Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hot Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce

Let's face it, hot fresh potato chips are addictive.  Hot potato chips seasoned with salt, served with a warm blue cheese dipping sauce, and made with a quality blue cheese like Maytag (Yes, these are the folks that make your home appliances, too.)  Lord help me, because I can't stop myself.

If you are really in a pinch you can take a really good quality potato chip and heat them in your oven at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes...It's the sauce that steals the show, but I am partial to a fresh made potato chips.

Hot Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce
Serves 8
Recipe from Bobby Flay's Bar Americain

Blue Cheese Sauce

2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch of Cayenne
1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled, plus 1/4 cup for garnish

Potato Chips

4 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline
2 quarts peanut or canola oil
Kosher Salt

1.  Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.

2.  melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the warm milk and continue whisking until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Season with the salt and cayenne.  Remove from the heat and stir in the blue cheese.  If the sauce is to thick, thin with a little extra milk.

3.  Place the potato slices on a baking sheet between layers of paper towels to make sure they are very dry before frying.

4.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees F. on a deep-fat thermometer.  Fry the potatoes in small batches until golden brown on both sides, turning once, about 2 minutes.  remove with a slotted spoon and place on a brown paper bag or another baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.  Immediately season with salt.

5.  Pour the sauce into a bowl and top with the remaining 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese and the chopped chives.  Place the bowl in the center of large platter and arrange the potato chips around the bowl.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Tomatoes on the Vine

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bobby Flay Cookbook Giveaway and Vidalia Onion Soup with Blistered Vermont Cheddar-Topped with Parsley Pesto

A beautiful American twist on a French classic.  This is what makes American food not just good but great.  Sweet Vidalia onions are used and when caramelized real slow, it really intensifies their flavor.  The replacement of the traditional Gruyere cheese with a classic American sharp white Vermont cheddar, well nothing else needs to be said.  As a grand finale it's topped with a fresh parsley pesto that brings another layer of flavor and color to this hearty, delicious soup.

These days our American food is more diverse and infinitely better, and it is in part due to chefs like Bobby Flay who actively celebrate America's great flavors.

I am giving away a copy of Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook. If you are interested, leave me a comment.  I will select a winner randomly on January 28.

Vidalia Onion Soup with Blistered Vermont Cheddar
Serves 8
Recipe from Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds Vidalia onions, halved and thinly sliced (note: can be replaced with Walla Wallas from Washington or Hawaii's Maui onions)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 cups chicken stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 thin slices French baguette, lightly toasted
1 pound aged cheddar cheese, grated

1.  Melt butter with the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 40 minutes.

2.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the brandy and sherry and boil until almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the stock and thyme, bring to a simmer, and cook until the soup is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and discard the thyme.

3. Preheat the broiler.

4.  Divide eight 16-ounce ovenproof crocks between 2 baking sheets.  Put a slice of bread in the bottom of each crock.  Fill each crock until three-quarters full.  Place another slice of baguette over each soup and divide the cheese on top.  Carefully slide the crocks under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the broiler and top each with a dollop of parsley pesto.

Parsley Pesto
Makes about 3/4 cup

2 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.  Combine the parsley, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped with the motor running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube and process until combined.

2.  Add the cheese, season with salt and pepper, and pulse a few times just to incorporate.  Scrape into a bowl.  The pesto will keep for up to 2 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Tomatoes on the Vine

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dirt to Table Experience- Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish

I am smiling at myself.  There things you don't imagine yourself doing.  I have realized that there are many things that could not be imagined at some point in my life, that became a reality at another point.  Example, shoveling manure out of a wheel barrel into a garden plot and enjoying every minute.  There was a moment I  thought, "This brings new meaning to shoveling sh**".  Followed by a second brief moment, "If only my friends could see me now".  In reality, it is difficult to shake my city slicker ways, and embrace a calmer closer to the earth way of life.  I obviously crave it, as I am always seeking ways to get closer to what I value.  One of the things I value is food.

Something else I did not imagine doing was canning food.  I attempted to can a tomato salsa for my family one year.  Can you tell me what happens when you can fresh, uncooked diced tomatoes?  The pressure builds in the jar, and when you open it, it will explode.  Yes, there would have been no telling what would have happened had I proudly gave out my jars of joy to each member of my family.  My desire to can promptly came to an end.

The new reality is that I had an abundance of cabbage in my garden.  More cabbage than my family was willing to enjoy each day.  We grew it, I can't waste it!  The thought passes through my mind maybe, just maybe, I should can it.... the thought became a reality, and so I did.  With a little help from my food processor and actually following the directions, I managed to produce 10 quart size jars of something delicious.  With only a slight hesitancy, willing to share with my friends because this time I think I did it right.

Chow-Chow is a southern style relish that has long been a favorite as a topping on pinto beans, hot dogs, black-eyed peas, hamburgers, collards, and other greens.  It is really quite delicious.

Did I mention it was easy too?

Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish
Recipe from the Mountain Laurel
Makes 5-6 Jars

2 quarts shredded cabbage (1 medium head)
1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup red or green bell peppers chopped fine
2  tablespoons salt

Note: I added a hot pepper to some of my jars to add a spicy kick.

Combine the chopped vegetables and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand in the refrigerator 4-6 hours.  Drain well.

Combine the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a large enough pot to mix the vegetables in later.

