Archive for July, 2015
July 29, 2015
If you want something really good, “run” over to Alessi Bakery for their new seafood basket; loaded with crispy fried shrimp, scallops, homemade devil crabs, and hand-cut fries, a real bargain for only $12.95. Tell Phil Alessi he’s got a hit on his hands.
2909 West Cypress Street
Tampa (813) 879-4544
July 29, 2015
OMG, loaded with pork tenderloin, Monterey jack, caramelized onions & sweet peppers, mushrooms, and jalapeno are perfect for dinner or any party.
- 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of any silver skin
- Dry rub (Bailey’s or your favorite)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Flour tortillas (whatever size you prefer)
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 1 large sweet onion (cut in quarters and julienne)
- 1 large sweet pepper (cut in strips)
- 3 jalapeno peppers (sliced very thin include the seeds)
- 1 pound hand shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Sour cream (add ¼ teaspoon salt to every half cup)
- 1 Haas avocado
- 1 mango (diced)
- Fresh limes
- Fresh cilantro
Rub the pork tenderloin with extra virgin olive oil and dry rub. You can find Bailey’s dry rub recipe below. Place on sheet pan and bake in a pre-heated at 450 degree oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. You want it medium with a bit of pink remaining.
Saving all the juices let the pork rest in the pan for 15 minutes. On a cutting board, slice the tenderloin in ¼” thick slices, then dice into medium size ¼” chunks. Squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice over the pork, and a sprinkle of salt – toss with the pan juices.
Saute onions in a saute pan with one tablespoon butter and one teaspoon sugar until caramelized (lightly brown and very soft). Remove from the pan.
In same pan on medium high heat, melt butter, add mushrooms and cook until soft and all the liquid is gone. Remove from the pan and saute the red peppers until soft to the bite.
STEP THREE (toppings)
Dice the avocado and toss in a bit of lime juice to keep them from browning. Dice the mango and cilantro. Thinly slice the jalapeno. Salt the sour cream. Cut limes in wedges.
ASSEMBLING & COOKING
On top of one flour tortilla layer with Monterey jack cheese, then even layers of diced pork, onions, peppers, more cheese, and jalapeno peppers (plenty of everything), and top with another flour tortilla and press. Note: these can be made a day or two ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge.
In a saute pan over medium heat, add a teaspoon or so of butter. Place the tortilla in the pan and cook until nicely browned, then flip and repeat.
Remove from pan, slice and top with ingredients – a sprig of cilantro, and serve with a wedge of fresh lime. Can be saved in an oven heated to 175 degrees for up to an hour. Best served right out of the pan.
BITE-SIE HORS D’OEUVRES
You can pre-cut the tortillas into small rounds, layer the same way, and make individual bite-size quesadillas. They can even be cooked off a day ahead – and warm in a 450 degree oven on a sheet pan for a minute or so…until hot…top each one with whatever topping you prefer – serve hot or warm.
July 23, 2015
While in New York City two weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the bakery that has taken Manhattan by storm – the Dominique Ansel Bakery. He created (and trademarked) the ever popular CRONUT. Lines were out the door and around the block just to sample one of his many fine pastries.
Dominique was a guest on my radio show Foodtalk a while back – and as soon as our cab arrived, I could readily understand why his bakery is such a success…the smell of fresh baked pastries permeated this quaint tree lined SOHO neighborhood as soon as I stepped onto the pavement.
Upon entering, I quickly realized that this was going to be a tasting tour, even though we had just devoured massive pastrami and brisket sandwiches, latkes (potato pancakes) all washed down with an Orange Julius…how New York is that? I just couldn’t let the opportunity of tasting every delicious pastry pass me by.
Of course, the cronut had to be sampled. They were out by 8:15am – when they open at 8:00am. Not to fret, for there were dozens of choices. What I like and admire about Dominique is that he bakes in shifts so everything on the shelves is no more than 4 hours old. When was the last time you have ever heard of a bakery doing that???
And by the way, his kitchen is about 8’ x 10’ – enough to house a double stack oven and a marble table. Good things sure do come in small packages.
I especially enjoyed the “baked to order” French madeleines – warm pillows of cookie & cake goodness dusted with powdered sugar. They were delightful as was our entire visit to this wonderful bakery.
Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street
New York, New York 10012
July 23, 2015
You’ll do back-flips over this succulent herb roasted bird.
Roasted chicken with root vegetables is one of my all-time favorite dinners. It is so earthy, rustic, and wonderful. I have made chicken every which way possible. This week I prepared it with an incredible fresh herb butter and a hint of lemon zest spread under the skin. I let it rest overnight, and it came out fantastic. So much so, I just had to share the recipe with you.
Please do let me know what you think.
