The Essential, Arcane, Hidden and Newly Discovered Culinary Canon of

ONKEN FAMILY COOKING

Codex No. 1 -- The Forbidden Knowledge

Translated from the Original Norwegian Manuscripts by O. Robert Onken and L Ellen Onken.

Copyright 1994 - Orrin R. Onken


Breakfast

Breakfast in the Onken household is a state of mind. It may be eaten in the morning; it may be eaten late at night. Onkens eat breakfast for dinner or breakfast for lunch. The thing that makes it breakfast is that it always involves a flat bottom frying pan. If it doesn't, it isn't breakfast.


The first ingredient for any breakfast is COFFEE. To make coffee put some beans in your electric coffee grinder and hit the button. Grind those suckers up real good and pour the stuff in your coffee maker. You should get one of those drip type makers, but don't put in paper filters. Buy yourself one of those reusable gold filters. That way you save money and trees, and if you run out of coffee beans you can always make a pot by running the water through the residue that builds up if you don't clean the filter. This method has saved many an Onken morning.


Biscuits and Gravy

This is a traditional Onken breakfast, and one popular with the kids.

        

          1 lb bulk breakfast sausage

          6 Tbs butter

          6 Tbs flour (or more)

          3 cups milk

          pepper

          biscuits

Grab yourself a medium black cast iron pan. Get that thing going on the stove about medium high and toss in the sausage. Cook, crumble and drain. Once it is done, keep it warm until you are ready to add it to the gravy.


To make the gravy, you have to make a roux. Get used to this. You will do it a lot in Onken cooking, so you might as well get it right at breakfast. Heat the butter at medium heat in a sauce pan until it begins to bubble. Once it is bubbling, add a little flour and stir. Once the flour is all stirred in, add some more flour and stir some more. What you are doing is browning the little flour particles in the hot grease. Think of the flour particles as drunks at a bar and the milk as ugly women. The flour particles will not go home with the milk and thicken unless they get a little toasted first. Your hot butter is doing the toasting. Continue adding the flour and stirring until you have a crumbly lump at the bottom of the pan that resembles a light brown hunk of Play Dough. That is your roux.


When the roux is done, begin adding milk at about a quarter cup at a time. Stir vigorously after each addition so that the mixture is uniform in texture. Continue adding and stirring, never adding milk until the previous milk is thoroughly mixed. When the milk is all in, add the sausage and heat. If the milk mixture isn't already thick, it will be that way in a minute. Add enough pepper to give the gravy a little burn and serve over biscuits, English Muffins, or nearly anything starchy.


NOTE: When you are ready to clean up, just wipe out that cast iron pan, run it under some hot water, dry it and slam it back on the shelf. If you were careful when you got the pan, you oiled it up well and baked it in the oven for a couple of hours. That baked on grease is what makes it nonstick. If you are too vigorous in cleaning it, or if you use harsh detergents, you will break down the coating. If the coating gets destroyed you will have to either bake it in oil again, which smells up your kitchen something terrible, or watch it rust away and become useless. In short, protect your cast iron. It is your best friend in the kitchen, but don't wash it. Besides, the grease from that sausage may add just the tang you need to your next recipe.


Potato Pancakes

These little babes are popular all around. Onken's often make these for inlaws. Inlaws always like potato pancakes.


  

          3 large or 4 small baking potatoes 

          1 bunch green onions

          2 eggs

          2 Tbs flour

          8 oz chopped ham

          1 bunch parsley

          oil

          salt and pepper

          sour cream or apple sauce

Peel the spuds and run them through your salad shooter so you have a big pile of grated potato. I like to grate them on paper towel to soak up as much of the stray liquid from the grated potatoes as possible. Put the grated potatoes in the bowl. Chop the onion, green part and all, as well as the parsley and add these ingredients to the potatoes. Add the eggs, flour, and chopped ham. Mix well. This is your batter. Heat your big cast iron pan to medium and add a quarter cup of vegie oil. When the oil is hot, drop a quarter cup of batter into the pan and smash it into a small pancake. Fill the pan with these small pancakes. A large cast iron pan will hold four of them. Let them cook until the bottom of the pancake is brown and crispy. Turn over and cook the other side to the same degree. A pancake will cook to brown and crispy on both sides in about ten minutes. Once done, remove (drain on paper towel if they have retained oil). Serve immediately or keep hot in the oven until all the batter is used. Serve with sour cream or apple sauce. Sour cream is better. Serves 4.


Black Bean Omelette

     



                             The Omelette

          1 can black beans

          1/2 onion

          2 cloves garlic

          eggs

          jalapeno jack cheese

       

                            The Guacamole

          1 clove garlic

          1 shallot, peeled

          2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

          1 avocado, peeled and chopped

          2 tomitillos

          juice of 1/2 lime

          1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes

          Salt and Pepper

     

First make the guacamole. Chop the garlic, shallot, cilantro and tomitillo,* very finely and mix together. Don't use the machines on this one. They won't work, not even the hand blender. Use a knife. (One of those long metal things with one sharp edge and a wooden handle. They can often be found in one of the kitchen drawers). Add the avocado, lime juice and pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and mix it all up using the hand blender until the green glop is relatively smooth. Put this stuff in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The flavors need to blend for a while.


For the omelette filling, chop the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions are limp and transparent. Drain the black beans and add them to the onion/garlic mixture. As the beans start to sizzle, mash them up with the back of a spoon. You want to end up with a thick glopy mixture. Grate a cup or so of the jalapeno jack cheese. When the beans are hot, turn it to low and start the omelette.


Making an omelette is a simple thing, but lots of people screw it up. First, get three eggs and mix them lightly in a glass or bowl. Add to this two teaspoons of water. Don't add milk. The water thins the mixture just right to make a good "egg pancake."


Next get a pan. It you have an omelette pan, that's great, use it. Another pan that works well is one of those great American inventions, the flat bottom teflon coated wok. This pan was developed some years ago by aspiring Onken cooks who properly observed that after a thousand years of developing a cuisine and cooking style, the Chinese had been doing it all wrong. These pioneers took the traditional wok, flattened the bottom and added a nonstick surface, making the utensil completely useless for any purpose except making omelettes and heating water while camping. Don't buy one of these. Wait until someone gives you one for a Christmas or birthday gift.


Heat your pan on medium and add a couple teaspoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is heated, add a teaspoon of butter. Doing this gives you a butter flavor but assures that the butter will not burn. The pan is the correct temperature when the butter is boiling and bubbly. Pour in the egg mixture. Once the bottom of the egg mixture has set, lift it so that the liquid can run under that part that has already set. When most of the mixture has begun to set, let cook for a moment and then swirl the pan to make sure the omelette is loose. It should slide around in the bottom of the pan. If it doesn't, gently pry it away from the pan with a plastic spatula. It should come loose easily if the pan is the correct temperature. Swirl it around some more to see it slide about in the bottom of the pan. Watching the omelette slide around in the bottom of the pan is half the fun of omelette making.


Once all the egg has set, sprinkle the egg pancake with the jack cheese and allow it to melt somewhat. Keep an eye on the bottom of the pancake, to make sure it doesn't get too well done. When the egg is almost done, glob some of the bean mixture in a line just to the right of the center of the pancake. Once the bottom of the omelette has browned just pour the omelette, with the bean mixture, onto a plate, using the edge of the pan to flip over the empty side and cover the line of bean mixture. Spread the guacamole on top and enjoy.


So much for breakfast, would you like to

Or else you could