Southwestern Style Game Day Ribs

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INGREDIENTS 1 rack baby back pork ribs 1 TBSP dried thyme 1 TBSP honey 1 TBSP garlic salt 1 TBSP onion powder 1 TBSP brown sugar 1 TBSP pepper flakes 1 TBSP paprika 1 TBSP chili powder 1 TBSP minced rosemary 1 TSP salt 1 TSP fresh ground black pepper 2 cups barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, garlic, onion powder, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the ribs, refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place rib on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove ribs from the oven and refrigerate.

If going to a football game, cut the racks into individual ribs and place them in a large sealable plastic bag or bags. Add enough BBQ sauce to coat ribs. If grilling out at home, put ribs in a bowl or glass dish and cover with BBQ sauce until ready to grill.

At the tailgate Prepare coals for medium heat. When the coals are hot, grill the ribs for 10 minutes, until they are lightly charred and heated through, turning them to grill on all sides. Brush on more BBQ sauce while grilling. If grilling out at home, heat the grill to medium high and grill on all sides as described above.

Serve the ribs accompanied by more sauce.

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Chilled Watermelon Soup

Seedless watermelon Purchased Feb. 2005 in Atl...
Image via Wikipedia

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INGREDIENTS

10 cups seedless watermelon chunks 2 LBS fresh fruit, cubed (apricots, peaches, grapes, cherries, melon) 3/4 cup golden raisins 4 OZ sweet white dessert wine such as muscat 3 TBSP Greek thyme honey Mint leaves (for garnish)

Remove rinds and any small seeds from watermelon and cut into chunks.  In food processor, puree watermelon with honey and wine. Transfer to large serving bowl, stir in fruit.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving. Add mint leaves as a garnish on top.

What wine would you pair with this?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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#WorldCup wines Tasting Notes: 2004 Pizzato Tannat from Brazil

Vivid, dark, red with violet traces in appearance; red fruit, spices, raisins, jam, cocoa nose; it’s a well balanced, good length, and medium to high-bodied, medium-dry wine with fine tannins.

Here's a suggested food pairing to go with the wine:

Ingredients:

240g rack of lamb (2 cars) 120g Sweet Potato 70g onion 50g Pine Nuts 70 ml Dry white wine 80 ml Dry red wine tannat 15g Gorgonzola 6g Garlic 2 bay leaves 1 Orange 1 Egg Salt to taste Thyme to taste Pepper to taste Butter to taste Olive oil to taste

Preparation:

Cleans the ingredients. Make a marinade for the car with white wine, bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and half the onion. Peel sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. When cooked mash until a puree, add the grated orange and blue cheese .. Beat the egg whites and mix gently Bring to boil pinion. Once cooked peel and chop into brunoise (finely chopped). Reserve. Seal the rack of lamb in a skillet with olive oil. Return to oven to finish cooking. In the same pan used to seal the car and without washing, place the red wine and release the juice that was at the bottom of the skillet, add the remaining onion finely chopped. Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to fire. Season with salt, pepper and add the already cooked and chopped pine nuts. Mount the plate putting the mashed sweet potatoes on the rack, drizzle with some sauce and garnish with pine nuts.

Note: If you have not Pinion, need not ask. Seal: Skip the meat in a skillet with hot fat until they are stained with both sides.

Preparation time: 40 minutes + 2 hours for marinating

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Dungeness Crab Cake Salad with Watercress, Fennel and Orange

watercress INGREDIENTS for CRAB CAKES 1 egg, beaten 1 LB fresh Dungeness crab 3/4 cup bread crumbs 1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese 1/4 cup mayonaisse 3 shallots, finely chopped 2 TBSP dijon mustard juice from one lemon 1/4 cup green bell peppers, minced 1/4 cup red bell peppers, minced 1 TBSP green onions 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped 1 TBSP butter 1/4 TSP cayenne pepper

INGREDIENTS for SALAD 4 cups watercress, rinsed 4 oranges, peeled and separated juice from one lemon 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thinly Salt and Pepper to taste . . To prepare the crab cakes, heat butter in a sauté pan over medium low heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together shallots, grated cheese, lemon juice, mayo, egg, mustard, bread crumbs, bell pepper, salt and cayenne.  After mixing, add in crab meat, then divide into 8-10 balls.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare salad, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, toss watercress, orange segments, fennel and onion together.

