Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Creative Cooking Crew Round-Up: February 2015 Burgers

This month our Creative Cooking Crew offers a new culinary perspective on...

that most American of foods...BURGERS.

Burgers are in vogue big-time with numerous gourmet and fast-casual burger joints popping up in neighborhoods all over the US.

Here our talented cooks offer their contributions to the ever growing Burger lexicon.

Please enjoy...

Cheeseburger Dumplings
Victoria from Mission:Food

Maple Bacon Jam, Peanut Butter Burger
Angela from Spinach Tiger

Puerquito Burger
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me

The Elvis: Fried Banana, Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger
Laura from La Diva Cucina

A Real HAM-burger
Joan from Foodalogue

Mar y Tierra Burger
Lazaro Cooks

Thanks to our hard working talented cooks who produce fantastic dishes every month!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mar Y Tierra Burger - Surf & Turf

This month our Creative Cooking Crew takes a fresh new approach to that great American classic...


Burgers these days are in-style big-time.  There are new gourmet burger spots popping up on every block, at least here in South Florida.

The approach to burger seems to be...big, bigger, biggest.  To achieve this, make a giant patty, get a huge roll and throw every condiment in the kitchen on the burger.  Not for me.  Not at all.

Of course, this is all subject to opinion, not unlike pizza, thin-crust or deep dish, plain Margehrita or the works, it is just so subjective.

Personally, if I cannot get the damn burger in my mouth, without needing a change of clothes, I am not interested.

Plus, when it comes to flavor profile, I want to be able to taste the ingredients, too many different tastes, just blurs into a heaping pile of nothingness.

Today, I made a burger with a few contrasting flavors and temperatures, that you can easily fit into you mouth.  Great flavor without the fuss.

Mar y Tierra Burger

Mar y Tierra, means surf and turf in Spanish.  Ripe sweet plantains & NY Strip from the land and Florida Spiny lobster from the ocean.

This burger produces three distinct flavor sensations...

  • Sweet
  • Heat
  • Cool
Maduro Puree - When a plantain gets super dark and ripe, we Hispanics call that a maduro.  The sugars in the banana have matured and concentrated to a super sweet consistency.  I bake my maduros in the oven, then process them in the food processor.  That is it, let the banana flavor stand on its own.

NY Strip Steak Patty - I made my burger patty from 100% grass-fed NY Strip.  When I want a posh burger, this is my favorite.  The meat is tender and has a nice amount of fat content.  Always grind your meat fresh at home.  I cannot fathom purchasing store bought ground.  The burger brought the HEAT to party, seasoned with cayenne, red pepper flake, and a dash of chipotle sauce.  The heat is imperative, you need to counterbalance the sweetness of the Maduro.

Florida Spiny Lobster Salad - Florida lobster meat prepared in the "Maine Lobster Roll" style.  Fresh Florida seafood lightly seasoned with mayo, lemon juice, celery, dill pickles, salt & pepper.  Served cold from the fridge and topped with fresh chervil.

This burger was a pleasure to eat, contrasting flavors and temperatures, just an awesome culinary delight.

I will be making this one again....and again!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Creative Cooking Crew Round-Up Nov 14

This month our...

Tackles Thanksgiving Dessert.  Perfect for the holiday.  These creative cooks might spark a new idea for your celebration menu.

This is the last post for 2014 for our crew.  We wish you all a fantastic holiday season and look forward to seeing you again in 2015.

Thanks to the diligent hard working cooks, who every month flex their creative muscles to dazzle us with culinary delights.

Thanks to you, the reader, for supporting our endeavor.


Coconut Cream Pie
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Rum-Infused Chestnut Bonbons with Dark Chocolate-Crystallized Ginger Dust
Joan from Foodalouge

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ascension from Wicked Garden

This month our...

Celebrates Halloween. One of the coolest holidays we celebrate.

Ascension from Wicked Garden

This is a cheeky dish, using chorizo as worms.  Wild rice as the soil.  Black bean puree as mud.

Thinly sliced chorizo curls up once it hits the piping hot pan.

Thyme flowers and stems add to the garden visual imagery.

Of course, whatever is trying to get out of the ground, is not made of edible materials, so please do not consume.

A fun, playful dish, for an equally fun and playful holiday.

Thanks for stopping by...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Creative Cooking Crew: August 2014 Round-Up

This month our...

Tackles; One Ingredient, Two ways.  One hot, One cold.

Now hot and cold have many different interpretations, so these cooks got creative with temperatures, spice levels and textures.

As per usual, these hard working folks never cease to amaze and inspire.


