Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter, Lime and White Cheese

A-maize-ingly Great Husker-dos

This recipe always blows people away. It is simply grilled corn with herbed butter and cheese. Barbeque's or even a weekend family dinner can shine even greater with this side dish. Whenever we have new people come to our BBq’s they always rave over this grilled corn dish, asking what makes this kick butt. Why it’s the herbed butter and cheeses folks, that’s all.

Herbed butter is easy to make and is an excellent topping for everything from steaks to seafood to vegetables. To make herbed butter just soften some butter, add some spices, and herbs (which are mentioned in the herbed butter recipe below), refrigerate and delight in this smoothe sensory sensation!

Corn (on the cob with husks still intact)
Garlic Herbed Butter (see recipe below)
Cotija Cheese (Mexican white cheese) – Grated

How To Make It:

1. Remove the silks from the inside of the corn, if desired, and pull back up the husks to cover the corn.

2. Place the corn in a cooler (any large vessel will do) filled with water and let soak for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. (350-400 degrees)

4. Remove the corn from the water and shake off as much excess water as you can.

5. Place the corn on the grill over direct heat and grill for 15 to 20 minutes with the grill lid closed.

6. Remove the corn from the grill and pull back husks. (I recommend leaving on the husks because they make great handles.)

7. Brush the garlic herbed butter (see below) onto the corn and sprinkle with cheese. Squeeze a lime over the corn and mmm, mmm, they are ready to serve.

Garlic Herbed Butter
Butter – ½ cup softened
Garlic – 2 cloves minced
Italian Blend Herbed Spices– 1½ teaspoons (found in your grocer's herb and spice isle)
Lime Juice – 1 teaspoon

1. Place the butter in a bowl and mix in the garlic, Italian blend and lime juice.

2. Cover and refrigerate.

Chefs Corner

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Roasted Potatoes and Onions

Hearty and “Delish”

This side dish is hearty and delicious. It is easy to make and is an excellent change from the same old rice or potato side dish. The aroma that the herbs give off when this is baking will have everyone asking, “What smells awesome?!”

My son can eat a whole plateful by himself with a grilled steak as a side dish. I love this dish for entertaining because it requires so little effort allowing you to concentrate on other preparations.

Chefs Corner

An Early Tip:

When you clean the potatoes be sure to dry them thoroughly or they will stick to the baking sheet. This is a real downer, even if you have used aluminum foil and sprayed it with a non-stick cooking spray.

Red New Potatoes – 2 pounds cut in half (make sure they are dry if you wash them)
Cippolini Onions – 1 pound, peeled
Olive Oil (extra virgin) – ¼ cup
Herbes de Provence – 2 teaspoons (If need be, you can substitute dried rosemary for the Herbes de Provence for a tasty change.
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Pepper (black) – 1 teaspoon

How To Make It:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.

3. Pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly.

4. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and cooked through.

5. Serve on a platter and enjoy!

“What smells awesome?!” Logo

Monday, October 29, 2007

French Green Beans in Shallot Dressing

Dressed to Impress

This dish is an excellent side that has a lot of flavor, it is quick to make up and is a real crowd pleaser. It has a restaurant style moxie. As long as you don’t over cook the green beans you are good to go. I personally like to serve this dish with chicken or steak and risotto. But you can decide what main dish you would prefer to place this great side next to.

One time my friend had asked me for a meal that he could make for his wife on their anniversary. This recipe was one of the sides I had recommended and had written out for him. The following day he told me she was so impressed at the incredible meal he had made and how that the green beans was her favorite.

And you know what? To this day they include this dish as a regular side to many of their meals. I was and still am happy about that.

The technical term for these thin French green beans is “Haricot vert.” This comes from the French Haricot meaning, “beans” and vert meaning, “green.” French green beans are longer and thinner than most American varieties. They are also more tender and have a more complex flavor, meaning the dish or food has multiple layers of flavor – the base flavor and several subtle undertones.

Try this recipe out and we are quite sure it will be a favorite side at your house as well.

French Green Beans (haricots verts) – 1 pound
Olive Oil (extra virgin) – ¼ cup
Dijon Mustard – 1 tablespoon
Red Wine Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Shallot – 1 minced
Pepper (black)

How To Make It:

1. Place the French green beans in a steamer and steam for 4 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Gourmet Standard 2-qt.  Double Boiler & Steamer Set

Gourmet Standard 2-qt. Double Boiler & Steamer Set

2. While they are steaming it's time to make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and the shallot.

3. Remove the French green beans from the steamer and place in a bowl.

4. Toss in the French green beans with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

You just may hear the cries, “Sacre bleu, this is the best haricot vert dish ever!”

“Wi, monsieur.” Logo

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Potato Pancakes

Kartoffelpuffer, Latkes, It's All the Same Good Eatin'

Gotta love a potato pancake. Crispy fried potato perfection. This recipe is the easiest way I have found to work this one out. If you have an abundance of leftover mashed potatoes from last night's dinner, just regift them as potato pancakes. It's a different side dish, utilizing leftovers in a unique way, that no one will be sayin', “Oh man, yukkie leftovers.”

