Monday, October 31, 2011

Michael Symon's Caramelized Onions 10.31.11

I am sorry about the terrible picture of the finished product, but I was in the midst of Halloween plans (that The Chew figured prominently in).  But, here these little sweet jewels are...

Not going to spend a lot of time talking about these, as I want to show off my Halloween...

BUT... Incredibly easy and incredibly useful little condiment.  Of course, on The Chew website you will find a delicious tutorial in print (Click HERE for the printed recipe), and also the video of Michael making his (Click HERE for the video recap).

I did make one small change (two ingredients and I still make a change... go figure).  I had fried up a pound of bacon, so i caramelized my onions in BACON FAT!!!

About the only trick is to keep the heat low so nothing gets burnt.  Be patient, it takes at least 30 minutes, sometimes more,.  Beyond that, you are waiting for the natural sugars to work their way out of the onions and then to melt and become... CARAMEL!  Well, a form of caramel any way.

I do love that The Chew crew are adding little extras to the dishes they make.  It's the little extras that really can make a dish stand out.

Like here...

It's my world (well, Cul de Sac) famous REDNECK SHEPHERD's PIE!

But I wonder, since I used the incredible warm vinaigrette potato salad using Mario Batali's recipe, should I still call it "redneck"???

It is my favorite left over dish.  Especially after a great smoke (Ribs, pulled pork and beans, not Marlboros).

Layer of leftover Smoked Beans
Layer of leftover Pulled pork
Add a can of Creamed Corn
Add a layer of these caramelized Onions
add a drizzle of BBQ sauce
Add a layer of mashed potatoes

And for the mashed potatoes this time I used the leftover warm potato salad that Mario showed The Chew back on October 12th.

It's an incredible salad, made with a vinaigrette, capers, fennel seeds, scallions and lots more.

I had just enough left over from our party last weekend to make this dish. I just warmed it up a bit, made mashed potatoes from the original salad and viola... an incredible mashed potato salad, perfect top top my former Redneck Shepherd's pie.

Guess I need to start calling this my Mario Batali Redneck Shepherd's pie!

Which we served to my favorite taste tester just before we settled into our annual Norman Rockwell Halloween.  My neighborhood is pretty popular for trick or treaters.  It's a neighborhood of 4 bedroom houses, so everyone has kids.  My wife and I and our neighbors join forces, sit out on our drive way and hand out candy, bouncy balls and light sticks.

We also dress for the occasion...

That's my wife on the left as my Spoon, my favorite taste tester neighbors, Jim and Herme as my knife and fork...

And here's me as...

The IRON Chef !!!

And, in hopes that Michael Symon would stop by for a memorable Halloween...

The secret ingredient was Bacon... Chocolate Bacon Buttons for all the Mom's and Dads (well, the first 100 moms and dads, that's how many I made with a pound of bacon and 1 bag of Chocolate Chips.

Happy Halloween from the suburbs...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Carla Hall's Compound Butter 10.28.11

If you take a look at yesterday's post, you can just imagine the leftovers I have.  Ribs, Beans, Tater Salad, Cole Slaw, Pulled Pork and a full refrigerator.  I am under orders from the boss (my wife) to not cook anything new until we make a dent in the remains of the day!

BUT, if you have pulled pork, you need sandwich bread.

And if you make a loaf of bread, you need some butter!

Today's The Chew featured a quick easy condiment.  A reminder that meals are coming up soon (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve) when something just a little bit extra is expected.

Like Herb Compound Butter!  Takes just a couple of minutes and just sets the table off as something special.

It's just about the easiest thing you can imagine.

The night before you plan to serve this (or, as Carla suggests, make ahead and actually freeze for the special occasion), just leave out a stick of butter (or a couple) to reach room temperature and to get soft.

Then add a tsp of herbs per stick.  Carla suggests Thyme and Chives.  I prefer my pre-made mix I call, :Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence".  I make a batch up at least once a month to have around the house to add to eggs, make some herb bread (like this loaf).  Here's my recipe...

