Friday, November 30, 2012

Quiche with Pancetta, Broccoli and Caramelized Onion

My husband wanted back in the kitchen, so I let him:).  He didn't want to do the post, so I cut him some slack and said I would do a brief one for him.  He cleaned up the extra pancetta I bought and the one loose head of broccoli we had lying around.  He also found this frozen pie crust in the freezer in the garage.  He is as happy as I with his critical blow to the food clutter!  I thought the end result was really yummy!  If I were to give any critique or advise, it would be to make sure that the pancetta was well rendered.  I am only saying that because 1 (yes only one) cube of pancetta was a bit rubbery.  Every other bit was perfect, chewy goodness.  I think that piece was just a bit larger than the others, and constitutes no mistake, but if you aren't familiar with pancetta, keep that in mind.
He wrote down the recipe as he cooked it.  Will also take this moment to not complain about the sub par pictures he took, but I was out with the girls at a wine tasting and have no room to complain;).

Quiche with Pancetta, Broccoli and Caramelized Onion
1 Frozen Deep Dish Pie Crust
6 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
6 oz Cheddar, shredded
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
3 Oz Pancetta, diced
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1/2 Cup Broccoli Florets, cut in to 1/2 in cubes
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Pre heat the oven to 400.  Caramelize the onion in butter on Medium high heat.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Thaw the pie crust for ten minutes, poke holes in it with a fork.  Cover the edge of the crust with foil and  bake for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to 325.  Cook pancetta on medium until done, drain, add garlic and broccoli.  Mix eggs and milk in a bowl, then add all the other ingredients and mix well.  Pour in to the pie shell with the foil still on it and bake (on a baking sheet to prevent a overflow in to your oven) for 40 minutes.(or until the center is almost firm)   Leave the foil on for the first 20 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.  You could serve at room temp.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Carrot Soup

I am finding yet another advantage to this blog.  If I write it down here I seem to stick to it better.  I guess a public declaration keeps me honest;).  I was sorely tempted to just pick a recipe from the to try file and forget my war on the kitchen clutter, but I said to myself, you said you would do this so do it and don't give up yet.  (hey if this works, maybe I should write that I am getting a supermodel figure, write a best selling novel, open a successful restaurant and will make a million dollars!:)  So, I hit the pantry and the fridge with a serious blow.  I started with the pantry.  I have some corn husks in there from the last tamales I made.  Half a bag of something, a specialty something, has to go.  I remember the collards from my Front Porch Pickings Thanksgiving basket.  The tamale we loved had kale; why not make that recipe but with the collards.  Oh and it will almost finish off that bag of masa in the pantry too.  Whoo hoo, I am on a roll.  When I open the drawer in the fridge to get the collards, I see the two bags of carrots.  (I sent my husband to the store for ginger and carrots, forgetting that I had just bought carrots:/)  Ok, it's chilly out, I will make carrot soup too.  Now soup is the nuclear strike in the fridge war as almost anything can go in it.  I pull out 2 bunches of scallions quietly going bad, the celery that is joining it and carton of veggie broth that I had accidentally bought when I thought I didn't have any in the pantry. Oh and I have just a bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) in a bottle just taking up space.  I will finish it off.   BOOM!  I am giddy with the strike I just dealt.  Now, the universe does have to even the score a tad.  I start all the dishes and after the soup is on, tamale filling cooked and I am making the tamale dough, I notice that the tamales cook for 30-40 minutes.  Oh sugar!  I thought 20 at most.  (I swore I remembered that but...)  Well we will eat the soup, and have second dinner later. (it was 6:30 at this point and the tamales weren't ready to cook yet)  So while the soup is simmering, the whole family, three year old included, helps make the tamales.  Ok my husband told the boy to take pictures of the girl cooking, but that counts right?  While they cook, we eat the soup, that we loved, and while we all wanted more soup, we were too full for the tamales when they were done about 7:30.  Its ok, I will graze on them tomorrow.

Carrot Soup

2 Tbsp Olive oil
5 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stacks of celery roughly chopped
6 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
3.5 cups veg broth
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2  teaspoon of dried sage
1/2  teaspoon onion powder
4 dashes of chipotle hot sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream

Sauté the celery and carrots in oil for about eight minutes over medium high heat until the celery is soft and the carrots are slightly cooked and starting to brown. At scallions cook 2 minutes then add garlic and cook one minute.  Add the broth and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer.  I wanted to speed up the cooking so I used a potato masher after about 5 minutes to mash the veggies a bit to make them smaller and will therefore cook faster.  I repeat that after another 5 minutes and then let them cook for another 5 minutes.  (or until all the veggies are super soft)  Take off the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Add the sage and onion and hot sauce and return to heat for a minute.  Add cream and stir.  Cook one more minute to warm cream.  Garnish with chile oil (or hot sauce) if desired

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Korean Style Meatballs

I really dig Korean food.  I am still trying and learning, but so far, me likey!  Last night's meal wasn't the yummy goodness I associate with the Korean food I have tried, so I decide to try again.  Tonight's clean up item (see Sunday's post to read my declaration of war on kitchen clutter:) frozen meatballs.  I know, I know.  Why, in the name of sanity, would I have purchased such a thing??  Well, sanity had nothing to do with it and lets move on.  So, what was I going to do with my little processed balls of meat?  I head to the web and look up different Korean sauces, and find a wing glaze I think will work nicely. (The recipe for the wings I based my meatballs off of can be seen here.)  I'm a little embarrassed to say they were delicious!  The prefab meatballs also made this supremely easy.  The hardest part was the 3 minutes I grated ginger.  (tip:  buy ginger root, peel it, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze it.  It keeps forever and is easier to grate)  We ate them wrapped in lettuce and the boys had jasmine rice with theirs.  A solid 4 all round.  Perhaps with real meatballs, they could even be a 5!

