Happy 4th of July
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
8 Duck Breasts (2 per Person)
1 Bottle Beer
1/4 Cup Meat Rub
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Pound Thick Cut Bacon (About 8 Slices)
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