Grilled Sirloin with Salsa Verde

My friend Rich turned 40 on Saturday night and his lovely wife, Melanie, asked me if I would do the food for the party. Of course I said yes; it would be my gift to my #1 fan. Rich is all this chef ever needs. He loves my food and from what I hear, he goes on and on about it to everyone he knows. Thanks Rich for such wonderful kudos and Happy 40 buddy. It just gets better from here, as long as you have lots of wine or in your case, Bourbon!

Make sure you let the meat rest a bit after it comes off the grill.

Make sure you let the meat rest a bit after it comes off the grill.

Grilled Sirloin with Salsa Verde on the side

I thought about several menus over the past 6 weeks since I knew I would be doing this party. As we got closer to the date the weather got hotter and hotter. Well with this chef dealing with being hot all the time because of menopause, I had to prepare things that could be room temp at the hottest. I knew I would melt if I didn't. All the cooking had to be done the day of the party by 7 a.m.. So I got up, fired up the grill and roasted, toasted and grilled what needed to be done early.  My brother-in law Andy came down for dinner one night and I made this salsa verde steak thing and he loved it. It was manly and seemed like a good choice for Rich.

I wanted Rich's food to be original for him since 40 is a milestone that deserves a good food memory. I tweaked it a tad and made it his own. Good work outta you boy! And Cheers to my # 1 fan!!!!!!

Serves 4 - Italian Salsa Verde

  • 1 fresh garlic clove
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh grated lemon peel
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (Do not use that bottled stuff here. That would be bad.)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or if you like it hot,
  • 1 fresh Serrano Chile de-stemmed, seeds and all
  • 1 cup Italian parsley
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained or rinsed of salt, whichever you like
  • 3 anchovy filets, don't leave these out, you need them for richness and depth of flavor
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the first 6 ingredients into your food processor and whirl until it is pulverized well. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse about 6-10 times until it looks more like a salsa than a pesto. You should still be able to make out parsley and capers a bit. Set aside in fridge until needed. Make this at least 2 hours before. Bring up to room temp before serving along side the steak, or right on top - the way I like it.

  • 4 6oz. steaks cut at least 1 inch thick (I used filet for Rich's birthday, but you can use whatever steak you like, it's all good!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic s and p

Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and rub with fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Heat the grill to screeching hot and grill the steaks to your desired doneness internal temp 125 degrees for medium rare. Let meat rest at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with Salsa Verde and a nice glass of??? Hhhmmm let me see, Pinot Noir!

Other things I served that evening: Bruschetta Bar with 6 kinds of Bruschetta to start and Pineapple and Basil Margaritas Grilled Pepper, Gorgonzola and Pesto Bruschetta Ricotta and Tomato Bruschetta Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta Nectarine, Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey Bruschetta White Bean and Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta Along with some Hummus, Roasted Red Peppers and God knows what else? A ton of food Cilantro and Lime Slaw with Serrano Chile My Heirloom and Peach Salad already on this site Pasta Salad with Green Olivada Dressing and Fresh Tomatoes (from my garden) Local Melon Salad with Blackberries and Pistachios and Grated Ricotta Salata Grilled Chicken Legs with a Chopped Kalamata Olive and Arugula Salsa Along with dessert, some great people, a lot of laughs, fun stories and a few gifts of great Bourbon. A good time was had by all!

 

Posted on July 11, 2013 and filed under dinner menus.

Red Flannel Hash

Being from South of Boston (not South Boston - but close enough), gives me a little authority on how this meal should be done. It is a very traditional St. Paddy’s Day Feast. But of course you know me - I have just a little twist on it. I roast the beets instead of putting them in the broth. They retain so much more flavor and they do not turn everything red. The big bonus here is your  the next morning is so much tastier too.Red Flannel Hash Of course you must have leftovers to make tomorrow's breakfast. I am a purist that way. The red flannel hash MUST be made from the left over of this meal to have the flavor you need in the hash. That is just how it is done. You can ask any true New Englander. (Recipe for Red Flannel Hash follows) Of course there is a REAL recipe for Irish Soda Bread following as well. This recipe feeds 4, easily doubled and even tripled so you have enough for left overs for another meal and the hash. this is the meal that keeps on giving!

