Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome Hole in The Wall Visitors!

To all of those who have "linked over" from the amazing Fort Worth Hole in the Wall Blog, via the interent, or world wide web as the case may be, we welcome you to our amazingly professionsal, amateur cooking blog.

To give you an idea of what we are all about, we are couple of DFW based fellows, with culinary interests, and some cameras. We post seperatley on occasion, and together on occasion. Our interests range from delicious smoked meats on the one hand to egg in the basket on the other. There is even a post which tells you how to boil water. Also, WE DONT TAKE PRISONERS. We really don't. At no point have we even been presented with the opportunity to take prisoners so...pretty much there have been no prisoners.

I'm SmokeHopper, I'm the "wheelman" of this operation , and El Smokeador is the "getaway driver". Both of us just driving fast and crashing into stuff, and making briskets along the way. There is no "Brains" of the operation. (Coincidentally, "There is No Brains", is the name of my band) Please check out some of our greatest hits, and stay tuned for more posts in the future. CaberNog- Everyone's favorite Holiday mixture of Cabernet and Eggnog will be featured shortly. (gross? probably) Also, there will be cash giveaways and HUGE prizes. (there will be no cash or prizes).

Best Hits:

Butterfinger Brisket -
http://elsmokeadorysmokehopper.blogspot.com/2009/07/butterfinger-brisket.html

Sandwich Quest One Million - http://elsmokeadorysmokehopper.blogspot.com/2009/10/sandwich-quest-one-million.html

The Best Cheeseburger in Comanche County -
http://elsmokeadorysmokehopper.blogspot.com/2009/04/best-cheeseburger-in-comanche-tx.html

Southwestern Style Eggs Benedict -
http://elsmokeadorysmokehopper.blogspot.com/2009/11/southwestern-style-eggs-benedict.html

Thanks for stopping by everyone! And thanks to the Fort Worth Hole in the Wall Blog!

Fort all of our regular readers who have no idea what I'm talking about, please go check out the following link, and get ready to have your mind blown, via web log:

http://fortworthholeinthewall.blogspot.com/

Great Blog. Probably the best index of good restaurants in Fort Worth, accompanied by quality reviews. If you are bored on a Friday night in this city, you don't have to be. Just go check out this blog, find a place, and go there. And then eat. And then thats it.

-SmokeHopper

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Couple Ways to Cook Pheasant and How to Cure Pheasant Induced Stomach Ache

Greetings friends. I hope you are well in this most glorious holiday season. It has been a couple of months since my last post, and for that I apologize dear readers. The hot dogs in the USDD proved to be too much, and I have only recently come to the realization that while it was not the entirely best idea, it certainly wasn't the worst. And that it needed more hot dogs. But I digress.


About a month ago, around Halloweentime, I took a couple people to Nebraska on a quest to defeather as many pheasants as possible while at the same time putting as much lead in the air as possible. Both goals were attained.
It should be noted that Maskell, NE is about a 12 hour drive from Dallas but is only 15 minutes from Vermillion, SD. If you ever go to Vermillion you will understand why this is such a vital part of the trips. Had I gotten waivers signed, I would post pictures to help with the narrative, but I didn't, so I wont. We really couldn't have asked for better weather for the hunts, I don't think it got below 40 at night and stayed right around 70 during the day and there was no snow, so hiking through 2-3 feet of snow wasn't an issue this time. Check back in January and I will tell a different story. Long story short, I think we all had a blast and most importantly limited out on pheasant (36).
On the way home it was decided that since we each had 12 birds that we should definitely deep fry some to see how different it was from McDonalds Chicken McNuggets. The next weekend about 20 people came over for a pheasant fry/smoke off. I have smoked some of these birds before, but this time was a little different. To begin, I got pressed for time and the brine did not turn out how I wanted. A brine can just be really salty water, or you can add fruits and whatnot. I have been wanting to add oranges to my cinnamon/sea salt brine since the last time I did this, but I ran out of time and didn't get a chance to get oranges. Improvisation.
(schepps makes the best orange juice for brining pheasants that don't turn out like they are supposed too)

It should be noted that when I was boiling the water to dissolve the salt/cinnamon chips in I got very tired. Once it was all dissolved I turned off the burner, added the juice and left it on the stove to cool. That was midnight and the plan was to add the birds at 1am to let them soak until about 1pm the next day. My couch had other ideas and I wound up sleeping until about 6 am with exactly zero birds in the brine. In the business this is called a brinefail (I think its happened before).
(Water, schepps OJ, cinnamon chips and salt. Cooling while I sleep.)

