Friday, December 15, 2006

Absurdly Meaty Pasta Sauce

1 can Furmano's chunky crushed tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic
1 can Hunt's Four Cheese sauce
6 cloves garlic, pressed
half a big knob of ginger, ground or chopped medium
1 kielbasa
1 package maple sausage
canned artichoke hearts
1 block marble jack or cheddar (not sharp) cheese

Process the garlic, ginger (peel first!) and artichoke hearts. You could food-process the lot right now, or brown it in the pan first. I want you to brown it in the pan, cause it'll make yummy brown fond on the bottom which we'll then release with the crushed tomatoes. Set that pot on high and turn your attention to a skillet and paper towels for draining the meat after it gets all tasty.

Those cook together while we brown and drain the kielbasa (cut into thin rounds) and maple sausage (broken up into small pieces). Wipe out the grease but leave the brown bits if they're not burnt, then transfer some of the tomato mixture into the skillet. Toss it around to deglaze, then add everything back to the main pot.

Add the canned sauce. Put on medium and cook until it's the way you want it. Add much fresh black pepper and the cheese. Poke the cheese around while you stir the sauce, and it'll eventually break up. Keep stirring, and it'll permeate throughout the sauce. Yummy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Fried Ravioli with Thai Cream Sauce

This one really gets the kitchen dirty, but if your ravioli fry better than mine, it'll be great.mine's still yummy. the sauce makes it.

Take ravioli out of package.
Deep-fry it. (no, I don't fucking know what temperature - mine didn't stay crispy)
mix coconut milk, chunky italian herb spaghetti sauce, fresh-cracked black pepper (I have a grinder now, so get used to this ingredient) and salt

i'm food-logy. so good.

3d Pong!

Vector Ball: 3dimensional brain exercise

You wish your mom's brussel sprouts tasted this good

15 brussel (brussels?) sprouts
two slices bacon

peel the sprouts.
hold the root end with your left and slice rounds with your right.
(thinner slices = tenderness and faster cooking, but if you can't cut it thin, at least cut it evenly unless you want a mix of firm and tender)
cook the bacon in the pan.
eat it.
leave the fat.
add the butter to melt.
get it hot.
toss the veggies in.
let them sit for a bit.
flip it a few times.
let it sit longer.
flip a few.
repeat until sprouts are way reduced (greens always do this) and season with salt and fresh black pepper. Taste for softness first, then for flavor.
look for slightly translucent sprout with good browning. brown, as always, equals flavor.
If you're hardcore like me, eat it out of a Pyrex measuring cup with a plastic fork and then go out for barbecue.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Google Ads ensue

I can't say I'm serious about monetizing my content unless I'm actually doing it - so here's some Google ads.

I don't expect to pay for anything significant with these, but it's a quick way to add a little more upside to content I produce anyway.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Green Curry Soup with Brown Rice Cakes and Lime-Glazed Peanuts

I can coconut milk
1 can peas
green curry paste
brown rice cakes
redskin peanuts
brown sugar
1 lime
Old Bay

Don't separate the cream from the milk - fry the curry paste in the milk before adding the milk. I also added a can of water, but had to cook a while to thicken.

Add the brown rice cakes as soon as the milk and cream come together. Add the juice of half a lime and the water from the can of peas. Mash the peas before adding. They'll turn the curry a nice pistachio green.

In a skillet, toss lime juice, brown sugar, and peanuts until glazed and toasted. New at this? Taste frequently and use low heat. Don't add to the soup until right before eating.

This is hearty as-is. Those desiring overkill should cook it until very thick and add some kind of meat - the beautiful thin ribeye I saw at Grand-Mart yesterday would've been perfect if sliced into strips and sauteed briefly.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The perfect scrambled eggs

Trust me.

You need a ten-inch skillet, heated, but not hot. Keep it on medium, with butter coating the cooking surface - rub the stick on it. Too much butter will fuck things up.

I do three eggs at a time. Crack them into a small cup, stir viciously with whatever floats your stirring boat, and pour into the skillet.

Let it sizzle for a few seconds before pushing from the bottom up with your spatula. Done right, a layer of cooked egg will push up, clearing your skillet until the liquid egg on top rushes in to fill the void. Repeat this from side to side and top to bottom until they're just about done. Don't chop with the spatula - just push.

Transfer to a plate and add black pepper. Some swear by sriracha, but I prefer Thai Kitchen's red chili garlic sauce. The 'ach just doesn't do it for me on eggs.

Also, chill your eggs. I like to add a little milk and occasionally shredded cheddar, but stick to mild cheese. Sharp cheeses overpower the egg flavor, and if you don't want to taste the eggs, eat some fucking cereal.

Finally, brown some sausage in your skillet without oil. Wipe it out with a towel, and then cook eggs as described above - you'll deglaze the yummy sausage fond into your plate o' scrambled.

Ideally, at least one of the finished

Friday, October 20, 2006

I was writing my mom an email

and this recipe was born. Hi Mom!

3 a.m. spaghetti

1 box whole wheat angelhair
half a kielbasa
1.3 pounds ground turkey - 97 % lean
1 can prepared tomato sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes
sprinkle of brown sugar (you need the sugar to counteract the acid in the tomatoes)
less cinnamon than you'd think. It goes great wtih tomatoes, but a little goes a LONG way.
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped.

Put the sauce and crushed tomatoes into a pot. Put on low and cover. Brown the meat (in a skillet), then the onion and garlic in its grease. (turkey - seasoned with black pepper on medium heat, then kielbasa on medium-low followed by the onion and garlic on high, always moving. As stuff browns, add it to the sauce. After everythig's in, stir to combine and leave for ten minutes. Come back, taste it, then adjust with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

You should have put some water on to boil first. If you did, the pasta will be done by the time you prep the sauce - add it to everything, stir to combine, cook on medium for a few minutes, then stir again. Sprinkle with Parmesean and serve.

