Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beer Batter Sesame ONION RINGS

I normally like to post a photo of my finished product as the first photo you see on my postings. But today... Doesn't that shot wet your appetite for what is to come???

First, exciting news in my blog world... I have been invited to be a weekly regular guest blogger on oUrkRaZyKiTcHeN! If you have never been to Our Krazy Kitchen, it is a fun site that uses the talents of 6 very accomplished individual cooks and bloggers who rotate posting about simple recipes or new recipes or desserts or baking or whatever happens to excite the poster that day.

Come take a look today to support my new adventure, be sure to leave a comment so the girls don't think they made a hideous mistake. Then, take a look through their archives and if you like the idea of the 7 of us, bookmark us, follow us, tweat us or just plan on coming back again! Today, I posted of my first experience with PUFF PASTRY. I share the thrill I receive every time I discover that... I CAN COOK THAT!!!

OK, it takes a little effort, but these are the best onion rings I have ever eaten.

As always, first, assemble the ingredients...

2 onions, sliced about 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings
3 cups flour (separated into two batches)
2 TBS Sesame Seeds (I used a mix of white and black seeds)
1 TBS kosher Salt
1 bottle of Killians Irish Red beer (well, not the whole bottle, and feel free to use your own personal beer of choice)
Enough Canola oil to fill 3/4 inch of your heavy frying pan

Mix 2 cups of the flour and the Sesame seeds and salt together in a bowl. Add enough beer to make a pancake like batter.

Heat your oil up. Do the water drop test to see if it is hot enough. Sprinkle a couple drops of water into the oil. If it pops and splatters, it is ready (JUST A COUPLE DROPS).

Set up a little assembly line, or your kitchen will be a mess, and your wife will be pissed (or worse than that, you will have to clean up yourself).
  • Coat a few rings in the set aside 1 cup of flour.
  • Coat in the batter
  • Fry em up. Like Julia says about mushrooms, "Don't crowd the rings".
  • They cook fast, flip them after 2 minutes, and finish with a second 2 minute cook
  • Remove from the oil and let them drain on a couple paper towels
  • Try to eat just one
I paired these with yesterday's Bacon Wrapped CHICKEN CALZONE (again).

What do you think...

How long would a plate of these last at your New Year's eve party???

How about that Super Bowl party next month (go Saints)???

I even bet a big batch of these at the next church potluck would tempt a few teetoatalers. Strike a blow for liberty and make more Beer Batter Sesame Onion Rings!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bacon Wrapped CHICKEN CALZONE (again)

Sigh, a few weeks ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Joanne from EATS WELL WITH OTHERS, ran a quick little quiz we all can relate to (click HERE for her original post)...
  • Question 1. How often would you say that you decide to cook something (or the converse - decide not to cook something) based on its blogworthiness?
  • Question 2. How often do you change a recipe just so it can be entered into a blog event and/or to make it just unique enough that it is blogworthy?
  • Question 3. When asked what you are cooking for the week, how often do those you are telling back away slowly while obviously trying to not make any sudden movements?
I have a new question to ask Joanne and my fellow blogger buddies...

Have you ever made a meal two nights in a row because your camera (or sadly, the camera operator) accidentally erased the photos of a blogworthy meal?

Fortunately, these were so good, that I didn't mind at all making and EATING these little beauties a second time...

here's what I did...

Assemble the ingredients...

Boneless/skinless Chicken Breasts
2 slices of bacon per breast
4 thinly sliced slices of Pepperoni per breast
2 TBS of Brie Cheese per breast
1 TBS of Stilton Blue Cheese per breast

Not bragging, just facts... $1.19 a pound!!!

Split the Chicken breast without slicing completely through. You want to make a pocket for the calzone stuffing...

Take the Blue Cheese, and the Brei, and wrap with several slices of pepperoni. Then stuff deep into the pocket of the chicken...

Wrap the chicken with the bacon slices and secure. I am lucky enough to own some stretchy cooking bands.

Of all the "gadgets" that I love to use, these reusable, dishwasher safe, heat resistant to 500 degrees, bands are my favorite. sells them for as little as $5

If Santa left these out of your stocking, reward yourself...

Baring that, secure with toothpicks so the bacon does not come lose during the cooking process

And the cooking process is to fry them first in about 1/2 inch of canola oil. Fry just til they are slightly browned.

And then bake at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven for JUST 10 MINUTES... Please, do not over cook your chicken. It dries out and loses a lot of taste. Check with an instant read meat thermometer for an internal temperature of 170 degrees.

