Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sesame Honey Mustard Glazed Angus Beef Sliders on Steam Buns









     Gourmet Sliders!
     Ground Black Angus Beef has a slightly better flavor than regular ground beef.  Black Angus Cattle command a slightly higher price at the market, so these cattle tend to be raised with a little more care, which results in consistently good beef quality.
     Black Angus Beef must be 3.9 or lower on the marbling quality scale and the cattle hide must be at least 51% black color.  The Black Angus moniker is a guarantee that the beef comes from a specific breed of cattle and the cattle meet the health standards established in USDA Beef Grading System.  Black Angus Beef at grocery stores usually compares to the better looking picks of USDA Choice Grade Beef.  One might say that consistency is the name of the game, as far as Black Angus Beef goes.

     Back in the mid 1980's, Honey Mustard Glaze was a popular item at trendy cafés.  I once worked with a chef that liked Honey Mustard Glaze a little bit too much.  Next thing I knew, the chef was making Honey Mustard Glaze special du jour items with everything from swordfish to scallopini.  The regular customers grew weary of Honey Mustard Glaze after a short time and this item ended up getting burnt out before its time.
     A few years later the national chain restaurants got ahold of the Honey Mustard idea.  Chain restaurants served Honey Mustard on nearly everything and often the manufactured product actually contained little or no honey at all.  Needless to say, chain restaurants thoroughly burnt out the Honey Mustard flavor combination.
     Adding Sesame Oil to a Honey Mustard Glaze will renew the interest of guests.  Sesame Oil gives Honey Mustard Glaze an Asian flavor.  Sesame Honey Mustard Glaze goes well with just about any kind of meat or seafood, but the flavor will become tiresome if it is served too often.
     Chinese Steam Buns have a semi sweet flavor and an interesting texture.  Steam Buns are fairly easy to make.  Steam Buns can also be purchased at an Asian food market or bakery.  I found some nice quality frozen Mantou Steam Buns in the frozen food section at an Asian market.  Mantou are a type of steam bun that is made in Northern China and they are the perfect size for making sliders.
 
     Sesame Honey Mustard Glaze:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (Enough for about 6 sliders.)
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3 tablespoons of honey.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Stir with a whisk till combined.
     Step 2:  Place the sauce in a small container.
     Set the glaze aside or chill it for later use.
 
     Sesame Honey Mustard Glazed Angus Beef Sliders on Steam Buns: 
     This recipe yields 3 sliders.  (1 portion) 
     Step 1:  Divide 6 ounces of Ground Black Angus Beef into 3 equal portions.
     Select a ring mold that is the same width as the steam buns.
     Use the ring mold to form 3 small burger patties.
     Lightly season the sliders with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or griddle over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Grill the 3 slider patties on both sides, till they are lightly browned and almost fully cooked.
     Step 3:  Remove the sliders from the sauté pan and place them on a small broiler pan.
     Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the Sesame Honey Mustard Glaze over each slider.
     Place the pan with the glazed sliders in a 350ºF oven.
     Roast till the glaze becomes aromatic and a few caramelized highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Pour about 1 more teaspoon of the Sesame Honey Mustard Glaze over the sliders.
     Keep the sliders warm on a stove top.
     Step 5:  Warm 3 Mantou Steam Buns in a steamer or microwave.
     Cut the steam buns in half.
     Step 6:  Place the steam bun bottom halves on a plate.
     Place the Sesame Honey Mustard Glazed Sliders on the steam buns.
     Canter the steam bun tops against the sliders.
     Garnish the plate with pickles of your choice.
     *The plate in the photos was garnished with Napa Cabbage Leaf, Roasted Red Pepper, Pickled Okra and Parsley.
 
     These sliders taste so good, that no extra sandwich garnish is needed!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beer Batter Pepperoni Pizza!







