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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

These are simple and delicious and a great side dish for roast chicken, steak, or rack of lamb.

Ingredients:

1 lb. fingerling potatoes, sliced in half vertically
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. rosemary, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Spread potatoes onto baking sheet and face potatoes skin side up. When oven has reached 400˚ place potatoes in oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Potatoes should be crispy and fork tender.

Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Mushroom, and Caramelized Onion Hash

This is my all time favorite grilled cheese sandwich.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough or french boule bread
6 oz. gruyere, sliced
6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, diced
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. thyme, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Butter

Directions:

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Set aside.

Put bacon in large skillet and heat over medium low. Cook the bacon until crispy, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and put on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Make sure to reserve the bacon fat. Add onion to the pan. Cook until onion has caramelized, about 30 minutes. When onion has caramelized, add mushrooms and thyme to pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid and are tender, about 5 minutes. Add bacon back to pan and stir to combine. Turn off heat and remove hash from pan.

Take two slices of bread and place butter side down. Put half of the sliced gruyere on the
two slices of the bread. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture onto both slices of bread. Top with the other half of the gruyere and the second slice of bread. Heat the skillet over medium low. Add sandwiches to pan. Cook until bread is crusty and golden brown and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, cut in half on a diagonal and serve.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chipotle Sweet Potato Purée

This is the perfect accompaniment to my Smoked Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon Honey Orange Glaze. It would also be great with a steak or other poultry dishes. This serves two, but can easily be multiplied.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 chipotle pepper from can of chipotle in adobo
1 tbsp. adobo
1 tbsp. milk
Salt


Directions:

Preheat oven to 450˚. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour; potatoes should be fork tender. Let cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out potato from the skin. Put potatoes in food processor with butter, honey, chipotle, adobo, and milk. Pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt.

Smoked Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon Honey Orange Glaze

These drumsticks are tender, smoky, spicy, and delicious, and the skin gets super crispy. I used 6 drumsticks since I was making this for 2 people, but this recipe makes plenty of rub and glaze if you want to make more. I recommend serving these with my Chipotle Sweet Potato Purée.

Ingredients:

6 chicken drumsticks
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin


Glaze:

1/2 cup orange juice
5 tbsp. bourbon
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix light brown sugar, kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, cayenne, chili powder, and cumin. Rub on drumsticks and refrigerate drumsticks for at least 2 hours before smoking. Take drumsticks out of refrigerator at least 30 minutes before smoking.

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, bourbon, honey, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat smoker to 300˚. Using indirect heat, smoke drumsticks until they reach an internal temperature of about 145˚. This should take around an hour and 15 minutes. Raise heat to 450˚. Mop or spray chicken with glaze. Using direct heat, cook chicken for about 20 more minutes, glazing about every 5 minutes. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165˚. Remove from smoker.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Butter

This is a great spread on toast, muffins, biscuits, etc. It is the quintessential flavor of fall.

Ingredients:

1 pumpkin pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and diced
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

Directions:

In a medium sauce pot add pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and water. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling reduce to low heat. Cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes. Pumpkin should basically fall apart when stirred when done. Pour mixture into food processor. Pulse until smooth. Return mixture to stove and simmer on medium low for 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Seeds

Don't throw away the seeds after carving a pumpkin. Make a delicious snack instead.

Ingredients:

Seeds from 1 pumpkin pie pumpkin or 1 small carving pumpkin, washed and dried
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a bowl, mix pumpkin seeds, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly onto a baking tray. When oven is preheated put tray in oven. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Spaghetti Bolognese

This is one of my absolute favorite meals to make. I find cooking bolognese sauce to be relaxing and satisfying, and the end result is a wonderfully comforting meal. I would recommend serving it with my garlic bread. This recipe makes enough sauce to have for dinner for 4-6 people with plenty of leftover sauce that can be frozen and reheated later.

Ingredients:

1 lb. spaghetti
2 lbs. 90/10 ground beef
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup red wine
3 28 oz. cans peeled san marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade
Grated parmesan, for serving
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Coat bottom of large dutch oven with olive oil. Heat on medium high. When hot, add beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from dutch oven and set aside. Add onion and carrot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Deglaze pan with red wine, scraping up brown bits. Add beef back into dutch oven and stir to combine. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves, and oregano. Stir to combine well. Bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Carefully remove bay leaves before serving.

While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside.

Serve spaghetti with sauce, basil, and parmesan.

