Category Archives: Misc Recipes

Cigar del pinar with Yellow Sriracha Sauce

Here’s an awesome appetizer to keep the zombie hordes away from your grill at the next cook-out. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times this month, first for out G.R.U.N.T.S. inaugural dinner, and – because it was so good – again for an appetizer for out Easter feast.

The first gig was a Cuban theme and that’s how I found this recipe…well, actually, I never did find a recipe, just this description:

“Cumin spiced ground beef it mixed with olives as well hard-boiled egg and other spices then its rolled in light pastry and deep fried till golden and crunchy, its served with a habanero sauce, that is just slightly spicy and compliments the dish really nicely.”

With those in-depth instructions, I decided to use egg-roll sheets (big won-ton wrappers), Roberto Guerra’s Cuban hamburger recipe for the meat, and make my yellow sriracha sauce for dinner.

Perfect storm, baby.

Cigars del Pinar

1/2 lb ground sirloin (15% fat)
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb pork/beef chorizo
1 Tbs each cumin, salt, ground pepper
1 cup black olives, chopped
1 lg yellow onion, diced
5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups cabbage, shredded
20 egg-roll wrappers (1 pkg)
Peanut oil for frying

In a large skillet, cook meats with onion and spices, until cooked through and finely crumbled. Drain most of the excess oil and mix (still hot) with the cabbage. Add in the olives and eggs, and toss until well combined.

Place 2-3 Tbs of this mixture onto a egg-roll wrapper, and roll up (see slideshow, below) wetting the ends with a brush of warm water, to seal.

Bring 2 inches of oil to medium high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Using long tongs, add the egg-rolls in batches, leaving plenty of cooking room around each. Fry until golden and crispy (it goes quick 1-2 minutes per side, max). Remove to paper towels to drain.

Serve warm with cold Yellow Sriracha Sauce

Note: Plan to finish these up at least 15 minutes before you intend to serve them, the interiors stay freakin’ hot for a long time!

How to Roll a Cigar (del Pinar, that is…)

Yellow Sriracha Sauce

4 yellow bell peppers, diced
1 hot yellow pepper*, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 Tbs light brown sugar

Chop the peppers and place in a bowl. Add garlic, salt & vinegar. Cover and let set on the counter overnight or 8 hours.

In the morning, remove peppers & garlic from bowl and place in saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the vinegar mixture, 2 Tbs of water and the brown sugar.

You can add more vinegar if you want it more tart and a thin sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 min. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Puree until blended but it still has texture.

*For more heat, replace with a habanero, minced.


Filed under Misc Recipes, Uncategorized

Terry’s Awesome Buns

“They are a rare commodity…get them while they last!” – Terry

I think I’ve made it clear, in the past, that our Burnin’ Love teammember Terry is the undisputed Grand-High Poobah of all things baked. Cakes, pies, bread…you name, Terry does it…better than anyone else.

These are the rolls that he makes specifically to overshawdow my pulled pork bbq, and they’re so good that I’m okay with that. If you think you have something better to serve your savory swine upon, feel free to let me know…

…but I won’t believe you.

Here’s the recipe he uses for his rolls, or, as his wife Dana calls them, “Terry’s Awesome Buns…”

Hamburger Buns (Vienna Rolls)

This recipe is from a great cook book, “Secrets of a Jewish Baker” by George Greenstein. This works great for dinner, hamburger or Frankfurter rolls. I’ve listed instructions for use with a stand mixer.

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (scant 2 tablespoons)
1 cup cold water (use ice water in hot weather)
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons malt syrup or molasses
3 tablespoons sugar
5 1/4 to 6 cups bread flour
3 1/4 teaspoons salt
Poppy seeds or sesame seeds, for topping (optional)


1. In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to soften (5 to 10 minutes).
2. Add the cold water, eggs, oil, malt syrup, sugar, 5 1/4 cups of flour and the salt.
3. Mix using the paddle attachment until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time if necessary.
4. Remove and scrape down the beater and insert the dough hook.
5. Mix for 15 minutes at first speed. When using bread flour, the dough will soften slightly as the gluten develops. More flour can be added in small amounts if required.
6. This should be a stiff dough. Monitor the mixer at all times. It may be necessary to hold down the bowl while mixing. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

1. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
2. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
3. Punch down and allow to rise once more until double in volume (20 to 30 minutes).
4. Punch down the dough again, divide into 3 pieces, cover and let stand 15 minutes.