This is quite a lot of pasta - probably enough to eat for all my meals today with leftovers. it fills my red ceramic pot and a nice-sized plateful to boot.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Carrot/Green Bean/Cilantro/Sausage Chopped Salad

2 cups chopped carrot
2 cups french-cut green beans (fresh, seriously, and french them yourself, it's not hard)
8 oz.Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, regular
half a bunch of cilantro, leaves only.
(if you want crumbled cheese on this, buy the cheap, but real, cheese and freeze it. Land O'Lakes and Kraft will both crumble after freezing)

cook the sausage in patties, then chop them into crumblies. boil the veggies in ocean-salty water till tender, then drain and saute with the cilantro briefly in the skillet that you did the sausage in. you wiped the grease out first, right? good. otherwise it'll be too greasy.

Add salt and pepper to bring out the cilantro and the meatiness, and dress with something very cold (cause it's best when the dressing is cold and everything else is hot) and flavorful. I used a blue-cheese Caesar dressing. Dash it around, go rustic on it, yo.

Yummy. I'm gonna go back to eating it now. My cast-iron looks BEAUTIFUL tonight after cooking that sausage - it barely needed a paper-towel wipedown, thanks to the veggies sucking up all that tasty sausage fond. Love....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Red Curry Glazed Peanuts

I don't brag on myself unless it's warrented - and this time, it's warrented. these nuts are fucking awesome.

enough peanuts to cover your pan. I used a 10-inch nonstick skillet.
light brown sugar
half a spoonful of red curry paste
a few dashes of soy sauce

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Stir, whisk, play with your hands, etc, until everything's uniform. Taste frequently.

Transfer to the pan. Turn burner on 3. Every minute or two, taste, flip or otherwise move the nuts around, and taste again. Pull the second you have a perfect one - carryover heat will take the rest to where they need to go.

If you put them in a shaped container, you can make them hold their shape as they cool.

I'm glad I can stop writing this just so my hands are free to eat more. Damn, these are yummy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I take Ed Levin's Food Rorschach Test

Ed Levine Eats: First Annual ELE Food Rorschach Test: "
* 1) Haggen Dasz or Ben & Jerry's?

Ben and Jerry's, because at least they started out cool before selling their souls to capitalism.

* 2) Skippy or Jif?
Jif Chunky, because it's what's in my cupboard right now.

* 3) Bagel or Bialy?
Bagel. Bialys are for people who are too pussy to eat a fucking bagel.

* 4) Whipped or Regular Cream Cheese?

I whip women, cream, and butter for spreading, but not cream cheese. That's why you toast the bagel. Hell, that's why you USE a bagel.

(after writing this I remembered my mom reads this blog. but she'd be more upset that I censored myself because I was worried about her. yay cool free-speech moms.)

* 5) Relish or Sauerkraut on your hot dogs?

Relish. Saurkraut is just too saur. *har*

* 6) Milk or Dark Chocolate?

Dark. Duh.

* 7) Salted or Sweet Butter?

Salted, because I don't get to the store often enough.

* 8) Pastrami or Corned Beef on a Deli Sandwich?

I know the rule is no equivocation, but fuck Ed Levine, this is my blog. Corned beef anywhere but New York City, pastrami in the Big Apple, because outside of NYC, no one knows fuckall about pastrami, but corned beef requires malevolence to screw up.

* 9) French Fries or Onion Rings?

Onion rings. They're the only Sysco institutional restaurant product that I would pay for.

* 10) Espresso, Regular Coffee or Latte?

Latte, I taste bitter more than most. (vanilla latte, mind you)

* 11) Crispy or Pliant Bacon?

Pliant, crispy edges.

* 12) White or Dark Meat (on either chicken or turkey)?"

Dark meat. More flavor, more room to fuck up when you cook it, can marinate in some intense brews for a long time, resulting in through-and-through flavorliciousness.

I would add a 13th question: What does wasabi taste like?

If you've had real, I think that should count for something.

Oh, and Robyn blogrolled me. YAY! I'm only a bus ticket and a very awkward hello away from cooking a mad bubbling pot of green curry goodness for this woman.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Seriously filling pasta.

marinate chicken thighs in cran-grape juice, ginger, Pink Lady apple peel, and oyster sauce.

cook them in their juices until the pan fills with chicken scum. drain. brown on both sides. add soy and oyster sauce, cook till saucy, then cut the chicken up and cook more.

to a box of boiled spaghetti, add a can of Hunt's spaghetti sauce, three cloves of crushed garlic, and the chicken. cook to combine. when the noodles are saucy, add a dash of your favorite asian garlic chili sauce and toss to combine. serve immediately.

the meat tends to fall to the bottom.

this would be good with sausage too, but then again, i put chicken thighs and kielbasa in everything...because they give me more wiggle room. kielbasa already has good flavors- just get it brown. Chicken thighs are moist and juicy if you brine then sear them. They're more forgiving than breasts, even saggy ones.

also, try this.

1. spread salt on your cutting board. be generous.
2. cut up garlic over the salt.
3. keep cutting, making sure to incorporate the salt. mangle that clove until you get a paste, which can be added straight to what you're making.

5. or be lazy and just buy crushed garlic.

6. but then you'll suck. fresh garlic and a press 0wn5 anything jarred, though I admit to using crushed bottled ginger - shoppers was out of fresh root when I stocked up. (They usually have it - this is a place where you can get Pink Lady apples, lemongrass, chive blossoms, and great huge Mexican avocadoes. Yes, it's gonna be avocado milkshake time!

avocado milkshake
1 large avocado
1 scoop good sorbet (Edy's Whole Fruit is my aeroplane)
plain soy milk.

blend. this is almost certainly going to be way too thick.

