Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hello from your Tattooed Gourmet

First I wanted to say hello to all of my readers new and those returning. Things here at the Tattooed Gourmet have been going fairly well, actually better than I had hoped. I had tried my hand at a few blogs before and was un succsesful. I just could not build any traffic above the one or two per day. After several months of that I gave up.

However this time around things are looking up. I have come close to breaking 200 unique visits for some time. Have not broke it yet but getting close. I am also on my way to 100 posts! I am also getting quite a few comments as well (keep them coming I enjoy seeing what you think)! I am excited and very pleased with how things are going. I still think they can get better.

This is where I hope my readers can help me out. I need some new and fresh ideas as far as group discussion posts and also what types of recipes, cuisine, and tips you would like to see on here. I would also appreciate any ideas on the design both positive and negative. Actually I would like some constructive criticism on my whole blog.

Thank you and I look forward to your thoughts!

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Jamaican Firey Shrimp

4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped scallion
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 whole allspice
1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)

Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a 4-quart heavy pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

Stir in shrimp, making sure they are just covered by the liquid, and remove pot from heat. Cool everything to room temperature, uncovered, about 1 hour. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and drizzle some of cooking liquid on top.

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Chile Lime Butter

For chile lime butter
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

For fish
6 (5- to 6-oz) pieces skinless tilapia fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Stir together butter, shallot, zest, lime juice, chile, and salt in a bowl.

Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until just smoking, then sauté 3 pieces of fish, turning over once with a spatula, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes, and transfer to a plate. Sauté remaining fish in remaining tablespoon oil in same manner.

Serve each piece of fish with a dollop of chile lime butter.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Low Country Boil

This one-pot dish is a combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. It is great for relaxing trips to the beach, it is also easy to create for a crowd. Having a removable drain basket only makes cooking easier. The rule of thumb here is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.

4 pounds small red potatoes
3 cans of beer
1 (3-ounce) bag of crab boil seasoning
4 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 pounds kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 ears of corn, halved
4 pounds large fresh shrimp in the shell, I perfer no heads but some down here like them.
a whole newspaper - optional

Add potatoes to large pot, then add beer and water to fill the pot 3/4's way full and add the seasonings. Cover pot and heat to a rolling boil; cook 10 minutes. Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook for another 10 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with cocktail sauce. Normally this would serve about 10 -12 people. instead of dirtying those plates just take that newspaper and cover your table (its better if you are outdoors less of a chance for a mess) and empty your basket onto the paper and then it is everyone for themselves. Be sure to peel the shrimp prior to putting them into your mouth.

You could use prepeeled shrimp but the shells hold a lot of flavor that is added to the dish. Plus if you are faster at peeling them than the rest of your party you get to eat more shrimp!!!

I tell you what if you love shrimp as much as my family does you have to have this. If you plan on cooking this and having a party be prepared to have a few fights over the last of the shrimp and sausage. Enjoy I know you will.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Arugula and Fontina Frittata

Again Iw as thinking about what to post about. I have plenty of dinner and lunch recipes even a few snacks and desserts. What i do not have is what many consider the most important meal of the day. Now I do not normally eat breakfast during the week because I like my sleep, sometimes a little too much, so I am running around getting ready for work and out the door before I even realize I am awake. But on weekends I do like to get up and have a nice breakfast with the family.

I am always trying to make something different each weekend. Omlettes, Scrambled eggs Biscuts and gravy you name it we will eat it. We really do not like the same thing so I have a few curveballs to throw into our breakfast menu and this is a good one.

1 garlic clove, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
5 oz baby arugula (7 cups packed)
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 lb Fontina, rind discarded and cheese cut into
1/2-inch cubes

Preheat broiler.

