Roasted Andouille Caserole

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, April 16, 2014 0 comments

Taste Level: GR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 15-20 min.
Cook Time: 50-55 min.
Difficulty: 1

Zo brought home some Andouille from a smoke house in New Orleans.  It had been a while since I had some premium Andouille so I tossed together a dish where it could be the star.  Enjoy!

.5 lbs Premium Smoked Andouille (sliced)
.65 lbs Brussels sprouts (thinly sliced)
1.74 lbs red potatoes (sliced, halved)
1 Sweet Onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (diced)

1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano (freshly grated)

1 tbsp 2 tsp balsamic
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp creole mustard
1 tbsp 2 tsp essence
2 tbsp fresh rosemary (diced)
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)

Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until even.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss all ingredients and sauce in a large mixing bowl until even.  Spread casserole into a 3 qt backing dish. Top with Parmesan evenly.

Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 50-55 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked through.)

Serve hot and enjoy!

Bell Peppers and Beef

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, March 12, 2014 0 comments

Taste Level: GR
Cost: $20 and over
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 0-5 min.
Cook Time: 20-25 min.
Difficulty: 1

This recipe is based wholly on a meal from the Anime Cowboy Beebop.  In the show they always joked about a meal called Bell Peppers and Beef.  So I decided I was going to make the meal.  They never really said what was in it (because it is a cartoon not at all about cooking) but you could see bell peppers and onions.  So I just ran with it.

1.5 lb New york strip steak soaked in salsa and teriyaki over night and then cubed and diced
1/2 of a white onion (Julianne)
1/2 green bell pepper (sliced)
1/2 red bell pepper (sliced)
1/4 yellow bell pepper (sliced)
1 Red New Mexican chili (diced)
3 tbsp fresh basil (diced)
kosher salt
fresh crack pepper
red pepper flakes optional
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
2 servings of rice cooked by package instructions

Cook steak in sauce pan for 3-4 minutes at med heat and remove.  turn heat to med low add oil, butter and red chili and cook for 3-4 min, add veggies and turn to medium, cook for 15 minutes or until onions are caramelizing. add basil and steak and heat through for 1-2 minutes.

Serve over white rice mixed with 2 tbsp volcanic lemon juice, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and all juices from steak and veggies in rice.

Francis' Cheesecake

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, March 5, 2014 1 comments

Taste Level: TF
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 40-45 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour 20-25 min.
Chill Time: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: 3

I figured it was time to actually make my very own cheesecake with my and Zo's taste buds in mind. Before I had always based my version off of Rafe's Cheesecake.  I still am influenced by that cheesecake of course but I  really decided to take a step back and rethink the whole process.  Especially the process of baking the cheesecake and avoiding cracks.  So I did some research and below you will find how I kept my cheesecake from cracking.  Enjoy!

Cheese cake
16 oz organic cream cheese or Philly cream cheese
8 oz Tiramisu Marscarpone
1 1/2 pints sour cream
1 cup orange blossom honey
3/4 cup 3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp pure vanilla bean extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 of a freshly squeezed lemons juice
6 large eggs

1 1/2 Cup crushed vanilla wafers
4 Tbsp european unsalted butter
Zest of 1/2 of lemon
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp milk chocolate chips
1 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder

Prepping Spring form pan
Place a spring for pan on two heavy duty sheets of a spring form pan.  Mold sheets to side of pan.  Tear off a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil that is the length of the circumference (plus 1 inch) of your spring form pan.  Fold sheet to the height of your spring form pan and then wrap the side of your spring form pan and fold edges together.  (This is later going to help keep your cheesecake from cracking.)  Butter the inside of the pan with 1/2 tsp of butter.


Melt chocolate chips, cream and butter in a small dish. Mix melted chocolate with the remaining crust ingredients in small mixing bowl. Pour into 9" spring form pan, pressing into place with your finger tips. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Cheese cake
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat together powdered sugar, marscarpone and cream cheese until softened and well blended. Gradually add sugar until a smooth mixture is formed. Continue to blend while drizzling honey into mixture until smooth.  Add flour, salt, vanilla and lemon juice. Add 1 egg at a time, beating until smooth.

Fold in sour cream until well blended and pour mixture into the pan over the back of a big spoon, so the batter does not disturb the crust. Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes.

Place aluminum foil wrapped spring form pan in a baking dish with enough water to come up to 1/2-1 inch the side of your pan. Place in oven on the middle rack and bake at 500 degrees for 12 minutes.

