Main Dishes

Dallas Burger with Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw

One of my first cookbooks I purchased was Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes. As soon as I saw the title I knew I had to have it. I like burgers! I love fries! I would bathe in milkshakes!

Unfortunately I haven’t tried nearly enough of the mouthwatering recipes by now, but everything I have tried has been mmm-don’t-talk-to-me-right-now-I’m-busy-eating good.

One of those is the Dallas burger. Complete with creamy coleslaw, pickles and a sweet and spicy sauce, this burger is a barbecue lover’s dream. All the components add an extra flair to your average backyard burger, but this finger-lickin’ amazing sauce needs to get a special mention.

Sautéed onions, molasses and ancho chiles are just a few of the ingredients that add layer upon layer of flavor to this pourable gold. The ultimate proof for how good this sauce is? I am a cheese addict and never eat a burger without cheese. Notice something? This is a burger recipe, not a cheeseburger recipe. Now that is the delicious power of this sauce.

Impress your guests this Fourth of July and serve up these extreme barbecue burgers. They will not only thank you, but might randomly show up at your house all summer long with a six-pack of beer just hoping you’ll have an impromptu barbecue featuring these burgers. Don’t worry, you’ll want one too.

Dallas Burger with Barbecue Sauce and Coleslaw
 
Yield: 4 burgers, 2 cups barbecue sauce
Ingredients
for the barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • Salt and pepper
for the burger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
for assembly
  • 4 burger buns
  • 1 cup coleslaw
  • Dill pickles
Directions
for the barbecue sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the chopped onion until softened, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add ⅓ cup water and the ketchup and stir. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
for the burger
  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Divide the ground beef into four equal parts and create 4 uniform burgers. Make an impression with your thumb in the middle of each burger patty so it doesn’t bulge in the middle when it cooks. Season both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly brush the seasoned patties with the prepared barbecue sauce as they cook and grill until cooked the way you prefer, turning once. For medium cook for 8 minutes total.
for assembly
  1. Lightly toast the burger buns then top with the cooked patties, some barbecue sauce, coleslaw and dill pickles.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes.

Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese

Naturally I ponder about my favorite foods multiple times throughout the day so it is no surprise that I also fantasize about ways to make them even better. To make the ultimate version of all your favorite foods, now that is the dream.

When I stumbled upon this ingenious idea to elevate my family’s beloved hobo egg I almost couldn’t breathe from the excitement. A. Hobo. Egg. Grilled. Cheese? Must. Make. One. Now.

And of course my list of recipes to try is so long I didn’t get to it until many months later, years even, but I’m so happy I finally did. Combining the best of breakfast and lunch this is a spot-on lazy Sunday brunch meal.

Cheese and eggs have been a classic combination since the stone age when a caveman accidentally knocked a bowl of cheese curds onto his sizzling dinosaur egg omelette, or so I imagine, so before even taking a bite you know this sandwich is about to blow your mind.

And it does, again and again with every bite until you find yourself standing over the stovetop already making a second one. I hope you enjoy as much as I did, and don’t forget the bacon!

Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese
 
Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 slices cheese, preferably cheddar, American, or any cheese that melts well
  • 1-2 slices cooked bacon
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Meanwhile prepare your grilled cheese by covering one of the slices of bread with the cheese and bacon then sandwiching the other slice of bread on top. When placing the bacon on the sandwich try to keep it around the corners of the bread so it doesn’t get cut out when you later cut out the circle from the middle.
  2. When the butter is melted and the pan is hot carefully place the grilled cheese in the skillet. Place a pan lid or tent a piece of foil over-top the sandwich in the skillet to help the cheese melt.
  3. When the cheese has started to melt and the bread is very lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes, carefully flip the grilled cheese. Cook until the other side of the bread is very lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  4. Using the rim of a glass or a 2” cookie cutter cut a circle out of the center of the grilled cheese. Enjoy as a pre-meal appetizer. Press down on the sandwich to flatten it slightly.
  5. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat and return the sandwich to the pan. Carefully crack an egg in the hole of the sandwich. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes then carefully flip over. Cook until the egg is no longer jiggling, but still feels soft to the touch, about 3-4 minutes. You want to make sure the whites are cooked through, but the yolk is still runny. Remove from the pan, cut in half and serve dipping the sandwich halves into the runny yolk.

 

Crisp Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes and Asparagus

My brother gave me one of the most thoughtful Christmas gifts last year: a copy of this beautiful Tasting Colorado cookbook. Every recipe is a popular dish from a Colorado restaurant, covering everything from fluffy biscuits to local mouthwatering steak. Not only did I wish I could stuff my face into every picture and eat the contents, but I’ve actually been to a few of the restaurants!

Although he’s a Boston native, Colorado stole my brother’s heart 10 years ago and he’s lived there ever since. I get a chance to visit him once or twice a year and for those of you who have never been add it to your bucket list. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I’ve had some of my favorite dishes there.

While flipping through the cookbook and mopping drool from my mouth I was so excited to stumble upon this recipe from the restaurant Six89. Six89 closed in 2012 and their gnocchi salad disappeared along with it. Until now.

I cannot properly express in words the deliciousness of this dish. The crispy gnocchi together with the savory shiitake mushrooms, asparagus and nutty Parmesan is enough to have you going back for more. But when you add the shallot vinaigrette and leafy greens this meal becomes irresistible.

