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…


Steak Tips with Mushroom Pan Sauce

Steak Tips with Mushrooms

Beef steak cubes browned with garlic, and served in a mushroom sour-cream pan sauce. This dish is amazing over buttered noodles, or white rice.

Steak Tips with Mushroom Pan Sauce

2 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds NY Strip, or Ribeye
16 oz fresh white mushrooms, halved
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour-cream

Mise en Place
Cube the beef, season with salt and pepper. Halve mushrooms. Mince garlic. Combine wine, Worcestershire, and vinegar.

In a large skillet over medium/high heat, heat the olive oil and 1/2 of the butter, and brown beef cubes on 2 sides, with the garlic. Remove beef and garlic and set aside (keep warm.)

browning steak tips

Deglaze the pan with wine mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce liquid by half, and then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, but still firm.

sauteing mushrooms

Remove the pan from heat and whisk in sour cream. When smooth, whisk in the remaining butter.

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Add steak tips (along with any juices), to the pan, and stir to coat.

Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.

Serve over buttered egg noodles, or white rice.

Steak Tips with Mushroom Pan Sauce

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT burger

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT (or any) Burger

In N Out Burger Double Double

Had the good fortune to stop at the Medford, Oregon IN-N-OUT Burger last night on our way home from the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento.

I, of course, grabbed a half dozen extras to bring home for the fam. When I finally rolled in around 1am, I was too exhausted to eat, so the whole box went into the fridge for later, and I collapsed into bed.

This morning, I posted a picture of my treasure on Facebook, and a friend of mine replied, Hamburgers taste horrible after being refrigerated.

To which I replied, “Not if you know how to reheat them, they don’t.

In retrospect, I realized (as  I often do…) that my knee-jerk response, while correct, was a little snarky and not particularly helpful. Also that, while perhaps a bit of a buzz-kill, my friend was technically correct ~ a cold, congealed burger is a pretty awful thing.

God doesn’t want that.

So, in the sincere hope that nothing as glorious as a Double Double Animal Style is ever eaten chilled, or even worse, microwaved, I give you…

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

First of all…never, EVER, reheat a burger fully assembled!

Microwaving is about the worst thing you can to to both ground-beef, and lettuce. The way the microwave works in by causing water molecules to vibrate at high speeds until they get hot. This is an instant method for draining all the good juices out of a burger patty, as well as rupturing the water-holding cells in your lettuce, turning it into limp, gray, sludge.

  1. Take the veggies off and put them back in the fridge. If you can’t replace them with fresh, shock them in a little ice water just before serving (be sure to pat them dry.) This will crisp them back up…some.

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

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  1. Seal the buns, single layer, in a zip bag, and set aside at room temp.

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

3.  Heat 1/4 inch of chicken stock or water in a microwave-safe container (with a lid) big enough to lay   the burger/cheese patties in a single layer. Heat the liquid until steaming, then set the patties in (liquid should not cover, just be on the bottom). Set the bagged buns on top. Place the lid on and set aside for 2-3 minutes.


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

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger


  1. If the buns are soggy out of the fridge, you can toast them, cut sides down, in a dry pan first (optional), or if they’re just plain cheap burger buns, use fresh one (they’re like 8 for a dollar, you cheap bastard…)
  1. When meat has heated through, and the cheese is soft, drain the patty on a paper towel, reassemble and enjoy!

How to reheat a hamburger

You can do the same in a liddled skillet. Just make sure it’s off the heat (move to a cold burner) before adding the meat.

How to reheat a hamburger

Personal opinion: ANY hot sandwich, once assembled, should be wrapped fully in foil and allowed to “rest” at least 5 minutes.


Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak

Mastering the “Reverse Sear”

Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak

The reverse-sear is one of my favorite methods for preparing a perfect steak.

In reverse searing, the meat is roasted on a rack in the oven first, then finished in a very hot skillet or pan. Cooking your steak in the oven first, drys the outside of the steak (a good thing) while slowly cooking the inside and keeping it tender. Also, when the surface of the steak is dry, it will then sear faster and more efficiently in a hot pan, forming a that ideal crust.

