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Archive for the tag “cooking”


Okay, maybe not really shiny, but isn’t it nice!

My all-new Cooking Contest Central Food Blog Badge…for my non-blog blog.

Check it out…

My Fellow Americans (and World Citizens)…

…as we tick, tock, tick, tock our way into own version of Super Tuesday, I implore you to ‘Stay the course’ and ‘Remember the Alamo’, as we ‘Keep Country First’ to ‘Believe in America’ and when ‘Morning again in America’ comes around on July 3rd, 2012, REMEMBER TO VOTE!

Okay, that’s enough with the re-hashed political campaign slogans. Bottom line is this…

I need and appreciate your vote(s)!

Huge thank you to all who have been voting daily and regularly, and huge thank you to those who have taken the time (the reported record is 5 seconds) to cast a vote for my entry in the 2012 Johnsonville “No Ordinary Burger Contest”. The voting officially ends at 11:59:59pm on July 3rd, so PLEASE cast your vote, or cast another vote, today.

If you wouldn’t mind, please share the voting link (http://www.JimRhino.com/burger) with all your friends, family, neighbors, enemies, heck…if they have an email address, please share the link today.

As many of you know, I am attempting to break all sorts of records with this election of Fan Favorite. If successful in making the Fan Favorite Finals, I will be the first person in history to make it on Fan Votes in 2 consecutive years, will be the first person from Illinois to make it in 2 consecutive years, and if I can manage to pull off a win at the finals, could be the first person in history to win this contest in back-to-back years!! Granted, this contest is only 2 years old, but it’s still fun to think of it as ‘First Person in History’ terms. 🙂

Anyway, please click on any of the links in this post to be intergalactically space warped directly to the OFFICIAL Johnsonville Voting Site.

HUGE thank you to Susan Gluck, Ms. Sharon Woodward, David Quinn, Joannie Minor, and everyone else who have been voting faithfully and daily for the last 6 weeks. And a tremendous thank you to Jeremiah & Sheryl Morning Show on 88.7 The Cross for your support and help!

(Back to meaningless political cliches)

A vote for my burger is a vote for a happy world!

Thank you for your support!!

Daddy’s Day 2012 – The Feast

Big Ol’ Daddy’s Day Feast 2012

Okay, so the votes have been tabulated and the “Big Ol’ Daddy’s Day Feast 2012” is planned, prepped, and will soon be an epic event…one for the record books.

Thanks to everyone who helped make suggestions for the grand event. Your thoughts, input, and suggestions were all taken to heart. Here we go…

– Jalapeno Poppers

Main Course:
– Ribeye Steaks
– Asparagus
– Potatoes

– Garlic French Bread
– Sautéed Mushrooms

WoW! That sounds so completely and totally UNinteresting, if I do say so myself. If you haven’t been completely bored to point of narcolepsy, and are still reading, let’s try this again…using the same ingredients, but trying to be a little more descriptive…

Bacon Wrapped / Crab Stuffed Jalapenos
– Stuffed with a blend of Queso and cream cheeses, crab meat, cracked black pepper and smoked paprika, then grilled to excellence.

Main Course:
Sweet Balsamic Glazed Ribeye Steaks
– Marinated and char-grilled to perfection. Drizzled with a honey and balsamic reduction.

Bacon Wrapped Petite Asparagus
– Tender Asparagus bundles wrapped in hickory smoked bacon, brushed with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, grilled then seasoned with cracked black pepper and truffle salt.

Smash Baked Potatoes
– Baked whole then smashed, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, then grilled until outside is slightly crisp. Seasoned with cracked pepper mélange and sea salt with a dollup of sour cream.

Whole Wheat Garlic Parmesan French Bread
– A split loaf covered with a delicious compound butter of roasted garlic, grated parmesan cheese and scallions. Toasted on the grill.

Sautéed Baby Bella Mushrooms
– Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms sautéed in unsalted butter, minced garlic and a dash of sweet red wine. Served both on the side and over the steaks.

Daddy's Day 2012 Feast

Whew! Hopefully THAT description was a little better. Even with my A.D.D. it was more fun to type, because it was a closer example of how it tasted.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say, since not everyone in the Rhino Domain enjoys this kind of menu, a request was put in for grilled cheese burgers too. Because it is a Big Ol’ Daddy’s Feast, I couldn’t very well just toss a couple of preformed patties on the grill. Nope, this is a special day where I get to go the extra mile to thank my family for putting up with me as a daddy and husband. Anyway, here’s what we did for burgers…

Cheese Burger - Rhino Style

Each burger started with a juicy 80/20 Ground Chuck, mixed with crumbled Queso Cheese, seasoned with a sea salt and black pepper blend, then grilled to liking of each critter*. (Here’s where it gets good) Nestled between a buttered/grilled, corn meal dusted bun, then topped with Colby Jack Cheese, sliced tomato,  hickory smoked bacon, sautéed Baby Bella Mushrooms.

