More Super Bowl Specials: Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon

Peppers are one of the most versatile veggies out there.  There are so many varieties and cooking with them is fun.  Here is a nice twist to the jalapeno.  Stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in bacon.

A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this Super Bowl party fare couldn’t be easier to prepare. The spicy jalapenos , tart goat cheese and smoky bacon offer an irresistible contrast of flavors. Your guests will beg for more.

Ingredients:

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)

12 jalapeno peppers

2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese

1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure:

Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly. Cut each piece of bacon in half. Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred. Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

Note: Bacon can also be cooked on a grill pan on the stove top and the stuffed and wrapped peppers placed on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until peppers soften slightly.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary  material without prior approval is prohibited.  If  you have any questions or would like permission I can be contacted via email at sweetpaprika@optonline.net  Feel  free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my blog:  http://www.sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

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Grilled Hawaiian Shrimp

Grilled charred shrimp and pineapple.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Add tropical fruit, thread onto skewers and baste with a tangy sweet and sour sauce.  Serve on a bed of hot rice and transport yourself to beautiful Hawaii.

Ingredients

1 T soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar

1 6-oz. can pineapple juice

¼ t ground ginger

1 t finely minced garlic

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 T cornstarch

1 medium red onion

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 lb. extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup fresh mango peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Preparation

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, juice, ginger garlic, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Stir frequently and set aside.

Cut onion and peppers into 1-inch squares. Alternate pineapple, shrimp, mango, onions and peppers onto metal skewers.  Place in a glass baking dish. Brush with sauce.

Preheat broiler.  Lightly brush peanut (or vegetable) oil on rack of broiler pan.  Set kabobs on rack.  Broil, about 3 inches from heat, for 3 minutes.  Turn over and brush with sauce.  (Discard remainder of sauce.) Continue broiling until shrimp turn opaque, about 3 minutes.  Serve on a bed of rice.

Kabobs can also be cooked on your outdoor grill over medium heat.

Photographer Bill Brady

Shrimp. Italian Style

These delicate morsels are a far cry from those heavily breaded deep fried shrimp served in so many restaurants.  These are not battered fried but enrobed in a light coating of olive oil, bread crumbs and seasonings to provide a delicate protective covering and then broiled.

You must use your own judgment in the perfect amount of oil and breadcrumbs.  This will vary depending on the size of the shrimp as smaller shrimps have more surface area and will require a bit more oil.  There should be just enough oil to coat the shrimp and just enough breadcrumbs to retain the oil and provide a thin coating.  Be sure to use the best quality shrimp you can find.

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs. large shrimp

3 T extra virgin olive oil

3 T vegetable oil (I prefer peanut oil)

2/3 cup fine dry plain breadcrumbs

½ t freshly grated lemon rind

½ t minced garlic

2 t finely minced parsley

¾ t salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges

Directions

1. Peel and devein shrimp leaving tails intact.  Rinse under cold water and pat dry.

2. In a bowl large enough to generously accommodate shrimp, mix both oils and then the shrimp.  Toss.

3. Add as many breadcrumbs as needed to form a light, even coating.

4. Add lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.  Toss again and allow to rest 15 minutes before proceeding.

5. Place on a lightly oiled grill rack under a hot broiler or on a stove top grill pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side, no longer than it takes to form a crisp, golden crust.

6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.  A bright, freshly made tartar sauce makes a fine accompaniment.

( adapted from a recipe by Marcella Hazan)

Tartar Sauce

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 medium gherkins or cornichons, finely diced

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 T parsley, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm

Barbecued Pork Revisited: Victor Joins In

Pulled pork is one of the South’s most popular dishes. However, you don’t have to seek out a North Carolina barbecue joint to enjoy this tender, savory delight.  In fact, you don’t even need a barbecue pit.  My son Chris created this juicy pulled pork last week for 50 hungry Long Islanders.   It disappeared in a flash.

I have cut down his recipe to serve 8.  It’s imperative to top a pulled pork sandwich with a tart cole slaw (recipe follows) or cucumber dill pickles or both.  And then, what to serve it on?  Some prefer a crusty roll, but Chris likes a quality soft bun that will better soak up the barbecue sauce. Some recipes call for braising the pork and basting it from time to time.  Chris did neither and the pork came out moist and succulent.

