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Saturday, October 29, 2011

What the heck is a Kerplunka?

   Kerplunka-(KER-plun-ka)-n. A large wad of ground beef mixed with large chunks of onion, bread, bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, and seasonings, that is roasted until cooked through. Resembles a large, abstract meatball.
   Not too long ago it was Greasy Foods Day, and in researching burgers I found all sorts of "terrific" turkey burger recipes. Not being one to indulge in "turkey burger", although I have had one or two, their mixtures reminded me of an old family favorite--kerplunkas. Whether that is a genuine name, I cannot tell you, but both my husband and I have been eating these since childhood, and our families did not know each other. Its one of those go-to-in-a-pinch meals when you just run out of ideas for what to make for dinner. And since I usually cook seven out of seven nights a week, well, once in a while a "go-to" is just what the doctor ordered. Besides, my husband, the beef man, likes a wad of beef on his dinner plate every so often. Of course he would prefer roast beef, or better yet, steak, but that turns to a touchy subject, so we won't go there.
   I usually use 90% lean ground round. If you go to the 93% the result can be just too dry, so I try to stick with the 90%, but I am known to drop down to 85%, but that requires more draining, but you know what? The flavor cannot be beat. 
   Today, I am using 1-1/2 lbs. 90% ground round. Here's a photo of the ingredients:

Starting in the middle there are 2 large eggs (you can only see one), then at 12 o'clock there's bread crumbs, to the right and going clockwise, there's Parmesan cheese, instant minced onion (for the wonderful flavor) garlic, parsley, the beef, and 2 slices of white bread torn up. What's not in the photo is the 1/2 large vidalia onion, cut up in "large-ish" chunks, salt, pepper and a little "essence", by that very famous chef from Fall River, Massachusetts. (Love you E.L.)
   Using the best kitchen tools ever invented, your clean hands, mix this stuff up, gently, but thoroughly, avoid over-mixing and causing the kerplunkas to become tough. This is also true for meatballs and meatloaf, as well. You might have to add more bread crumbs if the mixture is overly soggy. Once everything is mixed, grab a handful and slap a wad in a greased roasting pan. I got 7 beauts out of the mix today, there's only three of us again, no, no Number Two is home, this time Number One is away for the weekend. Cheeze, I cannot get everyone home at the same time anymore. Here they are on their way into the oven:

   Aren't they just beautiful?  I already have potatoes baking in the oven, and I'm just making steamed broccoli. Butter, sour cream, and ketchup, yes, yes, you can use ketchup on these babies. Sometimes I do make a gravy, sometimes au jus, but with the dessert I have planned, we don't need the extra fat (ketchup is a non-fat food).
   Oh, before I forget, I washed and pierced potatoes and baked them at 425°F for about 40 minutes, then I lowered the temperature to 350° F when I added the kerplunkas. 20-30 minutes and they're done. You might have to remove the potatoes so they don't overcook. I do cook these all the way through, just don't kill them, they will get dry.
    So what's for dessert, you ask? That Almond Joy Friendship Cake I made today and blogged about! 
    Can anyone say Grand Slam? 

National Chocolate Day

   October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Okay, okay, I am a day behind. Need a break, here. Classes start Monday and I have been investigating how to go about taking online classes at a new school. I am slightly overwhelmed.
   Back to chocolate. I found a recipe for Amish Friendship Almond Joy Cake. I just so happened to have all the required ingredients in the house (thanks to The Stocked Kitchen .) So first I had to take out the starter from the freezer, and the almonds, also, to bring them to room temperature.

   Now, please understand, this is not my own original recipe, I am using a recipe from The Amish Friendship Bread Kitchen (click here). Just had to make that understood right up front.

   I had a lot of comments on my Facebook page, when I posted a photo of someone else's finished cake, so I thought this would probably be of interest to all you out there.
   Okay, so I followed the recipe closer than I usually follow other peoples' recipes (only used one box of pudding mix--only had one and it was dark, sweet chocolate,  I used sliced almonds, not slivered., and I added 1/2 teaspoon almond extract). and that's VERY unusual for me.
   Here they go into the oven:
   The aroma is driving me crazy! So while I wait for the last 20 minutes of baking time I am going to investigate making a ganache. I have an alternative in mind, so if I don't find anything that I feel like making, I'll go to Plan B.
   Okay, looks like Plan B it is--I am out of cream today. Dang, even using the Stocked Kitchen, I guess once in a while you can run out of things!
    Here's a photo of the pans fresh out of the oven:

 Plan B icing: I took a can of Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Frosting, and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, to soften. I added 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and 1/4 cup sweetened coconut. OMG! Touchdown!