Wish Upon A Dish

September 21, 2014

Insanely Good Oxtail Stew ♥ Master sauce for four more meals

You know that saying..."Inspiration comes in many forms."
Recently I was inspired to make use of 4 cups of sauce, leftover from an oxtail stew.

Not wanting to throw away a gift of a highly flavored sauce, I challenged myself to create four other recipes from that one sauce.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that other people might actually be interested in this concept.
I came up with a set of rules.
Rule #1: I must use at least 1 cup of the master sauce per recipe.
Rule #2: I must make create these recipes using 10 ingredients or less.
Rule #3: Each recipe must create a dish totally different from all the rest.
Rule #4: The recipe for the 1st dish (which will be referred to as "the master sauce") must yield at least 4 cups of leftover sauce.

Now that I have completely confused you, let me try to explain by example.

Since this recipe yielded 1.5 quarts of sauce, I had 1 quart of leftover sauce.
I then sat down at my computer and created four completely different dishes using 1 cup of the master sauce in each and froze the ones I did not need immediately.

A Sichuan Braised Cod, Spanish Meatballs, a Shrimp Etouffe and an Oven Braised Italian Spare Rib dinner.

I will post each of those recipes as the week progresses, so stay tuned to see how they all turn out.
I have made two additional dinners so far and today I will braise the ribs and on Monday, make the cod.

Let's get cooking.......

Insanely Good Oxtail Stew
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Serves 8-10

* 5 pounds oxtails
* sea salt
* olive oil
* 2 medium leeks
* 2 stalks of celery
* 4 medium carrots
* a few sprigs of fresh thyme
* a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
* 4 fresh bay leaves or 3 dried
* 4 whole cloves
* 2 tablespoons AP flour
* 2 (28oz) can plum tomatoes
* 9 ounces porter (beer) or red wine
* 1 carton beef stock
* Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 425°. Place a large roasting tray in the oven to preheat.
Carefully remove the hot tray from the oven; add the oxtail. Season with salt & pepper and drizzle over the oxtail. Toss to coat and place back into the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and caramelized.

Meanwhile, trim and halve the leeks and celery lengthwise, then chop into rough 1-inch chunks. Peel and chop the carrots into 1-inch pieces, then place into a large Dutch oven over a medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Pick, roughly chop and add the thyme and rosemary leaves, then add the bay and cook for around 20 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, remove the oxtail from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF.

Add the cloves and flour to the veg, stirring well to combine, then pour in the tomatoes and porter (or wine, if using). Add the oxtail and any roasting juices, cover with the beef stock or 1 quart of cold water and stir well. Turn the heat up to high and bring to the boil, then pop the lid on and place in the hot oven for around 5 hours, or until the meat falls away from the bone, stirring every hour or so and adding a splash of water to loosen, if needed.

Remove the pot from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Using rubber gloves, strip the meat from the bones and return to the pan, discarding the bones. Add a good splash of Worcestershire sauce.

I added fresh corn cut from the cob and a dusting of grated cheese and served over whole wheat egg noodles.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving):
Calories 523cal
Carbs 12g
Sugar 6.4g
Fat 38g
Sat Fat 14.2
Protein 28.4g

I pureed the vegetables with the stock and strained everything into a large container.
I created the label for this series - "One Sauce-Five Meals".

I hope that this series of recipes will make it easier for a homemade dinner to appear at your family dinner table for 4 week night meals in under 30 minutes.

September 19, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread Crumble

I had very ripe bananas and blueberries in my freezer. I could make this, it looked really good and I was looking for something different than my usual old fashioned banana bread (not that there was anything wrong with it). I have also made a new favorite lemon pear breakfast bread a few times but I had bananas not pears (but ask me again in a few months).

The idea of a crumble on top intrigued me and if I added whole grain oats it would be a little more healthier. The last time I made a blueberry cornbread the blueberries overtook the bread and so the berries would not sink to the bottom (contrary to common belief, flouring them does not stop that), I made a line of crumble down the middle to act as a barrier. As you can see it did make a difference. Yay for me!!

I think next time I make this bread I will not only add oats but chopped nuts to the crumble mix.

If you are a fan of a dense banana bread, then you will love the addition of the blueberries and the crumble. We both had a slice for breakfast and it was gone before I knew it.
Time to make another.

