07/13/17

Chef P’s Penny Pincher Mock Southern Catfish

Southern Fried Tilapia

Had a hankering for fried catfish this week…until I priced it at my local fist monger’s shop.

The poor country-boy in me just couldn’t shell out $12.50/lb for somethin’ I can catch with a cane pole and a couple of smelly chicken livers. Glancing around, I noticed that tilapia fillets were on sale $2.98/lb.

Well, there you go.

Fresh tilapia fillets can be rarer than an honest politician, in chain grocery stores, but the frozen, individual portioned version will work just fine, too. Just make sure you thaw them before soaking.

If you’re feeling brave, buy whole tilapia (usually cheaper, too) and fillet them yourself. I like my whole tilapia fillets scaled, but with the skin left on, as it adds an extra crunch and a little fat, but to each their own. My local Asian super-market has tanks of live tilapia, which they’ll net and fillet for you…doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Chef P’s Mock Fried Catfish

  •     6 (4oz) tilapia fillets
  •     2 cups milk
  •     1 tsp sea salt
  •     2 cups yellow cornmeal
  •     1 Tbs seasoned salt
  •     2 tsp coarse black pepper
  •     1/2 tsp onion powder
  •     2 tsp garlic salt 
  •     Vegetable oil

Southern Fried Tilapia

Place tilapia fillets in a single layer in a shallow dish; cover with milk, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Combine cornmeal, seasoned salt, pepper, and onion powder in a shallow dish, and mix well.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Remove catfish fillets from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Remove from milk, allowing excess to drip off. Sprinkle evenly with garlic salt.

Pre-heat your deep fryer, or add oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large skillet; heat to 350F.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Dredge catfish fillets in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess.

Home Chef’s Note: Dad had a trick he learned while cooking in Georgia. Place your fish fillet on top of the cornmeal mixture, mound the remaining cornmeal over the top until completely covered, then give the whole thing a firm press with an open hand. Shake off the excess and continue.

Southern Fried Tilapia

Fry fillets, in batches, about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.*

*The darker ou let them brown, within reason, the crispier the finished fillets will be.

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Southern Fried Tilapia

Drain on wire racks over paper towels.

Speaking for my people, you’ll be on these like a hungry ‘gator on a French poodle!

Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN Outreach Program
www.joinmykitchen.com

06/8/17

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

teaching kids to cook

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

Excerpt from: “The Home Chef’s Guide to Cooking with Kids.”
Coming Soon.

teaching kids to cookLearning to cook from a father who’s also a professional chef, isn’t always…fun.

I’m not talking about these television “stand and stir” celebrity chefs who smile, and make jokes, and have a team of cooking-college pukes doing all their mize off camera, either. I’m talkin’ about OLD SCHOOL chefs, the kind who viewed an 8oz steel ladle as a “tool of instruction”, if you know what I mean.

If you’ve ever cooked with me (and I apologize) try to imagine a guy who looks a lot like me, but with a hair-trigger temper, even less patience, and a MUCH more relaxed attitude toward profanity and volume.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my dad was a GREAT dad, he just wasn’t a very congenial teacher. I struggle with this myself (ask my wife about her one and only cooking lesson some time…) but I try to do a better job of keeping my emotions, and expectations, in check when working with my own daughter in the kitchen.

This morning was a good example…

The Pickle decided, as a celebration of the first day of summer vacation, that she was going to cook me breakfast. A lovely thing that happens more and more often these days. (Woo-Hoo!)

This morning she decided to make French-style scrambled eggs, a specialty of hers, but she got a little…exuberant…with the spices. WAY too much salt and pepper and, even on a burger roll, it was almost inedible.

 Want to help me feed hungry families, teach at-risk & special-needs kids to cook for themselves and their families, and change lives?

Become a patron!

Now, while my father would likely have just tossed the whole thing in the trash and told me to “do it right this time”, I paused, took a breath, and thought about the opportunities in the situation.

First (and it’s important that this be first) what was GOOD about the dish? Well, the eggs were cooked perfectly, exactly the light and fluffy consistency that I like. Likewise, the toast with exactly the right shade. Looking in the kitchen I could see that the ingredients had been put away, and the cookware, if not washed, had at least been moved to the sink, and the eggs were still hot when she served it.