Ingredients

1 pork shoulder, about 6 – 8 lbs.

3 T dark brown sugar

1 t onion powder

1 t garlic powder

1 T salt

1 T ground cumin

1 T smoked paprika

1 T freshly ground black pepper

Procedure

Trim excess fat from pork shoulder.  Place pork in a baking dish.  Combine sugar, onion and garlic powder, salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper.  Rub over pork to coat.  Place in refrigerator at least 3 hours.  Bring pork to room temperature.  Place in a roasting pan fat side up in a 225 degree oven.

Slow cook until meat is fork tender and the temperature is 190-200 degrees.  This will take 6 to 7 hours. Let rest.  Take 2 forks and pull apart into shreds and place in a bowl.

Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup ketchup

1 T mustard

2 T molasses

1 cup apple cider

3 T dark brown sugar

½ t crushed red pepper

Procedure

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to dissolve sugar.  Cook over medium heat until sauce comes to a simmer.  Simmer very gently for 10 minutes.  Mix the  barbecue sauce into the pork shreds until well coated and serve alongside buns, cole slaw and pickles.  Let guests put together their own sandwiches.

In the unlikely event there are leftovers, consider making pork tacos or pork hash.

Chris’ Cole Slaw

Barbecued pulled pork cries out for the cool crunch of cole slaw. Chris’ special combination produces a tangy flavor and a colorful presentation.  Be sure to slice the cabbage and fennel as thinly as possible.

Ingredients

1 small head green cabbage

1 small head red cabbage

1 fennel bulb

2 carrots

1/2 Vidalia onion

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 T white Balsamic vinegar

1 t celery seeds

1 t salt

1/2 t freshly ground pepper

Procedure

Cut each head of cabbage in half and then in quarters.  Cut out the hard core. Slice wedges as thinly as possible and place in a large bowl.  Cut fennel bulb in quarters and slice thinly.  Set aside fronds for another use.  Shred carrots in a food processor using fine disk.  Slice onion thinly.  Add everything to bowl.

Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seeds, salt and pepper.  Pour dressing over slaw and toss. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.  Toss again every 15 minutes or so to make sure flavors meld and again just before serving.

Pork in the ‘que! 

by Victor Ribaudo

Not being from the South, I had no reference for good ole pork barbecue growing up. I mean, I am from the South of Brooklyn, NY (not to be confused with the neighborhood of “South Brooklyn,” which is actually situated in the North portion of the borough), but that doesn’t really fly here. I’m talkin’ authentic North Carolina or Tennessee pulled pork and ribs. Nevertheless, with some southern traveling under my belt and an obsession for food TV, I’ve adopted quite an obsession for the stuff.

We’ve all seen them. Those barbecue cook-off shows situated somewhere deep in the Swanee. Pit connoisseurs fastidiously tending to their pork shoulders or ribs in either commercial or homemade smokers – for hours and hours. I’ve been on the receiving end of some of those meals. Brined and rubbed with secret recipe spices, there’s something about smoke and slow cooking that just makes certain cuts of pork a magically satisfying culinary experience. Then there’s the sauce. Unlike some of us Northern amateurs, Southerners don’t slather on the sauce before cooking. That step comes after the cooking is done.

Speaking of barbecue sauces, some prefer North Carolina style – a vinegar based concoction with a hint of brown sugar sweetness and a lot of spicy kick. You, on the other hand, might go for Tennessee’s tomato-based sticky, red and sweet variety. If you’re lucky the chef will have laced it with some whiskey. Or head on over to Texas, where although they specialize in smoked beef brisket, their thinner, spicier tomato-based sauces will do just fine on any pulled pork or rib you can cook up.

So, how do you enjoy pulled pork? Well, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this classic, it’s called “pulled” because the pork is so tender that you can actually shred pieces of it with a fork. You’ll usually find it served up generously on a roll, smothered in sauce and piled high with plenty of home-style cole slaw. Believe me, there’s nothing more succulent. Whatever sauce you choose, you’ll experience an explosion of juicy sweetness, tartness and spice that will definitely taste like some more! As for ribs, you know the deal. Just start eating, and have plenty of moist hand wipes to go around.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m not purchasing a smoker and sticking it in my backyard, next to the pool house. Well, leave it to Phyllis Kirigin – or her son, in this case – to come up with a simply smashing way to prepare a pork shoulder in the oven that will knock your socks off, so to speak. Check out her pulled pork recipe above.


