When you mix an athlete, a nerd, beer, and good ingredients this is what you get.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Boston Magazine Battle of the Burgers Home Griller Competition

Our burger from rotio.food is one of three to make it to the finals in Boston Magazine's Battle of the Burgers Home Griller competition!

I'll be in St. Louis while the final round is happening so Katie Egan will be flying solo, preparing it for the judges at the main event in South Boston. If we win, we go on to the nationals in Maimi! Wish Katie luck!

This is the burger we entered: http://rotiofood.blogspot.com/2012/05/burger.html

and this is the site for the event:http://www.bostonmagazine.com/burger-battle/index.html#homegriller

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chorizo Burger Sub

Yesterday was both chill and also legit too. So many bro moments I can't even keep my head on straight when I think about the moments. But the real reason why yesterday was chill was Chorizo Burger Sub.

We started the dish by drinking 3-4 beers. Primed by 11:30am, we finally made it to the kitchen to pull together the chorizo and salsa. I tossed ground pork butt, hamburger, cider vinegar, red chile powder/cayenne/garlic/paprika/sugar/salt/oregano into a bowl. Mixed it together and let it sit in the fridge.

For the salsa we started off by boiling jalapenos, tomatoes and onions. We put everything into the food processor with some cilantro/chipotle peppers/adobo sauce and created that black goo in Prometheus. Before the liquid death could eat through the walls of the processor we cut the heat with some plain greek yogurt. In the kitchen (and additionally also in life), sometimes you have to think on your feet.

Many beers later it was time to toss the burgers on grill. We threw Manchego/Salsa Jack cheese on top.

 The time had finally come. We pulled the burgers off and gently placed everything onto a baguette.

Getting chill.


I had to put on a lax pinnie to upload this pic.

Well ladies and germs, that does it for me. Until next time,

Guy Fieri

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ultimate Cheesesteaks and Mac and Cheese Pizza Revisited

My brother is getting married in a week! To celebrate him I'm throwing a bachelor barbecue on this beautiful day. That means a lot of food. I'll be posting images of the food and snippets of text right here all day! Keep checking in for updates.

9:00AM - 

Started the big pizza dough recipe to bring back the mac and cheese hot dog stuffed crust pizza. Used this as my base recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/new-york-italian-pizza-dough/ and varied a bit from there. Added a little more flour and a touch more salt (I used Kosher instead of iodized, I find it tastes better with bread). 

1:33PM -

Pizza dough exploding, baguette dough ready for first rise. And about half of the rest of the raw ingredients...

2:57PM -
Prepping the Cheese Sauce and Bacon

Chipotle Mornaise Sauce with Smoke Cured Pork
(hah! aka bacon chipotle cheese sauce)

Bacon Mac n Cheese for the Pizza

Baguette Dough Finished with Second Rise

Not yet pictured: Baked Potato Dip (aka Crack Dip...)

3:37PM -
This is how to make baguettes JC style (Julia Child)

 Separate a piece of the dough

 Pound to a semi-rectangular shape

 Fold the bottom third up and flatten vigorously
with heels of hands.

 Fold top third down, then flatten.

 Make a valley with the heel of your hand

 Fold top half down over bottom. 
Do not flatten this time

 Roll it out, using a sharp knife score  the tops

Let 'em rise

4:16PM - 
 Sauce for the pizzas

5:00PM - 
 Baguettes after baking

One of two Bacon Mac and Cheese Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizzas 

6:00PM -
 BMurr the bringin' the heat

9 Delmonicos... Time to feed.

This is where the photos stopped. It got pretty wild though. We stacked the baguettes with the Chipotle Mornaise piled high with shaved Delmonico steak. Topped with sauteed onions and peppers, American cheese, BBQ and Ketchup. We wrapped them up in foil and tossed them back on the grill to melt the cheese and warm up the Mornaise... so worth the all day cookfest. But let's be real, you all know I enjoyed the cooking as much as the eating. Congrats to my brother LJ!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cedar Smoked Salmon with Paprika Brussels Slaw

Last Labor Day we spent the weekend with some friends down in Old Saybrook, CT, where we were introduced to the concept of cedar-smoked salmon. It was delicious to say the least, but since it was the last weekend of summer and near the end of grilling season, we didn't get a chance to try it ourselves until now. A couple weeks ago I saw cedar planks at the grocery store and just had to grab some to give this a try.

The first step is to get the cedar planks soaking in water, submerged and weighted down, for about 30 minutes. The planks need to be soaked all the way through, or they run the risk of catching on fire when you put them on the grill.