This is great when you end up with large, relatively flavorless avocadoes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More on the wonderful Pink Lady

The arrival of your care package coincided with me getting a ride to the store. I picked up five apples, two grapefruit, and two hillshire farms sausages. one of those went on the grill last night. (dropped my pronoun, whoops - one of the sausages went on the grill)

on a related note, if you've never had a Pink Lady apple...well, you don't wanna eat your first one in public. They're that good. It's like SweetTarts, a fizzing pear, and Rainier cherries crashed into each other at high speed and somehow formed a new variety of apple. There's a Pink Lady sticker on my door, lower right corner of the Neato Burrito sticker - they're THAT good.

(If you've never been to Neato Burrito, get a buffalo chili burrito and tell Chipotle to fuck off permanently.)

Yes, fizzing. I've never eaten an apple that I could describe as "fizzy," at least not a ripe one.

These apples are so good, they make me want to cook with them. I had to restrain myself from turning my whole load into cobbler last night. They're so good, I don't know what to pair them with - they'd overshadow it. More amazing is that one of its parents is a Golden Delicious (that, and a Lady Williams, wonder which one was the man in THAT relationship, lol) which is something like 3/4 pear and 1/4 something that tastes kinda like apple if you really want it to.

Describing these things is hard without sounding pretentious. Or fucking bizarre, seeing as I've now gushed for onetwothreefourfiveandcounting paragraphs about a single fruit. Once you eat one, you'll understand. My biggest challenge is not eating all the rest of them right now - i know it'd overload my palette and i couldn't appreciate the complexity.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On grilled sausage

If I'm eating grilled sausage, I'm almost always happy. Unless I'm crying into the sausage at the time.

If that sausage is encased in crusty bread - 98% of the time, it's all good.

If there's good mustard and the skin pops just right, well, I may just blow a load in my pants right there.

Tonight - chicken italian herb sausage in a baguette with some random yogurt sauce the dude downstairs made. Yum. Also grilled up some Hillshire Farms hot sausage, which is okay, but screams for rough brown mustard, ideally with whole seeds.

I'm in love

with a Pink Lady.

Seriously. It's an apple that tastes like the best Fuji ever crossed with an exceedingly dry pear...and SweetTarts. (Cook's Thesaurus says it's a Golden Delicious crossed with a Lady William. all I can say to that is that I need to eat some fucking Lady Williams, cause I've never had a Golden Delicious that had ANY of these flavors. Pink Ladies taste like the love child from a threesome of Ranier cherries, Asti, and a tart pear, if such a thing exists)

The website says it's a "champagne fizzy taste." Google says "pink lady apple" has about 5,570,000 results.

Cook's Thesaurus says Pink Ladies are good in salads, pies, and for plain ol' eating out of your hand. On the last, I heartily agree. on the others...well, I'm buying five pounds of these on Saturday. I'll keep y'all posted. Cobbler is definitely happening. apple pie may also ensue. We'll see.

Interestingly, the Sundowner is also a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Lady Williams, but it doesn't have that lovely pink blush.

My dream recipe for these babies is a Pink Lady/Ranier cherry/Beaujolais/Everclear cocktail, served in a crazy melon. Yes, I taste the best apple of my life, and I think of how to make Jungle Juice with it.

Such is college, people.

If I ended on that, I'd be doing these apples a disservice. Fucking buy some right fucking now, dammit.

Look for mostly red - the cook's thesaurus pics are spot-on. Mine aren't that ripe.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stuff I wrote a few days ago and psaced out on

What I'm eatin'

2 boxes Kraft White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
a little one percent milk
a pound of chickechicken -italian herb sausage

chef tricks - i sirred the milk into the powdered cheese

anwyay. made a slurry with the powder and the milk before stirring it into the macaroni. it mixed a lot better than usual.

it's tasty. good combo. doesn't need extra cheese. I used a whole stick of butter, which is the secret. yum butter. soften the butter first - thatnkfully it's fucking hot in herre so i just left it out on the counter while i cooked.

oh, and skin the sausage. cut it in half, almost, leave the last bit of skin intack and pull the halves apart. it makes decasing much easier. break it up with your hands before panning and cook with tongs, breaing up and stirring every so foten - remember, browning = flavor.
NoChurchOrState: also, you can cover your cutch overn with your cast iron skillet and use that to preheat the pan.
Bohemian1899: thanks for the info
Bohemian1899: I haven't eaten all day
NoChurchOrState: oh, and don't overcook the noodls. I lways fuckingovercook the noodles.

i think i may be close to cloning Jones Soda FuFu Berry. the label describes its recipe as "strawberry, watermelon, and ?" and the ? tastes much like tamarind. at the very least, it's getting added to my next Jungle Juice.

which reminds me.

