Monday, June 20, 2011

Caprese Burger

A Caprese salad is traditionally mozzarella, tomato, and basil.  I took a variation of that and put it on top of my burger.  The mozzarella was obviously the cheese, and the basil I turned into a pesto.  Since I am not a fan of tomatoes on my burger I left that out, but the rest of my family enjoyed a fresh tomato salad on the side.  Enjoy!

1 lb ground beef (preferably 80% lean, 20% fat)
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 burger buns (for something special try focaccia or ciabatta)
1 recipe for basil pesto sauce (see below, people can add as much or as little as they like)

Basil Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
2 tbs walnuts or pine nuts (I actually used hazelnuts on this batch, and it came out delicious too)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup olive oil

Form each burger patty using about a quarter of the meat. Put an indentation in the middle using your thumb to prevent burger bulge. Then salt and pepper both sides.

Slice the mozzarella cheese about 1/4 inch thick.
I cooked my burgers on the outdoor grill for 6 minutes on each side, melting the mozzarella cheese on the second side.  Only flip your burgers once, and never press down. 

 For the pesto sauce, put the garlic clove and nuts in the blender and press crush or grind to chop these up.  Then add the basil and puree the mixture.  Through the top of the blender, slowly drizzle the olive oil.  Scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated.  Then add the cheese and blend again.

Put on top of the burger and enjoy on the burger bun of your choice!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zucchini Pie

This is my mother's most famous recipe.  Every party or holiday we have she always makes it.  It is even better when we use zucchini from my dad's garden!  My brother came up with a great idea, instead of making one large pie, we can make small individual muffins.  Then you just put them out at a party and don't have to worry about slicing pieces of the pie.  Enjoy!

3 medium zucchini, peeled and grated
1 onion, chopped
1 cup Bisquick
4 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine the grated zucchini and chopped onion.  Then in a small bowl, crack 4 eggs and beat them.  Add the eggs to the large bowl with the bisquick and vegetable oil.  Stir.  Add the parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Stir until combined.  Mixture should not be too liquidy, or too thick. 

Grease a 9 inch glass pie pan or a 12 cup muffin tin.  Add the batter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tops are golden brown and puffy.  Enjoy!

Here is a picture of my dad's vegetable plants.  He always had a green thumb!  This and many other HUGE zucchini grew only after three weeks!

This was my brother's idea for using muffin tins! 
My mom's original zucchini pie!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

These crab cakes are some of the best crab cakes you will ever taste.  The spicy remoulade sauce can also go on almost any seafood , burger, steak, chicken...It can pretty much go on anything.  Enjoy!

Crab Cakes:
16 oz crab meat (jumbo lump or claw, make sure it is not imitation crab meat)
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs (for mixture)
1 cup bread crumbs (for coating, optional)
2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
2 teaspoons fresh parsley

In a large bowl mix the mayonaise, egg, lemon juice, and worchestershire sauce.  Then add the crab meat.  Make sure to check for any shells before adding it into the mixture.  Gentle stir the crab meat so you don't break any of the crab.  Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs, the old bay, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Stir again.  If the mixture is still too wet, add a little more bread crumbs. 

Form the mixture into patties, as large or as small as you want.  The next step is optional. Coat each crab cake gently with bread crumbs.  The reason I like this is because the bread crumbs get very crispy on the outside, but then the inside is a soft, crabby center.  Chill the crab cakes in the fridge for a half hour ( This will make it easier to fry)

Once the crab cakes have been chilled, heat a large skillet with oil.  Fry them 6-8 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  If desired you can also put them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, but I really like a crispy crab cake.  Serve with remoulade sauce and enjoy!

Remoulade Sauce:
1 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
2 teaspoons caper juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons parsley

In a bowl mix all of the ingredients together, and serve with crab cakes.  Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chicken Francaise

8 chicken cutlets
2 cups flour
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Wash chicken cutlets under cold water and pat dry.  Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess flour.

Heat a large skillet with the oil.  Fry each cutlet for 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Put the cooked chicken on a platter and set aside while you make the sauce.

Keep the heat on medium low and add the wine to the skillet slowly.  Using the back of a spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and stire.  Put all of the chicken back into the pan and simmer for 7-10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grilled Steak Sandwich

4 ciabatta rolls
2 onions
1 container of sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup crumbled bleu cheese (any cheese will do but this is my favorite)
2 lbs of top sirloin steak
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 fresh parsley
1/4 fresh basil
4 garlic cloves

Chop the parsley, basil, and garlic cloves very fine and add to a large plastic bag that has the olive oil in it.  Salt and pepper the steaks and add them to the bag.  Then rub the steaks around in the bag so that they are coated with all of the ingredients.  Marinade for an hour.

Heat a large skillet on medium and add a little olive oil.  Peel and slice the onions very thin.  Add the onions to the skillet and allow to carmelize.  After about 5 minutes add the mushrooms and stir.  Allow the onions and mushrooms to continue to carmelize.  This should take about 20-25 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Heat a grill pan or your outdoor grill on high.  Put the steaks on and cook 8 minutes on each side.  If you choose you can put your rolls on the grill for a few minutes to toast them.  After the steak is finished, take off the grill and cover with aluminum foil.  Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes.  This is the key to the juiciest steak.

 Slice the steak very thin and put on the bottom part of the roll.  Then top with the balsamic onions and mushrooms and bleu cheese.  Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until finely ground.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl (I use an electric stand mixer, but a bowl with a hand mixer works just as well), mix the butter and granulated sugar together on low speed until they are just combined.  Stir in the vanilla plus 2 teaspoons of water.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the flour slowly to the butter mixture.  Then add the hazelnuts and mix on low until the dough comes together.  Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, cut the dough in half and roll each piece 1/4 inch thick.  Cut 36 (2 3/4 inch) rounds with a cookie cutter.  Ue a 3/4 inch cutter to cut a small circle out of the middle of half of the cookies.  Place all the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake for 20 to 2 minutes, rotating pan in the oven once, until the edges of the cookies begin to brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Spread the Nutella thickly on the flat sde of each solid cookie.  Then place the flat side of the cookie with the hole in it on top of the nutella.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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