Spring 2006 Picnic Recipe Collection

33 posts in this topic

We have decided to make Mktye's life a lot easier this time around. Instead of doing a formal book we are going to have a recipe thread instead. Please post your recipes here.

In the next few days I will create an index so it will be easier to find what you are looking for. If you post a recipe from a cookbook please make sure to give appropriate credit.


mktye's Rosemary Garlic Crackers and Baguette

Barbara's Raspberry Topped Cheesecake

clayrae's Turkey Tonnato Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network

porcupine & shogun's Caipirinha

porcupine's Stuffed Strawberries and Couscous Salad

bbq4me's Grilled Tri-Tip and Finadene Sauce

cracker's Red Onion and Rhubarb Tartlettes

dcfoodies Fried Risotto Balls

squidsdc's Chilled Tomato and Bread Soup

MBK's Asian Slaw

goldenticket's Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

cucas87's Mojito Salad

amalah's Baked Beans


crackers; Petits Aubergine Farcis/ Feta-stuffed Mini-Eggplants

mdt & crescentfresh's Brats

agm Pernil-(Puerto Rican style pork shoulder)

StephenB's Not Yet Famous Deviled Eggs with Caviar

shogun's Strawberry-Bresaola Packets-The Thinking Man's 'Prosciutto and Melon Ball'

Edited by hillvalley

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Makes ~9 dozen 2” crackers.

I like to use my pasta machine to roll the dough out, but a rolling pin also works well (but is a bit more effort). The most important things are that the crackers are rolled thinly and thoroughly dried out after cooking. If necessary, turn down the oven a bit and cook the crackers until crisp.

~3¼ cups (14 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, minced very finely

1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2¼ teaspoons (or 1 package) dry yeast

¼ cup (1¾ ounces) olive oil

~¾ cup (6 ounces) water, hot from the tap

coarse salt

In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups of the flour, rosemary, garlic, sugar, baking powder, salt and yeast. Stir in the oil and water, and mix to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook just until it's smooth. The dough should be somewhat stiff – add the remaining flour or more water, a tablespoon at a time, as necessary. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours or, for added flavor and an easier time in rolling out the crackers, put the dough into an oiled zip-loc bag and refrigerate it overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough in half and, on a well-floured or lightly-greased surface (if using a rolling pin, I roll it out directly on top of a piece of lightly oiled parchment paper), roll each half into an ~18”x12” rectangle ~1/16” thick. The thinner the dough, the more delicate the finished crakers. If the dough starts to shrink or tear, cover it and allow it to rest for a few minutes before continuing. Alternately, you can cut the dough into quarters, flatten each piece, lightly flour and run it through a pasta machine until it is 1/16” thick. Transfer the dough, before cutting it into individual crackers, onto a parchment paper-lined or a lightly-greased half-sheet pan.

Prick the dough all over with a fork or a dough docker (this will keep it from bubbling up while cooking). Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then cut it into squares using a pizza wheel, pastry wheel, or a sharp knife. Don't worry about separating the crackers; they'll break apart easily along the "scored" lines when cool. Brush or spray the dough with water and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crackers are golden and dry. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container.

You can also vary these crackers by replacing the garlic and rosemary with other flavorings – pretty much anything will work as long as it is powdered or very finely minced. Replacing half the flour with other flours (whole wheat, rye, chickpea flour) is also another variable. Plus you can add more fat (oil, butter, shortening, cheese) for a more tender cracker.

rwtye’s favorite version is Chili-Onion: 1 tablespoon mild chili powder (or hot if you want your crackers spicier), 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon toasted onion powder (or regular onion powder, but the toasted really adds a great taste – I get it from Penzey's Spices) and ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper.

Other variations I brought to the picnic:

Jack and Dill


Rye with Caraway Seeds

Cheddar with a touch of cayenne





If you would like exact ratios for any of the above variations, please PM me. :)


Makes three ~16”x2” loaves

This recipe uses a poolish, which is a commercial yeast starter. Since the poolish needs to ferment for over 12 hours, be sure to start this recipe the day before.

The wetter the dough, the larger the holes in the crumb (which is a good thing!). Since very wet doughs are tricky to knead, using a machine for kneading is the easiest way to make this recipe.

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon dry yeast

1 cup water, hot from the tap

1 cup water, room temperature

~3¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer, mix the 2 cups flour with the yeast and then add the water. Beat vigorously to mix together well, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the poolish to ferment for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature.

