Monday, August 19, 2013

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

The secret to Mongolian beef is the hoisin sauce.  It is also important to sear the meat at a very high temperature to get that super caramelized and crispy outside, but that sometimes makes it difficult to get the meat tender.  This recipe incorporates the best of both worlds; you sear it first, then cook it long and slow in the crockpot to tenderize it.  It came out perfect!

Yield:  Serves 2-4 entree portions 

2 pounds flank steak, cut into bite sized strips
1/2 cup cornstarch

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons minced garlic
6 large green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 cup hoisin sauce 

Optional:  2-3 cups steamed white rice for serving 

Bring steak to room temperature and slice it.  Place flank steak and cornstarch into a sealed plastic bag.  Shake to evenly coat the flank steak with the cornstarch.  Add the hoisin sauce to the bag and shake again to coat with sauce.

Next, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Saute steak until evenly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Deglaze the pan with half of the water, add that cooking liquid to a crockpot.

Place the vegetables, steak, and remaining ingredients into the crockpot with the reserved liquid and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve over rice, if desired.  This is also delicious if you add about a pound of sliced or whole mushrooms into the mix... mmm mushrooms and beef!  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Strawberry Basil Infused Lemonade

This recipes uses strawberry and basil infused vodka as a base. 

Yield: 1 cocktail

3 ounces Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka 
1 lemon, freshly juiced
1 whole fresh strawberry
2 basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
Club soda
Lemon zest

Zest lemon and set aside.  In a glass, juice the zested lemon.  Add the sugar and basil leaves and muddle.  Mix in vodka.  Fill the glass with ice, top with club soda and stir.  Garnish with a slice of lemon, lemon zest and a whole strawberry.  Cheers!

Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka

Strawberry and basil are great complementary flavors and this makes for a fresh and summery cocktail. 

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 cups basil leaves
6 cups vodka

Rinse the strawberries and basil leaves and discard any stems, leaves or unhealthy looking pieces.  Hull strawberries and quarter them.  Add vodka, strawberries and basil to an airtight jar.  Seal jar, shake, and place in a cool, dark place.  Shake every day to speed infusion.

After 7 days, strain the vodka and remove the strawberries.  For the clearest infusion, strain again through a coffee filter.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Note: The process of leeching the flavors out of the fruit will make the fruit look like it is rotted.  Alcohol will kill any bacteria, but for appearances, you can remove the fruit once the infusion is ready.  If giving as a gift, you can add fresh fruit to the infusion.

Serve over ice, with ginger ale, or with lemonade for Strawberry Basil Lemonade.  Cheers!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bloody Mary Flank Steak

This makes a nice spicy sauce that would also be good on chicken or shrimp.

2 cups spicy V-8 vegetable juice
1/2 cup vodka
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 pounds flank steak 

1 cup cherry tomatoes, for garnish (optional) 

Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a large bowl.  Season to taste.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving.  Add the flank steak to the bowl, making sure it is covered with the sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat a grill, skillet or grill pan to high heat.  Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on preference for doneness and thickness of steak. 

Lightly drizzle cherry tomatoes with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to soften and give them a smoky flavor.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice against the grain and serve with cherry tomatoes and reserved sauce on the side.  Enjoy!

Grilled Beer and Butter Shrimp with Fingerling Potatoes

This is extremely easy to make and very delicious... I mean, who doesn't like garlic buttered shrimp?

1 1/2 lbs potatoes (small, or cut into wedges - I used half fingerling & half red potatoes)
1 large red onion (cut into wedges)
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 12 ounce beer, preferably dark
1 1/2 lbs shrimp (peeled and deveined, tail on)
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges and seeded

Preheat grill to medium high.  Lay several sheets of aluminum foil out and spread potatoes, onions and 1/2 of the minced garlic in the center.   Drizzle with about half of the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Fold the edges of the foil up to resemble a bowl shape and add about 1/2 the beer.  Cover with another sheet of foil and fold edges together to seal. 
Place this magical foil bowl on the grill.  Close lid and cook until the potatoes are soft, 20-30 minutes.
While the veggies are grilling, create another foil bowl and place the shrimp in it.  Add the remaining garlic, beer and butter, and sprinkle with the Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add another sheet of foil to the top and seal.  When the vegetables are almost done, place the shrimp packet on the grill.  Cook until the shrimp are pink, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Remove both packets from grill, being careful not to spill any remaining liquid.

Place the potatoes, onion and shrimp on a platter and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.  Add any remaining cooking liquid from the packets and season to taste, if necessary.  Squeeze lemon juices over platter.  Get a pile of napkins and enjoy!