King Kamehameha’s Revenge

I blog post from Brad!?  Hath hell frozen over?  Nah.  I just made a kick butt burger and I don’t want to forget what I did.  This burger was created for the first annual Nunes’ Yard Knife Fight burger contest.  I huge shout out to the Johnson’s for stepping up with their Little Nero slider/caesar combo.  Everyone ate well so we are all winners.

Yield 8 large burgers

The patties

  • 600g grnd pork
  • 600g grnd beef
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs (opt)
  • 3 table spoons Epicure Asian Stir Fry seasoning
  • 2 table spoons of soy sauce
  • salt & peppers

The rest

  • large Hawaiian sweet rolls (or other bun)
  • 8 pineapple rings
  • 8 thin slices of Spam
  • 2 med onions
  • ~8 large mushrooms
  • 1.5oz of Canadian Rye Whiskey (I recommend Crown Royal)
  • Teriyaki sauce (~1 tsp per burger)
  • Mayo
  • Butter
  • Pepper Jack Cheese (or other spicy mild gooey/melty cheese)
  • Siracha

Combine all the fixings for the burgers in a large bowl and mix well.  You your hands.  Get right in there and squeeze that flesh.  Go right savage.  Add breadcrumbs if your mixture is a little too wet/loose.  You want it to form up into nice balls.

Roll out 16 ~200g balls of meat.  Press them flat and then place a small chunk of the pepper jack cheese on 8 of them.  Use the remaining 8 as toppers and seal that chunk-o-cheese in the burger.

Set your Sous-vide machine to 140F and…  WHAT!?  You don’t have a sous-vide machine?  Why is Brad going all French when he just took French 11 so he could go on the sweet ski trip (props to putting up with me Mdm. Park)?  Anyway I’m not going to go into it but google sous-vide and then go buy a unit.  It will change your life.  Anyway sous-vide the burgers at 140 for 90 minutes.

While your burgers are getting all frisky.  slice the onions and the mushrooms and cook them slowly over medium heat with a lot of butter (2-4 tbsps) for at least 30 minutes, longer if you aren’t burning them.  Low and slow makes the best onions.  I recommend doing this in a cast iron skillet for reasons soon to be revealed.

Don’t forget to start your charcoal grill (because propane is for chumps!) when your burgers at at the 45 minute mark.

Once the grill is at temp you can grill your Spam and pineapple, leaving it at the corner of the grill to stay warm.

When there is 5 minutes left on your sous-vide, toss the whiskey into the onions/mushrooms and ignite to flambe them.  This legit works so well in imparting that nice sweet rye flavor into the onion/mushroom mix and adding some really nice char flavors.  It really elevates the onions.  I call them Royal Onions (because Crown Royal).  I guess they could be Club Onions or Alberta Premium Onions if you are desperate.  Anyway light it up.  Your guest will be impressed (if you don’t burn anything down.  Do this step outside with a hose nearby for safety).  Anyway keep those beauties warm.

Toast your buns before you put the burgers on the grill you want them set up and ready to go.  Throw some mayo on both the top and bottom bun.

Once your burgers are done sous-vide grill them on the hottest part of the grill for about 60 seconds per side.  Move quickly.  Drop burger on the grill, slather a little teriyaki sauce on it and get ready with a second slice of pepper jack.  After no more than 60 seconds flip, slather again and throw that cheese on.  Keep the slice thin so it melts.  Remember there is cheese in the burger so you don’t need much more.

Just before the burger comes off, throw some of your royal onion/mushroom on the bottom bun.  Then hit it with your burger.  Then the grilled pineapple and the Spam.  Now drizzle (for shizzle) the Siracha over the mess and top with the final bun.

Now I recommend serving this with some sweet potato fries and Siracha mayo.  Throw a drink umbrella in it and try (unsuccessfully) to convince your wife to serve it in a grass skirt and coconut bikini.  You also have to do a perfect cross section and show off the cheese oozing out of it.

So why the name?  Well clearly it is Hawaiian themed.  I also wanted the cheese to kinda be like lava flowing.  And the revenge is because it has a little heat to it.  It really isn’t that hot.  You could crank it up with a hotter hot sauce if you wanted to but this is a real nice mild heat.

