October 30, 2011


Even if you think you don't like Curry, but like roasted Vegetables, you will really love this Amazing Roasted Curry Cauliflower.  The flavor of the Curry and Spices brings out the best of the Nutty roasted Cauliflower.  It is subtle but at the same time really elevates the flavor of the Cauliflower.  Forget the boring boiled-to-flavorless Cauliflower you are used to eating and try roasted Cauliflower with just enough Spice to make it dance on your tongue.  Serve this with my Butter Roasted Chicken for an Amazing dinner.  While the Butter Roasted Chicken rests after baking, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast the Cauliflower.   Roasted Curry Cauliflower never tasted so good when you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

1 Head of Fresh Cauliflower
4 T  Olive Oil
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
3 t  Garam Masala
2 t  Curry Powder

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Prepare a Cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper to cover for easy clean up.

3.  Wash and dry a head of fresh Cauliflower.  Make sure it is dried well with paper towel before roasting or it will steam and not brown in the oven.
Cut the Cauliflower in half and using a sharp knife cut the connections of the florets creating large sections that will fall off.  Cut the individual florets off and place on the Cookie sheet.

4.  Drizzle about 4 T of Olive Oil over the cut florets of Cauliflower and toss them with your hands to get as much surface area covered.  Spread them out so they do not touch on the Cookie Sheet.
5.  In a small bowl mix all the Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Garam Masala and Curry Powder.  Sprinkle the Spice mixture with your fingers over all the Oil tossed Cauliflower evenly.
6.  Roast on the center rack of the oven 400 degrees for 15 minutes and turn over with a spatula and roast 15 minutes more.  When done the Cauliflower should be browned and tender.  Not mushy and limp.  Test for doneness by piercing with a fork or better yet pull one out and eat it.  Taste it for seasoning and adjust to your taste by adding more Salt or Pepper or Spices as needed.  If it needs more time place back in the oven for 3 minutes and recheck.  When done serve immediately.

* Click here for my Amazing Butter Roasted Chicken recipe for the perfect dinner. 

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October 24, 2011


My Mom made Peach Cobbler often when I was a kid with a recipe that used canned Peaches and Butter. It was great with Vanilla Ice Cream when the Cobbler was still warm.  I looked at several Peach Cobbler recipes when I developed this one and wanted to stay true to how my Mom made it by putting the Peaches over the Batter before it was baked.  Many of the Old Southern recipes begin that way and so do I.  I've never been a dry-crumbly-Biscuit-baked-over-Fruit fan so I avoided any spoon Batter topping recipe.  The result is a very flavorful moist Peach Cobbler that combines the Spiced Syrup you make with the Cobbler as is bubbles when it bakes. The addition of Dark Brown Sugar and Cinnamon make it a cozy and comforting Dessert.  Make sure you use good sweet fresh Peaches or in a pinch good quality canned Peaches and serve it warm topped with Vanilla Ice Cream and you will be Cooking The Amazing!

Here is the recipe.

7  Ripe Fresh Peaches, Peeled and Pitted
or 1 Can (28 oz) Cling Sliced Peaches
1 c  Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
2/3 c  Water
1 1/2 t  Vanilla Extract
1 t  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 t  Ground Nutmeg
1 1/4 c  All Purpose Flour
3/4 c  Sugar
1 Pinch  Sea Salt, Fine Grain
1 1/2 t  Baking Soda
1 c  Whole Milk
1 t  Vanilla Extract
1 Stick  Butter, Melted
Cinnamon  To Sprinkle On Top

1.  You can use fresh Peaches or canned Peaches in this recipe.  Fresh Peaches need to be ripe and sweet for the best flavor.  If using canned Peaches drain them and discard the canned juice (syrup).

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

3.  For fresh Peaches peel and pit them with a paring knife and cut them in half and then slice into large wedges, about 8 wedges per Peach. 
4.  Place the sliced fresh Peaches or the drained canned Peaches in a large bowl and add Dark Brown Sugar, Water,  1 1/4 t Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon and Nutmeg and stir gently.   Allow to sit for 5 minutes on the counter so the Juices develop.  Then pour all the Peaches and Juices into a large pot over medium heat on the stove top.  Stir gently and bring to a simmer and simmer for 8-10 minutes then remove from the heat.   Set aside.

