Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recent Happenings

No better way to start your day!  I swear that is for 2 people. 

This project involved sprouting a garlic clove that got away from us and hid on the shelf for too long, and a vinegar infusion with dill and Spicehound pickling spice blend.  Letting is sit for a few months should do the trick.



Death to and old friend.  RIP ol'e mixer.

Empenadas at Barroco Grill are very good.

Churros at Barroco finished of a great meal there.  If you haven't been, you should.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Making the Most of Fennel at Home

 Trimmed fennel, the bulb about the size of a baseball.

I really appreciate fennel.  I have never had it in a form or flavoring that I didn’t fully enjoy.  Unfortunately it is relatively expensive especially if trimmed and prepped in a way I have done in restaurants in the past.  I got one small head of fennel from the West Side Market earlier this week and it cost a solid $3.  I didn’t core it, and used a lot more of the stalk portion than I’ve ever used in the past.  There were no adverse results as I expected there to be some tough or stringy pieces.  This was not even close to one of the larger heads of fennel I’ve seen so this might not be the case for all sizes of fennel.  Also, I was able to successfully stretch out the flavor of the fennel with an equal part of green cabbage cooked in the same way as the fennel.  Lastly I seasoned the whole mess with fennel salt from Spicehound. 

 Caramelized Fennel at Home
One head of fennel
Equal amount green cabbage
One garlic clove per head of fennel
Half one orange per head of fennel
Fennel salt and pepper

I remove the top two inches of the fennel stalks, assuming your whole piece of fennel included bulb and fonds, if not just remove a thin slice.  Chop the stalks into rounds the same thickness that you slice the bulb.  Slice the cabbage to a similar thickness but keep separate.  Rough chop garlic and also hold separate.  Start by deeply caramelizing the fennel on med-high heat in a 50/50 mixture of oil and butter.  After removing the fennel from the pan sear the cabbage on high heat in a similar mixture of fats.  Toss garlic with seared cabbage and cook over reduced heat for one minute then squeeze orange over pan of which the fennel and seasoning have been added.  On low heat cook for another 5 minutes.  Pairs well with sweet potatoes, red meat, or hearty fish.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not what's there, but what I see

I have come late to the bus as far as the Chowhound chat boards.  I found it quite delightful to find some interesting and beneficial insight opposed to the same 8 people bickering among themselves in the comments of every post like what I found on the Cleveland dot Com food and wine forum.  In a way I’ve found the same thing on a more global basis, but much more civilized and productive to my cause which is education either of myself or helping others with what I know.  There are some feeds lately which I’ve found disturbing especially in light or lack thereof with the shadow of the Slow Food debacle currently taking place.  I’d like to take a moment and parody not what is actually there, rather what I read to myself on the average Chowhound message board.

Topic:  I want to make an exceptional grilled cheese Sammy, any suggestions?

Re: I like ham and cheese

                Re: I suppose you don’t care about the bread

                Re: good jab dude!

                Re: I like white bread

                                Re: do you like to eat chemicals and die?

                Re: good jab dude!

                Re: I like organic, sustainable, locally produced bread from a friend of mine in Jackson Hole and that is the only bread I have ever used in my whole life!  Do not ever make any sandwich without it.

                Re: Wow that bread sounds great, but I’m not in JH

                Re: well here is the website, have it delivered….

                Re: That bread is incredible, but would cost me $2 a slice to get delivered!

                Re: well I guess you hate the USA, the environment, the farmers in Wyoming, puppies and most likely are hired my Monsanto to promote basic white bread that everyone can afford and furthermore are in all chances a terrorist associated with al Qaeda and will eat a white bread sandwich as your last meal before becoming a suicide bomber.  I hate you and you suck.  Go to McDonalds jerk.

