Guest post from a driver.

Matt has a great way of sharing things. There is always a story. A detailed one. He has a better memory than me, thats for sure. So here you go! Take it away, Matt!

Growing up, ground beef was a staple in our house. Is that over stating it? Or was it THE staple holding it all together? I don’t recall my mom using chicken all that often. When she would try her hand at cooking, it was usually ground beef based.

Zaycon Foods- ground beefShe was a very thrifty lady who would buy it when it went on sale, bring it home divvy it up into patties, wrap it in plastic wrap, wrap that in plastic wrap, then wrap that in tin foil. Freezer. Then, when it was time for dinner (aw, crap – again, already? Didn’t we just go through this last night?) she would glumly announce, “Matt, get me some hamburger out of the freezer.” My job would be to pry off a couple of patties from the stack. Her job was to wreck ‘em.

When I would go grocery shopping with her, we went to this store called “Prairie Market” in West Seattle. This was a discount grocery store to say the least. They didn’t have price tags on the products, rather they would simply open the cases, put the open cases on the shelves and the price per unit was posted under the open case. Upon entering the store, you would select a black grease pencil and it was your task to write down the price on the can or box. Can you imagine? DISCOUNTS FOR ALL! “Everyday’s a sale at Prarie Market” should have been their jingle. But they were too cheap to have a jingle. They were lucky to have a sign.

This was in the day before the scanners and you’d just have a receipt with codes and numbers on it and when we got home, she would go through the foot long receipt item by item and sound like a broken record. “What was grocery at 59 cents?” “What was produce at 38 cents?” “What was grocery at 17 cents?” Now, I would be barking back “What can you buy for 17 cents?!?!?!?”

Whoops. I digressed.

Anyway, often she would buy our ground beef, bring it home and then proceed to get angry because the outside was all bright and pink and the inside was darker. She thought that the store was taking old meat, and covering it with new meat. Bless her heart.

“Mom, look, this one tiny piece is dark at one point and brighter at the outside.” I’m pretty sure it was an oxygen thing. But secretly I think she liked to complain about it.

The ground beef was packaged on these little square Styrofoam trays. It looked like a mini bundt meat cake with the Saran Wrap on it. One day, we’re shopping and I was bored out of my little boy brain and the butcher had just put out a whole tray of ground beef. Every one of them was this little bundt looking meat under wrap. With a hole in the center. A hole that just begged for my finger. And look! I have a finger available! While mom was elsewhere scribbling “25 (there is no ‘cent’ sign on this keyboard)” on a dented can of god-knows-what, I was busy poking my finger in each and every package of ground beef the butcher had just put out. POP! went the plastic wrap. POP! The POP was very satisfying.

I don’t know how my mom found out, and I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of hours, but my mom had anger issues and a pair of size 9 rubber soled peep toe house slippers. Burgundy. Velour. Glam. POP!

Long story short, she purchased each and every package of ground beef and I spent the rest of the night alternating between making patties and wrapping them up and rubbing the side of my head trying to get the slipper print welt to go down.

We had ground beef to last us the duration. (one of my mom’s favorite ‘isms’) Come to think of it, maybe that’s why ground beef was a staple?

I don’t remember her making hamburgers very often. But my most favorite thing she used to make was “Beef Stroganoff”. And if you think it really was Beef Stroganoff, you’ve got another think coming. (another one of her ‘isms’) She would brown a couple of patties, bust them up, sprinkle on the contents of an onion soup mix packet and put in a can of cream of mushroom soup (27 cents per the grease pencil). This would then be poured over minute rice. DINNER IS SERVED! And may God have mercy on your soul.

When I was a kid, it was the best thing she cooked. There is no way you could imagine what the worst thing was, that’s another post for another day – you could take a thousand guesses, but you’d NEVER get it.

One day, I was over at my friend Joe’s house. That night his mom had made beef stroganoff for dinner. It was cold and hours old on the stove. I asked what smelled so good and he told me. He said have some if you want. OMG! Beef Stroganoff was delicious! It had real meat in it! Real sour cream! And shock of all shocks – IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE SERVED ON EGG NOODLES! I returned and reported back to my mother that she had been doing it all wrong. That went over great. I’m glad I had hidden those slippers!