Frisee Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Walnuts, and Orange Vinaigrette

Until recently, I was not a huge fan of beets, but trying the beets from the farmer's market and on seasonal menus at restaurants has made me a convert. This is a delicious and fresh salad and is perfect for a person who still isn't sold on the idea of beets. The orange adds a sweetness and brightness that makes the salad pop.

Ingredients:

4 beets, cleaned and tops cut off
1 head frisee lettuce
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
Zest from 1/2 orange
Juice from 1/2 orange
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚. Wrap each beat individually in aluminum foil and place beets on baking sheet. When oven is preheated, place beets in the oven. Cook until fork tender, about an hour, but will depend on the size of the beets. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Peel and cut beets into cubes. (Use gloves while peeling and cutting the beets to avoid staining your hands.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl add orange juice, lemon juice, and dijon mustard. Whisk together. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil. (You might need more than 1/4 cup olive oil depending on the acidity of your oranges.) Whisk in lemon zest and orange zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut end off of the frisee and break or chop into smaller pieces. Put in large bowl. Toss with orange vinaigrette. Fold in beets, goat cheese, and walnuts.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kale Salad with Chilis, Parmesan, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Lemon Vinaigrette

This is an easy way to use a nutrient rich fall green. I brought this salad to a friend's house for a vegetarian potluck and it was a big hit. 
Ingredients:

1 large bag curly kale, ribs removed and chopped
1 red highland chili pepper, deseeded and diced
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 
1 cup parmesan, shaved
2 lemons, juiced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
Salt
Pepper 

Directions:

Whisk together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, and mustard in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Put kale in a large bowl. Toss kale with vinaigrette and let sit for 15 - 20 minutes to let kale tenderize. Toss kale with chili, pine nuts, and parmesan and serve.

Ratatouille with Pan Seared Atlantic Cod

I picked up a bunch of fall vegetables (eggplant, squash, zucchini, etc.) at the farmers market this week. I wanted to make sure I used all of them, so decided to make a ratatouille. Perfectly seared Atlantic Cod complements all of the vegetables without overpowering the ratatouille.

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow squash, chopped in 1/4 in. half moons or quarters
4 chinese eggplants (these are less bitter than regular eggplant and are common at farmer's markets), chopped in 1/4 in. half moons or quarters
2 zucchini, chopped in 1/4 in. half moons or quarters
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 heirloom tomatoes, deseeded and diced
2 6 oz. portions of Atlantic Cod
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. basil, chopped
Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Coat bottom of dutch oven or large pan with olive oil and heat over medium. When pan is hot, add eggplant. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and set aside. Coat pan with olive oil again if necessary. Add squash and season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook 5-6 minutes, take out of pan, and set aside with eggplant. Coat pan with olive oil again if necessary. Add zucchini and season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside with eggplant and squash. Coat pan with olive oil again if necessary. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, until onion soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Deglaze pan with dry white wine and stir to get brown bits off bottom of pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and eggplant, squash, and zucchini to the pot. Let cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While ratatouille is cooking, season cod with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Coat oven safe pan with olive oil and heat over medium high. When pan is hot, add fish and sear for 3 minutes. Flip and sear other side for 3 minutes. Put in oven and cook about 3 minutes. Fish should be flakey, but still moist and tender when done. Serve fish over a bed of ratatouille.

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese

In my opinion, macaroni and cheese is the perfect barbecue side dish. Only bacon could make it even better.

Ingredients:

1 lb. elbow macaroni 
1 quart whole milk
12 oz. applewood smoked bacon, chopped into 1 in. pieces
8 oz. gruyere, grated
12 oz. sharp cheddar, grated 
4 + 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for coating the pan
5 tbsp. all purpose flour 
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
Kosher salt
Black pepper 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter 3 quart baking dish. 

In large pan, cook bacon over medium low heat until slightly crispy, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate with paper towels to drain, reserving bacon fat. Set aside bacon. 

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling add macaroni. Cook for 1 minute less than package directions for al dente. Drain pasta and toss with 1 tbsp. butter. Set aside. 

In small bowl mix bread crumbs, parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper for topping. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, heat milk over medium high heat and scald. Do not let milk come to a boil. 

While milk is heating, in a large sauce pot, melt 4 tbsp. butter with 1 tbsp. bacon over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. The sauce should be smooth and thick. Take off heat and stir in cheddar, gruyere, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When cheeses are melted stir in bacon to combine. Stir in macaroni and toss to combine. Pour mixture into bacon dish and sprinkle topping over the macaroni mixture. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until light brown and bubbly. 

Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

These ribs are perfect for watching football on Sunday funday. They have a deep smokiness and will just about fall off the bone.

