Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Awesome chicken and a weekend of cooking


This weekend was something else. What else I don't know, but I can tell you that it kicked me in the behind. It left me drained. It left me dreaming of pork and meat and lets just say I only want to eat salad today.


Dishes. I feel like a flunky in a Michelin rated restaurant. I can't tell you how many dishes I washed. Ok, enough with the wah wah wah. I will get on with it.



Ah, chicken. I decided that I would give "Spatchcocking" another try since I mutilated the bird last time. Spatchcocking is another word for butterflying. See? you learned something...or not.


I got the Keel bone out on the breast side so it really was nice and flat when it came time to cook. I had bought 2 sour oranges at the farmers market and I wanted to make Cuban Style Chicken. I miss a restaurant that I used to go to in Culver City called Versailles. They made the most amazing cuban chicken. I came up with a marinade that didn't hit the mark for Versailles but was very good.


I made a mojito sauce to marinade the chicken in. No not the drink. There is a marinade with the same name. Recipe will be given if you can get through my blatherings.


Dr. Food BBQed it. He is the grill guy. Actually, he is way more than that. He is my partner in crime with all of this. He doesn't blog so I just pretend that I do all this cooking alone, but I don't. Dr. Food is a Chemist. He is focused. He keeps me grounded when I start getting out of control throwing ingredients in a bowl. He knows all about scales, and measurements, and did I say he is the most patient person I ever met? Well he is. So lets all give a round of applause to Dr. Food (who by the way really IS a doctor of chemistry). I love you Dr. Food. Ok enough with the mush and on to the Rib Roast.


My friend Cathy (waving to Cathy) got her hands on this beautiful Boneless Rib Roast. She didn't know what to do with it so I grabbed it out of her hands and ran to my house with it (good thing I only live next door because I am out of shape from eating too much pork and I don't run that fast. Not only that but her legs are about 3 times longer than mine and she could whoop my ass in a running contest). Anyhow, I got the rib roast and made it for a dinner for all of us (yes, Cathy and her family were there. I did share afterall).


Ewwww. This recipe sounded good but was disgusting. That is what *I* get for getting a recipe out of a magazine that comes free in the mail that says "NO ADS".


Check out the dayglo green under those breadcrumbs and parmesan. Ewwwww. Grosssss. No recipe to follow.


I also made these potato stacks. They stuck to the tin. The tasted ok but uh....I dunno.



The meat? The meat came out perfectly. We went with "low and slow" method and a blast of heat at the end to sear the outside. I sort of didn't do this part because I might have been talking and drinking a bit too much and this is where Dr. Food always comes in and saves my ass.


Sunday. We decided that Sunday would be GRINDAPALOOZA for the 5th Charcutepalooza challenge. Not only were we doing that but I was missing my friends Matt and Margie and my BFF Sam, so we invited them over for a dinner of pastrami sandwiches (of COURSE it was the homemade pastrami!). So we were working away furiously so we would be done by the time they showed up.


Again with the Matt hands.

Here is Margie (love you M!)


She is married to those hands....I mean Matt.


Here is Matt. Those are his hands. (Oh Matt you always crack me up, love you too!)

No Sam. Same doesn't pose for pictures unless you pay him. I was all out of 5's. (Love you toothless Sammy!)

Ok. Carry on.

Really Good Chicken!

1 large roasting chicken

1 cups sour orange juice (or 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon juice)
10 cloves garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cup minced onion
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4C Canola oil

Mix all marinade ingredients (I flattened the chicken but you don't have to do this) and marinate for a few hours. Grill or roast chicken as you normally would, basting every so often.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blood Orange Marmalade and Ahi Tuna, Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens;


Miniture ponies and crisp apple strudels;
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles;
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Ok ok. I got carried away. So another day and another attempt at making Blood Orange Marmalade. This time I used a recipe that I have used before. It is the recipe in "Food for Friends" by Sally Pasley Vargas. I love this book. I love the way this marmalade comes out. I got lots of blood oranges at the Hay Market in Boston. It was our first time there. Don't hate me but I really wasn't impressed with it. It was all the same and it was all cheap and it wasn't at all anything that I couldn't grow or get locally. Ok, well maybe the oranges, artichoke and watermelon that I bought but ...oh shut up...I can't think of a but. I bought them and ate them and now I will feel guilty about it. They aren't local. Ok, I said it.


