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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The First Try at Pork Chops


For a while I've been reticent to make a pork chop. After giving up keeping kosher a few months ago, I've eaten a ton of treif, but haven't embarked on the fabulous pork chop.

And I'll be honest: it showed with this recipe. The chops were almost too dry and not terribly tender. My parmesan and smoked paprika coating was great, as was the baby bok choy and chopped baby carrots steamed side dish, but this wouldn't be one of my ace meals.

That's okay. I don't expect to nail new things the first time. Sometimes I do (as you'll see tomorrow) and sometimes I don't.

Some Samuel Adams made it all better. My personal favourite beer is an IPA, which is increasingly popular here in New York. Because of that I've been making an effort to branch out from time to time to my less-favoured beers. Number two on my list is probably lager.

You can see here the meat's cooked through and it definitely looks yummy, but I'm sure you can tell it's not all that juicy or tender.

Still, I enjoyed eating it with a creepy expression on my face.

Your soundtrack for this entry: Dream Theater - On the Backs of Angels.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Stewed Chicken and Peppers

This was a somewhat impromptu recipe. I had it in my head all afternoon to make a chicken dish with a rich onion and pepper smother. It came out tender, juice, and delicious.


two to three boneless, skinless chicken breasts

fresh ground pepper

safflower oil
two bell peppers (green and red), sliced lengthwise into strips
one yellow onion, julienned
a quarter cup of cilantro, roughly chopped
canned diced tomatoes

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and coriander. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides (approximately six minutes per sie).

Meanwhile, add the peppers, onion, tomatoes (with juice), cilantro, and salt and pepper to a saucepan on high heat with shimmering oil in it.

Pause to drink some leftover kosher wine from Passover. Tishbi has quickly become a favoured brand of mine. I love red wines with a bit of a peppery flavour, and this was no disappointment.

When the chicken has done cooking, add to the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 10 - 15 minutes until desired tenderness is reached.

Get a close up picture of the chicken cooking for your blog.

Serve next to a menorah for light and mixed fingerling potatoes (boiled) for your side dish.

Your soundtrack for this entry: The Epoxies - Molded Plastic.