Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 4th Weekend YUM-O Food!!

We did nothing but eat the weekend Laura was here for July 4th!!

Weber’s Real Grilling Grilled Crab Cakes
1 ripe mango, about 1 lb, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 medium red onion. finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Crab Cakes
3/4 pound fresh, frozen or canned lump crab meat
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, white and light green parts, minced
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper

To make the salsa: in a medium bowl combine the salsa ingredients. Mix well and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours until flavors blend.

Drain the crab meat in a sieve. In a medium bowl, flake the meat with a fork and discard any shells or cartilage that might remain. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing gently but thoroughly. Shape into 12 small cakes. Place cakes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm enough for the grill.

Grill over direct high heat until the bread crumbs are toasted, 6-8 minutes, turning once with spatula very carefully. Serve warm with salsa spooned on top.

There was also steak, bread and zucchini. But, really, who cares about that?

Also that weekend we had smoked ribs, caprese kabobs and Mexican street corn (inspired by our corn the week before in New York City) Dos Caminos. The ribs I smoked for about 5 hours with a rub and then threw them on the grill with sauce to finish them off. The kabobs Laura put together with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. She finished those off with a balsamic glaze made by simply reducing balsamic vinegar on the stove. The Mexican Street Corn was kind a a creation made by looking a various recipes online and throwing together what I had on hand. I grilled the delicious sweet white corn to start. Then spread on a mixture of sour cream, a dash of heavy cream to loosen things up, chili power, garlic, chipotle puree, salt and pepper. Finally topped the hot corn with a squeeze of lime juice and grate queso fresco. OMG it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. Best thing I ate all weekend HANDS DOWN. (notice the paper towel and beer. Both necessary).

All I can add to this is that I've never had Mexican street corn before this. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious corn can be. The crab cakes were awesome, too.  Honestly, the whole weekend of food and fireworks was perfect. Especially since I got to throw together some skewers and Meredith did all the hard stuff.  I'm sure she knew that I was too drunk to cook.  Hey, where's the rum punch recipe?

Holy Chipotle Meatloaf Batman!

A friend of mine turned me on to a place around here that makes food for you. It’s not a restaurant - it’s a take home and heat kind of joint (Cena). I was looking through their menu and came across their “most requested” entree: Chipotle Meatloaf. That sent me on an internet search for the BEST Chipotle Meatloaf. Without a doubt Luna Cafe delivered with this. This was beyond a doubt the best meatloaf I’ve ever had for starters. And if you dig a little further they suggest a Potatao, Yam, Garlic, Smoke Cheddar Gratin Mashed Potato something to accompany it. I did a mash-up of the mashed potato and the gratin. OMG DELICIOUS. It was even better the next day. I sent plates home with my parents who happened to stop by. Mom called a month later to get the recipe. It’s a keeper. It might even be a once a weeker. (Luna Cafe’s pics are WAY better!!)

I love meatloaf. It's comforting and cozy and reminds me of when we all used to sit down together at the dinner table. Meatloaf gets some sort of bad rap but it shouldn't. Next time the family rolls their eyes at the thought of meatloaf, surprise them with this recipe. They won't be disappointed. I know I wasn't. It's just as comforting as I remember meatloaf to be with the added benefit of being more modernized. I agree with Meredith that it was so much better the second day. I'm thinking I might make this again real soon and just freeze individual portions of it. Who am I kidding? It won't make it to the freezer this time, either!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Burgers MY Way

I am iffy on burgers. I rarely crave them. When I do, It’s satisfied with just a regular homemade grilled burger. This day I made Chipotle Burgers with an Avocado Cream Sauce.

1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tbs minced chipotle with adobo
1/2 diced onion
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Mix all burger components together and form into patties. Grill to desired doneness. 

Avocado Cream Sauce
1 avocado
1/2 Mexican Crema
1 tsp lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients into food processor and mix until smooth.

Pico de gallo
Grilled Vidalia Onions
Grilled ciabatta with olive oil and salt & pepper
Grill both after burgers come off

I’m so glad I sought out the quality sirloin. I think that it made all the difference in these burgers. Or else it was the chipotle kick that I’m on these days. In any case, this was a super delicious burger. 100% juicy, full of flavor and messy like a good burger should be. I had mine with some grilled sweet potato fries FTW.

In an attempt to go low carb, I made bunless Portobello Burgers. When making veggie burgers, make sure you drain all the extra liquid out of the vegetables or you'll wind up with a soggy mess! That's my tip of the day. Also, TVP is just vegetarian crumbles.  I used Morningstar Meal Starters.

The burgers cooked up crispy and I thought they had a ton of flavor.  I really enjoyed eating them.  It almost made me sad to give two away to my sister. They're a little time consuming to make, but honestly, they tasted way better than any of those frozen vegetarian patties that I've tried.

Also, you're going to want to try this Bean Salad. It was the perfect match for the burger.

Carne Asada

I went to 1,000,000 stores to find skirt steak this week. I have to say it may have been worth the searching. We made Carne Asada from Simply Recipes. Turns out it was pretty simple! It’s a very basic marinade that gives HUGE flavor to a wonderful cut of beef. I tossed my meat on a super hot grill for for about 7 minutes total time and then let it rest before cutting it across the grain about 5 minutes later. I used the grill to warm my corn tortillas – almost turning them into hard taco shells. After topping them with shredded cheese and a quick homemade pico de gallo, they were ready to eat!

Skirt steak is not cheap, so my first piece of advice would be to buy it when it's on sale THEN make the carne asada. I used my cast iron skillet for the steak. It worked really well, but I think at some point, I want to buy a grill pan.

My second piece of advice would be to let the steak marinate for as long as possible.The flavor was really great, but I didn't get to marinate for the entire four hours. I bet it would have made the flavors way more intense.

Over all, this was a really great meal. It was very tasty and filling. I'd make carne asada again, but I'd like to experiment with different recipes.

Guy Fieri’s Coyote Quesadillas

This was a joint cooking attempt/venture since we were in the same place at the same time. I (Meredith) came to visit Laura in May at some point and we made THESE Coyote Quesadillas!

Holy crap they were good! After almost burning down Laura’s apartment, we turned out some pretty good food. I learned that #1 DON’T BLACKEN THINGS unless you're prepared for it. Man that’s a lot of smoke! and #2 Quit being so bossy. I’m kind of a terror in the kitchen – even if it’s not mine.

Since it’s been 2 months since we made these I can only *kind* of remember all the flavors. I know that I loved it and had seconds. I also know that it was a LOT of food. Have friends over. They will love you.

I think Meredith's always known she was bossy (in the kitchen). I also think that had she not had so much Sangria, she might not have smoked out my apartment. That's really not here or there . . .

These quesadillas were delicious! I was really happy to have extra black bean salsa. The chicken was flavored really well, too.  I'd definitely make these again.  Or, make them the first time, depending on your side of the story.