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star burger

16 burgers

For the 4th of July party main course(s), I made beer-boiled and grilled brats, oven roasted BBQ chicken thighs (recipe to follow) and chile-cheese stuffed burgers.

fireroasted chile cheese burger

Far and away, the burgers were the star. (Look for Sheila’s Old-Fashioned Potato Salad recipe tomorrow.)

Tram and Julie

Tram and Julie, filling their plates with burger and brat.

5 inch circle

This recipe makes enough burgers for a crowd. It can easily be halved or quartered. One thing you’ll need is a 5-inch template to form the burgers with. The center green area of this plate is exactly 5-inches, so I used it as my guide.

grill area

The Grill Pit – where the Magic Happens!

hamburger

Chile & Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers

6 Anaheim chiles
4 large jalapeño chiles
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
12-ounces shredded pepper Jack cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 pounds ground beef, divided into 32 three-ounces portions
16 hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls, split and lightly toasted

Lettuce leaves, onion and tomato slices, sweet pickle relish, mustard and ketchup, for serving

on the flame

Roast the Anaheim and jalapeño chiles on either the grill or stovetop until blacked on all sides.

blackened

To prevent the jalapeños from falling through the grates, use a stovetop-roasting grate, which can be found at kitchen stores such as Sur La Table or ordered online from HERE.

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July 7, 2014   3 Comments

BPP Pizza

Last night’s beautiful Arizona sunset. No filters, no Photoshop, just pure natural beauty!

AZ sunset

This quick and easy pizza has some of my favorite Italian ingredients and they can all be found, along with the pizza dough, at Trader Joe’s.

burrata

Burrata, a luscious cream-filled fresh mozzarella cheese.

pancetta

Pancetta, Italian-style bacon, already diced into “cubetti” pieces. Actually, I don’t know if the word “cubetti” has anything to do with the diced pieces, but it is convenient!

prosciutto

Prosciutto, this package is actually from Costco and was in my freezer, so don’t be alarmed with the “use by” date. Prosciutto can always be found at TJ’s too.

TJ pizza dough

I prefer Trader Joe’s whole-wheat dough, but while pulling a package from the back of the case (looking for the freshest bag – a selfish little thing I always do with fresh packaged food) I accidentally grabbed the plain dough. The reasons I like the whole-wheat better are two-fold, it is easier to work with due to the texture and I think the taste is superior.

The only other ingredients you need are a little olive oil, a medium ripe tomato and a smidgen of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

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June 27, 2014   6 Comments

perciatelli pasta

I have a new favorite variety of pasta.

perciatelli

Have you ever had or heard of perciatelli pasta? I hadn’t until I enjoyed it in a wonderful cold pasta salad that my cousin, Michelle, made for a family gathering. The only place I’ve been able to find it is at Fry’s, but it’s possible I haven’t looked hard enough.

perciatelli top view

Perciatelli, also know as bucatini, are hollow pasta strands that are thicker than spaghetti. Spaghetti, fettucini, or linguini may be substituted in the recipe.

lump crab

The lump crabmeat I prefer to use is the Phillips brand, which can be found at Costco.

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

Perciatelli Pasta with Crabmeat and Peas

1 pound perciatelli pasta
Salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and light green parts, reserve green tops for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley, divided

Cook the perciatelli in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

green onion

While pasta water comes to a boil, cook spring onions in 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

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June 25, 2014   2 Comments

raw and green

This light summer salad is so delicious and refreshing. An added bonus – no cooking or heating up the kitchen is involved!

Shaved Asparagus, Parmesan and Sugar Snap Pea Salad1

One more thing … it’s pretty as a picture.

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June 11, 2014   1 Comment

Meatless Monday

veggies

After visiting The Simple Farm last week, I was inspired to make a meatless meal.

This meal is “Connor Approved!”

flatbread pesto

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June 9, 2014   2 Comments

firecrackers

On May 29, 2011, I posted a recipe for Jalapeño Poppers.

openjalapeno

Poppers are jalapeño peppers, cleaned out, filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked. And in this case, brushed with apricot preserves. The spicy morsels make for one delicious and addictive appetizer.

firecrackers

A little more than three years later, I have another delicious and addictive recipe for you … not little poppers, instead, great big firecrackers!

chicken and jalapeno firecrackers

I’m calling them firecrackers because they have an extra flavor explosion – chicken and BBQ sauce. The firecrackers can be sliced and served as appetizers or cut half, on a diagonal, and served as a main course.

