Friday, May 27, 2016

NC BBQ Dim Sum: Eastern-Style Cole Slaw Baked Egg Rolls

<speed rack alt_text:"Southern Eastern cuisine, remixed!">

</speed rack>

Cole slaw was never my favorite part of barbecue.  The mayonnaise and the spices killed it for me, and it doesn't keep well on a plate on a hot summer day.  Unfortunately, barbecue almost requires cole slaw to the point where it's on the sandwich.  Luckily, you can usually scrape it all off in one piece (score!) or get it on the side.  Or!  If you're really lucky, you can find a recipe that uses vinegar just like the good sauce.

Cole slaw translates pretty well into egg rolls or spring rolls.  Since I had a bunch of leftovers, I actually ended up eating it straight from the serving bowl while the egg rolls were in the oven.  Cook's gotta eat!

Ingredients  Recipe: Eastern North Carolina Slaw from Southern Living
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head green cabbage (about 1 lb) grated - I usually get it preshredded
1/2 cup chopped celery
Egg roll wrappers
Olive oil

Mix all ingredients, toss to coat. Let stand 1 hour before serving, tossing occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Assemble the egg rolls.  Spread a small amount of cole slaw into the center of the egg roll wrapper.

Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the cole slaw, wet and fold in the 2 sides.  Wet the edges of the top part of the wrapper and roll closed.

Assemble as many as you'd like to eat.  This make approximately 10 egg rolls depending on the amount of filling you use.  Brush the tops of the egg rolls with olive oil.  Put in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes or until golden.

Let cool and enjoy!  I find these are best when cooled, and the reheat very well.


Friday, May 20, 2016

NC BBQ Dim Sum: Banana Pudding Tartlettes

<speedrack alt_text="Turn pudding into a spoonless treat!">

Until I moved to/further down in the South I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I ate banana pudding.  There are about 30 million different types of pudding I would rather have.  Chocolate full stop.

However, I discovered the best part of banana pudding is not the pudding itself, it's the Nilla Wafers.  After sitting in the pudding, they absorb the sweet pudding flavor, and it's like eating saturated milk-dipped cookies... with a spoon!!!  So much awesomeness.

When assembling the NC Dim Sum recipe list, I knew that this one of the first things I had to convert simply for the deliciousness.  And the fact this is a huge Southern dessert.  When the pudding sets, the shell lightly absorbs the pudding, and makes this perfect for a quick snack out of the fridge.

Crust from Mini Banana Cheesecakes with Nilla Wafer Crust by Baked by Rachael.
20 Nilla Wafers
2 1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter

Pudding Base from Southern Banana Pudding by Evil Shenanagans.
2 cups milk, 2% or higher
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter

For Assembly:
1-2 bananas 

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grind the Nilla Wafers in a food processor until very fine.  Mix with sugar and melted butter.  Push into greased mini muffin tin. 

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes until slightly browned.

Make the pudding!  In a medium sauce pan whisk together the milk, sugar,  vanilla bean paste (if using), cornstarch, salt, egg, and egg yolk.  Once well combined place the pan over medium heat and cool until thick and bubbling.

Note: at this point, it should look/stir a lot like pudding.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter (and vanilla extract if you are using) and whisk until completely melted.  Pour through a strainer to separate all chunks.

Cut the banana into small pieces.  Place 1 piece in the bottom of each mini crust.  Pour the custard into each crust.  Chill in the fridge for 4 hours.

Optionally, make the whipped cream.  Add the heavy cream, the sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whip until thick!  Can also use a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer.  Try not to eat too many at once!


Friday, May 13, 2016

NC BBQ Dim Sum: Eastern BBQ Pork Buns

<speedrack alt_text="The Cornerstone of our Dim Sum Meal">

I never order chicken off menus.  My mom made a ton of really good chicken at home, so it never felt "special" enough to justify getting at any restaurant trip.  As I've gotten older and cook a wide variety of foods, I just keep thinking "I can make that at home" and the list of special foods has dwindled down to things I either don't have the desire to learn (sushi!), expensive/hard to come by/I-really-can't-justify ingredients (sushi!) or is impossible for me to do at home (Eastern North Carolina style barbecue).

