Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Open face breakfast sandwiches

Last week at the Star Valley Outfitters' camp, I was faced with an abundant supply of buttermilk biscuits. My initial thought was to use the biscuits to make bread pudding, but a shortage of eggs kept me from following through.

That's when I thought of preparing breakfast sliders. Since breakfast comes early (at 4 a.m.), I prepared the sandwiches on the afternoon before. After slicing enough ham and cheese for the open face sandwiches, I slivered an onion on the meat slicer and sliced six medium tomatoes by hand. I also prepared a batch of cilantro sauce for garnish. Everything was placed under refrigeration until morning.

In the morning, I placed ham and cheese on each biscuit half, then heated the sandwiches in the over to melt the cheese. As the hunters and guides filtered into the dining tent for breakfast, I placed cottage fried red potatoes on the place along with two open face sandwiches, two tomatoes, some onion and three dill pickle chips. The sandwiches were garnished with cilantro sauce.

Toasting the biscuits on the flat-top.


Use this recipe to use an oversupply of biscuits. You may use any flavor of cheese desired. I used pepper jack cheese.I didn't add fried eggs because of a shortage in camp.

24 buttermilk biscuits, cut in half
4 ounces butter, melted
24 (1 ounce) slices ham, cut in half
24 (2/3 ounce) slices cheese, cut in half
48 fried eggs (optional)
48 slices tomato
1 medium onion, shaved or sliced thin
72 dill pickle chips
2 to 3 cups cilantro sauce (recipe follows)

Brush melted butter on each half biscuit. Toast in a skillet over medium heat. Alternatively, you can toast the biscuits on a flat-top griddle. When toasted, remove biscuit halves and arrange on a sheet pan. Keep the bottom and top half of each biscuit together. If preparing ahead, place the ham, cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles and cilantro sauce in the refrigerator.

In the morning, arrange a half-slice of both ham and cheese on top of each biscuit half. Heat the sandwiches in a 350-degree oven until the ham is warm and the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and place a fried egg (if used) on each sandwich.

To serve, place two open-face sandwiches on each plate. Arrange two tomato slices, some onion and three dill pickle chips on each plate. Spoon a tablespoon cilantro sauce over the sandwiches on each plate. If desired, the sauce can be served on the side. Serve with cottage fried red potatoes.

Makes 24 servings.


I serve serve cilantro sauce with grilled pork chops, roasted pork loin, sauteed chicken breasts and breakfast eggs.

6 cloves garlic
3alapeno chile peppers
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 cups cilantro

In a food processor or blender, process garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt, oregano, parsley and cilantro to form a smooth paste. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Add small amount of water until sauce is thick. Drizzle in vinegar until smooth. Adjust seasoning.

Makes about 2-1/4 cup sauce.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The BBQ Song, or when is it okay to call a Weber a barbecue?

As a former member of the California Barbecue Association, I cannot in good conscience call a grill a barbecue! Sorry Weber, but that's the rule.

This is the best explanation of Southern BBQ that I've found.

Enjoy ...

Monday, January 02, 2017

Lemon muffins

Lemon mffins
I love lemon and lime in any form. Growing up, I squeezed lemon juice on just about every green vegetable I ate. Broccoli, green beans or spinach were rarely consumed without lemon. Even today, I will squeeze fresh lime on carne asada at our local Mexican restaurant. And I find that the addition of lemon to many baked goods imparts a refreshing goodness.

I first discovered the Filipino lime, called calamansi, when I first visited the Philippines in the early 1970s. Milder and slightly less acidic than the common lemon or lime, the juice can be used in place their place in most recipes. Unfortunately, I haven't located a source of calamansi in Northern California.

So, it's no surprise that this recipe began life as calamansi muffins. The original recipe was adapted for the scale by a Filipina living in Southern California, known as @CarolineAdobo on Instagram. Caroline posted the recipe to her blog, When Adobo Met Feijoada, a reference to her Brizilian-born husband (@DadTheBaker). I'm envious because she has a local source of fresh calamensi.

I have posted the recipe in both weight and volume measurements. While I haven't tested the recipe for volume, give it a try if you don't own a digital scale. These muffins will make an appearance this summer at Oakland Feather River Camp.


Should you have a source for calamansi juice, whether fresh or bottled, feel free to substitute it for the lemon juice.

180 grams (1-/2 cups)  all-purpose flour (100 baker's percent)
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder (2.7%)
2 grams (1/4 teaspoon) salt (1.1%)
120 grams (1/2 cup) lemon juice (67%)
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk (67%)
112 grams (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter (62%)
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar (111%)
105 grams (2 large) eggs (58%)

60 grams (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
15 grams (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
5 grams (1 teaspoon) butter
finely grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake paper liners. Set aside.

Measure the flour, baking power and salt into a small bowl. Sir to combine, then set aside. In a separate small bowl, measure the lemon juice and milk. Sir to combine, then set aside.

In a mixer bowl, cream butter on medium-high speed, adding one tablespoon of sugar at a time. Once added, cream until the mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the lemon-milk mixture. Mix just until the batter is combined.

Fill each cupcake liner with 1/4-cup of batter. (A #16 scoop or disher with yield 12 muffins, and a #20 scoop will yield 15.) Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool muffins on the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.

For the glaze, heat butter and lemon juice until butter has melted. Whisk together powdered sugar and the lemon-butter mixture until combined. Spread about one teaspoon over the top of each muffing. If desired, garnish with lemon zest. Let glaze dry and for a slight crust before serving.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

SeabeeCook's playlists on YouTube

I have two channels on YouTube. While I'm not sure how it happened, they are Steven Karoly's channel and SeabeeCook's channel. One day I will merge the two.

