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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Even thought it’s currently coming down in buckets outside it’s still summer and that means it’s officially grill season. The smell of barbeque seems to be drifting from every corner so we joined the masses and fired up our grill for some tasty treats. I adore outdoor cooking and keep my grill handy all year round for a quick fix. I was hankering for some old fashion comfort food so decided on BBQ ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries sprinkled with basil salt served with garlic lemon mayo (I could eat these all by themselves for a meal!), and grilled corn on the cob. A quite simple yet satisfying meal.

If you don’t have a BBQ (that’s a tragedy that you must remedy immediately) I’ve included instructions for oven grilling the ribs.

I promised the lovely Diana I would post these recipes…So cheers to you missy! Enjoy.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

You’ll need:

  • 6 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup liquid crab boil
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 2 pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, washed, ends trimmed, and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed and toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 cup malt or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 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.

Preparation for ribs:

In a large pot, combine all the rib ingredients and enough water to cover by 1-inch (about 12 cups) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a slow boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until ribs are very tender when pierced with a fork.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the BBQ sauce. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, horseradish, cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and the flavors have married, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

GRILL: Preheat grill to around 400. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Generously coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce. Grill the ribs turning and brushing with the sauce until cooked through and marked nicely.

OVEN ONLY: Preheat the oven to broil. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Spread half of the BBQ sauce over the 2nd lined pan. Lay the ribs flat over the sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs to coat generously. Broil until the sauce is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonnaise

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

You’ll need:

  • 5 sweet potatoes, cut into about 1 by 5-inch “fries”
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the sweet potato “fries” on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

You’ll need:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, in their husks

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

Remove the visible silks from the tips of the corn and any long pieces inside. DO NOT remove the husks!

Submerge the corn in their husks in cold water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn.

Serve hot, with butter and salt. Or better yet, herb butter. YUM.

What are your favorite flavors of summer? Got any great BBQ recipes or secret tips? Please share!

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Oh, yeah. I’ll been know for taking risks. And when I caught those fresh broad beans eyeing me from across the produce section I knew I must scoop them up even though I had absolutely no plan for these tasty morsels. See, told you – I’m wild.

I ended up making some bean fritters (ala Naked Chef style) with refreshing mint yogurt sauce. (Think falafel here). They were a delightful surprise to the usual (well, nothings really usual around here) weeks dishes.

Whack together some cilantro, mint, cumin, cayenne pepper, fresh broad beans, half a spicy chili, lemon zest, salt, and flour in your Cuisinart and you’re ready to dunk these mini footballs in hot oil for a couple minutes. Crunchy on the outside yet so moist on the inside. And who doesn’t love to dip?

Here’s the short Jamie Oliver video:

If the video doesn’t play: click here

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Yeah, ok. So it seems (hearing the rumblings coming from the mouths of my close friends at least) the majority of my posts are centering around food in some form or fashion. But I can’t seem to help it. Every recipe I’ve tried lately has been a hit and I feel obliged to share.

This baked fish & saffron concoction I whipped up last week is no exception. It was absolutely D-I-V-I-N-E. Yes, I do agree, this dish has a helluva long title and it does take a little prep work, but I promise it’s totally worth it.

I’m making it Saturday night for 26 peeps….Wish me luck!

Halibut

Baked Halibut in a Saffron Broth over Mashed Potatoes with a Tomato and Black Olive Ragoût

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network.

Tomato and black olive ragoût:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

In a saucepan heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and olives and cook until sauce is thick and most liquid has evaporated. Season with herbs and salt and pepper to taste, adding sugar if necessary to correct acidity. Serve warm on top of baked halibut in a saffron broth with mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes and saffron broth:

2 quarts chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron (about 1/4-ounce)
Salt
5 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups warm milk
Freshly ground white pepper
3 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

In a large saucepan combine chicken stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, add potatoes and cook, covered, until fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain liquid into another large saucepan and reserve. Add butter to potatoes and stir and mash until completely melted. Add milk, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while making the halibut. In a saucepan saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add reserved saffron stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add green onions and simmer 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Halibut:

8 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup saffron broth from above

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Season halibut fillets with Creole seasoning on both sides. Rub fillets with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled shallow casserole or baking sheet with sides and pour saffron broth around fillets. Cover filets loosely with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes, uncover and bake another 5 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily. Serve fillets in a large bowl on top of mashed potatoes, with saffron broth ladled over all and fish topped with a generous dollop of tomoato and black olive ragout.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

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 oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup

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Sitting on our bums the other day taking in a little BBC Food we witnessed the super tall Canadian chef Michael Smith create an interesting and cleverly wrapped bacon potato dish.

bacon whole

Since Fattie loves bacon, potatoes, and cheese (uh, who in their right mind doesn’t?) he just had to give it a go. The first effort was full of flavor but the second attempt – as a side dish to filet mignon for a dinner party of twelve – was simply scrumptious. This is NOT a low fat dish but it is fabulous and a cool way to serve bacon and potatoes.

Potato Bacon Cheddar Tart

Courtesy of Michael Smith – serves 8

You’ll need:

  • 2 pounds or so of room temperature bacon
  • A minced onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 cups of grated aged cheddar
  • 5 or 6 large unpeeled baking potatoes
  • A sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Carefully arrange the bacon in a radial pattern from the center of the bottom of a ten-inch, non-stick pan to the lower edge of the rim and continuing up and over it. Let the ends hang over. The slices should overlap slightly around the sides of the pan.

