Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey trot - the only running we did was to get more food.

Building up to Thanksgiving day is such a battle with anticipation. I dont know if I should starve myself or if I should gorge myself to increase the size of my belly. I want to make mini turkeys so that I can test the brine and then since I am making a scaled down version I start thinking how I can miniaturize everything. Miniature Thanksgiving is a ridiculous idea so I am back to planning and anticipation. When "the big day" finally does get here I want to slow down the clock so that I can savor every single moment.

We started with Cynthia's bacon wrapped plantains, the sweet caramel goodness of the baked plantain went so beautifully together with the salty crispy bacon.

Roasted butternut squash and lobster bisque, dont knock it till you've tried it. I roasted the squash whole and I also slow roasted some cubed pieces turning them into butternut squash "raisins" - chewy, squashy delights. The seeds were covered in a little olive oil and sea salt and roasted till crispy then put in a coffee grinder to make "pepita dust" to be used as a garnish with the "raisins" and a dollop of creme fraiche - repeat after me - MMMMMMMMMM.

Not everyone likes sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows - I know it seems like its the "traditional" thing to do but damn its sweet. My solution - individual sweet potatoes in their jackets with browned marshmallows - these were a HUGE hit!

Whats a Thanksgiving dinner without lobster mac & cheese? Yeah right! Well this exciting dish was worked into the fray with astonishing results. Mezzemaniche pasta are as big as your thumb and they are the perfect foil for large chunks of lobster and creamy white cheddar - try it you will definitely not be disappointed.

You know, I have been making Thanksgiving dinner for me and my friends since I was 25 years old - that is a lot of turkey under my belt but truth be told I have made cornish hen, duck, and goose for some of those meals. I think I say this every year - this turkey was by far the most succulent and juicy bird - I think I am getting good at this, 40 hours in a brine of dried mandarin, juniper berries, rosemary and a pound of salt resulted in THE most juicy and flavorful turkey ever - I should have recorded the oohs and ahhs.

Dessert - lets see there was coconut panna cotta that vanished before a photo opportunity and pumpkin pie - we all know what that looks like but the star of the show was the creamy coconut cheesecake with a chocolate brownie crust served with toasted coconut and shaved chocolate and for a little added sassiness - a drizzle of raspberry sauce. Take that to yo' mamas house!

What it all comes down to in the end - a turkey sandwich - the whole reason I love Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Nothing beats a reheated plate of all the goodness except a sandwich, sure there were truffled mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet and salty cornbread dressing with italian sausage and tart and tangy cranberry relish with ginger but I want a sandwich.

This an entry for Denny's and Foodbuzz Baconalia.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu 2010

Thanksgiving is traditional enough as it is - I make all the same traditional things but I do them all a little different year after year. I pull out all the stops I purge the kitchen cabinets, the bathroom cabinets and I even go through the glove box of my car to make sure there isnt some secret little thing I was saving to include in the Thanksgiving meal. Take the Mezze maniche for example - pasta as big as your thumb - they are going into a lobster mac and cheese like you've never had before - forget regular lobster mac and cheese - this is gonna' blow that out of the water!

Here is the menu:

14 pound Roast turkey brined for 24 hours in powdered dried mandarin orange peel and juniper berries with rosemary (I prefer smaller birds - I think they are juicier)

Mezzemaniche con l'aragosta ed il formaggio (lobster mac and cheese)

Roasted butternut squash and lobster bisque

Bacon wrapped plantains courtesy of my friend Cynthia at tastes like home

Cornbread and italian sausage with giblets stuffing (dressing)

Giblet gravy
stock made, waiting on the fond

Truffled mashed potatoes

Individual baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Collard greens

Pumpkin pie

Coconut panna cotta or a coconut cheesecake (to be determined)
Edit: Made them both and they are chilling

....and anything else I think of at the last minute....

Last year I made a molten chocolate pumpkin pie - absolutely delicious! HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone - what especially different thing are you doing this year?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

foodbuzz top nine and some stuffed shells

First off let me sprain my arm from patting myself on the back - this was in my inbox this morning: papas con caldo with grass fed beef made the Foodbuzz Top 9 today! The Foodbuzz Top 9 is a photo-driven collection of top-buzzed posts within the Foodbuzz community. Congratulations and thanks for being a part of Foodbuzz! Check it out here: and be sure to let your friends know. Exactly what I am doing - letting my friends know, check it out.

There are many dishes out there that most people make regularly, in fact they make them so often they have their own "secret" methods and ingredients that make these dishes even more special. Stuffed shells seem to be one of those dishes. I have never made stuffed shells before, I have made countless lasagnas but never stuffed shells so as a stuffed shell virgin I decided it was time to break out of this safety zone.