I love these pancakes with a dab of sour cream on top, or if I am having these with pork chops, my kids top them with applesauce. Whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner you can’t go wrong with a kartoffelpuffer on your plate.

Mashed Potatoes – 2 ½ cups
Egg – 1 large
Flour (white) – ½ cup
Onion (white) – 1 small
Chives – 2 ½ tablespoons
Black Pepper
Oil (vegetable or canola)

How To Make It:
1. In a large bowl mix together the potatoes and egg, then stir in the flour.

2. Mix in the onion, chives then season with the salt and pepper to taste.

3. Put enough oil in a skillet (I use an electric skillet) 1/8 inch deep over medium-high heat. Make sure it's very hot but not smoking. If you are using an electric skillet set the temperature to 350 degrees.

Cuisinart 18x15-in. Nonstick Electric Skillet

Cuisinart 18x15-in. Nonstick Electric Skillet

4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the mix into the hot oil a few at a time to cook them without crowding them.

5. Once they are in the oil flatten them with the back of your spoon. Let them cook for about a minute on each side or until golden brown.

6. Remove the potato pancakes from the oil and let drain on paper towels.

7. Serve with your favorite meal, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. Logo

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Brined Roast Turkey

Brine, Dine, and Shine

Years ago, I had found an incredible recipe for a brined roast turkey that sounded delicious. I had brined chicken and pork before but never turkey until now. But before I impart to you the recipe, let me first share a little story.

I remember the time I had made this roast turkey for my brother and his family. It was about five years ago on Christmas. We had taken a trip to visit them in New York. They wanted to have a turkey for Christmas dinner and I suggested that we brine it. They are always “game” (ha, ha – get it? Turkey? Game?) for new recipes so away to the store we went for the ingredients. They had gotten all the fixin’s and the turkey already, all we needed were a few spices.

When we returned, they pulled out this freakin' Godzilla sized turkey. I knew we would have to use some ingenuity on this one. It definitely was not going to fit back in the refrigerator in the brine. I told my brother it was no problem. We will just make up the brine, submerge the turkey in it, place the whole mixture in a clean portable cooler, and set it outside on the patio until we are ready to cook it. (By the way, the temperature outside was sub zero.)

Well, needless to say they absolutely loved the brined roast turkey and have made it that way since. The cooler idea worked great, and I have done it this way since then. (A clean 5 gallon bucket would do just as nicely also.)

A Little Chemistry About Brining:

“Brine” is simply defined as, “water saturated or nearly saturated with salt.” The science of brining meat is very simple. All meat contains salt water and by submerging it into a liquid that has a much higher concentration of salt, the brine mixture is absorbed into the meat.

When you add spices to the brine it is carried into the meat, flavoring it, as well as adding extra moisture to the meat which makes it extra juicy when served.

A very simple basic brine you can use for any meat is as follows: 1 gallon of water to 1 cup of kosher salt. The spices you prefer to add are up to you. Be imaginative and enjoy the most flavorful, juicy meat you’ve ever had.

Brine: (The following brine is based upon a recipe by Alton Brown)
Vegetable Stock – 1 gallon
Brown Sugar – ½ cup
Kosher Salt – 1 cup
Peppercorns (black) – 1 tablespoon
Allspice Berries – 1 tablespoon
Candied Ginger – 1 tablespoon
Iced Water – 1 gallon

Canola Oil
Turkey – 16 pounds

Aromatics for Inside the Turkey:
Apple (your favorite)– 1 sliced
Onion (white)– 1 sliced
Cinnamon Stick – 1
Water – 1 cup boiling
Rosemary – 4 sprigs

How To Make It:
A. Do this the day before you are going to have the turkey.

1. In a large stockpot combine together all brine ingredients. Bring this mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.

2. Remove the brine mixture from the heat and let cool.

3. Once the brine is room temperature mix it with the iced water into a container large enough to hold the brine and the turkey.

4. Place the thawed turkey into the brine, cover and refrigerate or set in a cold area for a minimum of eight hours, preferably overnight.

5. Turn the turkey over once during the brining to ensure the entire bird gets flavored up.

B. The day of the roasting.

1. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with water inside and out.

2. Throw away the brine.

3. Preheat the oven for 500 degrees.

4. In the meanwhile, combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and water in a measuring cup and let steep for at least five minutes.

5. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and add the aromatics and the rosemary.

6. Using a basting brush, coat the entire turkey with canola oil.

Oneida 17x14x3-in. Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack

Oneida 17x14x3-in. Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack

7. Roast on the lower level in your oven for thirty minutes at 500 degrees.

8. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover the breast with aluminum foil. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and return the turkey to the oven.

9. Using a instant read thermometer roast until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (This should take about 2 to 3 hours.)

10. Once done, let the turkey rest for 10 – 15 minutes, covered loosely with an aluminum foil tent before carving.

Now you are ready with your brined turkey to dine and shine! Logo