Scarborough Fair Rub for Chicken

I soaked 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters overnight in a rosemary buttermilk brine:
2.5 quarts of buttermilk
4 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt.

The next day I put on a dry rub that harkens back to that 16th century English folk tune – as the main ingredients are sage, rosemary and thyme. The parsley is added as a final step while the meat rests.

I grilled my chicken over indirect heat for about an hour. The chicken can also be roasted in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.

Scarborough Fair Chicken Rub

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground sage
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Store any unused in an airtight container.

Grill or roast the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Sprinkle on the parsley after the meat comes off the fire, while it rests for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Pecan Shortnin’ Bread

I’ve been told that the difference between shortnin’ bread and shortbread is the sugar. Typical shortbread uses fine, white sugar. Shortnin’ bread uses brown sugar. I decided to make my shortnin’ bread with pecans. Sort of like pecan sandies but richer.

And, if you’re anything like me, you are now humming, “Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’, shortnin’ Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread.”

1 cup packed brown sugar
4 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup pecans, minced
1 lb unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper or a light spray of oil.

Place the brown sugar in the bowl of the mixer and break up any lumps with your fingers. Blend into the sugar the flour and salt. Add in the minced pecans. Add the softened butter to the flour sugar mix and blend until you have a smooth dough.

On a pieces of parchment paper on a worksurface, turn out the dough. Press with your hands create a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. If dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Cut into shapes and lay each piece on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Or, press directly onto the prepared pan and using a sharp knife, score the dough into squares.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool on racks for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

I’m watching World Cup Soccer Round of 16 games today and I’m also craving yeasty, salty, rosemary-ie focaccia bread. I worked out the time needed and, so, started the dough after the France-Argentina game to allow for the first rise. It was ready to spread it in the pan right before the Portugal-Uruguay game began. I let it rise through the first half and then baked it during half time.

By using beer, I got a very light texture even with higher gluten bread flour plus an added flavor boost of yeasty goodness. I went with a wheat beer from Blue Moon.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 12 ounce bottle of beer (wheat beer, if possible)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, add 2 cups bread flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and yeast. Warm beer in the microwave to 120 to 125 degrees F. Add the beer to the stand mixer and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium, mix until combined.

Add in the all-purpose flour, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Switch the mixer to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use the oven with the oven light turned on.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. For an optional, added crunch, sprinkle on a little corn meal or semolina flour. Transfer the dough to the pan, pulling to cover the entire pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Press your fingers into the dough making holes across the entire loaf. Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with remaining rosemary and the coarse salt. Bake until golden brown and it sounds hollow to the tap, about 15 minutes.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bar Cookies

I needed to clear out some room in my pantry to fit some can goods I had gotten on sale and the big container of oats (that was only a third full) had to go. I went to my bar cookie recipes as I didn’t want to stand around making my usual oatmeal cookies after having to deal with contractors for most of the afternoon. This recipe is an old favorite and not just because it has lots of chocolate. The topping is quite reminiscent of It’s-it ice cream sandwiches and that makes me happy.

I used semi-sweet morsels but you can use bittersweet or even milk chocolate, depending on your taste. You can also stir in a cup of butterscotch morsels into the melted chocolate right before spreading it on the bottom layer.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bar Cookies

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted plus 2 tablespoons
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter well a 9×13 baking pan.

In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt and the 2 tablespoons butter. Stir well.

In a mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 2 sticks of melted butter, vanilla and eggs. On low speed, pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the oat mixture. Once combined, remove 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the chocolate mixture over the oat mixture.

Sprinkle the reserved portion of the oat mixture over the top of the chocolate layer. Try and co er as much as possible. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is a lovely brown. Let bars cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours or until set. Slice into bars and enjoy!

Cocoa Meringue Cookies

We made Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream yesterday and it left us with 5 egg whites. Perfect number for make some meringue cookies.

If you want a smooth, uniform appearance, sift the cocoa. I don’t because I enjoy biting into tiny spots of intense chocolate.

