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Tag Archives: Hot and Spicy

Welcome to the PUFFIN.

I successfully married Pork and Stove Top Stuffing into a cute little … muffin.

I know, right?

Pork – meaty, savory, porky, protein rich.
Muffin – bready, sweet, moist, and good with strong coffee.

Separate, they are wonderful. Together? Initially, a conceptually difficult union to wrap your sweet pretty head around. OK.. I’ll speak for myself. It took me a bit to wrap MY sweet head around it. I mean, come on’ – What do you call it?

A Pork Muffin?

A Porkfin?

A Puffin?

Regardless of what one might call it, – it’s strange. But hey, how can you go wrong? Pork, and stuffing. Who doesn’t like that combination, and besides, we ALLL know what strange means to me.

It mean’s I gotta try it.

Plus, they said it was easy, and I like easy.

So… without further adieu, I give you………. a porffin?

Whatever.

Here’s what you need to make this wildly creative, culinary masterpiece:

muffin2
That’s right. A muffin tin, two eggs (three, actually. I’ll explain later), ground pork, and a box of good ole’ Stove Top Stuffin’. Try and match the flavors people, k? I mean, if you get ground pork.. use Stove Top Stuffing for pork. If you get ground turkey, (which is perfectly acceptable protein choice in this situation for all you skinny-minnies), use the Stove Top for turkey.

Yessssssssssssssssss, you don’t have to point out the obvious fact that I combined ground pork and turkey Stove Top Stuffing – but ground pork was what my freezer had, and turkey Stove Top was what the store had. No big deal. I’m comfortable flying that kind of flag out there for everyone to see.

You know, the REBEL flag.

So, because I can’t just be normal and go along with direction, I like to “doctor” things up. That would the Stove Top Stuffing that I’m talking about. If you have extra “aromatics” in your fridge folks, doctor that crap up. I started sauteing celery (and lots of it because celery and I have had an intense love / love relationship for many years), and onion with a touch of garlic.

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That particular day, I decided to live on the edge and add some hot chili flakes to the party. I added about a tablespoon and half.

It turns out I’m not as edgy as I thought.

Dial down the chili flakes folks.

Learn by my mistakes. Especially if you’re not too adventurous on the whole spicy thing. Start with half a teaspoon.. you can always add more (One of Mom’s favorite expressions)

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So at this point, when the aromatics are soft, make the Stove Top Stuffing according to the box instructions. Easy Peasy right? Once that’s finished, and slightly cooled, add your pound of ground pork (or chicken, or turkey) and THREE eggs. I realize I had previously said two, and I actually did only use two, but I found the finished product SLIGHTLY crumbly, so an extra egg would hug up all those ingredients and make them stick together much better.

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When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, spoon it into your greased muffin pans. My muffin pan has muffin cups for giants so I got six from the whole lot. However, if you are of the regular human race, I can say that normal muffin pans are acceptable, if not desired over the bigger ones.

Spoon them into the tins at the fullness that you want, as they don’t puff up, obviously, like a cake muffin would.

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Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. (All depending on what size of muffin tin you used. I used a longer cook time because of the muffins for Giants that I was making.) Use your logic okay? We are dealing with ground pork (or any ground meat), so it’s imperative that it’s thoroughly cooked. If in doubt, use a thermometer and cook them till you have an internal temperature of 160 degrees for pork and 165 for turkey or chicken.

FYI – At the very end of cooking time, turn on your blast broiler for a  minute or two. It creates this mildly crunchy top that is FANFRICKENSTASTIC!

I highly suggest you try that.

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These bubba’s are awesome with a side salad for a lunch, or even for a quick breakfast heated up in the microwave. Ok, listen, you can have them for ANY meal because they’re just that good. The batch I made are at the TOP of my spice tolerance so next time, I’ll go a bit kinder on the chilies. Lastly, these freeze like champions!!

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Give them a try and tell me what you think! What changes did you make to “doctor” them up?

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Square One might need to start back at…. well…..

Square One
#32 993 Fir St
Sherwood Park, AB

Square One is a new restaurant opened in Sherwood Park recently. While there’s TONS of new, cool eateries that have opened that I still need to try in Edmonton, I’m the first to say that I’m a lazy ass driver and if I can meet with one of my besties for a long lunch on my home turf in suburbia…. I’m gonna make sure it happens. Lucky for Square One that they’re on my turf, yes?..

Hhmm.. maybe not so much.

The decor is nice, and well, based on the last few restaurants I’ve been too – is getting a bit copycatty. Dark woods, chrome, clean lines… blah blah, snore snore. I initially liked it with The Canteen, and with The Phork, but it’s getting old now. Please. Let’s inject some originality here. (IE: De Dutch). Oh, and by originality, I don’t mean the framed print of Darth Vader they have on the wall…….The ONLY piece of “art” they have in the whole place that I could see.