So there you have it.  Enjoy and maybe I’ll post more things here.

Twice baked potatoes

So at the usual Sunday night dinner at the in-laws this week I grilled up some steaks and made twice baked potatoes.  They seemed to really enjoy them so I thought I would share it with you.  This recipe yields about enough filling for 6 good sized potatoes.

6          Lrg. Russet potatoes
1c        Shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or old)
1c        Sour cream
1/2c     Bacon bits
3-4       Green onion, finely diced
3          Garlic cloves, minced
1tsp     Pepper
1.5tsp  Salt

Preheat your oven to 375.  Wash potatoes, prick them a couple of times with a fork and place them directly on your oven rack.  Bake for about 2 hours.  You can cook the potatoes in foil if you like but cooking them just on the rack makes the skin a little bit crispy.  I really like the effect it has.  Also remember that if you cook your potatoes in foil it will reduce your cooking time.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Turn the oven up to 425.  Slice off the top ¼ of the potato and put the potato top in a large mixing bowl.  Hollow out the potato leaving about ¼ inch or flesh inside the skin.  Put all the scooped out potato into the bowl.  Combine all the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mash everything together until smooth.  Taste the filling and adjust seasoning as needed.  Scoop the filling mix into a zip-loc bag.  Cut off one of the corners and then pipe the potato filling back into the potato shells.  If you still have some cheddar, you can sprinkle some on the top of the stuffed potatoes.  Put the potatoes back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.  You may want to put them on a cookie sheet in case any of the stuffing spills over the potatoes.  When they come out of the oven let them stand for a few minutes as they are very hot.

These are very tasty.  You can put whatever you want in them.  I have just used standard potato toppings but you could use spinach and feta or mushrooms and swiss.  Get creative!  Please post your favourite things to do with potatoes.

The manwich hunt

So the other day my wife and I were returning home from a friend’s house.  It was about 5:30pm so we were getting hungry.  Because we are going away next week, we haven’t really been doing a good job of keeping the fridge stocked up.  As we drove past the grocery store we had a crazy idea.  Lets have a manwich!

Neither of us has ever had a manwich before.  I have had sloppy joe’s as a kid but I don’t think they were ever manwich brand.  It was very exciting! (Yeah.  This is where I find entertainment.)  So our first order of business is to track down the buns.  I feel that the bread is the most important part of any sandwich so we needed to choose correctly.  We settled on Safeway’s cheese buns.  This was a good choice.  Our next item was the can of manwich sauce.  We snuck over to the canned goods isle.  It was like we were under aged kids sneaking into the liquor store to by booze.  We felt a little dirty and ashamed for seeking the meaty marvel.  It actually took us about 3 passes of the section to find the stuff.  At one point Tamara turned to me and said ‘I really don’t want to have to ask anyone for it.  It just seems wrong.’  We did locate the can, on the bottom shelf, tucked away from easy viewing.  It seemed to be stored like the entrance to a seedy bar.  A place were people who frequent those types of establishment (or dinners in our case) would know where to look but those of us who are unfamiliar with that society would have a hard time finding.  After procuring the can we dashed to the meat isle and ran for the checkout.  As we were waiting in line I thought to myself ‘I could go for a Starbucks.’  This was replaced by ‘You can’t go to Starbucks with that can in your hand!  It is unnatural’  The whole process seemed very funny to me.  You feel odd because when you have a can of manwich in your hand, everyone knows you are going to take that can of whatever it is and pour it all over meat.  You are then going to eat that meat on a bun.  There is nothing more.  Just meat on a bun.  I guess it is like buying condoms.  There really isn’t any other purpose for the product and in both cases what is done with the product is better done at home without any one else watching.

We did eat it with a side of Greek salad.  We needed something else.  I just couldn’t do it on its own and the peppers were starting to wilt.  It made for a fun dinner finding experience.  Please post about your guilty food pleasures.  What greasy, heavy foods do you just have to chase down once and a while?  