Now, not to leave my Mom out of this equation, who wouldn’t know a pulled pork sandwich from a meatball hero, she does have her own way of barbecuing pork that is somewhat curious, but always surprisingly delicious. She is, after all, from the South – of Italy, that is. In any event, she takes that jarred, duck sauce like stuff that’s laden with apricots and marinates her pork chops and ribs in it over night. The next day, my Dad grills them up. Screaming about the sticky mess they’re making on the grill, of course. Well, it’s hard to believe, but they’re actually very good. I know, it’s not the real deal. However, if you don’t find yourself south of the Mason-Dixon Line and don’t feel like heading off to a barbecue joint in town, this is an option in a pinch.


Barbecue and pork really is a match made in heaven. Please be sure to get your hands on the real deal next time your down South. Some of those places are hopping, I assure you. So you might have to stand in ‘que. But it will be worth it.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

Steak Your Claim!

Great steaks aren’t cooked, they’re bought; the important work is done before you ever leave the shop.  Ruth Reichl in Garlic and Sapphires

A great steak from aged grass-fed beef can’t be beat.  It doesn’t need a rub massaged into it to mask the flavor.  Its own beefy flavor is sublime.  Does Peter Luger use a rub?  I think not.  Select steaks at least 1 ½ inches thick and nicely marbled.  This means a fine marbling of fat throughout, not big pockets of fat and, in no case, totally lean. It’s true that fat carries flavor plus providing more tender meat.  I really like Cheryl Smith’s recipe for grilled steak.  She does include a brief rest for the steak in garlic, olive oil and fresh thyme, but then the garlic and thyme are removed before grilling.

Optional: Serve it with a creamy gorgonzola sauce. Suggested
accompaniments are grilled asparagus and shoestring potatoes.

Ingredients:
2 (10-oz.) shell steaks from grass-fed beef (preferably aged)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 sprigs fresh thyme, crushed
3 T extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Place steak in a dish along with garlic,  thyme and olive oil.

Turn the steak over from time to time and allow it to marinate for one hour.

2. Heat a grill to medium high.

3. Remove garlic and thyme and season steak with salt and pepper.

4. Grill to desired doneness turning only once.

5. Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil for five minutes before serving.

Gorgonzola Dolce Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
2 T unsalted butter
2 T finely diced onions
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 T dry sherry
½ to 1 cup gorgonzola dolce cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

2. Add the onions, thyme and then whisk in the flour.

3. Cook the flour one minute.

4. Add the heavy cream and dry sherry and continue to whisk. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

5. After about 2 minutes of simmering add cheese to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on top of steak or on the side.  Serves 2.

Adapted from Cheryl Smith

 

Steak Your Claim!

by Victor Ribaudo

Vegetarians please don’t despair. We’ll be writing plenty of blogs that will appeal to your fancies. For you carnivores, though, please keep reading. We’re talking steak this week. For me, it’s a primal thing. Pure beef. Unadulterated. Thrown on the grill and done up medium rare. Is there anything more satisfying? I think not.

As a kid steak didn’t really appeal to me. It was something we had for dinner every Saturday night. (Was Saturday steak night at your home too?) However, when I was a bit older, my family started a Christmas Season tradition. We’d spend an evening doing those great things one does in New York City that time of year. Window shopping on Fifth Avenue, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes Show at Radio City Music Hall. The best part of the evening, however, was dinner at Ruth’s Chris. There are fancier, more expensive steak houses in the city. But there was something about Ruth’s steak that really was irresistible. Perhaps it was the butter served atop those sizzling cuts that got to me. I don’t know. Nevertheless, I’ve been a steak fanatic ever since.

Besides those Christmastime visits to Ruth’s Chris which we still, by the way, treat ourselves to every season, I particularly look forward to steak this time of year. Grilling a steak is my favorite way to prepare it. Whether it’s a t-bone, strip or hanger steak nothing takes to the flavor that charcoal imparts better. I prefer mine medium rare, but I’m very accommodating. I’ll prepare yours anyone way you like. Nothing elaborate, mind you. A simple sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper and you’re ready to go with it.

