Monday, March 23, 2009

Guiness Extra Stout 4yrs

This Guinness Extra Stout was bottled in 2005. It was cellared in a controlled refrigerated environment at 52 degrees Fahrenheit. The beer above was recently poured in 2009.

To the nose the aged Guinness Extra Stout is similar to an aged porter with hints of both dark and white chocolate.

You would be surprised to find that the initial tastes of well cellared Guinness Extra Stout will boast the sharp flavors of blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, fig and date. The fruit will then mellow out and be chased by a rush of bitter malt. Finally the beer finishes with hints of the same fruits just as the dark malt espresso flavor subsides.

The beer pours a beautiful frothy head.

Carnitas Tacos

Pulled Pork Tacos with Fresh Guacamole & Corn Salsa

Here we have some Pork Shoulder that was braised to perfection in White Wine, Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Onion, Cumin and Chili Powder for 2 hours. Once the meat was fork tender it was removed from the pan and pulled.

The braising liquid was drained and a little fresh garlic and onion was lightly browned in the same pan. The pulled pork was added back to the pan along with more Cumin, Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Adobo, Sriracha and Fresh Ground Pepper. That was let to simmer for about 15 minutes to really flavor the meat.

The Corn Salsa was simple. A little Corn mixed with pureed Fresh Tomato, Garlic, Salt & Pepper, Lime Juice and Cilantro. I then mixed in some fresh diced Onion to finish it off.

The Fresh Avocado was smashed and mixed with a little sour cream, salt and pepper. I like to use sour cream to make a nice creamy Guac. I originally had a vision of using Guacamole to stand up tacos on the plate for presentation. I think it worked well; Function as well as Flavor! They were pretty bangin'!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Open Faced Meatloaf Sandwich

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf - Texas Toast - Cajun Slaw - Homemade BBQ Sauce

Here we have 3 lbs. of Ground Sirloin and 1 lb. of Ground Pork mixed with chopped Onion, Pepper and Garlic, Stuffed with Cheddar/Jack Cheese, rolled, and wrapped in a 2 lb. bacon basket-weave. Before Rolling, the meat was rubbed with some BBQ Spices, smeared with BBQ Sauce, and stuffed with the cheese.

This is about half-way through the Smoking. As you can see, the Meatloaf was basted with a coat of BBQ Sauce before going into the smoker. 275 degrees for about 4hrs 30m is just about right!


Here's the finished dish. A generous slice of Meatloaf atop Garlic Toasts, topped with Cajun Slaw, finished with the signature, Damn Good BBQ Sauce. Amazing!!!

Here's what's left.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sushi Night!

Nothing like enjoying fresh sushi at home! The best part about it is you can make ANY rolls you want no matter how ridiculous! We started with Fresh Tuna, Crab, Cucumber, Mango, Avocado, Red, Green & Yellow Peppers, Sesame Seeds and went to town. We made a mixture of Mayo and Sriracha to do some spicy tuna rolls as well. Everything came out amazing!

A Healthy Plate

Balsamic Chicken - Spinach Salad - Rice - Roasted Pepper Aioli

Here we have a boneless breast of chicken that has been lightly floured with salt and pepper and sauteed in some olive oil until golden brown. The chicken was then removed from the pan to allow fresh diced garlic, onion and carrot, to quickly brown. Then Balsamic Vinegar was added to deglaze the pan and return the chicken to the mixture along with some chicken stock to simmer for about 20 minutes. The chicken was removed so the liquid could be strained and reduced for a thick sweet sauce.

For the Pepper Aioli, I started by roasting some yellow peppers in the broiler. After they were nicely roasted to where the skin peels off easily, I added them to a food processor along with eggs, mustard, and garlic and let it puree the mixture. I then slowly added in olive oil until I got the consistency I wanted. Seasoned with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice it was set in the fridge until ready to plate.

The spinach salad was simply tossed in lemon juice, a little rice vinegar and salt and pepper. The sharpness of the Aioli and sweetness of the Balsamic worked nicely to compliment one another! Once all the components were eaten together, they had a nice balance.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Caramelized Leek Crusted Sirloin, Baby Yukon Gold, Cremini, Roasted Garlic

Here we have a 14oz. Sirloin. I caramelized some leeks in butter and then blasted them for a few seconds in the trusty, Magic Bullet. Great piece of equipment. The ensuing leek paste was used to crust the sirloin, after said sirloin had been generously salted, peppered, and pan seared until brown and crispy.

After the sirloin was seared, I used the pan to caramelize the onions and cremini. I set these aside and reheated them later with the potatoes and garlic.