Three-Can Jungle Juice
1 can pineapple chunks in juice
1 can Canada Dry ginger ale (any probably would work, but this is what I made it with)
1 can Welch's grape soda (see above)

mix together. Drink in a large plastic cup seriously fucking on the rocks.

wanna do like a pan bread, which you then flip, and build a sandwich on top of, topped by dough, which would need to be flipped again to cook. hmm. if the dough's thin, it could work
NoChurchOrState: put dough into the skillet
NoChurchOrState: cook it on one side. flip it to the other side.
NoChurchOrState: put meat, cheese, and veggies on the side that's now on top. put a layer of dough on top of that.
NoChurchOrState: then, when the bottom part is done, flip the thing to cook the dough on top. start slow, then ramp up to brown it.

pb and j doughnut bread pudding
NoChurchOrState: oooh
NoChurchOrState: 3 jelly donuts
NoChurchOrState: 3 eggs
NoChurchOrState: 1 cup sugar
NoChurchOrState: 1 cup chunky peanut butter
NoChurchOrState: um. milk
NoChurchOrState: i'm ballparking this
NoChurchOrState: lol
GoodFriendWhoShouldJustFuckMeAlready: didnt know you like bread pudding
NoChurchOrState: i ADORE bread pudding
NoChurchOrState: vanilla extract

15 parts cooked rice
2 parts ham
2 parts pork
15 parts mozzarella
2 parts pecorino romano.

mix. make into balls. fry. Thanks, Road Tasted.

Do you watch Hell's Kitchen?

If you don't, and you want to see what it's like to work the line in a restaurant - a real one, not the piece of shit attempt at such that I worked at - watch it.

Then realize this kind of shit happens in every kitchen. Yeeeaaahhh.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Signs you're note ating enough mayo

It's separated, and when you stir it back together, it's more of a souplike consistency.

Ewww. Yet for some reason, unopened mayo is shelf-stable, so I had two more in my pantry - one of the few things I had left, yay shopping on Saturday.

Sriracha mayo is fantastic. Try this out.

three slices rye toast
feta cheese
sliced hangar steak (or any cheap, tough meat - you slice it thin, that's the trick)
juice of half a lemon
sriracha mayo (mix sriracha into mayo. if you fuck this up, relax, breathe, and try it again. Mine starts innocuous, then zings me with chili before backing off - there's no long afterburn. If you like afterburn, add more. also, make it in something that's not wide and flat. I made mine on a glass dish, and it wasn't ideal. a coffee mug would work fine. no need to whisk unless you're anal-retentive - little globs of mayo just make it interesting)

assemble as follows - one slice rye toast,
sriracha mayo, seared hangar steak, feta, mint and parsley, squeeze of lemon.

Mayo the underside of the next piece of toast and repeat.

Top with one piece of bottom-mayo'd toast.

Eat on a plate you don't like, then think about something you want to forget, and smash the plate.

Coming up next: I have no idea. but right now I'm thinking about pork fries.

Yes, I realize that makes no fucking sense. That's one of the reasons it amuses me.

I always loved Cuban roast pork. What if you did it to a tenderloin with Thai seasonings via an outer spice rub and a bunch of injections...and fried it like a turkey?

a tenderloin wouldn't cook all the way through like that. You'd need to butterfly it.

Maybe cut it into strips

Beer-battered tempura strips...

Ladies and gentlemen, Cuban/Thai pork fries.

That one was stream of consciousness - my thought process preserved as a blog post. Pretty cool.

g-d, i need to stop eating this mayo...

It Was Gonna Be Pasta Salad

angelhair, cut in half
extra virgin olive oil
roasted garlic
the following, cut into strips as thin as you can manage: some type of cured meat, fresh mozzarella, a red pepper, a yellow pepper, a seeded habanero, prosciutto.

if you want it cheesier, skip the EVOO (Rachel Ray is awesome, fuck all the haters) and put nonroasted garlic into a colby jack bechamel, which I'll post a recipe for as soon as I learn how to make one in a cast-iron skillet.

Mad props to Sylvia for helping me come up with the recipe, which was born in about a minute in the kitchen today.

Oh, and sriracha sucks in scrambled eggs. Put it on top instead.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Be good to your skillet!

I spilled strawberry Jell-O brand gelatin dessert in my skillet today.

long story....

To get it out, I tossed some salt in the pan, then ran upstairs for cooking oil. A spot of oil and a bunch of rubbing with a clean cloth later, my pan was both shiny and clean.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My skillet is the same style as the one in the "This is your brain on drugs" ad


Recipe Notepad

The good thing about constantly writing, no matter where you are or what you're doing, is that you never have that horrible sense of regret after losing something you know was good.

Instead, you have that feeling when you can't remember which notebook you put it in.

That's why I keep a Notepad file called Recipe notepad on my desktop. I keep it for any food-related musings. Here's what it's accumulated so far.

Southern Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding
cinnamon roll krispy kremes
crushed pecan sandies (instead of flour?)

cast-iron okonomiyaki?

marinate boneless skinless chicken thigh strips in a paste of oil and jerk seasoning.

fresh mozarella, thin tomato slices, basil, chicken. caprese quesadilla. lightly coat outside of tortilla with olive oil and a sprinkle of good salt.

free lunch program replaced by there is no such thing as a free lunch program

mmm. tasty.

I was going to bake brownies tonight, but I got as far as mixing the water in and about half the oil. Then I grabbed a fork. Yum.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Chorizo Hash and Eggs

Slice chorizo into rounds while your pan heats. (The potato prep takes a little longer than i'd like to do it while the pan's hot, so do that first) brown the chorizo then remove from pan. pat excess grease out, but leave it slick, and throw in two cups cubed potatoes. brown. remove. then three scrambled eggs, one fine chopped green onion, paprika, a dash of whole milk (all whisked together) and saltnpepper. scramble the eggs. when they're half done, turn off the burner and add everything back into the pan. stir to combine and keep moving it until the eggs firm up. then get them off the skillet and into plates, otherwise, they'll overcook - cast iron holds a heat like the Bush family holds grudges.

Potato Salad Skins

cut baby red potatoes in half. hollow out. spread across the bottom of a cast-iron pan that's been coated in olive oil. toss in an oven at 350 until it gets all baked-like - after you put cheddar cheese and bacon on it, that is. when it gets out, spread a sour cream/cream cheese/dill/tarragon/chive blend on top.

