- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.2lzcOnhH.dpuf Nothing but Delicious: August 2011

Beer is Delicious: Beer Steamed Burgers

Since there's a three day weekend coming up, I decided to share with you an American backyard dinner: burgers, potatoes and slaw!

Now, to be perfectly honest, I usually feel like crap after this kind of meal. Traditionally, it is heavy and unhealthy. Granted, that's partially on me. I mean, if I'm going to get a burger, I'm going to go all out: Benton's bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, garlic aioli. But it just doesn't have to be like that. 

If you steam your burger, you can use up to 96% lean ground beef. The moisture from the steam keeps the burger juicy and moist. And what better to steam it in than beer? I used The Better Beer Project's prototype for American Pale Ale. 

As for the sides, I baked the potatoes with red pepper flakes and thyme. They are crunchy on the top, soft in the middle and downright addictive. I also didn't use mayonnaise on the slaw. A 1:1 ratio of Greek yogurt and avocado make a dressing that is just as rich and thick

Check back later this week for a post about how to end this meal: Horchata Ice Cream

OH! And special thanks to my friend Stephen for inspiring this burger recipe. 
I hope you all have a happy and healthy long weekend!

The recipe for Accordion Potatoes can be found here. They are SO delicious, but be warned: they are also a little bit of a pain to make.

Beer Steamed Burgers:
-serves four
1lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1T honey
2T olive oil
2T unsalted seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute)
salt to taste (I used a scant teaspoon)
1/3 cup beer (try to use something that is neither too sweet nor too hoppy; stick with the pale ale family)

Mix beef, quinoa, honey olive oil, salt and seasoning together and form into four patties. Let come to room temperature. Heat a pan over medium with about 1T oil in the bottom. Cook on one side uncovered. When you flip the burgers, add the beer and cover for the remainder of the cooking process. Top with cheese before covering if desired.

*Tips: Cook quinoa in something flavorful, like vegetable stock with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Do not over mix the meat; this can make it tough. Lightly butter your buns and warm them at 300 for about 10 minutes. No one likes a dry bun any more than they like a dry burger!

My burger is pictured with Simple Guacamole:
2 large, ripe avocados
1/2 a red onion
juice of two limes
2 medium jalapenoes
salt to taste

Carrot Salad:
-serves eight 
6 oz Greek yogurt
1 avocado
2T fresh mint, chopped
2T sugar
juice of one lime
20 oz carrots, shredded
salt to taste (just a pinch should do it)
1/2 cup golden raisins (I think regular raisins look like dead bugs in my food!)
*I also added one bulb fennel and one granny smith apple, but the salad is just as good without them!

Place yogurt, avocado, mint, sugar, salt and lime juice in blender and pulse until very smooth. Toss with carrots and raisins. This is best if it has time to rest for a couple hours before serving.

Sneak Peek: Dark Chocolate Brownies

Just wanted to let you know: I'm working on a new recipe for dark chocolate brownies, one that's really unique. I started my testing with a solid recipe and a classic flavor combination. I made David Lebovitz's gluten-free brownies and added a cup of fresh cherries instead of nuts. From here I get a little crazier. I look forward to sharing the results with you soon! 

Easy is Delicious: Kale Stew

I never thought I liked kale. In the '90's it was very trendy in restaurants to use a piece of raw kale as a garnish. Even as an eight-year-old, I loved its deep green color, earthy smell and curly edges. Why would something be on my plate if I wasn't meant to eat it? I always wondered. Naturally I'd try to eat it. Let me tell you: raw, garnish quality kale is NOT meant to be eaten. It's awful. Just don't do it.
But fate brought kale and I back together 14 years later. My friend Sarah was singing at the East Nashville Farmers Market one afternoon and was paid for her services with a basket of vegetables. Nestled in the basket next to green onions and a few zucchini was a giant bunch of purple kale. We sauteed it with olive oil, garlic and a little bit of sugar and ate it alongside fresh spinach fettucini. To my surprise, I loved it.

Now I can't get enough kale. There is no other vegetable that is quite as hearty, nutritious and versatile. My favorite way to eat it is in a one pot meal, kale stew. It has less than ten ingredients and is ready in half an hour. I serve it with a big hunk of bread, over rice, quinoa, mashed potatoes or as picture here, with goat cheese polenta.