Say cheese

Say cheese

So last night was my first attempt at making homemade macaroni and cheese.  Personally I felt it didn’t turn out the way I wanted.  I want some help.  I want a real nice and creamy mac and cheese that is full of flavor.  I like the idea of baking the top with some cheese and breadcrumbs for a nice crust.  Here is what I have so far:

8oz         Cooked macaroni
3tbsp     Margarine
3tbsp     Flour
3c            Skim Milk
2c            Grated Sharp Cheddar
1/2c       Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2c       Grated Sharp Cheddar
2tbsp     Fine Bread Crumbs
Dash      Paprika

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  In a sause pan, melt the margarine.  Slowly add the flower, combining to form a roux.  Slowly add the milk.  Make sure whisk the mixture smooth.  Add the 2c of cheddar and Parmesan cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted and well combined.  Place macaroni in a casserole dish.  Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni.  Stir gently so the sauce covers the macaroni.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar over the top of the dish.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheddar.  Add the dash of paprika over the top of the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.

So that is what I did.  It was OK but it wasn’t great.  Please help out if you can.  This seems like something could become a favorite but I just wasn’t really happy with my result.  Comments away!

Curry chicken broccoli

This is a recipe that I used to make when I was a kid.  It is really tasty.

2-4 lrg Chicken breasts (boneless is best)
2 lrg Broccoli crown
2 cans Cream of mushroom soup
1 cup  Mayonnaise 
1 cup Shredded cheddar
4tsp  Curry powder or paste
4-5tsp Lemon juice 

 Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and line the bottom of a baking pan.  Place the chicken on the broccoli.  Combine the soup, mayonnaise, curry powder, and lemon juice.  Whip it together and pour over the the chicken and broccoli.  Sprinkle the cheddar over the coated chicken.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes.  Serve with rice and enjoy.  Try it out and post you comments.  Let me know if you have any ideas on how to improve it.

It is all greek to me

I have been making my pseudo Greek meal for a while now and we really like it.  It has 3 basic parts:

Greek Salad, Greek Potatoes and Greek Chicken

Now I am not Greek, I have never been to Greece and I don’t study Greek cuisine.  I just make Greek inspired food.  Ok let’s start with the salad.

Brad’s Greek Salad:

Salad:
1 lrg        Long English Cucumber
2 lrg        Green Peppers
1 lrg        Coloured Pepper (red, yellow or orange)
1 lrg        Tomatoes
½ cup    Greek Olives
1 med   Red Onion
½ cup    Crumbled Feta Cheese

Dressing:
½ cup    Olive Oil
½ cup    Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp    Lemon Juice
1 tsp      Oregano
2              Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
½ tsp     Salt
½ tsp     Pepper

Dice all the salad fixings into bite sized (2 cm) chunks.  Throw them all in a large bowl.  Mix all the dressing ingredients in an air tight container.  Shake well.  Pour about half of the dressing onto the salad and toss well.  You can add more dressing as you like or save it for the next time.  It will keep for about a week no problem.  Your salad is done.

Greek-style Potatoes:

1lb          Baby Potatoes
3              Cloves of Garlic (minced)
2 tsp      Oregano
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

Pre-heat your oven to 450.  Wash and halve the potatoes.  Place them in a baking pan cut side down.  Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil.  Drizzle the lemon juice over the potatoes.  Spread the minced garlic over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the oregano over the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Throw the potatoes into the oven for about 30 minutes.  Serve with sour cream or tzatziki.

Greek Chicken:

2-3          Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2tbsp     Lemon Juice
½ tsp     Oregano
2-3          Cloves of Garlic (minced)
Salt & Pepper

Place the chicken in a shallow dish.  Drizzle half of the lemon juice on side A.  Spread half the garlic on side A.  Sprinkle half the oregano on side A.  Season side A with salt and pepper.  Flip the chicken over and repeat.  Set chicken aside and prep your grill.  Preheat your BBQ on high.  After about 5 minutes clean the grill with your grill brush, turn the heat down to about med-high and brush the grill with olive oil.  Throw chicken on the grill and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes.  Turn chicken 45 degrees and cook (lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook (with lid closed) for another 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken 45 degrees and cook the last 5 minutes.  Remove chicken from the grill and serve.