5.  In a medium bowl mix with a large spoon the All Purpose Flour, Sugar, Sea Salt and Baking Soda.  Then add the Milk and 1 t Vanilla Extract and mix well until smooth.  Set aside.
6.  Melt 1 stick of Butter in the microwave and pour 1/2 of it into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Reserve the other 1/2 of melted Butter for the last step.
7.  Pour the Batter mixture over the melted Butter.  DO NOT MIX with the Butter.  The Butter may ooze out the sides and over the Batter, that's ok. 
8.  Spoon the Peaches, very gently, with all the juices over the Batter and spread evenly allowing them to sink into the Batter.  DO NOT MIX into the Batter.   Drizzle any Juice left in bowl over the Peaches.  Drizzle the 1/2 stick of melted Butter you reserved all over the top.  Sprinkle with a few dashes of Cinnamon over the top evenly.
9.  Place the baking dish on a Cookie Sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the top is browned evenly.  The Batter will puff up and bake around the Peaches during baking.  After removing from the oven allow to sit uncovered for 45-60 minutes to cool and for the Cobbler to set.  Otherwise it will be soupy.  The longer it sits the thicker the Cobbler Juices become.  Serve warm with cold Vanilla Ice Cream or top with my recipe for perfect Whipped Cream

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October 23, 2011


Hummus used to be exotic and found only in specialty markets and in big cities outside of the Middle East.  Today, you can buy it at the local Piggly Wiggly and in a variety of flavors.  I first ate Hummus in the early 90's while traveling in the Middle East.  I couldn't get enough of it and would eat it everyday for lunch and with dinner.  I started making my own when the supermarket varieties I tried were grainy and not flavorful.  It was nothing like the real thing that I ate in Syria, Jordan or Egypt which was silky smooth and tasted Amazing.  Over the years I sometimes have added nontraditional Tomatoes and Cilantro to mine to change up the flavor.  The secret to smooth Hummus is to use skinned Chick Peas.  Canned Chick Peas are OK but if you soak your own and cook them the taste is a little better and more traditional.  I use canned because of convenience and ease.  Just use a good Tahini which is the other dominant taste of Hummus.  Tahini is a paste made from Sesame Seeds and can be bought almost anywhere these days (find it for sure at Whole Foods) usually near the Peanut Butter or in the international foods aisle.  Fresh Lemon Juice is a must.  Hummus is traditionally served with a drizzle of Olive Oil and a dash or two of Cumin and a few whole Chick Peas on top and is eaten with Pita Bread.  Of course, we adapted to Hummus well in the US and use it in Sandwich Wraps, to dip Veggies in and on Crackers for a quick snack.  No matter how you eat it, make your own Hummus and it will taste like no other because you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

2 Cans (15 oz each) Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)
or  3 c Cooked Chick Peas
      (from  1 1/2 c soaked dried Beans)
3/4 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
2 1/2  Cloves Garlic crushed fine
1/2 c  Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 c  Tahini
1/4 t  Paprika
1/4 t  Cumin
1-2 T  Reserved Cooking Water
Olive Oil to drizzle

1.  Drain 2 cans of Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) and rinse well under cold water removing as much of the skins as possible with your fingers and discarding the skins.  Place the drained Chick Peas in a pan with enough Water to cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes until very soft and tender.  Drain Water from the pan and reserve it.

FOR SOAKED DRIED CHICK PEAS: Soak about 1 1/2 c of dried Chick Peas in lots of cold water over night for at least 12 hours at room temperature on the counter in a large pot covered with a lid.  Drain the soaked Beans and rinse well.  Cook Chick Peas in fresh cold Water by bringing to a rolling boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until very soft and tender about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Drain Water and reserve it and remove any skins with your fingers and discard the skins.
2.  Place in a food processor the Sea Salt, crushed fresh Garlic, fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, Tahini, and Paprika and Cumin and process until smooth.  Use a rubber spatula and scrape down the bowl often.  Add the skinned Chick Peas and process until smooth.  Add 1-2 T of the reserved Chick Pea cooking Water then process in food processor about 2-3 minutes.  Add more cooking Water if needed to achieve a very smooth consistency.  Keep processing until very smooth.  This may take 5 minutes or more.  Taste and adjust with more Sea Salt if needed.
3.  Serve at room temperature or chilled from a tightly wrapped bowl with a drizzle of Olive Oil and garnish with Paprika and or Cumin, Sea Salt and Black Pepper if desired.  The Hummus improves in flavor after refrigerating for 4 hours or even better over night.  Consider fresh chopped Parsley, fresh Mint, fresh Cilantro, Red Onion thinly sliced, tiny Pickles, Olives or Tomato Slices.  Use your own taste buds to guide you.  Serve with Pita Bread or Crackers or Tortilla Chips for an international twist.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2011


Guinness Stout Beer is an Irish institution that is almost a meal in itself.  After a recent trip to Ireland and eating real Irish Guinness Stew for the first time, I knew when I came home I had to develop my own recipe for it.  My Classic American Beef Stew is where I started adding rich Guinness and using Lamb instead of Beef.  Lamb is the traditional Irish Meat used in most Irish Stews but Beef is a perfect substitute.   The Guinness and flavors of the Vegetables and caramelized Lamb create an amazing taste like no other.  Use either Beef or Lamb and the Stew will be incredible either way.  When you are cooking with Guinness you will be cooking with the luck of the Irish and Cooking The Amazing.
                            A common sign in Ireland.