Ingredients
3-4 pound piece corned beef, whichever one you like best
1  4 oz piece of salt pork
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
5 black peppercorns
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3 " pieces
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
3 turnips, peeled and quartered
1 small rutabaga
6 small onions, peeled
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1  head cabbage cut into wedges
4 beets, roasted in a 400 degree oven until tender,  then peel and slice

How to Prepare
In large heavy pot, combine corned beef, bay leaves, caraway seeds and peppercorns and salt pork. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve on a plate, keep warm. Discard the pork. Add then to the broth the parsnips, carrots, and turnips and rutabaga, simmer for 20 minutes. If necessary add more water to cover. Add onions and potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve the warm, sliced meat with  a little  broth, beets and vegetables all around the meat on a big platter family style.

 

Posted on July 11, 2013 and filed under dinner menus.

How to make fresh corned beef

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Corned Beef and Cabbage | New England Style

Being from South of Boston (not South Boston – but close enough), gives me a little authority on how this meal should be done. It is a very traditional St. Paddy’s Day Feast. But of course you know me – I have just a little twist on it. I roast the beets instead of putting them in the broth. They retain so much more flavor and they do not turn everything red. The big bonus here is your  the next morning is so much tastier too.Red Flannel Hash Of course you must have leftovers to make tomorrow’s breakfast. I am a purist that way. The red flannel hash MUST be made from the left over of this meal to have the flavor you need in the hash. That is just how it is done. You can ask any true New Englander. (Recipe for Red Flannel Hash follows) Of course there is a REAL recipe for Irish Soda Bread following as well. This recipe feeds 4, easily doubled and even tripled so you have enough for left overs for another meal and the hash. this is the meal that keeps on giving!

Ingredients
3-4 pound piece corned beef, whichever one you like best
1  4 oz piece of salt pork
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
5 black peppercorns
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3 ” pieces
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3″ pieces
3 turnips, peeled and quartered
1 small rutabaga
6 small onions, peeled
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1  head cabbage cut into wedges
4 beets, roasted in a 400 degree oven until tender,  then peel and slice

How to Prepare

In large heavy pot, combine corned beef, bay leaves, caraway seeds and peppercorns and salt pork. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve on a plate, keep warm. Discard the pork. Add then to the broth the parsnips, carrots, and turnips and rutabaga, simmer for 20 minutes. If necessary add more water to cover. Add onions and potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve the warm, sliced meat with  a little  broth, beets and vegetables all around the meat on a big platter family style.

 

Posted on July 9, 2013 and filed under dinner menus.

Pine Nut Brittle and Chocolate Sauce

This is a great little "mouth adventure" for you to try. Make the peanut brittle - crack it up and dip them in the sauce to serve! We are going to have it with Venge's 2008 Oakville, Napa Valley Late Harvest Zin. If this is the only thing you make on the menu, make it! And please let me know you liked it!

Pine Nut Brittle & Chocolate Sauce

Pine Nut Brittle Recipe
Ingredients:
Makes about 1 pound
1 cup pine nuts, toasted in oven 8-10 minutes
1 tbsp fresh Rosemary, rough chopped
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup 4 tbsp fresh unsalted butter
3/8 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 piece of fresh lemon

Toast the pine nuts in a 350 degree oven until slightly golden. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate add the chopped rosemary and toss. Set aside until needed.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and oil rub some oil all over the paper to have it ready for when brittle come out of pan. This all happens in seconds - so take my advice - get set up and ready early because when it's done, it's done. You don't have time to think about it later. Make sure you have half a lemon piece sitting right there, because you'll use that as your "spreader".

Here goes; put the sugar water and corn syrup in a medium pot. When sugar dissolves, add the butter. Do not stir this mixture at all. Simply swirl the pan once in a while and try not to touch it too much. Continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes until a nice golden brown.

