The triple J- Jamaican Jack Jerk Burger

As I was surfing the net the other day, which equates to slogging through every digital advertisement on Earth, I came across a recipe for a burger with Jamaican spices. It immediately brought back fond memories of our trip to the Island mon! (every Jamaican sentence must be followed by the term “mon”, which translates from the American term “man”. The Canadians in turn end their statements with “ehh”. Folks in my hood end with “hungh”, real loud!

One of my fonder memories was the transportation on the Island.

Simply getting from Point A to Point B is one of Jamaica’s most exciting adventures. Since Jamaica is part of the British Commonwealth, cars drive on the left side of the road, and the local drivers have a unique way of negotiating the highways and narrow streets in the townships: the faster the better.

On the way from the airport in Montego Bay to the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, (a must check out!) our bus driver told us, “We will be passing right through the next town.” He wasn’t kidding. He only slowed to about 40 mph down narrow streets as we rocketed past unflinching pedestrians. Meanwhile, the white-knuckled tourist passengers braced for an impact that never came.

All this was done with one-handed steering, since the driver’s other arm was busy pumping a clenched fist to the pounding pulse of loud Reggae music.

But I digress.

As I checked out the ingredients I immediately saw room for recipe improvement! Ha!

I soon found myself constructing a new and improved version worth mentioning as follows. This is an easy one, and tastes great!

Prep and cooking time sober, One hour

Prep and cooking time “in the bag”, all afternoon. Can’t find anything.

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Jamaican Jack Jerk Burgers Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 burgers. Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 habanero chili peppers, minced (be a man, use it all!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 shot of pancake syrup (small squeeze = 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thick slices of Jack Cheese
  • 2 pounds ground beef, at least 15% fat
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Pinch of chopped thyme
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp of orange juice from orange you will be zesting
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 In a food processor, put the vinegar, water, habanero chili, green onion, garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.

2 Using your hands, gently mix the jerk mixture in with the ground beef in a large bowl until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Shape into patties, about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the diameter of your hamburger bun. Chill about 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook. (Remember to wash hands with soap and water after handling, you will thank me later)

3 coleslaw-In a medium bowl, mix the cabbage, red onion, thyme, mayonnaise, citrus juice, zest, salt and pepper.

4 Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high direct heat. Place the patties on the clean, well-oiled grill grate. (if you find one, please send me a photo, as I have not seen a clean grill grate since childhood) Grill the burgers for about 3 minutes per side, (until you see juices leach through) add cheese, cover with a lid until cheese has melted. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a large frying pan on the stove top. As the burger has so much flavor anyway, a grill is nice, but not mandatory.

Serve burgers topped with the coleslaw, with or without hamburger buns.

This is a burger that pairs with Red Stripe beer, Jamaica’s national pastime!

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Mango Habanero Salsa

Mango Habanero Salsa

This is a great sweet and hot salsa! I first had it from a jar from the local market. Their chef had decided to add small pebbles for added texture. A bold ingredient, definitely leading edge!
Besides the crunch of small rocks, it tasted pretty good for a jar salsa, I knew I could improve on this.

WARNING! Use less habanero peppers if you do not have the stomach of a Rhino!

Easy to make, but there are a few precautions I will state here and now that should not be ignored.
Besides the obvious, do not handle the habaneros with bare skin. I used a fork to keep them on the cutting board, a knife to excise the stem area, and a contained chopper to get the job done.
At no time did I touch them.
After I had the wife wash them, and out of personal kindness, I told her she should boil her hands right away and not touch any part of her body she has become fond of.
Second, and this is a biggie, I had all leftover jalapeño peppers excess matter in the sink. I should have scooped it out and disposed of properly.
I did not.
At the time, the garbage disposal appeared to be a good idea. Big mistake. The pepper innards were vaporized mechanically and formed a cloud of invisible doom in the kitchen. After what seemed like a lifetime, the coughing and gagging in the house subsided into a rhythmic asthmatic wheeze. Eyesight was restored later.
Breathing and eyesight can not be overstated. As always in my recipes, avoid my mistakes at all cost.

This salsa goes well with chips, or as a dip, or thrown on anything you can think of.
Add to Chicken or steak?
I say thee yeah!

4 Tomatoes (cored)
6 oz crushed pineapple in pineapple juice
mango puree (2 mangoes)
1 fire roasted red bell pepper (1/2 cup)
4 jalapeño peppers (cored)
1 diced onion
1 tsp sugar
6 habanero peppers (or less, say about 2)
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 good squirt lime juice concentrate( a bad squirt would involve lack of concentration or astral traveling)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

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Dice up everything except the Mango and Habanero peppers. Add to a medium sized container with sealable lid. (as to refrigerate after assembly)
Add sugar,salt,cilantro, lime juice concentrate and garlic powder.
Extract all the fruit from the mango (exclude skin and pit) and blend in a mixer to puree, add to mixture.
Per instructions above ( have an expendable family member do this part), finely chop habanero peppers.
Try two peppers at first. Have same expendable family member test it out.
If they show no signs of seizure or organ failure, add two more. Be sure to ask them how they feel. Reassure them that you have plenty of beer.
Ask them if they can still feel their lips. If they respond in the affirmative, it may be enough peppers. You be the judge!

Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

A few weeks ago, a neighbor’s teenage offspring was present during a recent pizza night at Miguel’s Kitchen (My house) and made the comment. “So, do you just throw anything on a pizza dough and see what sticks?” After a brief silence, and a giving him well placed hip check into the living room wall, I explained that this was certainly not the case, and it’s hard to chew pizza with no teeth. The nerve.
Anyway, this may sound like a “see what sticks” pizza, and I assure you it is not, but rather a well thought out , meaningful recipe of gourmet quality and south of the border zest. This is easy to make and tastes great!

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Ingredients:
Everything you had left over from Taco Night.
chopped onions
chopped Tomatoes
Taco seasoned ground burger
slice jalapeño peppers
shredded Jack or cheddar cheese
salsa or hot sauce
sour cream
1 cup Mozzarella cheese per pizza
pizza dough

*Make your favorite pizza dough. Mine just happens to be the exact same recipe as the pre-made down at Trader Joe’s. So…..do I do ALL the work?
Again, I think not. Buy package and divide into two. You can make 2 skillet pizzas from one TJ package. If you want a scratch pizza dough recipe, my friend Maria sent me a great one. (Bottom of post)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread dough out in preheated 12 inch skillet. (heat skillet on top burner for one minute, wait a few more before spreading dough) Spread mozzarella cheese on dough. Add taco night leftovers, as much or little as you see fit.
Bake in oven for 17 minutes. Remove from oven,  Let rest 2-3 minutes until mozzarella sets.  Slice and add sour cream to individual slice. Enjoy!
Word to the wise.
That skillet gets real hot, have a care when handling it!

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PIZZA DOUGH
•    2 cups flour
•    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
•    1 cup warm water
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    2 teaspoons white sugar
•    1 teaspoon salt
Blend yeast in water and add  the sugar and olive oil. Put 2 cups of flour in large glass or plastic bowl then add the wet ingredients and stir with a fork. , when the flour is wet then add your 1 tsp of salt.  (In Italy we say salt is added far away from the yeast)
When you have a ball you can put it out on your counter dusted with flour and begin to knead the dough until it is pliable and not sticky,  add flour if need be. (This should only take a few minutes) put back into bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in your oven with just the oven light on. Let rise until double the size.

Apricot Blueberry Pizza

Michael McCollum5/5/15Apricot Blue Berry Pizza.

This may sound like an odd recipe, and it is. However, it tastes great. As a desert fruit pizza, I advise to consume it after making it, as it does not hold any ascetic values over time. This is a great breakfast pizza, or brunch, or late night snack. With all the apricots in the area ready to pick, what could be better than this on the Patterson Apricot Festival weekend?
This pizza goes well with a fine red wine, poor white wine, beer, or scotch, all depends what you have on hand.
Ingredients
Pizza Dough*

5-6 fresh sliced ripe apricots
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1tsp sugar

*Make your favorite pizza dough. Mine just happens to be the exact same recipe as the pre-made down at Trader Joe’s. So…..do I do ALL the work?
Again, I think not. Buy package and divide into two. You can make 2 skillet pizzas from one TJ package. If you want a scratch pizza dough recipe, my friend Maria sent me a great one. (Bottom of post)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread dough out in preheated 12 inch skillet. (heat skillet on top burner for one minute, wait a few more before spreading dough) Spread mozzarella cheese on dough. Add apricot slices, blueberries and sprinkle with sugar on top of cheese. Bake in oven for 16 minutes. Remove from oven,  Let rest 2-3 minutes until mozzarella sets. Enjoy!
Word to the wise.
That skillet gets real hot, have a care when handling it!
PIZZA DOUGH
•    2 cups flour
•    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
•    1 cup warm water
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    2 teaspoons white sugar
•    1 teaspoon salt
Blend yeast in water and add  the sugar and olive oil. Put 2 cups of flour in large glass or plastic bowl then add the wet ingredients and stir with a fork. , when the flour is wet then add your 1 tsp of salt.  (In Italy we say salt is added far away from the yeast)
When you have a ball you can put it out on your counter dusted with flour and begin to knead the dough until it is pliable and not sticky,  add flour if need be. (This should only take a few minutes) put back into bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in your oven with just the oven light on. Let rise until double the size.