Tag Archives: Recipe

PENNE ALA VODKA

Yesterday was not what I would call a fun day. I raced home from work to find Jennifer in excruciating pain. Luckily, she had an appointment with the pain management doctor already scheduled. Let me tell you, it is not easy to watch someone in so much pain when all you can do is rub their back not knowing if it will ever get better. She did get yet another shot in her spinal cord. I can only hope these start to help. The last one reduced the pain by half but not all the way, and returned a few days later. Right after her doctor visit, we came home and I needed to make something for dinner. Sam offered to run out to the store so I gave him a list of ingredients for Penne Ala Vodka to pick up.

Surprisingly or not so strikingly depending how you look at it, I had Vodka on hand, so I only needed him to pick up a few ingredients: Pancetta, heavy cream, tomato sauce, and of course Penne Pasta. I have butter, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese on hand.

Sam returned with a bag full of groceries. There was the pasta, it was Ronzoni which is what I grew up on. Then there was the heavy cream. He also got apples for himself. In the freezer, he put Heath flavored Klondike ice cream bars as a surprise for Jennifer. Then I reached into the bag and when I pulled out the pancetta, it was not pancetta at all. Sam said I had asked for Prosciutto instead of Pancetta. Anything is possible I guess. Now is when you have to ask yourself. DO I go BACK to the store and get what I want or do I make do with what I have? Besides what’s the difference between Prosciutto and Pancetta besides the enormous cost? Well for one they come from opposite ends of the hog. Second, Prosciutto is cured and meant to be eaten raw. Pancetta is not cured and must be cooked before its eaten. The taste however, well, the difference is debatable. The real question is will Jennifer, Sam, or my mother in-law care? Certainly not my mother in-law.

Needless to say I said “what the fuckin hell” (to myself) and decided to use said expensive cured meat in my Ala Vodka Sauce and opened a beer.

Here is a brief synopsis of how I made dinner last night. I also live streamed it on INSTAGRAM if you were watching.

Once the water was at a rapid boil, I added the pasta to it and set the timer ticking. A few minutes before the pasta was al dente, I added the heavy cream and parmesan cheese to the sauce.

I drained the pastas and poured it into the sauce and coated it the pasta evenly. I served it with a small salad with a vinaigrette dressing.

HERE is the Official recipe below.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg penne or ziti rigati or rigatoni

4 tablespoons butter

½ pound pancetta bacon

2/3 cup vodka

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 28 oz. can tomato sauce

1 28 oz. can crushed

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic minced

½ small onion minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1 tbsp. Fresh parsley (chopped fine)

DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of water with salt added for the pasta.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in ½ pound pancetta bacon and cook while continue to stir occasionally until brown. Add garlic and onion continue to cook until onion is translucent being careful not to brown the garlic (fried brown garlic is bitter unlike roasted garlic). 

Add vodka and stir until it is reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the cheese, parsley and crushed red pepper. Toss sauce with pasta to coat evenly and serve.

NOTES: serve with garlic bread. Double recipe and serve in buffet tray for comany.

So that was my day. At least penne must have been good everyone went back for seconds and there were no leftovers. HUH, no leftovers, its been a long time since that had happened. Jennifer is resting this morning and I’m am off to the old grist mill. I wonder if that’s where they get “back to the old grind” from?

Have fun today and stay healthy!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

GUACAMOLE

Guacamole is a staple at my house. We use so much of it I often buy it premade. There are rare occasions when I have ripe avocados that I need to use up, so I use them in this recipe.

Ingredients

2 avocados

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon dry or fresh Cilantro

1 to 2 tablespoons Salsa

1 clove garlic Minced

1/2 a small Onion, minced fine

1 tablespoon Recaito (optional)

A few drops of Cholula (optional for heat)

Avocado freed from its encasement and pit

Cut the avocado in half. Twist apart. Scoop out meat from its shell using a tablespoon. Remove the pit from the other half, scoop out second half. Place avocado in bowl or mortar and pestle. Add all your ingredients that you want on top of the avocado, and mash using a knife and fork at first, and then the back spoon, unless your crazy like me and own a food grade mortar and pestle.

Serve with chips or just about anything else!

Yummy.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

INSTAGRAM

BEEF EMPANADAS

Last night before I left work, I received an alert from the local electric company informing me of a thunderstorm warning with high winds expected. They also said their crews would be standing by. This meant I would not be out at the grill barbequing dinner. I needed something new, something I have not cooked in a while, but also blog worthy. BEEF EMPANADAS sounded like the perfect solution. I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up what I needed.