These are all simple, but very important, elements of a finished dish, and I made sure to let her know that she’d done that right.

teaching kids to cook

1. Inspiration will always produce better results than fear.

teaching kids to cookWorking closely with at-risk kids, many of whom have never (literally) boiled water before, has taught me that fear and anxiety, which most of these kids are already dealing with, will do nothing but increase the likelihood of an injury or mistake. My personal philosophy is that the younger the child, the more praise and encouragement is required. Are they holding the spoon right?

Praise them!

Did they crack that egg without getting any (or very little) shell in it?

Praise them!

Do they just generally seem to have a good attitude and are willing to listen?

PRAISE THEM!

Basically, go watch a few episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, and do exactly the opposite!

You see, no one is born knowing how to cook, or enjoying the tasks required to do so. When we’re praised for something, the brain creates new neural pathways and releases endorphins and dopamine to the pleasure centers of the brain, increasing the likelihood that we will remember to do it THAT WAY again, because doing it THAT WAY makes us feel good.

teaching kids to cook

Negative feedback also creates these pathways, but as a warning NOT to do it that way, which may seem like a good thing, but it’s not. Negative feelings (or lack of dopamine reception) triggers the human flight response, because, on an instinctive level, it’s easier to just NOT do it again (run away), than to risk doing it wrong.

This is why a lot of people don’t “like” to cook…their brain tells them it’s going to make them feel bad, and so they should avoid it.

And, before you start asking, “If YOUR dad was so tough, why do YOU love to cook?” it’s because as much as Chef Frank could rant, and rail, and slam frying pans, he also knew how to PRAISE.

When I did something right, he made a big deal out of it, he bragged to others about it in front of me. I guess you could say he made me feel good MORE than he made me feel bad, and though (at least in my case) that might sometimes work, it’s a risky way to do things.

teaching kids to cook
Also, it’s important to remember that any time a child brings you something they’ve made, even a bowl of mashed bananas covered in powdered sugar, they’re offering you a part of themselves, they’re giving you a precious gift and trusting you with it, and their goofy little brains can’t always distinguish between you rejecting a SANDWICH, and you rejecting THEM.

BUT (and there’s always a big butt) as much as patience, and praise, and making it “feel good” are important, there are still absolutes in the kitchen, there are rules, and reasons for those rules, and it’s far easier to establish those from the beginning, than to try to add them in later.

We observe the safety rules: proper knife handling, bar mops in place for handling hot pans, appropriate clothing for cooking (protective of heat and splatters, not slip, foot-protecting shoes, nothing too loose or baggy that might catch fire, long hair pinned back, or under a cap, keeping our station free of clutter and dirty cookware to avoid accidents, etc.

o-MESSY-SINK-facebook
We understand that, outside of the professional kitchen, clean-up is part of the cook’s job.

Cookware is rinsed, dishwasher is filled, and counters and stove-tops are wiped down BEFORE we eat. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them to clean-up as they go. This is a habit that will make their whole life easier, inside and outside the kitchen.

Oh, and a modern-day tip on praise? Take pictures of your kids cooking and/or their finished dishes, and post them for your friends and family to see. To a 9y/o having another adult come up to them and say, “Wow, that omelet you made last week looked SO good!” is a really, really big deal.

2. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

First of all, EVERYBODY makes a bad dish now and then. I’ve been cooking, personally and professionally for more than 4 decades, and I will still, on occasion, put out a stinker.

An important truth to remember is that, if you really want to master a craft, cooking or anything else, and you’re NOT making the occasional mistake…you’re not trying hard enough, and you’re not growing your skills. It’s been said, and I believe it, that “Good cooking comes from experience, and experience comes from bad cooking. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

This morning’s eggs were an opportunity to reinforce three important cooking principles to my daughter:

a. Sometimes, less is more. Great cooking isn’t about a laundry list of spices and ingredients, it’s about knowing what to DO with them, and when. If the main ingredient is egg, you want that to be the dominate flavor, and not buried under a bunch of spices.

b. A smart chef under-seasons while cooking, and re-seasons before plating. Or, as my dad used to say, “It’s a hell of a lot easier to add more salt, than to take it back out!” Which leads to…

teaching kids to cookc. Always, always, ALWAYS taste your food as you go! First of all, it’s educational. If you’ve ever tasted a spoonful of beef bourguignon just on the heat, it’s a nasty, depressing thing.