Warm, Spicy, & Savory Apple Pot Pie with Cool Apple Cream & Sweet Apple Slaw
Joan from Foodalogue

Raspberry Granita & It's Warm Sauce
Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Baked Alaska "Egg"
Wendy from Upstart Kitchen

Avocado DOUBLE HAPPINESS: Avocado Pasta with Crab & Avocado Coconut Ice Cream
Laura from La Diva Cucina

Pink Borscht - Beet Flan
Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!

Shrimp & Red Kuri Squash Salad on Red Kuri Squash Bread
Laz from Hack Cooks

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Shrimp & Red Kuri Squash Salad on Red Kuri Squash Bread

This month our...

Tackles: One ingredient, served two ways, one hot and one cold.

I went to Whole Foods looking to buy some pumpkin.  Instead, I came home with an organic bright Red Kuri Squash.

I had never worked with this particular product.  Now that I have, I am a big fan.  The color is vibrant as the nutty flavor.  The flesh is sweet with a hint of chestnut.  Perfect for fall.  Perfect for this dish.

The dish carries the squash flavor throughout.  While delivering variant temperatures and texture.

An added bonus is a nice sweet/savory vibe going on.


Shrimp & Red Kuri Squash on Red Kuri Squash Bread

Red Kuri Squash Loaf
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated Red Kuri Squash
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Heat oven to 325 F for 60 minutes.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.
  3. In a glass bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla.
  4. Add the seeds and grated squash.
  5. Incorporate the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour batter into a oiled pan loaf.
  7. Bake for 70 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  10. Slice and serve.

Shrimp & Red Kuri Squash Salad
  • Ocean Shrimp - Shell On
  • Sea salt
  • Piment d'espelette
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • Red Kuri Squash - grated
  • 1 tsp ume plum vinegar
  • 1/2 shallot - minced
  • chives - minced
  • chervil
  1. Boil shrimp for two to three minutes
  2. Remove shrimp and place in a bowl of ice water.
  3. Drain shrimp.
  4. Peel and devein shrimp.
  5. In a glass bowl, combine the cooked shrimp, creme fraiche, ume plum vinegar and shallot.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Season with sea salt and piment d'espelette
  8. Add the grated squash and chives.
  9. Serve on bread.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tomato Bisque with Forbidden Rice Garden

This month our...

Takes on Tomatoes....

Tomato Bisque with Forbidden Rice Garden

As an incredibly ridiculous Pizza Geek, I spend many of my nights working with tomatoes.  On some level they've become an integrated part of my life.

So, for this challenge, I really had a ton of different ways to go.  In the end, I decided to make a simple dish.

Tomato Bisque has been a favorite of mine since childhood.  It became a running joke for the ones closest to me.  Every single restaurant that Baby Laz attended, my default order was, you guessed it, Tomato Bisque.

Another reason for choosing a simple dish was to show how with a tad of imagination, even a soup can look pretty awesome.  This soup is a big hit at dinner parties.

Tomato Bisque
  • Pancetta - diced
  • Roasted Garlic cloves - oven roast at 500 F for 12 min
  • Small Vidalia Onion
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • 28 oz Organic Canned Tomato - drained of canning liquid
  • 40 oz Organic Veggie Stock
  • Tapioca Slurry - 2 tbs tapioca flour mixed with 2 tbs of water
  • Fresh Thyme, Rosemary & Bay Leaf - tied together with butcher's twine
  1. In a stock pot, render the pancetta.
  2. Remove pancetta from the pan and reserve for later.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, celery & leeks.  Sweat for 10 minutes
  4. Add the herb bundle.
  5. Add the tomatoes.  Cooks for a while to break down.
  6. Add the veggie stock.
  7. Simmer for 1 hour.  Low & Slow
  8. Remove herb bundle.
  9. Blend the soup.
  10. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  11. Return to the pot.
  12. Add the tapioca slurry.
  13. Bring to the boil for 3 minutes.
  14. Remove from the heat.
I did not add back the pancetta, to the final product, but feel free to do so.

Forbidden Rice
  • 1 cup Forbidden Rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • Sea salt
  1. Bring water to the boil
  2. Add rice
  3. Stir
  4. Cover
  5. Reduce heat
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes
  • Heirloom Tomato
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Red Lentils
  • Thyme
  • Edible Flowers
Field Wheat Loaf

Field Wheat Loaf doesn't really mean anything.  It's just a name for my current favorite bread that I bake.

It's a levain bread made with a blend of different flours.

The prefect partner to the soup...

Thanks for stopping by.