Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cheese Ravioli with Homemade Sausage Ragu

A few years ago, I had a client who was having a new yacht being built in Viareggio in the Tuscany region of Italy. The factory was hosting an invitation only yacht gala with demo rides and presentations during the day and night entertainment of food, drink and everything from Italy’s answer to Frank Sinatra to a circus act dangling from a 40 meter stick crane. As fate would have it, I was invited to attend; as well as checking on the progress of the new build which was half completed. For 5 days I enjoyed the food and festivity of a truly beautiful region in Italy. This dish is authentic and simple to prepare.


INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. mild Italian sausage
½ c. diced yellow onion
½ c. diced bell pepper
1 c. pumpkin pie puree
1 14 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 c. low sodium chicken stock
16 oz. package of cheese ravioli (you can sub gnocchi)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Chianti
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (liquid, same place you find vanilla extract)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. coarse salt

PREPARATION:

Split the Italian sausage and remove the casing and set aside. Pre-heat the olive oil to medium-high in a large cast iron skillet. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add sausage and add the seasonings, red pepper and salt and continue to stir until sausage is thoroughly cooked. Next, stir in the un-drained can of tomatoes, pumpkin puree, vinegar and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low and allow it to simmer for 1 hour. Half way thru, add Chianti and stir (if you don’t have Chianti, a Cab will do). As everything thickens as it cooks, add the ravioli towards the end. Cover and simmer on low for 8 minutes and then serve with a nice salad and bread. Molto Delizioso! Buon appetito, JW


Monday, June 26, 2017

CHIPOTLE-PINEAPPLE ROAST PORK

Every yacht should have at least one cast iron skillet onboard. Cast iron is durable, can take a lot of abuse and you can use metal utensils on them. Cast iron skillets are excellent for baking, making stews, or excellent flapjacks. Stovetop, oven, even a fire on the beach a cast iron skillet is a versatile tool in my galley. And with proper maintenance, cast iron cookware will outlive you. I personally have cast iron that has been handed down three generations. Try that with a coated aluminum skillet.



INGREDIENTS:

7 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
¾ c. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. chili pepper
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. course ground black pepper
2 ½ boneless pork tenderloin
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored and cut in 1 inch slices

PREPARATION:

In a blender or food processor, combine the first 8 ingredients and create a puree.  In a large bowl, coat the pork liberally then pierce deeply with a meat fork. Refrigerate for two hours. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Spray non-stick a large cast iron skillet. Arrange the pineapple evenly on the bottom. Remove pork from marinate and place on top of pineapple; discard marinate. One the medium over rack, roast the pork until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of meat reaches 145°. Cover with foil and cook an additional 30 minutes. Remove and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pico de gallo and roasted pineapple. Terrific served as pork tacos. Enjoy, JW

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ground Sirloin Philly Cheese Sandwich


On a delivery from Fort Lauderdale to Chicago on a 68 Sea Ray, we found ourselves delayed near Paducah, Kentucky. The Upper Mississippi River was above flood stage and we needed to wait a week for the river to come down and debris to clear. Even after the river falls to normal levels, a look-out on the bow is required to look out for “lunkers;” logs bobbing up and down at the surface. The Mississippi/Illinois river portion can be most perilous.

While sitting at Green Turtle Bay Marina it is easy to borrow the courtesy car and dine ashore blowing the per diem budget on restaurant faire so I try to come up with creative ways to stretch the provisions onboard to keep the crew satisfied. This months’ recipe uses items normally found aboard and is simple to prepare.

 
INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground sirloin
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp.  butter
1 onion chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 small serrano pepper, chopped
8 slices of Provolone or Muenster cheese
8 slices white bread

PREPARATION:

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Be sure to not break up the meat to find leaving pea sized or larger chunks. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce mix well. One cooked, remove meat from skillet. Next, in the same skillet add butter, bell pepper, serrano and onion. Cook until browned and caramelized. Return meat to skillet and mix well. (If you like mushroom, now would be the time to add them to the mix). Add cheese and as it melts, mix well. Serve on lightly toasted bread. Serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy, JW.

