Sunday, November 27, 2005

Afterburner Steak Marinade

Afterburner Steak Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Guinness
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons key lime juice
a pinch of dried thyme
2 generous tablespoons Sriracha
2 pounds New York strip or rib-eye steak

Whisk together and marinate steak in a big zip lock for up to 24 hours. Grill as you like, brushing with marinade. Or, if you like smoke and noise, coat marinated steak very lightly with olive oil, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then cook for one minute in a preheated smoking hot cast iron pan, flip the steak and immediately place in a preheated 450-500 F oven for 3-5 minutes. (be prepared for smoke alarm). Remaining marinade can be cooked down in hot pan until reduced, for a dipping sauce, while the steak rests, lightly covered with foil for 3-5 minutes.

Serves 2-3 people.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Steak with Espresso Chili Rub

Dry Rub

* 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder
* 1 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 heaping Tablespoon Penzey's chili 9000 or your favorite chili powder
* 1/4 cup espresso coffee (ground very fine)
* 1 and a half teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon celery powder
* 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a grinder and grind to a coarse powder. It will keep in the freezer for several months, you will need 1 to 2 Tablespoons for each steak (depending on how zippy you like it)

To prepare steaks:

Preheat oven to 475 - 500 degrees F. for at least 20 minutes.

You will need 1 1/2 to 2 pounds rib eye or other well marbled steak. Brush each side of the steak with olive oil (I used Artisano's Hojiblanca EVOO from Australia) and then rub steak with up to 2 Tablespoons of the dry rub per steak and let sit out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Make sure you have a very heavy duty oven mitt, a couple small pats of butter and a pair of tongs nearby. You will also want to open a window or two and possibly disarm the smoke detector. (you think I'm kidding, don't you :-) Preheat a cast iron pan (just big enough to hold both steaks) over high heat until smoking hot (and I mean smokin!) Do not add any oil, other than what the pan is seasoned with, as the surface of the steak has enough oil to do the trick.

The pan is ready if you add a drop of water and it dances for a second before disappearing.

Place the steaks, rub side down, in the center of pan and sear for exactly one minute. You will think it's burning, it's going to smoke like no one's business, but short of flames shooting to the ceiling, do not mess with it.

Armed with your heavy oven mitt (this pan is HOT and weighs as much as your ammo can) top each steak with a small pat of butter and immediately place the pan in the oven. Roast the steaks for four minutes, then flip with your tongs and roast another two minutes for medium rare. If using a meat thermometer, for medium rare, remove the steaks when the the thermometer is 125 degrees F. (it will continue to cook after removing to bring the temp up to 130 degrees.) Add or subtract 5 degrees F. for medium or rare.

Remove the steaks to a platter and loosely tent with foil for five minutes. The resting time allows the juices to redistribute into the meat making it extra tender.

Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies:


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup lard (or can substitute vegetable shortening)
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, lard (or shortening) and both sugars together on low until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring and beat until just blended.

Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and remaining ½ cup buttermilk and beat until completely combined.

Using a measuring cup, drop 1/4 cup of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 11-13 minutes each (check at 10 minutes, when done the cakes spring back with pressed gently). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. (if you wish to bake together, bake 2 pans, in top third and bottom third of oven, swapping the positions halfway through the baking). Note: For mine, I used a generous 1/3 cup measure and baked a couple of extra minutes. Like any cookie or small bakery product I always recommend doing a test one to get your cooking time right.

Cream Cheese/Whipped Cream Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a small chilled bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape into the whipping cream (or add vanilla extract to cream if not using the bean)

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream.

To assemble: Use use a pastry bag with a round tip (I used a #12 Wilton tip) to pipe the filling onto the flat side of one cake or simply spread on the flat side of one cake with a knife. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1 large egg
1/4 cup Scharfeen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Hersey's Special Dark Dutch Process cocoa
2 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla till smooth. Add the egg, again beating till smooth.

Add the cocoa, stirring to combine.

Add the flour to the batter alternately with the milk, beating till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving several inches between the cakes.

Bake the cakes for 12 to 15 minutes, till they're firm just gently spring back when touched. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pans.

Whipped Cream Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
3 Tablespoons plus two teaspoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Penzey's Vanilla sugar

Chill the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer. You can do this by placing in the refrigerator or in a room with your ex wife. Both would probably work.

Pour the cream in a medium sized bowl. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into cream. Add remains of bean to cream and whisk to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Strain cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the chilled bowl of your electric mixer, then beat with the chilled whisk attachment at medium speed for 1 minute.

