Asiago Sourdough Bread

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Asiago Sourdough bread

For the Bread:

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c sour dough starter (room temp)
  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c shredded Asiago cheese (divided for each loaf)
  • 2 Tbsp yellow corn meal

For the Topping:

  • 1/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup Asiago, shredded
  • 2 tsp. roasted garlic

Mix topping ingredients and set aside at room temp.

Combine sugar, salt, & shortening in a large mixing bowl.

Add Sour dough starter, and stir until sugar dissolves.

Gradually add flour, stirring until dough leaves sides of bowl.

Turn dough onto heavily floured surface: Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl. Turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place 85 degrees F. free from drafts, at least 1 hour or until doubled in size. Dough will be sticky.

Punch down dough & allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface: Divide dough in half.  Butter a loaf pan, sprinkle with corn meal. Set aside till needed.

Roll each half into a rectangle. Add the shredded cheese and roll into dough with rolling pin, or press by hand into bread dough. Roll up jelly roll fashion.

Place dough seam side down in loaf pans; turn edges under.

Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray, and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes, remove from oven and spread the tops with butter-cheese mixture. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes or until loaves sound hallow when tapped. If top gets too brown, tent loosely with foil.

Remove to wire rack to cool before slicing.

Yield 2 loaves.

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Enjoy!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Home Chef Cookbooks

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Headcheese: What it is (and isn’t!)

headcheese-sand

(Copied from my other blog: http://www.deependothepool.com)

Ever wonder why they call headcheese “cheese”, when there are no dairy products involved in the process?

Okay, first things first, while one of my favorite foods, I will be the first to admit that head-cheese is a victim of terrible branding, perhaps the worst in the food world, right up there with “bird’s nest soup” and “lung pie.”

What it isn’t:

  • Headcheese is not “cheese” in any form.
  • Headcheese is not brains, eyeballs, or any of the “yucky stuff.” 😉
  • Head cheese is not Spam (and vice-versa.)

https://i0.wp.com/i.huffpost.com/gen/1442938/thumbs/o-HEAD-CHEESE-570.jpgHeadcheese is traditionally make from the meat pulled from a whole pig’s head, simmered in a savory, seasoned stock, with a foot or two (for the collagen in the tendons) until falling off the bone.

Cheek meat, tongue, and various other tasty bits from the nooks and crannies of the skull (but never the brain) are used to make up the tureen of meat, then suspended in the collagen-heavy cooking stock, which turns into a solid gelatin when the whole thing is chilled.

This gelatin is called “aspic”.

Okay, so back to the point…why the heck is it called head “cheese?”

This requires a bit of a history lesson. In the 1700’s when this process (tureens in aspic) became popular, the word “cheese” wasn’t used just in reference to diary items, but instead referred to a process of forming ingredients into a loaf, pressing it under weight, and chilling until solid.

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This was known as “cheesing.”

Two of the most popular cheesed foods were were “cheesed curds” (what we call now cheese) and tureens of meat in aspic, especially those with the tender and delicious meat from the faces and cheeks of pigs and calves. This was referred to as “cheesed head”, as it was made by boiling the picking off the meat of the cheeks and neck, pressing them in the pan with aspic, and chilling until solid (aka “cheesing.”)

Which eventually morphed into the term we use today… headcheese.

Typically it’s sliced for cold sandwiches, and served on rye bread with mustard and thinly sliced sweet onions…as least at my house! 😉

Chef’s Note: If for some reason that grosses you out (and it shouldn’t, it’s basically the same thing they do with hotdogs, only using higher quality parts) you can some comfort in the fact that the stuff you see labeled “Headcheese” in the supermarket deli counter, is actually just chopped pork shoulder in aspic, NOT meat from the head, as the process for making the real thing is considered too expensive and labor-intensive to be worth it. (Welcome to the tagline of American food…)

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Your best bet for authentic headcheese is to visit our local Russian market, which is also a great place to pick up some artisanal rye bread.

Hopefully I’ve eased some suspicions and some contempt prior to investigation, and (even more) hopefully, I’ve encouraged a few folks to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.

Who knows, a “cheesed-head” sandwich might be your new favorite thing!

Chef Perry
deependothepool.com

No Crock-Pot? No Problem…Use the oven!

Ratatouille Recipe
Chef Perry’s Redneck Ratatouille

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Want to help me feed hungry families, teach at-risk & special-needs kids to cook for themselves and their families, and change lives?