The next day, add the water to the poolish and mix until smooth. Mix in 3 cups of the flour, the yeast and salt and let the dough rest for 10 minutes for the gluten to start to develop. Knead the dough by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes adding the reserved flour only if the dough is noticeably wet and is sticking excessively (I rarely add any extra flour). If using a food processor, mix with the steel blade for 15 seconds. Place the dough in a large bowl (or back in the mixing bowl or leave in the mixer bowl), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and fold in half twice. Do not knead.

Return the dough to the bowl and, in 45 minutes, repeat the folding in half twice, then let rise for 1 hour after second folding (for a total of three rises so far).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and gently (you want to keep the dough as puffy as possible) divide the dough into thirds. Shape each piece into an ~16” log, place on a piece of parchment paper, cover with lightly-oiled plastic wrap, and let shaped dough rise until almost, but not quite doubled, ~2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the best results, place a baking stone on the top shelf of the oven and a second stone on the bottom shelf. If only using one stone, put it on the bottom shelf.

Just before baking, place a heavy metal baking pan in the bottom of your oven (or on the top shelf if using an electric oven) and pour in ~1 cup of hot water. Slash the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife or a single-edged razor blade and spray or brush the loaves with water. Bake the loaves on the baking stone (leave the loaves on the parchment paper) or on a half-sheet pan on the lower rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Cool completely on a rack before eating.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour baking class handout

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Raspberry-Topped Cheesecake

Recipe Here (from Epicurious)

The only changes I made were to the crust and the top. I used two cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs and about half the butter and sugar specified. I wound up not using all of it--it makes the crust too thick, IMHO. Also, I covered the top with raspberries (which I find easier to cut) instead of strawberries and used strawberry jelly as the glaze, since I can't seem to find raspberry jelly. I also baked the cake with a pan of hot water in the lower oven rack.

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Turkey Tonnato Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings (I doubled the recipe for the picnic)

2 pound turkey breast, skinless and boneless

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tuna Sauce:

6 ounces canned white meat tuna, packed in olive oil – do not drain

1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet, drained

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.

Season the turkey with salt, pepper and herbs. Coat with olive oil, place in a baking pan and pour the chicken broth around the turkey. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch slices, on an angle. Allow to sit in baking pan with juices as you make sauce.

In the bowl of a food processor add the tuna, anchovy, lemon juice and capers. Puree until creamy, about 1 minute. Pour the tuna mixture into a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise.

Place the slices of turkey on a platter and pour the tuna sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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If you liked what came out of the pitcher, you'll like this much better. Don't take shortcuts. The muddling makes a huge difference. Like espresso, a good caipirinha can't be rushed or made in quantity. [Oh nuts, I think I'm channeling JoeH!]

For one drink, cut a lime into eighths. Sprinkle with superfine sugar to taste and muddle thoroughly to dissolve the sugar and extract the oils from the lime rind. Transfer to a shaker, add a shot of cachaca and some ice. Shake well and pour the whole thing, limes as well, into a short glass. If it isn't as sweet as you want it, add some simple syrup. Or hand the glass to a friend and make yourself another.

ol_ironstomach uses 1/2 lime per shot, which is also very good. Use as much or as little as you want (obviously I like the stuff), just be sure to muddle it well.

Pitu brand cachaca makes a perfectly good drink, but if you can get your hands on any artisinal bottle, you'll have a great drink. Avoid Cachaca 51 - it stinks.

The label on Armazem Vieira Rubi reads "Aged Artesian Cachca". Holy crap! If that stuff comes bubbling out of the ground in Brazil, I need to get there stat!

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Stuffed Strawberries

Use the nicest large berries you can find. Hull them and cut off the tips so they stand on their own.

Beat ricotta cheese until it's smooth and sweeten with confectioner's sugar and Tahitian vanilla. How much? I dunno. I keep tasting til I get it as sweet as I want it.

Use a pastry bag or a plastic bag to fill the berries.


1. Dipped the prepped berries in dark chocolate (or white, I guess) and chill til chocolate hardens, then filll.

2. Garnish with tiny mint leaves.

3. Flavor the cheese with rose flower water or orange flower water instead of vanilla.

4. Mix whipped cream into the sweetened cheese to soften the consistency and serve as a dip for whole berries rather than stuffing them.