Cocoa Meringue Cookies

5 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 220 degrees F. Place parchment paper on two large rimmed baking sheets.

Make sure the bowl and whisk are well cleaned and dry. Place egg whites, salt and cream of tarter in the bowl. Starting on low and slowing increasing the speed to high, mix well. Once soft peaks form, begin adding the sugar in 1/4 cup increments. Once the mixture is thick and shiny and stiff peaks have formed, fold in cocoa and vanilla.

Move mixture into a piping bag. I use a gallon plastic bag and cut off a little of one of the bottom corners. Pipe out drops or other shapes with the meringue mixture, twisting the bag as you go to keep pressure up.

Bake for one hour. Turn off oven but keep door closed and let cookies cool completely for 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how humid it is. Peel the cookies off the parchment paper and store in an airtight container.

Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant

I was over in Chalmette to see a Pride month showing of To A More Perfect Union and we decided to go old school for dinner.

In 1965, Tommy Tommaseo, his brother Rocky and his brothers-in-law Carlo, Mario and Giuseppe “Joseph” Gioe opened Rocky and Carlo’s over in St Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans. They wanted everyone to know their new place was a restaurant, not a bar and that men and women were welcome so they put ‘Ladies Invited’ on the signs and it remains on the front windows and cups to this day.

We walked to the back to place our order at the counter from a large menu of classic Italian and New Orleans dishes. I had heard good things about their baked mac and cheese, so that was definitely what I wanted but I asked the person taking the order for a recommendation and she said go for the veal parm.

I’m glad I did. I received a heaping portion of baked macaroni and cheese topped with veal parmesan and a thick marinara, along with a basket of bread.

Very yummy. And the one piece of veal parm I didn’t eat then went really well in a sandwich for lunch the next day.

Charlotte ordered a hearty bowl red beans and rice and that thing was huge. It did need some hot sauce but the flavors were good and deep.

Very happy with our visit. We received generous portions and fast, friendly service. It was reasonably priced, too! Definitely consider a trip to Rocky and Carlo’s next time you’re in Da Parish.

Rocky and Carlo’s Restaurant
613 W. St. Bernard Hwy.
ChalmetteLA 70043
504-279-8323
Hours of Operation:
Open Tues – Thur 11:00am – 8:00pm & Fri – Sat 11:00am – 8:30pm
Closed Sunday & Monday

Bacon Onion Cheeseburgers

Bacon is good on a burger but I’ve always wondered about putting bacon in the burger. There are a gazillion recipes out there – some say use cooked bacon crumbled in, other recommend cooking the bacon just a little, others just mix uncooked bacon in with the burger meat.

I didn’t want the burger crunchy nor did I want any bite of burger to have raw. I decided to do a quick par-cook of minced bacon so it could be well incorporated. You can definitely use more bacon – for three pounds of ground meat, I figured about a half of strip per burger as I didn’t want the bacon to overwhelm the burgerness of the meat, if that makes sense. I used thick cut bacon as I figured the thin stuff would be destroyed by the food processor. 

I also cooked the onions in the bacon fat to eliminate the taste of raw onion and up the bacon flavor. I ended up with almost caramelized onions that added a sweetness and depth to the final result.

Bacon Onion Cheeseburgers

3 lbs 80% lean ground chuck
8 strips thick bacon
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
grated cheddar cheese, to taste

In a food processor, pulse the bacon until it is well and truly pulped. Place in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. In the food processor, chop the quartered onions. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside to cool. Add the onions to the pan and sauté in the bacon grease until soft and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, place the meat, the bacon and the onions and the seasonings. Mix with your hands to combine. Divide and form into quarter pound patties. Makes 14 patties.

Create a two zone area on your grill, so you can move the burgers to the cool side in case of flare ups. Make a small indention in each burger with your finger before setting it on the grates to keep the burger from bulging while it cooks. Grill over direct heat for about 5 minutes per side. Do not press down on the burgers during cooking – you’ll lose those precious juices.

Sprinkle on the grated cheese for the last few moments of cooking and serve with toasted buns.

We had grilled zucchini from the garden with our burgers.