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BAHAMIAN CARROT CAKE

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. But in my galley, it is imagination and inspiration that provides the nexus for success.

Today I juiced 6 large carrots in a Cruisinart Juice Extractor. What remains besides a small pitcher of delicious juice, are two cups of carrot pulp in the pulp container.  Instead of running this down the InSink-a-Rator, I got to thinking that there must be something I can do with the carrot pulp. It wasn’t long before a lightbulb went off.

Over my decades as captain cruising The Bahamas, from time to time a trip to Harbour Island comes up. On larger vessel, one of the several pilots at Spanish Wells is employed to guide the yacht thru Devil’s Backbone and the flats leading to what the Bahamians call Briland; the original crown capitol of the Bahamas during the America’s war for independence.


One of these pilots, Little Woody, brings along a loaf of his wife’s excellent Bahamian carrot cake, as a gift for hiring out his services. So, with some inspiration and imagination, I used the pulp from the juicer to make the batter whereas a carrot cake recipe would normally call for grated carrot. The outcome isn’t anything less that scrumptious and moist.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake
 
2 c. granulated sugar
1½ c. oil
3 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. salt
2 c. pulp from 2 lbs. of carrots (or shredded carrot)
1 c. crushed pineapple, drained
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ c. walnuts, chopped
½ c. shredded coconut
½ c. golden raisins

For the Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼ c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract

PREPARATION:

Mix the granulated sugar with the oil and eggs until smooth. Add all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, fold in the carrots, walnuts, coconut, pineapple, raisins and vanilla extract. Next, spray the inside of 6 mini-loaf pans (5 ¾ x 3 ¼ x 2 inch) with non-stick. Spoon the in batter into pans about ¾ to the top. In an oven pre-heated to 350° place the pans on the middle rack and set timer for 50 minutes. When an inserted toothpick comes out clean, the loaves are done. Remove from oven and let cool overnight. Remove from pan and sit loaf on its’ side and trim off the bump on the top. Return to pan and cover loaf with frosting. Cover with cellophane and refrigerate.

FROSTING PREPARATION:

Thoroughly cream the butter and cream cheese then gradually add sifted powdered sugar and vanilla, until smooth. Refrigerate extra for waffles or crepes. Enjoy, JW

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

THE EMPANADA

Whether it’s a pastel in Indonesia, a calzone in Italy, a gujiya from India, a meat patty from Australia, or Hot Pockets in the freezer section of the supermarket, the root of these delicacies is the empanada. Empanadas, originating in Portugal and Spain, can be filled with meats, fish or vegetables or made as a dessert filled with fruits like guava with cream cheese.

I like to make small traditional empanadas as hors d’oeuvres, or tapas. Empanadas are easy to make and are the perfect party food served standing alone or with a dipping sauce. They may be frozen once made and reheated in the microwave.
 
INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 small onion, chopped
2 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 pound ground beef
2 teaspoon ground cumin
5.75 oz. jar sliced pimiento-filled green olives, drained
1 c. golden raisins
2 tbsp. honey 
1 tbsp. coarse salt
1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Several dashes hot sauce
2 large eggs, separated and whisked
1 pkg. mini pastry dough (3” squares)
 
PREPARATION:
To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then swirl in the olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the beef. Cook, stirring constantly to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for another minute.
Stir in the olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook until the meat is golden brown, the liquid has evaporated, and the flavors have blended, about 4 more minutes. Cool the mixture completely in the fridge. Stir in the egg whites. This will help bind the filling together while baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet.
To form the empanadas, unpeel each leaf of pastry dough and lay out on a floured surface. Wet the edges of the dough with water; made from whisked the egg yolk.  Place I tsp. filling on center of dough. Fold the dough over to form a triangle. Pinch the edges of the dough together. Crimp the edges with a pastry crimper or fork. Repeat the process until all the filling is used. The empanadas can be frozen at this point.
 