Here’s how I did this beautiful flat iron steak (a very underappreciated cut, in my not-so-humble opinion!)

Reverse sear flat iron steak

6-8 hours prior to cooking:

Pat the steak dry on both sides and season generously with coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in fridge. One hour prior to cooking, remove from fridge, unwrap, and let sit (on a rack) on the counter for one hour.

A note on salting: There’s a lot of debate on when and how to salt a steak. I’ve learned, through much trail and error, that I prefer to season my steaks 6-8 hours prior to cooking. This allows the salt to help break down the protein in meat, making it more tender.  Initially, the salt draws out moisture, which is why many folks don’t think you should use it prior to cooking, but given enough time, meat will re-absorbs that moisture, which is now flavored with salt and therefore adds more succulent flavor to the meat. It’s the same principle used when brining a chicken or turkey.”

Preheat the oven to 275F and place the steak (still on the rack) on a baking sheet and place in the oven. (The baking sheet lets the hot air to circulate around the entire steak, cooking it evenly.) Roast your steak until the internal temperature hits 125F – about 45-60 minutes.

Drizzle a little oil in a skillet over high heat, until just starting to smoke (open some windows!)

Carefully set the steak in the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side, turning only once.

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Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak

I like to add a healthy knob of butter along with some fresh garlic, thai basil, sliced mushrooms, sliced shallots, and rosemary to the pan and constantly baste the steak by spooning this mixture over it while cooking.

Remove steak from skillet and set aside to rest 10 minutes before thin slicing against the grain.

You can serve this with the mushrooms, or just deglaze the pan with a little red wine and a splash of red wine vinegar, scraping up those tasty brown bits, and reducing the liquid by half for a delicious pan sauce.

Best. Steak. Ever!


Chef Perry


Poke Stop’s Salmon Poke…at home.

Salmon Poke at Home

Okay, this is my first post in a new series exploring some of the best dishes I’ve eaten at various restaurants, and then helping you recreate them at home.

First and foremost, let me say…I love eating at restaurants. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things in life. I love experiencing new dishes, experiencing the energy of a new place, getting away from my usual surroundings, the whole package. So, I’m not posting these recipes because I don’t want to go to restaurants, I’m posting them because I want to experiences new places, and still be able to enjoy some old favorites.

So…I, literally, want to have my cake and eat it to! :)

I believe that with a little research, practice, and a few basic skills, any home chef should be able to recreate a favorite restaurant dish in their own kitchen. In fact, I think the home chef  should be able to make it better than in the restaurant, as they are not under the same time and budget constraints, and can focus on just a single dish instead of a trail of tickets for 20 different ones.

(By the by, if you’re interested in what I mean by “Home Chef”, please check out my post:The Evolution of the Home Chef“)

So, for our first dish, I’m choosing an old favorite, from one of my very favorite lunch stops in the whole world, Oahu’s Poke Stop.
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Poke Stop on Urbanspoon

What I tried: A lot of stuff

What I liked best: Furikake Salmon Pokē, Kahlua Pork Wontons

https://burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/zpoke1.jpgChef Elmer Guzman operates a small but efficient kitchen that delivers the freshest, tastiest and most delectable Hawaiian Seafood dishes. Poke Stop offers a very nice selection of Poke, Sashimi/Sushi platters, hot dishes and Bentos to go.

Note: Poke (poke-a) is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Pokē is the Hawaiian verb for “to slice or cut”. Native Hawaiians have always eaten poke, and it should not be confused with raw fish dishes such as ceviche, ika ota, or kinilaw, which use vinegar or citrus juice to “cure” the fish.

Both the Furikake Salmon Pokē and the Kahlua Pork Wontons knocked my socks off (or would have, if I’d been wearing socks.)

Now, I’m from Oregon AND I’m a fisherman…I know good salmon, and this was the stuff!

Fresh and firm, it played nicely against the crunch of the raw onions. The combination of the furikake seasoning and the shoyu sauce gave a perfect contrast of sweet, salty, and savory…my favorite combination. Add in just enough red pepper flakes to command your respect without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the salmon, and…well, it’s worth a plane ticket to Oahu to get some!