One of the secrets I found was that boiling the oranges and then letting them sit in the water overnight helps with the process of dealing with all the peels which need to be sliced very thinly. I tried using my Mandoline for the job but it didn't work. I had to do it all by hand. So, I cranked up the music and mindlessly cut oranges for a long time.


I thought the tedious part was over but nooooo. It took over an hour for this to get to the point that I was happy with the consistency.


It was worth it. It came out great.


So, should I tell you one of my other little dirty secrets? Ok ok pipe down. I don't like marmalade. I really don't like sweet anything. Well I do like cheap chocolate covered cherries and I also love lemonheads.


So lets talk tuna instead. You should make the marmalade if you like marmalade because even though I don't like marmalade, I know this is a good one. Oh nevermind. Tuna. We had tuna for dinner the other night and it came out great so I am going to share. We also had roasted shaved (not really shaved but it sounds nice) Brussel Sprouts.


It was a good dinner. The fish was really tasty.


Oh, I also got my Charcutepalooza apron in the mail. I will wear it will pride.


With that I will leave you with this:

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Tuna with Miso-Chile Sauce
Mark Bittman - Cooking Light

Printable Version

1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon red miso (soybean paste)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, chile paste, and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine and mirin; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (about 8 minutes); remove from heat. Stir in miso.

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Add tuna to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side until fish is medium-rare or desired degree of doneness.

Serve tuna steaks with sauce.

Brussel Sprouts
2 lb brussel sprout
1Tbl Olive oil

Roughly slice brussel sprouts. Put on pan and toss with a glug of olive oil (ok, around 1 Tbl).o
Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for about 25 minutes or until a little brown and soft.

Blood Orange Marmalade
Adapted from Sally Pasley Varga, Food for Friends

Printable Version

Makes 10 half pint jars.

4lbs Fruit (which consists of 8 to 9 blood oranges and 2 to 3 lemons)
12 Water
8 C Sugar (I ran out so I used 6C white sugar and 2C light brown sugar)

1. Place the fruit in a 6 quart or larger heavy bottomed pot and cover with the water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, decrease heat to low, and simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, until fruit is tender when pierced with fork. Let stand for several hours (I let it sit overnight) or overnight until completely cool.

2. Remove oranges from water and reserve 3 1/2 C of the liquid in pot.

3. Quarter fruit through stem end and cut crosswise into very thin slices, discarding the seeds (put on some good music because this takes a while)

Return fruit to the pot with reserved liquid and the sugar. Gently heat mixture, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat stirring often, until mixture reaches jellying point.

Process as usual.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ox Tails, Tri-Tip and Goose Eggs...Not all in one dish


I got Goose Eggs at the farm that I joined the CSA with. I was given coupons that I get to spend at my farm. I love this place. It is Spring Brook Farm.


We also happened to have homemade smoked bacon. Imagine THAT.


I had never tasted a goose egg before. I wanted it scrambled but Dr. Food wanted his over easy. He said you couldn't really taste it if it was scrambled. So over easy it was.


I think that the size of it grossed me out. I couldn't eat the whole thing although it tasted wonderful. Something about that much yolk made me a little sick. I should have scrambled it.


We also sent a care package to my brother and sister in law. We knew they would love our handiwork. I am sorry Sissy...I would have sent you some too but knew that it wasn't something you would be into. Mom same goes for you. I hear the tone of voice you use when I am talking about Pork. I know it disgusts you. So, when I make jam I will send you that instead.


My farm also has their own lamb, pork and beef. I surprised Dr. Food and bought a Tri-tip. People here don't even know about tri-tips (well, the butchers do but everytime I ask for it they snear at me and say "You must be from California...RALPH, this dame here asked for a TRI-TIP!)


The amazing thing about a tri-tip is how simple it is. Salt, Pepper, Garlic salt. A drip of olive oil. That is it. It is Santa Maria style and we did it on the grill.


Did a salsa which was fresh tomatoes, purple onions, cilantro and a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.


Had a couple Hurricanes there too.


The meat came out perfectly due to Dr. Foods superior grilling technique. I think it comes naturally because he is from Texas.


Ooooh Weeeee baby. Good dinner.


Another thing we made since we last "talked" is Ox tails. I love Twitter. What does Twitter have to do with Ox Tails? Well I tweeted and was answered.

