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Culinary Adventure: Savory Leftovers Pancakes

These were born of “I have no idea what to cook for breakfast” and “leftovers are overrunning the fridge.”

I’m sorry to say I have no well-defined recipe to offer because I winged that mother.

I had cooked rice, so I tossed a few handfuls of rice in the bowl. Leftover pork chop, so I gave a large chop a rough mince (PLEASE don’t try this with a raw chop, it doesn’t cook long enough for that) and tossed it in. Then to probably 4 cups total ingredients I added about a cup of chickpea flour, three eggs, and a splat of margarine (that should be an official measure), maybe a quarter cup.

Garlic powder, onion powder, a teaspoon or so of coriander, a dash of salt (like many pan fried things, I figured it would be best to put most of the salt on the outside).

Final consistency should be stiff and stand up in a little pile in the spoon.

Into a lightly oiled pan in heaped tablespoons. Let them brown on the first side. Turn, then flatten.

When they’re nice and brown on both sides, smear a little butter on top and dig in.

I’m sure it will be fine with just about any solid leftovers whether meat or vegetables.

As you can see, my cooking process is a lot like my writing style: I just sort of wing things and they usually work out. Probably because I’ve had a lot of practice at both cooking and writing.

How do I know they were good? The kids ate them as fast as they eat hot dogs, and that’s fast.

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When You’re Too Lazy To Make Toast… 

… you make a cheese and egg noodles omelet so the carbohydrate is built into your breakfast. The topping is parmesan, smoked paprika, and celery salt. 

Breakfast For Dinner… 

…and I’m not screwing around. 

I cut the bread an inch and a half thick and *soaked* it in the egg & milk & probably more vanilla extract than *you* would add & dark brown sugar & cardamom & a teeny pinch of salt mix so it’ll be nice and custardy and delicious all the way through.

Use medium heat if you do it this way. It takes time to cook the middle.

What’s For Dinner, Sandwiches, Breakfast Chops… 

So, whole pork loin, if you can catch a decent price or sale, weighs in at less than a buck and a half per pound. Good price for good lean meat. Mine, above, is a little shorter than when I bought it because I cut about a pound off the end to make delicious schnitzel.

But that’s another story.

My whole grilled pork loin recipe started as a quest to make a cheap home alternative to smoked pork chops, which are strictly a luxury at 7 bucks a pound.

The loin isn’t exactly the same, but it is as delicious and similar in flavor.

In fact, I think it’s better. And as a brined, smoked, cooked meat it lasts a long time in the fridge, giving you time to eat every last morsel. 

I plop the whole thing in a big pot and toss in a cup of salt. Maybe a cup and a half, since I tend to freehand it. Then about a dozen bay leaves (dirt cheap at Hispanic or Caribbean grocery stores), maybe a tablespoon of whole allspice, a quarter cup or so of whole coriander (dirt cheap at Indian grocery stores),  a sprinkle of whole cloves (ten-ish), and a cup and a half of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Sometimes I add a couple of packets of culantro y achiote sazon (sorry about no accent on the o – posting from mobile with limited keyboard) for variety.

Add water to just cover the loin. 

Then I let that sucker marinate for 24 hours.

Grill slowly – an actual smoker is best but you can fake it by heaping all the coals to one side and keeping the meat on the other unless your grill is very small. You want to take at least 2 hours to cook the thing. The one pictured took 4.

It’s great smoked with hickory chips but cherrywood is even better. 

Pull it at around 165°F. Give it at least 15 minutes to rest.

It’s juicy and delicious cut into chops for dinner. Cold and sliced thin it makes a hell of a sandwich. Sliced thick and seared quickly it reheats as chops wonderfully and still moist.

Get up in the middle of the night and hack off a chunk to gnaw on – it’s tasty that way too. 

Hope you enjoyed the food interlude. I did. And I will for breakfast in the morning, too. 

Got Chai?

 

If you don’t “got chai”, I have been playing with recipes and variations for a few months and have settled on a recipe that I really enjoy. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too — you might want to start with half quantities if you’re not used to highly spiced food and drink. This version makes my tongue tingle.

A couple of notes: “copious milk” means about half milk for my wife, and about 1/4 milk to 3/4 chai for me. Your mileage may vary.

I’m told my version is a “masala chai” – a lot of people like to add ginger, so you might want to grate or crush a bit of ginger, maybe a half inch or inch of root, or add dried ginger from powder or cut some off the dried root if you have it. Don’t roast fresh ginger, just put it in the tea ball with everything else. I’d add powdered ginger straight into the boiling water, or chunks of hard dried (not candied!) ginger in with the 2nd group of spices for roasting. If you haven’t roasted spices before, you just toss them in a dry pan over medium-high heat and give them a shake every fifteen or thirty seconds until they’re giving off a yummy aroma.

I usually love ginger, but it just wasn’t agreeing with me in chai.

If you haven’t made something like this before, it is normal for it to be a bit cloudy, if you refrigerate any it will get cloudier and clarify again when you heat it, and it is normal to have a sediment of spices and tea dust in the bottom of your cup so if you’re bothered by that let it sit for a minute after pouring and stirring, and sip rather than gulp.

Enjoy!

Off-topic and Defying Conventional Wisdom: I Feel Like Blogging About My Breakfast.

Because it was delicious, and I feel like writing something right now.  So: the family-sized breakfast sandwich I made, from bottom to top:

–1 loaf of Italian bread, split lengthwise, liberally smeared with butter, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, salt. Grilled until surface is crisp (In my case, on a hot electric skillet. More power to you if you can do it on an actual grill.) Pressed slightly to flatten during cooking.

–Smear with a thick layer of refried beans.

–Cover beans layer with sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter with chili powder and smoked paprika.

–Add (very) chunky homemade salsa. This will be messy: pick it up by hand and press it a bit to get excess moisture out. Or you could use some sort of utensil like a civilized person. Personally, I’ve never claimed to be civilized.

–Thick layer of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

–Arrange two 1.5 egg cheddar cheese omelets to cover entire surface of the cheese layer. Apply them straight out of the pan so their heat will melt the cheese under them. Yes, there’s a lot of cheese here. I used almost an entire 8 ounce bag.

–Lettuce. I had romaine, which was good. Red leaf would have been nicer, but that’s just my lettuce preference.

–And of course, the top of the bread goes here.

–Divide by family members. This fed 2 hungry adults, 1 very hungry teen, and two toddlers. We could easily have added a side dish and fed more people.

 

Giant sandwich meals for the whole family are good messy fun to cook and eat, and there are endless variations–as many as there are sandwiches, of course.

Enjoy.