Crispy Roast Potatoes with Pimenton and eggs. A Little Food Porn for Your Sunday Morning

I’m still pretty obsessed with pimenton sauce, and I fully admit that this mornings breakfast was a little involved, but it was so worth it. The potatoes came out extra crispy, and the pimenton made my day. Goodbye drawer full of carbs, Hello delightful morning breakfast!

Roasted Potatoes

4 medium potatoes cubed

1 tbs vinegar

salt

pepper

bacon grease or butter

Preheat the oven to 450, and parboil your potatoes for about 10 minutes. While I did that, I popped on a couple slices of bacon to get my hot little hands on the grease (keeping it on hand in a gross little jar gives me the heebs). Drain the potatoes from the water, and add a little salt pepper, and the bacon grease. Mix that around until the edges of the potatoes begin to bruise, and put them on a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes, give them a stir, and put them on a low broil for another 15 minutes, checking them ever so often to make sure they don’t burn.

For the Pimenton Sauce

1/2 an onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbs butter

3/4 cup water

1 bay leaf

2 tbs smoked paprika

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt

Saute the onion and garlic, in butter, in a small pot until blanched. Add in water, lemon juice and a bay leaf. Let that simmer for a few minutes, and put in the paprika. Stir until well combined, remove the bay leaf, and puree.

Make your eggs in your favorite fashion, put them on top of your crispy potatoes, drizzle a healthy smattering of the pimenton on your potatoes and enjoy.

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Ringing in the New Year with Healthy Steak Salad. Sort of. Shut up, Its Scrumptious!

 

Don’t worry, this health kick won’t last a week. I just figure, everyone is making new years resolutions, lose weight, get in shape, eat better… This tasty salad is in the very least a low carb treat! I’m not doing that Paleo crap though. Cave men died in their 30’s. As for me I’m not making any New Years resolutions. I’ll just continue to try to better myself as every human should. Best of luck to everyone in 2015.

Steaks

2 New York Steaks (I’m a purist for this, Salt, pepper, olive oil)

Cover the steaks in a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper both sides, let it sit for 30 minutes, and pan fry or grill on both sides until its cooked to your favorite doneness. Let it sit for 10 minutes after cooking, and slice into strips.

 

For the Dressing

1 cup sour cream

1 tbs horse radish+ to your taste.

Juice of a wedge of lemon

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

1/4 cup finely chopped chives

1/2 tsp salt

pepper

Mix all of this together, and set it aside for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

Salad fixings

spinach

arugula

1/4 cup finely sliced onion

1 cup cherry tomatoes

4 finely sliced radishes

1/2 a sliced and pealed cucumber

1/4 cup of pine nuts

A smattering of Gruyere cheese

Pepper

Set this up however you want. Salads are very personal. Like mac and cheese or spaghetti or underwear brands. I pop everything on top of the spinach and arugula. Don’t worry, it will mix itself.

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Guinness Beef Stew. Guinness is Good for You!

We went on hike around tiger mountain in the blistering fricking cold the other day.  ‘Tis the season for the light to pass perfectly through the trees, and for the cold to make its own beauty.

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I had been home a few hours and my ass still hadn’t warmed up. What better way to toast up my insides than a Guinness beef stew. When I was a kid, the very mention of anything about Guinness would cue up my grandmother to say the Guinness rhyme.  guinnes

Wouldn’t you know that Guinness is not only good for you, but its also good in stew. Its rich flavor deeply compliments the salty beef broth perfectly and makes pairing a drink with your stew super easy.

 

2 lbs Beef cut into 2″ chunks

2 large onions sliced

6 cups beef broth

1 can Guinness

6 cloves of garlic chopped

1 lb fingerling potatoes

4 celery stocks

12 oz mushrooms

1/2 cup barley

1 whole nutmeg seed

3 black cardamom pods crushed

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of oregano

Salt and pepper

In a large pot caramelize your onions, and brown the beef.  Add in the broth and beer. Place nutmeg, cardamom, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a cheese cloth or large tea strainer, and add it to the soup. Throw in the celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and barely. Let all of that simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until you can separate the beef  easily with a fork. For extra cool points plop some Swiss and or Gruyere cheese in there for that amazing gooey cheese factor.