And listen as everyone says --- OHHHH, AHHHH!

This was REALLY REALLY good. Much faster and easier to make than It sounds (prep time, maybe 15 minutes and cooking time another 20) The mix of flavors is terrific!

I plated this with some home made beer battered onion rings (stay tuned for THAT!!!)

I suffered through this meal two nights in a row...

The things I have to do, just to entertain my 6 readers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

BANANA BREAD - Best you've ever had and Resolutions part 2

I wasn't sure which photo was better, the shot of my Christmas tree with the twinkle lights showing, but slightly blurry because I am old and my hands shake, or the shot using the flash that is in focus, but does not have the same Christmas spirit...

But, I am digressing before I even start...

To paraphrase Captain Kirk, Karma protects fools, little children and ships named Enterprise... and Karma provides recipes to help me keep my resolution (you all remember yesterday's post, New Year's Resolutions Started Yesterday - RETORTE's Onion Bread Pudding... right???) Well, you may recall that yesterday I announced one of my New Year's resolutions. I resolved to be a better steward of the Earth's resources (OK, I made a commitment to stop wasting food, but saying I am a steward of the Earth sounds so... old hippy). Yesterday's post was about bread. Almost a week did not go by last year when I did not toss a bit of bread. Yesterday I drew a line, and resolved to stop throwing away bread. Almost immediately, Karma rewarded my decision with a terrific recipe for a savory bread pudding that was AMAZING! But I don't want to give you the impression that bread was the only thing I waste... I also buy bananas every week, and sure enough, for a year, I have had to toss bunches and bunches of bananas... Well, I am including bananas in my resolution. Within moments of posting my resolution, Karma directed me to Catherine's (who I just can not resist calling Mrs. C.) site, LIVING THE GOURMET! And her recipe for BEST EVER BANANA BREAD. I made it, and it for sure was the best I have ever tasted...

Here's what she said to do...

Adapted from Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour


1 ¼ cup sugar
½ cup sweet butter
2 eggs
1 ½ cups mashed very ripe bananas – (3-4 medium)
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees:
  • Butter bottoms of 2 (8x8 inch) pans.
  • In a large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla: beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and nuts just until moistened. Pour batter into pans.
  • Bake 1 hour or until toothpick test inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool before icing.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from McCormick – Pure Vanilla Extract


1 package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons softened sweet butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 box Confectioners’ Sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in 1 box confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth.

Everything worked great. For a change, I followed the recipe to the letter... Except, I believe Mrs. C. had the pan sizes wrong. These fit into two standard meatloaf dishes, as opposed to 8X8 pans. It would have worked well in a single 8X8 pan. But I had a use for the second loaf!

And oh my baking gods, did it ever turn out beautiful!

It was important for the bread to be right, I was planning to give a loaf away. You see, I have commented that we are knee deep in snow right now. In order to get my wife to her inconvenient day job, I was going to have to shovel the driveway. Just as I started tossing a few shovel fulls to the side, my neighbor came over and used his snow blower. It was the absolute best of both worlds, I gave my wife the impression that I would have, of course, shoveled ever inch of the drive to make her life convenient, and yet I didn't have to do it!!! My neighbor Brad deserves a loaf of this dessert bread!

My icing came out different from the look of the icing that Mrs. C. had in her photo. Mine came out looking like cake frosting, while hers came out looking like a thick glaze. But, as Julia Child says... "Who's to know".

It tasted exceptional. A little sweet, but hey, it is to be a gift, sweet is just fine!

I did use the quantities in Mrs. C's recipe, I iced both cakes generously, and I only used about half of the icing. Of course, I was not going to toss the extra (no wasting). I just put it in a zip lock bag, ready to be used at a later date... Hmmm... any one with a great cinnamon roll recipe??? Wouldn't it be spooky good Karma if someone out there was posting a cinnamon roll recipe as I type?

As Mrs. C. advertised, this indeed was... THE BEST BANANA BREAD I HAVE EVER EATEN!

Follow up to yesterday's post, I received a couple suggestions to, make achieving my resolution's more likely to succeed. Among them were a couple of suggestions to make bread cubes, freeze them and have them ready for a quick bread pudding or to make croutons, or even bread crumbs for meatloaf. So, this morning, i cut up a few slices of bread that were over a week old and plopped em in the freezer.

