Garbage Plates (A Rochester, NY Favorite!)

This weekend we had some friends over to eat. We call it the Food Fest and host it every year in July. Showcasing some of our favorite foods in ridiculous quantities, just for fun! This year we decided to have a very specific theme: Garbage Plates!

The original “Garbage Plate” is from a local eatery named after it’s owner, Nick Tahou’s. It features most of the foods you can find at any local diner, all piled up together on a plate, served with a couple slices of fresh bread. It’s fantastic!

I got the recipe through a friend, and thought I’d share it here as well (with my modifications…) It made for a great summer party meal! (And is just ridiculously filling!!) Note: I did triple the ingredients below (except for the onion) for a party of about 20 people, half kids.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Special Sauce Ingredients:

1 – medium onion, chopped
1 – tbsp garlic, minced
1 – tbsp. oil
1 – lb. triple-ground beef
1 1/2 – cup water
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
1 – tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 – tsp. cayenne pepper
1 – tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 – tsp. paprika
1/2 – tsp. ground cumin
1/2 – tsp. allspice
1/4 – tsp. cinnamon
1/2 – tsp. powdered cloves
1 – tsp. salt (to taste)

Mix beef with water and oil and dissolve as much as possible, for finer texture. Begin heating on medium-high heat while adding all of the ingredients, stirring frequently. (Don’t want to burn!) Cook for 10 minutes or so, still stirring, then reduce heat and let simmer for at least 30 more minutes. (The longer the better, but keep the sauce moist… may need to add water here and there. The consistency should be thin, but not too watery.)

The Garbage Plate:
Hamburger patties, or hot dogs (preferably Zweigle’s … another Rochester favorite)
Baked beans
Macaroni Salad
Home Fries (and/or french fries)
Diced Onion
Mustard

Grill up your favorite meat, and when it’s ready here’s the order for piling up the delicious food on your plate: (Large paper plates worked well for us.) First, add about 1 cup each of Mac salad, baked beans (COLD, not hot), and either home fries or french fries (your choice… some of our guests had both!) Next, add the meat. Two pieces. Next cover the plate with a ladle-full of the special sauce from above. Add some diced onion and crisscross the plate with mustard. Serve with two slices of fresh bread.

And just try to finish it! :-)

Pabellón Criollo (Carne Mechada)

When I was a kid, my family moved to Caracas, Venezuela. It was quite an experience, living three years of my youth in a foreign country. I learned the language, absorbed some of the culture, and acquired a taste for the food!

Now, as an adult, one of our favorite meals to make is pabellón criollo—the Venezuelan national dish!

I don’t always make the full meal, in fact, I almost never include the platanos [plantains]. (That’s just a personal preference.) But even when we just make parts, it’s fantastic! I will post each part of the meal separately here, starting with the recipe I use for the carne mechada [shredded beef].

(Note: I found this recipe posted to an internet forum several years ago now. I translated it, and of course, I modify it slightly every now and then. Usually we use a bit more meat (3lbs or so), and roughly double the rest of the ingredients. I also usually add a teaspoon and a half of Adobo once I add the meat to the vegetables.)

Carne Mechada:
1/2 kilo (about a pound) Flank Steak (any beef for roasting will do)
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Pepper (Green and/or Red) finely chopped
2 sticks of Celery, chopped
1 Bunch of Cilantro – finely chopped
1 Can of Stewed Tomatoes
Garlic, Salt & Beef Bullion if you want

Place the meat crockpot with about a cup of water, medium onion, and a little salt. I add adobo and olive oil as well. Cook on low for many hours until tender, pulls apart easily.

Turn crockpot off, remove the meat and let it cool so you can shred it with your hands. Do not dispose of the liquid.

In a large pot, put just enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat up the oil and begin sauteing the garlic, onions, cilantro, pepper(s), and celery. Let it cook till all smells great, but do not burn the onion and garlic. After these have simmered for a bit, add the tomatoes and simmer a bit longer. Add the shredded meat and let it simmer a while longer. Now add the beef bullion, and the liquid from the crockpot. You can add a couple cups of water as well.

Stir this up and let it simmer for as long as you can, as this will let the flavors cook together. Making it delicious!

Serve when ready with rice, black beans, and arepas y platanos if you can. (More ideas for those to come!)

¡Buen provecho!

Lomitos (de Argentina)

Today’s “recipe” is more of a “how to.” Lomitos are a sandwich that is common in Argentina. We have a friend from there who has familiarized us with some of the cultural favorites of her country, and this is one of the Campbell family favorites! Enjoy!

LomitosIngredients:
Sirloin Tip Steak (sliced very thin)
Deli-sliced ham
Eggs (optional)
Lettuce
Tomato
Mayonnaise
Bread

Cut the steak into pieces that will fit well onto whatever bread you are using. In frying pans, brown the steak and the ham in a tiny bit of olive oil. If you’re going to add an egg to the sandwich, you’ll want to have it cooking as well (in a separate pan or the same one). Cook the egg as you’d like (just not scrambled…) :-)

Once the meats and egg are ready, assemble the sandwich. Mayonnaise on both slices of bread, then steak, ham, egg, lettuce, tomato. It’s that easy, and it’s delicious!

Enjoy! Buen provecho!

Greg’s Famous (Spicy!) Chili

Another fall favorite is a big pot of chili simmering on the stove, then filling your belly! Served with mild cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and/or crackers (plus your favorite hot sauce, of course!) and you can’t go wrong!

Ingredients
3 lbs ground beef
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
2 tsps (or two cloves) of garlic (more to taste)
3-4 cans of diced tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
3 Cups water
5-6 Tbps Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper (if available)
1/2 cup corn starch (approximate, diluted in water with salad dressing shaker)
(other ingredients to taste…)

Brown beef (along with half of the onion and all of the garlic) and then drain the excess fat/grease. Add tomatoes, water, and spices (but not corn starch) and continue to cook on medium-high temperature. (Feel free to add more of any or all of the peppers, depending on your tolerance for spicy foods!)

Stir frequently, until all comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for a couple hours. (Stirring occasionally.)

Once it’s almost time to serve, add the corn starch to thicken slightly. (Add a little at a time to desired thickness.) If you are adventurous, other ingredients you can add include: brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, any sort of peppers (including sweet peppers), and whatever else you think might taste good. I frequently add a “secret ingredient” … almost every time I make it! :-)

Serve as above, and enjoy! (Goes great with homemade bread!)

Cincinnati Style Chili (Skyline Chili!)

Skyline 3-Way
Skyline 3-Way

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2  tsp pepper

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1-1/2 tsp allspice

1/2  tsp garlic salt

2 dashes Worcestershire  sauce

1 6 oz can tomato paste

Corn Starch

Dissolve beef in 10 cups cold water. Once I get it started with a spoon, I use a hand mixer to get the meat as fine as possible.  Add rest of ingredients.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Thicken with corn starch.  Serve over spaghetti noodles.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Eat some more.  Enjoy some more.

I often make at least a double batch. For 3 pounds of beef, I often double the spices.  (And add some water.)  For 5 lbs of beef I triple all the spices, but only use 12 oz of tomato paste.