(3 birds a brining~roughly 6am)

About 2pm I put the six beasts (only 2 were beasts the other 4 were hens) in the smoke to begin their transformation. Bottom line, they cooked weird and I still don't know why. The last time I smoked pheasant, all of the meat was ready in about 3.5 hours. This time the breasts were ready after about 3, took them inside to carve out the feast and the legs/thighs were still bloody as all getout and not cooked. Threw them back on for another hour to see what that would bring. It dried out the breastmeats but not to a point that they weren't delicious as S.

So, I chopped up the 6 breasts, put them in a bowl and we made sandwiches out of them (sandwiches not pictured). But they were delicious. Smoked pheasant tastes not unlike a smoked chicken, it's just different. Same texture as chicken or turkey, but without the gamey taste as other wild birds.

The hit of the day was the deep fried pheasant. There are three really important parts to making deep fried pheasant.

1) Buy a deep fryer.

2) Use spoiled milk.
(Picture of spoiled milk not pictured.)
3) Fry the pheasant.

For reasons unbeknownst to me there was a 3 or 4 week old unopened carton of milk in my fridge that the preparer did not smell, or look at to see if it was old. I do not fault him for this as I should not have 4 week old milk in my fridge. It's my fault that they tasted great, you could say. Regardless we prepped the pheasant by cutting it into chunks, soaking them in said milk and battering them in a good mixture of flour and spices. It should be noted that I had nothing to do with this part and do not know what ratios of spices to flour they used, but it wasn't too spicy or too not spicy so.....I hope that helps. But seriously, many thanks to the preparers for spending an hour or so cutting up the birds and getting them ready for the fryer. Once they had a good consistency of potentially good crust we fried up about 4 batches. Each of which was devoured in a matter of minutes. Spoiled milk was the key.

No it wasnt. But it could have been. There really is no way to tell because just about anything you batter and deep fry is going to generally taste good. FORESHADOWING?

The last method that I was probably the most excited about was making homemade pheasant noodle soup. When it came time to make the soup I was not as motivated as I was when I began to thaw out the single pheasant that I was going to make soup with. Rule of thumb, use more than one pheasant.

I hesitate to call this a disaster, because it tasted great, but it is now in my trash in the alley behind my house. I don't know if it was the stock that I made overnight, the adding of rice or what, but lets just say that the soup was Elin and my stomach was Tiger. I didn't mention that I had planned on making homemade egg noodles too, but forgot all of the materials when I went to the store so I opted for pheasant and rice soup. Chicken and rice is a good soup, so this should have been too.

Begin things I didn't do right that you should do right if you attempt pheasant noodle soup and want to do it right, which I will be doing in a post sometime in the new year. NOT FORESHADOWING, STATEMENT OF FACT.

Salt and pepper pheasants and put them in water that has been boiled and reduced to a good simmer. I did this but only used one pheasant. Make sure you have enough water that they are both covered.

After simmering for a good 1.5-2.5 hours take the bird out and set it aside. This is what you should have remaining in the pot. Pheasants are pretty lean birds so there is not much grease floating on top like when you make chicken stock.

(Bird set aside for overnight storage)

Strain the dirty stock into a separate bowl, clean original pot and transfer back.

This could be where it went entirely wrong for me. I let the stock cool, put it in the fridge for overnight storage with the bird. I don't know if this did anything bad overnight, but it's entirely possible.