Korean Style Meatballs

64 bite sized meatballs (25 oz) (these were fully cooked and frozen.  if they were raw, I would cook them first and skip the stove top portion and water in this recipe)
For the Sauce:
1    inch piece of fresh ginger finely grated on a microplane
2 t  sesame oil
6 T  soy sauce
3 T  sugar
3 T  honey
5 ea garlic,minced
1/2    small onion,minced
1 T  red pepper paste (kochujang)
1 c water
For Serving:
Butter Lettuce (1-2 heads)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all of the sauce ingredients except the water in a good size pot.  Add the frozen meatballs and coat well.  Turn the burner to high and add the water. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often until the meatballs are warmed though.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to a shallow baking dish.  Continue to cook the sauce in the pot until thick and syrupy.  With a rubber spatula, scrape all the sauce evenly over the meat balls and put in oven.  (I'm sorry but I am going to have to be vague at this point because I had a 3 year old having a meltdown)  I think they cooked 5-10 minutes before they looked all nice and glazed, but since I put them in a dish that was a bit too small and they were in two layers, I gave them a quick stir and basted them with the sauce in the bottom of the dish and cooked them another 5-10 minutes.  The main thing is to make sure that they are well coated and that the sauce is not at all watery. The picture below is them just out of the oven.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Korean Rolled Egg Omelette (Gaeran Mari)

If you read my previous post, you will know I am a woman on a mission.  Every meal, I vow, to get rid of something cluttering up my pantry or fridge!  Now, I can't get rid of too much in one meal if I want it to taste good, but one thing must go!  Today, being Meatless Monday, I am getting rid of an ancient piece of dried kelp.  I don't think it is the seaweed called for in this omelet, but in it goes!  Unfortunately, the kelp was the part of the dish that made it kind of meh.  Mostly because it was one long sheet.  I think I would have preferred it shredded up and mixed in, or something less massive.  However it gets made, it needs a sauce.  I used a little soy and sriracha.  It sure looked pretty, but the flavor a bit less so.  I love the idea of a rolled omelet.  Next time I make one, I am trying it rolled.  My darling husband cooked tonight, so I hope it wasn't too difficult.  He didn't say it was

Korean Rolled Egg Omelette (Gaeran Mari)

3    eggs
1/2    small onion,finely chopped
1/2    small carrot,finely chopped
1    sheet Korean roasted seaweed (Gim)
1 t  salt,dash of pepper
1.Mix eggs with whisk or fork and add onions and carrots until well
2.In a lightly greased saute pan, pour egg mixture and heat slowly over
low heat.
3.Heat slowly for a few minutes until almost cooked through, then place
seaweed sheet on top of omelet.
4.Roll omelet into a tight roll by lifting side with spoon or baking
5.Let omelet rest for a few minutes to cool.
6.Slice into 1 inch pieces and serve with cross-sections showing.
(Serves 1 or  3 as a side dish).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clean Up Chicken

I have leftover odds and ends I need to use up.  A couple of potatoes rolling around in a drawer, a random onion, and some almost empty cartons of chicken broth.  I bought the broccoli and chicken for tonight's dinner, but the rest of the ingredients were just taking up space in my kitchen. In the upcoming days, I am going to have to be doing the culinary equivalent of jazz improv just to get rid of the crap I have accumulated.  And I do mean crap.  I am all about fresh food and hate processed food, but I find my self continually, for no sane reason, buying the stuff I will avoid eating or using.  For example, I saw bags of frozen meatballs, BOGO, and I thought, hey for the tailgating party, knowing full well I was planning on sliders.  I went to the store sick, and canned soup was on sale.  What do I do, oh hey this will be good for me and I stock up.  I really hate most canned products.  I can taste the can, but that didn't stop me from buying like five.  And not 5 cans that can be thrown in with a dish, like cream of mushroom, no I by something like corn chowder or beef stew.  Now I see them lurking in the back of the pantry and I am trying to ignore them, but I really want to declutter, even, knowing full well as soon as the pantry starts looking tidy (I see empty) and will fill it with more crap I don't want to eat.  It is my own brand of madness that I realize happens but seem powerless to nip in the bud.  Thankfully this is not one of those meals.  I was tidying the fresh ingredients. (on not the carton of stock but...)  After the blogger app deleted my long post on the importance of knowing the basics of making pan sauce, I will try again, even though this pan sauce was not as stellar as the last one;).  It was delicious and all, but not the stand out the chive or the sage cream was.  (Perhaps it was the lack of cream;) 

Ok blogger, in you face!  Here is my pan sauce rant again.  Making a pan sauce is the basis of all good cooking. (IMHO)  It is a way to make the same chicken into a myriad of different dishes that taste good, are easy to make and use one pan so easy clean up.  Really it should be something everyone knows a little of.  In the most basic sense, a pan sauce is when you cook a protein in a pan (if you can avoid nonstick even better for your sauce), remove said protein when done (or almost done if you cook it a bit in the finished sauce) and delaze the bottom of the pan with a, preferably flavorful, liquid.  (water works, but low sodium stock, wine,  etc...)  After most of the liquid cooks out, you add a bit of butter and you have the simplest of pan sauces.  From here you can build.  You could add fresh herbs at the end, or add cream along with, or in place of, the butter for starters.  These sauces are usually intensely flavored and you don't need much on you dish.  I have a voluminous tome of sauces and a good portion of them are based on this model.  And while you can go a little crazy with the sauces, most are along this line or add a thickening agent to a sauce with more liquid.  The three most common I use are a roux, (cook flour in fat in the pan and them add liquid), a slurry, (dissolving flour in a bit of liquid and add it to the sauce somewhere in the middle or end of cooking after the liquid has been added) and a Beurre manié. (flour and butter mixed in a paste and added like the slurry)  The flour needs to be added with enough cooking time left to cook out the raw flour taste.  A quick note on the use of cream in your sauce.  You can deglaze with a little wine, stock, heck I even had a cream recipe that was deglazed with vinegar, but if you use just a bit and use cream for the main part of your sauce, you can simmer it over a pretty high heat without it breaking.  MILK WILL BREAK!  One more reason cream is better;).  Just simmer cream a bit until thickened an you won't need the butter at the end. I just decided to fact check my self taught self and found that I was not giving you an opinion as fact!  What I call a factopinion;).  Here is what wikipedia says about pan sauces.  To go with the chicken and sauce, I made mashed potatoes. (half russet and half sweet potato) and barely cooked broccoli.

Clean Up Chicken

4 thin chicken breasts
Flour, salt and pepper
1 small onion thinly sliced
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup chicken broth
Splash of sherry

Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper then dust with flour.  Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in the pan over medium and saute the chicken until cooked and nicely browned.  (mine took about 4 minutes a side)  Remove the chicken from the pan and add the onion and saute it.  All the while use the onion and the steam coming off it to try and scrape up anything on the bottom of the pan.  When they are nice and soft (mine took about 5 minutes) add the chicken stock and really show the brown bits on the bottom of the pan who's boss.  Scrape with a spatula or wooden spoon or you impalement of choice.  Continue to cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated and the remaining liquid is starting to look thicker.  Return the chicken to the pan and coat.  Add the remaining butter and splash of sherry and stir, off heat, until butter melts.  Taste sauce and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. 

