Italian Cowboy Butter Salmon

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: February 22, 2024

There is always something new under the culinary sun. Or, in this case, something old that’s getting a facelift. Cowboy butter, in general, is a blend of butter with acidic ingredients, herbs, and spices like garlic, chili flakes, chives, mustard, and paprika. It becomes its own texture and flavor in any dish.  Using Cowboy Butter Because Cowboy Butter is softened for mixing, you can harden it back up and keep it in the refrigerator until you need it. You may even want to make several batches with different flavor profiles because you can use it for so much! Rise and shine with Cowboy Butter on your cornbread or bagel, for example.  Working with steak? Beef loves the flavor of Cowboy butter. Warm it up as a bread dip, slide it under the skin of a roasting chicken, spread it liberally on fresh grilled corn… heck you can even flavor your popcorn with it! Italian Cowboy Butter Salmon Ingredients (for the Butter) 2 sticks of butter 1 tbsp minced garlic Juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp chopped parsley 1-2 tbsp chopped basil 1 tbsp sundried tomato paste 1 tsp Cuso’s Hot Honey Seasoning 1 tsp Cuso’s Grass Seasoning 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes Zest of half a lemon Mix all ingredients together and chill until needed. If you want butter coins, put the mixed butter on a piece of plastic wrap, evenly distributed about 1 inch thick. Roll it up and put it in to chill, becoming a solid log. Slice the butter medallions when serving as thick as you wish.  This butter is enough for 6-8 8oz pieces of salmon. For the Salmon Salt and pepper the salmon filet on each side Broil it skin side down for 4 minutes Turn it skin side up to broil another 3-4 minutes (yum, crispy skin!) Serve on a hot bed of rice topped with a dollop of Cowboy Butter.  PitMaster’s Memo: History of Cowboy Butter The origin of the term Cowboy Butter seems a bit blurry but for the fact that it’s a type of butter suited for many foods cowboys ate on the trail. Did the trend start in Texas? Do any associated dishes have a history tied to the Old West? I don’t have an answer. What I can tell you is that Cowboy Butter is the ultimate mashup, perfect for individualizing. You know how you might go to your refrigerator and pull out all the leftovers and make an amazing dish? Cowboy Butter is a bit like that but using herbs and spices. The recipes you get from person to person vary (each of which has a secret ingredient, of course).  Sides Broccoli cheese pasta Lemon Couscous Roasted tomatoes with feta Sesame noodles Snap pea salad with Asian dressing Desserts Berry tart Blackberry scones Grilled pineapple Key lime pie Vanilla bean pudding From the bar Belgian Ale Gin and tonic Malt whisky Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling lemon/limeade 

How to Cook Sausages in the Oven

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: February 05, 2024

Baked Sausage Sausage sometimes seems like an afterthought. Oh, we’re grilling. Hotdogs, burgers, corn…wait, we have sausage too! Sausage can be a meal unto itself, a side dish, or an appetizer (cutting them into 1-inch pieces with honey mustard dipping sauce, for example). Believe it or not, pork sausage has health benefits. It’s high in protein, B-12, Iron, and Niacin. There is also selenium, which supports a healthy immune system. Some people swear on it as an effective part of a hangover cure.  Sampling Some Sausage Types: Bratwurst: A German product with high-quality pork with pronounced herb flavors. Grilling gives it a great crunch.  Breakfast: The perfect compliment to waffles or pancakes. A sweet and spicy blend of brown sugar, sage, red pepper flakes, and marjoram.  Chicken: A pork alternative with sage, parsley, and other herbs. Chorizo: Spicy! Includes Spanish smoky paprika (giving it a distinct color). Italian: A bold sausage, especially Hot Italian. Flavor profiles include garlic, basil, oregano, and onion. Kielbasa: A traditional Polish sausage with a distinct flavor and texture that sets it apart from Bratwurst. Smoky with a hint of garlic.  Of course, people who love making sausage tinker with flavors. You can find chicken with feta, kielbasa with jalapeno, maple breakfast sausages, Asian fusion, beef n’ garlic, and so forth. The Difference Between Sausage & Hot Dogs When pondering how to cook sausage in the oven, you may wonder what the difference is between sausage and hot dogs. I have a secret…hot dogs are really sausages, too.  Sausages ‌have a higher fat content, and their ingredients differ spice-wise. Also, hot dogs have a uniform size. The hot dog is actually a Westernized version of German wieners. Cooking Sausage in the Oven? Sausage isn’t just for grill outs. Baking them indoors does them justice, too. Your cooking time for food safety is around 30 minutes (155-165F) at 400F. If the sausage is frozen, it will need about 15-20 minutes more. Note: the thickness of your sausage affects cooking time, so use a meat thermometer. Grab your chosen sausage, and let’s get cooking. How to Cook Sausage in the Oven Preheat your oven to 400F Line a baking tray with parchment (trust me, you’ll thank me when you clean up) Lay the sausage on the paper in one layer, making sure they do not touch.  Bake, turning halfway through so the sausage gets evenly brown.  For crispier skin, use the broiler for 2 minutes.  You really can’t get simpler. Tip: Cook in bulk. Once the sausages are cool, place them in the oven on a fresh baking pan, separated. Freeze them completely and transfer them into a food storage bag for “any time” cooking! PitMaster’s Memo: Let’s get Saucy You can add all kinds of condiments to your sausage, like onions and peppers, but sauce is also a great way to personalize your meal. To use a sauce in the oven, put ½ of it on the sausage at the start of cooking and the other ½ at the end with a quick finish under the broiler. What kind of dipping sauce could you use? Beer and mustard sauce Buffalo sauce Horseradish dip Mango Chutney Peanut sauce Pineapple salsa Pico de Gallo Plum sauce Sides Broccoli with Cheese Polenta Roasted Tomatoes with Sweet Peppers Salt Potatoes Stuffed Mushrooms Desserts Apple Pie Blueberry Muffins Cheese Tarts Pumpkin Cake Strawberry Mouse From the Bar Bloody Mary Fresh Lemonade Pilsner Spanish Malbec Whisky