Remove pan from the heat.
(This part goes very quickly so be ready everything is in place to make it easier.) This is the final step and it’s one fell swoop! Whisk in baking soda, and salt. Quickly add the pine nuts and rosemary. Stir quickly to coat all the nuts. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared parchment paper and spread it around using the piece of lemon and flatten the mixture to your desired thickness. (I spread mine as thin as it would let me.) Let cool. It will harden in about a hour. Then crack it in the bite size pieces. Good news: you can have this as a treat all week. It keeps well in a airtight container at room temp for about that long.

Easy Chocolate Sauce
You can add any herb flavor to this sauce that you like, or just leave it plain. This great, rich, not-too-sweet sauce goes well with anything. I used Rosemary in this recipe. Feel free to experiment a bit and have some fun. Try new things.

Ingredients:
6 oz bittersweet or extra bittersweet chocolate at least 70 %, finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream

Pine Nut Brittle

Pine Nut Brittle

Chop the chocolate and put it in a heat-proof bowl. Then, set aside. Heat the cream in a pot, and be sure this pot has a tight fitting cover. Add your herb of choice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover tightly. I used one sprig of rosemary ( I wanted just subtle rosemary flavor) and let steep for 30 minutes. Discard the herbs and set aside. Meanwhile get a pot and add the sugar and water. Put over medium heat and stir only to dissolve sugar. Leave it alone - only swirl the pan once in a while. Cook until a golden amber color.

Remove from heat at this stage and add the cream.
Mixture will bubble up. Stir and put back on heat for just a minute to be sure all the caramel is melted in. Pour this mixture over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted thoroughly. (You can store this sauce in fridge up to a week until needed.) You can reheat this mixture care fully in a metal bowl over lightly simmering water. Don’t let the water touch the bowl or it could seize the sauce. When heated through and liquid again remove from heat and keep warm until you need it.


 

Posted on July 2, 2013 and filed under Desserts.

New Fangled Cole Slaw with Grilled Peaches, Ginger and Grapefruit Mint

Grilling is a key to bringing out rich flavors, so grill those peaches!

Grilling is a key to bringing out rich flavors, so grill those peaches!

This is my new favorite "go-to" Summertime Slaw

I was shopping for containers to plant the other day and I came across this new kind of mint I have never seen before – pink grapefruit mint.

I bought 2 containers of it after just a touch of the mint released this amazing pink grapefruit smell.  Mint can be so strong sometimes, it does not work with everything, but this one wasn’t.  The scent lingered in my brain all night. Some of my best recipes come from being kept awake with a new flavor and how to use it.  I came up with this recipe for ‘new fangled cole slaw with grilled peaches, ginger and grapefruit mint’.

Ingredients:

  • 1 -16 oz package of  cole slaw mix or make your own
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit mint, chopped fine orchiffonade (lemon mint would work as well)
  • 2 fresh peaches sliced, grilled lightly and cubed
  • 1/3 cup light veggie oil or canola oil – organic of course
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp  toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp hot peach pepper jelly (Stonewall Kitchen) or use hot pepper jelly
  • 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans or pine nuts (not chopped)

Process:

1. In a bowl combine the slaw mix, mint, and the peaches.

2. In a blender or food processor add both oils, ginger, vinegar, jelly and whirl until thick and incorporated.

3. Add the sauce to the slaw mixture and toss.

I put this in the fridge for 30 minutes to blend the flavors and I added the pecans last minute tossed and served.  It was simply outrageous in flavor and it is our new go-to summer salad.  Enjoy and let me know if you have any other new twists on this very flavorful delight!!!

 

Posted on June 27, 2013 and filed under Salads.

The Perfect Pie Crust

"Pie" dates back to 1304 B.C.

"Pie" dates back to 1304 B.C.

Welcome to the Fall Pie Series!  Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore the rich gastronomic history of pies and unlock some of their rich secrets from decades past.