You can certainly use store-bought gnocchi to make this dish, but I highly recommend taking the extra time to tackle homemade gnocchi to experience the full potential of each mouthwatering bite.

Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes and Asparagus
 
Yield: 4 appetizer servings
Ingredients
for the gnocchi
  • 2 cups gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups asparagus, blanched and cut into 1” pieces
for the vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 4 cups baby field greens
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
  1. Boil the gnocchi in a medium saucepan until they float to the top and are heated through, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the gnocchi until crispy and lightly browned.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium then add the shallots and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the asparagus slices and sauté until warmed through then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
for the vinaigrette
  1. Combine the shallots, mustard, oregano and white wine vinegar. Whisk together well with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the gnocchi with 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Plate the gnocchi.
  2. Toss the baby field greens with some of the vinaigrette and place over the gnocchi. Top each plate with a generous serving of fresh grated Parmesan.

Recipe from Tasting Colorado:  Favorite Recipes from the Centennial State.

Homemade Goat Cheese Gnocchi

Making homemade gnocchi had been on my bucket list of things to conquer in the kitchen for quite some time now. These delicate pillows of pasta are one of Matt’s and my go-to orders while out to eat, but I was putting off making them from scratch.

Giada had assured me countless times how simple gnocchi are to create. I would watch Giada quickly whip up a perfect batch in her gorgeous, sunny kitchen and think to myself, “Giada even pronounces gnocchi perfectly, of course she thinks it’s simple!”

Well, my friends, I am here as a novice gnocchi-pronouncer and gnocchi-creator to let you know that in fact it is that simple. Sure there are fair amount of steps between the boiling, mashing, cooling, kneading and what-not, but once you have the process down you’ll have fresh gnocchi on the table in no time.

The most difficult part was the shaping with the fork tines, but I never have much patience for beautifying foods so I decided to leave them as is. I’m here to eat it not take a picture! Actually, I am, but I much prefer the eating part.

So conquer your kitchen fears and give homemade gnocchi a try! What are some things on your kitchen bucket list?

Homemade Goat Cheese Gnocchi
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds potatoes, preferably Russets
  • 11 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (or ½ cup fresh, chopped)
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. Scrub and dry the potatoes then pierce each potato with a fork 5-6 times. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes. The potatoes are done when you can easily pierce with a fork or knife. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel then grate them into a large mixing bowl. Alternatively, you can accomplish this with a potato ricer.
  3. Add the goat cheese, Parmesan, oregano, eggs, flour, salt and pepper to the large mixing bowl and mix until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Lightly flour a cutting board or smooth surface and knead the dough until it is smooth. Shape the dough into a large ball or mound and place a kitchen towel overtop. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile start shaping the gnocchi. Using about ¼ cup of dough at a time, and leaving the kitchen towel over the rest, shape the dough into a long rope about ½” thick, as pictured above. Using a sharp non-serrated knife or an icing spatula, cut the dough rope into 1” pieces. Place the pieces on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  6. When you have a small batch ready to be boiled (I boiled about ½ cookie sheet worth at a time), carefully place the gnocchi into the prepared boiling water. When they float to the top, about 3-5 minutes, remove with a large slotted spoon and serve.
Notes
*If you don’t have cake flour, for each cup you measure out of all-purpose flour remove 2 tablespoons before putting in the recipe.
*I simply pressed the gnocchi instead of the traditional ridge shape, but a quick Google search of shaping gnocchi will lead you to plenty of videos showing the traditional technique.
*If you are not eating the gnocchi right away, follow these instructions after placing in the boiling water:
1. When they float to the top, about 3-5 minutes, remove with a large slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water. Drain into a colander and let cold water run over the gnocchi in the colander. Let drain.
2. Remove to a large container and lightly toss with olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Repeat with the rest of the gnocchi until they are all cooked. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe from Spring 2008 issue of Edible Aspen.

Turkey and Manchego Panini with Sun-dried Tomato Mayo

Sometimes I find myself craving a sandwich. There’s something so satisfying about a fresh deli sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and of course mayonnaise. Recently, to conquer my craving I decided to take it one step further and make a panini. While still a sandwich, a panini takes it to a whole new level with a crunchy exterior and gooey melted cheese. The panini is the queen diva of sandwiches and this one certainly stands up with the best of them.

There are many stars of this panini and one is the Manchego cheese. Manchego is a firm Spanish cheese that tastes similar to monterey jack with an added nutty flavor. It complements the roast turkey, salty crunchy bacon and the delicious sun-dried tomato mayo. I don’t have a fancy panini contraption and it was still a cinch to make. All you need is a grill pan and another heavy pan to press the sandwich. If you don’t have a grill pan a regular frying pan will do the trick as well. Now please excuse me while I make another one and continue conquering my craving, which is now for this panini.

 
Yield: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces deli turkey breast, about 2-3 slices
  • 1 thin slice Manchego cheese
  • 2 strips cooked bacon
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach leaves
Directions
  1. Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil cooking spray, or heat 2 teaspoons olive oil.
  2. Make your sandwich by spreading 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato on each slice of bread. Add the turkey slices, Manchego cheese, bacon and spinach then close your sandwich. Place your sandwich on the grill pan or skillet and place a heavy pan on top of the sandwich to weigh it down.
  3. Cook the panini 3-4 minutes per side or until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted.