Hickory Smoked Meatloaf With Baby Potatoes On The Grill

May 12th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

As you can see, I am still playing with my new grill. I had a couple of pounds of ground beef ready for my meatloaf and I began to wonder what a smoked meatloaf might taste like. My thoughts turned to my grill and all of the smoking I have done with it the past week.

Now any grill can smoke, all you need is a small metal container for the chips. I use a really small metal loaf pan that fits right between the grill plate, and the burner. I soak some hickory wood chips I purchased at the hardware store for about an hour in the loaf pan. Then I drain them, and then put the loaf pan with the wet chips in the grill.

You should pre-heat the grill on high for about 15-20 minutes until the chips start smoking.

To make this meatloaf, follow my meatloaf recipe just like always, just omit the oven. Use a metal cookie sheet for the meatloaf since this will go in the grill.

For the potatoes, here is what you need:

1 bag small potatoes (about 20 potatoes).
3 cloves of garlic.
1 half sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped and lightly chopped (throw away the stem).
Salt and pepper.
Teaspoon (or so) of Herbs De Provence.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss the potatoes around. When the potatoes are – (More…)

Cooking Myth #3: I Don’t Have Professional Hardware, Therefore I Cannot Cook

May 9th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

I have a friend who has what is basically a small diner sized kitchen. It has a commercial oven and broiler along with a commercial vent hood above it. A small commercial gas deep fryer, two full size refrigerators, two prep counters, a small pizza oven, and numerous shelves, and stainless steel racks.

Talking with him he told me that he just didn’t have all the proper cookware, gadgets, etc., to cook properly. I looked at him with surprise and said that I could only wish to have a kitchen like that.

He was worried that his knives were not the best, his food processor was 10 years old, etc.. I asked him if he thought great cooking was invented after electricity. He got my point pretty quick after that.

There is nothing wrong with having all of the latest greatest equipment while you practice your art form, but it is not a prerequisite! For the longest time, for whatever reason, I never had a real bread knife. I just got so used to using an old beat up Ginsu knife left over from my college days, it never occurred to me. You know what? It did not affect the flavor, texture or size of my bread. When I did finally purchase one, the only difference was that cutting the bread was easier. The end result was the same.

I used to mince garlic – (More…)

Cooking Myth #2: Every Dish Must Be A Masterpiece.

March 26th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

For those who really enjoy cooking, there is a trap we can all fall into. It is natural to have pride in your creations but sometimes too much of a good thing is not good. The home cook who tries to make a culinary wonder every day is going to find it becoming tiring work. Many of the greatest dishes require a lot of preparation and contain quite a few steps. Finding an extra hour or two in a single day can be challenging enough, but 7 days a week is extremely demanding.

There is also the question of cost. Many of the great recipes out there call for ingredients that are more expensive than your average meal. It may be enjoyable to prepare prime rib, but is it economically justifiable? There are many times when the cost of one great meal could have paid for three or four standard dishes.

Some get the feeling that if they just slap up a meatloaf, people will question their culinary prowess. Now I am not saying you should serve meatloaf at your friends twenty five year anniversary party, but when your home with the family after a long dreary Wednesday, don’t worry if you only have enough energy to bread up some pork chops, prepare instant potatoes, open a can of corn, and make a dinner in about fifteen minutes.

Remember, although cooking is an art form, – (More…)


Cooking Myth #1: You need a formal culinary education to be a great cook.

March 26th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

This myth angers me more than any other. I talk to some people who have a feeling of hopelessness in the kitchen because they feel they need to spend thousands of dollars at a culinary institute in order to be considered a great cook. Unless you plan on working in a world class kitchen in Paris or New York City, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Much of what they teach you in these schools has nothing to do with cooking, but more about working in a restaurant which is a completely different thing. For those who just want to be a great cook do not need to know all the details about the proper way to maintain stable temperature in commercial refrigerators, or how to organize line cooks.

Now there is nothing wrong with taking courses in cooking and it can be very fulfilling. A four year degree however is not necessary if you want to make great unique dishes for your family, friends, or even your own establishment. There are many famous restaurants in this world that were started by those who only had the love of cooking as their guide.

Instead of worrying about credentials, think about all of your actual cooking experience. Learning new recipes teaches you more than you realize. How many times have you prepared a dish you have never tried before and found similarities with other recipes you – (More…)


Chefography – The Latest Food Network Hit

March 19th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

On March 18th, the Food Network premiered their latest series called Chefography. Each episode looks in depth at one of their many celebrity chefs.

On the debut of Chefography, the Food Network showed three episodes. The first was Emeril Lagasse, then Rachael Ray, followed by Bobby Flay. Each was an hour long biography of the celebrities, from their humble beginnings to their current stardom.

I Tivo’d the episodes and found them intruiging. Emeril and Rachaels bio’s were right out of a story book. They were very inspirational and showed how one can go from working in a deli to making millions with their own shows, restaurants, and product lines.

I could personally relate with much of what Rachael had to say in her interviews. She doesn’t feel like she is on the same planet as the other chefs on the show and will not call herself a chef. She is a cook, and is great at what she does and enjoys having fun with it.

I found Emerils story very interesting. You really get a sense of the scope of his popularity when you watch his chefography. I never realized how diverse his empire is. He seems to be just about everywhere and yet you really get the impression he hasn’t changed all that much.

