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fresh egg pasta and italian sausage

fresh egg pasta and Italian sausageThe other day I ‘attempted’ to make fresh pasta and absolutely failed!  The more I tried to rectify the situation, the worse it got.  It’s in these situations I’ve learned to walk away and try again at a later date when my mind is free from the noise.  I’ve been making my own pasta for years but every once in a while, something leads me down a path that I inherently know will result in disaster.  Continue Reading →

Inside Out Burger

inside out burger by The Culinary Chase America is considered the true home of the hamburger, but chopped beef had been a staple of Eastern European cuisines for centuries.  German immigrants from Hamburg arrived in America in the 19th century bringing their Hamburg-style beef with them.  Burgers are all about the toppings and this recipe focuses on the topping you can’t see.  The idea behind an inside out burger is to sandwich ingredients within the beef patty and when you take a bite, the stuffing is uncovered.  Talk about a taste sensation!

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. medium ground beef
1 onion, thinly sliced
cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated (or any mixture of hard or semi-hard cheeses)
4 slices bacon, cooked
bread and butter pickles
hamburger buns

Divide beef into 4 even chunks.  Divide those chunks in half and form patties.  Using all fingers, grab a generous pinch of Gruyère cheese and place on one half of the patty. Place the other half on top. Using your fingers, crimp and seal the edges closed – you don’t want the cheese exposed. Repeat for remaining patties.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.  Keeping the patties cold before cooking helps them to stay together and stay as juicy as possible.

In a frying pan over medium heat add a splash of olive oil and sauté onion until golden brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add a splash more olive oil and add mushrooms. Cook until light brown or to your liking. Remove and set aside.hamburger buns by The Culinary ChaseSeason patties with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and grill over medium-high heat (2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium, and 5 for well-done).  Resist the urge to press the burgers while they cook as this releases their natural juices (making for a drier patty) and the cheese will ooze out. IF USING A GRILL PAN: Heat pan over high heat on top of the stove. Cook the burgers the same as you would for the barbecue. Build the hamburger by placing one patty on the base of a hamburger bun followed by thinly sliced cheese (the heat from the burger will soften the cheese), pickles, bacon, mushrooms and onion.

inside-out hamburger by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: The first time I made an inside out burger was 2 years ago when we lived in NY and I haven’t made a regular burger since!  I like my burgers thick and use a pound of ground beef for the two of us.  Get creative and use other toppings to stuff your burger.  Enjoy!

40 Minute Hamburger Buns

40 minute hamburger buns by The Culinary ChaseThe night before, John and I were watching Eat Street and hamburgers were being made in one of the food trucks. They looked so good and appetizing John said why don’t we have hamburgers for dinner.  It’s finally starting to feel like Spring and although we do use our bbq all year round, yesterday was full of sunshine and inspired me to make, for the very first time, my own hamburger buns.  Surfing the web I found a recipe to make a hamburger bun in 40 minutes.  Full of doubt, I read the recipe through and afterward thought I’d give it a bash.  What could go wrong I heard myself saying.  I’m not a proficient bread maker in the first place but something about this recipe said it could work and even if didn’t, I could easily pop into the grocery store…

Makes 8 to 12 buns
adapted from Taste of Home

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter (to brush over the tops of the buns)

hamburger dough collage by The Culinary Chase

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough (start with 3 cups as you may not need the 1/2 cup of flour).
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Space apart on greased baking sheets.

hamburger bread dough

  • Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks to cool.

hamburger buns by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: WOW! These were incredibly easy to make and I was skeptical homemade bread could be done in 40 minutes and taste good, too. It took me 45 minutes from start to pulling these puppies out of the oven.  These will also make a delicious dinner roll.  Yep, I’ll be making these again. Enjoy!

Homemade Potato Chips

homemade potato chips by The Culinary ChaseIt always excites me to find something new. The other day I stumbled across Irvin Lin’s food blog and was drawn to his post on how to make potato chips using the cold oil method.  I re-read the sentence again…cold oil method?  This method uses less oil, less chance of oil splattering when the potato is added and less oil is absorbed.  Yesterday mother nature decided we needed more snow and with blizzard conditions outside, I was housebound.  I thought about Irvin’s post and decided a snow day would be the perfect homemade chip day or crisps as my hubby calls them.  I had two potatoes lingering in the fridge in need of rescuing.  Irvin recommends using Yukon Gold potatoes but I had red potatoes…the outcome was quite good.  Homemade potato chips are relatively easy to make, taste amazing and you can season with your favorite sea salt or other herbs and spices.