Kale Stew:
-serves 4-6
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/2 t red pepper flakes
3 links sausage (I used Trader Joe's chicken andouille, loose or cased both work)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 can roasted tomatoes
1 can white beans (such as cannellini or garbanzo), drained
1 bunch or bag of kale, chopped
1T raw honey
about 1/2 cup to 1 cup chicken stock

In a large pot (I used a six quart French oven), sauté onion in olive oil with kosher salt and red pepper flakes until translucent. Add sausage (break up if using loose, slice if using cased). Let cook over medium, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized and sausage is brown.

Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Add tomatoes, beans and 1/2 cup of stock. Simmer for five minutes. Add kale, honey and a little more salt (you may need to do this in batches- the kale will cook down a lot) and let kale cook for at least ten minutes with lid on. You can let this simmer for up to 20 minutes longer to let flavors meld or serve immediately.

*Add more stock as needed. I used a little extra after I added the kale.

Dessert is Delicious: Summer Clafoutis

Have you ever had a clafoutis (pronounced clah-foo-tea)? I hadn't either, until today. Clafoutis is a French dessert that is the beautiful love child of a cake and a custard. It is light, fluffy and moist and is the perfect little nestling place for sweet summer fruit. I like it, very much. 
I made mine with peaches, raspberries, cherries, buttermilk and orange zest. My mouth waters just thinking about the combination- peaches, raspberries, cherries, buttermilk and orange zest! 
Quite a few eggs give the clafoutis its rise and as it bakes, juice from the fruit oozes throughout the dish. The top turns slightly brown and the smell, oh the smell! If they made peach, raspberry, cherry, buttermilk and orange zest clafoutis perfume I would wear it all the time. 
I sweetened my clafoutis batter only with honey, so I topped it with a touch of powdered sugar when it came out of the oven. Do you remember what your first kiss felt like? I don't mean the one where you knocked teeth and then coughed in his mouth (yeah, I'm a catch). I mean your first good kiss- when you blacked out a little and felt tingly all over? My first bite of clafoutis was a similar experience. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 
Summer Clafoutis:
-serves six
(based on Pear Clafoutis, by Ina Garten) 
1/2 cup raw honey
3 large eggs
6T all purpose flour (use cornstarch if you want to go GF)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used reduced fat)
2T vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt 
zest of one orange
1/2 pint berries
3-4 piece stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines or apricots
butter and sugar for the pan

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a pie dish until covered and dust with about 1T granulated sugar. In a bowl, cream eggs and honey with electric mixer on medium for three minutes. Then add the flour, buttermilk, vanilla, salt and orange. Let batter rest for 10 minutes. Half stone fruit and place it in pie dish with berries around it (remove any pits first). Pour batter over fruit. Bake for 45 minutes or until batter does not jiggle in the middle. The top should be golden brown. Top with powdered sugar. 

Beer is Delicious: Brown Ale Sauce

Tomatoes are out and beer is back in- vive la Brewsday
There are four things that all college kids have in their kitchen: spaghetti, onions, beer and cheese. Yes my friends, I used to make dinner out of only those four things. I'd caramelize onions, reduce beer, mix with pasta and top with cheese. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as the other Hannah would say.

When I was cooking in college I'd grab whatever beer was leftover from the weekend before. It didn't always work out very well (Bud Light Lime is not good to eat or drink). The best beer to use in a sauce like this is a medium brown English style ale (try BBC Nut Brown Ale or Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale). The toasty flavor of the dark malts marry with the sugar in the onions and well, they form a very happy union.

This sauce is a dressed up version of my college dinner. I still like to toss it with spaghetti and top it with cheese, but I add a few vegetables and herbs in there too.
Here I've tossed the Brown Ale Sauce with spaghetti and arugula. I've topped it with pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese and a grilled artichoke. But you don't have to limit Brown Ale Sauce to pasta; it is delicious in so many ways. Other recommended uses include: using it as a spread on a chicken sandwich, marinating steak in it before grilling and dipping potato wedges in it. Mmm.

Brown Ale Sauce:
- serves four to six, depending on your portion size
3 large sweet onions
one small head garlic
1T balsamic vinegar
1T raw honey
1/4 cup nut brown ale
1/2 cup beef stock
1 heaping Tablespoon thyme, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Wrap garlic in tin foil and top with olive oil and a big pinch of kosher salt. Roast until your whole house smells like garlic (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, dice onions and cook over medium heat with olive oil and two big pinches of kosher salt. When onions are caramelized, add vinegar and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add beer and cook for another 3-5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add stock and honey and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme.

At this point, you can either chop the garlic (squeezed out of skins) and mix it in, then serve as is or you can throw everything into a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Happy eating and drinking to you all!

