Home Made Plate Night!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall that a few months ago I made a plate live for my Instagram audience. It was a ton of fun, and I’d like to do another one in the future and try to improve on the recipes I found. Until then, let’s talk about how it went, and what could have gone better. The recipes for everything are at the bottom of the page.
Let’s start with the simple stuff, the french fries. I’ve made french fries before, I have my own deep fryer. It’s nothing fancy, it’s a metal tub you fill with oil. Then after a few minutes it heats up and you use it to burn your house down, or make french fries. The fries on this particular occasion came out well, could they have been better? Probably, but spending a lot of time on the fries wasn’t the goal here. The goal was to make the plate, and there are a lot of moving parts.
The mac salad recipe I found was amazing. It was simple and came out tasting great. I couldn’t find any elbow macaroni because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, but the wheels turned out well. I’ve made mac salad in the past that has come out rather bland, but the recipe in the link above (or below) came out quite good. Be sure to refrigerate it overnight before you serve for the best experience.
Pretty simple to make these at home. You could always buy the patties from your local grocery store, but I prefer to make my own. It’s a super simple recipe and they generally come out great. I cooked my burgers on the foreman grill, so they were a bit dry. In the future I’d love to cook them on a regular grill, to try to preserve some of the flavor. The cheese I used was a generic store bought sliced cheddar which works fine; this is up to you.
The meat sauce recipe I found was kind of mediocre. They give you the basics, and it’s a good starting point, but you should experiment with it for best results. This is one area that could use the most improvements as far as I’m concerned. I’ll give you a few tips that I noticed when I was making it that are worth pointing out:
- Blend the meat sauce in a blender (or with an immersion blender).
- I prefer to use a blender for this as sometimes the immersion blender leaves chunks of food, but to each his own.
- Taste as much as possible while you’re cooking, it takes a few tries to get this right.
- Chili is always better the next day, and I have to imagine that the same holds true for meat sauce. If you can, try to cook this the night before so the flavors have time to blend and settle.
In my experience, 1/1.5 russet potatoes feed one person. You almost always want more fries so this number goes up as you increase the number of people at your dinner table.
Homemade French Fries
- Deep Fryer
- 5 lbs Russet Potatoes
- Canola Oil Other high smoke point oils will also work
- Sea Salt
- Peel and rinse the potatoes. Then cut them into the desired shape; the thinner the shape, the faster they'll cook.
- Place them in a large bowl of cold water for 2/3 hours. Alternatively you can place them in a bowl of water and in the fridge overnight.
- When you're ready to cook turn the deep fryer on and, dry the fries off with a paper towel otherwise you'll burn your house down.
- Drop in a few potatoes at a time into the hot oil until they're soft. Remove each batch onto a paper towel and blot to remove excess oil. 4 to 5 minutes depending on your fryer.
- Once you've done all the fries, do it all again to get a crispier fry.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
Please feel free to tinker with the spices; you can also elect to not use the crushed red pepper. The world is your oyster.
- 8 oz Some kind of noodle (macaroni is typical)
- 3/4 cup Diced Red Pepper
- 1/3 cup Thinly sliced celery
- 1/3 cup Red Onion
- 2 large Hard Boiled Eggs, finely diced
Mac Salad Dressing
- 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Sour Cream
- 2 tbsp Pickle juice
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard use grey poupon if you fancy
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- Cook the noodles per package instructions. Sprinkle with bit of olive oil so they don't stick together.
- In a large bowl, combine macaroni noodles, red pepper, celery, red onion, and eggs. Stir until well-combined. Set aside and prepare your dressing.
For the Dressing
- Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, red wine vinegar, pickle juice, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until ingredients are well-combined.
- Pour dressing over your macaroni salad ingredients and gently toss until well-combined.
- For best flavor, cover bowl and allow macaroni salad to chill for at least one hour. (I let it sit overnight which is best IMO) Stir once more before serving and enjoy!
My secret ingredient on these is the “Burger Blast” from Stuarts spices in Rochester, NY. That said, you can replace that with a dash of salt and pepper instead if you prefer. The egg acts as a binding agent so the meat doesn’t crumble when you cook it. Trust me on this one, I’ve been doing this a while.
- 1 lb 80% Ground Beef
- 1 large Egg
- 1.5 tbsp Burger Blast Spice Mix (optional see below)
- dash Salt and Pepper (If you aren't using burger blast)
- Cheese of your choice
- Combine the ingredients into a round shape roughly the size of a golf ball. This recipe should make about four burgers so adjust accordingly.
- When ready to cook, press the burgers into burger shape with your hand. Heat a pan (or use a grill) and heat until the burger is cooked to your liking.
- Top with cheese, and when the cheese has melted serve.
As I mentioned above, the meat sauce I found is a good start, but could use some tinkering. I would have preferred it to be a bit spicier. Next time I’ll add more cayenne pepper, and chili powder, or try some other kind of pepper powder. The key to a Rochester style meat sauce is the allspice and cinnamon. That’s what differentiates it from other meat sauces that you’ve had. The problem is that if you add too much of either; you’ll ruin the dish. You have to walk a tightrope to ensure that you don’t overdue it, but that the flavors are present. I also think I let it cook a bit too long which is why it turned out a bit dry when I made it. Suffice to say take this recipe with a grain of salt (I’ll show myself out).
Rochester Style Meat Sauce
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 med Yellow Onion
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 cup Beef Broth
- 1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
- Salt to Taste
- ln a large skillet, over medium heat fry onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add meat and spices, periodically stir and break up any clumps of beef with a fork. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Once the meat is cooked though, add beef broth, tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Use a blender to further give the meat a finer texture, a couple of quick whirls here and there are all you need.
- Simmer 1 hour, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep it moist, but avoid adding too much and letting the sauce get soupy.
So there you have it, make your own plate in the comfort of your own home! Please leave a comment if you found recipes that you think are better or different.