Monday, November 28, 2011

Slide to the left, slide to the right.....

OK, after a long hiatus after my first post, I think I finally have some time to tackle this blog again. I hope everyone BEARS with me as I work out the kinks, I can make you one promise, if you try the food you will not be disappointed.

Sunday was week 11 of the NFL season, and with that came our inaugural and most likely final, Slider Cook-off at the weekly Strle BEARS party! Let me tell you there are not enough circuits in the average American household to handle the power requirements for 5 electric griddles. But once we got them all fired up and spread throughout the house, Erin loved that clean-up, we were ready to rock! Luckily Corey in his infinite genius made a meatball slider, so his could be warmed in the oven. The other 5 cooks had to try and get 20 sliders made during halftime of the game, we finished in time for the 4th quarter. I am still waiting for a reply to my request to lengthen halftime for NFL games, 15 minutes is just not enough time.

But after the long ordeal of cooking and assembling 20 sliders each, or 120 total (holy crap!) we got everyone fed and were able to see the rest of the game! Each slider was awesome, and after all the drama we didn't have the energy for the judging but it seemed most people liked Schawn's Grilled Cheese Bar-b-Que slider (and yes that's two grilled cheese sandwiches for the buns) the best, the other sliders of the day were: Cory's Meatball Slider on Garlic bread with Fresh Mozzarella, my Dad's (Ken) Chorizo slider with chipotle mustard and a Jerk Pork slider with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce, Nick's Bacon Burger with Pepper Jack cheese and garlic bread and finally my All Beef Slider with Onion Jam, Gruyere Cheese, Arugula and a homemade Brioche Bun.

I heard about Onion Jam a few years ago on a show on food network and have been intrigued ever since, I finally had a reason to make it and WOW! this could be the greatest condiment on the planet. As soon as I tried it I knew it had to be the star of my slider, so I just added a few things to offset the sweetness of the jam, the peppery arugula and Gruyere cheese were the perfect compliment. Check back as I will try and get the other recipes from the slider cook-off up! Also leave a comment if you think of another use for the onion jam, I am going to keep this in my refrigerator all the time so keep them coming. Enjoy.

Onion Jam

3 Slices Bacon
4 lbs Yellow onions, sliced thin
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Cups Beer, preferably not "light"
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Place a large pot over medium-low heat and add the bacon, and cook until crisp. Do not rush this we want to render out the fat from the bacon. Remove the bacon when crisp.

Increase heat to medium-high and add onions, salt and olive oil. Stir to coat all of the sliced onions with the oil and bacon fat. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking process. Continue to cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the onions are golden brown.

When the onions are golden brown, reduce heat to medium, add the sugar, brown sugar, crumbled bacon, beer and balsamic vinegar, cooking, uncovered, until viscous (about 1-2 hours). Be sure to stir the jam every 10-15 minutes while cooking reducing to every 5 minutes as the jam nears the right consistency, which is very thick and jam like. If you drag a wooden spoon through the pot and it leaves a deep valley, then your jam is done.

Stored in the refrigerator your jam will keep at least 3-4 weeks, though it probably wont last that long!

Light Brioche Buns

Adapted from Hidefumi Kubota, Comme Ça, Los Angeles (Taken from the New York Times)

3 TBSP warm milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 TBSP sugar
2 large eggs
3 Cups bread flour
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened.

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts (I divided into 16 equal parts  for sliders). Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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