03/16/17

Chef Perry’s Perfect Pot-Roast

Perfect Pot Roast

I’m all about the comfort food and, let’s face it…it doesn’t get much more comforting that a rich, beefy, unctuous beef pot roast.

Now, you can train a monkey to flop a hunk of cow in a crockpot and douse with with French onion soup mix, but for a next-level roast, prepared with a refined French-style layering of flavors you need to do a little more work, a little more attention to detail…a little more love.

Little things like using two steaks instead of a single, thicker roast, allow a better marriage of beef and veggie flavors. Roasting your mushrooms, and sauteing the shallots and garlic allow them to maintain their own distinct flavors, a little acid cuts the rich fattiness of the meat, and cooking your ingredients at varying times allows for a consistent texture, nothing too tough and nothing too mushy. Perfection isn’t easy, but it’s so, so worth it.

And, let’s face it…a cow died for your dinner, you owe him that.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

Chef P’s Pot Roast

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tsp bacon drippings
2 boneless chuck roast steaks, trimmed (3-pounds total)
2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp porcini mushroom powder
2 cups coarsely chopped shallots
8 garlic cloves
3 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups peeled baby carrots
12 oz white mushrooms, halved and roasted
2 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half
1/4 cup soft butter + 1/4 cup flour
Sea salt to taste
Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Roast your mushrooms and set aside.

Heat olive oil and bacon drippings in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt, pepper, and porcini powder, dredge in flour.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
Add shallots and garlic cloves to the skillet; sauté 8 minutes or well browned and crusted, remove solids, and set aside. Add steaks to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on both sides. Remove meat from pan.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
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Return one browned steak to slow cooker. Layer onions and garlic, then cut potatoes over the top. Dust with more mushroom powder, and top with second steak.

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Add beef broth, vinegar, Worcestershire, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
Carefully remove potatoes and set aside. Add the carrots and roasted mushrooms. Cover and cook 2 more hours. Remove bay leaf from cooker, discard.

Defatting beef stock
Pour off juice and defat, heat the resulting broth in a medium saucepan to simmer. Combine flour and butter to make a smooth paste.

Thickening with butter and flour

Whisk the mixture vigorously into the simmering broth until thickened. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper, vinegar or Worcestershire sauce as desired.

adding butter to stock

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Shred meat with 2 forks, return to slow-cooker along with broth and all veggies. Stir and allow to warm through. Garnish with cilantro leaves, sprinkle with coarse black pepper, smoked paprika, and serve with hot dinner rolls.

BTW, like most roasted meals, this dish impoves with age. It’s better the next day, it’s divine on day three.

Perfect Pot Roast

01/11/17

Skillet Seared Rib Steak Dinner

Skillet seared rib steaks with spinach

A rib steak is a beef steak sliced from the rib primal of a beef animal, with rib bone attached. In the United States, the term rib-eye steak is used for a rib steak with the bone removed; however in some areas, and outside the U.S., the terms are often used interchangeably.

The term “cowboy ribeye” or “cowboy cut” is often used in American restaurants for a bone-in rib eye. The rib eye or “ribeye” was originally, as the name implies, the center best portion of the rib steak, without the bone. In Australia, “ribeye” is used when this cut is served with the bone in. With the bone removed, it is called “Scotch fillet”.

rib steaks

It is both flavorful and tender, coming from the lightly worked upper rib cage area. Its marbling of fat makes it very good for fast and hot cooking.

First and of foremost importance to searing the perfect skillet steak is the skillet.

You need a large, well-seasoned, cast iron skillet (12-16 inch, a similar sized dutch oven will work in a pinch). If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, go buy one. If you’re not willing to buy one, stop reading now, you can’t make this recipe.


Perfect Skillet-Seared Rib Steak

Perfect Skillet-Seared Rib Steak Dinner
2 bone-in rib steaks, at least 1 1/2-inches thick, about 1 pound each
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grape-seed oil
1/2 cup butter
8-10 cloves of whole peeled garlic
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry Sherry

Pre-heat oven to 300F.


Perfect Skillet-Seared Rib Steak

Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 40 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat until heavily smoking. Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper, add steaks, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, flipping just once.