5. Mix in more whipped cream to get it very soft and use as a sauce for mixed berries on top of angel food cake or in shortcakes.

I've always wanted to try this with lavender. I would steep the lavender in cream, then strain and whip the cream and mix with the ricotta.

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Couscous Salad

This recipe came from Premier Cheese and Gourmet Foods in Buffalo, NY, as published in the July 1994 Gourmet magazine. The original calls for chicken stock. The vegetable stock recipe I used can be found in Fields of Greens by Anne Sommerville. (I modified that, too, omitting the leek and garlic.)

2 c vegetable stock

2 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 c couscous

2 cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted

1/2 c currants

1 T freshly grated orange zest

1/2 chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 c drained canned mandarin oranges

1/3 c fresh orange juice

3 T fresh lemon juice

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

Bring the stock and butter to a boil, add the couscous, stir, cover, turn off the heat, and let stand five minutes.

In a large bowl combine pecans, currants, zest, parsley, oranges, the couscous (fluff with a fork first), and salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon and orange juices and oil, then pour over the couscous and toss gently to combine.

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Grilled Tri-Tip and Finadene Sauce

2 – 3.5 lb beef tri-tips (I heard at the picnic that Costco-Pentagon City has them, also Trader Joe’s. The Trader Joe’s meat is good, but I’d rather bring them back frozen from California where USDA Choice is readily available at Costco and in most meat cases)

Marinade: Don’t over think this—1/2 cup Lowry’s Mesquite marinate, splash red wine, dash Worcestershire sauce, splash soy sauce per tri-tip. Trim silver skin from tri-tip and lightly score both sides and season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Marinade 6-24 hours, 1 gallon zip locks work great. In California they cook these well-done and dry and slice the meat thinly on a deli-slicer. I prefer to cook them medium rare over charcoal but gas will work if you must.

Finadene: This a traditional Guam spicy/sour/hot sauce. On the island they use wild jungle bird chilis (similar to thai bird chilis). This sauce is supposed to be firery hot, but there is such a thing as “too hot” so I try to keep it moderate. This is the version I made for the picnic (consensus was it not hot):

½ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup Kikkoman Japanese soy sauce (not tamari, not Chinese soy, not Thai dark soy, not kecap manis) This is the only ingredient I wouldn’t change

3-4 green scallions, minced

4 minced Serrano chilies, with seeds (use whichever chili you prefer for heat—green or red thai are closest to the homestyle and what I usually use)

Mix and allow to sit for an hour. The ratio of lemon to soy is 1:1 so measure out your lemon juice and add an equal part of soy and you’re golden. The onion and chili can be added to you taste.

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Red Onion and Rhubarb Tartlettes

[inspired by a recipe found on Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini blog]


4 medium to large red onions, peeled, halved and sliced across thinly (a mandolin works best for this)

4 stalks of rhubarb, tough fibrous exterior removed if necessary, and cut into very small cubes

about 4 T olive oil for sauteeing

2 rolls of premade pie dough (I used Pillsbury ready-made), rolled out more thinly than straight out of the box

Yields about 50 mini-tarlettes, depending on their size - I used mini-muffin pan size.

Heat the olive oil in a large, preferably non-stick skillet, and add in the onions. Cook down on medium-low for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until very limp. Remove and place to drain in colander or sieve. Add diced rhubarb to the pan and cook for about ten minutes, tossing regularly, until cooked through. Add into onion to drain and cool. You can store the mixture at this point in refrigerator for a day or two.

Preheat the oven 400°F. Cut out circles of pie dough to fit size of your tartlette or muffin tins with a cookie cutter. Press the dough into the molds, and prick the bottom with a fork. Bake for ten to twelve minutes, until the shells are cooked to a light tan. Allow to cool a bit, remove from molds, and spoon in a heaping mound of the onion mixture into each. Sprinkle the tops with a generous shake of salt.

Serve cold or rewarmed. Variations: can add a tart marmelade or roasted garlic confit to the bottom of each shell before filling, or use less filling, and pour in a custard mixture of egg yolk and cream and bake an additional few minutes after filling.

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The fried risotto balls or arancini that I brought are based on Michael Chiarello's recipe.

The only changes I made are the following:

Half the spinach

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper or more if you want them hotter.

2/3 chicken stock, 1/3 vegetable stock

When adding the spinach add a couple tablespoons (or more to taste) of tomato paste.

