Posts Tagged ‘gourmet’

BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade

January 27, 2013

IMG_9554I do not pride myself on being ahead of culinary trends, or even knowing when one has come and gone. However, I read enough food magazines and go out to eat enough to realize that we really are seeing a trend of casual/street food turned gourmet. Restaurants serve gourmet $20 burgers with fois gras, hot spots are touting fancy wood-fired pizzas wearing brussels spouts and pistachios and taco joints are serving up the traditional Mexican fare stuffed with braised short ribs and kimchi. But one of the most fascinating trendy spots I have seen is a restaurant downtown that showcases what a dressed up hot dog can really do. And this place really does the job – a turducken dog, a croque monsieur with ham and bechamel, and a Chevy Chase complete with pretzels and beer cheese.

At first I was skeptical – that is until I actually had one of these exhibitions of gourmet picnic food. Who knew a hot dog could be so multi-dimensional. And, as a home cook, it has opened my eyes to what “dressed up casual food” I could make on an average weeknight.

So, when I saw a recipe for a BLT hot dog with caraway remoulade in my Food and Wine magazine, I thought why not? It is quick (easy for a weeknight), cheap (how much can all beef dogs really be?) and completely unique (not sure who decided to put bacon on a hot dog, but that person should win a Pulitzer Prize).

I cannot rave enough about this super simple recipe that tasted exactly like a BLT (but a bit better, to be honest!). The lettuce mixed in the homemade remoulade really makes the dish, so make sure to get a bite of it along with the dog, tomatoes and bacon.

This is surely going in my recipe book not only for an easy weeknight standby, but also to really mix up my next grill out. Who said picnic food can’t be a little fancy?

BLT HOT DOGS WITH CARAWAY REMOULADE
Serves 8

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickle
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted
8 hot dogs, cooked
8 hot dog buns, toasted
8 slices of crisp, cooked applewood-smoked bacon
1 cup chopped tomatoes
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/3 cup small basil leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the shallot, capers, pickle and toasted caraway seeds.

Put the cooked hot dogs in the buns; top with the bacon and tomatoes. Toss the lettuce and basil with some of the caraway remoulade. Top the dogs with the slaw. Serve any remaining remoulade on the side.

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Coconut Bars

February 13, 2011

This past January, I spent 10 nights away from home on a business trip. My husband can certainly fend for himself – he was single for years before he met me after all. He is perfectly capable of dialing for takeout or making a simple meal for one. But, when you get married, you settle into roles. I make dinner, he takes out the trash. I scoop the kitty litter and he gets our cars cleaned. And, when I go out of town, I feel bad for putting my chores into his court.

So, I knew if I could at least make some sweets before leaving town, he would have something to nibble on that was made for him with love.

I had just bought The Gourmet Cookie Book which has the best cookie recipe from Gourmet magazine from the 1940s on. What I love about the book is not only the timeless classics, but the amazing photos of every recipe in the book. I made the coconut bars from 1953 because I had all the ingredients on hand – and it seemed a bit different.

These are sweet, so cut your pieces smaller than I did. But, they are simply amazing, and really require little ingredients. With some powdered sugar on top, they are beautiful as well.

So, if you are leaving town and want your family to have an always satisfied sweet tooth, these are great treats to leave behind!

COCONUT BARS
Makes 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream 1/2 cup butter. Add gradually 1/2 cup brown sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup sifted flour and spread the batter in the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan, buttered. Bake for 20 minutes.

Beat 2 eggs and 1 cup light brown sugar until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut tosses with 2 tablespoons flour and a pinch of salt. Spread this batter over the baked crust and continue to bake for 20 minutes longer. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and cut into squares or bars.

Banana Bread

October 10, 2010

Impromptu baking has become somewhat of a new hobby of mine. By impromptu, I don’t mean feeling the desire to bake an apple pie on a Saturday, going to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients, then turning a food craving into a reality. I mean looking at my kitchen and saying – hmmmm, I have everything I need to make this yummy sweet treat at this very moment – so I will! It started with cookies, because let’s face it, a day doesn’t go by when I don’t have all the necessary ingredients for cookies on hand. It generally happens about 10pm at night in conjunction with a chocolate craving.

But lately, I have had a bit of a banana problem. We eat them weekly, but the bunch doesn’t always get consumed before good old oxygen takes over and turns them brown and mushy. This baking, as you may have guessed, stems from the sick feeling in my stomach I get when perfectly good ingredients go to waste. When I know that if I just add a few eggs, flour, sugar, etc., I can turn those unwanted bananas to a warm and inviting loaf of banana bread.

But, the dilemma that generally follows is the fact that I rarely have milk or buttermilk on hand. So, one day when I was searching for a recipe that didn’t require those two “moistness ingredients” I found this recipe using something else I would hate to have go to waste in my fridge – creme fraiche. I had half a container left, and it was the perfect use for it.

