Dr. Frank’s Gas­tro­to­rium

Northern Pen - - Front page - Terry Bursey Dr. Frank’s Mon­s­ter­dogs

I am a dreamer. Al­ways have been, al­ways will be. While most of my dreams have been whim­si­cal enough that they were best as­signed to a short story or a fleet­ing bit of in­ner­eye-TV to pass the time, some have ac­tu­ally man­aged to be re­al­is­tic – or at least, prac­ti­cal enough to func­tion as le­git­i­mate busi­ness ven­tures.

One such idea came to me while I was rel­ish­ing in one of my favourite ac­tiv­i­ties; cre­ative cook­ing. I was once again in my kitchen ‘dirty­ing dishes on de­li­cious non­sense’, as my then girl­friend put it. It was one of those mag­i­cal times of year when it was just start­ing to get warm enough to grill out­doors and also the start of lobster sea­son.

I was sit­ting on (metaphor­i­cally, or you can imag­ine the state of my jeans) three racks of side pork ribs, a bulk pack of jumbo grilling wieners, three lob­sters, two dozen duck eggs, home baked sub buns and a host of other de­li­cious in­gre­di­ents of vary­ing rar­ity. I was loathe to let any of them spoil for lack of tra­di­tional com­pli­men­tary in­gre­di­ents to cook them with (not that I care about such things).

As I men­tally shuf­fled through all the pos­si­ble new food com­bi­na­tions I could forge from my patch­work of in­gre­di­ents, it slowly di­verged into a day­dream about a fan­tas­ti­cal restau­rant. I imag­ined an eatery that em­ployed cooks whose ma­jor­ity of work was to pro­duce a fine sur­plus of dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents which could be as­sem­bled by cus­tomers them­selves into free range food cre­ations sold by weight or to cre­ate a menu item us­ing the restau­rant’s mo­bile app to order a per­son­al­ized meal brought right to your table or doorstep.

Guests could cre­ate their own piz­zas, pasta dishes, ham­burg­ers, hot­dogs, combination plat­ters or any­thing they fan­cied in the restau­rant us­ing a wide range of fa­mil­iar and ex­otic in­gre­di­ents to ex­er­cise their cre­ativ­ity, cus­tom­ize food to their lik­ing or for the sheer joy of try­ing some­thing new. Like the in­fa­mous Dr. Franken­stein, any­one could make a unique mon­ster, hence the restau­rant’s name; Dr. Frank’s Gas­tro­to­rium. It could, I thought, be a vi­ral cash cow… but sadly I was just a poor culi­nary stu­dent and didn’t want the headache of such a risky fi­nan­cial ven­ture with no credit. Be­sides, re­al­is­ti­cally I’d have to open up shop in an­other prov­ince.

At any rate, I thought that the idea was worth writ­ing down in my jour­nal for fu­ture en­deav­ors and went back to assembling: 4 jumbo BBQ wieners 4 large hot­dog buns 1 green onion

½ cup shred­ded smoky white ched­dar

¼ cup lobster 1 tsp garlic but­ter 2 bones of pork side ribs 1 egg 1 tbsp shred­ded ched­dar 1 slice sand­wich ham Left­over pasta

Di­rec­tions: Grill wieners as de­sired. Grill lob­sters in shell and ribs on medium heat for ap­prox­i­mately seven min­utes, flip and cook an ad­di­tional seven min­utes. Fry egg as de­sired. Pre­heat oven to 375 de­grees. Lay out four buns on small bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper and add wieners. As­sem­ble one with lobster, garlic but­ter and smoky ched­dar; one with left­over pasta topped with smoky ched­dar; one with egg and sand­wich ham shreds topped with ched­dar; and one with ribs slathered in BBQ sauce. Bake for ap­prox­i­mately 15 – 20 mins or un­til cheese is melted. Top with diced green onion and de­sired condi­ments. Get cre­ative!

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