So that is how I put together a Greek-like meal.  Please post comments about your favorite Greeky-type food.

Tamara’s special pizza

I have recently started making homemade pizza.  I have tried a few crusts but this one has been the best so far.

1pkg  Dried yeast (1 1/2 tsp)
1/2tsp  Sugar
1 1/2 Cup water (lukewarm)
3 1/2 Cups flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 lrg  Egg (beaten)
Olive oil

Sprinkle yeast and sugar into warm water and mix.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  The mixture should bubble.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre, pour in yeast mixture, pour in the egg and gradually work in the flour making a dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead throughly until smooth and elastic.  This should take at least 5 minutes of kneading.

Grease a large clean bowl with olive oil.  Place the lump of dough in the bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Allow the dough to rise and double in size (about 45 minute to an hour)

Punchdown the dough and roll out into a crust.

Now for the toppings.  This pizza is called Tamara’s special because it is my wife’s own creation and her favorite.

1 lrg  Green pepper
200g  Sliced deli ham
10lrg  White mushrooms (Sliced)
3/4cup  Feta cheese (crumbled)
3cups  Shredded mozzarella
1 tin  Pizza sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 450F.  After the dough has been rolled out, place it in a pizza pan.  If you don’t have a pizza pan you can use a cookie sheet.  Spread the pizza sauce all over the surface of the dough.

Lay the ham over the pizza sauce.  Place sliced mushrooms and green peppers over the ham.  Make sure that your toppings are evenly distributed.

Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the toppings.  Sprinkle the feta over the mozzrella.  Place pizza in the oven for 25 minutes.

When pizza is done remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.  The cheese is screaming hot when it comes out.

I hope you enjoy this deep pan dish.  This is also a fun one to make with kids.  They love punching the dough and after you have cut up the toppings they have fun placing them on the pizza.  Please post your comments if you have a chance to try this for yourself.  Also please leave other topping suggestions.

Steak salad

Last night for dinner I am making a new household favorite, steak salad.  I have to give credit for this recipe to one of my co-workers.  While I didn’t directly get the recipe from him, he used to bring leftovers into work.  Basically he gave me the concept and I ran with it.  The recipe is simple and serves 2-3 people:

Meat
1          12oz steak (any cut really)
2 tsp     Meat Tenderizer
2tbsp    Garlic Powder
1tsp      Cracked black pepper
4tbp      Red wine
2tbsp     BBQ Sauce (I recommend Cattleboyz)

Salad
1/2pkg     Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1lrg          Avocado
1sm         Onion
1/2         Long English Cucumber
1lrg         Head of Romain Lettuce

Dressing
1/4c     Olive Oil
1/4c     Balsamic Vinegar
1tsp     Grainy mustard
1tsp     Lemon Juice
1/2tsp  Salt
1/2tsp  Pepper

 

There are really three parts to this salad; the meat, the salad (ie vegetables) and the dressing.  Start by preparing the meat.  I have a whole other post on how I prepare and cook steaks.  You can cook them as your normally do or check out the article here.  Once your steak has rested, cut it into thin strips and set aside.

While your steak is cooking you can prepare the salad.  Basically throw all the vegetables into a large bowl (after they are cut!).  Dice all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.  You can toss it in a little while.

While your steak is resting I recommend making the dressing.  In a container with a liquid-proof lid (ie you can shake dressing in it without having to wipe down walls afterwards) combine all the dressing ingredients.  Place the lid firmly on the container and shake for about 30 seconds.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad.  Now you can toss the salad!  You also do not have to add all of the dressing.  Add part, toss and add more if needed.  The dressing will keep for some time in a fridge and tastes great on any salad.

Put the salad on a plate and top with the steak strips.  Eat and enjoy.  I always encourage people putting their own twists on recipes.  Have fun and try something new.

How I cook a steak

I generally get called to the grill to cook steaks at family functions.  I have to admit I do enjoy it.  Doing a steak correctly is something I am proud of.  I am going to talk about how I prepare and cook steaks.  There are two parts; the marinade and the grilling.