Well, I’m not going to make stroganoff out of Zaycon ground beef. That’s not its calling. I’m going to make a hamburger. A flawless hamburger. That’s the beauty of Zaycon Ground Beef. It’s 93/7 and ordinarily I’d never make a hamburger patty out of 93/7. It would be too dry, but ours is perfectly delicious. Order your ground beef before it sells out! Also, when you order a case of beef, the purchase will allow you to get our boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.49 a pound in October/November!!!!

Zaycon Foods -ground beefZaycon Foods- ground beefIf you want to split a case with somebody, it’s really easy to do, since the case contains 4 chubs. Much easier to split than the chicken breast.

So here’s my hamburger, yes – it’s a “Matt Burger”. Growing up with the food I did, I have to make up for lost time, so my food tends to be a little on the “fussy” side.

Zaycon Foods- ground beefIn future posts, I’ll post my fantastic recipes for s’getti, chili, gyros, beef teki, mama’s meatloaf (not Elizabeth’s – another mama, so don’t worry), and others using Zaycon Ground Beef, but for today, it’s just going to be some classic Burgers and Fries. And yes, these pics are actually of my hamburger patties, hamburger & fries. All made from scratch. I suffer from OCD and have delusions of grandeur.

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Zaycon Ground Beef.

Salt.

Pepper.

Heat.

Buns & accoutrements to your liking.

That’s it!

You don’t get much easier than that.

I’ll be slinging ground beef in July in Georgia, Florida (or as I like to call it “Baja Alabama”), and in North & South Carolina.

I hope to see you in the parking lot!

Matt H.

mmm, that sure looks good!

Today we have a guest. Matt H, as he is known (we have 4 guys named Matt that work at Zaycon Foods), is one of our drivers. I introduced him in a post here. Matt LOVES to cook, and a few weeks ago told me about this ham glaze he made. Then he sent some photos and told me that he was starting his own cooking blog. Well, being that Easter is this Sunday and some of you may have purchased Zaycon ham, you might like to try this glaze.

I asked Matt to send me a recipe and boy, did he deliver. And so, I give you Matt…and his ham.

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As I write this, I’m trying desperately to come up with some happy memory of ham. Short term memory serves up more than plenty, but growing up, the only memory I can come up with is that mother of mine handing me this oddly shaped can, and telling me to pry the key off of the top and open it. Huh? You’d pry this key thing off of the top, wiggle it into a little band of metal on the side of the “can” (the “can” was not a can shape, but rather almost an egg shaped container) then you would twist the key around the top. Then, you’d have a top that would come off revealing what I now would call a catastrophe. One look at the contents and you’d spend precious minutes trying to figure out how to put that metal band back on and erase what just happened from your memory. Good heavens, it was a sight. The word “slurry” should NEVER be used to describe meat.

To be sure, this was meat, just whizzed up meat from all sorts of parts & bits. Then it was nicely encased in jelly. Meat jelly. Oh goodie. Must everything in my life jiggle?

So that’s my memory of ham.cooking-10

Sub-par. At best. Ham is typically served at some type of celebration. Christmas. Easter. Thursday. But just how is canned ham celebratory of anything except maybe parole?

Fast forward to me throwing meat all over the country for Zaycon Foods. Boy, do we have ham! No slurry here, no ma’am. This is one solid muscle. If I didn’t know better I’d say that these porcine fellows have been doing their squats.

If you haven’t tried them, you owe it to yourself to do so. They are all meat! And what meat it is. The hams come fully cooked, so all you need to do is put them in a hot oven, come up with a glaze of your choosing (notwithstanding my surpreme humility, mine is rockin!) and your entree is done!Zaycon ham-1

For my glaze, you’ll need a hot pepper jelly, some pineapple preserves, brown sugar, moleasses & a dash of cloves. If you can’t find pineapple preserves (and they can be trixy to find), feel free to use apricot/pineapple preserves. I’ve used both and both are wonderful. Next time I make this I’m going to try a habanero jelly – I’m getting bold. The reason for the moleasses is all I had was a light brown sugar. I wanted a little deeper flavour, so used the moleasses. You don’t need much. And you certainly don’t need a lot of cloves.

Put the ham in a roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake it. During the last 20-25 minutes, baste with the glaze.

