Wow, it's been a while since I did a food post here, hasn't it? So here's a round-up of some recent(ish) meals at Casa Jaquandor!
:: Grilled bratwurst. Yum. Not much to say here, just...grilled bratwurst! Yum!
I heart sausages of all types, and bratwurst may be my favorite. It's just wonderful stuff. The trick is to get them off the grill at the exact moment the last little bit of pink in the middle has faded. It's an art form, it is!
:: A while back I posted about Chiavetta's chicken marinade, a staple of barbecue here in Western New York. At that time, it was still cold out, so I did the chicken in the oven. Well, I figured I should revisit Chiavetta's, in the preferred cooking method: over charcoal. So here it is. The steps are the same: Marinade for a long time, and then grill until done. Once the chicken is done, the instructions say to put the chicken into a pan on the grill and then heavily baste it with more of the sauce, allowing the flavor to permeate the chicken via steaming (or something like that).
Here's the chicken on the grill:
And here's the chicken on the table:
:: I love a homemade pizza, but I'm kind of ashamed to admit that when I do the job, it's not really homemade, as I've always used store-bought dough and sauce from a jar. Well, I decided that enough was enough on that score, so I made a pizza entirely from scratch a while back: my own dough and my own sauce, topped with cheese I grated and pepperoni and sausage made from a pig that I killed and butchered.
OK, that last part is a complete lie; my pepperoni and sausage came in packages. Do I look like the kind of fellow who could slay a pig? Of course not. Yeesh. But I did do the other stuff. Now I'll probably experiment more with other crust and sauce recipes. Here's how the finished product turned out:
It was really good. The dough recipe I used is an old one we've had around for a while that we got from Cooking Light Magazine -- oh Cooking Light, how we miss the days when you weren't a cheaply-done production! -- and the sauce recipe I used is this one. The cheese and pepperoni are straight-forward; I just grated my own part-skim mozzarella. For the sausage, I cooked up three large links of Italian sausage and then cut them up into large chunks. My firm belief regarding sausage on pizza is that the chunks need to be big.
:: OK, let's talk burgers.
I tend to be a bit on the lazy side when it comes to burgers at home. The Wife generally keeps us stocked up on frozen burgers that she gets from The Restaurant at which she works (don't worry, she pays for them!), and that's usually OK for me. Other times I'll pick up pre-formed fresh ground beef patties at The Store, some of which they flavor with stuff. They have a Greek burger with feta cheese mixed right into the beef that's terrific, as are the basic bacon-cheddar ones (with bacon pieces and shredded cheddar also mixed into the patties).
But every once in a while I want to taste the burgery-goodness flavor that you can really only get by grilling your own hand-made patties, so that's what I did a couple of weeks back. I picked up a package of ground beef that was roughly 1.4 pounds and divided it up into three patties of such equal size as I could make, for three 7-point-something oz. burger patties. I added nothing to the beef at all -- just the meat, although when the patties were shaped, I seasoned them on both sides with salt and pepper. (As Emeril Lagasse used to say on his shows, "I hate one-sided tasting food.")
Then it was onto the grill!
Cooking burgers on the grill is about as easy as cooking something can be; all you have to do is keep an eye on things and spritz the flare-ups with water when they get out of hand. Every article or teevee show I've ever read or watched on the proper cooking of burgers gives the same two pieces of advice, and I agree whole-heartedly. Those pieces of advice are:
1. Flip the burgers exactly once.
2. Do NOT press down on the burgers with your spatula in hopes of making them cook faster.
Those rules are for your benefit, folks!
Oh, and the third rule: let the burgers rest a few minutes before allowing consumption.
Yeah, one of them turned out a bit bigger than the other two. Beef portioning FAIL!
When I do the frozen patty thing, I'm generally happy to throw the burger onto a bun, top it with ketchup and mustard, and call it good. But a patty like this deserves a bit more by way of stuff on the bun along with it, so here's how my final burger ended up before I tucked into it. The only thing missing was a slice of fresh tomato. (Because when I was shopping, I didn't think to grab a tomato. Argghhh!)
:: By the way, as long as I'm talking about burgers, I had a brief discussion of this topic on Facebook and since I'm talking food and burgers here, I'll bring it up. There's a new fad in the burger world, but I must protest the nomenclature thereof. What am I talking about?
I hate hate hate the term "sliders".
Sliders, for those who haven't had this craze hit them yet, are basically miniature burgers. They're only about three inches in diameter, so consuming one takes about three or four bites. I'm not sure what the allure of these things is or why they're so popular right now, but as I understand it, the term originated with the White Castle fast food chain, which sells tiny little burgers in packages of ten or something like that. (We don't have White Castle in WNY, so I've never actually eaten one.)
I'm a bit baffled on the concept of miniature burgers to begin with, except for the idea that it might be a nice way to experience different mixes of condiments on one's meal of burgery goodness at one time, but that notion is of limited appeal to me, anyway. Maybe for novelty's sake it might be fun to have one little burger with ketchup and mustard, another with mayonnaise and onions, and a third with chili sauce, but...i'm just not that thrilled with the idea. For me, miniature burgers is probably a good thing to have for a kids' birthday party, but that's about it.
As much as I don't understand why these little burgers have become so popular right now, I do admit that I loathe the term "slider". Can't stand it. It's just an unpleasant sounding word for a food item. To be blunt, it sounds like a word one might use to describe an unwelcome experience one has with one's bowels. "Sliders" to me sounds like another word for "Montezuma's Revenge", if you take my meaning. Hate the term. Hate it. I'd find the whole concept if they called it something else -- miniwiches, perhaps. Or maybe teenyburgs. Or burgertwee's. Or maybe we could honor some height-challenged celebrities or chracters and call them Colemans, or Tattoos, or Artooburgs.
Anything other than that awful word, "slider".
And now, I'm off for the annual Taste of Buffalo food festival. Huzzah!