2 or 3 medium-sized potatoes, thinly sliced (a mandoline works well for even slices)
canola oil

IMG_23161. Place potato slices in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot (aluminum or cheap stainless steel pots are not recommended as they don’t hold the heat well) and pour oil over the potatoes making sure they are completely covered (at least an inch above). Stir a bit just to make sure the potatoes aren’t sticking to one another.
2. Turn on burner to high and bring oil to a boil. Once the oil is bubbling let the potato cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then, using heatproof tongs, stir the potatoes to make sure none are sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. Continue frying at a high heat for another 5 or so minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain (paper towel underneath). While still warm, season with sea salt or favorite toppings.

potato chipsThe Culinary Chase’s Note: An average-sized potato yields about 10 to 15 chips, although amounts vary based on the size of the potato and how thinly you slice it.  You can use the same method for cooking french fries, adjust cooking time 20 – 25 minutes.  Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Rutabaga Fries

rutabaga fries by The Culinary ChaseConfession time. I always thought the word rutabaga was a fancy term for a turnip. So for clarity, here’s the scoop on both – I know you want to get to the bottom of this.  While surfing the web I found out that a rutabaga (aka swede or yellow turnip) is the cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. Turnips are also a root vegetable, can have a bitter taste, usually conical in shape and is white-skinned with a light purple top (caused by being exposed to sunlight).  Both carry their own list of health benefits.

Laced with garlic and Parmesan, serve these fries at the next Sunday football gathering…I guarantee they won’t last long!

rutabaga, peeled
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped or you could use a teaspoon of Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon garlic paste (directions here)

photo: www.rawmelissa.com

photo: www.rawmelissa.com

1. Preheat oven to 425f.
2. Slice rutabaga into 1/4-inch disks and then cut those disks into French fry sized sticks. Place in a bowl.
3. Add rosemary, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil to rutabaga. Toss to coat the rutabaga.
4. Place rutabaga on a non-stick cookie sheet (spaced out) and bake in the oven 20 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them and flip half way through cooking. Remove when golden brown and serve immediately.

rutabaga collage by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: For a bit of spice add cayenne pepper before baking. If you want to serve these with a dip, try using aioli otherwise these fries are lovely dressed they way they are. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cups

handmade peanut butter cups by The Culinary ChaseWhen I was little, I wasn’t a huge fan of candy. Mom always had her candy drawer fully stocked but I was never that enticed to ‘snatch’ something from it – unless it was red licorice.  Every Christmas mom would have boxes of Ganong chocolates that would get distributed throughout the holiday season.  I would try to see which chocolate I could eat based on the diagram on the box.  If it looked like a mushy center or alcohol based, I would avoid it like the plague.  And, I would take a small corner bite just to make sure it was the one.  If it wasn’t, I would neatly place it back in the wrapper!  I can distinctly remember checking my Christmas stocking for goodies and hoping I wouldn’t find any ribbon candy in it…I know they were pretty and nostalgic-looking but that was it.  I would use it as a bartering tool later on with my other siblings (sorry mom).  Nothing much has changed since then.  I’ve long since moved away from milk chocolate (eww) and favor dark chocolate.  Visit Women’s Health Magazine for 9 health benefits of eating dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao).

Makes 12
adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

16 oz. dark chocolate (70%), chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sifted icing sugar

Fill a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Melt half the chocolate in a double boiler. Distribute melted chocolate between the cupcake liners by barely filling the bottom of each. I found that using a tablespoon helped. If the chocolate does not lie flat, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter until it is flatten and smooth. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.

peanut butter cups collage by The Culinary ChaseMeanwhile, using a hand mixer whip the peanut butter, butter, and icing sugar together until light in color. At this point, do a taste test to make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Place small tablespoons of peanut butter into each cup, then drop the pan repeatedly on the counter again, so the peanut butter layer is flattened out or smooth it out with the back of a teaspoon. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt the last half of chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. Do this for each cup as the chill from the peanut butter will harden the top layer of chocolate very quickly. Place the peanut butter cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the top layer of chocolate.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Once you make your own, it will be difficult to go back to a commercial form. Keep the peanut butter cups in the fridge otherwise the filling will be too soft if left out at room temperature for any length of time. I’ll make these again but using less chocolate on the bottom and top…my gauge was a bit off making the top too thick but not too thick to enjoy.  My husband is not a fan of peanut butter but when he tried this, he was hooked.  Enjoy!