Cook the garlic in olive oil in a 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes. Discard the garlic because you just wanted the flavor and add the arugula, then cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper until combined, then pour over arugula in skillet and cook, undisturbed, over moderate heat until almost set, 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Watermelon Burger

4 hamburger patties-ready to grill
4 slices white cheddar cheese
4 slices watermelon about the same size as the burgers, seeded
1 tablespoon ground pepper
4 toasted buns
any other condiments you like

Grill the hamburgers almost to desired doneness but 30 seconds before they are done, place a cheese slice atop each burger. Place the watermelon slices on the grill and dust with the pepper to taste. Assemble the burgers on the buns with a slice of warmed watermelon on each on top of the cheese.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Here is one recipe I have found but have yet to try. If you have had these please let me know what you thought about them. I am very interested in trying these.

1 4-pound piece watermelon, quartered
8 cups water
2 tablespoons plus
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
8 whole cloves
8 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Cut watermelon pulp from rind, leaving thin layer of pink on rind (reserve pulp for another use). Cut green outer skin from rind; discard. Cut enough rind into 1 x 1/2-inch pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt in large pot; bring to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain. Transfer rinds to large metal bowl.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons salt, sugar and next 7 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate atop rinds to keep rinds submerged in pickling liquid.

Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Strain liquid from rinds into saucepan; bring to boil. Pour over rinds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Repeat straining and boiling of liquid and pour over rinds 1 more time. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in covered jars.)

Interesting Watermelon Facts

We are getting closer to the end of summer with each day. Alos our last 3 day weekend of the summer, Labor Day is right around the corner! How many of you miss those summer vactions from school? I only wish my job had a summer break.(and still get paid) But what would summer be with out the one thing we could eat and make a big mess and not get into trouble for. I am talking about watermelon! I have found some fun facts about that lovely green melon. I am alos going to be posting a few recipes that utilize watermelon in some unconventional ways. Ok unconventional for many of us. Here is one watermelon recipe that was posted a while back.
  1. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
  2. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelons are grown worldwide in 96 countries.
  3. In some Mediterranean countries, the taste of watermelon is paired with the salty taste of feta cheese.
  4. Watermelon is 92% water.
  5. Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  6. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
  7. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  8. The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1796 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.
  9. In 1990, Bill Carson of Arrington, TN grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds that is still on the record books (1998 ed. Guinness Book of World Records).
  10. Watermelon has no fat or cholesterol and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and contains fiber and potassium.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Skewers - Appetizers #4

Here is another favorite appetizer around my house. It could even be a main course if we could afford enough shrimp. Granted I know a few shrimp boat owners here in Florida and we can get them a little cheaper right of the boat but the couple pounds just might not be enough!

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. worcestershire
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter, melted
9 slices bacon
18 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
wood skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes.

First cut the slices of bacon in half.

Combine butter with spices, add shrimp, toss well to coat, let marinate at room temperature 30 to 60 minutes. Remove shrimp from the marinade, reserving the marinade.

Wrap a slice of bacon around each shrimp and secure onto a skewer to hold both ends of the bacon. Place several shrimp onto one skewer but leave enough room between each shrimp to allow the back to crisp evenly. Place skewers on hot grill for 4 minutes; turn and brush shrimp with reserved marinade and grill for 4 minutes longer or until the shrimp are cooked throughout.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Justin's Chicken Finger Salad Recipe

I know it has been a few weeks since Aaron McCargo Jr's new show Big Daddy's House premired. I have to admit I have only watched that first episode. I seem have been busy the last couple Sundays.

However I have recieved a lot of traffic from people searching for Justin's Chicken tender salad. Also for some reason I am listed at number 1 for google for the search even though I have only mentioned it once. So I figured I owed to those visiting and to Google for placing me so high in the search, I have to post it. I still can't believe though I am listed higher than Food Network for one of their recipes and I only mentioned it in a post. Go figure! I apologize to those of you that have come here looking for something and not finding it. So here you go

Justin's Chicken Tender Salad
Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo
Show: Big Daddy's House
Episode: Boy's Night In