Oh, I guess you might want to consider that I deep fried them on a propane burner.

Edited to add: This also makes a pretty kick ass risotto if you stop before the cooling process.

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(from Molto Italiano/Mario Batali)

Makes 4 servings (roughly-depending on how many tomatoes you use) I did a 1.5 recipe with 5 lbs of tomatoes, which yielded approx 2 quarts of soup--after skimming off several tastings for myself and others!

3 to 4 pounds overripe TOMATOES, cored

1 ½ cups torn DAY OLD BREAD

¼ cup fresh BASIL LEAVES

1 tablespoon chopped fresh THYME


½ cup cold WATER

SALT and freshly ground BLACK PEPPER

4 BAGUETTE SLICES, toasted and cooled

2 SCALLIONS, thinly sliced

1. In a food processor, process the tomatoes until liquid. Add the bread, basil, thyme, olive oil, and water and process to blend. Season aggressively with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, thin with a little more cold water. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Stir the soup well, then divide among four bowls. Place a baguette slice in the center of each, and top with the scallions.

**When he says season aggressively, he really means it--I seasoned with salt and pepper, then let the soup sit for about an hour in the fridge. When I took it out, even after stirring well, it needed lots more salt and pepper. (and I was using the Malden Sea Salt) I used some very flavorful tomatoes from Costco, and supplemented them with some Romas from TJ's. I also recommend letting it sit overnight for the best blending of flavors.

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Vietnamese Slaw (adapted from Asian Cook, by Terry Tan)

1 head white cabbage (thinly sliced)

1 cucumber (seeded, peeled, and julienned)

2 carrots (shredded)

1 bunch scallions (thinly sliced)

5 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 tbsp ginger (chopped)

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to sweat, then drain and squeeze out excess liquid.

In another bowl combine:

6 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

juice of 2 limes

3 tbsp sesame oil

1/2-1 tsp dark sesame oil

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp fish sauce

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp chopped mint

Add dressing to vegetables, mix well. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

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Like Barbara, I got my recipe for the Quinoa and Black Bean Salad on Epicurious. I used red bell pepper instead of green.

This little hint was very true:

The secret of the success of this salad is the steaming of the quinoa. (The tradional cooking method for quinoa, boiling it in a measured amount of water, does not produce the light, fluffy texture that works so well in a salad.) This dish provides a complete protein and can stand alone as a luncheon or light supper entrée.

Click here for the recipe.

ETA - I've added the Grilled Chicken with Cranberry Relish recipe. It came from a Lee Bailey cookbook - Long Weekends. The reciped says to quarter the breasts and serve them in pitas. I've never done that - always sliced them up and just served them as an entree. This is a good dish for taking somewhere (camping, for example) because it can be made ahead of time and is served at room temperature. [pardon the stains on the scan - I've made this a lot - looks like some balsamic splashed on the page]


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Mojito Salad (adapted from a recipe in the New York Time Magazine).


1 -2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

juice of 2 limes

1 jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks

2 English cucumbers, sliced thin and in half-moons

1/2 -1 seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise

1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves thinly sliced

(optional: I didn't do this for the picnic" 1/2 cup thinly sliced cilantro leaves)


1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4- 1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup lime juice

zest of 2 limes

1 teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons light rum

If I make this ahead of time, I don't add the jalapenos until a few hours before it's time to serve. Also, it's best to add the dressing at the last minute.

And if you are serving this to non-vegetarians, it's wonderful with grilled shrimp.

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Makes 1 13X9X2 pan

(Source: Cooking in Costa Rica by Susan Cuda)


1 cup flour

½ cup sugar

4 each eggs, separated

1 large can condensed milk

1 large can evaporated milk (or whole milk)

1 cup heavy cream


·Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form

·Add sugar a little at a time

·Add egg yolks one at a time

·Add flour

·Pour in greased (not floured) 13X9X2 pan

·Bake at 350 degree oven until golden brown (about 20 minutes)

·Let it cool completely

·Mix together condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream; pour over cake

·When it is all absorbed, top with meringue made as follows:


1 ½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup water

3 each egg whites


·Put sugar, cream of tartar and water in a pan over medium heat until it forms a syrup

·Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form

·Carefully drizzle in hot syrup; continue to beat until well mixed

·Spread on top of cake

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This braised dish is very easy to make, as it does not require exact measurements or any particular product. You can use just pork or just chicken.

