Saturday, April 30, 2011

Increasing Food Costs

It seemed like the cost of everything was going up as I paged through some invoices at work recently, then I went to the grocery store! Wow.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer presented an interesting read on exactly how mush things have changed recently and what local stores and customers are doing to deal with it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Foie Gras Butter

If you enjoy the flavor of Foie Gras you will like this recipe. First, it is a great way to stretch a relatively small amount of very pricey Foie. Secondly, there seem to be a lot of people who have trouble with the texture, and this technique eliminates that issue. The main ingredient is obviously Foie Gras. There is no need to seek out the most perfect piece of grade A super fresh liver. When I can find them Foie Gras Pieces (company’s trim from portioned slices) work great especially in light of their price point which is usually a third of the price as whole/portioned pieces. Also, don’t skimp on the booze. Use whatever you like, but don’t cheat yourself. Most liquor stores have a variety of pints if not little ‘airline’ bottles. Take the time to find what you want.

Foie Gras Butter

Eight oz room temp. Butter

Four to six oz Foie Gras

One shallot, sliced
One tsp thyme
One tblsp brown sugar
Two to four oz booze, I like Jack Daniels, port works well, scotch if you like, even sherry.

Salt and Black Pepper

Sear the Foie just as if you were preparing it to eat meaning one to two minutes per side. Strain the solids away and chill while returning the rendered fat to the pan. Over medium heat caramelize the shallots, and then add the thyme and sugar. Deglaze with the booze and remove from the heat as soon as the alcohol has burnt off. Chill this mixture to room temp.

You can use a fork to mix this up if need be but a food processer works best. Blend everything together at room temp. Roll this mixture up into a log with plastic wrap and refrigerate. This log of Foie Gras goodness can be frozen and used straight from frozen with great effect.

How to use Foie Gras Butter you might be asking. This recipe was designed as a compound butter to top steaks with. It would also work great in mashed potatoes, on a piece of tuna, over vegetables, or in a soup. If the butter is heated too much all the fat seems to separate, which isn’t totally bad, but just be warned.

Michael Rhulman recently had a nice post about eating Foie Gras at home. I hope we can open people’s minds to such a wonderful product.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When a lack of resources is a resource!?!?!

I’ve had the great pleasure of looking into the crystal ball and seeing, well, something, or nothing. I mean what is the difference really? Any specific something could quite possibly be nothing. Likewise staring at nothing might well end up being something! It’s just too early to understand the whole thing.

I’ve dined on very exquisite food as of late. Let me think, grocery store fried chicken. It’s better than you think. Tomato soup out of the can taste a little….wait…. not a lot like ketchup and milk. The grilled cheese Sammy on the side is great! Papa John’s pizza is good, the more toppings the better. I stopped by K&K meats the other day. Salami, Bologna, and bread, now I’m good to go. I hit up the West Side Market, on Good Friday no less. Well they must have sold all the butter lambs, but what I did find is some lamb balls……yes, testacies, and I purchased just one. I’ll eat it today. Or that is the plan at least. Like tongue I enjoy eating it, but prepping it is the shit. I also had some pork shoulder chops in a rice and beans mix from the $ store. That shit was tasty.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Which came first the Peep or the Egg?

Well as it turns out the egg, the deviled egg that is. The preparation of boiling an egg, cutting it in half and refilling the yolk cavity with a spicy mixture of yolk, and mustard can be traced back to ancient Rome. The term ‘deviled’ was first put to print in 1786 in reference to this particular egg preparation. A time when other ‘deviled’ foods implied something prepared in a spicy manner. In the U.S. we mostly prepare deviled eggs around Easter. They are more commonly made throughout the year in Europe especially in the warm summer months. Currently chef’s in the U.S. have beamed their creative powers into making unique yolk mixtures by adding more upscale ingredients such as lobster, crab, smoked salmon, caviar, wasabi or mushrooms.

Peeps are a more recent addition to the Easter holiday table. In 1953 Just Born, a Russian immigrant, acquired the Rodda Candy Company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where small yellow marshmallow chicks were being made by hand. Mr. Born transformed this timely process and began mechanically mass producing the chicks. Peeps are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and wax. In the recent past the Peep product line has expanded to include other shapes and colors that are appropriate for any Holiday season.

While those two Easter foods will draw most of our attention come Sunday we will also have to suffer through the Baked Ham with pineapple and maraschino cherries toothpick’d into it as well as the crappy chocolate Easter Bunny who in a sadistic manner everyone who eats it will contemplate, “Do I bite off the feet first or just go for the head?”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Big Daddy's Cheessteaks

I took my first trip to Big Daddy’s Cheesesteaks recently with a to-go order intended to be a nice lunch with my mum. It turned out to be a great lunch, and not just cause it was with my mum. Jason Noyes has built something great in BDC. It’s in the Kamm’s Corner neiborhood of Cleveland. Not just in my personal opinion, but one of the best neiborhoods on the Cleveland west side. Rich in Irish themed places with a growing number of shot & beer kind of places the area is filled with hard working people who have carved out a stable, safe, functional neiborhood. The BDC is a great addition. It brings something new/unique to the street (Lorain) meaning there aren’t fake ass Guinness posters or Jameson ad’s in the window. This is where you find the good stuff!

We tried the Philly with Cuyahoga brown gravy, a simple Reuben and some horseradish-dijon slaw. Everything was awesome. We expected to save half of each sandwich for later and have a light lunch, but it was so good we ate everything in one sitting. The Philly was awesome; the bread was pleasant even after a few minute drive home. The gravy I was hesitant about, but it worked really well over the sandwich. I’m not a ‘French dip’ fan, but I’ll dip my sammy in BDC’s C-town gravy all day. The Reuben was equally impressive. Nice lean meat is something I like in a sandwich and this delivered. The sandwiches all came with a bit of slaw which would be perfect, but I wanted something different and the horsey-dijon slay was like my taste buds went to the county fair and made out with the bearded lady….. Yeah, that means it was good.

Ambiance, décor, service? Jason took my order, cooked my food, and chatted a bit all time about 8 minutes went by. That is service that even Mr. Trotter could appreciate. The product is superior from top to bottom.

Jason Noyes and Big Daddy Cheesesteaks will hopefully become a Kamm’s Corner institution!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fathead will prevail

I have talked about Fatheads Brew Pub before. We recently went back, and it was still great. The place is so clean and fresh I can’t stand it. I don’t work there. I don’t know anyone who does. I don’t know the chef. All I know is the Smoked Wings are fucking amazing. The menu is an absolute encyclopedia of every cliché’s ‘local’ take on popular sandwich combinations so just forget about all that unless the only way you can go out is if your girl can get something ‘healthy’ in this situation just point out all the salads while you order some smokey wings, a tasty pint, and stare at the large-flat screen HD TV playing whatever sport it takes to numb her voice, all the time just nodding like you are listening….and don’t forget to make occasional eye contact. During commercials of course. It goes a long way! “That bitch!” works about 95% of the time in response to anything she is saying. The trick is to find that 5% of the time where she will trick you and know you aren’t listening then storm off to the bathroom crying. That will happen though, just like fries get soggy sometimes. Shit happens you know. Even if you have to listen to how her best friend said she might want to think about getting a size bigger pants five months ago when both were drunk and that is only part of the night she remembers beside the whisky, champagne and beers….I’ll tell you what; the smoked wings are worth it.

Just remember to make eye contact and smile.