     Beer Batter Pepperoni Pizza!
     There was a restaurant in Boston that specialized in beer batter food.  The restaurant logo went something like, "WE BEER BATTER ANYTHING!"  The restaurant actually offered to beer batter fry any food item that the customers brought in, for a nominal fee.  Beer batter leftover pizza turned out to be the most popular item that customers requested.
     The pizza for today's recipe photo example was made in an old fashioned wood fire stone pizza oven at the Le Cordon Bleu Campus Technique Restaurant.  I baked the pizza with the intention of serving it as an employee meal.  Since I had some beer batter on hand and a deep fryer, I figured that making some beer batter pepperoni pizza would be a good idea.
     The other cooks in the school kitchen noticed what I was doing.  I chilled a slice of pepperoni pizza, dunked it in beer batter and fried it till the batter was crispy golden brown.  I cut the first slice of beer batter pizza into pieces and said "Try this!"  There was no hesitation from the other cooks as they stuffed the beer batter pizza into their mouths!  The reaction from the other cooks was "This is really good!  I am going to make one right now!"   The next thing you know, everybody in the kitchen was monkeying around with the ultimate junk food, beer batter pizza!   
     To make beer batter pizza with fresh hot pizza, the slice of pizza must be chilled, so the melted cheese becomes solid.  Cold leftover cold pizza is perfect for this recipe, because it cuts the preparation time in half.

     Pizza Dough:
     Follow this link to the pizza dough recipe in this website:
     • Pizza Dough

     Italian Pizza Sauce:
     This recipe yields 2 cups.  (Enough for a 14" to 16" pizza.)
     Classic Italian pizza sauce is a cold mixture.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of imported Italian canned crushed tomatoes in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 ounces of olive oil.
     Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 2:  Stir the ingredients together.
     Place the sauce in a container.
     Let the sauce stand for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.  (Or chill the sauce for later use.

     Pepperoni Pizza:
     American Pepperoni is not Italian Peperoni.  American Pepperoni is a spicy Italian dry cure sausage that is sliced very thin.
     Step 1:  Coat a pizza pan with a thin film of olive oil.  (Just a few drops of olive oil wiped on the pan is plenty!)
     Place 14 ounce to 16 ounce portion of pizza dough on the pizza pan.
     Use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough, till it is a flat round shape.  The dough should be 1/4" to 3/8" thick.
     Loosen the dough from the pan, so it does not stick.
     Step 2:  Lightly brush the pizza dough with olive oil.
     Spread an even layer of the pizza sauce over the pizza dough, but leave a 1/2" bare crust.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese over the sauce.
     Sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella cheese over the pizza.  (About 1 1/2 to 2 cups.)
     Step 4:  Place several thin slices of American Pepperoni on the pizza.  (About 3 or 4 ounces.)
     Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the pizza.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of oregano over the pizza.
     Step 5:  Bake the pizza in a 450ºF oven till the crust is a golden color, the cheese melts and a few brown highlights appear.
     Step 6:  Cut the pizza into pie slices and serve, but save some slices for making beer batter pizza!
     Refrigerate the leftover pepperoni pizza slices till the melted cheese becomes solid.

     Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 or 2 slices of pizza.  
     The flavor of this beer batter is designed for pizza.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of lager beer in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Add just enough flour, while whisking, to make a thin batter.  (About 1 1/2 cups.)  The beer batter should have the same consistency as thin pancake batter.
     Set the batter aside for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld or chill for laster use.
 
     Beer Batter Pepperoni Pizza:
     This recipe yields 1 slice of medium size pizza.  
     Step 1:  Heat 6" to 8" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided large pot to 360ºF.
     *The pot has to be wider than the length of the slice of pizza.
     Step 2:  Lightly dust a chilled slice of pepperoni pizza with flour.  Shake off any excess flour.
     Step 3:  Dip the slice of pizza in the beer batter.
     Place the beer batter pizza in the hot frying oil.
     Fry the beer batter pizza, till the batter is crispy golden brown on both sides.
     *Beer Batter Pizza floats in frying oil!  Carefully use a fryer net to flip the pizza over in the frying oil, so both sides fry crisp. 
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to place the fried beer batter pizza on a wire screen rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Place the beer batter pizza on a plate.
     Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of Parmigiana Cheese on the beer batter pizza.
     Sprinkle some minced mixed fresh herbs of your choice over the pizza.

