coffee in this city, that limiting it to 10 meant leaving out some of those great places. Why 10? Well, a Top 10 list seems pretty standard, and I've already started a trend with the Houston Essential Restaurants 2016 post!

To be a great coffee shop is pretty simple. Good music, WiFi, comfy chairs are a plus, but overall good coffee! Oh and one more thing, it has to be a Houston original.

Paper Co Coffee
Paper Co Coffee



Paper Co Coffee
1100 Elder Street

Look for the blue door. Paper Co Coffee is located just across Buffalo Bayou from downtown. There is an art gallery off to the side that is always great to walk through.







Mod Coffeehouse
Mod Coffeehouse

Mod Coffee (Galveston, TX)
2126 Post Office St, Galveston, TX, 77550

I've always enjoyed heading to The Strand down in Galveston, but lately I've enjoyed exploring the streets in the surrounding area. Mod is located just a few streets away from the hustle and bustle of The Strand.








Boomtown Coffee
Boomtown Coffee


Boomtown Coffee

242 W 19th Street


If you're in The Heights area, Boomtown Coffee is a must for your daily fix. Grab a cup to-go and head across the street to get your vinyl fix at Vinyl Edge Records.





Catalina Coffee
Catalina Coffee



Catalina Coffee
2201 Washington Ave

This is a great place to stop in when things get busy on the Washington Corridor! You'll find a quiet table and a great cup of coffee!





Southside Espresso
Southside Espresso




Southside Espresso
904 Westheimer Road, Suite C

I love Southside's outdoor courtyard area. They have a great coffee and tap selection too!





Tout Suite
Tout Suite

Toot Suite
2001 Commerce Street

I was first introduced to Tout Suite by my wife, who loved their macaroons at first sight! I've since gotten to know them for their coffee and delicious eats! They have two locations, Downtown and Memorial City.




Agora
Agora



Agora
1712 Westheimer Road

After my beloved Diedrich Coffee closed, I ventured further down Westheimer to find this Greek inspired coffeehouse. When I walked in it was full of writers and readers and thinkers enjoying cheeses and coffee and the occasional glass of wine or bottle of beer.




DeNovo Coffee 
DeNovo Coffee
DeNovo Coffee
4800 Louetta Road, Spring, TX
520 W Main Street, Tomball, TX 

This North Houston drive thru coffee shop is perfect for the coffee lover on the go. There is one location in Spring and another in Tomball.


Siphon Coffee
Siphon Coffee




Siphon Coffee
701 West Alabama



I love this place for the modern atmosphere, amazing coffee, and good eats! When the weather is nice, they have a great side patio.




Jane and John Dough
Jane and John Dough



Jane and John Dough (Tomball, TX)
208 N Elm Street, Tomball, TX

This little bakery in Tomball is putting out delicious pastries and amazing coffee. It has quickly become one of my go-to Saturday morning breakfast spots!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

4 Recipes Using a Rotisserie Chicken - Chicken Salad

Lately, I've been looking for ways to make dinner prep a little easier. So I decided to put together a series of 4 recipes using a rotisserie chicken, something that can be picked up at the store on your way home from work and then combined with a few simple ingredients that may already be in your kitchen. The last recipe in the series is Chicken Salad.

4 Recipes Using a Rotisserie Chicken - Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad

The Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Chicken - Cubed
  • 1 Cup Grapes - Halved
  • 3 Apples - Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Celery - Diced
  • 2 Green Onions - Diced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper

This Chicken Salad is by far the easiest recipe of the series. Just combine all of the ingredients and bowl. I don't measure the mayonnaise. For me, it's a consistency thing. I add a little at a time until everything is combined. The mayonnaise serves more as a binder than as a flavoring ingredient. If there's too much, it just tastes like mayonnaise. The chicken should still the star. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to serve mine as a sandwich on toasted bread. It goes well on a bed of lettuce too!


Happy eating!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

4 Recipes Using a Rotisserie Chicken - Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

Lately, I've been looking for ways to make dinner prep a little easier. So I decided to put together a series of 4 recipes using a rotisserie chicken, something that can be picked up at the store on your way home from work and then combined with a few simple ingredients that may already be in your kitchen. The third recipe in the series is Greek Chicken Pasta Salad. You may notice this one as a repeat, but it works so well with a rotisserie chicken I couldn't leave it out of the series!
4 Recipes Using a Rotisserie Chicken - Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
Greek Chicken Pasta Salad

The Recipe:



This recipe is super simple to make on a busy weeknight. With the rotisserie chicken, the only thing to cook is the pasta. I don't measure anything. I just put everything in a big bowl and mix it up. My only requirement is to go heavy on the olives, the more the better! Combine all of the ingredients, poor the dressing over, and serve. It's that simple!

Happy eating!