corned beef



Corned beef pressed into mason jar lids.

snow peas

chicken veloute sauce + home-made mayonnaise with ginger and garlic.

corned beef





Turns pink when cooked. 

The idea of corned beef has never appealed to me.  Then I saw a cook on Food Network's Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives, make it by grinding his own corned beef roast and adding diced potato.  That gave me the idea to try it for myself.  Plus, it gave me an opportunity to play with the grinder.  

ice cream



Vanilla, one with fresh pineapple the other with banana both were frozen then blended with mixture made with Tahitian vanilla beans. No extract.
ganache is a handful of dark chocolate chips with a splash of milk microwaved for 30 seconds.

Here's the thing about this ice cream.

papas fritas



The thing is, I had a sack of very large Idaho potatoes that were starting to bud. I'd hate to waste the whole lot, so I picked off the buds, rinsed them off and stuck them in the pressure cooker, which is large. Just managed to press them all in. Cooked them at the first red line for twenty minutes which turned out to be a few minutes too long. Pealed them after they were cooked, an unnecessary step. I cut them all into large wedges, they'd be thinner wedges had they not been so soft. Froze them all except for one potato which I cooked in oil. Dehydrate fry at 350℉.

Took twenty pictures of my fries then realized my lens had a big ol' fingerprint on it. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

gnocchi




Sage butter.

hamburger patty with frozen vegetables




I've been having problems with simple sautéed hamburger patties. I like them completely done through but they turn out way too tough, so I decided to trying something different. Browned slightly in vegetable oil on both sides, then put in a pressure cooker with a slight amount of water. Added about a cup of completely frozen mixed vegetables on top and let 'er rip to the first red line. Then shut off the heat immediately and let it sit there for 6 minutes. This turned out great. But honestly, 4 or 5 minutes would have done the trick. The vegetables were actually slightly overcooked.

I tripped when I was carrying this plate. Luckily, I bashed into a cushioned chair without spilling a single thing. But, Man, does my toe hurt.

ebi


Sushi rice 
1 Cup short-grain rice 
2 Cups water boil, then steam for 25 minutes. Cut heat leave covered additional 10 minutes
1 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS  sugar
8 precooked shrimp
nori cut into strips
wasabi powder to paste

Chicken salad made from held-over chicken breast plus homemade mayonnaise pickle relish, diced onion.

spaghetti with pesto



Commercial pesto with cilantro.
Held over meatballs.
Photo, enhanced lighting with slave flash.

flatbread hummus



* flatbread dough made with za'atar powder
* hummus
* roasted pepper
* feta
* basil

egg rolls


Egg rolls:

* shredded cabbage cooked
* shredded carrot
* pulled pork cooked
* cilantro
* onion
* garlic
* salt
* pepper

set egg roll wrappers out on clean table. Keep unused wrappers covered with moist towel or plastic to keep from drying out. Spoon mixture onto egg roll, roll up half way, tuck in edges, finish rolling moisten edge with water plus corn starch as glue. Deep fry in 350℉ oil until golden brown. <-- 100% of nonsense. Psyche! Buy frozen and bake at 400℉ convection for 22 minutes. Same as fries. Parboiled in advance, frozen, baked at 425℉ 45 minutes. Frozen precooked shrimp. Ha Ha Ha.  

catfish breakfast



Smoked, of course. Something had to be done with the strawberries before they turned, so I added a bunch of my favorite stuff, a bit of cornstarch to thicken and chilled them in a jar, which very nicely resolved the dearth of jam around here.

chicken broth miso soup




This was an excuse to use up more of the smoked salmon. While at it, I poached an egg inside a ramekin floated in the pasta water. Tossed in a couple of frozen shrimp. The rest is the usual suspects plus feta cheese sprinkled on top, because I'm a bit long on feta right now, and a tablespoon of that stupendous mayonnaise which has a limited refrigerator life because this time it isn't cooked. A very small handful of spaghetti noodles were broken in half for manageability. This is the chicken broth made earlier pictured above in its gelatinous aspic form. The miso is a specialized brand not readily available in supermarkets. It's a notch above ordinary miso, actually it's the pinnacle of miso,  made the traditional way by guys donning special cotton socks and smashing the cooked beans underfoot. HaHaHa. I'm totally serious.

