Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Next Try at Pork Chops

After the first try at pork chops, it's taken some reading to get me on to my next try at pork chops. I got a little recipe. Wanna hear about it? Here we go!

1 - one teaspoon white pepper
2 - one tablespoon hot paprika
3 - two tablespoons salt
4 - two tablespoons fresh ground pepper
5 - one teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
6 - two boneless center cut pork chops
7 - four tablespoons olive oil
8 - half cup all purpose flour

Mix the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Brush the pork chops with two tablespoons of olive oil total. Coat with the spice mixture. Put the flour in a large plate and dredge the chops.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Also heat the other two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on high. Brown the pork chops two minutes per side. Transfer chops to the oven and cook for ten minutes. Remove from oven and let rest.

Am I going to fry up the chops or my fingers?

Okay, it's just the chops.

I served the chops with some scallion kimchi. In the end the chops were great, though I'm still not ready to make them for other people. I also would use scallion kimchi sparingly. It's very strong.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Ghost Brigade - Clawmaster

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Watermelon Eating Contest

So technically this was Labor Day and technically I didn't actually eat any watermelon. Well, it weren't technical, I just didn't participate. Vikings don't get melon pulp in their beards.

Many of my friends did, though, and technically Sal won. The winner of the contest threw up afterward, while Sal came in second place and did not. If I were judging, keeping it down would be an important factor.

Leandra begins failing after three bites.

Darren takes a break while Ethan enjoys free watermelon.

If you're down for watching a bunch of people you don't know much watermelon, here's a video. USA courtesy of George Rallis.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Lamb Chop - The Song That Doesn't End.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Chargrilled Steak

Toward the end of August I went out to the West Coast to visit my Mother at my Aunt's place for the former's birthday. My Aunt lives south of Portland, Oregon in some righteous farm country. Blueberries, pumpkins, corn...hops. It's beer central there. Walking into a grocery store beer section there is akin to walking into the world's greatest beer distributor.

We took a drive up to White Salmon, Washington on one of my last days in town for a family reunion of sorts. I met numerous cousins of various degrees and removals. Each and every one was impressive. Hoofing it back to Oregon in the evening, we were somewhat vexed as to what to do for dinner. I wanted steak. More importantly I wanted to take my first opportunity to cook steak on a grill and I wanted to do it in my Aunt's beautiful back yard.

Picked up a pair of fantastic chops at the grocery store.

Mom sautéed fresh jalapenos, onions, and mushrooms.

One of the wickedest beers I've ever had I picked up at the grocery store. The Deschutes Hop in the Dark was a taste bud tap dance inducing ambrosia of sensation. Looks like a porter because it's dark, but hoppy like a double IPA. Please bring this to Astoria! I can't get it here.

Here's the final table set. That's the Hop in the Dark in the foreground, the sautée in the mid-ground, and our steaks in the centre of the table. Overall my first steak grilling experience worked out well. I got one steak to a medium rare and one to a medium. Rare is what I prefer, but I had no experience cooking steak over charcoal, so I wasn't too fussed.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Dot Allison - Colour Me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Basil Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

This one was delicious, but unfortunately the photo series is marked incomplete. Jessica and Mike came over, as did the Thrifty Sifter, and eventually upstairs neighbour Michael, everyone got to talking, and I forgot to take pictures. Hey, I can talk with the best of them!

Still, these did come out extremely well, pan fried in the skillet until the bacon was brown, then baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I sliced the chicken crosswise for the plates and had trouble not drooling into the food. Served with black quinoa mixed with a dollop of bacon fat and a fantastic romaine salad, this meal was a winner. 

- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (tender removed and breasts butterflied)
- 20 basil leaves (washed thoroughly, blanched and shocked)
- 12 uncured, hickory smoked slices of bacon
- salt
- fresh ground pepper

I already went over the cooking above. To prepare the breasts first season with the salt and pepper. Next cut off the tender (the strip of meat along the side that attaches to the rib cage). Wrap the tender in basil leaves (5 - 7). 

Some breasts are large enough that you wouldn't need to butterfly them to accomplish the stuffing, but not most of the ones in my local grocery. Once you have the tenders wrapped, place them in the center of the butterflied breast, then wrap the breast in 3 - 4 slices of bacon, taking care to tuck in your loose ends. Spiral patterns help here, but we'll also accept Möbius strips.

You're all set to cook and enjoy!

Your soundtrack for this entry: Van Halen - Jamie's Cryin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bison Ragu Try Two

I want to perfect bison ragu. Perfection is the theme of the next several entries because in the past I've made entries that needed work and not put in that work to show you. The bison ragu shows so much promise that it's the first recipe to go through the refining wringer.

