Tag Archives: Rachael Ray

Hamburger and Onion Bread Pizza

Hamburger and Onion bread pizza 025

I continue PIZZA WEEK with a rather humble offering. This is for sure not fancy, and maybe not even terribly varied considering I shared steak on a pizza yesterday. But it really doesn’t get any easier to prepare or more comforting than this, and well, I really need that right now.

hamburger and onion bread pizza 001

I’m getting over my second (second!!!) head cold in the past six weeks, and this one was extra nasty as it insisted on turning into a double ear and sinus infection (which I caught early, thank goodness!). So annoying…

Hamburger and onion bread pizza 017

And on top of that, I’m having major drama with my new dining room table. What started out as a pleasant and promising transaction has unfortunately turned very ugly. When you trust someone because they initially treat you nicely and then promise to fix a problem they created, and they then do a 180 and not only deny any wrongdoing, but also deny admitting any wrongdoing, and further snap that they are only fixing it as a big favor to you, and that they’ll fix this on their time frame, thank you very much; well, it’s frustrating. Of course. I’m essentially being called a liar and having words put in my mouth that I simply never said.

Hamburger and Onion Bread Pizza 010

So yes, a *very* easy dinner that was tasty and comforting was in order. And yeah, it’s a bit messy, kind of like our lives (especially mine right now). But bread pizzas are just awesome. So here you go! Here’s to health and de-stressing.

hamburger and onion bread pizza 020

{One Year Ago: Battered and Fried Merguez Sausages, Three Cheese Beer Bread, Red Kidney Bean Curry}

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 baguette
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 tbs steak or barbecue seasoning
Kosher salt, if your seasoning is salt-free
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs Dijon mustard
12 slices deli-sliced Swiss cheese
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Preheat the broiler to HIGH. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the sirloin. Cook, breaking up with a large spoon or potato masher, until it is crumbled and no traces of pink remain.
Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Now add the steak or barbecue seasoning, salt if needed, the Worcestershire sauce, and the mustard. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Slice the bread in half crosswise, then each piece in half again lengthwise. Tear out the inside bread to hollow them out and make 4 bread boats. Place the bread boats on a baking sheet and broil until just toasted.
Remove from the oven and fill the boats with the burger mixture. Top each bread boat with 3 slices of cheese to cover all the hamburger mixture. Stick the baking sheet back under the broiler, moving the pan side to side or back and forth as needed, so that all the bread boats are exposed and the cheese gets melted and a little bubbly. Serve immediately.
This will serve 4 to 8 people, depending on appetites.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Matt and I hosted a party a few weeks ago, and I bought too much blue cheese. Way too much. Oops.

But, it became not such a problem once I made this delicious pasta dish. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with spaghetti smothered in a rich blue cheese sauce, some crunchy salty bacon, and fresh baby spinach? Nothing. Big, fat nothing is wrong with this lovely bowl of silky, cheesy pasta.

gorgonzola and spinach spaghetti

I just have to share this one with you, it’s become one of our faves. It’s an easy weeknight meal, but special enough for a date night or a dinner party. I’m so happy to post it today! I hope y’all enjoy this one.

Gorgonzola and Spinach Spaghetti

Source: adapted from 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 lb. spaghetti
Kosher salt
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream
Black pepper
8 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles, or whatever blue cheese you prefer
2 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula, roughly torn or chopped

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a medium saucepot until crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the butter to the bacon fat and put the pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to a bubble. Cook, stirring, until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the cream, stir to combine, and then lower the heat to low. Stir in the blue cheese and stir to melt. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach or arugula and the blue cheese sauce. Toss to combine and add the crispy bacon bits on top. Serve immediately.

Margarita Fish Tacos

Margarita Fish Tacos

We continue our delicious, tequila-filled MARGARITA WEEK – woohoo!! – with something that is actually light and healthy and won’t get you sloshed. Surprised? It’s true. The fish for these tacos is seared in a cast-iron skillet, no breading or deep-frying; the tortillas are corn, which are much lighter than flour, and there’s no cheese, because cheese on a fish taco is just weird (in my humble opinion).