Remove crab balls from refrigerator and flatten into one inch thick cakes.  Heat 2-3 TBSP oil or butter in a skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side over medium heat.  Distribute salad mix on chilled plates, top with dressing and crab cakes then serve.

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Wine pairings for this dish are pretty easy.  It's a flexible dish suitable for many Chardonnay's or rich whites.  The crab cakes are pretty hearty, so make sure to serve with a white wine that can hang.  I've tried oaked Chardonnay's and unoaked Chardonnays.  The both worked.  Pinot Grigio, Semillion, Viognier and other whites also work.  If I had to pick one wine as the most ideal pairing, it would be the Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay from Livermore.

I'm more of an unoaked Chardonnay kinda guy, but once in a while, you just want that buttery butter ball that even Mrs. Butterworth thinks is buttery.  The Riva Ranch Chardonnay isn't obnoxious — still refined and a great expression of the vineyard.  Many people don't realize the Wente's were one of the first wine family's in California going back to the 1850's.  They've quietly gone about producing consistent well-priced estate wines.

The Riva Ranch has a creamy "dusty" texture with mineral highlights that can best be described as a combination of wet rocks and smoke.

detail_bottle_riva_ranch

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HOW TO throw pizza dough

I've always wanted to know how to do that thing you see on TV and movies where someone is throwing pizza dough into the air without having it end up all over the place.  Here's a quick little step by step video showing how to do it like a pro.  I've also added one of my favorite pizza recipes with a few wine pairing suggestions:

The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado. We took something good and made it orgasmic! How? you might ask. By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores). In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce. Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like. Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks. Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle. Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits. It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

Pizza and wine are one of the easiest wine pairings to do.  You could practially pull any red wine out to have with pizza.  Because of the spicy kick from the chipotle, I'd go for a red wine with a little more sweetness.  Jammy style, lighter wines like Quinta do Crasto from Portugal, Flora Springs Sangiovese, Cougar Crest Syrah and many Australian Shiraz will do the trick

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Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Port Sauce

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INGREDIENTS 1 cup Soy Sauce 1 cup Sherry 4 6-OZ duck breast halves 12 frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup beef stock 1/2 cup ruby port 1 fresh thyme sprig 1 TSP cornstarch dissolved into 2 TBSP water 1/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk soy sauce and Sherry in medium bowl to blend. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slits on the duck breasts 1/2-inch apart making sure to not cut too deep (not through meat). Place duck, skin side up into glass baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover duck with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Bring cherries, chicken stock, beef stock, port and thyme spring to boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

marinate the duck breasts

Meanwhile, heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Remove duck from marinade. Add duck breasts, skin side down to skillet. Cook until skin is crispy, about 10 minutes. Turn duck over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to cutting board or other surface. Add cornstarch mixture to port-cherry sauce. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Add butter one piece at a time until melted.

Slice duck breast and fan out on plates. Spoon sauce over duck then serve.

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2009

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Here it is loyal bacon fans, this year's list of crisp, savory delectables that are sure to light up your taste buds like a pinball machine.  A year ago I provided a list of the top 10 bacon recipes for 2008 that you can see updated here.  This year, bacon became the cosmic glue that wove social media sites together.  There were highlights, and there were lowlights...well, the lowlights were most likely everyone's lipid profile at the doctor.

I selected this year's recipes based on a combination of pushing the boundaries of how bacon should be used and ease of making the recipes.  So here you go in no particular order:

1. Bacon Wrapped Mashed Potatoes

That's right, I said it.  Bacon wrapped around mashed potatoes.  You may want to mow down some Lipitor and fish oil pills before taking on this dish.  It's really quite simple—make the mash potatoes, and if you're like my Mom or Paula Deen, you put a stick of butter in your potatoes.  Because I'm a real health nut, I only put a half stick of butter.  Keep the milk to a minimum because you want the potatoes to have the consistency of spackle.

