Fully Loaded….Fries that is…

Here in Southern California, loaded fries is a pretty big deal and just about every bar and hamburger stand has their variation of them whether it’s Pastrami Fries, Carne Asada Fries, or Greek Fries loaded with Gyro meat and feta. We make our own variation at home and the best part aside from warming up some BBQ brisket or pork and heating up some fries not much prep or cooking required. So this also comes together pretty easy on a week night with stuff from the grocery store.

Jack Danial’s Pulled Pork Fries

1 package of Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork or Brisket

1 jar of Tostitos Queso sauce

1 bag of French fries, tater tots or waffle fries

2 cups of shredded cheese

1 jalapeno finely chopped

3 scallions finely chopped

1 dill pickle finely chopped

bbq sauce/mayo sauce*

 

Cook the fries according to the package directions. While the fries are cooking, heat up the bbq pork/brisket according to the package directions and set aside. Once fries are cooked, add the shredded cheese and top with bbq meat and drizzle with queso sauce. Return to the oven and heat until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes). Remove from oven, garnish with the chopped onions, jalapeño and pickles then drizzle with bbq sauce/mayo and serve.

*BBQ/Mayo Sauce

½ cup bbq sauce

½ cup mayo

1 TBS apple cider vinegar

pinch of salt

1 TBS honey or agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce optional

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until combined

 

It’s like eating a cloud….no really

Fluffy airy Pavlova with a mix of fresh berries and dusted with powdered sugar

The  weeks recipe is handy to keep in your back pocket for occasions when you find yourself with a lot of leftover egg whites. After making the custard for last week’s coconut cream pie, that’s exactly the situation I was in. Pavlova are sweet baked meringues but with crispy airy outer shell and a gooey marshmallowy center. They’re a perfect vehicle for seasonal fruits like fresh berries and other fruits.

Though you don’t need special equipment, you could mix them by hand. But unless you want your arm to fall off, I’d suggest at a minimum using a electric hand mixer but ideally a stand mixer.

Pavlova

4 eggs. whites

1 cup super fine sugar*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons corn starch

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Preheat 275F

Wipe the inside of the stand mixer. bowl with white vinegar to make sure there is not oil or grease in the bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip the 4 egg whites on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Mix the salt and sugar and gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time into the egg whites,  whisking in between additions of sugar. Scrape down the sides of the Whisk until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Add in the cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk until incorporated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use the back of.a large spoon or a piping bag to form meringue mixture into 2 7″ rounds or 6-8 4″ diameter rounds. Bake on the middle rack at 275F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Turn off the over and let Pavlova’s cool in the oven while leaving the oven door slightly ajar. Serve with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit

The Best Coconut Cream Pie Ever….no really….

My wife is a huge coconut fan, so I gave her a choice of whether she wanted a coconut cake or a coconut cream pie. She decided on coconut cream pie. So this week I’m going to share my recipe for super coconutty coconut cream pie. My goal with the pie is to infuse rich coconut flavor in each layer of the pie. With that said, I use my graham cracker coconut crust recipe as the base. You can  find the recipe here. Next comes the filling which is a rich coconut custard, that’s not only flavored with vanilla but also coconut extract and toasted shredded coconut. And finally, I make a vanilla and coconut flavored whipped cream and finish the whole thing off with toasted coconut chips. Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Cream Pie Filling

1 prepared graham cracker crust

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 12 oz can evaporated milk

4 large egg yolks

¼ cup corn starch

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut (plus extra for garnish)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp coconut extract

pinch of salt

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine eggs, salt, corn starch and sugar with ¼ cup of the milk and set aside. Heat the coconut milk and evaporated milk in a heavy bottomed pot until it comes to a slow bowl and turn the heat down to medium low. Slowly drizzle 1 cup of the heated milk mixture into the egg and starch mixture while continuously stirring with a wire wihisk. Now add the egg and starch mixture into the pot and stir until it thickens into a pudding like consistency. Add in 1 cup of the toasted shredded coconut. Fill the pie shell with the custard and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Finish with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with toasted coconut chips.

