Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fathers' Day Dinner

For Fathers' Day this year Denis and I planned a huge feast for both our families. I got most of the menu from the It makes it so easy to plan a meal because there are so many great chefs in one place. Denis and I definitely worked as a team for this dinner. For one, as I've mentioned before, I am afraid of the charcoal grill so he did all the grilling. And while I was setting up the table-scape, he made the most delish potato salad I have ever had. I've never made one of Robert Irvine's recipes but this one was addicting! If you only make one of these recipes on the menu that is the one I recommend the most, although, everything else was pretty delicious too. I had never deep fried anything before because all that hot oil makes me nervous, but Ina's onion rings were really easy and came out as a pretty good pairing with the grilled flank steak. All the recipes below our for about 4-6 servings but for our dinner I doubled everything and it still tasted great.

On the Menu:
Red Wine-Rosemary Grilled Flank Steak
Bobby Flay
Serves 4


3 cups dry red wine
4 small sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 gloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2 pound) flank steak
salt and freshly ground pepper


To prepare the steak: Place the wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic and olive oil in a large ziplock bag. The recipe suggests to put it in a large shallow baking dish, but I really think it gets all over the meat in a ziplock bag. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat the grill, remove the meat from the marinade, season both sides with salt and pepper to taste and grill 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Let sit 5 minutes and slice against the grain.

Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings
Barefoot Contessa at Home
Serves 4 to 6


2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
2 cups buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
1 quart vegetable oil


Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot with help you maintain the proper temperature.) Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remain crisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Potato Salad
Robert Irvine
Serves 4 to 6


2 pounds small red potatoes scrubbed and quartered
1 pound bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
6 scallions, chopped in 1/4-inch segments
1 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped


Place potatoes in cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat to medium, letting them cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. In a skillet, saute bacon on low heat until crispy. Place bacon on a paper towel and discard the grease. Drain the potatoes, but DO NOT rinse them under cold water, rather let them cool for about 6 to 8 minutes on a sheet pan. In a small bowl combine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, scallions, onion, sugar, and salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and sprinkle bacon and hard boiled eggs over them. Then fold mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes and serve at room temperature.

Dijon-Lemon Vinaigrette
Yield: 2/3 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)


3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. I used a hand held blender to mix, but you can also put it in a closed container and shake to combine. Store in refrigerator. Toss over 2 cups mixed greens when ready to serve.

Roasted Garlic Butter Bread
By: Me
Serves 4-6
Baguette, sliced on a diagonal
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese

Put the oven on broil, high. Line the slices baguette on a baking sheet. Combine oil, salt, and pepper and brush both sides of bread. Toast in the broiler 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, squeeze pulp out of the garlic cloves and combine with the stick of butter, mix well. Remove toast from the oven spread roasted garlic butter on toast and top with cheese. Put back in the broiler for 5-7 minutes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

I love pepperoni pizza so when I was reading April's issue of Everyday I wanted to make this recipe immediately, but I didn't have an occasion. So when my Mom asked me to make an appetizer for the after the Golf Outing party I decided on these. Part of the reason I went with this recipe was because I needed to make them the night before. I didn't end up freezing them, I only put them in the fridge over night and reheated them the next evening. The magazine suggests to freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag. When you are ready to serve them, bake the frozen puffs on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine


3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces pepperoni, cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 red bell pepper, sliced


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the batter and divide amoung the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 tablespoon basil. Sprinkle the puffs with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil. Serve the puffs and red pepper slices with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach

Risotto is one of my favorite things to eat but it is not always one of my favorite things to make, purely for the fact that you need to constantly stir and add broth slowly. I think this risotto recipe came out the best that I've made so far. It was creamy and low-fat. I changed the recipe a little to save some more time, Cooking Light has a recipe for homemade chicken stock in their recent magazine to go with the risottos in the issue, but I opted for the can. The combo of the crispy bacon with the mushrooms and the asiago cheese was so yummy. My cousin Kelsie came to dinner that night and we had a blast, maybe a little too much fun!

Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach
Cooking Light May 2010
Serves 5 ( 1 1/4 cup per serving )

4 to 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock ( I always end up adding more broth then necessary so I like to have extra if it still doesn't look done)
6 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 ounces oyster musrooms, sliced
1 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice or other medium -grain rice (I have used both types but for this I used Arborio)
1/3 cup Madiera wine or dry sherry
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a small sauce pan (do not boil); keep warm over low heat.

