Bacon Fried Mashed Potato Pucks

So for Easter, I made a nasty good bucket of some of the best mashed potatoes that I have made in quite some time and there were plenty of leftovers.  Rather than just eat “plain” mashed potatoes, I thought I would try frying them up.  This batch of spuds was already great, but frying them should turn it up to “eleven!”

I suppose I could have just plopped a pile of the potatoes right into the skillet, but I wanted to do this with them:

Puck_001

I’m using two cutting boards as rails so I can roll out the potatoes to an even thickness.

Puck_002

Using the biscuit cutter for the pucks

The ultimate edible playdoh !

Puck_003

I don’t like to fry in the house, so outside on the side burner of the grill while I cook some burgers.

Puck_004

Tops and bottoms got a nice buttery crust on them

Puck_005

Off the grill with some “tasty burgers.”

Now, here’s where I lied (just a little).

I didn’t use my stash of bacon grease.  Quite literally I have not added to the stash or used the stash in about a year.  It sits in a jar in the very back of the fridge, completely hidden.  I opened the jar and it did not smell rancid, but I wasn’t really sure what the time limit was of grease going bad, so I didn’t use it.  Instead I used some Ghee that I had.  Potatoes fried in butter, that’s almost as good as frying in bacon grease.

Advertisements

Home Ground Beef, A Tasty Burger

 

 

 

We often watch “Cook’s Country” on television.  Their forte is taking well known or classic recipes and try to make them better.  One episode they wanted to recreate the classic greasy spoon, roadside restaurant fried burger that was popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s with people taking long car trips.  The interesting part of the recipe was that they ground their own beef with a food processor and it was something we wanted to try.  Now, my wife had tried it a couple of times and it wasn’t really that good.  The biggest problem was she was using “petite sirloin”.  WAY TOO LEAN and there is too much gristle and other connective tissue left on that cut and the meat was still to chunky.  So, I wanted to try it again, this time using a piece of boneless chuck.

Ground Beef_000

Starting with a nice piece of boneless chuck.

Ground Beef 001

Cut them into about 1 inch cubes

Ground Beef 002

The cubes go into the freezer for about 10 minutes just to give the chunks a slight firmness.  Other wise, when they get run through the food processor, they might just turn to mush.

Ground Beef 003

I ran the meat through the processor twice.  I first used the slicing attachment.

Ground Beef 004

Then the meat meets the real chopper blade.

Ground Beef 005

I did a couple of batches.

Ground Beef 006

By golly !! Dang if that at least doesn’t look like ground beef!!

Nothing like nice bright pink beef !!

Ground Beef 007

Now, because the meat is actually small bits and pieces and not long fibers like real ground meat, there is a lot less cohesion and because I do not pack my burgers very tight, these would probably not do well out on the grill.  I only want to have to touch these once when I flip them so the don’t fall apart.  Do you see the dimple in the middle of each burger?  That’s so when they cook, they don’t expand up and end up like meatballs.

Ground Beef 008

Some tater tots done on the waffle iron.  Mmmmmm, crispy !

There are a whole bunch of websites/blogs that show what can and cannot be cooked on a waffle iron and tater tots was a good one.

Ground Beef 009

Lightly toasted bun with a little lettuce and some thousand island style condiment.  Another burger tip, toasted buns provide a little buffer so the juices of the burger don’t make the bun soggy as fast.

Despite all of the food nazi warnings about under cooked ground beef, I still LOVE my burgers PINK.  An interesting thing about grinding the meat this way is that because the bits and pieces are small, I think the burger can be cooked a little more closer to medium and it would still be good because there is not a lot of bite resistance.  It doesn’t fall apart like a sloppy joe but it has a good chew.

Hardware

Had the occasion to take the wife out for her 50th birthday and we went to a “new” restaurant in our area.  I say new because we haven’t been there.  I think the place has been open for a couple of years.

Hardware:

Hardware_001

I of course started my dinner off with a beer flight.  4 different 4oz beers for $10. Surprisingly the Black IPA was my favorite.

 

Hardware_002

The wife ordered Poutine for an appetizer.  Everything with a fried egg on it is good.