BTW, I make my own Mediterranean spice mix I call, "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence".  You will be seeing this ALOT.  It's a fast way to add that special savory taste to any dish.  I make about 2 cups worth a month and bit by bit, it is gone!  Tastes great on everything from eggs to chicken and anything in between!

While Oregano spice on it's own is fine, It was so much easier to just add a couple of TBS of this...

Here's my formula...
  • 1 part dried tarragon
  • 1 part dried Oregano
  • 1 part dried Dill
  • 1 part dried Rosemary
  • 1 part dries Thyme
  • 1 part dried Garlic Flakes
  • 1/2 part course grind Sea Salt
  • 1/2 part fresh ground Peppercorns
  • 1/2 part fresh Lemon Zest
    Note: if I know I am going to use this up in a week or two, I will go ahead and zest the lemon.  Sometimes I make enough to last a month or two with no real plans to use it.  On those occasions, I do not add lemon zest, instead I will add fresh zest as I make whatever recipe I am using the spice mix.

So, just a couple tsp of this added to the soft butter and mix and you have something special!

I was still having people around, so I served the fresh baked bread with the soft herb compound  butter from a dish (don't you love the heart shaped serving dish).  I did not have enough to freeze for later as suggested.  Click HERE to see The Chew website printed recipe, or HERE to see the video recap of Carla making her version.

Great way to add a little panache to a Redneck Shepherd's Pie meal made of leftovers...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Carla Hall's Chew Chew Clusters 10.27.11

Happy Halloween!

I am writing this up on Sunday morning after a LOOOONG Friday and Saturday of pretty much wall to wall cooking.  I have a cousin, almost as big a foodie as myself.  This weekend I had a pretty big back yard BBQ planned (last day temps in the 70's for a long time... great excuse to smoke some ribs and pork shoulder).

So, with just a tiny bit of pleading, Cousin David, ... his wife and daughter and my wife started a few days of cooking, cooking, cooking!

First up was a dessert.  Handy to have around throughout the weekend to snack on and I know from experience, no one wants a heavy dessert after a huge BBQ meal (more on that at the bottom, I was able to feature a couple of The Chew recipes from the past.

But first... The candy!

If you check the video highlight on The Chew website for this recipe (Click HERE for the video highlight). you will see Carla loving describes making these as a home made version of a beloved southern candy treat.  She does mention that you can use whatever candy fillings you might like for these.  Think designer Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

Now, her version (the copy of the childhood memory) features peanuts, caramel and marshmallow fluff.  I had everything except the fluff.  I was already into an expensive weekend, so i substituted mini marshmallows.  The recipe was so good, I am sure at some point I will happily revisit this recipe.  When I do, I promise to hunt down the fluff.  But, for the day, the mini marshs worked fine.

The recipe actually could not possibly be easier.

Bag of chocolate chips to start.  I prefer the double boiler method of melting the chocolate.  It is possible to melt in the microwave, but this is just easier and works better for me.  If you do the microwave thing, just be sure to do it in stages, 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each stage.

And, while the chocolate is melting...

Have a package of those tiny cupcake cups handy.  and a mini muffin baking pan.

one cup in each of the spaces in the tin and fill with 1 tsp of melted chocolate.  be careful not to put too much in there.  You are going to be making a sandwich, with a layer of chocolate, layer of candy and another layer of chocolate.

And now time for filling...

And a layer of Caramel Sauce (I did make Carla's recipe and it came out GREAT!  Hope that makes up for me using mini mashs instead of the fluff).

And finally, top with another tsp of the HOT melted chocolate.

It will seep into the fillings and seal itself on the bottom layer.

take a few seconds and push some around all the edges and you have a very simple designer candy cup.

But wait... There's more!  I only made 1/3rd of my candy with the peanut cluster.  I also had a candy corn/cashew nut snack mix handy (easiest thing in the world, 1 part CC to 1 part cashews... tastes like a Payday Candy bar).

Make this, same way as above, add a little caramel and you have a chocolate-caramel payday candy bar.  Really Really GOOD!