But when you taste is again after hours of simmering and reducing, allowing the flavors to marry and the alcohol to cook off, you realize that there’s something transformative, almost magical, that you can do to raw ingredients when you understand certain techniques and when to use them.

No dish should ever be plated without a final tasting, and any adjustments required (if any) at that point.

Here are a couple of more tips:

1. Have a plan, and work the plan

Even when you’re having them start a dish from scratch, YOU, as the teacher, should already know exactly what needs to be done. Make sure you have all of the ingredients, the proper cookware, and anything else needed for the dish.

Make sure it’s something YOU know how to make, so you’re ready to step in with advice and guidance if things start to go off plan. Nothing is more discouraging to the learner than having to scrap a dish because they weren’t supplied with the right ingredients and tools. It’s like the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to!”

teaching kids to cook
2. Never teach in a rush, or under pressure

Trying to teach an 8y/o how to make turkey gravy when you’re cooking six other dishes and have a dozen family members showing up in two hours for Thanksgiving dinner is…bad. (And half those dishes should have been cooked days in advance…what were you thinking?”)

I kid, I kid…sorta.

Teaching, well…anything requires a calm, focused head, and getting frustrated and demonstrating that cooking is stressful and no fun, is the last thing you want to do. Teach when you have the energy, the positivity, and the TIME to do so. A smart chef knows when to order a pizza, too.

3. Then, always have a Plan B.

Speaking of pizza…what’s for dinner if that casserole catches fire, or a cup of salt is mistaken for a cup of sugar? Don’t make your child feel guilty for “ruining dinner, and NOW what are we going to eat???”

When the Pickle’s in charge of dinner, I know in advance that if the spaghetti turns into a solid ball of gluten, or the chicken gets immolated, there’s sandwich fixin’s, or omelet ingredients, or the phone number for the local delivery place, close at hand. Praise what went right, discuss what went wrong, and then laugh it off and go eat dinner.

How about you? Any nuggets of wisdom to add, either as the learner or the teacher, for encouraging a little chef?

Have FUN,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

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.

 

06/6/17

Quick & Easy Thai Grilled Chicken Salad

Easy Thai Chicken Salad

Sometimes even I don’t have a lot of time to prep a delicious, healthy meal…and a little cheating is required. And sometimes, those meals turn out to be freakin’ awesome.

This is one of them.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bottle Sesame Ginger Marinade
  • 1 jar Apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 bag Thai (or Asian) salad mix

This recipe couldn’t be much easier…

Easy Thai Chicken Salad

In the morning, mix the bottled marinade, preserves, and brown sugar in a non-reactive bowl, and whisk until smooth.

Add the chicken thighs, turning each to coat evenly.

 Want to help me feed hungry families, teach at-risk & special-needs kids to cook for themselves and their families, and change lives?

Become a patron!

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. If you’re home, turn them a couple of times during the day, if not, don’t worry about it.

When  you’re ready to start dinner, remove the chicken from the marinade and allow to rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes to take off the chill.

IMG_6020

Fire up your grill for indirect cooking, and grill the chicken for five minutes, then dip each thigh back in the marinade, flip, and grill another 5 minutes. Repeat until the thighs get firm, then move them over the direct heat to get a little char on them.

Remove from heat and let the thighs set and cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

IMG_6021

Mix all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl, divide between four plates, and top each with an even amount of chicken.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

05/9/17

The Home Chef’s Mother’s Day Cookbook (it’s free!)

