Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Garbage Plate

Garbage plates are quite likely my favorite meal. If you aren't from western New York it's quite likely you don't know what I'm talking about, so let me tell you a little about them. They started at Nick Tahou Hots and have been wildly copied by many places in and around Rochester. To make a garbage plate you start with a base of two ingredients. Home fries and macaroni salad are most popular but I prefer to use french fries instead of home fries. You could also substitute in baked beans. Then you add your meat. I've always preferred cheeseburger patties, but you could also use red hots, white hots, chicken, fish, or a ridiculous number of other options. On top of that they add mustard, ketchup, onions, and some delicious meat sauce, served with a side of rolls or Italian toast.

If you just want to make a real basic plate they're pretty easy. Just need some mac salad, frozen french fries and some type of meat. I almost always go with cheeseburgers, but other choices are fine. This here is one of my first garbage plates and I didn't even bother making the sauce. The burgers are each a half pound patty and were very juicy, so that was delicious.

Personally, I like to put them in a bowl instead of on a plate. I think it's just easier to work with and won't go spilling over the size. Of course, that depends on exactly how large you make your Garbage Plate, since mine tend to be on the rather large size. I'm still experimenting with making a proper sauce, but a really lazy alternative I have tried is just mixing some jarred tomato sauce with some mustard and hot sauce and a bit of browned beef to make a quick and easy meat sauce. I think I threw in a bit of barbecue sauce in there as well. And, of course, you can always further deliciousize your Garbage Plate is to just add more stuff to it. Which is really my general rule of thumb while cooking. You can see that I've added a couple fried eggs and an awesome amount of bacon to the one on the right. Along with some 5 cheese garlic bread this made an incredibly delicious meal.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just a quick one. Cheeseburger Salad

So I had a bunch of leftover mats from the Inside Out Cheeseburgers I made in the previous post and I didn't want to make another. I basically just piled them together and saw what came out. Starting with a pile of the Pillsbury crescent rolls to make a base I then layered lettuce on it, topped that with two cheeseburger patties, topped that with bacon, and then topped all that with a ton of tomato slices. It was incredibly delicious and not really salad like.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Inside Out Burger

So I thought I'd call this an inside out burger. It's not entirely inside out, more just all rearranged. But it uses a lot of bacon, so that's pretty awesome.

Here you can see how to shape the bacon to make a cup shape. That's a jumbo muffin pan with particularly deep wells that I got from Michael's. I probably should have used more of a thinner bacon, and maybe cut it in half lengthwise to get a tighter weave. In fact, I seem to recall having a very similar problem with my previous effort at forming bacon into a cone shape. I wonder if I'll ever learn from my delicious mistakes. Into the cooked bacon cups I put in these really tiny burger patties. Maybe 2 or 3 ounces precooked weight. Two patties into each cup with a piece of cheese between them.

From there I took some Pillsbury crescent rolls and cut out a disc about the size of my bacon cup and put it on top to cap it off. Baked that til golden and top the whole thing off with some fresh tomato and lettuce. I managed a single bite of it in a hand held manner before I relented and used a knife and fork. Again, must remember to use more of a thinner bacon.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mashed Potatoes in a Bacon Cone

So I've been wanting to do something a bit visual. Like art, but with food. Especially bacon. Always bacon. At first I was thinking of something like the Bacon Turtleburgers or Bacon Narwhal, but I thought that was a bit too ambitious, and judging from these results I'm right. It'll take some practice to get the hang of this. Anyways, I decided to try a simple ice cream cone first. Making a cone of bacon and using some mashed potatoes to give the whole thing an ice cream cone appearence.

The form I used was just a bunch of aluminum foil made into a cone shape, about the size I wanted.

So then I laid out the bacon in an arced weave. I laid the aluminum cone on it and just rolled the bacon around it. The top I held on with 4 toothpicks, but I actually probably should have used more. One of the unpicked pieces fell backwards. Not that that mattered in the end, because I didn't allow enough time for the bacon to become crispy. I normally like my bacon not so crispy, so I estimated the times wrong. Everything else was already cooked and ready to go by the time the bacon was cooked but not crispy, so when I took it out and went to transfer it to the plate it kind of fell apart. I pretty much just faked it and stitched it back together to just make it look good for the photo and hide my failure. Hopefully no one finds out.