This Chef knows there is more to pie than fruit. I love pie and not just apple.  Being the New England purist and Pilgrim that I am, I must start of with an absolute killer apple pie and just get that out of the way right up front. I started out thinking meat pies to be different to kick off the Fall Pie Series, but when I walked into the grocery and saw the amazing assortment of apples I had to change my mind and satisfy my palate.  Being in the Midwest this last year has made me more grateful for the places I have lived over the last 30.  New England has apples, apples and more apples. I am told this is the Heartland, but the assortment of produce for this Chef is a little sparse for my taste. However – when I saw the assortment of great apples yesterday I had to start with this post and redeem the Midwest myth of corn, corn, corn.

I was amazed in my research to find that pie, according to the Oxford Dictionary, dates back to as far as 1304 BC.  There is actual evidence of pies on the walls of the tomb of Ramses. The pie in many forms has a place in almost every country in the world. From Empanada to Calzone, Stromboli, Pastie, Crostata, Tart, Gallette, Patty, Somosas, Fynbos, Biltony, Sonker and Whoppie. The crust can be anything from homemade pie crust for fruit pies (recipe follows), to Puff Pastry, Filo, Bototie, and Choux. Over the next coming weeks I am going to try to incorporate all this lingo into the real deal so you can see and experience pie in its full glory.

The Perfect Pie Crust

I have redone the recipe to fit the busy lives of most of America to make this recipe doable and quick.  If you start with all the ingredients and tools cold, including the flour in the freezer for 20 minutes,  it should come out great.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour ( I use King Arthur ) 
  • 1 Tbs. sugar1/2 tsp. salt ( fine salt
  • )1/2 lb. or 2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces2 tsp. fresh lemon juice ( cold )
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs very cold water ( iced water )

Method:

I do all the steps below by hand with a pastry blender.

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor.  Pulse once to combine.

2. Add the butter and pulse just until coarse crumbs form, about 15 seconds.

3. Add the cold lemon juice and ice cold water.  Pulse just until moist crumbs form.

4. Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently shape it into two equal disks about 4 or 5 inches in diameter.

5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

6. Proceed when your ready working quickly to roll it out and place in pie plate.

7. I put it back in the fridge for an hour before I fill it with filling of choice.

If you have time issues just work as quickly as you can and get it into a preheated oven ready to bake.

 

Posted on June 22, 2013 .

Spanish Chorizo Poached in Argentine Red Wine

I served this dish as a appetizer standing around picking and talking about the wines that were coming with dinner and the food. This dish has a really nice kick to it. I could not find dried chorizo so I used fresh and it worked out very well flavor wise. These little bites had so much flavor, it was great spice and nice with the robustness of the merlot. There was not a piece left in the serving dish so I'm sure everyone liked it.

Ingredients:

  • Two 4-ounce pieces dry Spanish chorizo
  • 5-6 cups dry red wine ( Argentine red ), sausage should be covered
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in slivers
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, turning once, until the chorizo are plump, about 15 minutes. Uncover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Transfer the chorizo to a work surface and slice on the diagonal 1/4 inch thick. Return the chorizo slices to the skillet and  saute in a little olive oil until browned. Transfer the chorizo slices to a shallow serving bowl and pour in enough of the poaching liquid to reach halfway up the side of bowl. Serve the chorizo with toothpicks.

We will be pairing the 2007 "Luigi Bosca" with this dish.

Posted on June 4, 2013 and filed under appetizers.

Pot Lessons

With so much pot from which to chose, where do you begin?  Is it all in the thrill and how long it will last?   Do you want a mellow pot, or a crazy pot that will handle the heat for a long time?  How do you pick the right pot so you don’t get burned?

Will the one you chose satisfy the munchies? These are very delicate, but necessary questions to answer in order to make the right choices. For many years I was not getting all the benefits of the right pot.

I hope I had you going there for a minute even though to me a good kitchen pot find is a high that last longer than the planted type. Let me give you a few pot lessons to help you make some great choices for your kitchen.

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I am never going to be the one to push those lovely, pretty sets of pots and pans. Personally I think they are a lot of money and half of what comes in the collection are useless pieces. They take up space and are too expensive to toss out and all they do is clutter up you drawers and cabinets.