4/5ths of the reason for being.

I am not bragging, but would like to say in a most humble mindset, I am truly blessed to have a beautiful bride who tolerates me, and four incredible children who, despite my short falls and sometimes quick temper, seem to love and appreciate me. This is certainly an epic Daddy’s Day. I appreciate being able to spend time with them and cook for them (even though they don’t always like my ‘creations’), and have a career that allows me to spend time with them.

After all, who says Daddy’s Day is just about celebrating dear old dad? I believe it should be a day where dad gets to show appreciation for having a family. For without them, I would not, and could not, be the person I am. May God bless them with health and happiness throughout their lives.

*I am not referring to scurrying animals, rather ‘critter’ in this sense is an endearing term I often use for my children.

Please Vote. Pretty Please…

With the announcement that my 2011 “No Ordinary Burger” Contest winning recipe and picture is being unleashed on North America around July 4th of this year, I am already deep in the trenches of the 2012 “No Ordinary Burger” Contest.

Last year’s contest was an incredible experience that would not have happened if not for my family and friends who took 30 seconds out of their life to vote for my recipe. Now that this year’s contest is in full swing, I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR HELP. While I have posted MANY times that it only takes 30 seconds to vote for my burger (once you click any of the links in this post), a friend of mine pointed out that it only took him 18 seconds! Can you beat his record?? Let’s see! Click any of the links in this post, cast your vote for my “Ay Caramba! Chorizo Burger“, then come back here and let us know how long it took. C’mon…it’ll be fun!

Regardless if you post your time or not, I do truly appreciate your time, efforts, and votes in this contest. I am forever grateful that you even took the time to read this entry.

Now…on your marks…get set…VOTE! http://burgercontest.johnsonville.com/Vote/ViewRecipes?entrantID=465

Leftovers are our friends

Some people refuse to eat leftovers. Even in my own household, there are some who will steer clear of any cooked food leftover from the day before…unless it’s in the form of pizza. Heaven forbid it has been in there two whole days!

After working up a recipe for the 2012 Johnsonville “No Ordinary Burger” Contest, we somehow managed to have a Chorizo Burger Patty in the fridge. Sealed up tight and calling my name, I discovered it and just HAD to do something with it. Afterall, it was lonely in the dark fridge. At least I’m guessing it was dark. I’ve never been able to see the light go off when I close the door, so I’m not altogether sure.

So the question begs: What do you do on the rare occassion you find a leftover grilled Chorizo burger patty in the fridge?

Create breakfast! Toasted Whole Wheat Bread, Queso Cheese, Diced Tomatoes and Sweet Red Onion, topped with a Poached Egg, Black Olives, Sea Salt, Poppy Seeds and a sliced Johnsonville Chorizo Burger…Mmm!

Johnsonville Chorizo Burger Breakfast

Nothing tricky about this recipe, if you know how to poach an egg. Just toss all the above listed ingredients on a plate and dive in. If you’re not sure how to poach an egg, check out my previous post. Since discovering this easy poaching method, I have been on an eggcellent egg poaching adventure.


Carpe Cuisine,


This is my AIBreakfast (Aaron Inspired Breakfast).

Aaron is a dear friend I met many moons ago, during my travel years. He’s the tourism director for the world famous National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Long story short, Aaron re-pinned a breakfast dish that inspired the following:

This poached egg topped deliciousness turned out sooo good! I had some leftover avocado sliced up from the evening before, it had been tossed with some fresh squeezed lime juice to help preserve it, but was beginning to take on a brownish tint (from oxidation), so I mashed it up with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper. It was creamy and delish.

Also leftover from dinner the night before, I had some split top sandwich rolls, red onion, and queso cheese. These few ingredients were enough to create a super easy and amazingly delicious breakfast. I can foresee making this again sometime and putting it on hearty rye toast or a bagel. Here’s how it was built:

1. Split the roll and toast. Butter each half.
2. Mash avocado with some Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper. Add a little lime juice if you haven’t already done so.
3. Spread the mash over the toast and top with thinly sliced red onion and crumbles of queso cheese.
4. Top with Poached Egg (instructions to follow).
5. Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to create…

Okay, the perfectly poached egg is easier than you think. Until I stumbled into the world of Pinterest, I had never pulled off a successful poached egg. It really couldn’t be easier, so go ahead, follow these easy steps and see for yourself…

1. Bring a pan of salted water to a slow boil. Add a tablespoon of vinegar.
2. Crack an egg into a coffee cup then slightly submerge the cup into the slow boiling water and roll the egg into the pan…remove the cup.
3. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Remove egg with a slotted spoon and gently rinse with clean water. I run it under the faucet for a second. This will remove any vinegar flavor.
5. Enjoy your perfectly poached egg!

