Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quick Southern Comfort Food

Check out this month's featured piece from The Art of Manliness - featuring my favorite Quick Southern Comfort Recipes!  Go to their site NOW for full text and recipes!

Sliced Farm Fresh Tomatoes

Roasted Broccolini

Quick Cook Grits
Grilled Pork Chop + Slap Sauce
Grilled Pork Chop + Slap Sauce
Traditional Southern Pound Cake -

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Season's Eatings

I was happy to partner up with a new fantastic magazine, The Local Palate, to create Mother's Day and Father's Day menus for their Season's Eatings feature.  If you haven't seen this magazine - immediately go to their website.  Like, RIGHT NOW!

Better yet, they offer an issue free of charge - get it!

Full text and recipes below.

Seasons Eating’s
by Matt Moore

Mothers Day + Fathers Day.  Quite frankly, most moms and dads just want a “day off day”. 
With the holidays rapidly approaching, I thought I’d lend a helping hand to all those parents and kids seeking new and creative ways to show appreciation to moms and dads everywhere.  Instead of wasting money on a gift that may or may not suit one’s fancy, provide them with an experience that they’ll never forget.   I’m not talking about an afternoon at a crowded restaurant with a hundred other patrons.  Instead, get the kids involved, and surprise mom or dad with a laid-back family meal at home!

For all you dads - don’t fret gentleman. I’ve laid out a Mother’s Day brunch menu that will rival anything she’ll order at her favorite restaurant, yet it is simple enough for even the caveman cook to pull off.  The kids can even pitch in by doing some of the prep work, or surprising mom with a morning cocktail or cup of coffee in bed.  Don’t forget to let mom sleep in!

And ladies, let’s not forget about the men.  I’m serving up a creative take on meat and potatoes alongside a tasty slaw and fresh fruit dessert.  Of course, tossing in a cold beer or my classic brown derby cocktail will certainly up the ante and make dad feel not only relaxed and appreciated, but also like the true man of the house.
So, that’s that!  Follow my game plan on the big day to ensure a family oriented celebration that recognizes the true heroes of the household - mom and dad.

Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

Blood Orange Mimosa

1 Part Chilled Champagne or Italian Prosecco
1 Part Chilled Blood Orange Juice
Orange Peel Twist (garnish)

Combine chilled champagne and orange juice into a champagne flute, stir.  Garnish with twisted orange peel.

Spring Mix Salad - a light and simple salad to serve alongside the filling hash and frittata.

6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Honey
4 Cups Spring Mix Salad Blend
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper

In a serving bowl, combine oil, vinegar, and honey; whisk until combined.  Add greens, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Serve.

Cast-Iron Roasted Potato, Pepper, Onion Hash + Pancetta - an elegant play on traditional hash browns, these potatoes will add some heft, and bold flavors to this delectable meal.

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Russet Baking Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½ inch cubes
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
½ Green Bell Pepper, diced
½ Yellow Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
¼ lb Pancetta, cut into ¼ inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F.  Add oil and potatoes to a cast-iron skillet over medium high heat; season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Pan fry the potatoes, stirring on occasion for 6 - 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.  Next, add the remaining ingredients and continue to sauté until vegetables are just tender and pancetta begins to render fat and brown.  Finally, add skillet to oven and roast for 25 - 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through and fork tender.  Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary, and serve.

Fresh Mozzarella + Sundried Tomato + Pesto Frittata - think of a frittata as a baked omelet.  Simple in form, and quite versatile, this Italian egg dish makes for easy entertaining.  I have further simplified this recipe by using a pre-prepared pesto.  Of course, should you choose to be more adventurous, you can always make your own pesto at home.  I find it best to use an oven proof, non-stick 10 or 12 inch skillet when preparing frittata’ - a well seasoned cast-iron skillet also works very well.

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 Large Eggs
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
¼ lb Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes, julienned
4 Teaspoons Pesto

Set the oven to broil, placing the rack in the middle of the oven.  Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil to a skillet over medium high heat.  Beat the eggs thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.  Pour eggs into skillet and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Cook 3 - 4 minutes, or until egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set on top.  Next, evenly top with mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes, and pesto.  Finally, place the skillet into the oven for 2 - 3 minutes, until the frittata is lightly browned and fluffy.  Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool.  Cut into even pie-shaped portions and serve.

