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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.

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

Burnt Oranges for a Traditional Irish Meal

Editor's Note: Megan is Rogue Estate's newest cake slinger. Despite us dirtying nearly every pot, pan and dish in her kitchen this week she didn't kick us out, so you can expect to see more articles from her in the near future.   This dish was part of The Rogue Estate's Authentic Irish cuisine dinner, featured in Real Detroit Weekly and The Hungry Dudes on 03/14/12. When thinking of Irish food, like any other American, I automatically think of boiled meat, corned beef, and potatoes.  The Irish are not known for their desserts, so when looking them up, I had to keep my mind open, and avoid the Bailey's Cheesecake that you find on "Irish Pubs" all across America.  Turns out the Irish have gotten very creative in using what they could get to make unique desserts. For our Traditional Irish Meal, I decided to tackle this recipe for Burnt Oranges.  Wait...how did tropical oranges become a staple for not-so-tropical Ireland?  Turns out that while Ireland was at war with England, they made friends with Spain.  The Spanish sailed some of its foodstuffs up to Ireland, and the rest was history.  Of course, by the time the oranges were sailed north, and the common folk got their hands on them and ate all of the really ripe ones, they were left with some oranges that had seen better days.  Cooking them like this was an interesting and tasty way to not waste those older oranges.
Burnt Oranges for a Traditional Irish Meal
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Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 8 Seville Oranges
  • 2/3 cup Very Sweet White Wine
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 12 tbsp. Sugar, split in half
  • 1 1/3 cups Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 3 tbsp. Warmed Irish Whiskey
  • Lyles Golden Syrup for Drizzling
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
  2. Carefully zest all of the oranges into a bowl. Top with sweet white wine, and let sit.
  3. Peel all oranges, being sure to remove as much of the white pith as possible. Break oranges into segments, and remove all seeds. Seville oranges have a LOT of seeds, so try to preserve as much of the juice you lose while seeding them. Lay the orange segments into the bottom of a wide round pan, no more than 2-3 segments deep, and sprinkle with 6 tbsp. of sugar. You will want to use a pan that is broiler and stove-top safe - a saute pan works great. Place in oven for 12 minutes.
  4. Pour orange juice and 6 tbsp. of sugar into a wide saucepan on stove. Simmer down until it becomes a syrup, then stir in the wine & zest mixture. Continue simmering until it thickens back up again.
  5. After 12 minutes, check the orange segments in the oven. If they are not golden brown on top, kick on the broiler, and keep a close eye for a couple of minutes. You want the oranges and sugar to take on a nice caramel colour, but not char. Once they reach that colour, pull from the oven and set on a burner.
  6. Pour the whiskey over the top of the orange segments, let sit about 30 seconds, then flame. Let the flames burn about 30 seconds, then douse with orange juice mixture. Simmer together for 2 minutes, then serve!
  7. This can be served hot, or chilled and topped with whipped cream
Notes
Seville oranges are extremely bitter, so if you are looking for a dessert that is a bit sweeter, you will want to add more sugar (probably double!) or use a table orange. We also tried one other batch with blood oranges that came out much closer to an American's preferred level of sweetness, and the colour came out very pretty to boot. We also thought these would be excellent served on top of vanilla ice cream.
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  What I did leave out of this recipe was that the Seville oranges are a pain in the butt to peel, far more so than any other orange I have ever dealt with.  Between the segments that wouldn't come apart gracefully, to the fact that Seville oranges have more seed than flesh in each segment, I figure next time I'll stick to making this with another type of orange.  The results will be sweeter and less traditional, but I'll swear less. Have any tips on how to handle Seville oranges or a favorite citrus recipe? Let me know in the comments! -Megan

Braised Leeks for Irish Dinner

Editor's note: Achilles aka "Chilly" is one of R.E.'s new onion choppers and this is his first post. We haven't scared him off yet, so you can expect to see lots more from this guy in the near future. For The Rogue Estate's Chef's Night, featured in March 14, 2012's Real Detroit Weekly, I was tasked with braising leeks to be used as a side dish for our Authentic Irish dinner service led by Ian Malbon. Let's start with the basics, and usually for me that's defining what I will be doing and with what. A braise is a cooking method where you sear your item at a high temperature, then drop the heat, add liquid, cover it, and let it cook in the liquid until it becomes fork tender. A leek is a vegetable from the onion and garlic family. Instead of being round like an onion, it grows upwards in layers of concentric cylinders. This is important to understand, because in between these layers lies a lot of dirt, and as such we must take care to rid our wonderful leeks of any impurities.
Braised Leeks for Irish Dinner
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Author: Chilly P
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-8
Ingredients
  • 4 Large Leeks
  • 1 tbls butter
  • 1 tbls salt
  • 1/2 tbls fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tbls dried Thyme (1 tbls fresh)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
Instructions
  1. For this recipe, I kept the leeks whole. Fill your (clean) sink with cold water...enough to let the leeks soak in. This will allow dirt to pass through the circles and settle at the bottom of the sink.
  2. Slice off the very bottom of the leek where the roots are, then slice off the green leaves after the white stem base. What you want to be left with is the part that is for all intents and purposes, white (side note: keep the leaves to add to a stock...they carry wonderful flavor, although mostly inedible). Place the leeks in their bath as you prep them. After about 10 minutes, unplug your drain, and turn the water back on. You can feel free to run water through the leeks to help purge any remaining impurities. Place your leeks on paper towels and allow them to dry.
  3. At the stove you want a saute pan (with a lid) on medium heat. Add the butter and wait until it bubbles. Add the leeks and allow them to brown on the bottom. Once browned, turn them over and allow the other side to brown. Add salt and pepper at this point.
  4. The reason I waited to add the seasoning was because there was nothing for the salt and pepper to adhere to at first. Now that the butter is coating one side of the leeks, it's game on.
  5. When the other side browns, turn them over a few times to ensure an adequate coating of butter and seasoning. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the wine and thyme, and cover. You're looking for a simmer here, nothing more; we don't want to burn or boil our leeks. Congratulations...you are now braising!
  6. Allow the leeks to braise until a sharp knife slides easily through the leek (about 20 minutes - feel free to turn the leeks throughout the process). Once this achieved, remove the leeks from the pan and place into a serving dish. Pour the remaining braising liquid goodness over them and allow them to come to room temperature. When you're ready to serve, slice them in half and pour about a tablespoon of braising liquid over them.
This dish fits well with just about any plate and its simplicity really lets the sweetness and texture of the leeks shine - a great side with any protein. Leeks aren't just for St Paddy's day any more! Do you have a favorite preparation for leeks we should try here at the Estate? Let me know about it in the comments. -Chilly