* Not to be confused with Spanish Adobo seasoning.

Pork butt or shoulder


Vegetable oil

Soy Sauce

* Any soy sauce will work: Kikkoman (regular or lite), Teriyaki sauce, or any Asian brands


* Any vinegar will work: white, apple cider, or any Asian brands

Chicken stock, as needed

Fresh garlic, minced

Fresh grated black peppercorns

Bay Leaves

Pinch of sugar


·Cut pork and chicken into frying pieces

·In hot pot under medium heat, add oil; sear pork and chicken on each side to a lite golden brown.

·Set aside pork and chicken; discard oil

·Mix together equal parts to taste soy sauce and vinegar (enough to cover about 2/3 of the meat)

·Add garlic, black pepper, bay leaves, sugar

·In the same frying pot, place seared pork. Pour soy sauce mixture

·Add chicken stock to cover meat in liquid

·Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer until the pork is halfway cooked. Add the chicken pieces. Cover with a lid and simmer until pork and chicken are fork tender

·Skim excess fat off the surface

·The sauce can be strained for a finer sauce

*Best served with plain white rice and fresh tomatoes to off set a bit of salty taste.

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Petits Aubergine Farcis/ Feta-stuffed Mini-Eggplants


This recipe is amenable to a lot of tweaking of amounts and additions. I don’t have exact quantities listed. Here are the basics:


Thai or Japanese “Kamo” type eggplant – round and the size of a large golf ball. I get them at Shoppers Food Warehouse.

Thai = green,


Japanese = purple


One per serving. Cut the tops off each eggplant and scoop out most of the inside with a melon baller. Place cut side up on a pan, brush or spray with vegetable or olive oil and run under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until soft but not mushy – the skin may darken and blister. Remove and cool.

[optional: Chinese eggplant, long and purple, use plump ones and cut in quarters and scoop out]


Feta cheese

Ricotta cheese (or cream cheese or goat cheese)

A few tablespoons of cream or milk

Fresh mint leaves

Fresh garlic cloves or spring garlic

Red pepper flakes or Tabasco

Lemon rind and lemon juice

Black pepper

Optional toppings: Roasted red pepper strips, tapanade, pine nuts

For each approx. 1 c. of feta, blend/mash in 2/3 c. ricotta, the juice and rind of one large lemon, and a few grindings of black pepper. Finely mince or run thru a food processor about ½ c. of fresh mint leaves loosely packed, with a small amount of red pepper flakes, (or add Tabasco later to taste), and 1-2 medium cloves of garlic. Mix mint in with the feta, adding a bit of cream if it seems too stiff, and allow flavors to meld for a few hours or longer.

Fill each grilled eggplant ‘cup’ with a heaping teaspoon of filling or more to fill, and top with a strip of roasted red pepper or other optional topping. Serve at room temperature.

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~ 3 lbs. pork shoulder

~ 1.5 lbs. veal shoulder

~ 1 lb. fat back

5 T of Penzey's Bratwurst spice mix (1T per pound of meat)

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

hog casings

- Cut meat into approx. 1" cubes and mix together

- Grind through coarse die

- Add seasoning and mix

- Let rest in the fridge for at elast 30 minutes

- Grind through small die

- Mix in milk and egg (this can be done with a mixer and the paddle attachment on low/med speed for 1 min)

- Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

- Stuff into casings and twist to make links

It is important to keep everything COLD while grinding so keep the grinder in the freezer prepping.

To cook:

Poach in simmering (not boiling) beer and onions until brats reach 150F

Remove and finish on the grill, in a saute pan, broil, or whatever

Serve with a hard roll and some good mustard

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Pernil (Puerto Rican style pork shoulder)

What I brought to the picnic was not the recipe my family traditionally uses. I'll give a few variations. All of them start with:

1 pork shoulder, 8-10lbs, with skin

My method:

2 tablespoons salt (kosher or sea, nothing fancy)

2 tablespoons peppercorns

1 tablespoon dried oregano (or a little more)

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon dried onion

Place all ingredients (except pork) in a spice grinder, and grind until fine. Take half of the mixture and combine with

1 cup sour orange juice

1 cup water

Let sit for several hours, then using a large cooking syringe, inject into the shoulder at varying points and varying depths. Don't poke any holes in the skin! Pour any remaining liquid over the shoulder, cover and place in the refrigerator 8 - 24 hours.

