aioli














Do I have to say it?  Plus salt and pepper, of course. 

Aioli is just mayonnaise with garlic added. So BFD on aioli. The thing is, aioli can be enhanced pretty much any way imaginable. My imagination invariably takes me to ginger, which some people don't much care for, and those people are to be shunned for being so persnikety, and it also takes me to going overboard with the mustard, because I make a habit of mixing the two anyway so I might as well put them together right here. For the purpose of the shrimp and bacon sandwich, it seemed something hot and something sweet would be in order, for major tongue happiness. So this batch of aioli is totally glorified. This process is probably shown better in video form. Come to think of it, there already are plenty of videos on how to make mayonnaise, but there isn't anything like this.


This hand-made aioli is 10⁴ superior  to anything you can buy, and it has 10⁴ applications, OK fine! Maybe only 10³ X 5 applications, but that's still a lot. That's why it's sooooo worth the trouble of making. I could eat it straight out of the dish. Plus it's fun!


shrimp and bacon sandwiches


shrimp and bacon

journey cakes

shrimp and bacon sandwich ingredients

shrimp and bacon sandwiches

breakfast, bacon, eggs, hash browns

Breakfast in nine images and no words. Except for these words, of course, and these words don't count.



guacamole







Accept no substitutions. Simply put, this is the best guacamole on Earth. No brag, just fact.

The idea for this approach was lifted from a beginner Spanish textbook. It was illustrated with drawings, a little picture of an onion next to "cebolla," a drawing of a bulb of garlic next to "ajo," that sort of thing. Which makes its muy authentico-ness indisputable, and made it so that even a total illiterate able to decipher pictures could make it. Kind of like a Denny's menu. Egg-zakly like a Denny's menu. 'Cept differ'nt. I've made it this way ever since, and it's incomparable. Now, this is not just me blowing smoke either. Everybody, and I mean everybody goes, "Bo, this is the best ... *swoon* ... guacamole I've ever tasted! " So eventually, over time, I became convinced.

* 50% avocado and 50% tomato by weight. Just estimate this.
* Gently squeeze the guts out of the tomato so the the dish isn't too wet.  What to do with the juice?  Drink it, of course. 
* Gently squeeze the avocado through your fingers to achieve balance of lumpy and mushy.  This cannot be achieved with a processor
* Go easy on the cumin, it's powerful.  But don't leave it out.
* Lime to taste.  Anything acid will do just fine.  Lemon, Grapefruit juice, even vinegar, especially a light one like rice vinegar.  Just get some acid in there, but lime is far and away the first choice.
* Jalapeño with care. These peppers vary widely in heat.  Canned will do.  Anything at all that is hot.  Habanero sauce, tabasco sauce, chile flakes.  Anything but chili powder, that stuff is gross -- it'll ruin your guacamole.
* Salt/pepper to taste
* Add the fresh cilantro, and BANG! day id iz.  Cilantro, like cumin, is absolutely essential.  They're two serious aromatics that speak directly of Mexico.  To omit them would be a regrettable negligence and would do a great disservice to this national treasure of Mexico. 

ravioli

In four pictures.





Did I say four?  Psyche!  Sixteen images combined onto four jpg files. 

pot roast



Meat and vegetables cooked separately in pressure cooker. Round roast cut into discs, floured and seasoned, sauteed then pressured on high for forty-five minutes. Vegetables using same liquid for fifteen minutes.

highly processed apple and cheese




Did I say highly processed? I'm sorry. Meant to say, cut.

granola



* steel cut oatmeal poured into a bowl
* salt
* brown sugar mixed with melted butter and vegetable oil
* corn syrup
* bag of trail mix
* chopped almonds and broken pecans
* coconut
* vanilla extract
* few tablespoons of whole wheat flour to assist clumpage
* few tablespoons water

Mix until slightly clumpy. Press into a lined pan. Bake at 350℉ for thirty minutes. Cool. Break apart. Photograph. Upload photograph. Tag photograph. Copy address of photograph. Enter blog post. Consume granola. Seek addiction therapy.

roasted chicken salad



You'll never get anything this good in a deli. No brag, just arrogance. The reason is because the ingredients are perfect and the mayonnaise is carefully prepared with imaginative components. Did I just now say carefully? I meant to say insouciantly, but masterfully,  with the certain knowledge that some things in appropriate proportions always work together well. Once you intuit the basics you can make enhancements and subtractions at will with confidence the result will always be excellent.

This dish, for instance, might look like a repeat but it never comes out the same way twice. This time I omitted garlic from the mayonnaise because I simply forgot, and added sugar. And nobody said,  "Hey! This mayonnaise would be pretty good if it just had a little garlic in it"  And do you know why?  Because I was the only person here, that's why, and I'd be talking to myself, then wouldn't I?  Used an apple in the salad because I'm long on apples right now.  Used commercial pickle relish which is also sweet instead of my own relish, so the result is sweeter than usual.  This dish as prepared here would appeal to children. 

