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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Sunday Brunch Recipe

Before Mrs Burgerdogboy passed, we lived in Portland, Oregon, for a number of years, which celebrates the complete and utter silliness of Sunday brunch on so many levels;  in short, you’ll wait in line a really long time to overpay for pretty normal fare.

The television show “Portlandia” did a pretty funny bit on it, which is closer to reality than satire, IMHO.

 

There were a few places I liked, but they most certainly weren’t on the brunch “a-list”; greasy spoons like the Tik Tok,  but mostly Sunday breakfast was an en suite deal for us, which was always enjoyable.

Mostly, I’d rather have people over for brunch and I’m always interested if someone has a new brunch recipe or approach beyond quiche or eggs benedict. One of my “off-beat” ones is a “reuben strata,” which is usually fairly popular.

Today I had some folks over, and one of them produced this baked egg concoction, which I really enjoyed.  It was simple and fast to prepare, and could be easily customized for each diner’s choice.

To wit:

Greased ramekins with chopped tomato, fresh spinach, cumin, black pepper, brie, sweated diced onion, crack an egg on top, bake for 15 minutes at 350.   Great taste, beautiful presentation. Add breakfast meats or bread on the side if desired. You might want to garnish with some greenery, too.

Burgerdogboy Recipe

 

Read more about what’s going on at the BurgerDogBoy condiment ranch.

Portland, OR – Overlook Family Restaurant Review

Overlook Restaurant Portland OregonI like “greasy spoons”, and more especially, those American diner type restaurants that have some kind of connection to the Greek culture. Such is the case with the Overlook, which I would pop in every day if I lived in the neighborhood.  Instead, it’s only my second time in four years.

It’s your standard diner fare, with daily specials, and a full bar to boot.

They don’t call me “Burgerdogboy” for nothing, so breakfast for me, when it’s offered, is a hamburger patty with eggs, hash browns, and toast.  If I am in a “devil-may-care” attitude, I’ll order an additional side of some other meat, and yes please, extra butter on the side.

I wasn’t ordering extra today, but the ample weight of the burger patty made extra meat not required.

The breakfast, in its entirety, was served precisely as ordered:  meat medium, potatoes extra crispy, eggs over easy.

I lingered……and enjoyed the meal, two crosswords, and lotsa joe.  A welcome respite from  hotel dining, for sure.

Overlook Restaurant Portland Oregon

Overlook Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

Overlook Family Restaurant Review

Fear/Loathing/Loving the Letter “T” / And Texas Toast

When I was living in China, it didn’t take long for me to figure out the Chinese have a deathly fear of the letter “T”.   I learned this watching their television news, every time Taiwan, Tibet, or Tiananmen would come on the news, the story would be bleeped out.  See what i mean?

Last week, I figured out that I LOVE foods with a “double T”.  This will greatly simplify my life going forward, as I can focus on eating the things I love,  Tater Tots, Tongue Tacos, Texas Toast, Tuna Tartare, Truffle Toast,  and there must be more.    Fast food chicken outfit Zaxby’s includes texas toast with every order, worth a stop on its own!

Cool.  No longer will Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I  have to order an entire side of a menu (and we have!) , we can just skip straight to the T’s!

Elgin, IL – Kendalls Kountry Kitchen Review

Kendalls Country Kitchen

Google Maps Street View

Damn.  Old timey diner, affable chatty waitresses (including the owner),  great food, great value.  So unassuming from the outside (left) you’d be likely to pass by if you weren’t looking for it, or one of the locals that has made a daily habit of stopping in for the last couple decades.  I know I would if I lived around there.

Perused the menu, ordered the “Country Fried Steak” to which the response was “I’m sorry, we’re out, you should try the chicken fried chicken, it’s really good.”  But of course, I HEARD her say “chicken fried steak” cause that’s what I was thinking about, but was too confused at that point to ask “what’s the difference between Country Fried Steak and Chicken Fried Steak?”   If I would have asked, I would have understood at Kendalls, the latter is chicken.

