Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bloody Mary Burgers with Roasted Broccoli

I am usually a purist when it comes to making burgers. I don't like to add any filler to my patties. I simply flatten out the ground beef and salt and pepper both sides before grilling. Today I thought I'd try out a recipe from the trusty Rachel Ray Cookbook my bestie got me for a birthday present one year. I LOOOOOVE Caesars, the Canadian Clamato twist on Bloody Mary's. The burgers were SO good. Of course, I adapted the recipe to suit my tastes. ;)


1 large head broccoli
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp peri peri powder
1 tbsp olive oil
600g ground beef
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
1 tsp Tobasco
2 tsp prepared horseradish
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tomato, diced
1 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp dried dill
4 hamburger buns
4 leaves lettuce
cheddar cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss broccoli with olive oil, garlic, peri peri powder, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 15-17 minutes or until stems are tender and treetops are brown.

Lightly mix ground beef with celery salt, hot sauces and horseradish with a fork (fluff, do not mash!) Score meat into 4 equal parts and form into patties. Grill for about 4 1/2 mins per side until cooked through.

Mix mayo with diced tomatoes, hot sauce, dill and black pepper. Serve sauce on burgers with lettuce. I also added cheese, because my husband insists that cheese naturally belongs on burgers!

Hoisin Honey Grilled Pork and Chap Chae

I should have known that eating Korean food a lot while I was pregnant would affect my growing baby. I made chap chae and the little one couldn't get enough of it! She even tilted her head back so I could drop noodles in her mouth with chopsticks, and then she slurped them down. It was the cutest thing. However, baby garlic breath is NOT cute. Okay, it kind of is...
This is my version, and I served it with Chinese-style pork chops.

3 pieces pork loin chops
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 thai chilies minced

4 bundles vermicelli noodles (or if you want to be authentic, Korean sweet potato starch noodles)
1 carrot cut into 3 and slivered into matchsticks
1 onion sliced thinly lengthwise
4 Chinese mushrooms soaked in boiling water and sliced
5 pieces Cwiss chard stalks and leaves chopped (should be 1 cup spinach but I didn't have any)
1/4 cup sodium reduced soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic finely crushed...use a garlic press or mortar and pestle

Place the pork, garlic, hoisin sauce, honey and chilies into a Ziploc bag and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Grill about 4 minutes per side on the BBQ or until pork is cooked through properly.

Chap Chae
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
Place vermicelli noodles in a pot of boiling water and boil until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, rinse and set aside.
Heat a little olive oil in a skillet, and sauté onions and carrots until softened, about 3 minutes. Add Swiss chard and sauté until wilted. Add mushrooms, noodles and sauce and mix well and heat until sauce has absorbed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and eat warm or at room temperature with grilled pork

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

When I brought home vanilla beans from our trip to Indonesia, I knew I would make a vanilla bean cheesecake for my husband's birthday. I didn't take the best pictures (note my baby's finger about to taste a sample) but this was honestly the best cheesecake recipe EVER. The texture was so light and creamy. I brought it to the restaurant to celebrate my husband's and my mom's birthdays and it tasted like it could have been on the dessert menu. I bought a really nice spring form pan from The Cook's Place on the Danforth and they had just about anything you could ever need to cook or bake with very knowledgeable staff. What an awesome store! Anyway...this recipe is pretty much guaranteed, so give it a shot if you want a texture-perfect cheesecake. I found the recipe on My Baking Addiction. The tips were so helpful!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 packages Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, (scraped innards only)
2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream (I added this)

Preheat oven to 350 if you have a light colored cheesecake pan, or 325 if your spring form pan is darker. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, and wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil to insure it is airtight.

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and vanilla and press lightly into the bottom of the spring form pan.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time ensuring each is incorporated fully.
Add heavy cream, vanilla bean innards and Bailey's and ensure the batter is smooth.

Pour cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crumb crust and place the pan into a larger pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan so that the water comes halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Carefully place into the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. The cheesecake should be slightly wobbly but should hold together when finished. Do not over bake the cheesecake. To avoid cracks, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to gradually cool in the oven for an hour or more. Once cool, carefully remove the cheesecake pan from the waterbath and chill in the fridge.