Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cajun Pig In A Blanket with Yellow Remoulade

     A Tasty Cajun Andouille Sausage Pig In A Blanket!
     The classic Pig In A Blanket is an old time favorite.  The basic recipe is a hot dog that is wrapped with biscuit dough and then baked.  Many chefs prefer to use puff pastry dough, rather than biscuit dough for a pig in a blanket.  I used puff pastry dough for today's recipe.  Pe-made frozen pastry dough sheets are a nice convenience and this product is best for snack food recipes like a Pig In A Blanket.  Frozen puff pastry sheets can be found in nearly any grocery store.
     Andouille is a Cajun style spicy smoked sausage.  Traditional Andouille can be a large sausage that is two to three inches in diameter, which is too large for making a Pig In A Blanket.  Commercial Andouille is available in ropes or links that vary in size.  In recent years, traditional sausages that are about a foot long have been scaled down by food manufacturers, so the traditional sausages can fit on a hot dog bun.  Large hot dog size Andouille Sausages that weigh about 5 ounces are available at grocery stores.  The quality of the small Andouille usually does not compare to hand crafted Cajun Andouille, but the large hot dog size Andouille are just fine for making items like a Pig In A Blanket.
     Making a Cajun pig in a blanket turned out to be a good idea and this recipe could very well become a fun Mardi Gras street food style snack.  It would not be great, unless some Remoulade was served on the side.  Remoulade is taken very seriously in Louisiana and this sauce is nearly always slathered on sandwiches or served as a dipping sauce.  
     There are several varieties of Remoulade in Louisiana and they are usually identified by their color.  White Remoulade is a classic French Sauce.  French Yellow Remoulade is White Remoulade with Curry Powder added.  Orange color Remoulade is a combination of Yellow Remoulade and Ketchup.  Reddish Pink color Remoulade is the most popular and it is a combination of French White Remoulade and Ketchup.  Creole Mustard is the classic choice for flavoring any Louisiana style Remoulade, but in a pinch, French Dijon Mustard will do. 
     With all these Louisiana Remoulade versions to choose from, I chose the French Yellow Remoulade for this Cajun pig in a blanket.  The Creole Mustard really adds some pizazz to this classic French sauce and it tastes real nice with a Cajun Pig In A Blanket.

     Louisiana Yellow Remoulade:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups.  (6 portions) 
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3 tablespoons of Louisiana Creole Mustard.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Step 2:  Add 3 tablespoons of minced Cornichon Pickle.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced capers.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced Italian parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Madras Yellow Curry Powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. 
     Add 1 or 2 pinches of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (about 2 pinches)  
     Step 5:  Whisk the ingredients till blended.  
     Place the Yellow Remoulade in a container.
     Refrigerate for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Cajun Pig In A Blanket:   
     This recipe yields 1 Cajun Pig In A Blanket.
     Frozen Puff Pastry Dough Sheets are a nice convenience and this product is fine for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Select an 4 to 6 ounce Andouille Sausage that is about the same size as a large hot dog.    
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the Andouille Sausage.
     Sauté till the sausage lightly browned.
     Remove the sausage from the pan and let it cool to room temperature.
     Step 3:  Place a chilled Puff Pastry Dough Sheet on a lightly flour dusted countertop.
     Cut a square shape piece of Puff Pastry that is as wide as the length of the Andouille Sausage.
     Step 4:  Brush one side of the puff pastry square with egg wash.
     Place the Andouille sausage on the edge of the puff pastry square.
     Roll the sausage and pastry together till the pastry dough overlaps by 1/2".
     Trim off the excess puff pastry dough.
     Press and pinch the seam, so it is sealed tight.
     Step 5:  Place the Cajun Pig In A Blanket on a piece of parchment paper on a baking pan.  
     *Be sure that the seam of the pastry is facing down.
     Score the top of the pastry with even spaced knife slashes.
     Brush the pastry dough with egg wash.
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 425ºF oven.
     Bake until the pastry puffs and it turns a golden brown color.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Allow the Cajun Pig In A Blanket to cool to a safe serving temperature. 