Perfect Skillet-Seared Rib Steak

Remove steaks to a pre-warmed baking dish and place in preheated oven. Leave onions and garlic in the skillet, add parsley.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium, and let cool slightly (add a little more oil if necessary).

Sauteing garlic and onion

Add sherry and butter and saute, stirring and scarping up any browned bits left from the meat, simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Replace steaks to the skillet and flip to coat evenly.

Sauteing garlic and onion

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Move steaks and sauce to a warm baking dish and place in the oven to finish (do NOT wipe the skillet clean!)

Cook to an internal temp of 130F. Remove steaks from oven and spoon with pan sauce. Tent loosely with foil. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Seared rib steak

Meanwhile, cook spinach in skillet (see below.)

Baked sweet potatoes with chili butter

Baked Chili Sweet Potatoes
(Cook before the steaks, finish right before serving)

4 medium swet potatoes
2 tsp. Mexican chili powder
4 Tbs. butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Baked sweet potatoes

Cook
Preheat oven to 400°F.

With a sharp knife, slash sweet potato skin 4-5 times.

Place in pre-heated oven and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Baked sweet potatoes

Finish
Slice each potato open, lengthwise, and squeeze gently from the ends to create a pocket.

Using a fork, fluff and mix up the internal part of the potatoes with salt & pepper.

Baked sweet potatoes with chili butter

Place 1 Tbs. butter into each pocket, and sprinkle with chili powder. Set aside and allow butter to melt before serving.  

Sauteed spinach with lemon and almonds

Sauteed Fresh Spinach
2 Tb. butter
4 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
2lbs fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried
1 fresh lemon, juiced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

THIS is the reason (and the only reason) we didn’t finish our steaks in the skillet.

Over medium heat, add butter and garlic, cooking briefly, then add all spinach to the skillet and toss frequently until starting to reduce.

Sprinkle all with fresh lemon juice, toss again, sprinkle with almonds and serve.

Skillet Rib Steaks with garlic and onions

Plate all, spoon additional pan sauce over the steaks, and serve.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

01/10/17

Perfect Chicken Piccata

Perfect Chicken Piccata recipe

At-risk kids cooking“Piccata” is a method of preparing food: meat is floured, sautéed and served in a sauce. The dish originated in Italy using veal (veal piccata). In the United States, the most well-known variant is chicken piccata.

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and often the “finals” recipe for our MY KITCHEN classes.

It’s quick, delicious, and easy to fix, and we always get the same response from our students… “I can’t believe I cooked that!”

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

Perfect Chicken Piccata
Serves 4

PREP 10 mins.
COOK 15 mins.
READY IN 25 mins.

2 boneless chicken breasts or 8 tenders
1 cup AP flour
salt and ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs capers
1 cup dry white wine (I like pinot gris)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 lb fettuccine or spaghetti pasta

Mise en Place

Drain capers, squeeze lemon, cut butter into 1/4-inch slices, chop parsley

Prepare the Dish

Place chicken breasts into a gallon zip bag and pound to about 1/2-inch thick.

flattening chicken breasts in a Ziploc

Season both sides of chicken breasts with cayenne, salt, and black pepper; dredge lightly in flour and shake off any excess.

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts
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Heat olive oil in a SS skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side; remove to a plate.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta.

Add capers to the pan in reserved oil, smashing them lightly to release brine, until warmed though, about 30 seconds.  Pour wine into skillet to deglaze (see my video on deglazing), scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Deglazing a pan

Stir lemon juice, stock, and butter into the reduced wine mixture; cook and stir continuously to form a thick sauce, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add adente pasta (with a little pasta water) and parsley, stir.

Adding pasta to pan

Return chicken breasts to the pan cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve chicken over pasta, with additional sauce spooned over the top.

 

 

01/6/17

Chilean Lomito, Paleo Style

Lomito Paleo Style

Second only to a well made Bahn Mi, the traditional Chilean Lomito is my favorite sandwich. Pork and avocado is one of the great complimentary food pairings in the world, and nowhere is the better evidenced than in the Chilean’s favorite street food.

I have made many, many, lomitos in my time, but on my current experiment with Paleo eating, I decided that instead of giving up my favorites, I’d see if I can reinvent them in a way that won’t get “the look” from my wife.