My only addition to this dish: it’s VERY rich, and I would have liked to have seen it served over a “balancing” ingredient. I don’t know if cold rice would have worked (I’ll have to try it) but I think a small bed of shredded daikon radish salad (see below) would have been perfect.


Btw…Guy Fieri, host of the popular Food Network Show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” (among others) stopped at the Poke Stop’s in Mililani to check out the restaurant’s delicious menu. Among the dishes tried, was Chef Elmer’s popular, salmon poke, here’s Guy, learning how to make it:

Okay, in case you didn’t follow that recipe, don’t bother watching the clip dozen times (like I did)…here it is:

Poke Stop's Salmon Poke

Salmon Poke at Poke Stop, Oahu

Salmon Poke at Home

Salmon Poke at Home

Poke Stop’s Furikake Salmon Pokē

Recipe courtesy Elmer Gonzalez, owner Poke Stop in Mililani, Hawaii.

1 pound cubed sushi grade salmon
1/4 cup diced yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt
1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes
4 tablespoons furikake rice seasoning
2 ounces shoyu sauce
4 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

For salad

2 cups shredded daikon radish
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine veingar

Combine salad ingredients and refrigerate up to one hour.

Be sure that all pin bones have been removed from the salmon. (See how, here.)

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Roasted Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my next level comfort dishes, and I’m excited to add it to our weekly meal plans.

The key to making this awesome is attention to detail. You can use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, and you can use canned green chiles…and it would be good.

But take my word for it…roasting your own chicken and chiles makes all the difference!

-Chef Perry

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
8 roasted, skin-on chicken thighs, diced. See recipe.
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1lb fresh green chiles (hatch or Anaheim)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (15oz) green enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas (6-inch)
12 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend (3 cups)
2 Tbs. schmaltz (rendered chicken fat – see recipe above.)

Roasting Green Chiles

Roasting Green Chiles

In the oven: place chiles evenly in a single layer on a foil-lined roasting pan. Place in the oven about 4-5 inches under a pre-heated broiler, until the skins begin to  blister and blacken (just a few minutes) within minutes.

Flip the peppers to blister all sides evenly. Place directly into a large zip bag or seal-able container and allow to steam 10-15 minutes.

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Roasting Green ChilesOn the grill (charcoal or gas): Basically the same instructions, place evenly on the grill close to the flame over high heat.

Monitor closely and turn to blister evenly on all sides. Follow the steaming instructions, above.

Once the chiles have steamed, peel the charred skins off – you can use your bare hands or a damp cloth works nicely, too.

Roasting Green Chiles

Slice down the sides to open, and use the edge of a knife to scrape all of the seeds and membranes out (dispose), then dice the chiles and set aside.

How to roast green chiles

Preparing the enchiladas

Heat schmaltz in a large skillet over medium heat.

Cooking with schmaltz

Add onions and cook, stirring for five minutes, add garlic and cilantro, and cook another 2-3, do not let garlic brown.

How to make green chile chicken enchiladas

Meanwhile, separate and restack the tortillas, wrap in damp paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minute to soften.

In a saucepan, combine cream, chicken stock, and enchilada sauce and heat until steaming. Add the the sauteed veggies.

IMG_0150 (800x598)

Add green chiles, bring to a simmer, and reduce until thickened slightly. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. (Go light on the salt, both the chicken and cheese will add sodium.)

How to make green chile chicken enchiladas

Working with one tortilla at a time, dip in salsa mixture, lay flat, and fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture.

Green chile chicken enchilada recipe

Green chile chicken enchilada recipe

Roll up and arrange, seam side down,in two layers (top layer in the opposite direction) in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining sauce mixture (save a little for serving), then cheese.

Green chile chicken enchilada recipe

Bake until cheese is browned and salsa is bubbling, 30 minutes; let rest 10 minutes.

Green chile chicken enchilada recipe

Serve with extra sauce, sprinkled with cilantro, and a dollop of Mexican-style sour cream, if desired.