Some think eating chicken with eggs is kind of weird.  Cycle of life kind of thing.  My neighbor down the street, Al, who raises chickens in his back yard, gets so many eggs he ends up feeding lots of them back to the chickens.  Ok, that is weird.  Cannibal chickens.

The ‘steak’ was ample,a nicely crisped crust, and a handsome piece of breast meat inside.  Big bonus, it’s served with sausage gravy, a smooth and creamy concoction with nice chunks of breakfast sausage.   Add a couple eggs, hashbrowns, and toast, and you’re gonna get outta there for less than seven bucks.

It’s a very long breakfast and lunch menu,and on a Saturday morning, there were empty tables.   If you’re tired of waiting for a table for an hour at some place on Randall Road on the weekend, head down to Elgin.  You’ll be happy and richer at the end of your meal.  CASH ONLY.  ATM in the bar across the  street.

 

Kendalls Country Kitchen

Two over easy with hash browns

 

Kendalls Country Kitchen

Chicken Fried Chicken

 

 

 

Kendalls Kountry Kitchen Review

Tennessee Pride Sausage Reviews

Today part of ConAgra, Odom’s Tennessee Pride was started in the mid 40s by two brothers whom combined their knowledge of the meat business and home delivery (from earlier jobs). Headquartered in Madison, TN, with plants in Tennessee and Arkansas, Tennessee Pride makes sausage in rolls, links, pre-cooked, and packaged sausage gravy. They have recently expanded into the heat and eat breakfast sandwich segment, with sausage biscuits, turkey sausage biscuits, and chicken biscuits.

Today I’m cooking up their 1 pound hot sausage roll, sliced into patties, on a cast iron skillet. Their websites frequently features recipes and coupons. Ingredients are straight forward:  Fresh Pork (including fresh ham and tenderloins), seasonings, water, sugar, salt and MSG). Nutritional information is not on the site, but I found this elsewhere:

Country Sausage : Per 2 oz – Calories: 200 kcal | Fat: 17.00 g | Carbs: 0.00 g | Protein: 9.00 g.

I often buy fresh ground pork and season it myself when I’m in the mood for breakfast patties, but once and awhile, I prefer getting it from the pros, like Tennessee Pride.  It’s a lean, fine grind, nicely seasoned, with a little bit of kick in the ‘hot’ variety.  Need some Odom’s sausage or sausage gravy shipped to your house?

Tennessee Pride Sausage

Cookin’ Up

 

 

 

Tennessee Pride Sausage Reviews

Stoneridge Meats

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna ReviewIn nearly the geographic center of Wisconsin, a small town named Wautoma, Stoneridge Market is a full service grocery store that has a wholesale meat manufacturing  and distributing division, and if that weren’t enough, they own a winter inner tubing park nearby.  Their in-house meat counter features dozens of flavors of bratwurst, as well as other processed and smoked meats.  They’ll also process your deer for you, here’s the pricing for that.  (It’s very price competitive – get your venison sausage on!)  The market carries over 300 varieties of Wisconsin cheese, and fresh curds (squeaky cheese) are available every Thursday!

I picked up their garlic ring bologna, which is a beef/pork combination in a natural casing, with mild herbs and spices for flavoring.  It’s a nice fine grind, excellent casing, and mild flavor.  It’s not nearly as strong as “Chicago style” garlic sausages.

Even though this is a smoked product, it doesn’t say “fully cooked” on the package, so I recommend heating it in your preferred manner.  I usually simmer in water for a while, and then slice on a bias and pan fry.  Most times I like a little char.

Serve as a breakfast side, or an entree with kraut or hot German potato salad.   If Google maps is correct, the plant is one of the buildings at the end of the road pictured below.

