Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beef on Weck, Part 1: The Kummelweck Roll – You’ll Be Thirsty for More

Welcome to the first of a two-part series on one of this country’s most delicious unknown sandwiches, the "Beef on Weck." This simple, but brilliant creation features thinly sliced, horseradish covered, roast beef, piled high on a freshly baked kummelweck.

The roll's fragrant caraway seeds and coarse salt are a perfect accent, and when you add a steaming ramekin of fresh beef jus for dunking, you’ll understand why this is the pride of Western New York. Sorry, chicken wings.

As legend has it, a pub owner in Buffalo, New York created the sandwich, hoping the salty rolls made by a local German baker would help increase drink sales. That sounds about right, and I do have it on very good authority that beef on weck works well with beer.

So, even if you’re not into roast beef, I still recommend you give these great sandwich rolls a try soon. And, if you are into roast beef sandwiches, I invite you to stay tuned for what I believe is America’s finest example. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Kummelweck Rolls:
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm water (105 F.)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg white
1 generous tsp honey
*3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour total (use 1/2 cup with yeast and water to start recipe)

* I mentioned a dough tip during the video, and that has to do with not adding all the flour at once. I like to add about 80% of the flour called for, and then continue adding small amounts as the dough kneads, until I have the perfect texture.  You want a soft, fairly sticky dough that pulls off the sides of the bowl clean.

For the topping:
1 large egg white beaten with 2 tsp water
coarse grain sea salt
caraway seed

- Bake at 425 F. for 18-20 minutes

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bay Scallop Chowder – Looks Good?

Every once in a while I make a dish that no matter how great it tastes, I just can’t get past how it looks, and that was the case with this very easy, incredibly delicious scallop chowder. 

The main culprit was the caramelization from the bacon and onions, which provided great flavor, but the hue they imparted, along with the pale green celery, and yellow potatoes, made things kind of dingy.

I could have browned the scallops first, and gone even further to the dark side, but scallops this small and sweet need to be eaten as soon as they’re cooked, and by the time we reheated them in the soup, they’d be hard, dry, and disappointing.

Maybe it’s just me. I hope that’s the case here, otherwise we’re going to need to brainstorm some kind of make-over, because this bowl of chowder is too good not to make. If you do make it, and want a thicker, more traditional chowder base, simply mash some of your potatoes into the mixture.

A roux can also be used to tighten things up, but since scallops are so rich, I prefer the lighter texture seen herein. So whether you figure out a way to pretty this up or not, I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions of Bay Scallop Chowder:
2 tsp olive oil
2 slices bacon
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8-oz) bottle clam juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 red Frenso chili, fine dice
1/2 cup cream
1 cup cubed Yukon gold potatoes
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne
salt to taste
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 pound bay scallops
1 tbsp fresh tarragon

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dutch Babies – Almost as Easy to Make as Real Babies!

I had my first "Dutch Baby" in Chicago a few years ago, and have wanted to do a video on them ever since. I’ve always been fascinated by how many different breakfast foods you can create using just milk, eggs, and flour; and this is one of the more interesting examples. Especially considering the unusual, and borderline disturbing name.

Sometimes called “German pancakes,” these have very little to do with Germany, and nothing to do with the Dutch. Apparently they were invented by German immigrants who were referred to as “Dutch;” a corruption of the word “deutsch.” So, save your emails saying they don’t have these in Germany or the Netherlands. We know.  

As I mentioned briefly in the video, I like to use a little less batter than many recipes call for. I think this provides the best crispy-to-custardy ratio. I topped mine with butter, lemon, and powdered sugar, but any and all traditional pancake toppings will work wonderfully. I hope you give these beautiful ‘babies” a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 small or 2 large portions:
3 large room temperature eggs
2/3 cup room temperature milk
packed 1/2 cup flour (really pack the measuring cup firmly with flour)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp clarified butter
- Bake at 425 F. 20-25 min
* garnish with melted butter, fresh lemon juice (Meyer if you can find it), and powdered sugar.