Memorial Day Weekend

Root Beer Brownies

June 27, 2012

Root Beer Brownies

The small amount of root beer extract really brings out the chocolate in these brownies.  Wow, what a dessert!


12 Ounces Softened Butter

2 1/4 Cups Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Cocoa

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

4 Tablespoons Root Beer Extract

1/4 Cup Cold Brewed Coffee

4 Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Demerara Sugar


Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a large size bowl place the softened butter.  Add the sugar to the butter and mix until combined.  Add the eggs and beat until smooth.   Add the coffee, vanilla and root beer extract and stir.  In a separate large bowl combine the cocoa, salt, baking powder and flour.  Stir until well combined.  Finally add the chocolate chips and stir.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the demerara sugar.  Bake the brownies for 30 minutes.  The brownies should feel set both on the edges and in the center.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and serving.  Makes 24 Root Beer Brownies.

4th of July Apple Pie

June 23, 2012

4th of July Apple Pie


What is more American than Apple Pie?  No 4th of July celebration is complete without a delicious homemade Apple Pie.  The secret here is to use a combination of tart apples, like Winesap or Granny Smith, and sweet apples like Fuji, Jonagold, Idared or Mutsu.  Your patriotic crowd will love this pie. 



3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Grated Lemon Zest

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Allspice

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 1/2 Pounds Apples Cut Into Wedges

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

Pastry Dough

1 Lightly Beaten Egg


Preheat your oven to 425° F.  Place a large baking sheet in the middle of the oven. 

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, salt and 2/3 cup sugar.  Gently toss with the apples and lemon juice.  Roll out 1 piece of your dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.  You want your dough to be about 13 inches round to fit into a 9 inch glass pie plate.  Keep the other piece of dough in the refrigerator.  Trim the edge making sure to leave a 1/2 inch overhang.  Chill the shell while rolling out the dough for the top crust.  Roll out the top piece of dough on the lightly floured surface into an 11 inch round.  Now you are ready to spoon your filling into the pastry shell.  Cover with the top and trim leaving a 1/2 inch overhang.  Press the edges together then crimp.  Lightly brush the top of the pie with the egg and then sprinkle all over with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.  Cut 3 steam vents in the top of the crust with a small sharp knife.  Bake the pie on the hot baking sheet for 20 minutes.  Then reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. and continue to bake for 40 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.  Remove from the oven and cool your yummy pie on a rack for at least 2 hours.  Serves 6


Pastry Dough


4 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 3/4 Cups Shortening

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 Teaspoons Salt

1 Large Slightly Beaten Egg

1 Teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 Cup Water

Mix the flour, shortening, sugar, salt, egg, red wine vinegar and the water together. Place in a ziplock bag. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 1 hour. Separate into 4 balls of dough. Roll out on a floured surface and place in 9 inch pie pans. Bake in a preheated 425° F oven for 12 minutes for the unfilled crust or use the recipe for a filled pie crust. Makes 2 crusts with tops. The unbaked dough may be kept for 1 week in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

Hoisin Chops

June 20, 2012

Hoisin Chops

Hoisin sauce (also called Peking sauce) is an Asian sauce and is often used in Asian cooking much like how BBQ sauce is used in American cooking.  Hoisin sauce is made from soybean paste, garlic, chilies, sugar, vinegar and various spices and is a great glaze for meat and fish (Peking Duck).  Hoisin sauce is also a nice condiment which can also gives extra flavor to noodle and stir fry dishes.    


4 Large Bone-In Pork Chops

1 Cup Hoisin Sauce

1/4 Cup White Wine

5 Chopped Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil

1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce For Basting


With a meat tenderizer pound out the four chops. In a medium size bowl combine the hoisin sauce, white wine, sesame oil and garlic cloves.  Place the 4 pork chops in a large ziplock bag.  Pour the hoisin sauce marinade over the chops.  Close the ziplock bag and give a gentle shake to cover all of the chops.  Put into the fridge overnight.  When you are ready to cook the chops remove them from the fridge.  Cover your broiler pan with foil and place the chops on top of the foil. Let the chops rest for 15 minutes to come to room temperature.  Baste with additional Hoisin sauce and place under the broiler for 4 to 8 minutes per side. You can also cook these chops on the grill. Turn the chops over and baste with more sauce.  When done remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.  Serve with rice and salad.  Serves 4

Organic Beer Can Chicken

June 11, 2012

Organic Beer Can Chicken


I love cooking this chicken on a charcoal grill.  You can use a gas grill or cook in the oven if you like.  Cooking time should be between 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of your chicken and how hot your grill is.  Be careful not to spill the HOT beer and burn yourself!



1 Large Organic Whole Chicken

1/3 Cup Victoria’s Dry Rub or Your Favorite Spices

2 Fresh Limes

12 Garlic Cloves

4 Ounces Butter

1/2 Can of Beer


Wash and pat dry your whole chicken. Remove any giblets from the cavity.  Pour out half of the contents the beer.  You can drink it if you’re thirsty and don’t like to waste good beer!  Place the chicken over the half full beer can that you placed in the rack.  You can get these beer can chicken racks at hardware stores or online. These racks are about $5 in the hardware stores.  Williams Sonoma has one for $30 which is a bit much I think. Stuff the neck cavity with the 12 garlic cloves so that you seal in the vapors. Slice two limes and squeeze the lime juice all over the skin.  Mix your spices with the butter and smear all over the bird. Place on a prepared grill and cook, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.The juices should run clear.  Remove from the grill and transfer to a serving platter.  Let sit for 10 minutes and then serve.  The one that I made last night was incredibly moist and full of flavor.  Serves 4


If you cook in the oven place the chicken on the rack in a pie pan with a cup of water added to the pie pan.  Cook at 350° F for 1 to 2 hours.  Use a meat thermometer checking the thigh to make sure that the temperature reaches 180° F.  When done use tongs and a long fork to carefully transfer the entire rack in its upright position to a serving platter.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove the chicken from the rack. 