The fish is quickly marinated in tequila and lime juice to give it a margarita flavor. The end result is subtle but definitely there. A mild green salsa is the perfect match for not overpowering the margarita flavors, and I used shredded red cabbage as a topping, but you could just as easily opt for lettuce. Matt and I both loved this one. Made us feel like we were in Mexico. Or on a beach. Or on a beach in Mexico… It’s awesome. Enjoy!

margarita fish tacos

{One year ago: Giant Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Glaze}

Source: adapted from Look + Cook by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
2 oz. silver tequila
Zest and juice of half a lime
¼ tsp orange zest
2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp chili powder
¾ lb. cod, pin bones removed and cut into 2 pieces to make it more manageable, if necessary
6 corn tortillas, warmed
Shredded cabbage or lettuce
Green salsa, your favorite store-bought brand is fine, or homemade

Directions:
Combine the tequila, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, olive oil, Old Bay, and chili powder in a shallow bowl or small baking dish, like a pie plate. Add the fish and turn several times to make sure it is thoroughly coated. Let sit for about 5 minutes, but not much longer.
Preheat your cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Add the fish pieces and cook, turning once, about 3-4 minutes per side. It is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
When the fish has cooked through, remove it to a plate. Let it rest 1 minute, then flake it apart into big chunks with a fork.
Assemble the tacos: place some fish chunks in a tortilla, then top with salsa and cabbage. Serve immediately.

Soy-Ginger Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles

Soy salmon over Asian veggie noodles

Continuing our theme this week of Pasta with Seafood, we have a delicious, healthy, flavorful, Asian salmon dish, that essentially got made because I’m trying to clean out my pantry and I ran across a half-used box of dried spaghetti. Score!

Did I mention this is delicious? Because it really was… soooo good. Clean flavors, perfectly cooked salmon that just melted in your mouth, and salty, chewy noodles. So awesome.

I used my wok for this, which worked beautifully, but any high sided skillet will do. This cooks up so friggin’ fast, which is great for a weeknight meal, but I highly advise having all the prep work done ahead of time and definitely do not walk away in the middle of this. I would also caution against marinating the salmon much more than the 5 minutes called for. There’s a bit of acid in the marinade, and if left to its own devices for too long, the acid will start to “cook” the fish, and then when you try to cook it yourself in the pan, the final product will be mushy. And no one wants that.

soy salmon over Asian veggie noodles

I also only call for cooking the salmon about 3-4 minutes per side, because I am so picky about the way salmon is cooked. I like mine to be between medium-rare and medium. To my personal palate, if salmon goes beyond medium, it just tastes like cat food. And if I wanted cat food, I’d go down to my local Petland and buy some salmon cat food for a lot less money than I spent on these beautiful wild-caught fillets. But that’s possibly just me. Of course feel free to cook it to your desired preference.

Soy Salmon over Asian Veggie Noodles

Anyways, enjoy this one, guys!

{One year ago: Malted Chocolate Ice Cream}

Source: adapted from Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ lb. dried spaghetti
Kosher salt
6 tbs soy sauce or tamari
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp crushed chili flakes
4 salmon fillets
Vegetable or olive oil
½ a small head of green cabbage, cored and sliced very thin (I used a handheld mandoline slicer on its thickest setting)
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
5 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, trimmed, chopped, green and white parts divided
2 tsp sugar
¾ cup chicken stock