Once you make the potatoes, slow cook some bacon in a pan half way.  You want to cook the bacon just enough that it starts to crisp, but you can still bend it without breaking.  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel, then weave the bacon together like fabric.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet then put a dollop of mash potatoes in on the woven pig products.  Wrap the bacon around said potatoes, then bake until the bacon gets crispy.

If you really want to throw caution to the wind, put some cheese in there just to give your arteries the finger.

2. Bacon Candy

I didn't have to look too far for this gem.  As it turns out, this recipe was the catalyst that led to my being hired at St. Supéry winery.  Back in March, Lisa DeBruin aka winedivergirl and I were talking about bacon.  She mentioned she had a friend who had been experimenting with this recipe.  That person turned out to be LesleyKeffer who is now my boss at the winery.  See what happens when you follow your love of bacon?

The recipe is simple: Crisp, savory bacon with BBQ rub, caramel, semisweet chocolate and crystallized ginger.  Check it here.

How lucky am I to work for someone who loves bacon as much as I do?  I freakin' scored!

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3. The Bacon Smootie

My wife was none to pleased when she saw what I was putting in our blender.  I'm not going to lie, it's kinda weird. But it works.  The reason why is the chocolate, which goes with bacon quite nicely.  And chocolate also goes with raspberries, so together, the chocolate, raspberries and bacon are like the Voltron of savory flavor.  The recipe was very tasty, but gasey.  Go here to get the original recipe that started it all.

298x232-raspberry_chocolate_smoothie-298x232_raspberry_chocolate_smoothie

4. Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks

Contrary to popular belief, this masterpiece is NOT made with Twinkies, it's made with french toast sticks.  Of course if you really had no concern for your own well being you could substitute Twinkies, but I think the creme filling would be gross.  By using french toast sticks this actually qualifies as breakfast rather than a late night snack put together after too many bong rips.  The judges have awarded the Stonehenge concept with high marks, but the execution was lazy, so the judges had to dock them a few points because it wasn't to scale.

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5. The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado.  We took something good and made it orgasmic!  How? you might ask.  By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores).  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce.  Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like.  Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks.  Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle.  Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits.  It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

6. Bouef a la Bourguignonne

This might be one of my favorite recipes of all time for winter.  It has two of my favorite things in life— bacon and wine.  Yum!  This is a hearty dish that you slow cook all day before serving.  It requires a little foresight and preparation the day before, but when you do it right it'll all be worth it.

The recipe calls for 4OZ. of bacon, but by all means don't let that stop you from adding more :D  The meat you select is important, don't get the cheap stew meat, even though it'll be tender, get something that's tender to start with.  Tri tip is a good choice.

Get the recipe here

7. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I nearly blew my 'O' ring when I first tried this breakfast item.  I mean, come on, it's bacon wrapped or sprinkled onto or into cinnamon rolls.  Now is probably a good time to make a public service announcement about not eating all these recipes in the same week.  Space it out.  Your doctor will thank you for it.

The recipe is available from Delicious Coma and can be found here.

photo via Delicious Coma

8. Emeril's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (Video)

Emeril made last year's Top 10 bacon list too.  Hmmm, this guy might be onto something.  This recipe was selected because you need vegetables from time to time, and what makes vegetables better?  Yep.  You got it.

Get it here

photo via Food Network

9. Heirloom Grilled Cheese Sammich w/ Tomato Bacon Soup

Comfort food plain and simple.  It's quick and easy to make and when you think about it, what else do you need in life?  Many of the essential food groups are represented here, which is nice.  Anytime you can get vegetables in with your bacon it's a good thing.

When I saw this recipe from Rick Massa on the Food Network site, I was hooked.  You will be too which is why it's on the top ten list.

10. You Call It!

There are so many great bacon recipes, and throughout the year I've talked to many creative people online who have great uses for bacon, so we're going to crowd source the final pick of the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know which bacon recipe YOU think should be on the top ten.  See you in 2010!