Being the rebel that I am I opted to come up with my own filling even though there is a very popular and easy to follow recipe right there on the back of the pasta box. I decided that I like spinach so spinach was added to my ricotta and since spinach likes nutmeg, nutmeg was added as well. I used mozzarella, brie, parmesan and white vermont cheddar since I like a big mix of cheese. Garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper rounded it all out. My sauce is san marzano tomatoes, garlic, fresh oregano and salt and pepper - simple. I liked stuffed shells they are delicious but way too precious for me since you have to fill each one- lasagana is so much easier. (see the steamy olive oil, pasta and cheesy goodness, mmmm)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

nachos with blue and yellow corn chips

Some of you may see me on facebook and you might notice that I post pictures there before I write the post over here. Its a new bad habit I have developed since facebook does not require that I type whereas the blog taxes me creatively. I know what you are thinking "there isnt much creativity here on this blog just a lot of snarky crap" well I have news for you - creativity comes in many guises and so do nachos.

As a parent it is our job to create positive memories for our children and I do this through food. Seriously what better memories are there? My son has been eating "nacho cheese with nacho chips" since he first coined that term 7 years ago. I have always made the chips myself because the crunch and chew of a fresh tortilla chip has no equal.

Blue and yellow corn tortillas get cut into triangles and fried while I melt some cheese into a thick sauce to pour over the piled high mound. I add either some salsa or pico de gallo before drizzling the hot cheesy goodness and lately I have been making things "kamikaze" style where I hide some piece or pieces of really hot chile as a little "surprise" that he totally loves. What are your favorite food memories?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grass fed New Zealand Angus ground beef con caldo

When I first tasted this beef I was instantly taken back to my childhood. I know what you are thinking, "you didnt know I grew up in New Zealand," well, I didnt. I grew up in Bosque Farms, New Mexico. We had a small farm with some goats and sheep and a milk cow and a steer or two,  sometimes a pig and usually chickens - all grass fed in our pasture with plenty of alfalfa and sometimes as a treat they got grain. We had a large garden with melons and cucumbers and tomatoes and chile, we had fruit and nut trees and most of all we had open space, unlike my life here in New York City. What am I getting at? This is my point - when I took one bite of this beef I was nostalgically returned to my childhood, I remembered how good meat was supposed to taste and I dont mean that meat is good I mean GOOD meat. This is by far the best tasting ground beef I have had in some time so to honor this beef I made a dish my grandmother used to make for me almost everyday for lunch (my grandparents had the farm and I grew up with them) - Papas con Caldo - otherwise known as Potato Soup.
Papas con Caldo is a simple dish packed with flavor and its so easy to make: brown some beef, in the browned beef saute some onions, tomatoes and garlic, add salt and pepper and then add broth, stock or water and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Thats it, its done. Serve with corn or flour tortillas, red or green chile and you have a lunch fit for a king. This one is served with a little spoonful of green chile and a little sliver of fresh ghost chile (hottest stuff on the planet so be forewarned). Food of my culture and roots from my past - I will never let them go.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burger winner is announced

After deliberately deliberating I determined that it was next to impossible to pick a winner so I thoughtlessly decided that the most careless thing to do is to use

Why not - there were no onion rings seasoned with guajillo chiles in the batter- no fries with a spritz of truffle oil - nothing special about this little "sandwich" besides the absolutely delicious beef why should I not take the easy way out?

What I will tell you is the burger in this contest was lame - a patty on a bun!? - now THIS is a real burger - grass fed New Zealand beef on a pedestal! There were a lot of great entries and I wish I could give a prize to some of the most prolific entrants - some people were on a roll - get it? Anyway.... Christina said "Cubicle cuisine – it’s what’s for lunch" and that pretty much sums it up. Christina please get your address to Justin so he can send out your prize - you will not be disappointed in this beef - it is so good. What sweetens the deal is by virtue of your winning this contest you are eligible to compete in the Ridiculously Delicious Challenge. You win twice.

THIS is an Angus burger plus a winner of 10 pounds of grass fed beef

Happily I announce that I am the winner of 10 pounds of New Zealand grass fed Angus burgers.

Yup, I went ahead and picked myself, Ha - just kidding YOU ALL win so get me your addresses so I can send you 1.2 ounces of your share of the winnings, Ha - still kidding - you wont find the winner here - but you will find it HERE. What you will see here is how I rocked this beef of beefs, hand cut fries, onion rings and a sesame seed bun - NOW THATS A BURGER!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

check me out

Hey there, I am so excited to share this with the world...

Here is a little sample that I posted a couple years ago but wrote many years ago.

tippy toes

Im a vulture wearing english clothes
a night hawk on my tippy toes.
I might be a night time gambler,
killin' when no body knows. I watch
the little chickies peckin' they never
look around- no, no. I scoop to claw
the puffed out breasts, I grab them with
my tippy toes. The big ole rooster dont
see me commin' he never looks around
no no, the mamas cant run fast save them
when I squish em right between my toes.
Now I love to hear the chickies sqwakin, like
to stare em' right between the eyes then I
like to take my big beak pointed and I poke it
in so deep I cry. when the chickie pops fast
I swallow cause I like to keep my feathers
dry. Now I drread to be lookin' backwards
when the knife comes piercin' through the
sky, and I dread to be lookin' backwards
when the poison drips right at my eye, and
I dread to be looking backwards when a
bullet wants to say my grace, and I dread to be
looking backwards when my death is
coming at my face. Now I might be a night
time gambler, walkin' on my tippy toes. I might be a
night hawk vulture takin' right before I go. But I
wont be a road kill loser, lyin' flat between the lines,
if I dont see the plate glass window I hope the
lights dont make me blind. I cant dance away prancin'
-happy on my tippy toes.

copyright cg 20o8/1993

mark my word

Oh and DONT leave your comments in the the comments - you have to click the link and leave them there!

