Friday, March 31, 2017

Turkey, Swiss, Wasabi Jicama Slaw and Smoked Bacon Cuban Sandwich

     A Tasty Modern Cuban Sandwich!
     Thinking outside the box is always a good thing when modernizing a classic sandwich.  A classic Cuban Sandwich is pressed flat under weight on a griddle till the bread is toasted and the Swiss Cheese melts on the warm roasted pork, ham and pickles.  The classic ingredients are a great flavor combination, but just like anything else, eating the same old ingredients time after time starts to get old and interest in this sandwich starts to burnout.
     As long as the unique pressed grilled sandwich making technique is retained, A Cuban Sandwich that is made with new ingredients can still be called a Cuban Sandwich.  If non-traditional ingredients are used, then they should be mentioned in the recipe title.  This opens the door for making Cuban Sandwiches with an endless list of tasty ingredients.
     Today's modern Cuban Sandwich starts with sliced roast turkey, smoked bacon and Swiss Cheese, which is a popular combination of sandwich ingredients.  To jazz the flavor up, Wasabi Jicama Slaw replaces the dill pickle chips that are found in the original Cuban Sandwich.  Wasabi Jicama Slaw adds a zesty cool refreshing light flavor.  Wasabi has been used to flavor just about everything from salad dressings to potato chips in recent years and a little bit of this potent horseradish flavor goes a long way.  Jicama Slaw is popular in the Southwest, because it is so refreshing on a hot day.  Jicama has a light apple flavor that goes well with spicy items like chile peppers or Wasabi.              

     Wasabi Jicama Slaw:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (Enough for 2 to 3 sandwiches.)
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of julienne sliced jicama in a mixing bowl.  (Julienne = 1/8" x 1/8" x 3 1/2")
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
     Add a little bit of thin julienne sliced carrot for color.  (About 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup.)
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Wasabi Powder.
     Step 3:  Toss the ingredients together till the jicama is coated.
     Place the Wasabi Jicama Slaw in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator for 1 hour.  Toss the ingredients together occasionally.
     *Drain off any excess liquid before serving.

     Sandwich Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     A long Cuban Bread Loaf or a Soft Crust French Bread Loaf  that is about 4 1/2" to 5" wide is best for making a Cuban Sandwich.  A Mexican Bolillo can be used too.   
     Step 1:  Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Grill 3 slices of Apple Wood Smoked Bacon till they are crisp.
     Set the smoked bacon on a platter and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Split an 8" long section of Cuban Bread.
     Cut the bread in half lengthwise.
     Step 3:  Place 2 to 3 thin slices of Swiss Cheese on one half of the roll.
     Spread about 1/2 cup of the Wasabi Jicama Slaw on the cheese.
     Place 5 ounces of thin sliced Deli Style Roast Turkey on the slaw.
     Place the reserved 3 strips of smoked bacon on the turkey.
     Place 2 to 3 thin slices of Swiss Cheese on the bacon and turkey.
     Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich.
     Set the sandwich aside till the Cuban Sandwich Griddle is hot.

     Turkey, Swiss, Wasabi Jicama Slaw and Smoked Bacon Cuban Sandwich:
     This recipe yields 1 Cuban Sandwich.
     There are Cuban Sandwich Griddles and Combination Panini/Cuban Sandwich Griddles.  These kinds of appliances have top and bottom griddle cooking surfaces that can be pressed together to flatten a Cuban Sandwich.  A cast iron griddle can be used to make a Cuban Sandwich too.  Both cooking techniques are described in this recipe.  

     • For a Cuban Sandwich Griddle Appliance, follow these steps:
     Set the temperature of the top and bottom griddles to medium heat.
     Place the prepared Cuban Sandwich on the griddle.
     Lower the top griddle and press the sandwich flat.
     Grill till the bread crust is toasted and the sandwich is hot enough to melt the cheese.

     • For a Flat Cast Iron Griddle, follow these steps:
     Wrap a clean new clay brick with aluminum foil.
     Heat seasoned cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Place the prepared Cuban Sandwich on the griddle.
     Place aluminum foil wrapped brick on the sandwich and press the sandwich flat.
     Leave the brick on the sandwich till the bottom half of the sandwich bread is toasted and hot.
     Remove the brick and flip the sandwich over.
     Place the brick on the flattened sandwich.
     Grill till the second side of the sandwich is toasted hot and the cheese melts.
     Place the Turkey, Swiss, Wasabi Jicama Slaw and Smoked Bacon Cuban Sandwich on a cutting board.
     Cut the sandwich in half and place it on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with pickles of your choice and a cilantro sprig.