- 1 – 3 ½ to 4 pound roasting chicken – you can go smaller or larger – smaller has more flavor
- 1 stick soft salted butter (soft, not melted)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (no stems)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- Kosher salt & freshly pepper for the top of the bird
- 4 carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 parsnips peeled and sliced
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (skins on cut in quarters)
- 1 bulb of fresh fennel (cut in quarters)
- ½ cut chardonnay
Wash the chicken (with cool tap water – no soap) and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel inside and outside of the chicken. Yes, I did have to say “no soap” for I had a friend who once washed her bird with Palmolive dish soap. No joke. Also, it is important to dry the bird for moister creates steam and you do not want to steam the bird.
Combine soft butter, herbs, lemon zest, and pepper with a fork until well blended. Lift the skin up from the breast and liberally place the butter under the skin of the chicken…not on top of the skin…under.
Cover and place in fridge and let sit for 8 hours or better overnight. This will allow the herb butter mixture to meld with the chicken and make it moist and tender.
Place the root vegetables and wine on the bottom of a cast iron skillet (or whatever oven proof skillet you have) and put the chicken on top of the vegetables. Liberally Kosher salt and pepper the top of the chicken.
Bring the chicken to room temperature for about an hour…and bake in the middle of the oven which has been pre-heated to 375 degrees. Roast the chicken until it reaches the temperature of 165 degrees…approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on how large of chicken you have. The chicken should be golden brown – if not brown enough – broil until nice and brown.
Let the chicken cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not cover.
Place the root vegetables on a platter. Slice chicken in 8 pieces and lay on top of the root vegetables. Pour pan juices over the chicken and vegetables, squeeze fresh lemon on top – sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
Slice a high quality rustic Italian bread like what you can buy at Pane Rustica – brush with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and place in a 350 degree oven until crusty and brown. Rub the crusty bread with fresh garlic as soon as it comes out of the oven. Use the bread to sop up the pan juices.
Serve with an arugula salad with tomato, thinly sliced red onion, feta cheese, and toasted pine nuts. You can use any salad dressing you desire – but I like to use some of the pan juices mixed with a bit or EVOO, fresh lemon, salt and pepper…finish with a drizzle of fine balsamic vinegar.
For dessert – how about a scoop of your favorite chocolate ice cream (mine is Haagen Dazs), and a hazelnut biscotti.
July 16, 2015
Last week while traveling through Philadelphia, I made a quick stop at the Reading Terminal Market which is a true food extravaganza. My first stop was local favorite Tommy DiNic’s for a shaved Roast Pork and Broccolini sub…but I couldn’t end my food tasting with just one sandwich.
We were in Allentown and Warrington Pennsylvania to open Bailey’s Brunch at the Carmel restaurants in those locations. While there, the chefs told me that we just had to visit Tommy DiNic’s at the Reading Terminal Market for a roast pork sub before we headed to the Philly airport on our way home this past Sunday. Never one to pass up an opportunity to taste the local fare – we did just that.
The Reading Market literally has a hundred of more food vendors serving everything from whole fresh steamed lobster, Cajun creole, homemade pastries, handmade fudge and fresh made donuts and pies…even fresh produce, cheeses and meats galore. However, the local favorite had to be Tommy Dinic’s where they are noted for their shaved fresh pork subs with broccolini and banana peppers.
While eating this delicious sub on an old wooden stool at the beat-up counter, I saw all these other delicious subs going by…and the smells were hypnotic. They only have four choices, so, of course, I ordered all four. What’s a guys supposed to do. Meatball parm, brisket, beef with peppers onions and cheese…I ate them all – washed down with a cold beer.
If you are traveling in the area – you must stop by the Reading Terminal Market – and most certainly Tommy DiNic’s.
Reading Terminal Market
Philadelphia, Pa 19107
July 16, 2015
My friend Peggy Giunta requested our Bailey’s mac and cheese recipe for her birthday present. Her husband Frank is my dentist, so I figure unless I wanted my tongue drilled, I best give it up.
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Ours is simple and really cheesy. We make it most often with American cheese (which is my favorite) but sometimes we get crazy gourmet adding all kinds of cheeses. Below are some neat and tasty variations to kick it up a notch, and I have even included our famous fried jalapeno bacon mac and cheese balls.
It’s funny, we are often asked to provide a kids table with mac and cheese and buttermilk fried chicken bites – but no matter what we served the adults, they always, (that’s ALWAYS) wander over to the kids table for that mac and cheese.
Happy birthday Peggy Giunta!!!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni (or any type pasta you prefer – shells or penne are always good)
- 4 quarts water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 stick salted butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ pounds Boars Head American cheese (buy block piece from the grocery deli and grate on box grater)
- Extra grated American cheese for the top
Boil 4 quarts water in large sauce pan. Add salt once it comes to a boil. Add macaroni stir to separate and boil for approximately 10 minutes…until al dente. Drain – do not rinse. NOTE: Pasta should always be boiled in heavily salted water. You want your pasta water to taste like the sea.
BECHAMEL: In a heavy bottom sauce pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and whisk until a roux develops and the flour taste has cooked out (do not brown). Whisk in milk and heavy cream until it is thickened. Add grated American cheese.