1. Roll out into ropes.
2. Cut 8 equal pieces from each rope.
3. Form each piece into a single roll.
4. Brush the top with water and dipped the top into a dish with a single layer of sesame seeds.
5. Place right side up on 3 greased baking sheets, 8 per pan, evenly distributed so that they have room to rise.
6. Proof, covered until doubled in size.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (if lighter roll is desired, bake at 400 F).
2. Place an empty roasting pan on the floor of the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Place the rolls in the oven, then carefully pour 2 cups hot water (or use 6 to 8 ice cubes) into the empty pan. Shield your face and hands from the burst of steam.
4. Add more water after the first 10 minutes of baking.
5. Bake until the rolls are golden brown (15 to 20 minutes). Always make sure the rolls have a browned bottom.

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Filed under Appetizers & Sides, Misc Recipes

National Blueberry Pancake Day

It’s National Blueberry Pancake Day!

Mmm…piping hot pancakes, drenched in your favorite syrup, dripping hot sweet cream butter, loaded with delicious blueberries that burst in your mouth…a haystack of apple-wood smoked bacon on the side…oh, baby!

Here’s my favorite recipe for blueberry awesomeness…what’s yours?


PS – If you missed out this morning, do not despair… the entire month of February is Pancake Month!

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Filed under Misc Recipes

Dad Perkins’ Clam Chowder

So, in case you didn’t already know, my dad, Frank Perkins, was a professional chef (as was his dad).

Growing up with a chef as a parent is a mixed blessing. On one hand, my old man could throw down some amazing food. On the other hand, after putting in 60 or 70 hours a week on the line…the last thing he wanted to do at home, was cook.

That meant that if I wanted in on the good stuff, I had to go to the restaurant, which meant that my dad got free slave labor, and a grunt that couldn’t hire a labor-lawyer when he’d smack me in the head with a ladle for not having enough “hustle.”

Still, it must have been pretty epic food, ’cause I kept coming back for. more Maybe I just wasn’t too bright.

Let’s say it was the food.

That little rant has absolutely nothing with today’s post or recipe, but it’s my blog and if I want to whine about my childhood once in a while, I can.

One of the recipes that brought me back, time and again, was Dad’s clam chowder. This stuff was freakin’ famous. Dishwashers would work a second shifts, and owners would come in of their day’s off just  to get a couple of bowls. A steady stream of compliments and tips always flowed from the front of the house, on chowder night.

Dad’s workin’ that big six-top in the sky now…so the threat of getting smacked with a kitchen implement has somewhat lessened, and I’ve worked up the courage to post his extremely popular and guarded recipe.

Just a note: it wasn’t a standard part of the recipe, but when the mood would take him, dad might add some saffron, a pinch of cayenne chili powder, to the mix, and maybe even finish the bowl with a sprinkling of crisp-fried cracklins. If he tossed in some fresh steamed baby oysters and green mussels, it became seafood chowder.

FYI…nothing even remotely healthy about this recipe, and if you try to substitute olive oil for the butter, low-fat milk for the 1/2 & 1/2, or some other act of sacrilege and profanation, I hope the old man comes back and smacks you with a ladle.

To quote my sweet old father…”You want healthy? Go home and make a ****ing salad.”



Dad Perkins’ Clam Chowder

1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 lg onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
dash of red pepper flake
4 anchovy fillets, diced
1/2 lb fresh bay scallops
1/2 cup flour
2 cups bottled clam juice
32 oz chopped clams
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Gen 4, gathering ingredients

Rinse potatoes, halve, cover with chicken broth, and bring to simmer. (Add water to cover, if necessary).

Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute garlic and onion until softened. Add red and black pepper, scallops, and anchovies, and continue to cook, stirring, until scallops are just done, about 5 minutes.

Remove scallops and set aside. Increase heat and add flour to skillet, stirring to create roux. Allow flour to cook, stirring often, until four begins to brown and smells nutty.

