Monday, May 28, 2012

South Carolina Campground Cook-off dessert winner

Organizers of the South Carolina Campground Cook-off know a great meal needs a great finish - dessert. So do the competing teams. We judges weren't about to argue and we all agreed this entry was a winner.  THE winner.

 Saluda Sweeties' Cranberry-Apple Nut Crunch

¼ Cup Grand Marnier orange liqueur
½ cup water
2 cups dried cranberries
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) of butter or margarine
3 cups peeled apples (cut in rings, slices or chopped), divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar

Soak dried cranberries in ¼ cup Grand Marnier and ½ cup water for at least 15 minutes, drain. Slice butter into pats and drop them around the bottom of a Dutch Oven or 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle brown sugar around bottom of dish. Layer about half of the apple slices on the bottom of the pan. Mix sugar and flour and toss with cranberries and remaining apples until they are well coated and spread over top of apple layer.

3 packages (1.62 ounces each) instant oatmeal with cinnamon and spice
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted

For topping, combine oatmeal, nuts, flour, sugar and butter in another bowl. Mix well; spoon evenly over fruit mixture. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until fruit is bubbling and tender. Garnish with cranberries. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. 

Options: whole cranberries for garnish, serve with vanilla ice cream. Yield: 8 servings

Monday, May 21, 2012

South Carolina Campground Cook-Off main dish winner

The teams at the annual South Carolina Campground Cook-Off define friendly competition. They want to win and they work to win, often discussing what next year's dish will be before this year's is judged. Yet during that weekend when all are gathered together they share stories, food, beer and equipment. Everything but ingredients.

All of which makes it casual, fun and tense at the same time. Here is the winning recipe from 2011. I'll follow up with second and third, then move on to the Dessert category. All in time for you to incorporate them into your summertime backyard grilling.
 1st PLACE: Team Johnny's Pride's Turkey Steak with Grilled Vegetable Salad
6 turkey steaks ¾- to 1-inch thick (ask your butcher to cut steaks cross grain from a turkey breast)

1 ½ cups Johnny’s Pride BBQ Sauce
1 16-ounce bottle Italian salad dressing
2 12-ounce cans 7Up soda
Mix all ingredients in a blender and reserve ½ cup for basting. Place the turkey steak in a medium-sized baking dish. Pour the remainder of the marinade over the steaks, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Turn the steaks every 8 hours.

Prepare the grill for cooking. Temperature should be medium hot. After desired temperature has been reached, place the steaks on grill. Turn the steaks every 3-5 minutes, basting each time the steaks are turned. Repeat this process until the steaks’ temperature reaches 165 degrees in the center. Finally, baste both sides of the steaks with Johnny’s Pride and wrap until serving.

6 ears fresh sweet corn left in the husk (Silver Queen preferred)
3 assorted color bell peppers (whole)
2 medium Vidalia onions (not peeled)
2 large tomatoes (not cut or peeled)
1 small bunch cilantro

Soak the corn in cold water until ready for cooking. Cook corn, peppers and onions by direct heat. Cook until the skins on all the vegetables are black. At the end of cooking, remove all vegetables from the heat and place in an extremely large container and cover with Saran Wrap. After 10 minutes, shuck, remove silk and cut the corn off the cob. Place in a large bowl. Scrape the black from the vegetables and remove the seeds. Chop the peppers and the onions to a fine consistency and add to the corn mixture. Stir well and serve. At presentation, place the grilled salad in the middle of the plate. Place a turkey steak atop the salad. Use choice of garnish and drizzle with Johnny’s Pride BBQ Sauce. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Shores Resort: BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwich

If you think a grilled cheese sandwich is as mundane as they come, sink your teeth into the one served around the pool at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach Shores, FL.

In an effort to keep calories down to a roar, I split one with a friend. I could feel the arteries clogging and waist expanding with each bite but oh, the pleasure of it.

Health and calories be damned. Next time no sharing. I'm eating the whole thing.

The Shores Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices             Panini Bread
1 ounce            Parmesan/Bread Crumb Crust
1 ounce            Whole Butter, Soft
2 slices             American cheese
2 ounces           Blend of Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese
2 slices             Smoked Gouda

1.)            Butter one side of each bread slice, and then press into the bread crumbs. Mix
2.)            Place in Buttered Flattop with the breadcrumb side down
3.)            Place 2 slices of American on one side, 2 sliced of Gouda on the other and then divided the Cheddar/Montery blend on both.
4.)            Cook until crust is golden brown
5.)            Remove, sliced in half and serve

Monday, May 7, 2012

Israeli breakfast - or any time - salad

Hotels in Israel make an event out of breakfast with buffet arrays that go on seemingly forever. For Americans, the biggest surprise is the salad. After a morning or two, it also becomes the biggest treat.

The Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel's answer to Manhattan, produces one of the largest breakfast buffets.

 Dan Panorama Green Vegetable and Black Lentil Salad 
6 servings

1 iceberg lettuce head, torn to pieces
1 cup arugula
1 cup spinach leaves
2 cucumbers, cut into thick strips
1 broccoli, separated into florets
1/2 pound fresh green beans, blanched in boiling water
1/4 pound fresh edamame, blanched in boiling water
1 avocado, peeled and diced
3ounces black lentils, cooked in boiling water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup chopped mint
½ cup chopped parsley
½ red chili pepper, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the ingredients for the dressing and mix well.
Combine the vegetables with the lentils. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well until evenly coated.

Serve for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.