Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blue Veins

So... did I ever tell you what a cheese monster Mr. P is? He is crazy about cheese. Between him and I, we consume so much of it and are always looking to try new varieties. Well, recently Coles had a sale. Buy 1 block of Mainland Special Reserve Premium Blue Cheese and Get 1 block of Special Reserve Gruyere Cheese. What a deal right?

The Gruyere was good. Milder than the Gruyere I'm used to but yummy nonetheless. The Blue Cheese was the one that surprised us. It was so SUPER good! Creamy, bitey goodness with a hint of nuttiness. It had a distinct flavor that is not typical of the standard fare.

We've had it in so many ways already. First with a glass of Riesling, next with the salad below and last, with a home made burger. In all instances the flavors blended together so harmoniously in our mouths.

I hope you get to try it. Cheers!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Red Wine Braised Beef and Couscous

I told you last night that I made this Beef Brisket Braised in Red Wine, right? Well, we had it tonight and it was so good. I made couscous to go with it and it was perfect. Because of Mr. P's crazy work schedule, Friday is his crash day. So, dinner has to be ready real quick so we can actually sit down together and enjoy it. Yay for me that I had the beef ready and, couscous is so quick and easy too. Here's how I did both dishes:

Beef Brisket Braised in Red Wine
I had about 750g of beef brisket and used:
-4 shallots, quartered
-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
-2-3 cups of red wine
-3 sprigs of thyme (modification from original recipe)
-salt and pepper
-2 tbsp olive oil

Season beef with s&p and brown on all sides with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Remove beef from pot and drain fat. Add the other tbsp of olive oil to the pot and semi-caramelize shallots on med-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes. Pour red wine into pot and let it reduce to about 3/4 of the original quantity. Add beef back into the pot and pour just enough water to cover the beef. I had some leftover water that I used to rehydrate shitake mushrooms, so I used this to give the sauce more body. Bring pot to a boil and then cover. Move pot into a 300 degree oven and let beef soften for about 2 hours. The flavors develop as it keeps so this can be done days ahead. Serve hot with couscous.

Couscous with Herbs, Roasted Eggplant. Garbanzos and Toasted Almonds
I made this dish mainly to use up leftover garbanzos and roasted eggplant slices that I had in the fridge. Usually, package directions of couscous tell you to "cook" the grains in salted water, but I always use broth. I made some vegetable broth last night out of peels and stems from veggies that would have otherwise gone to the bin.
Gather any herbs you may have. I used some thyme, basil and parsley.
Chifonade the basil and just chop up the other herbs. Throw them in your serving bowl. Meanwhile, toast some almonds in the oven for about 5 minutes, until brown. Once toasted, chop them up in a food processor and add to the herb mixture.
For the eggplant, I sliced them in rounds and brushed them with olive oil before grilling them in the oven for about 45 minutes. Once grilled, dice about 4 large rounds and throw into the serving bowl. Add your garbanzos to the same bowl and 1 cup of couscous.
Once broth comes to a boil, pour the hot liquid into the bowl and allow couscous to soak it up. After about 2 minutes, fluff with a fork to mix everything together.
It was really good and healthy too!