Bobby Flay’s chefography came off a bit strange to me. At times I felt it a bit disjointed – (More…)


Recap: Jeff’s St. Patty’s Day Party

March 19th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

OK, it is finally Monday, two days after our St. Patty’s Day party 2007 at Roses Tavern in Modena N.Y.! I would have wrote this up yesterday, but let us just say that the party went so well, I was a bit immobilized the next day. 🙂

I began the preparation on Thurday by cooking up two cheesecakes, my Irish Baileys Strawberry Cheesecake to be precise. It is good to let this cake sit for 24-48 hours so it was the first thing I made. Here is a pic of one of them, and as you can tell, I rushed the icing, but I had a million things going on at that moment so you will have to forgive me. I also added dark chocolate shavings across the top. Mind you, I am no photographer, and this is the real pic, not one I pulled from a professional site:

On the day of the party, at about 1 a.m. I put together my traditional corned beef and cabbage in two crockpots. Each pot had 1 1/2 flat cut briskets. These went together easy enough which is a big reason why I like that recipe. 🙂

At 8 a.m. I started my Beer and Irish Whiskey braised corned beef. This is a little more involved but I managed to cook 2 1/2 briskets in the roasting pan. – (More…)


Music While You Cook

March 11th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

For the past couple weeks we have been making some test batches of various Irish foods. From soda bread, corned beef, cheesecake, etc., it has been very green around the kitchen.

Before I start, I will pop open the laptop and find some good Irish music streaming over on XM radio. They usually have a channel that will play seasonal music and when it gets around St. Patty’s day, you can hear lots of good Irish tunes. I forward this via blue tooth to my stereo and within seconds the house is full of music from the green isle.

I find that when I am cooking, I like to hear music that is somehow related to what I am whipping up. If I am making an Italian sauce, then some Italian music should be playing. It helps me connect better to the recipes roots.

Music stimulates another sense and helps your creative juices flow. Irish soda bread just seems to feel and taste more Irish when I am hearing oh danny boy in the background.

When I cook food with a creole or Cajun flavor, I usually play one of the blues or jazz channels. It brings back some of my personal memories of sitting at the Alpine on Rue Chartres, enjoying some barbecued shrimp, while a trumpet cries out from the corner.

So spice it up, we don’t cook just to eat, but to enjoy life! – (More…)


It’s Herb Season – Get Them Planted!

March 2nd, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

Yesterday I was looking out my picture window as the rain began to eat away at the awful white stuff on the ground.  Walking outside you could faintly smell it: Spring is a-comin.  I am more than ready to get out of the malaise of winter and back into the swing of summer.

My favorite part of the spring and summer is the fact that I do not have to rely on all those old herbs and spices I have in my pantry and can start using my fresh herbs.  Now I normally keep a few pots of the hardier herbs such as basil, cilantro, and parsley growing in pots inside by the window during the winter.  These herbs although still better than what you get in the store, are nowhere near as fresh as the ones grown outdoors.

Fresh herbs can take your great recipes and turn them into spectacular dishes.  Although there is a time and a place for dried herbs, you will get nowhere near the flavor you get with fresh.

So off I went to my local agricultural store and picked up some new seeds such as rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, etc..  I got them all planted and started with the hopes that in a couple weeks most will have germinated in their pots.

I try to use smaller plastic planters that will be large enough to hold the herbs through the season.  The lighter the pots the better because – (More…)


Tivo – The Ultimate Cooking Tool

February 26th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

Let me preface this by saying that I am using Tivo in the general sense of the term.  Any decent DVR will work providing it works in concert with your cable/satellite providers channel guide.

For those of you in the dark about what Tivo is, here is a quick, non-technical overview.  Basically it is just a very smart VCR.  Instead of using tape, it has a built in hard drive (just like your PC) and records all your programs digitally (DVR = digital video recorder).  You can set it up to record shows for an entire season with just one click on your remote.  You can also browse through a guide that will show you upcoming shows on any channel you want.  While browsing, you can tell it to record this show, or that show.  You can read a short description on each show before you decide.

Some cable companies have their own DVR.  Tivo is a brand name and that company hands down, beats every other DVR because it is so intuitive and easy to use.  If your cable provider supports it, go with Tivo every time.

So how does this help when it comes to cooking?  Well, if you haven’t found out yet, there are many cooking shows out there being broad-casted every day.  There is even a channel dedicated to cooking (The Food Network).  You can get many great ideas by watching these cooks whip up their recipes right in – (More…)


In The Pipeline: Barbecued Shrimp – Creole

February 19th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

Some people lately have asked me not so much about my current recipes, but what I am working on next.  Usually I try to do new dishes about 2 – 3 times a month.  By new I mean, something I really haven’t made much of before.  I am always tinkering with what I have made, but from time to time you really have to break into something new.

I decided this week I was going to pick up a bunch of large shrimp from my local seafood store and begin working on a barbecued shrimp recipe.  Now if you have ever been to New Orleans and tried barbecued shrimp, the first thing you will notice, is that in fact, it really isn’t barbecued.  It is pan cooked, or broiled normally.  There is no real barbecue sauce involved.  In fact, why they call it barbecued is beyond me.  It does have that tangy deep taste, so my guess is, that is the reason why.

Writing about our honeymoon, I spoke of the shrimp I ate The Alpine. This was by far the best I had ever tasted.  The flavors are still strong in my head, so this week I am going to attempt to make something similar.

I have been researching recipes from that area and have found some common themes but am still contemplating where to start.  I hope to have something to share with everyone by the end of the – (More…)

« Previous ArticleNext Article »

Get My Cookbook Today!

Built by a member of Lampwrights.com