Thanks so much to Mr. Aaron Martin for your inspiration to create this awesome breakfast!

Boeff Tenderloin

Okay, today is an odd day. The planets must be aligned just so, because I am making double post.

Dinner tonight was just tooooo-o-o-oooo good to not post. It was ‘made-my-own’ from a recipe that I found on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago. Yes I am a dude and I use Pinterest. I’m comfortable in my own skin. Judging me is fruitless, so here we go.

Without getting into an enormous back story of how I got this Choice Beef Tenderloin for only $2.79/pound, I will say that I have been dry aging this amazingly tender piece of meat for more than 3 weeks. This was the first time I have tried aging a tenderloin, but must admit, it had the most amazingly intense ‘beefy’ flavor I have ever had, outside of a very high end chophouse.

While bringing the tenderloin to room temperature, I assembled the lemon/garlic butter as so: Start with one stick  of softened real (salt free) butter. Add a couple pinches of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, cracked pepper to taste, 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest, and a pinch of minced thyme and rosemary. Blend together well; place on a piece of plastic cling wrap, fold over the wrap to cover and shape the butter into a log. Roll the butter up in the wrap and place in freezer to firm up while you move on to the sauce and grilling.

The succulent tenderloin is still resting at room temperature, but not quite ready, so next came the sauce as so (in rough measurements): 1 cup of beef broth, 2 cups of White Zin Whine, 1/4 cup low sodium Soy Sauce, and about 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Tossed all into a very wide, high sided skillet, brought it to a boil over Medium/High Heat, and reduced it to about 1/2 cup…almost syrupy, but not quite. This produced an insanely savory and delicious sauce that was drizzled over the finished entree.

Before moving on the the meat, it’s still resting and warming to room temperature and doing just fine, I HAD to add some sauteed mushrooms to the mix. One of my favorite things of all time happens to be the splendiferous pairing of sauteed mushrooms and perfectly cooked beef. This tenderlion screamed for something more than the usual button mushrooms. I still had two Portabello ‘shrooms left over from lunch, so that’s what made it’s way to the skillet on Medium/High heat.

SPOILER ALERT: UNHEALTHY (BUT TASTY) INGREDIENT IS ABOUT TO BE USED. I added about 3 tablespoons of BACON JUICE to the still hot, extra large skillet, used for the sauce. After slicing up the ‘shrooms, tossed them into the pan to begin softening and soaking up all the bacony goodness. At the point when the ‘shrooms began to soften, I added in about a cup of the White Zin wine from the previously opened bottle. This cooked long enough for the liquid in the pan to evaporate. I then moved the ‘shrooms to an oven safe dish and place in the oven at 170* to keep them warm while I moved to the main event…the meat.

Aside from trimming out, and hog tying the Beef Tenderloin, the most time consuming steps are now out of the way. Whew! Let’s cook some meat!

Now that the ever-so-loverly beef tenderloin has warmed to near room temperature, I added about 2 MORE tablespoons of the BACON JUICE to the still hot, extra large skillet on Medium/High heat. After the BACON JUICE re-liquified (and it will not take long), I sprinkled the entire roast with Truffle Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, then carefully placed the tenderloin in to sear each of the 4 sides for about 60-90 seconds per side. Since I had already fired up the gas grill to finish the cooking process, I guess I could have used it to sear the meat, but the BACON JUICE would have been useless, and let’s face it, wasted BACON JUICE should be a crime. Okay, back on track. After searing the tenderloin in the skillet, I took it to the now rocket hot grill and placed in the middle of the rack. The way my gasser is built, there are 3 long burners. I turned the middle one off so that finishing the meat on the grill, with it in the middle, would be more indirect without further searing. I left the other 2 burners on HIGH heat and closed the lid to cook the meat for about 5 minutes…the temp of the grill was about 750*F. At that point, I turned the burners to LOW, rolled the beautiful roast while keeping it in the middle of the grill, closed the lid and cooked for another 5 minutes with the lid closed. Again visiting the grill, I rotated the beef yet again, closed the lid and, you guessed it, cooked it another 5 minutes.

For me, I like beef tenderloin medium rare AT MOST. After 15 minutes on the grill, it was time to remove the roast back to the kitchen. I simply kept it on the cutting board and allowed it to rest for about 5 minutes. During this ‘resting’ phase (trust me you do not want to skip this phase), I turned the oven off (remember the ‘shrooms are in there keeping happy), and warmed the sauce. After resting, I sliced the tenderloin to 1/2 inch slices, drizzled the sauce over the top, removed the lemon/garlic butter from the fridge and sliced off a few thin coins, and placed them on top to melt down.

