Monday, December 27, 2010

Pan Seared Wild Duck Breasts over Brown Rice Stir Fry

So, it's been a while.  My apologies.

I'd like to say that I've been so slammed with "creation/cooking/writing/etc" that I haven't had time to update the site with new recipes.  Truth be told - I've been taking in the holidays (parties, food, cocktails) at a rampant pace.  Strange but true; I'm really looking forward to things slowing down in the New Year.

Yet, things are only picking up.  If you've visited the site as of late, you haven't received many new recipes (I already apologized), but instead you've seen a reel of good news and upcoming segments featuring HHOFD.  So, thank - YOU - for the early Christmas/New Years presents.  All of this good news is due in part to the many of you who've helped spread the word.

With that said, I understand that the following recipe may not be very accessible for the "everyday guy".  Yet, I've been thankful enough to have a slew of friends bringing me wild game as of late - venison, turkey, duck, etc - that my focus has been on making sure nothing goes to waste.  Besides, all of those foodie chicks you've had your eye on are sure to want to indulge in a back strap, fried turkey, or pan seared duck breast at some point.

Or, at least we hope so.

With the New Year, I'll be debuting some excellent, simple recipes to impress your lovely lady.

Until then, happy hunting.  Eat, drink, and be merry!

A special thanks to Tommy and Matt Harmon for the duck breasts - I wouldn't have wanted to be a mallard flying over Crowder, MS on Sunday.

Cheers!

MM

Pan Seared Wild Duck Breasts over Brown Rice Stir Fry


2 Duck Breasts, trimmed and at room temperature
1/4 Cup Teriyaki Sauce
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/4 Cup Sesame Oil 
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Cup Onion, diced
1/4 Cup Carrot, diced
1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 Cup Asparagus, sliced
1/4 Cup Broccoli Florets
2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice, at room temperature
2 Large Eggs, beaten
Soy Sauce, to taste
Green Onions, sliced (garnish)

At least one our before cooking, liberally season duck breasts with fresh cracked pepper and douse with teriyaki sauce; set aside at room temperature.  Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and sear duck breasts on each side for 2 - 3 minutes, or until medium rare.  Remove and allow to rest while finishing the stir fry.  Meanwhile, in a wok over high heat add oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes; saute 30 seconds careful not to brown the garlic.  Add the remaining vegetables and cook until just tender.  Add rice and eggs, stirring until eggs are just scrambled; remove from heat.  Add soy sauce to taste.  Begin plating by placing a generous portion of the stir fry onto the center of each plate.  Slice the duck breasts, on the bias, every half inch or so and rest on top of the stir fry.  Garnish with sliced green onions.  Serve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Today Show !!!

Christmas has come early.  I just found out that I'll be doing a segment on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on Jan 24th.  More details to come.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fox & Friends

Howdy Y'all -

Wanted to let everyone know that we just confirmed an appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend Edition on February 12th.  Tune in - nationwide - for some outstanding recipes just in time for Valentines Day!  Hmmm, looks like I'll be spending Valentine's Day in NYC - not a bad gig.

Safe travels to all of you getting an early start on the holidays!

MM

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chef Challenge: The Double Date

Editors Note:  This is a guest post by Colin.

This whole cooking thing got real, really fast.  Three meals, cooked at my leisure with no performance anxiety (it happens to lots of chefs , I hear), and now I am cooking for not just an audience, but a double date audience?  On top of that, I gave up home field advantage: I asked to cook the meal at the loft of my good friends to avoid the numerous, numerous shortcomings of my own apartment and cookware.  My mind started to churn up excuses to avoid the obligation, rationalizing to myself that if I wasn't having her over to my actual place for dinner, then the meal didn't count, and I was mercifully spared from this meal's impending failure.  I started hoping to get stood up.  I even started trying to get hung up at work, but alas, nothing could save me from myself, so I grudgingly picked up the poor girl who agreed to be my date, and started the long drumroll to the firing squad.  The only difference was that a good final meal might be the pardon I needed to save me from my fate.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Irony + NYTimes

Funny that just a few days after I disclose, with all-out honesty, my experience and opinions on the publishing industry that my book, Have Her Over for Dinner; a gentleman's guide to classic simple meals, is named by the NYTimes as one of the best cookbooks of the year.

I'm not kidding, check out the article, with some other awesome books, here.

I got the news while making a day trip up to Philly and back.  So yeah, I'm sitting at my desk now back in Nashville, at midnight, drinking a cold beer, and listening to Dr. Dog with somewhat of a pathetic congratulatory state of mind.  Perhaps I thought the coming of such news would be met with an impromptu trip to Vegas, or at least a hard night out on the town - but instead - I'm packing for the next trip, the next journey, and the next challenge.

Truth be told, I'm completely stoked that the NYTimes, the most badass of all badass author/book review placements, had anything - much less a "best of"- review of my book.  It's incredibly humbling to be included on such a list.  Most of all - I love that I made it as a self published, self promoted, self created, self produced, self etc, etc, etc author/publisher/publicist/photographer/entrepreneur.  Notice all the other folks mentioned have big time publishing houses and publicists working in their corner.  

Not this guy.

Instead I have you - the folks who are incredibly awesome to support my work for what it is.  A fun, funny (at least I think so), and useful resource for creating outstanding meals at home.  So seriously, thanks.

For everyone that thinks something is impossible, or too difficult, or not worth the trouble, let my experience serve as an example.  On a shoestring budget, with passion, complete persistence, prayer, a touch of luck, and fan support - we made it to the big leagues.

Let's have fun, and stay a while yeah?

Another beer (or two), then bed.

Keep Peaceful!

MM

Friday, December 3, 2010

Publishing 101

Almost two years ago, I began shopping my proposal for HHOFD to agents and publishers in NYC.  Like most first-time authors, I entered every meeting thinking I had the next bestseller in hand.  Hilarious.  Or, maybe just naive.