While the plank soaked I prepared the salmon and slaw. The salmon was from the grocery store; a cut called "chef's choice cut". I didn't realize until I got it home, but the skin had already been removed. Ordinarily, this would make the salmon virtually un-grillable, but since we were using the plank we figured they'd be fine, and they were. I dressed both sides of the fillets with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh dill, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon and let them sit for about 20 minutes while the plank continued to soak.

Anthony and I planted Brussels sprouts in our garden, so we thought we should come up with some creative uses for them before we have Brussels sprouts coming out our ears in a couple months. We almost simultaneously thought of a Brussels slaw, using shaved Brussels sprouts in place of cabbage. I whisked together a dressing of 1/2 cup mayo, 2 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp celery salt, and 1/2 tsp onion powder. I shaved down about 20 Brussels sprouts using the slicing attachment on my food processor to get nice thin slivers and diced up some white onion. I tossed it all together, added salt and pepper and let it sit while we grilled the fish.

When the plank was completely soaked, we carefully placed the prepared salmon on the plank and placed it directly on the hot charcoal grill. We put the cover on, sat on the patio with a cocktail and took in the aroma of the smoking cedar. The salmon just cooked on one side, about 15 minutes. (Make sure you stay nearby and keep an eye on it just in case the cedar catches fire!) We plated the salmon over a bed of the slaw and dug in. The smokiness balanced really well with the brightness of the lemon and dill and the slaw was better than we could have hoped. Anthony went back for seconds of a VEGETABLE. yeah, seriously.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


     My brother graduated from BC yesterday (congrats, L!). There's a great spot near his school called Eagle Deli that makes great burgers (from what I hear) so being at his graduation made me crave some red meat. Today after work I got home and opened the fridge and decided to see what I could do as far as a burger went.

  I decided I'd cook the beef in a garlic and butter oil so I got that going in a skillet and threw the bun in. Once I had a nice toasted garlic bread bun, I spread some of Katie's famous baked potato dip on it (sour cream, scallions, bacon bits, cheddar). Like I said, my brother graduated this weekend so we had some leftover from when the family came up. Once the burger was a medium rare in the garlic/butter/oil I threw two slices of American cheese on it and let it melt under the broiler. 

  Next I made the salad that topped the burger. Sauteed onions, a tiny cherry pepper, some shredded Brussels sprouts, a few drops of Sriracha and some raspberry agave that we had on the bar. Topped it off with some ketchup and it was a meal and a half on a bun. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Check out my new food/tech project on Kickstarter! Contribute a few bucks, if we reach the goal funding amount by the given date you'll be charged for the amount you pledged, if not, you don't get charged.


BONUS: There's a video montage of Katie and I performing bad infomercial acting and a montage of me cooking a Chopped@Home style dish after I describe the project. Check it out!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sausage and Peppers

   Katie had rehearsal (she's a dancer in case I haven't mentioned that before) so I was home alone for the night. I cracked a beer and sunk into the couch. Chopped was on. I think you know where this is going... I got hungry and opened the fridge. I saw a red pepper that needed to be cooked, some sausage, leftover homemade sauce from the pizza we made last night, and some almost stale bread. Immediately, I thought, sausage and peppers sandwich. But Ted Allen got the best of me so I had to reinvent it.

   I fried the sausage in a cast iron skillet for some caramelization then popped it in the oven to finish. When that was finished, I fried up some toast in the sausage grease. So far, pretty simple.

   Sausage and pepper risotto came next. Not so simple. Arborio rice, sauteed onions and garlic with oil. Once that starts drying up (which is very quickly) I started adding a mixture of the leftover sauce, milk and water, with a splash of vinegar. Keep stirring the rice on medium while adding the liquid as needed (often). I added salt, black pepper and red pepper. It takes a very long time to start getting tender, be patient. When the crunch was starting to fade from the rice, I added some of the sausage (chopped), red pepper, and parm. Once the rice tasted al dente, I pulled it and cooled it down quickly.
   Once cooled, I separated out enough to fill two ramekins and mixed this amount with one egg. I sprayed and filled two ramekins and popped them in the oven at about 400F. Next, I got to the sausage gravy. I used what we had. Made a roux, added skim milk, a ton of black pepper, the rest of the sausage, and some parm. Once thick, I killed the heat and turned my attention to the oven, praying that the risotto molds would hold their shape with the addition of the egg.

