Combining my interests of music, cooking, recipes, photos and tune talk.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grey Cup Celebration

The Event: Grey Cup Partay
The Drinks: Canadian Beer

With Calgary making it to the Grey Cup, it was cause for gathering and celebrating while hopefully watching the Stampeders win the big trophy.  Not being from Calgary and having long standing family ties to the Stamps, I appreciatively got invited to the Loach family residence where Stampeders Fever was in full swing.  I am still waiting for my Riders to return to Ottawa which is supposed to happen in 2014 once Landsdown is finished.  Until then, the Stamps are my number one and will remain my top western conference team after that.
Spare SAAB Key

Problem #1: The day started ominously when I arrived at Neil's place to pick him up and head to the party and my car decided to lock its doors while still running.  I wasn't even aware this was possible with cars made in the last 20 years, but another lesson in life learned the hard way.  But after a few "what the **** do we do now?" and "This is my worst nightmare!" comments, we quickly jumped into action.

Fortunately, the car door wasn't completely closed so there was a little gap at the top of the window.  After sacrificing a wire coat hanger to the cause, Neil and I managed to stick it in the small gap and hit the automatic window down button.  Problem solved in plenty of time to make kick-off.  Gone in 60 seconds eat your heart out!  I think I might be ready for a career in car jacking, should this engineering gig not work out for me, and so long as everyone leaves their cars running without fully closing the doors.

Pigs in a Blanket
Upon arrival, the house was decked out with jerseys, pennants, footballs and tons of other related paraphernalia!  Quite the football party scene.  And even more importantly; tons of food.  Tables of chicken wings, cold meet plates, stuffed mushrooms, Shrimp, etc.  And all of this before a full dinner and dessert!

Not wanting to go to a football party empty handed, I did a quick surf of the Internet to find an appropriate appy to bring and pigs in a blanket sounded perfect.

Pigs in a Blanket Ingredients:
Mini Smokies
Onion (Sauteed)
Cheddar Cheese
Puff Pastry

 Apart from the fact you have to individually wrap each one, its a fairly easy process to make.
The smokies are slit down the middle and then cracked open to squeeze in some sauteed onions,  and a small piece of cheese.

I decided to wrap the squares by tucking two of the corners together at the top.  This allows the consumer to see what is inside before they shovel it in their mouths.

These went over real well and I'm sure I'll make them again next time I need finger foods.  Superbowl party??

Roasted Salsa
Roasted Salsa: For no other reason other than I had a bunch of tomatoes sitting on the counter, I also decided to make salsa.  I've done this a bunch of times before so I decided to find new recipe.

Roasted Vegetables in the Food Processor
Martha Stewart told me to try this one. Its basically like regular salsa, but you roast all of the vegetables first.  Probably the best salsa I've made so far and my new go to Salsa Recipe.

3 Tomatoes
1 Onion
3 Jalapenos
3 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Limes Juiced
Salt and Pepper
1 Schwack Cilantro

Basically following the instructions right out of the recipe, I put all of the vegetables on a roasting pan and chucked them on the top rack of the oven on broil.  I let them brown up a little bit (~10 minutes with a few rotations) and then put them in the food processor. Mix in the lime juice and salt and pepper.  Too hot?  Add more lime juice.

Lastly add the chopped cilantro. Add as much as necessary depending on how much you like cilantro, but Martha recommends 1/4 cup (chopped).

Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten that the wonderful hostess of the evening, Mrs. Loach, is allergic to peppers.  Being the second time I have now contributed something with peppers in it, I will have to pay more attention next time.  I least I had the piggies.

Problem #2: The game was pretty shitty.  Unless you were an Argos fan and and weren't too concerned about the quality of the football being executed on the field, it was a pretty ugly game to watch.  The Stamps played a poor game and the Argos won the Grey Cup without too much resistance. I guess the world needs to throw Toronto a sports related bone every once and a while since they obviously can't win anything else.

Even though the horse didn't get to make a victory lap, the party was a success and I eventually rolled myself to the car after way too much delicious food.  Time to get ready for Grey Cup 2013!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Mac and Cheese

Deep Fried Mac and Cheese
The Meal: Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Mac and Cheese
Mandatory Accessories: Defibrillator

So this is one of those meals inspired by Paula Dean.  It's what she calls a 'sometimes food'...  Meaning that you only eat it sometimes because you wouldn't last too long eating it all the time.  In fact, since her latest health kick, you can't even find her recipe on her website anymore.  Using a different mac and cheese recipe and free styling the bacon and deep frying part, I used her previous recipe as an inspiration for the dish only.

Cheese Sauce
Since you have to make the mac and cheese recipe first and then let it cool before making the cubes to wrap, it became a two night process, with regular mac and cheese on night one. This worked out find since Robyn came over for dinner and had no interest in the bacon wrapped deep frying debauchery.  She made the Mac and Cheese, but didn't leave the recipe so I can't include it here.  But in the end, the secret it lots and lots of cheese. I'm sure pretty much any Mac and Cheese recipe will work.

In night two, this is where you put your cardiologist on speed dial.

Chilled Mac and Cheese Cubes
1 Mac and Cheese Recipe, prepared, chilled and cubed
Vegetable Oil

Using the chilled mac and cheese, it can now by cut into cubes that should stay together assuming you used enough cheese. Wrap each cube with a strip of bacon.  Then coat in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
Most literature I found on the subject suggested that the optimal oil temperature should be around 350F.  I don't have a thermometer so I guessed.  Not sure how big a difference that makes, but my results weren't fantastic.  The first one cooked on the outside, but was still cold on the inside.   Oil too hot perhaps so it cooked too fast on the outside?  Not sure.
Coating Process
Boiling Oil

But my solution was to microwave the the cubes before deep frying them so that the middle is at least warm before the fry process.  While this worked, its probably not a technique taught in culinary school...

I served it on a bed of lettuce to show that there is some green and healthy sides along with it.

In the end, it probably wasn't worth the effort to make nor fat intake.  It was good, but not as epic as the title might lead you to believe.   The plain ol' mac and cheese was a superior meal.

So that's two posts in the last several that have added bacon with marginal results.  This won't slow me down and I am going to have to start posting some delicious bacon successes, since it makes almost everything better.