beans, rice, pene

I'm clearing out the pantry. And the refrigerator and freezer. And the cabinets. 

potato pancakes, applewood bacon, maple syrup

The potatoes have two types of chiles, pickled jalapeños and dried Hatch, and a lot of horseradish and grated Parmigiano. The combative strong flavors are blanketed by the starchy potato.

Applewood bacon and maple syrup is an insanely good flavor combination. The syrup's gentle sweetness and its flavor separate and elevate and sharpen the smoke flavor in the bacon to an acute intensity so that it seemingly cuts the mouth's palate aggressively while the chile peppers sit by tamed and innocent.

bbq beef short rib, mashed potato, roasted red bell pepper and tomato soup

I didn't so much cook dinner tonight as assemble it.

The potatoes have hot chile flakes and horseradish mixed with them.

While the potatoes themselves are some kind of flake version in a box. 

Turns out, they happen to be very good. Especially with hot red pepper flakes and horseradish sauce mixed in.

The ribs are deboned and honey poured over them before being reheated.

beef short ribs, seasoned rice

Ribs cooked at Tony's Market, frozen, then I had only thaw and re-heat them.

Rice is cooked a different way.

* soaked in cold water for thirty minutes
* steamed for 13 minutes
* 2 X 2 inch piece of kombu included with the steaming water
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar included with the steaming water
* 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar included with the steaming water

spaghetti with spices, whole wheat dinner rolls

Olive oil is heated in a pan with salt and pepper and that right there would be great sauce.

Instead, a lot of other spices are added to the oil that it amounts to an American curry.

Hamburger meat is fried in the oil and slathered with all the spices like a sausage would be.

Pasta water is added and, bam, there's your sauce.

Leftover tomato sauce from a tin was added.  

Bread made the usual careless way except with more whole wheat flour than usual this time. Because I'm almost out of all purpose flour. They're a bit dense.

hamburger with sweet pickle and homemade potato bun

There is a hamburger place, a good one too, just a few yards from our building's front door, maybe more than a few yards, still it's hardly exigent to do this. 

Chosen for its plump pomposity.

Tarragon. It's so bright. And it just sits there waiting to be used and I hardly ever do then finally concede and go, wow this is wonderful.

"I'd like to meat up with you sometime."

     "Ok. Now!" 

almond, carrot, ginger soup with white kidney beans and dumplings

Pacific makes the soup, I make the dumplings.

For a small batch of small dumplings.

* 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons cold butter cut into thin pats
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon smashed tarragon

The soup is sweet. To provide the soup's predominate flavor of sweetness some competition the following enhancements are provided the pure simple mostly sweetness with real character of generous cayenne and pequin and garlic. 

* cayenne chile
* pequin chile
* garlic

corn fritters

A tin of corn and a tiny tin of hot jalapeño peppers are the basis of this batter.

* 1 egg and 
* few tablespoons flour added incrementally
* baking powder
* milk
* sugar
* salt, pepper
* additional chile powder or flakes
* vanilla
* melted butter

These pancakes are very good. Much better than their humble ingredients suggest. 

Real maple syrup.

If the batter is thicker and made with half corn meal then the thicker batter can be dropped by the tablespoonful into deep fat and fried as hushpuppies. 


Club Philly sandwich, Taste of Philly green salad

They have an interesting menu here. The thing is, their jalapeño peppers used to be hot and now they are mild. Nine out of ten jalapeño eaters agree if they are not hot then what's the point? Nothing on the menu is hot no matter how fiery it's titled nor how scary sounding the ingredients. As if an order came down from on high that nothing shall ever be actually hot. And it's just a matter of telling suppliers to make the jalapeño peppers hot.  

Their salads are surprisingly good.

Tonight a footie pajama version of a furry flash mob occurred in my area at the moment I stepped out to get this. The whole neighborhood is saturated with young adults dressed in animal pajamas with feet and hoods with ears and tails. Mostly innocent woodland prey creatures. Some homemade versions of batman made in the same style and with a tail. I saw two of those. 

