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Bacon-powered Patty melt

31 Aug

patty meltdamn. this is so good. i ate the whole thing. and now i’m so full. be warned.

This is a tasting table test kitchen recipe. if you don’t subscribe, perhaps you should think about doing so.

2 bacon strips, sliced crosswise into ½-inch pieces

1½ teaspoons caraway seeds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

2¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

¾ pound 85% lean ground beef [my pack of meat was .89 pounds and I made three – not two patties from it]

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 slices rye bread

4 slices Swiss cheese

Take your bacon. If it is not coming from the freezer already, put it in there for 20 mins. [snacko backo tip- when i buy bacon i seran wrap it 2 piece bundles for freezer]. Meanwhile, take a dry skillet and toast the caraway seeds about a minute and a half- will become fragrant. take off heat and put them aside. take your onions, thinly slice them [mandoline is helpful here if you have one]. Put a tablespoon and a half of butter on skillet on med-high heat. Melt butter. add onions. Cook for a 3-5 mins until they slightly brown. add 1 1/4 tsp of salt [3/4 prob enough]. and reduce to med-low for another 10 mins to caramelize. Then. take off heat. Now- take that bacon from your freezer. chop it in 1/2 slices and put it in a food processor until crumbly and ground. In a medium bowl- put bacon, ground beef, mustard, worcestchire, garlic powder, pepper, 1 tsp salt. Mix [with your hands] and form patties. the patties – i did three- should be kinda long and flat- like the shape of your bread. Now- on skillet- put remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter [really, you don’t need more because bacon and beef fat comes out.] Cook 5 to 6 mins total. A nice crust will form. I did 3 mins each side, i think. Take off heat. Clean skillet. Then, take your rye bread. If making two sandwiches, take all four slices of bread and spread mayo on one side of each. Pick up a slice in your hand- mayo side facing your palm. Add cheese, patty, and pile and onion. Put on top bread- mayo is facing out on both sides. Heat clean pan on medium. Throw your sammy down. Cook four to 5 mins per side- to get it nice and golden and melt the cheese.


Babotie + Oranges & Cinnamon

15 Apr

babotie orange cinnamon

When I studied abroad in New Zealand in college, I took a cooking class that was 5 continents in 5 weeks. That was about a decade ago (yikes) but this dish is one that i’ve remade many times through years. the best way to describe this dish- is like South African meatloaf. it packed with flavor and spices and the sweet of raisin- it’s everything i like in dish. the best part too- it’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Sauté onion, add meat, add spice- and you’re pretty much there! In addition to ground beef- you can- and i think i have- made this with lamb. The other dish- I love from that NZ class is good ol’ pavlova.

With the babotie- i made my quick snacko backo couscous. The one thing i should say about this recipe- the last step is to mix milk and egg and pour it over the top. It should- and i swear- it used to just stay on the top to form like a yellow custard/eggy topping. However, in my recent attempts- it seems to just soak down into the meat. don’t get me wrong- it tastes great this way. But it’s a different aesthetic. So if anyone tries this out- let me know how it looks.

The second picture- is not so much a recipe- but something so tasty and simple i had to share. Terry told me that on her recent trip to Morocco- almost every night at the end of meal- they would serve oranges and cinnamon. it’s genius.

1 onion chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs- diy- toast bread and food process
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
dash of  pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup raisins
juice and grated peel of 1/2 lemon
4 bay leaves

1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Sauté chopped onion lightly in oil until it is is translucent and begins to soften.  Add meat, curry, turmeric, salt and pepper, and cook until just brown- turn off heat. (meat will cook more in oven- so i left it not totally brown as not to overdue)
Add rest of ingredients (except egg and milk) and mix well. Put in overnproof dish (I made this in a meatloaf/bread pan but have also used an 8×8 inch. I greased it very lightly with oil- though might not be necessary)

Beat egg and milk in a bowl and pour over the meat.  bake at 350 for 30 min.

Original recipe suggests serve with saffron rice, sweet chutney and a mixed salad. I made it with a couscous.

Snacko Backo couscous
In a small sauce pan, about 1 1/4 cup water, 1 chopped carrot, pat of butter, good pinch of cinnamon, zest from maybe half an orange, healthy dose of salt and pepper. cover. bring to boil. added 1 cup couscous and a handful of gold raisins/regular raisins or currants. cover. let sit for 5 mins. fluff with fork. can add more butter/olive oil, salt and pepper as desired.

Orange with cinnamon
slice orange. sprinkle with cinnamon. enjoy. [just thinking out loud here… but what if you did cinnamon sugar and popped it under the broiler for 30 seconds?]

Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Not Just Wings & Homemade Blue Cheese Dip & Kale Buffalo Chicken Salad

24 Feb

buffalo wings

so these are pretty fucking killer. i’m not sure what you do to procrastinate- but it’s a test kitchen over here. i first made this recipe for a super bowl party in andorra and i know i’m a few weeks late this year- but i’ve had wings on the brain. also– blue cheese- it’s my new thing- i used to hate it and now i’m all about it. So i made this recipe yesterday according to the original Bon Appetite – cooking the wings for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. totally fine. But as I said, it’s a test kitchen up in here. So i thought- why not thomas keller this bitch and treat them like the whole roast chicken recipe. This means- higher heat, no oil and less time. I did them for 450 degrees- 25 minutes. And what do we get? WAY crispier skin. I think next time i’d even check them at 20 minutes. before this recipe-  i never knew why wings tasted so good- but now i understand- it’s because buffalo sauce is essentially melted butter and hot sauce.

Now this need not only be applied to wings. Thighs, drumsticks, and fuck it, use it as a dipping sauce for your whole roast chicken.  I read an article the other day about how buffalo sauce is so hot right now. it had a recipe for buffalo skate. i’ve also recently seen in cambridge buffalo fried brussel sprouts (which are damn tasty) and buffalo cauliflower. So if you are a vegetarian this still feel free to play around with this sauce. The blue cheese recipe- i got from a random google search- i was into because i liked the greek yogurt base instead of being mayo and sour cream heavy. yum.

You by no means need to go this extra step but- when i was at ballymaloe i learned this little trick for the drumsticks where you basically turn them inside out- and make them look like lollipops. the ones in the picture are gigantic- but generally they are a lot tinier and cuter. this is great for serving at parties etc or nice with buffalo sauce- because the skin ends up on the inside- and the sauce sticks to outside meat. For the first time ever in snacko backo history- I made a demo video 

Buffalo Sauce – Bon Appetite

For 2.5 pounds of wings/drumsticks etc. Can scale up or down easily- if using more/ less chicken.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s) – [i’ve seen this brand listed in a lot of wings recipes and while i’m sure you can use another kind- i will say this tastes exactly like what you think a buffalo sauce would taste like]

Melt butter. Mix with salt, pepper and cayenne. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in hot sauce. Rewarm just before using. Bon Appetite says can be made 5 days ahead.
Chicken- Preheat 450. take a wire rack, like a cookie cooling rack and place that over a rimmed baking sheet (aka jelly roll pan). wash chicken- pat very very dry. season generously with salt and pepper. spread on single layer on rack. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (how do you know they are done? same way regular chicken- stab one with a fork and see if juices run clean).

Blue cheese Dip – comes from How Sweet It Is 
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt / 2 tablespoons mayo / 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper / 1/4 tsp honey / 4 oz blue cheese
Use a fork to whisk together yogurt, mayo, salt, pepper and honey. crumble in most of the blue cheese- saving some to crumble on top. that’s it.

Buffalo Chicken Kale Salad- What to do with leftovers — Wings aren’t the best as leftovers because skin doesn’t stay as crispy (though i’m sure they’d taste great if drunk). and also how to bring it to work as leftovers for lunch. Rip off a bunch of chicken from the bones. Shred up some kale (rip off its stalk, stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons) massage kale with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. My salad I added diced apple and avocado. If you want to get crazy add bacon. 

if you are prepping for lunch the next day- you can stick up in your mason jar (ha!) or tupperware. Blue cheese at bottom. then chicken. then apple (give a a little lemon juice) and kale on top. But the best part about a kale salad- is that you actually benefits from getting that time to soften- so if you mix the whole thing up in the morning- and eat it 4 hours later (like i did today) you’re set.

Also- shout out to mrs. weiner who gave me that super cute chicken cutting board. it came in a set of four- fish, chicken, beef and veg- so you keep each separate. similar to my carved out cutting board. 

Cincinnati Chili

19 Jan

cincinnati chili

Let’s talk about all the reasons I’m all about this recipe. 1. It comes from Mast Brothers new cookbook- elegant design- go Brooklyn [ if you have never watched this Mast Bro video– you must, now] 2. The ingredients are few, most of which I had lying around/in freezer. I love my vegetarian chili but requires much more chopping 3. The spice- I love the sheer quantity- ¼ cup of chili powder? Yes please. Plus cumin, allspice, and cloves. Now you’re talkin’. 4. The chocolate and sherry vinegar finish. Perfect- it adds so much depth and flavor 5. I’ve been curious about Cincinnati chili- the Mast Bro recipe heading says: “Found at chili parlors throughout Ohio.” Someone please tell me more about this. But I’m going to guess that most Cincinnati recipes don’t involve 2.5 oz chocolate 6. What I do know is that one generally serves Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese. This makes it not only an incredibly hearty dish… but to me the flavors rendered suggest like a Mexican chocolate/mole Bolognese? I hope those words convey how amazing this tastes, because damn, I am impressed with this recipe.

