Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When I finally got the long and cumbersome box from foodbuzz home after walking all the way across town because FedEx didnt call me from downstairs it took me a minute to figure out what it was, that was before I read "Bread Shipper" stamped on the outside. My loaves of Nature's Pride showed up. My first thought was I was going to use it all up instantly and make a giant bread pudding just because I could, then laziness and common sense kicked in and I made a sandwich instead.
The bread is good, I have whole wheat and 12 grain. I made this hamburger sandwich with some toasted whole wheat and it was nice and fresh.
A little sliced onion, some fresh field tomato and lettuce livened up this mustard, and mayo cheeseburger. So if you see this bread at your store, go for it! You know bakery owners only give each other recipes on a knead to know basis!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Before you get all bent sideways 'stuff it' is not only a conjecture but also a process. Not all the tomatoes I picked up from the market were perfect for slicing and eating in fact I had a few romas that were a little dry and a little hollow and all that did was give me a good idea - stuff those bitches. Ugly never tasted so good!
These are stuffed with ground beef that ate grass and was euthanized and then was browned and sauted with onions and garlic and some purple basil that were always treated special that was mixed into the 5 cheeses, asiago, fontina, parmesan, provolone and ricotta produced by cows that relaxed and then baked at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes until you could scare the skin right off em' and eat em before they felt naked.
Some yukon gold potatoes were stuffed and baked with the same meat thing and served with some oniony sourcream; and while they were spanked they did turn out to be over achievers.
Couldnt leave out the plantain. The plantains were stuffed with a little bit of a different concoction of ground beef, sauteed onions and garlic, green olives and cilantro and covered in queso de oaxaca before being baked, there were no bananas hurt in the making of this dish. The moral of the story: whenever you dont know what to do - stuff it! Why have a whole meal when you can eat a meals worth of side dishes?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Weekends can go either way with me, I can sometimes go way over the top or I can fall back on what comes easy. Lately I have been busy with being busy and its the kind of busy that creates future busy so it is necessary.
After spending a nice afternoon at the farmers market enjoying all of the late summer produce, the artisan cheeses, the wines and baked goods it woke me up a bit. This time of year you get all the tomato varieties all piled up and ready to be chosen.
I went ahead and picked up a few orange tomatoes and some purple basil and then stopped at the cheese and sausage place to pick up a fresh and warm mozzarella to put this ensalata caprese together.
A few cheesy sliders cant possibly be a bad idea especially when you have a fresh baked baguette and some fantastic grass fed beef, not to mention the delicious field tomatoes. Simple standbys are often just what the doctor ordered.
Definition: Marinate means to coat or immerse foods in an acidic-based liquid or dry rub, to tenderize and flavor before cooking. Food is marinated in a marinade.
Pronunciation: MAIR eh nate • (verb)
Examples: The steak is marinated for a few hours before grilling to tenderize.
This peeves me almost as much as the misuse of 'accept' and 'except'. I wouldnt mind so much if the purpose wasnt to try and inform people and it is this kind of misinformation that should not be encouraged. It is a little like asking Helen Keller for driving directions.
Braise, broil and boil. You do not braise with the broiler!
What Is Braising?
Braising is a cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. The best equipment to use would be a crock pot, pressure cooker or Dutch oven. LeCrueset makes a range of enameled pots and pans that are good for either the stove or the oven. They work well too.
Whether you choose to use the oven or the top of the stove, you will be pleased with the results. Braising is often used as a way to cook less expensive, tough cuts of meat. The end result is tender and flavorful. Other than great taste and economy, there are other reasons to cook this way.
After searing the meat, the remainder of the cooking time (until sauce/gravy preparation) does not require much attention. Once the heat is reduced, you can go about cooking other things, do some chores or take a break. This is also a plus when entertaining: you have more time for your guests.
Yet another plus of cooking with this method is that the meat tastes great and you also get delicious broth, sauce or gravy. It’s one pot cooking at it’s finest. There isn’t much to cleaning up and anything leftover can be reheated or frozen and reheated for later.
This method of cooking is great for tough cuts of meat but also works well with chicken, fish and/or vegetables. You can braise in a crock pot, pressure cooker, large saute pan or the most often used cooking vessel for braises, a Dutch oven.
What Is Broiling?