Preparing for this version involved some research into a traditional ragu. Many different meats show up in ragu, but they almost always involve a pork product and beef. Apart from cheese they usually take dairy in the form of milk. Of course wine gets involved in many recipes as well.

Bison ragu is not new, but most recipes I've found take off from a Classic Ragù recipe in Bon Appétit. This takes the Italian version of a mirepoix, a soffritto, as a base, adds the meats and other ingredients, and allows to stew.

Essentially I feel a ragu is a stew over pasta and I'm trying to find my way to a recipe that emphasizes the meat, melds it with the pasta, and gives it a chunky (yet soft) texture. Think of a hearty stroganoff.

Interestingly enough the two bison ragu recipes I found seem to take off directly from Bon Appétit's. It might be a consequence of most ragu being made that way, but still interesting. The most-direct contributor to this recipe was from Foodie Reflections. I found that recipe through Whipped the Blog, whose recipe helped me find my way through what I wanted to do.

Here I cooked the soffritto next to the ground bison. 

You can see the payoff when mixing the bison and soffritto. It looks inviting, I'm sure you can guess it smells great through the picture, and onions and garlic obviously can help make anything taste great. 

Here we've added the fresh tomatoes, some beef stock, and some peppers.

The final product found great success with my guests, who brought me the fantastic cabernet sauvignon below.

For the next iteration of the bison ragu I do think I need to add some creaminess and a more reduced texture. For that I think I'll need cheese and time. Hope you stick with me!

Your soundtrack for this entry: Van Halen - Running with the Devil.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Spiced Tuna with Fresh Avocado and Mango

For a while now I've had an idea in my head about seared strips of tuna. This isn't that idea, but it's the first experiment toward it. Right up front I'll say the accompaniments were improvised, but in the right direction and the tuna should be of a higher, sushi quality seared at a higher temperature for less time.

Here I trimmed down a tuna steak to the best parts. This definitely requires a higher-grade of tuna, preferably something that wasn't still frozen this morning. That way the strips won't be quite so rough in places.

This is a mixture of extra hot Indian chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt. The chili powder overwhelmed the other spices, so I can cut back on that.

Here's one shot of the final dish. The avocado was perfect, but I really need a better-quality mango as this wasn't the sweetest it could be.

The tuna came out tasty, but not quite how I want. The sear really ended up cooking it through. In itself not bad, but not what I was going for with this dish. As well the coating of sesame seeds didn't stick evenly, though I didn't want to cook them on the tuna as they'd get burnt.

Next time I'm going to try halving the extra hot chili powder, better tuna, and a little more sesame oil. I also think an acid needs to be in this dish to break down and cut through some flavours.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Aesop Rock - Save Yourself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Bison Burgers

While he hasn't posted any of his banked entries yet, my friend Sal has just started Sal Eats Jeremy's Dinner. This blog will chronicle Sal's eating of my dinner, in case you didn't catch that from its name. Sal runs an independent IT business, bartends at one of my favourite local haunts, and between the two of us we basically know everyone in Astoria. He's also a frequent guest at dinner and probably my best friend.

Praise being done, I had Sal over for some bison burgers and hand-cut fries the other night.

Two potatoes met their end to my sharp chef's knife.

Bison patties mixed with diced jalapenos and salt and pepper cooking with some sliced onion.

The final juicy product topped with fried onions, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, dijon mustard, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun.

Sal and I were trading songs on Spotify afterward and enjoying some Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. If it wouldn't kill me I'd drink that all day every day.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Metric - Collect Call.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Yeah It's Another Steak

Steak is what's for dinner. I have always loved steak and have posted plenty here. Here's another simple favourite served with a baked potato and pickled jalapenos.

Giving it a nice quick sear in the cast iron skillet.

The final product, as always when I make steak, was perfect. I probably don't serve it cooked well enough for restaurant work, but it's got a great sear and very cool, very red centre.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Queens of the Stone Age - Make It Witchu

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bison Ragu

This entry, like the previous ones and the next three or so, were all off-the-cuff recipes I came up with while standing in the grocery store or riding the subway or into my empty fridge. This one came to me at work while eating lunch.


- olive oil
- four cloves garlic (minced)
- half a yellow onion (chopped)
- salt
- pepper
- one pound ground bison meat
- 12 ounces diced tomatoes with basil (opened)
- 4 dried chilies with seeds removed and roughly chopped
- spaghetti (enough for however many people decide to show up)

First make sure you set up the water to cook the pasta. I'll assume you can time this right alongside the sauce because you're not a dunderhead.