2. Heat a large Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon. Add shallots, oil, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms; cook 8 minutes, stir occasionally. Add rice, and cook 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in Madiera; cook 1 minute or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup stock; cook 4 minutes or until the liquid in nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock , 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in spinach; cook 1 minutes. Remove from heat stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with bacon about 1 tablespoon each serving.

NOTE: Denis added a few shrimp to his dinner. And I served the risotto with an arugula salad and a lemon dressing.

Patrick J Milde Golf Outing Cookies

The PJM Golf Outing was last Friday, June 11th and my Mom asked me to make some cookies for the after party. So I made some cookies with the Patrick J Milde Foundation logo.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A few of my favorite things....Summer Grilling and Entertaining!

So in honor of the unofficial start of the grilling season 2 weeks ago I've found some great outdoor entertaining and grilling items.

Pier 1 Imports

I am obsessed with this dip bowl and it has a matching condiment serving set too. So cute!!

Crate and Barrel

I love when restaurants serve french fries in cute little holders. These are so fun for outdoor entertaining. And pretty festive for a 4th of July BBQ!

I can not wait to have a house and a backyard so I can buy all these cute outdoor accessories! Every time we have a party I wish we had one of these, great for outdoor and indoor get-togethers.

I just love these hurricanes! These would be so great to set the mood for an outdoor dinner party.

Lillian Vernon

I am a sucker for these type of servers! Check out this BBQ Condiment Set!


This collection of servers and accessories for outdoor dining is great from Williams-Sonoma. I really like the Blond color but the darker brown color is really nice too.

More Graduation Cookies

It's definitely that time of year! More graduation parties. My cousin Tim graduated from college at Virginia Wesleyan and my cousin Megan graduated from Loch Raven High School. My Aunt asked me to make some cookies with their mascots on them, VW is the marlins and and LRHS are the raiders. Congrats Tim and Megan!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Grilled Corn on the Cob

Yesterday morning I was watching the Food Network and there was a Bobby Flay Grill It! marathon on so I was craving something grilled for dinner. And since it was Memorial Day it seemed like a natural thing to do. We actually have his Grill It! cookbook so Denis and I decided on a grilled chicken, potatoes and grilled corn. It was delish!

I am slightly scared of the grill especially since the one we have is charcoal. So this was a combined effort between Denis and I. My sister Aileen came over for dinner with her boyfriend Matty P. They always seem to be my taste testers when I try something new.

For this post I actually took some prep pictures as well because there was a lot of steps and a few different recipes. I also substituted white potatoes for the fingerlings because the supermarket did not have them in stock, but I've provided the original recipe below. I've included the instructions for perfectly grilled corn and how to roast garlic as well.

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
Bobby Flay Grill It!
Serves 4

12 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher Salt
4 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breasts
6 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Fresh oregano sprigs, for garnish

1. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with salted cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until a pairing knife inserted into the potatoes comes out with some resistance, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not cook the potatoes all the way through because they will continue cooking on the grill. Drain well, and when cool enough to handle slice in half lengthwise. (We didn't end up cutting the potatoes in half until after they were cooked because I was worried about them falling thru the grill grates.)

2. Heat your grill to medium. Since we were using a charcoal grill we had one side of the grill with more charcoal so it was higher heat and the other side with less coals so it was a lower heat.

3. Brush the chicken and potatoes with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. A few minutes before the chicken has finished cooking, place the potatoes on the grill, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling about a minute longer.

4. Remove the chicken and potatoes to a platter and immediately drizzle with the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette. Tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano sprigs.

Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette
Makes approximately 1 cup

8 cloves roasted garlic (instructions below)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the garlic, vinegar, honey, oregano, salt and chile flakes in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until emulsified. The vinaigrette can be made 1 day in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

To roast garlic
Heat your grill to medium or preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Separate the cloves of a head of garlic but do not peel them. Put the cloves on a square of heavy duty aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Wrap the garlic in the foil and put on the grates of the grill or oven. Close the grill cover and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the garlic is soft. We cooked it in the oven for 50 minutes and it came out perfect. Remove from the heat. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Roasted garlic can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Perfectly Grilled Corn
Bobby Flay Grill It!!
Serves 4

8 ears of corn
Kosher Salt

1. Heat your grill to medium. Again we used a charcoal grill.

2. Pull the outer husks down each ear to the stalk end. Stripe away the silk from each ear of corn by hand . Fold the husks back into place and tie the ends together with kitchen string.
3. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover, and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until kernels are tender when pierced with a pairing knife. (Since we were using the charcoal grill, and we needed to make sure we didn't burn them, we placed the corn over the side of the grill that had less coals.)

5. Remove the husks from the cobs before eating the corn.