Braised Beef Rolls (Braciole di Manzo)

 

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Perhaps I should re-name this "Braciole di Manzo il Frigo" because I wrapped the beef around what I could scrounge up from the fridge.

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But don't worry, I'm posting the real recipe here, thank you Lidia Bastianich. 
I've been avoiding gluten but I had to have my pasta fix so I served the beef roll over fettuccine. That should keep me happy for a while. 

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I started the filling by cutting up and soaking two pieces of pita bread in just enough milk to cover them and added milk as needed to hydrate them. While the bread was soaking, two ribs of celery and 1/4 of a white onion were diced and sautéed with a minced clove of garlic and set aside to cool before adding to the soaked bread. 
I had some salami slices leftover from a party so that got diced and added to the bread-veggie mix along with some chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. 

After I laid out the slices of beef I mounded some filling up on the wide end of the meat, then added a half a slice of string cheese, rolled up and secured with toothpicks. 

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In a large skillet heat some oil and brown the rolls. Once the rolls are browned add the sauce. I took a short cut and used jarred spaghetti sauce that I jazzed up a little with some red wine and red pepper flakes. 
Spoon the sauce over the rolls, turn down the heat cover and simmer until the meat is fork-tender. 

Can it be more obvious I'm not a recipe writer? Basically, just about anything you have on hand can be used, use your imagination and leftovers. 

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It still was a plate of awesomeness. Next time I'd like to use some pepperoni, I think that would be great. 

Here's the real deal recipe. 

Braciole di Manzo

Ingredients

  • FOR THE BRACIOLE
    1 1/2 cups milk
    2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes, cut from day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
    2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    1/4 cup raisins
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    2 pounds beef bottom round, cut into 12 slices each about ½ inch thick
    12 slices imported Italian prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
    1/4 pound imported provola or provolone cheese, cut into ¼-by-¼-by-1-inch sticks
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • FOR THE SAUCE
    One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 small onions (about 8 ounces), chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    2 fresh or dried bay leaves
    Salt and hot red pepper flakes to taste


Directions

  1. To make the stuffing:
    Pour the milk into a medium bowl, add the bread cubes, and let soak until the bread is very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the bread, squeeze out excess milk from the cubes with your hands, and return bread to the bowl. Stir in the chopped eggs, parsley, Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, raisins, pine nuts, and garlic. Mix well, and set aside.
    With the toothed side of a heavy meat mallet, pound each slice of beef round to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Arrange one of the pounded meat slices in front of you with one of the short sides closest to you. Top with a slice of prosciutto, and tap the prosciutto with the backside of a knife so it adheres to the beef. Spread 2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the beef slice, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Place a stick of provolone crosswise over the edge of the stuffing closest to you. Fold the border over the provolone, then fold the side borders in to overlap the edges of the stuffing. Roll into a compact tube. Secure the end flap with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining beef and stuffing, then season the rolls with salt and pepper.
    Empty the tomatoes into a bowl, and squeeze them with your hands until coarsely crushed, removing the cores as you do. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add as many of the braciole as will fit in a single layer, and cook, turning the braciole as necessary, until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes. If necessary, repeat with any remaining braciole. Adjust the heat under the pan as necessary to prevent the beef from scorching. Pour the wine into the casserole, bring to a boil, and cook until most of it has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and bay leaves, and stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt and red pepper flakes, adjust the heat so the liquid is simmering, and cook, adding water as necessary to keep the braciole completely submerged, until the beef is tender, about 3 hours.

And that's that!


Zucchini Tian, Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz

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Shredded zucchini with rice in a velvety sauce

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You could just cook the shredded zucchini, onions, and garlic in some cream and it would be great but I really liked it baked with rice

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All you need is some zucchini, onion, garlic, rice, flour, Parmesan cheese and milk that missed the photo shoot. 

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The zucchini gets grated, salted and drained and the rice gets a quick par-boil and set aside. 

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In a large frying pan, cook the onions then add the zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a few minutes before adding the heated milk. Stir, stir, mix, mix. until smooth and creamy. 

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As if it wasn't good enough already, here's where you add in some grated Parmesan cheese. Here is where I couldn't help but add a few scrapings of fresh nutmeg, just a bit. It was a great addition to the sauce. 

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In the casserole ready for a final sprinkling of Parmesan cheese then into the oven. 

Marvelous

Julia Child's Tian de Courgettes au Riz (Zucchini Tian)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds zucchini (up to 2 1/2 pounds)
    1/2 cup plain, raw, untreated white rice
    1 cup minced onions
    3 tablespoons olive oil (up to 4 tablespoons)
    2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 1/2 cups warm liquid: zucchini juices plus milk, heated in a pan (watch this closely so that it doesn't curdle)
    2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (save 2 tablespoons for later)
    1 pinch Salt and pepper
    2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Shave the stem and the tip off each zucchini (or other summer squash), scrub the vegetable thoroughly but not harshly with a brush under cold running water to remove any clinging sand or dirt. If vegetables are large, halve or quarter them. If seeds are large and at all tough, and surrounding flesh is coarse rather than moist and crisp, which is more often the case with yellow squashes and striped green cocozelles than with zucchini, cut out and discard the cores.

    Rub the squash against the coarse side of a grater, and place grated flesh in a colander set over a bowl.For each 1 pound (2 cups) of grated squash, toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, mixing thoroughly. Let the squash drain 3 or 4 minutes, or until you are ready to proceed.