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Just got a very nice email from Ashley L., who is a little concerned with the slow-cooker beef recipe this week. To quote, “HELP! I don’t have a crock-pot, and I can’t afford to go out and buy one…am I going to ruin this roast is I cook it in the over? Can I use a cast-iron dutch cooker, instead?”

Great news…you can, absolutely, cook your crock-pot recipes in the oven, using a dutch oven, cassoulet pan, or even a cast-iron skillet and some heavy foil*.

Here’s one of our favorites, Braised Lamb Shank Tacos…

Braised Lamb Shank Taco Recipe

Another of our most popular dishes is typically cooked in a smoker, or in the crock-pot, but can be done deliciously by slow-roasting in the oven.

Check out The Best Dang Pulled Pork Sliders for several fantastic methods…

Oven Roasted Pulled Pork

By the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to my newsletter!

You’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

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Lastly, here’s another favorite, “Low & Slow Southern Baked Beans.”

Now, lot’s of folks make stews and bean dishes in the crock-pot, and they taste pretty good.

What makes oven-roasting better? One word: REDUCTION.

There’s very little reduction in a crock-pot, as the whole idea is to seal moisture IN. Slow roasting allows the liquids to slowly evaporate, thickening and intensifying the flavors.

Crockpot time – Oven time

  • 12 hours/Low – 3 hours/325° F
  • 10 hours/Low – 2 1/2 hours/325° F
  • 8 hours/Low – 2 hours/325° F
  • 6 hours/Low – 1 1/2 hours/325° F
  • 5 hours/Low – 1 hour, 15 min./325° F
  • 4 hours/Low – 1 hour/325° F
  • 4 hours/High – 2 hours/325° F
  • 3 hours/Low – 45 min./325° F
  • 3 hours/High – 1 1/2 hours/325° F

*To use a cast iron skillet, follow the same instructions, but (once the food is in it) wrap the entire skillet in 2-3 layers of heavy foil, before putting it in the oven.

Good luck, let us know if you have any questions!

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– Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Home Chef Cookbooks

Beach Camp Chili with Beans

 

Two meat Chili with Beans Recipe

I don’t typically use very many canned foods, in fact I can be kind of an ass on the subject, but there are exceptions to every rule.beef and pork chili recipe

One of those exception is my families annual week-long vacation on the Oregon Coast.

Crabbing, clamming, fishing, beach-combing, sand-castles…there’s WAY too much on the agenda to spend all day in the kitchen! So…we make exceptions, and sometimes we get some very happy surprises.

This is one of them!

Beach Camp Chili

  • 1lb boneless pork steak (or any cheap, meaty cut of pork)
  • 4 strips thick bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbs chili powder, divided
  • 2 Tbs cumin powder, divided
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tbs coarse black pepper.
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs bacon fat
  • 1lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 28oz Centro fine diced tomatoes
  • 28oz Bush’s baked beans
  • 28oz red kidney beans, drained

Toppings

  • Shredded Mexi-cheese
  • 1/2 white onion, fine dice
  • Crema (Mexican sour cream)
  • Hot Cornbread

Mix salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder.

Bring pork steak to room temp, pat dry, and rub generously on both sides with spice mix. Set aside.

Mirepoix: In a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven, over medium heat:

Sauté the bacon, celery, onions, and carrots in 1 Tbs (each of oil and butter), cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

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Increase heat and sear the pork steak until well browned on both sides. Remove from pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, add mire poix, and pork. Top with tomatoes (with juice), cover and cook, covered, at a very low simmer for 4-6 hours.

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Remove pork, chop coarse, and add back to the pot.

Fry the ground beef with garlic and the remaining spice blend, until cooked through. Do not drain. Add ground beef to pot, along with baked beans, and drained kidney beans. Increase heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced, and the chili starts to thicken.

beef and pork chili with beans

Remove from heat and let rest 1 hour, uncovered.

Stir and serve with toppings and cornbread!

~Chef Perry


PS – Be sure to subscribe to this blog, and get many more healthy, delicious, budget-friendly tips, techniques, and recipes!


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Garlic-Mushroom Burger Baste

basting-burgers

This is my secret tip when I’m grilling burgers…

Note: Grilling vs. frying burgers is an existential dilemma for me. I love the smokey flavor from the grill, but I also know that a pan-seared burger is going to be juicier, and have more beef flavor.

That’s a decision that each of us must make for ourselves. 😉

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Garlic-Mushroom Burger Baste

  • 1 lb white mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. porcini mushroom powder (opt)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Chop mushrooms, garlic, and shallots.

