Tag Archives: food

Fresh String Beans

This is another Steak staple side dish my mom made.

Green Beans (steamed)

1 pound string bean (green beans)

2 cups water

Bring 2 cups of water in your 4 quart sauce pot to a boil with the steamer basket in place. Prepare beans by removing both ends and cutting in half or thirds. When the water is at a rapid boil add the beans. Cook until tender.

Green Beans (boiled)

1 pound string bean (green beans)

1 small onion

1 tsp. salt

2 cups water

Bring 2 cups of water in your 4 quart sauce pot to a boil, add salt. Prepare beans by removing both ends and cutting in half or thirds. Peel one small whole onion. When the water is at a rapid boil add the beans and onion. Cook until tender.

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2022

Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions

INGREDIENTS:

1 package mushrooms

1 large Spanish onions

4 tablespoons stick of butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Wash mushrooms under cold running water to remove dirt. Let drain. While the shrooms drain slice the onion. Cut small mushrooms in half and large mush into quarters.

Heat oil in a large All-Clad or similar steel pan. When hot, add onions. Fry over medium high heat until brown. Leaving the onions still for a minute or two without stirring. I think they tend to brown quicker that way. It also gives me a change to take a sip of wine.

Add the Mushrooms and stir. Cook for a two or three minutes stirring the same way.

Reduces heat and add butter and table spoon at a time until it is all incorporated.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.  

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2022

Horseradish Sauce

This is the perfect condiment for Prime Rib or a roast beef sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup jarred horseradish (less if you do not want it that hot)

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons dried chives

1 teaspoon Lee and Perrins worcestershire sauce (optional for those allergic to fish)

½ teaspoon cider vinegar

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of white Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Add all the ingredients to a medium size glass bowl and whisk together until they are all combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or for best results over night.

NOTES: One pinch = 1/8th of a teaspoon

Serve with Prime Rib or on roast beef sandwiches.

© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2022

WELCOME MARCH and corned beef

        March is a favorite month of mine. Many famous book, poetry and music all refer to March such the idiom; “In like a lion out like a lamb.” Which as many of you might know refers to the weather of March and how it is freezing in the first weeks and noticeably, “supposed to be”, warmer in the last. This however is not always true. I have seen snow in New York City just before Easter back in the seventies and again the eighties. Then there is the famous expression by some guy named Will; “beware the ides of March.” Which back then, March 15th was considered Roman tax day.  I wonder why the United States chose April 15th?

I digress, March is a wonderful month filled with food. There is Saint Patrick’s Day, in which here in New York, we celebrate with and overabundance of corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes that is made in a very large pot. This is a recipe I will be making and sharing with you all now.

I always prepared this this meal on March 17th, regardless of it falling on a Friday during lent. As a matter of health, more so then anything else I choose to eat fish every Friday during lent. It give me a good excuse shall we say, “to make all these terribly stinky dishes that smell up my house all day.” Those are my wife’s words, she prefers me to cook fish OUTSIDE whenever possible. She would have me cook the corn beef outside if I could. Therefore, I should be posting a few fish dishes this month. Including but not limited to, fried flounder, stuffed flounder, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, potato wrapped sea bass, and the ever-popular tuna salad, to name a few.  After all, there are only like seven weeks until Easter and I am forced to stop cooking MOST fish recipes in the kitchen of my home.

Let get to the first recipe we discussed, Corned beer, I mean BEEF. (ugh a corny joke)

Saint Patty’s Day Corned Beef

Serves 4 to 6

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS:

1 Extra Large Stock Pot

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 thin cut corned beef brisket (I like the Freirich brand)

1 onion

2-3 carrots

2-3 stalks celery

 2 heads of cabbage

12 oz. Bottle Beer (Guinness Harp or Sam Adams October fest if you have it)

1 whole clove garlic (peeled)

