Tempura Monte Cristo with Blackberry Chili Jam

I’m still not 100% sure if putting an entire sandwich through the tempura process was a stroke of genius or madness. See I have a very strong passion for hot ham and cheese sandwiches. I touched on it years ago with my croque madame recipe, but I needed more.

Part of the inspiration for this dish comes from the famous Disney parks monte cristo with blackberry preserves. The other half of the inspo comes from my love of Japanese techniques and flavors I tend to use more when I cook for myself vs. for the blog.

As soon as I took my first bite I was taken on a journey. This sandwich has crunchy, salty, sweet, fruity, spicy, and gooey all in one. It’s one of those things that’s perfect, but also its mere existence is terrifying at the same time.

Lamb Burgers with Roasted Garlic Mayo and Rosemary Balsamic Tomato Jam

Coming into this recipe I had never worked with lamb before. And even when I’ve eaten it it was almost always in the form of a gyro, or a burger that tasted like one.

Yet despite it being this big mystery I really wanted to dive in headfirst. Coming in here’s what I knew: lamb needs to stay pink, and that it can stand up to some heavy flavors and condiments. I brought back an old favorite with my roasted garlic mayo from my mushroom swiss burgers. But I also used this as a chance to dabble in something I’ve wanted to for a long time, jam making.

I’ve made some berry jams for breakfast items before and even tried my hand at the dark art of chia jam. But what about savory jams? I’ve heard of tomato jam but wanted to bring new life to the concept with a good vinegar hit and fresh herbs. Plus the leftovers are really good on toast with some soft cheese!

All together this burger is a flavor bomb, but the lamb still doesn’t get lost. It’s that magical moment where every component brings its own special flavor that hits all parts of the tongue. Truth be told I made them for my best friend to help me try and we both ate two in one sitting!

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Bird Dogs

Picture it: Belton 2001. One day when the Marshall Primary School menu for the next week was released everyone’s attention was immediately captured by something we never heard of, bird dogs. None of the other kids knew what it was, and to add insult to injury none of the adults did either. Not even the lunch ladies!

What we got was a total game changer. Bird dogs consist of chicken fingers, bacon, honey mustard, and cheddar tucked into a hot dog bun. When I explain it to people who never lived in Anderson county, South Carolina they never seemed to get it, but honestly it’s so perfect. Somehow the hotdog bun proportions are so much more satisfying than the normal chicken sandwich and I will die on that hill.

Clearly I’m not the only one to think so because these little buns of glory became a cultural icon in my hometown. They worked their way into mom and pop restaurants, sleepovers, and I even went to a banquet where they were served!

If you ever wanted a super obscure southern dish that you can’t even find on Google that doubles as stoner food then look no further! I mean come on, look at that!

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Double Decker Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwiches

Truth be told I’m not the best about eating breakfast. I’m really bad about opting to sleep every available second during the work week and end up running out the door in a rush. As sad as it is to say, a good breakfast has become a bit of a weekend indulgence for me.

For my latest indulgence I wanted to go full country and make a broke and southern staple, fried bologna. It’s a similar concept to fried ham steak or bacon in that it’s crispy, salty, meaty goodness, just a little more humble. Like any good breakfast sando we have plenty of melty cheese and an overeasy egg on top. And then because I can’t help myself and love a good condiment; we have maple-mustard mayo to cut through the richness and add a little kiss of sweetness, like any good morning should have.

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Mushroom Swiss Burger with Roasted Garlic Aioli

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One of my favorite things about summertime is that America officially enters the most wonderful time of the year, burger season. To be honest there was a very dark phase in my life when I was completely over burgers. Everywhere I went it was just the same classic burger with the same toppings. Even though the burger in its most humble form is delicious, I had enough.

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