Knife and Fork Burger

I was inspired recently by a blogger whose blog is called No Recipes today. ” My philosophy on cooking is that it’s 50% technique, 40% inspiration and 10% ingredients”, a quote from No Recipe’s blog master, Marc Matsumoto.  I haven’t actually had an opportunity to make any of Marc’s dishes, but in a way that is the point. His philosophy is one that I’ve been trying to grapple with more and more over the years.  Personally a surprisingly difficult process.  I’m a little addicted to cookbooks and I more often than not follow recipes and remain extremely envious of those creative and brave people like Marc who just ‘do’.  Well, today I decided to make lunch without thinking.  It worked for me, maybe this recipe won’t sit well with everybody, but darn it, I thought it was good.  My main ingredient was ground beef (86%) that was about to get funky, and I was really hungry so I didn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen reinventing the wheel; burger time.  I had mushrooms and chevre that needed using and spinach in the garden – although I would have preferred arugula.  I had also given the chickens the last of the hamburger buns, so the only thing bread-y left was english muffin.  My Knife and Fork Burger is born.

Serves 1

¼ pound of ground beef

½ cup rough chopped mushrooms

1 cup rough chopped fresh spinach or arugula

2 tablespoons plain chevre

1 half of an english muffin

1 tablespoon softened butter, devided

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, devided

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat a well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Form a patty with the ground beef and salt and (lots of) pepper both sides.  Toast the english muffin.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and butter in the pan.  Once the butter is melted add your patty and cover with a lid (preferably glass).  Once browned, flip and brown the other side.  Cook the patty until desired doneness.  Remove the patty and cover loosely with foil.  Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan, you may need to reduce the heat a bit.  Once the mushrooms are browned, add the spinach or arugula until wilted.  Add salt and pepper and the remaining butter.  Lightly butter the toasted muffin and top loosely with spinach and mushrooms.  Sprinkle the chevre on the mushroom mixture and top with the cooked patty.  Drizzle remaining olive oil over the burger.

Lemon and Rose Scented Geranium Pudding

Heavenly...

Lemon Posset (aka pudding) is refreshingly clean, yet slightly rich dessert perfect for warmer days.  The scented geranium is optional but it does add that lovely mysterious flavor that no one can put their finger on.  Most larger nurseries carry scented culinary geraniums.  (And many of you will know by now, if I’m posting using a geranium in the dish, it was a recipe from Ballymaloe Cooking School).

serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

400ml (1 3/4 cups) heavy whipping cream

100g (scant 1/2 cup) caster or granulated sugar

5 leaves of rose scented geranium (optional)

50ml (2fl oz) lemon juice

Place the cream, sugar and geranium leaves in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.  Turn down the heat to low and cook for five minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and discard geranium leaves.  Add lemon juice, stirring to fully incorporate.  Pour into 4 small dessert bowls and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

We served these during our friends Teri and Jay’s visit from Orcas Island.  Orcas Island is a stone’s throw from Lopez yet unless you have your own boat getting back and forth on the Ferry takes some time.  Fortunately the ferries that service our islands are a relaxing and social way to commute!

Hot Whiskey Crepes with Raspberries

This quick elegant dessert hits so many flavor points.  It’s hot, tart, citrusy, creamy, and slightly sweet.  Delicious!

serves 2-4

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour

pinch of fine salt

1 large egg

⅔ cup milk

2 teaspoons peanut oil (or other high-temp oil)

1 ¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons whiskey

1 ¼ cups fresh raspberries

confectioner’s sugar for dusting

creme fraiche

Method:

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and crack the egg into the well.  Gradually add the milk and whisk into a smooth batter.

Heat a 9″ non-stick pan over medium heat.  Add a little peanut oil to the pan and carefully wipe most of it out with a paper towel (repeat this step before adding each addition of batter if necessary).   Pour approximately 2 ounces of batter (¼ cup) to the pan and swirl to coat as evenly as possible.  Cook for about 1 minute – the batter will begin to show signs of cooking.  Go ahead, loosen the sides and take a peek!  If the underside is browning slightly, it’s time to turn.  So far my method for this is to loosen the edges, grab the crêpe (and the side of the hot pan), cuss, wrangle the crêpe with the spatula and eventually get it to the other side.  Cook for about a minute more, looking for golden brown patches.  Rustic yet elegant, no?  Oui.  Place each cooked crêpe on a plate and set aside.  There should be 4 unless you’ve dropped one or stuck it to the ceiling with a mighty flip attempt.

Pour orange juice, honey and butter to the pan.  Simmer for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, letting the flavors amalgamate.  Remove from heat and add the whiskey.  Place the pan back on the heat and reduce the temperature to low.

Fold each crêpe in half and then in half again making a triangle.  Place each wedge in the pan with the point meeting in the center (so they all fit and show off your geometric prowess).  Let them simmer in the sauce about 1 minute and then carefully turn them.

Plate the crêpes using a spatula.  Pour some juices over the top and add raspberries, sugar and creme fraiche.

