Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Firecracker Jalapeno Burgers

Mr. Kim Chee is a big fan of all things hot and spicy. Whenever we go out to eat and I see a burger with peppers, jalapenos, wasabi, or any other kind of spicy thing, there's a pretty big chance he'll order it. I'm not as enamored with heat as he is, but I do love a good burger and am always looking at new ways to dress up ground beef! These jalapeno burgers are spicy enough to suit the iron-tongued person in your life, but are mild enough for the average person to enjoy too.

I used a pound of ground beef; they were pre-formed into patties but I broke them up and mixed the ingredients in with the beef. You could just as easily stuff the patties with the filling.

The heat in these burgers comes from pepperjack cheese and a fresh jalapeno.

I used two slices of presliced cheese. First I cut them into strips.

Then I cubed them, so they were in little pieces.

Next was the jalapeno. I ended up using about half a good-sized jalapeno, and that was perfect; you could most definitely use more, without the jalapeno taking over the overall taste of the burger.

If I'm not using the whole jalapeno, I usually cut the bottom part of the pepper off. I guess I feel like keeping the jalapeno as whole as possible keeps it fresh longer--it also allows me to store the remainder of the pepper with other ingredients, like bell pepper or onion, without worrying that the hotness will rub off on the other veggie. Then I cut the bottom part in half, and scrape out the seeds and membrane, and dice the pepper very finely.

The cheese and jalapenos get thrown in with the ground beef.

For a little more flavor, I added some smoked paprika. Chili powder or Cajun seasoning would be nice additions too, if you have them.

Garlic and onion powders gave some more flavor without adding more wet ingredients (I imagine it would be kind of difficult to keep these in patty form if minced onion and garlic were added.)

And always remember to season your meat with salt and pepper!

To add some moisture (and a little more flavor), I poured in some Worcestershire sauce. I love Worcestershire sauce.

Gently mix the ingredients and form into patties.

Send your significant other out to the grill with these, and start on the real heat--fried jalapenos!

I used jarred jalapenos for these. I saw a recipe that used fresh jalapenos, but I imagine those would be pretty spicy!

The batter for the jalapenos consists of two bowls--a wet bowl and a dry bowl.

The first bowl we'll put together is the dry bowl. It starts with flour.

For texture, I added cornmeal.

Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic powder will add a little accent flavor.

Finally, chili powder will add a smokiness to the batter.

Mix the bowl ingredients together and then get started on your second bowl.

This bowl also starts with flour and cornmeal, although with a slightly different ratio. Buttermilk will turn this bowl into a thick, wet mixture that will stick to your jalapenos. I'll spare you more pictures of white-on-white ingredients and get down to it.

Drain the jalapenos and throw 'em right into the wet mixture.

Then toss them into the dry. Make sure they're well coated.

Caaaarefully drop the breaded jalapeno slices into hot oil (my burner was set a little higher than medium heat.)

Fry until golden brown. Let your fried slices drain on paper towel or newspaper; season with salt if desired.

This batter is great for anything you might want to fry--I picked up some green tomatoes at the market and I sliced them up and tossed them in to fry. If you like fried pickles, whole jalapenos, or any other condiment, I say go for it!

By this time, your burgers should be hot off the grill. I meant to melt a slice of pepperjack cheese over the top, but forgot to send Mr. Kim Chee out with the cheese. If you remember, go for it! Pile everything together and enjoy the tingling sensation that only a jalapeno can give!

Recipe: Firecracker Jalapeno Burgers

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 slices pepperjack cheese
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
pepperjack cheese

Jalapeno Slices:
Bowl 1:
1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Bowl 2:
1/4 c. flour
3 tbsp. cornmeal
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. buttermilk

pickled jalapenos (the batter recipe should be enough for at least half a large jar)

oil, for frying

Combine all burger ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently and shape into patties. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness.

Bowl 1: Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Bowl 2: Combine all ingredients. Mix well.

Heat oil over medium heat (about 375F).

Dip jalapenos into bowl 2; coat well. Move to bowl 1; coat well. Carefully drop breaded jalapenos into hot oil; fry for 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or newspaper.

Top burgers with jalapeno slices. Serve!

Just a note: Due to vacation that includes little to no Internet access, Kim Chee Casserole will also be on vacation. The blog will be back up and running on Wednesday, July 6. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Creamy Cole Slaw

Keeping with the theme of simple summer side dishes to get you ready for the 4th of July, today's recipe is quick and easy and always a crowd-pleaser. 

One thing I love to pair with Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Packers Playoff Burgers, or Dry-Rubbed BBQ Chicken is some nice, crisp, creamy cole slaw. It's a quick and easy side dish that uses ingredients most people already have on hand, and it's really easy to throw together the dressing and keep it on hand for later.