Grilled Veal Chops

June 10, 2012

Grilled Veal Chops

I love a thick grilled veal chop.  For many of us, veal is a special treat, because it tastes so good.  Veal is one of the leanest meats to eat and has the highest amount of protein of all meats.  Veal is an ideal protein compliment to health conscious eaters who don’t want to give up meat. 



4 Veal Chops (12 Ounces Each/1 Inch Thick)

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

6 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

5 Crushed Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper


In a medium size bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt and pepper.  Arrange the veal chops in a glass baking dish.  Pour the marinade over the chops and turn to coat.  Let the chops marinate for 1 hour.  Turn the chops over after 30 minutes so that both sides absorb the marinade.  Prepare your barbecue to a medium high heat.  Remove the chops from the marinade.  Grill the chops for 6 minutes per side for medium-rare or until cooked to your desired doneness.  Transfer the chops to a serving platter and serve with asparagus.  Serves 4


Chicken Asiago Burgers

May 27, 2012

Chicken Asiago Burgers


These burgers are absolutely EXCELLENT!  A nice change of pace, but still satisfies the burger urge. 



2 Pounds Ground Chicken

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Cup Grated Asiago Cheese

4 Hamburger Buns


Mix the ground chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil and Asiago cheese in a large size bowl.  Form the mixture into 4 patties.  Place the patties on a plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Preheat your grill.  When you are ready to grill the burgers remove from the fridge and let sit out for 10 minutes.  You want to take the chill off of the meat before putting on the grill.  Cook the burgers on the frill for 5 minutes on each side until well done.  Place one burger on the bottom half of each bun.  Garnish as you like.  Serves 4

Grilled Flank Steak

May 25, 2012

Grilled Flank Steak


Barbecue weekend is here!  Here is a tried and true Grilled Flank Steak recipe.  The key is the marinade so it takes a little planning ahead. 



2 Pounds Flank Steak

2 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

4 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

4 Chopped Shallots


In a large measuring cup or mixing bowl combine the garlic, soy sauce, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, hot sauce, kosher salt, brown sugar and chopped shallots.  Mix well.  Place the steak in a large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade in the bag over the steak.  Press out the excess air and turn the bag around to get the steak coated.  Refrigerate overnight turning the bag occasionally.  To grill the steak Remove the steak from the refrigerator and remove from the bag.  Place on a large plate and let sit for 45 minutes to room temperature.  Prepare the grill to a medium hot fire.  Grill the steak for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare.  Remove from the grill and transfer to a cutting board.  Let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.  Transfer to a serving platter.  Serves 4

Swordfish Kebabs

May 24, 2012

Swordfish Kebabs


The Memorial Day weekend is almost here.  If you are looking for grilling ideas here’s a very good one! 



1/3 Cup Large Chopped Capers Packed In Vinegar (Drained)

2 Rinsed & Minced Anchovy Fillets

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

2 Large Tomatoes (Cored & Coarsely Chopped)

2 Large Sliced Zucchini

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Large (1 Inch Thick) Swordfish Steaks (About 2 Pounds)


In a large size bowl combine the capers, anchovies, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Stir well to combine. This is your marinade. Cut the fish into 1 inch cubes and place them into a large size bowl.  Pour ½ of the marinade over the fish and stir to make sure all of the fish get covered.  Set aside to marinate for 1 hour to overnight in the refrigerator.  Make sure to cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Cover the remaining marinade with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature.  Heat your grill to medium high.  Thread the fish, tomatoes and zucchini onto long metal or wooden skewers and throw away the marinade that the fish sat in.  If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water for 20 minutes before using.  When you are ready to cook oil the grill rack.  Place the kebabs on the grill and cook, turning once, for 12 minutes.  The fish should be lightly colored on the outside and evenly cooked throughout.  Transfer the kebabs to a serving platter and spoon the reserved marinade on top.  Serve immediately.  Serve with orzo or rice pilaf.  Serves 4


*Note:  If you do not have a bbq grill you can cook under the broiler.

Summer Corn & Tomato Salad

May 22, 2012

Summer Corn & Tomato Salad


This salad is so easy to make as it really takes little effort to chop tomatoes and cut the kernels off of the ears of corn.  The reward is a nice summer salad and very portable to make ahead for picnics and cookouts.



5 Cups Fresh Corn Kernels (10 Large Ears)

1/4 Cup Grape Seed Oil

3 Tablespoons Raspberry Vinegar

Juice of 1 Lime

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Ripe Chopped Tomatoes

10 Chopped Green Onions

1/3 Cup Chopped Cilantro or Italian Parsley


Insert a vegetable steamer into a medium size pot filled with salted water. Bring the water to a boil.  Put the corn kernels in the steamer basket.  Cover and steam for 5 minutes.  If you do not have fresh corn then you may use frozen corn, but do not use canned corn.  In a small size bowl whisk together the grape seed oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Core, seed and coarsely chop the tomatoes.  Chop both green and white parts of the green onions.  Chop the cilantro or Italian parsley.  Combine the corn, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro (or Italian parsley) in a large size bowl.  Toss with the dressing.  Serve either at room temperature or chilled.  This salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Serves 8


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