Loaded Fajita French Fries

For whatever reason, I have been thinking of loaded fries lately. Not sure if I had nachos on my mind, or maybe it was those darn kimchi fries I made not too long ago, but it was time for me to take some action and get down to it and make a batch of fries. I had set out a rump roast the previous evening and not knowing what to do with it, I decided to turn it into some Mexican fajita meat, and beat down my craving for fries. This is when the whole idea of fajita french fries came into play.

Loaded Fajita French Fries

Think of this as everything you love about fajitas, but stacked on top of crispy cheese fries. Addicting, delicious, and something perfect for snacking on with some friends. Typically flank or skirt steak are used for fajitas, but the rump roast turned out just fine, especially in a great marinade.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb rump roast, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 whole yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of your favorite french fries, cooked
  • sour cream, optional
  • salsa, optional
  • 3 tbsp canola oil

Start by marinading your meat. Mix the brown sugar, half of the lime juice, garlic, and soy sauce in a baking dish, and mix until the sugar dissolves.

Add in your rump roast, and gently toss to combine the marinade. Cover and let this marinate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

To another bowl, add the peppers and onion, and toss in the other half of the lime juice, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cumin powder. Give a good stir, and cover and place in the refrigerator.

How to make loaded fajita french fries

When you are about ready to make these fries, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the oil and give it a nice swirl.

Lay in your meat, being careful not to crowd it, and cook on both sides until it is nice and caramelized. You may have to wash out and scrape your skillet and repeat as the sugar from the marinade may stick to the skillet. Repeat with any remaining beef.

During this time, cook your french fries until they are nice and crispy.

Once the meat is cooked, cut into thinner strips.

To another skillet, add in about a half tablespoon of oil, and on medium-high heat, add in the bell peppers and onions. Cook until they are just slightly softened.

Remove the fries when they are crisp and top with the shredded cheese. Return back to the oven until the cheese is nice and melted.

Remove the cheesy fries, and top with the sliced beef and bell peppers and onions. Drizzle on your salsa and give a little dollop of sour cream.

Now get in there and dig in.

Talk about comfort food! The crispy cheesy fries paired with the peppers and beef. Whoa. Don’t even get me started on the beef. My kids saw the beef right away and wanted me to make them some Mexican street tacos (which I did) and I thought they were going to eat it all, preventing me from making my fries! Hands down a fun dish to serve up. Fajitas in french fry style. What’s not to love. Hope you enjoy!

 

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Char Siu Pizza

Last week I had a real hankering do get some pho for lunch. There is this great place (finally) near where we live called Pho King. They have some of the best pho in town, in my opinion, and as I was pulling into the plaza, I noticed a new shop called Lucky’s Chinese Bakery. I had to stop in, and boy was I glad I did. This place was full on busy with Chinese workers slinging all sorts of stuffed buns. There was whole roasted duck sitting in front of me, along with char siu and crispy roasted pork. I thought I was in heaven for a second, but then I snapped out of it and began ordering. I ordered both porks, and a few buns, then went home to sample everything. EVERYTHING was really, really good.

I had plenty of char siu, a style of sweet barbecue pork that is chopped up, leftover, and as I was making pizzas on my Kettle Pizza, I decided to come up with a char siu pizza. It was great.

Char Siu Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough, rolled or tossed into 12″ round
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Chinese char siu, sliced and cooked
  • 1/2 whole jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp light cornmeal

Pretty basic stuff, but the great thing, at least in my opinion, is that you get that sweetness from the char siu that is balanced by that subtle heat from the jalapenos. A perfect marriage in my opinion.

How to make a char siu pizza

Heat your oven to the highest temperature, with a pizza stone. In my case, I use the Kettle Pizza, which I think I have mastered pizzas now, and again get it up to the highest temperature. I find that around 620 degrees, in that area is a great temperature to get a pizza cooked in a matter of minutes.

While your stone is heating up, make the pizza.

Lightly dust a pizza peel with the cornmeal. Shape your dough and lay it onto the peel.

Lightly toss on the sauce, cheese, onions, jalapenos, and sliced char siu.

Slide the pizza off of the peel onto the hot stone, and cook for a couple of minutes. Once the dough begins to cook, in my case pretty quickly, take some tongs and turn it 45 degrees to prevent any hot spots.

Once cooked to your liking, remove it from the stone, and slice and serve.

I love experimenting with new pizza ingredients, and this one was no exception. It was perfectly balanced in flavor and I will make it again if I have any leftover char siu. Hope you enjoy!

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Indian Dabeli Sandwich

Oh, the dabeli sandwich. I should say ‘get into da belly’. I’m sure, and maybe not, that many of you have not heard of a dabeli, but it is this funky Indian sandwich, think of it as a slider, that it’s main ingredient is mashed potatoes. Yep, a mashed potato sandwich. This thing is so crazy, but it is one of India’s popular street and snack foods. This sandwich is really unique, due to the fact that texturally it is a bit off-putting but thankfully you get some added texture from the crushed peanuts, and sev. Dabeli and Sev. Two new words for you in this culinary world.