My shopping list and ingredients included: 2 eggs beaten (I had eggs at home), 1 pound of chop meat, 1 cup beef broth (I had Better than Bullion on hand too), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons Cholula sauce, 2 onions (diced fine), 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (I own a tube of this), 4 cloves of garlic (I always have garlic), 1/2 teaspoon oregano (yup), 2 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cloves (I had to buy this and this shit is expensive), 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons sugar, and shredded Monterey Jack Cheese. Lastly, in the frozen food aisle was Goya Empanada premade circles of puffed pastry. See below.

These come frozen and I let them sit in room temp water to defrost

Now, you could always make your own dough.

Dough

3 3/4 cups (18 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour 

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and frozen for 10 minutes

1 1/4 cups ice water

To make the dough: Add the flour, sugar, and salt to your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It’s not dough yet. Dump the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Gradually add ice water (about 1/4 cup at a time up to one cup), and use a wooden spoon to work it into the dry. Continue until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the water, or, you may need slightly more. It depends on the flour and weather that day, more specifically the humidity. Turn the dough onto your work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. The flour needs time for its gluten to do its thing.

Preheat oven to 425 F .

Yes that’s 7:00PM and I am still cooking and HUNGRY

NOW for the filling. To make the filling: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Give it a stir occasionally, until the onion softens in about 3 minutes. Now, I added the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves and cayenne pepper. Then, heat that all up, stirring just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to break it up. Brown the meat—this will take about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Add the beef broth and simmer. I used water and Better then Bouillon. I love that shit!

Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until most of the liquid has cooked off. The meat should be moist but not wet, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat under the pan and mix in the sugar, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool.

Moist Beef. Let cool. I put mine in a glass Pyrex bowl and popped it in the FREEZER. I was in a rush to eat.

To assemble the empanadas: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If working with fresh dough, work with one ball of the dough at a time, place it on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out as many circles of dough as you can. Place them to the side on the baking sheet with parchment paper. Repeat with the second ball of dough, placing those circles on a second baking sheet.

I used the premade ones, which saved me an enormous amount of time.

Assemble: Use a spoon and dip it in a small bowl egg wash (two eggs beaten until pale yellow) and moisten the edges of the dough. Place 1 large rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Now fold the dough over into a half-moon shape so the edges meet. Press them together with your fingers to seal, then use a fork to crimp them shut tight. (TIP: dip the fork in egg wash if it’s sticking to the dough). Transfer stuffed empanada back to the parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a butter knife to carefully scrape the empanada off the counter. You could also use an icing spatula the same way. Continue this process until you’ve filled and sealed all your disks.

Now let’s bake them immediately. In a preheated oven to 425 F with racks in the upper and lower third, brush the empanadas with the egg wash, then bake for about 20 minutes (rotating the baking sheets halfway through), or until the empanadas are golden brown.

While those were cooking, I made a salad and some guacamole.

Serve with this. Although I forgot to get Modelo Beer. That would have been BETTER still.

Enjoy this recipe now, or save it for May 5th. More importantly, enjoy your family, friends, and LIFE.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

BAKED RAVIOLI

Good morning. As always, I have the coffee perking. I’m also typing with an ace bandage around my wrist. I don’t know what I did, but it’s killing me this morning. Sharp pain like I fractured one of those tiny little bones in there. I hope it is just a sprain of some kind. Jen did not sleep well either. She was up in the middle of the night as her back is always keeping her up. To make matters worse, the doctors office canceled her appointment yesterday and can’t see her until Monday now. This is not fun. Its been over 8 months now that she has been in severe pain. Enough about our problems. Let talk food.

Last night I made baked ravioli. This was one of my favorite dishes growing up as a kid. My mother always made her sauce from scratch and once in a while she would venture over to the Italian Pasta Store Pastosa and buy fresh ravioli. I did not go there myself this time, but in hind sight I should have. I still can’t believe after all these years they are still in business.

You know how to make sauce. You know how to make garlic bread and now I hope you enjoyed this little picture demo and know how to make Baked ravioli. If you need a vegetable, try a salad of zucchini.

Enjoy cooking…Enjoy Life and be well!