(modified from Ryland Peters & Small)

Hawaiian Ono Poke’

nephew Grant holding our dinner

Ono, also known as wahoo or peto is a delicious saltwater sporting fish found in warm waters.  The flesh of the fish is mild and is easily adapted to various cooking (or non cooking) methods such as grilling, braising, sashimi,  and Hawaiian poke’.  There are as many poke’s as there are Texas chili’s, but this particular mixture went over very well in our group.

serves 4-6


I pound sashimi grade Ono, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons Maui onion, minced

1-2 tablespoons quality mayonnaise

1 tablespoon flying fish roe (tobiko)

Sriracha sauce to taste


Combine cut fish and mayonnaise.  Add onion and Sriracha tasting for heat.  Gently stir in roe until combined.  Chill for 1 hour.

Ono Poke'



Upright & Outtasite Cornish Game Hen

'juiced' and ready to cook


Crispy on the Outside & Juicy on the Inside

Beer Can Chicken has been around for a while and is still very popular – the reason being it’s a fantastic way to prepare the humble bird or it’s relation the cornish game hen.  We use game hens when we cook for two.  The method is the same with only a few tweaks.  The most obvious one being the size of the can that the bird ‘sits’ on.  A normal beer or soda can is perfect for most chickens, but we found a smaller can such as an energy drink or cold coffee drink can works well with the smaller game hens.


serves 2


1 cornish game hen, cleaned inside and out

1 can sized to fit the bottom hole of the bird

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1 tablespoon herbs de provence

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Preheat oven to 350° or prepare grill with lid to 350°.  If using an oven, move the rack low enough to accommodate the upright (and Outtasite) bird on the can.  Drain the liquid from the can and rinse.  Fill the can only halfway with water, beer, or soda.  The flavor of the liquid is pretty much indiscernible after cooking.  Place the can on a small sheet pan. Dry the hen inside and out with paper towels and tuck the wingtips behind the back.  Rub oil on the outside and season with herbs and spices.  Carefully mount the bird on top of the half filled can.  For the oven, keep the bird on the sheet pan to cook.  For the grill, place the hen with the can directly on the BBQ grill and cover with a lid.

Roast or grill for approximately 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°.


Spicy Mango Wings & Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

A few bottled products are used for these dishes, not necessarily as shortcuts-although welcome, but because they add a truly unique flavor boost!


serves 4 as main or 6 as appetizer

For the Wings:

8 chicken wings

5 ounces of PickaPeppa Spicy Mango Sauce (not so spicy actually)

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat (toaster) oven to 350°. Place wings in a sealable container, add sauce and salt and mix thouroughly.  Let marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick spray and line with foil.  Spray the top of the foil with non-stick spray as well.  Place the wings on the sheet pan so they don’t touch.  Bake wings for about 3o minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare or preheat the BBQ for a 2 station area – one at about 300° and the other about 350°.  Your shrimp will cook over the 300° and your chicken will brown over the 350° area.


For the Shrimp:

8 extra large or jumbo shrimp (26/30 or 21/25)

8 strips of bacon, thick cut

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

salt and pepper

8 toothpicks, soaked in water


Preheat (toaster) oven to 400°.  Place a wire rack into a rimmed pan and lay the strips of bacon on the rack.  Bake the bacon for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Add a grind or two of pepper.  Turn bacon over and brush with maple syrup, adding more pepper.  Bake for another 3 minutes. Place bacon maple side up on paper towels.  The bacon should be soft, pliable and just about cooked through.  Cool.

Remove the shells and de-vine shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each shrimp with maple bacon and secure with a soaked toothpick.


When your BBQ is ready, place the wings over your hotter station and the shrimp on the cooler one.  Watch, and turn each piece so that it browns but doesn’t burn, moving if necessary.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Use Patak’s® Medium Mango Relish as a dip for both the wings and the shrimp.

far tastier than it appears! Patak's Mango

The Patak’s® Mango Relish medium is actually pretty darn spicy so a little can go a long way.  It’s intense and very unique flavor adds an amazing dimension to many dishes.

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#mce_temp_url#

Summer Splash Limoncello – the ‘Quick’ Version


So delightfully fresh, so deceptively strong - Salute!

‘Limoncello-ians’ all have their special spin on how to make the best concoction, but this particular version is comparatively quick and straight forward – still very buonissimo!

(this lemon liqueur takes time to ferment; you’ll need 2 weeks of down time)

Pour eight cups of good vodka into a 16 cup capacity container with tight fitting lid.  Peel the rind from approximately 6 lemons, taking care not to include the white ‘pithy’ part of the fruit (pith is very bitter) – a vegetable peeler may work best.  Once you have peeled 1 cup of rind, plop them into your container of vodka.  Give the container a swirl or two and place the lid on the top.  Keep this mixture out of direct light and in a cool place (basement like – not fridge like).  Do not open the lid during the 2 weeks so the fermentation is faster and more consistent.

Once your 2 weeks are up, remove all the rind and loose bits from the container using a long fork or pigtail (or strain through a cheesecloth).  Make a simple syrup using a 1:1 ratio for a sweet mix or a 1:2 mix for less sweet (our preference).  For a 1:2 mix, pour 3 cups of white granulated sugar into a pot and and add 6 cups of water.  On medium heat dissolve the sugar completely.  Let cool and add the sugar water to your vodka mix.  Stir to combine and chill in the freezer for about an hour.  Serve in small chilled glasses.  Delizioso!

A friendly word of caution: You can quickly go from sipping judiciously while chatting politely to singing ‘That’s Amore’ at the top of your lungs while your hosts drag you to the door.