For as much as I’m a backyard BBQ enthusiast, I’m not really a purist. I’ll take steak anyway you serve it. So if you want to panfry mine, or broil it for me, I’ll be there with a bottle of wine to enjoy the meal. Need to get up market with it? Do it au poivre. Coat the steak with peppercorns and panfry. Create a pan sauce of reduced cognac and heavy cream. Oh, be sure to make the sauce in the same pan you cooked the steak. You want to get all the brown goodness in your sauce. Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little brighter? Why not ladle a bit of béarnaise sauce over your steak. The butter, egg yolk and tarragon mixture is the perfect counterfoil to the earthiness of the meat. Please don’t buy bottled béarnaise, though. It’s easy to prepare, and recipes abound.

I could write tomes about different cuts of steak. The best way to find your fit is to try them all. As for aging, I do preferred dry aged steaks (as opposed to wet aged). And always Prime for me. A bit more expensive, but definitely worth it.

As for sides, well I am a bit of a purist here. With my steak au poivre, nothing will do except for mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. When béarnaise is on the plate, I want a baked potato and creamed spinach. When it’s just steak, some French fries and sautéed mushrooms must accompany. I know, these are all sides you find at the steakhouses. I can’t help it. Guess I just keep returning to Ruth’s Chris!

Before I go, just a quick word about steak sauce: unnecessary! I’m sorry, I get a bit crazy where steak is concerned. But tell me, why would you want to smother a kicked up version of Worcestershire sauce on such a beautiful thing as steak? I’m not judging. Enjoy however you please. That’s why steak exists.

Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika

Photographer Bill Brady

Written by Victor Ribaudo

Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com

Play It Up . . . Like a Real Hamburger

Is a hamburger by any other name still a hamburger?  Not if it’s bifteck haché.  Move over for a moment, All-American hamburger, and make way for this knockout straight from the Cordon Bleu.  Fresh thyme, bacon and minced onions are mixed in to provide a subtle complexity, both herbaceous and smoky but never overpowering the flavor of beef.  At least this is the way I make it.

It’s an adaptation of Julia Child’s ground beef with onions and herbs and her hamburgers with cream sauce carefully explained on my dog-eared and food stained pages 301 and 302 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I.  The patties can be served with a sauce or not.  This is my “or not” version so you’ll need hamburger buns.

The quality of the beef is very important.    Some of the least expensive cuts, chuck and neck are the most flavorful.  85 per cent lean is about right.

French Hamburgers

Ingredients for 6 burgers

2 T butter

¾ cup finely minced onion

3 oz. finely chopped bacon (smoked applewood or black forest)

1 ½ lbs. ground beef

1/8 t freshly ground black pepper

1/8 t ground thyme or ½ t minced fresh thyme

1 egg

1 T butter for sautéing patties

6 slices Gruyere cheese (optional)

Preparation

1. In a large frying pan, cook the onions slowly in the butter until slightly wilted.  Add bacon and cook until onions are very tender and bacon cooked through.  Remove, leaving bacon fat in pan, and let cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, add beef, seasonings, onions, bacon and egg.  Mix lightly but thoroughly with your hands.  Taste for seasoning.  Form into six patties.

3. Add butter to the bacon fat in same frying pan over moderately high heat.  When the butter foam begins to subside, sear the patties.  Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

4. Now, to Frenchify these babies a bit more, melt a slice of Gruyere on top of each.    Place on lightly toasted hamburger buns and add condiments of your choice.  Personally I like soft buns that you can bite into and not have the toppings squish out the sides.

Enjoy your meal! (You know how Julia would have put it.)

Play It Up . . . Like a Real Hamburger

by Victor Ribaudo

I like all-American food.  Even if it originated in another country, as is often the case.  I guess the hamburger is one of those national favorites.  They say that the Germans invented it.  Hence the name “hamburger” (from Hamburg Steak).  I don’t know.  Seems that the concept of chopping meat and then forming it into patties has probably been seen in many countries throughout history.  Don’t forget, I am Italian and meatballs belong to us (and the Swedes, I guess.)  Perhaps German immigrants were the first to introduce a chopped meat patty to America.  Doesn’t really matter where it originated, though; the hamburger is a true American classic in this guy’s culinary book.

