Browsing articles in "Main Course"
Sep 13, 2011

Recipe for: California Bacon (oops, I forgot the lettuce) Tomato Sandwich

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
4 portions

There is nothing wrong with a classic BLT sandwich. The saltiness and crispy texture from the bacon with the tender and juicy tomatoes, makes a BLT one of the greatest little sandwiches of all time. However, in my version of a BLT, I changed it up a bit. Inside of plain mayo, I created a simple basil mayo, which pairs perfectly with the tomato slices. I also added thinly slices of prosciutto. What, more pork?! Yes! Prosciutto is dried-cured ham and loved by all Italians. It added a delicate balance to the overall taste. I also added slices of avocados, making it “California.” I did have a brain fart because I had every intention of adding lettuce to the mix, but it slipped my mind completely. I even purchased it from the market. So, if you have it on hand, add it. If not, no worries. It’s still pretty damn good without it. I absolutely love my grownup version of a BLT. It’s just a little twist on a classic favorite.

1 Ciabatta bread
1/3 cup of mayo
4-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced
8-10 strips of bacon, cooked
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1 package of prosciutto
salt + pepper

1. Prepare the mayo basil. In a small bowl, combine mayo, sliced basil, salt and pepper. Stir until nicely combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the sandwich.

2. Cook bacon. Heat a skillet on the stove at medium temperature. Place the slices of bacon in the hot, dry skillet. Cook the bacon until nice and crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper-lined plate. Cover with a paper towel and set aside.

3. Toast the Ciabatta and prep the veggies. Slice the Ciabatta bread in half and place on a baking sheet with cut side facing up. Broil on low for 3-4 minutes until the bread warms through and gets a little toasted. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Also, slice the avocado. Set aside.

4. Assemble the sandwich. Place the bottom part of the toasted Ciabatta and place on cutting board. Spread the basil mayo covering the bread. Layer the slices of tomatoes, bacon, prosciutto and avocado.

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Aug 16, 2011

Recipe for: Apple Juice Marinated Ribs

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 4-6 hours to marinate, 2 to 2.5 hrs to bake, 10 minutes to grill
2 ribs or more

After making my fried green tomatoes, I decided to continue on with another Southern favorite. This past weekend I made for the very first time — ribs. I absolutely love eating them, but I’ve never actually made them at home. So I told myself to not be afraid of cooking ribs because in actuality, ribs are as simple as anything else. The only challenge is time. You need to allow the ribs to marinade in the apple juice for 4-6 hours and bake them in the oven for at least 2 hours. You can’t skimp on either one of those steps. So the real question is, why apple juice? To be honest, I heard this was a secret to making ribs. The sugars from the apple juice seeps into the meat and act like salt keeping the meat moist and tender. And it certainly was! With the addition of your favorite barbeque sauce, you too can make ribs that are finger lickin’ good!

2 pork loin back ribs
3 cups of apple juice
salt + pepper
your favorite bbq sauce

1. Season the ribs. Simply remove the pork loin back ribs from the packaging and place them in an aluminum baking tray. Season both sides heavily with salt and pepper. *I purchased my ribs from Costco. Total of 3 slabs of ribs for only $27. Can’t beat that!

2. Add apple juice. With the meaty side facing down, pour the apple juice into the tray. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or even overnight.

3. Bake for 2 hrs. After the ribs have marinated, place tray into a 400° oven and bake for 2-2.5 hours depending on the size of the ribs. My ribs actually took about 2.5 hours. The meat should be tender and literally falling off the bone.

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Aug 9, 2011

Recipe for: Tilapia with Brown Butter Sauce

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
4 filets (feeds 2)

A brown butter sauce is exactly what it sounds like, melted butter that has been browned while cooking on the stove. By then simply adding some acid such as fresh lemon juice and an herb of your choice, you have a sauce that works perfectly with a very mild and somewhat tasteless fish — the Tilapia.

Tilapia is a farm-raised fish. It can take on bold flavors while keeping a delicate taste and texture. I enjoy cooking it because it’s a relatively inexpensive fish, which would be ideal for a large crowd if you’re on a budget like me. Plus, they’re hard to miss up! I’ve cooked this dish several times now, but I think I finally perfected it for you today. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll have a bland and cheap fish taste like a million bucks.

Pretty Tasty Things

4 filets of Tilapia
3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of chopped chives (or any herb you like)
1 cup of flour
1/2 a lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Prep the tilapia. Drizzle olive oil on the Tilapia filets. Salt and pepper both sides. Next, lightly coat both sides of the filets with flour. Pat the excess flour off and set aside.