As for the mashed, get ricer for the potatoes.  You just push them through and give a quick stir and you have the smoothest, most amazing mashed potatoes.  (oh and yes cream and butter, salt and pepper)  For the broccoli, I used a peeler on the stems to get rid of the woody out side part, sliced the stems about 3/4 of an inch thick and but the florets in to large bunches.  But the stems in to a pot of boiling, salted water, and cooked 1 minute, added the florets and cooked them for almost a full minute.  They should turn bright green.  Drain and eat:)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Columbia Salad

A great recipe for leftover ham and who couldn't use a salad the day after Thanksgiving;).  We have had this salad at the Columbia restaurant in St. Augustine and we loved it.  Then, some years later, we were in a cabin in North Carolina with some family and they had recreated the salad for dinner one night. It had become one of our family recipes and we all love it.  It is super easy and the dressing is wonderful on any salad.  If you have kids that require some extra calories or carbs, we add a baguette and butter for them.  Not only is is a great use of leftover Thanksgiving ham, but we had a lovely oriental salad mix from the Front Porch Picking basket.  Normally the salad is made with romaine, and it is great that way, but also wonderful with the mixed greens.  The recipe is a little vague because it was never written down properly and I hate to now assign an arbitrary measurement now, but for the sake of, some, clarity, I will throw out a measurement even though I eyeball it and it might in fact be quite different from the numbers I will put in parentheses.

Columbia Salad

Lettuce (6 cups)  Any will do, but romaine is the original
Tomatoes (1 cut up)
Swiss Cheese, cubed (4 oz)
Ham, cubed (6 oz)
Green Olives (1/3 cup)
1 Part Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (2 oz)
1 Part Worcestershire Sauce  (2 oz)
4 Parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil (8 oz)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
a Splash of the Olive Brine

First of all the, make the dressing.  The reason for the vagueness is we usually start with the juice of one lemon.  I put this in a mason jar and put a rubber band at the level of the juice.  I then add worcestershire until the band is in the middle.  Move the band to the top of that level and add olive oil until the band is marking the bottom third of the dressing in the jar.  Add the garlic and brine and shake and let sit while you make the salad.  I would suggest you follow my procedure instead of my math above;).  Then just cube your meat and cheese, wash and chop your lettuce and tomato and toss in a large bowl with as much dressing as you like.

Before dressing and tossing

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cranberry Sauce

I made Cranberry Sauce to take to my friend's house this Thanksgiving.  Funny story around this dish.  I was never a fan of cranberry sauce growing up, but I remember being fascinated with the tube of it as it came out of the can and managed to still look like a tin can but just cranberry colored.  So, fast forward a million years or so and I am a mom and learning to love cooking.  I made a cranberry dipping sauce and a cranberry sauce from Alton Brown one Thanksgiving and I liked it.  I decide then and there it isn't cranberry sauce I disliked but the canned stuff we always had as a kid.  I write a newsletter for Front Porch Pickings, a local and organic produce delivery company that serves Volusia county.  It is my job to offer recipes for the produce, particularly the more unusual items that many may not have cooked with.  Well this week was all Thanksgiving items, cranberries included.  I relate my above experience with cranberry sauce for the section on cranberries making a joke of the fact that my family's recipe for cranberry sauce involved a can and an opener.  As I often do, I forward my newsletter to my mom so she can get the recipes.  Her response was, "I made fresh cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving and Christmas!"  =:O  Oops!  Luckily my mom is wonderful and understanding and didn't take any offence.  I guess that I just didn't care for cranberry sauce as a kid, but remember the canned stuff only because of it's bizarre can shape.  So, before I ramble too much about my shoddy memory of holidays past, let me return to the dish.  It is easy to make, and is so very much better (not to mention better for you) to make it from fresh berries than to open a can.

Cranberry Sauce
1/4 c  freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c  100 percent cranberry juice not cocktail
1 c  honey
1 lb fresh cranberries approximately 4 cups


Wash the cranberries and discard any soft or wrinkled ones.
Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2-quart
saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the
heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and
cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst
and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the
pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the
refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator, overturn the mold and slide out the sauce.
Slice and serve.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Juicy Lucy Burger (A.K.A. Juicy Lucy)

I had gotten extra ground beef and hamburger buns to I could have some to make the kids for lunches over the Thanksgiving holiday.  They ended up on the dinner menu.  I had the stuff on hand to make these and I didn't want to brave the stores on such a busy grocery day.  Were they good?  Yes, they were, even with out all the condiments we thought we would miss.  Were they great?   That is hard to say.  We all enjoyed them very much, but we have had some amazing burgers, and that makes it hard for a good burger to really wow us.  Even harder that they are competing with a memory which could be a bit more glorified than the actual event.  The meat should be cold to hold it's shape better, and follow procedure on the cheese.  It seemed wrong to stack them, but they turned out perfect because to it.  It is really hard to be unhappy with a sandwich oozing cheese!  They were only a little more work than shaping a regular burger, so don't let that put you off.

Juicy Lucy Burger (A.K.A. Juicy Lucy)

4 sl American cheese
1 1/2 lb ground chuck (cold)
1 1/4 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  garlic powder
1/2 t  Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t  freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil,for oiling the grill
4    (4-inch) hamburger buns split and toasted
Sliced pickles,for serving

Cut each slice of cheese in half, then in half again to form 4 squares.
Stack the pieces on top of each other to form 4 stacks; set aside.
Place the meat in a large bowl and add the salt, garlic powder,
Worcestershire, and pepper. Mix with your hands until just evenly
Divide the meat into 8 equal portions and place on a work surface.
Using your fingertips, press 2 portions of the meat into 2 rough 1/4-
inch- thick patties that are each about 1 inch wider in diameter than
the hamburger buns.  Place 1 stack of cheese in the center of 1 of the
patties.  Top with the second patty and pinch the edges to form a tight
seal.  Cup each patty with your hands to round out the edges, and press
on the top to flatten slightly into a single thick patty.  Transfer to
a plate. Repeat with the remaining portions of meat and cheese to form
4 patties in total. Refrigerate while you prepare the grill.
Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375F to 425F).
When the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers
of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil.
Place the reserved patties on the grill, close the grill, and cook
undisturbed (do not press down on the patties) until dark grill marks
appear on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the
patties, close the grill again, and cook until grill marks appear on
the second side and the patties are cooked through, about 3 to 4
minutes more. Remove to a clean plate and let rest in a warm place or
tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes. Place a patty on each bun bottom,
top with pickles, and cover with a bun top. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cranberry Granita

So, I am not cooking this Thanksgiving!  I am both happy and sad about that.  We are going to friends house, but I have to bring something. (despite their protests;)  I am taking them their favorite salted caramel pretzel bark, but I also want to try out something new and holiday.  As I am thinking of it, there appears on my tv, Alton Brown doing a cranberry show!  I am also getting cranberries in my Front Porch Pickings basket!  Not being one to ignore fate, I decide to make some recipes on the show.  I choose this granita for two reasons.  The light, fresh and tart ice sounds like a great treat on a day full of heavy foods.  The other it that it can be made in to a cocktail!  That is a win-win for me.  I am bringing a desert and a drink with one recipe.  I made this early to taste it and make sure that I was bringing a guest worthy treat and cocktail.  It was.  I loved the granita.  It was a Thanksgiving trifecta, easy, tasty and light.  The cocktail was the big hit.  I don't know if it was just the fact it was a tasty cocktail or if it was eaten before the dozens dishes were set out and we all gorged our selves just trying to sample them all, much less seconds on our favorites.  I think I will make more of this for the big game on Saturday. (as a second dish to my Miami Burger Sliders)  We are tailgating in the cul de sac.  If it is consumed as granita or cocktail will to be decided;).