GRILLED CHEESE (BOUJEE STYLE)

Good morning everyone, it’s Sunday here in New York and I’m writing tomorrows post, so happy Monday. Last night we went to Scott and Alison’s for dinner where I prepared grilled cheese sandwiches. We could not just have any plain old grilled cheese sandwiches so Jennifer suggested some “fancy pants” grilled cheese sandwiches. She didn’t want my traditional Wonder Brand white bread that has been in existence since 1921. Nooo that’s not “Boujee” enough . She wanted fresh baked artisan bread that goes stale the next day. So off to Panera bread I went to buy fancy bread. Next was there was the issue of cheese. Good old American cheese was just not going to fit the bill. So I went to Uncle Giuseppe’s Market for sliced cheddar cheese. Then she wanted bacon on it. MMM yes bacon. SO while I was at Giuseppe’s I got bacon. Wait, that’s not all. There was one more secrete ingredient she wanted in her grilled cheese.

Ever since Sam, remember Sam? He was my original editor before the wonderful and talented Juliana agreed to be my editor. Now Sam agrees to write the occasional article but could not stand correcting my spelling and grammar errors any longer. Anyhow, ever since Sam started making these marvelous charcuteries with fig jam now Jennifer loves the stuff. So to top off the chilled cheese and send it over the top she wanted fig jam on it. She has has very good taste but just does not enjoy cooking as much as I do. SO I picked up a jar of fig jam as per her wishes. I also could not forget to get a pound of butter. Then is was off to our friends house to “grill”. We made one more stop on the way that I will get to a bit later in this story.

When we arrived they had prepared a large pot of split pea soup. That is now two days in a row I’m eating soup in July in New York if your keeping tabs. Once again, lucky for me their Air-conditioner was working well!

I headed right into the kitchen. This is where I am most at home. I unpacked my groceries and started cooking. Alison’s stove has a built in cast iron grill. I turned on the grill to low and let it warm up. I soon discovered that the burner located underneath the grill didn’t go all the way to the front. The back of the grill was way to hot and the front was cold. I discovered this only after I started cooking the first batch of grilled cheese. I quickly had to turn my grilled cheese 180 degrees to keep half of it from burning and cook the other half that was uncooked.

Figuring out grill was not as much of a problem as getting it low enough not to burn the bread before the cheese melted in the middle. Alison assisted me in getting the flame as low as it would go. There was a sweet spot between high and the off position. Instead of between high and low, who knew?

The grilled cheese procedure went somthing like this. I put a big ass piece of butter on the grill to melt. Even before the butter was completely melted I put a piece of the artisan sour dough bread, that was sliced thickly at Panera, on top of the butter. Then I put on two slices of cheddar cheese on top of the bread. Then I added the bacon across that and added two slices of American cheese on top of that. Then came second slice of bread. Before I could add the last slice of bread I had to add a smear of fig jam to it. Then it went right on top. The fig jam facing the cheese. I let it cook on LOW checking on how brown it was getting. Then I moved it to the side to make room to put MORE butter on the grill. I then Flipped the grilled cheese over and placed it in a pool of sizzling, but not brown, butter.

Scott of course paired the grilled cheese with a white wine but I could not drink. I had to drive home as Jennifer was in so much pain with her back but I’m sure it went well as it always does.

After dinner was dessert. I stopped at A & G bakery with Jennifer on the way to Scott and Alison’s to pick up something for dessert. Jennifer came inside with me so I didn’t over do it. I stuck with a simple small strawberry short cake. This is one of my favorite Long Island Bakeries. The A & G bakery is located on Deer Park avenue in North Babylon. Unfortunately there aren’t many bakeries like this anymore. They are all getting pushed out by the supermarket ones and the baked goods in most supermarkets I don’t think compare. Well long story short, the cake was very fresh and delicious and the company fantastic.

Until tomorrow, eat well, live well, and be happy and healthy!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

BONELESS BUFFALO WINGS

BONLESS CHICKEN WINGS

Last night was boneless buffalo wings. Getting the bones out of those little chicken wings is the hardest part of the is recipe. Kidding! They are chicken breasts that have been cut into strips. Here is the recipe:

Buffalo Chicken Wings (boneless)

INGREDIENTS:

