Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Room Where it Happened

No one really knows how the game is played
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made
We just assume that it happens
But no one else is in
The room where it happens – Lin-Manual Miranda
The townhouse complex that we have lived in for almost 14 years is composed of units in about four different “flavors". When we moved across the street two years ago we chose a unit with the same layout as our previous home. Much better appointed, if I do say so, but other than the nagging issue of a switch being on the other side of the door than our previous home, the same basic layout.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Jedi Kitchen Tricks

Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight. - Majorie Kinnan Rawlings
If you haven’t heard my recent podcast with Gabe DiMaio (and if you haven’t, shame on you! (not really, but you can listen to it here.)) I spent some time speaking of my love for cast iron cookware. Not the expensive enameled cast iron like La Creuset (though I have acquired similar pieces at a reasonable price).

No, I speak of the cast iron cookware that has been in use for at least 2000 years. Have you visited a Colonial cooking site? Someplace like Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Williamsburg or Ft. Erie? If so, you will have found pieces of cast iron cookware all but identical to those manufactured today. The problem is, that those manufactured today are not produced in quite the same manner.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mystery Blend

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand - Neil Armstrong
This is my Mystery Blend. It is something I think every cook with the desire to experiment should have. Sometimes the random leads to great results.

What’s in it? I don’t remember, that’s why it’s a mystery. IMG_2821It’s those spice packets that come with products you are gifted. The free samples that show up in the mail, or are handed to you in the supermarket. The leavings in the bottom of plastic jars of suspicious provenance that one inherits when one gets married.

It is constantly changing with new additions. I can recognize the presence of Chilli flakes and fennel seeds. There is a distinct aroma of the components of Curry Powder or Garam Masala. There is something green.

But, it has uses. I made an entire batch of Hot Sauce using Chillis from the garden and Myster Blend as the base. It was quite nice. Then there are nights like tonight – when I realize that I have slacked off making my favorite dry rub for ribs and pork, and I put the Mystery Blend into action. When cooked I will douse them with a Coca Cola based BBQ IMG_2822sauce I made a week or so ago.

I don’t like waste, and I will bet the result is quite tasty!

It was.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lettuce Help You

This is a special post for my friends at the Root Down Farm CSA, or for any friends who are CSA members or those who just enjoy the Spring's bounty of lettuce and greens.

If you do belong to a CSA, you know that the early weeks are filled with lettuces and other salad greens. They are delicious. I am a happy salad guy. I love dumping leftovers and other ingredients over a pile of greens and making a meal out of it.

But, the fact of the matter is that unlike most of the other offerings during the year, they don’t keep well. I have tried pickling them, but the results are disappointing. You can use them in soup, but later, heartier greens work much better. They also hold up better in storage.

So, let me share with you the concept of Lettuce “Pesto”. The recipe I am sharing isn’t mine. It came from a Google search. But the idea of seeing if anyone else had come up with an idea like this was mine. Let me explain.

For the last few months I have been making flatbread on Wednesdays at Premier Gourmet. It’s a basic focaccia base topped with whatever comes to mind. It’s a collaborative effort each week, especially with input from our Chessemistress Amanda. Sometimes it’s based on a Holiday. On occasion we try to imitate a famous sandwich, like a Reuben. One week we thought about a BLT'.

The problem of course is the “L”. How do you make lettuce work on a flatbread. So I Googled “Lettuce Pesto” and found this recipe intriguing. I left out the sun-dried tomatoes as I was roasting grape tomatoes as a topping, along with crisp bacon.

The result was fantastic.

On it’s own, the pesto was lacking, perhaps the sun-dried tomatoes would have made a difference. But I can think of a lot of ways to jazz it up.

Can you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

There's Always Room for Jell-O

What To Do When You Encounter Jell-O:
1. Never let it see you're afraid. Jell-O loves this.
2. Smile. Say you are a friend, you come in peace.
3. Reason with it.
4. Offer it a gift.
5. Find out what it wants.
6. Let it see you have no weapons.
7. If it continues to jiggle menacingly, Stab it to death with a kitchen knife and throw it in the sink.

         - Dick Solomon
625704ac7ddc32441d5fd65c02254cdbWatch it jiggle. The terror from beyond space. A childhood  favorite. Hospital food. Sweet wiggly delight. Sugar laden boiled cow hooves. Put them all together they spell Jell-O. (Insert your favorite rape drug joke here).

I have developed a habit of posting photos of what I call "food oddments" to Facebook, usually in the late evening hours. It could be pictures of misspelled signs or unusual ethnic ingredients. Often it is suggestions of food combinations bizarre to me.