Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 19: Philly Cheese w/ Jalapeno

Today I'm burning through some leftovers in the fridge. Tri-tip just seems to get better after sitting in the fridge for a few days. I usually don't like leftovers, but I will cook a tri-tip just to have the leftover sandwich meat. I'm using whatever cheese I have in my fridge, which happens to be parmesan, a little gruyere, and a little cream cheese. Steak and cheese go together so well by themselves....then try adding caramelized sweet onions and peppers....adding jalapeno for a kicker....and throwing all that into a nice toasted roll....this is how to do leftovers! It's really kind of impossible to mess up this classic sandwich. As long as you have some good bread, meat and cheese, and top it with carmelized've got it covered. Cheese can be a fairly sensitive subject when it comes to Philly Cheese....I'm not too long as there's a lot and it's melted, I'm happy. The one thing I do believe will set your Philly Cheese apart from any other is a killer hot sauce. Tabasco just won't cut it...Frank's is a good choice.

1. leftover tri-tip
2. parmesan
3. gruyere
4. cream cheese
4. sweet onion
5. yellow pepper
6. mushrooms
7. jalapeno
8. olive oil (1 tbs.)
9. butter (1 tbs.)
10. ciabatta roll


1. Chop up the tri-tip into bite size pieces.
2. grate the parmesan and gruyere.
3. mix these together with the cream cheese, and warm in the oven at 350.
4. fry onions and peppers in 1 tbs. olive oil till brown (10 min.)
5. add mushrooms, jalapeno, and garlic.
6. fry another 2-3 minutes.
7. toast bread
8. assemble
9. enjoy

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day18: Beer Battered, Fried Macaroni and Cheese

Today I’m frying up some leftover macaroni & cheese. I’ve always wanted to try this, so here goes…. I only had one minor fire, and seven magic macaroni and cheese nuggets….so I would say I won the battle! The beer batter was super easy to mix up, and inexpensive as well. Once I got a consistent temperature with the oil, I was a frying fool! I even cut up some sweet onion slices and made onion rings.

1. pale ale (6 oz.)
2. finely grated parmesan (1/4 cup)
3. flour (1 cup)
4. eggs (2)
5. olive oil (1 tbs.)
6. sea salt (1/2 tsp.)
7. baking powder (1/2 tsp.)
8. leftover mac & cheese (from day 17)


1. whisk together 1/2 pale ale, parmesan, flour, eggs, olive oil, baking powder and salt.
2. dip cold balls of leftover macaroni into flour to coat.
3. dip into beer batter.
4. deep fry in 450 degree oil.
5. try not to burn the place down.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 17: Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever! (part II)

I’m back on mac today!….it’s been a week since I’ve touched the stuff….but I just can’t stay away! I’ve been having dreams of melted cheeses. Aged sharp cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss gruyere, and aged parmesan, mixed in with bits of crispy pancetta, layers or fresh tomato, a buttery crusted top of bread crumbs and crushed ritz crackers. I was so pumped on this recipe the first time, that I wanted to make sure I got the proportions just right. This macaroni and cheese could very well be, my new favorite dish of all time!

I buy the 8 oz. packages of Tillamook extra sharp cheddar, and pepper jack. Whatever I don’t use will be bagged up and saved for another batch or another recipe such as Philly cheese sandwiches, stuffed mushrooms, or some killer omelets later in the week. Cheese is the most expensive item in this dish, so don’t trip out when you spend $20 on cheese, just to begin this recipe. You will get your money’s worth in the end. There’s no need to spend more than $7 per pound on any one of these cheeses. I go to Trader Joes for the gruyere and parmesan….these are both under $7 per pound there.

I’ve found that cheddar is the basis of the cheese mixture. A good sharp cheddar will give your mac n’ cheese a strong flavor as well as a bright color. The younger a cheddar is, the milder and softer it will be….as an older cheddar will have a more tangy bite and be crumbly. I use a 15 month aged Tillamook. The pepper jack gives the dish a distinctive layer of heat and creaminess that won’t go unnoticed. The Gruyere is a 6 month aged cheese, that rounds everything out and acts like the mediator (if these four cheeses were to get in a fight). It’s got just the right amount of creaminess and nuttiness to balance everything out. Finally, I use a 10 month aged parmesan (No need to go with the $20 per pound parmesano reggiano). Parmesan will bring in a stringy texture to the dish, as well as a nutty and crisp flavor.

