Thursday, January 7, 2016

Welcome to ANOTHER Episode of ...
What I Have Been Up To 
In My Kitchen!

I do not cook amazing dishes every day.  There are meals I have no plans to blog about, but some turn out better than expected, and I thought I'd give some of them a shout out.  You may pick up on the idea and make it better, make it healthier or add something to it that alters its science or ingredients list altogether, enhancing the meal's experience, and I completely welcome that.  One of the most important things I have learned on this culinary adventure is:  make it your own.  I have, for fifteen years - but especially in my early years of teaching - taken strategies, ways of doing and implementing certain things, organization techniques and much more and tweak these things to make them work for me.  I am rather like a sponge, in that respect, both in teaching and cooking' I take what I have learned from others and tweak them until they work for my teaching style and my palette. 

If you read my One Pot Pasta on a BBQ post from a couple of days ago, you found out that I reworked my brain as to how to cook a pasta dinner on a bbq. In my mind, it was like cooking on a gas stove; you cook with actual fire. I did that.  In this next dish, I made yukon gold hash browns, Mexican scrambled eggs and Sicilian Chicken Sausages in my Rachael Ray cookware, on a BBQ while camping.  Oh, yes I did! 

I did not do anything out of the ordinary.  I grated six yukon gold washed potatoes, I added evoo (extra virgin olive oil), three tablespoons, to a medium skillet, added the grated potatoes into the skillet once the oil began to ripple, added salt and pepper, and simply let it sit atop the fire for about six minutes until the bottom part had become a beautiful golden brown. I took a plate and flipped the skillet over onto the plate, and slid the uncooked side down into the bottom of the skillet.  I did not need to add any additional oil, but one might want to.  It took another eight to ten minutes before the other side was done, at which point I simply slid the potato cake, you might say, onto the plate and put it inside, covered.  Next, I broke nine eggs into a bowl I'd brought with me, broke the yolks with a fork, added a little onion leftover from the One Pot Pasta the night before, added half a can of fire roasted diced green chiles, two big tablespoons of Salsa Ranchera, a little salt and pepper, not much because the salsa has plenty of salt in it, and whisked it altogether thoroughly.  I'd added two tablespoons of evoo to the same skillet the potatoes had been cooked in and let it sit on the fire for several minutes.  I gently broke up the slow cooking eggs using a heat resistant spatula, scraping the cooked egg away from the edges of the pan.  Eggs have a tendency to get stiff and crunchy stuck to the sides of the skillet, so I continuously move it away to keep a nice, moist consistency in the eggs. I may just be OCD, I don't know, but it is what I do.  While I let the eggs begin to cook, I took on the Sicilian chicken sausages.  Let me just say, those were the best I have ever tasted!

I took a smaller, lower-sided skillet, added a good tablespoon of evoo and placed it over another hot part of the fire.  I added the sausages, which soon began to sizzle.  The aroma was fantastic! But, they were not browning evenly enough and I did not want to lose the moisture of the sausages, so I came up with a wild idea.  I added white wine to the skillet, a tiny pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and let it go, allowing the flavor of the reducing wine to geld with the sausages.  I was truly not disappointed.  The additional condensed flavor was incredible.  I said to myself:  "Self.  Ya done good this time!"  Don't you ever congratulate yourself when you discover something awesome?  In any event, here's half of the end result.  

And an English Muffin to top it off!



Poblano Bacon Burger with Parmesan Disc
and maters in a green basket

This burger was savory and an eclectic. I used both Hispanic and Italian elements.  I made a parmesan crisp, or, disc, seasoned with dried thyme, and roasted two poblano chiles in the oven at 400 degrees, sealed them in a paper bag (as I had run out of both foil and cling wrap), removed the chiles' skins, and seeded them. I baked up some bacon until crispy, which I'd seasoned with Chipotle powder, another twist, yes, and created a yogurt based garlic and sriracha aioli.  One of my colleagues is a farmer at heart and gave me those brilliant tiny yellow, sweet and tart tomatoes; I wait for him to drop a box of them off at my classroom every summer.  This year, he brought a big box of those, as well as baby heirlooms and romas.  I was in mater heaven!  This was just as I was getting into the micro greens movement, and I made a little basket of micro cilantro greens for the tomatoes.  The burger itself was seasoned very simply with salt and pepper, a tablespoon of smoked, sweet paprika and a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning (herbs).  As I mentioned above, very eclectic burger. But, a good one!!!


Thyme seasoned parmesan disc. 


Up next, a BIG BURGER with Cherry Tomato and homemade Tzatziki dressing salad. 





 I made this burger very recently.  I made two large burgers, each about a half pound each, and formed to fit on large, long sourdough toast. I added half an onion, chopped, two cloves garlic, grated, three tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, two tablespoons smoked paprika, ground mustard, thyme, oregano and an egg. Prior to frying the burgers, I had crisped up twelve slices of sopressata, my new favorite spicy dry Italian salami. I had melted mozzarella atop the sopressata which topped the burgers. I did not make a special sauce this time, but I did load it up with mixed micro greens, including arugula and kale. I'd halved half a pint of ripe cherry tomatoes, garnished them with a little bit of the micro greens and topped them off with some leftover homemade tzatziki dressing. 


 Halved BIG BURGER view. 

And Finally, something a little elegant and surprising.......

 


Roasted Half Boneless Skin-On Chicken Breast topped with Balsamic Caramelized Onion,  Roasted Tomatoes on Micro greens bed.  

I used one skillet for this one.  I sliced one onion into discs to act as a bed for the halved, skin-on boneless chicken breasts. I simply seasoned them with salt and pepper and dried Italian herb seasoning. I added half a pint of cherry tomatoes about the skillet on the exposed parts of the onion bed, and slow roasted the chicken for 45 minutes at 375-degrees.  I removed the chicken, and tomatoes afterward, and finished the onion caramelization on the stove top, adding two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of sriracha. The remaining process took about fifteen minutes.  Meantime, I plated the chicken and the mostly burst cherry tomatoes on a plate, the tomatoes on a mixed micro greens bed.  I added champagne vinegar to plain Greek yogurt and some dried dill as a salad dressing. I topped the chicken with some of the caramelized onion, and the dish, I'd say, turned out a bit more elegant than I'd even thought it could.  


 Almost forgot!  I'd added some pepperoncinis to the the tomatoes!


I  have one more dish to share with you, and I promise!  I will keep it brief!
So, what do you do when you have a 5 quart dutch oven full of delectable beefy bison chili and two hamburgers leftover?  Uh, yeah!  You make an open-faced beefy bison chili burger!

 As you can tell, I had a lot of tomatoes this week.
 I added some Fritos to act as chili dippers!

This one needs no real introduction nor explanation.  
 See?  Brief!  I told you!

THANK YOU, Friends, for your time and patience and your viewer and readership!  I am always grateful for your taking the time to visit!