   As you can see it ended up holding shape. I took a dish that I enjoy and reinvented it. I approached this thinking that I would love cooking this because it would be fun to try a bunch of different things but didn't really think it would taste that great to me. As much as I love to eat, this is often the case when I get creative in the kitchen, the journey is much more fun than the destination. This one, however, broke the mold and I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite things to eat that I've ever cooked.

Steak Cakes Benedict

   Last weekend, we had the pleasure of having my old roommate and good friend, Tim Delp, stay with us - stay with us is said loosely, I'm not sure he made it back a single night but his luggage was surely in our place. We decided to do a Sunday brunch and get a few of the guys together before he left. Tim, Kyle, and Jack joined Katie and I for brunch. We had made steak tip skewers the night before and we had some leftovers. I've been on this "cakes" fit ever since the crab Chopped@Home so I decided to make basically the same recipe as the crab cakes but with steak, cheddar more onions in place of the crab and the grapefruit. Other than that it was basically the same (plus a splash or two of the Budweiser I was drinking to get the consistency right).

   Instead of just pan frying them, I decided to step it up a bit and slice hollow rings of red bell pepper and stuff the cakes inside, then flour and fry them. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the edge of the pepper poking out under the egg. The rest is a simple Benedict as described earlier on the blog. Katie said, "I think we need to start a restaurant called 'Cakes' and serve only things like this." I had made a bbq chicken cake with a bleu cheese tartar earlier in the week. I guess they came out pretty well. More cakes to come I'm sure...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Steak Tip Skewers and Spinach Salad

A quick, simple, and delicious dinner we put together last week. 

Steak tips marinated in Worcestershire, garlic, soy, Sriracha, salt, pepper. Red onion and cherry tomatoes accompanied them on the skewers.

The salad is baby spinach, bacon, and feta with a balsamic vinaigrette.

We ended up pulling the beef and veggies off of the skewers and eating it all together. Perfect tasty meal for the abnormally hot weather. (And don't worry meat lovers, there were way more skewers than the single one in the photo)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mac and Cheese Pizza with Hot Dog Stuffed Crust

Threw this pizza together to bring to Jay's birthday. In Europe, Pizza Hut has a Hot Dog stuffed crust pizza so I thought I'd bring it to the states. Annie's mac and cheese on top, and cheesedogs in the crust. A little less classy than most of the things on here but a ridiculously deliciously unhealthy concoction.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chopped@Home 4: Lump Crab, Grapefruit, Shitake Mushrooms, Bran Flakes

Lump Crab, Grapefruit, Shitake, and Bran...

Immediately thought of some type of seafood ravioli. But then I was craving crab cakes. I decided to do commit a major Food Network faux pas and serve "crab two ways." I had one hour to prepare both, this is how it went:


First thing I did was make the pasta (finally, Nolan). Water, flour, salt done. The filling was ricotta, crab, shitake, provolone, red pepper flakes, and a drop of truffle oil. The filling could have used a little more flavor, I suggest garlic and some salt and black pepper but the taste was still OK. I used a ravioli press to press two layers of pasta together with some filling in the middle. I rubbed an egg wash in between the layers of pasta to make sure we didn't have any of the filling leak out.

I threw together a cream sauce with some parm and tarragon to top off the ravioli.

Crab Cakes

Crab, mayo, cherry peppers, onion, splash of pickle juice, crushed Ritz crackers, lots of crushed bran flakes, grapefruit juice, garlic powder, cayenne, and an egg. Mixed all of that in a bowl, formed the cakes, coated them in flour and pan fried them in hot canola oil for 3 minutes on each side. Pulled them and then gave them each a dollop of grapefruit tartar (mayo, pickle juice, grapefruit juice). These crab cakes were, in the words of Guy Fieri, "out of bounds." Which is a good thing, apparently. The bran gave them a little sweetness that balanced out the heat from the cherry peppers. Definitely going back to this recipe.

Finished with 10 minutes to spare... but my ravioli were way overdone since I was focusing on a million things at once. Have to step it up next time...

Chopped@Home 3: Flank Steak, Crescent Rolls, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Chobani

Lately we've been cramming a lot into our weekends. Last weekend looked a little like this: Friday night out with my coworkers. Saturday: grocery shopped (hungover) for over 2 hours, had our friend Danny over for lunch, met up with our friends Kyle & Colby for afternoon drinks, went to Owen & Jack's for dinner, and met up with another group of friends for late night drinks and dancing downtown. Sunday: had the Livadas over for brunch, and cleaned up just in time for my mom and grandma to stop by to see the new place...... WHEW. So, by 5pm on Sunday we were in no mood to head out to the grocery store and shop for Chopped ingredients. But I was still up for my second Chopped@Home challenge, so I agreed to let Anthony pick 4 ingredients from our fridge and pantry. He chose flank steak (which was frozen, yay!), crescent rolls, maple syrup and vanilla Chobani yogurt.