To reduce the thickness of the bacon in the center stagger every other piece starting it two inches from the center and extending it further than the adjacent slices. With the palm of your hand, flatten the center area, leaving no gaps in the bacon. Season the bacon with pepper then sprinkle on several tablespoons of the grated cheddar.

 

Slice the potatoes as thinly and uniformly as you can, about a quarter inch thick. Arrange a circular pattern of overlapping slices around the inside bottom edge of the pan. Continue arranging overlapping layers of the potatoes until the bottom is evenly covered.

bacon pan

 

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Mix the onions and garlic together and sprinkle some of the mixture onto the potatoes. Continue with a layer of the grated cheese. Cover with another layer of the potato pressing it down firmly before continuing with alternate layers of the potatoes, onion mixture and cheese until the pan is full. Continue with several more layers insetting each a bit from the edge of the pan until the top is an inch or so higher than the pan’s rim.

Fold the overhanging bacon neatly up and over the top of the potatoes. Trim a small piece of parchment paper and place it in between an ovenproof lid and the bacon. This will prevent the bacon’s ends from pulling back and shrinking during cooking.

bacon slice

 

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for at least two and a half to three hours. You’ll know it’s done when a small thin bladed knife insert easily. Pour off as much of the fat around the edges as possible. Let the tart stand for fifteen minutes then invert it onto a cutting surface.

Slice into wedges and serve immediately. You may refrigerate any leftovers and reheat them later it in a microwave.

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Of course, it’s always wonderful and such a treat to have someone cook dinner for you, but Fattie’s food is absolutely grubbing – so it’s double the fun.

He casually and ever so cutely whipped up this appetizer: gravlax carpaccio.

So, yeah, you know carpaccio is typically super thin slices of raw beef drizzled with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, usually sprinkled with green salad leaves such as rocket, arugula or radicchio and then topped with thinly sliced or grated Parmesan cheese, sometimes pine nuts will even make an appearance. But do you know what gravlax is?

Let ME tell you.

Gravlax is a Scandinavian delicacy consisting of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill. In Swedish, grav means “buried,” while lax means “salmon.” But it’s also known around the area as graved laks (Danish), gravlaks (Norwegian), graavilohi (Finnish), and graflax (Icelandic).

Back in the day, the fishermen used rub the ingredients on the fish and bury it in the sand above the high tide line, ‘fermenting’ the salmon. Uh. Crazy. I know. The modern version of this dish is not fermented at all; instead the salmon is ‘buried’ in a dry marinade of salt, sugar, and dill, and cured for a few days in the fridge.

So, combining the two – gravlax and carpaccio – Fattie came up with this glorious appetizer. Yes; it’s VERY tasty and even easier to prepare.

gravlax carpaccio

My Gravlax Carpaccio

Makes 4 appetizers

You’ll need:

  • 8-12 ounces of gravlax
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Handful of baby capers, rinsed – roughly 2 teaspoons or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced celery
  • A couple handfuls of fresh arugula or rocket
  • Parmesan cheese for grating
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Equally divide the salmon onto four appetizer plates laying it flat.

After combining the olive oil and lemon juice, drizzle it over the salmon. Sprinkle evenly with capers and celery. Top with salad. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Enjoy.

Gravlax is usually expensive to buy but very easy to make. Feeling adventuresome? Wanna drum up your own homemade cured gravlax? Here’s a good recipe from Emeril Lagasse.

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If you like bread pudding, you will LOVE this recipe. It’s absolutely devoured every time I make it. The sauce is amazing….This is the ultimate comfort food.

Steve’s Killer Bread Pudding courtesy of the Foodnetwork

breadpudding

You’ll need:

1 cup raisins
1/4 cup dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)
1 1/2 loaves stale French or Italian bread, torn into pieces
3 cups milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt

Rum Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 ounces evaporated milk
4 tablespoons margarine
1 egg, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)

Preparation:

Place raisins in a small bowl with rum and soak for a couple of hours. Drain raisins and reserve soaking liquid.

Place bread pieces in a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Add raisins to dish. In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, heavy cream, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, lemon zest, and salt, and mix well to ensure the sugar has been dissolved.

Add the reserved raisin soaking liquid to the milk mixture and pour over bread. Let sit until bread has soaked up all of the milk mixture for at least 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place baking dish in another large pan and add water about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour or until bread pudding has set. Remove bread pudding from oven and let cool to just warm.

While bread pudding is cooling, make Rum Sauce:

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, margarine, egg and yolks in the top of a double boiler and cook, stirring well, until thick. Do not let sauce boil. Keep warm until serving time. Whisk in rum just before serving.

Serve bread pudding drizzled with sauce.

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Can’t help it. I adore risotto.

Every gluttonous mouth watering bite is comforting to my soul. There is just something so remarkably satisfying and sensual about the creamy rice texture once it has lapped up all that glorious stock and Parmesan has been delicately melted and laced throughout.

Risotto

We have the Italians to thank for most gastronomic delights (yes, of course the French get loads of props too). If you’ve never indulged in risotto, I beg you to allow this sensational dish to pass your lips.

Last night was my lucky night.

(more…)

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