Blueberry Banana Bread Crumble
Adapted from Right at Home
makes 1 loaf

Banana Bread:
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 ripe bananas, mashed
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup fresh blueberries  (I used frozen ones, defrosted)

* 1/2 cup all purpose flour
* 1/3 cup whole grain oats 
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 stick unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. 
2. In a bowl, stir to combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside until needed. 
3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat butter and sugars together on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium-low speed add eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is just incorporated. Add blueberries and fold in by hand with a spatula. 
4. Pour half the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan. 
5. To make the crumble, combine all ingredients for the crumble in a bowl. With your hands or a fork work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles peas. Pour the crumble evenly on top of the banana bread batter. Pour the remaining batter over the crumble and spread evenly over the crumble.Spoon the remaining half of crumble on the top of the batter.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 1 slice (129g)
Calories 400g
Calories from Fat 150g
Total Fat 17g
Saturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 80mg
Sodium 270g
Total Carbohydrates 58g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 33g
Protein 5g

September 15, 2014

Chicken Tostadas ♥ It's good to know we are doing it right

Like everyone that eats Tex-Mex food such as tacos, tosdadas, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas to name a few, we have all tweaked them to satisfy our personal preferences.

Those dishes we can't make, we find a place that does and everything is good in the world. I suppose that the majority of us have no idea if we are even eating authentic Tex-Mex the way they did when Texas was part of the Mexican territory.

Being overly curious about such things I decided to look into the history of tostadas.

Tostada is a Spanish word which literally means "toasted". It is used in Latin America to name several different traditional local dishes which only have in common the fact they are toasted or uses a toasted ingredient as the main base of its preparation. Note there's a gender difference between "tostada" (feminine) and "tostado" (masculine). Despite the fact both terms means exactly the same (toasted), tostado is used in reference of a specific degree of toast, (coffee, roasted grains and seeds or bread toast) while tostada is usually the name of a particular dish.

In Mexico it refers to a flat or bowl-shaped (like a bread bowl) tortilla that is toasted or deep fried. It also refers to the finished dish using a tostada as a base. It is consumed alone, as a salty snack known as nachos, in Tex-Mex cuisine, or used a base for other foods. Corn tortillas are the ones usually used to make tostadas, although in some regions it is possible, but rare, find tostadas made of wheat flour.
Tostada initially has its origin in the need to avoid waste when tortillas went stale, no longer fresh enough to be rolled into tacos, but still fresh enough to eat. The old tortilla is submersed into boiling oil until becomes golden, rigid and crunchy, like a traditional slice of toast bread (hence the reason of its name). Then is served alone as companion for different kinds of Mexican food, mostly seafood, and spicy stews, such as Menudo, Birria and Pozole. This last one is usually accompanied with tostadas dipped in acidified cream.
An extremely popular way to eat tostadas in Mexico is as a dish of its own. Beans, cheese, acidified cream, chopped lettuce, sliced onions and salsa are spread onto the tostadas like an "open faced" rigid taco, mostly like a pizza. Then is finally topped with the main ingredient, usually meat cooked and chopped specially to dress the tostada. In most cases, is cooked chicken meat or pork. The "Tostada de Pata" (chopped pork fingers in conserve) has become an icon of Mexican tostadas, and it is found in almost every place where tostadas are prepared. As a general rule, due to the flat and fragile body of the tostada, the main topping must be sticky or pasty enough to stay on top. This helps prevent the other toppings or garnishes from falling off while it's being eaten, although due its natural fragility, tostadas have the tendency to break noisily when eaten.
In addition to ingredients typically used as taco fillings, tostadas are also extremely popular topped with seafood, such as cooked tuna, shrimp, crab, chopped octopus and ceviche or as companion for spicy shrimp stew.

Wow, I like the idea of octopus or crab but other than that, that I guess in this world of fast food convenience, the tostada has remained the same.
I admit that I was layering the ingredients wrong so with this batch I did it the right way. I put the chicken on top of the beans, queso blanco, lettuce, pico and avocado and used the sriracha crema as the sticky glue to hold everything in place.

I liked the new set-up. Usually all the toppings would fall off as soon as I took a bite and I just wasn't a fan (like making a taco with those useless hard taco shells).
There really is no recipe here, nothing special with the food. I used leftover roasted chicken, homemade black refried beans, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, Wholly Guacamole and a sriracha sour cream. A final snowing of queso blanco and pico for garnish and my dinner was done.

I would spray the tortillas with a spray and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy brown.
I seasoned mine with Adobo to give them some flavor but I think a packet of taco seasonings would also work well.

A fairly healthy meal if you use vegetarian refried beans (or homemade) and use grilled or roasted meats.
These are the perfect vehicle for using leftovers and I don't know anyone that does not like crunchy, spicy, creamy, and sweet.

Consider changing your boxed taco night to a tostadas party and save the ground chuck for spaghetti and meatballs.