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Holiday Wine+Food Pairing Recipes

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Strawberry and Almond Spinach Salad

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INGREDIENTS 1 LB baby spinach leaves, washed 1/2 cup sliced green onions 1/3 cup slivered almonds, drizzled with honey and slightly toasted 1 cup sliced strawberries 2-3 TBSP chopped fresh dill

INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup sugar or Truvia 1 TSP garlic, minced 1/4 TSP sea salt 1/4 TSP fresh ground pepper 1/4 TSP dry mustard powder 1/4 TSP onion powder 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sugar or Truvia, olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper, dry mustard and onion powder.

Wash dill and pat dry or use a spinner. Trim off feathery ends, discarding thick stems. finely chop dill and set aside. Wash and slice strawberries.

Wash spinach and spin dry or pat dry with paper towels. Place spinach in large mixing bowl. Thinly slice green onions and add to spinach in bowl. Add slivered toasted almonds and chopped dill and mix together.

Whisk dressing a few time to be sure it's well-mixed, then add desired amount of dressing to salad and toss.  To keep dressing from making leaves heavy, pour dressing around sides of bowl mixing spinach against it rather than pouring dressing directly on to spinach.

Arrange salad on individual serving plates. Toss sliced strawberries with 1-2 TBSP of dressing, then arrange strawberries over salad on each plate and serve.

Wine Pairings: The strawberries deliver a bit of tanginess that would benefit from a touch of salt and pepper. This recipe is meant to be easy to make and easy to transport to parties. It's colorful, it's light and it's healthy. Better yet, this recipe is created to pair with wines you'd expect to find at holiday parties like Chardonnay or Pinot Gris. An unoaked Chardonnay will be even better because the fruit and acidity will be more complimentary with the strawberries. Here's a few wines I'd recommend:

+ Bethel Heights Pinot Gris - Oregon + Spann Vineyards Chardonnay/Viognier - Sonoma + St. Supéry Oak Free Chardonnay - Napa

2006chardonnayviognierlabel.jpg.w300h299

Roast Lamb with Shallots, Mint and Mustard

Roast Lamb Chops

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS For lamb: 1 crown of lamb made from two 8-rib racks (about 4 1/2 pounds total) 3 TBSP butter, room temperature 1 TBSP plus 1/2 TSP Dijon mustard 2 TSP dried rosemary

1 cup dry white wine large shallots, chopped 1/4 cup chicken stock 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

For Spring Vegetables with Mint: 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved 1 baby carrot bunch, stems trimmed to 1 inch, peeled 1 10 OZ. basket pearl onions, peeled 1 LB fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds

3 TBSP butter 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary in bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place lamb in roasting pan. Rub all over with butter mixture. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. and continue roasting until thermometer inserted into lamb registers 140°F. for medium-rare, about 40 minutes. Transfer lamb to platter; let stand 15 minutes.

Pour off fat from roasting pan and set pan aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add shallots and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary; sauté until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine to roasting pan and bring to boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine to skillet. Add stock; boil until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon mustard and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon vegetables in center of and around roast. Serve, cutting lamb into chops and spooning sauce over.

To make spring vegetables: Place potatoes in vegetable steamer and steam 10 minutes. Add carrots and onions and steam until vegetables are almost tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add asparagus and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes more.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mint and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and stir until vegetables are coated with butter.

Wine Pairings: The right selection of lamb will make all the difference. Colorado lamb is some of the best in the country and should be readily available at most decent markets. The resulting holiday dish will be tender and flavorful which bodes well for a lighter style red wine. Cabernet or high alcohol reds will most likely overpower the flavors. Here's a few I recommend:

+ Chateau Musar Rouge 1995 - Lebanon + Twisted Oak River of Skulls - Calaveras County, CA

+ Lucienne Pinot Noir Doctor's Vineyard - Central Coast, CA

+ Cougar Crest Cabernet Franc - Walla Walla, WA

Pinot_Doctor's_07

 

Herb Crusted Filet of Beef

tenderloin

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS 1 3-lb. Beef Tenderloin 3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup Madeira 2/3 cup Vermouth 1/4 Cognac 1 bay leaf 1 TBSP butter 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 TBSP marjoram 1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped 1/2 cup cold water sea salt and pepper

HERB CRUST: 3 slices white bread, crusts removed 1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, marjoram, rosemary, parsley) 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

At least 2 hours before cooking, combine all ingredients together (not Herb Crust or Madeira) in a large bowl or pan. Place meat in mixture and cover entire cut of beef with herb mix. Refrigerate for later cooking.