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June 5, 2014   2 Comments

on a dare

Yesterday morning I opened my computer and did what I do each morning. I checked my email, I made sure my blog post posted correctly and then I went on Facebook. The first thing I saw on FB was a post from my high school and FB friend, Cynthia.

fbpost

Did you see that? A dare was issued to me on social media. I had to try this recipe now! I was dared! So yes, I made it. And yes, it’s pretty great. Although there were some serious omissions on the original recipe…

… such as the importance of placing the bottom round of dough onto parchment paper or a baking sheet before adding the filling. Let me tell you, it is impossible to move the dough with the filling on it from the counter to a baking sheet! But no worries, I suffered through that error and I’ve rewritten the recipe to reflect such an important detail.

sunflower spinach pie

I also amped up the filling to my liking and added other little details that were obviously done on the original recipe but not mentioned in the instructions, such as using an egg wash and placing seeds on the center section.

baked

All in all, a great recipe that just need a bit more explaining and details. And it really is easier than it looks to make. It would be perfect for Easter! Trust me, you can do it!

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April 10, 2014   2 Comments

Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli and a birthday wish

Tarbell's

Chef/Restauranteur and longtime friend, Mark Tarbell of Tarbell’s Restaurant, was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes on Monday and Tuesday nights. His menu was inspired, fun, and delicious. The first course was Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli.

frico round

Frico, is an Italian savory food, typical of Friuli, in the northeastern tip of Italy, which consists of a thin crisp wafer of shredded cheese, baked or fried until crisp. The customary cheeses used include Montasio, Parmesan or mozzarella. Mark used Montasio cheese, but Parmesan is easier to find and works just as well.

I’ve sung the praises of smoked paprika or pimentón many times here before. I don’t know why I didn’t think of making a pimentón mayonnaise – brilliant!

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February 26, 2014   4 Comments

Olympic sliders

A quick note before we get to today’s recipe: If you read yesterday’s post about the amazing cauliflower, you’ll recall that I said my friend, Ronnie had the dish at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. Ronnie sent me a fabulous photo of the hotel lobby all decked out for Christmas. It’s a must see, so I’ve added it to the bottom of that post, for all to enjoy. Check it out!

So… I heard about an amazing snack that is served at a bar in Brooklyn. The bar is called Pork Slope and the appetizer  – Chicken & Waffle Sliders. How perfect would that have been for the Super Bowl?!?

pork slope slider

Via

Dang it. Oh well, you know what I did? I served it as our Official Olympics Opening Ceremony Snack. Yeah, take that lopsided 2014 Super Bowl! You were not worthy of these Olympic sliders!

olympic snack

I found a recipe online, changed it just a tad… and …. it was a major hit with my two guys.

waffle grocery

A quick word about the frozen waffles. The recipe I found called for Aunt Jemima frozen square waffles. I could not find Aunt Jemima waffles at my grocery store, nor could I find square waffles. Belgium waffles – that was all they had in any and all brands. The closest thing to square that I was able to find were octagonal waffles.

2 buns

What you want to use for each slider is four squares of a waffle for the top “bun” and another four square piece for the bottom “bun.”  Here is what I did.

stop sign waffle

Take a waffle.

3 buns each

Cut 3 “four square” pieces from each waffle.