Ingedients: (2 servings) total cost: $9
1. unsalted butter(4 tbs.)
2. flour (1/3 cup)
3. whole milk (1 cup)
4. dried basil (3 leaves)
5. sharp cheddar (4 oz.)
6. pepper jack (3 oz.)
7. gruyere (3 oz.)
8. parmesan (2 oz.)
9. cubed pancetta (handful)
10. penne pasta (1 cup)
11. cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp.)
12. dried herb mix w/ sea salt (1/2 tbs.)
13. sea salt (pinch)
14. pepper (pinch)
15. tomato
16. bread crumbs (1/8 cup)
17. crushed ritz crackers (1/8 cup)
18. unsalted butter (1 tbs.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring 1 qt. water to a boil.
3. Warm (don’t boil) 1 cup of milk in small saucepan with 3 bay leaves.
4. Grate all four types of cheese.
5. Fry up the pancetta in ½ tbs. olive oil till brown, and set aside.
6. Boil penne cooking 2 min. short of box directions.
--- 3 burners photo/milk/pasta/pancetta ---
7. Drain the penne pasta in cold water and set aside.
8. Melt 4 tbs. of unsalted butter in a large sauté pan.
9. Add 1/3 cup of flour and whisk until thick.
10. Add the warm milk and whisk until thick.
--- roux photo ---
11. Remove from the heat and fold in the grated cheese mixture.
12. Mix in the pasta, pancetta, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, sea salt, and pepper.
13. Pour this mixture into a clay dish.
--- sliced tomatos on top photo ---
14. Slice half the tomato, and dice the other half.
15. Spread the diced tomato across the top of the dish, then layer the slices on top of that.
16. Melt 1 tbs. of unsalted butter, and mix into the bread crumbs and ritz crackers.
17. Spread this mix onto the top of the tomatoes.
18. Bake for 25 min. or until the cheese starts to bubble on the edges of the dish.
19. Remove and let sit for 5-10 min.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16: Tri-Tip & Stuffed Portobellos

Tri-Tip is an excellent steak to cook up on the weekend for dinner….and save the leftovers for making killer sandwiches (Philly cheese) during the week! Tonight I’m baking the steak, so I can sit back and watch some football….building anticipation for steak and mushrooms as I cheer on whoever can cover the spread on this particular day. I’m also throwing a couple stuffed portobello mushrooms in with it. Both of these can be prepped in advance….giving you the option to bbq or bake them whenever you feel like it.

1. portobello mushrooms (2)
2. broccoli
3. cheddar (2 oz.)
4. pepper jack (2 oz.)
5. cubed pancetta (handful)
6. marinated Tri-tip

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 15: Pork Meatballs w/ Mint & Honey

It’s game day and I’m hookin it up with some killer pork meatballs! Here’s another easy, inexpensive dish that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. Fresh mint and garlic bring this dish to life, then the melted honey takes it to another planet! Add some homemade tzadziki and BOOM!....I’ve done it again!....Go Niners!

1. ground pork (1 lb.)
2. fresh mint
3. garlic (4 cloves)
4. egg
5. bread crumbs (1/4 cup)
6. coriander (2 tbs.)
7. cumin (1/2 tbs.)
8. dried herb mix
9. olive oil (1 tbs.)
10. honey (3 tbs.)