And I made 1/3rd of my candy with the seasonal candy mix.

And that leaves 1/3rd more to be made...

HMMMMMM... wonder what I should use....

I know, something for Michael Symon...


I am so proud of my guests... Equal numbers of all the treats were made... Chew Chew Clusters, Chocolate Paydays and BACON Cups... All were eaten by the end of the parties, but by far, most popular were the BACON Cups!  Think a salty sweet treat!

A wonderful winner from The Chew!

And speaking of the weekend parties...

On Friday night when it was just 5 of us (Cousin David, wife Becky, daughter Breann, shown above snacking on the BACON Cup) and my wife, we were planning to watch the final game of the World Series (Whoo Hoo, what a great Series this year!).  So I made a batch of  Clinton Kelly’s Texas Nachos 10.19.11

These were a great way to start the weekend, Nachos and friends!

And here's the table ready for our BBQ Blast, well represented with a few of The Chew's past hits...  Look close, if you toss aside the Cole Slaw, Robs, Pulled Pork and the BEST smoked beans you will ever have in your life, you will see...

Mario Batali's  Potato Salad 10.12.11

Don't you just love the Texas serving plate for the Italian warm potato salad?

And Monday I have a leftover dish planned... Pulled pork shepherd's pie with this potato salad mashed up to make the mashed potato topping!

And if you look close, inside the pulled pork sandwiches, shove aside the red, white and blue cole slaw and you will see some of Michael Symon's pickled Red Onions (well pink).

A good day was had by all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Carla Hall's Garlicky Meat Loaf 10.26.11

Halloween goes with Vampires goes with Garlic goes with Carla Hall's Garlicky Meat Loaf!

Today Carla tackles a classic, adds a bit of seasonal humor and a Holiday ingredient.  Lots and lots of garlic! I LOVE IT!

Carla's loaf is a pretty standard recipe, with a couple of exceptions...

Oatmeal replaces bread crumbs.  She runs them through a blender to grind them up a bit.  Then she soaks them in milk to add volume (and I believe to keep the grease from the sausage and hamburger from being absorbed).  You soak the oatmeal in milk for a couple of minutes which puffs the oatmeal dust up perfectly.

There are onions, carrots, horseradish and optional celery (which I added) in the loaf, so plenty of hidden vegetables.  Not exactly Daphne healthy, but anytime you can hide vegetables in something this tasty you are a step ahead.

And speaking of Daphne, the vampire teeth she wore during the group tasting was a pretty odd way to let her off the hook for eating meat today.  I mean she tried a hot dog... Is meatloaf any worse?

But I digress...

I made a few very tiny additions to the recipe.  Inside the meatloaf, Carla calls for ketchup.  I prefer the zippier taste of BBQ sauce.

A added a dusting of ground garlic powder on the top before adding the sauce.

I also used a very spicy sausage (recipe calls for 1/2 a pound added to a pound and a half of hamburger.

I also used a remote prob meat thermometer that measures the internal temperature of the meat prior while it is cooking.  I cooked until the temp read 160 degrees.  Carla's recipe calls for a 1 hour cook time.  I had formed my loaf pretty thick, so it took almost an hour twenty minutes to cook through.

And the verdict is DELICIOUS!  As good a meat loaf as I have ever had.

the horseradish, BBQ sauce and spicy sausage combines to make a tangy zippy flavorful meatloaf.  Certainly not too spicy, not painful runny eyes heat, but certainly a better meatloaf!

The Oats did indeed make a big difference.  Moist throughout and this morning, when I made my meatloaf sandwich for breakfast, it was just as juicy!

You can find Carla's version of this recipe on The Chew website by clicking HERE.

And the daily collection of recipes from the show (click here for that), you will see among them a recipe for haunted mashed potatoes.

I took the advice and served my meat loaf with smashed potatoes with roasted garlic.  Equally delicious!  Especially adding roasted garlic paste to the mix!