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Meat Counter

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Packaging

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Plated

 

Stoneridge Garlic RIng Bologna Review

Plant Road

stoneridge meats

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissants

http://www.raileurope.com/europe-travel-guide/france/paris/train-station/est-train-station.htmlI haven’t been in a Trader Joe’s for awhile.  Not sure why, wasn’t an intentional thing unless you count the frustration of parking at many of them.   No, just circumstance.   Kinda odd actually, since I think they have some of the best frozen pizzas (imported from Italy and France) available, and something I had forgotten about, their frozen chocolate croissants.

Croissants came to me fairly late in life, when I was partners with an American woman living in Europe.  We had a place in Leysin, Switzerland, and after a few globe trotting years relocated to Paris, just off the Rue Saint Denis, in the 10th.  We were just a down the street from Gare de L’est,  one of the city’s train stations, and handy for popping around the rest of Europe.  In both Leysin and Paris, pain au chocolates (not really a croissant) were a big part of our morning routine, walking down to the patisserie or bistro or tabac to have one along with an espresso or six.

Trader Joes does an outstanding job of replicating that experience, although you’d never expect that when opening the box and pouring out the four little rock hard nuggets of dough; you have to let them thaw and rise on the counter overnight, so they are not really an impulse item (well, they are to buy, just not to eat).

After you let them thaw, pop them into a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, the box cautions you that if they are “light brown” they aren’t done  – bake until they are a deep rich brown in color.   They are amazing.   They also have almond ones (which  I like) and ham and cheese (which surprisingly, I haven’t tried.  note to self).

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissant Review

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissant Review

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissant Review

Leysin, Switzerland

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissant Review

Our Paris Apartment

 

 

 

 

 

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissants

 

 

John Morrell Little Smokies Review

John Morrell Little Smokies ReviewI continue my quest for the world’s tastiest Little Smokies.  So far, by a wide margin, Hillshire Farms Beef are my favorite….in the number two slot is the in-house brand at discount grocer Aldi.   It’s not a close second as far as the primary criteria, flavor and texture, no, Aldi places for value… regularly nearly half the price of the big brands.  (Hillshire Farm are usually $4.99, sometimes $4.49, and Aldi clock in at $2.99 always.

Today I tried out John Morrell; a product that the package promises “Plump Meaty Bites.” Morrell is a meat company that traces its roots back to 1827 England.  They sell products under a number of brand names that they have acquired over the years:  Ekrich,  Armour, Kretschmar,  Krakus.   Morrell itself is now owned by Smithfield, which of course, became a Chinese owned company recently.  (Not sure if it’s a good idea for US food companies to sell out to Chinese, just sayin’).

There can be some confusion between “little smokies” and “cocktail franks.”  Cocktail franks taste like mini wieners and are most often found floating in a chafing dish full of barbecue sauce at a party or event you wished you hadn’t attended.  Little smokies are more “sausage-like” in both texture and flavor.

I grabbed the Morrell package because it was substantially discounted compared to Hillshire, maybe $3.49.  Although the package says ‘little smokies,”  these are clearly cocktail franks, an extruded type sausage with the same fine grind and ingredients, and seasonings of one of Morrell’s hot dog products, I am sure.  Not only do they taste and feel like a frank, they are a much lighter color than the Hillshire Farm beef products.

What is an extruded sausage?   A slurry of ingredients is produced, and squirted into a collagen casing, which can be edible or non-edible.  If the latter, it is stripped off in the last state of manufacturing (fascinating to watch).  Newer technologies offer ‘spray on’ collagen casings, the operator can designate different thicknesses, in order to emulate the feel of a natural casing (intestines).

Morrell’s product is pork and mechanically separated chicken.  Hillshire Farms, ain’t.

Does the Morrell product place on my ‘consider regularly’ list?  Nope.  If I wanted little wieners, I’d buy wieners and chop them.  My taste in Little Smokies requires a resemblance in flavor and taste akin to “real sausage”, so I’ll suck up on the purchase price and stay with Hillshire Farms.

