Monday, November 17, 2008

Sour Apple Vodka Punch

1 oz Vodka
1 oz Sour Apple Schnapps
1 oz cherry mix
1/2 orange juice
1/2 pineapple juice

This is one serving.

Cotton Candy Sweet Tart

1 oz Vodka
1 oz cotton candy mix
1 oz wildberry mix
fill lemonade mix

This is one serving.

Boomerang

1 Ounce Gin
1 Ounce Dry Vermouth
1 Ounce Dark Vermouth
2 Dashes Maraschino Liqueur
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Lemon Wedges

This is one serving.

Coconut Hurricane

1 oz Rum
2 oz pina colada mix
2/3 orange juice
1/3 pineapple juice

This is a single serving.

Candy Apple Zima Lemonade

2 oz Candy Apple Schnapps
1/2 lemonade mix
1/2 Zima

This is for one serving so increase amounts for each serving you need. And you might want to really increase it for the next Rams game.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chocolate Velvet


ngredients

  • Ground chocolate, optional
  • 2 ounces chocolate stout, preferably a robust one (recommended: Young's)
  • 2 ounces Prosecco
  • Serving suggestion: chilled champagne flute

Directions

If desired, rim the glass with chocolate: pour some ground chocolate onto a small plate. Roll the outer top edge of the champagne flute in the chocolate.

Pour the stout into the glass, taking care to make as little foam as possible. (The best way to do this: tilt the glass and pour the beer slowly down the inside of the glass.) Slowly pour Prosecco down over the back of a spoon and into the glass, layering the two alcohols for a dramatic cocktail. Drink.

Georgia Cookie Candy


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Line a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with foil.

Combine the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs in a food processor. Process until the mixture forms a ball. Press into the foil-lined pan using your hands or a spatula.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave-safe glass dish in the microwave for 1 minute on high (100%). Stir. If the chocolate has not completely melted, microwave for 10 seconds more, then stir. Spread evenly over the cookie layer with a spatula. Chill for several hours.

When ready to serve, allow the candy to come to room temperature before cutting into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Kentucky Pie


Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
  • 1 cup sifted self-rising flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 (9-inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells or 3 (9-inch) unbaked regular pie shells
  • Ice cream, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine eggs, sugar, and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add flour and mix well, stirring in remaining ingredients except for pie shells. Bake 30 -40 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream. Freezes well!!

Fried Onion Rings With Chili Sauce


Ingredients

Chili Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Onion Rings:

  • 2 medium white or yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • Salt

Directions

Preheat oil to 360 degrees F.

To make the chili sauce, combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, chili powder, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir well. Cover and chill until serving time.

For the onion rings:

Slice the onions into very thin rings and separate the rings. Spread them out and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place the flour in a re-sealable plastic bag. Put the onion rings, in batches, in the bag, close tightly, and shake until the onion rings are coated.

Pour the oil into a Dutch oven. Fry the onion rings in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are brown and crispy. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels.

Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Serve with chili sauce.

Chili in a Biscuit



Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups biscuit baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dusting the work surface
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Toppings:

  • Shredded sharp Cheddar
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onions (white and green parts)
  • Corn chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Invert a muffin tin and spray the underside with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Stir together the baking mix, milk, and cayenne. Shape into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Divide the ball into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Place a dough circle over the back of each muffin cup. Press around the cup to form a bowl shape. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Remove the biscuit bowls and reserve.

Brown the ground chuck over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onion and green pepper and continue to cook until the meat is completely browned and the vegetables are tender. Drain off any fat and discard. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, chili powder, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 35 minutes.

When ready to serve, spoon the hot chili into the biscuit bowls. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, and corn chips.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Barbecued Ribs


2 sides pork spareribs (about 6 pounds), separated
1 (28-ounce) can chunky tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the spareribs in the bottom of a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Reserve 6 tablespoons for BBQ Pizza.

Pour the mixture over the spareribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Reserve 1/2 of the ribs and pull the meat from the bones for the BBQ Pizza recipe.

Steak Bites with Bloody Mary Dipping Sauce


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup vodka
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 rounded tablespoon prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper
1 1/3 pounds beef sirloin cut into large bite-sized pieces, 1 by 2 inches
Steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper
6 to 8 inch bamboo skewers

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and onions and saute 5 minutes. Add vodka and reduce by 1/2. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and horseradish. Stir to combine the dipping sauce and return the sauce to a bubble. Add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings.

Heat nonstick skillet over high heat. Coat meat bites lightly in oil. Season with steak seasoning blend or salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the meat until caramelized all over, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer dipping sauce to a small dish and place at the center of a serving platter. Surround the dip with meat bites and set several bamboo "stakes" or skewers along side meat.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces and put in a 9 by 13 baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.

