Friday, December 23, 2011

A Decadent Treat - Bacon Wrapped Dates

Bacon Wrapped Dates
By Ted Slee

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10-20 mins
Servings: 5-7 ppl

20 Medjool Dates – Pitted Preferred but not necessary
1/2 pound aged Manchego or Blue Cheese, Cut into inch long slivers
10 full slices of bacon, cut in half
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Depending on if your dates are pitted or not, make an incision on one side of each date with a sharp paring knife.  If dates aren’t pitted yet, use the tip of your knife to remove the pit once you’ve made the incision.  Gently open the date and insert the cheese and press it closed.  Wrap each date with bacon strip and secure with a toothpick.  Place the dates on a non-stick baking sheet or a sheet tray lined with a sil mat or parchment paper.  Let the dates roast in the oven until the bacon on top is starting to crisp.  About 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven.  Make sure to turn the dates over and cook until golden brown another 2 to 10 minutes.  Once they have reached that golden color remove the dates from the oven.  This is when you can brush both sides with the maple syrup and return the dates to the oven for about 1 to 2 minutes more.  Make sure to serve them right away.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Burger Luck Winning Slider!

Kickin’ Espresso Sliders
By Ted Slee

Serves 4
Prep Time: up to 6 hours (letting meat marinade)
Cook Time: 30-45 mins

1 1/3lb 80/20 ground beef
½ tbsp espresso fine ground
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tbsp black pepper
½ tbsp sea salt
1 pinch mambosa (cayenne pepper) or to taste
3 tbsp bacon grease

Caramelized Onions
3 oz Chipotle peppers in adobo
1 tbsp cilantro (fresh chopped)
1 lime (zest and juice)
2 tbsp white tequila
½ Vidalia onion (sliced thin)
½ stick butter
1 tbsp brown sugar

½ lb extra sharp cheddar (sliced)
8 dinner rolls (French bread style) sliced open
3 tbsp bacon grease

Cast Iron Skillet
Non Stick Skillet
Cutting Board

Mix the espresso, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, sea salt and mambosa in a bowl.  Break the ground beef up gently using a fork or your hands in to small pieces in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet and coat evenly with espresso spice mixture.  Mix beef thoroughly and portion the ground beef into 8 patties a ½” thick.   Set aside until onions are cooked. 

Melt butter in non-stick skillet.  Add onions and brown sugar and cook on med-hi until onions are translucent and soften.  Add the 2 tbsp tequila and continue cooking 5 more minutes.  While these are cooking mince chipotles and mix with cilantro, lime juice and zest.  Turn off onions mixture and add chipotle paste thoroughly. 
Melt 2 tbsp bacon grease in cast iron skillet and toast dinner rolls (2-3 mins on high).  Once removed add remaining bacon grease and add burgers and cook 2-3 mins a side.
Put a good helping of cheddar on bottom half of bun then add the burger and top with caramelized onions.  Enjoy this tasty, burger!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Roasted Chicken w/Cranberry-Rosemary Gravy

Roasted Chicken w/veggies & Rosemary/Cranberry Gravy
By Ted Slee

Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cook Time: 90-120 mins (depends on size of chicken)

Serves 4-8 ppl

Roaster Chicken 5-7 pounds
Med Butternut Squash peeled and cut in 1 to 2” cubes
Vidalia onion peeled quartered
3 apples cored and quartered
8-10 small red potatoes halved
2 cups Cranberry Juice
Half a stick of softened butter
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
Chicken Stock Paste
Flour or Wonder Flour

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Place in roasting pan large enough to fit chicken and have at least 2 inches of space around each side.  Stuff cavity with a mixture of the vegetables, sprig of rosemary & apple.  Coat outside of chicken liberally with soft butter and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.  Add remaining vegetables to pan and add cranberry juice until it fills the bottom ½” of the pan.  Cook the chicken for 30 mins and then turn temperature down to 365 degrees until breast reaches internal temp of 170-175 degrees.  When chicken is done remove from oven and let chicken rest.  Gravy: Remove chicken stock to a separate sauce pan and add 2 tbsp of butter and whisk in cranberry, flour, salt & pepper, chicken paste to taste.  Carve chicken and serve combination of vegetables and gravy.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Leftover Linguine - Cold Sesame Noodles

If you have leftover pasta, this is a good way to reuse them and make a really tasty dish!

