06/17/14

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots

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What a great class this week! We took the youth to the local Fred Meyer (They’ve been amazingly generous with our program, so we like to reciprocate whenever possible!) and cruised the aisles talking about how to shop, fresh vs. not fresh, checking labels, how to stretch your budget and still eat real food, etc.

Then, to REALLY get them out of the box, we gathered up all of the ingredients for braised Brussels sprouts with Bacon (recipe below), and then went back to the kitchen to learn how to cook these always popular (ha ha) little cabbages!aPost - Copy

THEY LOVED ‘EM! (Even Mark, our fearless leader from Impact NW who was…dubious, to say the least! LOL)

Next class is the appreciation dinner, where the kids will prep, cook, and serve a 5-course gourmet dinner for the Impact NW staff, their own foster parents, and other VIPs!

Thank you!

Chef Perry
MY KITCHEN

brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-and-shallots
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots1½ lbs. Brussels sprouts
½ lb smoked bacon
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter
Kosher salt to tasteTrim the stems off the Brussels sprouts, then slice a small “X” in the stem end, about 1/2 inch deep.Dice the bacon and add to a cold sauté pan along with the diced shallots.
Heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the fat starts to render and the meat turns golden brown and crispy but not burnt.Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté over medium-high heat for a few minutes, or until they’re slightly browned.
This caramelization will add a lot of flavor to the recipe.Add the stock, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half (5 to 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Stir in the butter, season with Kosher salt and serve right away!

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.

 

02/10/14

Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls

Here’s another in a series of cheesy recipes I’ve been toying with, last week we looked at Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Pretzel Subs (and yes, they’re as good as they sound), this week we’re going to take it to the next level with…

Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls.

Mac & Chese Egg Rolls

Yeah, we said that.

Thanks again to the folks at Cabot Creamery, who were kind enough to send me samples of several of their cheddar cheeses.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

Founded in 1919, Cabot Creamery is a cooperative of 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout upstate New York and New England. They manage four plants in three states, employing over 1,000 people, who make award-winning cheeses, premium butter, light cheddars, flavored cheddars and rich Greek-Style Yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.

You can follow Cabot Creamery on Facebook, as well.


Seriously Sharp Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls.

Mac & Cheese
1/2lb macaroni or other medium tubular pasta
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs.  flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1.5 cups 2% milk (1 1/2 gal + 1 cup)
2 cups + 1/2 cup Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated
1/2 lbs thick bacon, cooked & crumbled

Egg Rolls
8 (7 inch square) egg roll wrappers
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs water

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsMac & Cheese

Cook bacon. Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking)Over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of butter.

Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and the smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsTurn off the heat then add 2 cups of the freshly shredded cheddar cheese and stir until smooth.

Stir in the milk. Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add bacon.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss  gently until all noodles are covered. Let cool to room temp.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsEgg Rolls

In another large skillet heat oil to about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) or medium high heat. While oil is heating, combine flour and water in a bowl until they form a paste.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsLay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about a 1/4 of the mac & cheese mixture, and a little of the remaining shredded cheese on egg roll paper and fold the bottom corner up over the mixture.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsFold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll.

Bacon Mac & Cheese Egg RollsBrush a bit of the flour paste on the final corner to help seal the egg roll.

Mac & Cheese Egg Roll
Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown.
Mac & Cheese Egg Roll
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
Mac & Chese Egg Rolls
09/18/13

Happy National Cheeseburger Day

This is my all-time favorite, over-the-top, wear-an-old-shirt cheeseburger!

We make these monsters every year (and you probably shouldn’t have them much more often that that) for our family camp-out, and they’re always a hit!

(Note: These are “thin burgers”, designed to maximize the char of the grill, while keeping the burger, and all the fixin’s, reasonably eatable within the limits of the normal mouth size.)