There are two different types of broiling. One involves cooking the food in an oven which is set to a “broil” setting. The other is called pan broiling, and it takes places on the stovetop using dry, high heat. Both produce slightly different end products, especially pan broiling, which can sometimes be closer to sauteeing than broiling. Broiling tends to produce a large amount of smoke, so it is important to do it in conditions with good ventilation. To broil in an oven, most people use an oven with a separate broiler rack, usually located beneath the oven. The food being broiled is inserted, and the oven is turned to “broil.” Broiling directs intense heat at the food from directly above to quickly sear and cook it. The food may need to be turned if it is particularly thick, and it should be broiled in a sturdy cooking pan over a broiler tray. To broil on the stovetop, a sturdy frying pan is used. The stove is adjusted to a high setting, which sears the meat when it is placed in the pan. As fat is produced, it is usually poured off. Thick foods should always be flipped to ensure that they are properly cooked. Some people liken broiling to grilling, since it is essentially grilling in reverse. The heat comes from above, rather than below, but in both instances high heat quickly sears the food, sealing in flavor and moisture. As the heat penetrates the food, the food is cooked through. Both broiling and grilling can cause food to burn if it is not carefully watched, so always keep an eye on foods being broiled. Typically, food is marinated before broiling. Most cooks go light on the fat, both to make the food healthier and to reduce the amount of smoke produced. Marinades which are high in sugar can also produce a great deal of smoke, and may form unappetizing bits of charred material. Remember that broiling pans and trays are very hot, so handle them with care until they cool.
There are two different types of broiling. One involves cooking the food in an oven which is set to a “broil” setting. The other is called pan broiling, and it takes places on the stovetop using dry, high heat. Both produce slightly different end products, especially pan broiling, which can sometimes be closer to sauteeing than broiling. Broiling tends to produce a large amount of smoke, so it is important to do it in conditions with good ventilation.
To broil in an oven, most people use an oven with a separate broiler rack, usually located beneath the oven. The food being broiled is inserted, and the oven is turned to “broil.” Broiling directs intense heat at the food from directly above to quickly sear and cook it. The food may need to be turned if it is particularly thick, and it should be broiled in a sturdy cooking pan over a broiler tray.
To broil on the stovetop, a sturdy frying pan is used. The stove is adjusted to a high setting, which sears the meat when it is placed in the pan. As fat is produced, it is usually poured off. Thick foods should always be flipped to ensure that they are properly cooked.
Some people liken broiling to grilling, since it is essentially grilling in reverse. The heat comes from above, rather than below, but in both instances high heat quickly sears the food, sealing in flavor and moisture. As the heat penetrates the food, the food is cooked through. Both broiling and grilling can cause food to burn if it is not carefully watched, so always keep an eye on foods being broiled.
Typically, food is marinated before broiling. Most cooks go light on the fat, both to make the food healthier and to reduce the amount of smoke produced. Marinades which are high in sugar can also produce a great deal of smoke, and may form unappetizing bits of charred material. Remember that broiling pans and trays are very hot, so handle them with care until they cool.
What Is Stewing?
stew (st, sty)
What Is Roasting?
When you roast something, you are cooking it with dry heat, and the heat surrounds the food. Roasting is different from steaming or braising because you don’t want to add moisture to the food. For instance, a pot roast is actually a braised dish, because you add moisture and cover it to moisten and tenderize the food. Roast beef, on the other hand, is cooked without adding moisture.
In roasting, the food is cooked from the outside in, and the heat surrounds the food. Originally, roasting meant putting a chunk of meat on a spit and setting it over an open fire, and turning it frequently so that the fire seared and cooked the entire cut of meat. Now, most of us do our roasting in a conventional or convection oven.
All of this information is available on the internet so if you are ever unsure - look it up!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Blog viagra should be a prescription any one of us should be able to get any time we want. I just dont have any blog mojo lately. Did Dr. Evil have something to do with this? I feel like warm lettuce and I act like a rotten peach. Maybe its my little trip to the land of opry that slowed things down. Mental notes abound about not leaving my comfort zone especially when this involves going to an even more comfortable zone. I am a dull knife. I cant get my edge back. I havent had a unique idea in days. I could lie and say I am reading too many blogs but I dont even do that.
One more year past the begining and one year closer to the end, my birthday week is over and I am now on a new fiscal year.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Chicken is one of my most favorite things to eat besides crab legs. I know the two dont even seem in the same ball park but that says a lot about chicken. I want to thank everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes and special shout outs to "tony" and to "jessi" as it turns out we share a birthday!