Heat the olive oil at medium-high. Add garlic and onions and cook about five minutes or until the onions are translucent and the garlic is slightly brown. Then add the ground bison, season with salt and pepper, and brown. If there's a lot of liquid left over when the meat is browned, drain some of it.

Next you're going to add the tomatoes and chilis. Mix thoroughly and simmer for ten minutes.

Add the sauce to the pot with your drained pasta and mix. Whatever you do, do not let the cat get in the pot!

Your soundtrack for this entry: Björk - Play Dead

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Braised Endive

Something I've been thinking about a lot is how I could eat less bacon. Since I gave up keeping kosher I've probably single-handedly kept Applegate Farms in business some weeks. I've been fairly good about that this week, but have been thinking about these bacon wrapped chicken thighs for quite some time.

Now, presentation-wise I wasn't really thinking here. The final dish was face-punchingly good, but probably could have used some more panache. Maybe a little basting for the thighs and perhaps some creative cutting up of the endive with some garnish.

But I mentioned it was very tasty, right?

For the chicken I simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, then wrapped in bacon. Pre-heat the oven to 400. While it's heating up sear the thighs over medium high heat on both sides for about three minutes each side. Then place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

The endives I simply braised in butter.

Cooking in my trusty skillet.

Oh laws yes the tasty bacon fat.

As you can see the final product looks bit barren (and poorly shot), but the bacon did not overpower the taste of the thighs and the endive was buttery goodness.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Zedd - The Legend of Zelda (Original Mix).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tuna a Poivre and Brussels Sprouts

This is a rarity: I'm posting this almost immediately after eating. Tonight called for a rather quick meal and here it was. A tuna steak au poivre and spicy brussels sprouts with parmesan were called for; easy to make in a half hour.

I'd recommend a spice grinder for the tuna spices, but other than that this came out fantastic!

You can find the tuna recipe here and the brussels sprouts one here. Note that I love brussels sprouts, but I know that one is a bomb.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Trivium - In Waves

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Ciambotta

Ciambotta (or giambotta) is an Italian vegetable stew. Most of my personal Italian knowledge is of Northern Italian fare, so I've explored a lot of Southern Italian food in the last few years.

- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (28-ounces) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved and tomatoes chopped, or 1 3/4 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 3/4 pound boiling potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until tender (about ten minutes).

The eggplant comes next. Mix it in and cook for an additional ten minutes until tender. 

Add the tomatoes and bell peppers, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for fifteen minutes. 

Finally, add the rest of the vegetables and simmer uncovered for thirty minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Your soundtrack for this entry: The Soviettes - Ten

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Diced Tomato and Chili Marinated Steak with Black Quinoa

This recipe was improvised using ingredients with which I wasn't that familiar. The result was tasty, but not as good as it could be, so my recipe below is adjusted from what I used to create what you see in the photo.

Diced Tomato and Chili Marinated Steak
- 1 12 ounce can of Ro*Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
- 1 8 ounce shell steak
- 1 cup black quinoa
- 1 teaspoon salt

Drain most of the liquid from the diced tomatoes. Put steak in a bowl and cover entirely in diced tomatoes and chilis. Let marinate for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare black quinoa according to instructions on the box. Ensure that the liquid is completely absorbed!

When the steak is done marinating, remove from tomatoes and place in a pre-heated skillet over high heat. Prepare rare or you're an uncouth lowlife.

Sautée the diced tomatoes and chilis in a separate pan until hot.

Serve with a swagger.

Your soundtrack for this entry: The Birthday Massacre - Always

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Seafood Dinner with Turnips

So, yeah, I've been eating too much bacon since I gave up keeping kosher. Something like three times a week worth of bacon. When I wandered into the Thrifty Sifter's C-Town Grocery Store and discovered that they have an excellent fish selection (even grouper!) I decided to make an all-fish dinner.

Appetizer - Spicy Garlic Shrimp
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 dried chilis, but in half lengthwise and seeded
- 12 to 16 jumbo shrimp or large prawns
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil

At the outset, I'm going to recommend leaving some of the seeds in as we could barely taste the spicy. Also, I know I made a no-no below with the garlic as it wasn't all the same size. I keep forgetting to bring my whet stone over to the Thrifty Sifter's house to sharpen up her cutlery.

At any rate, pre-heat your pan, then add the oil. When it's shimmering, add the chilis and garlic. Cook until just before the garlic starts to turn brown.