     This is a tasty modern gourmet Cuban Sandwich!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Kafta Lamburger on a Seasonal Herb Focaccia Bun with Mint Tahini

     Mediterranean Flavor!
     Ground Lamb is rarely used for making burger patties.  Lamb is an alternative burger meat choice that many people will go out of their way to experience.  Lamb meat is well liked world wide, so making a Lamburger would not be considered to be too farfetched.   
     A burger made with plain ground lamb meat would not really be something to write home about.  Lamb has a fairly strong flavor and the fat makes the gamey flavor linger on the palate.  The strong flavor of lamb or mutton is why so many traditional lamb recipes are highly seasoned or marinated.  
     When seeking ways to tame the flavor of ground lamb meat, the best option is to browse through Mediterranean style lamb recipe.  It seems like every culture in this region has plenty of perfected lamb recipes that have been around for thousands of years.  Most of the Mediterranean region lamb recipes are marinated or highly seasoned with a complex mixture of garlic and spices.  
     Kafta Spice Mixtures are a prime example of how a complex mixture of herbs and spices can do far more than just tame a strong meat flavor.  Kafta Spice is often used to flavor minced meats for kebabs and meatloaf that is used for making Gyro.  There are nearly as many ways to spell Kafta as there are Kafta Spic Mix recipes.  Some old family Kafta Spice Mix recipes have been passed on from one generation to the next since the days of ancient Egypt, so meat that is flavored with a good Kafta Spice Mix is like tasting the essence of Mediterranean culinary history.   
     Tahini is sesame paste.  Tahini Sauce is made with sesame paste, lemon juice, red sumac berry, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Mint tastes nice with Tahini Sauce and this flavor combination goes well with a Kafta Spice Lamburger.            

     Seasonal Herb Focaccia Hamburger Rolls:  
     Any kind of burger roll can be used for today's recipe.  If fresh baked Seasonal Herb Focaccia is preferred, then follow the link to the recipe in this website.  

     Basic Kafta Spice Mixture:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.
     It is much cheaper to buy a container of Kafta Spice Mix at a Mediterranean food market, than it is to purchase all the spices separately.  In case there are no Mediterranean food markets in your area, then this Kafta Spice Mix recipe may be handy.  There are many regional variations of Kafta Spice Mix, so there is no single definitive recipe.  
     Salt is traditionally added as a separate seasoning and is not part of a Kaftah Spice Mix.  Saffron, mint and other herbs are usually added after the ground meat is flavored with Kafta Spices.
     *About 1 tablespoons of Kafta Spice Mix is needed for 1 large 8 ounce lamb burger patty.  
     Step 1:  Place these ingredients in a container:
     - 2 tablespoons of mild cinnamon
     - 1 tablespoon of allspice
     - 1 tablespoon of cumin
     - 1 tablespoon of coriander
     - 1 tablespoon of mild paprika 
     - 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
     - 1/2 teaspoon of mace
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground fennugreek
     - 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom 
     Step 2:  Place a lid on the container.
     Shake the container till the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
     Store the Kafta Spice Mix till it is needed.   

     Kafta Lamburger Patty:
     This recipe yields 1 large 8 ounce lamb burger patty!  
     Step 1:  Place 7 1/2 ounces lean ground lamb in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced onion.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Kafta Spice Mix.
     Step 2:  Add 2 pinches of dried mint.
     Add 1 pinch of rubbed Safflower Saffron.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.  (available in middle eastern markets)
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground toasted sesame seed.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whisked egg. 
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of finely ground French bread crumbs (or fine ground Matzo Meal). 
     Step 4:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the ground lamb mixture for 1 hour, so the flavors meld and the texture stiffens.
     Step 5:  Shape the Kafta Lamburger mixture into a large thick burger patty.
     Keep the Kafta Lamburer Patty chilled till it is needed.