Directions:
Place a large stockpot of water over high heat. Cover and let it come up to a boil. Generously salt the boiling water, then drop in the pasta. Cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain thoroughly when done.
Meanwhile, combine the tamari, ginger, lime juice, and chili flakes in a small baking dish or shallow bowl. Add the salmon fillets skin side up. Let marinate for 5 minutes.
Preheat a wok or high-sided skillet over high heat. Add a few drizzles of oil, then place the salmon in the wok skin side down. Don’t discard the marinade! Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or longer if you desire. When the salmon is done, remove to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Wipe out the wok and return it to high heat. Add another drizzle of oil, then add the cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté until the veggies have softened and wilted a bit, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and white parts of the scallions and cook 1 minute more.
Add the sugar to the marinade and stir to combine. Then add the marinade to the wok. Let it simmer about 1 minute. Now add the chicken stock and let it simmer 2-3 minutes. Then add the cooked, drained pasta to the wok and toss to combine.
Pile some veggie noodles onto each plate and then position a salmon fillet over top. Garnish with the green parts of the scallions. Serve immediately.
As written, this will serve 4 people. Since I’m only cooking for two, I just made 2 salmon fillets, but kept the marinade amounts as written, and made the noodles as written, and the leftover veggie noodles are delicious!

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

I think it probably goes without saying that children growing up in Texas aren’t terribly familiar with that other chili from Ohio. You know, the one with beans. And pasta. And chocolate. Frankly, I’d never even heard of it until adulthood.

But, I do love me some chili, and though this version breaks many rules of the original from Texas, I have to admit I’ve been a bit intrigued. And so last weekend it became high time I give it a try.

Cincinnati chili
The verdict? I have to say, it’s pretty delicious! Definitely different from Texas, or even New Mexican chili; it is what it is, and I kinda loved it. It’s hearty, rich, cheesy, and you can play around with the spice level as you please. I’d eat it again (actually I just did, some leftovers for lunch).

Cincinnati Chili

As a complete aside, I do not feel like myself today, I’ve been struggling with a head cold the past week. I have a persistent, dry, hacking cough. Nothing remotely serious, of course, but it’s driving me batty! I’m ready to scream! But of course I don’t because that would make the cough worse. Does anyone have any foolproof tricks or home remedies for taming this beast? I’m all ears. So far I’m just using over the counter cough syrups, which taste beyond nasty, and they only help so much. Thanks you guys!

Cincinnati Chili

{One year ago: Pumpkin Muffins, Almond Pancakes, and Chocolate Anise Biscotti}

Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
1 tbs olive oil
2 ¼ lbs. ground sirloin
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tbs ancho chile powder
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs brown sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1 lb. spaghetti
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the ground sirloin. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon or potato masher, until the meat is browned and no traces of pink remain. Add three quarters of the chopped onion and the jalapeno, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Lower the heat to medium, and add the ancho, cocoa powder, paprika, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, oregano, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Raise the heat back to medium-high and pour in the beer. Stir, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the beer has mostly evaporated.
Add the Worcestershire, tomato puree, and beans. stir to combine, then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors have married and the chili has thickened somewhat. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.
When the chili is ready, turn the heat to low, and cover until needed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well, and toss in a large mixing bowl with some olive oil to prevent clumping.
To serve, mound some spaghetti onto a plate. Top with chili, then with a generous handful of cheese, then sprinkle on some of the reserved chopped onion.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

Well, I’ve officially joined the ranks of cold and flu season with what is hopefully the last day of a bad cold. I hate getting sick. So our weekend was pretty quiet, though we did manage to get our Christmas tree up and mostly decorated. I say mostly because upon removing our box of tree ornaments from the back of the closet, we discovered that our Santa tree topper had somehow gotten himself beheaded over the last eleven months. I swear I don’t know how it happened.

making meat stuffed shells

But, the tree is up, some presents are wrapped, the cats have only tried to unwrap two of them, and I get the sinking feeling that I’m sliding down the slippery slope that is head-cold-induced blathering, so we’ll just get to the recipe now.

Meat and Spinach Stuffed Shells

meat and spinach stuffed shells

I had a half a box of jumbo shells to use up, and I was thinking of making something vegetarian, but when I asked Matt his thoughts, he said no, he wanted MEAT! And RED SAUCE! And so it came to be. I found a recipe that added spinach to the meat filling, and we both found it hearty and scrumptious. I hope you will too. Enjoy!

