Here we are and it is fast approaching July 4th. Fire up the grills and stock up on hot dogs and hamburgers. What is more American than a hot dog? I met the owner of a hot dog stand at my local farmers market and said I would develop a bacon relish recipe that set his stand apart and help bring people back. I wanted to make something salty, sweet, spicy, and just the right amount of sourness, so everything is balanced. This recipe is the end result and is an amazing topping for your next hot dog but save some for breakfast; it goes great just on toast!
1 pound thick cut lean bacon
1 large red pepper
1 large poblano pepper
1 large sweet onion
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sweet pickle juice or white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water to deglaze pan
2 to 4 tbsp. ketchup
red pepper flakes to desired spiciness (start with a pinch and taste)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Roast the red and poblano peppers over the flame on your stove or under the broiler in your oven. Turn often to char the skin and put in a paper bag to steam 5 minutes. Remove the skin, dice and reserve.
Cook half of the bacon on a parchment covered sheet pan in a 400° F oven until brown and crispy. Crumble into small pieces and reserve.
Finely dice the onion and rest of the bacon, season with salt and sauté on medium heat in butter until brown. Deglaze the pan with the water and turn the heat down to low. Add the rest of the bacon, roasted peppers, brown sugar, ketchup, red pepper flakes and mix. Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Continue tasting, adding just enough pickle juice or white balsamic vinegar until it tastes balanced. Refrigerate until needed. Makes about a cup and a half. If you like it a little looser, add a little of your favorite liquid (I like a little dark beer) and stir.
What pleases dad more then steak and eggs? Make it as a Benedict and it adds a touch of class. With Father's Day upon us, I want to approximate the classic steakhouse for breakfast. Filling in for the traditional English muffin, I want to substitute garlic toast, the Canadian bacon with a tenderloin filet, and filling in for the Hollandaise, the classic steakhouse favorite sauce, Béarnaise. If dad is vegetarian, no problem, just substitute a grilled portobello mushroom for the filet or if mushrooms are not your thing, try your favorite grilled vegetable. Dad deserves the best and this goes a long way to say that he is special.
One 2 inch thick beef tenderloin
2 large eggs
2 3 inch rounds of bread
Salt and Pepper to season
3 Tbsp Butter
Béarnaise Sauce (recipe follows)
Cut tenderloin into 2 one inch pieces and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, add butter and sear to color each side. Lower the heat to low, then finish cooking the tenderloin to the desired doneness, basting with the butter. Keep warm. Toast bread and rub with garlic clove and reserve.
Poach two eggs and keep warm until assembly. Place toast on plate and top with tenderloin, then poached egg and top with Béarnaise sauce.
1 tsp. finely chopped shallot
¾ tsp. dried tarragon
½ cup white wine vinegar
5 crushed peppercorns
2 egg yolks
1 cup warm clarified butter
Pinch cayenne pepper
Add shallot, tarragon, vinegar and peppercorns to sauce pan on medium heat and reduce to 2/3 then cool.
Warm water to a simmer in a saucepan then reduce heat to low. In a metal bowl, wisk egg yolks and vinegar mixture together over the hot water until the mixture lightens in color and starts to thicken. Wisk warm clarified butter slowly a few drop at a time into the yolk mixture letting it fully incorporate before adding more. After wisking all the butter wisk in the cayanne pepper, taste and correct the seasoning. If the mixture is too thick wisk in warm water a bit at a time until the right consistency is reached. Strain and reserve warm.
I have a couple of announcements; first, I'm going to concentrate on a breakfast and brunch theme to better explain translation and second; I'm working on a book showcasing these concepts within the framework of breakfast. More on that later. Continuing on the Translation subset of substitution, I was reading Fuchsia Dunlop's new cookbook, "Every Grain of Rice - Simple Chinese Home Cooking" with the idea of adapting a Chinese home-style dish for breakfast. I found a recipe for stir-fried eggs with tomato and thought this would be the perfect recipe to show that substitution could be used to enhance a dish. The recipe is basic, perfect for the novice home cook; season and stir-fry the eggs first, then the tomatoes and then combine them together thickening with potato starch if needed. I wanted to add additional flavor to the dish, so I added fresh basil which always goes with tomatoes (Thai basil would even be better) and some five spice powder to enhance the anise notes and to reinforce the Asian theme. I know that I'm not actually making a true substitution, but adding something. The point is to use translation as an avenue to explore exciting new creations to become a more creative chef.
4 - 5 large eggs
4 - 5 firm Campari tomatoes (or another simular small vine ripened tomato)
4 - 6 basil leaves rolled and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
1 pinch five spice powder
1 pinch sugar
2 - 4 Tbsp. cooking oil
slurry of potato starch and water (optional for thickening)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat a wok and add half the oil. Beat the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and scramble the eggs until just barely done. Remove and reserve. Roll the basil leaves into a cigar shape and with a very sharp knife finely slice into thin ribbons. Slice the tomatoes in half then each half into three wedges. Clean and dry the wok, then heat it on high and add the rest of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes, season with the sugar, salt and pepper to taste and stir-fry until they are hot and fragrant. Add the basil, five spice powder and the eggs back to the wok and stir-fry until mixed together. If the mixture is runny add the potato starch slurry and mix until thickened. Serve immediately to feed two.
Past Posts (click to select)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.