Fully Awesome Burger

THE Fully Awe-some Burger (serves 6)

The Patty
2lbs ground beef (15/85 fat)
1 lg sweet onion, diced fine
2 Tbs Montreal steak seasoning
2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
1 Tbs coarse sea salt
1 Tbs coarse black pepper

The Rest
6 Whole wheat burger buns (or your favorite)
1 cup simple guacamole (see below)
6 Tbs mayo
12 oz aged smoked white-cheddar cheese, grated or sliced
9 strips sliced bacon (I like maple) cooked and halved. (Kept warm)
Red onion, sliced
6 slices leaf lettuce

Simple Guacamole
3 medium Haas avocados, ripe. Peeled and diced.
1 Tbs lime juice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.

Directions
Mix all “patty” ingredients together, form into six equal balls and fridge 4 hours – or overnight, covered. Press into rounds slightly larger that the buns and chill for another 1-2 hours between maxed paper. You want to keep that fat as cold as possible. Here’s why.

Make simple guacamole (simply mix all ingredients) and keep chilled.

Start coals or gas grill and heat to high, lightly grill buns (cut side only) and remove, then throw a small handful of oak chips on the fire, if you have them.

Cook bacon in pan, drain on paper towels and wrap in foil. These can be set on the back of the grill to re-heat just before using.

When grill is hot, place patties evenly on surface and close the lid. Check occasionally for flare-up (these are high fat burgers) and perhaps have a spray bottle of water handy to keep the flames down. Cook 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep buns (see below.)

Flip burgers and place 2oz of grated or sliced cheese on top of each. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Check to see if cheese has melted, if so, place three half-strips of bacon on each patty and remove from grill.

Assembly
Spread 1 Tbs of mayo on each bottom bun, and 2 Tbs of guacamole on each top bun.

Place bacon cheese-burger patty between them, add onion and lettuce, and serve immediately. (Best if patties are taken directly from grill and placed on waiting buns.)

Notes
A simple coleslaw and some cubed, chilled watermelon go very nicely with this dish.

For big eaters, use the same about of meat to make 4 patties. Change ingredients to:

4 oversized burger buns (your favorite)
2/3 cup simple guacamole (see below)
4 Tbs mayo
8 ounces smoked white cheddar cheese, grated
6 strips thick sliced bacon (I like maple) cooked and halved. (Kept warm)
2 medium Haas avocados, ripe. Peeled and diced.
2 tsp lime juice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.

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FYI…Vic dubbed these, “Fully Awe-some Burgers”, as we were watching Bolt at the time, lol.

-Chef Perry

04/26/13

Green Bean Bacon Bundles

Green Bean Bundles

These just came out of the oven…one of my favorite (and super simple) “fancy schmancy” side dishes:

Green Bean Bacon Bundles
4 servings

32 fresh green beans, trimmed and washed
4 slices of bacon (thin cut)
1 cup Rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar (or sub)
1 tsp. salt
4 toothpicks

Bring equal parts water and vinegar to a simmer (about 1 cup each, for a small batch), add sugar and salt. Add green beans and simmer 8-10 minutes, until a bit softened, but still crisp.

Remove beans from hot water and submerge in ice water to stop cooking. Let cool 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 450F

Bundle 8 beans together, wrap with a slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick.

Bake 10-15 minutes, until bacon is crisp.

Set on paper towels to drain, serve hot.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)

02/7/13

Happy National Fettuccine Alfredo Day!

Italian restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio created Fettuccine Alfredo in 1914 to help his wife regain her appetite after the birth of their first son, and it worked! Soon after he began serving it at his restaurant in Rome. Today, it’s one of the most popular pasta dishes in America, and the invention of the dish is commemorated on February 7 with National Fettuccine Alfredo Day.

Fettuccine Alfredo supposedly became popular in the United States when Hollywood stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks dined at Di Lelio’s restaurant while on their honeymoon. They spread the word when they returned to America.

And, of course…everything’s better with bacon, right?

If you don’t believe that…this recipe will convert you!

Guanciale (gwan-chalie), an Italian-style bacon made from hog jowl, is a prized gourmet delicacy in central Italy. Typically, it’s dry-cured, hand-coated with fresh cracked peppercorns, then smoked over smoldering hickory logs for nearly 24 hours. The result is a meat with a noticeably richer flavor than typical bacon, and is a popular addition to such classic dishes as spaghetti alla carbonara and pasta all’amatriciana.

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