     Place the Cajun Pig In A Blanket on a plate.
     Place about 2 ounces of the Louisiana Yellow Remoulade in a ramekin and set it on the plate.
     Garnish the plate with pickles of your choice and an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Viola!  A tasty Cajun Pig In A Blanket with Yellow Remoulade!  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fried Mozzarella Sliders with Marinara

     Fried Mozzarella Sliders!
     Gourmet sliders are still a popular food trend that is going strong.  Gourmet sliders of every kind are offered these days.  Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between what is a slider and what really is a mini sandwich.  
     The classic definition of a slider is a cooked mini burger patty made with any kind of ground meat on a mini roll.  By this standard, anything else is really just a mini sandwich.  By modern standards, the definition of a slider is a bit looser.  Modern sliders are made with pork belly, pulled pork barbecue, blackened tuna, beef tenderloin, prime rib, veggie patties, crab cakes and even fried fish.  Much to the dismay of traditionalists, as long as a featured item is hot and it fits on a tiny roll, then it can be called a slider in modern times.            
     A few years ago, I attended the San Gennaro Feast in Las Vegas.  Attending that event gave me a chance to catch up on new Italian American food trends.  I posted photographs of some nice tasting Meatball Sliders that I sampled that day.  The little Meatball Sandwiches were tasty and it was a good Italian slider idea.  I also saw Mozzarella Sliders on the menu at one of the other vender stands.  This was another good Italian slider idea!
     Making Meatball Sliders is fairly easy to do.  Making Fried Mozzarella Sliders does require a little bit more skill.  I used to make Mozzarella en Carrozza (Pan Fried Breaded Mozzarella) at an Italian restaurant during my first apprenticeship.  The trick part is frying the breaded mozzarella just long enough to soften the cheese.  Frying just a few seconds too long will result in soft melted cheese that easily leaks out of the breadcrumb coating.  When done just right, Fried Mozzarella Sliders are a sheer pleasure to eat, especially when they are topped off with a good Marinara Sauce!  

     Shiny Hamburger and Slider Rolls:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.

     Marinara Sauce:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Classic Marinara Sauce 
     About 1/3 cup of Marinara will be needed to garnish 3 Fried Mozzarella Sliders.  Gently warm a portion of the Marinara sauce in a sauce pot over low heat as needed.   
     Fried Mozzarella Sliders with Marinara:
     This recipe yields 3 sliders.  (1 portion)
     Chilling or partially freezing the breaded mozzarella before frying will provide a few extra seconds before the cheese becomes soft.   
     Step 1:  Select a ball of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese that is 3" to 3 1/2" diameter.
     Cut 3 slices that are about 3/8" thick.  (Each slice of Fresh Mozzarella should be the same size as a Slider Burger Patty.) 
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of fine plain Italian breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl.
     Lightly seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Mix the breading ingredients together.
     Step 3:  Place 1/2 cup of flour in a small mixing bowl and set it aside.
     Step 4:  Place 1 large egg in a mixing bowl.
     Whisk till blended.
     Set the egg wash aside.
     Step 5:  Dredge the 3 slices of Fresh Mozzarella in the flour. 
     Dip 1 floured cheese slice at a time in the egg wash and make sure it is completely coated. 
     Dredge each egg washed cheese slice in in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
     Step 6:  Place the Breaded Mozzarella slices on a parchment paper lined platter.
     Chill in a refrigerator or freezer to 35ºF.
     Step 7:   *It is best to get the slider rolls and sauce ready, before frying the cheese.  
     Cut 3 warm Shiny Slider Rolls in half.
     Place the rolls on a plate and set it aside.
     Heat about 1/3 cup of Marinara Sauce in a small sauce pot over very low heat.
     Step 8:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  
     Add enough blended olive oil, so the oil is about 3/8" deep in the pan.
     Adjust the temperature, so the oil is 350ºF.
     Step 9:  *Breaded mozzarella cheese fries very quickly!  Be ready to flip the mozzarella over when halfway done and be ready to remove it from the hot oil before it overcooks.  Do not fry for too much time, because the cheese will melt and leak out of the breading.
     Place the 3 Breaded Mozzarella Slices side by side in the hot oil. 
     Fry till the bottom side is light golden brown.
     Use a slotted spatula to turn each Breaded Mozzarella over.
     Fry the other side till it is light golden brown.
     Step 9:  Use a slotted spatula to remove the 3 Fried Mozzarella from the hot oil.
     Place the 3 Fried Mozzarella Slices on the Shiny Slider Rolls.
     Spoon about 2 tablespoon of Marinara Sauce on top of each Fried Mozzarella Slider.
     Lean the tops of the Shiny Slider Rolls against the sliders.
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs and pickles of your choice.