Tomatoes are Delicious: Tomato Soup

Whoever invented tomato soup was some kind of brilliant idiot. Honestly, it is so good to eat, but so inexplicably inefficient to make.
It boils down to this: if you have a lot of time on your hands and want to show off a bit, make tomato soup. It's certainly worth it.
I'm a soup addict. Tomato soup is the perfect summer or winter dinner. The problem with craving tomato soup in the winter is that you can't get good tomatoes! Last night, Coy and I each enjoyed our soup with cheese on top, and sparkling lemonade and a whole wheat baguette on the side. Then I put the rest in the freezer for safe keeping. I'm like the ant, always thinking ahead.

I made my soup at the very peak of tomato season. I got big, red beefsteak tomatoes and sweet vidalia onions from the Nashville Farmers' Market. I roasted them with garlic, rosemary and fennel and blended it all together with basil from my windowsill. It's like preserving the best of summer in a bowl.
Roasted Tomato Soup:
-Serves four as a meal, six as a side dish

4 1/2 pounds red tomatoes
2 small vidalia onions
1 large bulb fennel
1 head garlic
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 cup fresh basil
4 sprigs rosemary, roughly torn

Slice fennel and onion in 1/4 inch rounds, slice tomatoes in half and chop the top off of a whole head of garlic. Cover vegetables in lots of olive oil, kosher salt and rosemary. Roast in oven at 400 until onions and fennel are caramelized and tomatoes are soft (this could take up to 55 minutes depending on your oven and your vegetables; check them after 30 minutes, and then every 10 minutes after that). Discard rosemary when vegetables are done. Meanwhile, warm (do NOT simmer or boil) the milk with the basil in it for 30 minutes. Blend everything together (be sure to squeeze the garlic out of its skin). Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add 1/2 a cup of remaining pulp to thicken soup.

*Note: I recommend roasting tomatoes in something shallow like a pie dish. Juice will come off of them and caramelize in the bottom. That juice is delicious! Plus it will make a mess in your oven if it drips off a cookie sheet.

Tomatoes are delicious: BLT Casserole

Last summer I made BLT stuffed tomatoes and let me tell you, I made a mess. "Gutting" whole tomatoes, as I like to call it, is downright barbaric. It bruises the tomatoes and stains my shirts; I will not stand for it.

My friends, on the other hand, raved over the end result. Like Madonna in the '80's, the BLT stuffed tomatoes had everything going for them: caramelization, gooey cheese, crunchy bacon, soft bread, fresh spinach and a touch of spice. They have begged me to make them again ever since.

When Coy told me that he bought a steak to grill, I briefly considered revisiting my barbarism. What could be a better accompaniment to a steak than anything BLT-flavored? Luckily, I couldn't find uniformly sized heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market. So I made BLT casserole.

Personally, I like it even better than the stuffed tomatoes! You just can't go wrong with quinoa and an egg- it makes everything light and fluffy. The tomatoes are juicy, the bacon is smokey, the top is caramelized. It hit the spot.

BLT Casserole
-serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side dish
1/2 cup quinoa
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 one pound tomato, preferably heirloom
1 cup spinach
3 slices applewood smoked, thick cut bacon
1 large egg
1/4 cup cheese, grated (you guessed it, I used goat milk gouda)
2t fresh rosemary
1t hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Sauté onion in pot until golden brown. Add quinoa to same pot and cook with water or stock (I used low sodium vegetable stock). When it is done, take it off the heat and add spinach, tomatoes (chopped into 1/2 inch cubes) and rosemary. Toss to combine. Meanwhile, cook bacon in separate pan until crisp. Reserve 1t of drippings to beat with egg, rosemary, cheese and hot sauce. Chop bacon very fine. Toss everything together and bake in an au gratin dish at 400 degrees for 25 minutes and then broil top until golden and bubbly.

*Note: I used a small pinch of salt while caramelizing the onions. Other than that, I do not recommend adding salt or pepper. The stock, bacon and cheese already have plenty of salt and the Sriracha has pepper.

Tomatoes are Delicious: Savory Crepe Cake

I am very happy to welcome you, dear reader, to tomato week! In the next five days, I will be sharing three tomato recipes with you. Tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness here in Nashville; they are so good and we love them so much that we have a Tomato Art Festival. It has been voted "Best Festival" by Nashville Scene reader polls for the last four consecutive years. Yes, it's just that great. And it's this Saturday, if anyone's interested. 