Here’s what we had…

Please believe me when I say, this was THE best beef tenderloin I have ever tasted. So good, in fact, that my lovely daughter (who only eats meat in the form of chicken tenders) tried it and asked for seconds! I am such a proud papa!

I’m sure part of the awesomeness of flavor came from the extensive dry aging of the beef, but the earthyness of the mushrooms and the intensity of the sauce really added pop to this dish.

We stuffed ourselves, but had plenty of the steak left over to ensure tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch will be amazing.

Triple D Pizza

I’m calling this the Triple D Pizza. No, I’m not referring the Guy’s FoodNetwork show, Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives. This is Deep Dish Deconstructed.

Haven’t been to the grocery this week, so the cubboards are on the lean side. Swung over to the house from the older critter’s first track meet of the year to grab some lunch and soon realized that, (re-read first sentence.) Time to get creative.

We did have some nice Portabello Mushrooms in the fridge, along with some marinara sauce, 3 cheese shredded blend, and some Johnsonville Beef Sausage Bites. I don’t know about you, but my mind instantly thought…PIZZA!

Here’s the lowdown…

I used a spoon to scrape out the ‘fins’ from the underneath side of the shroom; also pulled out the stem, but didn’t throw it away. I chopped the stem and sprinkled it in the cup of the shroom. To that I added a couple dabs of marinara sauce, a sprinkling of Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Smoked Paprika, and Chili Powder; some sliced up Johnsonville Beef Sausage Bites and shredded 3 cheese blend. then added some more sliced up sausage bites.

While the prep was going on, the oven was pre-heating to 400*F. When ready, I baked the ‘shroom pie for 10 minutes. While the cheese was melted at that point, the ‘shroom was still pretty firm, so I baked it an additional 5 minutes. After removing from the 2nd go around in the oven, I sprinkled some chopped almonds on top for texture. It was perfect!

The beef sausage really made a nice flavor on the pie, but the almonds really gave a nice texture and ‘bite’ to the dish. The beefy-ness of the ‘shroom REALLY added a nice flavor and made for an awesome replacement to the traditional pizza dough.

This will definitely be on the ‘will-have-again’ list.

English Muffin Salmon Bfast

Simple. Delicious. Simply Delicious.

Was looking for something quick and easy (tends to be a theme in the life of the Rhino Crew) for breakfast. Opened the fridge and viola! Inspiration!

Thomas English Muffin, split in half and toasted; Novia Scotia Salmon, pre-packaged for instant gratification; Fresh Egg from Jourdan Acres…yeah, livin’ large is how I roll.

So there’s nothing complicated about this recipe. Simplicity is key but flavor is huge.

Here are the stars of the show…

Stars of the English Muffin Salmon Bfast

Toast the Thomas English Muffin (I am big fan of English Muffins, but not all brands are created equal. I like this brand for the light & fluffy texture and, of course, the nooks and crannies); Lightly butter. In the mean time, hard fry the egg in a dab of extra virgin olive oil. Season with cracked black pepper and truffle salt.

English Muffin Salmon Breakfast Sandwhich

Okay, the truffle salt is a little indulgent, but so worth the money. I don’t use it all the time, but really enjoy the pungent aroma and nutty flavor. Otherwise I am a proponent of sea salt.

Bon Appetit!

Good Friday Egg Nests

So meatless Friday’s are almost over. For today’s breakfast, I decided to revisit a recipe from a few weeks ago.

I didn’t get a picture of the ‘nests’ before putting them in the oven, but will show you what they looked like when they came out in a minute. In the mean time, here are the rest of the ingredients.

Eggs, Sea Salt, Carrots, Feta Cheese, Shredded Cheese Blend

Good Friday Egg Nests - Basics

The ‘nests’ were made with about 3 cups of frozen shredded potatoes, a healthy dose of sea salt, mixed with 2 whisked eggs. The mixure was then pressed into large muffin tin sprayed with cooking oil to keep them from sticking. Here are the nests after they’ve been cooked in a 400*F oven for 22 minutes…

Good Friday Egg Nests

Each cup was then filled with the shredded cheese (and a couple of them with Feta Cheese!), and broiled them until the cheese was all melty-gooey and golden. Top each cup with scrambled the eggs (simply seasoned with sea salt), filled the nests and garnished with some shaved carrots…

Good Friday Egg Nests - Complete Goodness

My little Princess is not a fan of eggs, so her serving was a ‘Birds Nest Quesadilla’…a cheese filled basket. I didn’t tell her that there was a decent amount of egg IN the nest. she liked it. What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt. 

Good eatin’ everyone!

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