Thursday, July 23, 2009

Party #3 - Recipe #6 - Appetizers- Garlic Chili Parmigiana Crisps

It was a very successful night. It also had dramatic issues, ended up spending a little time with next door neighbors (talked more with them last night than I have in 10 years), worked on a new recipe and I ended up drunk. Who could ask for anything more! I invited Tom and Lucia, as well as Jim and Herme from the neighborhood. Inadvertently, I caused a bit of a stink with Tom and Lucia. She accepted, without knowing her husband had made plans to entertain her that evening with his cooking. Tom is going through some tough times right now, and I think it was just one more thing. It ended up just Lucia, with Tom a no show. Jim and Herme are always game for some fun and they popped in on schedule. I do hope all blows over. I enjoy Tom's company, and feel friendly competitive. As a reminder, Tom is my neighbor who enjoys competitive Barbecue, has won his share of awards, and is very very good. He makes me better.

That was the drama, the picture above shows the beginning of the drunk... Herme travels for her job. She returned from Mexico and brought me a little gift. A premium bottle of sipping tequila. So, we did sip and sip and sip and sip. That first sip is always a little rough. The fifth one is always fabulous.

But, this is not a blog about drinking, it is a food blog. So, let's talk about the food. This was the beginning of my tribute/rip off of the Julia/Julie project. Most of the evening was recipes from Steven Raichlen's book, "How to Grill". With a goal of reproducing every recipe in the book, I got a nice start.

Grilled garlic Parsley Cheese Bread
Garlic Grilled Tomatoes
Grilled Pepper Salad
Grilled Pork Chop "Calzones"
and Coconut Grilled Pineapple to top off the night

I intend to blog each of these recipes separately over the next few days, but today I want to talk about something of my own creation.

I like to have an appetizer ready when people arrive. Gives them something to snack on while I am working. I wanted to experiment with a setting on my grill that I had never used. So, during the afternoon prior to my prep time for the actual meal, I whipped up a dozen of these gems.

Garlic Chili Parmesan Crisps

I first found these at a now closed restaurant on one of our Riverboat Gambling Casinos in town. They are incredibly simple, and horribly addictive. They taste great. When I first tried these, it was simply melted Parmesan cheese. In one of my very first Internet searches, I found the recipe. Generously oil a pan, plop a clump of cheese down and broil til golden brown. When they cool, they turn into this crispy little wonder. I make these a couple times a year. Usually, I just grab a tub of the pre grated stuff (not the powdery stuff, the thick grated stuff). But, with the understanding that I am trying to do better and produce quality meals, for this night, I bought a fresher, higher quality piece of cheese and grated it myself. Now, it is time to make it my own. Grilled garlic and grilled peppers are an easy addition. I am not saying I am the first to put these together, but I am saying that I have never seen a recipe like this, pondered the process and ingredient list through, experimented and can call this my own.

1 package of Parmigiana Cheese
1 diced Poblano Pepper (chosen for it's bright color and taste. Maybe at Christmas time I would use a red and green combination of peppers).
3 diced cloves of garlic

I used a silicone flexible baking sheet. These are great, already non-stickand make the process very easy.
To do these on the grill, I set the temp on a side burner to high, leaving the burners directly under the sheet off completly. These are easy to burn, so slowly cooking gives better results. On the opposit side of the grill, I have a searing burner. I wanted to teste this as a place to put a smoker pouch to add wood taste to my grilled items. It worked great.

OK, simple enough, just take a handful of cheese, add a teaspoon each of the grated garlic and peppers and let them cook. It took about 15 minutes for the edges to start to brown nicely. When I cook these on the broiler, they brown more evenly. But they came out nicely this way.

Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for another 15 minutes. They peal right off, slick as snot on a doorknob. Even though the sheet is not oiled, the crisps themselves have a lot of oil in them. put them on a napkin to soak some of the oil up.

These were crowd pleasers

Following the dinner, we migrated to the firepit. the weather was perfect, the beer and tequila were flowing. After an hour or so, we were joined by the nice couple next door and enjoyed a couple hours of frivolity. A very successful night!

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