Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bread Wreath

I made this over the holidays and am a bit tardy posting it.  It actually wasn't as difficult as it looks.

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
2 1/4 cups bread flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast

Mix flours, salt, yeast and 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water with a wooden spoon to make a wet and sticky dough.  Cover and set aside in a warm place until almost tripled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

When the dough has risen, divide it in half and transfer one piece to another bowl. Cover both bowls and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator, sprinkle each piece with flour, and then shape into 2 smooth balls.  Using floured hands, pick up a ball of dough and poke thumbs through the center to make a hole. Place on parchment, then gently stretch the dough from the center to make a 9-inch-diameter ring with a 5-inch hole in the center.  Sprinkle with flour.  Repeat to shape the other ball of dough into a ring. Let rest, uncovered, about 15 minutes.

Holding scissors at a 45 degree angle, make deep cuts at 1 and 1/2-inch intervals all the way around, pulling the cut sections away from the center as you go to make "leaves." Let rest, uncovered, until plump, about 15 more minutes.

I made two loaves; the first looked ugly, the second looked nice.  It might be worth practicing and then starting over, but it really wasn't difficult once I got the hang of the recipe.  The biggest thing I did wrong the first time around was rolling the dough too thin, which made it difficult to cut.

I drizzled my loaf with butter (optional) and sprinkled it with kosher salt (also optional!).  If I make this again, I'll probably try a sweet version, such a cinnamon sugar, or maybe a garlic one... Mmm.

Bake each loaf until the bread is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Spicy Red Beans and Rice

This was an easy weeknight dish to whip up.  I used turkey andouille, to make it a bit more healthy, but you could use standard pork sausage with the same results.

1 pound turkey or pork andouille, sliced
5 -6 slices bacon, cooked and roughly chopped or crumbled
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper,
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (13 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 bay leaf
3 cups cooked white rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp and set aside on paper towels to drain.  Using the same pan, brown the sausage.  Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and cook in the bacon fat until soft.
  Next, add the beans, chicken broth, stewed tomatoes, spices, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the beans over the rice or mix them together before serving.  Sprinkle bacon pieces over and serve.  Enjoy!

Note:  These were the basic measurements I started with, but I like things spicy so I ended up adding more heat... as noted by the color of the rice, ha ha.  Make it as hot as you can stand!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Triple Sub Party

I thought this would be a good time to post this, with the Superbowl coming up!  I got this idea from the Food Network magazine.  One of the subs is my own recipe, and two of them are from their mag.


Gooo.... team!  Ha ha.  I don't really watch sports, so I'll just root for the meat and cheese to win.  They always do.

Spicy Skirt Steak Sub with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Anyone who looks at this blog for more than a second understands my love of skirt steak, so this recipe will come as no surprise.

Yield: Serves 1-4, depending on whether it's an appetizer or a meal

1 1/2 -2 lbs skirt steak, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp adobo seasoning
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander

1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, sliced, for garnish (optional)
Additional cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream:
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice and zest from 1 lime
Salt to taste

The sour cream is a breeze to make, simply combine all the ingredients and serve on the sammie or on the side.  It's also good on tacos!
Whisk spices, garlic, oil and lime juice together.  Pour over steak, reserving about 1/4 cup of the liquid, and marinate for about 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

When ready to prepare, preheat grill to medium high.  Bring steak to room temperature.  Pat with paper towels to remove excess liquid.  Grill steak, turning once, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare.  Skirt steak cooks super fast, so be careful not to overcook!  Once cooked, remove from grill and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Time to make your sammie!  Split the baguette in half lengthwise and lightly toast (on the grill if possible for that smoky flavor!).  Layer the steak and avocado slices on the bread and add the cilantro sour cream, if desired. Top with a drizzle of the reserved sauce, sprinkling of cilantro, and the baguette top.  Slice into individual sandwiches.  Enjoy!

This recipe is one of three I made for a Triple Sub Party, check out the link for the other recipes!

Big Ol' Beer Brat Sub

The beer brat sub is the one on the end there.  As you can see, it was very, very cheesy!

Yield: Serves 1-4, depending on whether it's an appetizer or a meal

2 12-ounce cans dark beer
1 onion, sliced
4 bratwurst sausages
6 ounces Velveeta, cubed

2 tbsp chopped nacho jalapenos (more, or less, as desired)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 24-inch baguette

Preheat grill to medium high. Combine the beer, onion, and some salt and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the brats and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Strain the brats and reserve 1 cup of the poaching liquid.  Brown the pre-cooked brats on the grill, turning once, approximately 2 minutes per side.

