Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cuban-inspired Great American Turkey Fritas: Burger Bash 2020 Contest Winner

Can’t stand it when you click on a link for a recipe then must wade through someone’s life story before you get to the goods, so here’s the recipe first, then the story:

Cuban-inspired Great American Turkey Fritas

Ingredients (See Note)
Great American Turkey Smoky & Sweet Chili Turkey Breast Strips 
Half slice of white or Italian bread or approx 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Potato Sticks
Sliced Avocado

Smoked paprika

Pulse 2-3 small garlic cloves and approx. ¼ cup of onion in food processor until soft and combined. Add turkey strips and liquid from package and pulse again to grind (but not liquify) turkey. Scrape from food processor and put in mixing bowl. Add a slice of bread to food processor, pulse and add to mixing bowl (or add a half a cup of plain breadcrumbs. Crack an egg and blend mixture, then make four equal-size balls. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Heat a heavy frying pan and add just enough olive oil to cover. When oil shimmers, add each ball, fry for a minute, then flip and press into a patty with spatula. Fry until desired doneness then serve on brioche, dust with smoked paprika topped with potato sticks accompanied by avocado slice and (optional) roasted pimento garnish.

This was my contest entry for a competition sponsored by The Great American Turkey Company, for “an original, Latin-inspired food recipe using one of Sponsor’s six provided turkey products ("Food Recipe") and up to, but no more than, five (5) additional ingredients of contestant’s choosing (this excludes cooking oil, seasonings and spices).” Each of the top four recipe creators would win a ticket to an event at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) Lucky me! I won a ticket to Burger Bash

I'm impressed with the products they sent and the company's approach. You can read more about them here.
Me and Great American Turkey Company co-founder and President George Faison

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pastrami from Corned Beef?

Not exactly. Purists can leave now but I managed to make a pretty tasty simulation using a point-cut corned beef.

I used this recipe posted below (video link here) as my guide with several modifications:
  • First of all, I had a tiny 2-lb brisket, so I probably should've halved the proportions but I didn't. I also added the contents of the little packet that came with the brisket, which was mostly coriander seeds, plus a pinch of allspice because that adds a nice rounded note.
  • The recipe calls for triple-wrapping the seasoned brisket but I have trust issues, so I quadruple-wrapped it in heavy-duty foil.
  • The recipe said to bake it for six hours at 225° but I did it for 250° for four and a half hours.
  • Recipe said let it cool overnight but I was busy so it sat in the fridge for two days. 
  • Recipe said take it out, sprinkle leftover rub, then broil, then slice. Nope. I sliced it cold, then sprinkled and broiled. I didn't reheat it with water, either, since it was already pretty moist. The result is pictured above.
Taste was good; definite pastrami notes and the texture was excellent, probably because the source, a point-cut from Aldi, was quite good; well-trimmed and not too salty. (I'd made it as a straight-up corned beef in my pressure cooker a couple of weeks earlier.)

So what would I do differently next time?

Might dry it a bit more before cooking. I realize these things are pumped with liquids but it seemed a bit wet. Also, maybe wrap and cook on low in my slow cooker instead of the oven for economy's sake. I'd also reduce the pepper and use some liquid smoke and more smoked paprika because it just wasn't very smokey.

But overall, I was quite pleased with the result and will press forward in the name of science — and pastrami!

Here's the original recipe I modified.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Slow-Cooked Southwestern-Style Chicken

5 lbs. chicken legs or thighs or drumsticks (rinsed, skinned and most fat removed)
2 large bell peppers (seeded and cut into inch-square pieces
2 onions (rough-chopped)
8 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tbs. dry oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbs. salt
1/2 tsp. ground arbol chili pepper (or cayenne to taste)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 cup chunky salsa

Chicken legs are where the flavor is. Breasts are fine, if you like 'em, but more of a tabula rasa, and bland. They also tend to not do well in slow cookers, and can get dry and stringy. Feel free to substitute them in this recipe, if you like, but you've been warned.

After you skin, wash and remove as much fat as you can, put the legs in a large stainless steel bowl. Drain excess liquid and add the rest of the ingredients except the salsa and bay leaves. Mix well by hand or with a spatula (or whatever implement you like). Make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed over the chicken and the onions, minced garlic and peppers are in the mix, too.

Layer the legs in the slow-cooker, with onions and peppers, placing bay leaves between pieces. Cover with salsa. Cook on low for an hour, then low 4-5 hours. Temperatures vary on slow cookers, so be careful not to overcook.

You can serve these legs with rice, refried beans, guac and chips, or strip the meat from the bones and use for tacos, burritos or (my preference) enchiladas. You can also cool 'em and make chicken salad.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pickles, Green Tomatoes and Cole Slaw

Take a clean jar, from a quart size to a gallon size. Wash 6 to 13 small Kirby cucumbers, depending on the size of the jar. Put 1 heavy teaspoonful of commercial pickling spices into the jar. Add 6 to 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled, which you’ve sliced in a few places, without cutting all the way through the clove. Pack the cucumbers into the jar whole. If you like, put in a bit of fresh dill weed. If you like a “perked up” flavor, add 4 to 6 dried red chili peppers. Add 3 to 4 ounces of white vinegar. Fill a measuring cup with tap water hot enough to dissolve salt. To each cup of water add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to thoroughly dissolve. Pour the water into the jar, cupful by cupful, until the jar is full. Cover and leave on the kitchen counter for two days. They are now ready to eat. Keep refrigerated. The pickles will stay good for months.
Notes: The pickles were not analyzed since the amount of sodium absorbed during preparation cannot be determined.