6 – 8 pepper corns

1 tbsp. pickling spice or seasoning packet from corned beef

5 lbs. Red Bliss Potatoes or small white potatoes

Frozen corn on the cob

Water

DIRECTIONS:

In an extra large stockpot, add corn beef with juice from package (and the spice packet). Add enough water to cover corned beef.  Add one 12 oz. bottle of beer, preferably NOT dark, perhaps one you are serving with dinner (Sam Adams Oktoberfest I saved from the fall).  Add carrots, celery, and onion that has been cut into large pieces. Add the whole clove of garlic. Cook on low 2 hours. After cooking the meat two hours you can now add potatoes and the cabbage. Turn heat to high. Return to a boil. Now lower heat and simmer one hour longer. Remove meat to cutting board to rest. Test meat for doneness to see if it is tender, meat should pull away will a fork. If it still too chewy cook it longer!

When the meat is done cover and let rest. It needs it. Turn the heat up to high on potatoes and cabbage to boil and add the corn. Cook corn in the same hot water for the recommended time on package.  When corn is ready it will also be “seasoned”, slice meat and serve with cabbage, potatoes, corn.

Serving suggestion: Serve with bakery fresh rye bread, whipped butter and a nice spicy brown mustard like Guldens.

NOTES I don’t remember ever eating corned beef with my mom until I was a teenager. I don’t think anyone else in my family liked it back then. Everyone except my sister who ate with her eggs for breakfast but let’s save that recipe and story for another time.  See St. Patrick’s Day Menu or SPRING

NOTES: Remember corned beef shrinks when you cook it. Why? I don’t know! It just does, so buy extra, plus I have a few recipes for that leftover corned beef that you DON’T want to miss out on!

ENJOY!

The Drunken and now hungry Chef

Turkey Burger

I made turkey burgers last night. The recipe is below. I do recommend these. I’m not saying make these just as a healthy alternative, or not because ground turnkey is cheaper then beef right now but because they taste DAM good! Enjoy.

The Drunken Chef

INGREDIENTS:

4 Brioche hamburger buns

1 package ground turkey

1 large whole egg

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1 onion

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Begin by heating a large pan over medium heat. Butter the inside of four hamburger buns. I prefer Brioche buns for this. Now place the buns in the HOT frying pan and cook. You are frying them like a grill cheese sandwich. This will make all the difference to the taste of your burger in the end.

Once your buns are toasted and removed to plates peel and slice an onion.

Fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat.

While the onions are cooking, mince 1 carrot, and 1 celery stalk. I use my Pampered Chef chopper for this.

Right after the onions have cooked (begin to brown) I return them to the cutting board and chop them up finely using a large chef’s knife.

Return then onion to the hot pan on medium heat. Add the carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat for two minutes. Adding more olive oil if necessary to keep them from sticking to pan.

Mince 1 clove of garilc. Add garlic to the onion mixture in pan and continue cooking one more minute.   

In a medium size bowl. Place the ground turkey. Add 1 lightly beaten egg, salt and pepper to taste (but don’t taste it). Mix in the onion mixture a little bit at a time (1/8th ). Dumping all of the hot onion mixture, all at once, will cook your eggs and you will have scrambled eggs and raw turkey, ewe, you don’t want that.

Now that all the vegetables have been carefully mixed into you turkey, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan and heat it over medium heat until its hot again.

Form a meat ball and press into the pan forming a round patty using a fork or back of a spoon. Repeat with one or two more meatballs but do not over crowd your pan. The burgers will not brown but will steam. They will be good, but not perfect.

After frying burgers on one side without moving them (This is how the brown) for two to three minutes. Flip burgers over and continue to cook on the other side for two minutes. Adjust temperature under pan so the burgers cook through WITHOUT burning yet turning a nice brown like a burger should.  Test the burgers with an instant read meat thermometer. They will be done at 160 degrees. They start getting dry after that.

Remove burgers to bottom bun and “dress up” you burger however you like. You can add more grilled onions (if you made extra) or lettuce, tomato and a slice of red onion or cold slaw, pickles or just ketchup or hot sauce. It all up to you. It’s your burger!

