Sunday, March 11, 2007

Peeps™ and Micro Greens with Dremel-ed Balsamic Vinaigrette

Because of the recent publicity concerning tainted croutons I thought it was timely to publish my latest creation. As many of you are aware this blog has a very strong nutrition mission and incorporating peeps™ into a balanced meal has always been our goal. Our peeps and micro green salad will make a satisfying Sunday dinner. Micro greens are all the rage at our sister-blog and after tasting this delicacy you will see why.

I must warn you that washing either the greens or the peeps is recommended to reduce the risk of food borne illness such as Salmonella and Rabies. Here at the PeepsRecipe Test Kitchen© we uses a combination of Grain Alcohol and Club Soda.

1 hand full of Micro greens (if your local market does not have a variety of freshly sprouted cabbage or mustard seed, you can substitute alfalfa or wheat sprout)
2 Peanuts shelled and slivered (Blister rather than Spanish)
2 Peeps (frozen then cubed)
1 egg shell (cleaned, broken into 4 small “salad bowls”)
¼ tsp of balsamic vinegar (may substitute with distilled vinegar just add equal parts flat coca cola)
¼ tsp olive oil (may substitute corn oil just don’t tell anyone)

After washing the greens combine in a small ramekin with the peanuts. Using a pair of medium specimen forceps (152mm) arrange the salad in the egg shell bowl.

I freeze my peeps® before cubing as it makes cutting them into uniform cubes much easier. I generally discard the head and tail for obvious reasons. This is one of the few times that the bunny peeps actually produce a nicer effect. When I wrote this entry bunny peeps were not in season. I strongly discourage anyone from poaching bunny peeps during the breeding season which runs from Thanksgiving to the end of Mardi Gras in most of the eastern United States. Arrange cubes on the salad. Chill salad for at least one hour in fridge.
Combine oil and vinegar and whisk with a toothpick or use this whisk I invented by bending a paperclip and chucking it into my Dremel Tool. Then using an eye dropper dress the salad and serve immediately. This salad is only palatable cold. Of course the bowel is edible.

Serves 5
A salad like this goes very well with piping hot cocoa or Irish coffee
Bon AppaPeeps™

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Simple Peeps® Brined Turkey Breast.

(In honor of the passing of President Ford this recipe has been converted to metric)

Usually the winter holidays mean Cookie recipes, but I am sure most of you share my distaste for sweets
The inspiration for this dish came from Dana’s wonderful Wandering Vagabond Bisque, or for you less politically correct “Hobo Stew.” We just changed a few ingredients, decided it would cook faster in the oven than in a pot, used a ginger rather than beans and of course added Peeps®. And in stead of a stew it is a roast turkey.
As you will see from the ingredient list you probably have all of this stuff in your cupboard. You will recall that the last time we brined a turkey it didn’t turn out so well. A sugar based brine and my Ronco TurboGrill created a Brulee and a thick cloud of burnt sugar that brought 3 fire trucks to the street. Apparently firefighters are not only busy on Thanksgiving but cranky!

4 liters of filtered water, or any mineral water
1/2 kilo of Kosher Salt (avoid iodinated salts; as iodine is not only toxic but highly explosive)
2 Bay leaves
15mg Ginger minced
3-4 gms broken christmas cookies
1 Glass of cheap white wine (poured from a paper bag if possible, think Hobo)
1 small handful of fresh Thyme or 1/2 fist full of dried Thyme
2-3 average sized yellow Peeps® or 15gms

8 kg turkey breast

In a large and non-reactive container mix Peeps®, Salt, Ginger, Peeps®, Wine, Water, Peeps®, a Bay leaf and Thyme and broken cookies. Once the salt has dissolved you can begin to brine the turkey breast. For this you will need to remove the turkey from the plastic bag. I do this by tearing the bag with my teeth.
One can acquire a quality turkey breast from local farmers like I do. We have a number of Turkmen as they call themselves here in the Midwest. Our local growers have a “catch your own” option. I have to say I was dubious that the 4 year old would be able to wrestle a 25lb bird to the ground but after a few minutes he got the hang of it and he can’t wait to go back for birthday party later next week. My preschooler can really pick ‘em, he caught quite a juicy turkey.

Gently lower the washed and plucked turkey breast into brine and let it sit 2-4 days covered in either the fridge or the garage. I like to stir the brine with a stick or my hand every 6 hours and I set my alarm to get up to do this at least once each night. On the selected evening bring the bird into the house for warming.