     Mint Tahini Sauce:
     This recipe yields almost 1/2 cup.  (3 or 4 petite condiment portions)
     Step 1:  Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame paste (tahini) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 teaspoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of rubbed dried mint.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of warm water while stirring.
     Allow the sesame paste to absorb the liquid.
     *The sesame paste will become very thick after it rests for a few minutes.
     Step 3:  Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time, while stirring, till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  (Only a small amount of water will be needed.)
     Step 4:  Place the Mint Tahini Sauce in a container.
     Set the sauce aside or chill it for later use.

     Kafta Lamburger on a Seasonal Herb Focaccia Bun with Mint Tahini:
     This recipe yields 1 large 8 ounce burger entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Place the Kafta Lamburger Patty in the pan .
     Grill the Lamburger on both sides, till it fully cooked and lightly browned.
     *Be sure to flip the burger a few times, to prevent excess browning.  A probe thermometer placed in the center of the burger patty should read 165ºF.
     Step 2:  Place the Kafta Lamburger on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let it rest for 1 minute.
     Step 3:  Warm a large Seasonal Herb Focaccia Burger Roll in an oven.
     Split the roll in half.
     Place the Kafta Lamburger on the burger roll and place it on a plate.
     Lean the top half of the roll against the burger.
     Step 4:  Stack these garnishes on the plate:
     - thin sliced strips of lettuce or Napa Cabbage
     - thin sliced strips of kale
     - thin sliced onion
     - Italian Parsley sprigs
     - 1 thin slice of Persian Preserved Lemon
     - 1 Pickled Yellow Guero Chile Pepper (spicy hot) or a Pickled Mild Paprika Pepper
     Place 1 small ramekin of the Mint Tahini Sauce on the plate.  (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)

     The aroma and flavor of a Kafta Lamburger is captivating! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Seasonal Herb Focaccia Burger Rolls and Slider Rolls

     Fancy Focaccia Burger Rolls and Slider Rolls!
     Today's focaccia dough recipe is a little bit different than some of the previous focaccia recipes that are posted in this food side.  There is no sugar in today's recipe and the proportion of yeast to water is lower.  This recipe variation allows the dough to slowly rise two times and this creates a nice bread texture.
     Seasonal herbs of any kind can be used to make today's focaccia recipe.  Those who harvested herbs from their own garden before the first hard freeze of winter, probably already have those herbs dried out.  
     Stock rotation is just important at home as it is in a restaurant.  The old dried herbs that were stored from a previous season should be used before the new freshly harvested herbs are dried.  As dried herbs age they do lose potency.  It is good to keep a few recipes in mind that call for a large quantity of herbs, when it is time to liquidate the old herb stock.  Today's bread recipe definitely requires a bunch of herbs!    

     Seasonal Herb Focaccia:    
     This small batch recipe yields enough dough to make the baked products in the photos, plus two individual size pizzas!  (1 large hamburger roll, 2 bread sticks, 1 petite braided loaf, 1 "Dog Bone Roll" and two 11" mini pizzas)  
     High gluten flour or bread flour is best for this recipe.  The gluten strands are what gives focaccia its texture.
     Focaccia is a yeast dough that is enriched with fat.  Oil is a fat. 
     Sugar is an optional ingredient in focaccia recipes.  There is no sugar in today's recipe!
     *This recipe is written for a steel gear mixer with a dough hook.    
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (112ºF) in a 2 to 3 gallon capacity electric mixer bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast (or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast). 
     Place the mixing bowl in a lukewarm place like on a towel on top of a warm oven.
     Wait for the yeast to activate. 
     Step 2:  Add about 1 1/2 cups of flour.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. 
     Step 3:  Place the mixer bowl on the mixer and attach a dough hook.
     At low speed, mix till a very loose wet dough is formed.
     Step 4:  Start adding a little bit of flour at a time, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and the dough starts to look like it can gather on the dough hook.  (About 3 to 3 1/2 cups of flour.  The total amount of flour may vary.) 
     Step 5:  Run the mixer at a low speed for about 5 minutes to knead the dough.  
     *By now the dough should be gathering on the hook.
     Step 6:  Turn the mixer off.
     Add these dried herbs:
     - 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage
     - 1 teaspoon of basil
     - 1 teaspoon of oregano
     - 1 teaspoon of marjoram
     - 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
     - 1 teaspoon of dill weed
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.  (optional)
     Step 7:  Turn the mixer on at a low speed.
     Briefly mix till the herbs are evenly distributed in the dough.
     Step 8:  Turn off the mixer.
     Remove the mixer bowl from the mixer.
     Remove the dough hook.
     Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry lint free pastry towel. 
     Set the bowl on top of a warm oven, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat. 
     When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles.
     Step 9:  Cover the dough with a lint free pastry towel and let it rise a second time.
     When the dough rises the second time, beat the dough down and knead firmly with your hands for 1 minute.
     Step 10:  Place the dough on a lightly floured countertop.
     Roll the dough into a large ball. 
     Cut the dough ball in half for 2 portions.  
     *1 portion of the dough will yield 2 individual size pizzas or 2 small 11" round flat focaccia bread.  The shaped bread examples in the photos was made with 1 portion of dough.
     Step 11:  Roll and tuck each of the 2 dough portions with with your hands to make smooth dough balls.
     Step 12:  Place the 2 dough portion in 2 sealed containers.
     Chill the dough, so the yeast becomes less active.  (Chilled dough is much easier to shape!  The dough portions can be chilled for up to 24 hours.) 

