Get Your Kicks with These 8 Recipes from the 8 States Along Route 66

The ultimate road trip in America has got to be driving Route 66, spanning eight states with iconic comfort foods along the way. Although it was officially decommissioned in the 80s, it continues to attract tourists, road warriors, and food lovers looking to taste pure Americana. Today the historic route boasts vintage motels, nostalgic roadside attractions, and some really good road food.

After the Great Depression, folks finally had a little extra cash so they piled into the family car and embarked on a road trip of a lifetime with destination spots like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland Park in mind. Even great movies, songs, and books were inspired by the open road and aura of Route 66. For many, this road trip is also about the iconic flavors, like home-style baked goods, spicy chiles, BBQ, and all-around good country eating!

So as we inch closer to summer, we thought it would be fun to take you all on a road trip along Route 66 for this month’s Food Explorer destination. So buckle up and take a bite out of these eight recipes representing the eight states along Route 66!

1. Chicago Dog

2. Kansas BBQ Rub

3. Country Fried Steak

4. Buttered Pecan Blueberry Cobbler

5. Cowboy Steak

6. Easy Sticky Buns

7. Chicken Posole

8. Fish Tacos with Lime Crema & Cabbage Slaw

Chef Carrie Cooks: Lobster Cooking Tips

First off, it’s Lobstermania this weekend at DLM (sale starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday and once they’re gone, they’re gone)! But we actually kick it off with our sold out Lobster 101 cooking class event Friday night at the DLM Culinary Center (hint: buy your tickets early next year). On Saturday, you can procure fresh, live Maine lobster for $15, which is quite a deal for such quality of lobster weighing in at 1.25 lbs or larger. You can buy them already steamed fresh or you can do it at home with no Annie Hall freak-outs, I promise! Follow my tips below for steaming or boiling live lobster, and before you know it, you’ll be serving up a couple for dinner alongside corn-on-the-cob and some of our Bakery’s Herb Cheddar Biscuits!

To start, if you have never handled a live lobster, keep the bands on. Also, the lobster doesn’t “scream” when you start cooking it. If you do hear a noise it’s just the steam escaping from the shell.

Lobster Boiling Tips

Boiling a lobster is easy and probably the best way for cooking 4 or more at one time. Get a big pot and fill with fresh water about 2/3 full. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of salt per gallon of water. Bring to a boil and add lobsters. Start the timer when the water comes back to a boil. You can figure 6-7 minutes for a 1.25-lb lobster, 7-9 minutes for 1.5-lb lobster, and 10-12 minutes for a 2-lb lobster.

Lobster Steaming Tips

Steaming lobster works great and tends to yield a more tender, less messy cooked lobster than boiling. Fill a large, deep pot with 2-3 inches of water. Bring to a boil, add the lobsters, cover, and steam, about 8 minutes per lb.

How do you tell when it’s cooked? Remember, sometimes the lobster may be undercooked even if the shell is entirely red. Double check that the meat is a creamy white color with no translucent areas. Give a good tug on one of the antennas and if it pops off, the lobster is done You can also insert an instant read thermometer into the underside of the tail. It should read 135-140°F.

Hot Stuff!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotta have it. You might even say I am addicted to hot sauce. In fact, I won’t even make or order eggs for breakfast if there isn’t any to be found. (I mean really—why bother?) I actually have something in common with the amazing Beyoncé—she feels the same way I do about hot sauce! She always carries hot sauce in her bag wherever she goes.

Doing a little bit of research on the huge and fiercely loyal following that hot sauces have leads me to believe that this isn’t a fad that is going away any time soon. I think it’s more of a cultural influence on how all of our tastes are becoming more global. Think about it, have you ever heard of a chipotle pepper in mainstream America 20 years ago? Now it is reported that over 50% of all American households currently have a bottle of some brand of hot sauce.

I read somewhere that Tabasco is the “Kleenex brand” of hot sauces and although Louisiana-style hot sauces are most common, what has really taken off in the hot sauce market are ones with ethnic influences and wider ranges of flavors. Sriracha is a good example. It’s not only a new condiment that the restaurant industry had to make room for on their tables, it’s the trending flavor for the snack aisle in grocery and convenience stores. You can find it on popcorn, crackers, and all sorts of other items.