This one turned out pretty darn good.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

Chilean Lomito, Paleo Style

2 lg. pork steaks, boneless
2 Tbs. Ghee (clarified butter – recipe below)
2 Tbs. Grapeseed oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tbs oregano
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 carrot, diced
1 yellow onion
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 ripe avocados
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
3 firm Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup Paleo Mayo (recipe below)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp. Mexican chili powder

Mise en Place

Mise en Place
Thin slice tomatoes, cube avocados, peel and smash garlic. Dice onion, carrot, and celery.

Prepare/Warm chicken stock. Roll and squeeze lime. Whisk mayo and coconut milk with chili powder, pour into a small squeeze bottle, and set aside to chill.

Preparation
Bring pork steaks to room temperature.

Stir avocados into a thick, chunky paste, season with a pinch of salt & pepper, and a squirt of lime juice.

Pounded pork steak

Pound pork steaks to an even 3/4 inch thickness, and season both sides of pork with with salt, pepper and oregano.

In a large skillet, over high heat, brown pork steaks on both sides in 1tbs ghee and 1 Tbs. grapeseed oil.

Set aside and keep just warm.

Pan fried pork steak

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Add remaining ghee and oil to pan, along with the carrots, onion, garlic and celery. Saute until veggies start to soften.

Add the chicken stock. and cool until reduced to about 1/2 cup of liquid. Strain, discard veggies, and return liquid to the skillet over medium heat. Add pork steaks and cook one minute, flip, and remove the skillet from heat and let rest two minutes.

When pork is done Remove from braising liquid, and set aside.

Again, reduce the braising liquid, this time by half.

Lomito Paleo Style

Plate
After pork has rested 5 minutes, slice it very thinly. Fan pork onto a warmed plate and brush with reduced braising liquid. Top with tomato slices, and dress generously with coconut-chili-mayo. Top with a big dollop of of avocado.

Serve and enjoy!

Chef Perry

Paleo Mayo

2 egg yolks
3 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil

Mix the yolks and 1 tsp lemon juice. in a food processor on low. Very (VERY) slowly begin drizzling in the oil, drop by drop to create an emulsion (too much oil, to fast, will cause the mixture to separate.

As the emulsion forms and everything starts to thicken, you can add the oil a little faster.

Once all of the oil has been added, and your mayo is thick, whisk in the rest of the lemon. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ghee

Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in ancient India and is commonly used in South Asian, Iranian and Arabic cuisines, traditional medicine, and religious rituals. Wikipedia

1lb Unsalted grass-fed butter (1 pint)

Cut the butter into one inch cubes, and melt over medium heat, gently stirring it frequently, until a thick, white foam begins forming on surface. Continue to stir until it starts to simmer, then reduce heat to medium low.

Cook the butter 5 minutes, stirring just once or twice, allowing more foam to form, until you see milk solids (curdles) beginning to form on the sides of the pot (this is a good thing). Scrape the sides of the pot to help the solids sink to the bottom.

Continue to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot gently so the solids don’t burn, as the butter becomes clearer. When a second foam begins to form on top, you’re ready to strain your ghee. Remove from heat and let the foam settles for a minute.

Line a metal sieve with cheesecloth and set directly over a quart-size bowl, and strain the mixture into the bowl. (Discard the milk solids.) Cover the jar loosely and allow to set for 4-6 hours at room temp.

Ghee will keep in the pantry for months, so no refrigeration is necessary.

01/4/17
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Patatas y Huevos Tacos and a Second-Hand Christmas

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

In the winter of 1975, my parents divorced. My mother had a chronic heart condition that made it impossible for her to work and the two of us couldn’t quite make ends meet that first year on our own.

In previous years, Christmas had been a grand event in our home. Money had always been scarce, but my parents scrimped and saved for the holidays.

My first memories are of bright lights, rich smells and a pile of gifts with my name on them. That year, however, would be different. My mother received a meager social security check each month that almost, but not quite, covered the bare essentials, with nothing left for the luxuries of Christmas.

I remember that most of our meals consisted of potatoes and the big blocks of American cheese that the government passed out at the Social Security office.

My mother, alone for the first time in her life, found it difficult to put aside her own hurts and fears and participate in the holidays. I do remember that we had a small tree and brought a box of decorations down from the closet shelf, but there wasn’t much joy in our home that year.