     Beer Batter Pepperoni Pizza is the epitome of junk food evolution!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Tenders & Cole Slaw on a Poppyseed Hot Dog Bun








     More spicy fun food!
     Hot Dog Bun Snack Sandwiches were popular for a while during the beginning of the gourmet street food trend.  Some trendsetting chefs were creating some wild hot dog bun sandwiches with exotic gourmet items.  
     There really is only one limiting factor when designing a hot dog bun snack sandwich.  The sandwich has to be made with a hot dog bun!  This means that there are no limits placed upon whatever ingredients land on the hot dog bun.
     Of course, traditional flavor combinations work well for Hot Dog Bun Snack Sandwiches too.  Two classic flavors that go well together are Cole Slaw and Buffalo Chicken.
     The original Buffalo Wing Sauce was made with Durkee's Hot Sauce which is marketed as Frank's Red Hot.  Frank's Red Hot is a very mild hot sauce.  Those who prefer some extra hot pepper flavor can add cayenne pepper for a medium spicy heat or add habanero pepper sauce for an extra hot flavor.
  
     Buffalo Wing Sauce: 
     This recipe yields 3/4 cup.  (Enough sauce for 12 wings or about 8 chicken tenders.)  
     This Buffalo Wing Sauce is close to the original recipe.  The original recipe was basically just butter and Frank's Red Hot.  Honey and BBQ sauce adds a touch of sweetness and depth. 
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot Sauce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of BBQ sauce.
     Add 3 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Pour the wing sauce in a container and set it aside.
  
     Napa Cabbage Cole Slaw:
     This recipe yields enough to garnish 4 small sandwiches.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of very thin sliced Napa Cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green bell pepper.
     Add a few thin julienne carrot slivers for color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
     Step: 3:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the cole slaw to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     Drain off any excess liquid before serving.
  
     Buffalo Chicken Tenders:
     This recipe yields enough for 4 small sandwiches.
     Step 1:  Dredge 8 large chicken tenders in flour that is seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough vegetable frying oil, so the oil is about 3/8" deep.
     Adjust the temperature, so the oil is 360ºF.
     Step 3:  Place the floured chicken tenders in the hot oil.
     Pan fry the chicken tenders till they are fully cooked and crispy golden brown on both sides.
     Step 4:  Place the pan fried chicken tenders in a mixing bowl.
     Add just enough of the buffalo wing sauce to coat the chicken tenders.
     Toss the chicken tenders with the sauce till they are completely coated.
   
     Buffalo Chicken Tenders & Cole Slaw on a Poppyseed Hot Dog Bun:
     This recipe describes 1 snack sandwich.
     Step 1:  Warm a poppyseed hot dog bun in an oven.
     Step 2:  Spread about 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Napa Cabbage Cole Slaw on the hot dog bun.
     Place the buffalo chicken tenders on the cole slaw.
     Step 3:  Place the snack sandwich on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs and pickles of your choice.  (Pickled Okra Spears add a nice touch!)
  
     This is a very tasty weekend afternoon snack sandwich!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Italian Tre Formaggi & Balsamic Tomato Relish Hot Dog






     Not Your Average Italian Style Gourmet Hot Dog! 
     For today's recipe, I did not want to make the same old Pizza Dog that that many snack food restaurants have offered in the past.  I had just a couple of spoonfuls of Italian 3 Cheeses Mix (Tre Formaggi) leftover from making a previous recipe.  My first thought was to make this hot dog like an Italian Baked Ziti.  On second thought, I figured that the hot dog bun would probably burn after being baked for that much time.  Instead, it is best to just warm the 3 Cheeses mixture and top it with a zesty sauce.  Tomatoes reduced with Balsamic Vinegar certainly is zesty and it is like a dark chunky sweet tomato relish.  The flavor goes well with the warm Italian 3 Cheeses.  

