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BaconFest Michigan Recipe: Pancetta Pasta Fritatta

The Rogue Estate's BBQ Bob and Street Eatzz's Chef Tom presented a cooking demo at the first Baconfest Michigan in the Royal Oak Farmer's Market on June 2, 2012. This is one of the dishes they prepared for the crowd. Chef Tom’s Pancetta Pasta Frittata begins with a pile of pancetta in a sauté pan, to which capers, sun-dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms and pre-cooked linguine are combined. Chef Tom’s 313 hot sauce (available in a market or restaurant near you soon) is added to the mix and the ingredients are tossed, then the whole thing is deglazed with (go figure) Bakon Vodka. Well-beaten eggs are added to cement it all together. The frittata is browned on both sides similar to an American omelet and finished with Gorgonzola cheese. Let it set up for a few to cool then cut into wedges and enjoy with a glass or two of your favorite nightcap. Software: 5 slices of pancetta, cut into julienne strips 2 Tbsp of capers 2 Tbsp of sun dried tomatoes, cut into julienne strips 1 cup of morels or wild mushroom blend, roughly chopped 4 large eggs, beaten and a little cream or milk added 1 cup of cooked linguine 1 Tbsp of Street Eatzz 313 Sauce 1 shot of Bakon Vodka A few twists of cracked black pepper Pinch of kosher salt Method:
  1.     In a bowl, crack the eggs and add one half egg shell of cream. Whip the eggs until frothy. Hold off to the side.
  2.     In a non-stick omelet pan, sauté the pancetta, do not drain off the fat.
  3.     Add the mushrooms to the pancetta and lightly sauté.
  4.     Add the sun-dried tomatoes and capers to the mix and bring up to heat.
  5.     Add the 313 sauce, remembering not to breathe in the fumes from the hot sauce! (As it heats up the capsicum is released into the air for a few seconds.)
  6.     Add the linguine and toss to coat well with all of the above.
  7.     Take that shot of Bakon Vodka and deglaze the pan, remember to stand back and watch out for the flame.
  8.     Pour in the egg mixture and season with salt and pepper, using a rubber spatula mix all the ingredients well and spread out evenly.
  9.     Turn the heat down to medium and cook as you would a regular omelet.
  10.     When the frittata is browned on one side flip it over or for those less daring, slide onto a plate the turn it over into the pan.
  11.     Add crumbled Gorgonzola to the browned top and let it finish off cooking.
  12.     When fully cooked place the frittata on a cutting board let it set up and cool down a bit.
  13.     Cut into wedges and enjoy with some crusty ciabatta bread and fruit garnish.
Did you get to see our cooking demo and try this awesome dish at Baconfest Michigan? How'd you like it? Let us know in the comments. -Chef Tom
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Baconfest Michigan Recipe: Bacon Pops

The Rogue Estate's BBQ Bob and Street Eatzz's Chef Tom presented a cooking demo at the first Baconfest Michigan in the Royal Oak Farmer's Market on June 2, 2012. This is one of the dishes they prepared for the crowd. Your new favorite party appetizer: Bacon Pops, a riff on the popular cake pop concept, made with cheeses, plenty of bacon, herbs and nuts, rolled, chilled and conveniently served on a Popsicle stick for easy enjoyment. Ingredients: 10 slices of crisp cooked bacon 4 oz cream cheese 4 oz goat cheese 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts Method: In a food processor finely mince the cooled bacon strips, 1 Tbsp of the chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup of cooled toasted pine nuts and a twist of Everyday Seasoning. Place in a bowl and set aside, clean out your food processor. Next to go into the food processor is the cream cheese, goat cheese, 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh basil and a couple more twists of Everyday Seasoning. Blend well and remove from the processor. Roll cheese mixture into small balls about the size of your thumb nail. You should yield about 15-18. Place the cheese balls on a wax papered tray and pop them into the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up. Roll each cheese ball into the bacon mixture, pressing lightly if needed to cover well. Take a lollypop or Popsicle stick and stick it into the bacon covered cheese ball. Refrigerate to firm back up before serving. Garnish your serving platter with slices of Granny Smith apples or pears. Word to the wise ... Make them small (nickle-sized), because they are intensely rich! Did you get to see our cooking demo and try this awesome dish at Baconfest Michigan? How'd you like it? Let us know in the comments. - Chef Tom
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Vegetarian Night