Wings

2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1½ inch strips

1 cup flavored breadcrumbs

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons water

Vegetable oil

 Sauce

1 cup Franks red hot

½ stick salted butter

2 tablespoons Sweet Bay Rays original BBQ sauce

1 tablespoon original Cholula hot sauce

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl add water to eggs and beat with a fork eggs until evenly blended and pale yellow. Slowly add flour to eggs mixture. Eggs mixture should be the consistency of thin pancake batter, adjust flour or water as necessary. If you have not done so cut the chicken breasts into 1½ inch strips. Add chicken strips to egg mixture and coat evenly. Now coat chicken with bread crumbs. Let chicken stand while heating a ½ inch of vegetable oil on medium high heat to 350 Degrees (in other words HOT oil). Once the oil is hot CAREFULLY add the chicken using tongs. That oil is hot! Turn chicken over when a nice even deep brown and cook on the second side. Don’t over crowd pan with chicken or it will take too long to brown and you wind up with greasy chicken.  Remove cooked chicken to a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Don’t forget the paper towels or again you will wind up with soggy chicken. Place the first batch in the preheated oven. Turn the oven off. We are just trying to keep the chicken warm while making the next batch of wings.

            Once all the chicken is cooked and in the warm oven. Make the sauce.  In a small pot add: Franks red hot, butter, BBQ sauce, Cholula sauce and honey. Heat buffalo wing sauce until all the butter is melted and sauce just begins to simmer. Don’t over heat the sauce.

            Serve with:  Marie’s blue cheese dressing, celery sticks and carrot sticks. Match with: Sam Adams – Larger, Oktoberfest or Porch Rocker

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Till we meet again be well, be happy and have fun!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

BUFFALO BURGER

You have already learned: How to make Hamburgers. Now with that in mind, we start getting fancy. The first step in fancy burgers is cheese. I add different cheeses. On my buffalo burger I add Provolone.

BEFORE you put that hamburger on the grill to cook it you will need a few things. Wash some lettuce. It can be either iceberg or romaine. Next slice a tomato. Last slice some Pickle. Okay, now we make the sauce. Click here for the recipe: Buffalo Wing Sauce .

Now go cook that burger! Add the provolone cheese just before its done and melt it on by closing the lid to the BBQ. Now put it on a bun. Pour over the top of the burger the sauce. Then add lettuce, pickle, tomato, and some blue cheese dressing on TOP! Just eat and enjoy!!

Try this with one of my turkey burgers in the fall or a Veggie burger!

Until we meet again be well, sleep well, and drink merrily.

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The Drunken Chef (Russ)

CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN

I did go into the city (NYC) to see the Van Gogh Experience. We hired a car to drive us back and forth which eliminated some stress. However, Jennifer is still in a lot of back pain and I was worried about the drive and all the walking around. The drive went okay and the driver was really good about trying to keep the ride as smooth as New York streets today will let you.

When we arrived, we were dropped off right at the door. That was perfect. We also walked right in. There was no long line to stand in and wait, which was also good. When we all got inside, Jenn managed to walk and stand around for a little while before the pain became too great. The nice people at the show quickly got her a chair to sit down. She sat for about an hour until we were all ready to leave and go to lunch. I had hoped there would be lots of restaurants close by, but unfortunately the South Street Seaport was a mile away.

When we left the Van Gogh Experience, we started for the South Street Seaport, but after watching Jennifer walk for only a short time, realized she would never make it all the way there. We turned up Rutgers Avenue and found ourselves in the area of China Town. “YUM”, I thought, but my hopes were soon dashed. None of the restaurants close by were open for dine in eating.

By the time we hit Canal Street, Jennifer could no longer walk and she sat down on a stoop in pain. I made the decision to car the driver and give up on lunch. Jennifer felt horrible not just because of her back now but before she was keeping everyone from having lunch in the city. I felt terrible too seeing her in so much pain and now upset over not be able to walk.

When we came home, she laid right down and took more pain medicine. We all went to Panera. I do enjoy their coffee at least. Maybe next time I go into the city I will have a better food adventure for you.

Now I will switch gears and tell you about lunch at work yesterday. I decided to make Caesar Salad with grilled chicken for my next meal.

First, we need to start by marinating some chicken. It was an early morning trip to the market to get what I needed. Luckily, I remembered two cutting boards and a zip top bag. One cutting board for chicken and one for salad. You will see what the zip top bag is for soon.

GRILLED CHICKEN RECIPE

GADGETS

Vegetable peeler

chef’s knife

cutting board

Grill

Tongs

bowl

INGREDIENTS

The ingredients include chicken and a marinade. This time for fast and easy, I am using a premade Italian salad dressing. I will do this before my day starts at work and marinate them until lunch time. Then all I have to do is grill them quick, cut them up, and add them on top of the salad.

DIRECTIONS.

