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Sausage and Waffle and Fried Chicken Breakfast Lasagna | “The Boondocks”

by Blake Stilwell

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’ve always come short of writing direct Thanksgiving recipes. As Eaten has a recipe for a nice holiday dessert. We have a recipe to tell you what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m not one to tell you what to do with your Thanksgiving food, no matter how bad it might be. Today we have a Thanksgiving-related post, not in terms of the kind of food or celebration of the holiday, but today we celebrate what comes after. This post is a celebration of The ‘Itis.

Itis: /ī-təs/ n. – The general feeling of lethargy and well-being experienced after eating a large, usually high calorie meal. This phenomena is particularly triggered by foods high in carbohydrates and red meat.

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In season 1, episode 10 of the critically acclaimed and often controversial animated series the Boondocks, Robert “Granddad” Freeman (John Witherspoon) cooks up Huey’s (Regina King) broccoli with pork, to which Huey says “vegetables cooked with pork counts as pork!” The meal he makes for entrepreneur Ed Wuncler (Ed Asner) and a local couple, the Dubois, inspires the creation of The Itis, a restaurant with beds instead of tables and a menu that, according to Huey, “will cause death.”

The signature menu item is the “Luther,” a one-pound burger, soaked in butter and cheese, served with five strips of bacon on a grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut.

So why opt to make the breakfast lasagna, instead of the Luther, featured so heavily in the episode? The Luther is pretty common by now, you can even order one for Sunday brunch at Churchkey in Washington, DC. Also, Krispy Kremes are hard to come by in Upstate Central New York. Also, if you watch the rest of the episode, you know the terrible effects the Luther can have on a community, and I wouldn’t want to inflict something like that on you, dear reader. I also promised to make a real dish this time, instead of another sandwich.

Also, the irony of writing a blog post, creating a recipe from an episode of a show that is not only a scathing indictment of the movie Soul Food, but also of soul food itself, is not lost on me.

Ingredients:

This is a six-part miniseries. You’ll need waffles instead of lasagna noodles, made for multiple layers, as well as layers of eggs, a sausage layer, a fried chicken layer, and enough sausage gravy and cheese for other layers.

Maple Syrup
Pepper Bacon
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Pepper to Taste

Sausage Layer:
4 fresh sausage links
maple syrup

Fried Chicken Layer:
6-8 boneless fried chicken thighs
large bottle of vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
4 cups flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt

Sausage Gravy:
3 tbsp butter
2 fresh sausage links, casings removed
1/4 c flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Waffle Layer(s):
You could always buy Eggos, which is waffle blasphemy, or make an instant waffle mix, which is less horrifying.

1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Scrambled Egg Layer:
6 Eggs
3/4 c Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb Shredded Cheddar
Salt/Pepper

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  1. For the scrambled eggs, whisk eggs and salt together in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, add eggs and stir until eggs are almost cooked but still runny in parts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta until incorporated but clumps of cheese are still visible.
  2. To make fried chicken, mix the dry ingredients with the flour, then place seasoned flour in a paper bag. Add 4 to 5 pieces of chicken to the bag and shake, coating thoroughly in seasoned flour. Fill a large skillet 3/4 full with good, clean oil. (I used canola, but granddad probably used peanut or vegetable). Heat the oil to 325° F and put chicken one at a time into the oil. Don’t let the chicken pieces touch. Cook until juices start to flow out of the chicken. Turn with tongs, cook another five minutes. Place chicken onto paper towel-lined plate. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 158°.
  3. To cook the sausage gravy, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
  4. To cook the sausage, fry the sausages until the fat and juices start to fill the pan. Once there’s a layer of  fat in the pan, add a tablespoon of maple syrup to each link and cook thoroughly. Slice the sausage at an angle.
  5. For the waffles, separate the yolks and the whites. Set the whites aside and mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a crater in the middle and mix the wet ingredients (except the egg whites) there. Then mix the whole batter.Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold the whites into the batter bowl. Cook in a waffle iron.
  6. Fry bacon until crispy, keep in long strips and dry on a paper towel.
  7. To assemble lasagna, butter a 8×8-inch casserole dish. Place waffles side by side in the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/4 cup of maple syrup evenly over the waffles. Top with half the scrambled eggs. Layer sausage slices on top of the eggs. Sprinkle half the cheddar evenly over the eggs. Top with half the sausage gravy. Repeat these layers once more. Finish by arranging bacon strips in an even layer on top. Add extra pepper, liberally at any level, because black pepper is awesome.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Lasagna can be assembled the day before, covered, and refrigerated until ready to serve. Remove lasagna from oven and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

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You really can’t (shouldn’t) eat too much of this at any one time and the resulting Itis is immediate, especially when eaten in the morning.

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Shawarma | “The Avengers”

by Blake Stilwell

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I don’t really think this movie needs an introduction, as it raked in enough cash for everyone to have have seen it twice. But here we go anyway… The Avengers: the story of seven strangers picked to live in a floating invisible aircraft carrier, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The working together part was right. They really needed to work together. They’re going to fight a nearly indestructible alien army and one of their crew shoots arrows while another one brought the world’s smallest handgun.

Why not just bring a knife. Seriously.

That scene always reminds me of this:

Anyway, saving the world is hungry work (I mean, probably). Either that or it’s a good way to transition right to the end of the movie because the fight scene ran long but was too awesome to cut. It doesn’t matter why, let’s just celebrate with shawarma, the Middle Eastern sandwich easily found on the streets of Beirut, Ramallah, and New York City. No sarcasm, it’s everywhere. And for good reason. It’s portable and delicious.

If you don’t recognize the second scene from this clip, you need to remember not to leave during the credits of a Marvel movie.

It’s kind of understandable that Tony Stark never tried shawarma. He probably spent more time blowing up parts of the Middle East than getting a feel for its cuisine. But it’s never too late to catch up! Our recipe is for chicken shawarma, but the lamb is really good too.

FYI: This recipe has to marinate overnight, so don’t put off the prep for it.

Ingredients Assemble!
2 lbs of thinly cut skinless boneless chicken breast

The Marinade:
½ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
4 tablespoons plain (Greek) yogurt
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 head of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch nutmeg

Instructions
Rinse the chicken in cold water then cut into thinner cuts of about ½ inch. Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients in a blender. Blend. It’s not going to look pretty.

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It’s delicious, though, I promise.

Mix well with the chicken, cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight. When it’s properly marinated, grill the marinated chicken using a panini grill for about 15 minutes on medium heat. I don’t have a grill, a panini press or a Foreman Grill. So I had to improvise.

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Waffle Iron Man

Grilling is the important part. Don’t bake or fry the chicken, you’re trying to recreate the style of a rotating roasting spit. If you’ve never been to the Middle East or a Middle Eastern restaurant, it looks like this:

Shawarma Spit

Once cooked, shred the chicken into bite sized edible chunks. Spread the chicken shreds on pita bread, add some Lebanese Garlic paste ( aka Toum – visit your friendly neighborhood Middle Eastern grocer, specialty store or make your own) or Tahine, and add some salty Middle Eastern-style pickles (also available at a specialty store, but regular pickles will do). Many times this is served with grilled or roasted tomatoes. In the Middle East, it’s served with 7,000 different kinds of pickled vegetable options, a really weak hot sauce, and/or fries. In the sandwich.

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Earth’s Mightiest Sandwich

I didn’t add tomatoes because I hate them and didn’t add fries because I spent so much effort in cooking the meat this way to lock the juices in, why would I add a condiment that would just sap them from the meat? That being said, fries are not a condiment. They go next to the sandwich, not on it (looking at you, Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh).

Toum, though. Seriously.

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