Right now if you opened my fridge at home, I think I have 5 kinds. I like to use different ones depending on what I am cooking or eating. Tabasco for eggs, Crystal for seafood, Sriracha to kick anything up a notch, Schultz’s for anything Buffalo-style, and Gochujang to help add a warm, slightly smoky depth to sauces and soups.

What’s your favorite hot sauce?

Lamb: A Delicious Sign of Spring

Growing up, my husband’s family had ham every single Easter, whereas at my house, our holiday meal centerpiece rotated between lamb, fish, or the occasional ham. We still debate over which one of our meals was the best. Of course, I think mine was always better as I loved the changing variety of that spring celebration meal. What did your family have on the spring celebration table growing up?

Although ham is an easy choice for a delicious centerpiece, especially when you have our signature Heavenly Ham® as an option, a roasted leg of lamb can be a bit more showy. Even though it looks and tastes ultra-elegant, it really is pretty simple to make at home. After experimenting with several recipes, one of my favorites is Rosemary & Garlic Lamb.

I also love how lamb pairs so nicely with other “springy” things like asparagus, goat cheese, tender lettuces, and the newly released rosés that combine to make a delightful meal. So if you haven’t mixed up your menu lately, spring is always a good time to start. It may be time to save the ham and eggs for the brunch table this year and look to lamb. (Even better, you’ll notice that we’re having a Leg of Lamb Sale in this week’s Club Deals.)

Speaking of lamb, my husband and his six siblings took turns sculpting the lamb out of butter for the table centerpiece (yes, it had cloves for eyes). It was a very big deal and as grown adults they still talk fondly about making that lamb-shaped butter.

But in my family it was all about the lamb cake. My mom had a lamb cake mold that she would get out every year to make a rich, plain pound cake in the shape of this adorable animal. Then my siblings and I would get to decorate it with white buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and whatever color jelly beans we didn’t want to eat. Although I can’t quite remember what the finished cakes looked like, I do remember how much I love that frosting/coconut combo. Who cares about jelly beans?

I’d love to hear about your springtime traditions!

So Simple, So French

It’s referred to in my vagabond family of travelers as “that salad”. A lot of the times you don’t even order it. It just always shows up. It comes as a side dish, a first course, and a lot of the times it’s served like a heavy handed garnish to round out a plate. Over many wine-fueled meals my family has complained, “Why we can’t get this kind salad at home?” My son loves it and stated a long time ago he would eat salad everyday if I only made it for him back at home. So I did, and I am happy to say that he now makes it for himself!

Click here to view my recipe for salade verte.

“That salad” is the classic French salad called salade verte and it’s served everywhere in France. I am serious here—the corner bistro, the cafeterias, the Michelin starred places, fancy burger joints, and even at the breakfast buffet at your hotel.  It is, at its most simple, a lightly dressed lettuce. No croutons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This salad doesn’t need any of it. It is perfect in its simplicity. Light, fresh, and delicious.

Since the salad is so simple, you’ve got to get it right when trying to recreate it at home. The lettuce that is most commonly used in France is what we here in America call Boston lettuce. Boston lettuce is part of the Butterhead family of lettuce. It is slighty bigger than Bibb lettuce, which tends to be easier to find around here. The leaves of both types of these lettuces are soft and tender, so you can usually find them packed in clear plastic containers that help prevent bruising.

For the dressing (a side note—the server will not give you a choice), it’s served with vinaigrette a la moutarde.  A classic vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (usually sunflower or olive oil), salt, pepper, and finely minced shallot. Not a lot of variation here, although sometimes in southern France they will sub the vinegar with lemon juice and they always use olive oil.

The more I travel back to France and other parts of Europe the more I am starting to see a trend on using a bottled dressing that tends to be whitish in color and a little sweet. I can’t tell you all how disappointing that is! What has made this salad so distinctive is the freshness of the just-made vinaigrette. Sometimes the fast shortcuts are NOT the answer!

I challenge you to get out your whisk the next time you want to make a salad! Master this and you will be enjoying this simple balanced salad for years to come.