As one of the newest members of the Rogue Estate contributors I have to make a full disclosure...I'm a vegetarian. Many of you who regularly read this blog and follow along in the escapades of these merry bandits will know that the dishes lean heavily towards the dead flesh variety. Megan and I were tasked with coming up with a theme to host for our first ever Chef's Night and we bantered around many ideas such as homemade pasta (coming), traditional Mexican (done before), Ethiopian (coming possibly), Canadian (eh?), German (coming) and vegetarian if for no other reason to greatly mess with the meat-filled sensibilities of the current Rogue Estaters.  We figured we'd save the vegetarian night to give everyone a chance to get to know me and not hate me right off the bat.  Oh, well. The menu was devised with the idea of promoting alternative proteins for the non carnivore. Beans, whole grains, tempeh and tofu would all make an appearance in the meal. For the appetizer Chilly was set to make crackers to pair with Megan's creation of Hillbilly Hummus. The crackers are a pretty simple recipe that allow for infinite variation in toppings and flavourings. The Hillbilly Hummus is an interesting spin on traditional hummus with a southern flare using black eyed peas in place of chick peas and peanut butter in place of the sesame tahini. Jack, being the master of all things uncooked got tasked with the salad; endive and quinoa salad with poached eggs.  Endive is one of those more underrated, underused and under-appreciated vegeatables (more possibly on that at a later date).  The quinoa is a unique product that is usually considered a grain, but is in fact a seed.  Quinoa is found in most supermarkets with the rice and beans and has a nutty flavour.  Here the quinoa was added atop a salad of chopped endive and vegetables and a balsamic vinaigrette.  The whole salad was further enriched with a perfectly poached egg.  The egg yolk mixes with the salad ingredients to add a certain unctuousness to the whole dish. The main dish I took care of was the maple mustard tempeh.  This is a fairly common dish to be served in our household as it's tasty and pretty simple.  Tempeh is a pressed and fermented soybean patty.  It also has a nice nuttiness that works well in multiple presentations.  Here the tempeh was marinated in a fairly neutral marinade before frying in a pan.  The tempeh needs a bit of marinating as it's a pretty dry product (see un-marinated and tasteless blackened tempeh slab from the Lundi Gras Chef's Night).  The tempeh is glazed in pan with a combination of dijon mustard, maple syrup, hard cider and cider vinegar.  Simple and fantastic.  The maple mustard glaze can easily be applied to any protein and would be great on chicken or pork as well. The vegetable side was a dish of balsamic glazed brussels sprouts.  The brussels sprouts is one of the most unloved vegetables on this side of the planet.  Many people dislike the funky quality of this relative of the cabbage family.  This dish may have been the easiest to prepare and has made re-appearances in this house.  The sprouts are roasted until golden brown in the oven then topped with a simple balsamic vinegar glaze of two parts vinegar to one part sugar.  The sprouts are finished with a sprinkling of dried cranberries to add some textural contrast and a pleasing sweet-tart flavour. Bob was our Indian specialist for the evening as he was tasked with a palak paneer.  Paneer is an Indian cheese that is a simple preparation of whole milk and lemon juice.  The mix causes the milk to curdle and the curds to separate from the whey.  The whey is poured off and the curds are pressed with cheesecloth typically overnight but for this evening only for about two hours which still resulted in a pretty firm cheese.  The cheese is then fried on its own to give it a bit of a crust and body then set aside before the palak (spinach), tomato and spices are sauteed up.  Traditionally, palak paneer is more of a gravy of pureed spinach but Bob went crazy and left it unblended and it resulted in a much fresher and heartier version once the cheese was added in at the end.  It was a great idea and it makes me wonder why this doesn't get prepared like this more often. Megan took on the vegan tofu chocolate pudding.  This is another favourite recipe around the house and it's great to serve to the unsuspecting (once you know they don't have a soy allergy) as no one would guess the main ingredient is tofu.  A brick of silken tofu is whirred up in a blender with melted chocolate, Kahlua and golden syrup.  The intention of the recipe was to put it into a chocolate cookie pie crust but the crust was too dry and unusable, so pudding it is.  Still darn tasty. Sadly, I can't remember all of the beer pairings.  I do remember a Detroit lager for the hummus and salad.  A nut brown ale to pair with the brussels sprouts, tempeh and palak paneer.  Finally, a lambic for the dessert.  I have to admit I normally don't like lambics and was trying to find a polite way to decline, but Jack's choice was really good and a perfect pairing for the pudding.  Rounding out the evening was a bloody mary with almost an entire salad as garnish.  Perfect.