A bit frightening, having groups of teens and post-teens gathering in wandering groups just looking for trouble. 

Then I realized: They're in their pajamas!

They must be the sweetest little things. 

And it turns out they are.

A gaggle was gathered directly in front of the Taste of Philly door. They were trying to get their group together and now my presence caused an additional complication. They must move. That took a moment for the realization to sink in for them. Sweet little dears a bit slow on the uptake. Having a good time but not really knowing what to do beyond dressing up in pajamas and going out for a rave. They all needed leadership. They really are innocent woodland prey creatures. 

I love young people.
"Can I bring you out a little salad?"
"I'm going inside. Can I bring you a salad?"
"Oh. Ha ha ha. No thanks. Ha ha ha. Good one. Thank you for offering."

See? Adorable.

double cheeseburger with jalapeño.

Burger Fi.

See, now what you've got here is two whole beef patties presented with their own b-b-q sauce and a veritable salad.

I realized that I can order jalapeño as an addition and that changes everything. What a smart thing to do. 

The dark green stuff on the bottom is jalapeño. It's actually spread all across one layer. There is also lettuce on top, mostly washed out by light. 

chicken breast strips in duck sauce, corn with jalapeño.jpg

This is two pantry tins and one small prepared frozen chicken breast. What a cop out! Just a few fresh vegetables would change this right up but tonight it's just slumming it by combining corn and jalapeño.

Even so, with a few chefery touches even two tins and one frozen breast can turn out very nicely.

It takes a small pot and a small pan. Both are started with butter. The corn is drained mostly and dumped into the pot with hot butter. 

The pan of butter is spiced up with whatever strikes you that moment. My choice invariably includes chile powder of one form or another. And salt. And from there it can go in any direction. Earlier I was thinking about sage but then dropped it later and went with oregano instead. But it could have had cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove, or any of the anise-y flavored spices and herbs. Turmeric, garlic and ginger powders, those sorts of things. 

So the butter in the pan is spiced up heavily, a little too heavily for each piece of chicken.

The chicken fries until it is cooked through, a few minutes. The pan is deglazed with wine. This not only dissolves the bits on the pan it also produces the magic of butter and wine combined. I used Japanese sake. Duck broth that was chilled earlier from the roasted duck earlier is poured over the seasoned cooked chicken pieces in the pan. The coating that is covering each chicken slice is lifted off the chicken bits and mixed into the broth. Butter, wine, reduced duck broth, spices. 

Meanwhile the little pot has butter, tinned corn, tinned hot jalapeño. Plus the duck sauce from the chicken strips. The mixture is pleasant. 

See? That there is what you call technique.

roasted tomato and red bell pepper soup with dumplings

This is the soup that is sold nowadays that comes in soft packages like quarts of milk and that are slowly taking the place of tinned soup.

The dumplings are full of butter cut into pats and smashed into cold flakes coated with flour the same way as pie crust except this has baking powder and baking soda to react with the acid in sour cream, the only liquid used this time, instead of buttermilk. The dumplings are loaded with tarragon. They are light as air even with all that butter and they are wonderful.

The thing is, I just now saw Jacques Pepin make this same thing from scratch. He cut and boiled red bell peppers and then tomatoes and then he ran all that through a food mill. I think he added cream.

And the whole time I was going, "Come on, Jacques, take it from the people who originated the tomato and chile peppers. They'll tell you to roast both items for deep flavor." No matter how fresh and wonderful his ingredients, this soup is better because the tomatoes and pepper are roasted.

duck soup with tofu and angel hair pasta

The chilled stock, made the same way as chicken stock with random vegetables, is ten percent fat and ninety percent aspic, a very good sign of heartiness, still its flavor is fairly two-dimensional. It has plenty of body so pequin chile flakes are added, the tiny very hot bird's eye type of chile, along with a few tablespoons of honey and these two items along with generous bay leaves and dry tarragon leaves expand the flavor profile considerably, challengingly and interestingly.

Blog Archive