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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Potato, Bacon & Chive Frittata

For those people know me, know that I don't really like eating breakfast/brunch, but I LOVE breakfast/brunch food. I really like breakfast and brunch food because it is usually very simple to make and hardly ever takes a long time to make. This frittata recipe definitely fits that bill--really simple to make and only takes about 30 minutes of cook time. I hope that you enjoy this recipe!



Potato, Bacon & Chive Frittata

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes                                                            Cook Time: 30-35 minutes   

Difficulty: Easy                                                                           Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 to 8 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, small diced
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, small diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 extra-large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons chives, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a non-stick, ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Next, add bacon to the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes until bacon renders the fat. Once the fat has been rendered, remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate or bowl. Next, add the onion, potatoes and garlic to the skillet and cook until the potatoes begin to soften (about 5-7 minutes). In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, salt pepper and chives. Once potatoes are softened, add bacon back to the skillet. Next, add egg mixture to the skillet and place in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through.

Top with cheddar cheese and remaining chives. Serve immediately in slices like a pie. Enjoy!


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Balsamic-Thyme Roasted Pork Loin

I recently went to the grocery store with absolutely nothing in mind to cook for Sunday dinner. Standing in the meat section, I noticed that the boneless pork loins were on sale. I immediately began to think about some of the flavors that pair well with pork. I decided to marinade the pork loin in a marinade of fresh thyme leaves and balsamic vinegar. This recipe is really simple to make, feeds an army and is bursting with flavor. I hope that you enjoy!



Balsamic-Thyme Roasted Pork Loin

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes                                                                Cook Time: 1 hour-1 1/2 hours
Difficulty: Easy                                                                              Yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 4-pound pork loin
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                           
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt                                                  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Preparation Instructions:

Trim silver skin from the pork loin (leave the fat cap on). Place pork loin in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme, Dijon mustard, pepper, salt, and garlic to the Ziploc bag and make sure that the loin is covered with marinade. Squeeze out air and seal bag. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours and best overnight.

When ready to cook pork loin, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the pork loin in a roasting pan along with the remaining marinade.

Bake pork loin at 350°F, basting occasionally, for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until the pork loin reach 140°F on a meat thermometer. Remove from heat, loosely cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into the pork loin. The meat will continue to cook during resting and the temperature will rise to the desired 145°F. Slice pork and serve on a platter garnished with thyme sprigs.



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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Coq au Vin Blanc

One of my favorite French inspired meals is Coq au Vin. This hearty, slow-cooked French peasant meal literally translates as "Rooster with Wine." Most Coq au Vin recipes nowadays are featured with chicken, capons or hens. One of the great things about this recipe is that it is really filling and is a one-pot wonder! Traditional Coq au Vin uses red wine (mostly Burgundy), but I used white wine (hence Coq au Vin Blanc) for a crisper taste. I hope that you enjoy!



Coq au Vin Blanc


Prep Time: 25 to 30 minutes                              Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes                             Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pieces of thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 pound cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup brandy (I used Paul Masson)
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 5 fresh stems of thyme
  • 1 fresh stem of rosemary
  • 1 cup frozen whole onions
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. Add the bacon lardons to the pan and cook over medium heat for about 6 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a side plate, leaving the remaining bacon grease.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and then lightly dust the chicken pieces in flour. After this is done, brown the chicken pieces in a single layer of the pan for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. (This will need to be done in separate batches and make sure not to crowd the pan.) Remove the chicken to the side plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
One the chicken has finished browning, add the carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, 3 tablespoons kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper to the Dutch oven. Cook the vegetables over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for an additional minute and then add the brandy, scraping up any pits on the bottom of the pan. Put the bacon, chicken and any juices collected on the side plate into the Dutch oven. Add the white wine, chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and whole onions to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with its lid and place in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.


Bring the Dutch oven to a simmer on top of the stove. In a separate bowl, mash the butter and flour together into a homogenous mixture and stir into the stew. Cook the stew for an additional 15 minutes. Check for seasonings and serve piping hot!



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Monday, August 11, 2014

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Happy birthday to me! Today is my birthday and I recently made my favorite cake--the Barefoot Contessa's Beatty's Chocolate Cake! This version of a Devil's Food Cake is chocolately, rich and definitely over the top! The secret to this cake is the cup of freshly brewed strong coffee that you add to the batter before you bake it. I don't change a single thing on this recipe and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!





Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes                                                         Cook Time: 35 minutes
Difficulty: Easy                                                                                Yields: 8 servings


Ingredients:
  • Butter or shortening, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Chocolate Buttercream  Frosting:
  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Preparation Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream  Frosting: 
                       
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Southern Peach Cobbler

One of the great advantages of the summer season is the bounty of fresh fruit available. In the south, the king of all fruit in the summer (in my opinion) are peaches. The Southern Peach Cobbler recipe below is the perfect sweet note to finish a great meal on a hot day. One thing that I love about cobblers are that they are completely versatile: perfect for BBQs, potlucks and Sunday dinners. I hope that you enjoy the recipe below!