After all, wasn't I the only guy who'd ever thought of writing a cookbook to teach the everyday guy that cooking great meals at home wasn't nearly as hard as it looks? 

Nope... In fact, there have been several variations on this very subject.  However, most of my competing titles were written from the standpoint of "cook this, get laid".  Sorry, but that just ain't my style.  I'm also betting that the authors of those books probably aren't as 'busy' as they'd lead you on to believe. 

Sure, women love a man who can cook - In fact that's the very first line in my book.  However, if you are envisioning your entrance into the kitchen as anything similar to Tommy Lee taking the stage w/ Motley Crue during the glory days of hair metal, you will surely be disappointed.  I'm willing to bet that no undergarments are going to be thrown your way while you are yielding tongs and a spatula.

With that said, how is my book different?  I'd like to say that I don't over-promise and under-deliver, i.e. it's REAL.  My book is all about getting back to the basics.  Great meals start with using great ingredients, having a solid game plan (recipe), and also posessing the willingness to get out of your comfort zone (of course, I recommend enjoying a cocktail to take the edge off in the kitchen).  If your planning, effort, meal, and experience actually sparks her interest, well then, you owe me a beer the next time you see me out at your local watering hole (Nashville, Philly, Norfolk, LA, Atlanta in the next 2 weeks).

Reality is that I didn't get any compelling offers from major publishers for my book.  Knowing what I know now, I'm not surprised.  I wasn't a well-known celebrity chef with a television show and a substantial platform.  Major publishers aren't nearly as interested in the grass roots success of authors as they are in the 'home runs'.  But my friends... the tide is changing.

Physical bookstores are closing about as fast as the Titans season is going off the deep end.  The advent of Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad have all demonstrated to the publishing industry that digital is here to stay, if not replace the traditional book world as we know it.  Still want a physical book?  Why not get it on-demand without inventory, staff, or other fixed costs - with instant satisfaction, i.e. Espresso Book Machine.  Basically, the book publishing world is experiencing the same thing the music world experienced in the late 90's/early 2000's with the onslaught of digital downloads.  Publishers can either embrace and adapt to the change (make money), or continue to think that their archaic model will prevail (fail). 

Back to me - Thanks to the support of you - HHOFD is becoming a success.  Is it a NYTimes bestseller?  Not even close.  Am I writing this post while lounging on a beach drinking a fruity cocktail because of my book royalties - nope.  Has it beaten out 95% of the fate of all published books - close.  It's all about busting your ass day in/day out to promote a product that you developed tirelessly, believing that it truly can enhance the lives of others.

So, if you've been following this blog for a long time, I hope that you've found it's content to be valuable and enjoyable.  I enjoy posting free recipes, stories, hints, random musings, etc... and I appreciate you reading/commenting/writing (lastresortpress@gmail.com). 

If you've yet to buy a copy - no worries - keep reading, cooking, drinking, and hanging out with us.  My only hope is that you'll continue to assist our efforts in building this brand by suggesting the book, website, twitter, facebook, etc to your friends, family, celebrities, publishing executives, extra-terrestrials, and billionaire angel investors...

Seriously - if you are looking for a great holiday gift that gives back - pick up a copy via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or on-the-go through the Apple Bookstore.  Don't forget, the sequel "And for Breakfast" will be due out Spring 2011!



Cheers!

MM

The Tennessean

A big thanks to The Tennessean for running this feature - a great piece, and some solid recipes if you are looking for a good family dinner.  Text/Recipes/Photos below.

Matt Moore was having a busy night.
From the window of his Germantown condo he could see the lights of downtown, which had already started to shine, meaning he had to hustle if he was going to meet a friend for a concert at the Ryman.


But first, belying the young bachelor stereotype of pizza boxes and an empty fridge, the 28-year-old songwriter poured himself a glass of red wine and casually whipped up a plate of balsamic pork over black-eyed pea risotto with a side of sautéed spinach.

"When I went to school at (the University of) Georgia, I realized so many people my age had no idea how to cook," he said.
Moore learned to cook from his mother. Growing up in Lilburn, Ga., he'd come home from high school football practice and join her in the kitchen to help make the family meals. "It was kind of my chance to catch up at the end of the day with her," he said.

Earlier this year, Moore published a cookbook, Have Her Over for Dinner: A Gentleman's Guide to Classic, Simple Meals. A second book is already in the works. And for our Nashville Cooks series, he invited us over to learn how to put together a simple, healthful, inexpensive meal from scratch.

Testing on friends

While stirring a pan of risotto and heating up a grill pan, Moore recalled growing up in a food-centric family. He learned to make classic Southern food, but his mother, who is of Lebanese descent, also taught him to focus on healthy, local, seasonal food long before it was trendy.


"I wasn't eating tomatoes in the dead of winter," he said.

Holiday meals at his house included the traditional sweet potato dishes but also included homemade hummus and tabbouleh.

After high school, Moore took his skills on the road, at college and with a band.
"It was the first time I was able to take mom's cooking and put it to the test," he said.
At Georgia, Moore became the ringleader of a series of food-themed parties. After playing a show in St. Simons Island or Savannah, for example, he would pick up 20 pounds of fresh shrimp to take back to Athens for Low Country boils or fish fries.  "We would invite 100 of our closest friends," he said.

Start to finish

Five years ago, Moore moved to Nashville to pursue music and songwriting. He still enjoys entertaining but on a smaller scale — 10 friends, as opposed to 100.

Beyond the parties, he's often the go-to guy for cooking advice among his male friends. "For as much time as I spend helping friends out and writing e-mails," he remembered telling a friend, "I should just write a book."
Moore created a publishing company and took a year to write his first cookbook, which came out in March. His second book, to be published next year, is the logical follow-up to Have Her Over for Dinner — it's titled And for Breakfast.
Of course, one woman in particular — Matt's mother — couldn't be prouder.
"She's a little bit nervous about my angle, in mom terms," Moore said.
But the skills she taught him clearly keep him confident and relaxed, even cooking a quick meal in a pinch.

