Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yorkshire Pudding

Also known as batter pudding or dripping pudding, these pastry like mini cakes are created by placing a small amount of batter into piping hot fat and baking at high heat.  Traditional yorkshire pudding uses beef drippings, but any kind of high heat tolerant fat will work. 

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  25-30 minutes (includes 10 mins preheat time)
Servings:  6


3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 eggs
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef

Note:  You can also use vegetable oil if you don't have pan drippings - just call them "puffy popovers" or make up another name... The term yorkshire pudding is traditionally reserved for batter which is cooked only in greasy meat drippings...

Yorkshire Pudding served atop Prime Rib Soup


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, and thyme in a bowl.
  • In another bowl whisk together the eggs and milk until light and foamy.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients just until fully incorporated.
  • Place batter in a easy pour measuring cup and let sit while the oven, pan, and fat preheats - about 20 minutes.
  • Place the drippings into a 12 hole muffin pan - about 2 teaspoons per hole - and place into the preheated oven until the drippings are smoking hot.
  • Carefully take the pan out of the oven and fill each hole about halfway.
  • Put the pan back in the oven and cook until puffed and dry, about 15 minutes. 

Recipe Links:

Here is the original video which inspired this dish.

Here is a link to the Prime Rib Soup pictured above.

Here is a link showing a fool proof method of preparing Prime Rib of Beef.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Potato Dressing

Recently, while daydreaming about this year's upcoming Thanksgiving turkey dinner, my mind wandered to a place, a place with a de-boned, slow cooked, fully stuffed version of the traditional family fare... 

I wanted a unique stuffing recipe to pull this off.  Most stuffings are fully cooked when initially mixed, and just need to be heated through.  I wanted one that would cook along with the bird and hopefully finish after 8 hours of cooking. 

This recipe started as an experiment, a "test run" so to speak.  Based on a "Traditional Potato Stuffing" posted by Kay Johnson on her blog "...and then I ate it!", this version is unique in that instead of using prepared mashed potatoes, I used parboiled and diced potatoes instead.

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  45 minutes
Servings:  8


1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon butter to sauté plus more for topping
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 russet potatoes
3 cups bread, torn into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup of chicken broth

Tip: Slicing potatoes lengthwise allows your potatoes to cook evenly. 

Dice potato halves into 1/4 inch pieces
Fully prepped potatoes


  • Peel potatoes and slice in half lengthwise.  Parboil in salted water for 15 minutes or so until 2/3 done.  Drain potatoes and place in the refrigerator to cool.  Once cool, cut the potato halves lengthwise and crosswise into 1/4" pieces.  Place in a large bowl.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and butter.  When the butter is melted, add onions and celery, sauté until almost softened 3-5 minutes.  Add in the spices, stir and continue to sauté until everything is soft and translucent, about another three minutes.
  • Hand tear the bread into 1/2" pieces. Place in the large bowl with the potatoes. 
  • Add the celery/onion/spice mixture to the potato/bread mixture and toss until incorporated.
  • Pour the broth over the mixture and toss again.  The broth will disappear into the bread.  Remember there is still moisture in the potatoes which will be released as the stuffing cooks.
  • Place all of the stuffing in an oil sprayed baking dish.  Place a few pats of butter on the top.  Leave the tops rough to brown.  Bake @ 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until crisp brown on the top.

Recipe Links:

Here's the original "Traditional Potato Stuffing" recipe that served as the basis for this dish.

Here's a link to a crazy slow cooked bird video that inspired my Thanksgiving daydream.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Devil's Cupcakes

The original recipe for these cupcakes came to my in-box as "Coffee Kahlua Cupcakes". Little did I know that it was stolen from Paula Dean before it got to me...  Paula calls her version "Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Filling".
My spin finishes with some dusted on cocoa and tuxedo chocolate covered expresso beans. 

These cupcakes are devilishly good
Prep Time:  25 Minutes
Cook Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  24-30 cupcakes


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coffee Cream Filling:
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coffee flavored liquor
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Coffee Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

Combine the dry cupcake ingredients before adding the oil, coffee, and eggs
Method (Cupcakes):
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add oil, coffee, and eggs.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
  • Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.  Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, for 16-18 minutes.  Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minute.  Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
  • While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the Coffee Cream Filling (see below).  Pipe about a tablespoon of the filling into the center of each cupcake.  A simple plastic straw taped to a piping tip makes easy work of this.
  • Spread the Coffee Buttercream Frosting evenly over the cupcakes and dust the cakes with unsweetened cocoa and garnish with chocolate covered expresso beans.
A quick clip showing filling the cupcakes

Method (Coffee Cream Filling):
  • In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the cocoa powder and whip to incorporate.  Slowly add the liquor and fold in the whipped topping.  Cover and chill.
Method (Coffee Buttercream Frosting):
  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth, then beat in the coffee.

Recipe Links:

Here's the Coffee Kahlua Cupcakes version from the Just a Pinch Recipes website.

Here's the original Paula Dean version.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Four colorful peppers and an heirloom tomato provided the inspiration for this recipe.

