Roasted Fennel

Where do I begin with fennel? It’s something that I look at all the time, whether that be at the grocery store, or at a farmer’s market. Look, I said, not purchase. So I had to break that routine, and buy a fennel bulb. When I brought it home, I thought I might slice it and eat it raw, and then I took a look at the fennel fronds and thought I might use it as a garnish of some sorts, or place it in a salad. You can tell I was all over the place, and then I decided to simply roast the fennel and serve it as a side dish alongside some roasted chicken.

Roasted Fennel Recipe

If you have never had fennel before, it is pretty diverse and can be eaten raw, or cooked, and it has a mild licorice like flavor. With that said, you are probably either going to love it, or hate it. My family is on the neutral front.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

That’s it. Super simple, and a great side dish, especially with fish.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Take the fennel bulb, removing the fennel fronds (the green stuff that looks like dill), and slice off the base of the fennel.

With the remaining bulb, thinly slice the fennel and add it to a small mixing bowl.

How to make roasted fennel

Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and give it a good mix.

Once the oven is heated, place the fennel on a baking sheet, and spread it out.

Roast the fennel in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the fennel gets nice and roasted and caramelized. Remove and serve.

The end result is a nice and tender piece of fennel that is somewhat sweet, with a mild licorice flavor. Also note, fennel is really, really good for you, so if you are like me and look and fennel but never purchase it, go ahead and pick one up and serve it raw or roasted. You only live once, so go ahead and give it a try. Hope you enjoy!

 

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Poutine Potato Skins

Poutine. If you have never had poutine, you must seek and consume this wonderful recipe from Quebec, Canada. Yes, our friends to the north created this recipe where you have twice cooked fries, topped with cheese curds, and smothered in a brown gravy. It’s bar food at it’s finest. It’s messy, and it’s really, really good. I’ve been thinking about poutine for quiet some time now, and recently I decided to take the idea of poutine, but twist it up a little bit. This is where the poutine potato skin came into play.

Poutine Potato Skins

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package McCormick Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 small handful of french fries, cooked
  • 1 cup of white cheese curds
  • scallions, sliced (optional)

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.

Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise.  With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.

Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.

Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.

During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.

How to make poutine potato skins

Once the potato skins are nice and crispy on the exterior, remove from the oven, and add a few crispy french fries into the bottom of each potato. Yes, more potato in a potato.

Top with cheese curds, and pour on the hot brown gravy. Shower with sliced scallions if you desire.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. Let me tell you. There is poutine, and there is poutine that just got a whole heck of a lot better. Not only are these a bit more mess free, but it’s the perfect vehicle to serve in. You get the nice and crispy potato skin, the crisp texture of the fry, and then those darn delicious cheese curds, still with some squeak, and the saltiness from the brown gravy.

Poutine Potato Skins

I’ll admit, I ate three of them. My kids had no interest (I should say my oldest), but my wife, who I was skeptical if she would enjoy these, LOVED them.  Let’s just say I will be making these again soon. Hope you enjoy!

Poutine Potato Skins
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 package McCormick Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 small handful of french fries, cooked
  • 1 cup of white cheese curds
  • scallions, sliced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.
  3. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.
  4. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.
  5. During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.
  7. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.
  8. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.
  9. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.
  10. During this time, make your brown gravy by emptying the package into a small sauce pan and add 1 cup of water. Mix, and bring to a simmer.
  11. How to make poutine potato skins
  12. Once the potato skins are nice and crispy on the exterior, remove from the oven, and add a few crispy french fries into the bottom of each potato. Yes, more potato in a potato.
  13. Top with cheese curds, and pour on the hot brown gravy. Shower with sliced scallions if you desire.

 

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Roasted Whole Edamame

We recently got back from vacationing in California, visiting my sister-in-law and nieces. It was nice, to say the least, and as we did some hiking, beach time, etc, we decided to have the kids hang out the last night, while we went out for sushi. Finally, yes, finally that time has come where the kids can hang out and fend for themselves. My sister-in-law ordered an array of sushi, and it was pretty darn awesome, and one of the things we ordered was edamame.

I love edamame, and as I have eaten in the past with just the bean, the really great thing is to roast them whole, in the pod, and get in there with your fingers and pop them into your mouth, only to suck the beans out. Sexy to say the least.

Whole Roasted Edamame Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of frozen whole edamame
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp course salt

That’s it. So simple, but yet so flipping delicious.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

How to make roasted edamame

To a mixing bowl, add the edamame, olive oil, and salt. Give a good toss, then add to a sheet tray.

Add the sheet tray to the preheated oven, and cook for about 20 minute. The whole edamame should be nicely roasted.

Pour into a serving bowl, and let cool for a few minutes before digging in.

Eat these by picking one up, and sliding the beans out with your mouth. Something about these are so addicting. Maybe it’s that hit of salt, or the subtle texture of the bean itself.

If you are looking for a nutritious snack, give these at try. Hope you enjoy!

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Grilled Flatbreads

My in-laws wedding anniversary this past weekend. 46 years. Yep, 46. I think (such a guy not knowing) we have only been married for 14, but 46? Great stuff to say the least. As my wife wanted to plan to take them out for dinner, I made the suggestion to have them over to our house and cook them a comforting meal. I had no idea what I was going to make, but then quickly took into account what I thought they might like. I decided on a couple of appetizers, of which one was a grilled flatbreads, an array of cheese, and a couple of roasted chickens with wild rice and roasted asparagus. The meal turned out great, but one thing I really loved (besides the cheese, of course) was the grilled flatbreads.

How to make Grilled Flatbreads

One thing I love about making these flatbreads, much like making pizza, is that you can go in any direction in terms of cheeses, spices, and sauces. I went with simple flatbreads, using simple ingredients.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • plastic wrap
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dry parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

To a mixing bowl, or KitchenAid, add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. With your dough attachment, give it a good mix. Use a wooden spoon towards the end to finalize your mix.

On a low mixing speed, slowly add in the water, and mix until the dough begins to form. Once it is loosely formed, turn off the mixer, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

After ten minutes, increase the speed to medium, and mix for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the dough seems too dry. Be careful not to add too much water.

Once the dough is kneaded using your mixer, drizzle in the olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a room area of your kitchen, and let it rise until it has doubled, if not more, in size.

How to make grilled flatbread

Once the dough has risen, punch it down, and place on a lightly floured board or counter.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces, and gently roll each one into a ball. Let rest for about 20 minutes.

Next, take a ball, lightly flour, and stretch, or roll with a baking pin into a 1/4 to 1/2 inch round, almost like a pizza. It does not have to be perfect.

Heat your grill. If you are using coals or gas, heat only one side. You will cook the pizza over indirect heat. Me? I used my KettlePizza (I love it).

Once heated, finish your flatbreads.

Add the oil and parsley together and give a good mix.

Brush each flatbread with the oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then add some mozzarella balls, sliced tomatoes, and fresh dill. Arrange to your liking.

Slide a flatbread onto your grill, and cook, moving around when the dough begins to cook on the bottom.

Cover, and cook until the flatbreads are cooked, about 5-7 minutes per flatbread. Repeat with the remaining flatbreads.

Not only are these a perfect appetizer, but they are also a really great side dish. The dill and lightly charred underside of these really make these flatbreads shine. So happy anniversary in-laws. May you have many years ahead!

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