No idea if this is a sacrilege in Cincinnati chili but just because I like it-  I added carrots and beans to this recipe. I used only 1.5 pounds of beef (because that’s what I had on hand)- and i also made up for that weight in the carrots & beans.

Freezes well too.

A Mast Brothers Recipe. my adaptions in [ ]

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

[optional- snacko backo added 3 carrots, chopped and 14oz can of kidney beans]

2 pounds ground beef

¼ cup chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp of cayenne [this gives a nice subtle undercurrent of heat, if you are heat-averse, lessen]

1 ½ cups tomato puree [I used canned San Marzano- sold in giant cans, freeze the rest]

4 cups beef stock [see way too long note below]

2 ½ ounces dark chocolate [no, I did not use Mast Brothers ($), while I might have gone for like 70% cocoa or above, I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet. Worked grand]

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 pinches sea salt

2 pinches fresh ground black pepper

for serving: I used whole wheat spaghetti and Colby cheese. Cheddar or maybe even a smoked cheddar also came to mind.

In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onions and simmer until translucent. [after a few minutes, I added the carrots]

Add ground beef, a cook until browned [just browned is fine, it will get lots more time]

Stir in cumin, chili, allspice, cloves and tomato puree. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes [on low]

Add stock and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. [can add beans maybe 20 mins before finish]

[Turn off heat]

Stir in chocolate, sherry vinegar, remove bay leaves.

Season with salt and pepper [more salt to taste]

A note on stock: I happen to find the box stuff- even the fancy organic kind- unpalatable- it takes like salt water to me- but call me a snob, that’s fine. In Marcella Hazan’s recipes- she recommends make stock yourself- or you if you use the box stuff dilute one cup boxed broth + 3 cups water. So i’d follow her advice on that. I did not make the stock myself- but picked up house made veal stock from my trusty butcher- Savenor’s.  I think if you wanted to sub chicken stock- you could. OR- I don’t see why you couldn’t sub the quick to make-rich stock from dried mushrooms- as in this post (which has recipes for French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup, Mushroom, Meat and Chicken stock recipes). Or you could just not be a snob about it. Something else to keep in mind- is that Cincinnati chili as I understand it- is more liquid-y than your standard chili- so you can scale back on the stock if you want thicker stew- but keep in mind that leftovers- tend to suck up all the moisture so you will have to add a bit of stock or water when reheating.

Curry Chicken Salad

11 Sep

curry chicken salad


i’m a curry chicken salad convert. like some of you- i used to have a mayo aversion. but then i realized- it is really just egg and oil- what could be so wrong with that? and it makes things taste good. but mayo-averse- keep reading. this chick salad is made mostly with greek yogurt.  i think the one tablespoon of mayo helps round this dressing- and relieving it of the tart flavor of the greek yogurt. As for what’s in your curry chick salad – go wild. some like raisin, some like grapes- some like nuts. I aimed for a crunchy, colorful mix.


Curry Chicken Salad- the dressing part of this recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.

2 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on (2pds)- once cooked and removed skin/bone- this yields about 1pds of chicken. If you want to use boneless – and cook it in your own way- I won’t judge (yes i will)

This is where you should feel free to improv. Add things you like- omit those you don’t. Add more or less carrot/celery- etc. as you like.

1 carrot, chopped

1 (or 2) stalks celery, chopped

¼ cup golden raisins

1 small apple, chopped

optional- sliced almonds

2 stalks thinly sliced scallions



6 tablespoons greek yogurt

1 tablespoon mayo

2 tsp curry powder

1 lemon halved

¾ tsp coarse salt

freshly ground pepper


preheat oven 350. wash chicken breasts. Pat dry. Coat with olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook 35 mins or until juices run clear.

in a bowl stir yogurt, mayo, 2 tsp lemon juice (i used more to taste), curry powder. Season w. salt & pepper.

Once cool, pull of skin and pull chicken off the bone. Cut into pieces.