Slowly add 2 cups of clam juice, stirring constantly to keep the roux smooth, next add 1/2 & 1/2, again stirring.

If you’re using canned clams, reserve the liquid and add it now, to bring broth to desired consistency. If not, add enough water to do so. Add parsley, and cook at a bare simmer, 10-15 minutes.

While broth is simmering, remove cooked potatoes from water, and allow to cool slightly. Quarter.

Add cooked potatoes, scallops, and clams to broth and stir. Cook 5 more minutes, and serve hot with hot baguette slices.


Filed under Misc Recipes, Uncategorized

Superbowl Party BBQ

“Typically occurring in late January or early February, it is considered a de facto national holiday in the United States. On Super Bowl Sunday many people gather to watch the Super Bowl. Such gatherings are known for the large amount of food that is consumed by attendees.” Wikipedia

Okay, SuperBowl Sunday is coming up, and what better time to get our smoke on?

A quick confession (before my friends rat me out anyway)…I’m really not a spectator sports guy (I’m not much of a participatory sports guys either, but let’s not open THAT can of worms…)

However, the annual Superbowl party is my exception to the rule.

A bunch of my best friends, tons of great food…sure, I have to watch some football…but there are some great commercials to break THAT up, so…three outta four awesome elements…I’ll take that percentage any day!

As much as I’d like to think that I get invited to these parties every year for my witty banter and cutting-edge heckling of the event at hand, I know the truth…it’s my food that gets me in the door. I’m okay with that.

So, I thought this year we’d take a look at three specific ways that “Game Day” can play out, and how we can do some grilling and/or Q for each.

Most parties, where we would be offering our goods, fall into one of three categories:

1. Party at my place! – Hosting a Superbowl party at you own home offers the most flexibility in what you can prepare and  serve (‘course,  it also means cleaning bean dip off the ceiling, finding wing-bones behind the couch next summer, and two-weeks of lethal dog flatulence because your best friend won’t stop feeding ATB’s to Rover …).

2. Invitation to the pot-lick. – My personal favorite, lots of new dishes to try, and my place stays (moderately) clean. Watch the game (commercials) in comfort on my pals cushy garage home-theater. Nice!

3. Pull in & Pig out! – Ah, the pièce de résistance for armchair quarterbacks everywhere. It’s a ball game, it’s a picnic, it’s a camp-out…it’s the Tailgate Party…how can that be anything but awesome?

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take a look at each of these game-day favorites, some killer bbq and grill recipes adapted to each, and some tips on how to participate as a pit-master. Oh, and I have a great homemade cleanser for getting out those bean-dip stains…

So, let’s take a look at three next-level recipes for hosting a Pig Skin party at your own crib…

Party at My Place

Hosting the party at your own place allows for a lot more freedom in recipes and preparation. All of your  own toys, spices, and gear, are close at hand. This is your pit-master backyard…awesomeness should be a given!

For the main dish, let’s go all-out with Luau Party featuring a whole Kalua pig, or pork shoulder, with a Big Island Luau Party!

Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, or underground oven. The word kālua literally means “to cook in an underground oven” and also describes the flavor of food cooked in this manner – e.g. the kālua pig, kālua turkey (Hawaiian puaʻa kālua) which is commonly served at luau feasts. – From Wikipedia

Traditional Kalua Pork

8 pounds pork butt
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
4 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
8 to 12 large ti leaves, ribs removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After scoring pork on all sides with quarter-inch deep slits about an inch apart, rub with salt, then liquid smoke.

Wrap the pork completely in ti leaves, tie with string, and wrap in foil.

Place meat in a shallow roasting pan with 2 cups of water and roast for 6 hours.

Dissolve 1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt in 2 cups boiling water and add a few drops of liquid smoke. Shred the cooked pork and let stand in this solution for a few minutes before serving.

Man…that’s makin’ me hungry!


If you’re lucky enough to have a La Caja China, and want to take this recipe to the next level, knock the socks off your party guests with a Whole Roasted Kahlua Pig.

Hawaii plate-lunch-style macaroni salad.

The beauty of macaroni salad is that it is quite forgiving and welcomes a wide range of personalization and experimentation. It’s a casual dish that easily adapts to any type of food or occasion—it is, in other words, quintessentially local.

