With the Covid craziness happening, I figured it was time to get back to my KJ that has been getting some neglect. I've been slowly working it back to life, but then with the chance to compete in the COVID-19 challenge, it was time to really knock the rust off.
Today's cook (actually it was on Memorial day) is Fire Roasted Tomato Pie with Cold Smoked Southern Fried Chicken.
I started by pulling out a really cool box that my wife found at the 127 sale in Kentucky a year or two ago. It is an old 1901 style steamer box that apparently made food "more nourishing" and also helped with your digestion and removed indigestion to physicians! - Ohio Steam Cooker Ad
The cool part is because of the hole in the back, and the hole in the top, this works as an absolutely perfect cold smoker! Really wishing I had busted this thing out sooner. I lit up some hickory pellets, stuck them in the bottom near the inlet, placed the rack on top with some foil to catch any drips, and I cold smoked some cheddar for my Tomato Pie for about an hour, and my chicken for a little over 2 hours.
Next, it was time to roast up the tomatoes. I got the KJ nice and hot and after moving them around for a bit, they were perfectly roasted.
After pulling them off, I gave the pie crust a good 10 minute bake to firm up the crust. Nothing worse than a soggy crust on your tomato pie.
After the chicken was nicely smoked, it was time for them to take a bath in some buttermilk and spices and rest in the fridge for a few hours.
Once it was time to bake the pie, we took the smoked cheese and shredded it up. To that we added some mayo, garlic powder, corn starch, salt and pepper, and a bunch of freshly chopped basil. I forgot to take pictures of the layering process, but we started with tomatoes, then a layer of the cheese mix, a few leaves of fresh basil and repeat until everything is in the pie. The biggest key to this whole process is to leach out as much liquid as possible from the tomatoes. A nice sprinkle of salt and a lot of paper towels really helps reduce the moisture.
After throwing it in a 400 degree smoker for about a half an hour, we had a perfect looking pie!
You can't eat a tomato pie hot out of the oven, so it had to go rest to get back to room temperature. In the meantime, we started the dredge and fry process of the chicken. It went straight from the buttermilk marinade straight into a large pile of flour mixed with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and franks red hot powder. Here's a hot tip for you the next time you want proper fried chicken. Dip the fingers of your "wet hand" into the buttermilk and then drizzle some of the liquid into the flour. Then, add your piece of chicken and press the flour over every surface. By sprinkling the marinade into the flour, it creates those awesome little crispy bits you get on a nicely fried piece of chicken.
I didn't figure you needed to see pictures of how to fry chicken, I'm sure ya'll know how to do that. While that was frying, and I still had some heat on the smoker, I threw on some fresh shucked corn just to complete the southern meal. Covering with a thyme and garlic butter will make this the best corn on the cob you can get!
Put all of this together on a plate, and you've got a Slap Yo' Momma type of meal! The subtle smoke flavor of the cheddar cheese and roasted tomatoes added an awesome improvement to such an amazing and simple item. I can also tell you, if you've never had cold smoked and then fried chicken, you are really missing out. Once we got through that super crunchy batter and got into that juicy chicken, there was an awesome light smoke flavor that you really need to experience. Sorry for the terrible money shot photo. As soon as we started trying to plate it, storm clouds rolled in fast and wrecked any kind of natural light so we were fighting shadows and crappy yellow lighting. We were also kind of starving, so spending a lot of time to get the perfect photo just wasn't meant to happen.
Typically people would think that the pie could be a side with Fried Chicken, but to me, this pie was so good that in my opinion, the chicken was a side dish to the pie. I really encourage you all to give this a shot this summer.
With the wife and I on the Weight Watchers plan, I’ve been avoiding some of my favorite Mexican dishes. Now that I think about it, this really isn’t necessary if I’m carefully what I choose and how I prepare the dishes. Take fajitas for example. A protein, seasoning and some veggies. Made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and not much oil the fajitas themselves are only 1 point per serving. I can live with a diet that includes chicken fajitas, can’t you? Well, that leads me to the sides. Made carefully many of the sides are 0 to only 2 points per serving. Follow along with me and I’ll show you how I prepared everything.