I also got a comment that implied "just" tossing bread to the birds was an option. I thought that was a terrific use for bread that we would not eat. It is nasty cold out, and there are birds and maybe a few animals that would appreciate a few easy to find bits. Good stewards of the Earth would indeed look out for God's gentlest of creatures..

So, the crust and heals went outside... Let's see what the plate loos like tomorrow!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Resolutions Started Yesterday - RETORTE's Onion Bread Pudding

OK, it's not pretty, but it sure does taste GREAT. But first...

Don't you just love when you do the right thing and Karma rewards you??? Yesterday, Karma spoke to me through one of my (and most other folks') favorite bloggers, Wandering Coyote, RETORTE.

Here's the setup story, followed by an amazing recipe...

Here's a picture of my grill. god's country (Kansas) was blessed with a white Christmas. 8 inches worth of it, and according to the weather forecast, we are going to enjoy the scenery for awhile. Jackie and I had lots of time together... Unless I "manned up" and started shoveling, we were not going anywhere.

Instead of man upping, we talked... We talked of many things...
"Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
(around my backyard, they do).

We also talked of New year's Resolutions.

Among the resolutions I kicked around was to become a better steward of the earth's resources. Fancy sounding words (a cross between old hippy and catholic guilt speak), but all they mean is to stop wasting food. Your mama was right the first time she took you to a buffet, "take what you want, but want what you take". A while back I did a review of a very important movie, FOOD, INC. While you are ordering Netflix movies, or renting at Blockbuster, add one more to your que and take a look at this movie. It will change the way you look at food. But I digress...

For Christmas day, I bought a fancy loaf of bread from a bakery. I know I should have made my own, but I didn't. I did buy a fancy loaf of bread from a bakery. Real fresh "home made" bread. Christmas was just Jackie and me, so we barely made a dent in the entire loaf. 4 days later, without the benefits of chemicals (preservatives) to increase the shelf life, the bread was almost brick hard.

Not 5 minutes after Jackie and I had the resolution's talk, I was checking my fellow blogger's sites to see what they were up to and fast as you can say, "Bob's your uncle", I was captivated by RETORTE's post of... Caramelized Onion & Brie Bread Pudding. Click HERE to get to her interpretation of the recipe, which originally appeared in Canadian Living's November 2005 issue.

Here's what she did...
Caramelized Onion & Brie Bread Pudding 2 tbsp butter 3 onions, thinly sliced (I did so in a food processor) 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar 1 tbsp liquid honey 1 tsp dried thyme 5 cups cubed day old baguette 1 cup diced Brie cheese 6 eggs 1 cup each 10% cream and milk 1/2 tsp each ground nutmeg, salt & pepper
  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Fry onions, stirring often, until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Stir in vinegar, honey, and thyme.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together bread, cheese, and onion mixture. Spoon into shallow, greased 8-cup gratin dish.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, salt & pepper; pour over bread mixture and press. Let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350F until crisp, browned, and knife inserted in centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
When I saw the recipe, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand (wasn't going to the store in the snow). I also realized that stale bread makes the best bread pudding... A stale piece of bread absorbs the liquid, while a fresh piece of bread already has moisture, so it does not absorb the flavors of the liquid as well.

With this recipe, I could start my resolution early. No need to toss (waste) the bounty that my local bakery had provided. No need to slap Mother Nature in the face when I fail to use the resources she provides. I could give a brand new recipe a try, honor a respected blogger's opinion (Coyote raved about this dish) and use the bread I had bought. It was not the bread's fault for going stale, that's what it does. It went stale, and was almost thrown away because I was a poor steward to the Earth.

It did take a lot of effort to cut the bread. It was REALLY stale.

My eyes were watering, but this smelled great as the onions caramelized...

I had a little provolone cheese left, and wanted to be sure to use that up before it grew a science project, so I grated that and added to the top.

I will admit that it is not the prettiest of dishes, but OMG!

god, Karma and Retorte rewarded me with a permanent addition to my "make again" file. I have made savory bread pudding before, and love it. But, by far this was the best savory bread pudding I have ever eaten. The cream and the onions made this an amazingly sweet dish. I am in awe of the taste. Do not hesitate to give this recipe a try. If you check RETORTE's blog page on the dish, you will see that she chose this recipe to serve to her family for a winter solstice meal (There's a little "Old Hippy" in her "Thirty-something closeted head-banger" soul if she celebrates the winter solstice... But I digress.). This is a special event worthy tasting recipe.