You need just a handful of ingredients.

Mince the onion (as fine as you need to, depending on your family's onion preferences.) Mix the onion and mayo together in a large-ish bowl.

Throw in the sugar. I like a sweet slaw.

Add some cider vinegar for some tang. Cider vinegar makes me think of summer.

I ground in some fresh pepper and celery seed too. I like celery seed. It's got its own flavor and aroma, and you get that celery flavor without the added crunch and texture of celery, which I know some people don't like.

The dressing was further thinned down with buttermilk. I like the extra zing buttermilk gives the slaw.

Finally, I toss in a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw. I prefer cole slaw when it's freshly made, so I only add about half the bag. Once the slaw is depleted, I add more shredded cabbage, so the cabbage is always crisp. I also don't salt until right before I serve it, because the salt draws the moisture out of the cabbage. If you prefer your cole slaw without as much crunch, add all the cabbage and let it sit for an hour or two before serving. Either way, this slaw is a nice accompaniment to any summer meal!

Recipe: Creamy Cole Slaw

2 tbsp. onion, finely minced
13 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. celery seed
pepper, to taste
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 bag of pre-shredded cole slaw

Combine all ingredients except shredded cole slaw. Stir well. Add cole slaw and toss. Serve immediately or let flavors meld together for 1-2 hours before serving, depending on your preference. Salt right before serving, if desired.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just Like Jojos

What better side dish to accompany my Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Garlicky Grilled Corn on the Cob than Jojo potatoes? Nothing, that's what.

If you don't know what Jojo potatoes are, you are sorely missing out. And if you Google them, all you'll come up with are seasoned wedges of potatoes. The Jojos I'm talking about can be found at Roscoe's Root Beer and Ribs in Rochester. They are sliced potatoes (not too thick, but not as thin as a potato chip) that are fried and then, if you want, slathered with BBQ sauce and smoked meat. Last year Roscoe's opened up a second location and they did not offer Jojos right away. I know people who did not even think about going to the second location, even when the main Roscoe's location closed down for the winter, because of that. Luckily, they saw the error of their ways and are back to selling the fried potato slices that everyone loves.

But here's quick and easy way to make them at home! They're not quite the same (the Roscoe's jojos are twice-fried, so you won't be waiting the whole 15 minutes for a whole batch to cook) but they are still pretty dang awesome.

The recipe starts out with potatoes and a mandoline slicer. If you don't own a mandoline, but are good with your knife, then slicing them up might be your way to go.

Your potato slices should be about a quarter-inch thick, or maybe a little thinner. Like I mentioned before, thicker than a potato chip but not much. Maybe double the thickness?
The thickness is so they'll be crisp on the outside but soft and potato-y on the inside. And if you slice them too thin, they'll cook all the way through. Not that there's anything wrong with homemade potato chips, they're awesome too. It's just not what we're after today.
Toss the potato slices in some cold water if you've sliced more than a batch's worth, to keep them from turning brown.

Now grab a large pot and some vegetable oil. I like to use a natural blend oil--I find that all vegetable oil has a very distinct taste. My favorite frying oil is peanut oil, but it runs on the pricier side and I'm usually just too cheap to go fot it unless there's a sale.

Heat the oil over medium heat. I'm sorry, I didn't take the oil's temp, but when you can put in a potato piece and have it bubble right back up to the top (and the oil will make that delightful popping noise), you'll know that it's ready.

One thing that's important to frying is not to overcrowd the pot. I believe I used a 10 qt. pot, and I filled it about three inches deep with oil. (That's another thing--oil bubbles up during frying, so don't fill the pot up past about 3/4 of the way to the top, or you'll have a hot, oily, dangerous mess on your hands.) I fried about one large potato's worth with each batch. Since the goal for these potatoes is to cook them all the way through, not fry them into chips, the crowding issue is less important, but if you add too many potatoes, they'll have to cook for a long time and will come out greasy.

Fry your potato slices for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked all the way through.

Stir them occasionally to keep them from sticking together, and flip them over about halfway through.

Once they're done, take them out and let them drain on a paper towel and/or newspaper lined plate.

And don't forget to season them! I just used salt, but seasoned salt or your favorite dry rub (how about the dry rub from Dry Rubbed BBQ Chicken?) is really good on them too. Be sure to season them while they're fresh out of the fryer--the seasoning will stick better.

Serve them while they're hot! Top them with your favorite BBQ sauce, or serve them instead of chips or fries alongside your favorite summer sandwich.

Recipe: Just Like Jojos

potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick or a little thinner
oil, for frying

Slice potatoes with a mandoline or a chef knife. Soak in cold water to prevent browning, if not frying all at once.

