Archive for the ‘NERDSTEAK – Straight Up Food’ Category

TrendSince everyone and their mother has been posting what they can expect from the food world in 2014, I thought I would add my own little list of things I expect to see rise and/or fall in the following year:

The fall of quinoa – Other than pumpkin spiced everything (yes I know it is seasonal), pretzel bread, and sriracha, quinoa has been taking over restaurant and retail outlets in the US…which also means as the demand increase, so does the price.  Consumers are going to find there there is a whole list of ancient grains they can incorporate into their diet which rival the nutritional value of quinoa, such as kaniwa, amaranth, buckwheat, bulghur, farro, freekeh, grano, millit, oat groats, spelt, sorghum, and teff, not to mention all of the non-processed rice varieties.  Hurry up and buy in bulk before these other options become ‘the next big thing’ and the price increases on those as well.

Hipster Sweets – Think of all the old school desserts which the hipster crowd is ready to reinvent.  One that I am hoping for is salted butterscotch, (salted caramel knockoff)!  With the boom of specialty beverages as well, we are going to see updated versions of bananas foster, cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, mangos diablo, and peches louis…half of which the hipsters never even heard of.

Turmeric-Shakur – Indian, middle-eastern, and mid-asian cuisine is becoming more and more accepted in the US.  One ingredient in particular climbing the ladder is turmeric. It has a bright color and has been used in curries for years, as well as a coloring agent for multiple purposes.  It also contains curcumin which potentially can treat a whole list of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and allergies.  Not of these claims have been definitively concluded yet, except for turmeric being a tasty addition to your spice cabinet.

Hot Chile Time Machine – Jalapeños, chipotle, cayenne, and habanero are only four of the hundreds of varieties of chiles out there.  It is time to bring in the specialty varieties like aleppo, aji amarillo, calabrian, puya, wiri wiri, mulato, and scorpion to increase heat, build eccentric flavor, and add variety to your menu.  Consumers are accepting heat in their foods more than ever before…thanks fast food!  Sriracha will have some more time at the top, then harissa will take over…

PB&Hey, That’s Not Normal – First, we had peanut butter, and it was good.  Then the alternate nut butters came along, and they were also good.  Now it’s time to raise the bar and flavorize all these tasty spreads.  Due to the fact that the US now wants to add fat back into their diets, we will see an increase of nut and nut butter consumption, but lets take it a step further. Pumpkin spiced walnut butter?!?!?! Maple and black pepper pecan butter?!?!?! Salted agave peanut butter?!?!?! Why not throw in some sriracha bacon rhubarb jam in the mix? (Maybe TOO trendy?)

American Comfort Story – We are going to continue seeing a rise in the American comfort food arena in the upcoming year.  Chicken & waffles made 1000 ways, mac & cheese with artisan locally sourced cheese, meatloaf with specialty game meats, pies with strange crusts, weird fruits, unfamiliar seasonings, salted red velvet cronut cake-pop cupcakes…!!!!!!!!! How many desserts can we mash together???

What are some of your predictions for 2014? Your guess is as good as mine!

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Red wine braised short rib, aleppo pepper polenta cake, caramelized pearl onion, oven-dried tomatoes, roasted asparagus

ID-100101588Here is a list of some interesting and no-so-popular ingredients you may want incorporate into your menu:

  • Scorpion Chile – Sorry Ghost chile, there is a new, (not really that new) king of fire in town. This is a variety in the capsicum chinense family that on average, has a SHU measurement of 1.2 million.  That is face melting heat, and the current world record is held by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion burning at over 2 million SHU’s.  New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute regulates the testing and authentication of these chiles.  These chiles also have a a sweet, fruity flavor profile which you may forget after your tongue falls off.
  • Wiri Wiri Chile – Averaging at around 70,000 SHU’s, this chile still packs a punch but add a delightful fresh, bright flavor when used.  Works great when blended into a hot sauce sweetened with fruit.
  • Yellow Eye Steuben Bean – This bean has a mild flavor and a beautiful mustard colored spot on a off white background.  The hold up exceptionally well when cooked and make an excellent carrier for strong flavors.  They are actually related to the kidney bean.
  • Chinese Black Rice – This is a medium grain glutinous rice perfect for all kinds of interesting recipes.  It is relatively sweet and slightly sticky, but will impart its deep indigo color to anything you cook with it.  Stop using a boring all purpose white rice already!
  • Grano – This is an ancient whole kernel pearled wheat berry from Italy. It has a texture between al dente pasta and brown rice, but with a vibrant golden hue.  Grano is made from durum wheat, the same used to make most upscale pasta. This grain holds up great after cooking, so use in soups, salads, and pilaf dishes, and can be ground then used like a hot cereal.  (I used it to make this salad.)
  • Kaniwa – A close relative to quinoa and also a member of the goosefoot family.  It is used just like quinoa in many applications and has all of the same nutritional benefits, Kaniwa has the added bonus of not containing saponins, which sometimes causes quinoa to be bitter.
  • Fregola Sarda – This is a toasted form of couscous and comes in a variety of sizes.  It has a rough texture which help sauce cling to it, and the toasted gives it a beautiful browned color and and firm bite.
  • Sumac – The North America variety is poisonous, however varieties grown in the Middle East impart a sour flavor the same way you might use lemon or lime juice.  It also has a dark red color which makes for a fantastic presentation.
  • Black Garlic – Originally made by letting garlic cloves ferment over vats of soy sauce, black garlic imparts a deep molasses-like profile with tangy garlic undertones.  The texture becomes soft and gooey similar to dried fruit.  It does not leave you with the pungent fresh garlic flavor or odor you may be used to.
  • Long Pepper – This was the first pepper variety brought to the West.  It has a more intense flavor compared to traditional peppercorns, as well as sweet undertones.  It can also be ground just like it’s black or white peppercorn brethren.
  • Fleur De Sel – Most chefs and foodies will know this is the purest, most pricy sea salt available.  Produced in France, it has a bright white color, a wet, grainy texture, and is best used to finish a dish, as well as up-charge your guests.
  • Hemp Hearts – Considered a ‘super-food’ due to their nutritional value, they are the soft, creamy nut inside the hemp shell.  Very high in plant protein, vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acid, they make a great alternative to those with nut allergies.