"For me, it's the entertaining side — to be able to share a skill with friends," he said. "I like having something from start to finish. That satisfaction of completing something."
And with that, dinner was served.













SAUTÉED SPINACH


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (6-ounce) bags fresh baby spinach
Kosher saltJuice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, careful not to brown.
2. Add spinach and sauté until reduced and tender, 3-4 minutes. Season with kosher salt and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve.

BLACK-EYED PEA RISOTTO


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper
2 cups Arborio rice
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 cup black-eyed peas, soaked overnight


1. Preheat a large skillet tomedium high. Add olive oil. Sauté onions until tender and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
2. Add rice to pan and stir to coat the grains in oil, toasting the rice for 2-3 minutes, or until the grains begin to become opaque.
3. Add 1 cup of broth to the toasted rice and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium. Stir regularly, adding 1 cup of broth at a time as the rice begins to absorb all of the liquid. (Note: All of the broth may not be used.)
4. Continue in this manner until rice is cooked al dente and the mixture is slightly firm, yet still creamy (30-35 minutes). To finish, add the black-eyed peas and heat through.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS


4 (6-ounce) boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper


1. Preheat grill to medium high and remove chops from fridge to bring up to room temperature.
2. Make a quick marinade by whisking together oil and vinegar. Pour over chops. Season chops liberally on both sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
3. Grill chops, turning once, for 4-5 minutes each side, or until medium. Remove from grill and set aside to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chef Challenge: Meat & Potatoes

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Before you go any further, go ahead and cue this post's theme music.

Good.   Now that you've been put in the mood with staccato violin notes, behold:
If you've ever shot a gun, parallel parked, or used coozies as oven mitts, then you've cooked a steak, or stood over someone's shoulder drinking a beer while they cooked a steak.  If so, you can hear the crackle and pop of the meat and fat on the grill (as well as staccato violin notes, of course), and you can smell the meat cooking--turning from dead animal to prime delicacy.  If your steak was done well (and not well done), your mouth should be watering.  Lastly, if you ate something from a drive through tonight, you should be feeling regretful for more than just the indigestion you're going to have, and here's why:


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

Thankfully, training season - and my marathon - is over (for the year).  I probably won't miss logging 60+ miles per week, but I am going to miss my ability to eat whatever I wanted without feeling any guilt.  Especially carbs.

Daylight savings time is pretty depressing for someone like myself.  The idea darkness arriving by 4:30 p.m. everyday is frustrating - especially if you want to be outside taking in the sights and sounds of mother nature.

Nevertheless, there is comfort in a heaping bowl of pasta.  I've never been much of a sweets guy, so I typically drown my sorrows in a bowl of Linguine rather than a quart of Rocky Road.  To each his own, right? 

Anywho, I thought I would share one of my favorite training dishes that makes use of lean protein and Omega 3's with whole grain pasta and a fresh pesto.  Honestly, this ain't that bad for you... good fats, good carbs, and lean protein. 

Pike's Peak Marathon and the Grand Tetons - I'm coming for you.

Oh - and for those of you looking for great Thanksgiving recipes, please shoot us a request at lastresortpress@gmail.com with the item you are looking to prepare.  We'll do our best to shoot you an outstanding recipe before the big day.

Pan Seared Salmon with Whole Grain Spaghetti Pesto

1 8 oz Salmon Filet
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 oz Whole Grain Spaghetti
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Parmigiano Reggianno Cheese
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil


In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add salmon filet and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cook for 4 - 5 minutes per side, remove from heat and set aside to rest.  Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and cook spaghetti until al dente, about 8 minutes, or box instructions.  In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, pine nuts, and basil leaves until broken down and smooth.  Add the lemon juice, cheese, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and pulse to incorporate.  Finally, with the processor running, slowly stream in olive oil to create an emulsion.  Remove and strain pasta and toss in the pesto sauce, ensuring an even distribution of the pesto in the pasta.  Top with salmon filet and serve.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chef Challenge: Spaghetti

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Have Her Over For Dinner.  The irony of a spaghetti dinner for one from the Have Her Over For Dinner vault conjures up scenes of Lady and the Tramp, and how sad a scene that would it have been to just have the Tramp eating his spaghetti, alone, without a Lady (the word "Lady," incidentally, reminds me of a great song). 

The reality of the situation is that spaghetti is only an engaging meal when you’ve given it to your two year old with full knowledge that most of it isn’t making it down the chute.  The other 99% of the time, it simply an easy, filling, and wonderfully reheatable dish that involves three simple steps:  Heat up, drain, and mix.  This recipe's extra inclusion of cooking up some Italian sausage is one small step for preparing the meal, one giant leap in how much taste it adds.  

You want your simple meal?  Here it is, with leftovers to boot.  

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage

2 Links Hot Italian Sausage
1 Jar Classico Basil and Tomato Pasta Sauce
Kosher Salt
6 oz Dry Spaghetti Pasta
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grated


Preheat a skillet/heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Add sausage links and brown for 2 minutes on each side.  Pour in pasta sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat a large pot of salted water over high heat.  When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook until just under al dente, about 7 - 9 minutes.  Drain pasta into a colander, and add into the pan with the sauce and sausage.  Mix thoroughly, ensuring the pasta is well coated in sauce.  Add a generous serving of the pasta and sausage to a serving plate.  If desired, slice sausage, every one inch or so before plating.  Add cheese to taste.  Serve.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chef Challenge-Something Fishy

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.

Meal One is an easy recipe, which was the point.  It also is a healthy one, supposedly, so this will be something new for me.  No cheese, tortillas, or condiments on a meal I make is a rarity.  Taking on something as potentially volcanic as actually preparing fish to cook is a first.  My only other firsthand experiences with flippers involve grilling frozen tilapia straight from the freezer to the George Foreman, and restlessly getting sunburned with a bobber in the water while "fishing."  The former experience I gave up on after a few bad meals, and a few inedible meals.  The latter I finally learned was just an excuse to drink beer outside, and now something I quite enjoy.  Not that I actually catch anything, though.  But a tuna fillet?  I thought tuna only existed in-between bread, with mayonnaise and pickle relish.  Neverthless, I rolled up my sleeves, un-wrapped my catch from the butcher, and dove into this fishy first feature of the Have Her Over For Dinner Chef Challenge.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great Meals Start with Great Ingredients

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from Colin.