Cranberry Granita
2 cups water
5 1/2 ounces cranberries, approximately 1 1/2 cups, washed and sorted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest

Place the water, cranberries and sugar into a small saucepan, set over medium-high heat and simmer until the berries begin to pop, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Puree with a stick blender, blender or food processor, for 1 minute. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer directly into a metal 13 by 9-inch pan. Do not press on the skins. Simply allow the juice to drip through the strainer. Add the zest and stir to combine. Place in the freezer until set, at least 6 hours and up to overnight. Once frozen, scrape the mixture with a fork to create a shaved ice texture. Serve immediately.

Fresh Cranberry Cosmo
1    -ounce vodka
2 1/2    ounces Cranberry Granita recipe follows
1    /2-ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Place all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake until
the granita melts completely. Pour into a martini glass and serve

Monday, November 19, 2012

Linguine With Hot Chile, Caramelized Onion & Gremolata

Yum!!!  Meatless Monday was a huge hit tonight. I did make some small adjustments based on what  I had in the fridge.  I had a 1/2 a red onion and a 1/2 a yellow onion, so rather than cut up a new one, I used those.  Also I had jalapenos on hand, so they went in for the Serrano.  I also did not follow the tip to mince up the lemon zest.  I really like the texture of the microplaned zest and it's easier.  The dish its self is really easy to make.  The most taxing part was grating the Pecorino and mincing the gremolata.  I was quite surprised at the world of difference the gremolata made.  If we had each eaten 1/4 of the dish, there was probably enough of it, but we ate a little over 3/4 and used it all.  Now I have a bowl of pasta and none of the yummy topping that took the dish from good to wow.  What makes this a must try dish?  Well, it's easy. fast, it doesn't have any ingredients that are hard to find and won't get used up, its vegetarian and it is really delicious.  It's not diet, but hey, it isn't magic;). We debated it's inclusion into the "college cookbook" for our son. (it's that easy and good)  Ultimately, I decided against since it does require a good knife and a bit of effort to finely chop up the gremolata.  Not quite dorm room cooking friendly, but definitely apartment friendly.  Maybe there should be a 101 cookbook and a 102?  Another thing going for the dish is it isn't expensive.  The pecorino is the only pricey item, but it is less expensive than a decent Parmesan.  I keep forgetting to rate the dishes with my family at the table, but I think I can safely call this one a 4.5

Linguine With Hot Chile, Caramelized Onion & Gremolata

2    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1    large yellow onion,very thinly sliced
1/2 t  crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1    serrano or other fresh small chile, seeded and finely minced
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter cut into about 5 pieces
3    Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 lb dried linguine
1/3 c  roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1    large clove garlic,finely chopped
1 t  finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 c  grated Pecorino Romano,more for sprinkling

Tip: Instead of grating the lemon for the gremolata, use a zester and
then finely chop the long strips of zest with a chefs knife. This zest
is a little chunkier and easier to sprinkle.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the
onion and red pepper flakes, season with a big pinch of kosher salt,
and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and nicely browned, about
15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium low if the onion is browning too
fast) . Add the chile and continue to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the
heat, add the butter, and swirl the pan to melt. Add the lemon juice
and another pinch of kosher salt. Keep warm.
Cook the linguine in the boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata: Combine the parsley, garlic, and lemon
zest on a cutting board and chop them together with a chefs knife until
the parsley is finely chopped and mixed well with the lemon and garlic.
Drain the pasta and return it to its cooking pot. Over medium heat, add
the onion mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Add the 1/2 cup
Pecorino, quickly toss again, and add salt to taste. Transfer the pasta
to a platter or shallow bowls. Sprinkle liberally with the gremolata
and more Pecorino and serve.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Smoked Gouda And Bacon Burgers With Barbecue Sauce

Gluttony!  This burger was a study in wretched excess.  It was pretty good, but you felt a little sick afterwards.  I didn't make my patty a half pound, but the boys did.  We also sliced our own bread, and made it a bit thick.  It seemed needed for all the wet toppings.  Also, I only found sliced smoked Gouda, and I only used one slice.  The cheese was totally lost on the burger.  We enjoyed the flavor but none of us could finish our burger.  We also were really sluggish afterwards.  I'm not trying to dissuade you, just forewarn you, that this is not for the faint of heart, stomach or cholesterol!  It was fast and easy, but then most burgers are.  The number one thing to keep in mind is to use a good quality sweet barbecue sauce.  The sauce is a big part of the burger.  (If you follow the link to the original recipe, you will see it was designed for a barbecue restaurant)  Another important point to keep in mind it that if you want to taste the cheese, go nuts with it, otherwise, you might as well leave it off.  If you do decide to try this, may the force be with you stomach!

Smoked Gouda And Bacon Burgers With Barbecue Sauce

2 T  vegetable oil
1    one pound onion,halved and thinly sliced
1/4 c  Frank’s RedHot or other hot sauce
1/4 c  beef broth
6 T  unsalted butter,softened
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of firm white bread
8 sl of thick-cut bacon
2 lb ground beef chuck (20 percent fat),formed into 4 patties the s
3    ounces smoked Gouda shredded (1 cup)
1/4 c  Sweet Barbecue Sauce
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the sliced onion
and a pinch of salt, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until the
onion is crisp-tender and just turning translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in
the hot sauce and beef broth and remove from the heat. Season with salt.
2. Heat a large griddle. Spread the butter on 1 side of each bread
slice and griddle buttered side down over moderate heat until toasted,
about 2 minutes. Transfer the toasts to a plate. Add the bacon to the
griddle and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per
side; drain on paper towels. Wipe off the griddle.
3. Season the beef patties with salt and cook on the griddle over
moderately high heat until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side. Top
each burger with 1/4 cup of smoked Gouda and cook until the cheese
melts, 1 minute.
4. Set the burgers on the unbuttered sides of 4 toasts. Top with the
bacon, onion and Sweet Barbecue Sauce. Close the burgers and serve,
passing more barbecue sauce at the table.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Talapia with Garlic-Chive Cream

I hate the new blogger app!!!!  I had typed this long post about the importance of learning to make a pan sauce and the basics of it and even looked up the proper spelling of some French terms.  I go to add the picture from my phone, using the blogger app, and it erases everything but the picture I added.  ARRRGH!  Since I have to retype the recipe (which of course today's was made up as I went along) and everything, forget trying to recreate the post!  I will sum it up in a short, if boring, sentence.  Pan sauces are easy and essential to cooking tasty, unprocessed food.