Leftover Linguine – Cold Sesame Noodles
By Ted Slee

Servings: 6-8
Prep: 15 mins

½ pound cooked linguine cold
3 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 green onion (scallions) halved and sliced
1 inch of ginger minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp hot sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp cilantro chopped

Toss the cold noodles with sesame oil and set aside

Add oils to medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Add green onion, ginger, vinegar, garlic, hot sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar.  Stir until sugar melts and mixture is fragrant.

Add peanut butter and water until blended smooth.  Cook for a minute then remove from heat.  Mix with noodles and toss till well mixed Add cilantro and sesame seeds as garnish.

Leftover Pizza

This recipe came from the need to use up the leftovers I had from my previous Summer Grilled Chicken Parmesan recipe post.  This pizza is really as good as it looks!

Summer Grilled Chicken Parm - Leftover Pizza
By Ted Slee

Serves 4-8 people
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10-15 mins

One Leftover chicken breast diced
2 cups of Leftover tomato & mozzarella mixture
4 tbsp garlic/basil oil
Store pizza dough ball

Let pizza dough rest out of refridge while preparing the rest of the ingredients.  Set oven to 485 degrees with pizza stone inside.  Prep pizza dough, brush garlic/basil oil on entire dough and cook for 5 minutes without toppings.  Then equally distribute chicken and tomato-mozzarella mixture and finish cooking.  Let sit for 5 minutes then cut and serve.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Grilled Chicken Parm

Summer Grilled Chicken Parmesan
By Ted Slee

Serves: 2-4ppl
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 – 45 mins

4 Boneless chicken breasts (Pounded to an even thickness)
2 pints of Grape Tomatoes (Mixed Varieties Add Color to Dish)
9 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Tomato Paste (to slightly thicken sauce)
3 tsp Course Sea Salt
1.5 tsp minced Garlic
2 tbsp Creole Mustard
1 oz Fresh Basil (rough chopped)
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
16 oz Fresh Mozzarella (rough cubed)
1 tbsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tsp Crushed Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)
4 Servings of Fresh Linguine or other pasta Cooked Al Dente.

First step is to create the marinade for the chicken.  I always use gallon freezer plastic bags for storing chicken and marinade for easy clean up.  Add 4 table spoons of the Olive Oil, Mustard, Sesame Oil, Garlic, Black Pepper and Sea Salt and whisk together.  Put the chicken in plastic bags and pound to an even thickness then add equal amounts of marinade to the bags and massage into meat.  Let rest at room temp until prep of other ingredients are complete. 

Next halve the Grape tomatoes and add to a bowl with 4 table spoons of Olive Oil, a pinch of Salt and Pepper.  Mix well and put aside until grill is hot.  Rough cube the Fresh Mozzarella and let rest. 

When the grill is hot, slowly and carefully add the tomato mixture to the cook surface.  Depending on your grill use tin foil or a vegetable tray.  Cooking is complete when tomatoes have softened.  Remove from the heat and put back into mixing bowl.  Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper and let sit until almost cool before adding basil and mozzarella.

Grill the chicken till just cooked.  Serve the Chicken on a bed of Linguine, cover with tomato mixture and garnish with basil.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweet Summer Salsa

This recipe sort of hit me while walking through the local super market.  After playing around with the different ingredients I think I have found a good balance.  I think this would be great on anything that could use a fresh light summer flavor added to.  I first served this on a grilled chicken, but feel like it would work well as a topping for tacos or fish.

Sweet Salsa
By Ted Slee

Servings: 4-5 Cups
Prep Time: 10-15 mins


1 Ripe Mango (Diced)
1 Firm Peach (Diced)
¼ Red Onion (Minced)
¾ Cup Blueberries (Halved)
4 Thyme Stems worth of leaves (Chopped)
Pinch of Kosher Salt
3 Pinches of Red Pepper Flakes (Chopped)

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix carefully with a table spoon. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mombosa Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts

These nuts are so easy to make and they are the perfect gift!  I got the inspiration to use this spice that I got from a spice monger at the Reading Terminal Market in Philly.  From the research I have been able to do I have found that this is a variant of cayenne from a certain spice region of Africa.   Any hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper will work as a substitute.  I like the Mombosa because it works well with the flavors of this recipe and has a hidden kick that hits the palate after the cinnamon and sugar combinations hit your tongue.  This recipe is easy to work with especially if you want to multiply it.