     Tre Formaggi:
     This recipe yields about 2 3/4 cups.  This is enough to make an Italian baked pasta entrée and still have enough for a few hot dogs.  Only 3 or 4 tablespoons are needed per hot dog.  
     Never add salt or pepper to Tre Formaggi or the delicate "sweet" flavor of the ricotta cheese will be lost! 
     Step 1:  Place 1 3/4 cups of ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/3 cup of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese.
     Add 3/4 cup of grated mozzarella cheese.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 2 tablespoons of whisked egg.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the Tre Formaggi in a refrigerator till it is needed.  

     Balsamic Tomato Relish:  
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (Enough for 4 or 5 hot dogs.) 
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.  
     Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.  
     Sauté the garlic till it is a golden color.  
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/4 cups of coarsely chopped imported Italian canned peeled plum tomato and a small portion of its own juices.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 pinch of dry mustard powder.  
     Add 1 pinch of oregano. 
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. 
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.   
     Step 3:  Simmer and reduce till most of the excess liquid evaporates.  
     Step 4:  Place the relish in a container.
     Chill the relish for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Warm the relish to room temperature before serving.  
     
     Italian Tre Formaggi & Balsamic Tomato Relish Hot Dog:
     This recipe yields 1 gourmet hot dog!
     Step 1:  Cook 1 all beef Coney Island style hot dog in boiling water, till it starts to plump up.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan  or griddle over low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  
     Add the plumped hot dog.
     Lightly grill the hot dog till light brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Place the hot dog on a hot dog bun.  
     Use a spoon to spread about 1/3 cup of the Italian 3 Cheese over the hot dog and bun. 
     Place the hot dog and bun on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 325ºF oven till the cheese warms and partially melts.  
     Step 4:  Place the Tre Formaggi Hot Dog on a plate.
     Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Balsamic Tomato Relish on the Tre Formaggi Hot Dog.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig, olives, sport peppers and dill pickle.  

     Cheesy, zest and yummy!  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Beer Batter Tilapia Reuben with Shoestring Fries






     A Tasty Fish Reuben!
     Variations of a Reuben Sandwich can turn out to be exceptionally good.  A wide variety of meats can be used to make this sandwich.  Making a Reuben with fish is popular in Florida restaurants that feature fresh local seafood.
     Today's Reuben recipe uses the Thousand Island Dressing as a sandwich spread.  Manufactured Thousand Island Dressing straight out of a jar is what most casual restaurants sell.  I have never been a fan of pre-made food products, because concessions in quality are made to suit the manufacturing process.  Thousand Island Dressing that is made from scratch has much more character.
     I was a sauté chef at a trendy French Café in Florida in the 1980's when we first started making Reuben Sandwiches with Beer Batter Grouper as a special du jour.  It sounded like a nice idea for a lunch sandwich special.  Health conscious customers liked the idea of eating a Reuben that was made with fish, even though the fish was beer battered and deep fried.  
     Currently, grouper of all kinds have been overfished, so there are sustainability issues.  Most snapper species are not sustainable too.  Tilapia or any whitefish is a good alternative fish choice.

     Thousand Island Dressing:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups or enough for 2 large salads.  
     The ketchup measurement is nearly always done by eye.  This creates a personal touch.  Organic ketchup has the best flavor.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.
     Add just enough organic ketchup to give the dressing a light pinkish orange color.  (About 2 to 3 tablespoons.)
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped pitted green olives.
     Add 1 finely chopped hard boiled egg.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the dressing for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Step 4:  *Check the consistency.  If the dressing is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time while stirring.  Thousand Island should be thick enough to easily coat a spoon and just thin enough to be poured from a spoon.

     Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough for 2 small fish filets.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of lager or pilsner beer in a mixing bowl.  
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
     Step 2:  Add just enough flour while stirring with a whisk to make a medium thin batter.  (About 1 cup.  The beer batter should be the consistency of thin pancake batter.)
     Set the beer batter aside or chill it for later use.    