     Gooey Fried Mozzarella with Marinara on Shiny Rolls is the best Italian munch you never had! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Classic Marinara Sauce

     Classic Marinara!
     Marina Sauce originated in the galleys of Italian merchant ships and fishing vessels.  The way that Marinara Sauce is made is similar to how meals were quickly put together for fishermen returning from sea back in the old days, before radio communications.  Fishermen worked at sea till the job was done or the weather started getting rough and there was no time schedule.  Home cooks ashore often had to wait till the boats could be seen returning to port, before getting the meal started.  Home cooks in fishing villages developed great recipes that take very little time to prepare.
     The same can be said about meals prepared at sea.  Less than 100 years ago, a galley cook performed far more duties on a fishing boat than just preparing meals for the crew.  If repairs or hauling in a catch needed to be done, the task took priority over preparing a meal.  Often a galley cook was faced with preparing a meal for a hungry crew in short order and this is where Marinara Sauce fits in.
     Depending on the quality of the canned tomatoes, Marinara Sauce can be made in a matter of minutes or it can be simmered for forty minutes,.  In the old fishing boat days, the time that that it took to make Marinara also depended on how hungry the crew was!  It was never a good idea to keep temperamental fishermen hungry for too long, especially if the crew depended on the Vitamin C in tomatoes for preventing scurvy.
     Marinara can also be made with peeled, seeded overripe fresh tomato filets.  I once worked with an Italian chef in Florida that went to a tomato packing plant just to get boxes of overripe fresh tomatoes that were unfit for shipping.  Tomato shippers prefer to pack only unripe fresh tomatoes, because they are more durable when boxed and shipped.  A tomato packing plant usually gives the overripe tomatoes away for free to farmers that need livestock feed or to anybody that wants them.  Since the Italian chef got the overripe tomatoes at no cost, his restaurant food cost percentage was very low!
     Classic Marinara Sauce: 
     This recipe yields 3 to 4 portions of sauce.  (about 3 to 3 1/3 cups) 
     • The proportion of olive oil in a marinara sauce is about 20%.  Olive oil is the key to cooking this classic tomato sauce.  Without enough olive oil, a marinara will turn out to be "flat" like stewed tomatoes.
     • Only the best imported canned Italian tomatoes should be used to make Marinara Sauce.  This is because Marinara has evolved from a simple quickly made sauce to a sauce that shows off the best tomatoes in the house.
     • Canned whole peeled seeded San Marzano Tomatoes packed in their own juices are the best choice.  Another good choice is canned Italian peeled seeded plum tomatoes packed in their own juices.  If the imported can of Italian tomatoes also says "Con Basilico" (packed with basil leaves) on the label then that is good too, because basil sweetens tomatoes.  
     Step 1:  Place a 28 ounce can of imported Italian peeled seeded San Marzano Tomatoes packed in their own juices in a mixing bowl.   (Or use canned Italian peeled seeded plum tomatoes packed in their own juices.)
     Crush and squeeze the tomatoes by hand till no large chunks remain.
     Set the prepared tomatoes aside.
     Step 2:  Heat 3/4 cup of pomace olive oil in a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 8 thin sliced garlic cloves.
     Fry the garlic in the oil, till it cooks to a light golden brown color.
     Step 3:  Immediately add the reserved prepared tomatoes and their juices.
     Add about 12 whole fresh basil leaves.  (medium to medium large size leaves)
     Add 3 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, while stirring often.  (Do not over heat this sauce!)
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Gently simmer the sauce and stir the olive oil into the sauce once every five minutes.
     *The olive oil must be stirred into the sauce regularly, so the olive oil combines with the tomatoes and juices!
     Simmer the marinara for up to 40 minutes, till the excess tomato juices have reduced and the sauce becomes a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Step 6:  Add 2 tablespoons of minced Italian Parsley.
     Remove the pot of Marinara Sauce from the heat.
     *Marinara is never kept warm.  Marinara Sauce is always reheated to order!

