Tag Archives: Cooking

Barbecued Scotch (aka Picnic) Eggs

Scotch_Eggs (1 of 1)“Scotch eggs” were apparently invented in England in 1738 at a London department store. They’ve been very popular since then as a snack, picnic food, pub food, etc.. I recently came across an Americanized version at Epicurious, which I used as a base for this recipe. I cooked them on my REC TEC wood pellet grill, and man, they were delicious! This is a perfect addition to a summer time, indoor or outdoor meal. I think they are much simpler to prepare than they look — I hope you’ll try this recipe this summer!

3 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp chili powder
3 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
6 large eggs
Ice water
1 lb lean ground pork

Combine 3 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

In a medium sauce pan, cover eggs in cold water. Bring eggs to a boil over high heat and cook 2 minutes. Remove eggs and immediately put into ice water. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove eggs from water, peel and place them in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, combine the pork, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Use hands to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated.

Divide pork mixture into 6 equal portions. Flatten each portion into about a 5-inch circle on plastic wrap or wax paper. Place an egg on each and lift up the sides to drape eggs. In your hands, work each egg and pork mixture so that the eggs are evenly concealed by the pork. Spread spice mixture in a shallow dish. Roll each egg in the spice mixture until it is evenly coated. Place eggs on a clean dish, cover gently with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Prepare charcoal (or smoker or wood pellet) grill for low-heat, indirect cooking. Add some mesquite chips soaked in water (or some other flavorful wood) if using charcoal. When Temperature reaches 235 degrees F, place the eggs on the grill. Close lid and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate, let cool and slice length-wise into quarters. Serve with a good BBQ sauce (I like Stubb’s Original).

Serves 6.

Slow-Smoked Brisket of Beef, Marinated in a Flavorful Dry Rub

Smoked Brisket of Beef with Flavorful "Dry Rub" (1 of 1)A couple of weeks ago, we received our new Rec Tec wood pellet grill/smoker (rectecgrills.com) . I was thrilled to try it out, and I’ve been using it everyday since we got it.  I’m very pleased. Over the weekend, I smoked a couple of chickens, which were fantastic. On Sunday, I made this southern-style beef brisket, which was absolutely delicious — the dry rub mixture, beer “beer” mop, and of course, the low-slow smoking technique with the new grill were what made it! I hope you’ll try this stuff out this summer!

1/2 cup ground paprika
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 3-lb beef brisket

6 oz beer
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp of the dry rub, reserved from above

The night before you want to smoke the brisket, combine the dry rub ingredients (paprika through cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Rub evenly and generously all over brisket (reserving 2 tsp for the “mop,” which is the basting liquid. Cover and refrigerate until next day.

Remove brisket from refrigerator and let stand 45 minutes prior to cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare the mop by combining the mop ingredients (beer through dry rub). Simmer for about 8 minutes, then remove from heat.

Prepare smoker and bring heat to 220 degrees F.

Place brisket on grill, and cook about 5 hours, until brisket is very tender. Baste with beer mop every half hour.  Remove from heat, wrap in foil and let stand 20 minutes prior to serving. Serve with your favorite barbeque sauce, cole slaw and corn bread.

Serves 4 – 6

Grilled Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Guacamole

Grilled_Black_Bean_Burger (1 of 1)I consumed what seems like a ton of meat at a cook-out on Saturday, so I wanted to grill something meatless. I generally don’t think veggie burgers grill well because they are so delicate (loose, runny, etc.), so I did my best to use binders (flour, cornmeal and eggs) and a technique (freezing) to come up with something that would work well on the grill — I was successful! These burgers held up and grilled easily to perfection, and the creamy chipotle guacamole on top was absolutely delicious. I hope you’ll try them next time you grill out!

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, very finely grated or minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ancho chili
3 1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
Fresh corn cut from 1 ear
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 chipotle chili (from can, in adobo sauce), very finely chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Lettuce

Combine first 9 ingredients (black beans through ground ancho chili) and 3 tsp salt in a food processor. Process until ingredients are well-incorporated, but not puréed. Spoon 6 equal portions onto a platter that has been sprinkled with some cornmeal. Form into patties, cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm (about 1/2 hour).

Meanwhile, prepare the guacamole by placing the avocados and lime juice in a bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in the balance of ingredients (corn through sour cream). Cover and place in refrigerator.

Prepare grill. Remove burgers from freezer and place on the hot grill. Grill 5 minutes per side. Serve with lettuce on hamburger buns that have been brushed with butter and browned on the grill. Top each with a generous portion of the guacamole.

Serves 6.

Grilled Indonesian Pork Satay with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

Indonesian_Pork_Satay (1 of 1)I’m about to get a brand-new pellet grill — can’t wait to show you how it does! In the mean time, I fired up the Weber grill and made these fantastic satays. This variety comes from the island of Bali (I believe it’s the cinnamon and nutmeg that make them Balinese). I love the combination of spices in these – wonderful with the peanut dipping sauce! This dish is a bit involved, but very well worth the effort. I hope you’ll give this one a try this weekend!

1 tsp + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sambal ulek, divided
1/2 tsp + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Laos powder
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, lower six inches finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp tamarind water or lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 lb lean ground pork

1 small onion
3 Tbsp peanutbutter
4 tsp kecap manis
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk

Soak about 18 bamboo skewers in water.

