My First Guest Chef

Today is the launch of something new here at “A Jeanne in the Kitchen”.  Today is the first of hopefully many more segments to come, of having a guest chef in Jeanne’s kitchen.  Our first guest chef is a very good friend of mine, Scott Hensiek.   Scott and I go way, way, way back, all the way to our junior high school days.

This is us in front of our old high school in Pasadena, CA.

IMG_1719 Scott loves to cook and have fun in the kitchen just as much as I do.  He is also a fabulous cook.   One of his specialties is using his smoker to cook his meats.  Today, Scott shares his recipe for his Barbacoa Street Tacos.

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Barbacoa ([barβaˈkoa] (help·info)) is a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term “barbecue” derives.[1] In contemporary Mexico, it generally refers to meats or whole sheep or whole goats slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with maguey leaves, although the interpretation is loose, and in the present day (and in some cases) may refer to meat steamed until tender. This meat is known for its high fat content and strong flavor, often accompanied with onions and cilantro. Barbacoa was later adopted into the cuisine of the southwestern United States by way of Texas. The word transformed in time to “barbecue”,[2] as well as many other words related to ranching and Tex-Mex cowboy or vaquero life. Considered a specialty meat, barbacoa is only sold on weekends or holidays in certain parts of South Texas and in all of Mexico. Barbacoa is also popular in Florida, as many Mexican immigrants living there have introduced this dish. Barbacoa is also well known in Honduras. A traditional Mexican way of eating barbacoa is having it served on warm corn tortillas with salsa for added flavor; the tacos are often eaten with diced onions, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. I was introduced to this particular way of cooking Barbacoa by my brother. This recipe is adapted to the Pit Barrel Cooker and is finished in the oven once the smoke is applied during a 2 hour hang in the Pit. Once the Chuck Roast is finished in the oven it is shredded directly into the vegetable and spice mix. This allows for a moist and flavorful shredded beef. I serve it on corn tortillas with a Chipotle Slaw, Guacamole and Cotija Cheese. Serve with your favorite sides. Pinto beans, black beans Mexican rice or Mexican street corn. You won’t NOT make this again.

Getting the smoker ready for the meat.

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As the smoker is getting nice and hot, Scott starts to prepare his meat.  Once the coals get white hot, it is time to place the meat on the grill.

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Heavily season chuck roast with salt and pepper and cook on smoker at 225 until an internal temp of 165 is reached.

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Since Scott has more than a little time to relax while the meat is smoking, it was time for a smoke break for him as well.

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While the roast is cooking, mix the other ingredients together in a 13×9 or similar aluminum or oven safe pan. Once the roast hits 165º, place into pan directly on top of other ingredient mixture and cover tightly with foil. Cook in smoker or oven at 350º for 2.5-3 hrs or until roast is fork tender.

Scott is cutting the limes, garlic and onions to use as his marinade for the meat.  WOW!!!!  This is one very nice chef’s knife.  This knife is much nicer than mine.  Scott means business.

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Cooking all those fragrant and tasty flavors to use for the marinade for the meat.

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Once the meat is tender, shred all of the meat in the liquid and mix thoroughly. If more liquid is needed to give the meat a good coating, add 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water. Place it back into oven and cook for an additional 15-30 minutes until most all liquid has cooked into the meat.

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When everything is done, layer the meat onto either corn or flour tortillas along with some chipotle slaw and some cotija cheese.  It’s now ready to enjoy with a cold margarita or beverage of your choice.

 

Recipe for the Barbicoa

3 lbs chuck roast (fat trimmed)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 chiptoles in adobo sauce, chopped (or more to taste)

1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)

2 teaspoons salt (plus additional to season roast)

1 teaspoon black pepper (plus additional to season roast)

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup beef broth or water

Heavily season chuck roast with salt and pepper and cook on smoker at 225 until an internal temp of 165 is reached While roast is cooking, mix the other ingredients together in a 13×9 or similar aluminum or oven safe pan. Once the roast hits 165º, place into pan directly on top of other ingredient mixture and cover tightly with foil. Cook in smoker or oven at 350º for 2.5-3hrs or until roast is fork tender. Once meat is tender, shred all of the meat in the liquid and mix thoroughly. If more liquid is needed to give the meat a good coating, add 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water. Place back into oven and cook for an additional 15-30 minutes until most all liquid has cooked into the meat.