I was going to go to the store after work, and like all of us, I was running behind.  Work had magically become busy in the last 45 minutes of the day, catching up for the two hour lull after lunch when I split my time between sculpting a new Pandora Station and donating habitats to orphaned toddlers with breast cancer from the BP oil spill checking ESPN.com.  It was raining.  I was hungry, and wanted food right then.  In short, I didn't want to go to the store.

Then I remembered the one shining star that guides men like myself all over the City of Dallas to buy groceries--I had a hot grocery store.  I'm sure you do too.  While at the University of Georgia, it was hot Kroger, although, really, Kroger was just another location for the eternally hot women everywhere in Athens to be seen.  Fast forward a few years later, and I'm in Dallas, but have still found the best place to grocery shop--Hot Albertsons on McKinney.  Sure, Gay Kroger off Oak Lawn has better selection, and Milf Central Market has better quality food, but Hot Albertsons has the best patrons.  The crowd may be bigger on Sunday post-hangover/brunch, but this is Hot Albertsons on a Monday evening.  This place is not a secret.  I'm rejuvinated, and will be making a showing of the fact that I am coming straight from my demanding job (ok, Snood held me up) still wearing my expensive suit (Mens Wearhouse) and shouting "Objection!" into my iBerry so that everyone knows I'm a lawyer (I just passed the Bar Exam four days ago). 

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Kitchen Challenge

Editors Note:  This is a guest post from my good friend, Colin.


Colin: I can't believe my job makes me work over 40 hours a week.  I never have time to go to the store. 
Matt: What if I make a week long grocery list and meals with just the bare essentials, think you're able enough to handle that?
Colin: Hey, what do I look like?

Since day one of Have Her Over For Dinner, which was well before the book finally made it into production, I've been excited about the possibility of a cookbook recipe that doesn't end with me frantically waving a towel, cursing the oven fan for not sucking up the smoke billowing from my attempt to simply fry an egg (true story--who knew you had to grease the pan first?).  Matt's book was going to be different.  It was going to be different because I was going to be the kitchen foil to his everyday Bobby Flay, ready to ask the dumb questions so you don't have to.  It was going to be perfect... and it almost worked.  

From Kitchen Clueless to Kitchen Chef

Some of you may remember Colin.  For those of you who don't, see below .  Over the next week or so, Colin is going to share with us his stories of success, failure, espionage, and intrigue.  Trust me, you will want to tune in.  Make it even more fun, and try the challenge out yourself.  We'd love to hear from you - send us your stories/pictures to lastresortpress@gmail.com


A recap.

Meet Colin.  Friend, attorney, Texan, editor of Last Resort Press, and all around humorist.

My Challenge.
  Create a custom meal plan - 4 meals - one week.  Simple, health conscious ingredients.  All easy enough for a man who's idea of cooking starts and ends with using a microwave.

The Deal.  1 trip to the grocery store.  Consistent ingredients.  A write/up and summary of each experience - including recipes for all of you lovely readers - and hopefully, just hopefully - an evening where our newbie 'has her over for dinner'.

The Result.  Stay tuned.  Colin will provide unique posts over the next few weeks detailing his experience in the kitchen - along with a few helpful hints and tricks he learns along the way.  I promise you will find his writing and humor . . . well, better than mine.

Want to get involved?  Take the challenge.  As new posts come out - comment, try out the recipes, send us your pictures (lastresortpress@gmail.com).  We'd love to hear from you.

Crack open a cold beer and get to work!

Meal One:  (The busy weekday).  Keep it simple, keep it healthy.  Rely on a few store bought/prepped ingredients to make things easy.  When everything hits the plate, you'll feel like you are eating a home cooked meal from scratch - without the work.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 Stick to Your Ribs Soups from Around the Country

It's a cold and rainy day here in Nashville, TN. 

Perhaps I could let that ruin my mood - but instead - I'm using it to my advantage.

Check out my latest post on some of my favorite dishes for a day just like today.

Of course, a big thanks to Brett and Kate over at The Art of Manliness for allowing me to contribute to their site.  If you haven't checked out their content/book - do yourself a favor and go - NOW!

As always, cook and eat passionately!

MM

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Few Pictures

Here are a few shots from WGN Chicago.




















Yes, I'm trying to emulate Lloyd Christmas putting out the vibe in this last picture.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WGN Chicago

Headed to Chicago tonight to do a spot on WGN Chicago tomorrow at noon.  For those of you wanting to catch the segment on your lunch break, check out it out online.

The segment is all about preparing a fancy steakhouse dinner at home.  Check out the recipe below. 

Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

2 lbs Small Red Potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Lemon
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed and peeled

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F.  Add cut potatoes into an oven-safe casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Season the potatoes liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Next, add the juice from the lemon.  Using hands or tongs, toss the potatoes to ensure an even coat of oil and seasoning.  Finally, arrange the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs amongst the cut potatoes.  Bake 45 – 50 minutes, shaking pan on occasion, until potatoes are fork tender and browned.  Serve.

Grilled Strip Steaks

2 (6 – 8 oz) Strip Steaks, about 1 inch in thickness
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

On the stovetop, preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium high heat.  Coat the steaks in olive oil and season both sides liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Add steaks to grill, allowing to cook undisturbed for 1 – 2 minutes.  Next, turn steaks a quarter turn and continue to cook for another minute or so, creating nice grill marks.  Flip steaks and grill for another 2 minutes for medium/medium rare.  Remove from heat and rest for 3 – 4 minutes before serving.