Island Mac Salad

To make a basic macaroni salad, you don’t need a recipe; just follow these guidelines:

The pasta: Cook 1 pound macaroni (for really local style, cook until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer).

The flavoring: Stir in ¼ cup very finely grated onion. Not minced, chopped or sliced—grated. It should be liquidy (this is how they do it at Diner’s, a local eatery in Kalihi).

The mayo: At least 2½ cups for real local style. But there are no rules, so use less if you like. Or more.

The add-ins: Carrots, watercress, celery, hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish—whatever suits you.

The finale: Salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well; refrigerate.


Filed under Misc Recipes

Nana’s Chili Egg Puff

My mother-in-law, Dixie, served this on Christmas morning, after the presents were opened. She was kind enough to share the original recipe (jotted down before I was born), and gave me the okay to re-share it here.

Easily, the best egg dish I’ve ever had, and it’ll be the traditional Christmas breakfast at our house from now on!

Light, fluffy, savory, ethereal…like eating an egg-flavored angel.

Here it is, exactly as written down…

Nana’s Chili Egg Puff
10 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint small-curd cottage cheese
1 lb cojack cheese, grated
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 oz can diced green chilies
12-24 hours in advance:
Beat eggs until a very light lemon color, add flour, baking powder, salt, fold in cottage cheese & butter. Stir in chilies.
Pour mixture into a well- buttered 9×13 dish. Cover and refridgerate over night.
Preheat oven to 350′ and bake 45 minutes covered. Uncover and bake an additional or until center firms.
Serves 12


Filed under Misc Recipes

Victoria’s favorite Brisket Chili

Smoked brisket chili

My darlin’ called yesterday to tell me that it smelled like fall outside, and she was hankerin’ for some chili and cornbread. I replied, “Your wish is my command.” (15 years, baby!)

I just happened to have the necessary left-overs in the freezer, so here’s what she got…

Victoria’s favorite Brisket Chili
1lb bacon
2 white onions, diced
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
15 oz water
2 cups chicken stock*
1 sm can diced green chilies
Salt & pepper
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
2 Lbs ground beef (80/20)
2lbs smoked brisket, thawed and cubed
1lb grilled strip steak, thawed and cubed
2 (15oz) cans dark red kidney beans
2 (15oz cans pinto beans
1 (12oz) can tomato paste
5 fresh organic tomatoes, cubed

In a frying pan, cook ground beef, with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning, until crumbled. Drain and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pot, cook bacon until crisp, remove and set aside for later. Reduce heat and add onions and cooked ground beef to the bacon fat, saute 5 minutes, stirring. Add garlic and green chilies, and cook 5 more minutes. Add canned tomatoes, with juice, 15 oz of water, and chicken stock. Bring to simmer.

Add brisket and steak, cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.

Add all beans, tomato paste, bacon (diced), and fresh tomatoes. Simmer one more hour, uncovered.

To serve, top with Mexican crema, diced green onions, and shredded extra-sharp cheddar.

*For an even richer flavor, you can substitute the chicken broth with brisket broth, if you have some.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.



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Grilled Chicken and Guanciale Bacon Alfredo

Everything’s better with bacon, right?

If you don’t believe that…this recipe will convert you!

Guanciale (gwan-chalie), an Italian-style bacon made from hog jowl, is a prized gourmet delicacy in central Italy. Typically, it’s dry-cured, hand-coated with fresh cracked peppercorns, then smoked over smoldering hickory logs for nearly 24 hours. The result is a meat with a noticeably richer flavor than typical bacon, and is a popular addition to such classic dishes as spaghetti alla carbonara and pasta all’amatriciana.

I found it with the uncut bacon, and smoked hocks, at Fred Meyer, for about 1/2 the price of good bacon (about $2.50/lb).

Here’s what I do with it:

Grilled Chicken and Guanciale Bacon Alfredo

2 pound dried fettucine
1/2 lb chicken tenders, brined and grilled
1/2 lb pork cheeks (jowls) bacon, or Guanciale
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs yolks
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350d

Slice guanciale into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on a rack over a a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until bacon appears crisp at the edges. Remove to paper towels to rest.

