Archive for the 'Recipes' Category

Another Pizza to Remember

Steak and Mushroom (pizza) Pie

Start with some strong stock from braising ribs or a chuck roast. It was a thick stock, mostly solid at fridge temperature. Mince a few mushrooms, cook them down in butter, then add about a cup of the stock, and let it thicken to the thickness of the normal tomato sauce. Add just a few pinches of flour to help it out if necessary. This is going to be the sauce for the pizza.

Mise en place

Spread the sauce, add some diced bits of leftover steak (I used a couple ounces of the previous nights sirloin), 6 or 8 more sliced mushrooms, then the mozzarella. Yummy.

The actual pizza wound up being 3/4 steak and mushroom, and 1/4 steak only (using a little straight stock as the sauce) due to one of the kids not caring for mushrooms this year. Both were good, the mushroom side tasted richer, and deeper, the steak only was much steakier.

Steak and mushroom pizza

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A couple With Chicken

Two chicken recipes that I made recently need to be written down so that I don’t forget them.

The pizza one was simple — there were a few thighs left over in the freezer, and I wanted to do something a little different with them for a pizza. So, I grilled the chicken with salt and pepper, then cut it into littlleish pieces appropriate for a pizza. Add two cloves of garlic, finely minced, some cilantro, a good squeeze of lime, and some thin sliced fresh grape tomatoes. Put that all on the pizza under the cheese, and yum. Home run on that one. The only remaining piece was even good the next day.

Chicken Lime Cilantro Pizza

And then, in the “I’ve got all these things out, and I need food, and I can’t open the fridge because of a power outage” category, there’s a chicken stew. This one turned out pretty easy with a nice subtle flavor. And helpfully, it’s a one pot meal of stuff that I had available when I had no lights. So, on the one propane burner: one diced onion, cooked till softening, then added cut up chicken thighs. Then, in went some cut up carrot bits, and a bunch of rose fingerling potatoes in half to one inch rounds. A quart of water or so, and some basil, salt, and maybe other herbs that smelled good. Simmered for 20 minutes or so in the dark till the potatoes were soft enough. Yummy enough to do again, even if I’m not prepping by candlelight. (Though to be fair, the adults liked this more than the kids did).

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Catching up with Christmas Dinner

I going to finally write this post, after saying every year that I should and then not doing it, since it could be really useful next time around. Especially considering that the timing this time around was more perfect than I could have possibly planned for and less stress than last time. Oh yeah, and I’m doing this on two burners and one oven. (And a wood stove)

Preparing Christmas dinner

To be done a day or more ahead of time:

  • Turkey — brine for 24 hours in fridge, then let rest dry for 24 hours in fridge. Following the cooks illustrated brining guide for roasting, using the low sugar version.
  • Stuffing — best done a day ahead, kept in the fridge in a ceramic pan, then heated in the oven for an hour before serving. Half a quart of broth to the 6ish quart pan of stuff.
  • Cranberry Sauce — a day ahead, or whatever. Keeps well.
  • Dough for rolls — make and rest in the garage overnight (40f), form into rolls Christmas Eve, leave in kitchen to proof slowly.
  • Chocolate peppermint cheesecake for dessert

The day of, for eating at lunchish time.

  • Rolls in early, any breakfast foods (german pancake, coffee cake) need to be out of the oven by 4 hours prior to eating.
  • Turkey in at T-4hours @325, foil on breast and legs, olive oil and butter for basting occasionally. Foil off after an hour or so.
  • Potatoes (Yukon gold) in to parboil for 10 minutes at T-2hours. Oil in metal nonstick pan to preheat for roasting, dry them, and they should be in the oven by T-1:30.
  • open wine, check quality
  • Simple gravy, butter roux, turkey broth, touch of soy sauce
  • Iron linens
  • Prep mashed sweet potatoes and carrots and parsnips for cooking around T-1hr
  • Turkey out to rest at T-1hr, at 165 degrees, foil covered
  • Stuffing in the oven at T-1hr. Oven to 425 or 450
  • Prep salad, assemble except for dressing
  • Carrots and parsnips, Mashed sweet potatoes in serving dishes, covered, on back of wood stove to keep warm
  • Prep Brussels sprouts, soak in cold water for 15 minutes
  • Soup on to heat T-30m
  • Check stuffing T-15m
  • Warm rolls in oven T-15
  • Heat Brussels sprout water, start cooking when soup is served.
  • warm meat platter on wood stove
  • Open wine
  • Serve soup course T-5min
  • Carve turkey, bring out other food
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In another one of those ‘I can’t believe that it took this long to actually do that’ things, I’ve actually done slow cooking in the bbq. I’ve had the thing since 99 or so, and only ever done quick, highish temperature grilling. But now, I’ve got some big hunks of meat in the freezer, and some of them have made their way onto the grating.

It’s a bit of a challenge, since the bottom air vents are rusted open, and there isn’t actually a thermometer in the thing, so it’s hard to figure out exactly where I am. But now I’ve got a remote oven thermometer, and a couple of binder clips and aluminum foil and I can control the airflow in.

The first thing I tried was a pineapple honey glaze on a pork loin roast. I wasn’t really expecting much from the roast, since when I’ve done them in the oven, they’ve been a little tough due to a lack of extra fat. The outer bits were tough, but has almost turned into a meat candy effect from the smoke and the glaze. Yummy. This one was done for 4 or 5 hours at 250-300 or so.