Speaking of potatoes and garlic, the potatoes were cut in half and, with the garlic, placed in a pot of cold salted water. I brought the pot to a boil and continued to cook the potatoes for about 3 minutes or until soft, but not too soft. Strain the potatoes .We are gonna be mixing the potatoes, so if they are cooked too long in the water, they will break apart and you'll be making mashed potatoes instead. I tossed the cooked potatoes in oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme and then popped them in a 375F oven for about 20 minutes. I like to make sure that the flat part of the potatoes are face down on the pan. This gives the potatoes a nice, crispy texture on the outside and a mashed potato-like consistency on the inside.
I sauteed the potatoes, mushrooms, & garlic in butter with some fresh thyme to get them nice and glazed. Next, I made a real quick pan sauce for the steak. Onion, leeks, garlic, mushroom, and carrots were sauteed in the steak/mushroom pan and deglazed with some brandy. I let that cook down by about 1/2 and added some chicken stock and then a little soy sauce for some saltiness and flavor. I really like using soy sauce in my pan sauces. When you finish your sauce with butter, the flavor when the butter mixes with the soy is one that goes great with beef.

Here's the finished dish:Cooked to perfection,

Asian Beef Short Ribs

Asian Beef Short Ribs, Julienne Leek, Garlic & Ginger Mash

These Short Ribs were seared in peanut oil until golden brown and set aside on a plate. After the fat was removed, garlic, ginger & scallions were added to saute for 2 minutes. The ribs were added back to the pan to cook some of those flavors into the skin. Soy Sauce & Sherry Wine was added to Deglaze the pan followed by Chopped Peeled Plum Tomatoes, and Star Anise. Covered and let to simmer for about 2 hours while turning every 30 minutes, added nice flavor to the meat just barely still hanging on to the bone. The left over braising juices were strained and reduced down by half. White Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, and Chili Powder was added to make a BBQ Sauce which was reduced down until thick, then spooned over the meat. The ribs were placed on a mound of Potato Mash made with a Garlic & Ginger Butter Sauce, Milk and Sour Cream. The plate was finished with simply sauteed Julienne Leeks for color and flavor. Success!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Westmalle 2001

This Westmalle Dubbel was just over eight years old when it was poured.

To the nose the ale hints vanilla, honey, raisins and dried sweet tobacco leaf. The taste begins with notes of blackberry, apple, and a variety of other fruits and follows with a smooth amber and dark malt flavor with hints of newly sanded oak. The bitterness and sharpness of this dubbel that you taste in its younger age has been mellowed by the aging process; leaving the true flavors of this Trappist ale to be enjoyed as it should be.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pork Shoulder

Braised Coffee Rubbed Pork Shoulder over Collard Greens finished with a Bacon Mango Salad

This Hog Shoulder was cut into 4, 14oz steaks and rubbed with a coffee and BBQ spice mixture. They were let to sit for about 1 hour to come to room temperature. After being seared to a golden brown on all sides in peanut oil and set aside, carrot, onion, garlic and 2 chili peppers were finely chopped and added to the pan. The veggies were sauteed for about 1 minute then cider vinegar was added to deglaze the pan and the pork was re-added along with beef stock and salt and pepper. The pork was braised over low heat, covered, for about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fork tender pork was removed from the pan and plated atop the Collard Greens. The braising liquid was strained and spooned over the shoulder and around the greens. A spoon or two of Mango Salad balanced the dish nicely!

The Collard Greens were started by rendering some bacon of its fat about half way. Onions were added to the bacon and sauteed until golden. The collards were added along with some beef stock, white wine, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes to let the liquid reduce. The bacon was removed at the end and crisped fully in a pan to be used in the mango salad.

A simple mango salad was made with fresh Mango, Lime Juice, Cilantro stems and bacon. The bacon was added just before serving after the Mango Salad marinated in the fridge for a few hours. Delicious!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chicken Scarpariello

Pan Roasted Chicken on the bone with Sweet Italian Sausage, Vinegar Cherry Peppers, Potatoes, Onion and Garlic.

One of my favorite classic Southern Italian dishes! Jerry's in East Rutherford, New Jersey, has the most legendary Chicken Scarpariello. I first sampled it when I was about 12 years old and have been in love with it ever since. They are one of few restaurants that prepare the chicken on the bone, which is the most traditional way to prepare this dish. If you're ever in the area, I recommend stopping in for a taste; You won't regret it!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Double Stuffed Pork Chop

This two rib standing beauty was marinated overnight in a wonderful garlic, shallot, sage, rosemary, thyme olive oil. It was then stuffed with , fontina, cheedar, bread crumbs, and broccoli that had been lightly sauteed in salted fat rendered from a 25 day dried aged porterhouse.

The double porkchop was incrusted with fresh sage, rosemary and thyme, then roasted on an open rack in an oven for 4 hours and thirty minutes at 225 degrees.

The potatoes were made with irish butter, cream, roasted garlic and light herbs.

Perticular attention was given to seasoning the fat and bone of the pork chop. After roasting, the fat was carmilized with its own sugars leaving a crispy outside texture while the pork was tender enough to melt in your mouth.

Lamb Chops

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Butter & Rosemary - served with a Mint, Habanero Hot sauce
Potato & Caramelized Leek Puree
Brussel Sprouts sauteed with Olive Oil & Lemon