 
Southern Peach Cobbler
 
Prep Time: 20-25 minutes                                   Cook Time: 40-45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy                                                    Yields: 6-8 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch (1/8 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven at 375°F. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
 
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter. (Do not stir)
 
Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla into mixture and pour over batter. (Do not stir) Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
 
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.




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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Restaurant Review: Betty Mae's Restaurant

As a native Southerner, I am always in the search of great soul food. You know what I'm talking about--great fried chicken, awesome vegetables and casseroles and amazing desserts--SOUL FOOD! Well, I have finally found that restaurant here in Huntsville! Last week, a good friend (thanks Tiffany) told me about this great little restaurant right off downtown Huntsville and told me that we had to go to Betty Mae's Restaurant! I visited Betty Mae's last Thursday with my co-workers. Betty Mae's has the typically Southern Meat and 3 (one meat item and 3 sides with a choice of bread) meal for $7.99 (includes drink) during the week. Betty Mae's is open Monday-Friday for lunch from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. for lunch and dinner.

Betty Mae's is on a side street off Oakwood Avenue and the building is pretty much non-descript. When you arrive, you stand in a line to get your order taken using the handwritten menu of the daily specials. Once your order is taken, you are provided a cup with ice for your drinks (options are sweet/un-sweet tea, lemonade and RED KOOL-AID) and a ticket stub. After this is done, you can find a seat in their dining room which looks like a southern dining room with large tables. The day we visited Betty Mae's, the TV's were all playing Bonanza (reminded me of my grandmother). While visiting with my co-workers, our orders were brought to us fairly quickly. After a group prayer, we dived right into this great food.

For lunch, my friend Tiffany and I both had fried chicken. My main barometer of a great soul food restaurant is how good is their fried chicken. Using this barometer, Betty Mae's is awesome! It was perfectly crispy and not greasy at all. It had really great flavor. Also, the macaroni and cheese and collard greens were great. Finally, the peach cobbler was out of this world. The peaches were really sweet and you could definitely taste the cinnamon and vanilla. The only thing that was missing was some ice cream. Tiffany also had their Red Velvet Cake that was absolutely divine (their trick is that they put the cream cheese frosting on the cake while it is still warm).

My co-worker Debi had the fried pork chop, fried okra and creamed corn. As you can see, the pork chop was absolutely huge and she said that it was really good. She also enjoyed the corn and the okra.

My co-worker Sandy had fried catfish, turnip greens and macaroni and cheese. As you can see, the portions are absolutely huge and Sandy ate every bit of it.




OVERALL REVIEW: Overall, I would give Betty Mae's an A. The food was absolutely awesome and the service was great. The only thing that I would change is that I think that they should offer soft drinks. The ambiance of the restaurant reminded me of being at my grandmother's house for Sunday dinner. I would encourage anyone going to Betty Mae's for lunch is to go early (like 11:15 or 11:30 a.m.). As we were leaving about 12:15 p.m., there was a line out of the door.

 
 
You may contact Betty Mae's Restaurant at the following information:
 
Betty Mae's Restaurant
1222 Grace Street Northwest
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
256-533-2188

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Squash Ribbon Salad

I'm BAAAAACK! After a 3 month hiatus, the A Man About Food blog is back. Over the last couple of months, I have dealt with work commitments along with service at my church and other obligations. To be honest, I just have not had the opportunity to cook as nearly as much as I would like. But hopefully, the blog posts should be coming back more regularly and I am so excited to share with you some recipes that I have in the works.

Last week, I had the privilege of stopping by the Greene Street Market at Nativity to provide me some inspiration for the recipe that I would use to reintroduce the blog. You may remember the Greene Street Market from my blog post last year. It wasn't long before I found some beautiful yellow squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. I immediately thought about making a summer salad that would be great for family reunions, BBQs and picnics at the lake (Lake Guntersville anyone?). I got in the kitchen and developed this Summer Squash Ribbon Salad that I really enjoyed. I took it to a friend's 4th of July BBQ and everyone loved it! I hope that you do as well!


Summer Squash Ribbon Salad

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes                                                   Cook Time: None
Difficulty: Easy                                                                         Yields: 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pound yellow squash
  • 1/2 pound zucchini squash 
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (5 oz.) package of triple-washed baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
  • Honey-Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 8 oz. block of Feta cheese, cut into 1/2 cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  Honey-Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette:
  •  Zest & juice of one lemon
  •  2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  •   2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  •  2  teaspoons honey
  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon black pepper

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS:

First, cut the ends off the squash and the zucchini. Next, using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, cut the squash lengthwise into very thin strips. Place the cut squash and zucchini into a large bowl along with the cherry tomatoes. Next, add the arugula, parsley, basil and feta cheese to the bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, place the lemon zest, lemon juice, dijon mustard, vinegar and honey. Whisk to combine. Next, slowly add the olive oil  in a slow stream while continuing to whisk until the mixture is well combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the vinaigrette to the large bowl and mix carefully, making sure not to break up the feta cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper accordingly. You may add a drizzle of olive oil or some fresh lemon juice to the salad if it needs some additional moisture. Serve immediately.



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