To make the beer cheese sauce, combine the velveeta, 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid, jalapenos and mustard in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted.  Add more liquid for a thinner sauce.  Reduce heat and keep warm until serving.

Time to make the sammie!  Split the baguette in half lengthwise and lightly toast. Slice the brats and layer over the baguette bottom. Top with a drizzle of the cheese sauce and the baguette top. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve with the remaining sauce.  Yum!

Note: The original recipe called for sauerkraut, but I don't really like it.  It won't bother me if you do though!

This recipe is one of three I made for a Triple Sub Party, check out the link for the other recipes!

Teriyaki Chicken Sub Sandwich

The chicken is the one in the middle.  I got this recipe idea from the Food Network magazine, but I changed it a bit.

YieldOne large sandwich (could serve up to 4 people as an appetizer or just 1, if you're real hungry!)

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup teriyaki marinade, plus more for serving (see below) 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp sriracha

4-6 pineapple slices (fresh or canned)
1 24-inch baguette 
Vegetable oil or spray, for grill
Lettuce and tomato for garnish, if desired

Teriyaki sauce (if you don't want to  make this, you can buy it at any store)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water

3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsps minced ginger

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

To make:  Simmer all ingredients until sugar dissolvesStir in cornstarch to thicken.

Teriyaki Chicken Recipe:

Combine chicken and teriyaki sauce in a bowl and marinate for at least one hour and up to overnight. When ready to cook, bring meat to room temperature.  Preheat grill to medium high (if you don't have a grill, you can cook this on the stovetop or in a wok).

Mix the sour cream and sriracha in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the pineapple slices until caramelized, about 2 minutes per side, then set aside to cool. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Coat the grill grates lightly with vegetable oil, otherwise the marinade of the chicken will stick. Grill the chicken until cooked and tender, approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes, then slice.

Time to make the sammie!  Split the baguette in half lengthwise and lightly toast (on the grill if possible for that smoky flavor!).  Spread the
sriracha cream on one side of the baguette. Layer the chicken on the bottom. Top with the grilled pineapple, tomato, lettuce, and the baguette top.  Slice into individual sandwiches and serve with additional teriyaki marinade, if desired.  Enjoy!

Note:  I ended up adding a little mozzarella cheese to the top of this,but I'm not sure most people would think it was a proper pairing with the Asian marinade.

This recipe is one of three I made for a Triple Sub Party, check out the link for the other recipes!

Bourbon Peach Glazed Flank Steak

I have to apologize for these horribly blurry photos.  They do no justice to this dish.  It was quite tasty and a nice change of pace, which is why I'm posting it... but my photography skills had left town that night!

Yield: 4-6 servings


Spice Rub:
1 1/2 tbsps kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 4-5 lb flank steak
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup peach jam or preserves
2 tsp bourbon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix spices in a bowl.  Rub flank steak with the mixture and allow the meat to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil and brown the flank steak on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium and add the minced garlic. Cook until soft and then add the bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce and vinegar.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced.  Pour mixture over the flank steak and allow to sit for an additional 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, mix bourbon and jam together and season with salt and pepper.  If you don't want it chunky, you can puree the glaze.

Finally, preheat the oven to broil.  Spread the glaze over the meat, reserving about 1/4 cup for serving.  Cook the flank steak to desired temp (in my oven it took about 6 minutes for medium rare).

When the steak comes to desired doneness, remove to a cutting board. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting.  Slice meat against the grain and drizzle with reserved glaze.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Norwegian Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes

This just seemed like a really good idea on a cold wintry night.

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sea salt 
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Vegetable oil (if you want to fry them, baking instructions also below)

Mashed Potatoes:
Use your own recipe; I chose to use red potatoes with cream cheese and roasted garlic.

2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the meatball mixture in a bowl with the seasonings, Worcestershire, egg, bread crumbs, and cheese.  The easiest way to do this is with your hands, but I recommend using gloves as it can get a bit messy!

Form the meatballs into 1 1/2 inch circles.  To fry them, preheat vegetable oil in a shallow skillet and fry for about 5 minutes per side, until brown, then drain and set aside.  To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until no longer pink in center, turning halfway during cooking to brown on both sides.

For the gravy, boil the stock until reduced to about 2 cups, then add the red wine.  Boil for an additional two minutes, then mix in the heavy cream and reduce heat.  Add garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste and then cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve the meatballs on top of the mashed potatoes with gravy drizzled over them (or on the side, for your fussy guests!).  This gravy is really good!  Enjoy!

