Saturday, June 2, 2012

When Shrimp Travel to Brussels

Whatcha Need

10-12 medium shrimp (de-veined and shelled)
4 cups whole Brussels sprouts
1/2 package of bacon (Center Cut is really the way to go)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package Couscous
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp tarragon
Salt and Pepper

Whatcha Do With It

Fill a large saucepan with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook them for about 8 minutes. Remove the sprouts from the heat, drain, and then chill them in the refrigerator. Slice the sprouts in half when they have cooled.

While this is going on, boil 2 cups of water. Once it begins to boil, stir in your couscous, cover the pan and remove from heat.

Rough chop the bacon and render over medium heat until it is done. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat and grease from the pan, leaving the 2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

There are times when you want something sweet and something roasted. For those times I offer these little cues of delight. There's really something different when you roast sweet potatoes. They will give you that full feeling of potatoes with far less of that heavy carby feeling.


Preheat your oven at 425 degrees


2 medium sweet potatoes
2 sprigs of rosemary, diced finely
1 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into equally sized cubes, roughly 1/2 inch cubes.
Dice rosemary sprigs.
Place in a bowl and add salt and pepper.
Pour in olive oil and toss to coat completely.
Spread this out evenly on a baking pan and place in oven for 45 mins.
At the halfway point, use a wooden spoon or spatula to shuffle the sweet potatoes around.
At the 45 minute mark check for doneness. They should have a light toasted feeling but will be easy to mush.
Continue to back until this is reached.

Carolina BBQ Sauce

Get a taste of the Carolinas with this ditty. This is a vinegar based creation that will bring in some bold flavors to any pork or chicken dish you have. I use this with shredded meats that have been roasted mainly. It's super simple and it lasts for over a month when refrigerated.

Ingredients and Process:

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar;
1/2 cup homemade ketchup
1 cup Dijon or homemade mustard;
2 garlic cloves, minced;
1 tsp cayenne pepper;
1 tsp sea salt;
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper;

Combine in an airtight jar and chill. Use whenever you need to elevate the flavor profiles or your meats.

Stop Buying Ketchup!

That's right. Just stop it now. Next time you want to have something to slather on your fries, burgers or whatever, just take a few minutes to make something that isn't processed nor abnormally red.

Just follow these steps to joy:

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste;
2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice;
1/4 tsp dry mustard;
1/3 cup water;
1/4 tsp cinnamon;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 pinch ground cloves;
1 pinch ground allspice;
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional;

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, bowl, whatever and place in an airtight jar and refrigerate overnight. Done and done.

Friday, June 1, 2012


I decided that I wanted some chili. This was odd for me as I like the idea of chili but normally wouldn't ever order it anywhere. There's something about the fake creaminess of some versions or the beans or something. So I peeked in the freezer and found that I had some hamburger, ground turkey and even some sweet Italian sausage.

Now this may seem ridiculous but I knew that these three meats needed to become a meat Voltron. Now know that this was my version of chili and it is glorious.

What's in it?

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 pound of ground turkey
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
3/4 cup of chili powder
2 small onions (diced)
48 ounces of diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp of ground oregano
1 tsp of ground ground thyme
1 tbsp of cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of clarified butter/cooking oil


Toss in the butter/cooking oil with the onion over medium high heat in a high walled pot. Brown lightly. Place garlic in and cook for a few minutes. Place half the hamburger and half of the turkey in the pot and brown slightly. Add half of the cumin and other dried spices.

Continue to stir and brown the meat. Once the pink starts to go away, add the rest of the meat and the remaining chili powder. Once all of the meat has browned, lower the heat to a simmer and continue to simmer for another hour, continuing to stir it every five or so minutes.

At the end of the hour add the tomatoes and then continue to simmer for another 20 minutes. I'd take this time to taste the concoction as the juices from the tomatoes will have diluted the flavoring. Season to taste and serve.

This is great by itself. You can also pour this over rice if you feel like you need a starch or carb.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You Say Fritatta, I Say Crustless Quiche

I can't think of a time where I don't want a quiche. The lightness of the egg, the freedom to throw whatever you'd like into it as long as there's dairy and something you naturally crave - simple ham and cheese, the shrimp and asparagus, the lobster and sour cream. I mean really, if you can make an omelet, you can make a quiche.

Most of us always have the ingredients around. Walk over to your fridge and take a look. I bet you have everything that you'd ever want, well maybe except the crust. Well if you don't have a crust, then you have the makings of a fritatta!

9 eggs
handful of thin asparagus ~1/2 cup
1/2 cup Black Forest ham, thinly sliced and diced
2/3 cup of whole milk
ground pepper
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 350.

Clean and break your asparagus. For those that have never done this, hold the stalk in your hands and slowly bend it. It will break in the correct area and provide the best tasting portion for you. It may seem wasteful, until you try to cook the entire stalk and get some rather fibery parts. Really the last thing you need are overly chewy chunks of asparagus in this dish.

Once you have broken apart these tasty treats, roughly chop them into smaller portions and set aside. Stack and dice the ham into very small pieces so that they will evenly distribute into the egg mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk, eggs, milk, and half of the cheese together. Once everything is smooth, mix in your pepper and set aside.

Heat the butter and oil in your ovenproof skillet on medium high. Just as the butter and oil begin to smoke, toss in your asparagus and cook for four to five minutes (or until bright green). Once you reach this point, toss in your diced ham and cook for another three minutes.

Pour asparagus and ham into the egg mixture and lightly combine. Some people pour the egg into the hot pan, but I prefer this method to prevent as I find it easier to spread the meat and vegetable around in the bowl and away from the heat. Too much activity in the pan can scramble the eggs when you really just want them to set.

Once mixed thoroughly, return to pan and reduce heat to medium low and pour remaining cheese on top. Allow the egg mix to cook for approximately another 10 minutes to set. As the mixture becomes somewhat solid, remove from the stove and place in the oven and cook for 20-5 minutes or until golden brown.

As you remove the dish, the fritatta will puff up and look like it will break free from the confines of the skillet but have no fear. As it cools, it will reduce back to its normal size. This should take 5 minutes. Waiting will also allow the cheese to continue to melt and spread and allow you time to make a side salad or some garlic toast.

Slice and serve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Apple, Cheddar and Thyme Turnovers


1 tart apple
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 package of frozen puff pastry -- thawed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon of chopped thyme
1 bowl of water


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel, core and chop the apple into very small portions.

Slowly melt butter in a small saucepan and set aside once it's thoroughly melted.

Spread out the two sheets of puffed pastry and cut into 12 squares. If the puff pastry begins to get too doughy, place it back in the fridge for ten minutes. Place 1/2 teaspoon of cheese, 1 teaspoon of apple and a pinch of thyme in the center of each square, brush the edges with a scant amount of water and fold over into a triangle. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining squares.

Brush the tops of the turnovers with the melted butter and if you have extra cheese you can sprinkle atop as well.

Bake the turnovers for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve while they are still warm.