To make herb crust, place bread in food processor with herbs and garlic. Process until well blended and fine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill Method: Preheat grill to medium high. Take beef out of marinade and set marinade aside for later. Cook each side of meat 4 minutes or so giving it a nice sear on all sides. After searing, move beef to upper rack or cooler side of grill and cook 20 minutes.

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 425°F. Oven sear beef (brown sides, about 5-7 minutes each side) then reduce heat to 350°F. Cook for 30-35 minutes making sure to baste throughout cooking.

After beef is done cooking, remove filet from grill or oven and place on a platter, then cover with foil tent. Place platter in oven with oven off and door open, or with the oven on WARM for 20 minutes. Take the marinade that was set aside and pour it into a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil and reduce liquid by half, add madeira, then reduce by half. Serve sauce on the side late with beef. If you cooked the beef in the oven, you can use the roasting pan instead of a small saucepan so you get all the yummy bits.

To finish, rub herb crust mixture all over beef, brush a light amount of olive oil if needed. Place herb-covered beef back on the grill and cook each side about 2-3 minutes per side taking care to not burn the crust. If using the oven, broil each side for 2-3 minutes taking care to avoid burning.

Carve beef and serve with sauce on side.

Wine Pairings: Here's a regal beef dish that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. If you actually like the people you have over at your house you can bring out the good wines to impress them. Better yet, pull out a magnum. If it's your family and they're driving you up one wall and down another you can opt for the lower tier swill. If you dine at Chez Bakas, chances are it's all good stuff. Because this beef dish requires a little extra preparation, why not serve a wine that's got a little extra Bruce Lee round house kick to the taste buds? I'd serve these wines with this dish:

+ Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Reserva - Portugal + Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - Washington + St. Supéry Dollarhide Ranch Cabernet - Napa + Vilafonté Series C - South Africa

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Garlic Roasted Chicken

garlic roasted chicken

INGREDIENTS 1 free ranch whole chicken 2 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half horizontally 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 cup white wine 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Marjoram Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375° Rinse chicken inside and out with cold water. Drain and pat dry. Mix together 1 TBSP fresh ground pepper, 1TBSP sea salt and herbs in a small bowl. In a 9x14 roasting pan, cover chicken with olive oil making sure to coat entire bird. Rub salt, pepper and herb mixture all over chicken including inside the cavity. Wrap chicken legs together with string. Put halved garlic heads into pan around chicken. Put roasting pan in oven on center rack and cook for 20 minutes. Baste chicken with wine and roast for another 25 minutes. Baste chicken again using pan juices. Turn chicken over and repeat process. After 90 minutes chicken skin should be golden brown. Chicken is done when clear juices run from thigh after poking with a knife.

Place chicken on platter with tail in the air so moisture and juices flow downhill to breast meat. Cover with foil and let chicken stand 10 minutes before serving with roasted garlic.

Wine Pairings: Here's a chicken dish that'll go with that buttery butterball Chardonnay you've been wanting to open. It's chicken. Keep it simple and enjoy! A few wines I'd serve:

+ Au Bon Climat Nuits Blanches Chardonnay - Santa Barbara + Sokol Blosser Evolution - Oregon + Domaine Jean-Marc Vincent, Les Hautes, Auxey-Duresses 2006 - Burgundy

Snowball Cookies

snowball cookies

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup butter 2 TBSP sugar 1 TSP vanilla 3/4 cup chopped pecans 1 cup flour 1/4 TSP salt Powdered sugar

Cream butter Add all other ingredients, except the powdered sugar. Mix well. Shape into 1" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes. These should be light in color, not brown. Cool and roll in powdered sugar.