Turn temperature down to 250 degrees for 60-7 minutes. (Never open the oven!) Turn the heat off and let cool for 1 hour. Remove from oven, remove from baking dish with water and let cool on a cooling rack for 1 hour, cover, move to refrigerator and chill for 5 to 6 hours.

Salmon Acini di peppe

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, February 26, 2014 0 comments

Taste Level: GR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15-20 min.
Cook Time: 20-25 min.
Difficulty: 1

Zo loved this dish and I was not the biggest fan, usually in these cases I do not put the recipe online (even though it is CookingforZo.) But because she loved it so much I decided to make an exception and toss it up on here.  

1/2 lbs wild caught salmon fillet
4 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt (to taste)
Fresh Crack Pepper (to taste)
1 package Acini di peppe

Sauce 1/3 cup Italian parsley
1/3 cup dill Havarti
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp volcanic lemon juice
3 shallots
1 whole green garlic
2 green onions
1/2 tsp essence
1 purple bell pepper

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat add just enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan. Cook salmon skin up 3-4 minutes, flip and cook 3-4 additional minutes until flaky but making sure to keep pink. 

Remove from heat and place on a plate and let chill in refrigerator until cool enough to handle (usually the amount of time it takes to chop everything up 7-10 minutes.) Once cooled break salmon away from skin and place in large mixing bowl. 

Cook Acini di peppe as package directs.


Using the same skillet with all residual juices heat butter over medium heat. Once melted add bell pepper, green garlic and shallots cooking for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in heavy cream and continuously stir for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Now add the cheese, lemon juice and seasonings stirring until cheeses are melted (5-7 minutes.) Once cheeses are melted add green onion and parsley cooking uncovered until done (5-7 minutes.)

Serve sauce and salmon over acini di peppe and enjoy!

Patio Tea

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, February 19, 2014 0 comments

Taste Level: VGR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 8
Prep Time: Depends on what type of tea used
Cook Time: 15-20 min.
Difficulty: 1

As Cyrus would say, "This stuff is dangerous!"  Why you ask?  Because it tastes just like honey tea! Which depending on your opinion is good or bad.  In my opinion I love sitting on the porch with Zo sipping on this tasty drink just enjoying the nice or even bad weather.

Lipton Cold Brew Ice Tea
2-5 oz Jack Daniel's Tenesse Honey (depending on how strong you like it)
1/3 cup sugar
1 lemon sliced
1 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon

In a 2 quart tea pitcher make your tea.  Once ready add lemons and sugar and stir.  Swirl in Honey and Bourbon.  Serve with ice and enjoy!

Wasabi Steaks

Posted by francis keyser Wednesday, February 12, 2014 0 comments

Taste Level: GR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10-15 min.
Cook Time: 15-20 min.
Difficulty: 1

This topping happen out of necessity to make room in the fridge.  I love Inglehoffer's wasabi horseradish but I rarely use it.  I also had to fillets I picked up from the butcher. I  had no reason to purchase them but I wanted to make sure the butcher remembered my face; so I can get the cuts of meats I like when I like them.  So I decided to make a fancy dinner for two.  Two as in me and my dog, Tippy.  (Zo you need to finish up that degree and come home so I do not kill our dog with fancy food.)

I did not want to put too much effort into anything so I did not even mince or smash the garlic, I just sliced it.  Tossed everything together and then let it sit on the counter procrastinating getting up from my binge of "Supernatural."

Finally I dragged myself off the couch whipped up dinner and you know what?  "Supernatural" is even better when you are eating awesome food!

*Tippy really did not eat the steak he stared at me in a daze sniffing the air wishing I would give him a bite.

** OK I did cut Tippy of a slice of the steak and put it in his bowl.

2 Fillet Mignon
fresh crack pepper (to taste)
2 pinches of kosher salt (to taste)
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Wasabi Topping
1 tbsp 2 tsp softened butter
3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp 1 tsp wasabi horseradish sauce
Kosher salt (to taste)
Fresh crack pepper (to taste)

While steaks are cooking; mix ingredients together and heat at 150 degrees (in oven or toaster oven) for 5 min. Whisk, and then turn heat to 300 degrees for 10 min.

Preheat grill to medium high.

Add seasonings to room temperature steak and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Sear steaks on both sides for 2-3 minutes and then lower heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until desired doneness.

Remove from grill and let sit covered for 5 minutes before spooning wasabi topping over them. Enjoy!

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