With the mixer running, slowly sprinkle in sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Use a pastry bag to pipe onto flat side of whoopie pie.

Storing: Remove the whoopie pies from the parchment paper with a spatula and then allow to cool thoroughly before filling. Assembled whoopie pies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you need to stack layers, place a piece of wax paper between layers.

Note: Depending on how thick you fill them, you may have filling left over which can be used on a few cupcakes or to fill a couple pastries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blueberry Oatmeal muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Penzey's vanilla
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups wild blueberries

    Whole wheat pastry flour is finer textured than regular. If you do not have it, sift your whole wheat flour twice to incorporate some air in it, or use half regular flour and half whole wheat. Otherwise they will be a bit too "dense"

    Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. If you use slow cooking oats, pulse one cup in a blender once or twice and mix with remaining oatmeal. Mix in milk, egg, and oil; mix JUST until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix or you will have hockey pucks. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburgers

Food Styling and recipe from June 2005 Bon Appetit (one of my all time favorite cooking magazines).

Spicy Ranch Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

dash of Penzeys ancho chili powder (optional)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 green onions, finely chopped 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño chile

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside while you make up burgers and glaze.


1 pounds ground beef

1/2 small onion, chopped 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño chile

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

gentle mix together and form into four patties, chill until ready.

Worcestershire-Coffee Glaze

2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cup light corn syrup

1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 and 1/2 teaspoons tomato sauce (or ketchup if you don't have on hand)

1/4 teaspoon Starbucks Vive instant coffee

1/2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar (light may be substituted)

1 and 1 /2 teaspoons butter

Combine in small pan over low heat and stir until coffee dissolved. (can be doubled and works well as a glaze for pork or roast).>

Remove from heat and whisk in butter.

8 bacon slices, cook while your grill heats up. (medium high)

Toast buns on grill until golden (about 1 to 2 minutes). Tranfer to plates. Grill burgers until done basting each side frequently with glaze (about 5 minutes on each side for medium). Place cheese on each patty at the end and allow to melt. On each bun, place lettuce slide, some ranch sauce, burger with cheese, bacon and a little bit more sauce. If you wish have some tomatoes and grilled onions as additional toppings.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

That's a Spicy Meatball

1 1/4 pound ground beef or venison (mine is home processed and ground with some lean pork loin)
1 package Hot breakfast sausage
1/2 onion
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Italian Cheese (I used Italian 5 cheese blend, fresh not dried)
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley chopped, being careful to remove stems
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil (also removing stems).
1 teaspoon Penzey's Italian seasoning (or a pinch of thyme, marjoram, oregano and rosemary)
A pinch of dried red pepper (about one good shake)
3 cups day old sourdough bread, cut into small cubes, crusts removed.
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water.


Saute onion until caramelized in olive oil adding garlic in the last minute or two. In a large bowl, place basil, parsley, seasoning, meat, cheese, and meat and combine. Add in two eggs and combine a little more. In another bowl, pour liquids over bread and let stand for just a couple of minute to soften bread. Mix the bread mixture into meat mixture with your hands, breaking up any larger pieces of bread. Form meatballs into extra large golf ball sizes. Place meatballs in pan lightly coated with olive oil and then bake at 375 for 34-37 minutes. (use olive oil for pan, don't use non stick spray, for some reason it burns on the pan more than expected, at least with my pans).

Makes enough to feed five or six hungry people.

Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and perhaps a bottle of Sangiovese wine.

Easy Meatball Marinara

2 jars Classico Basil spaghetti sauce. (hard to find though Costco has it but one of the best inexpensive sauces)

Pour it into a saucepan, then add 1/4 cup dry red wine (I used Trader Joe Merlot) to each empty sauce jar, put lid back on and shake up to remove rest of sauce clinging to jar, and pour in the saucepan).

1/2 teaspoon Pensey's garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Pensey's Italian seasoning (or a pinch of marjoram, oregano, thyme and rosemary)

pinch of sugar or 1/4 teaspoon wild honey

1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and a few grinds of pepper.

Heat until bubbling.

Serve over meatballs and pasta.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Praline Snickerdoodles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda (make sure the baking soda is fresh, baking soda should bubble when added to vinegar, baking powder should bubble when added to hot water.
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tespoon Penzey's Mexican vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup pork lard, at room temperature
1 and 3/4 cups sugar, divided into 1 and 1/2 cups and 1/4 cup
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup toffee pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted first is a nice touch)

1 Tablespoon ground Vietnamese cinnamon

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use more than one, giving the pan time to cool down between batches so the cookies don't spread too much.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in bowl.