These are my beliefs about kitchen pots

Le Creuset Stock Pot

Le Creuset Stock Pot

  • Numero Uno! – A great, great stock pot. I am the creator of #SoupWeek and soups around our house are the life blood all winter and fall. I make large batches, enough to share with friends every time. (#ShareASoup week on Twitter and Facebook in the Fall 2013. Details this Summer.)  My stock pot is heavy bottom and is a 20 quart. Ya’ll may need smaller but you need at least one of these pots in your collection.  I also make my Sunday Gravy in this pot. Full of pork chops, meatballs, sausages, lamb and anything else I can find on sale in the meat department usually ends up in there.  (I always need extra to share and sometimes 20 quart pot is not big enough. I do, however, like watching people eyeing the last meatball.)  I have had great Mama Italian cooks tell me I make the best sauce they ever had. I take this compliment with pride and honor their opinion deeply. It would not be possible with out my great stock pot. (All Clad Copper Core Pots) 
  • You need a great saute’ pan or two in a couple of sizes. From omelets to veal cutlets, items should fit into the pan correctly for the best results.  Selecting a heavy bottom with a layer of copper somewhere in the mix to spread the heat properly is key.  There are several great choices out there. Find the one that is the most comfortable in your hand because you and your a saute’ pan spend a lot of time together.  (Staub’s Round Cocotte) 

    Next you need a great Dutch Oven for slow simmers on your stove top and long braises in the oven. Select one that can be used in both places – that is important.  There are a couple of really great companies that make the heavy enamel pots in many colors. Pick one that will fit a good size roast or that will simmer a nice beef stew.  These types of pots are a great addition to anyone’s kitchen and necessary for success in certain dishes.

Some people rave about copper pans and pots, I am one of them. However, they are not for everyone and you need some years around the kitchen to use them. They conduct heat very quickly and can burn very easily. But when you master their use, they are they best.  Cooking with copper pots is a delicate balance that differs on every single stove. They are very expensive, but will last your lifetime and your great, great, great grandchildren and 100’s of years after that if maintained properly.  (Lodge Cast Iron Pots)

    Everyone should own at least one very seasoned, preferably your grandmothers already broken in, cast iron pan.  I buy mine at antique stores because they are great after re-seasoning and are ready to go. Do not leave acid based ingredients in cast iron for too long or the pan will rust and your food will taste like iron. I make a vinegar chicken in mine to die for, but after you add the vinegar and the food is done cooking, it is off the stove and into the sink for cleaning. Nevertheless, don’t let your cast iron cookware sit around on the stove with the food still in the pan.

    William-Sonoma has all the pot bells and whistles one could ask for. When they are having a sale this is a great place to start. People are generally very knowledgeable as far as pots and pans go who work there. 

    As far as these $70 tiny pots to melt butter in and the steamer part of a $1200 set of pots- that’s crazy.  Your money is better spent on a $3 glass measuring cup to melt butter in the microwave or a great Chinese style steamer basket. Then you will have $1177 left over for a great pair of Jimmy Choo’s for the other MaMa in you!!!!

 

Posted on May 23, 2013 and filed under tools of the cook.

Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad with Mozarella di Bufala

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. The problem is you can only enjoy 6 months if your lucky out of the year. The tomatoes have to be ripe and the peaches have to be perfect. And it is so nice that we now can get great cheeses from Italy so fresh all the time and in regular grocery stores. I was out at this new grocery store in our area the other day and found just what I wasn't looking for. Fresh heirlooms, though I was skeptical so early in the season. Nice local peaches and Mozzarella di Bufala. I went out to my garden and picked some fresh basil and hoped for the best. It was just amazing and everyone  at the table was raving. Like I had anything to do other than grow the basil and arrange a plate. But I'll take it.

  • 6 medium size really fresh heirloom tomatoes (or nice fresh local ones would be fine)
  • 1 container (imported from Italy) Mozzarella di Bufala, its about a 6 oz ball
  • 3 medium fresh, ripe peaches, halved, pitted and sliced in 6-8 wedges each
  • 15 basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a really good, aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy preferred
  • a nice crunchy sea salt, I used salt from Sicily
  • fresh cracked pepper
Peaches and Fennel ... amazing!

