Homemade Burger Buns
Makes 6 large burger buns.
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup lukewarm water
Olive Oil cooking spray
Combine all of the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl and mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together around the paddle.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy and doubled.
To form the buns:
Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 pieces; each 4 ounces.
If you don’t have a bun pan, space them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Gently flatten the buns with your hand to fill the bottom of the pan’s wells, or until they’re about 3 1/2″ to 4″ wide.
Cover the buns and let them rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until they reach the top of the pan.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spray the tops of the buns with olive oil cooking spray.
Bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are a light, golden brown and their interior temperature is at least 190°F, measured with an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to a rack. Allow the buns to cool completely, then store airtight at room temperature.
Adapted from a King Arthur recipe.
Grass-fed Steak Burgers with Barbecue Sauce
Makes 4 burgers
4 thick (1/2 inch) sweet onion slices for grilling
4 slices American or Swiss Cheese
Burger Buns, recipe above for homemade or use store-bought
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 3 chiles), plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef (sirloin)
1 1/2 teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
BBQ sauce, recipe above
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
Make the BBQ sauce:
Purée all sauce ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.
Make the burgers:
In a bowl, combine beef, salt and pepper.
Form into 4 equal sized patties about 5 oz each and 3/4 inches thick. Put on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to grill.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat). Oil the grill grates.
Brush both sides of the onions with BBQ sauce. Grill, covered, until softened, turning once, 8 minutes total.
Brush both sides of the burgers with BBQ sauce and grill, covered, turning once, about 8 minutes total.
Lay the bun halves, cut side down, on grill to toast slightly during the last-minute of grilling for the burgers and onions.
Transfer buns to a platter, place slices of cheese on the bun bottoms and top with burgers and onions.
Serve with extra barbecue sauce or ketchup.
Chopped Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
4 mini bell peppers, different colors or 1 large bell pepper
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
Half of a large red onion
2 celery stalks
Half a pint of grape tomatoes
Green Goddess Dressing, Recipe Link
Dice all the vegetables into ½ inch pieces.
Combine the vegetables in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly;
Divide the mixture among individual salad bowls.
Serve the dressing on the side, so each diner can add the amount of dressing they like.
8 oz elbow macaroni
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 onion finely diced
1/2 bell pepper finely diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup spicy cherry peppers, diced or pickle relish
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch black pepper
Make the dressing by combining the ingredients and set aside while you cook the macaroni.
Cook the pasta al dente in boiling salted water, drain and add the dressing while the pasta is warm.
Add the chopped vegetables and mix well. Add salt to taste, but I find this type of salad doesn’t need extra salt.
The mayonnaise, pasta cooked in salted water and seasonings add enough.
Chill the salad for several hours before serving.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quarts. I use old mayonnaise jars with screw top lids.
2 cups water
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon dill seed
6 thinly sliced garlic cloves
6-8 pickling cucumbers (Kirby)
A few sprigs of dill
2 clean quart size jars
Combine water, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, pepper, dill seed and garlic in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir.
Quarter pickling cucumbers lengthwise and divide evenly in the jars; add fresh dill.
Top with the hot vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for several days before eating.
The pickles keep for a few months in the refrigerator.
Do you get in a rut and eat the same things for breakfast most days? Time for a change. Below are some ideas to add interest to your breakfast meals. Wonderful fresh fruit is now becoming available in the markets, so don’t forget to make a fresh fruit salad to go with these dishes.
Jumbo Cinnamon Crumb Muffins
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Prepare the topping:
In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles large coarse crumbs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour two jumbo 6-cup muffin pans.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking soda.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix together the melted butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla.
Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon just until combined.
Fill the muffin cups halfway and top with the crumb mixture.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Switch pans in the oven after 15 minutes.
Cool the muffins in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Avocado and Egg Sandwich
Ingredients for each serving
1 slice bread (crusty artisan bread, such as sourdough, rye, Italian or French) sliced one inch thick
1 garlic clove peeled
1/2 ripe, fresh avocado, peeled, seeded and mashed
2 teaspoons olive oil
Slices of tomato
Cooked bacon, optional
Fresh cracked black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Mix the avocado with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Toast the bread and rub one side with the garlic clove.
Spread with the mashed avocado. Top with some sliced tomatoes.
In a small nonstick skillet, heat the oil and cook the egg as desired.
Place the cooked egg on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with a little hot sauce and bacon on the side, if desired.
Barley Fruit Scones
Makes 8 scones
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons kosher salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 cup homemade or store-bought marmalade or fruit jam
Vanilla sugar for sprinkling on the top of the scones
Place a rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together in a large bowl, the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.
Pour the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture and mix until just combined.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. If dough is too sticky to handle, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (use a scale).
Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a disk about 3/4 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter.
Cover one disk with the marmalade or jam.
Top with the other disk and press down gently so that dough settles into the marmalade.
Seal edges by lightly pressing together.
Sprinkle the top with sugar.
Use a sharp knife, slice circle into 8 triangular wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each wedge.
Place the baking pan in the refrigerator and chill the scones until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes. Scones are ready when the tops are golden brown and some marmalade has bubbled over.
Slide a thin spatula underneath them while they’re still warm and transfer to a baking rack.
1 mini red bell pepper, diced
1 mini yellow bell pepper, diced
Half a sweet onion, diced
1 ½ cups leftover cooked sliced potatoes (I used leftover creamy scalloped potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
8 large eggs, whisked
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of cheese (American, Cheddar, Swiss)
Preheat the broiler.
Melt butter in an ovenproof omelet skillet. Add the peppers and onions. Saute until tender.
Add the potatoes and let cook until they begin to brown.
Pour the whisked eggs over the vegetables.
Cook until all the egg is cooked, tilting the skillet to let the uncooked egg run underneath the cooked areas.
Place the cheese on top.
Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.
I know my kitchen is primarily Italian but every once in a while other cuisines find their way there.
I was inspired to consider making a Korean dish after reading a recipe for BBQ Korean Steak on a blog I follow, Back Road Journal. I decided on BBQ pork ribs and a stir fry noodle dish after assessing the ingredients I had in the pantry and freezer.
To make a Korean BBQ sauce, you need gochujang. Gochujang or red chili paste is a fermented sweet and spicy sauce made from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder and salt. Traditionally, it has been naturally fermented over years in an earthenware pot on an elevated stone platform, called jangdokdae, in a Korean family’s backyard. The making of gochujang at home began tapering off when commercial production came into the mass market in the early 1970s. Now, most Koreans purchase gochujang at grocery stores or markets, just like we can.
Korean Spicy Glazed Pork Ribs
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds baby back pork ribs
Whisk gochujang, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and oil in a glass dish until smooth.
Cut the ribs into smaller pieces, about two bones per piece.
Toss the ribs in the marinade. Cover the dish and chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day ahead.
Place ribs in a baking dish to fit that has been lined with heavy-duty foil (for easy cleanup). Cover with foil.
Reserve any marinade in the glass dish.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake ribs, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and increase oven temperature to 450°F.
Roast, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade, until the ribs are deeply browned, glazed and fork-tender, 30 – 35 minutes longer.
Stir Fried Noodles with Vegetables
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 cups fresh Asian noodles
2 cups thinly shredded cabbage
Stir Fry Sauce (recipe below)
4 scallions, chopped
Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir fry for about 10 seconds.
Add the broccoli and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cabbage, the noodles and the Stir Fry Sauce.
Return to heat, gently toss for 1 minute to heat through the noodles and for the sauce to thicken. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.
Stir Fry Sauce
This sauce is fantastic and very authentic tasting in stir fry dishes. Make a double batch and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick dinner.
2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese wine (or sherry)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Combine ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.
Today’s dinner is one of our favorites. I don’t often eat lamb, but loin lamb chops are different. After siting in a marinade and then going on the grill, you couldn’t ask for anything more delicious than this. My market sells organic meats and when the lamb chops go on sale, I buy a few and put some extra away in the freezer for another day.
Red potatoes are in season in my area, so they are plentiful and inexpensive at the farmers’ markets. With the green beans, I got lucky. They are also in season but my batch came from a friend’s garden. He has quite a vegetable garden growing in a corner of his yard and he often shares some of his produce with me. Give this dinner a try, if you are in the mood. Delicious.
Grilled Lamb Chops
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 lamb loin chops, about 1 inch thick (about 2 3/4 pounds in all)
In a shallow dish, combine 4 tablespoons of the oil with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the lamb chops and turn to coat. Refrigerate for several hours before grilling.
Light an outdoor grill or heat the broiler. Oil the grill grates. Place the chops on the grill and reserve any marinade in the dish.
Grill over high heat or broil the lamb chops for 5 minutes, basting with the reserved marinade. Turn and cook until done, about 5 minutes longer.
When grilling quick-cooking items such as chops, turn them only once.
If you leave the meat alone for a few minutes, it will have a chance to form a nice brown crust. If you move it too soon, the meat will stick, and you’ll pull off the incipient crust.
Once that brown edge forms, the meat is easy to move.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
2 pounds (about 6 medium) red potatoes, thinly sliced
Half of a medium onion, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Using a whisk, add the flour and stir briskly to incorporate the flour and butter. Sprinkle in the mustard, salt and pepper.