One thing that did worry my mother was that there was no money for gifts. She fretted over this for weeks but the funds just were not there for presents. One day, a neighbor told her about a local toy charity, an organization dedicated to providing donated presents for children in need. My mother applied for the program and visited their office, bringing home a small box of gifts, which she wrapped and hid under her bed.

The night before Christmas, we ate our baked potatoes, and Mom read to me from a book of children’s Christmas stories.

Just before bedtime, there was a knock at the door, and my mother answered to find a young woman who had just moved in next door to us. She was Hispanic, speaking very broken English, and had twin sons who were my own age. She was also divorced and was in as bad, or worse, financial straits as we were. She came to the door asking to borrow some flour and looked so exhausted that Mother invited her in and made her a cup of coffee. I was hustled off to bed (lest I still be up when Santa made his appearance) and they stayed up and talked awhile.

I remember my mother coming into my room and gently waking me up, then sitting on the side of my bed and asking me if I minded if we had company for Christmas. I said no, unused to have my opinion asked in such matters. Then she took my hand and asked if it would be all right with me if Santa gave some of my presents to the two little boys next door. I thought about this for a while, wondering why Santa couldn’t bring them their own presents, but somehow my young brain sensed that it would make mother happy, and she hadn’t seemed happy in a long while, so I hesitantly agreed.

Mother kissed my forehead, and I went back to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to the most wonderful smell wafting under my  bedroom door. Hunger banished even the memory of Christmas from my mind, and I ran from my room to the kitchen to find the source of that glorious aroma.

I skidded to a stop as I rounded the corner into a strange dark-faced woman standing at my mother’s stove. She was rolling out tortillas and dropping them into a smoking pan, while our cast-iron skillet sizzled noisily on the back burner.

I blinked one or twice in confusion, until my mother walked in, then remembered that we had company, and even more importantly, that today was Christmas! I spun on my heels and ran into the living room to look under the tree. Two little Mexican boys sat, looking uncertainly around them, on our couch. Several small wrapped packages lay beneath the tree.

Mom followed me in and began to pass out presents, there were just enough for one gift each. I gazed longingly at the brightly wrapped packages in these stranger’s hands, knowing they should have been mine, clutching my solitary present tightly to my chest.

I unwrapped the box to find a GI Joe action figure, the old fashioned kind with the moving knees and elbows, the kind that came with a little rifle and a little backpack and a string that you pulled to make them say cool army things. Except mine didn’t have a rifle, or a backpack, and there was only a hole in the back where the string had once gone. I stood there in the middle of the living room, my lip trembling, clutching my broken toy.

I looked to see what the other boys had gotten, what gifts I had missed out on. One package revealed a cap pistol (without caps) and a worn plastic holster (I had a much nicer set in the toy box in my room), the second box revealed a plastic bag full of Legos, in various shapes and sizes. I stood there and watched these two boys whooping and laughing like these were the only toys they had, turning their meager gifts over and over in awe, and suddenly I realized, that these were the only toys they had.

Soon I would learn that these two, who would become my closest pals, each had exactly two shirts, two pairs of pants, and a worn sleeping bag that they shared on the floor of their room.

As I watched my mother talking to this strange woman in our kitchen, tears running down their cheeks, I was suddenly happy that she had woken me up, and that Santa had shared my presents with these boys, for how terrible would it have been to wake up with nothing under the tree, no presents to play with, no Santa at all?

The boys, Jay and Julio, followed me to my room, where I showed them, to their amazement, the wealth of my toy box. Soon we were playing like old friends, until called out for a breakfast of seasoned eggs and potatoes wrapped in fresh, warm tortillas. It was the best breakfast I could ever remember having.

I’ll never forget that morning, as I’ll never forget my friends from Mexico who taught me that there is always something to be thankful for, often much more than we think.

And that sometimes there is no greater gift than sharing a meal with a friend.

– Perry
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(“A Second-Hand Christmas” by Perry P. Perkins. Originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas, 2007, and Sassee Magazine, Dec 1, 2009,)

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Okay, so this is a little touched up from that Christmas breakfast, but even if you leave out the sausage, poblanos, and toppings, it’s pretty darn good!

