Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicago Dog Salad

Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar, eyeball it
1 rounded teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 of a 16-ounce sack shredded cabbage blend for slaw salads
1 romaine heart, shredded
2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
3 large half sour or garlic pickles, chopped
Salt and pepper
8 pork or beef hot dogs, cut into 1-inch-thick slices on an angle


In the bottom of a large bowl, combine mustard, vinegar, sugar, and about 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the onions, cabbage, romaine, tomatoes, and pickles and toss the salad. Season with salt and pepper, adjust seasonings, and reserve.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (1 turn of the pan) then arrange the sliced dogs in a single layer. Sear them a couple of minutes on each side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Mound up the salad on plates, top with seared dogs, and serve.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Orange Scented Green Beans

Since you've already work hard on easter's main dish, trust Rachael to give a 5-min sidedish!


Peel of 1 orange
2 pounds trimmed green beans, available in produce department
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped


Fill a pan with 2 inches water and bring to a boil. Add orange peel and beans. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, beans should remain bright green with a snap to them. Drain beans and return to pan. Remove peel. Toss with butter, salt and chives then transfer to a serving dish.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fried Mozzarella Bites

Mozzarella + Tomatoes = Yum-O!

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 32 mozzarella bites


Olive oil, for frying
1 pound ball fresh mozzarella, buy a piece wrapped, not packed in water
1 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, found in the specialty cheese case
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk, eyeball it
2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 stems or large sprigs each fresh parsley, sage, thyme
Fine salt

Arrabiata - In A Hurry Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, moderate to hot heat level, eyeball the amount
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Coarse salt
Bamboo skewers, 6-inch, or party picks, for dipping


Heat 2 inches olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Cut each pound of mozzarella and smoked mozzarella into 16 cubes. Set up a breading station: flour, 2 eggs beaten with 1/3 cup milk, Italian bread crumbs mixed with a couple of handfuls of grated cheese. Reserve the chopped parsley. Roll fresh plain mozzarella in flour, dip in egg, then coat in bread crumbs. Bread all the plain mozzarella, then add chopped parsley to the bread crumbs. Coat the cubed smoked mozzarella in flour, egg, then Italian bread crumbs mixed with parsley. The chopped parsley will allow you to distinguish between the fresh and fresh smoked cheese once fried. Place herbs into hot oil and fry 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to stand over pan, the oil will spatter a little because of the water content in herbs. Remove herbs with a slotted kitchen tool and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Season immediately with fine salt. Fry the mozzarella bites in batches in a single layer. Cook until evenly deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and cool mozzarella bites on a paper towel-lined surface. Let stand and cool a few minutes so that the cheese will not be too runny when bitten into.

For dipping sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Saute garlic and hot pepper 2 or 3 minutes, and add tomatoes. Season with salt.

To assemble your serving plate, pile mozzarella bites, alternating them with fried herbs. Set the dipping sauce in a bowl along side the balls and pile bamboo skewers or party picks on the edge of the plate to spear and dip the bites.

Add some mixed olives, celery sticks, long bread sticks to round out this finger food selection.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Blue Cheese and Pecans

Chicken + Bacon + Pecan = LOVE!

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Intermediate
Yield: 4 servings


4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 scallions, sliced on bias
4 slices good-quality center cut bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
Special equipment: toothpicks


Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butterfly the chicken breast pieces by cutting across the breast but not all the way through. Open the breasts up and pound lightly between parchment paper. Peel paper away and season the meat with salt and pepper.

Cover the seasoned chicken cutlets with blue cheese crumbles, pecans and scallions in equal amounts. Roll the chicken, wrap each roll with bacon and secure with toothpicks. Season the outside of the rolls with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken evenly all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a small baking sheet, place in the oven and cook 10 minutes more.

Melt the butter in the same skillet pan the chicken was seared in over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock. Let thicken a minute then whisk in the half-and-half and grain mustard, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to warm.

Halve the chicken and stack to show off the center. Set chicken in gravy or pour over top. Serve with rice and greens, if desired.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Pork Chop with Cider Gravy, Sauteed Apples and Onions

Dress-up your mashed potato with pork chops and apples!

Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 bone-in pork chops, 1-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, yellow or red, thinly sliced
2 Gala or Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
2 rounded tablespoons orange marmalade


In a medium pot add sweet potatoes and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until fork tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Season chops with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork 5 minutes on the first side until deeply golden, turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes more with a loose foil tent over the pan. Remove cooked chops to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add another turn of the pan of olive oil, add the onions and apples. Season with salt, pepper and thyme and cook until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Douse with juice of a lemon and remove onions and apples to a bowl; keep warm.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet, melt then whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in cider and 1 cup of stock. Season the gravy with salt and pepper. Thicken 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat.

Drain cooked sweet potatoes and return pan to stove. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and combine with marmalade and 1 cup stock. Add potatoes and mash, season with salt and pepper.

Serve chop covered with apples and onions, gravy poured down over top, sweet potatoes alongside.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Burgers

Cook Time: 12 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 slices Canadian bacon
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2 teaspoons sweet paprika, eyeball it in your palm
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning) or salt and pepper
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 deli slices Swiss cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise or reduced fat mayonnaise, eyeball it
3 rounded tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon leaves, 4 sprigs
4 kaiser rolls or sandwich size sour dough English muffins, split and toasted
8 leaves leaf lettuce
1 vine ripe tomato, thinly sliced


Preheat grill pan, nonstick griddle, large nonstick skillet or table top electric grill to medium high heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil and Canadian bacon. Warm bacon and caramelize it at edges, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a piece of foil. Fold foil over loosely to keep warm.

Combine chicken, paprika, poultry seasoning, grill seasoning, shallot. Score meat with the side of your hand to separate into 4 equal amounts. Make 4 large patties, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Drizzle patties with oil and place on hot grill pan, griddle or in skillet. Cook 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through.

Top patties with reserved cooked Canadian bacon and Swiss cheese. Fold each slice of cheese in half to fit the burger. Cover loosely with tin foil. Turn off pan and let cheese melt, 2 minutes.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon. Slather bun tops or English tops with sauce. Place Cordon Bleu burgers on bun bottoms and top with lettuce and tomato. Put bun or muffin tops in place. Serve with oven fries.