The result was an amazingly moist, flavorful and delicious banana bread. And the best part is, it would be amazing with a few cups of chocolate chips – for those late night cravings.

Thanks to Gourmet for this perfect go-to recipe for when I can’t bear to see overripe bananas and creme fraiche go to waste!

NOTE: The reviews on the Web site show that sour cream is a great substitute for creme fraiche. if you don’t have it on hand. So they seem to be interchangeable!

BANANA BREAD
Makes 2 loaves (can easily be cut in half, which I did)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped (optional)
2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts (if using) and chocolate chips (if using) gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

Peruvian Grilled Chicken (pollo a la brasa)

July 14, 2010

When I saw this recipe, I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t sure exactly what Peruvian food entailed. Latin American, yes, but each country always has its own influence, its own specialty and its own regional cuisine. After my two weeks in Italy, I learned that even two regions in the same country are rarely alike.

So when I saw lime, cumin, paprika – I nodded my head. Sure, those all made sense. But then I saw soy sauce….huh? Apparently there are many large Japanese and Chinese communities in Peru, and hence they have influenced the cuisine. Seemed like an odd combination so I thought I would try it out.

I don’t know if it was the 24 hours in marinade, the slow cooking on the grill (you leave it on longer on the side without a burner on) or the flavorful combination of ingredients, but it is amazing! Very juicy, great taste, and a perfect, easy grilling meal. I served it with some Spanish beans and it made for an easy weeknight dinner (just don’t forget to throw it in the marinade the day before).

Thanks to Gourmet for this great keeper!

PERUVIAN GRILLED CHICKEN

Makes 2-4 servings

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), quartered (or a package of chicken thighs, like I used)
Accompaniment: lime wedges

Marinate chicken:
Blend soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and oil in a blender.

Put chicken in a large sealable bag and add marinade. Seal bag and marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.

Grill chicken:
If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom and lid of grill. Light a large chimney starter full of charcoal (preferably hardwood). When coals are lit, dump them out along opposite sides of bottom rack, leaving a space free of coals (the size of the quartered chicken) in middle. When you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill rack directly over coals for 3 to 4 seconds, coals will be medium-hot.

If using a gas grill, preheat all burners on high, then reduce heat to medium-high.

Discard marinade, then pat chicken dry. Oil grill rack, then grill chicken over area with no coals (or over a turned-off burner), skin side down first, covered, turning over once, until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes (add charcoal to maintain heat).

Cheddar Jalapeno Skillet Cornbread

February 13, 2010

So, I never had really thought of putting cornbread with chili until I met my husband. He always baked up some cornbread muffins and dipped them in the chili, so I thought I would give it a whirl. Once I did, I found it hard to eat chili without it.

So when I bought my prized cast iron skillet (I know I have said it before, but if you don’t have one, you need one) I started looking for great skillet cornbread recipes. Because after all, that is the best way to make it!

This recipe actually came from Gourmet and is intended for cast-iron stick pans. Well, I don’t have those, so I used the little note on how to bake in a cast iron skillet. I recommend sticking with one tablespoon of jalapenos unless you like your cornbread extra spicy.

CHEDDAR JALAPENO SKILLET CORNBREAD
Makes one 9-inch round cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped scallion (white and pale green parts only)
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped drained pickled jalapeños
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Heat skillet in oven 10 minutes.

Whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in another bowl, then add to cornmeal mixture along with Cheddar, scallion, jalapeños (to taste), and 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until just combined.

Remove skillet from oven and add 2 tablespoons butter until it melts. Pour in batter. Bake until top is golden and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm.

Roast Pork Shoulder Cubano

January 24, 2010

If you are like me, I get most of my meat from the large grocery chain in the area, but then find excuses to frequent our local butchers. There is something about our local butchers I love – they know so much about meat and seem to always have what you are looking for. Not to mention it is always fresh.

This was one of the rare times they did not have the meat I was looking for. This recipe calls for bone-in fresh pork arm picnic shoulder with skin. And, I wasn’t the only person looking for the impossible that day – apparently someone had called earlier with the same request!

So, in exchange for the perfect cut of meat, my butcher gave me something he said would hold up to the long cooking times. It was a leaner meat, but I suggest you stick to a fattier cut so it holds the moisture better. Regardless, this recipe, with some dirty rice and beans, was a winner! This one was from the Gourmet cookbook.

One more thing to note, if you half or quarter the recipe like I did, you might want to keep the same numbers on your liquid ingredients so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of your dutch oven, or babysit the pork a bit more than usual if you have to pull it out in advance of the full cooking time.

Enjoy!