Home Chef Mother's Day Cookbook FreeTips, ideas, and of course…lots of delicious, easy to make recipes with full color step-by-step instructions.
Breakfast, appetizers, dinner, and dessert recipes to show Mom just how awesome she is this Mother’s day, and every day after!
  • Tips for a Perfect Mother’s Day   
  • Blackberry Banana Smoothies
  • Sweet Potato Gratin Stacks
  • Bacon Apple Cheddar Dutch Baby
  • Patatas y Huevos Tacos
  • Truffles Flower Eggs
  • Mother’s Day Chili Egg Puffs
  • Caprese Tomato Bites
  • Garlic-Parmesan Baked Chicken Wings
  • Pho Deviled Eggs
  • Bacon & Shrimp Mini Soft Tacos
  • Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Curry  
  • Risotto ai Funghi Porcini
  • Pasta alla Carbonara
  • Poisson Meunière   
  • Easy Caramel Apple Crisp
  • Mint Oreo Truffles
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pot de Creme
  • Sweet Butter Rum Plantains
  • Banana Bread Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze   

    …and more!

This guidebook will be sent to all of our free meal plan subscribers this afternoon.
 
Not on the list? Sign up at: www.joinmykitchen.com to get your copy!
 
Happy Mother’s Day, and thank you for helping us help kids!
 
~Chef Perry

04/29/17

Next Level Ingredients: Butter Poached Garlic Cloves

Garlic Poached in Butter

Today we’re going to look at two of my all time favorite ingredients, garlic…and butter! And I’m going to show you one of those little restaurant kitchen secrets that can elevate a great dish into the range of freakin’ amazing.

Slow poaching in butter brings out all the sweetness of the garlic, without any bitterness. Creating  silky smooth, buttery soft garlic cloves, and a rich, deeply infused roasted garlic butter.

To make your Butter Poached Garlic, you’ll need:

1 cube Sweet Cream Butter (for some reason “sweet” means it has salt added…go figure)
10-12 fresh whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

Cooking time: 1 hour on Medium Low

Here’s how I do it…

04/17/17

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce and Simple Spaetzle

Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce and Simple Spaetzle


style="display:inline-block;width:728px;height:90px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-9950730736977597"
data-ad-slot="1801611868">

Pork Schnitzel
Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless pork loin chops (6oz each)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter

Dill sauce:
1½ c. sour cream
1 Tbs dill
2 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp. salt

For Dill Sauce

Whisk the sour cream, dill, lemon juice, and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

1


style="display:block"
data-ad-format="autorelaxed"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-9950730736977597"
data-ad-slot="5867784269">

Assemble the Pork Chops

Begin by placing each chop between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are an even 1/4-inch thick.

8

Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a third dish and again season with salt and pepper.

Pork Schnitzel recipe

Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing the bread crumbs onto the pork gently so they have a nice even coating.

Pork Schnitzel recipe

Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes to allow the coating to dry out a little and adhere to the pork.

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.

 

3

Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thyme sprig and let it fry for about 1 minute to infuse the oil. Remove the thyme sprig and reserve. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Season with salt and transfer to a serving platter while still hot. Garnish with lemon wedges and the dill sauce before serving.

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.

 

making spatzel at home

Simple Spaetzle
4 servings

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/4 cup 2% milk
    2 tsp. salt
    6 cups chicken broth
    2 tsp. butter

In a large bowl, stir the flour, eggs, milk and salt until smooth (dough will be sticky). In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Pour dough into a colander, cheese grater (shown) or spaetzle maker coated with cooking spray; place over boiling broth.

Homemade spatzel recipe

With a wooden spoon, press dough until small pieces drop into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes or until spaetzle are tender and float. Remove with a slotted spoon; toss with butter.  



style="display:inline-block;width:336px;height:280px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-9950730736977597"
data-ad-slot="3278345065">

04/17/17

Chef Perry’s Bacon & Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Bacon Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Here’s a sneak-peek from the upcoming Home Chef Guidebook: “Bacon!” Let’s face it, as comfort foods go, scalloped potatoes are pretty hard to beat, and this version is completely over the top!

Creamy, cheesy goodness with a umami blast of bacon…these potatoes are my happy place!

~ Chef Perry

Bacon & Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, unpeeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sweet cream butter (for cheese sauce)
  • 1/4 cup AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded raclette or comte cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 oz Thick bacon lardons, fried crisp and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large baking dish with butter. Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl (but NOT the Parmesan).

