Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gorgonzola Bacon Wrapped Dates

Gorgonzola Bacon Wrapped Dates
Dates. They've been a staple food in South Asia and the Middle East for thousands of years. Today dates are grown around the world in many different countries but here in the US, the most commonly consumed date is the plump, sweet, and succulent Medjool.

This fantastic ancient fruit is extremely versatile. The date is found in both sweet and savory dishes, as well as products like alcohol, honey, livestock feed and have even been used for medicinal purposes. My favorite way to consume this historical and delectable delicacy is to wrap it in bacon and stuff it with cheese of course!

Bacon Wrapped Dates
10 Medjool dates
10 cubes of either Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or Stilton blue cheese (cut into 1/2 by 1/4in cubes)
10 unsalted almonds
10 toothpicks
10 strips of bacon (cut 3/4 strips)

Preheat oven to 400 and soak 10 toothpicks in cold water. Carefully slice a small lengthwise slit in dates to remove the pit. Stuff with date with an almond and cube of blue cheese. Carefully squeeze the date back together and wrap with 3/4 slice of bacon and spear with toothpick  Arrange your bacon wrapped dates on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until bacon is crispy turning once during cooking. Remove bring to near room temp and serve.

*If you are having a large party I would suggest removing the almonds from the dates as some people think that they have bitten into a pit. Also, if you find that your cheese has melted due to the crispness of your bacon, you might place another small cube of blue cheese atop the date.

Dates can be purchased fresh at your local market and are easy gourmet treat for any party!

Enjoy Ya'll!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Soba Noodles in Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce

Soba Noodles in Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce
To be totally honest Asian dishes in the past had never been my strong suit. But since I've been writing this blog, I've begun to branch out working with flavors and techniques outside of my comfort zone. The result of trying and creating these new recipes has made me a better chef overall and and influenced my creativity in all the dishes I make.

This dish is a delicious, easy, and healthy dinner that takes just moments to put together. Why buy a prepackaged meal from Trader Joe's when you can make something fresh and scrumptious like this in the same amount of time? Whether it's this dish or anything you read on MiddleBar, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and you might just find your new favorite meal. :)

Soba in Sweet Ginger Scallion Sauce
1 package of soba noodles       
1 1/2 cup chopped scallions            
2 tbs minced ginger                          
1/4 cup cilantro                                
2-3 tbs sesame oil                      
2 tsp chili oil (My favorite ingredient: photo ->)
1 tbs soy sauce  
2 tbs rice wine vinegar                      
2 tbs honey
pinch of salt & pepper

2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
2 lime wedges
julianne carrots
1 tbs scallion
1 tbs cilantro
10 slices of cucumber
1 tbs pickled ginger

Cook your soba noodles according to package directions then remove, strain and place in a bowl of ice water, and drain well again when chilled. Mix all ingredients for ginger scallion sauce then toss with noodles. Garnish with everything possible!

Deeeelicious Ya'll, try it!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Official Cocktail of New Orleans: The Sazerac

The official cocktail of New Orleans, The Sazerac
June 23rd marks the 5th anniversary of the Sazerac's appointment as the Official Cocktail of New Orleans.  I can't believe it took the city of New Orleans so long to actually appoint an official cocktail in the first place. And I'm very glad that they didn't choose the Hurricane (although I always love the fancy glass).

To many, the Sazerac is considered to be the World's first mixed drink, but that has never been proven. We do know that the drink appeared after 1830 when Peychaud's Bitters was created by the Creole apothecary Antoine Amedee Peychaud. And, as any New Orleanian will tell you, a Sazerac is not a Sazerac without Peychaud's.

When it comes to a Sazerac, everyone has an opinion on how this drink should be properly mixed. I myself diverge from the way the drink is mixed at the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.  Others have opinions regarding dropping the garnish into the drink or not, and whether to use Angostura Bitters with Peychaud's Bitters, or just Peychaud's alone. That being said, this is MY recipe for a Sazerac and since I'm all the way across the country where people have rarely even heard of a Sazerac, this is the way I do it.

2 oz Sazerac Rye
1 sugar cube (The Roosevelt uses simple syrup)
3ish dashes of Peychaud's (you want a nice red color
1/4 oz Herbsaint (to coat the glass)
1 large slice of lemon rind

Chill a Sazerac glass (rocks glass). In a separate mixing glass combine 1 sugar cube, with Peychaud's and Rye. Add ice and stir until chilled (the elder bartenders at the Roosevelt will tell you to stir exactly 30 times but just make sure your drink is chilled and that the sugar is dissolved).
Coat the chilled rocks glass with Herbsaint, strain into the drink, and rub the lemon around the rim of the glass. Serve the lemon rind on the glass instead of dropping it in the glass, let your guest decide if they want to drop it in. Voila!

If you've never had a Sazerac or if you've been having them for years mix one up for the city of New Orleans! Cheers Ya'll!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Basil Balsamic Strawberries

Today I'm doing a fun appetizer that's unbelievably easy and appears totally gourmet. If you need a simple app for your next party try this one, your party goers will be impressed and they'll never know how easy it was to prepare (which is my personal favorite trick because I throw a lot of parties).

This recipe is great served with goat cheese, atop baked brie as seen in this picture, or even toss it over a block of good ole' Philadelphia cream cheese instead of a pepper jelly. If you really want to get fancy, you can grill some toast points, a sliced baguette, or just serve it with a cracker. It's a treat!

Basil Balsamic Strawberries
1 pint strawberries
3-4ish tbs of good balsamic vinegar (a thin version not the thick glaze kind)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 pinch of Kosher salt
1 pinch of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the strawberries)

Slice your strawberries into cubes and chiffonade (aka roll it up and slice it thin) basil.  Toss with vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve with any cheese you'd like and...

Enjoy Ya'll!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Quick Fix: Rosemary's Bambino

Rosemary's Bambino a delicate mix of sweet and tart
Baseball season is in full swing (pun totally intended) and tomorrow marks the 64th anniversary of Babe "The Great Bambino" Ruth's death. To salute the greatest baseball player of all time we are trying a new original Middlebar cocktail, Rosemary's Bambino.

I usually don't offer drinks this brand specific, but he spirit brands listed below should be used due to the delicate nature of this drink. It may not seem like much, but substituting Bulliet Bourbon for Basil Hayden's will make a completely different beverage (one that probably won't taste as good). And just because they are both red, Aperol & Campari are two different beverages with drastically different flavors.

This drink is a delicate mix of sweet and tart creating a perfect cocktail. If you're having a classic cocktail party looking for something completely unique, look no further, this is your drink.

Rosemary's Bambino
1oz Basil Hayden's Bourbon
1oz Carpano Antica
1oz Campari
1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
1 sprig of rosemary

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until chilled. Gently strain along one sprig of fresh rosemary into a rocks glass with a large ice cube or ball. 

Enjoy Ya'll!