 

Chipotle Slaw

2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotles in adobo

1/2 cup mayonaise

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) shredded white cabbage

1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin

1 cup corn

1 TBSP cumin

 

Combine chipotle, mayonaise, honey and lime juice in a large bowl.  Add cabbage and onions, tossing to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Scott, thank you so much for the absolutely fabulous recipe and all the fun pictures.  Thank you for being my first guest Chef too.  One of these days, we will actually cook together side by side.  Just think of all the possibilities.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken, Broccoli and Mushrooms

Fettuccine Alfredo is an Italian-American classic.  It is loved the world over just as it is, or with chicken and vegetables and/or shrimp added to it as well.  I am most definitely a meat eater and love “lots of stuff in my stuff” as my husband would say.  So for me, I like it with either chicken or shrimp and vegetables.  Even though it is loaded with calories, and is not the healthiest of dinners, it is still one of my absolute favorites.  I love fettuccine Alfredo.  I just wish I could eat it everyday.  Sometimes I make a spicy Alfredo sauce as well.  This time though, I was just craving it without the spice.

As you might expect, with a name like fettuccine Alfredo, the dish was originated in Italy, by Italian Chef Alfredo di Lelio, in 1914.  He created this dish in Rome in 1914, using butter and Parimigiano-Reggiano cheese.  The original version was an extra buttery fettuccine al burro, or fettuccine in a butter sauce.  The recipe was brought over to the United States by the actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks in 1927.  They discovered it while honeymooning in Rome.  However, in the United States, the addition of cream was used because our cheeses and butters are not as rich as the Italian versions.  The Italian-American classic version, however, is not nearly as popular in Italy as the original Italian version, although it became very popular in the rest of the world.

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Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken, Broccoli and Mushrooms

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2 lbs chicken, cut in slices about 1-1 1/2 ”

1/2 lb broccoli, cut into small florets and blanched

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 heaping TBSP garlic

salt & pepper to taste

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup milk, or as needed

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

fettuccine, cooked

3 TBSP butter

olive oil

 

I also had a wee bit of chipotle butter that I added as well.

 

Blanche the broccoli florets in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then immediately put them into an ice bath with cold water and ice cubes to prevent further cooking.  This will also make the bright green color really pop out.

IMG_6589Saute the chicken pieces in the hot olive oil until they are completely cooked, then remove from the pan and set aside.

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Saute the mushrooms and garlic in the same pan for about 5 minutes, adding more olive oil if necessary.  Add the mushrooms, garlic and broccoli to the chicken.

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Add the wine to the hot skillet, making sure to gather up all the scraps from the bottom of the pan.  Let this cook for about 1 minute, then add the cream, cheese and seasonings.  if the sauce is too thick, cut it with some regular milk as needed.

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Mix everything together and stir constantly until all the cheese melts and is incorporated into the sauce.  Adjust the seasonings if needed  then add the chicken and vegetables.  Mix everything together well and serve over cooked fettuccine.  Top with more Parmigiano cheese if you like.

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I completed the meal with the same dry white wine I used for the sauce and some garlic-herb cheese bread.  Delicioso!  Mangia!

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Come Be a Guest Chef in Jeanne’s Kitchen

I just thought of this fun new idea.  There are so many wonderful chefs and home cooks out there, and I would love, love, love to see what’s cooking in your kitchen too.  You see what I am cooking all the time, now it is your turn to share your recipes and ideas with me.  I am opening my kitchen up to all of you out there.  Like with our very successful Great Blogger’s Bake-Off we had a few months ago, I want you to share your kitchen experiences, both good and bad with me.

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The Rules:

  • Send me pictures AND your recipes, INCLUDING pictures with you in the kitchen with your recipes, to my private e-mail address, ljbjej@q.com or PM me on my facebook page.
  • You can cook or bake anything you like, even foods for your four-legged friends.  As many of you know, I cook my dogs’ food all the time.
  • Tell me your stories of why you prepared the dish you did.  Does this recipe have any special memories or meaning to you?  If so, please share those with too.
  • This will be an open invitation.  It is not a contest that will expire, but hopefully will be something I can feature once a month.
  • Have fun.

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I am really looking forward to seeing what great ideas come out of your kitchens.

 

 

 

 

Potato Casserole with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Potatoes are a staple in our house.  We eat them a lot.  Because we eat them so frequently, I am always looking for new ways to cook them so we are not always eating the same thing.  I get bored with the same old, same old.  I am always doing “research” and am always on the lookout for something new, something different and something exciting to bring to my dishes and to our meals.  My research is not difficult.  It just means pouring through my own ever-growing library of cookbooks.  Sometimes I look for things online too, but there is something special about going through the books to find the right dish for the meal of the day.  On my latest quest, I discovered this recipe for a potato casserole with bacon and caramelized onions that just sounded really interesting, so I had to give it a try.   I will definitely be making these more often from now on too.  I served this dish along with my roast and the roasted Brussels sprouts in cream sauce.  A Roasted Dinner and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

This recipe is a traditional French recipe, known as pommes de terre boulangere or baker’s potatoes.  The name comes from the times when villagers all used the residual heat from the baker’s ovens to cook their meals at the end of the day.  The meats would roast on the upper shelves of the oven while casseroles and other foods would cook on the lower shelves beneath the meats.  The juices from the meats would drip down and flavor all the dishes below.  This cooking method is no longer used, but the name pommes de terre boulangere has remained ever since.

