Friday, September 14, 2012

Blue Cheese Oven Fries w/Rubs Mmmmm...

Serves 4

2 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled

Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch slices or cut into wedges about the same thickness.  Let stand in large bowl of cold water at least 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead)

3 tablespoons butter
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Drain potatoes and pat dry on paper towels.  Place butter in 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.  Place in oven until butter melts. Add potatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with the rub of your choice. Toss until potatoes are thoroughly coated. Spread out into even layer.  Bake 20 minutes.  Turn potatoes with large spatula.  Return to oven and continue baking until potatoes are tender, crusty and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with Blue Cheese Sauce.

As an alternative, take potatoes out of the oven 5 minutes early, pour blue cheese sauce over the potatoes and put back into the oven for the additional 5 minutes.

Blue Cheese Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup crumbled Maytag or other bleu cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium-size sauce pan.  Heat thoroughly until warm and bubbly.

Blackening Cajun Hamburgers

  • 24 ounces ground chuck
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Blackening Cajun r.u.b.s.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices cheese, such as cheddar, American, or Swiss, optional
  • 4 soft hamburger-style buns, split
  • 4 slices large tomatoes, optional
  • Assorted lettuces and greens, such as iceberg, romaine, or watercress
  • Assorted mustards, such as whole-grained, Dijon, or French's, optional
  • Mayonnaise, optional
  • Ketchup, optional
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a roasting rack on a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven.

Using your hands, break the meat into small pieces and combine evenly but loosely on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Spread the meat out and season it generously with salt and pepper. If desired, add the spice mix at this time.

Divide the meat into 4 portions (about 6 ounces each). Using your hands, form each portion into a ball-shape by gently tossing it from 1 hand to the other. (Don't over work or press too firmly on the meat.) Gently form each portion into a patty about 3 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch-thick.

Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the oil. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until well-browned, about 2 minutes each side.

Using a spatula, transfer the hamburgers to the roasting rack in the oven and continue cooking to desired doneness, 8 to 9 minutes for medium-rare, 10 to 11 minutes for medium, and 13 to 15 minutes for well-done. If you are using the cheese, top the hamburgers during their last couple of minutes of cooking to melt.

Transfer the hamburgers to a plate, let rest for a couple minutes before serving. Meanwhile, toast the hamburger buns. 

Assemble the hamburgers with the condiments and toppings of your choice. Serve.

Timing for a Counter Top Grill:
When cooking on a counter-top grill:
Turn on grill. Place Burgers on the heated grill.
For Medium-Rare: Cook for 3 minutes covered and then unplug the machine and continue to cook covered for 2 to 3 more minutes.
For Medium: Cook for 4 minutes covered and then unplug the machine and continue to cook covered for 4 more minutes.
For Well: Cook for 5 minutes covered and then unplug the machine and continue to cook covered for 5 more minutes.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Minted Lemonade

Serves 4 

Simple Syrup

3 cups water

In a medium saucepan, bring water and cane sugar to a boil, remove from heat.

1 cup packed mint leaves
6 fresh basil leaves
Cover saucepan and steep for 10 minutes.
2 lemons
Slice lemons and put into a pitcher.
2 lemons
Juice lemons and add juice into pitcher.
2 Tablespoons honey
Add honey into pitcher with lemons and muddle with a wooden spoon, until juice is extracted from the lemons.  Pour simple syrup into pitcher, stir until blended. Fill each glass with ice and divide lemonade between the 4 glasses.  Top with ice cold water.  Stir and enjoy!

BBQ Spareribs

Serves 10

12 pounds pork spareribs
Smoked sea salt, Yakima, Durango or Salish
Pepper, freshly ground 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange ribs in single layer on baking sheets. Season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until very tender, about 70 minutes.  To obtain ribs with meat on both sides, cut out every other bone. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate.)

2 cups Southern Comfort Peach BBQ sauce
Arrange ribs in single layer on baking sheets. Coat generously with sauce. Bake until ribs are hot and sauce starts to glaze, about 25 minutes. Line platter with a hardy lettuce or kale. Top with ribs. Serve hot.

Southern Comfort Peach BBQ sauce

2 cups tomato puree
½ cup peach preserves
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup Southern Comfort
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt, Yakima, Durango or Salish

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer about an hour. (Sauce can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup Raspberry Cane sugar
2-tablespoon fresh mint leaves

Bring the wine, cane sugar and mint leaves to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Strain mint leaves out of mixture.

1/2 ripe cantaloupe, halved, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups) 

1 (8-ounce) fresh strawberries, quartered 

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved lengthwise 

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

Combine the cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes in a large bowl. Pour the warm wine mixture over; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 2 hours. Garnish with chopped mint leaves.