A comforting meal filled with enough garlic to ward of vampires and enough vegetables to justify a family feast!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos's Mozzarella in Carrozza 10.25.11

Who knew???

It's a savory French toast sandwich; Italian version.  And I say, "who knew???" because apparently this is a pretty famous Italian dish.  Take a look through Google and you will see several versions.  But basically, it's a toasted cheese sandwich, dipped in egg before you fry it up.

Today featured guest stars, Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corco.  They are the hosts of the Cooking Channel show, "Extra Virgin".  Have to confess, these two celebrities were new to me.  I do not get the Cooking Channel on my cable system.  They were very entertaining.  Reminded me a bit of my own situation, with a wife who enjoys food, but has little background in cooking.

The show did feature TWO segments with the guests; which I think is badly needed whenever they schedule folks.  In the past (Paula Deen comes to mind) I always felt rushed through their stories and recipes.  I thought the interview portion combined with the cooking segment was nicely balanced.

Click HERE to get a break down of the entire episode, with video segments and recipes from this episode.

Specifically, click HERE to see the recipe for Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos's Mozzarella in Carrozza.

I made a few changes in my version, nothing drastic.

They fried their French Toast in Olive Oil.  I decided to fry mine in butter instead.

They seasoned their Mozzarella in Carrozza with salt and pepper.  During the segment they advised that several options for seasonings could be used.  I decided to add a 1/2 tsp of my "Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix.  It's a very simple make ahead mix that combines 9 different spices for a Mediterranean taste.

Th sandwich is excellent!  Has that eggy French toast taste, but it also combines with the savory spices and the richness of the mozzarella cheese.  If, like me, your experience with French toast is only as a sweet dish (Syrup and/or powdered sugar toppings), this will really excite you.

It is a simple dish...

"Not your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix
dusting of flour
Oil or butter to fry the sandwich in  

It really is a terrific idea for an interesting lunch.  I can also envision smaller sandwiches for a tea or to use an appetizers.

On the show, the hosts cut the bread using cookie cutters for a holiday treat.

Love this recipe!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Michael Symon's Cast Iron Pork Pie 10.24.11

Kale... Where have you been all my life???  Doesn't it seem like Kale came out of nowhere as an ingredient?

Now, you can't read a blog without hearing about the benefits.  Here's the Wikipedia paragraph that lists everything it does for you...
Kale is very high in beta carotenevitamin Kvitamin Cluteinzeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.[1] Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steamingmicrowaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss.[2] Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[3][4] Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.[5]
How can you not cook every recipe you find with this as an ingredient!

Like this.  Think Shepherd's Pie.  It's pretty basic, cooked meat, some type of filler for the meat and top with smashed potatoes and some cheese.  Reheat till the cheese is melted and just starting to char a bit.

Michael's recipe is terrific, click HERE to see The Chew website for his recipe.

I followed the recipe exact.  Then I started to think about it a bit.  Michael used nutmeg and cinnamon as spices.  Fine if you like savory, with just a bit of seasonings.  Me, I was after a kick.

A few days ago I blogged about Michael's spicy tomato blue cheese soup.  It was a terrific soup that uses sriracha sauce to add heat and I was in love with the soup.  I added just 1/2 a cup of the soup to the dish.  Not really enough to make it a stew at all, but enough to add that heat spice that I was after (and I love to use leftovers as an ingredient to stretch the foods I love).

I also had made some of Clinton Kelly's Texas Nachos a few days ago.  I used almost a whole jar of spicy queso cheese for the nachos.  I had maybe 1/2 cup left in the bottom of the jar.  I followed Michael's directions, but also added the leftover queso cheese on top of the cheddar.  Again, a nice little extra spice kick to the savory recipe.

And finally, as a tribute to Daphne, I doubled the amount of kale.  I had a BIG cast iron skillet.  needed to add something for volume, may as well add more of the healthiest ingredient.

And while I do not know about the taste of Michael's original recipe (I can only imagine).  I am sure it tasted just fine (think a really great Irish recipe).  I think I liked the extra spicy kick with my changes better.

It's just as good as you can imagine!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...