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Créme Fraîche

A bowl of stewed nectarines with cream, mm-mmm.
Image via Wikipedia

INGREDIENTS

2 cups heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup buttermilk

Warm cream in heavy small saucepan to lukewarm temp. (about 85 degrees). Remove from heat and mix in buttermilk. Put the mixture into a clean glass jar. Leave jar open and cover with a piece of waxed paper fastened with a rubber band. Let stand in warm area until slightly thickened, 24-48 hours. When the cream has clotted, remove the paper and replace it with the lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2008

Uncooked streaky bacon.

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1. Slow-cooked Bacon - that's it, just bacon. The reason plain old bacon makes it to the top 10 is the "slow-cooked" part. This year I discovered a new cooking technique that changed everything. Cooking bacon on, say, medium-low for longer results in a better finished product. Try it and see the difference!

2. Chicken with Rosemary, Bacon and Balsamic - The recipe calls for pancetta, but I use bacon...sweet savory bacon. The bacon laid across the chicken keeps it moist while baking. Towards the end when you are reducing the pan drippings, I like to finish cooking the bacon separately, then dice it up and sauté with some fresh green beans. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Rosemary-Pancetta-and-Balsamic-Vinegar-4296

3. Bacon-Wrapped Dates - So simple, yet so tasty. Technically you'd want to wrap dates in Prosciutto, but it costs more and we're in a recession. So wrap some dates with bacon, stuff some manchego cheese in the date, then bake it until that sweet, savory bacon is crisp.

4. Roasted Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon - Do I need to say anything about this? I think it speaks for itself, and it's perfect for a nice bottle of your favorite red wine. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Beef-Tenderloin-Wrapped-in-Bacon-107705

5. Curly Endive and Apple Smoked Bacon Salad - If you're like me, you're trying to lose some pounds, so eat a salad. A salad with bacon in it. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curly-Endive-and-Apple-Smoked-Bacon-Salad-105099

6. Grill-Roasted Whole Fish Stuff with Fresh Herbs and Wrapped in Bacon - I have to admit, I haven't made this recipe yet so it doesn't have the Bakas Stamp of Approval. But we wanted to have a fish recipe on the list making good use of slow-cooked, crispy, savory bacon. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grill-Roasted-Whole-Fish-Stuffed-with-Fresh-Herbs-and-Wrapped-in-Pancetta

7. Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon - One of those simple, yet tasty recipes perfect for after work when you don't have the time to make a sick meal. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon/Detail.aspx

8. Bacon and Potato Soup - What could be better to warm your spirits than a soup made with my favorite friend: savory, yummy bacon. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-and-Potato-Soup/Detail.aspx

9. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops - Emeril is to bacon what Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine 2.0. In other words, he makes good use of it. planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-bacon-wrapped-scallops.html

10. Bacon Brownies - Oh God! I think I've found the meaning of it all. Are you kidding me? Brownies with frickin bacon in them!! thehungryengineer.com/cooking/bacon-brownies/

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Asian Orange Chicken

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Orange and orange zest. Photo taken with a Can...
Image via Wikipedia

4 chicken breasts 2 TBSP soy sauce 2 TBSP brown sugar 2 TBSP orange juice concentrate 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 TSP finely grated orange zest 1 TSP minced fresh ginger 1 TSP kosher salt 1/2 TSP pepper

Preheat oven to 500ºF. In medium bowl, combine, soy sauce with brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, garlic, orange zest, ginger, salt and pepper. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat. Transfer to baking dish. Roast chicken for 25 minutes basting occasionally. Turn on broiler and broil chicken for 2-3 minutes, browning on each side.