Meat and spinach stuffed shells

Source: adapted from 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
½ a 12 oz. box of jumbo shells
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 ½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
10 basil leaves, julienned
1 (10 oz.) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
½ cup grated fresh mozzarella

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, then boil the pasta shells according to package directions. Remove with a spider or other slotted spoon to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking up with a spoon or potato masher, until crumbled and no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook a few minutes more, until the onion has softened. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Lower the heat to medium, add the Italian seasoning, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine and cook about 1 minute to let the flavors marry. Shut off the heat.
Make the sauce. In a small stockpot, add a small drizzle of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining clove of minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the crushed pepper flakes and stir about 30 seconds, then pour in the tomato sauce. Stir to combine; let it go about a minute to heat up slightly, then stir in about 2/3 of the basil and shut off the heat.
Remove the spinach from the box and place half of it in a clean, dry kitchen towel. Vigorously wring it out over the sink until the water is squeezed out. Place it in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the remaining half.
When the meat mixture has cooled somewhat, add it to the spinach. Also add the beaten egg, bread crumbs, and ½ cup parmesan. Stir to combine well.
Ladle some sauce into the baking pan. You want a thin layer. Using a small cereal spoon, carefully pack the meat mixture into the each individual shell. Place each stuffed shell in the prepared baking dish, on top of the sauce. When the shells are all assembled, top them with the remaining tomato sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella over the shells. Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan on the mozzarella.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
Garnish with the remaining basil and serve hot.

Buttered Spiked Apple Cider

Buttered spiked apple cider

Confession: I’m not much for traditions. My innate personality (Myers-Briggs Idealist) naturally tends toward future-focused forward thinking, and I tend to be good at thinking on my feet and making things work. To me, traditions can be wonderful and they do have their place, but traditions just for the sake of it tend to make me annoyed. I see them as an extremely slippery slope to falling into “the way we’ve always done it” thinking, which is something I completely abhor. Plus, traditions can become meaningless, which I also cannot stand. But, traditions are like regrets: I have a few. And today I’m sharing one of them. Traditions, that is.

Buttered Spiked Apple Cider

Every year on the weekend before Halloween, Matt and I carve a pumpkin, and we always accompany this activity with this delicious apple cider libation. This yearly event came about in the most nonchalant of ways, with us simply wanting a drink to have with the pumpkin carving, and beer didn’t sound good to me at the time. So I found this recipe, made it, we loved it, and here we are eight years later.

buttered spiked apple cider

Upon our first go at pumpkin carving, we both realized how hysterically talentless we are at it. And I’m sure the spiked cider doesn’t help, but honestly, we’re so bad at pumpkin carving that it can’t possibly hurt. Or maybe it does – in order to know for sure, we’d have to carve a pumpkin without this spiked cider and compare the results. And we all know that isn’t going to happen, because this little beverage is just too good.

our carved pumpkin

It’s warm, seasonal, spicy and earthy. I highly recommend it, alongside a pumpkin carving or just because. Oh, and if you have a fireplace, then 1) I’m officially jealous, and 2) you should definitely find a chilly evening, light a roaring fire, and curl up with your pet or your significant other and sip on a warm mug of this beautiful drink.

buttered spiked apple cider

{One year ago: American Breakfast Sausage and 12 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving}

Source: slightly adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray, February/March 2006

Ingredients:
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
½ quart apple cider
4 oz. brandy