1 (8-ounce) bag spicy chips (recommended: Doritos)
1 (8-ounce) bag blue corn tortilla chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 to 2 tablespoons Big Daddy Seasoning, recipe follows
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups field greens
1 (12-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
2 avocados, diced
4 ounces sliced jalapeno
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 (16-ounce) bottle peppercorn ranch dressing

With hands crush each bag of chips separately into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, add 1 cup of flour and in another shallow dish; beat 3 eggs. Dredge chicken strips in flour, then egg and finally into the crushed tortillas. Dredge half the chicken in the spicy chips and the other half into the blue corn chips. Transfer to plate. Sprinkle with Big Daddy seasoning.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Add chicken strips 1 at a time and pan- fry until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan onto a plate and reserve.

In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, field greens, beans, plum tomatoes, Cheddar, avocados, jalapenos and fresh cilantro. Top with cooked chicken and peppercorn dressing.

Big Daddy Seasoning:
1/2 cup smokey paprika
1/4 cup granulated onion powder
1/4 cup granulated garlic powder
3 tablespoons seasoned salt
1/4 cup fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup kosher salt

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl.

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Chicken Parmesan

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 (3-ounces each) chicken cutlets
1 1/2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
16 teaspoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil. Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Sprinkle the butter pieces atop the cutlets. Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes.

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A Simple Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves 2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Gyoza or Japanese Potstickers - Appetizers #3

When I lived in Japan I practicly lived off of Gyoza, Raman and many other wonderful foods. Oh and it was not the Raman we know here in the States but so much more with freash meats and vegatables. Back to the Gyoza. These are basically fried dumplings. They orginated in China which mostly steams theirs. Also Gyoza has more garlic than your classic Chinese dumplings. Believe me you will love these!

1/3 cup chopped cabbage (boiled)
2 tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
20 gyoza wrappers you could substitute with won ton skins but it is a thicker skin.
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients other than oil in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Place the wrappers on a cookie sheet or non-stick surface and put the gyoza together one at a time or the wrapper dough dries out. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper, moisten half of the edge and fold over. Make sure you press all the air out as you pinch the edges together, and then push gently down to make them lie flat.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Put gyoza in the pan and fry on high heat until the bottoms become brown. Turn down the heat to low. Add 1/4 cup water in the pan. Cover the pan and steam the gyoza on low heat until the water is gone. Some Japanese also deep fry them.

Now you have to have a dipping sauce which just makes these even better.

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs sesame oil - I prefer a spicy version.
1 tsp minced garlic

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Seafood and Chicken Paella

2 pounds meaty chicken pieces
Salt and Pepper
4 ounces cooked ham, prosciutto, or capicollo, chopped
4 ounces chorizo or any spicy sausage, bulk crumbled or links cut into
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 small red and/or green sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups short-grain rice
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads crushed
4 cups chicken broth or seafood stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces, or frozen cut green
beans (about 1 cup)
1 medium tomato, chopped
12 small mussels or clams, cleaned or 1 pound firm fish steaks (halibut,
swordfish or shark), cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 jumbo shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined; crawfish tails; or
1 lobster tail, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
Snipped fresh parsley

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken, ham and sausage in hot oil in a 14 inch paella pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, or till lightly browned. Remove chicken from skillet, set aside.

Add onion, sweet peppers, and garlic to pan. Cook and stir 5 minutes more. Add rice, the 2 tablespoons of parsley, red pepper, and saffron; stir till combined. Slowly add stock or broth and wine. Return chicken to pan. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and cook, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in green beans, tomato and mussels, clams, or fish. Return to boiling, and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in shrimp, shrimp, crawfish, or lobster tail; and peas. Cook and stir gently for 3 to 5 minutes or till shrimp are opaque. Cover pan; let sit for 5 to 30 minutes for rice to plump and absorb flavors.

To serve, season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Paprika-Parmesan Butter

1 - 2 3/4- to 3-inch-thick porterhouse steak (about 2 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup olive oil
7 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
paprika-parmesan butter (recipe follows)

Place steak in glass baking dish. Whisk oil and next 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Pour half of marinade over steak. Turn steak over; pour remaining marinade over steak. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day, turning occasionally.