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Potato Casserole with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

IMG_65623 lbs large potatoes, sliced very thin – I sliced them in my food processor, but a mandolin or a very steady hand and sharp knife works well too

4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces about 1″ in size – I like to use the thick pepper bacon, especially for dishes like this

1 onion, cut in half and sliced very thin

salt & pepper to taste

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1 1/4 cups beef broth

4 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces – more if needed

1 TBSP garlic

1 tsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme

 

Preheat the oven to 425* F – or when roasting meats at the same time, adjust to the temperature of the meat and adjust the time as needed.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray

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Cook the bacon in a saute pan for about 10-13 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking.  Then remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel and set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions and garlic and cook on a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the onions are softened and golden in color.  Add a tsp of water at a time as needed if the onions are browning too fast and sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

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When the onions are cooked and golden brown, add them to the potatoes, along with the bacon and the seasonings.  Mix everything together well and transfer everything to the prepared baking dish.  Firmly press everything down into the pan.    Add both the chicken broth and the beef broth, making sure to completely cover the potatoes.  Cut the butter into small pieces and arrange evenly over all the potatoes.  I think next time, I may even use more butter pieces.  I am like Julia Child, “there is no such thing as too much butter”.

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Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown around the edges and most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Before serving, let the potatoes stand for about 20 minutes so the moisture and liquid is fully absorbed into the potatoes.

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The potatoes came out a little crispier than what I intended, but that tends to happen when I let my husband into the kitchen.  I get everything all ready for him and leave him cooking instructions.  Sometimes he follows them, and others times, not so much.  Oh well.  It still came out very good, and is definitely a “do-over”.

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day – part 2

After our Mother’s Day explorations were completed, Happy Mother’s Day – part 1  we finished the day with a quick trip and glass of wine at our favorite local winery InVINtions, A Creative Winery, invintionswinery.com and a delicious seafood dinner at The Fresh Fish Co, not far away.  I have mentioned many times how much we love good seafood, and although we are landlocked and live about 1200+ miles from the nearest ocean, there are still quite a few good seafood places in the Denver area.  One of the best is The Fresh Fish Co., located in South Denver.

The Fresh Fish Co. is a family owned restaurant that has been one of Denver’s best seafood restaurants for over 35 years.  They have “placed 1st or 2nd on Denver’s “A List” for Seafood every year since 2007”.  The Executive Chef, Tim Bell and his wife Karen, are also the owners.   When Chef Tim is not busy in the kitchen, perfecting all the dishes, you will find him on the floor, meeting and greeting his guests and making sure everything is to their satisfaction and liking.  He says, “after all, to him, it’s more about the food and less about him” and this attitude is proudly displayed with every meal that comes out of his kitchen.  All the guests at The Fresh Fish Co are also very well cared for by all the restaurant staff.

Fresh is the most important ingredient for all the food prepared at The Fresh Fish Co.  They offer over 20 different kinds of fresh seafood on a daily basis, which is pretty impressive, but is even more impressive since Denver is nowhere near the ocean or the sea.  Mesquite grills are used to cook most of these varieties of seafood.  The mesquite “lets the real flavor of fresh fish come through”.   If you are a lover of the best and freshest seafood, then the Fresh Fish Co. is the place for you.

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The Black Pearl Oyster Bar is like “a restaurant within a restaurant. Our Black Pearl Oyster Bar is perfect for happy hour, a late night nosh or you can even dine in the bar! It’s a little livelier, a little louder and a little more fun. Plus, you get half price appetizers (20 different varieties!), drink specials and $1 oysters during our daily happy hour”.

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There are at least 6 very large salt water aquariums located throughout the restaurant.  This one is inside The Black Pearl Oyster Bar

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Here are 4 more large aquariums linked together in the main dining area of the restaurant.  Fish are everywhere.

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And now …… dinner is served.  We started the meal with some of the best sourdough bread I have had in a very long time.

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We each had a salad as one of our side dishes.  Larry enjoyed a house salad and I had a Caesar salad.  Both were very good.