Brussels sprouts with cranberries in a balsamic glaze
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Recipe Type: side dish
Author: Jason
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 6-8
Roasted brussels sprouts with tangy cranberries and a syrupy balsamic glaze.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Trim the base off the brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves if yellowed or dry looking. Cut in half.
  2. Mix brussels sprouts and oil together on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast brussels sprouts in oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until desired amount of brownness.
  4. While sprouts are roasting mix balsamic vinegar and sugar together over medium heat until sugar dissolves then reduce to a low simmer to reduce until thick generally about 15-20 minutes depending on the heat you have your stove top set to.
  5. When sprouts are finished remove from oven and pour over dried cranberries and transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Drizzle balsamic glaze over sprouts and cranberries.
  7. Serve immediately.
Notes
You can increase or decrease the amount of brussels sprouts for this recipe depending on how much glaze you want with your sprouts. The sprouts should be roasted until golden brown, but are pretty good and have a nice caramelly bitterness if done to a slightly deeper brown. Since the glaze and cranberries are pretty sweet the bitterness is not overpowering and is actually well complimented. The glaze will set up pretty fast if you let it sit at too cool of a temperature and can over reduce if not watched properly. If either of these happen just reconstitute with a tablespoon or two of water and reheat on low. Raisins can be used in place of dried cranberries, but honestly the tart-sweet cranberries work best.
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In the end it was a pretty successful and satisfying meal.  Everyone seemed to enjoy a meatless meal and no one (to the best of my knowledge) snuck in any bacon to eat while my back was turned.  The great thing about a vegetarian meal like this is that it is fairly adaptable and can be served to carnivores and herbivores without coming off as a health meal.  The point of this meal was not to create a meal using meat substitutes but to use proteins suitable for a vegetarian diet.

Weekend refreshment: Lemon-Arak Slushie

It was an unseasonably hot and humid day in the Motor City today with a high of 89F. The summer like sunny weather prompted our pals, The Hungry Dudes, to pose the following query to their facebook audience:
"It's toasty out there, how are you going to keep cool? Frosty beverage perhaps?"
While a cold bottle of beer is the quick and easy, This one is so damn simple to make that it's worth the ten minutes messing with knives and blenders. The unlikely flavor combination of lemon and anise is the most refreshing thing I've ever tasted on a hot summer day and it's made with lots of ice... ice is water... so it's good for you.
Lemon-Arak Slushie
Recipe Type: Beverage
Author: Bob Perye
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Grab the blender and some straws. It's time to cool off.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup Arak Haddad or similar anise flavored spirit
  • 1 tblsp lemon zest
  • 4 cups ice
Instructions
  1. Special hardware required: zester, juicer, blender and straws.
  2. Zest the lemons, then juice. Load the blender with the zest, lemon juice, sugar and booze. I prefer Arak Haddad Crystal, but any anise flavored liquor such as Pernod or Ouzo will do.
  3. Blend until the sugar is dissolved and you have a consistent syrup. Add the ice, cap the blender and power through until you reach a smooth slushie consistency.
  4. Pour into your preferred vessels, garnish with zest and a straw, then head out to the patio to sit on your ass and chill out.
