Page 1 of 1

Reconstituting Rice Krispies into Rice: Kitchen Adventures

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:29 am
by mattie_p
So, this thread is for you to brag about your adventures (or warn about your misadventures) in cooking. This is not a thread about basic cooking skills, there is a thread for that already.

We have an ongoing contest in our house, in which we basically do the "Chopped" treatment, but without the time limit (we normally get at least several days to plan and unlimited cooking time). Basket ingredients consist of foods that we actually buy and eat in the house (no caviar or lobster tails). Each chef (or chefs, for teamed events) must use the four basket ingredients. Complicating things are the various and sundry dietary restrictions in our family. We don't worry about appetizer and desert - the goal is just make a balanced meal (with actual food groups) we can all eat and enjoy and you win. That's it. I have never been employed as a chef or cook, nor have I been trained in such skills in a school.

Here are some of the constraints we have to work with in our house:
Dairy - essentially limited to greek yogurt and limited cheeses (mostly certain brands of mozzarella) (Combo of Wife and Daughter)
Meats - no beef (Son/Wife) (various fish preferences as well)
No shellfish (daughter)
Sweeteners - only honey, no processed sugars at all (Daughter)
Starches - gluten-free (Wife), must be 100% whole grain (Daughter)
Fats/Oils/Cooking liquids: No butter (wife), no margarine (daughter), no beer (daughter)
Most fruits are good, vegetable limitations are all by preference and too many to mention

On Saturday I was paired with my co-chef, my 9 year-old daughter. Our basket ingredients were: ground pork, sunflower seeds, canned pineapple, and carrots. My daughter's initial thought was to make pork hamburgers with "sunflower seed bread with a carrot/pineapple sauce or ketchup." Me, being the adventurous soul that I am, with the desire to use all four burners on the stove-top, the oven, and various bowls and mixers, decided on the following menu:

Homemade sausage patty burgers
Toasted buns with added sesame seeds (Sorry, not making home-made buns out of sunflower seeds, especially not making up a recipe that I have to adapt to baking above 5000 feet)
Pineapple BBQ sauce
Carrot, pineapple, and sesame seed salad
Onion rings

I cheated a little with the buns, and gave my wife a lettuce leaf instead. If you've ever eaten gluten-free bread, it is really bad and I didn't want to stick the rest of my family with those. So, on with the recipes (any quantities not specifically mentioned are eyeballed. Sorry - this is kitchen adventures, not basics. See the first sentence):

Sausage Patty Burgers:
2 lbs ground pork
1 tbsp duck fat (yes, we have this in the fridge)
chopped fresh parsley
fennel seeds (the seeds you find in italian sausage)
garlic powder
salt
dried basil
dried oregano
cayenne powder (just a bit)

Mix in a bowl by hand, form into patties, add 1 small tidbit of pineapple to the center of each patty. Makes eight 1/4 lb burgers. Cook on non-stick griddle in olive oil over medium heat until done.

Toasted Buns:
Take buns of your choice, rub with melted butter, add sesame seeds on top, then toast. Bam, buns with sesame seeds (at least for a little bit, they liked to fall off, I should have done an egg wash instead, I think). I made 3 this way for plating.

BBQ Sauce:
One 15 ounce can of tomato sauce (no, not prego)
One 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits in juice (drain and save the juice for this recipe, save the tidbits for later)
worcestershire sauce
liquid smoke
garlic powder
onion powder
chili powder
salt

Stir well to combine, cook over medium heat in saucepan until reduced by about 1/2 or more. Don't burn it - the sugars will caramelize and burn before the sauce is reduced if the heat is too high.

Carrot salad
4-5 medium carrots
leftover pineapple from above
honey
1/2 cup greek yogurt
salt

Grate carrots using grating tool or food processor, add all, stir to combine. Serve cold

Onion Rings:

I'm kind of proud of this one, as I had to improvise on a bunch of levels. Every recipe for onion rings I found called for at least some buttermilk, but we can't do that in this house. I needed to do something else, so:

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch or so rings, separated
1 and 1/2 cups greek yogurt
water (to thin yogurt)
salt and pepper

soak onion rings in this mixture for about 2 hours

Cornmeal
1/2 cup sunflower seeds - chopped in a food processor (honestly, I don't recommend you add these - the oils in the seeds make the mixture bind and don't make a good dry breading, but, Chopped!)
-- now, I knew we had cornmeal in the house, so I thought that was it. However, we were actually very low. So I didn't have enough breading for the onion rings. I added some whole grain rice cakes to the food processor to stretch it.

Grind all in the food processor until smooth. Add the rings to the breading, then fry in peanut oil until golden brown and delicious (oh, yeah, we ran out of this too. I needed to add a lot of olive oil and canola oil to get enough) (Also, make sure the oil is hot enough. I accidentally turned down the heat on the oil when attempting to turn down the heat on the BBQ sauce, and most of the breading fell off while the oil soaked in).

Serving suggestion for the whole meal:

Place the patty on the bottom bun, layer with a few onion rings and spoon some BBQ sauce on top. Serve the carrot salad (think a sweet cole slaw) on the side.

In retrospect, there were a lot of sweet components (BBQ and the salad). I should have probably made the salad sweet and spicy by adding a heat element (maybe some jalapeno peppers or something). I should never have decreased the temperature of my oil for the onion rings. And I need to figure out a better method to get my sunflower seeds to adhere to the hamburger buns. But I am very happy with the sausage patties. Overall it was a successful dish that served a family of four with only a few leftovers - which were eaten on Sunday.

Anyway, so enough about me. What have you done (or should have done)?