Take the remaining salt/spice mix and combine with just enough olive oil to moisten and form a thick paste. Rub thoroughly over the entire shoulder, then return to the refrigerator for several hours.

Take the shoulder out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up to room temperature before cooking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place roast in oven dish (or whatever) skin-side up. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast at 350 for 30-35 minutes per pound, until internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Remove foil, and cut several long slits in the skin. Return to the oven and raise temperature to 400. Continue roasting until the skin is brown and crispy.

More traditional method:

1 tablespoon salt (kosher or sea, nothing fancy)

1 tablespoon peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (or a little more)

2 bulbs garlic, peeled and well crushed

Mix all ingredients well, preferably crushing it all together in a mortar and pestle. A wooden spoon and strong bowl will also work. Add enough olive oil to make a thick paste.

Cut several short, shallow cuts on the outside of the shoulder (not the skin). Rub the paste over the shoulder, including skin, and work the mix into the cuts. Refrigerate overnight, cook as above. The fresh garlic definitely improves the taste, and the flavor of the paste is stronger without the presence of the sour orange juice. But it may not penetrate as deeply, and the meat may not be as moist.

Even better traditional method:

Same mixture as above, but make about 50% more of it. Instead of shallow slices on the outside of the shoulder, cut deep, narrow holes - a boning knife is good for this. Rub the paste over the shoulder, and use your fingers to work it deep into the holes. Unfortunately, leaving deep holes in the roast while you cook it can lead to all the juices running out. To prevent this tragedy, cut strips of salt pork and plug the holes with it (how much depends on the size and number of holes). Cook as above.

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Not-Yet-Famous Deviled Eggs with Caviar

Instructing rockwellians on how to boil eggs would be tantamount to teaching your grandma to suck them. I will note that Extra Large are the best because you want a generous cavity for the blend. As for the caviar, my usual supplier, Trader Joe’s, was out and the stuff at SuperFresh seemed moldy. So I turned to Rodman’s (“between Harrison and Garrison with prices beyond comparison”) and found exactly what I wanted in 12 oz jars.

Boil eggs, run under cool water, peel, slice, deposit yolks in bowl. Add about a third of the yolks’ volume of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, sprinkle in dill, a tsp of Colman’s mustard powder, several shakes of parsley and a drop of Worcestershire. (No salt — the caviar will take care of that.)

Mish, mash and mosh until it’s no longer bumpy. Deposit in egg halves, smoothing at the top so there’s a place for the caviar. Using a cocaine spoon, or something of similar size, lovingly add the caviar. Grind some pepper over the whole shebang.

Refrigerate until you leave for Fort Hunt or wherever the comestibles will be consumed.

A couple of years ago, I read in one of the food sections something like, “Let’s not kid ourselves. You can make any kind of appetizers you like, but it’s the deviled eggs that go first.” I took that to heart, and the donrocks picnic gratifyingly demonstrated it. I sent a photo of the finished product to a friend in India and noted that one woman walked by me with four of my eggs on her plate. My friend said, “After looking at those puppies, I think she showed remarkable restraint.”

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Strawberry-Bresaola Packets

The Thinking Man's 'Prosciutto and Melon Ball'


  1. Strawberries, tops cut off and sliced in halves or thirds, depending on size
  2. Bresaola, sliced thin, cut in half if nessesary
  3. Ground black pepper
  4. Sea salt, preferably sel gris or fleur de sel for a bit of crunch
  5. Chives, blanched


Blanch and shock a suitable number of chives for how many packets you wish to make, plus a few for good measure (Some will be too short, etc). Slice your strawberries and bresaola. This is pretty much it! Now you're ready to assemble. Lay out bresaola slice on work surface, place strawberry slice in center, sprinkle with black pepper, a few grains of sel gris, and wrap with the bresaola in whichever way you find is best. Place on top of chive and tie with overhand knot, using tip of a paring knife to help push through if need be, and carefully pull snug. The blanched chive is surprisingly resiliant, so you can get it pretty tight and neat looking. The whole thing should hold together nicely once you get a technique down.

Looks kind of like this:


Might try additional fillings such as balsamic reduction, herbs, maybe something like a basil creme fraiche or lemon-zested chevre. I tried herbs and balsamic vinegar, but the basic strawberry/salt/pepper worked best!

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