Add the shrimp or prawns. Stir-fry for 8 - 10 minutes.

Serve and eat! We ate this while I was cooking up the swordfish.

This swordfish. I bought all the main ingredients without consulting a recipe, so we had to figure them out on the fly. Having worked in a fish restaurant for nearly five years, I can cook most any seafood without a recipe, but prefer to try new things. Here we hit up Epicurious for pan-roasted swordfish steaks with mixed peppercorn butter. The Thrifty Sifter made up that butter for me while I was making the shrimp. She's a great chef de partie.

Cooking them up top of the stove in hot oil for three minutes.

And after they come out of the oven, they are fantastic! Wouldn't change a thing about these.

The side here is braised turnips with poppy seed bread crumbs. I would cut the lemon juice in half here as I found them to be too lemony. The Thrifty Sifter felt they were just right. 

Your soundtrack for this entry: Judas Priest - Breaking the Law

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jeremy Eats Dinner: The Hill Country Barbecue

As far as I recall I have yet to post an entry about eating somewhere, but when I saw this snapshot I sent to the Thrifty Sifter in my phone, I figured I HAD to post about it.

Hill Country Barbecue is my favourite barbecue joint in New York City. They have their own pit, they do all their own meat, and from experience it is absolutely authentic hill country fare. My mother lived in New Braunfels, TX for years and this is the real deal.

Some nights I dream about those babyback ribs (now that I can eat them). If you want a meat hangover, Hill Country Barbecue is your place.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Nuclear Whales - Casbah Shuffle

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Pomodoro

Sunday is the day to get shit done around the house. In the summer, who wants to spend a long time over a hot stove? Well, I do, but on this particular day I didn't. After all, I spent the whole afternoon doing a deep clean of the apartment and it's heartbreaking to end up having to clean that kitchen twice in one day.

Here I minced three cloves of garlic and diced an onion. Then I cooked them in two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt, and a half a teaspoon of pepper over medium-high for about 5 minutes (until they were translucent, but not brown). Then I added some Pomi Chopped Tomatoes and brought to a simmer. Finally I added four tablespoons of roughly-chopped fresh basil and let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

If you don't know how to cook pasta by now, you probably drool on yourself.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Coheed and Cambria - Ten Speed (Of God's Blood & Burial).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Baby Back Ribs at Laura's Birthday

Way back before I kept kosher, baby back ribs were one of my favourite things about the South. I even went to a fake theme restaurant for an early double-digit birthday one year to get riblets. As you can imagine, it's been some years since I've had pork ribs, so I took the occasion of my friend Laura's birthday cookout to make my own.

Grill cooking is definitely different than stove cooking. The heat's not as reliably even, there's wind, you're generally outside, and sometimes people don't keep their grills so clean. I'm still not so good with steak on a grill, though some venison-burgers I cooked this day came out well (as I'm generally able to do). The ribs, though, they came out PERFECT. I'm very proud.

Gotta start the day out with some brew.

Early arrivals. No one wanted to sit in the sun, so while I was prepping my ribs, everyone got the available seats. I had to sit on top of a vestibule. Which is fine. I like the way vestibule sounds. Also got to control the tunes from up there and chose some Genesis.

Had I more time, I would've made my own marinade and rub. Seen the shows; read the books. I know what a proper barbecue (non-pit) will entail. Unfortunately I came to the decision to cook baby back ribs while I was at the supermarket just minutes before hitting the party. Seeing as that was how it was, I bought the ribs, grabbed a can of pickled Goya jalapeno slices, and grabbed a bottle of Stubb's sauce. I know I can trust Stubb's, I eat there almost every year at South by Southwest.

Here I salted and peppered the rack (after cutting in half), then coated in Stubb's and jalapenos before wrapping in Saran Wrap. I let this sit for over an hour.

While I was waiting for the ribs to finish, I cooked the venison burgers Laura made. They contained ground venison, bacon, onions, and garlic, so far as I know. You see, once I decided to start up the grill I became the grill master and basically cooked everything except Graham's fajita steak.

Yes, all of those people are that beautiful.

While I was at it I fuelled my lastest obsession with Instagram.

Here you can see the ribs slow-cooking with the last of the corn and some of Nicci's tortillas. Nicci's a budding horticulturalist and one of the great people at The Sparrow Tavern.

Shortly after this photo I got the sleepy drunks and had to go home. Still, the ribs were tender, juicy, spicy and flavourful. Best of all they were gone within ten minutes. Definitely making ribs again at least twice before the summer is out.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Genesis - Land of Confusion.