Cut bacon into lardons.

Bacon Lardons

Fry until crisp, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Fried Bacon Lardons

For the Roux: In 2-quart saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper (this is a roux). Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until smooth and golden brown; remove from heat. Stir in milk a little at a time, repeat with heavy cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

You now have a Béchamel, one of the 5 French “Mother Sauces” and the backbone of cheese sauces.

Remove the white sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese blend, 1/2 a cup at a time, until smooth. Keep warm.

Sliced Yellow Potatoes

Slice the potatoes skin on (optional). I like mine a little thicker, but you can slice them thinner than this, according to your preference. Blanch the potato slices in simmering, salted, water until just starting to soften. Shock in cold water to stop cooking.

Sliced potatoes in dish

To the baking dish, add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the bacon lardons, half of the cheese sauce, and pepper to taste. Arrange the remaining potatoes and bacon on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the remaining bacon, then cheese sauce over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.

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.

 Sprinkle the potatoes with the Parmesan.

Bacon Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

04/12/17
Best Ham Leftovers Recipes

My 5 Favorite Leftover Ham Recipes

Best Ham Leftovers Recipes

So, yesterday we took a look at my favorite ham recipe, Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham, now let’s take a look at what to do with all of these delicious piggy leftovers…you will have leftover’s right?

Leftover ham recipesNot buying twice as much ham as you need for the holiday meal…total rookie mistake.

Sure, you could do three or four reheats of Thanksgiving dinner (I do this at least once for lunch) but don’t pass up the chance to add some of these great dishes into the menu plan for the week following the holidays…

My 5 Favorite Ham Recipes

leftover ham and bean soup recipeHam and bean soup – Use the ham bone and some leftover ham to make a hearty soup. I like to add a 15 Bean Soup Mix. Soak the beans overnight, so that they’re ready to use the next day. Saute a large diced yellow onion, a diced red bell pepper, and – if you like a little spice – a diced jalapeno.

Simmer until done, uncovered, adding water as needed. Serve with lots of soft, warm bread.

leftover ham brekfast bagel recipeHam and eggs – I love breakfast for dinner! Grill the ham lightly in butter, and pair with some toast or a toasted everything bagel and a little Gruyere cheese, and you’ve got a quick, and awesome dinner.

Fancy it up by making a Denver omelet!

 

leftover ham cobb salad

Cobb salad – Diced ham (as well as any other meats and cheeses you might have lying around Romaine and iceberg lettuce, red onion, olives, avocados, chopped bacon…you name it! Oh, and just one guy’s opinion, but it ain’t Cobb salad without some of those little mini corn things!

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.

 

 

Homemade Hawaiian pizza – dice the ham, and follow this Basic Pizza Dough recipe – Fresh pineapple is a bit more work, but totally worth it! Top the dough with a little tomato paste, some shredded Italian blend cheese and pop into a pre-heated 450 oven for 10-15 minutes. Or, grab a pizza stone and follow our recipe and made some next-level grilled pizza!

Fried potatoes and ham – Hash, as we call it down south, is a big favorite at our house. I like to mix the fried potatoes with onions, mushrooms, and pieces of ham, but you can serve the ham on the side, too. Sprinkle with a little cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream. You can use something healthier than bacon grease to fry the potatoes…but it won’t be as good.

I know, I said 5…but I can’t leave out my favorite…

Ham sandwiches – This old standby is great for lunch. Ham, cheddar, bread, and butter…simple and perfect! Fancy it up by adding a little sweet-hot mustard in sliced Italian bread, swapping the cheddar for Gruyere, and grilling it until golden brown on both sides. Bene!

So, what’s YOUR favorite “Holiday leftover recipe?”

 

 

04/11/17
Traeger Peach Ginger Ham

Traeger Peach-Ginger Smoked Holiday Ham

Traeger Peach Ginger Ham

I love just about any combination of spicy and sweet, and this peach-ginger glazed ham recipe is no exception.