Directions:
In a small bowl, mash the butter with the cinnamon and ginger until thoroughly combined. Set aside at room temperature away from any heat source like the oven or stove top.
Heat the cider in a small stockpot over medium-low to medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. You want it hot, but do not boil it.
Ladle the hot cider into your mugs, about 2/3 full. Add 1 ounce of brandy to each mug and top with a dollop of the spiced butter. Makes about 4 drinks.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Happy Monday everyone! I had a WHIRLWIND of a weekend – I was a culinary volunteer at the NYC Wine and Food Festival. I had shifts Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and by about 3 pm yesterday I was BEAT. It was a blast though. I met some amazing chefs, tasted some crazy good food, gained some invaluable cooking experience, and made new friends. And though I am exhausted today, it was totally worth it.

components of caramel apple cake

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be making some food inspired by things I saw and tasted at the festival, and I’ll expound on my experiences more, too. Today, though, we are having cake. I hesitated to blog this recipe, because mine didn’t really turn out as perfect as I’d hoped. But, it was delicious, and with a few recipe notes, I think yours will be quite successful.

caramel butter cream frosting

apple filling

There are three components to this cake, none of which are terribly difficult to make. The cake itself is a basic yellow cake batter; then there’s a sautéed apple filling that goes in between the cake layers, and then a caramel butter cream frosting, which was incredibly tasty. It comes together quite nicely.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

caramel apple layer cake

So – recipe notes! I changed the original recipe a little. The cake batter called for the liquid to be half a cup of heavy cream and half a cup of applesauce. I hate applesauce, and I’m not buying it, even for baking. So I scoured the fridge and found some sour cream. Then I thought that the combination of sour cream and heavy cream might make the cake batter too thick, so I used whole milk instead of the cream. It worked perfectly fine, but if you want to go with the original ingredients, it’s half a cup each of heavy cream and applesauce.

Caramel Apple Layer Cake

Secondly, the filling was a hot mess, but I quickly realized (too late of course) that it didn’t have to be. The recipe instructed to slice the apples. For the love of all that is good and holy, do not slice your apples. Chop or even dice them instead. The cake doesn’t cut properly when you slice them and the filling slides out all over the place and hangs out and just generally makes the whole endeavor become an ode to sloppiness. There’s no reason for this. Chop the apples and you should be fine.

caramel apple layer cake

And lastly, just make sure your caramel sauce is cooled but pourable. Obviously you don’t want to melt the butter for the frosting. That would be sad.

caramel Apple layer cake

Source: adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray, November 2007

Ingredients:
CAKE:
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

FILLING:
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 crisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs heavy cream

FROSTING:
2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade, cooled but pourable

Directions:
First make the CAKE. Preheat the oven to 350 F. generously grease two 9” round cake pans. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Line the cooling racks with parchment (otherwise your cake will stick). Run a knife around the edges of the cakes to release the layers, then invert the cakes onto the racks. Let cool completely.
Make the FILLING. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the apples and the sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. I immediately poured it into a small mixing bowl, which I think made assembling the cake easier.
When the filling and cakes are cool, make the FROSTING. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the caramel sauce. Mix until just combined.
Now assemble the cake. Place 1 cake layer (your ugliest one, if there’s a discrepancy) on a cake plate. It’s helpful, though not essential, to line the cake plate with two pieces of parchment paper. This will make your finished frosted cake look a lot neater. But, not necessary.
Spread the apple filling evenly in a layer on the top of the first cake. Top with the second (prettier) cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting. Cut into wedges and serve.

Chili Cheese Fries

chili cheese fries

Last week I promised you some good game day grub, and well, it just doesn’t get much more quintessential than a big platter of chili cheese fries. These were so good that I don’t even remember what game they accompanied. Or, maybe my team lost that game and I’ve blocked it. Who knows!

Chili Cheese Fries

I brought this beautiful platter to the coffee table, where Matt and I sat on the couch watching a college football game, and we scarfed them down in a much shorter amount of time than was probably couth or proper. It’s a good thing we’ve been together for more than 10 years.

Oh boy. Just looking through and editing the pictures makes me crave these fries again. So decadent and satisfying. Make them for your game this weekend!