     Scaling dough portions ensures that each dough shape will be an equal size.  Since there are variations in the volume of flour in a bread dough recipe, it is best to not write the portion weights in this recipe section.  It is up to the bread maker to determine the scaled portion weights and the bread maker is you!  The easiest way to do this is to make a desired shape, then weigh it.  The recorded weight can then be used to make scaled portions, so every finished shape is the same size.  Be sure to include the weight of any piece of dough that must be trimmed off of certain shapes too.
     *Any extra dough or trimmings can be recombined to make more bread dough shapes.  
     *Be sure to space each dough product apart from each other on the parchment paper lined pan, so they will not touch each other after proofing! 

     • Slider Roll Shape
     - Cut golf ball size portions.
     - Roll the dough portions into ball shapes.
     - Place the small dough balls on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
     - Lightly brush with olive oil.

     • Large Hamburger Roll Shape
     - Cut a portion of dough that is the size of an average Navel Orange.
     - Thumb tuck the dough and roll it into a ball shape.
     - Place the dough ball on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
     - Use a knife to score 3 or 4 shallow lines on the top of the roll.
     - Lightly brush with olive oil.

     Place the pan of shaped dough in a warm area.
     Allow the dough to rise to 1 1/2 times its size. 
     *Sprinkling a pinch of sea salt over the proofed bread before baking is an option. 

     Bake in a 425ºF oven, till the bread becomes a light golden brown color.  
     *Each bread shape has its own finishing time.  The center temperature of the bread must be at least 190ºF to be fully cooked.  If the bread is going to be reheated at a later time, only bake the bread till it is a light golden shade.  
     Place the pan on a cooling rack. 

     If the bread is for later use, then reheat the bread before serving.

     Fresh baked Seasonal Herb Hamburger Rolls and Slider Rolls add a nice touch to a sandwich presentation!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Veal and Porcini Mushroom Sliders with Dill Slaw

     Gourmet Italian Style Sliders! 
     Alternative meats and wild game are great choices for gourmet sliders.  People are sometimes shy about trying something new when dining out, but when three small sliders on a plate are served, it is an invitation for guests to share a few bites of something new.  Selling a plate of petite portion sliders to table makes it easier to get adventurous guests to try alternative meats, like Bison, Kangaroo, Iguana or just about any other legal animal meat in the proverbial zoo.
     Mainstream customers tend to prefer sliders made with gourmet grades of beef or veal when trying something new.  
     Specialty meats that have a gourmet reputation are a good choice for making sliders.  Kobe Beef, Wagyu, USDA Prime Grade Beef, Black Angus Beef and veal are good choices.  Consumers are familiar with these meats and they are willing to try these gourmet specialty meats if the price is reasonable.  A plate of three petite sliders made out of the highest priced specialty beef still sells for less than $25, so the price is just right for those who want to indulge on a petite portion.

     Dried Porcini Mushrooms Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough to garnish 3 sliders.
     Porcini mushrooms are not easy to find fresh outside of Italy.  Dried Porcini are good for this recipe. 
     Place 6 large dried porcini slices in a container.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Soak the porcini overnight in a refrigerator, so they fully reconstitute.