What? Don't believe me? NYT article on Owner, Christian Elwell, unfortunately behind their subscriber firewall. Apparently, I'm allowed due to my crossword subscription. A snippet:

Over two days the koji is stacked and restacked in trays, in special formations to cultivate slow, healthy growth. Mr. Elwell adds sea salt, which he imports from Baja California, and mixes in soaked and cooked beans.

Workers pull on cotton socks and plastic booties and pound the mixture with their feet, like winemakers of long ago. It takes about an hour to tread 600 pounds of miso.

“It’s the difference between receiving a loving massage from a human being and one from a roll-back chair,” he said in his office, which smelled pleasantly malty and sweet from the beans and grain fermenting — for as long as three years — in cypress vats downstairs. “That energetic quality that goes into the food creates a different quality in the food itself.”

smoked catfish sticks


* egg
* corn meal
* masa
* flour
* lard
* water
* smoked catfish
* onion
* garlic
* water
* cumin
* Italian seasoning
* habanero pepper flakes
* salt/pepper

bake 400℉ 20 minutes

smoked salmon salad



Cold, on a little bitty salad plate. Starting to see a theme here? Homemade mayonnaise dressing, the third attempt, and positively brilliant! I heart making that stuff. Presently, it's one of my favorite things. The way it thickens in seconds is just so chemical-reactionly stunning. It's become my favorite sauce and condiment. No more mixing mustard to commercial mayonnaise for me, no sirree. Goes with everything imaginable. I opened a tray of shrimp, the kind that's peeled and deveined and arranged in rows intended for a party. I didn't realize it came with a little tub of the red menace. I nearly threw it out on impulse. Why would I use that stink'n crap when I have my own beautiful brilliant sauce? Who knows what they put in there? I decided to keep it around for awhile just to see if I ever might use it, on a dare.

You know, you really can't go wrong by smoking a metric ton of Pacific salmon. It pretty much guarantees your federally recommended monthly allowance of those important Omega 3s. Expect to see a lot more on how to get rid of, check that, creatively use a batch prepared in advance. Is that redundant, prepared in advance? Concocted in advance. And carefully stored -- to promote good snacking habits.

smoked catfish


Savu smoker bag

These particular bags are for chicken but I used it for fish. I don't trust the one for fish to be strong enough. It was all an experiment. Since I  fired up the oven to high, and since the bags are a bit expensive, I wanted to get the most bang for the buck so I filled up the bag to capacity. That involved mixing salmon with catfish which I'm not certain is wise. I aimed for overcooked, dried out, jerky-like fish. I did that once on a grill and it was fantastic. I ate six whole trout that day because I just couldn't get enough of the stuff. Of course they shrank beyond recognition. 
 

savu instructions on the inside of the package 

frozen salmon.


frozen catfish


 cooked fish


I cooked the fish so far beyond what is reasonable I really expected them to be close to charcoal. What I got instead was fantastically moist, not at all overcooked, delightfully smoked fish. The texture and flavor of the catfish pictured up there could not be improved.  So I didn't get what I aimed for, but I ended up with something a whole lot better.  I was a little bit disappointed and totally delighted at the same time. So I'm conflicted. 

I recommend this product for smokerless apartment dwellers.  It seems to be idiot-proof. Didn't even set off the smoke alarm, which is set to supersensitive, even the toaster gets it screaming.  The kitchen has a faint aroma of alder smoke, but then I have an entire baking tray full of smoked fish still in there.  