Yes, you could serve it with a box of Au Gratin potatoes, and as yummy as they are, this ham deserves to be pampered. I’ve come up with “Duke Potatoes”. As I was making them, I started making Duchess potatoes, but decided that they needed a little more substance. “Strong enough for a Duke, but made for a Duchess” is how I describe them. (And made by an Empress Dowager, but I digress)Zaycon-4

Zaycon Bacon is a subject that will be delt with in some detail in a later post. For now, just trust me, use Zaycon Bacon. You’ll need a full 3 pound pack for this recipe. In reality, you’ll just need about 5 slices, but Nicole won’t stop picking at it, so shoot, just cook it up. I like to blame her, but it’s really all of us.Zaycon-3

Use a potato ricer. You’ll thank me. If you don’t have one, don’t worry – just mix as many lumps out as you can. If you can’t get them all out, just call them “rustic”. We love rustic.

Start with whatever potato you like. I find that Yukon Golds are SUPER creamy. Reds are good too. My mother was from Idaho, bless her heart (I work in the South and know fully well what that means), so she liked to use Russets. They work quite well for this dish, so I used them here as an homage to my mom, which is funny to me, because not in a million years would she have made these. 99% of the time, her potatoes were begrudgingly sprinkled from a box into boiling water. She would sprinkle too fast and not stir quick enough. The poor old girl could have used them to hang wallpaper. I wish she had. Try as hard as I have, I just can’t forget it.Zaycon-2

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, drain, then send them through a ricer. Add cheddar cheese, Zaycon Bacon, sour cream, butter, chives, freshly cracked pepper & salt. All to taste. I’ll post my measurements, but this is your dinner, not mine. Please do it as your family would like it. My personal opinion is that recipes are there as a guide, not as scripture. Unless it’s baking. Or candy. Or meth. Or if you’re trying to re-create great grandma’s meatloaf. For those things, prescion is key.

I like to use a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, not a big deal.

Don’t add milk to this, you want these to be as firm as you can get them, so they will stand up after piping. I guess you could use powdered milk, but it seems to me there are laws against that. Duchess potatoes call for egg yolks, but I didn’t care for the texture that they imparted, so I skipped them. You’ll have a taller product if you use them, but then if you don’t like the taste or texture, you just wasted that Zaycon Bacon! So they stayed out this time.Zaycon-8

After mixing, take a piece of parchment paper and on one side, using a biscuit cutter or glass, or other round objet, pencil a circle. Put it onto your baking sheet marked side down, you’ll then be able to see the outline of the circle. This is your guide. Using a giant star tip, and a large (18″) piping bag, (don’t even think about using that stupid ziploc trick you learned on the cooking show from Aunt Sandie – she’s crazy) pipe a pretty mound. Keep it up and fill that baking sheet! You’ll want a hot oven 375 and get them browned just a bit.Zaycon-11

Fresh green beans sprinkled with sliced almonds round it out. Please don’t serve it with canned, grey beans. They should be green beans, not “grey beans” Life’s too short to eat canned beans.cooking-9

 

Did you get your order in for that Zaycon ham?

Who knows, maybe I delivered it!

See ‘ya in the parking lot!

Matt H.

Meet Matt

If you have been a part of Zaycon for a while, most likely, Matt has been your driver. Interviewing him was entertaining. Every question was answered with “you cant’ put that on the blog”.  I was able to get some straight answers from him, and now you can get to know Matt too.

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Matt comes from what we call “the west side” in Washington State. He has been a driver for Zaycon for about 2 years and he is always cheerful and happy.  His face is also the most seen Zaycon employee in blog posts about us from customers. check for yourself here, here and here. His favorite route is in the south east part of the nation, where he had lived for a few years when he was younger. And if your name is Kristi and you live in Cummins, GA, you are Matts favorite customer…sorry everyone else. Matt loves to travel and so becoming a driver for Zaycon just fit. He is a world traveler, having gone to places like Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan.

On his time off, he likes hanging out with his dog, Prepton, a 7 yr old Maltese, eating at his favorite restaurant, Pho Bac, in Seattle or watching spy movies. He’s not a big fan of chocolate, but loves red candies. Not sure if its the red or the flavor he likes best, but red candies it is.

So next time your picking up your Zaycon products and Matt is your driver, give him a high five or tell him his hair looks nice, he may just do a dance for you.