Now, I know that hamburgers abound in fast food chains.  They taste great and I never knock them.  My nephew loves them too much.  But that’s not what I’m after.  To me, a hamburger must be prepared freshly at home to be of any real interest to my taste buds.  It all starts with the meat, of course.  Good quality beef is a must, but we can’t have it too lean or you’ll be eating cardboard instead of juicy goodness.  About 85% lean – as Phyllis Kirigin suggests in her fantastic recipe above – is great.  I like them hand formed, but you can use one of those hamburger gadgets.  All good.  Then there’s the cooking technique.  I prefer good old fashioned grilling on the backyard BBQ.  The charcoal smokiness really does it for me.  I will, however, take my hamburgers to a frying pan every once in a while.  I kind of like the steaming effect you get – not unlike White Castle. Really moist.  Broiling is also a decent option. But be careful.  Overcooking might occur.  That’s never a good thing.

Now those are the basics.  Next to consider are the toppings.  The perfunctory ketchup is a must for me, but I also like to add mayonnaise to that mix.  (Mustard, not so much.)  Sometimes I adorn my burger with relish or pickles, when I’m feeling fancy free.  Cheese is always nice.  I adore brie on mine, but any variety will do.  Sautéed or raw onions are welcome enhancements…as well as bacon or smoky ham.

But that’s really the beginning.  I get bored fast.  So I’ll often make it a Californian with the addition of fresh avocado slices, tomato and onion.  My Mexican gets guacamole, along with Monterey Jack, sautéed jalapenos and salsa.  The Italian dons mozzarella and tomato sauce.  The Indian gets chutney.  And the Greek gets chopped cucumber, tomato, dill and feta.  The possibilities are endless.

When I was a teenager, I discovered a recipe for hamburgers stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  After pan frying, I was supposed to add wine to deglaze and create a sauce.  Well, I poured in the wine right in the middle of the frying process.  Needless to say, my Mom had a mess on her hands.  Point is, I’ve always been a hamburger connoisseur – even if I did mess up every once in a while.  Wanting to broaden my burger horizons, so to speak.  So aside from substituting turkey or chicken for beef, I’ll often change up the meat mixture to include ground veal, pork – even loose sausage meat.  Or I’ll serve lamb burgers and throw everyone for a loop.  I suggest creativity with your spices and herbs as well.  Try cumin and coriander in the lamb burger and make it Middle Eastern.  Minced garlic, parsley and grated cheese give the burger an Italian flair.  Chopped scallions, ginger and soy sauce – especially with ground pork – offer everyone a taste of Asia in a bun.

Speaking of buns, they are important.  So much from which to choose.  Pick your favorites.  But please, do toast them on the grill or in the oven.  No one likes a hot burger on a cold bun.  A lot to say about a simple hamburger?  Not really.  I could go on and on about sliders as well.  Just some thoughts for now about Americana fare and the leader of that pack.

Recipe by Phyllis Kirigin

Photographer Bill Brady

Written by Victor Ribaudo

Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com

Citrus Grilled Shrimp Salad

As June rolls around, the name of the game is easy cooking. In fact, the less work, the better, so long as the results are fresh and mouthwatering. And since farmers’ markets and farmstands are bulging with their summer best, select your favorite mix and match favorites and toss together a great salad. Top it with citrusy grilled shrimp and pair it with a French baguette and you have a delicious lunch.

Shrimp and marinade: (Serves 4)

20 extra large shelled and deveined shrimp with tails left on

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh lime, juiced

½ t salt

¼ t pepper

1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes

Whisk together marinade ingredients and toss with shrimp. Place in refrigerator for ½ hour.

Orange vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic

2 shallots, finely minced

1 T Dijon mustard

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ t salt

1/8 t freshly ground pepper

1 t fresh thyme leaves

While shrimp is marinating, make orange vinaigrette salad dressing. Mash garlic in a small bowl. Add shallots and mustard. Whisk in orange juice and then slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Adjust for preferred acidity.

Grill shrimp on a hot grill for 2 minutes on each side or just until opaque. Use metal skewers if you think shrimp might slip through grate.

Salad ingredients:

Medium head of red radicchio

Segments from 2 oranges, pith and membranes removed

Small head of leafy green lettuce

16 red cherry or grape tomatoes

1 small red onion, cut into thin slices

Mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss with just enough orange vinaigrette to lightly coat greens. Divide among 4 salad plates. Top each with 5 shrimp. Serves 4 as a lunch entrée.

Photographer Bill Brady http://bit.ly/9wFYxm
Food Stylist Brian Preston Campbell

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