Apricot-Glazed Pork Medallions

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
Salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/4 cups apricot preserves
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1 tablespoon chopped pickled ginger

Season both sides of pork with salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear 2 minutes per side. Add apricot preserves, tamari sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until pork is cooked through and sauce reduces.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la Mode


1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and 6 pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).

Combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple rings and cake slices.

On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture.

Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with raspberries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.

Rum Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Pineapple Relish


Grilled Pineapple Relish:
1 small pineapple, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds, cored
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, finely diced
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Honey, to taste

Glaze:
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup dark brown muscovado sugar
1 cup dark rum
4 cups chicken stock
1 habanero chile, left whole with 3 slits cut into chile
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat

For the relish:

Heat the grill over high heat.

Brush the pineapple with a few tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on all sides. Remove the pineapple from the grill, cut into small dice and transfer to a bowl. Add the onion, chile, vinegar, a few tablespoons of oil, cilantro and honey, to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

For the glaze:

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the sugar, add the rum and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, habanero, cinnamon stick and star anise, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a bowl then return it to the saucepan and continue cooking until reduced by half and thickened to a glaze, season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Heat the grill over high heat.

Brush the tenderloin with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until crusty and charred on both sides and the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, brushing with the glaze during the last few minutes of grilling. Remove from the grill, brush with more of the glaze and let rest 5 minutes before slicing into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Serve the pork with the relish.

Bacon Wrapped Prawns with Chipotle BBQ Sauce

20 each Shrimp, 21-25 count, shelled, deviened
1/2 pound Bacon, partially cooked and cut in half
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 ounces Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chipotle pepper in adobo
1/2 teaspoon red chili flake
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoons black pepper
5 to 8 bamboo skewers

Soak bamboo skewers in water, to keep from burning during grilling.

Cook bacon partially, cut in half, and let cool on paper towel. Wrap bacon around shrimp, and skewer with bamboo through the point where bacon ends meet, to keep from unraveling. Skewer 3 to 5 shrimp per bamboo.

Combine all ingredients in blender, except bacon and shrimp, and puree. Separate the sauce in half, one for basting one for dipping.

Cook bacon wrapped shrimp on grill over medium heat. When shrimp begin to turn pink, begin basting with chipotle sauce.

Grilled Potato Skins

2 large russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

Clean and bake potatoes in oven for 1 hour. When done, allow to slightly cool and cut into halves.

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Scoop out the pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell for the toppings. Cut the potatoes into quarter wedges, brush with butter and season with salt and pepper.

Place on grill and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes of grilling, remove potatoes and place on a cookie sheet. Top the potatoes with cheese and bacon and place back on top of grill.

While potatoes are grilling, combine the sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl and mix well.

Place potatoes on serving plates and top with the green onions, chopped tomatoes and the sour cream horseradish sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives, for garnish.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Skirt Steak Tacos with Roasted Tomato Salsa


8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, halved and diced
Grilled Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
8 ounces sour cream

Heat grill to high.

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and on the top rack of the grill while the steak is grilling.

Heat grill pan over high heat. Brush steak with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill on one side until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook to medium-rare doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. Let rest 5 minutes then slice against the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Fill each tortilla with some lettuce, 3 to 4 pieces of meat, onion, grilled tomato salsa, sour cream, and avocado.

Grilled Tomato Salsa:
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
2 serrano chiles
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
6 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Heat grill to high.

Heat oil in a small saute pan and saute the chiles, onion, and garlic until soft.

Brush tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until slightly charred and soft.

Transfer tomatoes and serrano mixture to a food processor; add the lime juice and salt and pepper and process until smooth. Add the cilantro and pulse a few times (there should be flecks of cilantro in the salsa.) Transfer to a bowl.

Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions and Oregano Ricotta


1/2 pound Italian hot sausage
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 large yellow pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
2 large red pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 recipe favorite pizza dough, rolled into 4 (6-inch) rounds
1/2 pound grated fontina cheese
1 cup sheep's milk ricotta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Basil Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Preheat a grill.

Grill the sausage on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Brush onions and peppers with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onions and peppers until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the sausage from the grill and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove the onions, separate into rings, and roughly chop. Remove the peppers and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Heat grill to high. Brush dough with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the grill and place on a flat surface.

Divide the fontina cheese among the 4 pizza rounds. Divide the sausage, onions and peppers over the cheese. Place the pizza on the grill, close the cover and grill until the cheese has melted, about 3 to 4 minutes. To finish in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pizza on sheet pans and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta, extra-virgin olive oil, and oregano in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the pizzas from the oven and drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Basil Vinaigrette:1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion and Horseradish Mustard


2 pounds freshly ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 slices yellow Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 hamburger buns
Horseradish Mustard, recipe follows
8 leaves Romaine Lettuce
Grilled Vidalia Onions, recipe follows
Dill pickles, sliced
Ketchup

Preheat grill or a cast iron skillet to high.

Divide the beef into 8 (4-ounce) burgers. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill or cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. During last minutes of cooking add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover grill and let melt, approximately 1 minute. Place burger on bun and top with Horseradish Mustard, lettuce, Grilled Vidalia Onions, pickles and ketchup.

Horseradish Mustard:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained

Whisk mustard and horseradish together in a small bowl.

Grilled Vidalia Onions:

2 Vidalia onions, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Brush olive oil on both sides of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onion slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Venetian Rolled Pizza


Flour, for dusting
1 pound pizza dough
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
7 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) torn baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt, for seasoning

Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pizza dough to a 12 to 14-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella over the dough. Arrange the prosciutto over the cheese in a single layer. Sprinkle with the spinach. Top with the remaining cheese. Take 1 end of the circle and roll the dough up into a thin cylinder, gently folding in the ends. Brush the dough with the olive oil and season with the salt. Place the dough, seam side down, on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Allow the pizza to cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the pizza into 3/4-inch pieces and serve.

Midwestern-Style Beer Brats


6 bratwurst sausages
6 cups lager beer
2 large onions, sliced, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red or green bell peppers, cored and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 bratwurst buns or hoagie rolls, split lengthwise

Mustard
Prick the bratwurst all over with a fork. In a medium pot, combine the bratwurst, beer, and half the onions. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until bratwurst are firm and cooked through. Transfer the bratwurst to a plate. Reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onions and the bell peppers. Cook about 15 minutes or until very soft, tossing occasionally. Add the bratwurst to the skillet in the last 5 minutes of cooking to lightly brown. If the vegetables begin to get too dark, add a few tablespoons of the bratwurst cooking liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

To serve, spread each bun with mustard. Fill each bun with a brat. Top with sauteed peppers and onions.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chicken Nuggets

2 Cups Chicken Breast (Boneless, Skinless, Cubed)
1 Cup Flour
1−1/2 Cups Cracker Meal
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
2 Cups Water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2−1/4 teaspoons McCormick Season−all

Place cool water in bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon season−all and
dissolve bouillon cubes in mixture. Place cubed chicken in
water, mix, cover and place in refrigerator for 12 hours or
next day. When ready to cook nuggets, mix flour, cracker meal,
2 teaspoons season−all and paprika in bowl. Heat oil for deep
frying. Drain chicken. Coat nuggets in flour, cracker mixture
and fry until golden. Chicken will be flavorful and juicy.

Old West Oven−Fried Chicken

1 jar Taco Sauce (8−oz.)
1 Egg
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Crushed Cornflakes
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Cumin
1 teaspoon Oregano
Dash ground Cloves
Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)
2 1/2 pounds Chicken Thighs
6 tablespoons Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a shallow dish, whisk together taco sauce, egg and garlic. In a plastic
or paper bag, combine cornflakes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, ground
cloves and crushed red pepper if using. Dip chicken pieces in sauce; toss in
cornflakes mixture; place on a greased shallow baking pan. Drizzle with
butter; bake 45 minutes or until golden and tender, and juices run clear.

Chicken Club Sandwich

2 Whole chicken breasts, Boned and halved
1 Cup Teriyaki marinade (Lawry's Is best)
4 Whole−wheat hamburger buns
8 Slice Bacon
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Alfalfa sprouts, loosely
Packed
4 Lettuce leaves
4 Large Tomato slices
4 Slice Kraft Swiss Cheese Singles

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki marinade in a shallow bowl for 30
minutes. Preheat a clean barbecue to medium grilling heat. Brown the
faces of each bun in a frying pan on the stove.

Keep the pan hot.

Cook the bacon in the pan until crisp, then set aside.

Grill the chicken breasts 5 to 8 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Spread about
1/2 tablespoon of mayonnaise on the face of each bun, top and bottom.

Divide the sprouts into 4 portions and mound on each bottom bun. On the
sprouts, stack a lettuce leaf, then a slice of tomato. Place one chicken
breast half on each of the sandwiches, a top the tomato. Next, stack a
slice of Swiss cheese on the chicken, and then the 2 pieces of bacon,
crossed over each other. Top off the sandwich with the top bun.

Beef Jerky

1/2 cup dark soy sauce
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp monosodium glutamate (optional)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 Tbls. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1/2 tsp liquid smoke seasoning
2 lbs lean beef brisket, eye−of−round or flank steak,
trimmed completely of fat and cut across grain into
slices 1/4 inch thick

To aid in slicing meat thinly, freeze the meat slightly
until ice crystals are formed.

Blend all ingredients except meat in small bowl. Dip each piece
of meat into marinade, coating well. Place in shallow dish.
Pour remaining marinade over top, cover and refrigerate
overnight.

