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Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Well, I am back, back from vacation, camping, a sort of bad case of altitude sickness and from having a non-functional left hand.  I decided I am not back enough to fire up the grill, but, I am back enough to cook on the flat top. And that means burgers.

The cold team consisted of locally grown tomatoes, Vidalia onions (not super local, or even remotely local) and kim chee mayonnaise.
The hot team consisted of these small, but not slider small, brioche buns I found at the store and some ground beef. The ground beef is grass fed/grain finished and was on sale. Bonus for a cheap meal (or it makes up for the really tasty brioche buns). Some Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust was harmed in the making of these burgers.
These elements were combined to make a plate of burgerettes. I put the veggies on the bottom and kim chee mayo on top.  This turned out to be too much for dinner, so I did not eat all three, although I was tempted.
I know, the kim chee mayo looks a lot like cole slaw, which is not what I was going for, but, it was perfect for adding a little kick to the meal.  I love a simple burger, but, once in a while a touch of the exotic helps.

Kim Chee Mayonnaise
3 parts kim chee, spicy, chopped
1 part mayonnnaise, store bought or home made
1/4 part Lucky Dog hot sauce, a local not yet for sale roasted green jalapeno/carrot/garlic hot sauce that is really good.

Mix all ingredients well and allow to sit for 15 minutes covered in refrigerator to blend flavors. No salt or pepper is needed for this recipe. I would recommend home made mayonnaise so that you can control the salt even better.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back from Camping

Spent a week in Lassen National Monument and Park, where we did a little cooking over the camp fire. Sadly, I did not get pictures of everything we cooked, however, there were these.

Fire roasted Triscuits with cheddar cheese...
Just a slab of cheddar cheese on a Triscuit cracker, roasted on a rack and covered with aluminum foil to reflect some heat to assist in melting the cheese. Foil or metal reflectors are invaluable for cooking over a campfire, the ability to reflect heat allows more control and direction over heat distribution.
Here is a shot of the rack of cheesy Tricuits cooking under foil, and yes, that is a string cheese stick being roasted. Simple treats over the fire after a day of hiking can be so much better than when munched at home.
Life is a bowl of cherries, organic pitted cherries on the way to a cherry maple cobbler that is...
Most everything you eat here is gonna taste better than at home.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Made Sourdough

I recently was gifted a sourdough starter from my sister in Humboldt County.  I have been feeding and growing the starter and decided to make some sourdough. I decided to wing it a bit and make a wet dough, in an attempt to get the old chewy interior texture I like in bread.

I used roughly this recipe

900 g white flour
120 g whole rye flour
600 g water at about 74F
360 g ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter
23 g salt

Autolyse was 35 minutes
Rise was 2 hours
Proof rise was 2 hours

Here is the dough after mixing...

And again after autolyse, note how fully hydrated and relaxed the dough has become.

It was actually quit soft and difficult to work at this point.  I gave it a few folds and shaped the loaves, then proceeded to let the bread proof.
Here they are in the oven about 12 minutes in. So far, looking good.

Here is the bread, after cooling for an hour, it looks great.  At this point, the bread has a nice hollow sound and a perfect aroma.

Here is the cut, showing the airy texture and medium sized holes. The crust is a little thicker than I would like, I suspect it is because I forgot to spray the loaf with water before the first 12 minutes of cooking. The lack of steam would cause the thicker crust. This did not affect the taste of the bread at all.  The interior texture was moist and delicious.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pork Chop Recovery

I decided to turn the odd pork chops I smoked last week into Chile Verde, this involved the chopping of some aromatics and fire roasted poblano chiles.  The were sauteed until transparent and then the pork chops were added. After this, two cans of Hatch Chile enchilada sauce were added.  This was simmered down for two hours.  At this time, I decided to change directions, drained the liquid and made the pork into a carnitas like dish.

Aromatic veggies

Here is the pork frying in a little oil and some rendered pork fat skimmed from the simmering liquid.

Here is the finished product with some home baked sourdough.