Monthly Archives: March 2010

“Juicy Lucy” Burgers

Juicy Lucy Burger

When we are sitting around in the evening, after Thing 1 and 2 have gone to bed, we often find ourselves watching television shows about food.  While daytime food TV is usually about cooking, nighttime seems to be more about competition.  Who can cook the best food under time pressure?  Can that guy really eat 7 lbs of beef in under 2o minutes? 

Assembling the burgers

One evening, while watching Man vs. Food, we saw a yummy looking burger called the Juicy Lucy.  Instead of topping a hamburger with cheese, the Juicy Lucy has a slice of cheese sandwiched between two thin burger patties.  We were intrigued.  Cheeseburgers are generally awesome, but put the cheese inside the burger so when you bite into it, you get a mouthful of molten cheese, sign me up. 

Ready to cook

There isn’t much of a recipe here, more of a technique.  Basically, you take really thin hamburger patties and crimp them together around some cheese.  Cook them however you like and bam, you have a delicious cheesy burger.

Fry 'em up

Juicy Lucy Burgers

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

4 oz colby jack cheese, thinly sliced

To Make:

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Divide the beef into eight equal portions.  Using your hands, form each portion into a very thin pattie.  Top four of the patties with about one ounce of the thinly sliced cheese.  Place the cheese in the center of the pattie, leaving an edge all around.    Top with the remaining four patties.  Using your fingers, tightly crimp the stacked hamburger patties together, sealing the cheese inside.

Cook ’em the way that you like ’em…. grill, broil, pan fry, your choice.  

To Serve:

 Top them with whatever suits your fancy or enjoy them as is.  As far as we are concerned, anything goes when it comes to burgers.  Makes 4, 1/4 lb burgers.

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Filed under Dinner, Meat, Recipes

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Potato Parsnip Latkes

I am always looking for new things to do with parsnips.  Through our various winter CSA’s we always seem to have parsnips hanging around.  They have a nice sweet and slightly sharp flavor that is tasty in many different culinary applications.  As the winter goes on, the parsnips we receive get sweeter and sweeter, probably as a result of the cold forcing them to store all that sugar.

Latke ingredients

We tend to get kind of lazy with our roots and serve them roasted or mashed.  However, after too many sides of roasted parsnips, we went looking for something different.  Parsnips are similar to potatoes in that they are both versatile when it comes to cooking.  Mix the two together and you have a very happy blend. 

The batter

This recipe is pretty simple to put together, just coarsely grate parsnips and potatoes, stir in flour, eggs, herbs, and salt and pepper.  Drop heaping spoonfuls into a pan with a little hot oil and watch the magic happen.  The latkes fry up brown and crisp.  Serve them hot from the skillet with a dollop of sour cream or with a little applesauce.  Or just eat them plain dusted with salt.  A delicious alternative to the traditional parsnip dish.

Potato Parsnip Latkes

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

1 large all-purpose potato (like a red or a Yukon Gold), 8-10 ounces

1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely grated

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbls fresh chives, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

To Make:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  You can put your cooked batches of latkes in the oven to keep them warm until they are ready to serve.

Peel the potato and coarsely grate it into a large bowl (if you are concerned about the potatoes browning, toss them with about 1 tbls of lemon juice at this point).   Place the grated potatoes in a large, clean kitchen towel and wring it to remove as much moisture as possible.

Mix the potatoes with the parsnips, flour, eggs, chives, and salt and pepper until well combined. 

Place a 12 inch skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to come about 1/4 inch up the side of the pan.  Heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.   Scoop scant 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula.  Be careful not to crowd the pan.  Fry until golden on one side, 1-3 minutes, then flip and cook until the second side is golden, another 1-3 minutes.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Place on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm until the remaining latkes are cooked.

To Serve:

Makes about 16 latkes.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish.  Serve warm topped with sour cream, applesauce, or sprinkled with salt.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Alex, I’ll take Bacon for $1,000. 

A:  Bacon is a key component to this traditional Roman spaghetti-based meal. 

Q:  What is Spaghetti Carbonara? 