Baby Back Ribs:

Ingredients:

2 racks baby back ribs
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 tsp. hot paprika
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Mix all ingredients (other than the ribs) together in a small bowl. Rub mixture into both sides of ribs. Stack ribs and wrap with plastic wrap and then wrap with aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight.


Preheat smoker to 225 - 250°. (I used hickory chips for smoking.) When smoker comes to temperature, place both racks of ribs in smoker. Smoke ribs, meatier side up, for 3 hours, making sure temperature stays between 225 and 250°. Remove ribs from smoker and wrap each rack of ribs tightly in aluminum foil. Return ribs to smoker. Cook, meatier side up, for another hour and a half. Remove from aluminum foil and return to smoker, meatier side up. Smoke for about 30 minutes to an hour, basting meatier side periodically with bourbon barbecue sauce and allowing to caramelize. When ribs feel tender but before they start falling apart, remove from smoker. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. 

Bourbon Barbecue Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon
1 heaping tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. worchestershire 
2 tbsp. molasses
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Coat bottom of medium saucepan with olive oil and heat over medium. When hot, add onion and sprinkle with salt. Cook about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into food processor and pulse until smooth. 

JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 21, Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, NV

This sparkling wine from Burgundy is a good value for a French wine made using the traditional method, but you can find a better value if you look to other countries. It has a slight yeastiness, a full mouth feel and is acidic. The wine has a strong aroma of crisp apple, and flavors of fall fruits. A great wine to drink on a crisp fall evening.

Price: $20.00

Ratings:
Taste: 3
Value: 3
Drinkability: 3
Effervescence: 4
Complexity: 2
Overall: 15

Updates to Rating Systems


I recently read two books about wine that have inspired me to rethink and slightly change my rating system for sparkling wines. I highly recommend both of them if you are looking to further your knowledge and interest in champagne or wine in general. The books are: How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto by Eric Asimov and Champagne: A Global History by Becky Sue Epstein.

My new ratings system is as follows:

I will still be looking at taste, value, drinkability, and effervescence, but I will now additionally rate the wine based on complexity. I think complexity is another way to differentiate between higher and lower quality wines.

I have also defined my rating scale and decided that it is from 0 - 5 instead of 1 - 5. The breakdown of each point value is:

0: Poor (you do not want to drink this)
1: Satisfactory (probably not worth drinking, but might be serviceable)
2: Fair
3: Good
4: Very Good
5: Extraordinary

The total points possible will now be 25.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

Yesterday felt like fall, and I wanted to make something warm and comforting. I had heard spaghetti squash could be a decent substitute for regular pasta, so I picked one up at the farmer's market. Turns out, it can be used as a tasty and healthy alternative to spaghetti. At least every now and then.

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds with a spoon
2 chicken cutlets (or 1 breast butterflied and cut in half)
2 - 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
28 oz. can san marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for tomato sauce and squash)
1/2 cup parmesan
1 tbsp. basil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Coat medium sauce pot with olive oil and heat over medium. Add onion and sprinkle with salt. (This helps to sweat the onion.) Cook until translucent and soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add san marzano tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Depending on your tomatoes, the sauce might be bitter; if it's bitter, you can add a little sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°. Sprinkle spaghetti squash with salt, pepper, and cup olive oil. Cook facing down on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool slightly and use fork to pull spaghetti squash away from skin.

While the squash is cooking, marinate chicken in 1/4 cup olive oil, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes. Heat oven safe pan over medium high heat. Sear chicken for 2 minutes, flip and coat top of chicken with generous serving of sauce sauce, then top with
mozzarella, and parmesan. Bake at 450° for 3-5 minutes, until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Broil if necessary. Remove from pan, sprinkle with basil and extra parmesan and serve over spaghetti squash.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce and Watermelon Radish Slaw

This was my first attempt at using the Big Green Egg. I decided to go with a southern favorite, pulled pork. I am not a fan of mayonnaise based coleslaw but wanted something to compliment the sweet and juicy pulled pork. I made a vinegar based slaw with watermelon radish, which added a great crunch to the sandwich and the bitterness of the radish balanced out the sweetness of the pork.

Pulled Pork:

Ingredients:

Bone in pork shoulder, about 7 lbs, fat cap trimmed (I think it is juicy enough without the extra fat)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp mild paprika
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Hamburger buns

Directions:

In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Rub on pork. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Remove pork shoulder from refrigerator at least an hour before cooking. Heat smoker to 250°. Cook for about 10 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 190°. Wrap pork shoulder tightly in aluminum foil and let rest for 30 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 195°. Remove bone and using two forks shred pork, removing excess cartilage and fat. Serve on hamburger bun with slaw and barbecue sauce.

Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce:


Ingredients:


2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced
Dash hot sauce (I used Texas Pete to keep it a true NC sauce) 
1 tbsp crushed red pepper 
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
1 tbsp honey 

Directions: 


In small saucepan, combine vinegar, garlic, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for 15-20 minutes. Take off heat and whisk in honey. Let cool before serving.


Watermelon Radish Slaw:


Ingredients:


1 watermelon radish, julienned 

3/4 head green cabbage, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:


In large bowl, mix the radish, cabbage, and carrot. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce over cabbage mixture and stir to combine. Put in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tagliatelle with Chanterelle and Lion's Mane Mushrooms and Truffle Butter

I had never heard of lion's mane mushrooms, but I came across them while I was at the farmer's market this week and thought I would give them a try. I also picked up some beautiful chanterelle mushrooms and truffle butter and decided to make a simple, but elegant, pasta dish.

Ingredients:

8.8 oz. tagliatelle
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz. lion's mane mushrooms, sliced
5 oz. chanterelle mushrooms, sliced if large
4 oz. white truffle butter
2 tbsp. italian parsley, chopped finely
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
Kosher salt
Pepper

Directions:

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, making sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, unsalted butter, olive oil, and garlic over medium heat. When butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and have released their liquid. Turn heat to low and add truffle butter. When butter is melted, add pasta and stir to combine. Add pasta water as necessary to make a sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan and serve.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pork Chops with Bourbon, Basil, and Sautéed Peaches

I went to the farmer's market this morning and bought some perfectly ripe Georgia peaches, fresh basil, and local pork chops. Add a little bourbon, and these ingredients transform into a quick and easy meal, using some of summer's freshest ingredients.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 bone in pork chop, 1.5 inch thick
1 peach, pitted and sliced into 8 or 9 slices
1/2 tbsp. basil, cut into a chiffonade
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. bourbon
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Pat pork chops with paper towels to dry. Sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat cast iron pan with canola oil and heat over medium high heat. When pan is very hot add the pork chop. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cook through, and remove from pan. Wipe pan clean. (I like to use some paper towels with tongs.) Lower heat to medium. Add butter and peaches. Cook for about 3 minutes. Peaches should be soft. Remove pan from heat and add bourbon. Using a torch or long match, wave in front of the pan. Allow the flames to die. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour peaches over the pork chop and finish by sprinkling the basil over the dish.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garlic Bread

This garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment to my Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Marinara.

Ingredients:

1 french baguette, cut in half lengthwise
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, passed through garlic press, made into a paste, or minced finely
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. italian parsley, chopped finely

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine butter, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. Spread the butter mixture on both halves of the baguette. Put the baguette back together and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil and place both halves of the baguette crust side down back in the oven. Bake for about 5 more minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven; sprinkle both sides with parsley and serve.

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Homemade Marinara

This is my boyfriend's absolute favorite dish and we made it together for his birthday dinner this year. We have used different recipes for spaghetti and meatballs, but over the years we developed and perfected our own recipe and method. You'll never want to order spaghetti and meatballs from a restaurant again.

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. basil, julienned
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs plus extra for coating
1 1/2 tbsp. oregano, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 lb. hot italian sausage
2/3 lb. 85/15 ground beef
2/3 lb. ground veal
1 lb. spaghetti
Crushed red pepper
1 egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Coat very large pan or dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of the dry red wine. Add San Marzano tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add oregano and continue to simmer.

In a large bowl, mix sausage, beef, veal, egg, onion and carrot mixture, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, basil, pinch of crushed red pepper, 2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Form into golf ball sized meat balls. On a plate or in a baking dish mix 1/4 cup bread crumbs with 1 tsp. kosher salt. Roll meatballs in the breadcrumb mixture. Heat canola oil in large sauce pot over medium high heat. When oil is hot add meatballs but don't crowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Brown meatballs on all sides. When meatballs are browned, add to the marinara sauce. Let meatballs simmer in the marinara sauce for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If your tomatoes are bitter, it might be necessary to add a little sugar.)

Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large sauce pot. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Serve immediately with meatballs and sauce.

Grilled Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwich with Cheddar and Applewood Smoked Bacon

I made these grilled chicken sandwiches for the Fourth of July. Making your own barbecue sauce is simpler than one might think and will liven up a classic barbecue chicken sandwich. This barbecue sauce is also great on a burger.