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Coconut Hazelnut Pecan Tart. My bastardized version of pecan pie.

I am a pecan pie naes-sayer. They are overly sweet and gooey, and if they aren’t cold they kind of ooze all over you with their sticky nutty mess. That being said, my mind was recently changed by my friend, Laura. I went over for a day of goofing off downtown and baking. I was pleasantly surprised by what popped out of the oven (she makes the best baked goods). We made pecan pie bars, with a large smattering of hazelnuts in them. Their sweet scent filled the  apartment, and they came out quite tasty. So I took that delightful bar recipe she found on allrecipes, and changed it into something that looks nothing like the original.

For the crust

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

approx 1 tbs or less ice cold water

Mix together the flour, butter, salt and brown sugar in a food processor, or by hand until the ingredients are reduced to crumbles. Add in the water, mix it into the dough, and press it into a lightly oiled tart pan. Its too sticky and soft to roll out. You’ll just end up using all your swears otherwise.

For the pecan pie goo.

4 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup crushed pecans

1/2 cup crushed hazelnuts

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, whisk the eggs with the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla extract. Add in the coconut, pecans and hazelnuts, and pour that into your tart pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until when you give the pan a light shove it no longer undulates a wave of goo.

Semi Sweet Chocolate Drizzle

Just use dark or semi sweet chocolate, this thing is already teaming with sugar. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate is a welcome additive to the to the salivary gland squeezing sweetness of this tart.

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

On low, melt the butter. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until they are melted and combined well with the butter. If you’re a neanderthal like me, pour it into a plastic sandwich bag, seal the top, a cut a small hole in one of the corner. Drizzle that over the top of your pecan pie once it pops out of the oven, and let it cool for at least an hour.

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Pimenton roasted game hen with Mediterranean couscous

Pimenton sauce is freaking tasty. I recently ate it at a delightful restaurant downtown. I’m pretty sure this is going to go on everything for the next few weeks (or until I run out of smokey paprika). I had initially seen a recipe from my friend Jason, on the NY times website for Moroccan game hens and couscous. It looks nice. But the addition of paprika really made me want to over do it. Basting these little birds with a slightly diluted version of the pimenton sauce makes them wonderfully flavorful. After its finished cooking you can spread it all over everything, like a 5 year old to ketchup.

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3 game hens cut in half

4 cups of Israeli couscous

4 cups strong chicken broth

1 large chopped onion

6 cloves of chopped garlic

1 cup golden raisins

2 tbs of tumeric

1 tbs cinnamon

1 tbs Baharat spice

1 tsp salt

water

Pimenton sauce

1/4 smokey paprika

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp salt

the juice of 1 lemon

1 bay leafs

1 tbs flour

1 1/2 cup water

1 tbs butter

For the baste

1/4 cup pimenton sauce

1/4 cup butter

Juice of half a lemon

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For the pimenton sauce, saute the onion and garlic in a medium sauce pan, with butter,  until blanched. Add in the paprika, water, bay leaf, lemon juice, and salt. let that simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium high and whisk in the flour. Once the mixture has thickened, blend it with a hand blender or regular blender until smooth. Let it cool and serve.

Putting it all together

Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse the couscous and place it in a lightly oiled roasting pan. Mix in the turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and baharat spice. Spread the onion, garlic and raisins over the, and gently mix. Pour the chicken broth over the top, and and place the hens over the couscous. Melt the butter, mix in the lemon and pimenton sauce, and baste the hens with it. Pop that in the oven, baste it every half hour with the pimenton sauce mixture, and add water to the couscous as needed. Bake it for 1 1/2 hours or until the legs easily break away from the body. Once its out of the oven, fluff the couscous and place the hens on top.