Re:  This is how I like to make a grilled cheese Sammy:

                First I buy a whole hog from an organic, sustainable locally produced farmer of which I drove my gas guzzling SUV 45 miles each way and had to fill up twice (fucking gas prices) and broke down myself in my totally unclean garage (ha ha ha) cause I like to restore Corvettes, I have like 20 or something..too many to count. Ha ha ha.  So I break down the hog myself with my super cool Asian knives from Itokumony, Japan which are totally awesome! And cut out the back quarter to make a ham.  I sold the rest of the pig to my friends at a super inflated price to cover the cost of my grilled cheese.  Next I take the ham section and brine it as described in Michal Rhulman’s book.  This takes only a few weeks, but I enjoy sitting and watching it while it happens since the pig died just for my sandwich.  Ha ha ha and I read more books like the Modernist Cuisine and all the El Bulli books.  If you don’t have them your just a hack of a home cook.  Ha ha ha. 

I don’t just watch the ham brine I also make the cheese.  I get totally organic sustainable, local goat milk from my neighbor….in California and have it shipped here, for super cheap cause they are dumb hippies and I sold them a pig ear for $20 a pound.  Ha ha ha.  So I make goat cheese and press it into squares and color it with organic, sustainable local annatto seeds that I bought in Mexico and mulled back to the USA in my colon, stupid terrorists.  Now if you can’t make your own cheese just don’t make a sandwich.

Now the bread has to be perfect…not from Jackson Hole, ha ha ha.  You could use the Bitterman no-kneed method if you’re a lazy terrorist Monsanto senator hippie jerk, but I’m not! So I get some wheat from my other neighbor, next to my vacation home in Prague,  whom I sold a hog ass hole for $30 a pound... I mean the pig only had one right…ha ha ha.  And some eggs from the guy across the street… from the dock where I keep my yacht in Miami, that I sold the pig’s colon for $40 a pound because he wanted to invite his rapper friends over for chitterlings. What are those anyhow? Ha ha ha.  After that I wanted something holy so I went to the great Amish country of Pennsylvania and procured a friend starter because I bought a new horse for a young man in a carriage.  I would have just given him a ride in my Buggati, but he was some kinda weirdo!  Yeast procured I went home to make my bread.  Honestly I stopped at a Chick-fil-a and it was awesome.  Just kidding, ha ha ha, not really ha ha ha.

So it’s been about 3 months since I wanted a grilled cheese but I’ve sustained on Greek yogurt and flax seeds in the time being.  I have cooked the hog leg, sliced the cheese, and baked the bread now let’s get to the nitty gritty.  Since I’m on a diet I’ll use margarine to lube my George Forman grille and delicately place my homemade self procured ancient age bread onto the grill topped with my organic, sustainable, local cheese and place myself made ham slices (who knows what to do with the other 5 pounds of ham).  Perfect grilled cheese.  Doing it any other way would be un-patriotic and if you do you’re a jerk who should be detained under the patriotic act and sent to Guantano Bay and waterboarded till near death while your fingernails are pulled out in an attempt to obtain why those fingernails have Mexican heroin and some weird red substance under them. Ha ha ha.

Re: wow that is a lot of work for a grilled cheese!

                Re:  your an ass, this is exactly how I make my grilled cheese

                Re:  me too (about 20 times repeated)

Re: thanks for all your suggestions.  I used some bread my girl picked up last week, but scraped off the green spots, and some Kraft American cheese that expired last year paired with Ham I got on sale at Wal-Mart.  Man it was awesome.  Thanks again!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Roasted Cauliflower

Fresh vegetables have become somewhat scarce at the supermarket this time of the year, and simply boiling out of season flavor lacking vegetables is not all to appetizing.  I like cauliflower and the vinager, corriander, garlic flavor combination plays off the wholesome sweetness of roasted cauliflower in a very pleasing way.  I've also come to appreciate the results of microwaving cut potatoes.  They keep a nice texture, are time effeciant, clean, and are still accepting of flavors after a quick cooking.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Half a large head cauliflower, cut into two inch pieces
Four large cloves of garlic, sliced thin
One tablespoon ground coriander
One teaspoon sugar
Two tablespoon olive oil
One generous teaspoon sherry vinegar
Salt & pepper 

Twelve ounces potato, cut into wedges

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you are adding the potatoes I cut them in wedges no larger than an inch and microwave for 4 minutes so they take as long in the oven as the cauliflower.  Toss everything in a bowl together and lay out onto a cookie sheet on a single layer.  Bake for 18 minutes then increase heat to 500 degrees and cook another 5 minutes.