Peaches and Fennel ... amazing!

This is so easy to do and so delicious I will be your new best friend! Slice the tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices or wedge them, up to you.  Arrange on a pretty plate and top all around with the peach wedges. Slice the mozzarella in 1/4 inch slices and lay also around the plate. Tear the basil with your hands and scatter over the salad. Dress with about 3 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with that love balsamic. S and P to taste and Serve away. So easy yet the flavors are amazing and delicate and then you get a bunch from the basil.

That's it. I'm going to make one right now.

Posted on May 20, 2013 and filed under Salads.

Heirloom Tomato, Grilled Watermelon, and Grilled Peach Salad with Taragon Dressing

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I have a feeling this is going to be the year for amazing and fun new salad ideas. As you can see, I’ve already started and this tasty little salad is going to rock your world. Not only is it pretty with all the great color, It is high on the taste hit parade as well.  Feel free to change up the cheese to Ricotta Salata or anything you feel would suit your taste buds.  Let me know what you’ve tried, I am always interested in new ideas.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound seedless watermelon, rind removed

1/2 pound peaches, cut in quarters and pitted

3/4 pound heirloom tomatoes (about two large tomatoes)

3 ounces feta cheese

1 sprig fresh tarragon leaves

1 tbsp champagne vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Process:

Salad

1. Cut the watermelon into large, imperfect chunks
2.  Cut the peaches in quarters and discard the pit
3.  Lightly grill the watermelon and peaches so they get nice grill marks
4.  Put the fruit in a bowl after cooling or arrange them on large platter
5.  Slice the heirloom tomatoes into wedges. Combine with the fruit
6.  Crumble feta over the watermelon, peach and tomato mixture

Full of new sweetness: the peach loves the grill!

Full of new sweetness: the peach loves the grill!

Dressing

1.  In a blender add the tarragon, vinegar, oil, sugar and salt and pepper to taste, pulse till combined.>
2.  Dress salad lightly to your taste.  Serve away!!!!!

Enjoy this new fun salad
 
for the Summer of 2013!

 

Posted on May 19, 2013 and filed under Salads.

Chef Robin's Personal Thanksgiving Menu!

Being a Pilgrim myself, (what! you say?) Yes I have Pilgrim blood in me. My fathers relatives where right off the Mayflower.  John White and his family are related to me.  that's probably why every time I went to Plimouth Plantation I felt at home. Growing up near there we went all the time. What do think was my favorite area? You guessed it, I would kill to have a kitchen like that now, lol. What I could do with the bread oven alone, my gosh! I have done a tremendous amount of research on what traditional Pilgrim Thanksgiving would have been. I have put a twist on everything to bring it into the 21st century. They would have served fish and seafood of course, but I save that for Christmas and New Years Eve.

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My Thanksgiving Prayer and the things I am Thankful for.
I am thankful to have so many wonderful friends. Friends that I call family. Thanks for being there always. I am Thankful for all the new friends I have made on Twitter and my website, you are becoming a part of my extended family and I look forward to seeing you all everyday. I am thankful for our Armed Forces and their bravery that protects my country and all of us everyday so we can be free to live our lives, though it is threatened daily. Raise your glass to them this Thanksgiving and remember they wish they could be home with their families, but duty calls. My wish is that people would stop hating, that gay kids didn't fear for their lives that they take their own first. That people could just live side by side and be free to worship the way they please without it causing a war and hate. I don't believe that any God or spiritual leader condones hate and killing. After all isn't that how this holiday even started, people left their homeland for religious freedom? From 1620 and before till present times have we not learned anything? Sometimes it seems like we have not. Be thankful this Thanksgiving and be safe. Cheers to you all my friends old and new, Happy Thanksgiving 2010 !!!

