Saturday, July 14, 2018

Egg and Breadcrumb Fried Squash Blossoms

I made my first fried squash blossoms this summer and they were delicious.  I wanted to test my culinary mettle, so I set out to create this recipe without doing any research.  This was my second batch of fresh, ready-to-use blossoms, but the first ones perished before I had a chance to use them. Admittedly, I forgot them in the bottom of my grocery bag for 2 days, don't tell my sister! 
 My sister Bonnie plucked them fresh from her zucchini plants, one growing on the porch in a large flower pot, the leaves as big as an elephant's ear, figuratively of course, and the others in the garden plot, many, many yards away.
The flavor of the blossoms was uniquely of squash, and also, in my opinion, with hints of oyster.
I found the blossoms very delicate and sensitive to their environment once plucked, so it is advisable that you execute your recipe in a timely fashion.
I soaked them in warm water (just before cooking) to keep them plump and rid them of their little buddies, ants.  I then drained them on paper towels and within about 10 minutes, we were eating something old,but new, in a delicious and most satisfying way!
12 squash blossoms
1 large egg
1 tbsp. Italian breadcrumbs
2 tsp. heavy cream
oil for frying
After soaking the blossoms in warm water to rid of any critters, rinse gently and place on paper towels to dry.
Meanwhile, prepare the egg wash coating.
Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well with a fork or whisk.
Heat oil to 350*F.
Dredge blossoms well in egg wash and drop oil one at a time.
Remove when golden, about 2 minutes, draining on paper towels.
Serve immediately, but are also good at room temperature.
Makes 12.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Smoky Brisket Mayonnaise

For the 4th of July, I prepared a smoked brisket. I used a combination of open roasting in the oven, then charcoal, hickory and walnut on the grill, using indirect heat, for the better part of a day.   As a result, I had a great deal of rendered beef fat to either find a use for, or dispose of.  I like to keep some of the brisket fat to enhance the flavors of other proteins and dishes, it's smoky and beefy flavor, ever present.
I created this mayonnaise using a portion of the brisket oil.  With the right vessel and an immersion blender, you can literally make this recipe in as little as 20 seconds active time, gathering the ingredients will take another few, still less than 5 minutes.  Instead of lemon juice, I used lime and also swapped out regular cider vinegar, for organic raw vinegar. 
This recipe is great for dressing sandwiches and other places you want a rich and delicious tasting condiment!
1 c. canola oil or vegetable oil
1/4 c. rendered brisket fat, cooled and at room temperature*
This oil has been allowed to sit and settle into a slightly tinted clear state.
1 large egg
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. raw organic vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
Place all the ingredients from the egg down in a clear vessel with high sides, I used a plastic 2 cup capacity measuring cup.
Add the oils after the other ingredients.
Insert immersion blender to the bottom of the vessel and blend on high until mayonnaise is set, less than 30 seconds.
Transfer to a jar with lid or to a bowl, your mayonnaise is ready to use.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Turkey Bacon Ranch Burgers w/ Pepper Jack, Guac and Cheesy Tortilla Chips

It's burger time and the more, the merrier!  Burgers can be made from just about anything; beef, chicken, pork, garbanzo beans, black beans, the list goes on.  This recipe features ground turkey.
Turkey is an awesome alternative to the usuals, especially considering that summertime can consist of  a gaggle of burger meals and gatherings.
This recipe can be prepped the night before for a sensual marrying of flavors.  This is also great for making the ground turkey easier to handle.  If you don't have that kind of time, no worries, just place in the fridge or freezer for about 20 minutes.  You can also place the mixing bowl in the fridge or freezer earlier in the day and pull out when ready to use.
I  used the salad dressing packet for Ranch as one of the flavor components.  I also used cooked bacon for texture and to give the burgers smoky body.  The Pepper Jack cheese adds the wondrous meltiness, and that spicy kick.
Cool and refreshing homemade guacamole offers more healthy fats, fresh tanginess, flavor and creaminess, tying the cheesy tortilla chips in with it.  The crunch of the chips is a perfect counter what the guacamole lacks.
The family received the dish well, as did I.  Give your dinner guests something they can't wait to get home and serve to their future guests!  Just a kiss with some grill flame really sends these burgers over the top, Enjoy!
3 lb. ground turkey
3 oz. cooked and crumbled bacon
1 pkg. Ranch salad dressing seasoning
2 tsp. onion powder
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Olive oil for drizzling (Extra Virgin)
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit your Taste)
Pepper Jack Cheese
Place ground turkey in a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
Drizzle in a few turns of the bowl of olive oil, about 1 tbsp.
Carefully mix the ingredients together trying not to overwork, while evenly distributing spices.
Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  If allowing flavors to marry for an extended time, cover tightly with plastic wrap.
When ready top use, Shape into patties, making them into sliders or desired size to fit buns.  I made them into 12 patties.
Spray surface or grill with non stick spray and evenly space burgers.
Cook until internal temperature reaches 165*F, about 4 minutes per side, depending on heat of grill pan or charcoal grill.

For Guacamole:
2 avocados, halved and placed in medium bowl
2 tbsp. diced red onion
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp.  Mexican Green Salsa seasoning
Juice of 2 limes

Use your favorite cheesy tortilla chips as the base of this delicious and satisfying burger!