My wife has informed me that this is the only ham recipe I am to use for Easter, from now on! :)

Chef Perry
www.joinmykitchen.com

Smoked Holiday Ham with Peach-Ginger Glaze

1 (10 pound) fully-cooked, sliced, bone-in ham
2 cups peach preserves
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs soy sauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh ginger root. minced
1/2 cup apple juice

Unwrap the ham and place it, cut-side down, on a flat roasting rack.

When you’re ready to cook, turn Traeger to the “Smoke” setting, with the lid open, for 5 minutes or until the fire is established.

Preheat to 300F (lid closed).

Smoking a ham in Traeger


style="display:block"
data-ad-format="autorelaxed"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-9950730736977597"
data-ad-slot="5867784269">

Place the ham (on the roasting rack) on the Traeger grill grate and smoke for 1 hour.

While the ham is smoking, mix together the mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, apple juice and peach preserves in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and then stir in the ginger.

Reduce heat, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the ham, rack and all, on a foil lined baking sheet, and return to Traeger.

Glazed ham on Traeger recipe

Baste ham with the peach glaze. Continue basting every 30 minutes until the ham is richly glazed and the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees, 1-1/2 hours more.

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.

 

30-45 minutes before the ham is done, turn the heat up to 400, to “set” the glaze.

Remove ham from smoker and bring it (on the rack & pan) inside. Carefully turn the ham on it’s side, allowing the sliced to fan, and brush liberally with the remaining glaze.

Tent loosely in foil, and let the ham rest for 15 minutes before carving.

 

04/10/17

An elegant (and easier) Easter Dinner!

Easter leg of lamb dinner


 

Easter dinner should feel like a special occasion, one might even say a holiday!

So why should you have to spend hours and hours slaving away in the kitchen, while the rest of your friend’s and family are hangin’ out?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could start cooking a little on Thursday, and spread the work out over the next three days?

Well…you can!


 
The Menu: Reverse Seared Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin Strawberry Spinach Salad Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat

This SimplySmartDinnerPlans special menu features a succulent roast leg of lamb with a simple, savory, and delicious pan-reduction sauce, a decadent gratin that bakes alongside the lamb, and a bright and beautiful spinach and strawberry salad.

 A sumptuous (and fun to say) Pots de Crème au Chocolat finishes off a meal that sure to impress, while still allowing you to spend more time with the ones you love. Just remember, these ingredients (see list below) were not included in your weekly shopping list, so you’ll need to swap out a meal if you want to do this.

Okay, here’s the plan…(all recipes, below…) Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb (Prep on Sunday, Cook on Sunday) The leg of lamb takes just over two hours to cook but doesn’t require much attention during that time. Put it in the oven in the afternoon, and you’ll be free to go about other tasks until you take it out and make the sauce just before dinner. Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin (Prep on Saturday, Cook on Sunday) The gratin can be assembled up to one day ahead. Cover and chill it, then take it out of the fridge when you put the lamb in the oven (so it can stand at room temperature for one hour). When the lamb has roasted for one hour and it’s time to uncover it, place the gratin in the oven alongside the roasting pan so both dishes can cook at the same 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. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

Strawberry Spinach Salad (Prep on Thursday, Assemble on Sunday) The base for the vinaigrette—the vinegar, sugar, and oil—can be mixed together up to three days ahead. Chill it, covered, then let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before tossing it with the salad.

Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat (Cook on Friday) Before our present obsession with chocolate mousse, lovers of French cooking were filling individual porcelain pots with intensely rich, dense chocolate custard.

Oh, and if you’re looking for simply (and simple) stupendous make-ahead breakfast/brunch for Easter morning, check out Nana’s Chili Egg Puff!

SUNDAY SCHEDULE (We always serve around 4pm, adjust this schedule to your own liking.)

12:30pm Rub lamb and leave on counter to come to temp 1:30pm Lamb in oven 2:30pm Potato Gratin in oven 3:30pm Lamb out of oven to rest, make pan sauce 3:40: Assemble toss, and chill salad 3:55pm Slice lamb and plate 4:00pm Serve

RECIPES

Reverse grilled leg of lamb Easter

Reverse Seared Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb Serves up to 12, with leftovers. 1 leg of lamb, bone in (about 6 pounds) 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 8 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves 1 tablespoon salt 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper Sauce: 1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 cups diced onions 2 cups chicken stock 1 cup red wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using your hands, rub the lamb all over with the lemon juice. Pat the garlic and rosemary evenly all over the surface of the meat. Season the meat with the salt and pepper and place the lamb in a roasting pan. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to cook for about 1 hour longer for medium-rare, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers about 145 degrees F to 150 degrees F (be careful that the thermometer does not touch the bone.)