Oven method: Preheat oven to lowest setting (about 130F).
Place several layers of paper towels on baking sheets. Arrange
meat in single layer on prepared sheets and cover with
additional toweling. Flatten meat with rolling pin. Discard
towels and set meat directly on oven racks, with foil below
to catch any drips.

Let dry 8 to 12 hours (depending on temperature of oven).
Dehydrator method: Arrange meat on trays in single layer and
dehydrate 10 to 12 hours, depending on thickness.
Store jerky in plastic bags or in tightly covered containers in
cool, dry area.

Almond Joy Bars

Ingredients

4 c (8 1/2−oz) shredded coconut
1/4 c Light corn syrup
1 pk (11 1/2−oz) milk chocolate pieces
1/4 c Vegetable shortening
26 Whole natural almonds (1−oz)

Line two large cookie sheets with waxed paper. Set large wire cooling rack
on paper; set aside.

Place coconut in large bowl; set aside.

Place corn syrup in a 1−cup glass measure. Microwave on high (100%) 1 minute
or until syrup boils. Immediately pour over coconut. Work warm syrup into
coconut using the back of a wooden spoon until coconut is thoroughly coated.
This takes a little time, and yes, there is enough syrup.

Using 1 level measuring tablespoon of coconut, shape into a ball by
squeezing coconut firmly in palm of one hand, then rolling between both
palms. (HINT: Measure out all of the coconut then roll into balls.) Place 2
inches apart on wire racks. Let dry 10 minutes. Reroll coconut balls so
there are no loose ends of coconut sticking up.

Place milk chocolate and shortening in a 4−cup glass measure or 1 1/2 quart
microwave−safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture can
be stirred smooth and is glossy; stirring once or twice.

Working quickly, spoon 1 level measuring tablespoon of the chocolate
over each coconut ball, making sure chocolate coats and letting excess
chocolate drip down onto waxed paper. While chocolate coating is still soft,
lightly press whole almond on top of each. Let stand to set or place
in refrigerator. Store in a single layer in airtight container.

Keeps best if refrigerated. Makes 26.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blue Cheese Popcorn



3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

1/3 cup white popping corn

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (1/3 pound) piece assertive blue cheese, frozen

1/2 cup coarsely chopped lightly toasted walnuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


In a large, partially covered saucepan, heat the oil and 1 kernel of popcorn until hot enough to make the corn pop. Add the remaining popcorn and cook, partially covered, shaking until all the corn is popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. While popcorn is hot, grate the blue cheese over the popcorn. Add the walnuts and chives and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Crisp Chicken Wings with Chili-Lime Butter



4 pounds chicken wings

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 big, fat rounded tablespoon Thai red curry paste

1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup soy sauce

1 lime, halved

Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.


Rinse the wings under cool water and pat dry. Put them in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat with the seasoning. Then spread the wings out on a baking sheet and roast about 25 minutes until the skin gets crisp and brown, and the meat is tender. While you wait, throw the butter, red curry paste honey and soy sauce into a blender. Season with salt and puree. Scrape into a big bowl. When the wings come out of the oven put add to the bowl with the curry butter. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the wings. Give it a toss and you're done. Garnish with cilantro.

Antipasto Pie



1 (12-inch) round or oval, crusty, chewy bread, such as Tuscan-style or a sesame semolina

1 (14 to 16-ounce) jar giardiniera*, drained

1/2 pound thinly sliced sharp provolone

1 (14 to 16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, or 2 fresh roasted red bell peppers, see note

1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained

1 (12-ounce) bag mixed salad greens, any variety

1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves 15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, torn

1/3 pound sliced Genoa salami

1/3 pound sliced sweet soppressata

1/3 pound sliced cappacola (hot cured pork shoulder)

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 1 vine-ripe tomato, thinly sliced

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Coarse salt and pepper

8 hot or sweet pickled cherry peppers

8 (8,10 or 12-inch) bamboo party skewers

Serving suggestions: green and black olives, herb flavored potato chips * Giardiniera is a Italian pickled salad of cauliflower, hot peppers and carrot found in International Foods aisle of market
Cut the top off of a large round or oval bread and hollow it out leaving a half inch rim and bottom to your bread. The loaf should resemble a bowl or deep pie shell. Pulse the giardiniera in a food processor into a coarse relish. Spread and press relish into the bottom of your bread shell in an even layer. Top relish with a layer of provolone slices, red pepper pieces, and artichoke hearts.

Press ingredients down as you work to make room in your shell for as much antipasto as possible. Combine mixed greens, parsley, and basil in a bowl. Add a thin layer of greens on top of artichokes, and drizzle with oil. Layer in meats and remaining cheese. Top with a few more greens, onion and tomato slices, and another drizzle of oil. Season the top of filled shell with salt and pepper. Bag up remaining unused greens and herbs for tomorrow night's salad. Replace top of bread and wrap your GIANT, drip-less antipasto stuffed pie for travel. When you are ready to serve, spear hot or sweet cherry peppers on 10 or 12-inch bamboo skewers and space eight skewers equidistant around the bread. Cut bread into wedges, like a pie, and serve with olives and fancy potato chips.