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BBQ Pork Ribs

Barbecue sauce
Image via Wikipedia

1 rack pork ribs, defrosted 12 OZ BBQ sauce 1 TBSP olive oil 1 white onion, finely chopped 1/2 TSP celery salt 1 TSP chili powder 1/2 TSP onion powder 2 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning 1 TSP Paprika 10 OZ. honey 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush ribs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. While ribs are cooking, combine remaining ingredients together. After ribs have roasted for 30 minutes, pour/brush half of mixture over ribs and roast for another 30 minutes. Preheat grill for finishing. Remove ribs from oven and place face down on grill. Cook 5 minutes, turn over and brush remaining mixture all over ribs. Cook on grill 5-10 minutes until desired doneness. You can also use the broiler for finishing instead of the grill. Clean the grill by putting aluminum foil over the grates and turn the heat to high after you remove the ribs. It'll cook off all that sticky sauciness.

Alright, so it's not bacon, but it's close. It's pork, baby! Pork ribs cooked on a grill...what could be better than that? Well, actually, lots of things. But I'm not gonna lie, these ribs are mighty tasty. There's so many different ways to do ribs, but what I was going for here was a BBQ sauce with just the right amount of attitude with a little Bruce Lee roundhouse. If you want more cowbell, dial up the chili powder as this is more of a doctored BBQ sauce than one from scratch. Depending on which sauce you use as your base, it might have quite a bit of sugar in it already. So to offset sweetness, add more bitter flavors like garlic. Zinfandel-based wines seem to pair well with this recipe. Tonight I'll be popping open a bottle of 2006 Spann Vineyard MoZin from Sonoma. It's a blend of Zinfandel, Mourvédre and Petite Sirah. This is one of those wines where someone at the table will verbally exclaim something like, "OMIGOD that's good!" or some descriptor using four letter words to impress how good the wine is. It's well made, and in true Spann style, it's has impeccable balance. If some red wines are like a wool sweater on your tongue, this is a cashmere sweater. Silky, aromatic and enough flavor intensity from the Petite Sirah to stand up to the BBQ sauce on the ribs. Cheers!

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Chocolate Fettucine, Berries Flambé à la mode

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INGREDIENTS FOR FETTUCINE 2 TBSP Cocoa 2 TBSP Hot Water 2 TBSP Sugar 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup strong pasta flour

INGREDIENTS FOR BERRIES 1 QT. Raspberries or Strawberries, cleaned, stems removed ¼ cup sugar 1 TSP salt 2 TBSP butter

FINALE 2 QTs boiling water 1 cup sugar 1 TBSP butter ¼ cup brandy or cognac 1 QT vanilla bean ice cream

Combine cocoa, hot water and sugar and mix into a paste.  Add cocoa paste, flour and beaten egg.  Knead dough until smooth, rest 5 minutes at room temp. Roll out dough and cut into fettuccine strips with a pasta knife or machine.

For strawberries melt butter in small saucepan.  Add strawberries, sugar and salt.  Cover and cook on low heat 15 minutes.

Cook pasta in 2 qts. Boiling water with sugar for 8 minutes.  Drain pasta and mix with 1 TBSP butter.  Twirl fettucine on fork to form a ball in bottom of bowl or large plate. Top with vanilla ice cream. Turn strawberries on high heat for 1 minutes.  Add cognac and ignite with lighter or match (stand back).  Swirl alcohol around pan until flame dies down.  Spoon strawberry mixture over ice cream.  Enjoy!

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Bacon Smoothie Recipe

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Raspberries
Image via Wikipedia

Before you have a gag reflex thinking about what the bacon smoothie might look like, take comfort knowing it's still a fruit smoothie.
The list of ingredients are:

1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup acai
1/2 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries
1 TSP greens (dietary supplement)
2 strips of slow cooked, savory maple bacon
1-2 TBSP dark chocolate powder
1 TBSP Agave

Pretty simple. Just throw it all in a blender and blend it.

The reason the recipe works is the chocolate. Chocolate and bacon go together, but there still needs to be fruit. Raspberries, blueberries and acai not only go with chocolate, but they're also good for you and you need something good to offset the bacon, which is not a health food.
Play around with the amounts. I find with this recipe you can taste the raspberry, chocolate and bacon all equally, nothing overpowers the taste.

Enjoy!

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