The bird and the stock sat in the fridge until I got home from work around 9pm the next night. I chopped up some carrot, celery and onion and set them aside.

Did the same with the bird meats.

Brought the stock back to a boil, reduced to simmer and added in the vegetables.
(Carrots sink.)

Once the onions and celery became somewhat translucent and soft I stirred in the pheasant. Added salt and pepper sparingly with a little garlic powder.

After letting it simmer for about 1.5 hours I added in some rice and let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so. When it was finished I immediately got a cup and dug in. I did not take very blog friendly pictures of the soup, so I will have to revisit in pheasant soup pt. 2. As stated above, not enough pheasant, but it still tasted great. The stock itself didn't have the same taste that a chicken stock has, but I think it was because I only used one pheasant. Or maybe I didn't let her simmer enough from the start.

An hour after consumption my stomach started hurting something fierce. I ordered a pizza and it felt better.

~El Smokeador~

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Southwestern Style Eggs Benedict


I have Pablano fever right now, or "P1N1" as its known in the educated circles of history. The only cure....Eggs Benedict with a Roasted Pablano Hollandaise! Drop it likes it hot! (but don't actually drop it).

So Eggs Benedict consists of a half of an English Muffin topped with Canadian Bacon (or just regular bacon), poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. We altered the classic recipe slightly by adding a piece of roasted Pablano Pepper to the mix, and flavoring our hollandaise with the roasted pepper as well. We served it with a spicy little potato hash.
(I did this yesterday and it was super easy and took less than an hour, so I'm going to keep the internet blogging short and sweet )
Step One: Roast Pablano Peppers. Just put them on the grill or under the broiler and "char 'em up good". When completely black, put in a zip lock and set aside. Wait 20 minutes and simply peel off the skin and rinse under water to remove the seeds.

video
Video!
Step Two: Make the Hollandaise. Ok everybody, I have an admission to make. We made lazy man's Hollandaise rather than classical french "slave over a double boiler" Hollandaise. I know everyone is dissapointed in me....but I can live wth it becasue I had essentially perfect Hollindaise in like 6 minutes! Heres how you do it. Cut up a stick of butter and put it in the Microwave. It needs to be pretty darn hot.
Get two eggs yolks out of the eggs wrappers (shells) and put them in a blender along with the juice of one lemon. We used a Meyer Lemon, which is an awesome Lemon native to China. (who knew?)
Pulse the egg yolks and lemon juice with salt, pepper and cayanne from Pendery's 5 or 6 times, and slowly pour in the piping hot butter into the mix while the blender is running.
It should look like something like this (not my picture ps, but this is what it looks like). I'm not actually sure how this works, and yes I have made Hollandaise the old fashioned way, but I'm pretty sure the scalding hot butter, essentially cooks the egg yolks slowly and evenly due to the motion of the blender. It like a self tempering swirl of chaos. Any curdling that goes on is hidden by the thrashing blades. Anyway, it came out great...tasted just like regular old Hollandaise and it took literllay 6 minutes. From there simply add the meat of one of the roasted pablano's and blend until smooth. It takes on a great green color and really brings out the flavor of the pepper.
Hash: Put a rough chop on several red creamer potatoes, a few sweet potatoes, and drop them in a cast iron with some olive oil.
Let them cook until tender, and then add some red onion, some garlic, peppers, scallions, etc etc. finish with some Thyme, and there you go.
video
Also, heat up some ham in the pan. ("Ham in the Pan" is the name of my two piece rock band. Just fyi....internet)
Poach an Egg: Bring a large amount of water to a boil, and lower to just below a boil. The trick is to put a teaspoon or so of vinegar in the water, break the egg into a coffee mug or a measuring cup and then, with a handle, swirl the water and slowly submerge the egg. Don't touch for 3 or 4 minutes or so, and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
(action shot)
Assembly:
We bought English Muffins from Central Market and toasted them up. Quite simply they are the best English Muffins I've ever had.
First add a small slice of roasted Pablano to the base, then the bacon, and the poached egg.