Note: to roast peppers, split each red bell pepper down the center and gut them by scooping out seeds with a tug using your cupped hand. Place peppers skin-side-up under broiler preheated to high. Leave oven door ajar for steam to escape and blacken peppers entirely. Place charred peppers into a paper bag and roll the bag up tightly. Let stand 5 minutes until peppers are cool enough to handle and peel off charred skins.

Chili Dogs


Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium jar ketchup, about 2 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 all-beef hot dogs (recommended: Ball Park)
4 hot dog rolls
1/2 cup grated Cheddar

Put a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in a 2-count of olive oil. When the oil gets hazy, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, and cook until nicely browned, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the ketchup, chili powder, and mustard and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

While the chili is cooking, get the grill going. Place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel. Then carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick grilling surface. Bring a pot of water up to a simmer and parboil the dogs for about 5 minutes. Take them out of the water, pat them dry, and grill them just long enough to mark them.
(That'll give them a grilled flavor too.) Brush the insides of the rolls with olive oil and lay them face down on the grill; cook until toasty. To serve, put a dog in each roll and top with the chili and some Cheddar.

Pinto Bean Salsa Salad

Dressing:
1 small clove garlic
1 1/2 limes, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small Hass avocado, halved, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

Make the dressing: Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with a pinch of the salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Whisk the garlic paste, lime juice, remaining salt and chili powder together in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream.

For the salad: Toss together the beans, corn, bell pepper, and onions. Add the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Gently fold in the tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vinegar and Salt Grilled Potato "Chips"



4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed

Canola oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Malt vinegar


Heat the grill to medium.


Place potatoes in a pot of cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook until potatoes are tender, but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain, let cool and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.


Brush the potatoes on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the slices until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 10 minutes.


Remove the slices to a platter in an even layer and immediately drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt.

Zesty Grilled Tilapia



6 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

6 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Mango Coconut Rice, recipe follows


Place the fish in a large nonmetal dish. Whisk together the 6 tablespoons oil, the orange zest, orange juice, ginger, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste; pour over the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare grill. Brush the fish with additional oil. Grill until fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes per side for each inch of thickness.


Serve alongside Mango Coconut Rice.


Mango Coconut Rice:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice

1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed


In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt; bring to a boil. Stir in the mango. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork. Place a clean, dry dish towel over the pan, cover with the lid, and let steam for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Summer Fruit



Nonstick spray

3 firm but ripe nectarines, halved, pitted

3 firm but ripe purple/black plums, halved, pitted

3 firm but ripe red plums, halved, pitted

6 metal skewers or thick wooden skewers soaked in water 30 minutes

3 tablespoons sugar

*Other fruit substitutions can be apricots and peaches


Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread 1 piece of each fruit on each of 6 skewers so that the cut sides line up and lay flat. Sprinkle the sugar over the cut sides of the fruit. Let stand until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes. Place the fruit skewers on the grill cut side down. Grill the fruit until it is heated through and caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer 1 fruit skewer to each plate and serve.

Portobello Stuffed with Sausage, Spinach and Smoked Mozzarella



3/4 pound mild Italian sausage

1 medium Spanish onion, sliced

6 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry red wine

8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

12 ounces fresh smoked mozzarella, cut into small cubes

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed

2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced


Preheat grill to medium-high heat.


Brush sausages and onion slices with olive oil and place on the grill. Cook until browned on all sides.


Put the sausage and onion into a saute pan, add the wine and cook until the wine is completely reduced. While the wine is reducing, break up the sausage into small pieces. Add the spinach, 1/2 cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of the basil, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and the cheese and let cool slightly.


Heat the grill to high.


Brush the mushroom caps on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms on the grill, top side down and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place on a flat surface, cap side down. Fill the mushrooms with the sausage mixture and top each with a few slices of tomato. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place on the grill, cap side down, close the cover and cook until the mushroom and filling have heated through, the cheese has melted and the tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove to a platter and sprinkle tops with the remaining parsley and basil.

Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions and Oregano Ricotta


1/2 pound Italian hot sausage
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 large yellow pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
2 large red pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 recipe favorite pizza dough, rolled into 4 (6-inch) rounds
1/2 pound grated fontina cheese
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Basil Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Preheat a grill.

Grill the sausage on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes per side. Brush onions and peppers with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onions and peppers until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the sausage from the grill and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove the onions, separate into rings, and roughly chop. Remove the peppers and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices.

Heat grill to high. Brush dough with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the grill and place on a flat surface.