Spring Stationery

Does anyone else consider themselves an office supply fanatic? To-do lists, memo pads, travel notebooks, cute recipe cards—these are the kinds of things I love to look at, shop for, and generally just kind of geek out about. I often find myself walking around a good bookstore, stationary shop, or gift store browsing their collections and envisioning getting myself so organized with such cute stationery!

Thankfully Peggy, Culinary Center Manager, shares the same enthusiasm for stationery. So we’ve ramped up our selection with all sorts of pretty pastel and floral designs by Rifle Paper Co. Owned by a husband and wife team, Rifle Paper Co. has quickly grown from a business being run from their basement to an international brand. With their adorable products they hope to inspire sharing memories through handwritten notes or cards. We’re excited to now carry their journals, list pads, recipe boxes, and cards, all beautifully designed and well-priced.

Bright and colorful with plenty of flower power, they make me so happy because they scream spring. Come see us in the Culinary Center to embrace your love for stationery and browse the new selections we have to offer.

Sausages with a Bang!

If you haven’t tried our bangers we make every day fresh in our Meat department, this weekend is a good time to start. We make both English-style and Irish-style (difference being the Irish has the addition of ginger) with just the right amount of fat to make the sausage pop and “bang” while browning them up in a skillet.

At my house, I like to roll them around in a sauté pan with a little oil and get the casing nice and snappy. We also have some really good bangers from a company called Jolly Posh. These sausages are larger in diameter and great for a quick Irish Banger Dinner or stuffed inside one of our Bakery buns with some whole grain mustard.

Started by Nicholas Spencer, Jolly Posh was inspired by traditional Irish foods and his hunger for the classic flavors of home (Ireland). Their all-natural bangers are free of hormones as well as nitrites, nitrates, and MSG. In our stores, look for their Traditional Pork Bangers and Pork & Herb Bangers.

Or try some of their white pudding, which is seasoned pork, oatmeal, and breadcrumb mixture that is awesome for an “over the pond” breakfast experience. Just slice it up, fry it till golden brown, and serve it alongside some of our local eggs. It’s magically delicious!

Getting to the Point

Wusthof KnivesAfter 20 years of teaching the knife skills class, I am still amazed what a lot of folks don’t know about knives. It may sound strange, but learning how to hold and use a knife correctly will help you work faster and safer. Sometimes all it takes is a little forethought before you just randomly start breaking down your veggies.

The benefit of good knife skills comes with uniformity. I can’t stress this point enough! Every time you lift your knife to cut or chop, think to yourself: Is this the same thickness? Is this the same size as the last piece? Plain and simply put, pieces of food that are the same size and shape cook at the same rate. I remember my mom fishing around a big pot of boiling potatoes looking for the biggest to see if potatoes were done yet! With uniformity, you don’t have to ‘go fishing’.

Another bonus to good knife skills and uniformity is presentation. We all know that we eat first with our eyes. There is a simple elegance to perfectly cut and sized vegetables that a ”rough  chop” will never be able to give. If you’re looking to get on point, here are a couple of my favorite knives that we always carry in the Culinary Center:

I love the Chef’s knife. It can handle a lot of the everyday tasks in your kitchen. Its stable and curved blade helps promote a rocking motion that enables you to have better control and a finer dice. Available in 3 sizes (6 inch,  8 inch, and 10 inch) I like to call the 8-inch knife the workhorse of the kitchen. The 6 inch is a good one for beginners or those who are a little shy about knives. The 10 inch can cover more ground when prepping for larger quantities.

A Bread knife can do things that the chef’s knife just can’t.  Think things that squish. You use a sawing motion when using this knife, so it’s perfect for bread, tomatoes, croissants, etc. The serrated blade is not meant for chopping.

The Paring knife is handy to have around. Whether you are paring, peeling, or slicing, the small size of the blade can tackle mincing garlic to peeling an apple. Most are now available with either a serrated blade or a straight one.

When it comes to Japanese knives, two of my favorites are the Santoku and the Nakiri. The hollow edge of a Santoku creates air pockets which help prevent thin cuts or soft slice foods from clinging to the blade. The straighter, blunt, squarish shape of the Nakiri facilitates a straight up and down motion for chopping and most veggie prep.

