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VOL. 38 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 08, 2014

Cooking once in a Blue Moon

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If you follow my column, you know I love to grill out. If you don’t read it often, I’ll tell you now: I love to grill out.

Some of my friends at church have been posting pictures on Facebook of food they’ve prepared on a “Blue Moon Disk.”

Curiosity finally got the best of me (sometimes I act just like my cats), so I had to find out what they were doing. At least my curiosity didn’t get me in trouble this time.

I then went out and purchased a Blue Moon Disk. In fact, I bought two, one for myself and one to put in the silent auction at the next Arkansas Press Association Conference. Someone is going to love that.

My choice for a trial run was Paella, which was fun to cook and turned out really good, but it was so time-consuming. I don’t know why I didn’t just try chicken or pork chops. I was really tired when I finished.

The Blue Moon Disk below is the extra large size and made from a 1/4 inch thick plow disk. The handles are made of horseshoes. Its generous size means an entire breakfast can be prepared on one.

-- Submitted Photos Courtesy Of Blue Moon Disks

I want to tell you about the disk, though, and I think the best way to do that is share what’s on the manufacturer’s website (bluemoondisk.com). So here it is, verbatim:

“Handcrafted in Arkansas, our plow disk cookers are inspired by the discadas used in Mexico, Latin America and South America.

“A discada is typically a very large cooking pan with low concavity, which makes it different from an oriental wok. Like the discadas of Mexico, Blue Moon Disks are crafted according to tradition and are ideal for cooking for large groups of people.

Blue Moon Disk Fajitas

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow onion, cut into strips
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
3 tablespoons Blue Moon Disk FAJITA seasoning
1 can Mexican stewed tomatoes, drained
1 lime
Cooking oil
Flour tortillas

Coat chicken breast with fajita seasoning. Heat oil in the cooking disk over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and sauté 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm. Add a little more oil if needed and add seasoned chicken to the cooking disk. Cook over medium heat three minutes before turning to let the chicken breasts get a little crispy on the edges and to prevent them from tearing. Turn and toss chicken on the disk until cooked through. When chicken is almost cooked through, cut it into serving sized strips with a knife. Move chicken to the outer edges of the disk and add stewed tomatoes to the disk. Sauté tomatoes one minute, and then add vegetables back to the disk to heat through. Squeeze lime juice over the whole dish, and toss vegetables and meat together to serve. Lay flour tortillas over the fajita mixture on the disk to warm.

“Blue Moon Disks are typically retired or discarded agricultural plow disk blades that were used in the rice and bean fields of the Arkansas Delta. Our disks are given a second life as authentic cooking pans.

“Each disk is unique, beautiful, and ideal for any weekend party, campout, tailgate, or event where you can showcase an entertaining, authentic cooking experience.

“The Blue Moon Disk Co. owner ?rst experienced discadas while on a mission trip to Chihuahua, Mexico. Local hosts cooked a traditional meal on their discada for the entire team.

“After returning home, he found that these cooking disks were almost impossible to ?nd in the United States, so he decided to make his own. Blue Moon Disk Co. has been making authentic cooking disks in Little Rock, Arkansas since 2009.”

So, there you have it. I love it for several reasons: It’s unique, unique to Arkansas, the way it cooks and how much fun it is.

It takes a little maneuvering on a charcoal grill, mainly because it’s difficult to maintain cooking heat, but I just put all my coal on one side, leaving the other side open.

When the food starts cooking a bit too fast, I just moved it over and let it cool. Tonight, I’m going to prepare pork chops, peaches and pineapple on it. I can hardly wait.

This disk would be great for camping or picnicking if you have to depend on the grills at the campsites and parks, which are usually a bit iffy. You can fix anything on this, so it would offer you a cleaner option.

If you like to grill, and if you like to experiment with different techniques of grilling, get a Blue Moon Disk. They’re fun.

The recipe above is from the Blue Moon Disk website