     This is the way that I was taught to make Marinara during my first Italian apprenticeship.  As one can see, it only takes a few select ingredients and good cooking techniques to make a great Marinara Sauce!  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Classic Italian Sub

     An Old School Italian Sub Sandwich!
     The best Sub Sandwiches can be found at an Italian delicatessen or Italian sub shop.  Italian chefs take great pride in traditional meats and cheese from the old country.  Local Italian artisan deli meats and cheese in big cities, like Chicago or New York City are also made with the same high quality standards.  Local Italian bakeries always have the best Sub Sandwich Bread.  With a combination of Italian food resources like this, it is easy to see why an Italian Sub Sandwich tastes so great in a big city.
     When making an Italian Sub Sandwich, settling for second rate lunch meats and cheese simply will not do.  National brand lunch meats and cheese always make concessions in quality to suit the mass production process.  Selecting average national brand lunch meats and cheese at an average grocery store will result in an average tasting Italian Sub Sandwich that will be only slightly better than those found at a fast food sub shop chain restaurant that only cares about high volume sales.  When it comes to Italian Sub Sandwiches, the word "average" simply is not good enough!
     Fast food sub shop chain restaurants are another thing to avoid, if you have quality in mind.  Fast
     There is no substitute for the real thing, as far as making an Italian Sub Sandwich goes.  When I made the Italian Sub photo example for today's recipe, I travelled 20 miles across town to a great Italian deli on the other side of Chicago just to get the lunch meats, cheese and bread.  I chose local Italian crafted Spicy Capicola, imported Italian Volpi Prosciutto, Italian artisan crafted Toscano Salami and imported Italian Mortadella with pistachios mortadella.  A locally crafted Aged Sharp Provolone and a fresh large Italian Sub Roll from a local bakery topped off the shopping list at the Italian delicatessen.  Everything was professionally packaged and wrapped with deli paper, just like back in the old days.  The quality and aroma of the Italian deli products guaranteed that the Italian Sub Sandwich would be great!

     Italian Sub Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (Enough for 3 or 4 foot long sub sandwiches.)    
     This style of vinaigrette is usually placed in a plastic squeeze bottle, then shaken each time that it is used.
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 2 pinches of grumbled leaf oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the vinaigrette in a plastic squeeze bottle.
     Let the sub dressing sit for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Shake the bottle of vinaigrette before using.
     Italian Sub Vinaigrette can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days.

     Classic Italian Sub: 
     This recipe yields 1 foot long sub sandwich.
     Step 1:  Cut a 1 foot long section of Italian Sub Roll Bread.
     Turn the bread on its side and cut the bread in half lengthwise.
     Step 2:  Place a layer of leaf lettuce on the bottom half of the sub bread.
     Place a layer of thin sliced tomato on the lettuce.
     Place a few very thin slices of bermuda onion on the lettuce and tomatoes.
     Sprinkle a little bit of the Italian Sub Vinaigrette over the lettuce, tomato and onion.  (About 1 or 2 tablespoons.)
     Step 3:  Place 2 to 3 ounces of thin sliced Mortadella on the sandwich.
     Place 2 to 2 1/2 ounces of thin sliced Capicola on the sandwich.
     Place 2 ounces of paper thin sliced Volpi Prosciutto on the sandwich.
     Place 2 to 3 ounces of thin sliced Toscano Salami on the sandwich.
     Place 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of thin sliced Aged Provolone Cheese on top of the meats.
     Step 4:  Place a few thin slices of pickled Tuscan Peppers (or Sliced Pickled Banana Peppers) on the cheese.
     Step 5:  Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Italian Sub Vinaigrette on the top half the sub sandwich bread.
     Place the top half of bread on the sandwich.
     Cut the sandwich in half and set it on a plate or just leave it whole.
     Garnish the plate with some Italian Parsley sprigs and a portion of Italian Giardiniera.

     Viola!  A Classic Italian Sub Sandwich!                