What are some of your not-so-familiar food ingredients???

Honey Dijon Farro Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fontina Cheese, Flat Leaf Parsley

Honey Dijon Farro Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fontina Cheese, Flat Leaf Parsley

This is how you make a real bacon bowl!

This is how you make a real bacon bowl!

Gruyere and Caramelized Leek Couscous Stuffed Tomato with Porcini Mushrooms and Fennel

Gruyere and Caramelized Leek Couscous Stuffed Tomato with Porcini Mushrooms and Fennel

Arugula and Red Cabbage Salad with Maple Vinegrette, Roasted Pears, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Candied Walnuts, and Cheddar Chip

Arugula and Red Cabbage Salad with Maple Vinegrette, Roasted Pears, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Candied Walnuts, and Cheddar Chip

BACON!!!!!!!!!

BACON!!!!!!!!!

Grano Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Baby Kale, Red Onions, Diced Cherry Tomatoes, and BACON!

Grano Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, Baby Kale, Red Onions, Diced Cherry Tomatoes, and BACON!

I would like to state right here and now, that I am the originator of the ‘Burger Crusted Steak’.  I used the same burger meat I created yesterday, and packed it around a beef filet, then made magic happen.  This is how you do it…(dun da dun da dun dunnnnnnn):

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First you make your bacon bleu burger mix:

  • 2 pounds of 90/10 ground chuck (90% lean)
  • 1-1/2 pounds raw applewood smoked bacon (pureed in food processor into a paste)
  • 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated garlic

Take a 6 ounce beef filet and flatten it to about 1/2 inch thickness, then season with salt.  Take your ground meat mixture, and liberally pack it around the steak:

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On a grill set to super high, grill for about 5 minutes on each side, turning 90° half way through:

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Place the burger-steak-beast on a small sheet tray, and bake in a 375°F oven for about 6 more minutes to have a nice medium-rare center (you can adjust your cooking time here to your preferred doneness).  Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting into this bad boy and having a party in your mouth!

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If  winning was a Bacon Bleu Cheeseburger Crusted Filet…this would be it.  Hopeful this starts a new trend with all the hipster-foodies out there, and I get the occasional shout-out.  \\..//

Bacon.

It is my favorite food group.  In a previous post I used bacon puree to make bacon chips.  I have taken bacon slime to new heights with what I like to call a ‘3B slider’.  I wanted to make the ultimate bacon slider using fresh blended bacon puree seen below. This is 100% real applewood smoked bacon pureed in a food processor.

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For the burger patty, I blended together:

 

  • 2 pounds of 90/10 ground chuck (90% lean)
  • 1-1/2 pounds of bacon puree
  • 8 ounces of Gorgonzola crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated garlic

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This mixture will be a lot looser than your average ground beef so I think it works best as a slider.  I formed these bad boys into small patties, then cooked them on a SUPER hot grill for about 1 minute and 30 seconds a side.  I assembled them on small dinner rolls with buffalo aioli, 2 hour caramelized onions, green leaf lettuce, and garlic pickle slices:

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Juicy and flavorful doesn’t even begin to describe these little nuggets of joy.  I also recommend cooking them to about medium well (yeah thats right!) to have a super nice crust to the patty.  You have a combo of salty and creamy from the bacon-gorgonzola patty, sweetness from the onions, and heat from the buffalo aioli.  You can thank me later.

Let me know what you use bacon puree in!

 

So I had this idea to puree bacon and spread it out on a silpat, then bake it to see what happens!!!

For this I used 4 strips of bacon, and 1/2 egg white

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Puree the bacon and egg white together in a food processor until it’s as smooth as you can get it.

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Spread it out over a silicon baking sheet as thin and smooth as you can get it.  I tried shaping this before baking, but this mixture shrinks quite a bit, so it is better to spread it out and see what fun shapes you can get.

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Bake this in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes or until it is nice and golden brown.  Remove from tray and place directly on some paper towel to absorb the excess bacon fat.

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Congratulations!!!  You just made bacon into something that still kind of looks like bacon.  It does have a cool texture and maybe if you use enough to fill a whole pan, you might get even cooler and bigger pieces.  This would be great on a BLT or as a sneaky salad garnish.

BACON!!!!