2. Pan fry the Tilapia. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Once the pan gets hot, drizzle some olive oil coating the bottom of the pan. Gently place the filets in the hot oil. You know it’s hot when the filets sizzle. It’s important to not fiddle with the filets. Turn the filets over once after one side has turned golden brown. It takes roughly 3-4 minutes per side. You can add a little more oil if the pan gets dry. Once cooked, remove from pan and place on a serving platter.

3. Prepare the brown butter sauce. After you’ve removed the filets, immediately add the butter to the hot skillet while keep the stove at medium heat. Butter will bubble up once it hits the pan. Stir continuously to cook down the butter. The bubbles will disappear while the butter starts to cook and turn brown. This is what you want. This process literally takes less than 1 minute.

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Jul 19, 2011

Recipe for: Pasta Carbonara

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
2 people very full, but enough for 1 more

I sometimes think I have some Italian in my blood because I absolutely love eating and cooking pasta, namely this simple and classic dish: Pasta Carbonara. From watching cooking shows nonstop, I’ve learned the importance of keeping some basic staples in the pantry and fridge like pasta, heavy cream, egg and Parmesan cheese. These inexpensive ingredients can transfer a boring pasta dish into something that is elegant and beautiful. 

This dish is particularly my favorite because it doesn’t taste as heavy as it sounds. Yes, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s so delicious you wouldn’t even care. The bacon adds a crispy texture and saltiness to each bite. The yolk from the sunny side up egg merries all the flavors together. Even the basil adds some freshness to the overall dish. This is a great go-to pasta for the next time you want to impress your family and friends.

8 slices of bacon, cooked
1 box of your favorite pasta (I used Linguine)
Water to boil
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup of heavy cream
basil for garnish
1 teaspoon of butter
olive oil
salt + pepper

1. Cook bacon & boil pasta.
On a medium-size skillet, cook the strips of bacon until nicely crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the excess fat. Meanwhile, fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water to flavor the pasta. Drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook for 9-11 minutes.

2. Prepare the cream mixture. While the pasta is boiling, grate the Parmesan cheese and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the heavy cream and 2 eggs using a fork to whisk. Set aside. The grated Parmesan and cream mixture will be later combined with the cooked pasta.

3. Fry the eggs sunny side up. Heat a small non-stick skillet on medium-low. Add a teaspoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Once it melts, crack two eggs. Season the top of the eggs with salt and pepper. Cook the eggs on one side for 2-4 minutes leaving the yolk runny while the egg white is cooked through leaving a crispy edge. Set aside.

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Jul 12, 2011

Recipe for: Gouda & Tomato Bocadillos

FROM THE KITCHEN OF: Isabel Canfield
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes to prep, 10 minutes to cook
2 bocadillos

Siestas are no joke in Spain. Everyone closes up their business in the late afternoon for a few hours, in theory to nap. Fortunately, one coffee and sandwich shop in Barcelona had their gate still open. So, Jared and I quickly rushed in and sat at their bar. We wanted something to eat, anything because we were starving! We ordered two cafe con leches and two bocadillos and boy, they both hit the spot.

A bocadillo is very simple. It’s a piece of baguette sliced in half filled with nothing more than cheese and meat, chorizo, an omelet or tomato (to keep it moist). That’s all. No lettuce, mayo, pickles or anything else. The simplicity of this bocadillo allows people to eat on the go especially for those traveling. They’re not messy and won’t spoil easily. They’re a great snack and can be served hot or cold. My bocadillo is as simple with Gouda cheese and tomato heated on the stove. If you need a quick and tasty snack, try these bocadillos. Spain loves them and so do I!

1 French baguette
wedge of Gouda cheese
1 tomato

1. Gather ingredients.
Place the baguette, rinsed tomato and Gouda on the cutting board.

2. Slice the ingredients. Cut two 6-8″ size portions of the baguette. And then slice each portion in half. Next, thinly slice the cheese and tomato. Lay several slices of cheese on both sides of the baguette and then place 2 slices of tomato on one side. Put both sides together and spread some butter on the outside of the baguette.

3. Heat the bocadillos. Heat a small skillet on low to medium-low. Gently place the bocadillos on the skillet. Taking a piece of foil and something heavy (I used my flour container), weigh down the sandwiches. This helps create a crispy crust on both sides and keeps the bocadillo relatively flat. Each side takes about 3-5 minutes. Once cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, serve immediately and enjoy a taste of Espana!

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