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lebanese Gyro

     Lebanese Style Meatloaf Gyro!
     Gyros are popular street food in Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, America and just about everywhere around the globe.  In America, Gyros can be found on almost every Greek restaurant menu and this sandwich is a popular bar snack menu offering.
     In Greece, most Gryros are made with sliced roast pork and roast lamb is a popular choice too.  Schawarma is cuts of meat that are stacked on a large skewer and slowly roasted.  Carved Lebanese Schwarma on Pita Bread is similar to Roast Meat Gyros that are made in Greece.  In many Middle Eastern Countries and America, a Kafta Spice Minced Meat Kabob or Lebanese Spiced Meatloaf is used to make Gyros.            
     Many Gyro Shops have a large kabob of Gyro Meat that is mounted vertically next to heating element.  As the kabob turns, the surface of the meat cooks to a brown color.  The large highly seasoned minced meat kebab is called a Doner Kabob.  Doner Kababs originated in Turkey several centuries ago.
     In modern times, most Doner Kabobs at Gyro Shops are a manufactured food product.  The finely minced meat mixture is prepared the same way that a Hot Dog meat slurry is made and it contains a high percentage of emulsified fat.  As one can imagine, the quality leaves something to be desired.  Gyro Shops that take pride in their product actually make their own Doner Kabobs from scratch.  The difference in the flavor and texture is easy to notice.
     The highly spiced minced meat for Turkish Doner Kabobs originated in Lebanon long ago.  In Lebanon, the minced meat mixture is usually prepared as a meatloaf instead of a large kabob.  The highly spiced meatloaf is sliced while warm and placed on Pita Bread.  If the Lebanese Spiced Meatloaf is cold, thin slices of the meatloaf are cooked on a griddle till they are browned, then they are served on Pita Bread.  Lebanese Spiced Meatloaf on Pita Bread is the original version of the modern Gyro Sandwich and it pre-dates Gyros that are made with Doner Kabobs.  
     The word Kafta literally translates to meatball or a ball shape.  Lebanese Gyro Meatloaf is highly seasoned with local variations of Kafta Spice Mix.  Kafta Spice Minced Meat can be shaped as meatloaf, kebabs or meatballs.  The minced meat can be shaped around small skewers or a very large Doner Kabob style skewer.
     Many food historians say that Pita Bread (Khubz Arabi) was first created in Turkey or Persia.  Some historians say the India is where Pita Bread was first made.  The only thing that is certain is that Pita Bread was popular in Arabian countries long before it became popular in Greece or western countries.  In western countries, the name was changed from Khubz Arabi to Pita Bread for marketing purposes in the late 1900's.
     During the early 1900's in America, many Arabic immigrants from the Middle East opened Greek restaurants, because Americans had no interest in Arabic food at that time, yet Americans liked Greek style street food and Greek style comfort food diner restaurants.  My step grandfather was a great chef from Lebanon and he joked about how sometimes he had to be Greek in the restaurant business early in his career.  He then attempted to hide his big Arabic nose in a comical way to entertain us kids.  After researching the topic, I now know what my Lebanese step grandfather meant by saying, "Sometimes I had to be Greek."  This also explains why Lebanese Meatloaf evolved into what is known as Greek Gyro Meat in modern times.  
     The standard sauce for a Lebanese Gyro is Tzatziki Sauce.  Tabuli is a Syrian Arabic chopped salad of tomato, onion and parsley and it is sometimes placed on Lebanese gyros.  Most modern Gyros are just garnished with sliced onion and tomato.  In Lebanon, Gyros are considered to be an appetizer, snack or light lunch.  The enticing aroma of a good Lebanese Kafta Spice Meatloaf Gyro is what makes guests come back for more!  

     Lebanese Gyro Meatloaf: 
     This recipe yields 1 large 15 ounce Gyro Meatloaf.  (Enough for 3 or 4 Gyro Sandwiches.)
     Step 1:  Place 8 ounces of ground lamb in a mixing bowl.
     Add 4 ounces of ground beef.
     Add 1/2 cup of fine plain French bread crumbs.
     Add 1 whisked large egg.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic paste.
     Add 1/3 cup of finely minced white onion.
     Step 3:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely minced mint leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced Italian Parsley.
     Add 2 teaspoons of cumin.
     Add 1 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 teaspoon of fenugreek.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of black pepper.
     Step 4:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Place the spiced minced meat mixture in a container.
     Refrigerate for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.
     Step 5:  Lightly brush a deep roasting pan with blended olive oil.
     Place the minced meat mixture in the roasting pan.
     Shape the minced meat into a rectangular meat loaf shape that is about 6" wide and 1 1/2" thick.  (The length can vary.)
     Step 6:  Place the roasting pan in a 300ºf oven.
     Slowly roast till the meatloaf is fully cooked and lightly browned.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Allow the meat loaf cool to room temperature.
     Cover the meatloaf with plastic wrap.
     Place the roasting pan with the meatloaf in a refrigerator for 24 hours.
     *The meat loaf must be refrigerated, so the juices gel.  This step will keep the meatloaf from crumbling, when it is thinly sliced!  The flavors will also mellow after 24 hours.