No nuts, no raisins, no tomato, none of the usual additions except Parmigiano Reggiano crumbled, which is a little salty. Ginger from a jar because my favorite neighborhood store was out of fresh ginger last time I visited. That caused a slight but detectable difference.  

If you bought something similar from a deli, they'd have used generic mayonnaise from a #10 can and there's simply no comparison to home-made mayonnaise whipped up for the occasion. Also deli noodles would inevitably be overcooked. They'd use pre-shredded Parmigiano of poor quality, or none at all to keep down cost. They'd probably use boiled chicken. Dehydrated onion, or the kind that stings your tongue. See how all that would resemble chicken salad but totally fail in a contest with this? Of course you do. Plus this is fun to make.

pasta alfredo primavera carbonara



Frankly, I don't know what to call this. All I know is it's simply the most delicious pasta dish I've ever tasted. My lunch date agreed. She helped make it. It's a bit of everything all at once, and it's simply outstanding. Perhaps complexly outstanding. It starts with great ingredients.

* Hand made pasta noodles using semolina and whole grain home-milled flour coated, after being cooked, with a boat load of grated parmigiano reggiano. OK fine. Maybe half a boat load. A small boat. A toy boat. Half a toy boat full, how's that then?

* Alfredo sauce with garlic, habanero flakes, nutmeg and grated parmigiano reggiano.

* Chubby snow peas, yellow sweet pepper, sweet onion chopped roughly and cooked briefly in microwave.

* Fresh tomato, fresh basil

* Fresh egg, coddled briefly in acidified hot swirling pasta water.

The yolk of the warm egg which sits atop a nest of pasta mixed with vegetables, forms a rich sauce secondary to the Alfredo sauce that was poured directly onto the plate. So you end up with herbaceous vegetable laden pasta layered between rich sauces. Extraordinary. I was so sad when it was all gone. I wanted to lick my plate, but that would have been rude and there's always tomorrow.

When I make this again I'll avoid 50% milled flour and 50% semolina-- too fragile. Better to use something like 25% milled, 25% AP flour, 50% semolina. Not better tasting, but better cohesion and tensile noodle strength. This is true no matter what width the pasta is cut.

blueberry pancakes


OK, now, I don't care who ya are, that up there ^^^ is art.
click photo for embiggenation.  



Didn't have buttermilk so used sour cream to activate baking soda. Used both baking soda and baking powder for double rising action. Baking soda, a chemical reaction, occurs immediately. Baking powder is activated by heat. This is useful information for all your cooking needs that require rising. The egg also lightens up the mixture and results in a little rising action but that's negligible here.

Didn't measure anything. That would have taken all the fun out of it, now, wouldn't it? Here's how it goes, and it goes as quickly as a description of it going is written:

You know you need an egg but only one. This is for one person. Enough sour cream you imagine will activate approximately one teaspoon of baking soda, which turns out to be a few tablespoons of sour cream. Enough milk to create the volume you imagine will produce three medium pancakes. Sufficient flour to thicken all that liquid, added by the tablespoon to a thickness you visualize spreading on the surface of a pan. Salt, because flour is completely blah without it. Keep in mind you're using baking soda which is also a form of salt so take care to avoid doubling down on the whole salt thing. Sweetener of some sort because pancakes are supposed to be yummy and remind you of the sweet carefree halcyon days of childhood. Mix in the flour carelessly and loosely after all the liquid is mixed thoroughly -- don't want to unravel gluten proteins. Here, I used low-protein flour for ultimate fluffiness and softness. AP flour would do. Bread flour is undesirable for this. Add the baking soda and powder last. Mix with a spoon. Ta daaaaa.

Lumps are perfectly fine. They don't hurt a thing. They prove you are master of all you survey, and lumps are evidence that you are not neurotic.

Add the blueberries after the batter is poured in the pan otherwise they sink, they thaw, they melt, they bleed all through the batter and make an unsightly mess. If you feel you must add them to the batter before pouring into the pan, then coat them with flour. That'll help to suspend them within the batter, information useful for biscuits, cakes, and cupcakes.

chicken pie





Forty minutes in a little convection oven.

seasoned french fries



* kosher salt
* pepper
* hot paprika
* garlic powder
* ground rosemary

* catsup +habanero sauce

apple turnover




With:

* Grand Marnier
* Vanilla extract
* cinnamon
* allspice
* cranberries
* pecans
* whipped cream foam out of a can because sometimes I like slumming it.

Crust made carelessly and quickly by rubbing butter and a tablespoon of lard into low protein sifted flour with a spot of sugar and cinnamon. Cold water, chilled, pressed out, trimmed folded around a pile of filling, 30 minutes in tiny convection oven at 400℉.

enhanced cole slaw





* prewashed cole slaw
* celery
* sweet peppers
* apple
* parmigiano reggiano, da KING of a da 'ard cheezez.
* maionese con aglio e lo zenzero. 'ow you say, uh, da mayonnaise wid a da garlics en a da gingerz.