2 cups vinegar
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed

Add vegetables to vinegar-spice mixture and simmer another 10 minutes.  Bring to boil then pack, boiling hot into heated canning jars, leaving only 1/8-inch head space.  Place canning lids and rings on jars, and tighten.

Turn the jars upside down so that all the heat is on the seals.  Don't turn the jars upright until the jars are completely cool.


Note: If you would like to share a Dirt to Table Experience as a guest blogger on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email.  I would love to share your experience.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip

Not exactly "clean eating"  but, oh so good. Perfect for scooping with chips or bread, dipping with veggies and enjoying with a cold beer, or not.

Warm and Creamy Bacon Dip
Serves 12
Recipe from Daisy Brand

8-ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
3 ounces cooked bacon, crumbled or bacon bits
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup chopped green onion

Bring cream cheese to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine all the ingredients.   Place in 1-quart baking dish.  Cover.  Heat 25-30 minutes or until hot.  Serve with sliced French bread, crackers and/chips.

Note:  Dip may also be placed in hollowed round sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated too 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Jennifurla

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ultimate Best-Ever Meatloaf and Roasted Smashed Potatoes

Let's cozy up with Comfort food, shall we? 

Instead of the typical mashed potatoes let's go for SMASHED Potatoes

We need a vegetable to complete the meal....How about fresh from the garden steamed broccoli to round out the meal?

Best Ever Meatloaf with Barbecue Glaze
Makes 1 loaf
Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home

For the meatloaf, whisk:
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup crushed seasoned croutons

3/4 cup onion
3 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons each diced carrot and celery, and chopped fresh parsley

1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground chuck
4 tablespoons purchased barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Glaze, Whisk:
4 tablespoons purchased barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a loaf pan with foil or baking sheet.

For the meatloaf, whisk together milk and egg in a small bowl; add croutons and set aside.

Mince onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and parsley in a mini-food processor.

Combine  crouton mixture, onion mixture, chuck, pork, 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Form mixture into a loaf; place on prepared baking sheet or loaf pan.  Bake 15 minutes.

For the glaze, whisk 4 tablespoon barbecue sauce 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl; brush on loaf after 15 minutes of baking.

Bake loaf until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 160 degrees, about 20 minutes more.  Let loaf rest  10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6

12-15 small baby red potatoes
6-8 tablespoons Olive oil
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Place potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt.  Cover potatoes with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Test potatoes for doneness (note: this can be done by poking a skewer through the foil to test the potatoes).  When the potatoes are ready Uncover, and bake 15 minutes until crispy.

Remove potatoes from the oven. Take another large rimmed baking sheet, bottom side down, and flatten the roasted potatoes.



As for the garden broccoli, you probably don't need a recipe.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Juice of a Few Flowers Cocktail

This is a fun, festive and some would even say an elegant cocktail. A perfect cocktail for entertaining in the winter when citrus fruit is at its peak.

Juice of a Few Flowers
Makes 4 drinks
Recipe from Ina Garten

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (1 grapefruit)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/4 freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1 cup good vodka, such as grey Goose or Finlandia
Extra lemon juice
Granulated sugar
Fresh mint sprigs

Combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice, and vodka in a pitcher.  Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses first in a dish with lemon juice and then in a dish with sugar.

Set aside to dry.

When ready to serve, place ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, add the cocktail mixture to fill the shaker three-quarters full, and shake for about 30 seconds.  It's important to shake for a full 30 seconds to get the drink very cold and dilute it slightly with the ice.   Pour into the sugared martini glasses and garnish with  a sprig of mint.  Continue filling the shaker with ice and cocktail mixture until all the drinks are poured.  Serve ice-cold.

Note: If you want your drinks extra-cold, you can freeze the martini glasses before serving.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Anthony Baglino

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dirt to Table Experience- Clean Eating-Roasted Kale Chips

Happy New Year to you! May 2012 bring you peace and happiness.

My resolution this year, it is to SIMPLIFY.  I joked with a friend who also was making her resolutions, and she said that climbing Mt. Everest may be easier (laugh).  I am not sure what simplifying means exactly for me except that I want to focus on what I enjoy more often, on what I don't, less often.

I do enjoy gardening.  Gardening is obviously is an extension of my food obsession. You should not get the impression that I have a clue as to what I am doing in the garden only that I love the feel of my hands in the dirt, and that gardening is therapeutic. More importantly, the idea that the food that we grow is brought directly from our dirt to my family or friends table is a soulful experience. I am hooked.

Kale is one of the vegetable greens that have done really well in our garden.  Kale is often referred to as a superfood. Loaded with vitamins and anti-oxidants. I was not sure initially what my reaction to kale would be, but I  have been surprised at its mild flavor.  Fresh kale takes very little effort to make it delicious. A little pepper, salt and garlic sauteed in olive oil....well you can decide for yourself.  If you have read my previous garden post on Kohlrabi by God, if it grows well, it will be planted! Which means I have plenty of kale in the garden too.

This time kale is going to a different level with the preparation of kale chips. Surprisingly pretty damn good. If you are feeling like a holiday slug just surfacing from your food coma-toss the potato chips, take a whack at these chips.

Fresh Kale from the garden- Is that amazing?

Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, wash throughly and spin dry.  Toss your fresh kale in olive oil and sea salt.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Lay out the kale in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.

Kale chips are surprisingly light and flavorful with the addition of sea salt and olive oil.


If you would like to share your dirt to table experience as a guest blogger on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email.