The Morrell package does not indicate a USDA plant number.  I don’t understand why some packages must have it, others don’t.  I asked the USDA and got pawned off from one department to another – ultimately not receiving an answer.

I generally don’t care for any ‘sausage’ product that contains chicken or turkey.  Yeah, I know they are supposed to be better for you, but the taste and texture just doesn’t appeal to me.

Speaking of confusing?  The regulators could help me out by coming up with definitions for “franks,”  “wieners,”  and “hot dogs.”

John Morrell Little Smokies Review

In the pan,, unheated

 

 

John Morrell Little Smokies Review

 

Jones Canadian Bacon Review

Jones Dairy Canadian BaconGrowing up within spitting distance of Canada, I never gave much thought to “Canadian Bacon” as a kid;  we had it quite frequently, I just figured my parents smuggled it in from Ontario like they used to have to buy bootleg margarine in Michigan. I rarely buy it for home use, I generally find it is pretty flavorless, and not a great value.  Maybe,  McDonald’s product, which is about as unbacony as a product can be has also put me off a bit.

As I progressed through the years, I came to understand what we call “Canadian Bacon” in the US is not Canadian at all, but rather a product similar in taste and texture to ham.  And here’s where it gets really confusing:  ham comes from the butt of a hog, bacon from the belly, and Canadian Bacon from a pork loin.  Whew.  Canadian bacon is usually leaner than ham, and lacks the sweeteners ham is sometimes cured with.

“Real” “Canadian Bacon” is called ‘back bacon’ up thataways, and “streaky bacon” in Canada’s motherland of jolly old England and other points in the crumbling empire.

And that product is generally more flavorful, with better texture, than most anything sold in the US, save for premium brands, no matter what ‘country’ label it has on it.  In fact, hasn’t most processed pork in the US become a real disappointment?  Whether you buy chops a tenderloin or roast, most mass market pork in the US tastes like nothing. At least to me.  If I want real pork flavor, I’ll buy fresh from a farmer;  some Carolina and Virginia hams are spectacular as well.

Anyway, back to the subject.   Jones Dairy Farms is a meat producer located in Ft. Akinson, Wisconsin.  They’v been selling processed pork products to the masses for over a hundred years.  I’m not sure how wide-spread their distribution is, but they have a product locator on their website.  I punched in zip codes at both ends of the country and found outlets.

(By the way, if you’re ever in Ft. Akinson on a Friday nite, (118 miles from the Sears Tower, 25 miles from Madison), there’s an exceptional fish fry at the Fireside).

Anyway, a package of Jones Dairy Canadian Bacon headed up in my fridge as a result of it being in the ‘scratch and dent’ bin at my local grocery.  It was a buck and a half as opposed to a regular price in the range of $4.50 – $5.00, the equivalent of around $12 a pound.

How was it?  As expected.  Reminiscent of mild ham.  Slightly sweet.   The ingredient list, if you’re interested: Cured with Water, Potassium Lactate,Salt, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

I’d be interested in trying their Old Fashioned Hickory Smoked Whole Ham.

 

Jones Dairy Canadian Bacon

Bacon, from package, prior to heating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jones Canadian Bacon Review

Crystal Lake, IL – Andys Family Restaurant Review

Andy's Crystal LakeLanding at O’Hare after an overnight flight from Honolulu, I was starving.  Why didn’t I eat on the plane?  Conked out on the new lie flat seat/beds in first class, very comfy, a little too comfy.

Was heading from Chicago to Madison, so I thought I’d stop en route and get a tasty breakfast on the back roads, and my back road of choice to Madison is US 14, so I hit Andy’s Family Restaurant in Crystal Lake, IL.

Over ordered, not a surprise, went with the Chicken Fried Steak and eggs, the place was jammed, but service was prompt and friendly, they have had lots of practice, this place has been around for years.

Played “butter Jenga” while I was waiting, scarfed the meal and hit the road.  Great place.

Andy's Crystal Lake

Andy's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Andys Family Restaurant Review

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