Wisconsin/Alaskan Scalloped Saganaki Potatoes

smoked cheddar
yukon gold potatoes
bacon Everclear (cook bacon. cut very small. macerate in everclear. alcohol burns off, flavor stays.)
bacon (cause hey. mmm bacon)

pink x p0ptart: you should do one involving mashed potato
pink x p0ptart: and maybe cheese
NoChurchOrState: well, you can do that crazy greek flaming cheese dish on cast iron.
pink x p0ptart: can you put potato in it? I think you should
NoChurchOrState: could do a saganaki scalloped potato
NoChurchOrState: fry slices of....oh, idk, a good smoked cheddar, pair that with good bacon and yukon gold potatoes.
pink x p0ptart: sure!
NoChurchOrState: flambe each serving on its own.
NoChurchOrState: licorice doesn't go with those flavors though. so the flames would have to come from soemthing that's not ouzo. Like bacon-macerated everclear!
pink x p0ptart: you need actual flames to cook potatos?
pink x p0ptart: with an E
NoChurchOrState: no, but otherwise, it's not flaming greek cheese
NoChurchOrState: chedar gets mild the warmer it gets. that'll work very well.
NoChurchOrState: you slice the potatoes, cover the pan, add cheese, repeat, then add heavy cream on top and make a coating. but not us this time, cause we'll flambe later and a topping would burn.

Cast Iron Nachos

cast iron nachos. cubed chicken. two different grated cheeses. mashed avocado. corn/lime/cilantro/habanero salsa. chips. layer of chips. chicken. salsa. cheese. chips. salsa. cheese. repeat until tall enough. stick in a 350 oven for long enough to open, pound, crush, and recycle one canned beer. remove. garnish with avocado, salsa, tomatoes, jalepenos, and ribbons of cilantro.

Yes, I know this isn't a real recipe. I'll get back with amounts later. For now, deal, and try it anyway.

It's been a hard day's night

and I've got recipes like you wouldn't believe, but first, some tidbits about cast iron that would otherwise languish unread in my recipe notepad.

Cast iron isn't always perfectly nonstick..but you CAN make pancakes in it. The secret is lots of butter and ignorng the recipes on the mix box - pour a little powder in the bowl, then add a little water. and mix. see how it looks. try it out. this is how you learn. fuck recipes.

top chili with that corn flour-heavy cream weirdness? keep in mind I've only made it with regular flour and no flavor before. (i mixed the whole milk and spiced flour i was using for the chicken-fried steaks...the post is down the page if y'all forgot already)

if you're making a sandwich, toss the skillet on medium for five minutes before you start making it - by the time everything else is ready (veggies cut, meat chosen, condiments applied to bread, cheese, etc, and cleaned) the pan will be hot - by using that pocket of time, you leave yourself nothing to clean but the pan - and toss the meat into the skillet. let it toast. let it get brown. brown is flavor.

i have to make a "use the back of the pan" fajita recipe. do it with chicken. do it korean style. oh hell yeah.

also, i know i can make green curry in a cast-iron skillet.

the cookbook we're writing here? call it... Pan American

the cast iron skillet is uniquely american
what we put in it is a melting pot of the cultures that make america great.
from lemongrass to chorizo, pirogi to pancetta, this cookbook's about great food, solid recipes, and the original nonstick cookware.

cover shot - me in chef jacket and jeans, steeltoe boots. flag bandana, stars out.(or in?) head down. holding my skillet up by the handle to cover my face.

pictures - this is a package of rice stick noodles. this is a package of rice stick noodles separated into chunks. this is how many of those chunks you should use.

and here are two quickies:

Guarana steak

for those times when you need a slap of beef and a buzz. buy a decent piece of meat for once - ribeye, ny strip, something like that. leave it out of the fridge for 15 minutes to bring it down to room temperature.

(you did remember to inject it with a mix of Crystal hot sauce and Goya Guarana soda that's been simmered down, right? Good)

Poke repeatedly with a fork, then hammer furiously with a blunt object. Rub with a paste made of pureed chipotle peppers in their adobo, garlic, white and black pepper, and my secret - a little brown sugar.

Sear on high, then kill the heat and keep flipping after both sides are brown. Chefs just flip it like a pancake. I use tongs. It's your call.

pork tenderloin with a woodchuck cider (one amber, one pear) pan reduction, in which sauerkraut is simmered for a long time to make it taste milder.

Bitterwaitress says

kiss my bitter ass

na na na na.
na na na na.
hey hey.
fuck my ex-restaurant.

currently drinking: Boing!, mango flavor. contains fifteen percent mango pulp and not much else. yum. i've gotta mix this into my next punch.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's cobblerin' time!

2 Fuji apples
1 Granny Smith apple
equal parts brown sugar and flour. about 1 1/2 cup
1 stick butter
powdered cloves (1/3rd as much as the rest of the spices)
1 cup pecans (I didn't try this, but it tastes so nutty and praliney already that it'd be a perfect match)

Core the apples and chop them so they're roughly the same size and thickness. Put them in your cast-iron skillet. (Yes, cast-iron again. I'm sensing a cookbook theme.) I didn't peel these because I'm lazy, but I like the texture it brings to the table.

Combine brown sugar, flour, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl until it comes together into a paste. Clean your hands by playing with the apples in your skillet until your hands are clean and they're coated with flavor. Drop the rest of the paste on top of the fruit to eventually make a crustlike thing - don't stress, it'll spread.

Cook on 350 in the middle of your oven for an hour, then crank the heat to 450 and move the pan to the highest possible rack in the oven and leave it there for ten minutes. Pull when almost too dark brown. Let it sit for 20 minutes before serving. Waiting longer will result in soggy topping, wating less time keeps the fruit/sugar/flour/spices from gelling.