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Filed under Exotic meats, Holiday foods, poultry

A Cranberry Liqueur. Booze to make your Guests Smooze

So, my mom is cooler than me. I’m sure I’ve stated it before, and I’ll probably state it again. For the last few falls shes been making me peach liqueur, and blueberry liqueur. Both of which last me a few weeks, and then I have to go over and make one of the the worlds most distraught face, as I tell her that I couldn’t help myself, and I drank it. ( I really did lose it this time I swear!!) So now, in order to get as many cool points as my dear mom, I’ve been trying my hand at making liqueurs this holiday season. For Thanksgiving it was pumpkin spice, now that we’ve hit Christmas I made a delightful cranberry. They make easy gifts for drinkers, and can act as a fantastic liquid lubricant for any slow party, especially if you use everclear!

 

12 oz fresh cranberries

Juice and zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 gallon Vodka or Everclear

1 cup more sugar for later

In a medium sized pot, add orange juice, zest and sugar. Turn the heat to medium low, and let the sugar disolve into the orange juice. Throw in a light splash of water, and add in the cranberries, Stew them down to where they’ve burst, and are becoming almost like homemade cranberry sauce. Set them aside to cool for 30 minutes. Separate your cranberry into 4 different containers, (I use mason jars) and add in the vodka. Store it in a cool, dark place for 2-4 weeks. When your time is up, strain the cranberries out, and add in 1/4 cup of sugar into each jar, and let is sit for one to two more weeks, giving it the occasional shake as you go. When the time comes, break it out, give it one last shake for good measure, and pour over ice, or mix it with 7 up for a tasty treat!

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Poultry, Pork and Dairy! What Else Could Be More Merry!?

Sometimes you have to torture a chicken in order to get some really good grub. Have you ever considered what the chicken would say if it knew that after it died, you were going to take one of what could have been its babies, stir it around in a bowl, and then dip the chickens dead carcass in it? Wars have been started for less. Its so disrespectful…. and delicious. I made chicken cordon bleu tonight. Its comfort food. And on the darkest day of the year, you really just need to curl up with some tasty food and a nice strong drink. Chicken breasts are notoriously dry. We’ve taken care of that this evening by giving it the beating of a lifetime, and adding in flavor with vinegar, lemon juice and salt.

4 chicken breasts

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

4 slices of ham

4 slices of swiss cheese

1 cup finely grated gruyere cheese

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup flour

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 eggs

Salt

Pepper

1 cup oil

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap, and give them a good bashing until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Place the breasts in a bowl or ziploc bag, and add in the balsamic, lemon juice, and salt. Coat each piece, cover it, and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. While that is sitting, whisk your eggs in a bowl. Then mix together flour, panko, lemon zest, and half the Gruyere cheese on a plate and set it aside. Heat up your oven to 400 degrees, and place oil in a pan and heat it to medium high. (I didn’t use an exact temperature, because at this point you’re just making the panko a bit more crispy). Remove the chicken from the fridge, and pat it dry.  In the center of each breast  place a tablespoon+ of grated Gruyere, a slice of aged Swiss, and then a slice of ham. When the ham is on the top it will stop the cheese from oozing out from the edges of the chicken….SCIENCE! Fold the edges of the chicken inward, and secure them with a toothpick or string. Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg, and coat it liberally in the panko mixture. Place the breasts in the pan and fry on each side for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet and add a sprinkling of sea salt immediately. Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165. Remove from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes, and dig in.

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Droolworthy Shrimp Sandwich, and a Stunning Berry Filled Hike

I’m proud to announce that Feasts of Strength now has a facebook page that will probably be under construction for the next month or so. You can follow me there too at www.facebook.com/feastsofstrength Yay to you for being an invested follower!