You can really use any type of ground meat you would like in this recipe, I personally just like to use the ground pork and turkey to cut a bit of the fat/calories.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beer and Cheddar Soup

This was so rich that it would probably work best as an appetizer. Or for a superbowl party. Make sure you have plenty of bread for dipping!

Yield: 6 entree servings or about 12 appetizer servings

1/2 lb of bacon, crisped and diced or crumbled
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 small white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, diced (or to taste)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 12 ounce bottler of dark beer (I used Guinness)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces sharp yellow cheddar, shredded
4 ounces Gouda or other smoky cheese, shredded
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic or French bread, for serving

Cook the bacon until crisp and set aside. Add the celery, onion, jalapeƱo, garlic and thyme to the pan and cook in the bacon fat until softened. Add half the beer and cook until reduced by half.

Next, add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  In a separate pan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring the entire time, to make a roux.  Mix the roux into the soup and bring to a simmer.

Add the heavy cream, cheeses and remaining beer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy. Stir in the bacon, reserving some to crumble over the top, and add seasoning to taste. Serve with bread for dipping.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Prime Rib & Roasted Garlic Hash with Horseradish Sour Cream

I made prime rib for a special occasion and was trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers. Then I thought of making a hash. To be fair, I've been thinking a lot more about hashes than the average person lately, as I've been making them for the food truck and coming up with all sorts of gourmet variations. Prime rib sounded like it would fit right in! 

Yield:  2 servings

2 cups shaved fresh potatoes (can substitute frozen/pre-cut store bought hash browns) 
20 cloves garlic, roasted and sliced or smashed
1 yellow onion, diced 
1 red pepper, diced 
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked prime rib, cut in roughly 1/2 inch diced pieces 
1 tbsp butter 
Vegetable oil,for frying
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) 
Salt and pepper, to taste

Horseradish Sour Cream
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp prepared horseradish
1 dash tabasco or other hot sauce
Salt to taste

Mix until just combined and salt to taste.  Chill; then serve with warm hash browns.

Roast garlic cloves in olive oil before beginning.  Slice, or smash cooked cloves, and set aside.  In a small skillet, melt butter and add chopped onion and red pepper.  Cook over medium heat until caramelized, then add rosemary and remove from heat.  Reserve.

Heat griddle to approximately 350 degrees.  Peel potatoes and shave with a cheese grater into a bowl.  Dry slightly with paper towels, if necessary, and then place on griddle.  Cook for a few minutes, the drizzle with oil.  Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Potatoes need a lot of salt so don't be stingy or you'll end up with a bland dish!

Once potatoes have reached the desired level of crispness (about 15 minutes for my version), add prime rib, garlic, and onion/pepper mixture to the griddle, for just a split second - mix to just combine and then remove from heat - you don't want to overcook that tender prime rib!

Serve on warm plates with a side of horseradish sour cream (which I forgot to take a photo of but pretty much looks like normal sour cream... and tastes better!) 

Note:  I personally like my hash browns shredded, but I've seen them made a bunch of different ways.  If you have leftover mashed or baked potatoes, you could easily throw them on the griddle and make a version of this. Same goes for the meat; I'm sure any type of left over steak would be a delight in this dish.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Tiramisu French Toast

I had a loaf of french bread laying around and was considering making breakfast when I thought of turning it into a tiramisu.  Pretty good idea, I must say!  This could be a dessert or breakfast/brunch treat.

Yield:  About 10 servings

1 large loaf French bread
8 eggs
1 cup cream

1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup prepared coffee

1/2 cup dark rum
1 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp melted butter


1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/8 cup dark chocolate shavings (optional)
Sliced strawberries

Maple syrup for serving
Slice bread into approximately 1-inch thick slices. Whip eggs with butter and set aside. In a mixer, whip mascarpone cheese, cream, vanilla extract and sugar.  In a separate bowl, combine coffee and rum.

Next, dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture and cook on a griddle or skillet for a couple of minutes, until brown, and then layer into a baking dish.

Once the bread is arranged in the pan, use a knife or spatula to spread the mascarpone cream between each layer.  Drizzle the rum/coffee mixture over the pieces, and then add the strawberry slices.  Sprinkle with cocoa powder and chocolate curls, if using.

This dish is traditionally served cold, though I can't imagine it would taste bad if warm.  I served it cold, with maple syrup on the side.  Yum!