I served this with a turkey calzone dish I made from leftover turkey. YUM!

Here's just a little advice for anyone planning a New year's resolution. I do make them every year, many are doomed to fail... Some become habits...
  • A personal desire to change. It can't come from a nagging spouse or guilt from your mother. I am at a fortunate point in my life where there is not a financial hit to my pocket book if I throw out a half a loaf of bread every week. I want to change because it is the right thing to do.
  • Have the ability to change. Before I started blogging, and reading other bloggers, I would not have had the resources (recipes) to use a stale loaf of bread. I will continue to read blogs, and file great recipes away, waiting for that day when I need to use up an ingredient.
  • Maintain a supportive environment. My long suffering wife will be asked to eat more leftovers this year than in the past. She supported my Ribs 101 experiment where rib meat was used in 7 leftover dishes. She is the one with the inconvenient day job. part of my duties as head cook is to make meals that she enjoys. She understands and supports my desire to be a better steward.
  • Have the confidence that you can do it! Sounds silly to make resolutions that we know we can not or will not do. Losing weight is easy... eat less, move more. stopping smoking is easy... just stop. But, I know from experience, saying and believing is not the same. I still want to lose weight, I am 10 pounds lighter than I was when I started blogging... But I know in my heart of hearts that I am not ready to make the true commitment to alter my lifestyle to lose weight. But, I am ready to look into better ways to be a steward of the earth.
  • Look for ways to encourage yourself through instant gratification. Well, a blog sure makes that easy, but also tell your family and friends that you had a choice of scraping a little mold from some old cheese and creating cheese straws or tossing the cheese in the trash. A little encouragement from your friends will help you keep the eye on the ball.
  • Good habits take time. I will fail. But, If this week I concentrate on using entire loafs of bread before the need to toss, and next week I concentrate on my cheese drawer, and the next on milk... little by little, bit by bit I am developing habits. And when I fail, I will take just a few seconds, as I am tossing that half gallon of milk in the trash to consider what I can do different next week so that I do not toss the milk then.
  • Be public. If you want to stop smoking, share that with SUPPORTIVE people (not the office bitch that will belittle you, but your best friend). If I want to make better use of the earth's resources, share that on my blog and let my wife know what I have planned. Let my friends and neighbors that I entertain regularly know that I am serving a dish from leftovers (and why). Put it out there for the world to see.
  • Milestones and rewards. I know that I have tossed some bread at least once a month over the last year. If I do not throw any bread away in January, I am going to buy me a copy of The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread (Hardcover). I have wanted this book for six months. If I make bread conservation a priority, In a year I know that it would have cost me the price of the book in wasted resources (any bloggers have a used copy they want to sell, let me know).

Stay tuned for bread posts starting in early February (allow a few days for shipping).

OK, off my soap box for awhile. Hopefully you will notice a few more leftover recipes from me. Anyone want to make their resolutions public???

Sunday, December 27, 2009

BEER BUTT TURKEY - and 10 things about ME!!!

Here's my Christmas bird...

Have to be honest, it came out GREAT, but really I was going through the motions on this one. Little enthusiasm, so I didn't take many photos. Christmas Eve is a romantic time for Jackie and myself. We had been dating for three years, I already had a failed marriage and Jackie had survived the end of a 12 year relationship. Neither of us was in the mood to leap. But 13 years ago Christmas Eve, after 1,000 plus days of getting to know each other, we had one of those conversations. There was no knee, no ring and nothing formal... That would come shortly after. But a decision had been made, and ever since then, Christmas Eve has become "our" day. This year for Christmas Eve, I did something fun and special. But it will fit in better after the holidays are done, and closer to Valentines day. I took lots of photos, and have lots of posts to make about "our" day, so stay tuned.

But today... Let's see what going through the motions is to make a BEER BUTT TURKEY...

I couldn't wait, before I took a picture, I pulled off a wing to nibble!

First automatic "must do" is to BRINE YOUR TURKEY! If you have never added the step of brining, you are missing out on the single least used, but single best way to add moisture to a dry turkey.

Turkeys, by nature, are dry. In order to get the bird cooked all the way through, many parts are overdone by the time the center has reached temps. Brining is a way to keep the moisture on the bird. Remember this sentence... If you thought your turkey was a little dry this year... Add a brining step. It is easy.

Night before your cook...

A honey brine.

I assembled my brining liquid...