American fried rice



Oh, my God. Hold me. This stuff is good. All my favorite things brought together onto one plate.

Hot with habanero pepper flakes (grown on window sill), salty with fish sauce which is made from anchovy, sweet by the addition of small amount of brown sugar, tart with unique flavor of pineapple. Sour with unfresh white wine gone off. Flavor blasted with cumin because I just bought a new jar and felt like using some. Aromatic with basil because the cilantro I have is ready to toss out. All this at once! Like a party gotten all rowdy and out of control right there in your mouth.

White rice cooked the usual way; 25 minute on low simmer, 10 minutes off heat, covered throughout. This time it's not particularly sticky because I didn't intend to eat it with chopsticks, and looseness achieved by frying the grain in a Tablespoon of oil for a few minutes before starting off

Mushrooms in quantity. Onion, garlic, chubby hybrid snow peas, small harmless colored peppers, fresh pineapple, and of course, roasted chicken previously frozen the natural result of producing home-made chicken broth.

Shape with a moistened container like a tea cup or a bowl.

What? Want to know how to pull this off with the breeziness of a master chef? Fine.

Start the rice. You now have 25 minutes to prepare whatever ingredients you chose to include, which is more time than you need. Make sure you have a comic book or internet connection to keep you entertained for the additional minutes. Bored cooks tend toward meanness. Chop everything. Collect your flavorings. Decide if you want to include an egg or not. Go through all the flavors that can hit your tongue and imagine how you intend to cover them, taking care not to accidentally double down. For instance, salt could be soy sauce, fish sauce, or, er, salt. Sweetness could be mirin sauce, cane sugar, turbinado sugar, Splenda™, brown sugar, white sugar, honey. See what's going on here? You'll never make this dish the same way twice. Get the vegetables together. They can be fresh or frozen. Use whatever you have. Choose a protein, it can be anything, even tofu or beans. For my very first stir fry when I was ten years old I used a chopped up hot dog. Our Asian housekeeper, who was the person who taught me, thought that was hilarious. My flavoring was catsup which turned the whole mass pink and oddly overly sweet, she thought that was hilarious too. Turns out, she adopted my choices. Well, at our house anyway.

When you have four minutes remaining for the rice to finish steaming off the heat, begin heating the vegetables as a stir fry. The longest cooking vegetables first. Blast everything on high then abruptly kill the heat once they're all done which should be just a few minutes. This time, I used a large heavy pot rather than a large pan or a wok because I'm tired of things spilling out over the edges or flying all over the kitchen, and because I just don't care. And it's not like I was on television or anything. The last thing added is the rice freshly opened from the steaming pot or an egg worked into the mass. That is all. It's fun!

Ohferchristsake! Just realized. The whole point of making this dish was to use up some of the prewashed slaw mix that I was forced to buy in quantity. And I forgot to include it! What a dunce.

huevos rancheros


Con queso Italiano, mozarela e ricotta. <--- See what I did there? Gave the names of two Italian cheeses in Spanish that are cognitives in English. But why? Because huevos rancheros is eggs ranch-style in Spanish, a Mexican dish, but used here with Italian cheeses instead of Mexican cheeses because that's what I like and that's what I had. Therefore, what you see here is an American amalgam of what the cook knows to be Mexican but with a few Italian ingredients. I'm American. It's what we do here in America. That's why. Notice the French fries? The technique for French fries originates in Belgium, but potatoes themselves are New World vegetables, from Central America, unknown to Europe before Columbus, so they're preeminently American.  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. That kills me.  


The chief feature of this dish is the pork chili that fills the plate. It's key flavor component, aside from the pork and chilis and the tomato and the tomatillo and the large amount of onion and garlic is cumin, but only a trace amount of that because it's so strong, about 1/2 teaspoon for a huge pot of chile.

chili = the fruit of so-called pepper plants of which there is wide variety and degree of hotness.  No less than five different types of chilis were used for the above dish.  Two cans of prepared Anaheim for mild vegetable chili flavor, a small package of frozen Hatch for different chili flavor and increased heat, procured from roadside vendor where they roast them right there, a small can of jalapeño for a sharp chili flavor and even greater heat, dried habeñero flakes in small amount for different deep flavor and extreme heat, plus a tablespoon of Tabasco™ sauce, for yet another chili flavor and slightly different kind of heat. The resulting complexity of the various chili flavors and heats is outstanding and compelling.

No proprietary chili powder was used for that ^^^ up there. I hate that stuff. It's awful. Always gives me such the heartburn. I keep trying it and end up tossing out the whole can. Even those little packages of taco mix are all totally gross. The most direct way of ruining a meat-based dish, with the intention of making it hot, in imitation of south of the border, that I can think of. Best to just stick with specific chilis and mix them yourself with your own herbs and spices. Better still to grow your own chilis, dry them, and render specific species to powder.

chile = a stew-like dish made from chili peppers. Also the name of a country in South America. Don't ever conflate these two words or people could die.

Blog Archive