Arugula Salad

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
2 Handfuls Arugula
2 oz Parmigianno-Reggiano Cheese, shaved


Whisk together the first three ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Add the greens and toss until evenly coated.  Plate the dressed greens on a serving plate and top with cheese.  Serve.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taste of Atlanta

Many thanks to all of those who kicked it with me at Taste of Atlanta.  Great weather, great food, cold drinks, and good people.  Much enjoyed.

MM










Monday, October 18, 2010

How's your Burger?

"Why don't ya eat up and we'll tell ya" - You nailed it - another Dumb & Dumber quote.  Sorry, but it was just too easy.

But seriously, how is your burger?

Nowadays it's hard to find a good, true hamburger.  Don't get me wrong, I love great food.  However, something is seriously flawed when I walk into a restaurant and see a $15.00+ hamburger listed on the menu.  Kobe Beef, ground filet, ground ribeye?  You know what?  I don't care.  Save those expensive cuts for steaks.  Give me ground chuck.  80/20.  I want fat, and I want flavor. 

 "Where's the beef?"












 
As you can see, it doesn't take much to make a great hamburger patty.  80/20 ground chuck, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  Take note of the small indention in the center of the patty.  This ensures that the burger will lay flat as it cooks, rather than plump up into a ball.  Whatever you do, resist the urge to use your spatula as a smashing device - you want to keep those juices (flavor) inside the burger.

As far as toppings go, I prefer to keep it simple.  Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese, etc.  Sure, I enjoy a Cajun seasoned burger with blue cheese, crispy pancetta, and sliced avocado.  But then again, why mess with a classic?













Don't forget about fries.  Rather than create an all-out caloric disaster of a meal, I prefer to roast my fries in some olive oil in the oven.  Trust me, it saves calories and clean up.  Besides, these 'rustic' fries definitely beat anything that comes out of the freezer.












Fortunately for me, I was able to spend a long weekend relaxing at the lake.  Football, cold beer, sun, sand, water, and great food.  Can life get any better?  Not really.

Enjoy!

MM

















Grilled Hamburgers with French Fries

Fries
4 Large Russet Potatoes
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning  

Hamburgers
1 lb 80/20 Ground Chuck
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 French Hamburger Buns, sliced
Unsalted Butter 

Toppings
American Cheese
Lettuce
Sliced Tomato
Sliced Onion
Dill Pickle Chips
Assorted Condiments

Method:

1.  Fries - Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Wash and rinse potatoes thoroughly.  Cut each potato in half.  Next cut each half into 4 wedges, creating 8 fries from each potato.  Add to a baking sheet and toss with oil and seasoning.  Roast potatoes in the oven, shaking pan on occasion for 45 - 60 minutes, or until browned and tender.

2.  Burgers - Preheat a grill over medium high heat.  Divide ground chuck into 4 patties, using your thumb to create a small well in the center of each patty.  Season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Lightly butter the cut side of each bun, and add to the grill for 60 - 90 seconds, or until just toasted and browned.  Add hamburger patties over direct heat and grill covered for 4 - 5 minutes on each side for medium.  Remove from grill (or top with cheese to melt) and rest 3 - 4 minutes.

3.  Serve - Build burgers with desired toppings and condiments.  Serve immediately with fries.











Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just add color

If you are new to my site, a brief read through any of my recipes will reveal one thing - I like to keep things simple.  Sure, every now and then, I get on my soapbox and post a recipe knowing that only about 10% of the population could ever pull off at home - the problem is - nobody cares.

Food snobs and foodies - tuck your heads back into your black turtlenecks.

Today, I'm letting you in on a simple secret.  Make your food look 'better'- simply by adding color.  Think about restaurant food.  Order a bowl of clam chowder and what do you see?  Not just a bland white cream soup - but it's usually spruced up with a touch of green via parsley or chives.  Just that simple touch elevates the overall presentation of the dish.  Remember - we eat with our eyes first.

Today's simple 'salad' is bursting with color, and it's comprised of just 3 main ingredients.  Simple, easy, and beautiful.  Done and done.

Green Bean, Cherry Tomato, and Feta Salad

2 Large Handfuls French Green Beans (Haricots Verts), cleaned and trimmed
Kosher Salt
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, washed
1/4 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
1 Shallot, finely minced
1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Fresh Cracked Pepper


Heat a pot of salted water to boiling over high heat.  Add green beans, and keep immersed in the water for 45 seconds - 1 minute.  Remove from heat and immediately place green beans into ice water.  (i.e. Blanch the green beans until just tender to keep color).  Thoroughly dry green beans and place on a serving platter.  Top with cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta.  Create a dressing by whisking together the last five ingredients.  Pour over salad, toss, and serve.



Friday, October 1, 2010

Taste of Atlanta

Howdy -

A few months back I got invited to participate in Taste of Atlanta.  Seeing as though the great city of Atlanta was my childhood home, I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this years event.  Couple that with the fact that I'm leading a class on one of my favorite cooking devices - The Big Green Egg - and I'm a happy camper. 

So, I'll be manning the fire on Oct 23rd at 5:30 p.m. showing off one of my favorite recipes, Grilled Skirt Steak Fajitas.  Can I get a cold SweetWater to go with that?  Yes, thank you.

To make the deal even sweeter - my friends over at Lodge Cast Iron have donated some skillets that I'll be giving away to the top participants. 

Great food, cold beer, and free stuff - come see me!  Don't forget about Rock4Research the night before! 

MM

Friday, September 24, 2010

Talk of the Town

In case you missed it, there's still time to impress all of your friends on game day with my recipe for meatball sliders.  Check out the video and recipe here.

Enjoy your weekend!

MM

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs

After a few weeks of idyllic weather - high's in the mid-80's, and low's in the mid-60's - the Indian Summer gods have decided to bestow upon us Southerners a week that feels more like early August than late September.  Truth be told, the September Grass I wished for earlier this month is brittle and brown - oh well.