Saute in 1/4 cup of butter in a large pan over medium heat, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until onions are soft and garlic had just begun to color.

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Add remaining butter, and reduce heat to medium low. Keep on a low simmer for 1 hour.

For normal people:

Grill or fry burgers on one side, flip and brush cooked side with baste.

pork-belly-confit-3For the rest of us:

I like to brush one side, as shown above, and then, just before the burger is done on both sides, use a pair of tongs to dip it, completely submersing, in baste.

(Hey, I’m a cook, not a your cardiologist! Your health is not my primary concern.) 😉 

Then, return it to the grill for just a few seconds on both sides.

Lastly, if you want to really take these burgers to the next level, chill the compound butter to near freezing, stirring several time to get the mushrooms and onions off the bottom.

Butter-Burgers_4_Photo-Oct-19-11-21-52-AM_600x400Shave the frozen butter with a cheese grater, and mix (quickly) into the ground beef (1oz of butter for a 1/3rdlb burger).

You can add a little shredded asiago cheese, or crumbled bleu cheese at this point as well, if you like.

Form your patties and freeze before grilling.

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry

Best Butter Burger Recipes
A little double-smoked bacon and Gruyère cheese can’t hurt, either!

For more tips on grilling the ultimate burger, from grinding your own beef blend, to seasonings, sauces, and styles, check out my new Home Chef guidebook: Grilling!

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How to Take the Heat Out of Jalapenos (or Any Chile Pepper)

Jalepeno Pepper Bombs

I absolutely LOVE stuffed and grilled jalapenos, but due to the cruelties of time, my old gut has started rebelling at overy spicy foods. However, as I’m not willing to give up one of my favorite flavors, just because my stomach has turned traitor on me!

Naga Jolokia chili pepper
The Naga Jolokia

Jalepeno Peppers averages 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville Heat Units* (SHU), putting them somewhere between Anaheim peppers (500 ~ 2,500 SHU) and Hidalgos (6,000 ~ 17,000 SHU).

To get an idea of the scale, the average sweet bell pepper comes in at 0, and at the top of the Scoville scale: the fearsome Naga Jolokia peppers are 800,000 to over One Million  SHU’s!

Yes, that was the sound of your esophageal sphincter melting.

What Makes Chili Peppers Hot

The heat-inducing chemical in peppers is called “hydrophopic capsasium“, or what my friend Melanie would call C18H27NO3. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as secondary metabolites by chili peppers, and other vegetables as deterrents against certain mammals and fungi.

AAvH7Kn.imgHigh levels of capsasium can produce a pain-stimulated release of endorphins, causing pleasurable and even euphoric effects (You freakin’ junkies!) 😉

For spice-lovers and pepper-heads, jalapeno’s are the “hot food” equivalent of eating gummy bears, but for NORMAL people, they pack some heat.

Grilling or roasting peppers make them even hotter as you’re cooking moisture out of them, which concentrates the percentage of capsasium.

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Here are some tips we used in restaurants to make jalapenos dishes a bit more “customer friendly.”

Tips for Tongue-Friendly Jalapenos

1. Remove the seeds and membranes from the interior of the pepper. They contain the majority of the capsasium (the hot stuff). An old fashioned potato peeler, the point-end kind, works great for this.

Cleaning Jalepenos

2. Soak the cleaned peppers in an ice-water bath for 1/2 hour. This soaking method will reduce the finished heat by about 50%. To take ALL the fire out, use lemon-lime soda (not diet) instead of water, for 30-45 minutes. Really! Drain, rinse in fresh water, and pat dry.

(Chef’s note: Pour the soda you soaked the peppers in over a tall glass of ice and add a healthy shot of your favorite tequila. You’re welcome!)

Soaking Jalepenos

3. If that doesn’t tame the beast enough for you, blanch the rinsed peppers in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then place them in a (fresh) ice bath to chill, and stop the cooking process. Rinse and pat dry.

Remember, ALWAYS wear disposable gloves when working with hot peppers, and try to avoid touching your face or eyes.

Oh, and…guys? Try to remember to use the bathroom BEFORE you start your prep! 😉

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

*The Scoville unit was named for Wilbur Scoville in 1912. At the time, he worked for the pharmaceutical company, Parke-Davis, where he developed a test called the “Scoville Organoleptic Test” which is still used to measure a chili pepper’s heat.



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