Since I didn't have a whole grocery store at my disposal, I was pretty limited in what I could do. I have never cooked a crescent roll in my life--I'm actually not sure I've ever used any kind of prepared dough like this, so I'm pretty lost. I know I can cook steak, but I have to defrost it first, and then (cross my fingers) have enough time to get some flavor into it and cook it enough to eat! It's sort of a no-brainer that the maple syrup will have to go into a marinade. But what the hell do I do with the yogurt?? Anthony let me have 15 minutes of "brainstorming" time since I didn't get the regular grocery store time. I also got an extra 15 minutes of cook time because the steak was frozen. Whew. After much deliberation, I ended up making what I'm now in hindsight calling steak and cheese poptarts with a yogurt dipping sauce. Yum, right? Ha, we'll see...

I started with the yogurt because I knew I would need some time to nail down the flavors. I added some half and half to the yogurt to get a creme fraiche kind of consistency. Luckily, the vanilla is pretty subtle, so by the time I added garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and some fresh cilantro and whisked the hell out of it, it tasted a lot less like yogurt and a lot more like a fresh cilantro ranch dipping sauce. It was actually delicious.

By the time I finished the sauce, the steak was thawed. I rubbed it with cayenne, kosher salt, paprika and black pepper and threw it in a plastic bag with a marinade of maple syrup, worcestershire sauce and olive oil and let it chill for 20 minutes. With 30 minutes left, I threw it on a skillet for about 5 minutes on each side. Definitely set off the smoke detector and almost ruined my skillet with all the sugar in the marinade, but it was worth it. It came off the stove a little charred on the outside, a hint of maple and a little bite. 

While the steak cooked, I laid out the crescent rolls flat and sauteed some onions. I sliced up the steak nice and thin and piled it on the raw dough with cheddar cheese and the onions. I laid another package of crescent rolls on top to make what looked like hot pockets/poptarts and pressed down the edges. 

They cooked at 375 for 12 minutes, but it wasn't enough. The dough on the first two we ate was still raw in the middle, so we popped the other two back in the oven for another 6 minutes or so and they came out golden brown and a little crispy. They weren't too bad after all, and with the yummy dipping sauce they made a pretty good meal (once they were cooked through!). If I did it again, I'd paint the tarts with an egg wash to glaze them a little and I'd make the sauce a little thicker. I'm not gonna lie, I might have been cut from the show with this one, even though Anthony cleaned his plate...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pulled Pork and Spinach Eggs Benedict

This morning, Katie invited Rob, Laura, and Hayley (6 months old) over for brunch. We had some leftovers from the ribs earlier in the week so we decided to make pulled pork Eggs Benedict. I'll keep this short because Katie is in the middle of cooking dinner (it's this weeks Chopped@Home so stay tuned) and I'm getting hungry. Toasted English muffins on the bottom, then the pulled ribs with the peanut barbecue sauce, spinach sauteed with garlic, a poached egg, and hollandaise to top it off. The hollandaise is an emulsion of egg yolks and butter with a bit of lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper. I explain emulsions a few posts back (filet mignon post I think). We had Katie's hash browns to go with this and some bacon that didn't quite make it to the photo. Katie explains the hash browns back in the corned beef hash recipe, this is very similar but without the corned beef.

Check back soon to see what Katie created with four secret ingredients I found in our kitchen (teaser: one ingredient is Vanilla Chobani! hah). 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grill-out Night... In March

It was 74 degrees today... in March... in Medford. Grilling outside with a few beers just sounded perfect. We had a rack of ribs from McKinnon's in the freezer so we thawed them out and made a rub to work into them. The rub was salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, ginger, garlic powder, paprika, and an herb mix we had in the pantry. We rubbed that in and poured Guinness over it to cover the rack. Oven @ 250 for 3 hours.

Then they looked like this.

Next, I made some BBQ sauce because we didn't have any Sweet Baby Ray's on hand (my personal fav). I started making the sauce with some of the leftover hot sauce from Chopped@Home on Friday. I started adding some spices and decided I wanted to add some ground cloves, but I added way too much accidentally. Now I had something way too spicy that tasted a bit too much like an apple pie. I had to get creative...

I needed something to cut the spices so I added some of the Guinness that it cooked in, a ton of ketchup, peanut butter and a splash of half and half. Thai barbecue sauce - not traditional, but not bad. We slathered the ribs in the sauce and charred them a bit on a hot grill to finish them off.