 
 
 
 

Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet and chill for a few minutes. Prick each pie on top twice with a fork. When ready to bake, beat the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over each empanada. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. The empanadas can be cooled and frozen to reheat in a microwave. Enjoy, JW
 
 
 
 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly


Over a millennia ago, the only form of food preservation was by drying, salting or brining. It wasn’t until the 1809 that Nicholas Appert invented canning as a new way for Napoléon to feed his troops. Revolutionary for its time, canning was considered a military secret. Commercial canning arrived in the USA in the mid 1800’s but it wasn’t until the Civil War and the invention of the Mason jar that home canning took off. Great for preserving fruit, vegetables, meats and making jams and jellies.

 Here are the items you will need:

1.       A stainless steel double boiler is best.  A ceramic coated aluminum pot can be used, if there are no scratches in the coating.
2.       4 qt. stainless steel or coated sauce pan
3.       A candy thermometer.
4.       A wide mouth canning funnel.
5.       A jar tong, for lifting jars out of the processing pot
6.       Mason or Ball jars with lids.

 
INGREDIENTS:
1 c. seeded green bell pepper, finely chopped or ground
1/4 c. jalapeno pepper, finely chopped or ground, seeded if desired ( or more to taste
4 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
1 6 oz. packet liquid fruit pectin
3 -5 drops green food coloring (optional)


DIRECTIONS:

Mix peppers, sugar, and vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, to 220° on the candy thermometer. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Add pectin and optional food coloring. Return to heat, and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute. Ladle mixture into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars with the canning funnel to within 1/2" of top. Wipe tops of jars. Center lids on top of jars, and screw on bands firmly. Half fill the double boiler (or large pot with bottom rack) with water, and bring water to a full boil.

 
The boiling water should cover jars by at least 1". Reduce heat to a gentle boil, cover, and process for 10 minutes. After processed, carefully remove jars from water using tongs or a jar-lifter. Place upside-down on a rack or thick towels, and let cool without moving for 12-24 hours. Jars will make popping sounds while cooling, if sealed properly. Check seal on each jar by pressing down on lid; if it doesn't push, it's sealed. If it does push down, store in refrigerator until used. Properly canned, you can store this jelly in a cupboard for six to eight months. Refrigerate after opening. Enjoy - JW

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

COCONUT CUSTARD PIE

One of the yachts I manage on a monthly basis is a 70 Hatteras cockpit motor yacht. When the owners arrive, I work to teach them maneuvering, line handling, preventative maintenance procedures, et al with the ultimate goal of getting them insurance qualified to operate the vessel themselves. Before they arrive on their jet, I will prepare a little something for them to nosh on after their flight. Last month, they came for Christmas and I prepared for them a delicious coconut custard pie. The husband told me that he actually doesn’t like custard, but this recipe is an exception to his tastes. An additional pie was requested when guests flew in for a visit. Success is best served sweet!!


First off, this recipe is for making TWO pies. The second pie always makes a wonderful gift for the yacht next door (that is if you can keep your crew’s hands off of it!).

INGREDIENTS:       

2 14 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk (about 2 c.)
4 cups hot water
6 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. coconut extract
1 ½ cup shredded coconut
2 9 inch unbaked pie shells
2 tbsps.  Nutmeg

PREPARATION:

In a stand mixer, combine milk, water and eggs. Mix with whisk attachment until well blended, adding the extract and shredded coconut. Pour filling into pie shells and split the nutmeg; sprinkling on top of the pies. Any left over filling can be poured into custard cups or ramekins (see photo). Bake at 400° for the first 10 minutes then reduce heat to 300° for an additional 30 minutes. The pie is finished when an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow the pies to cool to room temperature, then cover with foil and refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream. Enjoy, JW