Marinade:
Ideally you want your steaks to marinate for 12-24 hours but if you are rushed then as much time as you can give it.  The marinating technique comes from church BBQs my Dad would help put on.  We would apply this technique across over 100 steaks.  It was a lot of meat.  You will need the following ingredients.  This is broken down on a per-steak level:

2tsp Meat tenderizer
4tsp Garlic powder (NOT GALRIC SALT!)
2tsp Ground pepper
4tbp Red wine

Sprinkle side ‘A’ of the steak with the tenderizer, garlic powder and pepper.  You do not have to stick to exactly the measurements I have listed.  If you like more garlic or pepper go right ahead and add it.  Also, adjust the tenderizer based on how long you have to marinate the meat.  The long the marinating time the less tenderizer you need.  This measurement would be for a 4-8 hour marinade.  I don’t recomend using salt in a marinade.  It can dry out the meat.

Using 2 forks prick the entire side of the steak.  Use one fork to hold the meat and the other to stab it all over.  This helps inject the spices into the meat, tenderize the meat, and draw in more marinade.  Repeat both of these steps on side ‘B’

After you have pricked and seasoned the steak, place it in a study zip-lock bag.  Pour the wine into the bag.  Without spilling the wine, try to remove as much air as possible from the bag before you seal it.  Set the bag in the fridge ‘B’ side down.  Make sure to flip the steak a few times while it marinates.

Grilling:
I like to grill my steaks to a medium-rare so that is what I am going to share with you.  Turn your BBQ high and let it heat up for about 5-10 minutes.  Scrap the grill using a BBQ brush.  Normally you don’t need to grease the grill for steaks but it is a useful trick for chicken or fish.  Take a paper towel, fold it over a few times and dip it in some oil (I use olive oil).  Being very careful not to burn yourself, wipe the grill with the oil.  After you have prepared the grill, close the lid and let it heat up again for a few minutes.

Theses cooking times are for steaks that are about an inch or so thick.  You will have to adjust slightly for thicker or thinner steaks.  I cook my steaks for 2-3 minutes per turn on high heat.  That means I cook them like this:  Put the steaks on the grill for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the steaks 45 degrees and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the steaks over and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Turn the steaks 45 degrees and cook for 2-3 minutes.  If you are going to apply BBQ sauce, do it as soon as you put the steaks on the grill and once again after the flip.

Once you have the meat off the grill set it aside, cover it with tin-foil and let it rest for about 2-3 minutes.  This helps seal in the juices.

So that is how I cook a steak.  Give it a try next time you fire up the grill.  Please let me know how it goes.  I am always looking for feedback.

 

Wrap your noodle around this

This Saturday we attended the annual Kaleden Spaghetti dinner.  This dinner is put on by the Kaleden Community Church Youth Group in support of their Mexico Mission trip.  This annual trip takes a group of young people from the South Okanagan down to poor region of Mexico to build a house.  These are very basic one room homes but they are sturdy and a great improvement over the standard pieces of sheet metal and boards most of the town’s residents live under.  This year over 250 people turned up for the event.  This is an amazing number.  That represents over 10% of Kaleden’s population.  Try running any charity event and getting that kind of response.

 

Being a member of the Church’s congregation we get to listen to the teens when they return.  They speak about what they did and how it affected them.  That feedback is really important to me.  It really helps me connect with the donations I have made.  I may not be able to attend in person and experience it first hand but at least I can see how the trip improved lives there and back home.  I think the trip is important for both the needy families in Mexico and the youth that traveled there.  It gives them much needed perspective on what we have to be so thankful for.

 

I also like this dinner because it is just another excuse to get everyone together for some fun.  My wife’s family has lived in the area for many years.  Everyone comes over to the table, shakes hands and catches up.  Most of the regulars know me and have kind of adopted me as their own.  I have only been with my wife for 3 years now and already I am hunted down specifically for hugs and handshakes.  Things are pretty friendly on the west side of the lake.

 

I also want to mention that they have a live band at this event playing dinner jazz music.  I am not sure who these kids were but man could they play.  There were three of them: drummer, lead guitar and bass.  They all did an amazing job.  My attempts to play guitar have really helped me appreciate good guitar and bass work.  These young men were fantastic.