Father’s Day Menu

The Brown Derby - A fashionable take on a true classic, this drink was once the De Rigueur cocktail for the glamorous Hollywood crowd of the 1930’s.  The bourbon, combined with sweet honey and grapefruit will compliment any savory meal.

1 Part Kentucky Bourbon
1 Part Grapefruit Juice
1 Teaspoon Clover Honey

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake well for 30 seconds.  Pour into a cocktail glass over ice.  Serve.

Red Cabbage + Chive + Blue Cheese Slaw- a colorful and delicious slaw, this version skips out on the unhealthy mayo without losing any flavor.  It’s best to prepare this at least an hour in advance, keeping covered in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld, before serving.

5 Cups Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
¾ Cup Chives, sliced every inch on the bias
½ Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper

Add the first three ingredients into a large serving bowl.  Next, whisk together the remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over the cabbage and toss until evenly distributed.  Cover, and keep in the fridge for at least one hour prior to serving.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cajun Roasted Steak Fries - a no-fuss, non-fried version of an American favorite.  The Cajun seasoning adds a kick of spice and flavor to set these fries over the top!
2 Large Russet Baking Potatoes
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cajun Blackening Seasoning

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Meanwhile, wash and scrub potatoes.  Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and then quarter each half to create 16 wedge fries per potato.  Rinse cut potatoes under cold running water and pat dry.  Arrange potatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and Cajun seasoning.  Toss until well combined and arrange into a single layer, careful not to overcrowd.  Add pan to oven and roast for 45 - 50 minutes uncovered, shaking the pan and flipping the fries on occasion to brown on all sides.  Serve warm with ketchup or basil-balsamic mayo.

Bistro Skirt Steak Sandwiches + Caramelized Onion + Basil-Balsamic Mayo - even with such a complicated name, this recipe couldn’t be easier.  However, don’t let the ease of this recipe fool you, as it boasts tons of flavors.  Follow my step-by-step instructions for this delicious and hearty favorite.

Bistro Skirt Steak Sandwiches
4 French Hamburger Buns
2 lbs Skirt Steak
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Caramelized Onions (see below)
Basil-Balsamic Mayo (see below)

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat.  Slice buns and cook cut side down over direct heat until slightly charred and toasted.  Meanwhile, coat the skirt steak in oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Add the steaks to the grill over direct heat and cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side for medium rare/medium (depending on the thickness).  Remove steaks from grill, allowing them to rest for 4 - 5 minutes before slicing.  Next, thinly slice the steaks on the bias and across the grain ever ¼ inch or so.  Pile the sliced steak high on the bottom side of the bun, while generously coating the top side of the bun with the mayo and onions.  Top off the sandwich and serve immediately. 

Caramelized Onions
2 Large Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Add ingredients into a skillet over medium low heat.  Cook onions for 25 - 35 minutes, stirring often until browned and tender.  

Basil-Balsamic Mayo
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Clove garlic, finely minced
¼ Cup Fresh Basil, julienned
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Wisk together ingredients into a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Blueberry + Peach Granola Crisp - a simplified version of a classic cobbler, chock full of fresh peaches and blueberries. 

Fruit Mixture
3 Ripe Peaches, pitted, peeled, and sliced
1 Cup Fresh Blueberries, washed
½ Lemon, juiced
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Cup Granola
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
4 Tablespoons Cold Butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Toss the fruit mixture together into a greased cooking pan until evenly combined.  Next, add the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a course crumble.  Spread the topping over the top of the fruit mixture and bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until browned and crispy.  Cool slightly before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Dinner

Want to know how to throw the perfect holiday party?  Check out the full series on The Art of Manliness.  

In my opinion, there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than by hosting a holiday dinner party for a group of your best friends.  Armed with great food, cold drinks, festive tunes, and the sometimes creative costume, spending time with the people you love is what makes the holiday season special.

Yet, for those of you who’ve ever hosted such a bash, you know that a good time doesn’t come for free.  In fact, quite a bit of hard work, planning, and expense can go into hosting such affairs.

This is where I come in.

Throwing an outstanding holiday party can be a piece of cake - so long as you have a game plan.

First things first, I would highly advise you to avoid hosting a party that consists solely of hors d’oeuvres.   From a guest perspective, you tend to come away from such a party never feeling truly satisfied.  Don’t agree with me?  Allow me to jog your memory - You stand around all night, eating cream cheese filled concoctions, cocktail napkin in hand, while you dodge the occasional awkward conversation, wondering if that spinach and artichoke dip that came out 30 minutes ago is ever going to be reheated.  Sound familiar? 