     Tzatziki Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.  (Enough for 4 Gyro Sandwiches.)
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of finely minced peeled seeded cucumber in a mixing bowl.
     Add 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1/2 cup of plain Greek style goat milk yogurt.
     Add 3 tablespoons of finely minced mint leaves.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  *Check the consistency.  The Tzatziki should be a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  If necessary, add just enough warm water, while whisking, to thin the Tzatziki to a medium thin sauce consistency.  Be careful not to add too much water!
     Step 3:  Place the Tzatziki in a container.
     Chill the Tzatziki Sauce in a refrigerator for 1 hour.

     Lebanese Gyro: 
     This recipe yields 1 Gyro Sandwich.
     The thin slices of Lebanese Gyro Meatloaf can be warmed in an oven or they can be cooked on a seasoned cast iron griddle till they are browned.  When cooked on a griddle, it is best to cut the meatloaf slices paper thin.
     Step 1:  Cut about 7 long thin slices of of the Lebanese Gyro Meatloaf.  (A 5 to 6 ounce portion is plenty.)
     Place the meatloaf slices on a roasting pan.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Reheat the meatloaf slices in a 300ºF oven.
     Gently roast till the meatloaf slices are warm.
     Step 2:  Warm an 8" to 10" Pita Bread (Khubz Arabi) in the oven.
     Step 3:  Place the pita bread on a cutting board.
     Place 4 or 5 thin slices of tomato on one half of the bread.
     Place 1 thin slice of onion that is separated into rings on the tomatoes.
     Place the warm Gyro Meatloaf slices on top of the tomato and onions.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Tzatziki Sauce over the Gyro Meat.  (About 3 tablespoons.)
     Step 4:  Fold the Pita Bread in half over the meatloaf slices.
     Pin the sandwich together with a long toothpick or bamboo skewer.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Step 5:  Place the gyro on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig and pickles of your choice.
     *Persian Pickled Wild Cucumber, Persian Pickled Pink Turnip and Arabic Scratched Green Olives garnish the plate in the photos.

     This is a great tasting Lebanese Gyro!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Texas Tommy Brat Sandwich with Alien Honey Mustard

     A Texas Tommy Style Bratwurst Sandwich!
     The original Philadelphia style Texas Tommy is a Processed American Cheese stuffed Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog.  A Texas Tommy can be deep fried or roasted in an oven till the bacon is crisp.  The cheese stuffing inside the hot dog becomes warm enough to melt when a Texas Tommy is cooked just right.  Biting into a Texas Tommy is pure junk food heavan! 
     Making a Texas Tommy with a Bratwurst is fairly easy to do.  The raw Bratwurst has to be fully cooked, then cooled, before it can be stuffed with cheese.  Swiss Cheese is a better choice for a Bratwurst than American Processed Cheese, especially if a sweet mustard sauce is spread on the roll.     
     Agave Nectar sweetened German Deli Style Mustard tastes nice on its own.  Spicing up the sweet mustard sauce with Wasabi Powder adds a little bit of zesty horseradish flavor.  This favor combination tastes good on a Texas Tommy Bratwurst Sandwich. 

     Alien Honey Mustard:
     This recipe yields a little less than 1/2 cup.  (Enough for 3 or 4 sandwiches.)
     Alien Honey Mustard is Agave Nectar and Wasabi flavored German Deli Style Mustard.  Alien Honey is the brand name of the Agave Nectar used in this recipe, so the "Alien" name stuck.  Alien Honey Mustard is a nifty name for a sandwich spread!       
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of German Deli Style Mustard in mixing bowl.  (Smooth German Mustard.)
     Add 1 teaspoon of Wasabi Powder.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 3 tablespoons of Agave Nectar.  (Alien Honey!)
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the Alien Honey Mustard in a container and chill the sandwich spread till it is needed.

