Sunday, June 28, 2009

de real burger kings

when we at bring it to the table talk about having it your way, we mean from scratch. that's how we were feeling on sunday, so we fired up the grill and got some prime meat sizzling for a few friends.

dawi built the grill while i went inside to start things off. now my apologies. this was a little too difficult to get detailed with the photosnappin', so i didn't document much of the meat preppin'.

Anyway, I took 5 packs of minced beef from pricesmart and added onion, celery, chive, parsley, basil, pimento peppers, green seasoning, garlic powder, all purpose seasoning, jerk powder, black pepper, bitters, A1 sauce and some lime. personally, i don't like egg in the mix, so i didn't employ the services of any eggs. worked in all the seasoning with my hands, hence the lack of photos. It's all about the seasoning, so I added the seasoning in portions and worked it all around to ensure the seasoning found its way through everything.

dawi started off manning the grill.

with some back up from kory, who is skilled on de grill.

it must be noted that the ladies didn't have to lift a finger.

except to take some video footage.

and to bring a mit or two. but nothig much more than that.

dawi mapped out the most efficient start point on the grill. he also suggested that we should coat the burger in a mixture of cornmeal, jerk powder, garlic powder and black pepper. that is what's going on in the white bowl there.

so the routine was to pat the patties into shape, coat them and place them on the grill.

the coating proved to be interesting.

but the heat wasn't quite right.

we had to make more fire.

which in turn created more sizzle.

finally, the right temperature. the burgers started to cook properly. after flipping them, we loaded some of them up with cheese. more trial, less error. the coating made a nice tasty crust. not bad at all.

with the new found confidence, kory broke out the tricks. first, he patted out some big boy burgers. then he made a little cavity and put some cheddar in the middle.

then closed them up and shaped them into some neat patties.

they had the grill lookin good.

they turned out to be hearty helpings of beef with hot melted cheese on the inside.

much success. the burgers were money. we topped them with all sorts of things. condiments like ketchup, mustard and pepper sauce. mayo and cheese wizz. onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato.

it ranked high up on my list of burger experiences.

good job fellas. let's do it again sometime.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A meal fit for a father

Firstly, let me say how terribly difficult it is to cook and take pictures of the process at the same time. One has to consider dirty hands, burning oil etc. So that is my excuse for not taking as much pictures as I should have, this being the first time that I have tried to do it all by myself. Hats off to the other blog contributors who make it seem so easy.

Yesterday I decided to make lasagna for lunch, one veggie and one chicken. My father put some chicken thighs and wings to bake to compliment the lasagna.

I started off with the veggie first, giving the minced chicken a little more time to marinate in the seasonings. So it began with your usual suspects, I sautéed some onions, garlic, celery and thyme in olive oil with a tablespoon of butter. Add salt and black pepper for flavor, then in goes two bags of mixed vegetables. The mixed vegetables that I got had green peas, carrots, string beans and corn which are a nice blend of flavors. After the cooking the veggies for about 10 minutes, I added a tin of Hunt’s Tomato Paste along with some Italian Seasoning. Let that come to a simmer then turn off the pot.

In the meantime between time, I had my lasagna cooking in a pot of boiling water with a dash of oil to prevent them from sticking together.

I took out a deep casserole dish and used a teaspoon of olive oil to grease it. In goes a thin layer of veggies to the bottom of the dish, then I do a layer of lasagna. I add the veggie mixture to that layer then sprinkle it with grated rat cheese.

I repeated this step until the dish was filled. To top it off, I put a thin layer of tomato paste and sprinkled a decent helping of cheese. I then added some parmesan cheese and paprika to it for a bit of a twist.

Popped that into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and there you have it. Veggie Lasagna!!!

Now for our chicken lasagna I had two packs of minced chicken marinating in seasoning. I found out later that two packs of chicken are not enough to fill a biggish lasagna properly, so I advise you to go with three packs. To season it I squeezed a lime, added some salt and black pepper, thyme, onion, garlic, sieve and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I let that sit for about 30 minutes while I was preparing its veggie counterpart.

Dice 1 onion, 5 cloves of garlic, celery, thyme and 1 pimento. To a heated pot I added a bit of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter and sautéed my chopped veggies.