Notes
You'll get roughly 24 oz  from this recipe, depending on how tightly you pack the ice. I mix it thick, if you prefer a milder flavor or need to stretch it, pop 2 more cups of ice in. Got a variation or a favorite alternative to whet your whistle after an afternoon of sunshine and yard work? I'd like to know about it. Tell the world in the comments. -///  
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Colcannon

Editor's note: Jason is The Rogue Estate's new Resident Vegetarian. He's endured a near constant barrage of taunting and meat jokes since his first night in the kitchen with us and still shows up on time to help us create fantastic meals so we decided to get him a blog account, too! This is his first entry, detailing the dish he prepared for our recent feature in the 3/14/12 edition of Real Detroit Weekly and The Hungry Dudes blog.   For St. Patrick's Day few dishes are more traditional than Colcannon, a mix of potatoes and either cabbage or kale.  For this version I went with cabbage as I found out in research that Colcannon comes from the old Gaelic word "cal ceannann" meaning white-headed cabbage.  Kale is used almost equally as cabbage is in current preparations and kale is probably the sexier of the options, but I wanted this recipe to be as traditional as possible. A few liberties were taken with the preparation and ideas behind this recipe, mostly dealing with green onions.  Most recipes call for leeks to be used as the flavoring agent, but since leeks were already on the menu in another guise I went with green onions.  The second reason for using the green onions is another traditional Irish dish called "champ" which is basically mashed potatoes with green onions (no cabbage) that is very similar to colcannon.  I actually like the flavor of champ better than colcannon, but since colcannon is a bit more recognized I went with colcannon with a definite nod to champ in adding much more green onion than would be traditionally used in colcannon alone.  The third reason for the green onions is that it reminded me of a soup of a sort that I had at a bar when I was in college.  Near St. Patrick's day one of the bartenders would also make up some traditional Irish fare to give out to regulars.  On the unofficial bar menu along with other fare was colcannon and champ.  The first time I had ever tried either.  He also made a soup like side dish that he called "green tea" which was basically lots of green onions steeped a long time in milk and cream then served in small demitasse cups.  It was pretty magical stuff and so in tribute to him I added a bit of a variation on his green tea to the colcannon. Depending on how many recipes you look at and how far back you go you'll find that bacon is not used in the oldest recipes for colcannon.  In about half of the recipes I looked at it was an ingredient or a topping.  The reason for this is that colcannon was generally a poor farmers recipe and bacon wouldn't be available to poorer families or would be used sparingly.  I didn't intend to use bacon as I'm the lone vegetarian in this mad band, however, bacon was crisped up and made available for those who wanted it. The great thing about colcannon is its simplicity and there are quite a few variations you can play with.  If you want it softer and more luxurious version you could pulse the sauteed cabbage in a food processor and whip with the potatoes.  The spicing is definitely variable.  Mace is the traditional spice but it would be interesting with smoked or sweet paprika, nutmeg or possibly cinnamon.  Kale would generally lend a greener flavour and a heartier texture and if you wanted to really go heavier you could use collard or mustard greens.  The onions used are variable as well.  The bulbous spring onions would be excellent if not quite as readily available.  Red onions cooked with the cabbage would add an interesting colour pop.  The only things that aren't really optional are the potatoes and the butter.  Colcannon is very much a vehicle for melted butter.  
Colcannon
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Recipe Type: Side Dish
Author: Jason Schubb
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6
A traditional Irish side/main dish consisting of mashed potatoes, either kale or cabbage flavoured with onions, scallions or leeks.
Ingredients
  • 5 russet potatoes
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 2 bunches of green onions
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • bacon (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes in jackets in salted water until tender. Remove from water, peel and chop into rough chunks.
  2. Chop green onions and separate the greens and the whites.
  3. Core and thinly slice the cabbage.
  4. Steep in a small saucepan 3/4 of the green onion greens with 1 1/2 cup milk over low heat.
  5. Saute the cabbage and green onion whites in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, season with salt, pepper and ground mace until tender.
  6. When cabbage is tender add chopped potatoes and pour in green onion/milk mixture.
  7. Mix potatoes/cabbage mixture with wooden spoon to desired consistency. Keep warm.
  8. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in small saucepan.
  9. Saute bacon until crisp (if using).
  10. To serve place mound of colcannon on plate and make a small well in the centre. Fill well will melted butter. Top with reserved green onion greens and chopped bacon (if using).
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Leftovers reheat easily and can also be used for a killer potato, cabbage and cream soup. Topping options are endless as well - anything you enjoy on a baked or mashed potato is going to work on Colcannon brilliantly. Got a favorite variation? Let me know in the comments.  -Jason