The bags are hard to find locally so the internet is where to go. Amazon or eBay will have them. Since shipping is an added expense, I suggest going ahead and popping for a dozen. You'll definitely use them. I know I will.

velouté



Sauces are fascinat'n, aren't they? You can tell by the color and translucency it's a velouté, in which a light roux is whisked with some stock or broth. I used the chicken broth  the meatballs were soaked and stored in because it was there and I didn't care to waste it. Velouté is one of the mother sauces in French cuisine and a full hundred years older than Béchamel to which it's closely related. If you think about it, taking a hundred years to get from this to that, you're left to conclude there weren't all that many great chefs in France in the late sixteenth century. Just say'n.

All these wonderful things to put on pasta. How is it that marinara has the lock down on spaghetti in this country?

Oh blast! The whole point of this today was to put tomatoes with pasta, and I forgot the tomatoes! What a dunce.  That makes me want to go and eat a tomato right now.

Caesar



This is not technically a Caesar salad, it's not even close, but this is America and we do whatever we want and call it whatever we wish. Screw tradition. Once in a restaurant a very young darling girl of a waitress came bouncing back to our table and asked me what kind of dressing I wanted on my Caesar salad. My date and I accidentally burst out laughing. And that was mean. We didn't have the heart to explain it to her. The thing that makes a Caesar salad unique is how the dressing is prepared in a wooden bowl. It involves a raw egg and a smashed anchovy. Plus lemon and a spot of Worcestershire sauce, I think. And oil, of course. Croutons and a few flecks of Parmigiano. In the US, it's been distorted to mean anything with mostly Romaine. Rome, Caesar, get it? Actually, it was named after the guy in a Acapulco restaurant who invented it one night by chance from ingredients on hand who was named Caesar, the brother of the owner, and not for the emperor of Rome. There are several stories at variance regarding the origin of the salad, but that's the one I'm sticking with. OK, now these vitally important facts just might save your life one day.

Romaine
croutons (sourdough w/butter)
pecans
Parmigiano
Mayonnaise, (homemade) OMG, I can't get enough of that stuff!

Pilsner Urquell

salmon



What can be done with canned tuna can also be done with a piece of fresh or frozen salmon, or any fish for that matter. Simmer the fish, steam it actually, for a few minutes in whatever liquid you like, water, wine, broth, or any combination. Four minutes max. Remove it before you imagine it's done.

With penne pasta and some favorite fresh vegetables. On a bed of Romaine lettuce with basil, parsley and tomato.

Another batch of homemade mayonnaise. This batch pissed me off. It totally wouldn't thicken just like the last time so I cooked it again (the jar inside a shallow pot of boiling water) like the last time, now that there makes me grumpy, but this time it separated and looked totally disgusting, which was distressing. Fixed the disaster by getting another jar, blending another egg with the same immersion blender then adding the separated mixture slowly into the spinning egg. It thickened right up within seconds, like it's supposed to be and smoothed out into a beautiful creamy mixture all before my awe-struck wondering eyes.  Cor!

*does the Happy Mayonnaise dance*

But still, it made a huge unnecessary mess. I do recommend trying this, I'm certain you'll be pleased with yourself. Miracle Whip™ people should add a teaspoon of sugar. Personally, I like 'em both, mayonnaise and  Miracle Whip, I inevitably add mustard to round them out so when I make mayonnaise, I pre-load it with mustard and whatever other flavor strikes my fancy at the moment. My mistake in both cases is adding the oil too quickly at first. Boy, when they say "add by the drop" they really mean add by the drop.  I can't wait to try again, more slowly next time (but only at first).  For this purpose, I shall procure a squeeze bottle.  <--- HaHaHa,  "shall" what a funny word.



My Belgians were like this mayonnaise. They could be naughty as hell, but put on a lead, run them through a few quick paces and they snapped right into shape. Startlingly so. Like little obedient Nazi dogs. It was a bit frightening, actually. It was like; resort to the thing they know they're good at, and all peace and order breaks out upon the world.

apple fritters



This was a whim. I wonder sometimes how these things get invented. Then I realize there's a thousand ways to do something similar. Sweet, savory, processed to varying degrees. The same idea could be done with apple slices coated in flavored batter, like a sweet tempura.