Taste to determine if you want to add salt and pepper. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. More often than not, I do not need to add salt. If you salted the water well enough, you shouldn’t need to add more salt for the American cheese is plenty salty.
Add the pasta to the béchamel – it will look very creamy. Place in lightly buttered casserole pan and top with extra grated American cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is crusty and golden brown.
VARIOUS CHEESE BLENDS are always tasty. And of course you can add any type of cheese you desire – gruyere, cheddar, fontina, parmesan, mozzarella, always using 1 ½ pounds to the above recipe of whatever blend of cheeses you prefer.
You can also substitute ½ cup sour cream (or crème fraiche or marscapone) instead of the heavy cream.
LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE is all the rage. I wouldn’t use American cheese if you are putting lobster in it – go with a blend of gruyere, extra sharp white cheddar, and fontina – with a dollop of crème fraiche.
TRUFFLE OIL is very strong, so if you want to add, drizzle sparingly on top – but never on the American cheese version. Better yet, break the bank and add some shaved black truffles to the top of your mac and cheese…black truffles are only $2000 a pound. If you are doing this however, I must be invited.
BACON goes great with any cheese version you so desire from American to gourmet. Also cook the bacon until crispy and mix before baking.
FRIED JALAPENO & BACON MAC & CHEESE BALLS
Our Jalapeno Bacon Mac and cheese balls are perfect hors d’oeuvre for any party…for big kids or little. Add thinly sliced jalapenos (with the seeds) and crumbled crispy bacon – as much as you desire. I like a good bit. Chill the mac and cheese.
Scoop out with a small 1 ounce ice cream scoop or spoon and roll into a ball. Roll in all-purpose flour and shake off the excess flour. Put in egg wash of 4 eggs and 3 tablespoons whole milk, then roll in panko bread crumbs.
These balls can be frozen for up to 2 months. Fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. I like to serve them with a dipping sauce made with cheese wiz combined with jalapenos – warmed in the microwave until bubbly hot.
July 02, 2015
“The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie EVER”
George Steinbrenner once told me that it was the best chocolate chip cookie he ever ate; and I hear that from people all the time. Whenever Bailey’s serve these chocolaty chocolate chip cookies at a catering event, people beg, yes beg, for the recipe. FINALLY, now you have my secret formula.
Frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love homemade, warm from the oven, chocolate chip cookies. Nestle Toll House are the standard…but through the years, I’ve tinkered with the ingredients to create my favorite cookie.
Starting with the Nestle recipe, I added whole oatmeal. At first said that was a bit much, so I ground it into a fine powder, so we’d get the flavor, but not the texture. To balance the sweet, I added a touch of cinnamon and fresh lemon juice…yes, lemon juice. I’m not sure what it does – but in my exploration I’ve made them with and without – and like it best with the hint of lemon.
Then, the chocolate…lots of chocolate – more than you will find in most chocolate chip cookies…lots more…semi-sweet, and milk chocolate. Try them out on your family this weekend, and do let me know what you think. Better yet, call me over to try them for myself.
INGREDIENTS FOR Bailey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup soften butter (not melted)
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2-1/4 cups high quality chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)
- 1-1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
- ½ cup toasted chopped pecan pieces (chop, toast on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until nicely brown – about 5 to 7 minutes)
In a food processor, grind the oatmeal until becomes a fine powder. Combine the oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk.
In an electric mixer, cream room temperature butter and sugar(s), add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and cream until smooth. Stir in flour mixture. Notice I said “stir” and not beat in flour mixture. You do not want to activate the gluten in the flour, for it could make your cookie tough. Stir in chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
Using an ice cream scoop (you select the size), scoop out cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment. Place the scoops approximately 2” apart. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.
The amount of time it takes to bake depends on two things: 1) Temperatures on ovens vary, 2) How soft do you want your cookies? Set your timer for 10 minutes, and look at them every minute or two thereafter. I like mine light golden brown, crisp on the outside and uooey-gooey-chewy on the inside.
Play with the first batch and see how long it takes to bake them in your oven your preferred way.
VARIATION # 1
Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Chip Squares
- 2 – 8 ounce packages Philadelphia brand cream cheese
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a mixer cream the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, add the eggs one at a time until well incorporated and smooth.
Press half of the cookie dough into an ungreased 9” x 13” pan – top with cream cheese filling. Since you cannot spread the cookie dough onto the cream cheese filling, break the remaining dough into pieces covering the top of the cream cheese filling. The cookie dough will evenly bake.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown – about 35 to 45 minutes. Cool completely, and cut into squares. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience.
VARIATION # 2
Chocolate Chip Cookie & Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich
- Fresh strawberries
- Haagen Dazs vanilla or strawberry ice cream
Slice fresh strawberries and place on bottom of one chocolate chip cookie. Top with ice cream, and top ice cream with more fresh strawberries – cover with another delicious homemade chocolaty chocolate chip cookie. Sit down prior to eating so you can truly enjoy the full sensation.