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
2 large russet potatos, sliced and seasoned (unpeeled)
1 large ancho chili, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp oil
8 eggs
1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup pico de gallo
1 cup Mexican Crema
1 cup cheddar cheese
10-12 50/50 tortillas, warmed

Brown tacos in a skillet with very little butter. Set aside and keep warm.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Take sausage out of casing and cook in a separate pan, breaking it up, until no longer pink.

Drain, and set aside.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Slice potatoes in thick matchsticks (can use a French-fry slicer.) Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Place potatoes and diced poblano chili in a single layer in pan and cook potatoes until golden brown, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Beat together eggs, milk, and spices with a whisk.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add egg and milk mixture to pan; heat until almost firm, folding once or twice with a wooden spoon.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add sausage. When egg mixture is almost firm, add cheese, cover, place in oven and bake until eggs are firm and cheese melts.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Divide evenly between tortillas, topped with potatoes, and serve with pico and Crema.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Number of Servings: 6

NOTE: To take this recipe up another notch – substitute 8oz chorizo for half of the breakfast sausage. Just make sure to drain the meat before adding it to the potatoes.

 

01/2/17

Chef Perry’s Most Popular Recipes of 2016

Chef Perry Dragon Claws

Grilling up “Dragon Claws” at RibFest 2014


 
If there was ever a year that we needed to focus on what brings us together, on friends, family, and good food, it was 2016!

We cooked up a lot of great meals around here, discovered some amazing new ingredients, and had a minimum of epic fails…all in all, a great year in the kitchen!

Here are the top 10 most popular recipes from the blog this last year, based on your visits…

Au Gratin Haystacks

  10. Au Gratin Breakfast Haystacks

 Next time you make scalloped potatoes, or potatoes au gratin, and have leftovers (I know, that doesn’t happen often at my house either, so I make a bigger batch on purpose)…save the extra for my Au Gratin Haystacks the next morning.

 Salmon Poke at Home

9. Poke Stop’s Salmon Poke

Fresh and firm, the salmon plays nicely against the crunch of the raw onions. The combination of the furikake seasoning and the shoyu sauce create a perfect contrast of sweet, salty, and savory…my favorite combination.



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Bratwurst Sliders with Maple Mustard

8. Bratwurst Pretzel Sliders with Maple-Mustard Caramelized Onions

THIS is comfort food, baby! Rich, juicy brats, sweet caramelized onions, the tang of mustard, all brought together, and complimented perfectly with a soft, salty, and delicious pretzel roll bun.

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7. Perfect Oven Pork Ribs

These ribs always get rave reviews. Firm yet tender, they pull off the bone with each succulent bite. For the sake of disclosure, I learned the amazing method from an episode of “Restaurant Impossible” with Chef Robert Irvine.

 Easy Meatball Pho

6. Quick and Easy Pork Meatball Pho

Pho (fuhh) is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (phở bò) or chicken (phở gà).  A popular street and night food, pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam.

With the Vietnam war and the victory of the North Vietnamese, phở was brought to many countries by Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam from the 1970s onwards.

This is one of my favorite dishes in the world, and it’s really good for you!

 

St. Louis dry ribs on Traeger

5. 3-2-1 Baby Back Ribs on the Traeger (Video)

Perfect baby back pork ribs, as easy as 3-2-1


MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

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4. How to BBQ a Pig in La Caja China (Video)

Enjoy, and if you’re inspired to roast your own pigs (or lambs, briskets, turkeys, ribs…you name it), let us know and we can give you lots more tips and tricks!

 Best Traeger Steak Recipe

3. Amazing Traeger Steaks with Fresh Herb Butter

For my money, one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. The rich combination of the herb-butter and the smokiness in the meat is incomparable to any other method I’ve had.

 

Baby Dragon Claws

2. “Dragon Claw” BBQ Appetizer

Baby bell peppers stuffed with a combination of hot (or sweet) Italian sausage and ground turkey, onions, and peppers, wrapped in bacon, smoked, then glazed with a honey butter barbecue sauce.

Sticky sweet, spicy goodness…with just a breath of fire!

Oh, soooo good…

And NUMERO UNO…for the 4th year in a row…

 best pulled pork sliders

 The best dang pulled pork sliders!

Pulled pork is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Here’s my award winning recipe using your Traeger, gas grill, or even your oven.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, there you go…the ten recipes you enjoyed the most from 2016!

