By Olivia Putnal
While some foodies love to cook, and others go to fine restaurants, NYC-based Erik Trinidad expresses his love of all things edible by taking fast food menu items from restaurants like McDonald's and Taco Bell, turning them into gourmet-looking meals and posting the results on his site FancyFastFood.com. Originally just a joke with friends, his first creation was a McDonald's Big Mac and fries combo meal that he turned into a fancy steak and potatoes dish. But his project got such rave reviews, that he kept at it. Today, his site it full of creative reinventions of fast food items and he's even writing a book, The Fancy Fast Food Cookbook: Mock Recipes with No Bun Intended. WD rounded up our favorites, so take a look at these 10 works of culinary art.
Find out which fast food meals are the best and worst for you.
Chicken Cordon Deux (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
To create each dish, Trinidad says he first thinks up a pun between a gourmet meal and a fast food item, he then scours cookbooks for a recipe he can replace with fast food items, after which he spends three or four hours in the kitchen. In this case, starting with KFC's bun-less, calorie-packed Double Down, Trinidad created something fancier, but actually quite similar: Chicken Cordon Bleu, a French-inspired dish of chicken stuffed with cheese and ham. Taking the Double Down sandwich apart, he de-breaded and carved the patties, melted the bacon and cheese and sandwiched it in the middle of the chicken, adding a sprig of tarragon as garnish.
Chicken Pizza Masala (Pizza Hut)
At first glance, this dish looks like creamy marinara and meatballs-but not so fast. It's actually chicken tikka masala, a classic Indian curry dish. Scraping off the toppings of a Pizza Hut pizza with chicken, onion, tomato and extra sauce, Trinidad simmered the ingredients with six buffalo wings, blue cheese dressing and marinara sauce, and garnished it with organic coriander. He then used the scraped-out crust to make naan, a leavened, oven-baked Indian bread.
Baja Bouillabaisse (Baja Fresh)
A traditional seafood stew served in southern France, Trinidad made his own bouillabaisse with Mexican fare from Baja Fresh. Using one BFF fire-grilled burrito with langostino lobster, three grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, three original shrimp Baja tacos, one garden salad, one chicken tortilla soup, Pico de Gallo and chopped cilantro, Trinidad simmered the soup, tomatoes, onions, chicken, shrimp and lobster to create a stew. He then added the final touch to look like mussels, but beware; they're only cut up condiment cups!
Osso BuKko (Burger King)
It's unclear why Burger King started serving fire-grilled ribs in the first place, but leave it to Trinidad to turn them into a meal fit for a king. To recreate Osso Buco, a traditional Italian dish made with veal shanks, browned and simmered with tomatoes and vegetables, Trinidad made a reduction of Dr Pepper, barbeque sauce and ketchup, before adding in onion rings (stripped of their breading), carrots and chopped greens from a BK garden salad. He then added the ribs and simmered, after which he blended the French fries into a mashed potato consistency before plating everything and drizzling with sauce.
Jack in the Bento (Jack in the Box)
Bento is a single-portion meal in Japanese cuisine, usually consisting of one protein, rice, vegetables and a sushi roll. To create his Fancy Fast Food version, Trinidad went to Jack in the Box, where he bought one Chipotle Chicken Ciabatta with Spicy Crispy Chicken, one Steak Teriyaki Bowl, one side salad and one large Coke. Dividing the ingredients into plain white rice, a salad, a chicken cutlet (in a Coca-Cola reduction) and "sushi rolls" made from the ciabatta bread filled with sticky rice, he served it all in a genuine bento box.
Boston Krème Brûlée and Fruit Tart (Dunkin' Donuts)
To make crème brûlée, a classic French dessert with a rich custard base and a thin layer of hard caramelized sugar on top, Trinidad scooped out the filling of eight Boston Kreme donuts into a serving dish and chilled in the refrigerator before sprinkling with sugar and searing the top with a kitchen torch. Then, for the fruit tart, he blended the empty donut halves in a food processor to make dough before molding in a mini tart pan, baking and filling with three strawberry donut fillings. He garnished the tart with the filling of one Vanilla Kreme donut and served it all with one cappuccino in a porcelain mug.
Spicy Chicken Sushi (Popeyes Chicken)
Chicken sushi? That's a new one! Using a Popeyes Chicken meal with two pieces of Bonafide spicy fried chicken, one biscuit, coleslaw, one large Coke, one loaded chicken wrap, a side each of red beans and rice, Popeyes Louisiana hot sauce and wasabi paste to garnish, Trinidad made the sushi rolls with white rice soaked in a coke reduction and stuffed with red beans and rice, accompanied by chopped chicken atop cut-up biscuits to resemble raw sushi pieces.
Wendy's Napoleon (Wendy's)
Courtesy of Fancy Fast Food contributor Adrian Fiorino of Insanewiches.com, it's hard to believe what this sweet French treat-traditionally a layered dessert of vanilla cake, cream and custard-is made from here. Fiorino bought one Wendy's Baconator, one large fry, one small Coke, one bottle of water, two small cups of ketchup and 12 sugar packets. The burgers, buns and fries were all chopped and blended separately in a food processor then layered in a French fry container, before the hard candy garnish, made from sugar and water, was added on top and the whole thing was drizzled with a coke and ketchup reduction.
Seared Pollock Cake with Southwest Ramalan Sauce (McDonald's)
Founders of CornerstoreRestaurateur.com Devon Knight and Jason Isch submitted this creation to Fancy Fast Food. Using one McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich, one Southwest Salad with Newman's Own Southwest Dressing, one medium soda and a few packets of salt a pepper, the sandwich ingredients were blended together and molded to create faux crab cakes. The salad dressing was then warmed and drizzled over the dish, while the leftover salad pieces were added as decoration.
Tacobellini (Taco Bell)
Creating his favorite dish to date, Trinidad says he "thought outside the tortilla" when he decided to turn Taco Bell fare into the beloved Italian pasta tortellini. Using two Burrito Supremes, one beef soft taco, one large Sierra Mist soda, packets of hot sauce and parsley, Trinidad carefully extracted the burrito and taco stuffing and mixed it in a bowl before rinsing each tortilla and steaming to soften. After cutting the tortillas into small circles, he refilled with the stuffing before folding into a tortellini shape. He then covered them in sauce and garnished with parsley, pouring the Sierra Mist into a wine glass for a classier look.
Photos: courtesy of Erik R. Trinidad/ FancyFastFood.com
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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