If possible, pull from the heat at around 140F, and finish on the grill over hot coals (toss a few springs of rosemary on the fire, for an extra punch.)

Remove lamb from pan, or grill,  and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Position the roasting pan over your stove burners. Add mixed herbs and onions to pan, and stir to combine with pan drippings. Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any fond (that’s a fancy chef word for those yummy brown bits that stick to the bottom of your roasting/frying pan). Reduce over high heat until sauce consistency. Strain before serving, if desired.

Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

Serve with warmed soft rolls (I like potato rolls) and plenty of sweet cream butter.

Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin 4 Servings 1 pound Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, sliced very thinly 1 leek, white parts only, well-washed and cut into thin rings 1/2 pound asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces 1 1/2 cups cream salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste pinch freshly-grated nutmeg 1 cloves garlic, finely minced 1/2 cup grated good-quality Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the potato slices, leek rings, and asparagus pieces. Add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally and very gently with a rubber spatula so the potato slices don‘t fall apart, over medium-high heat until the cream boils.

Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate until ready to cook. (at 400F)

Removed foil, Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake in preheated oven around 40 minutes until top is bubbly and golden, and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes. The dish will thicken slightly as it cools.

 Strawberry Spinach Salad Strawberry Spinach Salad 4 Servings 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon minced onion 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Pots de Creme Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat 4 Servings

Although this marvelous dessert looks very sophisticated, there is no great secret to success. Just start with the right kind of small, heatproof cups and a good-quality French, Swiss or Belgian bittersweet chocolate.

Mix the ingredients following the recipe instructions precisely, then strain the mixture to rid it of any lumps. Baking the filled pots in a water bath provides the gentle, moist heat the custard needs to thicken properly.

1 cup heavy cream 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 3 egg yolks 2 Tbs. sugar 1 to 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and well blended. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Using a whisk, beat until pale yellow and thick enough to fall from the whisk in a lazy ribbon, about 5 minutes.

Slowly stir in the warm chocolate cream and add the vanilla extract, to taste.

Place six 1/4-cup pot de crème pots with lids or ramekins in a baking pan. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the pots or ramekins, dividing it evenly. Pour boiling water into the baking pan to a depth of 1 inch. Cover the pots with their lids or the ramekins with a single sheet of aluminum foil. Bake until the custards are just set at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. They should still tremble slightly.

Remove the baking pan from the oven. Place the pots or ramekins on a wire rack, remove the lids or aluminum foil and let cool at room temperature. When cool, cover again and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

SHOPPING Meat 1 leg of lamb, bone in (about 6 pounds) Produce 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 8 cloves garlic, minced 1 cloves garlic, finely minced 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves 1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 cups diced onions 1 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, sliced very thinly 1 leek, white parts only, well-washed and cut into thin rings 1/2 pound asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off, cut into 2-inch pieces 1 tablespoon minced onion 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced Seasonings/Baking 2 Tbs. sugar 1 to 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tablespoon salt 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste pinch freshly-grated nutmeg 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 1/2 cup white sugar 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered Canned/Boxed/Bottled/Other 2 cups chicken stock 1 cup red wine 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar Dairy 2 1/2 cups cream 1/2 cup grated good-quality Gruyere cheese 1/4 lb sweet cream butter, softened Other 3 egg yolks 8-12 potato rolls Easter Wine and Beef Pairings Beverage pairings: A subtle Merlot or a firm, acidic Sauvignon Blanc would be nice wine options with this menu. For beer, look towards an American pale ale. Enough hops to cut through the fat without overpowering, and the fruitiness will go well with the gaminess of the lamb. A Belgian pale would bring more sweetness, and spicyness from the yeast and hop.

Personally, I like a thick, inky porter, with just about any red meat…but that’s just me.