Server with a cold beer and French fries or waffle fries.

Artichoke Pie

This is a picture of an apple pie, but you get the idea

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. How bazar and I can not believe I have not posted this yet.

INGREDIENTS:

9 inch pie shell top and bottom

1 package frozen or canned artichokes

4 eggs

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or chopped garlic

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

8 oz. package mozzarella cheese

salt, pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut artichokes in half, brown in a pan with a little olive oil, add garlic and set aside.  Beat eggs in a large bowl and then add all other ingredients.  Fold in artichokes hearts.  Pour into pie shell. Cover with top crust and pinch together sides. Add slits to the top crust with a pairing knife and brush with milk.  Bake at 350 for one hour.

Cut into wedges and serve warm. Makes and excellent first course or appetizer and pairs nicely with a wine wine like a Pinto Grigio.

NOTES: This is a favorite recipe for Thanksgiving and so portable to bring to someone’s house. So easy to make.

The French Dip Burger

        Now that you have your French onion soup recipe. Let’s use some of that for THIS recipe! I call it the French dip burger and it’s the perfect meal for watching a football game! For a large crowd watching the big game, check out my cheeseburger sliders recipe too!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

French Dip Burger

Serves 3 to 4

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS:

Grill or Cast Iron Pan or frying pan

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds of 80% lean ground beef

4 Brioche Bun’s (I found mine at COSCO)

2 Spanish Onions (sliced thin)

8 slices of provolone

4 tablespoon of butter

2 tables spoons of olive oil.

Salt

Pepper

Ketchup to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your cast iron skillet or whatever frying pan you are using.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and a tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is sizzling, add you sliced Spanish onions. Cook until they just start turn brown.

In the meantime, while you onions are cooking, start forming the hamburger patties. I love using a hamburger press for this. You can find these on Amazon for under $15. Mine cost $9.99.

I lay a piece of plastic wrap inside the bottom half of the press. Add a large “meatball” and warp it LOOSELY in the plastic. I “Press” with the top piece of the Press to from a perfect hamburger. You looking to make your hamburgers all relatively the same size and weight so they cook evenly. After the burgers are made, it’s now easy to wrap them up tight and store the extras in the refrigerator or freezer because the plastic is already there!  

Stir you onion and push them to the edge of your pan. With you pan on medium high heat. Butter your buns.

Then toast your buns like a slice of grilled cheese in the center of that pan.

Once you buns are all nice and toasty place one or two burgers into the center of your pan. Fry for about 5 minutes and flip. Stir you onions. Place 2 slices of provolone on top of the burgers and cook for 4 minutes.

Cover and cook one more minute or just until cheese is melted. Your burger should be medium rare depending on it’s thickness. Adjust your cooking time to desired doneness.

Move the cooked burgers from the pan to the bottom half of the bun, place onion on top. Serve open for guests to add condiments like salt, pepper or ketchup.

Sever with hot French Onion Soup in a 10 once ramekin or small Pyrex bowl to dip the burgers into.

The salt, pepper and Ketchup can be served on the side. (this burger does NOT require mustard, just sayin.)

ENJOY!

The Drunken and now hungry Chef

French Onion Soup

        French Onion Soup is a classic. When I was much younger, I frequented a restaurant that had a terrific French Onion Soup. I even remember going to this restaurant on a first date. I remember using the French Onion Soup almost as an excuse to ask her out.

        “Do you like French Onion Soup?”

        “Yes. I suppose.”

        “Well, let me take you to this restaurant I know that makes an amazing French Onion Soup.”

        “I don’t know. I don’t date guys I meet in bars.”

        “I’m not asking you to marry me or anything. It just French Onion Soup.”

        She agreed to go and try the soup and the rest they say is history. I married her 15 years later but that’s a story for another time.