     Sauerkraut:
     About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of sauerkraut is needed per Reuben.
     Place 1/2 cup of rinsed sauerkraut in a small sauce pot.
     Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Gently warm the sauerkraut and allow the excess liquid to evaporate.
     Keep the sauerkraut warm on a stove top.
   
     Shoe String Fries:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Cut a large 8 ounce russet potato lengthwise into thin slices.
     Stack the potato slices together.
     Cut long thin julienne potato strips.
     Step 3:  Place the julienne potatoes in the hot oil.  (Add a few at a time to reduce oil foaming.)
     Fry the potatoes till they are crispy golden brown.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to remove the shoestring fries from the hot oil.
     Place the shoestring fries on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Season with sea salt.
     Keep the shoestring fries warm on a stove top.
     *Keep the oil hot for the Beer Batter Tilapia.

     Beer Batter Tilapia:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich size tilapia filet.
     Step 1:  Select a 5 to 6 ounce tilapia filet that is about the same size as the sandwich bread.
     Dredge the tilapia filet in flour.
     Step 2:  Dip the tilapia in the beer batter.
     Knock off any excess batter, so the fish is covered with a thin even coating.
     Place the beer batter tilapia in the pot of 360ºF frying oil.
     Fry till the beer batter is crispy golden brown and the fish is fully cooked.
     Step 3:  Place the fried fish on a wire screen roasting rack to remove any excess oil.
     Keep the beer batter tilapia warm on a stove top.
 
     Beer Batter Tilapia Reuben with Shoestring Fries:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     Wheat Bread, Sourdough Bread or Rye Bread are good choices for this sandwich. 
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Brush 2 slices of whole grain wheat bread with melted unsalted butter.
     Place both slices of the bread on the griddle.
     Step 2:  Place a few thin slices of Swiss Cheese (Emmentaler) on the bread.
     Spread about 2 tablespoons of Thousand Island Dressing on the cheese.
     Step 3:  Place the sauerkraut on one of the bread slices.
     Place the Beer Battered Tilapia Filet on the other slice of bread.
     Grill till the bread is toasted golden brown and the cheese melts.
     Step 4:  Use a spatula to place the sauerkraut sandwich half on top of the fish half.
     Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut it in half.
     Place the sandwich halves on a plate.
     Step 5:  Garnish the sandwich with sweet mini gherkin pickles speared with toothpicks.
     Place the shoe string fries on the plate.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig.
     
     This is a nice reuben sandwich!  The crispy beer batter fish texture adds to the appeal.  Crispy shoestring fries are a nice accompaniment.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cajun Blackened Yellowfin Tuna Sliders






     Gourmet Cajun Style Sliders! 
     Blackened seafood is not quite as popular as it was in the 1980's and 1990's, but it is still found on menu in many casual seafood restaurants.  The recent trend of gourmet sliders has brought Cajun blackened fish back into the limelight.  Cajun Blackened Tuna Sliders appeal to those who are interested in a slider that is healthier than beef or kobe beef.
     Blackening seafood is an old Louisiana style cooking technique.  The original blackening technique involved pressing coarse edible rock salt and very coarsely crushed black peppercorns into the flesh of a redfish filet.  The redfish filet was then seared in smoking hot butter for 6 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other side.  Most of the rock salt melted from the moisture of the redfish and this created a crust with dark brownish black highlights.  All the flavor of the redfish was sealed in beneath the black crust.  
    As time moved on, Cajun spice mixtures for blackening fish became more complex.  Now blackening involves coated the fish filet with Cajun spices and then searing the fish in smoking hot butter at a high temperature.  The spice mixture turns black and the flavor of the Cajun spices infuse with the meat.  Once again, by searing at a high temperature, the fish juices and flavor are locked into the meat.
     If you have ever been served blackened fish at a restaurant that looks like it is covered with greasy red spice and the coating has few blackened highlights, then the fish was seared at too low of temperature.  When blackened fish is sautéed at too low of a temperature, the Cajun spices absorb the butter and the fish will look red from the cayenne pepper and paprika.  The spicy heat will be overbearing too, because most of cayenne did not go up in smoke.
     Fish like grouper, snapper, redfish and mahi mahi are some of the best fish to blacken.  Tuna turns out rather dark, because the meat grain is very tight with little fat.  With fewer juices, the tuna becomes darker even faster.  That is okay, because tuna is usually cooked so it is still rare in the center anyway.
     When selecting tuna of any kind at a food market, it is best to check the sustainability status.  All tuna are low in numbers and some tuna species are on the endangered list.

