Monday, September 26, 2011

Clinton Kelly's Romaine Heart BLT 9.26.11

Welcome to blog post number one, from the first day of the CHEW, ABC's new daytime all food all the time talk show.

Only the first day.  I have some opinions, most strongly that the show is too full.  Too many people, cooking too many recipes, not enough details to really stick out.  Also, too easy.  I am fine with 5 minute meals, 5 ingredient meals, etc.  But so far, the entire show was filled with these quickie dishes.  With the exception of Mario Batali's very quickie take on homemade pizza.  4 minutes, including a homemade crust recipe just does not cover it.

But, first day, way too early.  Time will tell and I am sure we are just getting the early version of a terrific idea.

I decided to make Clinton Kelly's Romaine Heart BLT.  Clinton is the "Entertainment" guy on the show.  His specialty is parties and style.  He chose the first show as an opportunity to showcase some party appetizers.  His theme was to deconstruct big main courses and turn them into tiny appetizers.

Like a Classic Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich...

Big change from the classic sandwich is no bread.  It's a lettuce wrap.

You can view the ABC The Chew Homepage official recipe and photo by clicking HERE.

Under the categories of "Who am I to make such changes", I made a few changes...

I didn't do anything terribly special to change.  I made mine two bites, so I used a little larger piece of bacon and two cherry tomato halves instead of one.

I also caramelized the tomato halves.  Very easy to do and by heating these you bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes.  Very simple, heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add just a single TBS of Canola Oil (Best not to use Extra Virgin Olive oil as it can burn at higher temperatures).  Do that chef flip thing to coat the tomato halves.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Double check them every few minutes to be sure they are not burning.  You do not want to discolor them with char marks.  I did this the same time I was making the bacon, so I do not think it added any real time to the recipe... just an extra dish.

I also changed the recommended store bought spicy Mayonnaise with my own home made Cajun Garlic Aioli.  This sounds so incredibly special and exotic.  Honestly, it is a matter of a few squirts of a couple of liquids, a quick and easy peel of a few garlic cloves and a whirl in the blender or handy dandy mini chopper.  Once you stop taking the time to measure, you can whip this up in 2 minutes.  Again, while the bacon was frying, I just added, whirled and it was done!

Here's the recipe...

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
4 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
2-5 Basil Leaves
1 tsp "Big easy in a Jar", or any Cajun Spice mix

Add everything in a blender, whirl until garlic has been minced and the Aioli is the constancy of the original mayo.

BTW, I make my own Cajun mix I call, "Big easy in a Jar".  You will be seeing this ALOT.  It's a fast way to add that special heat to any dish.  I make about 2 cups worth a month and bit by bot, it is gone!  Tastes great on eggs to chicken and anything in between!

1 part Garlic Flakes
1 part Onion Flakes
1 part Dried Thyme Leaves
1 part Dried Oregano
1 part Black Pepper
1 part White Pepper
1 part Lemon Pepper
1/2 (one half) part Cayenne Pepper
1/2 part Ground Bay Leaves
4 parts Sweet Paprika

This is a great little spice to have around. Add brown sugar (1/2 the amount of spice mix) to make a BBQ rub. And add a little to a soup to zing it up.

Again, feel free to substitute a commercial brand of spicy Mayo or if you make the Aioli, you can sub a store bought spice mix.

 And that's what I made from day 1!

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