Sunday, January 23, 2011

Four Lickles and Yahtzee



Some friends and I got together on Saturday eve to throw back a few adult beverages and to engage in heated Yahtzee death matches. I decided that this was an opportune time to inflict my Four Lickles on some willing (sort of) test subjects. If you haven't been keeping up, here is a frightening picture of the red and briny bastards.



I cracked open the jar in my hosts kitchen and within seconds the entire ground level of the house was filled with watermelon pickle stink. The smell spread quickly, I was reminded of mustard gas or some other vile implement of war.

I boldly began the testing phase by fishing out a Four Lickle and breaking it in half to get a looksy at the level of Four Loko/Food Coloring penetration.



As you can see the red Four Loko brine penetrated almost to the pickly core, implying that the creations would be fill of watermeloney, caffeine-y, boozy flavor. My merry band of compatriots each steeled their bellies, girded their respective loins, and fished out a worthy pickle. Here is a friend of mine bravely wielding his chosen prize.

Imagine sucking two or three watermelon Jolly Ranchers and then going to town on a gherkin and you will have a pretty good grasp of the Four Lickle experience. It was a slightly interesting blend of tart/fruit/sour/sweet/salt flavors, not altogether pleasant, but also not entirely vomitous. Being undeterred by the relative failure of the Four Lickles proper, we lined up a round of brine shots.



Proof of our courage, as if you needed it.



And that my friends, is that. The end of the Four Loko Pickle odyssey. Sort of anticlimactic as most of my experiments tend to be. I do have an idea that mayhaps will save the whole deal, does Four Loko Pickle relish sound pretty good to anyone? Anyone..?...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Mr. Dave Dog (My Semi Original Creation)



Lest you think I am being completely original here, let me start off by giving credit where credit is due. For this particular creation, I was inspired by the Ditch Dog of the Ditch Plains restaurant in NY. They do a hot dog covered in macaroni and cheese which seems to me to be a wonderful idea. So when I had tons of leftovers from my latest project (Capital Region Style Hot Dog Chili Mac Cheese), I thought I might try my hand at some hot dog wizardry.

I ventured out into the miserable weather (fist shake at the Upstate NY weather gods) and wrangled up a couple Stewart's Deli Dogs



I got one dog with sauce, one sans. Although there is hot dog chili inside the mac cheese, I thought a little extra might not be out of place.



I spooned on a hearty amount of the Hot Dog Chili Macaroni and Cheese onto both of the dogs and then finished with a dash of bread crumbs.



Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs are a marriage made in heaven, this has been known for centuries. We have only further proof here with this creation which I have decided to adopt as my own personnel hot dog style, The Mr. Dave Dog (I also have a sandwich, The Hungry David).

The Deli Dog with the extra chili on it was better. It served as glue to hold the mac cheese on and also added next level hot dog chili flavor. Just looky here, as if you need further convincing that this gut wrenching little bastard was delicious.



That is all for now. By the way, I haven't forgotten about the Four Lickles. I am simply waiting for a suitable gathering of associates for a taste test so that I can get a varied cross section of opinions.

I Declare That I Have Invented the Capital Region Style Mac Cheese! (Hot Dog Chili Maccaroni and Cheese)

What happens when a pound of good ol' Upstate New York aged cheddar,



meets with a bottle of Capital Region Style Hot Dog Chili,



inside a tray of fairly vanilla mac cheese?



I declare that Capital Region Style Mac Cheese is created! Huzzah!



The idea for adding Hot Dog chili to baked maccaroni and cheese came to mind as I was discussing the infamous Chili Mac of Army DFAC fame with a buddy. Anyone who has thrown on the old green pajamas for any amount of time will be familiar with this chow hall staple (I think they still even make it in MRE form). Anyhow, I thought that putting the hot dog chili straight onto noodles might be a little plain, so I went with the mac cheese concept.

I started with my usual, fairly standard, bechamel + cheddar maccaroni and cheese recipe (i.e. not that different from what you might find on the back of a Ronzoni box). I don't really have too many secrets to making mac cheese. I do cook the roux a little more than many might (it adds a pleasing nuttiness), and I always add about this much dried mustard powder-



I find that dried mustard is a very crucial ingredient and I was a little heavy handed with my dosage this time to play to the Captial Region dinky dog theme. I kind of folded the jar of Charlie's sauce into the pan of noodles as I was going for veins of chili throughout the dish. I thought that throwing it straight into the bechamel might make for an unappetizing color and appearance.

I topped with more shredded cheese before baking.




Does anyone else, when shredding cheese, decide that the little nub that is left at the end (when you have come to the point where you are worried about shredding your knuckles) is the angels share and should be immediately consumed?



Anyways, the whole mess went into a 375 oven for about 39 minutes. It came out a little less brown and crunchy than I am accustomed to, I attribute this to the added moisture from the hot dog chili. Notice the pools of red grease (nectar of the the hot dog gods which our forefathers worshiped in strange ceremonies behind closed doors), so characteristic of Hot Dog Charlie's particular sauce.



With bated breath I dug out a corner spoonful (my favorite) and threw it on a plate.



Folks, this was very, very tasty. The Greek spice profile of the Hot Dog Charlie's sauce seems to be accentuated in this application. The Capital Region Hot Dog Chili Mac Cheese has a kind of Pasticho feel to it. You get a vinegar tang with a punch of onion that perfectly accentuates the sharpness of the aged cheddar. I would make this again, and I think that you should try it too. Mayhaps this dish will be my legacy, a gift to the future.

By the way, just wait until you see what I plan on doing with the leftovers. Mu. Ha. Ha.
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