Heat oil over medium heat. Test temperature by adding a small piece of potato. If the potato floats to the top and the oil bubbles vigorously, it's hot enough. Fry potato slices for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through. Potatoes are done when cooked through and light golden brown on the outside.

Allow potatoes to drain on a paper towel or newspaper-lined paper. Salt and serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garlicky Grilled Corn on the Cob

Corn's coming into season again, and I can't wait! Every year I forget that corn isn't good until later in the summer, and am shocked (shocked, I tell you!) when it doesn't show up at the farmer's market in May and June. I finally had to go pick some up at the grocery store.

What makes this corn great (other than the fact the corn on the cob is totally great on its own) is the butter mixture. It's totally easy to make, too. It starts with half a stick of softened butter.

Then some garlic. Don't worry, it won't be super garlick-y; you'll just get a nice, slightly garlic flavor that tastes especially nice over the grill.

Mince it up into very fine little bits.

Add the garlic to the bowl with the butter, and then sprinkle a bunch of paprika over the top. Smoked paprika would be great here for some extra smoke flavor.

Grab a heavy-duty spoon and stir the butter, garlic, and paprika together.

Here's the corn. Not as pretty as farmstand corn, but it'll do in a pinch. And I was in a pinch. If by pinch, you mean desperately craving corn on the cob and I could not be deterred from buying it at the store.

Shuck any remaining stalks and silks on the corn and then slather the outside of the cob with the butter mixture.

Then add lots of salt and pepper. Don't be afraid of the salt!

Wrap the buttered corn tightly in tinfoil (with the shiny side of the foil out!)

Five ears of corn all nice and wrapped and ready to go!

Grill the corn over medium heat for 30-35 minutes, turning frequently to keep the ears from burning.

These look good already...

Even better!

How epic are these corn holders? I love them! Almost as much as I love this corn. Try it, you'll love it too.

 Recipe: Garlicky Grilled Corn on the Cob

5 ears corn, shucked
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, and paprika. Rub butter mixture over the corn. Season well with salt and pepper.

Roll corn tightly in tinfoil (shiny side out.) Grill over medium heat for 30 minutes, turning frequently.

Monday, June 20, 2011

German Chicken

I have no idea what makes this chicken German. I was just looking for something new to do with chicken, and I stumbled onto the concept. I don't know who invented it, or why, but I will say that the end product was pretty dang tasty.

And you can't really argue with a recipe that has less than 10 ingredients.

So anyway, the first thing you want to do is chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and get it started on the stove.

While the bacon cooks, use your free time to slice half an onion into very thin slices, and smash a couple cloves of garlic.

When the bacon has given up its fat but isn't yet crispy, toss the onions and the garlic into the pan.

Now while your onions cook down, core, half, and then thinly slice a green apple. Layer the slices in a shallow baking dish.

Make sure the dish is large enough to hold both your chicken and the potatoes!

When your onions are nice and soft and golden brown, you can pour the contents of your hot pan over the apple slices.

Now for the fun part. Lay a thin layer of sauerkraut over the top of your onions.

Okay, I'm not sure what was so fun about that. I just wanted to make the recipe seem a little more exciting. Did it work?

Lay the chicken over the top of the kraut, and make sure to salt and pepper both sides of your meat!

This is a half chicken that's been quartered. Does that make sense??

Arrange your little potatoes around the chicken.

When you've got everyone situated, pour your favorite BBQ sauce over the top of the chicken.

Use a sauce you know you'll like--the sauce can change the overall flavor of this dish quite a bit, and if you cheap out and use a yucky sauce, you might not like the end result.

Cover the dish with tinfoil and roast for about half an hour at 350F (if your potatoes are larger, you may need to remove the chicken when it's done and let the potatoes roast by themselves for a while.)

Come on. How good does that look?

Scoop out some of the apple/kraut mixture and then top it with moist slices of BBQ chicken. Smash the potatoes slightly and top with butter and maybe a little sour cream. You've got an easy and definitely different dish to surprise your family and guests. Give it a try tonight!

Recipe: German Chicken

4 slices bacon
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. sauerkraut
1/2 chicken, halved
6-8 small roasting potatoes
3/4-1 c. of your favorite BBQ sauce

In a large pan, cook bacon until fat has rendered.

While the bacon cooks, thinly slice half an onion and smash your garlic. Add them to the pan of bacon.

While the onions cook, core, halve, and thinly slice the apple. Lay the apple slices in a shallow baking dish. Cover the apple slices with the softened onions, garlic, and bacon. Then cover the onions with a layer of sauerkraut.

Arrange the chicken over the top of the sauerkraut, and be sure to season both sides of the meat. Lay potatoes around the chicken.

Pour BBQ sauce over the top of the chicken. Cover entire dish with tinfoil and bake at 350F for 3-40 minutes (may need to remove chicken and let potatoes finish by themselves.)