Moreover, hosting such a party can be very expensive and time consuming.  Each appetizer typically contains 10 - 12 unique ingredients - many of which will only sit in your spice rack unused.  And let’s not forget about prepping and serving.  Taking on such a challenge is like trying to serve eight or ten individual meals to your guests.  In other words, it’s just not worth the hassle, or the expense.

Instead, I advocate hosting an actual dinner party.  Your guests will be impressed when you serve an entire meal - all the while saving you time and money by choosing a themed dinner that includes consistent ingredients and a viable prep schedule.

With regards to prep and shopping - do not procrastinate.  Make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and go shopping the day before, checking off every item on your list.  When you get back home, put away and prep your ingredients, double crossing off your ingredient list to make sure you have everything on hand.  This will allow you to feel confident and not rushed when the big day arrives.  Also, in the rare event that you find that you missed an important ingredient; you still have time to make another run to the store.

Doing all of your prep work the day before also ensures that you spend your party enjoying the company of your guests.  I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, with many of holiday parties spent solo in my kitchen with a cast iron pan and a whiskey on the rocks.  Trust me, it doesn’t look good to cook and drink alone - nor is it proper etiquette to host a party and not spend time with your guests.

This meal makes use of some other key cooking tips when it comes to entertaining for large groups. 

  • Choose a few items that require little or no cooking.  These types of dishes can typically be served at room temperature, and do not make use of precious kitchen space and tools.  In this case, the antipasti platter works perfectly.  Other options would include a crudite platter, hummus and vegetables, or even a large salad.
  • Items that can be cooked or put together ‘on the fly’ minimize your time in the kitchen.  The Sautéed Shrimp, Sautéed Spinach, and Yogurt and Berry Parfait all satisfy this component.  You can excuse yourself from your guests for mere minutes while these dishes are prepared.
  • For the main course - go with a big hunk of meat.  No, seriously.  In this case, I’ve chosen a Standing Rib Roast, as it’s a classic dish of the season.  For other events - beef and pork tenderloins, whole roasted chickens, pot roasts, or even a leg of lamb make elegant dishes to serve large groups.  You can literally ‘set it and forget it’.
Of course, I’d be amiss to leave out one important element of any holiday party - a well stocked bar.  Cold beer on ice, wine selections, an assortment of liquors, mixers, and perhaps even a signature punch or cocktail are  all special touches to make sure your guests take a load off and enjoy the evening.  As the host it’s part of your job to make sure your guests enjoy themselves responsibly - have a few cabs waiting on standby for those that might imbibe past their normal bedtime.

Most importantly - have fun.  Hosting holiday parties will create great memories for years to come.  And, if you follow my game plan, I can guarantee your parties will become the talk of the town!

Season’s greetings!


APPETIZER COURSE - the Antipasti Platter can be prepped hours in advance and set out prior to your guest’s arrival.  As most of your guests have arrived, take a few minutes to put together the Sautéed shrimp- the unique ‘out of the pan’ presentation will have your guests feeling like they are getting an á la table chef dining experience

Antipasti Platter - the beauty of this versatile platter is that you can let your imagination run free.  Pick out an assortment of your favorite cheeses, cured meats, vegetables, pickled goods, breads, and crackers to serve to your guests.  To ensure that you can feed the entire group, plan to have about ¼ lb of total goods per guest.  Check out one of my favorite pairings below.  (Prep 20 mins, Cook N/A, Serves 8 - 10)

2 lbs Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese, sliced
1 lb Sopressata or Hard Salami, thinly sliced
1 Loaf French Bread, cubed and toasted
1 lb Marinated Olives

Arrange ingredients on a serving platter.  Serve.  (If prepping in advance, cover platter with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until 30 minutes prior to service).

Sautéed Shrimp - a play on the traditional shrimp cocktail, the unique presentation of this dish makes it as much of a dining experience as it is an incredible appetizer.  (Prep 15 mins, Cook 10 mins, Serves 8 - 10)

½ Stick Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
3 lbs Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
¾ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Cup White Wine
Parsley, chopped for garnish
6 inch Bamboo Skewers - to serve

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter into the olive oil.  Working very quickly, next add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest and sauté in the oil/butter mixture for 30 seconds - careful not to burn.  Add shrimp, season with salt, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Continue cooking for another 4 - 6 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm and bright pink.  Remove from heat, garnish with parsley, and serve right out of the skillet, using the skewers to pick up individual portions.