Then in goes our minced chicken.

I sprinkled a bit of cayenne pepper to the pot for a bit of zing. After the chicken has started to cook through, add the Hunt’s tomato paste and let it simmer for a couple minutes again to make sure all the flavors meld. At this point you can add tomatoes and sweet peppers if you like. I didn’t have any so I could not add even though I really wanted to.

To bring the lasagna together I followed the same steps as the veggie lasagna, the only difference being I sprinkled Italian Seasoning on top with the cheese instead of paprika.

I was contemplating making a fresh salad to go with this meal but realized soon after my contemplation began that I didn’t have any lettuce or tomatoes. Who wants to make a fresh salad without lettuce? - Certainly not me.

All in all, my father was content with the meal. He ate a sliver of chicken lasagna with a sliver of veggie lasagna and a baked chicken wing. Needless to say, he eats like a bird. Chinyere however, does not eat like a bird!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pig Tail Oil Dong

There are few classic dishes which are more filling, more convenient and easier to make than Oil Down - aka the food of the gods. Its the perfect meal to plan, when you intend to be in the middle of the Caroni swamp with just one pot and a campfire, and not sure if the fish will be biting.

The way this version is made may be slightly different from the norm, but the first rule in bachelor type cooking is to bend the rules, so lets go.

Cut up your yellow variety breadfruit into two inch cubes. Cover in water until you're ready for it, since it oxidizes real fast.

Roughly chop up your seasonings of choice, I used the old basics, chadon beni, chives, onion, garlic, and a few hot peppers (1/4 of one would work for non pepper eaters). I forgot to bring the thyme, which is excellent in oil down.

Boil your pig tail for about 1/2 hour or so and drain.

Into your cast iron pot add some oil and a little onion, garlic and hot pepper and fry till it just begins to brown.

Add the pigtail and stir fry for a few minutes.

Once the pig tail is hot and happy, add the remaining seasoning and the breadfruit and stir to distribute the seasonings.

Pour the coconut milk into your pot, add water until it almost covers the breadfruit. Use the milk of one coconut per breadfruit. One thing I always add to oil down is dasheen bush leaves -not the stalks though. Put them in whole at the top, and cover the pot. At this juncture you can add stuff like carrots, plantains cassava etc if you like, however I don't do that.
Cook until breadfruit is done, stirring occasionally.
About 10 minutes before its finished, add your trusty golden ray, and check the salt. Stir and cover till done.

Since we neglected to bring dishes, the oil down had to be enjoyed from a basin, which turned out to be quite practical.
There you go, the food of the gods... well, most of the gods.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

a crazy egg loaf

i've mentioned this more than once before in certain circles and got those looks that say "you're crazy. that can't be done." well crazy maybe, but it can be done, and if you actually give it a little thought, you can put your own twist and make it taste really good too. check it out.

i put six eggs in a bowl. simple enough right?

yuh know me with lime. gots to have it.

seasoned the eggs up with some salt, black pepper, all purpose and garlic powder.

next i put in some chopped pimento, onion and chive

now this is where one might think it gets crazy for some reason... i don't know why. anyway, how about some flour, baking powder and a lil yeast?

after mixing them in, making sure everything was well integrated into a smooth mixture, i added some parmesan and some cheddar cheese. mixed that in as well. it ends up looking like a rich cake batter. still smooth and fluid, but with a little body to it.

next step, cover it down and let it sit there for a bit, while the oven heats up.

greased up my trusty pyrex dish with a little touch of vegetable oil. just enough for the loaf not to stick while it cooked. then into the warm oven it went.

this is the loaf that came out. soft, even brown crust with a light, fluffy inside. not to mention a tempting, cheesy aroma.

the only problem is, i'm not quite sure how to use it. it's cool at breakfast with sausage or deli slices and a lil pepper sauce on the side. my father was suggesting that it could be served with a savory ketchup based something like a dip. i was even thinking about making a herb oil with shadon beni, basil and olive oil, drizzling it over a couple slices and trying it with a fresh salad. we'll see. but for now, let's just say it can be done and leave it at that. the real lesson here... doh knock it until yuh try it.

leh we bubble.