Cooking barbecue right is a process.  Whole hog roasting over wood or charcoal for hours upon hours isn't something you can just do in your backyard for dinner.  I mean, the smell alone means all your neighbors will want some.  Your sauce game needs to be on point too.  There are some things best left to the masters.  Plus, clean up is so much easier.

The barbecue that I used in this recipe is from one of my favorite barbecue places in North Carolina: Allen and Son in Pittsboro. NC.  It's on the side of a highway and you might have to pull a u-turn to get there, but you're probably waiting behind at least one other driver who's there to grab one of the tastiest plates in the region.  For real, these guys are on the North Carolina Barbecue Society Heritage Trail.  Definitely another trip added to the list.

 BBQ Pork Buns dough recipe from Char Siu Bao by Cherry On My Sundae.
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
6 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
BBQ pork - purchase from a barbecue joint or make your own!  Use a Eastern NC recipe (go team vinegar!) or for a fun twist, use Cakalacky Cheerwine sauce

Let's make the dough.  Warm the water, mix in the sugar and yeast.  Let rest until foaming.  Blend in the other liquid, the baking powder.  Mix in the flour until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Cover and let rise until double (about an hour.)

Tear the dough into small pieces; flatten into disks.  Put a small piece of BBQ into the center of each disk.  Pull up each of the sides creating a pocket.  Pocket making skills may vary.

At this point, you can watch some videos and try to work on folding buns.  Me?  I was never able to master the folds, so I worked on pulling corners to seal the bun.

Keep going until you're out of BBQ or dough.  I ran out of BBQ, so you can make plan buns with the rest of the dough.  Or stuff with cheese!  Or cinnamon sugar...   Let rest for 10 minutes.

Set up your steam situation.  I used the metal steaming basket in my standard set of pots.  Fill the bottom pot with a small layer of water.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and poke holes through so the steam can get through.  That's how we're cooking our buns!

Boil the water.  Add the buns to the pot without overcrowding.  Let steam for 15 minutes.

Open the lid slowly to not shock the buns.  They will collapse!  Let cool slightly and devour!

They also freeze really well, so you don't have to try to eat all of them in one sitting.  Before steaming, flash freeze, then place in freezer-safe bags.  When reheating, I've always cooked them in the toaster oven at 350.  Delicious!

Friday, May 6, 2016

NC BBQ Dim Sum: The Menu

<speed rack alt_text:"Southern Eastern cuisine, remixed!">

</speed rack>

Let's get one thing straight before we keep going here: Eastern NC BBQ is the best on the planet.

For real.  It's the vinegar.  There's nothing better than that tang.  The love of tangy flavors can even be found across the globe in the frequently used rice vinegar of many Asian dishes.  Seems like everyone needs more of that flavor!  And in bite-sized form.  I'm up for a global potluck whenever you are.  Seriously, who's bringing dessert?

I guess that explains the popularity of fusion cuisine.  And the next flavors in the reactor are dim sum and eastern North Carolina style barbecue.  We've got breakfast/brunch + lunch/dinner, with the required dose of vinegar and small dishes.

I'll be breaking these dishes into a few different posts so you don't get overwhelmed by all the different options.  There are a lot of different possibilities for the southern-to-dim-sum conversion.  There might be a few barbecue dishes that appear in multiple forms; I don't think that's a bad thing!  The more the merrier around the table right?  And it definitely increases your chance to grab something you like!

The Starting Menu as shown above:
Eastern NC BBQ Buns
Eastern-Style Cole Slaw Baked Egg Rolls
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans
Potlikker Soup with Collard Greens Wontons
Banana Pudding Tartlets
Sweet Tea
Cackalacky Cheerwine Sauce - can also sub in the Original