Trim and slice the chicken breast in half so they will cook evenly. I cut them length wise. I added them to the marinade in the zip top bag. Then into the fridge to marinate for 5 hours (over night work have been better) .

Grill the chicken on high, turning to keep from burning. Overcooked chicken is dry, so I carefully test with my instant read thermometer to make sure they aren’t overdone. Then, I bring them inside to rest. I now slice them into LARGE chunks. They are placed on top of the salad at the end.

CAESAR SALAD

INGEDIENTS

The ingredients for for the salad are romaine Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, seasoned croutons, and Caesar Dressing. If you use a bottled salad dressing, I recommend Marie’s. It’s usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle. I like their Blue cheese dressing too.

DIRECTIONS

Chop the lettuce and add to the bowl. Peel the cucumbers using a vegetable peeler. Next, dice cucumber as shown into bite size pieces. Add cucumber to the bowl as shown below. Dice the tomatoes and, yuppers you guessed it, add them to the bowl. Now add the dressing. For this size salad, I used a whole jar of Marie’s salad dressing (not enough time to make it from scratch today).

Plate ad top with grilled chicken

Enjoy the cool refreshing salad for lunch of dinner! Until next time, Eat well, be happy and stay healthy!

CHOPPED SALAD WITH GRILLED CHICKEN

Welcome to Tuesday. Yesterday, I made a chopped salad for the crew at work.

GADGETS

Double bladed mezzaluna chopper

INGREDEINTS

3 heads Romaine Lettuce

1 bag of baby spinach

2 cucumbers

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

1/2 can black olives

1/2 red onion

Salad dressing (ranch)

DIRECTIONS

Coarsely chop romaine lettuce and add to bowl. Add baby spinach to bowl. Peel and slice two cucumbers and add to bowl. Add chickpeas and 1/2 can of black olives. Add 1/2 of chopped red onion to bowl. You can add the dressing now or wait and add it later.

Using the Mezzaluna chopper, chop the salad against the bottom and sides on the bowl. Turn the bowl and mix the salad together as you chop. Try and get the salad to be all the same small size pieces. They should about the size of a small fingernail. Do not over chop. Add diced chicken on top. Finish with a swirl of dressing on top.

Plate, dress, and enjoy….

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Fettuccine Alfredo

Welcome to the weekend. It’s Independence Day Weekend AKA 4th of July weekend here in the States. Everyone including me will be grilling. Last night, however, was not a grilling night. It was a cold, wet, and rainy night here in New York. So, I cooked indoors.

I made the last minute decision to make Fettuccine Alfredo. I had to stop at the local supermarket on my way home. It’s a new place and it’s expensive. Lucky for me, the quart of heavy cream was on sale. The rest was not. I didn’t buy much because of the high prices. I purchased two boxes of DeCecco fettuccine pasta. That is always more expensive, but it’s my new favorite dried pasta. I picked up a loaf of Italian bread and one head of garlic too. Butter I already had at home.

I went home and put up a pot of water to boil. The rest is in the recipe below. Enjoy, or like my Irish mother would say, “Mangiare”.

Fettuccine Alfredo

COOKING UTENSILS NEEDED

Heavy sauce pan

Small Whisk or fork

Measuring spoons

Measuring cup

INGREDIENTS:

1 package dry Fettuccine or Fresh Fettuccine Noodles

Alfredo Sauce

16 fluid ounces heavy whipping cream

6 tablespoons butter

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup grated Romano cheese

2 egg yolks

½ teaspoon minced garlic (optional)

Parsley (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Cook fettuccine according to directions, but before adding pasta to the boiling water, start the sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and simmer one minute. Add heavy cream to the butter. While the cream is still cold but over medium low heat, mix in beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly with a small whisk. Now, add the pasta to the water. Once the sauce comes to a simmer (DO NOT BOIL), add grated Parmesan cheese and grated Romano cheese. Stir constantly until melted. Simmer over low heat for 1 to 3 minutes stirring continuously. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, fresh black pepper, and Parsley if desired. Add milk or cream if sauce becomes too thick. pour over cooked pasta.

Add sauce to pasta and serve immediately, as sauce will thicken as it cools.

Serving Suggestions: add frozen artichoke hearts or asparagus tips to half the cream before adding egg yolk. Cook until artichokes/asparagus are tender, then add the rest of the cream and the egg yolk. For best results, use fresh pasta.

I served it with garlic bread rounds. They were buttered, garlic powdered and toasted on both sides.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)