Divide the fontina cheese among the 4 pizza rounds. Divide the sausage, onions and peppers over the cheese. Place the pizza on the grill, close the cover and grill until the cheese has melted, about 3 to 4 minutes. To finish in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pizza on sheet pans and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix together the ricotta, extra-virgin olive oil, and oregano in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the pizzas from the oven and drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Basil Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Grilled Spaghetti

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
Meatballs in BBQ Gravy, recipe follows
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan

Preheat a grill on medium-high heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta about half way according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil. Using a grill grate, grill the pasta over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the grilled pasta to a serving platter and spoon BBQ Gravy over the top. Place meatballs over the top and around the perimeter of the platter and top with more Gravy. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions and grated Parmesan.

Chef's Notes: You will need a grill grate for this recipe.

Meatballs in BBQ Gravy:

For the gravy:
1 pound bacon, sliced into lardons
1/2 cup olive oil 1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 glasses Chianti
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo
3 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground sirloin
1 large egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Parmesan, freshly grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat for 1 minute. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and render. When golden brown and beginning to crisp, add minced carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and saute vegetables to a light brown. Add rosemary and brown sugar and stir. Add Chianti and vinegar to pot, stir and bring to boil. Add the tomato paste, chipotles in adobo, and the chopped tomatoes. Stir and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, skimming the top occasionally to remove any scum that forms.

While the BBQ gravy is simmering, make the meatballs:

In a large bowl, mix together the meat, egg, Worcestershire, cheese, parsley, oregano, basil, onion, bread crumbs, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water. Knead the water into the meat mixture with your hands. Knead and roll meatballs into about 1 1/2-inch balls. Place them in shallow saucepan on stove, add another 1/2 cup of water over them, and cover. Turn heat to medium, and steam for 35 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the pan. Drain the juice out of the bottom of the pan, return the meatballs to it and cover them with warm BBQ gravy. Serve on top of Grilled Spaghetti.

Tomatoes stuffed with Chicken Salad

6 large tomatoes
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup corn, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Leaf lettuce or spinach leaves

Cut 1/2-inch off top of each tomato. Scoop out pulp from tomatoes. Turn tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, bell pepper, corn, and onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and next 6 ingredients. Pour over chicken, tossing gently to coat.

Line tomatoes with leaf lettuce or spinach leaves. Spoon chicken salad evenly into tomatoes. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Spiced Potato-stuffed Pastries


Dough:
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups self-rising flour
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cut in small pieces
9 tablespoons water

Filling:
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed peas, corn, and carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 habenero chile, minced
1/2 teaspoon garam masala spice blend 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon red chile powder 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
Vegetable oil, for frying

To make the dough:
Mix the salt and flour in a medium bowl or a food processor. With a pastry blender, incorporate the butter until crumbs have formed. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time, until you can form a ball. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes more. You can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it.

To make the filling:
Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.

If using fresh carrots, chop and simmer in water, to cover, in a small pot. Add the corn and peas to barely cook. Set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, turmeric, chile powder, and salt and cook 2 minutes more.
In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, the onion and spice mixture, carrots, peas, corn, lemon juice, and chopped coriander. Mix well.

To assemble the samosas: Divide the dough into 9 equal size balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-inch circle. Cut each circle in half.

Brush the straightedge side with a little water, fold it in half, and align the two straight sides so they overlap to form a cone shape. Squeeze the edges together to make a tight seal. Place approximately 1 generous tablespoon of filling inside each cone, leaving the top edge clean. Moisten the inside top rim of the cone and press the edges together to make another tight seal. Place the samosas on a tray until ready to fry. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Heat approximately 3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan. Fry several samosas at a time, being careful not to crowd them. When 1 side turns golden brown, flip it over to brown on the other side.
Drain on paper towels. Serve with chutney.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Barbecued Ribs


2 sides pork spareribs (about 6 pounds), separated
1 (28-ounce) can chunky tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the spareribs in the bottom of a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

Pour the mixture over the spareribs. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

S'more Brownies




Crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch fine salt


Brownie:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

4 large cold eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour


Topping:

4 cups large marshmallows


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.


For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.


Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.


Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cocktail Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons
Creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil 2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Sauce: 1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup grated yellow onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs, except the oil and butter. Mix well with your hands. Form into individual meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter. In a large skillet, heat the oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning until brown on all sides. Transfer to a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar and combine. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Essence:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Spring Rolls

Hot Chinese Mustard Sauce:
4 tablespoons Chinese dry mustard
2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons
rice vinegar
4 tablespoons pickled ginger liquid
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch turmeric
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk*
1 tablespoon chile oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup peanut oil

Aromatics: 1 (2-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled
3 large cloves garlic
2 green onions
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup peanut oil
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch sugar

Filling: 1 large onion, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/4 pound shiitakes, discard stems, julienned
1 large red bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 small green cabbage, julienned
Peanut oil, for stir-frying
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound glass noodles, soaked in water for 10 minutes, chopped into smaller strands
1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons chile paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

To form spring rolls:
Spring roll wrappers
1 egg with 1 tablespoon each water and cornstarch, beaten together for egg wash
Peanut oil, for deep-frying

Prepare the Hot Chinese Mustard Sauce. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Stir until well blended. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil until emulsified. Refrigerate, covered until needed.