Really?

Anyway, the menu is “international” – a little bit of this.. a little bit of that, all from over this great eclectic globe. They use local ingredients that showcases the grower/producer which scores HUGE points in my book. Sadly, not a lot of mention of the big “O” – (ORGANIC, people…. come on now!).. but maybe that will change with time.

I have to mention that our server was awesome. Didn’t get her name, but if I ever owned a spot, I’d try and poach her from this place. Really friendly, thoughtful and accommodating. She was always there to refill and take away, and ask us if we were cool or needed anything without hanging around and being creepy.

My friend and I decided to share an appie (or appy, or, APPETIZER.. sheesh.. so many choices now a days.) to start. We decided on the Plaza Machado Tostadas – Crispy house tortillas, huichol, pork belly, spicy onions, crème fraiche, lettuce, lime… It was the recommendation of our server as one of the more popular items on the menu. She said she actually dreams about them because they are so good.

My expectations immediately raised a full point.

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They came three to the plate, all pretty and styled. Pretending to be ladylike, I sort of tried to use my knife to cut them into more manageable pieces so I wasnt so dork-like while trying to pick one up to eat.

Yeah…. the idea was great in my mind.

The actual effect was more….. land mine looking. (Our server said she forgot to tell us they’re messy…… Yeaaaaaaah….thanks). So now resembling more of a tiny bundle of nacho’s, we tried them.

Meh.

Yeah.. that’s about it, really. As my loving mother would say – “They didn’t twirl my beads”.

She actually says that. In private…. most times.

The pork belly was a monotone note of just a spicy heat and we tasted no hints of lime at all. The crème fraiche was basically decorative only and the onions were ok. The crispyness of the house made tostada was really nice though. I wouldn’t say I hated the appetizer, but it was just….*shrug*. I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt that it needed over it and that elevated it up a notch to “not bad”. FYI – for those who are spice scared, these puppies are a nice challenge.  They aren’t too hot, but there’s enough heat to make you say “phew! Those gotta kick!” (And you’d say it just like that, right?)

Our main meal for lunch was the Chicken Wrap- Grilled chicken, apples, Gruyère, raisins, greens, quinoa. My friend and I had decided to share the dish and the kitchen was incredibly awesome to actually split the order onto two plates for us with our own little cute bucket of fries.

chickenwrap
Let me tell you, friends and neighbors, this dish was MORE than enough for two of us. Given that we’d had the appetizer, the half wrap each was filling to the point that we both couldn’t really finish it.. never mind eat all the fries. ( We needed to leave room for dessert ok??)

The wrap itself was decent. The quinoa, being what it is, is fairly neutral in taste, so it only added bulk and a slightly weird texture, but the chicken was ok. The apples and raisins were a nice contrast off the chicken and actually, this is the first place I’ve seen that grills the wrap. Nice touch!

So anyway, the wrap was good, but you wouldn’t say it was AMAZEBALLS  good or anything. Again, you wouldn’t go home and blog about it…. (wait, what?) However, if you’re some burly dude who works at a crazy labor job that makes you eat like a hairy Sasquatch, – this would do the deed to fill that cavernous hole.  The fries were better than the wrap, hands down, and my spoiled self was disappointed that it seemed to be the ketchup was made by Heinz and not in-house. (I had a wicked smoked ketchup once and nothing has compared since.) Plus, the wrap left you with a heavy taste of garlic in your mouth afterwards.

Like.. HEAVY.

Like, ban you to the couch for the night, heavy.

Dessert – Saskatoon Berry crème brulee- arrived happy and inviting in a longish styled plate with a pretty brulee’d top on it perfectly sized for sharing.

saskatoonbrulee
The top was nice, warm and crunchy while the filling was lightly dotted with saskatoon berries. The texture of the filling was not what I was used to. Usually it’s nice and smoooooth.. like a luxurious pudding made for a queen. This filling was made for more for the person who gets to do the queen’s laundry because it was a bit lumpy… sort of.  Here, look:

saskatoonbrulee1
That being said, it won best of show at lunch today. The weird texture didn’t deter the decadent taste of the cream and berry mixture to show up. The brulee’d sugar on top was just as  François Massialot‘s 1691 cookbook said it should be (I’m guessing, anyway) – with a properly caramelized sugar taste with a crack-with-a-spoon crunch. I kinda doubt he said it like that, but you get my drift.

So, overall, Square One didn’t impress me to go back, sadly. I think they have awesome service and a super cool menu, but from what I sampled today, balanced with the cost of lunch with a few sodas and coffee (around $55.00 not including tip), they have to REALLY step up the taste train to twirl my beads.