Here is the recipe.

4 lbs  Lamb Shoulder or Beef Chuck Roast
2 T  Olive Oil
3/4 c  All Purpose Flour
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1  Can Of Guinness (14. 9 Oz)
6 T  Tomato Paste
1 T  Worcestershire Sauce
2 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
2 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 t  Dried Thyme
3 t  Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
4  Cloves of Peeled Garlic
2  Bay Leaves
6 T  Beef Base
5  Large Potatoes Peeled, Quatered
3  Large Yellow Onions Peeled, Quartered
3  Medium Carrots Peeled, Chopped
3  Stalks Celery Chopped Large Chunks
2 c  Water (more if needed)

1.  Prepare all of the Vegetables ahead before you touch the Meat.  Peel the Potatoes and quarter them, peel the Carrots and cut into large 2 inch pieces, peel and quarter the Onions, Peel the Garlic and cut each clove in half and cut the Celery into large 2 inch pieces.  Big pieces of Veg will stay large and will not shrink up to nothing while it stews.  Set all aside.  Measure out all of the other ingredients and set aside ready for use later.
2.  Use a large heavy bottomed pot for this recipe like a Dutch Oven that is at least 6 qts.  A flimsy thin pot will burn your stew and not allow the Meat to brown (where all the flavor starts) properly.  Have a Cookie sheet ready to help transfer the pot to and from the oven safely.

3.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

4.  Pat dry the Lamb or Beef Roast using paper towel and then cut off excess fat and reserve it.  Leave a small amount of fat on the Meat because this will give the Stew some flavor.  Cut the Lamb or Beef into large chunks about 2 inches square.   The Meat shrinks while it stews so you want big pieces and not look like baby food when it's done.
5.  Place all the chunked Meat into a big zip lock bag and pour in 3/4 c All Purpose Flour.  Seal the bag after removing any air and shake until the Meat is all covered with Flour.  The Flour will thicken the Stew as it cooks.
6.  Place a large heavy bottomed pot (like a Le Creuset Dutch Oven) over medium heat with 2 T Olive Oil.  Add all the removed fat you trimmed to the Olive Oil and brown it for 5 mins.  This will melt the fat and give the Stew lots of flavor.  After the fat has rendered remove the pieces of browned fat and disgard.
7.  Brown the Lamb or Beef in 2 batches.  Add 1/2 of the Flour covered Lamb or Beef chunks to the pot keeping them well spaced so they carmalize.   Putting them too close together and crowding the pot will make them steam and not brown.  Add 1/2 t of Salt and 1/2 t of Black Pepper, fresh ground to each batch as it browns.  Brown the Lamb or Beef to a dark color on all sides, turing frequently and watching closely to avoid burning.  This step is critical to the final Stew's flavor, don't lightly brown the Meat.
8.  Remove the well browned Lamb or Beef and set aside on a platter or plate.  The bottom of the pot will have a lot of browned cooked on bits.  This is full of Meat flavor.  Turn the heat up to high and slowly add a 14.9 oz. can of Guinness Beer.  Using a large wooden spoon scrape up all the cooked on brown bits on the bottom of the pot as the Guinness deglazes it.  Be agressive with the wooden spoon and work to scrape it up into the Guinness.  Bring to a boil.

9.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce, 2 t Sea Salt, 2 t Black Pepper, fresh ground, 2 t dried Thyme, 3 t Rosemary that has been finely chopped, 4 cloves of fresh Garlic, peeled and cut in half, 2 Bay Leaves, 6 T Beef Base (such as Better Than Boullion brand found near the Boullion cubes at the market) and 2 c water.  Simmer for 2 minutes then add back all of the browned Lamb or Beef including any juices that accumulated on the platter.  Stir well.
10.  Add all the prepped Veg on top.  Use a large spoon and push the Veg down into the Meat and Sauce.  Add up to 1 c of Water if needed to have enough Sauce almost, but not completely, cover the Veg.  Some Veg and Meat should stick out above the Sauce.  Turn up the heat to High and bring to a boil with the lid off.  Once at a boil cover with the lid and place on the Cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees undisturbed. 

11.  After 2 1/2 hours remove from the oven and remove the lid and allow to sit for 20 mins.  Any excess fat will rise to the top.  Spoon this off and disgard.   As it sits the Sauce will thicken.  Taste the Sauce for seasoning and add more Salt or Black Pepper if needed and stir in well.  REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES so no one chokes on them.  Serve with Irish Soda Bread with Butter or any dark Bread like the Irish do with a pint of ice cold Guinness.

Here is a bowl of real Irish Guinness Stew I had in Ireland that was this inspiration to this recipe.

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