Combine 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp sambal ulek, 1/2 tsp brown sugar and the next 13 ingredients (shallots through ground pork) in a food processor. Process well until you have a smooth paste. In a large bowl combine paste and ground pork. Use hand to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce by heating 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in1 tsp sambal ulek, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and the next 6 ingredients (through lemon juice). Slowly heat, gradually adding the coconut milk, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Get grill going.

Mold about 2 Tbsp of the pork mixture onto each skewer (as in the picture above). Place satays on grill and cook, turning occasionally until done, about 7 minutes. Serve satays with the peanut sauce and steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Veal Croquettes with Gnocchi Tossed in a Browned Butter-Sage Sauce

Veal_Croquettes (1 of 1)Last night I was in the mood for a good croquette dish, so I made this Italian version — so simple and delicious. The capers add a great touch! Wasn’t sure what to serve them with, but I ended up going with gnocchi in browned butter, flavored with sage leaves — the perfect complement! I hope you’ll try this wonderful combo tonight (or tomorrow night)!

2 Tbsp capers, drained and finely chopped
1 lb ground veal
2 cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups plain bread crumbs

1 16-oz package of potato gnocchi
4 Tbsp butter
20 fresh sage leaves
5 Tbsp chicken stock
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients (capers through black pepper) — do this with your hand to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated.

Shape mixture into 1 by 3-inch patties. Heat oil over high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Once oil is good and hot, dredge each patty in the bread crumbs, and gently slip into the oil. Cook patties until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove patties from pan with a slotted spoon to paper towels and let drain.

Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sage leaves and cook until butter begins to brown to a nice amber color (but don’t burn), about 4 minutes. Remove sage leaves to a paper towel. To the browned butter, and the gnocchi, chicken stock, pinch of salt, Parmesan cheese and cooked sage leaves. Gently toss to coat. Serve with the croquettes.

Serves 6.

Braised Meat Rolls with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Meatloaf_with_Mushroom_Sauce (1 of 1)It’s been a while since I made a meatloaf (long overdue in my book). I ended up making a variation that I call “meat rolls,” which are smaller, breaded and braised on top of the stove. The amount of mushrooms the recipe calls for may seem huge, but necessary. Don’t worry, they cook down, and the resulting sauce is fantastic!. Another thing, the nutmeg in the meat mixture adds a ton of “depth of flavor” in European meat dishes, so I’m always trying to figure out how to incorporate into mine. This is a great Sunday afternoon or evening dish — hope you’ll try it!

2 slices of bread (crusts removed), torn into pieces
3/4 cup milk
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1 lb cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1 lb white button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely diced
3 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
2 Tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 (rounded) tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup pain, dry bread crumbs
3 Tbsp butter
3/4 cups white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream

Soak bread in milk in a small bowl, then squeeze out all of the milk. Set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and cook 5 minutes, or until light brown. Add the mushrooms, 2 tsp of the salt, 1/2 tsp of the black pepper. Cook 20 minutes, turning and stirring the mushrooms until they are soft and have released their water. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the soaked bread, meat, parsley, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Use your hands to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well. Add some bread crumbs if mixture seems too loose.

Divide meat mixture in half. Roll each half into a cylinder that is about 4 inches in diameter. Place bread crumbs in a shallow pan. Gently coat each meat roll (abundantly) in bread crumbs.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and the 3 Tbsp butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the foam from the butter has subsided, gently add the breaded meat rolls. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add wine to the pan and cook about 2 minutes, until the wine is reduced considerably. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, turning the rolls from time to time. Add mushroom mixture and cook, covered, another 15 minutes. Uncover, stir in the cream and cook an additional 12 minutes. Remove meat rolls and slice into 1-inch pieces. To serve, place a few slices of meat on each plate, spoon the mushroom sauce over each serving and garnish with parsley. Service with a starch and green vegetable.

Serves 6.

 

 

 

Spicy Indonesian Coconut Beef (Dendeng Santan)

Coconut_Beef (1 of 1)It’s been a while since I’ve posted a nice, Southeast Asian dish — the spring weather we’ve been waiting so long for finally arrived over the weekend, so I was in the mood for something spicy (“hot,” “piquant,” etc.). I ended up making one of my favorite Indonesian beef, Dendeng Santan (which translates roughly to dried beef in coconut juice, I think). Indonesians typically cook with lean (tough) cuts of beef, such as top round — the beef is cooked for a long time to the point that it is extremely tender and delicious. I didn’t have that much time, so I made this dish with a lightly marbled, boneless beef sirloin steak. The end result was a tender, delicious Indonesian beef dish in a fraction of the time. This dish is delightfully spicy and flavorful — I hope you’ll try it tonight!

1 lb boneless sirloin steak, put in the freezer 30 minutes (to aid in thin slicing), then thinly sliced across the grain into 2-inch long pieces.
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and very finely grated or minced
2 candlenuts, grated
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground galangal (Laos) powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut milk, divided
1/2 tsp terasi
2 tsp sambal ulek
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 red Thai chilies, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine beef slices, garlic, candlenuts, coriander, tamarind water, brown sugar, galangal powder and salt. Mix well, set aside and let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine terasi and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and the sambal olek in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add beef mixture and cook 2 minutes. Add coconut mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove lid. Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat. reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes, or until liquid is considerably reduced. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and a spicy Indonesian relish, such as sambal petai. Garnish with Thai chilies.

Serves 4.