Today is the 2nd blogiversary of Random Cuisine. As usual, I tend to think of big project to realize for memorable days like this one. For the past month, I thought long and hard of what I should be doing for this blogiversary. I didn't want to follow tradition and make a cake again like the one on my 1st blogiversary. A weird idea occurs to me when some of my friends at work were mentioning about the Epic Meal Time on Youtube. Epic Meal Time is a group of culinary daredevils who create outrageous and unhealthy masterpieces to outwit the number of calories of the Double Down burger. The calorie count of these dishes can range from 6,000 up to 80,000. Why not if I do something less similar and make my own interpretation of the Double Down burger. I also invited my local food blogging friends to take part of this challenge. One has dare to take on the challenge. Check out Valérie's version of the Double Down on her blog The Chocolate Bunny. Thanks Valérie for accepting the challenge.
Before I describe my Double Down burger, I would like to thank all of my friends who have participated in at least one of my cooking sessions and make it last for over two years. I wanted to write on the story on how this blog got launched. I wrote so much about it that I placed the essay on the History of Random Cuisine page. Last Sunday, on Dec. 12, we all celebrated our two successful years of cooking sessions and discussed our most enjoyable moments we had together. For this special occasion, we made vanilla ice cream using liquid nitrogen. You can find the recipe here.
After two years, the name of Random Cuisine still holds as we have friends representing different part of the world. Here is the picture of the cooking group on Sunday.
Best of the Year
Now, for the round-up of all the recipes of the year since my 1st blogiversary. Here are my Top 10:
1. Tuna Samosas
Top 3 cooking themes:
1. Pasta Night - Fresh Pasta, Tomato Pasta Sauce, Roasted Pepper and Pea Sauce, Carbonara Sauce, Chicken Zucchini White Sauce
2. The 'T' theme - Thai Coconut Soup, Tropical Tabbouleh, Tex-Mex Casserole, Tarte aux Pommes à la Normande
Double Down Burger with Sweetness Added
Now, the moment you are all waiting for, my version of the double down burger. For those who are not familiar with the Double Down burger from KFC, it consists of two fried chicken as the "bread", melted cheese, bacon and KFC's special sauce. Taking these components into account, my take of the burger is to go for something sweet instead of something salty. Here is the structure of my Double Down burger: 2 pieces of butterfly cut chicken with Dijon-apple batter and Parmesan-bread crumbs coating, the cheeses are mozzarella and swiss, the "bacon" is Serrano ham, and the "secret" sauce is an apple-BBQ sauce. Basically, homemade applesauce is the sweetener for this burger.
Adapted from Michael's Smith Chef at Home
Makes 4 cups
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
12 red apples, cored and cut into wedges
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1. Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Combine all ingredients and add enough water to cover bottom. Cover.
2. Cook until all apples have softened, about 20 mins. Stir frequently.
3. Blend softened apples with an immersion blender. Strain with a sieve for a smoother texture.
Parmesan Chicken with Dijon-Applesauce Batter
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup homemade applesauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp ground almonds
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonade
pinch ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line aluminium foil on 13'' x 9'' baking pan.
2. Butterfly cut chicken breasts. Apply pressure on chicken breast and cut it in half from the center, not all the way through.
3. For the batter, combine Dijon mustard, applesauce, garlic cloves, butter in a bowl.
4. In a pan, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, ground almonds, basil and pepper.
5. Brush Dijon-apple mix on both sides of the chicken breast.
6. Coat it in Parmesan-bread crumb mix. Place it on the prepared baking pan.
6. Bake for 25 mins until golden brown and fully cooked. Turn once halfway. Serve.
This apple-BBQ sauce is adapted from Chuck Hughes' Chuck's Day Off. This BBQ sauce won't taste good without the chipotle pepper or smoky flavor.
Makes 4 cups
Preparation Time: 10 mins
1 cup homemade applesauce
1 cup homemade ketchup
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
Stacking the Double Down
Parmesan Chicken, Mozzarella Cheese, Serrano Ham
Melt cheese in a hot oven for 1 min. Bite.
After taking a huge bite of the double down burger, I really enjoy the combination of flavours. It wasn't greasy at all but saucy. I can taste the sweetness of the applesauce and smoky flavor of the BBQ sauce. It tasted really good, but my stomach was really full eating halfway. The Double Down burger is a once-in-a-lifetime attempt, I won't be making another one again unless one of my friends ask for it. I would suggest though that you try making your own apple and BBQ sauce. Also, use the Parmesan chicken as a main dish, it has a lot of flavours from the batter and the bread crumb mixture.
Now, I have proven that I can blog for two years. I'll see what new culinary challenges await for me. I will hope to meet new people to join our cooking group and encounter wonderful food bloggers and foodies out there, hopefully one in physics. Thanks for all you readers who have followed my blog since the beginning. Hope to see you all at the third blogiversary!