Prepare the aromatic mixture. In a food processor, combine the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes. Turn on machine, slowly add oil, and process mixture to a puree. Saute mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Set aside.

Prepare the filling. In a wok, stir-fry each vegetable separately in peanut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in noodles, mushroom soy sauce, chile paste, sesame oil, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool completely. When cool, blend the filling mixture with the aromatic mixture.

When ready to form the spring rolls, squeeze out all the excess liquid. Make the spring rolls. Place about 1/2 cup of prepared filling per spring roll wrapper. Roll and seal edges with the egg wash. Repeat the process until all filling is used. In a deep pot, with about 4 cups peanut oil heated to 350 degrees F., deep-fry in batches of 4 until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Trim off the ends and slice diagonally. Drizzle top with Hot Chinese Mustard Sauce. Serve immediately.

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Nachos

1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casings and crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt Water
Homemade Tortilla Chips, recipe below, or large, restaurant style corn tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1 small white onion, sliced into thin rings
5 large jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and chopped, or to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a large skillet, cook the chorizo, garlic, and cumin, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sausage is browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. To the fat in the pan, add the pinto beans, chili powder, salt, and 1 to 1 1/2 cups water (depending on the moisture in the beans). Cook over medium heat until warmed through, smashing with the back of a heavy wooden spoon or potato masher until chunky/smooth.

Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large, oval ovenproof platter or in a large baking dish, spread 1 layer of chips. Top with a layer of 1/2 of the beans, then 1/2 of the sausage, cheeses, onion rings, and chopped jalapenos. Repeat with another layer of chips, beans, sausage, cheese, onions and jalapenos. Bake until the cheeses are melted and the mixture is hot, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and lime juice, with a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the nachos, garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.

Homemade Tortilla Chips:
9 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
4 cups corn or vegetable oil
Essence, recipe follows

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 360 degrees F.

In batches, add the tortillas to the oil, being careful not to overcrowd, and cook until golden brown, turning once, about 1 minute. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with Essence. Serve warm or use to make nachos.

Yield: 3 dozen chips

Essence:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Burrito Bar

Black Bean Filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil,
1 turn of the pan 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic,
chopped 1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans black beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro,
a palm full 1 teaspoon ground cumin, eyeball it in your palm
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
Coarse salt

Chicken and Chorizo Filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
3/4 pound boneless chicken breast tenders, diced
1 teaspoon dark chili powder
Coarse salt, to your taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 pound chorizo, casing removed and diced
12 burrito size flour tortillas

Toppings:
2 cups roasted salsa, see below
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups white smoked cheddar, shredded
4 to 6 scallions, chopped
1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped
Green Onion Sour Cream, recipe follows

Roasted Salsa:
4 plum tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 small onion, peeled and cut across into 3 thick slices
3 or 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves
Handful cilantro leaves
Coarse salt

Heat 2 nonstick skillets over medium high heat. In the first, add 2 tablespoons oil, jalapeno, garlic and onion for black beans. Saute 2 or 3 minutes, add beans and seasonings and cayenne pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

In the second skillet, add oil and chicken. Season chicken with chili powder and salt and lightly brown the meat, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, red peppers and chorizo and saute 5 to 6 minutes, then reduce heat to low.

For salsa, heat a skillet over high heat. Add whole tomatoes and a seeded jalapeno, skin side down, and the thick slices of onion. Allow the tomatoes, pepper and onion to char on all sides. Add blackened tomatoes, pepper and onions to a food processor. Pulse grind the salsa with mint and cilantro leaves. Season salsa with coarse salt. Char and soften tortillas by holding them over hot burner 15 seconds on each side.

If you do not have gas burners, heat your dry skillet you used for salsa and cook tortillas 1 at a time in the pan 15 seconds on each side. Pile tortillas near stove and line up your toppings. Serve fillings out of the pans you cooked them in.

Green Onion Sour Cream:
2 cups sour cream 1 lime, juiced and zested
3 scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until the sour cream is pale green and scallions are finely chopped. Serve with burritos. Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Homemade Potato Chips with Bleu Cheese and Chives

4 Yukon gold potatoes, about 2 pounds
Peanut oil, for frying
Kosher salt
1 pound bleu cheese, finely crumbled
1 bunch chives, chopped

Peel the potatoes and slice them into thin 1/8-inch slices using a mandolin or sharp knife. Rinse the slices in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Drain them and pat them dry.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than half way. Bring the oil up to 325 degrees F over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully add the potato slices, a dozen at a time. Stir them to make sure they are not sticking together. Fry until they are a golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and drain them well on paper towels; season with salt. Repeat with the remaining potato slices.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a layer of the chips onto a baking dish and sprinkle with some of the bleu cheese and chives. Place another layer of chips onto that and some more cheese and chives. Continue until you have used up all the chips and cheese. Put into the oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Garnish with more chives.