     Focaccia Dough:
     Follow this link to the Pizza Dough recipe in this website.  An option for making Focaccia Pizza Dough is mentioned in the recipe.
     • Pizza Dough

     Focaccia Slider Rolls:
     Step 1:  Cut walnut size focaccia dough portions.
     Roll the dough portions into smooth ball shapes.
     Place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking pan and space them about 3" apart from each other.
     Step 2:  Brush the dough balls with olive oil.
     Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and coarse ground back pepper on the dough balls.  (optional)
     Step 3:  Let the dough rise and proof.
     Step 4:  Bake the slider rolls in a 425ºF oven till they are a light golden color.
     Step 5:  Place the pan on a cooling rack.
     Set the Focaccia Slider Rolls aside.
 
     Cajun Blackening Spice Mix:
     This recipe yields enough for 4 .     
     This is a basic Cajun blackening spice mix.  Some Cajun chefs add many dried herbs to the basic spice mixture to create a more complex flavor, but it is best to learn the basic blackening spice mixture before trying to get fancy!    
     Place 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder.
     Add 4 tablespoons Spanish Paprika.
     Add 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of flour.
     Mix the ingredients together.
 
     Cajun Blackened Yellowfin Tuna Sliders:   
     • Blackening does produce plenty of smoke.  Be sure that the kitchen fan is on and that the kitchen is well ventilated.
     • A fish filet is usually seared for 6 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other side.  Tuna cannot be cooked this way, because the grain of the meat is tight and there is little fat.  It is best to blacken tuna for the same amount of time on both sides. 
     Step 1:  Split 3 slider rolls in half.
     Brush the slider rolls with garlic butter.
     Grill the rolls on a griddle over medium/medium low heat, till they are toasted golden brown.
     Place the rolls on a plate.
     Place a cucumber slice on the bottom half of each roll.
     Place some alfalfa sprouts on top of the cucumber slices.
     Set the slider set-up plate aside.
     Step 2:  Cut a thick yellowfin tuna steak into 3 pieces, so that each piece will fit on the slider rolls.  The yellowfin tuna slider portions should weigh about 2 to 2 1/2 ounces apiece.
     Dredge the tuna pieces in the Cajun blackening spice mix.
     Step 3:  Heat 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
     Heat the butter, till the butter just begins to smoke.
     Use a pair of tongs to place the Cajun spiced tuna sliders in the smoking hot butter.
     Blacken the tuna sliders for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on both sides.  (Only flip the sliders once!  The tuna should still be medium rare in the center.)
     Step 4:  Turn off the heat.
     Use a spatula to place the blackened tuna sliders on each of the slider rolls on the set-up plate.
     Lean the slider roll tops against the tuna sliders.
     Serve with fries, slaw or pickles.  
     *The sliders in the pictures with spicy kimchi.