Thoughtless. I am often thoughtless and in fact I am sometimes careless and thoughtless and deliberate and that is not a good combination. In honor of my lack of regard here is a contest. Yes, another contest. This time YOU are the winners. Exactly. 1 winner will get 10 pounds of angus burger delivered fresh to your door. You need to be thoughtful,careful and deliberate. Give this picture some meaning. Please dont be careless. Ten Pounds of deliberate are hanging on the line so be thoughtful.

Caption this picture get ten pounds of angus beef burgers, how simple can it be. Send in as many as you want but remember only the best one is going to win and if no one cares and no one wins then I get to eat 10 p0unds of angus burgers - by my self. Think about it. Oh, and I am the only judge! If you want I can announce a winner now and you can try and dethrone ever you want to do it - I am game. Mark my word. 10 days ten pounds ten whatevers one winner! Winners like to win everyone else is collateral damage. Be deliberate and win.

This all the legal stuff that disqualifies most of you so you better read it and ask questions so you win fair and square. He works at marxfoods and he has for many years, this is an actual angus burger in front of him, he has had exotic burgers before - remember he has worked for the business a while - he is a little jaded. Make your answers count. To receive shipment if you are the winner you must have an address in the USA.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

stack of jacks - holy cow its a pancake recipe

You see this - its a complicated link to a complicated process to vote for a cheese thing I made.
How do you look like a champion on a Sunday morning? A piled high stack of buttermilk, chia seed and blackberry pancakes certainly cant hurt.

Already delicious buttermilk pancakes get an extra burst and melt in your mouth softness from the addition of chia seeds, but throw in some blackberries and sweet all that is precious do you have yourself a gold medal winner.

Christos Cakes
(recipe may be doubled or tripled or double tripled its up to you)

1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup of buttermilk
1 egg
Chia seeds

Mix all ingredients together add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
Ladle batter on to hot griddle and place 3 blackberries in each pancake - cook until golden and serve with hot buttery maple syrup.

Buttery Maple Syrup

1 cup of pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Mix butter and syrup together and serve hot over pancakes.

How do you like your pancakes? We had applewood bacon and sagey sausage links on the side.

Dont forget the caption contest - you could win 10 pounds of grass fed angus burgers just by being witty!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

if there is a bandwagon I'm on it!

Lately if it isnt a contest or something I am not blogging and this post is no different, you cant change horses in the middle of the stream now can you? I am entering another challenge. Marx Foods and the Foodie BlogRoll are teaming up to sponsor the first Iron Foodie challenge! 25 chosen contestants will receive a package of 8 ingredients from Marx Foods' exotic collection of edibles. Then the contestants will have to use 3 of the given ingredients to create a dish that could win $200 in store credit - now how cool does that sound? Jenn and Justin are going to wrestle or something to decide who gets to compete so before the challenge it will be the "Battle of the 'J's"...wish me luck.

  1. Why do you want to compete in this challenge?
  2. I am so excited to see what the ingredients are going to be that I am doing the unthinkable - I am thinking instead of reacting. I usually let the seasons and the ingredients guide me and then I react but in this instance I am researching recipes from around the globe in preparation. I used to watch the original Iron Chef in Japanese with no subtitles long before the FoodNetwork ever was - I am psyched!

  3. Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in & why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
  4. If I have to choose from this list it would have to be Careme but if it could be a mix of Escoffier and Careme then that would be ideal. One is the originator and the other is the orginators best student and as a student myself what better lesson would exist?

  5. What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family & friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?
  6. Any thing fried, anything crispy, anything with cheese but if I can make you think its not worth it then anything I can talk you out of and tops on this list would be bone marrow.

  7. Sum your childhood up in one meal.
  8. My moms homemade pizza with ground beef. The smell of the dough rising, the ground beef bubbling on the crispy crust with her special sauce and the ultra rich cheesiness of the mozzarella is only the beginning, my mom was frugal and refused to buy things she could make herself so not only was pizza day a big deal but so were the extras she made and put in the freezer so my brother and sister and I could reheat anytime.

  9. The one mainstream food you can’t stand?
  10. There really are not too many, if any, things that I cant stand but what does ring my bell is the lemming nature of people. If I have to hear one more "foodie" claim, like they just discovered a new planet, how much bacon rules I might just scream! Throw brussels sprouts in there and I might just scream at you!

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