RECIPES! And WINE!
I love, love, love to cook. And I made this cheeseburger soup recipe I found on an slow cooker website last night for a book club meeting. It is the bomb.
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 of a white onion, diced
- 1 lb lean ground beef, browned and drained on the stove top
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup milk (to add later, soy is fine)
- 24 oz Velveeta, cubed (to add later)
Brown the meat on the stove top with the onion, and drain fat. I have used 1/2 pound instead of a whole pound before, and we didn’t miss the extra meat. Set aside to cool a bit.
In a 5-6 quart crockpot, pour in chicken broth. Add garlic, bell pepper, and potatoes. Stir in the browned meat and onion.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until onions are translucent and potatoes are tender. Stir in milk and Velveeta 20-30 minutes before serving. If you’d like the broth thicker, blend a bit with a hand held stick blender. Top with anything you like on a burger.
And then tonight, I made my husband a steak-and-potatoes dinner that was restaurant quality, if I do say so myself.
Flat Iron Bourbon Barbecue Steak:
- 1 pound flat iron steak (you could use flank, but you will need to marinate it longer.)
- 1 nip (airplane-size bottle) of bourbon (I used Knob Creek, but any Kentucky bourbon or Jack Daniels would be fine)
- 1 tsp. of McCormick’s Grill Mates Mesquite seasoning (or make it yourself: cumin, chili and garlic powder, red pepper flakes and black pepper)
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1/4 cup Sippies’s Sauce (a local barbecue sauce, but you could use your favorite type or make your own.)
Pour about half the bourbon over the steak and season both sides with the McCormick’s mesquite seasoning. Let the meat marinate for about 30 minutes. Spray a well-seasoned cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray and add the sesame oil. Get the pan SCREAMING hot. Add the steak. Let it sear for about four minutes, then flip and let it sear on the other side for another four minutes. Turn the heat down and let the steak cook for a few more minutes, until the middle feels slightly firm (there is a knack to touching a steak to know it’s temperature, and slightly firm is medium rare, which is how we like it. If you like it more well done, let it cook longer until it feels more firm. And, by the way, if you like steak well done, you do not appreciate beef as it should be served. I pity you.)
When the steak is the right temperature, pour the rest of the bourbon in the pan and deglaze any brown bits (aka the good stuff) from the pan. Turn the heat off and add the barbecue sauce. Swish the steak around the pan to get it covered in barbecue sauce and bourbon. Let the sauce reduce in the remaining heat of the pan. You don’t want it to have a toffee consistency — think more very thin caramel.
Let the steak rest (at least five minutes) in the pan. Slice and serve with the sauce. Die from the awesomeness.
Roasted fingerling potatoes:
- Half pound (small bag) of fingerling potatoes (usually a mix of redskin, Yukon gold and Peruvian purple potatoes — which are the best potatoes ever grown in earth’s soil, in my opinion)
- 3 quarts water (enough for a small stock pot)
- Salt to taste
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 425 degrees (super-duper high Celsius for Canadian readers)
To top it all off, we had one of the best wines I have ever tasted, Fortress Vineyards 2007 Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon, which I purchased from on online wine seller, Lot 18. If you can buy wine over the Internet (not legal everywhere) I highly recommend this site. I have never been disappointed in the quality and the wines have always been a great value.