Talapia with Garlic-Chive Cream

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt, Pepper and Flour
2 Fillets Talapia
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
1 Clove Garlic, sliced
1/4 c broth
1/2 c half & half
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter softened and mixed with 1-2 tsp flour
2 Tbsp Minced Chives
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and lightly coat with flour.  Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pan and let melt. Cook the fish for about 2-3 minutes per side until done and lightly browned.  Remove fish from pan and set aside. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan if its really dry.  Add the shallots and garlic and saute until they are soft.  Add the broth (I used chicken) and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Add the half and half and cook and stir until is is warmed.  Add the butter & flour paste and cook, stirring until smooth and thick.  Add the chives and cook about a minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Texas Caviar

This is a tasty and easy little dip that originally was made with black eyed peas. I like it with the white acre peas a lot.  The only change I would make next time is I think I will use cilantro instead of parsley or maybe a mixture of the two.  It could just be that we love cilantro, but we think that would be a much better herb for this.  I made the chips too.  I had some leftover corn tortillas and made them similarly to the Parmesan Tortilla Crisps, but I just used plain oil and then seasoned with salt, and garlic.  Fast and filling, and certainly healthier than those mayo or cheese based dips.

Texas Caviar

3 1/2 c Cooked White Acre Peas  
1/4    red onion,finely chopped
1/4 c  roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c  red wine vinegar
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil
3 ea garlic,minced
2    plum tomatoes,seeded and chopped
1    small bell pepper seeded and finely chopped
1    jalapeno,seeded and finely chopped
Dash hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips,for serving
Combine the black-eyed peas, red onions, parsley, vinegar, oil,
garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and hot sauce in a
bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve with tortilla

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


So, I have leftover buns from the Miami burger I made, so we will just have to have burgers again.  I figured we loved the Miami Burger, why not make the first burger in the cookbook, Bobby Flay's Bold Flavors, the Crunchburger!  Before I even ate it, I didn't like 3 things: no pickles (sacrilege!), no ketchup, and American Cheese.  I hate to say that despite missing my one crucial burger ingredient, pickles, I still liked it a lot.  I have always liked potato chips on a sandwich, and I have been known to put french fries on a burger, so this wasn't a big stretch for me.  My son adored it! My poor hubby is sick, but even he managed to be somewhat enthusiastic about it;). The only change was the buns, but I was making this to use up those extra 4 buns I had left over.  Oh and I forgot the romaine, but only I missed that.


1.5 lbs of Ground Chuck (or turkey)
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1.5 Tbsp Canola Oil
8 Slices American Cheese
4 Hamburger Buns (Potato was recommended) split and toasted
4 Leaves Romaine Lettuce
4 Slices Tomato
4 Slices Red Onion
Horseradish Mustard Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
4 Hand fulls of Potato Chips

Horseradish Mustard Mayonnaise
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Drained Prepared Horseradish
Kosher Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kale And White-Bean Stew

I had some lovely kale from Front Porch Pickings, and I really wanted to make the kale and cheese tamales again.  They were so good, but to have a recipe for the blog, I decided to try this kale and white bean stew.  While I thought it was tasty, I think it needed a good dose of hot sauce. It smelled heavenly but didn't quite deliver on what that smell promised, but still pretty tasty.  It was a good, hearty bowl of soup and the kale was the star for me.  I did like the tamales better so next time I will make those instead:).

Kale And White-Bean Stew

2 T  cooking oil
1/4 lb mild or hot sausages casings removed
2    onions,chopped
3 ea garlic,minced
1 lb kale,tough stems removed, leaves washed well
3 1/3 c  canned diced tomatoes with their juice (two 15-ounce cans)
1 1/4 t  salt
1/2 t  fresh-ground black pepper
4 c  drained and rinsed canned  cannellini beans (two 19-ounce cans)
1. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat.
Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a fork, until the
it loses its pink color, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon
of oil to the pan and then stir in the onions. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until the onions start to soften, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and kale to the pan and cook, stirring, until the
kale wilts, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper;
bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the kale
is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir the beans into the stew and cook until warmed through, about 5
minutes. If you like, mash some of the beans with a fork to thicken the
Notes Shred kale leaves as fine as possible when making quick soups and
stews, so that each bite will include tender greens instead of a chewy

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veggie Stir Fry

Meatless Monday was also clean out the odds and ends day.  I had several items I needed to use (2 onion halves, some broccoli, 2 green pepper halves etc...), so improvised a stir fry.  I am no Asian cooking master, but I thought I didn't acquit myself too badly.  I could stand to improve on this one;).

Veggie Stir Fry

1 cup of uncooked jasmine rice (cook as per instructions)
5 Scallions, cut in to 1" pieces
2 Carrots, thinly sliced
1 large Onion, sliced
1 Green Pepper, Sliced
2 Cups Broccoli florets
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp of water
2 Cloves of Garlic minced
1 Tablespoon grated, fresh ginger
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
1/2 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
1-2 dashes Five Spice Powder
2 Tbsp  Tamari Sauce (or soy)
2 Tbsp  Mirin
Sweet Chili Sauce
Canola Oil
Salt and Pepper

Sauté carrots and onions for 3 to 4 minutes in about tablespoon and a half of canola oil with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Add the rest of the veggies  (broccoli, greens bell pepper, scallions, garlic and the ginger and sauté for about another minute. Add 2 tablespoons of tamari and stir.  Add 2 tablespoons of the Mirin and stir.  Then add a quarter cup of water and the cornstarch dissolved in water and cook until sauce is thickened.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and a couple of shakes of five spice powder. Add 2 teaspoons of sweet chili sauce or more to taste and sprinkle with sesame seeds serve over rice

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Banana Bread

We went to the Greek Festival today and had some leftovers from that and some other odds and ends.  I refuse to let my fridge bulge even more at the seams, so it's a pot luck dinner here tonight;).  I did however make banana bread with some bananas that were getting very ripe.  I haven't made this in years, but it was the best banana bread I have ever had.  I adore the coconut in it.  It makes the bread something special.  It is from Mark Bittman's cookbook, "How To Cook Everything".  It is a great cookbook and one I put on my list of must haves.  It if  full of recipes that are actually homemade and don't use a lot (if any) processed foods.  Mr. Bittman notes that he likes to toast this the next morning and eat it with peanut butter.  I haven't seen this stuff always last until the next morning;).