The night before I mixed up some blue corn masa to make up some tortillas. (This is the one item I couldn’t cheat on to lower the point value. 3 tortillas = 5 points)
I also got out the onion and bell peppers to cut up
and mixed up the fajitas seasoning.
1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. kosher salt to taste
1/4 tsp. Chipotle pepper 1/4 tsp. Oregano
The next day started out by making a batch of my Mexican rice. (1 Point per serving) Started out by sautéing the veggies.
I measured out 2 cups of Brown rice, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1 tbsp. of OO and put this in the rice maker. I now added 1 cup of Clamato Picante juice and 3 cups of chicken stock.
Next, I added the veggies to the pot.
I closed the lid and pressed start. Here are the results.
Next up was the Guacamole. (2 points per serving) Cut up 1 medium Hass avocado.
Now I added 1 tbsp. of light mayo, some granulated garlic, 5 heaping tbsp. of my Pico de Gallo, some fresh squeezed lime juice and mixed this up and covered.
Next up were some frijoles. I sautéed some diced onion, 1/2 a jalapeno, some bell pepper and corn and then added two kinds of black beans. (0 points per serving)
I now got out 3 boneless skinless breasts and coated them with the fajitas seasoning.
I took them and the cut-up veggies out to my gas grill side burner.
Now I needed to make the tortillas, so I rolled up 6 balls of masa about the size of a golf ball. I flatted them a little to make them easier to press out.
I was some issues with the masa sticking to the press so had to experiment with dusting the bottom with some of the blue core masa.
I heated them up on a C.I. griddle, very lightly sprayed with some OO.
Next I sprayed my 12” Camp Chef C.I. skillet with some OO. After it was heated it up I put the 3 breast in and cooked them for 8 minutes per side.
Once they were cooked I removed them to a cutting board and was left with the fond.
I dumped in the onions and bell peppers and let them start to cook.
While them were cooking I sliced up the chicken.
Now I dumped in the chicken
and stirred it in and continued to cook until the veggies had soften.
Now I brought it all in and plated it up with a Modelo Negra.
Here is a shot once I took it inside to eat.
Gratuitous side shot close ups.
OMG!!! This was so delicious!
Thanks for looking.
My wife and I have been cooped up in our house for 2 weeks so we decided to take a drive just to get out. We drove down to Downtown San Diego to see what things were like and found a virtual ghost town. This video shows us driving up 5th in the Gaslamp District. Normally there would be thousands of people on the sidewalks and bumper to bumper traffic. Pretty surreal!
I’m really getting into wok cooking. Here a cook I did last Sunday for Dinner.
Here are most the ingredients.
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tsp Siracha
1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten, seasoned with salt
2 Tbsp cooking oil (I used Sesame)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (approximately 1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 cup small diced onion (approximately 1/2 of medium size onion)
1 boneless skinless chicken thighs (approximately 4 to 5 oz) (I used Chicken Breast)
1/4 cup carrot, small diced
2 cups cold jasmine rice, or brown jasmine rice, recommended a day old (I used Cauliflower Rice)
1/4 cup frozen peas, optional (I added Celery)
4 green onions, chopped
sesame seeds for garnish
salt and pepper
I heated up the wok and put in 1 tbsp. of sesame oil. I then put in the ginger, garlic and onion and let them start to soften.
Next was the carrots. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Next was the chicken. (Cooked until it was opaque)
Next was the celery including some leaves. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Now I added the rice and the sauce. (Mixed it together and cooked for approximately 1 minute)
Next, I moved the mixture aside and added another tbsp. of sesame oil
and added the beaten eggs. (Cooked until it had mostly formed solid. Approximately 1 minute)
I then mix everything together. (Cooked for approximately 1 minute)
And finally, I added the green onion.
I cooked it for approximately 30 seconds and served.
Sorry no plated shot but this was delicious!
Thanks for looking.