With a mixer set on medium-high speed, beat butter, lard, 1 1/2 cups sugar (that will leave you with 1/4 cup of regular sugar for the topping) until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until combined.

Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture gradually, mixing until just combined, then add toffee pieces and pecans.

Combine theTablespoon of cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a wide cereal or soup bowl.

Roll dough into 1 and a half inch balls with moistened hands (to prevent sticking), flattening the top just slightly. Toss in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat, then place 2 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake each sheet separately until edges are light golden brown and centers are look puffy and soft, but still slightly underdone, 10-12 minutes, rotating each sheet halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let set five minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Chocolate Eclairs

Recipe from Paula Dean


1 cup water
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 eggs

3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 (1-ounce) squares chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat water and margarine or butter to boiling point. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time. Drop dough from teaspoon to form small elongated eclairs onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool. Prepare filling by combining milk, sugar, salt and flour; cook slowly until thickens. Add 3 beaten eggs and continue to cook until mixture is even thicker. Remove from heat, cool and add vanilla.

With a serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise, but not all the way through. Pipe custard mixture into the center. Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar and cream. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage.* Let cool and beat until smooth. Ice tops of the eclairs
* "soft ball stage" -245 to 240 degrees farenheit. At this temperature, sugar syrup dropped into cold water will form a soft, flexible ball. If you remove the ball from water, it will flatten like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Spicy Venison Surprise

This was a "what can I make with what's in the freezer and cupboard" dish that started with a couple of cans and NO recipe but turned out really good. It's sort of a cross between gumbo and chili and was good by itself in a bowl or served over rice.

How does it start?

Well it starts with some corn fields. Then, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blued.

.Then a couple of very cold days later. . .
Some venison to grind up in the kitchen.

To a pound and a half of that fresh ground meat, which was frozen for weeks such as this, add. . .

28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 small can tomato paste
3 tablespoons Penzey's Chili 9000
(Penzey's has stores in most large Midwest cities and you can buy on line).
1 Tablespoon Penzey's Southwest Seasoning (or substitute ancho chili powder, a dash of oregano and some garlic powder to equal 1 T. for the Southwest seasoning)
1 small can chopped jalapenos (I used the hot ones, if you're timid you will want mild or medium)
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
3/4 bottle Coca Cola WITH SUGAR (bottled in Mexico, sold in Cosco and in the Hispanic section of some IND supermarkets). It's well worth the money for the clean, clear taste in my opinion.
2 cups fresh corn, frozen

Mix and cook in crockpot or on stove on low for a couple of hours. (You can add a 1/4 cup water to it if it's going to cook for a long time or uncovered). I made this and shared at lunch with some male coworkers. It got a definite "thumbs up".

Friday, November 4, 2005

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Penzey's cinnamon (theirs is the best I've ever had).
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 and 1/4 teaspoon Penzey's Mexican vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
>1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Blend together the butter, sweet potatoes, eggs, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, corn syrup and evaporated milk. Pour filling into crust and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Serve with whipped cream to which a dab of hazelnut liquor has been whipped in with it or Dulce de Leche ice cream

Thursday, November 3, 2005

"Life Hands You Lemons" Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup safflower oil plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon infused extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla

lemon curd (found in the jam/jelly section of stores that carry imported jams/jellies)
vanilla or course grained baking sugar (for topping)

preheat oven to 375 F. Line 9 to 10 medium muffins tins with paper liners. Note: f you use 9 the muffins as I did, you will get a nice "muffin top" with crispy edges, 10 will yield more symetrical muffins.

In a large bowl, measure flour. In small blender or food processor, pulse sugar a second at a time, 3-5 times to make it extra fine (or use Castor sugar if you can find it). Whisk sugar into flour and add baking powder, soda and salt, whisking again after adding.

In another small bowl whisk together the egg, oils, milk and vanilla. (If you don't have lemon olive oil use another 1/2 teaspoon of safflower oil).

Make a "well" in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in all at once. Stir with a fork, very gently, just until combined. It should have some lumps in it.

Spoon a heaping Tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup. Top with approximately 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of the lemon curd (a baby spoon works really well for those of you with little ones). Then top with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle very lightly with vanilla sugar and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well risen, slightly brown and firm to the touch (9 muffins took 18 minutes in my oven)

Remove from the oven and brush with a little more lemon curd and a bit of course grained baking sugar or vanilla sugar. Cool slightly and enjoy!