I've created several playlists on my named channel. Playlists are a popular way to collect videos in a single location to share with the public. With some exceptions, these videos were created by others. Here are my current playlists:

Bread bakers -- I lead off my bread baker's playlist with a series by Ken Forkist, author of Flour Water Salt Yeast and owner of Ken's Artisan Bread & Pizza in Portland, Oregon. Ken walks you through his process for baking bread, from autolese to baking, in eight videos. Next is a three-part series on Saveurs, a traditional French boulangerie, chocolaterie and patisserie in Dartmouth, England. Included in the 20-some videos are several that I shot at a baking workshop.

Scones -- Scones fascinate me. I enjoy a good scone. They come together much like a biscuit and can be prepared in the afternoon for baking in the morning. Both videos currently in the scone playlist are imports from "across the pond." Included are the metric formula for basic scones.

Techniques for the Professional Baker -- This is a series of baking videos by King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. Bakery director Jeffery Hamelman leads viewers through the professional bread baking process with head baker Martin Philip. Interesting watching for anyone that would like to see how the pros do it.

Feather River Camp -- I've been know to shoot a video or two at Oakland Feather River Camp, where I am the executive chef each summer. Watch a Union Pacific freight train slide past the camp or view (almost) humorous videos from the kitchen.

Check back frequently as the lineup changes. From time to time, I add (and occasionally remove) videos from my playlists. I plan to add a Filipino cooking playlist soon. Enjoy ...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Slow cooker shredded beef for tacos

Last week I prepared shredded beef for tacos in a slow cooker at my sister's home. Since Debbie and I were going to be out all day, the slow cooker simplified the process of cooking dinner. This was the first time that I had used one in over 20 years. Although we had received a slow cooker as a wedding gift, it disappeared many years ago.

As often is the case when I'm cooking, I didn't follow a recipe. The process is simple. I began by heating a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. After seasoning a piece of 'London broil' (top round, between two and three pounds) with salt and pepper, I seared the meat until it was browned. The steak was then cut into thirds and layered in the ceramic crock with one sliced onion, minced garlic, chopped cilantro and taco seasoning. I used homemade seasoning in my sister's cupboard. I then added one-half cup of chicken broth to the mixture.

The lid was placed on the slow cooker and turned to the low heat setting. The meat slowly cooked for eight hours while we were out of the house. After we returned to the house, I shredded the meat with two forks and garnished it with diced red onions and chopped cilantro. The shredded beef was served on corn tortillas with refried beans, salsa, grated cheese and hot pepper sauce.

Maybe it's time to invest in a new slow cooker, like one of the pressure cooker combinations!

Slow cooker shredded beef for tacos.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pancit canton shrimp salad and potlucks

Sauteed green beans with shiitake mushrooms
and bacon. Two large loaves of artisan-style bread
are in the background.
This is one of those dishes that wasn't prepared with a recipe. Many of my dishes have their origin in the minute. I throw the dish together using ingredients in the fridge and cupboard. These dishes are those that I have prepared many times during my career. You could say that the recipe is embedded in my head.

For the second time in a week Debbie and I offered bread and a vegetable dish for a potluck. The first took place last week at a Thanksgiving gathering of a local church family. I prepared two loaves of no-knead bread and sauteed green beans with shiitake mushrooms and bacon. Three scraps of bread and a couple mushroom pieces were all that remained. One person asked me for the bread recipe after the meal.

Saturday we took pancit canton shrimp salad to a memorial service at the same church. For the second time, I offered a dish that was put together on the spur of the moment. The impromptu salad for the potluck, which followed the service, was inspired by my years of sevice in and of of the Philippines. I combined romaine lettuce, canton noodles, carrot sticks and baby shrimp. The salad was tossed with an Asian inspired vinaigrette. It fit in with the salad and sandwich theme for the potluck.

Pancit canton shrimp salad.
To prepare the salad, cooked 4 ounces canton noodles (called pancit canton or canton sticks) in chicken broth until al dente. (Follow the instructions on the package.) After draining and cooling, I cut one head of romaine lettuce and ran a large carrot through the mandoline using the smallest julienne setting. Eight ounces of cooked baby shrimp were thawed as well. Any number of vegetables could've been prepared at this point, including sliced radish or diakon, halved grape tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

The vinaigrette was prepared without measuring. Three cloves of finely minced garlic, tablespoon or two of cane vinegar, teaspoon or two of toyomansi (Filipino soy sauce with calamani), small spoonful of Dijon mustard, few drops of sesame oil and coarsely ground black pepper were whisked together in a bowl. I then streamed in canola oil while vigorously whisking to form a vinaigrette. While I can't tell you the ratio of vinegar to oil that I used, it was somewhere between 1:2 and 1:3. I enjoyed the garlicky sauce with its peppery bite.

To assemble the salad, I first tossed the shrimp in a couple tablespoons of the vinaigrette.While the shrimp marinated for a couple minutes, the lettuce, carrot and noodles were tossed together in a large bowl. The salad was tossed with the remaining vinaigrette, followed by shrimp. Serve cold.

Notes: Purchase Filipino products in any well-stocked Asianmarket. While Filipino soy sauce (toyo) adds a distinct flavor, any soy sauce can be used. Toyo has a mildly subtle flavor to it. Filipino cane vinegar is prepared from the juice of cane sugar (sukano ilocano). Calamansi is Filipino lime. Lemon or lime can be substituted for the calamansi in the Filipino soy sauce. I have yet to locate calamansi (fresh or bottled) in Northern California.