3 gallons of water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
5 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups honey
5 cups ice

Heat 1 gallon water and the salt. Stir til all the salt is dissolved. Add the honey, again, stir til dissolved. Dump into a clean cooler, mix together everything else and add the bird. This also works well in one of those BIG freezer bags. Don't add the ice, but put the bagged bird into a cooler and than add ice and some water to surround the bagged bird and keep it from getting to room temps.

Let sit for 12 to 24 hours.

I am lucky enough to own a special ceramic pan made special for Beer Butt cooking. Before I owned one of these, I would simply use a beer can in a large casserole dish. No photos, but here's the step by step guide...
  1. Bring the bird out of the brine and allow to drain. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. While the bird is drying, open your beer and pour 1/3rd of the can down the drain (or find another way to dispose of a bit of the beer... DRINK IT!)
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of rub into the beer. It will foam up, so have this in your casserole pan before adding rub. Any of the commercial Cajun rubs work great for this.
  4. Back to the star of the show, the bird. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the breast meat. Do your best to not rip holes in the skin, but get as much of the skin separated as possible. Around the legs if possible, the back, etc...
  5. rub the skin and the meat that you separated from the sin with some Olive oil
  6. rub some rub inside the skin on the meat, as well as on the outside of the bird
  7. Balance the bird on the can, shoving the cavity of the bird so the beer can is inside. Use the legs to make a tripod.
  8. I cook low(ish) and slow(ish)... 300 degrees. It took 5 hours for my 12 pound bird to reach 170 degrees internal temperature. Be sure to check the temps at the thickest part of the breast, as well as the thigh meat.
One draw back to the type of cooking pan I use is that the lower section does not get that pretty color. But, I always remove the skin anyway (health and calorie concerns).

But the important part is the meat is moist and tender. the beer steams the meat from the inside, and combined with the brine produces an amazing turkey dinner!

Already, Jackie made a leftover dish of Turkey Tetrazinni, and I made an open face turkey/gruyere sandwich. Today I have to shovel the driveway so Jackie can get to her inconvenient day job. I will have a bowl of turkey chili waiting for me. And I saved an entire breast to make a turkey calzone!

My neighbor gifted us this bottle of wine and giggled the whole time. Not sure if it was a tribute to the smoked meat they ate all year, or if they were calling me a loon... But, the wine was great!

sugar doll award
And now... I GOT AN AWARD!!! the eggnog must have been flowing to convince DEBBIE, from Dining with Debbie to award the Fabulous SUGAR DOLL Blogger Award to me. After all, when you think sugar doll, Shirley you think of me (you can call me sugar doll, but not Shirley). Anytime a blogger thinks of me, I am honored, and I thank her very much.

Part of the "deal" is to name ten interesting things about me. I have a plan for January posts that will involve getting to know Jackie (my wife) and me better. So, I am going to try to share ten interesting things about my wife and me...
  1. We met in a bar. She was attending a bachelorette party. I had just entered a beer drinking contest (I didn't win, but I placed high enough to win a T-shirt... I gave it to her).

  2. I was a glorified traveling salesman when I met her, living in another state.

  3. After our second date, she ran my FBI file (I was surprised that I had one), as well as a criminal background check and my financial statement.

  4. I did not run any background check on her, but I later found out that she was escorted by the police of STURGIS, SD (yes, the motorcycle, Hell's Angels Sturgis) to the city limits and told to never return. She was caught beating the crap out of an old boyfriend.

  5. We moved in together after long distance dating for over a year. I moved out after less than 30 days.

  6. For one of the first meals, she made me while we were dating (tortellini), I threw in the trash during a huge fight. She has never made tortellini for me since.

  7. It took three years before we tried living together again (this time it took)

  8. We were married in Jamaica.

  9. We had three wedding receptions. Jackie wore the same dress at all three.

  10. She gave me Smoking (BBQ) lessons for Christmas three years ago, and it changed our life.
It has been an interesting 13 years, hope my little facts were interesting to you.

I am supposed to pass on my award... I want to share a fun site with you all that i have found. In another life, I was a book seller. I still read more murder mysteries than anything else (but cookbooks are growing in popularity). I have found a blog called, MYSTERY LOVERS" KITCHEN (click HERE to find it) that I am loving. They blog features rotating hosts, all with mystery novels (featuring cook related settings). I am a bit new to the site, but they have welcomed me with open arms.

So, I would like to challenge the lovely ladies of the M.L.Kitchen to provide 10 interesting snippets of their life...

Up for the challenge ladies???