MAIN COURSE - Standing Rib Roast has long been a holiday favorite - and for good reason.  Your guests will love the juicy, flavorful meat - sopping up the juices in garlicky masked potatoes and bright, colorful spinach.  This classic meal will make your holiday party memorable and special.

Standing Rib Roast - a classic, delicious dish that’s perfect for entertaining.  .  (Prep 15 mins, Cook 1.5 hours, Serves 8 - 10).

1 4 -5 lb Rib Roast
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
10 Cloves Garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Meanwhile, place roast - rib side down - into a heavy bottomed skillet and coat in olive oil.  Season entire roast very liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and arrange garlic cloves in the bottom of the pan.  Place roast into oven and cook for 1 - ½ hours (about 15 minutes per pound), or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees for medium rare.  Remove from heat and rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes - utilizing the roasted garlic from the roast adds that extra essence to these divine mashed potatoes.  Go to work on these while the roast is out of the oven and resting - as this will ‘hold’ for up to 30 minutes or so without the need to reheat.  Should you need more time, fold in a little more cream and reheat the potatoes over low heat just before serving.  (Prep 15 mins, Cook 25 mins, Serves 8 - 10).

5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Roasted Garlic Cloves (from Rib Roast), skin removed
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chives, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add potatoes and cook until just fork tender, 10 - 12 minutes.  Remove and strain potatoes, allowing all of the water to evaporate.  Reduce heat to low, and place the empty pot back on the stove and melt the butter into the cream.  Add potatoes, roasted garlic, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Using a masher or ricer, mash potatoes until desired consistency is reached, adding more cream for a looser consistency.  Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Sautéed Spinach - a light, quick, and easy side to help round out this fantastic meal.  (Prep 5 mins, Cook 5 mins, Serves 8 - 10).

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 lbs Fresh Baby Spinach
Kosher Salt
½ Lemon

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, add oil.  Add red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds - 1 minute, careful not to brown.  Add spinach and sauté until reduced and tender, 4 - 5 minutes.  Season with kosher salt (to taste), and finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Serve.

DESSERT COURSE - why fuss with baking a cake all day?   Instead, this light and refreshing dessert is served in individual portions - making you look like you spent extra time and attention on each guest - but truth be told, this delicious dessert couldn’t be easier!

Yogurt and Berry Parfait -
satisfy your guests in no time with this simple and beautiful dessert.  Most grocers sell pints of prepared berries which will save time and money when it comes to prepping ingredients.  Wait to add the granola until just before serving.  (Prep 5 mins, Cook N/A, Serves 8 - 10).

5 Cups Low-fat Vanilla Yogurt
2 Pints Mixed Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries)
2 Cups Granola

In individual serving glasses, add a generous layer of vanilla yogurt.  Top with berries and granola.  Serve.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I've never been a huge fan of dessert.  Honestly, if given the choice between doubling the size of my entree, or eating a normal portion + dessert, I'll up-size my meal any day of the week.  I suppose my taste buds lean more towards the savory than the sweet.

But, for all you gentleman out there, dessert is a necessary part of the in-home dating and dining experience.  Not necessarily because it is 'needed', rather it is 'expected'. 

The object of your desire wants to finish off her meal with an indulgent treat.  She'll also make the claim that she 'never treats herself' to such calorie-laden delights.  Sure, we know better, but then again it's best to just play along.  Let her know that it's cool to indulge and she'll be eating out of your hand in no-time.

With that said, I'm already moving mountains by getting you into the kitchen.  I don't really expect, nor do I want you to start baking pastries, pies, cookies, and brownies . . .

Keep your desserts simple.  Grill a ripe pear, peach, nectarine, or even an apple until lightly charred and sprinkle with brown sugar and Cinnamon.  Serve it a la mode, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, and you are in business.  Too hard?  Combine some fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt together for a quick and easy parfait.  Still too hard?  Go buy it somewhere!  I'm serious.  Take a store bought dessert, and make it your own.  Buy a brownie, serve it with some ice cream, garnish, and voila!  Besides, most restaurants outsource their desserts to pastry chefs or local bakeries.  Take a trick from the pros. 

She'll be impressed.

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Grilled New York Strip Steaks with Shrimp Skewers, Wild Rice, and Asparagus