Thank you for hanging out with us last year, and I look forward to sharing many more great recipes and meals with you in the coming year.

Have a great 2017!

Chef Perry



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11/23/16

The Best Turkey Gravy You’ve Ever Tasted

The best turkey gravy ever
 

It wasn’t a proper Thanksgiving or Christmas without Dad showing up early in the day with a couple of armloads of groceries and his knife-roll. (It also wasn’t a holiday meal without Mom reminding Dad she was neither his sous chef, nor his wife, that it was her kitchen, not his restaurant, and if he wanted the butter he could damn well get it out of the fridge himself…)

We had an…interesting…family dynamic.

But, back to the point…

One of the amazing things to come out of those grocery bags were the ingredients for Dad’s homemade turkey gravy. That gravy was, I kid you not, the best part of the dinner. It could have turned an old flip-flop into haute cuisine. I’m not comparing mom’s turkey to a flip flop, but…well…

Dad’s been gone for almost a decade, Mom for almost three, but I still feel their presence, the friendly bickering, and the underlying love for each other that neither knew how to express, when I whip up the gravy each year.

You can make pretty much any type of gravy with this recipe, simply by changing up the type of stock or broth you use. It’s the simple, old-school way that gravy’s been made for hundreds of years.

And it’s still just as good.

Dad Perkins’ Turkey Gravy
(Makes 10-12 generous servings)

1/2 cup (1 stick) Sweet cream butter
1/2 cup AP Flour
4 cups hot homemade turkey stock (below)
2-4 cups boiling water*

The Roux.
Melt your butter in a heavy bottom stock pot over medium heat.

3

4

When the foam has cooked off the butter, add flour and whisk vigorously to a smooth paste. This is call a “roux.”

5

Continue whisking slowly until roux becomes deep brown in color. You know when your roux is done by the roasted nutty smell.

Add hot stock, one cup at a time (the first will create a thick paste…press on) whisking in each until smooth.

6

Once all your stock is incorporated, keep whisking at a lower simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add hot water (again, a cup at a time) until you reach the desired consistency.

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

*You can also use milk, just make sure it’s hot. Rule of thumb – never add cold liquid to a hot one (especially milk, as it will curdle.)
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MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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*Simple Turkey Stock
2 whole turkey thighs and/or necks, skin on
Salt and pepper
6 cloves of peeled garlic
2 tsp. whole peppercorns
1/2 cup butter
1 lg. yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 lg. Carrots, roughly chopped
1 stalk each: rosemary, sage, thyme
2 bay leaves
8 cups of water

Preheat over to 350F

Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper. And roast about 40 minutes, until skin is a deep golden brown.

Best turkey gravy ever

Left/Center: Turkey thighs and necks, roasted for stock. Right: Brined turkey thighs ready for dinner!

Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy-bottom stock pot over medium heat. Add peppercorns and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes, stirring, to infuse the butter. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and sauté until carrots begin to brown.

Add water and bring to a simmer.

Add fresh herbs (whole) and bay leaves.

Perfect Chicken Stock

Add roasted turkey thighs and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by 1/2. Strain your stock and discard the herb, bones, skin, and veggie remnants.

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Roughly chop the meat, and return it to the stock (optional, but great for gravy). Taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking.

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11/21/16

Chef Perry’s Perfect Turkey Brine

Simple Turkey Brine

Always, always, always brine your turkey!

There, I feel better now…

This is a simple overnight brine that will yield an amazingly moist and delicious turkey. One gallon is good for a  15 to 20-pound bird, and works best for fresh turkeys. Check the label of your turkey and make sure it hasn’t been “injected” with any kind of “solution” (ie: plain iodized salt water…ick.)

Trust me, this brine, combined with a properly cooked turkey (try my Perfect Roast Turkey in 90 Minutes) will make you a Thanksgiving legend!

Perfect 90 Minute Turkey

Perfect 90 Minute Turkey

1 gallon water
2 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 whole cloves
4 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 stalk fresh rosemary
1 stalk fresh sage leaves
1 stalk fresh thyme leaves
2 cups apple juice

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and sugar and stir until completely dissolved; bring water back to a boil. Add cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, rosemary, sage and thyme to the water, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook mixture at a simmer for about 20 minutes.

