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.


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.



Grilled Hamburgers with French Fries

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

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

American Cheese
Sliced Tomato
Sliced Onion
Dill Pickle Chips
Assorted Condiments


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!