Cook the fettuccine in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. NEVER RINSE YOUR PASTA.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, add garlic. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Roughly chop bacon and chicken (tenders can be re-warmed slightly in microwave).

Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, set over medium-high heat along with the reserved cooking liquid. Add the butter-cream mixture, half of the asiago, bacon, and chicken, and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sprinkle with remaining asiago and garnish with raw egg yolk, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

NOTE: We made this recipe again last night, with (at my daughter’s request) tri-color spiral pasta. Turned out very nice, and, for a 4 y/o, a lot less messy!

PS – The raw egg yolk is another Italian thing, and adds an extra layer of richness to the recipe. Once served, break the yolk and gently fold into the dish. Alternatively, you can add the yolks to the pasta along with the sauce and blend it in then.



Filed under Misc Recipes

Cheap eats: the “college calzone”

It’s no secret that I like good food, bizarre food, often even expensive food, but sometimes I like to get back to the basics, as well.  I truly believe that if you can’t enjoy a good meal because it was cheap, common, and/or easy to make…if you can’t love a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich, or a dirty-water hot dog, as much as you do a good foie gras, or duck confit…then you’re not a foodie…you’re a food snob.

My personal definition of a foodie is someone who enjoys the foods they like…unconditionally, and regardless of other’s opinions.

On  that note, I made some awesome grub back in my college days, when money was scarce (well, slightly more scarce than it is now, anyway), and I can still enjoy some of those creations.

One of my favorite “cheap meals” was a creation I called the College Calzone. Back then, the basic ingredient cost about 88 cents, nowadays you can pick them up 10 for $10 on sale, or about two bucks when they’re not. My school buddy Jeremiah, a 120lb bottomless pit, could fill himself up for less that five bucks!

Here’s how you make the College Calzone:

(I’ve used “Totino’s” in this recipe, but any brand of cheapie pizza will do. )

Step 1: Unwrap the pizza.

Step 2: Cook per package instructions

Step 3: Top with 2 Tbs of pizza sauce (optional)

Step 4: Fold pizze in half, eat, repeat as needed.

Note: If you wanna make this meal crazy good, pick up the plain cheese version and top with leftover grilled chicken, pulled pork, or thinly sliced smoked brisket (all stolen from your parent’s fridge, of course), and replace the pizza sauce with a thin brush of your favorite bbq sauce…wow!

Other great “stuffin’s” include, seasoned ground beef, pico de gallo, shredded lamb, and fresh cilantro with raw diced sweet onions.

Jeremiah used to put sliced hot dogs and pickles on his, which…um…wasn’t my favorite combination, lol.

Remember, man…even college men, cannot live on ramen alone!




Filed under Misc Recipes

Mushrooms: Nature’s Flavor Enhancer

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer.

For decades, concerns have been raised on anecdotal grounds, and hypotheses have been put forward, that MSG may be associated with migraine headaches, food allergies in children, obesity, and hyperactivity in children.

Subsequent research by dozens of health centers and universities around the world, however, have found that, while large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG, the frequency of the responses was low and the responses reported were inconsistent, not reproducible, and not observed when MSG was given with food.

In the 2004 version of his book On Food and Cooking, food enthusiast and author Harold McGee states that “[after many studies], toxicologists have concluded that MSG is a harmless ingredient for most people, even in large amounts.

Still, the reports suggest that less than 1% of the population, sensitive individuals may experience “transient” side effects such as “headache, numbness/tingling, flushing, muscle tightness, and generalised weakness” to a large amount of MSG taken in a single meal.

So, if you’re trying, for whatever reason, to avoid MSG…did you know that the same flavor enhancing proteins, called glutamates, in MSG are found naturally in mushrooms?

Natural glutamate is also found in Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, anchovies, and tomato juice.

Next time you want to add a little “umami” to your dish, dice a pound of mushrooms, and saute over low heat (covered) with a little salt until the mushrooms release their liquid, then strain through cheesecloth or a fine seive…and add the broth to your dish for a natural flavor enhancer!

Anchovie fillets, finely diced are often added to pasta sauces to add depth of flavor.

Much like mushroom broth, a  small about of diced anchovies will boost the flavor profile of a dish, without being noticeable as its own distinct flavor.


Filed under Misc Recipes, Technique