Ingredients:

Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp. bacon fat or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, sliced
1 tbsp. adobo sauce
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. worchestershire
1/2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
Salt
Pepper

Grilled chicken sandwiches:
2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
4 sesame seed buns
8 strips bacon, cooked
4 slices of cheddar cheese
1 cup chipotle barbecue sauce (see above)
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Heat bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add water and ketchup and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, mustard, molasses, worchestershire, brown sugar, ancho chili powder, and paprika and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into food processor. Pulse in the food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill on medium high heat. Pat chicken breasts dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Place chicken breasts on the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip chicken and baste the side facing up with a thin layer of barbecue sauce. Flip again after 3-4 minutes and baste the other side. Add cheese and cook for 1 more minute. Toast buns on the grill for the last 30 seconds if desired. Serve chicken with two strips of bacon and some extra barbecue sauce spooned over the top.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Lime Butter

I served this grilled corn as a side dish on the Fourth of July. The butter is smoky and zesty and is the perfect compliment to the sweet corn.

Ingredients:

6 ears of corn, still in their husks
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lime
2 tsp. adobo sauce from chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat grill on medium heat. Soak ears of corn in water for at least 10 minutes before grilling. The husks will soak up the water and prevent the corn from burning while helping the corn to steam. Place corn on grill. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender, turning occasionally.

Mix butter, lime zest, and adobo in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon butter mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll the butter mixture into a log. Chill before serving if you want to be able to cut the butter into medallions.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Whole Wheat Linguini with Fresh Tomato Pan Sauce and Sautéed Shrimp

Recently, I have been looking for easy ways to add more whole wheat and whole grains into my diet. Whole wheat pasta has a slightly different texture and taste than regular pasta, so not every sauce works. This sauce, with the fresh tomatoes and sautéed shrimp, tastes great with the slightly nutty whole wheat pasta.

Serves 2 -4

Ingredients:

3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. whole wheat linguini
1 shallot, diced
12 oz. assorted baby tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. basil, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions:

In a large sauce pot bring salted water to a boil. (The water should taste like that awful moment when you swallow ocean water.) Add linguini and cook about 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water. The pasta should be al dente.

Meanwhile, coat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and heat over medium. Add shrimp and cook until pink and just cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Add shallots and cook until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes break down and become saucy, 5-10 minutes. Add white wine reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken sauce. Add pasta water if sauce becomes too thick or reduced. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in cooked pasta, shrimp, basil, and parsley. Toss to coat pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and basil before serving. Serve with crusty bread to soak up all of the delicious sauce.


Monday, June 17, 2013

De Chanceny, Cremant de Loire, Brut, NV

This pale yellow wine is a great value for a Cremant. It has notes of apple, peach, citrus, and pear with a hint of honey. A luscious yeastiness makes this a very satisfying wine. I served this with Cajun Catfish and Cheddar Grits with Homemade Cajun Spice Rub.


Price: $15

Ratings:
Taste: 3.5
Value: 4
Drinkability: 4
Effervescence: 3
Overall:14.5


Cajun Catfish and Cheddar Grits with Homemade Cajun Spice Rub

I absolutely love shrimp and grits but sometimes like to mix it up by using fish instead of shrimp. (As an added bonus, you don't have to peel and devein a bunch of shrimp!) This is a very flavorful and tasty version of the classic dish. The cajun spice rub adds a great kick. This recipe feeds two people, but if you are trying to feed more, add about a 1/4 lb. catfish per person and double or triple the grits recipe.

Ingredients:

Cajun Spice Rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. dried thyme 
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Cajun catfish: 
1/2 lb. catfish
6 oz. andouille sausage, cut into half circles
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning 
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced 
Olive oil

Grits:
1 cup stone ground grits 
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. butter
4 oz. sharp white cheddar, grated 
1 tsp. kosher salt 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the cajun spice rub in a small bowl. Grind all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle if you want a finer consistency. 

For the grits: Bring milk, chicken stock, and salt to a boil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Slowly add in grits while whisking continuously. Turn heat to low and cover. Stir every 2-3 minutes to keep grits from sticking or getting clumpy. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add butter, pepper, and cheese. Cover and set aside.

Put andouille sausage in a large sauté pan and heat over medium. Cook until much of the fat is rendered and the sausage is caramelized, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan. Add green onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan with the sausage fat. sprinkle with 1 tsp. cajun spice rub. Cook until onions and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan. 

Coat pan with olive oil and heat over medium. Coat catfish generously with cajun spice rub. When pan is hot add catfish. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until fish is flaky. Add mushroom mixture back into pan and heat through. To plate, spoon grits onto plate and top with fish and mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with green onions to garnish.