I made this sandwich only to use up leftover potato I had from making those poutine potato skins, so if you are looking for an interesting sandwich that is packed full of flavor and spices, give this one a try.

Did I mention that cilantro chutney?

Indian Dabeli Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the Sandwich:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup of cooked mashed potatoes
  • 1 pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chutney
  • 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 cup of Sev (Indian chickpea crunchy noodles)
  • 2 small (slider style) hamburger buns

Ingredients for the Spice Mix:

  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

OK, let’s start.

Heat a small skillet on medium heat. Add all of the spice mix ingredients, and gently stir, cooking for only about 3 minutes, if that. As soon as you start to get all of those aromas, it is time to turn the heat off and go to the next step.

Add the spice mixture to a spice grinder and pulse into you have a nice powder mixture.

Set to the side. This mixture will be added when we finish cooking the already cooked and mashed potatoes.

Ingredients for making Indian Dabeli

Next, wipe out the skillet. Return to a medium heat, and add in the canola oil.

Toss in the cumin seeds, and let them fry for about thirty seconds, then toss in the mashed potatoes. Give this a good stir, then add in the spice mix, and give that a good stir.

Cook this mixture for a couple of minutes, then add in the sugar, salt, and water.

Continue to stir until the potato mixture forms into a nice, thick paste and all of the water has evaporated into the potato mixture.

During this time, heat a larger skillet on medium to high heat, and add the buns to lightly toast them. Remember, this one it all about the texture. You do not want soft, on soft, or at least in my opinion you do not.

OK, let’s build the sandwich.

Take the bottom lightly toasted bun, and and half of the potato mixture. Top with half of the peanuts, half of the cilantro chutney, and then the sev. Where has sev been my whole life (or this sandwich for that matter)? Top with the other bun, and then repeat and build your second dabeli.

Dig in. Now I admitted that this is a funky sandwich. Texturally it’s bizarre, but bizarre in such a way that those Indian spices just blow you away. It’s a punch, not only with the cilantro chutney with it’s brightness, but those spices… Whoa. I can see why this is one of India’s favorite snack. Don’t even get me started on so many of the other awesome Indian dishes out there (well, maybe you should), but I’m sure those are coming down the road anyway. Anyway, let me know your thoughts on this one. Like, or no like.

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Grilled Flatbreads

My in-laws wedding anniversary this past weekend. 46 years. Yep, 46. I think (such a guy not knowing) we have only been married for 14, but 46? Great stuff to say the least. As my wife wanted to plan to take them out for dinner, I made the suggestion to have them over to our house and cook them a comforting meal. I had no idea what I was going to make, but then quickly took into account what I thought they might like. I decided on a couple of appetizers, of which one was a grilled flatbreads, an array of cheese, and a couple of roasted chickens with wild rice and roasted asparagus. The meal turned out great, but one thing I really loved (besides the cheese, of course) was the grilled flatbreads.

How to make Grilled Flatbreads

One thing I love about making these flatbreads, much like making pizza, is that you can go in any direction in terms of cheeses, spices, and sauces. I went with simple flatbreads, using simple ingredients.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • plastic wrap
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dry parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

To a mixing bowl, or KitchenAid, add the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. With your dough attachment, give it a good mix. Use a wooden spoon towards the end to finalize your mix.

On a low mixing speed, slowly add in the water, and mix until the dough begins to form. Once it is loosely formed, turn off the mixer, and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

After ten minutes, increase the speed to medium, and mix for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if the dough seems too dry. Be careful not to add too much water.

Once the dough is kneaded using your mixer, drizzle in the olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a room area of your kitchen, and let it rise until it has doubled, if not more, in size.

How to make grilled flatbread

Once the dough has risen, punch it down, and place on a lightly floured board or counter.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces, and gently roll each one into a ball. Let rest for about 20 minutes.

Next, take a ball, lightly flour, and stretch, or roll with a baking pin into a 1/4 to 1/2 inch round, almost like a pizza. It does not have to be perfect.

Heat your grill. If you are using coals or gas, heat only one side. You will cook the pizza over indirect heat. Me? I used my KettlePizza (I love it).

Once heated, finish your flatbreads.

Add the oil and parsley together and give a good mix.

Brush each flatbread with the oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then add some mozzarella balls, sliced tomatoes, and fresh dill. Arrange to your liking.

Slide a flatbread onto your grill, and cook, moving around when the dough begins to cook on the bottom.

Cover, and cook until the flatbreads are cooked, about 5-7 minutes per flatbread. Repeat with the remaining flatbreads.

Not only are these a perfect appetizer, but they are also a really great side dish. The dill and lightly charred underside of these really make these flatbreads shine. So happy anniversary in-laws. May you have many years ahead!

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