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 3.36.38 PM

So I didn't have a few days and I received this Tweet

Screen shot 2011-04-18 at 3.43.29 PM

I went with this recipe for Oxtails with Port and Porcini Sauce by lastnightsdinner You really should make this. It was awesome.


Some browning of the oxtails.


Some sauteing of vegetables.


Lots of slow cooking while you have your feet up and are "resting" or doing whatever it is you want to do.


Before you know it dinner is done.


Also preserved some lemons. Hey Mrs WheelB See? I did it. I know all about stinkin preserved lemons.

Oh! One more thing. I got a new camera and took some pictures that weren't food.




Uh...I didn't read the manual yet so I sorta don't know what I am doing, but what else is new?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charcutepalooza takes a leap back in time: Challenge 4


Let me start at the begining. In the 1980's Cajun food swept California like a wild fire. Everyone was talking about it. Cajun and Creole restaurants were opening up left and right. I lived in Santa Monica, California and I was a new mom. I was 24 years old and I was home with a baby. I was bored. I decided to work my way through Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook. I really did work my way through most of that book and luckily I didn't hurt anyone. My cooking skills back then were still in their infancy.


When I saw that this Charcutepalooza was to be hot smoking and I decided to make Tasso I had the good ole days in mind. I showed you the hot smoking in the making of the Tasso, but now was when the magic of doing something with it was to happen. We decided to gather a brave group of friends to come eat Cajun food with us. I dug up the actual copy of my Paul P's book and started checking out the possibilities. What could I use this Tasso in? Well, the perfect thing was right there before my very eyes. Tasso Jambalya.


The smell of the trinity cooking brought back some very powerful memories. I was transformed back to the day when I wore leggings and semi mullet hair and stuff like that. I think I might have even been listening to Cindy Lauper while cooking this.


Man, I really digress. Ok, so you know that I have a tendency to go off into my own "little world".


I was feeling that 80's groove and even decided to make some of those swell Jalapeno and Cheddar Cheese rolls from the holy book of Cajun.


We were really into our Jalapeno's back in the day. Unlike the 80's when we used Margarine in everything because we were told it was better for us, these days I use lard. (I don't want to hear one word out of you mom).


Meantime, we had a pork loin that was from OUR pig. These guests were in for a treat.


Yes, the recipe was also from the P man.


So the table was set and everything was under control. Well, as under control as I ever get.


We served up some charcuterie because we could. Shut up, I know it isn't Cajun but if I don't serve it to everyone I will never be able to use it all in my lifetime. Not only that but French....Cajun... there is a connection. Not only that but our posse loved it.



The hurricanes were flowing.


Pork loin out of the oven and ready.


Jambalya all ready to go.

Oh oh wait. I also made a Cajun Green Bean and Artichoke recipe (which was MY favorite thing of all) but it wasn't from "THE book"


There ya have it! A Cajun dinner less a mullet and padded shoulders.


My buddy Matt likes being in my blog post. "Hey goober here is your hand shot".

Last but not least was dessert. Dr. Food made an unbelievable Bread Pudding that he learned how to make in New Orleans at a cooking class. I saw a picture of Dr. Food with a mullet too so it really was an 80's thing.


Well, yeah, we ate it before I got a picture. You know that means we were having a good time drinking copious amounts of wine and stuff. You know this means although it makes for a crappy blog post about the dessert it made a hell of a time in real time. I guess I am a bad blogger but a good liver. You know what I mean.

Ok, now I need to wash my hair and forget all things mullet. Next thing you know I will be digging out my padded shoulder jackets.

Green Bean and Artichoke Casserole
Chuck Taggert The Gumbo Pages

Printable Version

2 lbs fresh green beans or French haritots verts; OR
You can get away with frozen ones, I suppose. NOT canned.
1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts. Do not use canned. I'll know.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 onion, finely diced
6 - 8 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you're using fresh green beans and you don't mind the extra labor, split them lengthwise (or use French-style if frozen). Cook the green beans in boiling salted water or steam until just tender. Medium-dice the artichoke hearts.
Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil. In a large bowl, mix the beans, bread crumbs, cheese, hearts, and the oil with the onions and garlic. Season liberally with black pepper; salt to taste.

Put the mixture into a 9"x14" baking dish, and sprinkle the top with additional bread crumbs and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes.