On the menu today:
A Valentine's Meal
Kestrel's Greek Salad:
1-3 ripe tomatoes (depends on how much you like them)
150-200 grams of Feta (She prefers goat feta)
1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts (about 6 ounces) balsamic vinegar to taste (generally about 1/8 - 1/4 of a cup)
bell peppers (any color)
pitted whole black olives
Cube cucumber, leaving skin on. (Cucumber skin contains pepsin, which helps you digest the cucumber easier) Cube tomatoes/peppers/onion. Toss it all in a big bowl. If using canned olives (She does) drain and rinse well. Dump 'em in the bowl.
Put feta in a small bowl. Attack with a fork until crumbled into small pieces. Add to the big bowl. Open your jar of artichoke hearts and...you guessed it! Throw those into the big bowl too! (you can slice them smaller first, if you want to). Put in the oil they're marinated in as well, it's part of the dressing and conveniently pre-spiced.
Pour the balsamic vinegar over all of it, mix gently with a large spoon. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour, if you have time, that way the flavor of the vinegar soaks into the cheese.
When you try some, make sure to scoop right out from the bottom where the dressing has accumulated. If it's not tart enough, add a bit more vinegar.
Fallen's Oven Beef Stroganoff
Brown meat in small batches in oil over medium to high heat. Put into a casserole dish. Add salt, pepper and wine. In the pan you browned the meat, brown onions and add mushrooms. Cook over medium heat fro 5 to 10 minutes. In a measuring cup mix tomato paste, consomme and flour.
2 pounds of round steak, in strips
1 large onion, diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red wine
1 can beef consomme
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 teaspoons of flour
2 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 cup of vegetable oil, preferably canola
Add mixture to onions and mushrooms. Add bay leaves and garlic. When mixture is heated through completely, pour over meat and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven. Take a small amount of sauce and put in a bowl. Add sour cream. This is very important to ensure that sour cream does not go funny and be completely unusable. Add tempered sour cream/sauce back into heated mixture. Served best with egg noodles and steamed vegetables.
JSG's Kahlua Cheesecake
1 1/2 c Chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 c Melted butter
2 tb Sugar
1 3/4 c Semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks (divided)
1 c Whipping cream (divided)
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp. Kahlua (divided)
24 oz Cream cheese, softened
1 c Sugar
1/3 c Cocoa
1 ts Vanilla extract
1 tb Powdered sugar
Mix crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press onto bottom and up the sides partway of a 9-inch cheesecake pan. Freeze 5 minutes, then bake at 350F for ten minutes and allow to cool.
Heat in a bowl or pan over boiling water 1/2 cup chocolate chunks until melted and smooth. Add 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup Kahlua and stir until blended.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese, cocoa and sugar until fluffy. Add first mixture to the second and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and vanilla. Pour over prepared crust and bake 10 minutes at 400 F. Decrease to 275 F and bake another 45 minutes. Remove from oven to cool. Loosen cake from rim of pan and remove.
Melt remaining 1 1/4 cup chocolate. Then add 1/4 cup whipping cream and 2 Tbsp Kahlua. Mix well. Spread on top of cake and refrigerate about six hours or until set.
Before serving, beat remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream with the powdered sugar and garnish cake by piping on it and decorating it with a few remaining chocolate chips.
FYI - Any time you have alcohol or vanilla in a recipe, double the amounts. :)