     Focaccia Dough Recipe:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.  The directions for making the Focaccia Dough are in the Garlic Knots recipe.  Instructions for shaping Focaccia Slider Rolls are in the next step on this slider recipe page.
     • Garlic Focaccia Knots
     Shaping the Focaccia Slider Rolls:
     Step 1:  To make focaccia slider buns with the focaccia dough, cut walnut size dough portions of the focaccia dough.
     Roll each dough portion into an even ball shape.
     Step 2:  Place the dough portions on a parchment paper lined baking pan and space them about 3" apart from each other.
     Brush the dough balls with olive oil, then lightly season with sea salt and coarse back pepper.
     Let the dough balls proof till they are 1 1/2 times their original size.
     Step 3:  Bake the Focaccia Slider rolls in a 425ºF oven till golden highlights appear.
     Let the slider rolls rest for 5 minutes before slicing them in half.
     Dill Slaw:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (2 portions) 
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of very thin sliced cabbage in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced onion. 
     Add about 2 tablespoons of small thin match stick cut carrots for color.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a second mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Add the Dill Slaw Dressing to the cabbage mixture.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     *The cabbage should only be coated with just enough dressing to add flavor.
     Step 4:  Place the Dill Slaw in a container.
     Chill the slaw for 45 minutes before serving.  (The slaw will wilt after marinating.)
     Mix the ingredients together just before serving.

     Veal Slider Patties: 
     This recipe yields 3 slider patties.  (1 portion)
     Step 1:  Place 7 to 8 ounces of ground veal in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Divide the ground veal mixture into 3 equal portions.
     Roll each portion into a ball shape.
     Press each portions into mini burger patty shape.
     Step 3:  Chill the Veal Slider Patties till they are needed.
     Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms:
     This recipe yields enough to garnish 3 sliders.
     Step 1:  Drain the liquid off of the reconstituted porcini.
     Cut the porcini mushroom into large bite size pieces, so they will will fit on top of small slider patties.
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add the porcini mushroom pieces.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper. 
     Sauté till a few golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms warm on a stove top.
     Veal and Porcini Mushroom Sliders with Dill Slaw: 
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Veal Slider Patties cook quickly, so it is best to set the garnished slider bun plate before starting to cook the sliders.
     Step 1:  Split 3 Focaccia Slider Rolls in half.
     Spread a thin layer of Dijon Mustard (or aioli) on each roll.
     Garnish each slider roll with:
     - Romaine Lettuce
     - Slice Plum Tomato
     - Thin sliced Bermuda Onion
     Step 2:  Set the slider roll set-ups on the front half of a plate.
     Place a bed of romaine lettuce on the back half of the plate.
     Place a 3/4 cup portion of the Dill Slaw on the bed of romaine.
     Set the plate aside.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
     Place the Veal Slider Patties in the pan.
     Sauté the patties till they are fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear on both sides.
     *The veal sliders should be flipped twice to prevent excess browning.
     Step 4:  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Gentle shake the pan so the veal sliders are coated with lemon flavor as the lemon juice evaporates.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place 1 Veal Slider Patty on each slider roll "set up" on the plate.
     Place equal amounts of the Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms on top of each slider.
     Lean the slider roll tops against the sliders.

     These are some tasty Gourmet Italian style veal sliders!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tijuana Dogs ... with Fajita Peppers & Onions

