Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I’m fair how are you?

I haven’t done much cooking lately, at least not for myself. The Exchange Club Fair was in town last week, and I spent five days cooking hamburgers and sausage for the hungry crowds.  I have been a member of the Exchange Club since 1994, and during that time I’ve always helped with the fair. It’s something I really love. In fact, I have on occasion, considered running away and traveling the country as a carny. I always wanted to be the guy that ran the Flying Bobs. Commonsense usually takes over and I realize that might not be the best idea.

Hopefully, I will get back to cooking next week. There are some new things I want to try and some I want to revisit to see what can be improved. I am working on blocking the week and trying to focus on one thing depending on what day it is. For example, Mystery Box Monday. If I cook on Monday the main ingredient will be a surprise.  Back to basics Tuesday would be a cooking method or recipe that should be second nature to a good cook, like risotto or roasting chicken.  I hope it will make planning what to cook easier, and give some structure to my cooking and recipe selection.

So with that I will leave you until the next post. Be on the lookout for the Friday Morning Roundup and in the meantime, I would like to know what your favorite fair food is? Mine is corn dogs, or anything on a stick for that matter.


Steak and pie

I like steak, a lot. I don’t care how you cook it, as long as it’s not over cooked. Sous Chef Carrie picked up  a couple the other day, so I used one of my favorite recipes – Alton Browns Pan Seared Rib Eye. The only drawback to cooking this way is your house will smell like a steak house for days to come. Honestly, there comes a point where you wonder if the oven caught fire because of the smoke boiling out, but in the end it is so worth it. Just a little salt, pepper and oil is all you need for a great steak. That, and a rocket hot cast iron skillet. I decided at the end to add a bit of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, since I had it in the fridge.

For the sides, or garnish, if you’re a Hell’s Kitchen fan, I went with homemade mashed potatoes, fried eggplant spears, homemade, rough-cut coleslaw and sautéed mushrooms and onions in a white wine reduction. I wish I had recipes to post for these, but I really just made it up as I went along.  It’s all pretty easy using things I had on hand.

The potatoes were cubed, then boiled and finally tossed into the stand mixer. I added a little salt, pepper, minced garlic, half and half, and some Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Then I turned on the mixer and let it go until the potatoes became light and fluffy. While this was happening, the eggplant was sliced and salted, to draw out some of the moisture. Then, I coated the spears with flour and fried until GBD (golden brown and delicious). The coleslaw consisted of shredded green and red cabbages, shredded carrots, diced jalapeno, a little red bell pepper, and some store-bought slaw dressing. To make the mushrooms, I chopped some Portobello mushrooms and onion, added that to a pan and poured in some white wine and Worcestershire sauce. This was brought to a simmer and cooked for about 15 minutes.

That’s it. Simple, made up on the fly, and so good. I love using recipes, but sometimes it’s good to just wing it and come up with your own ideas. I was stuffed.

But wait, there was  pie cooling in the kitchen. Not just any pie. My first pie ever. A sweet potato pie sitting in a pie shell I created from scratch. So, I had to have a slice.

I got the recipe from Paula Deen. No, not from her personally.  The recipe can be found here, and the pie shell came from Frugal Feeding, How to Make Perfect Shortcrust Pastry. Sweet potato pie is one of my favorite desserts, ok pie in general is my favorite dessert,  and the addition of the cream cheese made this incredibly creamy and smooth. The pie shell turned out good, too, so thanks to Frugal for the great recipe. It really wasn’t hard and now I have pie under my belt. Just remember one thing – don’t forget about the pie shell baking in the oven.

So there you have it, another episode of What’s Travis Cooking. Be sure to tune in next week when I will post about my experiences cooking burgers on a flat top and the Burke County Exchange Club Fair. In the meantime, what have you, the faithful reader been cooking? Have you tried anything I’ve posted? I would love to hear about your experiences.

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