Take any size jar, 32 ounces or larger, and line the bottom with celery cuttings — leaves or stalks or both. Add 6 to 8 peeled and pierced garlic cloves. Pack cleaned and sectioned green tomatoes into the jar (you’ll need about 3 small to medium green tomatoes with no red showing on the skin). Add 3 to 4 ounces of white vinegar. Now fill the jar with 1 cup of hot tap water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt. Keep adding the salted water until the tomatoes are completely covered. Cover the jar and let sit out for 2 days. Refrigerate. Keeps months in refrigerator. Makes about 12 servings of 1⁄4 tomato each.
Notes: The pickles were not analyzed since the amount of sodium absorbed during preparation cannot be determined.

1 medium (about 1 pound) cabbage
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup vinegar
1⁄4 cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Shred the cabbage very fine; you should have about 4 cups. Slice onion and bell pepper into very thin slices. Combine oil, vinegar and sugar in a lidded jar; shake well to mix. Pour over the slaw mixture and toss to blend. Makes 8 (1⁄2 cup) servings.

Source: Linda Cicero's Cook's Corner column in the Miami Herald, retrieved here

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: The Burning Oak

The Burning Oak
8006 W McNab Rd
North Lauderdale, FL 33068

Reviewed 1/26/16

Two visits and I'm hooked. REAL wood/smoked barbeque! 

First visit, tried the ribs: meaty, smokey and delicious. Great sauce, too, but the rub and smoke added more than sufficient flavor. Corn bread was good (needs a little work but quite acceptable) and the coleslaw was good, too (not Shorty's-good but good).

My friend had the chicken and I could not believe how moist and tender it was.

I NEVER order barbequed chicken out because it's always dry and nearly flavorless but this was different; even the breast was juicy.

Second visit, ordered the chicken; beautiful, juicy barbequed half chicken (and not one of those mutant miniature birds they serve at Boston Market — full sized!). It was delicious and I could barely finish it. The corn bread was a little better this time and the collard greens were terrific; tasty with bits of pork for flavor. Nice!

My friend had the pulled pork sandwich and It was quite good, too, based on the sample he provided. ;)

I may revisit this review and give them five stars after a few more visits (and when they smooth out a few little rough spots, service-wise; nothing major but a little less than perfect. No problems but not a five-star experience — yet.).

In the meantime, this is definitely among the top five places for 'que in South Florida. Kudos!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mu Shu Pork or Chicken

a/k/a Asian Burrito

This is my version of the Chinese restaurant favorite. It's not authentic but it's good!

For convenience, I've substituted tortillas for the thin and very perishable pancakes. If you want to forgo them and just serve this with rice or noodles, you have my blessings. Enjoy!

Total 3 cups shredded cabbage, carrots, onion and mushrooms (see note)
1/2 cup Canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. white pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
10" tortillas
1 cup Hoisin sauce
1 tbs. corn starch
Approx. 1-1.5 pound lean boneless pork or chicken (preferably thighs) cut into thin strips

You can use pre-made coleslaw mix, if you like, or simply shred some green cabbage, a couple of carrots, about a quarter of an onion (more or less, according to preference) and thinly slice about 4-5 white mushrooms.

Heat wok (or heavy frying pan) and add about a tbs of oil, then half the garlic and ginger. Let it sizzle a bit and stir. Then add vegetables and soy sauce. Stir frequently, add white pepper and sesame oil and half the water. Stir well and cook until wilted. Remove from wok. Set aside, cover and keep warm.

Wipe wok with paper towel. Add about a tbs of oil, then the other half of the garlic and ginger. Let it sizzle a bit and stir, then add pork (or chicken) and stir rapidly until done, then remove from wok; add to wilted vegetables; cover and keep warm.

Add chicken stock to hot wok. Dissolve cornstarch in half cup of water, then add to hot stock and stir. Add about a tbs. of hoisin sauce, then add pork (or chicken) and vegetable combination. Stir and mix well.

To serve, lay a tortilla out on a plate. Spread a little hoisin sauce in the middle and add some of the pork (or chicken) and vegetable combination. Roll like a burrito and serve.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Quiche

Richard Pachter
8 oz. (1/2 lb.) Applewood smoked bacon
8 oz. (1/2 lb.) extra sharp cheddar (or cheese of your choice; Swiss, Gruyere etc.)
10 oz. bag fresh baby spinach (see notes)
5 jumbo eggs
8 oz. (1/2 pt.) heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs. chopped onion
Pie crust (see notes)

Cook bacon in a large pan. When crisp, remove from pan, drain on paper towels and cool. Reserve 1 tbs. of bacon drippings to grease pie pan (in place of shortening).
Put uncooked spinach in pan with remainder of bacon drippings. Cover and allow to wilt. Do not overcook. When cooked, allow to cool, then squeeze with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
Shred cheese. Combine with eggs, cream, pepper and onion.
Chop cooled bacon and spinach into strips or irregular pieces. Add to egg mixture. Pour into pie crust in pie pan. Bake at 425° for approx. 30 minutes (see notes). Quiche is done when pie crust is slightly golden and toothpicks come through clean. Allow to sit five minutes before slicing.

Notes: I used fresh baby spinach, reserving a few leaves to top the quiche. If fresh is unavailable, thawed, well-drained frozen spinach can substitute.
You can use a homemade pie crust, if you like. I buy the pre-made pre-cut dough (two per package) and roll one
out, reserving the second for later use.
I used a tabletop convection toaster oven. Temperature and cooking time could vary if using a conventional oven.

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