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Once we finished our salads, it was time to go fishing.  Larry had the barrimundi with a soy-ginger sauce.  Halibut is my absolute favorite type of seafood, so I had no choice but to feast on the halibut with the chive beurre blanc, which was FABULOUS!  Both dishes were cooked to perfection, and were served in large, very generous portions.  Even though the portions were large, we ate and savored every bit.  There was non left to take home.

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The Fresh Fish Co. is located in the Tiffany Plaza, 7800 E. Hampden Ave. #54
Denver, CO 80237, Phone (303) 740-9556.  You can also reach them via their website, info@thefreshfishco.com  

I guarantee, this will be the best seafood you will find in Denver, and some of the best seafood period.

 

Happy Mother’s Day – part 1

To all the wonderful mothers out there, I wish you all a very Happy Mother’s Day.  In the United States, today is Mother’s Day, but I know it is celebrated on different dates in other parts of the world.  Whatever date you celebrate it on though, I hope you all have a great, happy day.  My “children” all have 4 legs, tails and fur; lots of fur.  They are the only children I have ever had.  I have always been a fur mom only.   I am “the Mommy Dog” and my husband is “the Daddy Dog”.  With help from the Daddy Dog, my fur babies chose a beautiful card to tell me how much they love me.  Every year, for many, many years, I have always purchased flowers to give to my ladies in my classes for Mother’s Day, and this year I had a lot of roses left over for me to keep as well (I bought extra this year).   My fur babies are all the best.

We love you Mommy, Love Lucie, Vinnie, Otis and Nicodemus, and the Daddy Dog too.

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Lucie and Vinnie sleeping in with the Mommy Dog.

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Otis and Nicodemus curled up on Mommy’s lap.

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The Daddy Dog and the Mommy Dog left the kids at home and went on a day trip down to the Colorado Springs area, where we explored The Cave of the Winds and The Garden of the Gods.  These are two must-sees when visiting The Springs area.  They are just so beautiful and are truly magical places.

We did a lantern/ghost tour at The Cave of the Winds.  The history is fascinating and very colorful.  The original miner/excavator/owner of The Cave of the Winds used to hold weddings and concerts in the actual caverns of the cave back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  We could not take pictures inside the cave, but if you are interested in learning more or taking the tours, you can check out their website at http://www.caveofthewinds.com

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Since The Cave of the Winds and Garden of the Gods are so close together, we did them both.  I absolutely love the Garden of the Gods.  I try to go every time I am in the Springs if I can.  It is a very magical, spiritual place.  You can learn more about the Garden of the Gods by going to their website gardenofgods.com.

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It was a gorgeous day to spend outside, exploring our state.  It was a great way to spend my Mother’s Day as well.  After touring around, we went to our favorite local winery, InVINtions, A Creative Winery on the way back up north  invintionswinery.com.  Then went for dinner after.

I hope all the mothers out there had a very happy, special Mother’s Day.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

What makes a meal great vs. being just OK or even good?  There are a few things.  The most important factor is the company with whom you share your meal.  Food cooked well is another factor.  And flavors and ingredients that really compliment each other, bringing all those elements together to compose a symphony of flavors and foods is another.  This recipe for Brussels sprouts with mushrooms and cream sauce did just that with the herb-crusted roast and the potato casserole.  A Roasted Dinner  I did not grow up eating Brussels sprouts, and always thought I did not care for them.  I rediscovered them a few years ago, and to my delicious surprise, I really enjoy them.  I cook them a lot, in many different ways.  This new recipe is a definite winner, and a definite “do-over” as we call new things we like.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

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1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half

5 TBSP olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

3-4 TBSP butter

3/4 lb mushrooms – I used baby portabellas, cut in large wedges

1 large shallot, peeled and sliced very thin

1 TBSP garlic

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 TBSP toasted pine nuts, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 450* F

Toss the Brussels sprouts in olive oil and salt and pepper, making sure to thoroughly coat them.  Then spread them out evenly, in a single layer onto a baking sheet.  Roast them until they are tender and browned, for about 20-25 minutes.  Then remove and let them cool.

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Combine the olive oil and butter in a hot skillet and saute the mushrooms, shallots and garlic for about 8 minutes, or until the shallots are golden brown.

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When the mushroom mixture is cooked, mix them with the Brussels sprouts. and toss well, though carefully, so not to destroy the Brussels sprouts.

IMG_6576Add the white wine and cook for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid.  Add the cream and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Mix everything together and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes.

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Serve hot as a delicious side dish to the main part of your meal.  Top with toasted pine nuts for an additional layer of flavor and texture, if you like.   This new way to cook Brussels sprouts and mushrooms is a new favorite of mine.

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