Chili Cheese Fries

Recipe notes: I forgot to pick up scallions at the store when I bought the ingredients to make this. So I scattered some torn parsley because nothing looked really weird in the pictures. But I kept really wishing I hadn’t forgotten the scallions. Secondly, I love this method for making fries – half baked and half fried. Single frying instead of double frying cuts the calories in half, right? Hahaha! It is much less messy this way, and much more amenable to a small kitchen.

chili cheese fries

{One year ago: Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted, quite a bit, from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
FRIES:
3 Russet potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

CHILI:
Olive oil
½ lb. ground beef sirloin
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 tbs ancho chile powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup beer

CHEESE SAUCE:
3 tbs butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 generous tbs yellow mustard

Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Directions:
FRIES:
Peel the potatoes. Slice each potato lengthwise, very thin. Then cut the slices into strips. Place in a large bowl and cover with water. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lift the potatoes out of the water and onto a clean kitchen towel and rub them very dry. Place 2 cooling racks on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place the potato strips onto the cooling racks in as much of a single layer as possible. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven.
Heat your deep fryer to 375 F. When it’s ready, drop in the fries, working in batches, and fry until crispy and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider to a paper towel lined plate. Immediately season with kosher salt.
Meanwhile, make the chili first, then the cheese sauce. For the CHILI, drizzle a tad bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook 5 to 6 minutes, crumbling it with a wooden spoon as it browns. Add the onion, garlic, serrano, spices, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let it go for 2-3 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the beer and let it evaporate, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and set aside while you make the cheese sauce and finish the fries.
For the CHEESE SAUCE, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, to cook out that raw flour taste. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened. Lower the heat to low, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the cheese. Let it melt completely, then stir in the mustard.
To assemble, lay the fries out on a large platter. Pour the cheese sauce over the fries, then top the cheese with the chili. Garnish with scallions. Dig in!

Salumi Burgers

Salumi Burgers

Apparently today is National Cheeseburger Day! I would love to say that I knew this all along and made this delicious and decadent cheeseburger specifically to share it on this blog today. And I suppose I could say such a thing, but well, it wouldn’t exactly be true.

ground salumi

In reality, I made this burger because I had some leftover salumi cold cuts in the fridge that shouldn’t go to waste, and it sounded great. Then, I found out late yesterday that today is National Cheeseburger Day, and here I am!

salumi burgers

You probably already knew this, but grinding up Italian cold cuts, crisping up bacon lardons, and then combining all that with ground sirloin to form patties makes for one of the more flavorful burgers you will ever eat. Actually it’s pretty much bona fide ridiculously good. And even though today’s “holiday” randomly happened upon me, instead of me carefully and smartly planning it, I think this burger is quite worthy of such an arbitrary yet fun day designated to celebrate cheeseburgers! Enjoy!

Salumi Burgers

{One year ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream}

Source: adapted from The Book of Burger by Rachael Ray

Ingredients:
¼ lb. bacon or pancetta, diced
2 oz. spicy salumi, such as salami or soppressata, or any Italian cold cuts you prefer
¼ lb. prosciutto
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
Drizzle of olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 deli slices provolone cheese
4 brioche hamburger buns, toasted if desired
A handful of baby arugula

Directions:
Heat a large cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add the bacon or pancetta and cook until crispy and the fat is rendered. Shut off the heat. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Pour out most of the fat, leaving about a tablespoon or so in the pan. Set aside.
Place the salumi and prosciutto in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, garlic, crispy bacon, minced salumi mixture, oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, a little bit of salt, and black pepper. Divide the mixture into quarters, and shape into 4 patties. Using your thumb or forefinger, make an indentation in the center of each burger, to prevent “burger bulge.”
Heat the cast-iron skillet over medium-high again. When very hot, place the burger patties into the skillet. Cook the burgers, flipping once, for 10 minutes for medium. When you flip them, top the burgers with the cheese slices and let melt. Place the burgers on the bottom buns, then top with some arugula, then with the top buns. Enjoy!