     Fresh Bratwurst Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Gently poaching a fresh sausage will prevent the sausage casing from splitting. 
     Step 1:  Select a 6" to 8" fresh Bratwurst.
     Step 2:  Place enough water in a sauce pot to cover the bratwurst with 1" of extra water.
     Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Adjust the temperature so the water is 157ºF.
     Step 3:  Add the Bratwurst.
     Gently simmer till the Bratwurst texture is firm and the sausage casing is set.  
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Remove the Bratwurst from the pot and set it aside.
     Step 5:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Pour 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the griddle.
     Grill the Bratwurst till it is fully cooked (165ºF center temperature and lightly browned. 
     Step 6:  Set the bratwurst aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Chill the Bratwurst in a refrigerator to 41ºF.   

     Blanched Bacon:
     This recipe yields enough blanched bacon to wrap a 6" to 8" Bratwurst.
     Bacon only has to be grilled at a low temperature till the fat turns from opaque to translucent to be blanched.  
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron griddle over low heat.
     Place 4 or 5 strips of cured bacon on the griddle.  (4 strips for a 6" Bratwurst or 5 strips for an 8" Bratwurst)
     Blanch the bacon till the fat turns a clear color, with no browning at all.
     Step 2:  Set the limp blanched bacon strips aside on a platter and let them cool to room temperature.

     Texas Tommy Brat Preparation:
     Step 1:  *The idea is to cut a pocket the length of the Bratwurst, so the cheese can be stuffed in the center before the Bratwurst is bacon wrapped.
     Use a paring knife to cut halfway into the bratwurst from almost end to end, to create a shallow pocket.
     Step 2:  Cut 2 strips of Swiss Emmantaler Cheese that measure 3/16" x 3/16" x 5".  (A 5" length is enough to stuff a 6" Bratwurst.  A 7" length will be needed for an 8" long Bratwurst.  
     Stuff the cheese into the Bratwurst pocket.   
     Step 3:  Place 1 strip of blanched bacon lengthwise over the cheese stuffed pocket and hold it in place.
     Step 4:  *2 or 3 strips of blanched bacon will be needed to completely wrap the Bratwurst.  Each slice of bacon must be pinned in place with a toothpick, so the bacon does not unravel when the Bratwurst is cooked.  The Bacon must be wrapped so it overlaps or the cheese stuffing will leak out when cooked.
     Use the other hand to wrap 1 strip of blanched bacon around one end of the bratwurst.
     Fasten the bacon wrapping with toothpicks on each end to keep it in place.
     Start wrapping the Bratwurst with the second sliced of blanched bacon, where the first slice left off and pin it in place with toothpicks.
     *If a third slice of bacon is needed to completely wrap the stuffed Bratwurst, then follow the same procedure.
     Step 5:  After the Swiss Cheese Stuffed Bratwurst is completely wrapped with bacon, place it on a platter.
     Chill the prepared Texas Tommy Brat till it is needed.  

     Texas Tommy Brat Sandwich with Alien Honey Mustard:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     Step 1:  Place the prepared Texas Tommy Brat on a roasting pan.  (Try to set the Bratwurst on the pan so the side with the cheese stuffing faces up.)
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the bacon is golden brown and and the bratwurst is piping hot.
     Keep the Texas Tommy Brat warm on a stove top. 
     Step 2:  Warm a 6" to 8" Soft Crust Sub Sandwich Roll in an oven.
     Split the sub roll open lengthwise.
     Spread a thin layer of Alien Honey Mustard on the sub roll.
     Step 3:  Remove the toothpicks from the Texas Tommy Brat and place it on the sub roll.
     Place the Texas Tommy Brat Sandwich on plate.
     Place a small ramekin of extra Alien Honey Mustard on the plate.  (About 2 tablespoons.)
     Garnish the plate with a pickle of your choice and a curly leaf parsley sprig.  

     A Texas Tommy Brat with sweet zesty mustard will surely satisfy deep junk food cravings like nothing else can!