I Made a batch of tzadziki the day before….(*I added a little honey to this too*)

Tzadziki ingredients:
1. Greek yogurt (1 cup)
2. olive oil (2 tbs.)
3. lemon (1 tbs.)
4. cucumber (peeled and drained)
5. salt
6. pepper
7. *honey*

If you want, pick up some red onion, tomato, and pita bread… make some killer sandos at 2:00 a.m…..when everyone else is gathered around a hot dog stand, you’ll be at home with this beautiful creation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 14: Jalapeno Omelet w/ Tomato & Goat Cheese

This morning I'm cookin it up McBain style with my favorite omelet....jalapeno, mini heirloom tomato, and goat cheese. I've made a lot of omelets in my day, and this is always my go to recipe! I use only one egg, to get a nice thin blanket around the rest of the ingredients. I can't stand 3-egg omelets, when there's more egg than filling! The egg should be merely a blanket to cover up the filling and keep it warm. Every bite should be the perfect amount of each ingredient, creating a perfect balance of tastes. Pair this up with a few slices of orange and this masterpiece is sure to get your day started right!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 12: Fried Pork and Apple Sauce

Today I’m taking it easy….with fried pork and apple sauce. No need for microwave dinners when you can throw this meal together in like 10 minutes. I bought a $3 cut of pork and 2 apples for a grand total of about $4.20. I can’t think of a better combo than this….ok, maybe coffee and cigarettes, which I have given up in exchange for a better future. With that said….Pork and Apple Sauce is the new champion! Unless you prefer wine and cheese…..if that’s so….I am so sorry. Don’t get me wrong….I love wine and I love cheese…..but together?.....I guess I’m more of a beer and boiled peanuts kind of guy…..Sorry France.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 11: The Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever!

“Life is half magic, and half pasta.” – Federico Fellini
If you have never made mac n’ cheese from scratch, then I challenge you to break away from the typical Kraft or Annie’s boxed crap….and become a true expert in the field of macaroni and cheese. I have been making mac n’ cheese for the last three days straight, reading multiple books specifically written on the subject….and I am apparently addicted now! Once you get the basics….it is a new creation every time. Experiment with different cheese mixtures to create your own signature recipe. So far….I have come up with a good mixture of extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gruyere, and parmesan. I also think that a little meat is key to a good mac recipe, particularly pork. Here I am using cubed pancetta, although other options are circulating in my brain. Finally, I like to top the mac with sliced tomato, and a mixture of bread crumbs and crushed ritz crackers. For me, I can tell that this is the start of a long and awesome journey in the world of mac n’ cheese. Start yours now!

1. 3 tbs. butter
2. 1/4 cup flour
3. 1 cup milk
4. 1 bay leaf
5. 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
6. handful cubed pancetta
7. 1/4 cup bread crumbs
8. 1/4 cup crushed ritz crackers
9. 1 cup small ridged penne
10. tomato
11. 1-1/2 cups of four cheese mix (grated)
- 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar
- 2 oz. pepper jack
- 2 oz. gruyere
- 1 oz. parmesan3

not on the video ---> I added the milk and bay leaf to the roux and whisked until creamy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 10: Salmon w/ Balsamic Onion Sauce

Today I'm cookin up a simple salmon recipe. My mom taught me this one, and it has always been a favorite of mine. The sauce is just red onion, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar. Other than that, all you need is a small piece of salmon. Just brown the onion wedges in olive oil, add 1 part balsamic, 4 parts juice...then reduce for about an hour. Bbq or bake the salmon till white beads appear...and that's it...enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 9: Eggs Benedict (the perfect hangover cure)

There are two versions of the origin of Eggs Benedict.
The first is about a lady named Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, who couldn't find anything to her liking on the menu at Delmonico's Restaurant (the first public restaurant in the U.S.) The chef, Charles Ranhofer, came up with what he called Eggs a' la Benedick and published it in his cookbook in 1984.
The second and way more interesting story, is about a man named Lamuel Benedict. An article appeared in the December 19th, 1942 issue of the weekly New York magazine "talk of the town" column....and is based on an interview with Lemuel the year before he died. In 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a wall street broker, who was suffuring from a hangover, ordered "some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce" at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The Waldorf's legendary chef Oscar Tschirky was so impressed that he added it to his menu after substituting canadian bacon for the crisp bacon, and an English muffin for the toasted bread.
So you can decide for yourself which story is more believable, although if you have ever had Eggs Benedict on a hangover, I'm sure you will be on Lemuel's side!