Sunday, October 30, 2011

Philly Cheese Steak

The simple method I use for Philly Cheese Steak is to buy either Flat Iron or Tri Tip and place in the freezer till nearly frozen to make slicing easier. Slice really thin, cook onions and mushrooms in olive oil till softened and remove from pan. Add more oil and place seasoned meat in hot pan (in batches if necessary) and cook till the red is gone which only takes a short few min with thin slices. Add the onion mushroom mixture back to pan and cook till all is heated through and layer white Velveeta over the meat in the pan and leave on low long enough to melt the cheese. Use tongs to remove meat to heated Italian loaf, wrap in foil a couple min to allow flavors to develop fully, slice and serve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last weekend was our home town BBQ Contest and we did not do as well as we were hoping for and finish in 5th place out of 25 teams. Scottie Johnson's Cancer Sucks Chicago team (2006 Jack Daniels World Champion)along with Cool Smoke and Bub Ba Q, who both happen to be in the top 10 and top 20 respectively for team of the year were there along with many other winning teams. In case you are wondering, there are over 5,400 teams competing in these bbq contest. Our best entries were, Pulled Pork @ 3rd place and Brunswick Stew @ 2nd. We should be happy but will never be happy with less than the Grand Championship or at lest 2nd place. Some tell me that is the wrong attitude and I say, so be it. I want to win and that's that. My desire to compete just increases with each contest and while I thought last weekend finished up 2011 and we would not compete again till April or May of 2011, I was wrong. I have now signed up for The BBQ Cup in Cummings, Ga Nov 18 & 19 and can't wait.

Friday, October 14, 2011

NY Strip Schnitzel

One of the best meals I ever had was Wiener Schnitzel at the Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Ga and the restaurant is still open and serving the dish today. They have another dish with Veal Cutlets called Veal Oscar that is prepared about the same way except it includes Crab Meat and Hollandaise. Now on to my first time cooking Schnitzel. Substitute beef, pork, or even chicken for the veal as they are all good. Using beef makes this just an improved cubed steak, but the degree of improvement is dramatic. Anyone that has never had Schnitzel will be pleasantly surpised and I think in for a real treat if you ever try it. As so often happens cooking this came about when a thought about something I would like to cook is met by what's on hand, which was a couple of rather thin NY Strips. I started by trimming all fat off, and boy was that hard to do as I love it on a grilled steak. Then I used my poor man's Jacaard style meat tenderizer, which is a device to hold meat while you slice it that came with an electric knife that quit working. After trimming I pounded the meat between plastic and this is the secret to this recipe. You will have a much more authentic version of the dish if you pound it thin enough (or buy it sliced thin) which will make it cook in the pan much differently than the thicker cutlets. When you think it is thin enough just keep pounding as most likely it is still too thick. It needs to be much thinner than cube steak. Seasoned flour, eggwash, and bread crumbs to provide that delicious flavor on the cutlets that only take 3 or 4 min per side to cook (we like to use Pringle potato chips for the breading). Ours were fork tender which did not surpise me at all and they were even better than I thought they would be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

I scream You scream Everybody screams for Ice Cream has never been more true for anyone more than ME. I love it, and it has been decades ago since having that old timey hand cranked with rock salt ice cream that we use to have at my Grandma Rhudy's. I think our favorite back then was bananna. So, long story short, I have wondered for years now how those new on the counter electric makers work and just how good the ice cream would be. Here's the verdict... On our most recent visit to our good friends Vern and Helen in Maryville, Tn, they made this Basil Pine Nut Praline ice cream that totally blew me away. Being an ice cream lover all my life, I just could not get over Basil being so good in ice cream. Needless to say I was sold on buying myself one of those Cuisinart 2 quart freezers and you'll do the same if you ever have a chance to taste the remarkable difference in making your own ice cream. The ability to customize your ice cream recipes and make up your own specialty recipes is fun and easy. The downside is, I don't think you'll save any making it vs buying it and with the 2 qt your not making a huge amount at a time so you'll need to make in advance for a crowd and it takes at least six hours in the freezer for the bowl to be ready for another batch. Here's the recipe and I can't find it on line so I hope no one minds my reposting it here.

Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

2 cup whole milk
1 tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 oz creme cheese softened
1/4 tsp fine sea salt\\
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 lg handful fresh basil leaves cut to small pieces
1/2 cup honey nut pralines

PREP: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch ma small bowl to make a smooth slurry.Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.COOK . Combine the remaining milk the cream sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes, Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove From the heat.CHILL Gradually whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the basil. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.FREEZE Strain out the basil. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Rack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in the honey pine nut pralines as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rib Tip Cooking

This is a story about the best ribs I ever had…they are not Spare Ribs or Baby Backs, they are Rib Tips, that section attached to the whole rack of spare ribs. I’ve always cooked them and always liked them, but now I know when they are cooked and served the right way, they will be better than Spares or Baby Backs. What you do is this: you can cook them in whole pieces, rubbing them (I use Slabs Birds n Bones Rub) and cooking them just like you would full racks. I cook ribs at 225 with minimum smoke wood and I can’t taste smoke myself, so I don’t pay a lot of attention to the kind of wood I use. The standard cook time would be 3 hrs before foiling them for another 2 hrs but for Rib Tips, I cook them 5 hrs before continuing with the foil. The next step before continuing to that 2 hrs in the foil I believe is the KEY to the best ribs I ever tasted and that is to cut them into individual bone size strips. "That’s it in a nutshell"! Once they are cut into strips you can use pans to cook them in for the final 2 hrs with about ½ cup of apple juice poured over them. I like sauce on them, but not a lot of sauce so what I do is spread them out on a large foil lined sheet pan and lightly brush with BBQ sauce and into a 350-degree oven for another 30 min. The meat is always better closest to the bone and all that cartilage still provides plenty of that excellent rib meat in between. The breastbone at the bottom is the exception, you can separate it from the rest and cook it too, but you won’t be able to cut it in sections like the rest. You most likely will have a good bit of small thin boneless pieces like the flap meat that you just do not want to take up all that grill space to cook and I suggest just putting all that in an open pan and cook it right along with the rest and they will wind up cooking in their own fat so no juice is need in this pan. All I can tell you now is to never take those rib tips for granted again and try them this way the next time you have some available, or better yet try to find a source to buy just the tips and if you can find them they should be 2/3 cheaper than the whole spares.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Checking Carbon Monoxide Level

The stove pipe in this video is temporary and provided a way for me to test the CO level and how well the fans we installed worked. At the end of the 1st video I pressed the top button and got a high reading, then at the beginning of the 2nd video I checked it using the bottom button and it was 28 which was just after loading the meat in the cooker. Having the door open for a long time increased the level but not over the danger zone of 30pps. A reading of 15 was constant throughout the cook. Even with the low reading of 15 for the most part, I would not recommend this setup unless you have a divided living quarters and then I wouldn't do it unless you had a 2nd co detector for the living qtrs. My trailer does not even have an entrace to the cooking part from the living qtrs and is sealed off with a solid wall. Not shown in the pic is a 2nd power vent just like the one over the smoker just to the right of it.