Banana Bread

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut

1) preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan
2) Mix the flours, salt, & baking powder in a bowl.  In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs and the bananas.  Stir this into the dry ingredients. Don't mix more than you have to.  Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut.
3) Pour the batter in to the prepared loaf pan and bake 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick, when inserted in to the center of the bread comes out clean.  It will be moister than most breads because of the bananas.  Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.  Store in waxed paper.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Miami Burger

I made one deviation from this recipe, I used burger patties made from 1/2 ground chuck and 1/2 ground pork. Why? Well because I had some ground beef & pork leftover from the last time I made meatballs. We mixed those meats and made patties and froze them in vacuum bags. We didn't have enough meat to make patties from one type of meat but we had enough for 3 if we mixed them together. What was I going to do with them? I turned to the burger master, Bobby Flay, and the cookbook I got free on iBooks (Called Bobby Flay's Bold Flavors).  This is like a Cuban sandwich and a burger had a baby and those are two of my favorite sandwiches.  All I have to say is DANG it was good.  We all devoured our burgers.  I think we had patties that were a bit bigger than the 1/4 pound called for and that was my only issue with the burger; I thought the patty was a bit big, but that's my fault:).  We all were really pleased with the whole  meal.  A solid 4.5.

Miami Burger

1/2 lb grounf beef
1/2 lb ground pork
(the original recipe said 1 lb of beef or turkey. Use the half & half mixture I did!)
Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1/2 c Mayonnaise
4 Cloves of Garlic (roasted)
4 Hamburger Buns
1/4 c Dijon Mustard
8 slices Swiss Cheese
4 slices ham
2 Dill Pickles sliced in to 1/4" slices

1) Divide the meat in to 4 equal portions and form them loosely in to a 3/4' thick burger.  Make a deep depression in the center of the patty with your thumb.  Season with salt and pepper.
2) Heat your grill on high.  Brush the patties with the oil
3) Cook the burgers until golden brown on both sides and to your desired doneness (turkey or pork?  well done only!) Remove burgers to a plate.
4) Mash garlic to a paste and nix with the mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper
5) Spread both sides of the bun with mayo and mustard.  Top the bottom bun with a slice of cheese, top that with the burger, then the slice of ham, the other slice of cheese, plenty of pickle slices and finally the top of the bun..
6) Wrap the burgers in foil.  You can use a skillet or a sandwich press, but we just put them back on the grill and pressed them with a cast iron skillet we had heated on the grill.

The recipe notes that to roast garlic, roast in an oven preheated to 375. Toss the cloves in olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet.  (we wrap a couple of loves in foil and toast in the toaster oven)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chicken Marsala

I deleted the good picture but I think
it still looks pretty tasty!
I decided to make this recipe from a fellow blogger for two reasons.  One, I already had some Marsala wine from another recipe I made of his, and two since I was having a guest, and I loved the other recipe, I felt that sure it wouldn't disappoint my friend.  I hate making guests into guinea pigs for new recipes:).  It was wonderful.  Even my son, who hates mushrooms, said the mushrooms were ok.  I made only one deviation; I cooked the chicken, removed it, cooked the mushrooms, added the chicken back to the pan and continued on.  I took the author's suggestion of serving with mashed potatoes.  (I even had his recommended Yukon Gold on hand)  It was perfect.  I would have immediately thought pasta since its an Italian dish, but mashed were outstanding. (better than pasta) We all have our own way of making mashed potatoes.  I am firmly in the camp of using a potato ricer and just stirring with cream and butter. (and salt, pepper, garlic), but that's just me. We also made a salad with the most beautiful, deep green, romaine I have ever seen that we got in out Front Porch Pickings basket.

Chicken Marsala

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Baby Bello Mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Black Pepper
Granulated Onion
Chicken Stock

Recipe and directios here

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup With Brown Butter Croutons

I went out with the ladies tonight, and there is a chill in the air, so I made this soup I heard about on NPR's The Splendid Table.  I loved what they were doing on the show; they asked chefs to give them three must know recipes.  This one caught my attention for a couple of reasons.  The chef recommended that, since you need a lot of tomatoes for this, buy all the brands at the supermarket and do a taste test and see which product is the best tasting.  I did this tonight and was very surprised to find that the expensive can was my least favorite!  I also liked his reasons for having this dish as a top three, was his mom would often give him tomato soup with a grilled cheese (canned soup, wonder bread), and he took that nostalgic dish and added to it by making it this way, and he hopes his kids will add to it too.  I was also intrigued by how fast it seemed to come together!  I made it in about 25 minutes, but 20 of it, I spent getting ready to go out;).  It is only slightly longer than heating a can on the stove, close to equal on cost, a million times better, and infinitely healthier for you than the canned!  Oh and it is vegetarian.  To me, that all adds up to make this a magical dish!  I am not including the croutons in this formula because I bought this fancy roast garlic Tuscan loaf, but I think even with a decent bread, it would be close in cost. per person, to the condensed slop.  My son put it in his favorite file and I am adding it to his college cookbook.  Average rating for the family, 4.5

Tom's Tasty Tomato Soup With Brown Butter Croutons

1 T  unsalted butter
1 T  olive oil
1    medium onion,thinly sliced
3    garlic cloves,smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 c  canned whole tomatoes in juice
1 c  water
2/3 c  heavy cream
2 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1/4 t  freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
1/4 t  crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t  celery seed
1/4 t  dried oregano or
1/2 t  finely chopped fresh oregano
1 T  sugar
Brown Butter Croutons
3 T  unsalted butter
4 sl european-style rustic bread crusts removed, cut into 3 /4- to 1- inch cubes
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and saut the
onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add
the tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed,
oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer
and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and puree in batches in the container of a
blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning
to taste with more salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, to make the brown butter croutons, preheat the oven to
350F. Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook,
stirring often, until the butter is golden brown and aromatic, about 3
minutes after the butter melts. Remove from the heat. Put the bread
cubes in a bowl and pour the brown butter over them, tossing to coat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Spread the bread
cubes on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake until the
croutons are toasted and golden, about 20 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven.
4. Serve the soup hot, garnished with the croutons

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops

I got this recipe from   I thought it was pretty good.  I am not a huge fan of pork chops, but these were from the loin and were on sale, so I figured I would make the boys happy.  I also made a pan sauce from the drippings, some broth, fresh sage and some cream.  I thought they were a bit too lemony but the boys raved.  Oh, and I put about 1/3 cup of broth in the pan before I put them in the oven.  For the sauce, I strained out the big chunks of breading that were in the drippings and added about 1/2 cup of broth, and scrapped up the bits in the pan.  Boiled it for about 5-7 minutes.  When it was reduced to about 1/4 cup, I added 6 sage leaves chiffonade, and about 3/4 cup cream.  I cooked that until slightly thick and seasoned with salt and pepper.  My husband, who didn't know I inproved the sauce, said it was his favorite part.  (blush;)  We had a salad with it and for a starch, I used up a bag of herb stuffing that is at least a year old.  I am resolved to cook, crap if necessary, to clean out the pantry and fridge!