Prepare your grill to medium heat. Remove steak from marinade; shake off excess. Place steak on the grill and cover. Grill steak to desired doneness (until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 115°F to 120°F for rare, about 15 minutes per side, or 125°F to 130°F for medium-rare, about 18 minutes per side), occasionally moving steak to cooler part of rack if burning.

Transfer steak to platter; cover to keep warm. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut meat away from bone. Cut each piece into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

Spread Paprika-Parmesan Butter over top of slices and serve.

Paprika-Parmesan Butter
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 drained anchovy fillet, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings - Appetizers #2

Here is the second recipe for my series of appetizers. These are a favorite at any game day party. You might just want to double or triple this recipe to ensure you get at least one or two. They will go fast, I promise!

1 onion, chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped scallion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup minced scotch bonnet or habanero
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 drops of Tabasco, or to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil

18 chicken wings (about 3 1/4 pounds), the wing tips cut off

In a food processor or blender purée the onion, the scallion, the garlic, the thyme, the salt, the allspice, the nutmeg, the cinnamon, the jalapeño, the black pepper, the Tabasco, the soy sauce, and the oil.

In a large shallow dish arrange the wings in one layer and spoon the marinade over them, rubbing it in (wear rubber gloves). Let the wings marinate, covered and chilled, turning them once, for at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight.

Arrange the wings in one layer on an oiled rack set over a foil-lined roasting pan, spoon the marinade over them, and bake the wings in the upper third of a preheated 450°F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Rack of Lamb - Appetizers #1

Ok it is getting to be my favorite season of the year. Football season! That means Sunday afternoon parties with guys, a couple of beers and some great food to eat. Not really a meal just foods to grab off the grill and eat with our hands. Burgers, dogs, wings, chips, and many more foods that we probably should not be eating. However we can always sneak a little gourmet in there every now and then. I am starting a series of posts with gourmet apetizer recipes. I hope your next football party is a tasty one.

On a side note I am calling it now the Idianapolis Colts will have another outstanding year!

2 racks of lamb, cut into single chops and frenched.
Olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 small bunch of fresh mint (garnish)

Preheat your grill

Lay the chops in a single layer in a baking dish.

Mix the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper together and sprinkle generously over the chops. Make sure you turn them over and sprinkle the other side. Then drizzle with olive oil.

Make sure your grill is hot then cook the chops 3 - 4 minutes on each side. Serve on platter and garnish with the mint.

Bennigan's Monte Cristo

A week or so ago I told you I would post a recipe for Bennigan's Monte Cristo. It is to bad that they closed all of their restaurants. I did not go that often but I did enjoy it every time I went. Now I know it was far from a gourmet restaurant but hey it was reasonably priced and good food.

9 slices whole wheat bread
3 slices cooked turkey
3 slices cooked ham
3 slices American cheese
3 slices swiss cheese

1 egg
1-1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
vegetable oil (for deep frying)
Place turkey and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread and ham and American cheese on another slice of bread. Place third slice in-between and secure the triple-decker sandwich in the corners with tooth picks.

Place egg in mixing bowl, add water and beat together. Add salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Beat batter until smooth. Dip sandwich in batter and carefully cover all the sides and surface.
Carefully place in hot oil and fry until golden. Let it cool for a few minutes before removing the tooth picks.

Before serving slice into fourths and sprinkle with powder sugar. Do not forget to serve it with Raspberry jam.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pecan Fig Bourbon Cake

I was going through my past post and saw I did not have that many desserts posted. I wanted to find a recipe that I know you would enjoy. If you are going to have kids wanting a piece it is best to substitute the bourbon with water. You will not get the same flavors of course. However some of the alcohol will cook off just not all of it. I would just make another cake for the kids but that is me personally!