    Just before cooking, squeeze a handful dry and taste. If by any chance the squash is too salty, rinse in a large bowl of cold water, taste again; rinse and drain again if necessary. Then squeeze gently by handfuls, letting juices run back into bowl. Dry on paper towels. Zucchini will not be fluffy; it is still dampish, but the excess liquid is out. The pale-green, slightly saline juice drained and squeezed out of the zucchini has a certain faint flavor that can find its uses in vegetable soups, canned soups, or vegetable sauces.

    While the shredded zucchini is draining (reserve the juices,) drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil exactly 5 minutes; drain and set aside.

    In a large (11-inch) frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned.

    Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender.

    Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

    Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk, heated gently in a pan -- don't let it get so hot that the milk curdles!). Make sure the flour is well blended and smooth.

    Return over moderately high heat and bring to the simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Taste very carefully for seasoning.

    Turn into a heavily buttered 6- to 8-cup, flameproof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep, strew remaining cheese on top, and dribble the olive oil over the cheese.

    About half an hour before serving, bring to simmer on top of stove (you can skip this step if your baking dish isn’t flameproof), then set in upper third of a preheated 435-degree F oven until tian is bubbling and top has browned nicely. The rice should absorb all the liquid

And that's that!


Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

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Quick, easy, and oh so good. 

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Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

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The bread I used for this recipe is a pita type Arabic bread. That goes into the soup pot along with crushed tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and chicken broth. 

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The bread is simmered with the soup base until softened, about 15 minutes, 


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then vigorously whisked into the soup base. You do not want to use a blender or an immersion blender, you want some un-whisked chunks of bread in there, they turn out dumpling like, nice and soft and pillowy  

I highly recommend using a pita type bread, It will hold up better in this soup. 

Tuscan Tomato and Bread Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
    3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    4 ounces hearty white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 sprig fresh basil plus 2 tablespoons chopped
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper 
    Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Combine oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until garlic is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

    Stir in tomatoes, bread, broth, basil sprig, salt, and pepper and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer vigorously until bread has softened completely and soup has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Off heat, discard basil sprig. Whisk soup until bread has fully broken down and soup has thickened further, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped basil, drizzle with extra oil, and serve.

     

    Cooks Country Magazine Dec/Jan 2020 edition

     

And that's that!


Grilled Whole Fish continued

The fish I grilled yielded two more meals, well actually three if you want to count the fish cakes that were pilfered by someone from the refrigerator. 

The next day I made a killer green chili tartar sauce for the fish.

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Equal amounts of mayonnaise and sour cream, half a small shallot, diced, half a Persian cucumber, diced, 2 tablespoons of diced green chilis, or to taste, a pinch of salt and a few grindings of fresh black pepper. (yep, the sour cream missed the photoshoot)

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Taste and adjust for seasonings. If you can make it a bit ahead of time, let it sit in the fridge for a while then adjust the seasonings later. 

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That teamed up with some nice flaky fish and crips greens made for a great lunch.

But...it doesn't end there.

Leftover fish just screams fish cakes to me. 

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Of course, the fish cake was served with the green chili tartar sauce. 
Use your favorite recipe but all I did was dice up some celery and a bit of onion, crunched up saltines and gradually added a beaten egg to bind it all together. I cooked them off in a skillet using a mixture of a little butter and olive oil. 

I think I got my money's worth out of that fish. 

And that's that!


Grilled Whole Fish with Tamarind

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Not much beats a grilled whole fish, especially one served with a piquant tamarind sauce. 

I bought this beautiful branzino and couldn't wait to get it on the grill.

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Season the fish with salt and pepper, then rub it down, inside and out, with a paste of garlic, lime juice, Thai chili, and ginger, and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour.

While the fish is marinating, make the sauce.

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In a saucepan over low heat, heat the coconut milk, tamarind extract, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne until the tamarind is dissolved. 

Leave the marinade on the fish and put the fish in an oiled grill basket,

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and brush the fish with some of the tamarind sauce, inside and out. 
BTW grilled lemons are wonderful, and make sure you put some lemon slices inside the fish also. 

Using a grill basket is great for turning over delicate fish without damaging it, or having it stick to the grill. 

Cook the fish flipping it every few minutes and basting it with the sauce. 

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And you end up with a beautifully grilled fish. 
I have yet to figure out how to check a fish for doneness without ruining the appearance. 

I used only one Thai chili and the sauce was spicy enough for me, and I like spicy. 

Grilled Whole Fish with Tamarind

Ingredients
Serves 2-4

  • 1 2–3-lb. whole fish, such as red snapper, porgy, or striped bass, cleaned Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    2 green Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
    1 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    Juice of 2 limes
    1 cup canned coconut milk
    1/4 cup tamarind extract
    1/2 tsp. curry powder
    1/2 tsp. ground coriander
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    Canola oil, for brushing

Directions

  1. 1 Put fish into a 9″ × 13″ baking dish and cut 3 evenly spaced ¼″-deep crosswise slits into each side of fish. Season fish cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Combine garlic, chiles, ginger, and lime juice in a small bowl and rub cavity and skin of fish with garlic mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

    2 Meanwhile, heat coconut milk, tamarind extract, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne in a 2-qt. saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring often until tamarind is dissolved, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, arrange a rack 4″ from broiler element and heat broiler.) Brush the inside of a grilling basket with oil. Uncover fish, transfer it to grilling basket, and brush with some of the tamarind sauce. Cook fish, flipping every few minutes and basting often with tamarind sauce until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer fish to a serving platter; serve hot or at room temperature.

    COOK’S NOTE This recipe works best with a grilling basket, a narrow steel cage with a long handle that allows you to turn over flaky fish without damaging it.

     

    Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook

And That's that!