 

Enljoy

Not Your Typical Meat and Potatoes…

I think foodies like like to believe that they coined the term and the concept of fusion foods. But the reality is that fusion foods have been around for centuries if not millennia. And this weeks recipe is really a classic example of what happens when two cultures combine techniques and ingredients to create a whole new food experience. Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian dish that exemplifies fusion cooking. Beef is seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar, paprika and cumin. Then its stir fried in a wok along with onions, roma tomatoes and french fries. It all comes together for some rib stickin’ comfort food.

Lomo Saltado

serves 4

1 lb flank steak cut into thin strips

1 lb Cooked French fries.

¼ cup soy sauce

2 TBS white vinegar

½ cup chicken stock

1 TBS Aji Amarillo Paste *

1 medium sized onion cut into. thin wedges

1 yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips

3 Roma Tomatoes seeded and cut into wedges

¼ tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

2 scallions chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

2 TBS cooking oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl combine salt and pepper, cumin, paprika, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste and vinegar. Add in the sliced beef and set aside to marinade for about 15 minutes. In a large wok over medium high heat, heat up 1 TBS cooking oil until it shimmers add the chopped scallions and garlic, Drain the beef but retain the liquid and place the beef into the hot wok an stir until the meat has browned on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the other TBS of oil to the wok and add in the onions and yellow bell pepper, cook until the onions become translucent. Add the meat back into the wok along with the reserved marinade and stock. Turn down the wok to medium and let the sauce reduce by half. Add the French fries and tomatoes and let the fries and tomatoes warm back up, which will take about a minute. Its ready to serve.

Enjoy.

*Aji Amarillo Paste is available in Latin Markets, If you can’t find it, leave it out and use more yellow bell pepper.

I Scream You Scream – Riff Off Edition

Cherry Chocolate Sundae with chocolate sauce and my homemade interpretation of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.

You may have been able to figure out that I’m a bit of a food nerd, so one of the things I like to do to keep my mind occupied (especially at work when I’m frequently doing repetitive/tedious tasks) is deconstruct recipes in my head. Mostly to try to figure out a way to make a well known recipe using equipment/ingredients I have at home or to be able to sub in and out ingredients because of allergy and intolerance issues.

I’ve posted in the past about using coconut milk as a substitute for heavy whipping cream in ice cream recipes (you can see other ice cream related posts here) to reduce the amount of total lactose. This week’s recipe uses that same 1 to 1 whipping cream to coconut milk substitution. While this recipe is lactose free, because I use sweetened condensed milk for the sweetener, it should be a little more gut friendly than traditional ice cream.

Out of all my attempts to make home-made versions of recipes, I think this one comes the closest to matching the original. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Base:

2 cans full fat coconut milk

1 can sweetened condenses milk

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp food grade cherry oil* or 1 tsp cherry extract

1 tsp vanilla paste

Mix – ins:

⅓ cup coarsely chopped extra dark chocolate

1/4 cup chopped premium maraschino/cocktail cherries (Luxardo, Woodford Reserve or similar)

¼ cup chopped candied cherries (great way to use them up if you have leftovers from holiday baking)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the ice cream base and stir until everything is well mixed, Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Towards the end of the churn time, add the chocolate and cherries into the base and let churn for a few more minutes to allow the chocolate and cherries to distribute through out the ice cream.

If you like your ice cream super soft you can eat it immediately, otherwise package ice cream into freezer safe containers and let chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. This will allow the ice cream to harden.

*note: Food grade oils are better than extracts for using in ice cream, they are more intensely flavored and the oils stand up to freezing better than water and alcohol based extracts. You can find them online or at specialty cake decorating/candy making shops.  LorAnn is the most common brand.The typical substitution of essential oil to extract is ¼ tsp essential oil to 1 tsp extract.