If you really want a treat soak a paper towel or tea towel in the bourbon and cover the cake. Let that sit until the towel is dry. This version is defiantly no kids allowed!


For the Cake
1 pound dried Black Mission figs, hard tips discarded
2 cups water
1/2 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups pecans
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the icing
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment - 12-cup bundt pan

Simmer figs in water in a heavy medium saucepan, covered, until figs are tender and most of liquid is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Purée in a food processor with bourbon and vanilla. Cool to warm.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.

While oven preheats, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Lightly toast pecans in a shallow baking pan in oven, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool and coarsely chop. Leave oven on.

Beat together brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in fig mixture. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated, then fold in pecans.

Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, then invert onto a plate.

Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl, then whisk in remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

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10 Fun Facts About Ice Cream

1. Legend has it that Emperor Nero was the creator of sorbet around 62 A.D. He supposedly had slave runners collect snow in buckets and bring it to his banquet hall where it was mixed with honey, nuts and wine. Bet it melted quickly when Rome burned.

2. King Charles of England loved “frozen snow” so much that he offered the royal ice cream maker a lifetime pension to keep the recipe secret, believing that the sweet treat was something only fit for royalty.

3. The hand-cranked ice cream churn was invented in 1846 by American Nancy Johnson.
4. Turkish ice cream is taffy-like in consistency and a main ingredient is the groung root of a a wild orchid.

5. In Japan, the third most popular flavor of ice cream is matcha (powdered green tea).

6. In the USA, Portland, St. Louis and Seattle lead the country in per capita ice cream consumption.

7. The first U.S. ice cream parlor opened in 1776 in New York City.

8. More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.

9. Anecdotal history credits an ice cream vendor at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis as the inventor of the ice cream cone. Reportedly, he didn’t have enough dishes to keep up with demand, so he teamed up with a waffle vendor who rolled his product into “cornucopias.”

10. The first commercial ice cream plant opened was established in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1851 by Jacob Fussell.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rip Roarin' Roast Pork Sandwich with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone

Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Show: Big Daddy's House
Episode: Boy's Night In

2 pounds boneless pork loin
1/2 cup Big Daddy Rub, recipe follows
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli rabe, cleaned and roughly chopped
4 to 6 ciabatta rolls
1 pound provolone cheese, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic, or jarred
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Rub pork loin with Big Daddy Rub and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place pork in a roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast in oven for approximately 1 hour until internal temperature registers 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and allow pork to rest for 5 minutes. Slice pork very thin.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook broccoli rabe for 3 minutes. Strain from water and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain from ice water onto paper towels.
Assemble sandwiches on ciabatta rolls layering sliced pork, blanched broccoli rabe and provolone cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant. Gently place sandwiches in pan and allow to toast for 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove from pan and serve.

Serving suggestions: Make a butter with garlic and red pepper, spread on bread and press in a panini press. Make a roasted garlic aioli to spread on bread while assembling sandwiches. Add Pickled Shallots to the sandwich.

Big Daddy Rub:
3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons hot chili powder
2 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined.

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Next Food Network Star Runner-up Lisa Garza Gets TV Deal!

Not only did The Next Food Network Star runner-up Adam Gertler get his own show from Food Network called Will Work for Food, but so did Lisa.

Lisa Garza, also a runner-up, tells us on her Facebook profile she is "working on a TV deal with another network in New York City! Thanks to all my fans!!!" What network will it be?

I guess they really could not decide who to kick off the show. Granted Lisa would be going to another newtork she is still most likely going to get her own show. I am sure the producers and powers that be at the Food Network helped her get the deal in the works.

Now how do you really feel for Aaron McCargo Jr.. Aaron is the winner oh wait so is Adam. Oh we can't decide Lisa winns too! I wonder if having Amy Finely; the winner of The Next Food Network Star last season quit meant they had to go with all three just in hopes of retaining one of them. I guess next we will have Kelsey and Shane come back for thier own show!