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ribs 101.7 - Final Exam ... RESTAURANT QUALITY SALAD

Students, today marks the final class session for RIBS 101. It all started with COOKING WITH THE CAPTAIN, the Captain said she wanted to make Ribs for her mother, the Admiral. With the post, Ribs 101 - Class, we are making SPARERIBS !!!; I went onto detail about how a novice can make a GREAT rack of ribs... in the oven, without a dedicated smoker or using a grill.

I chose spareribs for the instructional post for a couple of reasons. First is price. Spareribs are a huge bargain compared to baby back ribs. The per pound price is always at least half the price. But the real bargain comes when you use the trimmed meat or "flap meat" as ingredients in left overs. For the instructional post, I made two racks of ribs. I have now posted 7 meals using my leftovers. I had a lot of fun (and saved a lot of money) making appetizers, side dishes, snacks and main courses during the week. 7 additional menu items all made from the original 2 racks of meat. With today's post on a salad, I am calling an end to the semester. BUT, I have another set of ribs in the freezer, Stay tuned for next semester's classes.

And BTW, I have a small bag of maybe 1/2 cup of diced rib meat left in the freezer. For a brief minute I considered making chocolate chip/rib meat cookies (salty chocolate is all the rage right now). After all, with all the courses I made from the leftovers, dessert has to be a consideration. I am still pondering a rib meat dessert.

We will see.

But first, let's finish this series up with a bang...

A Spinach salad
with hot rib meat and rib meat drippings dressing
topped with a poached egg!

The salad will feature not just rib meat laid on top of lettuce (or in this case, spinach); it will also have a HOT rib meat drippings dressing, topped with a poached egg...

You will need ...

brown sugar
oil (a great time to break out that flavored oil)
vinegar (best quality balsamic or wine flavored)
and I like to top with walnuts.

OK, I have already shown off my poaching egg abilities in this post... the LAST Turkey Leftover Post - AND I POACH an EGG!!!. Click that link for my lesson on how to poach an egg if you have never done one.

So, let's move on to the dressing...

I am a little lean on photos for this, so it's a step by step lesson using your imagination...
  1. Slice up some of the "Flap Meat" leftovers from your spareribs.
  2. In a small skillet, warm up the meat. This will leave behind the drippings and rendered fat. the drippings will be spiced with the rub you used on the original baking of the spareribs. Yes, a few of you are saying to yourselves... "Ahhh, he is making a hot bacon dressing"... Shhhhhhh, don't tell anyone, I want to pretend I am reinventing the wheel here.
  3. Remove the meat, set aside and add a couple of tablespoons of Oil, Vinegar and Brown sugar to the drippings. Mix well and heat till all is hot.
  1. Lay a bed of spinach on your plate.
  2. top with the rib meat
  3. add some walnut pieces
  4. top with a poached egg
  5. drizzle dressing and listen to the Ohhhs and Ahhhs
If you have never had hot bacon dressing (Oops, I mean hot rib meat dressing) drizzled over a poached egg, you are really missing a treat. The soft oozing yolk mixes with the dressing and the meat and the spinach to create a combined mixture of tastes better than the parts.

And thus ends the lecture series for this semester. This post is actually also a part of a new series I will be starting after the first of the year when I try to recreate (dare I say improve) restaurant menu items from my past. I was very pleased with the results of this effort. It was inspired by a meal Jackie and I had at a wonderful small privately owned restaurant. the place seated maybe 20 people. The husband waited tables and the wife was the chef. I enjoy a spinach salad, and order them often. I ordered this without looking at the details, and was very surprised when I was presented a plate very similar to what I made here (she used strips of steak instead of the rib meat, otherwise exactly the same). It was my first time to have a poached egg on a salad, and was the first time for the hot dressing for me. I have eaten out hundreds of times before and since that meal, but when I ponder great salads, this one comes to mind.

Sadly, that restaurant dream did not survive. But in my small way, I hope I honored that chef with my attempts at recreating the dish.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas. Hope Santa was generous...

Look at the beauty under my tree... And I got some gifts as well!

Poor Eng, he has fallen in love with these two reindeer. This is now where he sleeps, and when I try to unplug them, he meows in protest. January 2nd, we are going to break his poor kitty heart.

My wife's lazy good for nothing cat, Chang got off her basket for Christmas morning to see what all the paper rattling was about. Anytime she moves, I consider it a Christmas miracle!

Hope everyone had a safe holiday, and all is clear and easy for your trips home.