      South Of The Border Gourmet Hot Dogs!
      The gourmet hot dog trend has taken shape in a traditional sense and creativity has ended up playing a minor role in the game.  Most gourmet hot dog stands tend to feature traditional hot dog styles from cities across America.  Creating new gourmet hot dog ideas seems to be something that most gourmet hot dog chefs tend to avoid.  It is not really a matter of creativity, but it has something to do with what customers are willing to try.  Customers are willing to try traditional favorites, like the Chicago Dog, Texas Tommy, a Jersey Ripper or a Detroit Coney, rather than take a chance on something new.
     Fortunately for gourmet hot dog shops, there are plenty of regional hot dog favorites to choose from.  A gourmet regional hot dog that has climbed the ranks in recent years is the Tijuana Dog.  The Tijuana Dog goes by a few other names, but the toppings and buns tend to be more specific on a few similar hot dogs.  Basically, a Tijuana Dog is a bacon wrapped hot dog that is chargrilled, cooked on a griddle or pan fried till it is browned.  A Tijuana Dog is served on a standard hot dog bun, while its cousin, the Sonoran Dog is served on a split Bolillo Roll.    
     A wide variety of Mexican style toppings can be placed on a Tijuana Dog.  Tihuana Dog toppings include standard antojitos toppings, like crema, cheese, salsa, guacamole, avocado, salsa picante, pickled jalapeños, cilantro and onions.  Grilled onions, mayonnaise, tomato, Chile Lime Powder and pineapple are options too.  Refritos or pinto beans are a popular Tijuana Dog topping and they add a hearty flavor.  Fajitas style sautéed peppers and onions are also a nice choice.  Basically, the choice of Tijuana Dog toppings are up to what the vendor offers or what the customer requests.
     Today's Tijuana Dogs recipe is made street food style and the choice of topping is fajita style, peppers, onions and jalapeños.  Sprigs of cilantro add a classic flavor and pickled Chile Guero adds eye appeal.  A Tijuana Dog like this tastes so good, that two dogs are better than one! 

     Tijuana Dogs:
     This recipe yields 2 standard size hot dogs.
     Standard Bun Size Hot Dogs are most often used to make Tijuana Dogs, but Foot Long Hot Dogs are an option.  Standard Hot Dogs are made with beef, pork and chicken and they usually have no casing.  Ballpark brand markets Classic Bun Size Franks.
     Step 1:  Select 2 Classic Bun Size Hot Dogs.
     Wrap each hot dog with 1 thin slice of bacon.
     Use toothpicks to keep the ends of the bacon in place.
     Set the bacon wrapped hot dogs aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a chargrill or ribbed cast iron griddle over medium heat.
     Spit 2 standard hot dog buns open.
     Chargrill the buns till a few grill marks appear.
     Set the toasted hot dog buns aside.
     Step 3:  Place the 2 bacon wrapped hot dogs on the chargrill.
     Grill on all sides till the bacon is browned. 
     Step 4:  Place the Tijuana Dogs on the toasted hot dog buns.
     Place the Tijuana dogs on a plate and keep them warm on a stove top.
     *The Fajitas Peppers & Onions only take a few minutes to make!     

     Tijuana Dogs ... with Fajita Peppers & Onions:
     This recipe yields 2 garnished standard bun size Tijuana Dogs.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of Bermuda Onion strips.  (1/4" wide)
     Add 1/4 cup of mixed green and red bell pepper strips.
     Add 2 sliced green jalapeño peppers.  (3/16" thick)
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped roasted red bell pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped green onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Quickly sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of Mexican oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 cup of lager beer.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till most of the liquid evaporates.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 5:  Place a generous amount of the Fajitas Peppers & Onions topping on the 2 Tijuana Dogs.
     Garnish with cilantro sprigs and 2 Pickled Guero Chile Peppers.
     Garnish the plate with tomato slices and cilantro sprigs. 
     Viola!  Tasty fajita topped Tijuana Dogs!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Turkey Cornish Pasty with Mushroom Gravy

     A Savory Hot Cornish Pasty For A Chilly Day!      
     Today's Turkey Cornish Pasty is similar to an item on the menu at an English Pub that I worked for a few decades ago.  The pub owner was purchasing cheap manufactured frozen Chicken Cornish Pasties and they were not exactly good quality.  In fact, the filling was so skimpy and the amount of meat was so small that it was difficult to tell whether it was chicken or not.  
     After taking over the chef spot in the pub kitchen, I stopped purchasing the cheap Cornish Pasty frozen product.  We started making the menu item Cornish Pasties from scratch.  The fresh Cornish Pasties looked better and tasted better!  Only a Vegetable Cornish Pasty and Chicken Cornish Pasty were on the menu and these items were meant to appeal to health conscious customers.  
     Because chicken was touted as being a healthy meat option nationwide back in those days, food purveyors continually raised the price.  Soon the price of turkey was about half of the price of chicken, so turkey was the better choice from a profitability standpoint.  All it took was replacing chicken with turkey in the recipe, then changing the name of the Cornish Pasty on the menu.  To make the item more appealing, Mushroom Gravy was poured on the plate.  
     On a chilly day, a plated Turkey Cornish Pasty with Mushroom Gravy was simply irresistible and the customers ordered plenty.  Even though many of the British Isle customers never tried turkey before, they sure liked this bird when served in a familiar way.  Basically, it was the Mushroom Gravy that made the difference, because this combination created a level of comfort that can be compared to having an Open Face Turkey Sandwich at an American style diner restaurant.  In a traditional English pub, comfort is the name of the game!  

