Blow Torch Prime Rib

When my husband said, “I am gonna get a blow torch to sear the prime rib with on Christmas,” I was a bit concerned. But the truth is, it was a lot less dangerous than it might sound. And it was absolutely wonderful. It was actually very simple to make and well worth the 4 hours in the oven. This recipe is adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. One of the things he emphasizes is letting the meet rest, before and after cooking it. The prime rib should sit out at least 30 minutes before you blow torch it. Keller also dictates that you should season the meat 30 minutes before you cook it. Rub your prime rib generously with salt and pepper and let that soak in for at least 30 minutes before you fire up the blow torch. And after the prime rib is cook, leave it alone! We let ours rest one hour. And it was more tender and more juicy than I could have imagined.

Thomas Keller is very emphatic that you need a regular old propane blow torch from the hardware store. Not one of those sissy butane torches from a kitchen store. For safety, Andrew blow torched our prime rib outside on the charcoal grill. It was quite easy, no real mess to clean up, and probably safer than firing up a blow torch in your kitchen. I shouldn’t have to say this, but please be extremely careful if you try this recipe. Which you absolutely should. Because you haven’t really lived until you blowtorch a 10 lb piece of meat for dinner. The recipe below is for a roast that is 4.5-5 lb. You can adjust the cook time appropriately depending on the size of your rib roast. As far as where to get the meat? We like to get our prime rib from Local Pig, well we like to get whatever meat we can at the Local Pig. If you don’t live in KC then I do suggest you find a local butcher to source your meat from. A 4 bone prime rib will serve about 8 to 10 people. Also, whatever you do, do NOT discard the bones and fat you cut off the roast. Freeze them! They will make a fantastic beef stock.

Prime rib has to be one of the easiest things I have ever paired wine with. For some reason I always have a surplus of fabulous cabernets and cabernet blends in my wine fridge. I honestly feel cabernet might be the hardest wine to pair with food. It can easily overpower a meal. I have discussions with new wine lovers all the time who say “I don’t like chardonnay” or “pinot/merlot is too watery.” It seems like a lot of people think cabernet sauvignon is the definition of wine. I completely disagree. Part of anyone’s journey with wine is learning about new wines, new varietals, and trying different things. And the truth is, if you have never drank wine and are just starting out, cabernet is the last wine you should be tasting. I love cabernet, don’t get me wrong… But I cannot drink cabernet everyday or with every meal. However, you should serve this prime rib with nothing other than cabernet. I would recommend a Napa cab and considering you are likely serving this meal for a special occasion, open a special bottle of wine. Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent wine that has the ratings to prove it. We have a few bottles of 2012/2013 in the cellar and don’t plan on opening them for at least 5 years. But if you can snag a 2010 or earlier bottle, it is worth every penny!

Blow Torch Prime Rib

2-bone center cut rib roast (about 4.5 lb)
kosher salt
black pepper

Place your oven rack in the lowest position, removing other racks as needed to allow space for your rib roast. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

At least 30 minutes before you plan to cook the meat, take it out of the fridge. Rub it generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (This recipe literally has 3 ingredients so, be generous with the salt and pepper).

Place the roast on the rack in a roasting pan. (Or if you are nervous like we were, put it on your charcoal grill.) Hold a blowtorch about 1 inch from the meat and lightly brown the fat on all side. Some of the fat should melt off the meat. The edges of the meat should be starting to turn gray. Sprinkle it again with salt and pepper to make sure you have a generous coating.

Transfer to the oven, try to place the roast in the center or towards the back. Cook for 2 hours until a thermometer reads 128 degrees. Check the temperature at 1.5 hours just to be safe.

When carving the meat, cut the meat away from the bones first. Cut the roast in half. Turn the pieces so the cut sides are facing down. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the meat on a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home.

Farro and Sausage Parmigiano

The day I watched Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills processing farro on A Chef’s Life, I became obsessed with locally sourced and heirloom grains. The only heirloom farro grown in America comes from Anson Mills.  You can find farro at your local grocery store or Trader Joes, but if you want to explore heirloom grains, place an order from Anson Mills. Try some new things! Cornmeal, grits, flour, Carolina gold rice, red peas… you just cannot go wrong. They also have a number of recipes and tips on their website for cooking with these products.  Read through these recipes before you start experimenting. The products from Anson Mills are not your typical grocery store grains/rice. These are the real deal. These are the grains people were eating 200 years ago. So they may take a little longer to cook, they may require overnight soaking. But it is worth every bit of effort. These are freshly stone ground grains so they must also be stored in the freezer as well. It is incredibly sad how far the quality of our flours, grains, rice has fallen in the US for the sake of profits and efficiency. The only way to fix it is to support the pioneers like Glenn Roberts, who has basically brought back once lost heirloom varieties of grits, rice, and farro, just to name a few.
 
