Sunday, August 21, 2011

...and The Next Food Network Star is....The Sandwich King

Last week Jeff Mauro was crowned the Next Food Network Star. He is also known as The Sandwich King from Elmwood Park, Illinois. My table this week features two of his sandwiches; one from the competition and one from an appearance on Good Morning America. His motto is: that he can turn any meal into a sandwich and any sandwich into a meal.

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Sliders
Jeff Mauro's Greek Taco

Cheesecake-Stuffed Peaches with Blueberries

Chicken breasts and thighs are put in a processor until chunky. Then mixed in a bowl with ricotta, Worchestershire, S&P and parsley. Mix well and form into patties. Chill. Onions are put into an pan with EVOO and caramelized with sugar, S&P and a bit of whiskey to deglaze. The chicken patties are browned on both sides and finished in the oven. This combination of ingredients is excellent and I will use it again.

A dressing is made from egg yolks, lemon juice, Canola oil, hot sauce, capers and ketchup, and processed in a blender and chilled.

To assemble the sandwich a pretzel roll is buttered and toasted; the chicken slider is placed on the bottom , the onion relish and dressing are added and served with a dill pickle and garnished with minced chives.

The second sandwich is the Greek Taco. Ground lamb is browned in a bit of EVOO and removed from the pan. Red onion is cooked in the drippings; garlic and oregano are added. Tomato paste is added. Deglaze with red wine and put browned lamb back into pan. Set aside

Prepare Tzatziki; grate cucumber and place in strainer with salt to remove liquid. In a bowl mix Greek yogurt, Feta cheese, garlic and mint. Squeeze liquid from cucumber and add to bowl.

Tomato relish: Toss chopped and seeded tomato , diced cucumbers and red onions with EVOO, red wine vinegar and S&P. Let set at room temperature.

To assemble:
Toast a corn tortilla and place on a plate. Top with Tzatziki, lamb mixture and top with relish. Fold over to eat. An excellent sandwich!!

As a sweet after thought I prepared a cheesecake stuffed peach. The cream cheese is mixed with cinnamon and sugar, one egg yolk and vanilla. This mixture is spooned into peach halves and roasted in the oven. Half way through the baking a mixture of blueberries, brown sugar, butter and peach white balsamic vinegar is spooned over the top for another 1o minutes. This is a lovely light dessert.

These are a great couple of meals. I served the sandwiches with apple coleslaw for an extra crunch.

I have lots of possibilities for next week, but they will all depend on the weather. Have a great week.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gorgeous Week-End...Can Fall Be Far Behind??

This weekend was cooler and less humid. It gave me inspiration to cook!!! Actually it was good to be able to turn on the oven. Today On Marilyn's Table are dishes that fit the season and were ingredients from the farmers market. Here is what is on Marilyn's Table:

Stacked Caprese Salad

Gilled Tri-Tip With Oregano Herb Rub
Tomato-Sweet Corn with Fresh Basil Dressing and Crumbled Blue Cheese
Salsa Rice With Black Beans and Corn

The Caprese Salad comes from inspiration from the Old Fort Pub on Hilton Head Island. It was almost to pretty to eat....almost. It was fabulous and so simple. The bottom layer is the tomato slice, then a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese. In the center is a thick slice of grilled sweet onion; another slice of the tomato and another of the cheese. A sprig of basil is put on top. The dressing brings it all together. Rice wine vinegar, fresh basil leaves (from my herb garden) sugar, S&P and EVOO in a blender . Drizzle the dressing over the top and around the stack. Lovely!!

Tri-Tip is not a cut of meat you see often; it is a bit tough. I was in Trader Joes' to pick up frozen brown rice packets I love and saw small packages of tri-tip. This is a cut of meat that is very low in fat but must be marinated. It is very flavorful!! This recipe is for the meat to be marinated in an herb rub. The rub is: garlic salt, celery salt, ground black pepper, onion powder, paprika, dill, sage, crushed rosemary, S&P. Moisten the meat and rub in the marinade, and refrigerate overnight. Then grill the meat on both sides until there are prominent grill marks and finish in the oven until the meat is medium rare. Let rest about 10 minutes before slicing. Great meat and good for very thin slices for sandwiches the rest of the week.

The next is a corn-sweet onion dish: a simple vegetable dish: mixed fresh corn kernels, sweet onion, and cherry tomatoes. The dressing is the same as with the Stacked Caprese Salad. Mix the vegetables with the dressing and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and serve. Excellent.

For lunches this week I prepared the Salsa Rice with Back Beans and Corn. The rice from Trader Joes is gently warmed. The black bean, salsa and fresh corn are added with minced cilantro S&P.

Another recipe provided by the chef from The Old Fort Pub is their Sea Island Bouillabaisse. Amazing!! I will prepare it later in the fall. A bit warm for it now. Next week is expected to be very warm and humid. I will think about what to prepare for the table!

Have a good week! Classes begin next week so I will think about simpler cooking.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Celebration of Summer

This week was very hot again so cooking was not big on my radar. However, it's the time of many of fresh summer vegetables and fruits. When I visited my farmers market I found some great ingredients. The table this week focuses on what I found:

Tomato Zucchini Gratin
Mirai Sweet Corn with Lime Parmesan Butter
Pan Seared Scallops and Shrimp
Wine Poached Summer Fruit

Herbed Gazpacho
Vegetable Quiona

This week the focus is on the fresh vegetables and fruits of the season. The Tomato Zucchini Gratin I made last week with a zucchini I received from my Wisconsin Family. Tomatoes and zucchini are sliced and salted. Then they sweat to remove some of the water. They are wiped dry and layered with garlic, chopped kalamata olives, chopped basil and Parmesan cheese and baked. This was an excellent dish and I will repeat it as long as tomatoes and zucchini are available.

Dinner this weekend was included sweet corn...My favorite, Mirai from Twin Garden Farms was available at the farmers market. This corn is amazing. It can be eaten raw!!!, But I cooked it and spread it with butter, lime zest and juice and Parmesan cheese. YUMMY!!

Along with it I served pan seared scallops and shrimp. They are dredged in Panko, chili powder, oregano, cumin and thyme. They are seared in EVOO and served with an orange butter reduction. A simple dinner but excellent.

For a light dessert I prepared a dish of poached summer fruit. White wine, sugar, a cinnamon stick, lemon juice and zest and a slice of fresh ginger are heated. Then the fruits are simmered, sliced pears, peaches and plums until soft. The fruit is removed and cooled. The sauce reduced and served over the top. Lovely.

For lunches this week I prepared gazpacho and quinoa pilaf.

The gazpacho is simple as well. All the ingredients are combined and chilled. The ingredients are low sodium V-8 juice, canned fire roasted tomatoes, chopped fresh tomatoes, yellow pepper, cucumber, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. I expect it will be great at work this week with the quinoa.

Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients. Here it is cooked and then mixed with sauteed garlic, yellow pepper, scallions, broccoli florets, canned tomatoes with juice, and salt and pepper. Can be served warm or room temperature.

We shall see what the weather brings this week and there for our menu for next week. Take care and keep cool.