1 pound total of any nut or combination
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon of Mombosa or Cayenne (1/4 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of sweet cocoa powder
Worcestershire sauce
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add sugars, salt, Mombosa, cocoa and cinnamon to a food processor until mixture is well blended and begins to have a powdery texture, and set aside.  Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper.  Gently sprinkle Worcestershire sauce over them. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking to each other. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Worcester sauce again, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Kickin' Sliders

So good, you really will want more!! 
I invite you to experiment with different 80/20 to 84/16 meats and maybe different Aioli’s.  It's best to modify the burgers to match the bun size you find at your local grocer or bakery.  The reason I used the different liquors because I found different inspirations for each and wanted to see what the combinations might taste like.  I would say this recipe was influenced by Jose Garces' creative use of ingredients that to me, on their own may not work well, but somehow do.  It was at one of his restaurants on a recent trip to Philly that I realized this.  I look forward to experimenting with some spices found on that same trip and I hope to try and recreate some of the different foods I tried!!

Kickin’ Sliders w/Bourbon Onions
By Ted Slee

Servings: Approx 12 Burgers – 6 to 8 People
Prep Time: 15-20 mins
Cook Time:  20 mins


The Bourbon Onions:
2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
2 Vidalia onions, sliced paper thin
2 tbls bourbon
3 tbls unsalted butter
2 tbls granulated sugar
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

The Kickin’ Aioli:
2 cups of mayonnaise
1 tbls tequila
2 tbls fresh lime juice
3 tbls pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

For the Sliders:
3 pounds ground Angus beef, divided in to 3-4 oz patties, 1/2” thick (palm size).
Vegetable oil, for the grill
Garlic salt and Black Pepper
12 Dinner rolls or Mini buns
Unsalted softened butter, for toasting up rolls


The Bourbon Onions:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on med-high until glistening.  Gently add onions stirring to coat and reduce heat to low, cooking till golden brown.  When goldenly gorgeous, take off the heat and stir in the Bourbon.  Heat on low and add butter until melted then stir in sugar, cook until most of the liquid is gone.

The Kickin’ Aioli:
Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until combined.  Can be refrigerated until ready to use.

The Beef:
Brush Vegetable Oil on a preheated grill set to med-high.  Season with the garlic salt and pepper to taste. Grill until browned and cooked halfway through, 3 to 4 minutes.  Flip the beef, top with some of the caramelized onions and cook 3 more minutes for medium (or to desired doneness).

The Buns:
Spread butter on the insides of the buns, toast on the grill until golden brown, about 1 minute.

The Presentation:
Liberally spoon a tablespoon of Kickin’ Aioli on the inside of the bun tops.  Assemble with the burgers & onions and pierce with a skewers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Guacamole & Fresh Chips

Guacamole & Homemade Tortilla Chips
Prep Time: 15 – 20 mins
Servings: 6 – 8 People

2 Haas Avocado
½ Vidalia Onion (minced)
3 Tbs Habanero Salsa
2 Tbs Cilantro Chopped
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
½ Lime Juiced
Salt and Pepper to Taste

2 12” Flour Tortillas
Vegetable Oil (Enough to fill stock pot 1” deep)
Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients by hand or stand mixer on low with whip attachment.

Put oil in pot on med/hi until glistening.  Test with a tortilla strip to see if oil is ready to fry strips.  Cut tortillas into random strips or triangles around 1 ½” in size.  Fry in small batches.  Cook strips only 20 – 40 secs per side or until golden brown.  Drain cooked chips on paper towels and sprinkle sparingly with sea salt.