This is the best recipe I've ever written. It works. It's probably better than your cobbler. Make it, dammit.

How I'd do the curry differently

I'd skin the sausage. It keeps getting in the way.

Also, cook the beans like this: wash them in a colander, then leave them there and use that colandar to drain the rice noodles after you let them rehydrate a ltitle. By the time all the flavors come together, your beans will be perfect - and mine stayed green without an icewater bath.

What I mean when I say "Fuck recipes"

I use recipes, but only as a starting point. I use them to learn proportions and specific techniques that I never would have picked up on.

Great example - the curry I made last night sugggested stirring in fish sauce and brown sugar at the end. I would've thought of fish sauce, which I had downstairs already, but I had to run upstairs for the sugar.

I think I could make green curry from scratch (with a recipe, mind you, but without a ton of measuring) but this Thai Kitchen green chili paste has a fantastic ingredient list: chili, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, salt, onion, pepper, rhizome, lime, peanut oil. That's it! Totally something you'd expect to have seen in some small ethnic supermarket in a big city - and it makes bangin' curry. I need more coconut milk.

Hell, I could put green curry paste in macaroni and cheese. New flavors are wonderful!

This is chili posting bitches!

Grab a drink grab a glass/after that I grab yo' ass - Kanye West

My original chili recipe is the one I made four or five times (I think) two or three summers ago.

That's quite the endeavor, since it takes a day and change...especially because I couldn't prep like a chef back then.

The original recipe is on my personal blog. This one is a freestyle, based on what I remember. Seriously though - fuck recipes. I write them because I don't have the words to tell you what my food tastes like...not yet, anyway.

Skillet Chili
Cook all ingredients in the cast-iron skillet before cooking them in the Dutch oven or slow-cooker. Except for the ones specified, of course.

You'll need
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
(green peppers suck - i taste bitter more than most people, so green peppers ruin everything. Triple this amount and double the rest of the veggies if you want to make the vegetarian version of this. I think it might even be vegan)
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and jalapenos (and seriously. if you email me asking if you can use real tomatoes and jalepenos, the answer is yes. use three large tomatoes and dice them, and chop six jalepenos fine. Leave the seeds if you want heat. Scrape them out along with the ribs if you don't.
1 large onion (whatever's best looking - red and white are my main ones, though a bunch of yellow onions worked too)
1 head (yes, head) of garlic. (Chop it yourself, dammit. You can avoid peeling it by buying peeled cloves, and you'll need 15 to 20. Chop them with some salt and mash under a knife)
2 pounds 80/20 ground (name your meat here. I use ground chuck or if it's on sale, ground sirloin, but you can do turkey, pork, chicken...)
1 Hillshire Farms kielbasa. (Your call on whether it's turkey, lite, beef, lite beef, etc. You could use their smoked sausage. You could use someone else's smoked sausage. The whole point is making it taste the way you want. I've used andouille - that was fantastic)
1 large can kidney beans
1 small can great white northern beans (large can is about 2.5x the sixe of the small can - it's the brand in the supermarket...I can't recall)


Put the peppers on your gas burner. Turn it on. Leave the peppers there until they turn black.

Put the peppers into a paper bag and close it up. Let 'em sit, you'll come back.

Saute the kielbasa (sliced lengthwise twice and then chopped, resulting in small quarter-chunks) and ground beef in the cast-iron. Brown it nicely. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

Saute the ground beef in the skillet until it browns nicely. While it's on medium heat, shake the paper bag with the peppers a few times, then unfold it, and tear it open. You need to peel the burnt skin off (don't have to get ALL of it, but you have to get most) and it's quicker to clean up if you do it on the paper bag.

Transfer browned ground beef to paper towel.

Open cans. Put in large pot set on medium. Stir to combine, then add the peppers after chopping them to the consistency you desire. (want thin chili? puree all the veggies. want thick, chunky? you know the drill.)

After patting the meat down with more paper towels, transfer the now-degreased protein into the big pot. Again, stir to combine.

Your pan should still have some grease in it from the sausage, so use that to cook your garlic and onion, chopped fine.

Once the onions are translucent and your kitchen reeks even more of onions and garlic than it already did, add them to the chili pot. Stir, motherfucker...stir. Then cover the pot and leave it alone. Leave it on medium. Ideally, have a glass lid and stare through it.

Your goal here is to get it to bubble, stir it, then turn the heat down to just under what'll make it bubble, and leave it alone and let it cook. You don't need tons of heat - everything here is already cooked. This will work in a crock-pot, too, though you might need to add some water.

Taste frequently. Sometimes I add hot sauce early and let it stew, or add it late and heat things up.

I write recipes like this because they're supposed to be a starting point. Really - don't make this like I said. Don't trust me. You know what tastes good. Try things. Experiment. Add peas.

Actually, don't add peas. Not to chili. It's just wrong. But that's me. You should eat what you want.

I like chili because you can use lean beef and lite sausage and cook it well and drain all the grease and put in more vegetables and it's even more filling and better for you.

If I had a bottle of red wine, I'd pat the grease out of the skillet with a paper towel and then deglaze the skillet with wine, then add that to the chili pot with a little stir.

If the flavor is too heavy/dense/salty, I use orange soda or not-from-concentrate orange juice to counterbalance. Guess that's why brown sugar gets added to curry - I thought mine tasted a little strong.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Green curry - the result

First, the recipe.