Next, cover with the Hollandaise and get ready for a mouth party....in your mouth. Also dont forget to spoon on some Hash,


What did it taste like? Imagine riding a golden unicorn through the galaxy at, or near, the speed of light. Yea...thats what it tasted like.


Thank for reading everybody!!! Peace! More to come soon!


-Smokehopper

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr. McBreakfast...Or How I Fell in Love With A Sandwich

To begin, in the past we have stated that this blog is not for certain things (boiling water, putting chicken on cookie sheets, telling time, etc), but probably have not been clear what it is in fact for. This post is to bring my disdain for the fast food "restaurant" Jack in the Box and their fearless yet narcissistic leader simply known as Jack. Just about everything in his "restaurant" bears his name except for his breakfast sandwich, especially the "ultimate breakfast sandwich." If that is not the sweet sound of defeat, I don't know what is. From what I can tell, since Jack was a young boy he knew that his "ultimate breakfast sandwich" would be bested and decided to keep his name off it. You chose wisely fast food magnate, because you have. Been. Bested that is. I give you the Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich or as I call it, "EL ULTIMO SANDWICH DEL DESAYUNO."

The ingredients for the USDD can be found at any grocery store and you do not need to go to any of the fancy ones around town. That said, I wish I had gone to Jimmy's Food Store to purchase some of the below items.




Look, this is going to be a quick pictorial of sorts and I am going to assume you the beloved reader knows their way around a skillet and knows that when stuff starts smoking, you need to take it off of the heat. I did not and ruined 3 pieces of bacon.



Also, it should be noted that there are probably a couple of steps in here that can be interchanged, I happened to do it this way since I don't have a lot of burners that work and had to make do. Start frying up the bacon and a couple sausage patties.



Cut up some tomatoes and put them in whatever device you plan on mixing your eggs in and mix it up. Tomatoes are key because they are the one single healthy item in this cornucopia of grease, fat and generally bad for a human delicacies.



Make a hamburger patty and add a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Okaaaaaaaay.



Again, this blog is not for scrambling eggs, but this is the beginning of eggs being scrambled. Note the tomatoes. There they are.



Cook up a hamburger patty in the same pan as the bacon and sausage from earlier. At the same time cut open the package of hot dogs and carefully wrap two in a paper towel and microwave them for however long it tells you to on the package.



This is what you should have when you are done cooking everything:



Assembly:
One slice of Cojack cheese on one side and grated Mexican cheese on the other.



Alright, shoot. I forgot to say there was ham involved. This blog is for telling you how to cook ham in the kitchen. Throw it in a pan and let it cook until you think its done. There.
Add a slice of ham to each side of the bun.



Add an even amount of bacon and sausage to each side.



Cut hot dogs in half and add them to the rest of the stuff.



Now, this is the absolute most important least important part of the process. Eggs on the inside hamburger on the inside. Separate sides.



It should be noted, I used a roll that I found in a bag that I bought at the grocer. You will see it in a minute. Like a good cheeseburger sometimes the roll/bread substance you use really brings out the taste. The USDD could have really used a couple of things to enhance the flavor. Hot sauce is the biggest of these things and I consider this a huge failure on my part, but I got so giddy with excitement as the cheese started to melt and this monstrosity was staring at me that I had to dig in. That said, I only had half. Trying to loose some LB's. I can hear the internet buzzing with excitement so,

THE USDD:








Was it good? By no means was it good. Was it bad, no. Will I make this again, probably not. Will I eventually attempt something similar but take more time with it and not try to throw a bunch of S together in a sandwich at noon on a Saturday, yes. This USDD was a creation of boredom and should not be attempted by those that have things to do on Saturdays. Ok, thats all I have to say on the USDD. Tell your friendsnotfriends.


Other things. If you like comedy, you really need to check out Patton Oswalt's latest album "My Weakness is Strong." Also, Iron and Wine's latest album The Shepherd's Dog has been getting a lot of play lately because of the cold weather. It is good.


~El Smokeador~

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