4th of July

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Picnic Fried Chicken

July 3, 2014

I love fried chicken and make it quite often. I’ve been known to make fried chicken for road trips even. Make my Picnic Fried Chicken ahead of time for a summer picnic or eat it at home. Serve it hot, cold or room temperature.  

Glorious Blueberry Pie

July 2, 2014

The holiday weekend is upon us and it’s time to make pies. Pies are perfect for barbeque parties, picnics or just about any occasion.  Sometimes I think pies have too much crust so here is a topless version that I’m sure your family and friends will love. I mean seriously who doesn’t love blueberry pie!

Blueberry Shortcakes With Whipped Cream Cheese

July 5, 2013

Blueberries 3Blueberry Shortcakes With Whipped Cream Cheese

These shortcakes are super easy to make and delicious as either a dessert or a brunch dish.  The shortcakes are best the day they are made however.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut into Small Pieces)

2 Ounces Cream Cheese (2 Ounces Cold & 6 Ounces Room Temperature)

5 Ounces Blueberries

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

Extra Blueberries for Garnish

Preheat your oven to 425º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and coat the parchment paper with cooking spray.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, sugar, kosher salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Incorporate the butter and the cold cream cheese with a pastry cutter.  You could also use your fingers or two forks. Incorporate until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the freezer and add the blueberries.  Gradually stir in the buttermilk.  Gently fold with a rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms.  Make sure not to overmix.  Divide the dough into 8 even mounds and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.  While your shortcakes are cooling in a large size bowl beat together the remaining cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Gradually add the heavy cream beating just until for 1 minute until the mixture becomes smooth and thick. Make sure not to overbeat.  Serve alongside the shortcakes and add extra berries if you wish.  Makes 8 Blueberry Shortcakes.

Summer Orzo Salad

July 3, 2013

Summer Orzo SaladSummer Orzo Salad

I get tired of the same old side salads so I created this lively Summer Orzo Salad that goes with just about everything.This salad is also great for a picnic or potluck because it doesn't contain mayo.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Cooked Orzo

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

3 Large Chopped Shallots

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Cup Halved Grape Tomatoes

10 Sliced Radishes

1/2 Cup White Beans

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/4 Cup Prepared Italian Dressing

Cook the orzo in a large size pot of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente.  I used a fancy black and white orzo, but you can use any kind that you like or have on hand.  Drain the orzo and drizzle on the olive oil.  Give a good stir so the olive oil coats all of the orzo.  Set aside.  In a small size bowl place the chopped shallots and pour the lemon juice over the shallots.  Let the shallots sit in the lemon juice for about 10 minutes.  In a medium size bowl add the tomatoes, radishes, white beans, kosher salt and pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and mix well.  In a large size serving bowl add the orzo.  Drain the shallots and discard the lemon juice.  Add the shallots to the orzo and give a good stir.  Now add the vegetable and dressing mixture and combine well.  Finally add the chopped basil and give another good stir.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.  You can make this ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  If you need to add more dressing feel free to do so, but you really don’t want this salad to be drenched in dressing as it really should just be moist.  When you are ready to serve remove from the fridge and serve immediately.  Serves 6

Grilled Duck Breasts

July 3, 2013

Grilled Duck BreastsGrilled Duck Breasts

I don’t often eat duck because quite frankly I forget about it.  While I was at the market last weekend I ran across duck breasts and decided to throw them in my cart not knowing what I was going to do with them of course.  Here is what I came up with.

INGREDIENTS

8 Duck Breasts (2 per Person)

1 Bottle Beer

1/4 Cup Meat Rub

8 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Ziplock Bag

Most of you know that I’m really into marinating things in the ziplock bags.  For these duck breasts you really need to marinate them overnight in the beer.  Place the duck breasts into the ziplock bag and pour the beer in.  Zip up the bag and give it a gentle shake to evenly distribute the beer.  Place the filled bag onto a plate in case there is any drip and put into the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge when you are getting ready to grill.  Remove the duck from the beer and throw the beer away.  Place the duck onto a large plate and drizzle both sides with the olive oil.  Then rub your favorite meat rub onto both sides of the duck breasts.  I used Victoria’s Dry Rub which was fabulous.  After preparing the duck breasts let them rest on the counter while you prepare the grill.  Get the grill to a medium-high heat.  Place the prepared duck breasts onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side depending on how rare you like them.  Remove from the grill when done and place onto a serving platter.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice or serve whole.  Serves 4

Note:  If you don’t have a grill or can’t barbeque remember that whatever you can do on a grill you can do under an oven broiler or in a grill pan on top of a burner.

Independence Day Lobster Club Sandwich

July 2, 2013

LobsterIndependence Day Lobster Club Sandwich

Here is an Independence Day Sandwich that will knock your socks off!  Don’t waste time with those lousy mayo laden lobster rolls.  Kick it up a notch and enjoy the freedom to eat well.