The farro here takes the place of pasta which makes this dish much healthier, in my opinion. One serving of farro has upwards of 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. Not to mention it contains a number of other vitamins – thiamine, iron, niacin, zinc. It is also 100% whole grain (if you believe in the whole grain voodoo). Farro is much more complex than your traditional white pastas, it does have carbs but they burn slower. This meal will stick with you and keeps extremely well in the fridge or freezer for future lunches. When prepping lunches, I put this in containers with lima beans or green beans. This recipe actually makes a lot and I froze an entire 28 oz container with cheese sprinkled on top, ready to go for a last minute meal.

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Creamy Chicken and Farro

Farro is pretty much my new obsession. It has that wholesome flavor that I always crave during the deep, dark, depths of winter. The weather has been so up and down lately, and today we are back in the dark cold depths of February. Farro is full of fiber and nutrients but will also satisfy your craving for carbs. And so many fabulous chefs are doing amazing things with this simple grain. My second favorite thing about farro is that it is an ancient grain! Why would you not want to eat the grain that Egyptian kings enjoyed?

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There are a variety of farro brands/items out there. I think that all of them are interesting, just read the labels because some of them require overnight soaking. Pearled has less nutrients but is essentially ready to cook. Whole grain farro probably has more nutrients but does require much longer prep/cook times. Those longer times could actually be good for your recipe if you are leaving something in the crockpot for 8 hours, the whole grain farro will definitely hold up.

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This dish rings in at about 370 calories for a 1 cup serving. It is extremely filling and will stick with you all day. It is so nice to have something that tastes creamy and indulgent but that is not just jam packed with unnecessary calories. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats like a dream in the microwave for a delightful work lunch. If you are worried about the milk ingredient, just use whatever you have. It will be fine. Add a touch of half and half if you want to give it a boost. I almost always have carrots but don’t constantly stock celery, so I often make this dish sans celery.

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Creamy Chicken and Farro

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cups dry farro
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup 2% milk and 1/2 cup half and half
2 heaping cups cooked, chopped chicken
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the farro and toast for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour in the 4 cups chicken stock and bring this to a boil.

While the farrow is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, season with salt and pepper. Saute this for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and softened. Add the thyme and garlic, cook for 1 minute more.

Mix in the flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly to incorporate any dry flour. Use a whisk to incorporate the milk into the vegetable and flour. Whisk constantly. Reduce heat to low and allow it to cook for 3 minutes until it thickens.

Transfer the vegetable mixture to the farrow and stock. Stir to combine. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the farro is cooked and thick and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Orecchiette with Sausage

For some reason this cute little orecchiette pasta shape was just calling my name. I had a surplus of turkey sausage from an overzealous grocery trip, and voilà this recipe was born. This dish is simple and comforting. It comes together very quickly and is ideal for an easy weeknight dinner. And although I sort of made up this recipe, it feels very authentic. Orecchiette is a kind of rustic pasta, from the Apulia region in Italy (in the boot of the country). This area is well known for making homemade pasta but it is very different from the pasta you are most likely accustomed to that is made in Emilia-Romagna. It is a firmer pasta and it is actually very simple to make. I recommend Marcella Hazan’s book if you’re interested in making your own pasta.

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I like to use Fresh Market white wine and garlic turkey sausage in this recipe, it has excellent flavor and is a bit healthier than traditional pork sausage. If you make the recipe as directed below, you will get about 4 servings of 520 calories each. This is pretty good, I think, for a pasta dish with sausage. You could actually substitute the lima beans for other greens that you may have in the fridge. I have used kale and spinach in this recipe. You should cook the kale and spinach down with the onions and garlic though. It will only take a few minutes.

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Serve this with white wine, a steel chardonnay or pinot grigio. One of my new favorite everyday chards right now is Bouchaine. They have a lovely wine made in Carneros that is sold at Costco for the extremely reasonable price of $16. It is actually the oldest operating winery in Carneros. It has changed hands a few times over the years and now produces fabulous chardonnay and pinot noir with sustainable farming practices. You will definitely appreciate the Burgundian style but the California notes and Carneros terroir are recognizable in this wine.

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Orecchiette with Sausage

8 oz orecchiette (or other small pasta shape)
1 lb chicken or turkey sausage such as white wine and garlic or spicy italian, casings removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus a little more for serving)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can lima beans

Cook orecchiette as directed on the package in a large pot of boiling water until it is al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage, breaking it up with a firm spatula until only small clumps remain. Remove the cooked sausage to a plate.

Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat, return the sausage to the pan. Add in the lima beans.

Toss the cooked orecchiette with the sausage and onion mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in the grated parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated parmesan on top.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken

Bubbly Kitchen is definitely fighting the winter blues with hearty comfort food. Its a bit gray outside today and I find myself day dreaming of warmer days and Royals baseball. And then I remember that we have this whole hideous month of February to get through. But this amazing meal will fill your kitchen with warmth and all of the good smells.

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I adapted this recipe from Thomas Keller’s book, Ad Hoc. Every recipe in that book is on my to do list. But I thought that I would listen to TK and start with perfecting a roast chicken, he says this will make me a better chef. This chicken is so, so good. I definitely followed the instructions which included letting the skin dry out on the counter for an hour and salting the chicken 30 minutes before cooking it. This made an incredibly delicious and perfect skin. The inside is extremely juicy and full of flavor.

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