Chips and Veggies with Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

3/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic or 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 sack chips
available on snacks aisle of market
1 pound baby cut carrots
1 green bell pepper, cut in strips
4 stalks celery, cut into sticks

Combine cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs, milk, black pepper in food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl.

Serve with chips and veggies.

Mexican Stuffed Tomatoes

5 yellow vine-ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 jarred pimentos, drained and chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 small zucchini, 1/4-inch dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in palm of your hand
2 tablespoons, a handful, fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the bowl

Cut the tops off 4 tomatoes and trim a thin slice off the bottoms so that they will sit upright easily. Hollow out the tomatoes with a spoon over garbage bowl or sink. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Remove stem of remaining tomato. Seed and chop tomato.

In a bowl, combine chopped tomato, pimentos, onions, zucchini, jalapeno, lemon juice, oregano and cilantro or parsley. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the bowl. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the bowl in a slow stream or about 2 tablespoons.

Toss mixture to combine and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Fill the empty tomatoes with stuffing and serve.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one turn of the pan
24 large gourmet stuffing mushroom caps, stems removed and reserved brushed with damp towel
Salt and pepper

Stuffing:
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, half a turn of the pan
3/4 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, chopped
20 stems mushrooms, finely chopped
1 rib of celery and green, leafy top from the heart of the stalk, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 slices white bread, toasted and buttered, chopped into small dice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano, 2 handfuls

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and mushroom caps and season caps with salt and pepper. Saute caps 5 to 7 minutes, until they are lightly browned and tender on edges. Turn caps up and let juices drain away from caps.

Transfer caps to a small nonstick baking sheet. Wipe out skillet and return to heat. Add a touch of oil and sausage to the hot skillet. Brown and crumble sausage for 3 minutes. In a food processor pulse and chop the garlic, add mushroom stems and pulse to chop the mushroom stems.

Add celery, onion and red bell pepper to the mushrooms and pulse to chop. Remove mixture from the processor and saute veggies and mushrooms over medium high heat another 3 to 5 minutes.

Add dry, defrosted spinach and stir into stuffing. Add chopped bread and cheese to the pan and toss stuffing until bread is moist and stuffing is combined, 2 or 3 minutes. Fill caps with stuffing using a small scoop or large spoon.

Place caps in hot oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees F. Bake 6 to 8 minutes to crisp edges of stuffing and set stuffing in mushrooms.

Transfer stuffed mushrooms to a serving plate.

Grilled Chicken Pitas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (1/4 pound)
1/4 cup olive oil

For the yogurt sauce:
8 ounces (1 cup) unflavored yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
Olive oil cooking spray
1 large Vidalia or purple onion, cut into thin rings
6 pita breads
1/2 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1 (10.6-ounce) jar kalamata olives, drained, halved, and pitted, or other black olives
12 slices bacon, fried crisp
Alfalfa sprouts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the chicken breast and pat dry. Combine 3 tablespoons lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic and 1 teaspoon of the oregano in a glass dish. Add the chicken, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the chicken breast to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Combine the tomatoes and feta cheese in a small glass dish. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, the olive oil, and the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano, and stir to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

Spray a grill basket with olive oil. Grill the chicken breasts over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until no longer pink in the thickest portion of each breast. Spread the onion rings over the surface of the basket and grill while the chicken is cooking. Turn the basket frequently. The onion rings will blacken as they cook; this will also take 8 to 10 minutes. When the chicken and onion rings are cooked, place the pita breads on the grill for about 2 minutes per side, until grill marks show. Slice the chicken into very thin pieces.

At serving time, put out all of the ingredients and allow each person to assemble sandwiches: Split each pita. Place several slices of grilled chicken, 3 or 4 slivers of onion, a tablespoon of tomato-feta mixture, lettuce, olives, and 1 or 2 slices of bacon into each pita. Top with yogurt sauce and a wad of alfalfa sprouts. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Granola Peanut Butter Balls

2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups granola
2 to 4 tablespoons milk, or as needed

In a large bowl, mix together the honey and peanut butter. Using a spatula, stir in the granola. Add enough milk to just moisten--you want it to stick together. Form into balls. Chill until ready to serve.

Curried Cashews

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups roasted salted cashews

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a small skillet, then add the curry powder, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Toss the cashews with the curry butter on a baking sheet, spread the nuts in a single layer. Bake until the nuts are hot and shiny, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.