6 waffles, 18 pieces, 9 sliders

A package of 6 frozen octagonal waffles yielded 9 sliders. Here’s the math:

6 waffles = 18 “buns” = 9 sliders

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February 12, 2014   5 Comments

“The Rebel Within” Knockoff

There is so much I have to tell you about this recipe that I hardly know where to begin. So, how about at the beginning?

pot pantry cards

Almost exactly one year ago, on January 30, 2013, I wrote about how Marissa and I had gone into a kitchen store in San Francisco and found wonderful watercolor postcards of famous dishes from various San Francisco restaurants. We framed the postcards and they now hang in Marissa’s kitchen. One dish in particular caught our fancy. It is a breakfast muffin from Craftsman & Wolves.

firm yolk

The next day, 1/31/13, I tried to recreate “The Rebel Within” at home. Although the end product was tasty, it was not at all what I was looking for… there was no runny egg yolk in the middle of a baked muffin.

within

Fast-forward almost a year to January, 22, 2014, when I wrote about how Marissa and I finally went to Craftsman & Wolves and tasted “The Rebel Within” for ourselves and about my renewed passion to try to recreate it at home.

Just as I had done back in January 2013, I went online to research what I could about how it would be possible to bake a whole egg in a muffin and get it to be “soft-boiled” with a runny yolk.

3 eggs

Via

First, I stumbling upon this website and read up on “egg cookery” – I then found out that two wonderful women had “cracked the code” to The Rebel Within. They went through dozens of eggs and baked more muffins than I would have ever had the patience to bake… and they did it!

hot or cold

Via

Tuesday morning, I used their method.  The result?

not perfect

Although my “Rebel Within” was not as beautiful, or as perfect, or as tall and well-shaped as the muffins at Craftsman & Wolves or as the muffins the brilliant women at Follow Me Foodie baked, it tasted exactly like the muffin Marissa and I enjoyed at Craftsman & Wolves!  And the yolk – it was perfectly runny!

runny

If you would like to make this masterpiece at home, I’ve posted the recipe here, the majority of which is copy/pasted from the Follow Me Foodie post, with just bits and pieces of my own additions and omissions.

I still strongly suggest you go to the Follow Me Foodie recipe post and read from top to bottom about their trials and tests and all of their tips and suggestions. It’s truly amazing and a really good read, even if you do not plan to bake the muffins. There’s a whole boatload of interesting information, dedication, perseverance and patience to be seen there!

If you don’t have the time to read it all, allow me to let you in on a few of the notes that I found to be more important:

2 eggs cracked

The recipe makes six muffins. Even so, I suggest you start with 12 eggs, as I did, when you’re making the Extra-Soft Boiled Eggs. Of the 12 eggs I started with, seven turned out perfectly.

5 bad eggs

Another two would haven been “usable” but were less than perfect … and the remaining three … completely unusable.

cracked eggs

It is imperative that you “warm” the eggs before dropping them in the boiling water. Use hot tap water to do so. I actually brought the eggs to room temperature first, and then let them sit in the hot tap water for the amount of time it took the water that the eggs would be cooked in to come to a boil. Even so, two of the eggs cracked almost immediately as they were placed in the boiling water. I took those out and discarded them straight off the bat. They were two of the “completely unusable” eggs mentioned above.

breakfast sausage

Via

The Follow Me Foodie women used bacon for their recipe, I used breakfast sausage, just as they do at the C&W. As much as I love bacon, I’d suggest going with sausage for this.

Be certain to boil the eggs for EXACTLY 4 minutes and 30 seconds. If you want to achieve that runny yolk, this is the most important part of the recipe.

popover pan

The Follow Me Foodie women suggest that you either use a popover pan or a large muffin tin. I have 2 popover pans, so of course, I used a popover pan. I can’t begin to imagine how it would work in a muffin tin. It wouldn’t be tall enough.

If you don’t own a popover pan, buy one or borrow one! If you live anywhere near me, you can borrow mine.

lift off

Once the muffins were done baking and had cooled, I found it easiest to remove them by placing a baking sheet on top and flipping it over, then gently lifting the popover pan off. Because of how much they overflowed, I feared that the tops would rip off if I tried to “lift” them out of the molds individually. This is the method that worked for me.

1 good 1 bad

Finally, when peeling the extra-soft boiled eggs, take care to gently crack all over. While peeling the last couple eggs, my mind was wandering and I failed to do so. The egg on the left is what happened as a result of not cracking all over. The egg on the right is an example of how to do it correctly.

Oh, and to those of you who so generously and selflessly volunteered to be taste-testers … I’ll have to soft-boil and bake up another batch. Those first six muffins are long gone my friends!

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February 6, 2014   8 Comments