What's on the menu? Braaaaains! Naturally. Well...sort of. Today, we're making Tasty Brain Sliders, fried Pota-TO(E) cakes with honey-mustard dipping sauce, Creeping Zombie cocktails and Bloody Delicious Brownies! And because presentation is part of the fun, we're serving it all up on a prison cafeteria tray!
I bought the stainless steel cafeteria tray through Amazon. You could also search eBay for a wide selection of used cafeteria trays.
Tasty Brain Sliders
Ground Turkey (1-2 lbs)
1-2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Optional condiments for personal burger building (mayo, mustard, tomatoes, onion etc.).
Roast your peppers! Roasting peppers is actually very easy, especially on a gas stove. Just rinse and completely dry your pepper, turn your gas burner on high and set the pepper directly on the iron grate. Let it rest until the skin turns black. Using tongs, rotate the pepper over the flame until the skin has turned black on all sides of the pepper. Once the pepper has turned completely black, remove it from the flame, place it in a paper bag and roll the bag closed. MAKE SURE there are no parts of the pepper that have ignited from the burner, you don't want to light the bag on fire. The purpose of the bag is to steam the pepper, soften the meat of the pepper and loosen the skin. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, remove and use your fingers to gently pinch off the crispy, blackened skin. Slice the pepper, remove the seeds and ribs (unless you want a crazy hot slider). Set aside in an air-tight container and refrigerate until you're ready to build the sliders. If you want to save time, you can always buy fire-roasted red peppers by the jar at any grocery store but doing it yourself is easy and saves a lot of money. It also makes your house smell awesome.
The beauty and the horror of ground turkey is that it looks a little frightening in the package. The way turkey is ground makes for perfect brain matter! Look for a package of ground turkey with a nice, thick gauge ground. You're a Walking Dead fan, you know what brains are supposed to look like! One pound of ground turkey should make 6-8 sliders depending on the thickness of the patty.
Make your brains! You want to handle the turkey as little as possible to maintain that brain matter look because as the meat cooks and the fats dissolve, some of that detail will be lost. Gently shape the turkey into a round patty with one slightly tapered end and use a knife to divide your "brain" into two hemispheres. Be careful not to cut through the meat completely. Just make a little valley. After cooking, you might have to use a knife to re-carve the seam a bit.
Turn your broiler to HIGH
Place your brain patties in a cast iron skillet. Move your oven rack to the top slot (patties should be roughly four inches from the flame) and broil on high for 6 minutes. Turn the patties over and let cook for another 4 minutes. Cook for a total of 10 minutes for thinner patties. Thicker patties may take longer.
Build your sliders! Smash the avocado with a fork and use a butter knife to fill the seam dividing the hemispheres of the "brain" and lightly smear the lobes for effect.
My build, from the bottom up:
Fried Pota-TO(E) Cakes
2 Cups Mashed Potatoes
1 Cup Flour
1 Green Onion, finely chopped
1 Cup Vegetable Oil for frying
In a bowl, mix together mashed potatoes, flour, egg and onion. Using your hands, form into little log shapes and set aside. The mix will be very sticky. So sprinkle the mix with a little extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands.
Pre-heat your oil to 350º and fry until golden brown...about 5 minutes. Set your potato cakes on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the extra grease and sprinkle with salt.
Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Yellow Mustard
2 Tbs Honey
Mix all the ingredients together well and adjust to taste. If it's too mustard-y add a little more mayo and if it's too sweet add a little more mustard. Not sweet enough? Add more honey!
Bloody Delicious Brownies
(Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies)
Cheesecake Swirl Topping:
8 oz. Cream Cheese
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Bloody Chocolate Drizzle:
1/2 Cup Chocolate Syrup
1 oz. Red Food Color
1/2 Cup Semisweet Dark Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 Cups Butter
2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 oz. red food color
1 2/3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tablespoons Dark Cocoa Powder
Cream together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat together well. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate until smooth. Gradually, whisk in the sugar. Add eggs, red food color and vanilla. Combine completely.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add batter and mix together until it's nice and smooth. No lumps!
PRE-HEAT Oven to 350º
Pour brownie batter into a greased 9x13" pan and carefully drizzle cheesecake batter on top in a swirly, back-and-forth pattern. Try not to pour too much into the same spot. Using the tip of a butter knife or a spatula, swirl together the cheesecake batter with the brownie batter.
Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. Cool completely before cutting. Mix chocolate syrup with red food color and drizzle brownie before serving.
The Creeping Zombie
I set out to make a drink called the Festering Zombie but I didn't like the way it looked and it was too sweet so I changed up some of the ingredients and the assembly and voila! The Creeping Zombie was born! I named it that because it will seriously creep up on you and bite you in the ass.
3 3/4 Cups Orange Pineapple Juice
2 Cups Club Soda
3/4 Cup Sweet and Sour Mix
1 Cup Coconut Rum
1 Cup Vodka
In a half-gallon pitcher, mix together juice, club soda, sweet & sour mix, rum and vodka. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour over ice until glass is about 3/4 full and top with Midori and Grenadine for that nice, layered look.
*Disclaimer - Drink responsibly, kids. This is a sweet, tasty drink and it is very easy to get very drunk. So BE CAREFUL!
So, that's the meal! There's nothing like a season premiere (or mid-season premiere) of your favorite show to get the creative juices flowing in the kitchen!
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Don't forget to tune in after The Walking Dead for a full hour of Talking Dead with Chris Hardwick! I don't know about you, but I have a feeling I'm going to need that extra half our of post-show therapy.
Apprentices, don't forget to check in next week for your next quest, Pan-Seared Chicken!