* I grated my apple because I wanted to see what would happen.
* added cheese to mine because I like apple and cheese
* used cake flour because I'm out of AP flour and I didn't want to use bread flour. The difference is protein level. Cake=low, AP=medium, Bread=high.
* egg, because batter just isn't batter without an egg. Well, it is, but it's eggless then, innit?
* baking powder for lift
* apple because that is the whole point of the thing.
* cinnamon, Americans like to use a LOT of this. I don't. Which would make me Canadian, were I not born in Ohio to American parents.
* clove -- a minute amount for a secret BAM! behind the cinnamon.
* ginger -- powdered ginger which is a whole 'nuther animal from fresh ginger. They're both fantastic. I like to put them where you'd least expect. In small amounts so they don't take over and make people go, "Yo Dog, wuzup wid all dat gingah?" That would never do.
* sugar
*salt

Kentucky brown



Saw this on Bobby Flay's Throw Down and got the impulse to try my hand at it. I think I got the layers wrong. Should be tomatoes on top of turkey, and this makes my sandwich a total affront to the world of browns and a lasting insult to the people of Kentucky. This damage cannot be repaired until I make it again and get the layering right.

Violates the "thou shall not overstuff your face" rule. One piece of bread would be sufficient.

*my sourdough bread which results in a rather dense French toast, which I believe was Flay's way, not the traditional way
*used roasted chicken of which I have a vast amount resulting from making broth, instead of turkey. Who wants to mess around with a turkey anyway? Every time I do I think, "Why not just roast an ostrich or an emu or something?" I suppose you could use sliced sandwich turkey. <--cop out.
*tomato
*béchamel =butter + flour + milk + cheese

bake

*bacon

chocolate boxes



The story about chocolate boxes is told in a brief series of photographs here, including the most concise and useful description of chocolate tempering you'll ever have a chance to read.

chicken soup



This is what making your own broth is all about. Toss in a few fresh vegetables and herbs and you've got heaven on Earth. I added some of the roasted chicken, a by-product of having made the broth.

Miso also makes a spectacular additive.

chicken broth







Here's the thing about all this; if you roast the chicken instead of boiling it then you get flavor added to the chicken instead of flavor removed from the chicken. If you bust up the bones, all of the marrow within them is pulled out into the liquid. Using a pressure cooker assures maximum marrow extraction and speeds the whole process plus it's fun. This whole thing could be done using a single pot and just boiling the chickens, but the resulting cooked chicken will have donated whatever flavor it had to the broth. It's how my mother made chicken and dumplings, which was fantastic. A good deal of marrow comes through the bones even if you don't break them up. Or, you could roast the chickens in the same pot you later use to boil the carcass. You could add onion, carrot and celery, the usual mirepoix, except in careless big chunks and unpeeled onion adds color. I didn't do that here because I don't need added flavor, I want the purity of straight broth to use for several purposes, and I'll add those things later.

The broth chilled in a tall container forms a layer of fat at the top that is easily removed, a bowl, less easily. I like to keep some of the fat because I like a bit of fat mixed into the broth. The layer underneath the fat is usually uniformly gelatinous. That giggly gelatin is aspic that formed from bone marrow. It melts when cooked and it's what spectacularly differentiates your homemade broth from commercial broth. You can use chunks of this chicken gelatin for bowls of broth, or for sauces, or wherever a flavor liquid is desired. I like to scoop out about a cup, throw in a tablespoon of miso and a handful of fresh vegetables for a rapid emergency meal, or just a feel-good meal.

This is one of my favorite things to do and it's a 100% improvement over canned or boxed broth. There simply is no comparison.

hamburger



On sourdough cut into eights for shoving in you hamburger-hole convenience. With tomato and feta.

Spag with red pepper



and snow peas with tomato and basil and feta.

French style omelet



Behold the utter simplicity of barely cooked egg with just a trace of fromage et herbes. That would be herbs and not grass, naturellement. Avec un verre froid de lait.

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