How to Survive a Superbowl Party

So the superbowl to me is more than a game.  It’s about getting friends together sharing some great food.  I have hosted many a Superbowl game in the past, especially when my New England Patriots were playing.  They key to any good superbowl party is spreading the love…  What I mean is, asking friends to bring a dish each which has usually been assigned.  This is key, especially if you want to be able to relax and enjoy the game and not be slaving in the kitchen!!  Since this is a Super Bowl party, if it doesn’t fit on a small plate it doesn’t make the cut.  There is nothing worse than 30 people trying to sit in front of the TV, watching the game while trying to each with a fork and knife with the plate on their lap.  I love making guacamole with home made tortilla chips.  I like a little heat in my guac and I have come up with a recipe that uses some shortcuts.  I use habanero or chipotle based salsa instead of diced tomato.  The heat plays well against the creamy avocado.  A Vidalia onion, some cilantro and fresh lime make it game time!  The tortilla chips are made from store bought flour tortillas cut into any shape you want and then pan fried in oil, then sprinkled with sea salt.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I was once defeated, but now I am victorious! Here is My Red Velvet Cup Cake Recipe!

Ted's Red Velvet Cupcakes…
Oh victory is sweet, so sweet!!

Total Cooking Time: 55 min
Yield: 16 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
10 ounces all-purpose flour – 2 cups
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt – sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces granulated sugar – 7/8 cups
3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring 
3/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/16 cup water

For the cream cheese frosting:
3/4 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 pound butter, room temperature
1 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl whisk gently till well blended and set aside.
Using the paddle blade on a stand mixer, mix the oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Next, add the eggs (whipped), food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well.  Slowly but deliberately, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time and mix on the lowest setting and mix until just combined, scraping down sides occasionally.  Make sure to not over mix, or the batter will come out tough.  Its done mixing when the color is uniform.  Line a 16-cup cupcake pan or two 8-cup pans with paper liners, scoop the batter just below top edge of paper liner and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Then let them cool and make sure to decorate them sooner than later.  After an hour, they begin to dry out.  At this point you will need to wash the mixing bowl and paddle blade attachement.

For the cream cheese frosting:
Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.
Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcastrophe....

Ok, so I need a little help understanding the fascination with Red Velvet Cup Cakes...  I asked a friend for a challenge and this little red devil of a task was handed to me.  After I looked at a few recipes, I was intrigued by similar ingredients in all of them.  I figured I was up for the challenge, but some of the ingredients caught my eye more that others.  This was the mixture of white vinegar, baking soda and red food coloring, which were the same ingredients that we used as kids during science experiments to emulate volcanoes... 
What does a really great Red Velvet Cup Cake taste like?  Is it Chocolate masked by the red color? Is it the icing, which has 4 cups of powdered sugar in it?  Please comment to tell me.  I followed a recipe I found online and the cake came out more pink than red and the flavor was bland with a hint of egg.  I wasn't really impressed by the result, but the $11 dollar icing was pretty amazing.  I am going to experiment a little bit more, adjusting ingredients a bit to figure out better flavors.   I'll keep you posted on the progress of this and maybe we collectively can figure out the best recipe that is easy to make!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Quick, Healthy, Deconstructed Turkey Chili

Ok, so the demands for a new recipe have been heard.  The New Year has brought on some distractions from the kitchen but here is a recipe I came up with on the fly.  It’s pretty good and follows one of my New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier.  This recipe was thought up walking through the market and includes whole container measuring.  Enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-25 mins
Servings 4-8

Lb ground turkey breast
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
14.5 oz can pinto beans
Med White onion sliced
Red bell pepper halved & sliced
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs chipotle chile sauce
2 tsp tikka paste
Black pepper and sea salt to taste
¼ cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 Pkgs Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice – Whole Grain

Start with a 12” nonstick frying pan on med/high heat.  Add enough vegetable oil to coat the entire bottom.  Add the sliced onion and red pepper, sauté till onion just turns translucent (5mins).  Add drained and rinsed pinto beans to pan and stir to mix.  2 mins later add canned tomatoes, tikka paste, chipotle sauce and garlic to pan. Stir frequently to mix all flavors.  When the contents of the pan begin to simmer, add the ground turkey breast and break it up in the pan with a spoon.  Mix again to coat turkey stirring every 2 mins or so until turkey is cooked about 10 mins.  While this is happening prepare the rice to the instructions on package.  When turkey is done, salt and pepper to taste and serve while hot!!  Garnish with sharp cheddar cheese on a bed of Whole Grain Rice.