Appetizers

Spicy Rosemary Roasted Nuts
Gorganzola & Roasted Pear Bruschetta
Big Butz Bar-B-Que Chicken Wings
Manchego & Chorizo Bruschetta

First Course

Spicy Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

Main Course

Turkey Two Ways:
Traditional New England Style Slow Roasted with a Sage Stuffing
& Bar-B-Que Turkey Breast by Hanneke158

Sides

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries & Pistachios
Medley of Roasted Squash, Turnip, & Carrots with Crispy Shallots
Sauteed Green Beans & Red Bell Pepper
Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Chili Powder & Lime
Mashed Potatoes
Home Made Cranberry Sauce

Mixed Bread Basket

Mini Corn Muffins
Home Made Zucchini Bread
Parker House Rolls
Orange Cranberry Bread

Desserts

Home Grown Pumpkin Pie
Fresh & Local Apple Pie
Banana Cream Pie
Home Made Tapioca

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise

 

Posted on November 11, 2012 and filed under Holiday.

Espresso ... 5 Ways


Chef Robin White weaves the rich, complex flavor of espresso through 5 original recipes: Espresso, 5 Ways

Chef Robin White weaves the rich, complex flavor of espresso through 5 original recipes: Espresso, 5 Ways

On October 13th, 2012, a group of coffee-loving women will gather at my home outside of Chicago - and we will have an "espresso dinner". I'm pretty excited about this because it was so much fun to orchestrate recipes around the bold flavors of espresso. The folks at Saeco are letting me try out their espresso machine for this event and I've worked to learn the nuances of grinds to get the flavors where I wanted them to be. Check out the menu here - try them with us on the night of Oct. 13th - and enjoy the depth of this exotic flavor in some very new ways.

Recipe 1 / The Espresso Martini

Ingredients

•                2 cups freshly brewed espresso, chilled

•                2 cups orange-flavored vodka, your favorite

•                1 cup coffee liqueur, your favorite

8 slices orange peel, thin slices Instructions -Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add the espresso, vodka, and coffee liquor of your choice. Shake for 30 seconds or so. Strain into a chilled glass and decorate with the orange peel. Serve at once because everyone will be waiting to indulge. 

Recipe 2 / Heirloom Tomato Salad with an Espresso Balsamic Reduction 

 

 

Ingredients

•                 1/2 cup freshly-brewed espresso

•                 1/4 cup of local honey

•                 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar plus 1 tablespoon honey if your balsamic is not that sweet

•                 1/8 teaspoon salt

Zest of one lemon Start by setting up the reduction. Pour the coffee, vinegar, salt, and honey into a small saucepan. Zest the lemon directly into the saucepan using a microplane. Stir to combine and dissolve the honey, then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. cook until reduced by 1/3. This can be down a day ahead. bring dressing to room temp before using on the salad

You can build your salad however you wish

I am using a goat cheese log rolled in fresh cracked pepper and fresh basil.

4 slices of medium tomato per person 1 1/2 inch slice of the goat cheese and a couple of torn fresh basil leaves drizzle a small amount of the dressing over the salad and finish with some nice sea salt or pink salt .

Recipe #3 / Espresso BBQ sauce & Assorted Grilled Meats I am going to be grilling some locally raised chickens and using this BBQ sauce for the main part of this amazing espresso dinner using my Saeco Espresso Machine.

Espresso BBQ Sauce on Grilled Prawns / Serves 12 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 1/4 cup extra-large capers, drained well and finely chopped 5 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine tbsp fresh shallot, finely minced 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice S and P to taste 24 large prawns, about 1 1/2 pound, peeled, deveined, tail left on Olive oil, for grilling

Prepare as follows:

Preheat a your grill out side or a stove top grill pan to high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, capers, olives, shallots, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let stand to allow flavors to blend. Toss the prawns with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until bright pink and just cooked through, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.

To serve, put dollop of sauce on a plate; stand the shrimp upright with their tails touching around the yogurt. Great little app served with a tasting of Assyrtiko, a great little greek wine to go with these greek flavors. If you cannot find it a nice Sauvignon Blanc, not to flowery, will due just fine. 


Posted on October 10, 2012 and filed under Desserts, dinner menus, appetizers.