A super shout out goes to Kenny in Hong Kong who was ever so kind as to send me a card and two cookbooks. It is this kind of generosity that is hard to measure. Thanks so much Kenny, I have already picked out a couple of appetizers that I am going to attempt. Next to Kenny's books are a bottle of truffle oil and another Julia Child cookbook (that makes two for me now) that I received from the lovely Banana, who is always thoughtful.
Rosemary chicken with garlic and a baked potato served with a side salad of cucumber and sour cream.
I went mushroom hunting and found some more chicken mushrooms (orange on the left) oyster mushrooms (center) and a bolete. I was inspired by the maitakes (hen of the woods) that I saw here and thought my 'spot' might have some but alas no, it was a little dry, so I am hoping in a couple more days since I found so many last year at this same time.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Nothing impresses more than a souffle, and nothing impresses more than a chocolate souffle, and nothing impresses more than two large chocolate souffles with a grilled peach sauce.
These were bigger than they look.
What should you eat before a delicious souffle? How about a super huge sandwich of yogurt marinated rosemary chicken with grilled squash, avocado, tomato and curried mayonnaise!
Washing it all down with an adult beverage can take the edge off anything.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I may not have been around the blog in a while but that doesnt mean I wasnt slingin' hash. The little trip to Nashville was fun. I got to see some old college friends, one that I see about once a year and another that neither one of has seen in more than 10 years. Oh, and we are all native New Mexicans, yup we are from the Land of Enchantment!
We drank we swam we talked about old times....
(this is the one I see often and I think he is going to do something so I am suspicious)
and we even went honky tonkin'.
Most meals were for about 8 people on average -ages varying- so as a result of that people ended up eating blurry food.
In Tennessee they put the beans on the cornbread and then they put stewed tomatoes on top of that, not my favorite.
What was my favorite was having huevos rancheros with Hatch chile.
We drank so much and even put food in the pool.
I found all kinds of edible mushrooms. (well two kinds at least)
that were added to wild mushrooms I brought
that went into the risotto that we floated in the pool!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Trips are not something I embrace wildly. I am the stay at home kind of guy, typically, so when the trip to Tennessee was sure, I knew I did not want to go. Ask around it was not high on my list. After much reluctance I am here, and I am glad.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Watch out Tennessee - here I come!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saffron is such a fantastic condiment. A little saffron can turn the mundane into the unmundane. There are a few grades of saffron out there that I am aware of and to be honest I only use the cheapest one I can find. This particular saffron or azafran came from the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico from the Rio Grande Herb Co to be exact and in fact it is not a saffron at all but it sure does look like one!
We are still on the comfort trail so that school nights afford the most of everything so that the school days are a success.
Pork loin sliced thin and cooked fast and hot with pico de gallo, string beans and potatoes with 'saffron' butter. I dont want to spoil you with too many recipes but if you cant figure this one out I dont know what to tell you.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Gather around vegetarians I am going to show you falafel, one of my favorite vegetarian delights. Falafel has got umami as far as I am concerned. There are plenty of falafel places around NYC where you can get a hot and tasty sandwich for around three bucks, but if you were me you would decide that was too convenient and you would endeavor to make your own.
So instead of it taking a few minutes to pick one up and wolf it down I made an afternoon out of it. Fresh falafel is like nothing else and when I say fresh I am not talking about a reconstituted dry mix.
"But the falafel houses all make theirs fresh." You would say and you would be right but I wanted to make my own.
I used this basic recipe:
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Oil for frying
Preparation:Place dried chickpeas in a bowl, covering with cold water. Allow to soak overnight. Omit this step if using canned beans.
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste), add flour and pulse in a food processor resulting in a thick paste.
Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball.
Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
foodbuzz is having a contest and boy would I like to be in it! I guess we all would, now wouldnt we?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The chicken mushroom is also known as the sulphur mushroom because of its color - but why is it known as the chicken mushroom? This mushroom has the texture of moist chicken when its young and tender, and it gets to be like an old stringy bird as it gets older.
When young this mushroom is so choice I should probably be keeping it a secret. While it is orange and yellow in color and it somewhat resembles a lobster mushroom it is not.
It is easy to spot, easy to identify and easy to prepare and there is hardly any of that earthy funkiness that you associate with mushrooms, its hard to describe the soft and moist and delicate flavor. Its time to find these now so keep an eye out. I saute the pieces in a little olive oil and butter and then salt and pepper to finish, they would be so good with pasta or anything you want to kick up with a truly secret ingredient.