INGREDIENTS

1 Live Lobster (1 1/2 Pounds)

1/4 Cup Mayonnaise

2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Tarragon

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

6 Slices Toasted Brioche Bread

1/2 Sliced Avocado

4 Slices Cooked Bacon

4 Slices Tomato

2 Washed & Dried Lettuce Leaves

If you don’t want to cook a live lobster then go ahead and use cooked lobster that you can get from your fish monger.  Otherwise cook the lobster and remove the meat.  Chop the lobster meat and put into a small size bowl.  In a separate small size bowl combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, lemon juice and pepper.  Stir 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise mixture into the chopped lobster meat and spread the remaining mayo mixture on one side of each of the toasted brioche slices.  Arrange the avocado slices on 2 of the bread slices.  Top with the bacon and tomato.  Place the lettuce on 2 of the bare bread slices and put the lobster on top of the lettuce.  Stack on top of the avocado layer.  Put on the remaining brioche slices as toppers.  Makes 2 sandwiches.

Lobster 2

 

Rhode Island Johnnycakes

July 1, 2013

Rhode Island JohnnycakesRhode Island Johnnycakes

Let’s start July 4th out right with delicious Rhode Island Johnnycakes.  Easy to make and such a great tribute to such a great state that truly contributed to American independent thought.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Cups Stone Ground Cornmeal (Yellow or White)

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 1/2 Cups Boiling Water

1/2 Cup Milk

Extra Butter For Griddle

Maple Syrup

In a large size bowl combine the cornmeal with the kosher salt.  Add the softened butter.  Gradually stir in the boiling water making sure to stir constantly while adding.  Stir until incorporated.  Add the milk and mix until combined.  Melt butter on a griddle over a medium heat.  Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto the heated griddle.  Make sure to leave room for the johnnycakes to spread.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Repeat until all of the batter has been used.  Place onto a serving platter.  Serve with butter and maple syrup.  Serves 4

Roger Williams Founder of Rhode Island 2

A Few Words About Hamburgers

June 30, 2013

Hamburger 2A Few Words About Hamburgers

A delicious, juicy, tender hamburger can be yours, if you choose the right ground beef.  The amount of fat directly contributes to the juiciness of the burger, so the leaner the beef, the drier the burger.  Some markets state the cut of beef used for grinding while other indicate the percentage of fat in the grind.  Some markets do both.  Here are the three grinds that most shops carry:

Ground Sirloin

Ground sirloin has only 7 percent fat which makes it the leanest ground beef, but it can make a dense burger if overcooked.  To combat dryness add 2 tablespoons of a wet condiment like teriyaki sauce, pesto, Dijon mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise for every pound of ground sirloin.

Ground Round

Ground round is a great choice for hamburgers because it has 15 percent fat.

Ground Chuck

Ground chuck is the ground beef of choice for many burger lovers.  It has a relatively high fat content at 20 percent fat which makes a very juicy and very rich burger.

Ground Turkey or Ground Chicken

There are some people who prefer ground turkey or chicken for their burgers.  Both must be cooked through so care must be taken to prevent dryness.  Make sure to incorporate moisture by adding one of the ingredients suggested for ground sirloin.  Also mix in 2 tablespoons of dried bread crumbs.  As the meat heats and the fat melts the bread crumbs absorb and retain the fat that would otherwise drip out of the patty.

Shrinkage

Hamburgers shrink during cooking and a perfectly shaped raw patty can end up looking like a hockey puck.  To avoid this, shape about 5 ounces of ground meat into a 4 inch round.  Then make an indentation about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick in the top.  As the meat cooks the indentation will equalize the shrinkage.

No Don’t Do It!

Never Ever press on a hamburger to speed its cooking.  You’ll squeeze out the precious fat and juices that make the burger taste so good.  Yes, we’ve all done it…just resist that innate urge to do it again!

 

Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers

June 27, 2013

Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers 2Camille’s Guacamole Bacon Burgers

Add some green to your Red, White & Blue!  This July 4th kick up the classics and put a little green in your Red White & Blue with fresh avocado.

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Ground Beef

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Egg

1 Pound Thick Cut Bacon (About 8 Slices)

2 Avocados

1 Chopped Tomato

1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

1/2 Cup Salsa

1/2 Lemon or Lime

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Lettuce for Garnish

1 Tomato for Garnish

Pickles for Garnish

Start by cooking the bacon, in a large size skillet over a medium heat, on the stove until you have your desired crispiness.  While the bacon is cooking put the ground beef into a large size bowl.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and the egg.  Mix together.  With your hands separate the meat mixture into 4 equal balls. Have one of the meat balls in one hand and with the other hand press down with your palm to make a patty.  Repeat this process until you have finished with all four.  Place onto a plate and set aside.  After the bacon is cooked place onto paper towels to drain.  With the same pan that you used to cook the bacon place the beef patties.  Obviously, this is definitely a calorie splurge, but it really does add a lot of flavor to the burgers.  Cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes per side.  If you have a meat thermometer then the temperature goal is 160º F on the inside of the burger.

While the burgers are cooking make the guacamole.  Cut up one of the tomatoes into small cubes and put into a medium size bowl.  Add the 2 avocados.  The avocados should be ripe so that they are easy to mash plus tastes much better.  Add the cilantro, salsa, lemon or lime juice, kosher salt and pepper.  Mash together with a potato masher, but leave somewhat chunky.  This is really easy to do and super delicious!  Now that the burgers are done cooking and you’ve made the guacamole take 4 buns and place the patties on the buns.  Top with guacamole, bacon and add the toppings of your choice: Mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and enjoy!  Make 4

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