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Archive for September 22, 2015

FOOD FUN: Mac & Cheese Potato Skins

The fun thing about mash-ups is that the combinations are endless. But we didn’t have to go too far to find this great combo: mac and cheese potato skins.

We sighted them on Tony Roma’s Facebook page and promptly made some macaroni and cheese so we could then whip up a batch of potato skins.

RECIPE: MAC & CHEESE POTATO SKINS

Ingredients

  • 8 russet potatoes (about 3 inches long, total weight 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (about 4 ounces) shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Mac and cheese
  • Garnishes: crumbled crisp bacon, minced chives
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    Mac and cheese potato skins. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.

     

     

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    Russet potatoes. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    Preparation

    1. SCRUB and thoroughly dry the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle.

    2. PIERCE each potato several times with a fork or the point of a sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the middle rack and bake until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. While the potatoes bake and cool…

    3. MAKE the macaroni and cheese.

    4. SLICE each baked potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of potato on the inside of the skin. Reserve the scooped potato; you can use it for gnocchi, mashed potatoes, potato cakes or potato soup.

     

    5. BRUSH the insides of the potatoes with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Then do the same with the skin sides. Set the oven to broil.

    6. SPACE the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes (watch carefully to avoid burning). Then flip and broil until the top edges just begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

    7. FILL each skin with macaroni and cheese and crumbled bacon. Garnish with bacon and chives and serve immediately.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking With Craft Beer

    Cooking with beer is as old as civilization itself. The first-known written record, from the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia, is a 3900-year-old beer recipe and poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing.

    Brewing is much older than the written record: Evidence of beer production in Mesopotamia dates back about 5,000 years.

    Fast forward to the here and now: In American kitchens, some people regularly cook with beer. Others, even though they like beer, are more likely to cook with wine.

    Executive Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. likes to cook with both. He recently added beer-braised onions to his fall Bar Burger, and sent us his recipe plus general tips for cooking with beer:

  • Think regional. The Germans, naturally, cook their brats and other foods with their local beer. If you are making sauerkraut, cook it with some good German beer. Likewise, when making fish and chips, make your beer batter with a nice British ale.
  • Never cook with a beer you would not like to drink. This is the same with wine. Your final product can only be as good as your ingredients.
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    A cheeseburger with caramelized onions is the fall Bar Burger recipes at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House. Photo courtesy PotatoRolls.com.

  • The delicate flavors of beer will dissipate over a long cooking process. If you are cooking a stew or braised beef, for example, add a splash or two to your dish before serving, to ensure you get that flavor. (We add a few tablespoons after we take the dish off the heat.)
  • Experiment with your favorite recipes. In virtually any recipe that calls for wine or stock of any type, you could replace them with beer.
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    The American Craft Beer Cookbook pairs recipes with all the craft beer styles. Photo courtesy Storey Publishing.

     

    A FIRST STEP IN COOKING WITH BEER

    Beer braised onions are an easy way to start cooking with beer. You can add them to first courses, entrées and sides. As a start, serve them with meat or poultry, baked or mashed potatoes, beans, burgers, eggs, grains, grilled fish and sandwiches (especially great with grilled cheese, roast beef, turkey or vegetable sandwiches).

    Chef Canalizo’s fall Bar Burger includes onions braised in Ommegang Nut Brown Ale (from New York State) and melted Cheddar cheese on a Martin’s potato roll, and served with homemade potato chips. Here’s his recipe for the onions:

    RECIPE: BEER BRAISED ONIONS

    Ingredients For 4 Burgers

    For The Burger

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 buns (hamburger roll substitutes)
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    For The Braised Onions

  • 2 white Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup brown ale* (substitute amber ale/red ale)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are a golden color. Add the beer and herbs and continue to cook for 5 more minutes until caramelized.

    2. FORM the meat into four eight-ounce patties. Season with kosher salt and pepper and cook to the desired temperature. While the meat is cooking, toast the buns.

    3. TOP each patty with cheddar cheese and beer braised onions, place on the bun and serve.

     
    BAKE YOUR OWN HAMBURGER ROLLS

    Skip those puffy, white-bread standards and try delicious gourmet hamburger rolls. Here’s a recipe.

     
    *Brown ale is sweeter, darker and less bitter than the typical lager beer. If you can’t find an American brown ale, imported Newcastle Nut Brown Ale is typically available in stores with a good beer selection.

      

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