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops

1 1/2 c  breadcrumbs  (I used panko)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 T  dried rubbed sage
1 t  grated lemon rind
2    large eggs,whisked
1/4 c  flour,seasoned with salt and pepper
4 pork chops,about 1 inch thick (can use bone in)
2 Tbsp butter
2 T  olive oil
preheat oven to 425F degrees.
Mix in bowl, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, dried rubbed sage
and grated lemon peel.
Then, on a plate put flour seasoned with salt and pepper; coat chops
with flour.
Dip in egg.
Then dip in bread crumb mixture.
Melt butter and olive oil in a oven-proof skillet.
Brown chops until golden.
Transfer to oven and bake until meat thermometer says 150 degrees,
about 20 minutes
with sauce

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken leg quarters were on sale at Publix for $0.99 a pound.  I bought two packages and am freezing one.  I figure the best way to cook them is ala the 40 Cloves and Chicken recipe we love, but I wanted it to be a different recipe.  I had plenty of potatoes on hand so I decide to use those since the idea of them roasting in garlicky chicken drippings and a bit of olive oil sounded heavenly.  So I kind of made this up as I went along.  Long story short, it was enjoyed by all.  Meat very tender, potatoes tasty, and while it took 1.5 to roast, it was not much active time cooking.

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

4 chicken leg quarters
4 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 tablespoons of olive oil
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bulb of garlic peeled
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add the legs skin side down and cook until well browned.
Flip and lightly brown on the other side
Remove the chicken and add the 1/4 cup oil then potatoes in a single layer (as much as possible). Toss in the garlic and thyme and return the chicken to the pan and cover. Put in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bell Pepper And Potato Frittata

Meatless Monday again.  Why do I (and should you) go meatless on Monday?  There is plenty of information out there on the internet, but I am including a link to meatlessmonday for one of the many reasons why.  On to the recipe...

This one was just ok.  I halved the recipe, and that may have caused some of the issue.  It's biggest problem was the burnt bottom.  I'm not talking well browned, I mean black.  I also covered the pan when cooking the potatoes and when I added the egg mixture.  I wanted to be sure the potato was cooked and that the egg would mostly set before the broiling.  It wasn't inedible, but the burnt bits weren't pleasant.  I also think it needed a dose of salsa;) 

Bell Pepper And Potato Frittata

12    large eggs
2 c  shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1 t  freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
1/4 c  olive oil
1    medium yellow onion,large dice
1    medium red potato,quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
2    medium red bell peppers thinly sliced
4    medium garlic cloves,finely chopped
1/4 c  finely chopped Italian parsley

Heat the broiler on high and arrange a rack in the middle.
Whisk the eggs, 1 cup of the cheese, and the measured salt and pepper
in a large bowl until the eggs are smooth; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. When it
shimmers, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the edges become tender, about 4 minutes.
Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until
just tender, about 8 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to incorporate.
Pour the reserved egg mixture over the vegetables and reduce the heat
to medium low. Cook until the eggs are set around the outer inch of the
pan,  about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over
the frittata and place it under the broiler until puffed, golden, and
completely set in the center, about 4 to 6 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes
before serving.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Party of the Senses

I had the most wonderful time at the Party of the Senses at this year's EPCOT food and wine festival. The Party for the Senses, is a ticketed event that take place in the pavilion between England and Canada in the world showcase of EPCOT.  It runs from 7:30-10.  Once inside, there are many food and beverage stations to try.  While grazing, Cirque du Soleil was performing on stage. It was a pricey event at $137.00 per ticket plus EPCOT admission, but I still think it is a deal.  It was an extravagant dinner that was my 40th birthday present from my wonderful husband.  Why did I want to go?  (Besides from tasty food)  What makes it worth it for me, is that you get to try a wide variety of foods, that are of a good quality, and by trying these, you can improve your own cooking as you learn what food can taste like.  In some ways, I won't be able to replicate the flavors, as I can't afford the high end ingredients that were in some of the dishes.  But, at least I have a high standard to aim for.  Was every dish an oh wow dish?  No.  There were even some I didn't care for, but I tried every thing expect the assortment of chocolates.  I was too full at that point!  I also didn't try every wine, beer or liquor, but then I wanted to be able to walk out of there;).  So no recipes today, just the dishes I tried and my thoughts on them.  Sorry about the poor quality pictures.  Light was dim in there and I didn't want to spend a lot of time taking dozens of pictures to insure a good one.

From Andrew Omo of Linda Bean's Perfect Maine, Freeport ME we had Grilled Maine Lobster Tail with Tarragon Barbecue Sauce over Apple and Fennel Salad.  The lobster was pretty good, I didn't notice much of the sauce, if it was on there, it was very little.  The salad was ok but also a little plain.

From Russell Palmer of Artist Point in Disney's Wilderness Lodge, we had our favorite dish of the evening, Oak Smoked Buffalo Sausage, Forest Mushroom Ragout, Quail Eggs, Gruyere with Sweet Onion Jam.  The sausage was great with a little heat.  I adored the mushrooms, but the quail egg, didn't taste much different than a regular egg to me, other than there seemed to be more yolk to white ratio than a chicken egg.

From Rock Harper of Chef Rock Inc, we had a Hickory Smoked Rib with Jicama Slaw.  I liked the sauce on this rib better than the other BBQ rib of the evening.  The slaw was good.

From Charlie Restivo of Via Napoli, Italy EPCOT we had an Arancini di Riso.  I haven't had an Aranchini before, but have been dying to try one.  They sounded like such a perfect bite.  This one didn't really wow me.  Keep in mind I am holding all these dishes to the highest standard.  It was by no means bad, but kind of lost in the middle of the spectrum of great to meh for the dishes from this evening.

From Robbie Roest of the Grand Floridian Cafe in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we had Sauteed Moulard Duck Breast with Celery Root Mash, Heirloom Apple Confit and Currant Jus.  I have never liked duck before, but this was pretty good.  It wasn't too sweet and not too gamey.