Katie made some brussels and a baked potato. The brussels were oiled and grilled with some garlic and salt and pepper. I was craving boxed mac and cheese but wanted real pasta so I made mac and cheese with some penne rigate and boxed mac and cheese mix.

Delicious meal, beautiful day.

St. Paddy's Corned Beef: The morning after

Ouch. Too. Much. Beer and Baileys and Whiskey...

I woke up this morning with a headache and an idea. I'd never made corned beef hash before, but I've been told half the reason you make corned beef and cabbage is for the leftovers, and corned beef hash sounded like something I just had to try.

I'll give you a quick recap of how we made the meal the night before. McKinnon's Market in Davis Square was the obvious choice for the traditional gray-cured Irish Corned Beef. We got a 6.5 lb Brisket, threw it in a big roasting pan with three cans of Guiness, and put it in the oven for 4 hours. About 2 hours in, I added 6 chopped potatoes, 2 quartered onions and two purple-top turnips left over from Chopped@Home. With an hour to go, I sliced up a whole bag of carrots and threw those in, and with 30 minutes left I added a head of cabbage, cut into eighths. We served the dinner to 5 of our not-so-sober friends and it actually came out a lot better than I thought it would.

So on to this morning. We had plenty of leftovers of the whole meal, but I only used the beef and potatoes for the hash. I started with a finely chopped onion (about a cup) and sauteed it in butter until translucent. Then I cut up the beef into tiny cubes (about 1 1/2 cups) and threw that in the pan. I roughly chopped up the leftover potatoes into about 1/2 inch pieces and threw those in last. I added an extra pad of butter, spread out the hash across the pan and pressed it down with a metal spatula. The trick is to leave it to sizzle and get brown for about 5 minutes before you touch it. Then flip everything over, press into the pan with the spatula again and let it sizzle again. 

It took about 15 minutes total to get brown and crispy, and while it cooked, I threw some bacon on and fried up some eggs. Topped it off with my famous bloody marys (the recipe for which will probably never end up on the blog) and by the time we finished eating, we were actually feeling like real people. 

"This is the best breakfast I've ever eaten." -Anthony Rotio

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chopped@Home 2: Chicken Thighs, Cheddar Cheese, Purple Top Turnips, Frozen Waffles

Last night I was up for Chopped@Home. Katie met me at the grocery store and dropped the proverbial bomb on me: "chicken thighs, cheddar cheese, purple topped turnips (??), and frozen waffles." I thought for a bit about options, incorporating waffles into a dough and making some type of chicken pot pie, use the turnips as potatoes... oh wait, cheddar. I was kind of at a loss so I just started grabbing flavors that might work with the other stuff, within a few minutes I settled on some type of chowder but that was about all I had.

Half way home it materialized. Buffalo chicken served in a deep fried turnip bowl with broiled cheddar on top, a dollop of sour cream and some chopped scallions. I surrounded the buffalo chicken bowl with a homemade cheddar corn chowder with chili waffle crisps floating on top. Sounds kind of crazy, it kind of was, but it made sense in our mouth.

Katie invited Kit and Kaylin over so I had the added pressure of guests. It was set to be a challenge.

First thing I did was hollow out the turnip halves and popped them in an oven to cook them through (til fork tender). I was treating them like potatoes because they aren't really something I cook with every day. Then I threw the chicken thighs on a griddle pan to brown them, then turned it down and let them finish cooking right there on the stove.

Oh wait, I have no hot sauce...

Luckily we have some pickled roasted cherry peppers in the fridge from about a month ago. I threw the pickling juice from that into the food processor with some fresh cherry peppers and half of a tomato. Added some melted butter and tasted it. Sweet buffalo sauce was the outcome and it was so good that we saved the leftover (I decided an empty Rolling Rock bottle was the best container last night...).

I brought that up to a simmer, pulled the chicken off of the bone and let it finish off simmering in the sauce until everything else was done (but don't leave it too long and overcook it if you try this bc I can easily see that happening).

Meanwhile, I had to make the chowder. I rendered some bacon off in a pan, removed it, added onions, corn, bell pepper, let them cook til tender. I added the bacon back in with a little chicken stock and some water to cover the veggies. Then added about a cup and a half of half and half to cream it. Some black pepper finished it off.

Last thing to do was deep fry the turnip halfs and put it all together. Came out pretty good...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Katie's making corned beef and cabbage today, we're both wearing green, and started drinking at 9, people coming over soon. Setting up to be a good day!