        I was talking originally about soup. A French Onion Soup that I just made recently…although I took a few short cuts…Shhhh. See the recipe below.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

French Onion Soup

Serves 3 to 4

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS:

Big Pot

INGREDIENTS:

4 Spanish Onions (cut in half and sliced thin)

8 cups water (or no salt beef stock)

3 tbls. Olive oil

4 tbls. Butter

1 package of Lipton onion soup mix (no salt beef stock)

4 bouillon cubes (instead of salt)

½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce (I use Lee and Perrins)

½ tsp Soy Sauce (I use low Sodium)

½ tsp Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet

4 slices of French bread

½ cup Gruyere cheese grated

½ cup Mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

Over medium heat brown onions in olive oil and butter. Add water or beef stock. If you do not have beef stock on hand, add the onion soup mix. Add 4 bouillon cubes instead of salt. Add ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp soy sauce and about ½ to 1 tsp of gravy master for a deep rich color. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Toast French bread slices under broiler.

Add bread to bowls as shown below. Add soup. Mix the two chcese together in a bowl then top off with ½ cup of mixed cheese. Place under broiler until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Serve hot with a red Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley.

Drawn (Clarified) Butter

Drawn or Clarified butter is more of a technique more than a recipe. Drawn butter I assume comes from the fact you are drawing out the “good” cooking butterfat from the butter and removing the milk solids. These milk solids are the things that burn in the frying pan or bottom of a pot and make the butter taste nasty.

Restaurants do this in large quantities and store it in the refrigerator. I do it with a couple of sticks of butter at a time. It also tells you how good the quality of butter is your buying. The more liquid (butter fat) you have from a stick of butter left in the end then the solids and water was in you butter to begin with.

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS:

Small Saucepot

Sieve

Cheese Cloth

INGREDIENTS:

1 to 4 sticks of butter

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not let the butter boil. Cook until butter begins to foam on the surface. Reduce heat to low; continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until most of foam has sunk to the bottom of the pan. Do not stir or disturb butter as the milk mix back into the butter making it cloudy. Using a spoon carefully skim any remaining foam from surface. SLOWLY, pour off (or ladel) the clear clarified butter to a bowl leaving behind the solids at the bottom of the pot. Strain the remaining butter at the bottom of the pot in a second bowl, using a fine wire-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth to separate out the solids.

If you buy reusable cheesecloth discard any solids, wash, and dry the cheesecloth.

In the end, what you’re left with is pure butterfat. It will not have that rich, buttery flavor as whole butter; it also does not turn rancid in the refrigerator, either. It will last refrigerated for several months. Now you can have it on hand when you need it.

Good Eating.

The Drunken Chef

Artichokes (Steamed)

Today’s lesson is the humble Artichoke.

        I know this does not sound very exciting. It is more of a treat really as opposed to a vegetable that is served with an entree. Artichokes are good if you want a nice glass or two of Chardonnay or Pinot and chat with friends over an appetizer. You could follow this up with a nice small cheese course, like say Burrata with grilled vegetables and a balsamic glaze.

        You could also make them stuffed. The artichokes that is, not your guests. Besides, taxidermy, other than in a museum, is a little creepy, if you ask me.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

Artichokes (Steamed) 

Serves 3 to 4

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS:

Big Pot with lid

Steamer basket

INGREDIENTS:

4 Artichokes

2 cups water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a vegetable steamer into a large pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, while the water is heating up, cut the stems from the artichokes to leaving about one inch of stem. Lay each artichoke on its side, and cut away the upper third with a sharp knife (I use a sharp serrated knife). With kitchen shears, remove the prickly leaf tips from each remaining leaf. Remove any brown leaves from the lowest row closest to the stem.
  3. Place the artichokes in the pot of boiling water on a vegetable steamer. Cover and let steam 30 minutes to an hour depending on size. The chokes are done when the leaves come off easily and the heart is tender when pierced with a tip of a paring knife.
  4. Remove from pot and serve hot with melted drawn butter.