ROAST PORK SHOULDER CUBANO
Serves 8

1 cup fresh lime juice (from about 6 limes)
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (8 pound) bone-in fresh pork arm picnic shoulder with skin (if you can find it, or get something your butcher tells you is similar)
3 cups water
6 tablespoons distilled white or cider vinegar

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Stir together 3 tablespoons lime juice, garlic, 2.5 tablespoons salt, oregano and cumin in a small bowl. Pat pork dry. With a small sharp knife, make 1-inch long by 3/4-inch deep incisions 3 inches apart all over the pork. Push about 1/2 teaspoon garlic mixture into each incision and rub remainder on meaty ends not covered by skin.

Transfer pork, skin side up, to a nonreactive roasting pan and pour remaining lime juice around it. Roast, uncovered, until most of juice has evaporated and brown bits are beginning to form on bottom of pan, about 30 minutes.

Stir together water and vinegar in a bowl and pour around pork. Cover pan tightly with foil or lid and roast for 1 hour.

Using a small ladle or baster, baste meat only (not skin) with pan juices. Cover and roast for 1 hour more.

With a sharp knife, gently loosen skin from meat without cutting through the skin and leaving fat layer attached to skin and, using a spoon or baster, baste meat under skin with pan juices (if your cut of meat has skin). Roast pork, uncovered, basting meat, not skin, every 20 minutes until skin is crisp, about 1.5 hours more (about 4 hours total roasting time). Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Skim fat from pan juices.

Cut pork into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with skin and pan juices.

Kibbeh

January 19, 2010

When I told my friends the other day I made Kibbeh for dinner, they looked at me like I had 3 heads.

“It is the national dish of Lebanon,” I declared proudly.

“Um, do you have Lebanese heritage?” They asked. Well, I am afraid the answer was no – I am a little Irish, a little German and very Italian by marriage. But, I read the recipe in my Gourmet cookbook and it sounded like a unique dish – why not?

I will admit to all of you that making this took a bit of courage and a VERY high probability we would be ordering take out. Apparently, Kibbeh (sometimes called Kibbe) was the dish by which a woman’s skill in the kitchen was measured in ancient Lebanon and Syria. Talk about pressure!

But, miraculously, my nerves were unwarranted as the dish turned out to be fantastic! The best thing I can equate it to is a Middle Eastern meatloaf. It is made with lamb, bulgur, pinenuts and lots of warm, cozy spices. Great for a cold winter night…

You can make it in a pie plate or cast iron skillet – not surprisingly I recommend using a cast iron skillet if you have one (and if you don’t you really should invest in one!). My skillet has yet to let me down, and it helps form the “pie” with its higher sides.

Good luck!

KIBBEH
6 Servings

For filling:
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb ground lamb (not lean)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts plus 2 tablespoons for garnish, all toasted

For bulgur mixture:
1 cup fine bulgur (6 1/2 oz)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 lb ground lamb (not lean)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Accompaniment: plain yogurt

Make filling:
Cook onion in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add lamb, allspice, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up lumps, until lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup pine nuts.

Make bulgur mixture:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cover bulgur by 1 inch with cold water in a bowl. When dust and chaff rise to surface, pour off water, then repeat rinsing 2 more times. Cover rinsed bulgur with cold water by 1 inch and let stand 10 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on bulgur to remove excess liquid, and transfer to a large bowl.

Pulse onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Add lamb, allspice, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and pulse until onion is finely minced (meat will look smooth). Add to bulgur and mix with your hands to combine well.

Assemble and bake kibbeh:
Lightly grease pie plate with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Press half of bulgur mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of plate (up 1 inch if using skillet). Spoon filling evenly over bulgur mixture. Spoon remaining bulgur mixture over filling and spread to cover, smoothing top. Brush top with remaining olive oil and score in a crosshatch pattern with a paring knife.

Bake kibbeh in middle of oven until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Broil kibbeh 5 to 7 inches from heat until top is golden brown and crusty, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sate Chicken Salad

April 25, 2009

img_02962If you love Thai food, but don’t always want the heavy rice or fried noodles, this recipe won’t disappoint. I made it hot for dinner but it would work well cold as a summer dish, too. Omit the chicken and it would make a great side as well.

Instead of the rotisserie the recipe calls for, I just cooked some chicken in sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a non-stick skillet. Also, I was out of soy sauce, so I substituted fish sauce (since the ingredients are slightly similar). It was amazing and I didn’t taste the omission, but I will certainly add the soy next time around. It was a great, light, crunchy dish with tons of flavor. Thanks to Gourmet magazine for this one!

SATE CHICKEN SALAD
Serves 6-8
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 large garlic clove
1 (1-inch) piece peeled ginger
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural-style)
6 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
3 cups slices or coarsely shredding rotisserie chicken
1 lb coleslaw mix
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Lime wedges for garnish

Pulse peanuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped, then transfer to a bowl. With motor running, drop garlic and ginger through feed tube and finely chop. Add peanut butter, water, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and red-pepper flakes and blend until smooth. Add more water to obtain desired consistency.

Toss chicken and vegetables with enough dressing to coat, then sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.


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