1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
four links of Aidell's andouille - about 13 ounces
green beans
a third of a pound package of rice stick noodles
24 ounces Goya coconut milk (would doulbe next time)
2 spoonfuls green curry paste (would not double until tasting and letting it simmer nest time)
rice wine

Brown the chicken on both sides.
Do the same to the sausage.
Deglaze with rice wine, then coconut milk.
Add curry paste, stir to combne, and simmer until you've got the flavor you want.
Add back the noodles, green beans, chicken, and sausage, and cover and simmer to bring it all together.

The curry paste jar said to add fish sauce and brown sugar after simmering, but I skipped that.

I used too many noodles - the result is more like Thai spaghetti that had a one night stand with jambalaya, but I can live with that. Make sure to cut the chicken into chunks.

Roboppy, this one was for you.

Is it wrong that I get thirsty when I see this?

mmm, grain alcohol

Friday, July 14, 2006

Reflections on why I failed tonight.

First, there's the obvious - I didn't take my ADD meds, so that hurt. I didn't get enough sleep. I didn't come in sharp.

More useful to those who have never done the whole "cooking for a paycheck" thing - I failed because I got too far behind and couldn't plan my moves far enough ahead.

I had two samplers and an order of fried calamari on the same ticket. I had most of it, but then a second sample and a spinach dip came up. Did I mention I had 20 wings frying at the same time? Yeah. I was frazzled.

Anyway, I put a ticket up top on the app rail but forgot to call the burger on it for the grill man, so everything got backed up. Then the shit hit the fan and I got chewed out in front of waitresses.

Sucks. I think I'll be washing dishes for a while.

Anyway, here's something I learned at the restaraunt that we don't do at the restaurant...for customers...unless I drop supposed-to-have-been-dry wings into the sauce. But let me start over.

First, marinate your wings. Hell, let 'em soak for a week. Then fry them until they're both golden and brown and they float

(about ten minutes was what I was told when I first started working, but I have no idea - I can make a lot of food while wings cook)

Then drop the wings into a flavorful liquidy concoction. Puree some ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, pureed scallions if oyu're feeling it (I so fucking wanted Chinese food after work. Fuck)

The trick is dropping them in a liquid that is either the marinade (no, not the exact same marinade. ew.) or something designed to complement the marinade's flavor as it's been modified by chicken absorption and frying...I can't do that, so I just use the same stuff.

Yes, sriracha woujld be lovely as the flavorful liquidy thing. Dammit, now I'm really hungry.

And since it's late and I'm lonely, we've got a blogger shoutout - Roboppy, yuu are awesome. Girl, may you continue to eat everything for a long time to come...and despite what I said on your Frappr map, I'm not weird, but I do plan on a NY Chinatown noodle-and-dumpling-geekout at some point via the NY-DC bus.

Green curry to come tomorrow if I can get a ride to the store after cashing my FAT ASS PAYCHECK. Five days a week sucks your soul out your ass...but it pays. Then again, they don't call it "giving away your soul."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Time for a throwdown!

While I'm loathe to admit liking anything that involves Bobby Flay besides Iron Chef America, his new show "Throwdown" is very good.

Here's the thesis - superstar chef takes on masters of certain kinds of cooking. So far, he's lost at pizza and barbecue, and I'm watching Battle Chowder (to use the Iron Chefenclature) right now.

Challenger has razor clams, steamers, and geoduck clams. Yum. Bonus: Geoduck is pronounced gooey-duck. He's also making a Bahamian monkfish chowder.

Flay's doing something with corn and lobster. else.
A sweet potato clam chowder - right. Yum. Not.

I like Flay's idea of using pureed corn to thicken the chowdah.

I'm more about chili, myself.

The post no one aspiring to chefdom wants to make

I was on apps today and just couldn't handle it. Three samplers were all day (still to be cooked by me) and it was too much. I got put on dishes, where I promptly cut my finger by reaching into the silverware tub.

I washed dishes with great energy. I grokked right action SOMEWHERE at least.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fun with Goya beans

I ate a bowl of Goya kidney beans in sauce with a little Ken's Italian dressing. Good combo - I'd do it again.

New drink recipe: The Purple

Ahh, purple.

1 can mango Arizona juice
1 can watermleon Arizona juice
1 can welch's grape soda
water (last three - all to taste)

It's gooood. Mango-watermelon-grape is a nice combination.

I haven't done much cooking because I ravaged my pantry the last couple days.

I'm thinking about making a batch of turtle brownies, but those'll be from a box.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Inspired by Iron Chef

I'm trying to cook one crazy thing a week. Next up, green curry with gemelli, shrimp, and Texmati brown rice.

Work was absolutely fucking insane. Last week (I forget the day, they all blend) I clocked in and five minutes later the power blew. Since I was on dishes, I did everything I could - piling the dishes into the sink, clogging it, and filling with hot water...till the hot water ran out - and then went to the bar and drank.

I also tried to hit on a journalist approximately twice my age. That was interesting.

The end of hte night saw a drunken crowd outside the restaurant watching fireworks. 'Twas great fun.

Best adjective ever, c/o Iron Chef America "peaness." Said like, well, you know.

Oh, and I learned to set a mousetrap. *shudder*

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Chickenfried steak - the results

I pan-seared one steak in the skillet, then battered and fried two others in oil also in the skillet. Here's what I learned.

Once battered, fry immediately.
Pat the meat dry before battering.

The batter didn't stick to the steak. Next time, it'll work better...but mostly because I'll do it in the deepfryer at work some Saturday and eat chickenfried steak and waffles for breakfast.

The steak was a little too salty - probably a result of the extra night spent marinating. The heat wasn't too big a deal. I want it spicier next time, and I'll replace some of the soy with sesame oil.

After I'd fried some corn tortilla quarters (tasty, but the oil was floury by then) I dumped the oil from the pan and tried making a cream sauce by mixing the flour and milk i'd used to batter the steak.

