Category Archives: Game Day

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Our vegetable garden is really starting to take off and as I have mentioned in the past, we are picking bowls of a variety of tomatoes on a daily basis, along with fresh herbs, and recently we harvested our broccoli. My wife and I did not plant broccoli last year, but a few years ago we did, and to this day we admit that was probably the best broccoli we had ever tasted. That was no joke. So when I saw the heads of broccoli, I got pretty darn excited, I’ll admit that. As I wanted to simply lightly steam the heads of broccoli, I decided to go a different route and bust out a classic Chinese beef and broccoli, only because my sister-n-law had mentioned it and it was stuck in my head.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, and granted it uses a couple of ingredients that you may, or may not have (but probably should), and it is just packed with good old comfort.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak, 1/4 inch thick slides
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups iced water
  • Cooked rice
  • 4 tbsp canola oil

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by adding your sliced beef to a bowl. Mix the marinade and pour over the beef, and give it a good toss. Marinade for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to make the Chinese beef and broccoli, remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Bring the water to a simmer, and toss in the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl of iced water.  Once cooled, drain the broccoli and set to the side.

Next heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, then toss in the beef, stirring along the way. Cook for about 5 minutes until the beef has some great color, then remove the beef onto a plate.

How to make Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Wipe out the skillet, and add the additional two tablespoons of oil, bringing to medium-high heat. Add the sauce, and give it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the broccoli, and return the beef to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until everything is warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Did I mention I love corn starch, especially when making a great sauce?

When you are ready to place, add cooked rice to the bottom of bowl, and ladle on the Chinese beef and broccoli, ensuring you get plenty of that great flavored sauce.

This was a real winner and it was a perfect use of that broccoli, and again, some of the best broccoli we have had this year. Hope you enjoy!

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

One of my favorite meals of all time has to be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. Hands down. Typically this type of meal is only served in the cooler months of the year as it is my true comfort food, but lately I COULD NOT RESIST MAKING IT. I’ll admit, I broke down and could no longer tolerate my craving for this meal. However instead of frying it in a cast iron skillet, I decided to take a spin on it and go for an crispy oven fried chicken. The name itself doesn’t really make much sense as there is no frying involved, however, the result is everything you would expect in an awesome fried chicken, without cooking it in oil, and a lot less cleanup as well.

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

This is pretty much a classic way of preparing fried chicken and it’s super easy and pretty much hands off, which is great during a busy work week.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp additional seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tbsp additional cracked black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Start by adding buttermilk to a large sealable bag, or large bowl. Add in 1/2 tablespoon of the cracked black pepper, along with 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt.  Stir. Add in the chicken pieces (breasts, wings, thighs, drummies), and make sure all is coated.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Next, add the flour, additional salt and pepper to a brown paper bag, or large sealble plastic bag. Shake well.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and place in the bag. Seal, and shake the crap out of it. Make sure all is coated.

Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off any excess, and place on a rack, and let the flour mixture mellow a bit on the chicken.

How to make crispy oven fried chicken

During this time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly spray the cooking spray on each piece of chicken, and place the rack onto a baking sheet.

Cook in the oven, for about 45-60 minutes, or until golden and crispy and the chicken registers 165 degrees.

Plate and serve with your favorite sides, and well, in this case you know what I served mine with.

If you are looking for a no fuss, non-oil, crispy style fried chicken, this is the one. It’s crispy, it’s juicy, and well, it’s just darn delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Pickled Thai Chilies

I’ve been in a pickling mood for some time now. No clue why, but I have been. It’s most likely because I have had an abundance of chili peppers growing in the garden, and as I normally freeze them and use later, I also love doing a quick pickle and use the chilies on pizza, rice bowls, and omelets. I wouldn’t say that I am a true chili head, but I do love the spice, and the vitamin content that normally goes with them.  One of my favorite peppers has got to be the Thai bird chili pepper.  They have a great punch of hit along with some really nice citrus notes, and when used in sauces such as Nuoc Cham, well, hands down it’s a real winner.

Pickled Thai Bird Chilies

I know, big deal, these just look like regular Thai chili peppers right? Well, yes, but then again, they have been pickling for a couple of weeks in a great, and simple pickling mixture that makes these chilies pop even more.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Thai bird chilies
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

That’s it. Great stuff.

Start by adding everything but the Thai chilies in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and let the sugar melt with the vinegar and water. Remove and let cool.

How to make pickled Thai Chilies

Once the mixture has cooled, add the chilies to a small, sealable container, and pour the vinegar solution into the container, making sure you have covered the chilies.

Seal, and place in the refrigerator for about two days. Then use freely.

Again, I love Thai bird chilies, but with the addition of the vinegar and sugar, and lemongrass really makes these shine even more. They are great sliced and served  (if you like that type of heat), with any type of dishes where you want to add a bit of heat. If you like chili peppers, you will most likely love these. Hope you enjoy!

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 12 whole medium sized tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!