I stole the recipe for the filling from my grandmother, who used the same in her Golabkis

I stole the idea for cutting the peppers lengthwise from Chef John, who opines that this is a much better way to serve this dish as it "improves the meat to pepper ratio."  It also provides twice as many servings from your peppers...

The idea for topping off the dish with a slice of vine ripened heirloom tomato with parmesan cheese came from the Tomato itself - As I was thinking of how to finish the dish, I noticed it proudly sitting on the counter.  I think I actually heard it say "You've got to work me into this Dish!"

Prep Time:  20 Minutes
Cook Time:  1 Hour and 15 Minutes
Servings:  8


Four large peppers - any color
1 pound of "Meatloaf Mix" ground meat - Beef, Pork, and Veal
1 onion chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup partially cooked rice (or) 1 cup fully cooked barley
1 egg
1-1/2 cups freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Divided
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
2 to 3 cups of Homemade marinara sauce 

  • Partially Cook the rice and then immediately cool - about 8 minutes.
  • Cut the peppers in half and discard the stem, seeds, and any large ribs.
  • Saute the onion in the butter until softened and slightly carmelized, let cool.
  • Poor the marinara into the bottom of a large deep casserole dish.
  • Combine the cooled onions, meat, egg, rice, seasoning, and 1 cup of the cheese.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Evenly divide the meat mixture amongst the peppers.  It is OK if the filling goes a little  beyond the boundaries of the pepper - the egg in the filling will keep that under control as it bakes.

  • Place the peppers into casserole dish and top each with a 1/4" thick slice of tomato
  • Evenly divide the rest of the cheese and place atop each tomato
  • Garnish cheese with freshly chopped parsley
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes, or until the peppers are very tender and the cheese is golden brown.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes or so and then serve.

Recipe Links:

Here is a video recipe from Chef John where I got the idea for cutting the peppers lengthwise.
Here is another non-video version of the same recipe.
And, of course, here's a link to the original golabki recipe.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Steelhead "En Papillote"

Although I Stole this idea and technique for poaching fish from Chef John,  He Stole it from the French - En Papillote means to cook "In Parchment".

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  2


(2) 8oz center cut fish - Steelhead or Salmon 
(12) large asparagus spears (blanched)
(10) small fingerling or new potatoes (pre-cooked)


  • Blanch the asparagus and pre-cook the potatoes
  • Cut two sheets of parchment into large heart shapes (the surface area of half your "heart" should be a little bigger than the size of a large dinner plate)
  • Spread Olive Oil over both sides of your parchment heart.
  • Place fish, asparagus, and potatoes in the center portion of one side of the heart.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with Olive Oil

  • Fold over opposite side of paper and Starting at the top of the heart overlap, fold, crease, overlap, fold, crease, overlap fold, crease, etc. until all the way around to the bottom.  Pinch the last crease and fold under to lock in place.
  • Place bundle on a baker's sheet and cook at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting open.

Recipe Links:

Here is the terrifyingly easy original video.
Here is how to blanch asparagus.
As recommended in the original recipe, a light mustard aioli goes great with this dish.

A simple Mother's Day meal

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heavenly Breakfast Crepes

These breakfast crepes are a delicious and fun bundle of pancakes, bacon, and eggs.  Drizzled with pure maple syrup, you think you have died and went to heaven they are so good.  We didn't "steal" this recipe per se, although I'm sure it is out there somewhere...

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Total Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  4


enough prepared crepe mix to prepare 8 crepes. 
8 slices of market fresh bacon
3 eggs
fresh pure maple syrup


  • Cook bacon.  I place mine in the oven on a sheet of parchment paper for about 20 minutes.
  • While bacon is cooking, prepare crepes according to package directions using a small non-stick fry pan.
  • Mix up eggs and cook, one at a time, in the same no-stick fry pan used to prepare the crepes. 
  • Take one half of a prepared egg and one slice of bacon and place along the edge of the crepe.  Gently roll crepe from the filling side to the other and plate with the seam side down.
  • Drizzle with maple syrup and garnish with fresh mint (if desired).  Serve two to a plate.

Recipe Links:

Here is a great, no-fuss way to bake bacon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cajun Catfish

This year for Christmas I received a couple of All-Clad fry pans from my beautiful wife and a cookbook from my thoughtful son.  In this season of giving, the two of them found something for me that they are sure to enjoy for years to come...

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  4


4  6-ounce fresh catfish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
3 to 4 teaspoons blackened seasoning
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (1/2 cup)
1 medium red or yellow sweet pepper, diced (3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups of cooked barley or rice (about 1 cup dry)

  • Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle fish with 2-3 teaspoons of the blackened seasoning.  Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish.  Coat both sides of fish with the bread crumbs.
  • In a large skillet or fry pan cook fish fillets in 2 tablespoons of the hot oil over medium-low to medium heat about 6-8 minutes or until golden brown and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, carefully turning once.  Remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Add onion, sweet pepper, garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet.  Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir barley or rice and the remaining 1 teaspoon blackened seasoning into vegetable mixture; heat through. 
  • Divide mixture evenly onto 4 warmed dinner plates.  Serve fish over mixture.

Recipe Links:

Here is a great recipe for a homemade blackened seasoning.
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