Tonight's starting lineup

I have this very simple cookbook that my Mother gave me when I moved out of the house.  It’s great really; straight forward recipes, nothing complicated, and basic enough that typically I have all the ingredients that I need on hand.  Also, it’s short and focused enough that I can lazily flip through a section to see what strikes my fancy and then make it for dinner that night.  I came across this Spaghetti Cabonara and it struck my fancy.  I had been saving my CSA bacon for something special and this was it.  The best part is that the whole meal comes together quickly with minimal fuss.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Stirring the eggs while piping hot

Spaghetti Carbonara

Adapted from Clueless In the Kitchen by Evelyn Raab 

Ingredients:

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti 

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk 

4 oz pecorino cheese, finely shredded 

6 slices bacon 

To Make: 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil to cook the pasta. 

While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the bacon until crisp in a large skillet.  Remove the bacon and chop up into crumbles.  Set aside.  Drain all but about 2 tbls of the bacon fat from the skillet 

Beat the egg and the egg yolk and grate cheese.  Set aside 

When the spaghetti is fully cooked, drain, do not rinse it, and pour it into the skillet where the bacon was cooked. 

Immediately add in the cooked bacon and pour in the raw beaten eggs with the shredded cheese to the skillet with the piping hot spaghetti.  Stir to even coat the spaghetti.  The hot spaghetti will cook the raw eggs and transform the mixture into a rich and creamy sauce.

To Serve: 

Best eaten right away!  Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with any fresh herbs that suit your fancy.  Serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.

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Filed under CSA Talk, Dinner, Eggs, Meat, Pasta, Recipes

Potato and Onion Quiche

Potato and Onion Quiche

Alex, I’ll take “Stereotypical Myths – Fact or Fiction” for $200.

A:  Real men don’t eat quiche

Q:  What is fiction?

Roasted potatoes and onions

Of course it’s fiction.  Real man absolutely eat quiche.  As a kid, I never liked eggs.  However, put a piece of my mother’s bacon, onion, and tomato quiche in front of me and I’d be stuffing it in as quick as possible so I could get to the last piece before my father could.  Today, I serve quiche to my three old and bill it as “egg pie”.  Thing One hears “pie” and will devour it, regardless of the ingredients involved.

Ready to bake

One of the best thing about quiche is that you can unleash your creativity and the sky is the limit for what you can include.  The most important rule to keep in mind is that less is more.  Pick two or three good quality ingredients and let the taste shine through.  My wife and I have made a lot of quiches in our lives but this one is one of the most delectable we have tried.  The usage of creme fraiche and sour cream instead of cream or milk adds a wonderful tangy richness to the quiche while still keeping the egg light and tender.  This base works well for any combination of ingredients.  For this recipe, we were inspired by the Spanish tortilla (a potato and egg dish traditionally served as tapas) and put roasted potatoes and onions in the quiche base.  Because of the richness of the quiche, you don’t really even need to add cheese, though it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Freshly baked

Potato and Onion Quiche

Ingredients:

Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup lard

12 tbls butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)

ice cold water

Quiche Filling

1 small potato

2 medium onions

3 eggs

8 oz (weight) creme fraiche

6 oz (weight) sour cream

2 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded

To Make:

Crust

This recipe makes a top and bottom pie crust.  The quiche only uses half the dough so feel free to freeze half for a later date, or cut the ingredients in half and make one crust.

Whisk flour and sugar together in a bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces.  Add the butter and lard to the flour sugar mixture.  Using a pastry blender, cut the lard and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course bread crumbs.  Slowly, drizzle in the ice water a few tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together into a large ball.  If you are making a full recipe, cut the dough in half.  Form each half into a thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Quiche

Combine the potato and onions with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.  Roast in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes, stirring them around every so often.  Set aside.  The crust and vegetables can be done up to a day ahead.  If making ahead, refrigerate the potatoes and onions.  Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before adding to the quiche.

When you are ready to bake the quiche, roll out your pastry dough in a round large enough to fill a deep dish 9″ pie plate.  Place the dough in the pie plate and scatter the onions and potatoes over the crust.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the sour cream and creme fresh.

Roll out your pastry dough to fill a 9″ pie plate.  Place the dough in the pie plate.  Add in the roasted potatoes and onions.  Add the shredded cheese.  Added the egg, creme fresh, and sour cream mixture.  Bake 40 minutes at 350F, until the center is barely set.

To Serve:

Serve immediately (hot) or later (room temp) or the next day (cold from the fridge).  This makes a great brunch, lunch, or dinner option.  Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Recipes, Vegetarian