One of the drinks of the night was the Mojito.  The wife got one and instead of rum, it was made with whiskey

 

Hardware_003

 

Several good items on the menu that I wanted to try but I went with the “Sticky Chicken.”  Fried thighs with a whiskey based glaze.  This was really,really good !!!

 

Hardware_005

The wife ordered the “Pork Belly Korean Fried Rice.”  Again, with a fried egg on it, how could it not be good??

Howard’s Pub: Ocracoke, North Carolina

This was the third of the three restaurants that we ate at.

Howard’s Pub North Carolina

200The wife had a crab cake and hush puppies.

201My daughter again surprised me by not ordering chicken tenders and ordered a hot dog and mac & cheese.  My daughter has learned that when the menu says “Macaroni and Cheese”, she needs to check if it’s Kraft mac & cheese.  Kind of a rip off if they serve the Kraft, but this was not Kraft and she said it was very good.  Her lunch was served on a souvenir “Frisbee.”

202I had the fried oysters.  The french fries here were very good.

Of the three places that I had the fried oysters, these were the least best.  This was bar food.  But to say that these were the “least best” of the three is like saying you had to date the second runner up at the Miss Universe pageant!

MJs Raw Bar & Grille: New Bern, North Carolina

MJs Raw Bar & Grille was another restaurant that was in downtown, historic New Bern that we ate at.

MJs Raw Bar & Grille

For all practical purposes, MJs is about the same type/kind of restaurant that  Captain Ratty’s is.  But the caveat is that I only dined at each restaurant once, so a thoroughly detail comparison is not possible.

100Of course dinner starts with a beer.

This time I ordered a Duck Rabbit Brown Ale.  The brown ale was  good, but I prefer the milk stout.

101I don’t normally order soup with my dinner but they had Lobster bisque as the soup du jour and I wanted to give it a try.  I’m glad I did have it, it was very good.

102I ordered the Po Boy.  The fried oysters were very good but they weren’t quite as good as the oysters at Captain Ratty’s.  The portion of cole slaw was a bit small but the taste was adequate.

103WOW !!

My daughter threw me a curve ball and ordered mini cheese burgers !!

104The wife got the lobster wrap and I had a bite of it and it was pretty darn good.

Captain Ratty’s: New Bern, North Carolina

On our recent family vacation to New Bern, North Carolina (http://wp.me/p1QpKD-O8), we only went out to eat three times.  It was not for lack of places to eat, but after most of the daily driving and beach activities, we were usually just to tired to get cleaned up properly to go out to eat.  A couple of days we just had snacks in our room or a couple of days we got a pretty good frozen pizza from the Food Lion that was nearby.

“Captain Ratty’s” was one of the places we dined  at.

http://captainrattys.com/

001Of course the meal had to start with a good beer.  (More on this beer later.)

002Free Cornbread muffins.  There were several more on the plate but before I could get a picture, they were gone. Good muffins.

The word “Free” in the English language is almost as good as the word “Bacon” in that almost anything you add it to makes it exponentially better. (ALMOST)

003A non-free appetizer.

A calamari plate with some pulpo.

004Mmmmmm, extra tentacles.

005The main entree !

I ordered “The Bounty.”

“A selection of fried oysters, shrimp, and scallops (no substitutions)”

This was fantastic !  Very fresh seafood and I hit the jackpot because everything on the plate was fried, but nothing tasted greasy.  You can always tell when they use fresh, clean oil.

006The wife originally was going to order a Ruben sandwich. Seriously?? We could fall off our chairs and land in the Atlantic Ocean and you want to order corned beef??   She wisely ordered the “Seared Scallop Salad.”

“Fresh scallops, orange, avocado, & sliced almonds”

I was considering ordering this before I decided on “The Bounty.”

It was a wise selection my wife said.  Great scallops.

007Shocking !!

My daughter ordered chicken tenders.  She did say that they were almost the best that she’s had.

008Back to the beer.

I ordered a Duck Rabbit “Milk Stout.”  It was great.

Duck Rabbit is a local Micro Brew in North Carolina.

http://www.duckrabbitbrewery.com/

The above picture is a beer store/pub (The Thirsty Bruin) in New Bern where I bought some Duck Rabbit.

009“The Duck Rabbit.”

How long do you have to look at the logo to get it??