So here's the finished product. Now, the mashed potatoes aren't just plain mashed potatoes. They're Betty Crocker instant mashed potatoes, just add boiling water, butter and milk. But I also took the left over bacon scraps, a diced chicken breast, and some green beans and cooked them in a frying pan and then mixed them into the mashed potatoes. You can't see the chicken and bacon, but it's there. Another aspect you can't see is the inside of the bacon cone. Or bacone as I like to call it. I thought chicken and mashed potatoes also earned some stuffing, so I made some Stovetop stuffing and just put that inside the cone, to help keep the shape and to also taste delicious.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random meal

This is just a quick random meal I threw together and have thrown together before. I take some bacon and cut it up into small pieces, toss it into the frying pan, do the same with some chicken. Let that cook for a while, then add some green beans and carrots. I like to serve it on some whole grain pasta. This time I even made a (mostly) homemade sauce. I diced some onion, put it into a pan, added a can of tomato paste and one cup of water. While it was simmering I added some minced garlic. And since this dish was going to be heavily chicken and bacon orientated, I added in some barbecue sauce, which I think gave it a nice taste, making it different from normal tomato spaghetti sauce. I tried adding some Frank's Red Hot sauce to give it some spice, but I couldn't really taste it. Next time I think I'll just add a bunch more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bacon Sandwiches

I had some leftover mats from the hot dogs I made the other day, so I decided to make something else. I cut the sub rolls in half like you would a proper sub, tossed them into the oven for a bit to toast them. Once deliciously toasted I put down a layer of cheddar cheese, two strips of bacon and then the rest of the cheese. I was about 2 slices of cheese short to properly cover the bacon in cheese, so that's why there's a some missing. I decided to make them into sandwiches and closed the rolls, but I think open faced would have worked just as well. It could have used maybe a little something more, like some sort of condiment. But it was pretty awesome with just the bacon and cheese.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hot Dogs

So at work, instead of working, we were watching some Man v Food, the Tucson episode. In it he tried this hot dog that was wrapped in bacon and covered with a ton of things. I can't even remember what all was on there. Jalapeño sauce, peppers, onions, mayonnaise, maybe some other stuff. But this inspired us and we set out to make our own.

I started with just some Ballpark Franks and wrapped them in Oscar Mayer Hearty Thick Cut Bacon. Tossed those into a frying pan with some butter. I also diced up some green pepper and onion and put that into a second pan and did what I thought was sautéing, but apparently was just pan frying. I don't know, I don't really know how to cook. This is just me faking it.

So I need some rolls for this, something a little bigger than standard hot dog rolls. At the advice of a coworker I went with some Wegmans Italian Sub Rolls, which I think worked quite nicely. Though in the future I'll try and find longer hot dogs to better fill the length of the bun.

As you can see, there was some extra bun compared to the hot dog, but it still turned out well. From here I just put on a slice of cheddar cheese so that it completely covered the hot dog and put them into the oven on broil for a few minutes, just long enough to melt the cheddar. Then I added some Picante Pepper Mustard I have that is delicious and covered the whole thing with the peppers and onions.

The meal was delicious. And I feel that I learned something, cooking wise, from doing it. At least getting the experience, which is half of what I'm after. The other half being a delicious meal. I was worried about the wrapping the hot dogs in bacon, and how to cook that but it worked out pretty well. I kept turning them over trying to get all sides done evenly. The only problem was that one of them came kind of unwrapped. If you noticed that I only had one of them pictured for the pre-cheese shot that's because the other one looked less like a bacon wrapped hotdog and more like a hot dog next to a piece of curled bacon that's partly overlaying it. Which is an awkward picture caption, so I went with the better looking one. The peppers and onions turned out well, I'm going to have to do that again for other dishes in the future. I'm getting much better with dicing vegetables, not quite as fast as the guys on TV, but I can at least keep the knife in constant motion while moving the vegetable. No more pausing every three slices or so to reposition everything.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Elvis Roll

