Stir Crazy: Born to Explore

Chef Gerard Clinton, Mercedes Velgot and Richard Wiese on Stir Crazy. —Patricia Gay photo

Chef Gerard Clinton, Mercedes Velgot and Richard Wiese on Stir Crazy. —Patricia Gay photo

Recipes from Stir Crazy: Born to Explore episode, broadcast on April 16. Born to Explore is an ABC TV travel show shown on Saturday mornings and is nominated for five daytime Emmys.

Guests on this episode of Stir Crazy are Richard Wiese, host and executive producer of Born To Explore, Mercedes Velgot, the show’s executive producer, and Chef Gerard Clinton of the Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Weston. Chef Gerard grows an organic garden at the club and is featured on the Farm to Fork episode of Born to Explore.

Good luck to Born to Explore at the Daytime Emmys!

Roosterkoek, little rolls you can make on the grill for barbecues.

Roosterkoek, little rolls you can make on the grill for barbecues.

Roosterkoek
Recipe from Richard Wiese, host of Born to Explore.

South African Roosterkoek (Literally grill cake — say “roo-stir-cook and try to roll those r’s!) is the traditional bread to accompany dishes at a cookout. The roosterkoek are simply balls of bread dough cooked on the grill over the coals, and are best eaten piping hot and straight off the grill. All you need for roosterkoek is some dough and a fire!

Roosterkoek
Ingredients:
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
6 teaspoons sunflower oil
3/4 to one cup  warm water

Method:
1. Mix the yeast and sugar together in a small cup together with a little of the warm water and stir. The mixture should foam after a minute or two. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt, then add the oil and water while mixing continuously. When the mixture comes together to form a dough, add the yeast and sugar and mix well.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased plastic bag or in a lightly greased bowl covered with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in volume.

3. Divide the dough into 12 roughly equal pieces and shape into slightly flattened balls on a floured surface. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Place the grill rack over evenly distributed direct coals and allow to heat for 5 minutes. Lightly grease the rack and place the rolls directly on it for about 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, place the baking sheet in an oven at about 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

5. When half the cooking time has elapsed, turn the roosterkoek over. The roosterkoek are done when they are lightly browned, crispy on the outside and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the fire/oven, split open and serve hot with butter.

Tips:
1. Make sure the dough is on the stiff side (reduce the liquid if necessary). If it is too runny, the dough is going to drip through the grill before the rolls have a chance to bake!

2. Get your grill rack as clean as possible if you are going to make roosterkoek — blackened reminders of the Ghosts of Grills Past clinging to your roosterkoek is not pretty or clever.

3. To stop the rolls from sticking to the grill rack, lightly oil it. Also make sure the rolls are shaped on a floured board so that they have a little some flour clinging to the outside.

4. Be very careful with the fire you plan to cook these on. It should be neither too large (i.e flames licking the rolls!), nor too hot (black outside + runny inside = “No thanks, not really hungry today!”). Use the hand-over-the-coals endurance test as described in my earlier post — if you can hold your hand there for 10 seconds or more, you are probably OK. Also make sure that the coals are distributed as evenly as possible before putting the roosterkoek on the grill.

Chef Gerard Clinton's Huevos Rancheros.

Chef Gerard Clinton’s Huevos Rancheros.

Huevos Rancheros

The following recipe for Huevos Rancheros is a a “modern day preperation” according to Chef Gerard Clinton, with no exact measurements listed  because he wants cooks to tailor the recipe to their own tastes.

Each component of this recipe can be used for other recipes too, or omitted as the cook desires.

“A recipe is a recipe, but actually, a recipe is the hand that turns it.” —Chef Gerard Clinton

Huevos Rancheros
Salad:
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Red Onion & Green Onion
Chopped Green Anaheim Peppers
Chopped Cucumbers
EVO, lime juice, cilantro, salt & pepper

Deviled Egg with Avocado Hash:
Cooked Egg yolks
Mayonnaise, smoked Chipotle, smoked paprika
Mashed Avocado, extra virgin olive oil (evo), lime juice, salt & pepper
Chopped Cucumbers
EVO, lime juice, cilantro, salt & pepper

Romesco Sauce:
Roasted red peppers
Toasted Almonds
EVO
Honey
Sherry Vinegar, Salt & Pepper
Fresh bread crumbs

Garnish:
Fried Tortilla Strips
Micro Cilantro
Arugula Oil, Evo puree with fresh Arugula

Eggs Three Way prepared by Chef Gerard Clinton using fresh eggs from Wells Hill Farm in Weston, Conn. —Patricia Gay photo

Eggs Three Ways prepared by Chef Gerard Clinton using fresh eggs from Wells Hill Farm in Weston, Conn. —Patricia Gay photo

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