A room temperature 25 lb turkey usually cooks in a 400 degree oven in just over 2 hours and 25 minutes.
But since we are using metric and only 17lb turkey I needed to do some algebra.
145 mins/ 25lbs= 145min/(25 * 0.45359237)= X mins per kg at 400° F or X kgs/min at (400-32)*5 /9

This works out to 12.786811207623 mins / kg of turkey
At 204.444 ° C

8 x 12.786811207623 = 102.2944 mins

The turkey will be done when the skin has a dark brown tone. Don’t fool with those fancy thermometers and trying figure out if the juices are clear or bloody. Like most observations these are flawed by prejudice and such little objective criteria that even the FDA calls them “Guidelines®.” A turkey is done when she looks done, you want a nice Norman Rockwell coloring. Remember today’s free range turkeys are unlikely to have salmonella or mad cow disease. But do what you want.

Serves 7

This meal is not complete without potato chips and pickles (please don’t attempt to pickle cucumbers in used turkey brine. Trust me!) Boxed white wine in a tumbler.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Starlite mint marinated flank steak with Peeps® demi-glace

This recipe is so delicious we have often served it to visiting dignitaries. Well in our case that usually means the mayor or my dentist. Flank steak is very versatile; you will remember a while back I was able to salvage that vegetarian stew by mixing in chunks of left over flank steak from earlier in the week. It was so good that our vegetarian friends still rave about it. (our little secret shhh!) Peeps® make a delicate demi-glace and allow you to use the marinade and not waste a saccharine drop. Because the meat marinades overnight you do have to plan ahead. Sugar based marinades are different from oil or vinegar because the sugar crystals will reform in the meat when its tempeture goes below 64 degrees. So you have to marinate this steak in a warm and dark place. We have actually put the whole mixture in a zip-loc and brought it to bed with us. In the morning my wife pops it into the fridge and the steak sets up nice and stiff.

6-9 starlite mints (depending on the size of the steak)
4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup French’s Mustard
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 packages of sweet tarts

2-3lb. Flank Steak (grain should run east to west when the steak is facing you, ask your butcher)

6 Peeps® (any color)

The secret to unpeeling a starlite mint is to place it under the flat side of your 13 inch kitchen knife and strike it with you shoe or an old table leg. Using your hand can be dangerous; I try never to use my hands when cooking for that very reason. Once you have shattered the mints they fall easily from the wrapping. Then in your pestle combine with the garlic and sweet tarts. I like to work them together until I have a paste. In a non-reactive bowl add the mustard, soy sauce and vinegar to the paste and beat until you have soft peaks. {For information about peak turgidity see Aviva Schlurmann’s The Daily Meringue .} Spread this over all four sides of the flank steak and seal in a gallon zip-loc. Do not use a caste iron dutch oven, it will impart a tinny flavor overpowering the subtle mint. Store overnight in a warm area such as a south facing window, one that gets direct sun. Remove steak and reserve marinade.

Set your oven to broil, Lower the top rack to lowest rung. If you put the steak too close to the broiling element you will surely be visited by the fire department and frankly this meal is too good to share with a pumper truck of hungry firemen. Because the sugars caramelize the meat from the inside you will need a candy thermometer to determine when it is done. Usually around 30 minutes. Let the steak rest while you make the demi-glace.

To a very hot saucier add the marinade and stir constantly, after about thirty seconds it will begin to smoke, add the Peeps® whole. Continue to fold the mixture until you have a taffy consistency.

Slice the steak on the bias, dress with the demi-glace and serve. This recipe goes great with anything anise. Ouzo or an ice cold Schilpovitz really hits the spot.

To add a festive note at year's end substitute candy canes for the mints!

Serves 5

Bon AppaPeeps™

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Peeps® it's what's for Brunch

My wife and I are often asked why we have not posted a single breakfast recipe. There is one simple reason. Lucky Charms™ are the Peeps® of the morning. And as much as I love those cute marshmallow chicks, the savory sweetness of Peeps® is really better reserved for Lunch or Supper. We love our Lucky Charms™ and feel they make excellent ingredients in Frittata, Breakfast Quiche and of course as a holiday filling in my lovely wife’s Beef’n Charms Sausage.

Our one “Brunch” suggestion how ever is:

Papa B’s Peeps® and Yogurt energy drink.
This is a real pick me up. I find that Brunch is best appreciated after a hang over. Why else would you wait until 10 or 11 in the morning to eat breakfast? This energy drink relies on lots and lots of honey. We have slowly removed all but about 1 tsp of milk from this drink. If you don’t have Yogurt you can substitute crème cheese. One of the best features of this recipe is it is gluten free!

1½ cups of honey (I like a full clover honey because of the pH)
½ an Orange peeled
Zest of the other half Orange
15 gms of Red Hots
Peeps® (yellow)
2 Cremesicles® split length-wise then brought to room tempature

Remember to clean the Blender between uses, and this means turning it off before you put your hand in the bottom. We love our trusty Blenderizer with it’s 3 hp engine, but most sturdy table top models will produce a silky consistency. Place the orange half in the bottom of the blender along with the red hots and Peeps®. Remember it is always 12 Peeps® to a gallon so count your guests and adjust accordingly. The other ingredients seem to stretch very well. Once the mash is the consistency of pancake batter, turn the blender up about 3 clicks until bubbles are seen on the top of the slurry. It is important to pour the honey and Cremesicles® in quickly, as you slow the blender. Serve in Martini glasses and dust with the orange zest. Grain alcohol can be added to further release the tannins in this "energy drink."