Continue to cook for one minute over medium heat. Whisk in the milk and continue to stir, until the liquid comes to a full boil.
Constantly stir and scrape the bottom of the pan while the sauce continues to cook and thicken, about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Spray a 1 ½ quart baking dish with vegetable spray. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the white sauce into the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle lightly with onions. Arrange a layer of overlapping potatoes in the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle with salt and half of the onions. Pour 1/2 of the sauce evenly over the potatoes.
Sprinkle with half the cheese and some of the thyme leaves. Repeat with a second layer in the same order.
Place the baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet. Spray a piece of aluminum foil on one side with vegetable spray and place over the potatoes. Bake for 45 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and remove the foil. Continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Lemon-Ginger Green Beans
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Blanch the green beans in boiling water for two minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
Add lemon juice, cover the pan and steam the beans until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gnocchi are Italian dumplings and they should be light and fluffy when you serve them. Store bought gnocchi can be a little dense and heavy. How do you get the lightness in the dough? By not using too much flour and using flavor ingredients that are not heavy. I never just use just flour and potato in the dough. I like to add ricotta cheese and alternate the potato with other vegetables, such as butternut squash, pureed carrots, sweet potatoes or spinach. They are not difficult to make at home, so give gnocchi a try.
2 medium baking potatoes, cooked and peeled
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 cups 00 (Italian) flour or all-purpose flour
Dice the cooked potatoes and place them in an electric mixer bowl. With the paddle attachment mash the potatoes.
Add the salt and pepper.
Mix the egg and ricotta together in a small mixing bowl. Add to the potatoes in the mixer along with the flour.
Mix until thoroughly combined and the dough comes together.
Place the dough on a floured board and knead a few minutes until smooth.
Divide in half. This recipe usually comes out to weigh about 2 lbs.
Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is time to cut the gnocchi.
Wrap the other half in plastic and place in a freezer zip-lock beg. Freeze the dough for another time.
This dough freezes well. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator when you want to use it.
To shape the gnocchi:
Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before making the gnocchi.
Spread some flour on a large work surface and cut the dough into four equal pieces.Take one piece and cut it in half.
Roll the piece of dough into a snake about 1/2 inch thick, then cut it into 1 inch pieces.
Dust the gnocchi with a little flour and push the tines of a fork into one side of the dumpling.
Place the gnocchi on a waxed paper tray dusted with flour and cover with a dry kitchen towel.
To cook the gnocchi
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add enough salt to it so that the water tastes salty.
Place a pasta bowl close to the stove.
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they rise to the top of the boiling water.
You may have to do this in batches, so as not to crowd the pan.
Remove the gnocchi with a spider, allowing the water to drain and place the gnocchi in the bowl.
Continue until all the gnocchi are cooked.
Sauces for Gnocchi
Tomato and Fresh Basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the herb sprigs and basil and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste.
2 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
3 cloves garlic
½ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
3/4 cup freshly grated hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese, or a combo of the two
½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients except the oil and cheeses in a food processor. Pulse until the pesto is blended into a slightly coarse paste.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the oil and cheeses.
To serve with pasta, you can toss the cooked pasta directly with the pesto. Or, if you want to thin out the pesto sauce a little, add a spoonful or two of the hot pasta water to the pesto, then toss with the cooked pasta and serve right away.
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese, grated (or Parmesan)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to desired taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and butter, swirl to coat the skillet.
Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper; sauté 20 minutes until mushrooms are browned and have released their liquid.
Add wine and thyme and cook for a few minutes until liquid has evaporated. Remove pan from heat.
Add hot cooked pasta another sprinkling of salt, half & half and Grana Padano to the skillet, tossing to combine.
Add cooking pasta cooking liquid until desired moistness and continue to toss. Sprinkle with parsley.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
6 ounces dry miniature ravioli
3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Pour cream into skillet, bring to a simmer, and cook cream until it reduces by half, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Pour dried ravioli into boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
Drain pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water.
Gently fold cooked ravioli into cream sauce and turn heat to low. Mix in Gorgonzola cheese, stirring gently until melted. If sauce is too thick, thin it with a little pasta cooking water.
Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with diced apple, walnuts, and 1 teaspoon parsley.
2 cups penne pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into strips
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat-high heat; saute asparagus and carrots until tender yet firm to the bite, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic; saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir Parmesan cheese, cream, and black pepper into vegetable mixture until cheese melts and sauce is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat.
And Our Favorite
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Black pepper to taste
12 sage leaves, sliced
To make the sauce:
Heat the butter and sage together in a small skillet. Pour the melted butter over the cooked gnocchi, add the cheese and mix well. Garnish with black pepper and serve immediately.