Simple Turkey BrineAdd apple juice, and refrigerate brine until completely cooled. Then add to a container to completely submerge turkey. Brine 8-10 hours, or overnight.

Important: Rinse turkey thoroughly after brining, and before roasting.

By the way, you can buy you fresh herb separately, but many stores carry them in these convenient “poultry herbs” pre-packs, especially around the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef Perry

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11/18/16

Garlic-Ginger Grilled Chicken Thighs with Broccoli Slaw

For my money, the thigh of the chicken is God’s country. Naturally moist and full of flavor, it’s the easiest to cook and most forgiving part of the bird.

Here’s one of my favorite preparations…

Best chicken thigh

Garlic-Ginger Chicken Thighs

Active Time: 15 min.                                                    

Total Time: 25 min.

  • 2 chicken thighs, w/ skin & bone
  • 1/2 lg. sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger root
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for the grill

Mise en Place

Skin and thinly slice the onion. Skin and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger. Juice the orange.

IMG_2964 - CopyCombine the chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, orange juice and black pepper in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the Dish

Preheat a grill to medium high and oil the grate, OR preheat oven broiler to high, and set your oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. broil/grill the chicken skin-side down until marked, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and continue to broil/grill until cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Slaw

Active Time: 15 min.                                                    

Total Time: 45 min.

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt 1/2 oz. sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1 dash salt 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1/2 lemon 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2/3 tsp. spicy brown mustard 1 dash ea. salt & black pepper
  • 2/3 lb. broccoli stalks 2 med. carrots

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place sunflower seeds and salt on a rimmed baking sheet and shake to combine. Toast seeds until aromatic, about 10 minutes. Cool and reserve. Juice the lemon.

Prepare the Dish

Combine yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, salt & black pepper.

Whisk to incorporate and reserve.

Peel tough outer layer of broccoli stalks and trim off 1/4 inch from bottoms of stalks. Shred stalks in food processor, then shred carrots. Combine shredded broccoli and carrots with dressing and toss to combine.

Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve.

 
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11/3/16
the difference between stuffing & dressing

The difference between dressing and stuffing

the difference between stuffing & dressing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I posted a very brief chef’s rant on this subject a couple of days ago, and I was amazing to learn how many people actually didn’t know the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”.

So…

It’s only “stuffing” if you cook it INSIDE the bird. If you cook it OUTSIDE the bird, it’s “dressing” (A dressing is placed around the protein on a plate or platter, to “dress” the dish.)

Want some more great holiday tips and recipes? Check out or free Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide!

Typically, I do both…what doesn’t fit inside the turkey is baked in a dish. Then we mix the two together to spread the tasty flavor if the turkey drippings throughout.

Doesn’t stuffing from inside the bird make you sick?

Oh, and I had a friend on FaceBook ask: I always thought stuffing was the best way to give everyone salmonella for thanksgiving, what are your thoughts?”

My response:

Nah, but then I don’t think that Elvis was abducted by aliens and is still alive on the planet Zorb, either.

The stuffing myth is based on the stuffing staying in the “danger zone” for an extended period of time.

MY  KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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newsletter:

The three rules of safe stuffing:

1. Never stuff a bird with cold stuffing, as the meat will dry out long before the stuffing is cooked. Always stuff with cooked (or at least heated) stuffing,

2. Stuffing should be COOKED in the bird, not LEFT in it. Remove stuffing from the bird while still hot, and serve separately.

3. Not quite as important as the first two, but not a bad idea…once you remove the stuffing from the bird, spoon it into a casserole dish and pop it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn) or until it reaches an internal temp of 165F.

The added bonus to this step is you get a lovely, golden, breadcrumb crust across the whole surface.

Thanksgiving stuffing in muffin pans

If you want to fancy this up a bit, brown the stuffing in a muffin pan, and serve individually.

So, no…I’m not concerned with the “no stuffing” myth, follow the safety rules, and you’ll be fine.

Personally, I’d be more worried about getting sick from a grocery store turkey! 😉

A better way

By the way, there is a third option, which I feel…in my not-so-humble opinion…trumps both of the aforementioned styles. Check it out in yesterday’s “Perfect Turkey” post!

This has been a public service announcement, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political griping and Starbucks bashing… :)

Chef Perry
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