     Pâte Brisée:
     Admittedly, the pie crust dough in the photos above was actually a frozen product from a grocery store.  This was one of the first Cornish Pasty recipes that I published about 10 years ago and the original goal of my recipe writing back then was to keep things simple for the viewers.  As one can see, the quality of manufactured frozen pie dough from a grocery store was sub-par, so the goal of making things easy for readers went right out the window.  As a result, I no longer recommend frozen dough products.  Making pie dough from scratch is the way to go!  
     If you prefer a proper Cornish Pasty Crust Dough is preferred, then substitute lard for the unsalted butter in the pie dough recipe.  Keep the chilled lard pieces to the size of a pea or less.  Larger pieces of lard would turn the dough into a very flaky Irish Pastry Dough and the Cornish Pasty would then become fragile.  The crust on a Cornish pasty is supposed to be durable!
     Follow the link tothe Pâte Brisée recipe in this website.

     Turkey Filling For Cornish Pasty:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups.  (Enough for 1 Cornish Pasty.)  
     There are no tricky cooking techniques involved with most British Isle recipes.  This is a very easy filling to make!
     Step 1:  Place 1 quart of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of diced rutabaga.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced potato.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced celery.
     Add 1 tablespoon diced carrot.
     Boil till the hard root vegetables just start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Drain the water off of the vegetables.
     Set the vegetables aside.
     Step 4:  Place a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 ounces of ground turkey meat.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Sauté till the ground turkey is fully cooked and a few golden highlights appear.  Stir with a whisk and break up any clumps.
     Step 5:  Add the reserved blanched vegetables.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Bring the liquid to a simmer.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture looks fairly dry.
     Step 7:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of fine plain bread crumbs.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 8:  Allow the stuffing to cool to room temperature.
     Place the Turkey Cornish Pasty Filling in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator to 41ºF.

     Turkey Cornish Pasty:
     This recipe yields 1 Cornish Pasty.  (Average portion.)
     Step 1:  Roll out a sheet of pâte brisée that is about 3/16" thick.
     Cut a 9 1/2" diameter round sheet.
     Step 2:  Mound the chilled turkey filling on the center of the round pie dough sheet.  Leave about a 3/4" bare border on the edge of the dough sheet.
     Step 3:  Brush the bare border of the dough with egg wash.
     Fold the pastry dough over the stuffing, so it forms a half moon shape.
     Roll and press the edge of the dough, so it resembles a thick handle.
     Step 4:  Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking pan.
     Place the pasty on the parchment paper.
     Brush the pasty with egg wash.
     Poke 1 tiny steam vent hole in the dough where it will not be seen.
     Step 5:  Bake the pasty in a 375ºF oven, till it is a golden brown color.
     Allow the pasty to cool to a safe serving temperature.

     Mushroom Gravy:
     This recipe yields 1 cup.  (2 generous portions)
     The gravy should be started before the pasty goes in the oven.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while stirring constantly with a whisk.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
     Stir till the roux is a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1 cup of mushroom broth.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Stir with a whisk as the gravy comes to a gentle boil.
     *The consistency will be very thin at this time.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer the gravy.
     Step 4:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 6 small Button Cave Mushrooms that are cut in half.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté and sweat the mushrooms till they are tender.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add the sautéed mushroom halves to the sauce pot of Mushroom Gravy.
     Step 6:  Gently simmer and reduce till the gravy is medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  (The finished volume will be about 1 cup.)
     Keep the gravy warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Turkey Cornish Pasty with Mushroom Gravy:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Spoon 1 generous portion of the Mushroom Gravy on a plate.  (About 1/2 cup)
     Use a spoon to push the mushroom halves toward the border of the plate.
     Step 2:  Set the Turkey Cornish Pasty on the gravy.
     Place a vegetable of your choice on the plate.  (Wilted Garlic Spinach or Buttered Carrots are nice choices.)
     No garnish is necessary!

     Turkey Cornish Pasty with Mushroom Gravy is comfortable pub fare!