Don't get me wrong - I like hot weather.  But, considering I'm less than 8 weeks away from my next marathon, and that I just enjoyed two weeks of 'fall running', the idea of logging countless miles in 90 degree heat just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Speaking of which - anyone running in Richmond, Va on November 13th?  I sort of thought this was an 'under the radar' race, which I prefer, but based on the fact that all of the downtown hotels are already booked - I fear I may be participating in a traffic jam instead of a race.  Better hope they they do corrals.

Anywho - the one good thing about having hot weather is that it extends my desire to eat light, healthy meals. 

I know what you are thinking.  A meal of grilled shrimp, coupled w/ my penchant for throwing out Dumb and Dumber quotes at random?  In the words of Lloyd Christmas . . .

Austria!  Well, then.  G'day mate!  Let's put another shrimp on the barbie! 

Grilled Rosemary Shrimp Kebabs -

6 - 8 Large Rosemary Sprigs, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 lb Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preheat one side of the grill to medium high heat.  Meanwhile, season shrimp in a bowl with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice and olive oil - toss until thoroughly combined.  Begin skewering shrimp, starting at the bottom of the rosemary sprig and working your way to the top (with the leaves), careful not to overcrowd.  Add shrimp to grill over direct heat, 1 -2 minutes.  Move shrimp to indirect heat and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes, or until firm and pink.  Remove from grill and serve immediately with plenty of cold beer.











Monday, September 20, 2010

Southern Flourish Fall

Check out the latest, including great tailgating recipes, for the Fall season.

Enjoy!

MM


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tennessee

Spent the day on the farm taking pics for my new book, "And for Breakfast".

I couldn't put it more eloquently than Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber: "Feels good to mingle with these laid back country folk, don't it Harry?"  Indeed Lloyd, it's the simple things.

I hate to give away all the good stuff (pictures) before the book is published, however here a few pics from a great little country store where I enjoyed a solid working-man's lunch: a ham sandwich, lays potato chips, a Moon Pie, and an Royal Crown cola.

Only in TN.  Love.

Rest assured - my Grateful Dead loving self used the side door.

MM

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cure your Hangover - Baby Back Ribs

It's Fall.  It's Friday.  That means one thing - tomorrow ushers in another full day of college football.  Ain't life grand?

I'm not an idiot.  It's been a long week out there.  Once the 5 o'clock whistle blows, many of you will be headed out to take on the town - rationalizing that your hangover won't be 'that bad' when GameDay hits the television.

Sadly, we all know better.  The problem is - you have a drink, and you feel like a new man.  Yet, that new man wants a drink.

Before you hit the sack after the 2 a.m. curtain call - do a little prep, and you will wake up to some of the most tender, juicy ribs you've ever had - certain to help cure that lunch time hangover.  Forget standing over a smoker all day.  Instead, go to sleep while your oven does all the work.  (i'm assuming you have a legit oven that won't burn your house down while you sleep)

Overnight Oven Roasted Baby Back BBQ Ribs

2 Slabs Baby Back Ribs, trimmed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Garlic Powder
BBQ Sauce (I use Johnny Harris BBQ sauce out of Savannah, GA)


Preheat oven to 175 degrees F.  Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Coat ribs in olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place ribs, meat side down, onto the baking sheet and bake while you sleep off your hangover, 6 - 8 hours.  When you wake up, carefully flip the rips with the meat side up (as pictured) and coat in BBQ sauce.  Return to oven for another hour.  Remove from oven and serve w/ cold beer and beautiful women.

Cheers,

MM

Thursday, September 16, 2010

From Kitchen Clueless to Kitchen Chef


Meet Colin.  Friend, attorney, Texan, editor of Last Resort Press, and all around humorist.

My Challenge.
  Create a custom meal plan - 4 meals - one week.  Simple, health conscious ingredients.  All easy enough for a man who's idea of cooking starts and ends with using a microwave.

The Deal.  1 trip to the grocery store.  Consistent ingredients.  A write/up and summary of each experience - including recipes for all of you lovely readers - and hopefully, just hopefully - an evening where our newbie 'has her over for dinner'.

The Result.  Stay tuned.  Colin will provide unique posts over the next few weeks detailing his experience in the kitchen - along with a few helpful hints and tricks he learns along the way.  I promise you will find his writing and humor . . . well, better than mine.

Want to get involved?  Take the challenge.  As new posts come out - comment, try out the recipes, send us your pictures (lastresortpress@gmail.com).  We'd love to hear from you.

Crack open a cold beer and get to work!

Cheers!

MM

Sunday, September 12, 2010

To America

It's a killer day here in Nashville, TN. Most of my weekends are spent away from home, so to grab a day like this is much needed. 80 degrees, a slight breeze, and not a cloud in the sky: add to that a Titans win - and I'm happy camper.

I'm sipping on a Post Road Pumpkin Ale (Brooklyn Brewery) staring out at the Nashville skyline. Considering the tallest building (Batman Building/AT&T) is around 50 stories, I can't help but think that yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11. 50 stories vs 110 stories . . . damn, it's unreal to think about those towers falling.

So many years later - I'm amazed at all of the controversy that still surrounds this historic event in US/World History. I'm reminded of the sermon I heard this morning - regardless of your beliefs, religion, or political leanings - the truth of the matter is God loves everyone. Imagine where we'd be if we would simply put away the hate and spread the love.

Yes - I'm about 3 Pumpkin Ale's deep, and the Grateful Dead's "Eyes of the World" is currently playing on my stereo.

Anywho - with that said - in the spirit of love and America, I'm offering up what's being served at my place today to enjoy your NFL Sunday - I got to get back to watching the 3:15 games.

Gameday + Beer + Chili = America

Gameday Chili

1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef/Buffalo
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 28 oz Can Tomato Puree
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz Can Black Beans
1 14 oz Can Kidney Beans
Shredded White Cheddar Cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)
Sliced Green Onion Tops (topping)

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add oil. Next add onions and saute for 8 - 10 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno peppers and saute until just tender, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Add ground meat and seasonings and cook until meat is just browned through, about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Deglaze the pot by adding the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon.  Finally, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer partially covered for 30 - 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with desired toppings.
















Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Last week I was catching up with an old friend over cocktails at The Patterson House in Nashville, TN.  If you haven't been - go - order the Brown Derby (not on the menu).  In our discussion, he mentioned that he was driving into to the office that morning when the following thought entered his mind . . . what if I kept on driving?  Took a day off.  Took a week off.  Traveled the world.

Besides the obvious fears of losing his spot on the corporate ladder or running out of money - I didn't have that great of an answer to keep him from just doing it.  Well, until he mentioned he had a 10 o'clock conference call that was "the most important call of his career".  Really?  Turns out the call really wasn't that epic or life changing.

All of us are guilty.  We make goals to reach our destination, without enjoying the journey.  Part of what makes us successful is being uncommon - working harder than the rest and sacrificing our time, energy, and talents to a cause greater than ourselves.  For some it's a pipe dream to drop everything and follow a whim, a passion, or a dream.  For others, that's exactly what brought them happiness - and most often, success.

I get it - I'm supposed to be talking about food.

When I was younger, I never understood why restaurants were able to charge such exorbitant prices for food that was - at best - on par with what I could get at home.  "You are paying for the experience/atmosphere" was the constant response.  It wasn't until I was much older that I finally "got it".  It's nice to be able to walk into a restaurant that's different than my home environment - to get lost in the sights, smells, and tastes without splurging on a plane ticket or hotel room.

Food has the ability to transform.  A taste, smell, or meal can remind us of childhood, a favorite trip, or even an unpleasant experience - it's truly one of those things that can make our senses run wild.

Most of us don't have the luxury of dropping everything to pursue the great unknown.  Responsibilities:  work, wives, significant others, kids, family, church, and community are just some of the things that keep us working in 'the right direction'.  After all, part of being a great man is owning up and tackling responsibility head-on.

I challenge you to use food as your escape.  Instead of getting lost in a bottle of Jack Daniels (I admit - it's sometimes necessary), try out a new recipe, restaurant, or dish.  A simple change can do the mind, and the soul some good.

The following dish is something that totally reminds me of my childhood.  Having a mother with Lebanese roots, I was brought up on all the good stuff.  Seriously, the influence of Middle Eastern cultures, mixed with French influences, has made Lebanese food some of the best on the planet.

I was fortunate enough to spend a holiday weekend at home, and mom was kind enough to divulge a few of her secrets.

Enjoy

Stuffed Grape Leaves

1 lb Ground Beef/Lamb
1 Cup Converted White Rice
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Lemons, juiced
1/4 Cup Butter


Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until well combined.  Set aside.

1 Jar Grape Leaves, or about 50 - 60 Fresh Grape Leaves
15 - 20 Cloves Garlic
Lemon Slices
2 Tablespoons Butter, cubed
Kosher Salt


Thoroughly rinse and dry grape leaves.  Add about 10 grape leaves and a few garlic cloves to the bottom of a medium sized, heavy bottomed pot.  Begin rolling grape leaves by laying the leaves flat, vein side up, onto a hard surface.  Add a generous pinch of meat to the end of the leaf, roll over one time, fold the ends, and finally roll up completely, as in making an egg roll.  Place in the pot, seam-side down side-by-side, alternating layers as you reach the top.  Pack the leaves tightly, ensuring an even distribution of garlic cloves amongst the layers.  Add a generous sprinkle of salt over the leaves and evenly distribute lemon slices and butter.  Fill the pot with water, just up to the top layer.  To keep the leaves from unrolling during the cooking process, place a small plate on top of the leaves.  Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat, cover and reduce heat to simmer, 25 - 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 30 minutes before serving. 








































Thursday, September 2, 2010

Probably one of my favorite James Taylor tunes - September Grass perfectly captures that moment where summer slowly gives way to fall.

I've been working on some freelance pieces for Fall recipes, and I wanted to share some of these shots that I took at the farmers market.

Headed out of town to close out a great summer with a long weekend at the lake.  Hope you and yours are keeping peaceful.

MM







































Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

This week's cool weather is a a welcome change from the soaring three-digit temperatures and suffocating humidity we've experienced down south all summer long.

Unfortunately, a turn towards colder weather immediately amps up my craving for comfort food.  Thankfully it's marathon training season again, so I imagine I'll counteract the extra calories with plenty of miles.

That being said, this meal isn't a caloric disaster.  In fact, with the exception of the cream/cheese/butter - the rest of the ingredients, in moderation, are quite healthy.  Besides, I'd rather give in to extra 'homemade' calories than outsource them from a drive-thru or chain restaurant.

Keeping in the theme of cheap, simple meals - this dish is sure to suffice.

Enjoy!

MM


Sautéed Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Peas over Penne w/ Parmesan Cream Sauce

 8 oz Barilla Plus Penne Pasta
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Cup Frozen Green Peas
1 lb Medium (21 - 30 ct) Shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 Cup Dry White Wine
8 oz Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, plus more for garnish/taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add penne pasta and cook just under al dente, about 10 minutes, drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil.  Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to taste, and saute until browned and tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.  Next add peas and shrimp and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, or until shrimp just begin to firm and turn pink.  Remove entire contents of the pan to a plate to keep warm;  return the pan to the heat.  Next, add the wine to deglaze the hot pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the wine to reduce by 1/2, or 2 - 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low, add cream, and allow to simmer and reduce for 4 - 5 minutes; taste, adjust seasoning, and keep a close eye on the cream to prevent from boiling.  When the cream has reduced by 1/2, add the mushroom/pea/shrimp mixture into the cream to finish cooking.  Toss in cooked pasta and cheese, and mix thoroughly until well combined.  Remove from heat and serve with grated Parmesan to taste.




Childrens Tumor Foundation

My apologies, however I must digress from food for a brief moment.