Patty Melt vs. Burger

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: February 01, 2024

What is the challenge behind a patty melt vs. a burger? I mean, you’d think they’re pretty much the same, right? So, patty melt vs burger: what's the truth? There are similarities, but the difference is what hungry eaters crave.  The Patty Melt Structure Let’s answer the question of what is a patty melt first. The classic patty melt consists of cheese, ground meat, and caramelized onion. Patty melts go on toasted rye or sourdough (no bun allowed). Because of the bread selection, patty melts are typically square. You want to make the burger just large enough so there’s a sultry peek of patty coming out the sides of the “roll.” Compared to a burger, Patty is a simple gal. You don’t have to dress her up for a delicious, finished product. You might add a few mushrooms or bell peppers, but those are rare. At the end of the day, Patty looks a lot like her brother, a grilled cheese. Both patty metals and burgers have relatively the same calorie count, depending on the type of meat and condiment selection.  Grills love patty melts. Patty Melt Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 4 slices of rye, sourdough, or garlic bread Fresh ground salt and pepper 1.5 lb ground round 1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil 1 small red or white onion, sliced 4 slices Swiss, American, Provolone, or pepper jack  Instructions Take your ground beef and mix it with desired seasonings. Set aside. Using a cast-iron skillet or griddle, melt the butter Toast the bread slices in the butter on both sides Take your ground beef and mix it with desired seasonings. Add olive oil to your pan Toss in the onions, cooking until caramelized Fry the burgers, putting your cheese on top just prior to serving, along with the onions.  Assemble (toast, burger, onions, toast) PitMaster’s Memo I’m #1! So, what about the burger vs. a patty melt? By far, burgers continuously outsell as a popular food, with pizza sliding in at a close second. It’s easy to mistake a patty melt for a burger, but this guy wants all the bravado, including a hardy shake of Cuso's Gravel Spice. Give him bacon, avocado, barbecue sauce, pickles, onions, mustard, various types of cheese, and hot peppers, just to name a few. If you want to get a little messy, turn your burger into a smash burger. Burgers go together easily. You can cook it indoors or out. For the best burger, look for ground beef that’s 80% lean. Season the meat before you shape it. Do not over-handle the ground meat. If you plan to add cheese at the last minute before pulling off the heat.  Sides Beer Battered Onion Rings Green Goddess Potato Salad Husk-on Corn Spicy Sweet Potato Steak Fries Vegetable Platter Desserts Chocolate Chip Brownies Old Fashioned Sundae Caramel Pear Pie French Pastry Peanut Butter Cake From the Bar Ginger Beer Maker’s Mark Milk Shake Porter Wine Punch