Sorry I just do not like Lisa. I was happy with Adam and Aaron having their own but why her???

Adam Gertler gets his own show on the Food Network!

I just saw that the Food Network is giving Adam Gertler(one of the three finalist form The Next Food Network Star) his own show. Below is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It's not a cooking show, per se. Gertler will show how people in the food business do their jobs. Among them: potato chip inspector, shark feeder and dog-food taste-tester. Gertler, an actor and former waiter at Amada in Old City, co owned The Smoked Joint, a short-lived barbecue restaurant at the Academy House in Center City.According to the article, Will Work For Food premieres Sep. 30 at 9:30pm on Food Network.

Here is a quote from Bob Tuschman, who you might remember as one of the three members of the TNFNS selection committee; confirming the story.

"On The Next Food Network Star Adam exhibited a unique combination of quick wit, passion for food and an engaging personality," said Bob Tuschman, Senior Vice President, Programming and Production for Food Network. "He earned millions of fans across the country who have let us know that we have a second star in our midst. We feel this series is a perfect fit for his talents, letting him showcase his brand of humor while he works for food.”

Now I don't know about you but I am happy for Adam. He was the other finalist that I hoped had won. However I think that they should have waited awhile to announce this. I mean come on your real winner Aaron McCargo Jr. has only had one episode air. They could have not tried to steal his spotlight at least for a few more weeks.

What is your opinion? Do you feel Adam deserves a show at this point in time or at all? I think he should have one just not now give Aaron a chance to bask in his victory.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Big Daddy's House with Aaron McCargo Jr.

Well it has been a week since the finale of the Next Food Network Star announced that Aaron won the show. Today was his first episode of Big Daddy's House. Now many people were saying that Aaron's show would not be any good.

I have disagreed with them the whole week. Aaron did progressively get better on camera during TNFNS. Today he looked like he was comfortable on camera. You might say that is the magic of editing and anyone can look good with a lot of editing. I have to tell you that our favorite Food Network Stars do not get it right on the first few takes either.

Let's get back to Big Daddy. He showed us three of his son's favorite meals. A chicken finger salad, roast pork sandwich and oven backed seasoned fries. The chicken fingers were breaded with Doritos and also blue corn chips. At first they did not look too appetizing. Then he laid out his salad with the fingers on top and they looked a lot better. I also realized that if I like the Cap'n Crunch fingers at Planet Hollywood, these might be good too!

The sandwich was a basic sliced roast pork sandwich topped with some gralicy broccoli rabb. The seasoned fries were seasoned with the exact same seasoning he used in every dish which tied them all together. There was salt, fresh ground pepper, paprika, onion powder, and seasoned salt in his spice list.

While it was his first show it was okay. It was not the breakout show of the year but intime who knows it good be a fan favorite. He joked around sometimes a little too much but luckily he did not do anything close to his presentation from the Vegas buffet episode of TNFNS!

I will keep watching and hope that Aaron does not go the way of last years winner Amy Finely who only shot 6 episodes and then gave up and moved to France. beast of luck Aaron.

What about the rest of you, what was your take on the premiere episode of Big Daddy's House?

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Veal Osso Buco

6 (8-ounce) veal shanks, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 bacon slices, diced (uncooked)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced

Sprinkle veal with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; dredge in flour.

Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 3 veal shanks, and cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter and veal.

Add onion, carrot, celery, and bacon to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add wine; cook 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes. Return veal to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until veal is tender.

Combine parsley, rind, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir into osso buco; cook 10 minutes.

Crawfish Etouffee

2 lbs. peeled crawfish tails
2 sticks butter
4 med. onions, chopped
1 lg. bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 c. water
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 ribs celery, chopped
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven. Stir in onions, bell pepper and celery. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the water and reduce heat and continue to cook about 10 minutes, uncovered. Add the crawfish and Worcestershire sauce and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 55 - 10 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and add slowly until slightly thickened. Add the onion tops and parsley. Serve over hot rice.