I'll start with a big thanks to everyone for following this site - We are growing exponentially each month, and I can't thank you enough for helping to spread the word.  Our visitors span the US and pretty much every other country across the world.  So, again a huge thanks for following along, and especially to those for picking up a copy of the book. With that said, I'd like to bring some awareness to a cause that's also close to the heart. 

I've been involved for four years now in creating, performing, and directing a concert (Rock4Research) to benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation - and more specifically family friend Drew Leathers and his fund raising team, The Tumornators.

If you don't ever come back to this site again, I recommend checking out the The Tumornators site just to see why so many people are devoted to raising funds and spreading awareness on Neurofibromatosis and Schwannomatosis.

I realize that most of you are not in the Atlanta area to attend the Rock4Research concert on October 22nd, nor are the majority of you UGA fans interested in this incredible opportunity.  But - for the rest of you, consider making a small donation to CTF in support of The Tumornators.

Preparing and sharing food with others is one of life's simplest, selfless acts.  However, giving time, thoughts, prayers, and gifts to causes greater than ourselves is what brings true happiness.

Keep peaceful!

MM

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Now Available for iPhone/iPad



In the words of Slim Mackerel, That's Right!

Now you can access your favorite recipes and meals 'on the go' via your iPhone or iPad.

Books are available through the Apple Bookstore for $11.99.

Download your copy today!

Taking Shortcuts

We are all guilty of cheating.

Whether it's slacking on a workout, or looking off one's term paper, at some point our moral compass and competitive drive takes the easy way out.

Obviously there's a negative connotation with the word "shortcut".  And for good reason: most of the shortcuts we take are out of laziness and fear.

But, what about kitchen shortcuts?  Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa Cake aside, I'm okay with taking a few shortcuts in the kitchen.  After all, relying on a store-bought pasta sauce or salad dressing as a convenience is much better than waiting in line at the local drive-thru.  In fact, many of today's manufacturers offer 'healthier' versions of prepared sauces, dressings, or rice mixes to meet the needs of those looking for convenience without sacrificing their diet.  Whether it's low-calorie, whole grain, or reduced sodium . . . it's a positive trend that many manufacturers are now focused on providing better products to consumers.

The following recipe relies on a low-sodium box of Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice as a side/starch to round out the meal.  No, it's not as good as standing over a pot of beans as is called for in the traditional NOLA preparation, but for a busy weeknight, it gets the job done.

Call it cheating if you will.  I call it being realistic.

Grilled Pork Chops with Red Beans and Rice and Sauteed Spinach

1 Package Reduced Sodium Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice
2 Thick Cut Pork Chops (about 8 - 10 oz each)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Package Spinach Leaves


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  On the stove top, prepare rice according to package instructions (approximately 25 - 30 minutes total cook time).  Next, heat a grill/grill pan to medium high heat.  Coat each pork chop in olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  When 15 minutes cooking time remain for the rice, add the chops to the grill; cook and do not disturb for 2 minutes.  Turn chops 1/4 turn and cook for another two minutes, creating nice grill marks.  Flip chops and add to a high heated oven (or indirect heat on a covered grill) and cook until medium well, about 10 minutes depending on the size and cut.  Remove rice from heat and allow to cool and thicken.  In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil and the garlic; saute for 30 seconds.  Add the entire bag of spinach and cook until leaves are just wilted, about 1 - 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, remove chops from heat and rest for 2 -3 minutes.  Begin plating by placing a portion of red beans and rice and spinach side by side.  Rest the chop over the beans and serve. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meals for the Bachelor: 5 Simple, One Skillet Recipes

As much as we'd always like to dine in the company of a beautiful woman, sometimes it just doesn't happen.  No worries.  Check out this post I did for our friends over at The Art of Manliness offering up some great recipes when dining alone.

Cheers!

MM

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stay home. Eat Local.

Tune into one of the many food television programs these days, and you will inevitably find some chef praising the merits of utilizing local ingredients.  If you think about it, it's quite strange that we've come to this point.  After all, in the old days, local/seasonal ingredients were our only option.  So, why is it that we are so focused on the source of our food?

Taste.

Sure, it's pretty cool that I can pick up a kumquat in my local market in the middle of winter.  But tasting that piece of citrus imported or trucked across the country quickly quells my fascination with modern day logistics.

The fact of the matter remains:  it's best to eat local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients whenever possible.  In fact, most of the time these ingredients are cheaper because they have not been marked up to cover the costs of transportation, packaging, etc.

Forget about the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting your local farmers . . . there are enough Birkenstock wearing, burlap sack carrying, foodie types out there that have already created a 'movement' to spread the love.  Instead, just be realistic.  Local ingredients are typically cheaper and better tasting than the alternative . . . enough said.  If you get that warm fuzzy feeling as a by-product of making realistic and sustainable choices . . . all the better.

Today's recipe is for a simple Caprese Salad.  I utilized fresh basil from my herb garden, along with house-made mozzarella cheese made daily by Tom over at Lazzaroli Pasta.  I was fortunate to have a few friends bring me an assortment of heirloom tomatoes grown by some of Sugar Hill, GA finest local farmers, Marler & Edwards.  These guys are producing outstanding crops of tomatoes and peppers that are all the rage in the Atlanta fine dining circuit.  Don't fret if you can't find their website or location . . . you are more likely to catch these two traversing the serene waters of the Chattahoochee than you are with a hoe and shovel in hand.  With that said, they may produce only the finest of ingredients in the Atlanta area, but your local farmers market or vegetable stand will offer up some great varieties for use in this recipe and others.

Enjoy!

MM

Heirloom Caprese Salad

1 Cup Assorted Heirloom Cherry and Grape tomatoes, sliced
6  - 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, torn into small pieces
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar


Arrange sliced tomatoes and cheese on a serving plate, garnishing with fresh torn basil.  Lightly season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Drizzle oil and vinegar over the top of all ingredients.  Serve.