It turned into a griddle cake instead. Wrapped around the beef, it blunted the ferocious flavor with a gooey unctuousness that was a complete accident.

I'm definitely going to try this again with some of my cornmeal.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Jungle jucie and oatmeal. love it

Jungle juice

clear alcohol. I use Everclear, but those of you who don't want to drink something used as a solvent in laboratories might want to look into vodka. I recommend Smirnoff, the winner of a New York Times taste test. I recommend it so much that I paid for a bottle today to make vodka cranberries/Cape Codders at home. (Yes, Everclear is illegal in some states. If you break the law following one of my recipes, you're a fucking moron and deserve to reap what you hath sown)
1 mango
2 kiwi
3 apples
cran-blueberry juice
just enough sugar to make the bowl of watermelon taste a little sweet after you process/chop the fuck out of it.

Peel and chop the fruit. Mix to taste. Strain thoroughly. Serve cold. Leave the mango pit in and scrape it every now and then with the serving ladle. If you really want to be hardcore, serve it inside a watermelon.


3 packets Cinnamon Roll oatmeal
whole milk

Mix in just enough whole milk (by hand, naturally) to make it into a slightly soupy, but still thick paste. Nuke for two minutes. It should be too thick. Stir in just enough milk to make it palatable. YUM. This is my favorite post-tons-of-drinking food. If it doesn't stick to your spoon, it ain't gonna stick to your ribs.

The kielbasamac filled me up today - the rest of it minus the kielbasa is in my fridge. It'll be great in the microwave, for some reason unknown to me. I might serve the chicken-fried steak over it tomorrow.

Smacked Up Kraft Dinner

1 family size box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
1 stick butter
1 splash of whole milk at the very end
half a block of colby jack cheese
1 Hillshire Farms Lite Kielbasa (yes, I realize "lite" kielbasa is sacrilege, but this recipe is already cardiac arrest in pasta form)

The only real tricks to this are not overcooking the noodles, and making sure to put the broken-up cheese and butter in the pot before returning the noodles on top. Then pour the cheese powder on top, splash some whole milk on it, and whisk to combine.

Cut the kielbasa into varying shapes of similar thickness to vary mouthfeel and avoid overcooking. If any pieces get dark brown too early, throw them in the macaroni so they don't burn.

If I get a shower soon, I'll walk to the liquor store to buy a jug of wicked booze...and then share my recipe for in-watermelon Jungle Juice with y'all.

Kitchen tools that will make you better

Great chefs can make a five-course meal from the contents of a convenience store, over a Sterno can.

Those of us who aren't great chefs can benefit bigtime from certain specific tools. Here's what I need at my station at work:

A freshly sharpened chef's knife. If you can't sharpen a knife, learn. Your cutting will improve remarkably.

A knife sharpener. It's really not that hard - I taught myself how to use one.

A bread knife. I won't use anything else for bread or tomatoes

A cast-iron skillet. Okay, I don't use this at work, but I could - it's a thick, heavy pan that's ridiculously easy to clean and loves cooking anything that releases fat. It has no hot spots, so cooking is even all over, and I can take it off the heat to finish meats or keep things warm. You can fry in it, you can bake in it, you can even make soup in it (though I wouldn't.).

Tongs. Tongs are your heatproof pincers of food manipulation. The Food Whore loves them. Unless you can flip a piece of frying steak with your bare hands, rock some tongs. In a pinch, I've disassembled a mango with tongs, and if I've got tongs, I don't use my fingers or a knife to open packaged goods that have antitampering foil across the top.

Silicone oven mitts. Really. I'm working on kitchen hands, but until I get them, I'm using a thick towel to pull things from the oven. Silicone mitts would give me no fear because you can grab anything while wearing them and they go up high enough to protect arms from my biggest yet unrealized fear- that door snapping closed on me in mid-reach.

Welcome to the new blog/ Asian chickenfried steak recipe

I cook for the love of it...and because I need to eat...and pay the bills....

Today's recipe is a funky Asian-inspired chickenfried flank steak recipe that I'm very excited about.

two bunches green onions
eight ounces soy sauce
enough Thai Kitchen chili-garlic paste (the red one) to flavor
fourteen cents (a fourteenth of a pound) worth of rough-chopped ginger

The onions needed to be used or thrown away - next time I do this, I'm going to process the onions much better and take the time to press the ginger. The marinade still tastes fantastic.

I took a four-dollar flank steak and trimmed off all the tough white inedible crap, ending up with three steaks. I pounded them out extensively, then tossed them in the marinade in a glass bowl and stashed it in a fridge overnight. I

The dredge will be whole milk and fine enriched yellow cornmeal spiked with chipotle and paprika. I might hack up one of the big steaks and test a double layer of cornmeal on it.

I'm going to pan-fry in a cast-iron skillet. In butter.

I don't know if my heart can handle the usual heavy cream/flour sauce - I might just throw a can of Goya beans into the skillet after the steaks are done.

This recipe was inspired by groovy people (Jamie, James, Bill, and Mike, specifically) and work, where we had a chicken-fried steak special on the menu for the first time since I started there.

I don't know if this blog is going to be all about posting recipes. I hate recipes. I don't use them. I've only written one before.

I'm thinking next up is going to be something much less awesome - probably my formula for making box macaroni and cheese taste much, much better. This ain't the Semi-Homemade blog - but if I cook it, you'll hear about it.

Hmm. While I have oil on the stove, those Snickers in my fruit basket are screaming "Fry me!" All I need is to mix in the flour with fresh milk after the steaks are done...oh man, this could be fun. Thank g-d for tongs.