Feel free to come in and ask us any questions you may have. We love talking knives and are happy to set you up with a cutting board so you can try out whatever type of knife you are interested in.  Or sign up for our popular knife skills class.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

The Art of the Winter Roast

Simply speaking , pot roasting or braising is cooking a tougher cut of meat gently and slowly in liquid until it becomes tender. This can result in a flavorful sauce that’s just waiting to be served with a starch or sopped up with DLM Artisan Bread.

The bonuses are plenty as not only does it make your house smell amazing but it feeds a crowd of people economically. And yes, it does tend to taste better after a day or two, so make enough for leftovers.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUT OF MEAT

Good news—tougher cuts tend to be cheaper and they make the best braises. That combo of low and moist heat turns well-worked muscles, sinews, and connective tissue into rich, gelatinous, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness. Try: Chuck roasts, short ribs, pork shoulder, veal breast, lamb shanks, and chicken thighs. Bone–in meat imparts even more flavor.

BROWN & SEAR LIKE THE BEST

This step creates the foundation flavors for the entire braise, resulting in gorgeous, deep golden-brown coloring. Browning takes time and space, so don’t crowd your pan as it may take multiple rounds! Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven with a little fat to start. Then, complete the following steps.

STEP 1: Remove browned meat from pan and start the next round of browning mirepoix, additional veggies, aromatics, etc. 

STEP 2: Deglaze pan using liquid. This helps those browned bits become liquid, reinforcing the dish’s foundation flavors. Use enough liquid to partially submerge the meat. More liquid yields a stew-like consistency while less results in a more concentrated, richer sauce.

STEP 3: Cover dish and either place in a low-heat oven (325°F or less) or low simmer on the stove. Note that the oven tends to be more consistent. How long? It depends on what you’re braising and the size of the cut. That’s the thing about braises—it’s done when it’s fork tender.

STEP 4: Season sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a splash of acid, such as lemon juice or a glug of wine to brighten things up. Want the sauce thicker? Remove the meat and veggies and bring liquid to a strong simmer. Reduce until desired consistency and season.

POT ROAST 3-WAYS

GUINNESS BEEF STEW

Meat: Chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, leeks, potatoes.
Deglazer: Guinness Stout.

BEEF IN BAROLO

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix, pancetta, fennel, tomato.
Deglazer: A hearty dry red wine (try Barolo).

AMERICAN POT ROAST

Meat: Chuck roast.
Veggie Base: Mirepoix and potatoes.
Deglazer: Beef stock.

Sweethearts Out There – Ditch the Reservations and Cook at Home!

Planning on going to an expensive steakhouse for Valentine’s Day?  Before you blow a whole lot of money hear me out.  I love to go out and eat. I appreciate everything our local restaurants do, plus I don’t have to cook or clean up.

One of my main pet peeves is that you go out and spend a fortune on what is quite frankly a pretty simple meal (plus wine and tip of course). Face it – the mark up on that bottle alone of wine costs you a pretty penny when you can spend the same amount of money and get a serious upgrade at retail.

DLM Shrimp Cocktail

It’s one thing if you are spending some serious time cooking from scratch say a good beef bourguignon and a chocolate soufflé that can be a little tricky but if you are going for that classic steakhouse kind of thing you can save some money and really ramp up the quality!

Let’s break it down – First course shrimp cocktail? It can’t get any easier to replicate this at home. Our fresh cooked plump shrimp cocktail can rival any local restaurant with its quality. Keep it nice and chilled and customize the cocktail sauce just the way you like it.

DLM Salad Bar

 

 

I know you all can handle making a good salad with what is available here at DLM every single day. You can even skip the prep work and make one exactly with what you want in it at our salad bars complete with from scratch housemade dressing (plus our new butter and salt DLM Croutons!)  Baked potatoes are easy enough to master but in case you want to cheat a little swing by and pick up our loaded or stuffed potatoes with the “works”.

DLM Natural Beef Rib Steak

Steak – You simply cannot find a better tasting higher quality one than right here. Simply season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Need some info on steak? Click here or ask one of our experts in our meat department.

Chocolate Mousse

Cheese Course and Dessert?  Think of the options here –  cheese, fruits, and nuts from all over the world. The best French pastries, chocolate-dipped strawberries, decadent cheesecakes, and even chocolate mousse. Best part? No tipping, no designated driver, and the music playlist has all of your favorites!