Now that the 4th of July has come and gone, I must confess that I had my fill of hot dogs this month. America loves finely ground sausage, whether it is the frankfurter, bologna or many assorted luncheon meats. For breakfast, I wondered if I could take a simple recipe for breakfast sausage and grind it very fine and create a sort of breakfast pâté or loaf. a simple emulsified sausage tasting like traditional breakfast links. What I ended up with resembles many comercial fine grain sausages. Next time I plan to up the anté and add some additional textural components like bacon bits or diced peppers to add color and interest.
When making any sausage it is paramount to keep the meat and equipment as cold as possible. This is especially important grinding the meat to create superior results. Put the cubed meat and extra fat in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up. I like to grind my meat twice, first time through the large die, followed by a short time in the freezer then a final grind using a smaller die. Next we want to process the ground meat in small batches in a food processor, adding the seasoning as I go. If I want to add any textural elements I would do those now before molding and cooking in a water bath.
3 pounds lean cubed pork
1 pound pork fat cubed
3 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves chopped
2 tsp. ground mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: ground red pepper or cayenne to taste
Partially freeze the cubed pork and pork fat then grind using a large holed die. Return to the freezer to firm up and grind using a smaller holed die. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Fry a small amount in a skillet and taste and correct for seasoning. In batches using a food processor, break the mixture down into a thick paste adding a little crushed ice if the mixture is too thick. If you would like to add any additional garnishes (I'm thinking about some precooked bacon bits, or diced veggies) mix in at this time.
Spread the mixture in a greased terrine mold or small loaf pan(s) and cook in a preheated 300 degree oven in a water bath until the mixture reaches 165 degrees (about an hour to hour and a half. Let the loaf cool, de-mold and slice and serve cold or heat in a pan until hot.
Recently I stopped at a large Oriental market and found some ripe sweet mangoes and decided to serve them with sweet sticky rice; one of my favorite simple Thai recipes. How could I make this a breakfast dish with contrasting textures? The answer is granola to supply the crisp texture. Add some fresh in season fruit and top with whipped cream to complete the package. The anchor is the sticky rice, a sweet short grain rice that cooks to a slightly chewy texture and add in coconut milk and sugar for that authentic Thai flavor. I decided to start with muesli and add extra nuts and dried fruit then add honey to create my own granola. For fruit I used local in-season strawberries I got from my local farmer's market and fresh whipped cream to complete my Thai inspired breakfast. Use the freshest fruit available for the best results.
Note: You can use your own favorite granola recipe or in a pinch your favorite
A while back I was researching new techniques for breakfast potatoes and I came across a recipe in Food52's genius recipes. Although the recipe is no longer there is a video with Josh Ozersky showing the procedure here. Now that we can create the crispiest hash browns let us use that to create a breakfast sandwich that defines crispy. Ever since McDonalds introduced the egg McMuffin, everyone has created there own version, some with different breads, different meats, different cheeses, but let us do our own version this time focusing on texture. We can use the hash browns as our secret crispy element but let us not stop there, but examine other ways we can make our sandwich fantastic. First, the buttered English muffin needs to grilled in a cast iron pan to achive both taste and the perfect texture. I have experimented with different brands and even made my own to get something I'm happy with and for this application have decided to go with a extra crispy version from a local bakery. Part of being a great chef is to source out the right product. Although I love sausage based sandwiches, I think crisp bacon would be the best choice here with an additional thin slice of crispy procuitto for extra taste. The perfect egg would be just set with the yolk the consistency of jello and of course, a great slice of cheese.
Option: You can substitute potato chips for the potato
Whenever I order hash browns at a restaurant, I always ask for them extra-crispy. There is something about that golden crispy exterior that keeps me coming back for more. Our world is addicted to crispiness, whether the snap of a perfectly cooked French fry, sinking your teeth into southern fried chicken, kettle cooked potato chips, or even a freshly picked apple off the tree. I am going to look at two different methods, the first the proper way I was taught at culinary school to create a crispy exterior with a soft interior and the second method originally featured on Food52's genius recipies to make a thin lattice of ultra crispy potatoes. I love this method because I can create a great garnish perfect for breakast or brunch. I will use this to create my ultimate crispy breakfast sandwich. These I will cover next time.
First let us look at the classic hash brown preparation. The obstacle we face as chefs to create a crispy crust is water. Too much water and the potatoes will steam, and potatoes are over 80% water; so we need to get rid of some. This can be agrivated when we add vegetables to the equation which release their own water when cooking. The second problem is the potatoes will brownish grey after shredding due to the reaction with the enzymes in the potato reacting with the oxigen in the air. This is easily remeded by having the freshly shredded potatoes sit in a cold water bath completly covered with the water. Just before cooking we need to squeeze out as much water as we can. This can be done a number of ways. Paper towel, a salad spinner, using a potato ricer, but I prefer using a kitchen towel. Drain the potatoes and dry in the towel. Center the potatoes in the towel and bring the 4 corners up and grasp in one hand and twist the potatoes squeezing out as much water as you can. Cook any vegetables separately until they have released their water which is when they begin to brown and mix unto the hashbrowns just before serving.
3 medium russet potatoes
1 Onion sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat a skillet on medium and slice the onion into 1/8 inch slices. Add some oil to cover the bottom of the hot pan and add the onions in a single layer. Season and cook until they start to brown. Continue to cook until desired doneness then reserve.
Pre-heat a cast-iron skillet on medium and peel the potatoes. Shred the potatoes using a box grater and wash under cold running water to remove excess starch. Reserve covered in cold water until needed to stop the potatoes turning brown. When ready to cook, drain in a colander then place in the middle of a clean kitchen towel. Gather up the four corners and twist the towel to squeeze as much water out as possible. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over top. Cook slowly until browned on the bottom lifting with a spatula and checking periodically. Cover with a plate and flip onto the plate; then gently slide back into the skillet to brown the other side. Season the top with salt and pepper and when crisp on the bottom remove to a plate. You can flip onto the plate again and slide onto a serving patter. Sprinkle the onions over top and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4 people.
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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.