Put chicken in a bowl. Added the veg, scallions, raisins etc. Add dressing- a bit at a time. Until it looks like enough. No rule says you have to use it all (tho i did).


Amazing(ly) Simple Roast Chicken

1 Apr

roast chicken

I’m not quite sure what just happened in my oven, but I am pretty sure it was magical. Lest we think I am not humble— let me explain the sensation—outer super crispy skin—and fall-off the bone succulent meat. How is this even possible? High heat, apparently. Welcome to the tastier and faster way to make chicken. Sam pointed me to this recipe— which gives us the method. She also said- sometimes when she runs out of lemons- she puts orange in the cavity. So, I took this idea- and used orange—and added that extra amazingness of Five Spice. If you don’t have/know this—it is an amazing Asian spice blend—that is warm and delicious- made from Szechwan pepper, star anise, fennel, cinnamon and cloves. You can find it most places- or you can mix up your own (which I once did in a pinch in Andorra to make some of Sydnie’s Taiwanese stew.) Other than that, I was mostly faithful to Thomas Keller’s method. One super genius move- that I think gets you’re the extra crispiness- not butter or oil on the skin. Instead, a pat of butter melting over it after you take it out of the oven- amazing! Now of course, the take-away here is the method- feel free to experiment w. spices- or keep even more faithful to the original recipe.

ALSO- I did these on a bed of roast potatoes. Which amazingly- with the high heat and the chicken drippings- turned into a fry-like texture. I had small potatoes, a i chopped into big chunks, coated w. olive oil, salt & pepper. placed at bottom of the pan.

Thomas Keller’s- My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken from Epicurious.

1 2-3 pound chicken [mine was 3 1/2 pound]

salt & pepper

Keller- 2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)

tessa- five spice & 1 orange

Preheat to 450.

Rinse chicken. Dry well (!) this gives you crispier skin. Salt and pepper the cavity. Keller says truss the bird (which I didn’t). Sprinkle bird generously with salt.–he  rains the salt over the chicken to get an even coating (about a tablespoon, he says). Season with pepper to taste. Cut orange in half (mine happened to be juiced- because I needed it for some cranberry chutney.) Sprinkle chicken lightly with a big pinch of five spice, if using.)

Now. Keller says:

“Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.”

And perhaps with a sauté pan- or  if you use a rack- your bottom half of the chicken would get nice and crispy too. But because I was on a bed of potatoes, this made steam. So after 30 mins, I took the chicken off, moved around the potatoes, and placed the chicken upside down for 15 mins (this gave color to the very pale underside). Then, I flipped back over- moved the potatoes one more time- for the last 15 minutes. I cooked mine for 60 minutes, because it was just larger than what the recipe calls for. Let rest.

Keller continues:

“Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.”

Note: The more weight the bird is- longer it takes to cook- so pay attention to the size of your bird. As a frame of reference- and not too far off- Ina Garten roasts her chicken (5-6 pounds) at 425 for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. I don’t want to confuse things. I just want to tell you people are always way more nervous—about not cooking the chicken enough- when you really could be worried about not over-cooking it.

Spanish Chorizo, Kale & Poached Eggs

1 Mar

kale chorizo eggI love when you google three terms—Kale, Chorizo, Egg— and find exactly what you are looking for. Ah, the internet. I bought this amazing Spanish chorizo from Formaggio- my favorite South End over-priced yet insanely delicious provisions/cheese shop.

Recipe found on serious eats- adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe. I found it to be a high chorizo-kale ratio- so it is ok if you have a bit more kale/bit less chorizo.

12 oz curly kale, stems removed, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil [I used olive]

8 oz dried Spanish chorizo, halves lengthwise and slice ¼ inch thick [I peeled off casing, though not sure that is entirely necessary]

2 eggs

2 tablespoons white vinegar [I used a little less and white wine vinegar]

salt & pepper

bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add Kale and cook until tender but not completely soft, 5-7 mins. Drain in colander. Rinse in cool water. Squeeze out excess water.

Pour oil into large skillet. Add chorizo and cook until some of the fat renders out, 3-4 mins. [i looking in the pan- thinking it seemed like a lot of oil- ended up pouring some off– then adding it all back in. wasn’t greasy at all- was extra tasty.] Add kale. Season w. salt and pepper. Toss until kale is fully coated.

For eggs, pour water in med/small saucepan- 2-4 inches of water. Bring to a bare simmer. Crack each egg into a separate shallow dish. Once tiny little bubbles start to rise from the saucepan, add vinegar. Gently slide egg into the water. Cook until whites set [this says 3-4 mins… but I think I did mine a little less]

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