Oh, and on a side note, they had the CUTEST cream containers for coffee!! Check it out:

milkcow

Square One on Urbanspoon

Introducing Sriracha candy canes, just in time for the holiday season

Would you try these spicy candy canes? (J&D Foods)

Sriracha candy canes have just been released for the holiday season by J&D Foods, the Seattle-based company known for baconnaise, sriracha popcorn and bacon soda. And why stop there? The company also just released a new bacon deodorant.

The Canadian-made sriracha candy canes, available here and in the United States, are meant to entice those with a hankering for hot and sweet flavour combinations. While they look like traditional candy canes, they have a fiery kick reminiscent of the Asian chili sauce.

“There’s a reason Santa comes down your chimney – he likes it hot!” reads the J&D Foods website.

The company suggests crushing the candy canes up, then serving them over ice cream or using them as a spicy-sweet holiday cocktail stirrer.

A box of 12 candy canes costs $8.38 CDN, and at a mere 60 calories per cane, they may be the least fattening holiday treat to reach your lips (err…hips).

But if these unusual candy canes don’t tickle your fancy, you can always consider bacon deodorant as a stocking stuffer.

Too weird on its own? Fear not, for the company has a line of other bacon-scented personal care products, like bacon shaving cream, bacon lip balm, and bacon sunscreen.

Article credit to Shereen Dindar, original post found here:

http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-on/introducing-sriracha-candy-canes-just-time-holiday-season-205721979.html 

p.s. – If you’re like me, you know, COOL – And like to read food blogs filled with fantastic and awesome, then “click” to follow my blog!

Hell’s Cracklins

Hello everyone, my name is Kidfresh and I’m here on a guest review for Forkin’ Foodie. Why was I selected to make this guest review out of the numerous non-Canadians Joanne knows?

Well, the answer is right here:

Bag
I was foolish enough to post this photo on my facebook page because, well, it’s an abomination straight from Hell. But then sweet little Joanne asked me to ingest this labratory experiment and forward my medical records to Forkin’ Foodie.

So, here it goes.

As you can see, I purchased both “flavors” of Lowrey’s Microwave Pork Rinds. Those “flavors” would be:

Original:

bag1

And Hot and Spicy:

Bag2

In reality, the flavors are salt and saltier, but we’ll get into that in a minute.

I was quite surprised to find out that the sodium content was indeed fairly low in comparison to what I was tasting. At 310 mg per serving, this package has less than 1 gram of sodium, which I totally don’t believe. But I digress.

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The package looks just like microwave popcorn, but there are some noticeable variations in the instructions.

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First of all, you are instructed to “shake the bag 5-6 times to spread the pork rinds around the bag evenly”. My guess is that if you don’t, the clumped up rinds will heat into one whole wild boar and attack you once you open the package. With this in mind, I shook the bag rigorously. So much so in fact, that I heard some of the rind pieces fly from the bag and hit the floor. But curiously, I never found them.

Hmmmmm.

The other instruction that was a departure from the common microwave popcorn was the insistence to “WATCH”  the bag. “Do NOT leave unattended”. Why? Because “the product does not pop”. In fact, “the bag may not expand like popcorn”. Sounded like an ambush to me. I proceeded with caution.

I placed the bag in the microwave on HIGH for 90 seconds. At the one minute mark, it started to smell like Cup O’ Noodles Soup. That didn’t make me feel any safer than the anticipation of the wild boar. The bag did in fact expand, but there was no popping. Instead, I started to hear the cracklin of dem pork cracklins.

When the 90 seconds were done, I pulled the bag out of the oven and opened it up. To my surprise not only was I not mauled or mutilated, but there seemed to normal pork rinds in the bag.

results1

They still looked normal on the plate:

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And to my recollection, they tasted normal. And by normal, I mean salty as hell. I haven’t chomped on dese here pork cracklins for over a decade and a half, easily. But they seem to be what I remembered. Crunchy and salty, and just screaming with country fried death.

When I picked up the bag of the Hot and Spicy rinds, I noticed that the bag was really flat. Way too flat to hold the “original” cracklins that were on my plate. So I decided to shake a few out to see what they looked like, pre-atomic blast.

And this is what they looked like:

results3
I don’t deep fry hogs on a regular basis, so I was surprised to see that these little bits of Satan’s meat turn into these ribbons of rinds. Uneasiness crept into my bones once more. But I popped the Hot and Spicy back into the microwave for another 90 seconds and WALLAH!

results4
As you can see, that red tinge is the color of “saltier”. There wasn’t much spice, but a whole lot more salt. I only had 2 or 3 cracklins. That was mainly because I didn’t think I would be able to get the action shot of my heart exploding out of my chest with hypertension if I ate any more than that.

The bottom line is this. If you like pork rinds, you will probably really like this because they not only taste like pork rinds, but you get the added pleasure of getting them hot and cracklin right out of the nuke box. And I do mean cracklin! These things are still cracklin as I write this sentence.

You guys enjoy. I”m calling F.E.M.A.