Next attempt was ribs. I had a hard time controlling the temperature, and they brined a little too long. So the thin bits of the meat weren’t quite where they should have been, and the bigger chunks could have used a higher heat for longer. These went 8 hours or more at somewhere between 175 and 250. The leftovers got steamed, and after 20 minutes being steamed, they were just about right. Falling apart, hot, and tasty.

Today, I’m trying the pineapple honey glaze approach again with a fresh ham roast. It’s running in the 275-325 range, since it’s got some good fat that I want to render off. I’m aiming for 4+ hours. But already, my hair smells like hickory smoke.

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Garlic flatbread

I can’t believe that it’s taken so long to think of this. Intentional flat bread, with garlic and olive oil, and a bit of salt. Sort of like fococcia bread, but not as well formed. The basic idea is to take pizza dough, not spread it so thin, and put some basic toppings on.

Dough — basic pizza.

* 1lb 8oz flour, mostly bread, a little white wheat or other.
* 1lb 3.5oz water, plus 1oz olive oil.
* 1tbsp salt, 1.5 tbsp yeast.

Mix, let sit for 20 minutes. Plop out on a oiled counter, fold a few times, put back in oiled bowl. Let rise, split into two balls about an hour before baking. Just before baking, spread out on a floured surface like a pizza, only thicker. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt to the top, then slide into a 500 degree oven on a pizza stone. Bake about 12 minutes.

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Devils Food cake with White Chocolate Ganache and Blackberry Swirl

Devils Food cake with White Chocolate Ganache and Blackberry Swirl

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Braised Short Ribs

Last weekend, before the hog arrived, we pulled out a bunch of beef short ribs from the freezer to make a little room. I knew that I wanted to try a braise again, but the last time that we did it, the flavor was a little vinegary. (That was the recipe from Tom Calliuchio’s Think Like a Chef, with sherry vinegar and cherry peppers in it.)

So, taking inspiration from a few recipies in various meat cook books, I wound up with something that could hardly go wrong.

– 7 lbs of short ribs. (It’s what I had, and was more than I needed, but not by that much)
– 1 qt + 1 cup chicken stock — Quantities here were also what I had on hand from making stock a few weeks back. We froze it in quart jars, and there was a cup left over from something a night earlier, and a quart from the freezer.
– 1/2 bottle cheap red wine.
– 2 smallish heads of garlic, with the cloves split out.
– Couple of Carrots, Celery Stalks, and an onion, in big chunks.

Browned the ribs for a cew minutes on each side, then assembled the stock, wine, and veggies and heated that to a boil. Added the ribs back in, and at this point, I needed to have a 12″ fry pan and a 6 qt stockpot to hold everything. Added a little water to nearly cover the ribs, then put in a 350 oven till everything was at a bare simmer. Turned it down to 325 and let it go for a few hours. After a couple, I turned the ribs, after a couple more, I took everything out, separated the ribs from the veggies, strained the liquid, and reduced it by about half. Reheat the ribs in the liquid, and serve.

The liquid was a thick beef stock, with intense beef flavor and only a hint of wine, and no vinegaryiness. The meat was fall apart tender, and very flavorful.

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Only 2 short years ago, we were vegetarians. Now there’s 40 lbs of pork in the outside fridge curing into bacon and ham.

We’ve got one ham going, roughly 20 lbs on the bone, which was half of the back leg of the half pig that we got. It’s big. It’s a huge chunk of meat. And it’s curing in the Cider Cure from Hugh Fernley Whittingsworth’s Meat book. It’s likely go go something like 30-40 days in the cider and brine, then it will be hung to dry for a while.

We’re doing 2 different styles of bacon, one is the basic dry cure from Hugh’s book, with mostly salt, a little sugar, and some spice. It needs to be re-rubbed every day or so, so it’s a bit more work. The other one is a wetter, maple, sugar and salt cure Basic fresh Bacon from the Charcouterie book. These will go a week to 10 days — the dry cure one is already looking firmer, the wet one is going a little slower.

The cats were terribly interested in what was going on in the kitchen while this was in progress. Thankfully, no bacon was lost to cats, nor was any bacon taped to them.

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Soda farls

I used to make a pretty decent soda farl, but that was a few years back and apparently I never wrote down the recipe. So after a few nights of not having bread ready to bake for the morning, and somehow having buttermilk on hand, I’ve got what I think is a passable but possibly not quite accurate rendition of a soda farl. of corse, if I was over there, it would be a bit easier, seeing as they have bakeries with them ready to take home.

* 1 3/4 cups flour
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* Pinch or two sugar

Preheat the cast iron pan on 5 for 5 minutes or so. Mix the dry, make sure that the soda is well mixed in with no lumps. Mix in the buttermilk, don’t mix too much. Pat to round, cut into farls, and cook for 8 min on one side, 5 on the other, then a bit on the cut sides.

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Braised Short Ribs

This may be a bit of a shock for those that knew us as vegetarians. That story may be told some other time. Saturday I spent about 5 hours with a recipe from Tom Colicchio’s Think like a Chef — Braised Short Ribs. I missed one little 10 minute browning step due to kiddo freakout, but other than that, it was perfect. Back in the dark ages of my cooking, I’d done ribs. These were nothing like those ribs. These fell apart. They were devoured. My only regret is that I didn’t get more of the fat poured off. The general outline is: Brown the meat. Brown veggies. Add vinegar and stock, and cook in the oven at a low simmer for 2-3 hours. Then pull the chunks out, skim the fat, reduce the liquid, and heat the rest back up. And yeah, I’d do that again, even though I started right after lunch and ran to a normal 6ish dinner.

In Progress:

Braised Short Ribs, in progress

Out of the Oven:

Braised Short Ribs, just out of the oven

Braised Short Ribs

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