Bon AppaPeeps™

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Halibut with Coconut Peeps® Aioli

My wife loves, loves, loves this recipe! We make it about once a week. We know that Halibut is a little pricey, but please splurge on this once. Halibut is a very porcine fish so the sweetness of Peeps® is not overwhelmed by the aromatics one experiences with a Catfish or Carp. Halibut is also one of the only fish that is exclusively caught in the Atlantic so you know it is safe from the Nuclear Fallout that is still coursing through the ecosystem of the Pacific from surface nuclear tests done until the late 1960s. We adapted this recipe from a Creamy Avocado sauce we had at Long John Silvers. Since there are no green Peeps® we combine equal numbers of yellow and blue Peeps®. Not using avocados cuts the fat content of this dish way down, so you can save some points for dessert. We have removed the oil from the common Aioli recipe and substituted Karo Syrup, but a light molasses also works it just darkens the “Aioli.” Coconut flavoring is used but you can substitute vanilla, cinnamon or even mint.

Side Note: (Some long term readers of this blog have a very hard time with Peeps® colored anything but yellow or pink. I generally agree but this dish really benefits from a green hue so I urge some of you to branch out and try this. As always Bunny Peeps® are not recommended.)

1lb Halibut Filets
6-12 Peeps® (equal numbers of blue and yellow)
1 cup Karo syrup
¼ cup granulated sugar
1tbs Coconut Flavoring
Lemon wedges
Coconut covered marshmallows to garnish

In a small food processors place the Peeps® and while on low slowly add the Karo Syrup. I know I don’t generally advocate using anything but a very sharp knife or razor to cut Peeps®, but to get the aioli just right you need a food processor or you will be mixing all day! If you add the syrup too quickly you can get a cotton candy effect (our British readers know it as candy floss.) When it is thoroughly mixed add the sugar and flavoring.

The fish is easy to prepare, just season with salt and pepper and place on a oiled broiling pan. I like to get the pan as close to the broiling element as possible so I prop it up on match books or bottle caps with the top shelf rack set as high as possible. The fish should be done in 5-10 minutes or when the meat is no longer clear.
Garnish with the marshmallows and lemons.

Serves 3

We often serve this with lima beans in the shell, or circus peanuts.
Most wine over powers this dish and we often drink a pineapple based cocktail with this dinner.

Bon AppaPeeps!™

Monday, April 17, 2006

Chicken with Peeps® and Jelly Bean Stuffing

We love this recipe it is so easy and now is the best time make it. Peeps are on sale and frankly we think that stale Peeps have a more sophisticated texture. Like most of our recipes we suggest you avoid JellyBellys®, because of the pesticides needed to grow such an over bred bean. Good old Jelly Beans do just fine. I use a real maple syrup to make the gravy but some feel this is too sweet.

3 ½ lb Roasting Chicken (look for one near the expiration date)
6 Peeps (yellow or blue, after Easter to get the stale ones)
2 large handfuls of Jelly Beans
4oz. Maple Syrup
1tbs butter (unsalted)
Spices that might go with chicken i.e. Rosemary, Thyme, Cinnamon, Mustard …

Pre-heat oven to 350°
Clean and blow dry Chicken, remember WASH YOUR HANDS after handling raw chicken. Using a very sharp knife carefully cut open the tail of the peeps using a single horizontal slice. Stuff each peep with one or two beans, (I choose randomly; my wife likes to pick out the purple ones for the gravy.) Because of the delicate flesh of the peeps I find that kitchen twine is too cumbersome and use a common office stapler to close each peep. Pack the peeps into the chicken cavity tightly, I use my hand but some people like to use the back of a wooden spoon for this.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and other things. Then close the chicken with kitchen twine. Place chicken in a roasting pan lined with foil. Place on middle rack and roast for 90 minutes or until flames shoot from the bird’s rear.

Our simple Jelly Bean and Syrup gravy. In a deep saucier melt butter and sauté the jelly beans until they just begin to smoke. Remove from heat and add Maple Syrup remember to continue to stir until all the jelly beans have dissolved. You can reheat the gravy in the microwave.

After the bird has rested and the smoke has cleared from the kitchen, carve and plate the chicken garnish with chocolate eggs and serve immediately.

This entrée goes well with a fruit cup with heavy sauce, canned peaches or both. We also like to have a platter of donuts.

Almost any sweet German Riesling is an excellent compliment.

Bon AppaPeeps!™

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