I have a bone to pick with Mace Maison of the Turf Club in Disney's Saratoga Springs.  He served us Braised Veal with Sweet Potato  Spatzel, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Maple Jus.  I have never eaten veal for ethical reasons, but wasn't going to skip any dish tonight.  It was UNBELIEVABLE!!!  I am so sad I liked it so much, hence my bone to pick.  The spetzel was ok, but nothing was going to out shine that tender bit of veal!

Joe Rodriguez of Hovde Gard Hotel in Breksstad Norway served us Salmon on a bed of Purple Cauliflower Puree with Pickled Cucumber.  The puree didn't look very purple, but I loved the dish, my husband not so much so I finished his salmon!

Shanna Horner O'hea and Brian O'hea of Acadame at the Kennebunk Inn, Kennebunk ME served us a Chicken "Scallop" with Perfect Guacamole and Mango Coulis.  She was one of the nicest chefs we met, but we didn't love the dish.  Very clever to make ground chicken look so much like a scallop, but not a wow.  Personally I have an aversion to anyone calling any dish they make "perfect".  I think is is pretentious.  (perfect as opposed to the slop you would normally serve??)  And as my husband pointed out, it sets expectations too high.  His "perfect" guacamole had a large piece of avocado skin in it.  I don't think he would have been as annoyed if it weren't for the supposed 'Perfection'

Art Smith of Art and Soul in Washington DC served Hoe Cakes with Pulled Pork and Apple Cole Slaw.  He was the most notable chef in attendance, having served presidents, made Lady Gaga's birthday cake and two rounds of Top Chef Masters.  Sadly we were underwhelmed by the dish.  It seemed quite bland and it was one we didn't finish.  He was nice and I have always liked him on the shows, so I hate to not rave, but I also don't want to lie.  Maybe we just got the bad batch.  He was passing out plates not cooking.  (sorry Art still love you)

Another stellar bite was the Chianti Braised Wagu Beef over Sundried Tomato and Pancetta Barley Risotto, Au Jus, Shaved Pecorino Romano and Micro Basil from Jamar Gilkey of Tony's Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.  It was amazing.  Our only complaint was that we like the barley and loved the beef, but not so much together.

Next we had Sea Salt Crusted Rack of Lamb and Sweet Potato Mash, Drizzled with a Cinnamon and Mint Glaze and topped with Pumpkin Seed Brittle. This was from Tony Armstrong of Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Catering and Convention Services.  I found this dish too sweet.  the lamb was tasty but too fatty for me, but the mash was like candy

From Mamma Melrose's Restorante Italiano in Disney's Hollywood Studios, we had Butternut Squash and Midnight Mood Ravioli in a Bourbon Sage Cream.  I love this restaurant and I loved the dish.  The bourbon was not completely cooked out.  I don't know if that was intentional but I liked it.

Jose L. Camey of Paradiso 37 in Downtown Disney made Fall off the Bone St Louis Pork Ribs Tossed in Paradiso 37 BBQ with Serrano Slaw.  This rib would have been my favorite of the two but for one thing, mustard based sauce.  I loathe yellow mustard, and I couldn't get past its flavor.  I liked the meat and slaw better than Chef Rocks, but I liked his sauce better.  My husband loved this, but he doesn't share my aversion.

Peng Looi of August Moon Bistro and Asiatique, Louisville, KY offered Cumin Duck, Eggplant Puree and Pickled Turnip.  The duck it's self was yummy, but the eggplant puree was overwhelmingly cumin.

There were 2 cheese stations, but we only tried one.  We were just getting too full.  I', pretty sure it was the one hosted by Gourmet Foods International.  My two favorites were the Saga Blue and a Parmesan like one I can't remember the name of:(

Javier Pareja of Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Catering and Convention Services made Braised Pork Belly over Gorgonzola and Chive Yukon Gold and Parsnip Mash.  This was another favorite!  Very yummy!

Adrian Mandry of The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios made a Seared Bison Strip Loin, Forest Mushroom Potato Croquet and Coca BBQ Sauce.  It was on a slice of three different colors of beets that I took to be a hidden Mickey;).  We liked this one a lot.

The printed menu said this was to be a mini muffaletta but instead we had Biscuits and Ham Gravy and a "dat-o" (oreo style cookie from the bayou.) This was from the Bayou Bakery of McLean, VA.  The Biscuits and gravy were good.  I normally don't like biscuits much but these were pretty tasty.

We also had a Colorado Lamb and Rosemary Slider on a Brioche Bun from Daniel Joly of Marabelle Restaurant  in Beaver Creek CO.  I neglected to get a picture of it.  We were getting really stuffed at this point.  My husband and I shared one.  It was ok.

On to the desserts!

Mario Ramirez Mendez of Disneyland Resort Bakery made a Dark Chocolate Molten Cake with Hazelnut Chantilly and Bacon Brittle

Ron Viloria of Aulani Disney Resort and Spa made a Lilikoi Marcaroon.  It was passion fruit flavored and yummy!

Jorge Sotelo of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Bakery made Pumpkin Praline Pie.

Kelly Smith of Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Catering and Convention Services made Roasted White Chocolate Gelato with Salted Caramel and Bourbon Bacon Popcorn.


In addition to the food stations, (we only missed the  chocolate station from Moonstruck Chocolates of Portland OR and International Cheese hosted by KerryGold) there were ton's of drink stations.  I will list them, but I am hard pressed to remember which I tried from which station, or even which stations I visited.  It was all about the food for me! Each wine station had 3 items to taste unless otherwise noted

Casa Larga Vineyards, Finger Lakes NY
Sartori, Verona, Italy
Sokol Blosser Winery, Dundee Hills, OR
A Whiskey Station (4 Whiskeys)
Skinny Girl Wine, CA
Star Tree Wines, Northern Cape, South Africa
Jacuzzi Family Wines, Sonoma, CA
Cline Cellaars, Sonoma, CA
Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa CA
Nicolas Feuillatte, Champagne, France
Radeberger, Frankfurt Germany (Beer)
Coffee Bar
Samuel Adams, Boston MA (Beer)
Purple Wine Company, CA
Sebastiani Vineyards, Sonoma, CA
Castello Banfi, Tuscany, Italy
Terrazas, Argentina
Vinedos Y Bodegas Alconde SL, Navarra, Spain
Joffery's Coffee & Tea Company
The Meeker Vineyard, Sonoma County, CA
Markham Vineyards, Napa, Spain
AB/INBEV, Belgum (4 beers)
Martini, Italy
Remy Cointreau USA, Barbados (1 hot toddy)
Twinings Gourmet Tea Bar Est 1706 (tea)
Vinmotion, Washington