Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burgers with Grilled Asparagus - May 2011

This past Friday I was craving a hamburger and was in the grilling mood. I haven't made hamburgers in a while, and decided to stuff them like I'd seen Rachael Ray and Hubert Keller do on their cooking shows.  I cooked bacon and onions, and shredded sharp cheddar, creating little mounds between two thin patties.  After grilled, I topped off with more cheddar, and made a spicy aoli.  I took a short cut and used pre-made mayonnaise (made with olive oil), and added dijon mustard, garlic, and lemon juice. Buns were toasted, added lettuce and tomato.  Burgers were great!! the cheddar melted wonderfully, and the bacon flavor came through nicely.   I grilled asparagus, dressed simply with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper prior to grilling.

Pan-Roasted Scallops and Mushrooms - May 2011

Yesterday, for the first time I went to a new grocery store in Montgomery called Earth Fare, very similar to Whole Foods and Fresh Market with natural, organic, and local foods. I got ingredients for several new dishes including this one, from Tom Colicchio's cookbook "Think Like a Chef."  2 lbs of mushrooms are pan-roasted with thyme, tarragon, garlic, shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper. Scallops are similarly pan-roasted with butter added. For the mushrooms, we used cremini, shiitake, and white button.  Zac made the dish from start to finish, my only contribution was eating it! Wonderful meal!  The mushrooms were very similar to the roasted mushrooms we ordered from Tom Colicchio's Craft restaurant in Atlanta last year.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie and Gazpacho Appetizer - May 2011

This weekend we decided to make two new dishes, Gazpacho for an appetizer dish, and Hubert Keller's french style roasted chicken pot pie (which we'd recently seen on his show Secrets of a Chef on PBS). I had never had Gazpacho before, and Zac recently had it at Michael's Table in Montgomery.  Both were a lot of fun to make, and making the pot pie was very similar in process to making the short ribs a couple weeks ago. We used 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken, and it worked great. The chicken was very juicy.  Also used white wine versus Madeira.  The puff pastry on the pot pie was perfect! Gazpacho nice and cool for an especially hot day! Will make both of these recipes again!

Copyright 1999 The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
4 to 6 servings


  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!
After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

French Style Chicken Pot Pie
By Hubert Keller
Serves 4

1 whole chicken (3 pounds) cut into 8 pieces, skin on
2 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup Madeira wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
12 pearl onions, peeled
15 baby carrots, peeled (see note)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
2 egg yolks
2 sheets puff pastry

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
3. In a 3‐quart stove‐top casserole pan or sauté pan over medium high heat, cook the bacon until almost crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Remove half of the bacon fat from the pan and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Sear the chicken over medium‐high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly brown in color.
5. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the diced onion, diced carrot, thyme and garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Add Madeira wine and bring to a boil.
7. Add bacon, chicken stock, and chicken pieces. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook 45 minutes at a low simmer.
8. Meanwhile, in a 10‐inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with the sugar. Add the pearl onions and baby carrots, stir to coat, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
9. Add ¼ cup water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and let cook for 15 minutes at a low simmer, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and set aside.
10. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet and add the shitake mushrooms. Sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and add ¼ cup water. Cover the pan and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender.
11. When the chicken has finished cooking, remove the chicken pieces and place in a 2.5 quart pie dish or low, round casserole. Top the chicken with the mushroom, onions and baby carrots, spreading them evenly around the chicken.
12. Pour the remaining chicken cooking mixture through a fine‐mesh strainer into a small saucepan. (The remaining solids are not used in the dish).
Simmer the liquid over medium heat for about 5 minutes, to reduce and thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
13. Pour the sauce over the pot pie.
14. Roll out the puff pastry sheet so it is 1 inch larger than the pot pie dish.
15. Beat the egg yolks with 2 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash.
16. Brush the top of the puff pastry sheet with the egg wash. Then brush the egg wash on the brim of the chicken dish. Place a piece of puff pastry, egg wash side up, on top of the potpie and press down along the brim of the pan to seal the edges. To create a design, take a sharp knife and cut diagonal lines, just barely cutting through the dough.
17. Place each pot pie on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until puff pastry is a deep golden brown.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs - May 2011

This was our first time making short ribs, and I'm pretty sure my first time eating short ribs. We made these for Zac's 30th birthday dinner with this family. Everything went well and turned out perfectly!! We used Hubert Keller's recipe, copied below.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Serves 4-6
  • 4 pounds short ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, peeled, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 ½ cups red wine, pinot noir
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Heat olive oil in 5-quart sauté or casserole pan over high heat.
  3. Lay the short ribs out on a clean work surface and season all sides with salt and pepper.
  4. When oil is almost smoking, add ribs and let sear on high heat, 5 minutes per side or until well browned. Use tongs to rotate the ribs.
  5. Once browned on all sides, remove ribs with tongs and place on a baking tray.
  6. Add onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and garlic to the same pan.
  7. Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of knife, slice, and add to pan. Sauté vegetables for 2 minutes, or until softened.
  8. Over high heat, add red wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon as wine comes to a boil.
  9. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, brown sugar, parsley, beef stock and sage leaves to pan and bring to a simmer. Add ribs back into pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  10. Place casserole in pre-heated oven for 1.5 hours. Remove cover and continue cooking for an additional 1 hour.
  11. When rib meat is very tender, remove ribs from oven, using tongs to place on baking tray. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  12. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a saucepan, removing all of the vegetables. Over medium low heat, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes until darker in color and thicker. Add the ribs to reheat.
  13. Serve ribs with sauce over polenta or other side dish of your choice.

Oven Baked Churros

Saw this recipe in May 2011 Southern Living Magazine. I had puff pastry in the freezer, so gave it a shot. These are delicious!! Puff Pastry itself is hard to beat, but coated in cinnamon and sugar makes it even better!!



  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 450°. Unfold and cut puff pastry sheets in half lengthwise, and cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips. Place strips on a lightly greased parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon. Remove pastry strips from oven, and dip in butter; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Let stand on a wire rack 5 minutes or until dry.
Southern Living MAY 2011