"The tomato: a uniter, not a divider," I read on @TomatoArtFest when I woke up last Saturday morning. This rang especially true to me. When I was little, even my pickiest friends swooned when my Mom nestled a slice of sweet tomato between two pieces of white bread and a little bit of mayo. Everyone likes a good tomato. 

I knew I wanted to start my tomato week with a dish that would bring people together. What that dish was...well, that was up to the tomatoes. After waiting out Saturday's rain, I walked to the Nashville Farmers Market. Katie, who had a "love affair with a tomato" last time she visited, helped me pick out two heirloom tomatoes. One was bright red, the other golden yellow. Each weighed in at about a pound. As we walked home, we talked about all the things that make the flavor of tomatoes pop: eggs, basil, rosemary, bacon, cheese, pasta, olives, capers, artichokes...
With tomatoes as scrumptious as these, cooking them was out of the question; pairing them with something too bold (like olives) or too heavy (like brie) seemed sinful. 

We finally settled on a tall, rustic crepe stack and planned to eat it at brunch the next day. 
It was just right. I made the crepes with dark, earthy buckwheat flour. They were "thin as lady's undergarments" and sauteed gently in small pools of sweet butter until golden brown and ever so slightly crispy. I layered them simply with ricotta cheese and thick, juicy slices of tomato. The ricotta was chilled and sweetened with fresh, minty basil and smooth, creamy raw honey. The tomatoes were dressed with just a kiss of kosher salt. I especially liked how they peaked out of the edges of the stack, as if they were shy. I topped the whole thing off with warm, toasted pine nuts. 
The best part was cutting into it. The red and yellow tomatoes formed a beautiful mosaic on the sides of each slice. I served it with a piece of crispy applewood smoked bacon and a fried egg. All of the red and yellow colors seemed happy on the plate together. And we were happy with them. Happy and full

Katie, Andrew, Coy and I spent nearly two hours lingering over brunch. We talked and laughed; we took pictures; we sipped coffee. We enjoyed each other's company. 

Tomato Crepe Stack:
-serves six
4 large crepes (I used this recipe from Gluten Free Girl)
two tubs of ricotta cheese
fresh basil
4t raw honey
2 one pound tomatoes (preferably heirloom), sliced
kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Put one tub of ricotta cheese into food processor with a large handful of basil and honey. Puree until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup basil ricotta to dress the very top. Layer stack in the following order: crepe, plain ricotta, tomato slices, salt, crepe, basil ricotta, tomato slices, salt... repeat. Scatter pine nuts across the top. Serve immediately.  

Beer is Delicious: Chocolate Stout Sorbet

Stout and chocolate have so very much in common. For starters, I love them both dearly. They are thick, smooth, creamy, nutty and, if you're dealing with the good stuff, bittersweet. When combined they make an intensely deep and rich flavor.

For the last few weeks I haven't been able to get enough frozen treats. The weather has been hovering around 100 degrees every day and I'm certain I get sunburned just by looking out the window. Yesterday I made chocolate stout sorbet and we ate it just as the sun was going down. I put the first bite in my mouth and breathed a sigh of relief; for the first time in ages, I was cold!

The best part about chocolate stout sorbet is it's simplicity. It has only three ingredients: chocolate syrup, espresso, and stout. I used Rogue Chocolate Stout for extra chocolaty goodness.
The sorbet comes out looking like frozen brownie batter. It is not overly sweet, so I topped it with a light drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. 
Chocolate Stout Sorbet:
-serves four

1 1/4 cups chocolate stout 
1 1/2 cups of your favorite chocolate syrup 
1 shot espresso 

Make sure all ingredients are VERY cold. Whisk to combine. Follow manufacturer instructions for your ice cream machine. Let sorbet set in freezer for at least eight hours before serving. 

Color is Delicious: Pink and Green Salad

Already I have had a long morning. At 8AM my Dad had a cardioversion, his second one this year. 

Due to complications with his last cardioversion, he has not been able to eat anything that is spicy, crunchy, acidic or salty. That rules out chips, onions, garlic, oranges, roasted nuts and even tomatoes (among many, many other things). Can you imagine? 

Last week he told me that if he ever feels "normal" again, he is going to go to the farm stand every week to buy the tangiest, freshest vegetables. 

So today, in his honor, I made a healthy salad of all the delicious things he can now eat: strong, spicy shallots, crunchy and sweet honeydew melon, tart grapefruit, buttery avocado, roasted pistachios- all tossed simply with olive oil, honey and a pinch of sea salt. I may even throw in some basil or mint before I eat it for lunch. 

Here's to feeling better