Salmon Wellington

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: January 27, 2024

Move over beef. Salmon is in the house! Puff pastry-wrapped salmon ala Wellington (also known as Salmon en Croute) is moist. Add a few herbs like Cuso’s Lemon Pepper Seasoning, dill, and red onions, and you have a delight for dinner. Tip: You can apply the all-natural Lemon-Pepper Seasoning to pasta or asparagus for a bright side dish. Some consider Wellington the ultimate indulgence, ideal for special occasions. When assembled properly, it’s a work of art. Salmon Wellington, just like beef, brings together a perfect marriage of taste and texture. There’s something really satisfying about that first crunch of buttery pastry, followed by rich flavor. Salmon is delicate. Take care not to overcook it.  Ingredients Puff pastry (2 sheets) 1 lb 1-inch thick salmon filet Cuso’s Lemon Peper Seasoning 8 oz cream cheese ½ cup cooked, dry spinach 1 red onion chopped fine 2 tbsp fresh dill 1 tbsp capers Egg wash Instructions Lay out one of the pastry sheets on a cutting board Season the salmon on both sides Place the fish in the middle of the pastry sheet Mix the cream cheese, spinach, onion, dill, and capers together Smooth it evenly over the top of the salmon Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash all around the edge of the bottom pastry Cover it entirely with the second pastry sheet Leave about 1 inch of pastry around the edge; trim as necessary Use a fork to crimp the edges to avoid leaking Score the top sheet of puff pastry Sprinkle with a little salt Bake at 400F, 20-25 minutes Make sure the salmon is 125F Remove from the oven and let it rest (the salmon continues to cook a bit) Slice and serve with a creamy lemon-garlic butter sauce (optional) PitMaster’s Memo People are surprised to see salmon cooked Wellington-style. The truth is, cooking protein or vegetables in a crust isn’t anything new. The Greeks kicked things off by wrapping it in a flour-water paste. And while we hear about Beef Wellington fairly readily in foodie circles, there other proteins that adapt well to this method. Examples include: Pork wrapped in bacon with hearty mustard sauce Turkey with mushroom, garlic, and thyme paste Venison wrapped in prosciutto and Dijon mustard Sides Braised tomatoes with fennel Buttery mushrooms Italian spiced greens Lime-herb couscous  Roasted root vegetables Dessert Blackberry scones Key lime pie Parfait Seasonal fruit salad with yogurt Strawberry Orange tart From the Bar Bourgogne Chardonnay Citrus sparkling water Dry Pilsner Gin and tonic Tequila

Beef Wellington Sandwich

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: January 23, 2024

So, what’s all the buzz about Beef Wellington? For that matter, what exactly is Beef Wellington? You begin with a succulent tenderloin, combined with chicken pate, and buttery onions, all covered in a blanket of puff pastry. The end result is flaky, flavorful, and finessed.  Julia Child made Filet of Beef Wellington on her TV show, the French Chef. It was 1965, and she introduced how to make beef Wellington step by step. The show was warm and welcoming as if you were being invited to the kitchen But wait! Beef Wellington can be reimagined as a sandwich. You retain all the traditional flavors of Beef Wellington, but now it’s handheld. In my opinion, take-along food is fantastic.  Ingredients 2 lbs. Beef Tenderloin (for four people) or marbled beef ribs Cuso’s Grass Seasoning 2 Garlic whole heads, halved 2 sticks celery, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 1 Heaping tbsp of beef soup base 2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 2 Sprigs of fresh thyme 2 cups Beef bone broth 1 ½ cups red wine Butter 2 cups cremini (baby bell) mushrooms, chopped 2 Shallots, chopped 1 tbsp flour Salt & Pepper Whole grain mustard 1 Large loaf of French Bread, Quartered and sliced Four slices pancetta Fresh parsley Instructions Place the shallots, garlic, celery, carrots, stock, Worcestershire, thyme, wine, and beef soup base into a large stockpot. Cook until it reduces by half. Strain and set aside (this is your Au jus) Lightly cover the beef tenderloin or ribs evenly with Cuso’s Grass Seasoning Heat a skillet, and place 2 tbsp butter therein Add the tenderloin, searing it until brown all over Place in a 350F until the meat reaches 125F Remove and rest While the tenderloin cooks, prepare the mushrooms. Make sure they’re diced fine. Put 2 tbsp butter in the same pan as the tenderloin.  Saute the mushrooms and shallots Slowly sprinkle a little flour evenly into the mix for thickening. In a separate pan, crisp up the pancetta.  Slice your bread and brown it up a bit Slather with the mustard, followed by a layer of mushrooms Thickly slice the meat and lay it on the mushroom mix Top with parsley and crisped pancetta (crumbled) Dip into the Au jus  Tip: If you prefer, make your mushrooms first, then panfry the beef to medium rare to skip the oven altogether. PitMaster’s Memo: The History of Beef Wellington A man by the name of Arthur Wellesley soared to fame after his victory at the Battle of Waterloo. He was dubbed the Duke of Wellington. It was long thereafter that he became Prime Minister. Since the Duke gave his chefs creative leeway, they created the special puff pastery named after him. Sides  Arugula Salad Glazed Carrots and Parsnips Mushroom Risotto Parmesan-lemon Asparagus Rolls with Honey Butter Dessert Flan Matcha Macaroons Peach Cobbler Raspberry Walnut Tort Strawberry Champaign Posset From the Bar Bourbon Brown Ale Cream Soda Martini Syrah

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