Tuesday, September 29, 2009

this is life. what a fucked up thing we do. like drinking mojitos days before october. y'all know how i roll.

omg greatest mojito ever.

i made the syrup from demerara sugar and water, 1-1, and put in a shit-ton of mint. let it steep for an hour, and then muddled it right before bottling. (old trickling springs milk bottle, in case you're wondering - stuff goes fast but it goes bad spectacularly when it does - we'll miss you, delicious/beautiful amazing zest of one orange in equal parts demerara and water syrup whcih made great sweet/sourjitos with a wedge of orange mujddled alongwith and the rum pured over the grater, but i digress)

The mint is from Shady Brook in Broad Street Farmer's Market. They know me as :"beef stew guy." We had the following conversation

Guy who works there: "Okay, we've got your potatoes - both kinds, the peeled garlic, twelve shallots, three big whtie onions - did you need anything else?"
Me, checking down the list but panicking before I hit the bottom, "WHERE'S MY MINT?"
Owner of the stall: "You need mint? I got mint."
Me: "I see two bundles. Can you do two?" I'm nice, if he's saving it, that's fair.
Him: "I can do as much mint as you want. How many do you want?" He had me at "mint."

The stew from that shop, btw, along with two pounds of beef back ribs and two pounds of pot roast, my roasty potatoes, and some caramelized onions, is in the bottom of my mom's fridge. She liked it, I haven't tried it yet. It's lunch, tomorrow, and I 'll get steamed rice from a vendor at Broad Street which is always nice for lunch. Burned the SHIT out of myself making it, so much that I bought tongs at the kitchen supply store. Comically long tongs. Those will be good for a laugh. I could turn burgers without leaving the toilet with those.

Anyway, this mojito is in a Mason jar. It's full. I poured layers of syrup and rum (they eventually disintegrate, but it looks cool, now to do it for real) and then dropped in a bunch of mint (not a whole bunch, but like ten sprigs and a lime nad a half, muddled the shit out of it, flipped the muddler to the proper side, muddled it to much greater effect, and then added most of a small can of Jones Spookiwi seasonal kiwi soda. It's crisp and tart like their Green Apple, which I'd love to use in a mojito if I could fucking find any.

It's good. I stuck a three-cube section of ice cube into it, stirred by pushing that around, and am loving it now. Is strength is responsible, in part, for this loquaciousness.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So, I wanted to cook an incredibly awesome beef stew recipe I wrote recently. That didn’t end up happening. Instead, I cooked this, even as I got a great peer edit on my written original recipe.
12 shallots
Four sweet white onions
A pound of short ribs
Two country style pork ribs (three pounds)
30 pearl onions, peeled
4 carrots
Red wine
Beef broth
3 large turnips
3 pounds chuck, pot roast meat.
Two pounds baby potatoes
One pound of bacon.
One pound sliced white mushrooms

  • Chop large onions and carrots. Peel shallots and pearl onions. To peel pearl onions, cut an x in the root end, toss in boiling water, then pull after just two minutes. Pop into an ice bath, let cool, and pop out of the skins.
  • Get the shallots and pearls into a pot of half decent red wine and half beef stock. Put on medium, leave alone and uncovered.
  • Chop turnips. Braise bacon a’la Julia Child’s boeuf bourginon. Dry on paper towel. Put to the side.
  • In another pan, cook the sweet onions in butter until they turn light brown. Stir frequently. Add to later bowl when finished. Same with the mushrooms, except they go in the allium braisefest when cooked.  
  • Once bacon is dry, saute it in a little olive oil until it gives up its fat and gets tasty. Remove with a slotted spoon, then get the pan really fucking hot. Pat-dry all your protein just before addignt ot he pan. Sear the country style ribs on all four sides until nice and brown. Same for the short ribs – bone side first. 
  • As meat finishes, throw it into the pot you’re cooking all of this in. Don’t add the shallots and pearls until the very end.
  • Chop the chuck into relatively uniform pieces (it’s stew, relax) then redry with paper towels. Toss with flour and immediately place into absurdly hot pan. If you don’t have enough room in one pan for all of it, get another one hot as fast as possible – floured meat will get soggy fast. It should be dry to the touch.
  • Turn when browned, brown on other side before adding to pot. Then dump all the onion on top. Then all the root veg. Then realize the root veg won’t fit. So spoon it out and bake it in the oven next to the pan for the first hour and a half it’s in the oven at 350. At that time, pull the veg, taste the sauce, adjust with whatever, and then stir in the roasted veg. Braised and roasted – cold weather is certainly upon us.
  • The stew should be finished with mostly beef stock and enough red wine to cover everything, as well as a bunch of thyme and three cloves of garlic, smashed. I dumped in half a bottle of malbec instead of what I was looking for, the cabernet sauvignon I used for the boeuf last week, but it tastes better at half an hour left than the sauvignon did two days old.
  • This is a dish, as mentioned just words ago, that keeps VERY well. Unless you’ve got a better tongue than mine, wait til at least an hour and a half in to adjust the sauce.
  • So what happened to my previous recipe? The butcher shop sold all their neckbones, but their country style pork ribs (which have bone, one of my requirements) were beautifully marbled. I couldn’t find fucking parsnips anywhere. ANYWHERE. Sorry, Lisa.
  • The guy at the Broad Street produce shop (third building or first building, depending whether you park on the end closer to the Army surplus store or the elementary school) was out of parsnips and mint (cry, their mint is a dollar and amazing) but charged me just under fourteen bucks for all the produce in this recipe. For comparison, the shallots alone at Karns would have cost fifteen. Although I would’ve liked my itemized receipt. Regardless, amazing quality and absurd prices. Go when they’re getting rid of everything, around 3.
  • Finally, the short ribs? I’ve wanted to work them into something for a while, since I freaking love braised anything, and I talked to one of the Karns butchers (great meat, great seafood, absolute shit for produce, and horribly expensive mediocre-quality mint) about using beef bones in the recipe. We discussed the various merits of baby back ribs (may try that later) and then settled on the short ribs. Two came out to a pound, which was 2.50. Sold. I spent more on novelty potato chips.
  • So where’s the awesome recipe I teased at the beginning? It’s not here yet. It needs enough reworking that it needs retyping, and I’m just barely awake enough to type this as a single-shot stream-of-consciousness transcribed babble.