Corned beef patty with snow peas and cream sauce

Corned beef pressed into mason jar lids.

Snow peas

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

Corned beef production and with fried egg

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?


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.


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, shrimp salad, fries

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.

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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, red bell peppers, eggs, toast and juice

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.”

Salad, 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

Salad, smoked salmon

Cold, on a little bitty salad plate. Starting to see a theme here? Homemade mayonnaise dressing.

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.

Spaghetti 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 lockdown 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.

Salad, Caesar-like

Similar to Caesar salad except better and without any of those stinking anchovies.

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

Pilsner Urquell

Salad, salmon, penne, tomato

Fresh tuna, not tinned.

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

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

Kentucky brown

Saw this on Bobby Flay's Throw Down and decided to try my hand at it. I think I got the layers wrong. Should be tomatoes on top of turkey.

* my sourdough bread which results in a rather dense French toast, which I believe was Flay's way, not the traditional way

* I used roasted chicken.
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<--cop br="" out.="">* tomato
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* béchamel =butter + flour + milk + cheese

* bake

* bacon 

Tempered chocolate and 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're every likely to read.

Chicken soup with homemade chicken broth, vegetables and herbs

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.

Chicken broth from two roasted chickens

 If you bust up the bones, all of the marrow within them is pulled out into the liquid. Using a pressure cooker get the 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 is fantastic. A good deal of marrow comes through the bones even if you don't break them up.

The broth chilled in a tall container forms a layer of fat at the top that is easily removed, a bowl, less easily because it's wider. 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.

Hamburger with red bell pepper

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

Spaghetti 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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