You ever have a bad idea that you knew was a bad idea, but you thought it should be good? No? Well, that must be nice for you. So I had this idea for an Elvis Roll. Inspired by the story that Elvis Presley used to enjoy peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. The basic idea is a whole banana, covered in peanut butter, wrapped in bacon, and baked into a flaky delicious crust. I gathered up an unusually straight banana for easy wrapping, some bacon, some peanut butter and some Pillsbury crescent rolls.

I started with a bacon weave. I had never done this before, so I was worried, but it's ridiculously easy. Just laid out 5 strips of bacon all lined up and then worked another 5 in between them. Put it on a baking sheet covered in foil and pop it in the oven at around 400. I checked on it probably too frequently, but I was worried it would get a little overcooked and crispy, which would cause trouble when I needed to wrap it around a banana. Also of note here, I used some really cheap bacon. That was a mistake. This was just the store brand, which I hoped was good because I shop at Wegmans which is so awesome you just don't even understand, but it turned out to be a little disappointing. My current bacon of choice is Oscar Mayer's Hearty Thick Cut Bacon.

So once it's out of the oven I simply spread the peanut butter on the weave. In hindsight, I should have used more peanut butter. I was worried about it melting and leaking in the last step, but I believe my fears were unfounded. Then on goes the banana and just roll the bacon around it. The peanut butter makes this easy since it will hold everything together for you.

Now for the flaky delicious crust. One package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls worked out well for this. A package contains 8 crescent rolls that are in 4 rectangles that are split up into two sheets. I took the first sheet and laid it flat on a baking sheet and placed the rolled bacon log in the middle of it. I kind of held the sides up to wrap around the bacon log and put the other sheet on top, folding it so that the top sheet overlapped the bottom sheet and held it all together in a roll shape. Into the oven for about 15-20 minutes at 375 until the crust turns a nice golden brown.

All in all, it was kind of odd. Not terrible, not something I would have again, but I did finish the whole thing. I was happy to have an excuse to try out a bacon weave and a Pillsbury crescent roll crust. Those are two things that I'm definitely going to use in other meals. So I feel I had some alright experience with this, which is half the reason I made it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chocolate Pudding Pie in Oreo with Oreo covered in Oreo

My mother would always make a chocolate pudding pie for Christmas. And Thanksgiving. Really any holiday where a chocolate pudding pie could be appropriate. Actually, she still does, but I haven't been home for Christmas for a few years now. But since she is visiting me over the New Year I thought it would be Christmassy to make a pie myself.

Now, she usually gets the Jello cook and serve pudding mix, but I'm lazy, so I went with instant. As usual when I go shopping, one thing led to another and I walked out with Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding, an Oreo pie crust, and a package of Oreos with a vague idea of what I wanted to make.

Oreo cookies, separatedBowl of Oreo filling

What I had in mind was a chocolate pudding pie with some real Oreo pieces in it and an icing made from melted Oreo creme filling. So I separated out the Oreo cookies from the creme with just a butter knife until I felt I had enough. Cookie pieces in a plastic bag, smash 'em up, and pour them in with the milk and dry pudding mix. Pour that all into the pie crust and stick it in the fridge.

I left it in the fridge for about 5 minutes to firm it up a little. Then I just popped the small bowl of creme filling into the microwave for about 15 seconds at a time, stirring to heat it evenly. I didn't quite have enough though, so it came out a little thin.

Finished product
Delicious pie

It was chocolaty and delicious. Overall, I think it was a success. Next time I do it I think I'm going to reduce the milk a little bit more, to get a firmer texture and make up for the added volume of the cookie pieces. And of course use about twice as much creme. Now, the creme layer once it hardens is a bit brittle. It tended to break and crack like a thin layer of ice when I cut it. I'm not really sure how to solve that issue, but it's always something I can experiment with later.