     These are some tasty Cajun style tuna sliders!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Buffalo Sliders with Cheddar, Burgundy Braised Onions and Red Potato Salad







     Gourmet Sliders!
     Buffalo (American Bison) is a perfect alternative meat choice for gourmet sliders.  Ground buffalo is lean, chemical free and is has plenty of flavor.  Buffalo tastes like good rich grass fed beef and the flavor is far from gamey tasting.
     Starting with good slider patty meat is the first step.  Deciding on a slider topping is next.  Gourmet slider toppings do not have to be exotic to be great.  A classic flavor combination can work well too.  Sharp cheese and red wine is a classic flavor.  When onions are braised with red wine, the onions naturally sweeten the wine as it reduces to a glaze.  The slightly sweetened deep red wine flavor pairs nicely with sharp cheddar and the rich flavor of buffalo.
     Red Potato Salad is a traditional Louisiana recipe.  Finely minced red bell pepper is what gives the potato salad a red color.  Red Potato Salad has a garden fresh summertime flavor.

     Focaccia Dough:
     Follow this link to the Pizza Dough recipe in this website.  An option for making Focaccia Pizza Dough is mentioned in the recipe.
     • Pizza Dough

     Focaccia Slider Rolls:
     Step 1:  Cut walnut size focaccia dough portions.
     Roll the dough portions into smooth ball shapes.
     Place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking pan and space them about 3" apart from each other.
     Step 2:  Brush the dough balls with olive oil.
     Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and coarse ground back pepper on the dough balls.  (optional)
     Step 3:  Let the dough rise and proof.
     Step 4:  Bake the slider rolls in a 425ºF oven till they are a light golden color.
     Step 5:  Place the pan on a cooling rack.
     Set the Focaccia Slider Rolls aside.

     Red Potato Salad:
     This recipe yields 2 to 3 portions.  (About 2 1/4 cups.)
     Step 1:  Boil an 8 ounce peeled russet potato till it is fully cooked, but not mushy.
     Cool the cooked potato under cold running water.
     Cut the potato into large diced cube shaped pieces.
     Place the diced potato in a mixing bowl.
     Chill the potato in a refrigerator.
     Step 2:  Place 1 red bell pepper in a 300ºF oven.
     Roast till the pepper starts to become tender.
     Let the pepper cool to room temperature.
     Trim the stem and seeds off of the red bell pepper.
     Mince the red bell pepper.  (Or puree in a food processor.)
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of the minced red bell pepper to the diced potato in the mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Creole Mustard (or Dijon Mustard).
     Add 2 pinches of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Add just enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together.  (About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.)
     Gently mix the ingredients together.
     Place the potato salad in a container.
     Chill the Red Potato Salad to 41ºF in a refrigerator.

     Burgundy Braised Onions:
     This recipe yields enough for 3 sliders.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 cup of thick sliced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of Burgundy Wine.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Gently simmer till the wine reduces to a thin glaze consistency that easily clings to the onions.
     Keep the Burgundy Braised Onions warm on a stove top.

     Buffalo Sliders with Cheddar, Burgundy Braised Onions and Red Potato Salad:
     This recipe yields 3 sliders.
     Buffalo is best cooked to a rare to medium finish temperature.
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Split 3 slider rolls in half.
     Brush them with melted unsalted butter.
     Grill the slider rolls, till they are toasted.
     Step 2:  Spread a little bit of mayonnaise on the rolls.
     Garnish each roll with a piece of lettuce leaf and 1 slice of plum tomato.
     Set the slider roll set-ups aside.
     Step 3:  Measure 3 portions of ground buffalo meat that weigh about 2 ounces apiece.
     Use a ring mold to press the ground buffalo portions into 3 slider patties.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature of the griddle to medium heat.
     Spread 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter on the griddle.
     Place the buffalo slider patties on the griddle.
     Step 5:  When the sliders are halfway cooked, flip them over.
     Immediately place a slices of sharp cheddar cheese on top of each slider.
     Finish grilling the sliders till they are rare to medium.  (The cheese will melt by this time.)
     Step 6:  Place the buffalo sliders on the garnished slider rolls
     Place the 3 sliders on a plate.
     Place a portion of Burgundy Braised Onions on each slider.
     Lean the slider roll tops against the sliders.
     Place a portion of Red Potato Salad on a bed of leaf lettuce on the plate.

     These fancy little bite size buffalo sliders will put a smile on a gourmet slider lover's face!