For the last 3 years my boyfriend and I have been doing an annual fall hike up off highway 2. Its not particularly strenuous, but it does start out at 4500, and end up at around 5500. After a short uphill climb the rest of the hike is pretty much all sweeping views of the cascades. The best part about the hike is the berries. I’m sure you’ve had a blue berry before, and you may have had a huckleberry, but have you had the illusive wild blueberry. These delicious little bastards grow at high elevations. They look quite a bit like huckleberries, only instead of growing at knee to waist height, they are at ankle to shin height.  The cold from the elevation make them quite a bit sweeter than their lowland counterparts, and they are so delicious you’d think they were fake.

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Every year, after picking I drop off a bag of blueberries with my mom, we celebrate the incoming blueberry liqueur by making shrimp sandwiches. These aren’t just any shrimp sandwiches, its layers of amazing. Shrimp strategically placed to have some in every bite, crammed between dungeness cream cheese spread, and a layer of guacamole. The whole thing is entirely too much to handle. I might warn you. Making this is a bit of an involved process. It usually take at least 30 minutes to put it all together. WORTH IT!!!!

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The aforementioned blueberry liqueur

For the Shrimp

2 lb medium shrimp

olive oil for sauteing

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt

pepper

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil, add in the lemon juice and the liquid smoke and swirl it around to mix. Toss in the shrimp, and add the chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute until the shrimp is cooked all the way through and set aside to cool.

For the Crab

1/2lb Dungeness crab meat

8 oz cream cheese

2 tbs finely chopped chives

1 finely minced garlic clove

salt

pepper

Strain the crab meat, and combine all of the ingredients until well mixed.

For the Guacamole

2 avocados

1/2 red onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 medium tomato chopped

the juice of 1 lemon

salt

pepper

Mash up the avocados until they are creamy, add in the rest of the ingredients until well mixed. You can buy it too, but it won’t taste as magical.

Finally, putting it all together

On one side of the sandwich, place the crab dip. On the other put the guacamole. On crab side begin placing shrimp, interlocking them with one another so the entire piece of bread is covered in little shrimp bodies. Top with alfalfa sprouts, and put the sandwich together. Mmmmmmh. Sandwichy goodness. I recommend pants with elastic bands. You’ll want 2 or 3 of these.

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Tom Kha Gai Soup. Yummy In My Tummy

So I found all of my ingredients for this at G mart. If you have lived here in Washington for a while, I’m sure you’ve been to Uwajimaya. It’s the go to place around the area for all of your Asian staples, its busy, and almost like a fun grocery field trip. If you live in the north end, you may have hit up H mart, with less exciting results, but they are still a bustling little Asian market.  Then there’s G mart. Oh G mart, you need a hug, a makeover, and maybe a trip to a local rehab center or group home for a little therapy. I did find all of what I needed with some extra treats to try. But it was one of the odder less stocked Asian markets I’ve been to.

For someone who doesn’t really appreciate soup that much, I sure do make a lot of it. Tom Kha soup is by far my favorite. Its rich and creamy, and full of little flavor surprises. And it only takes about 30 minutes to make up. It leaves you feeling like you’ve forgotten several major steps in the process, but then you test it, and realize its just that easy.

2 cups of chicken tenders, thinly sliced

12 oz sliced large oyster mushrooms

24 oz coconut milk

4 cups chicken broth

2 chopped lemon grass stocks

2 sliced shallots

4 or 5 finely minced Thai chili peppers

10 to 15 cherry tomatoes (optional)

2 tbs chopped galangal (Angry ginger) or just regular ginger

A generous splash of fish sauce

the juice of 2 limes

a liberal smattering of cilantro

Put chicken broth, fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk in a large pot and heat it up to a simmer. Add in the lemon grass, shallots, chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, galangal, switch the heat to high, and bring it to a boil. Once the soup is boiling Add in your chicken and mushrooms, and drop the heat to medium high, allowing it to simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until your oyster mushrooms are cooked through. Finally ladle it into bowls and sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves over the top.

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Rabbit Croquettes. Give this nugget a try!

I was feeling a little peckish, and slightly sinister recently, and thought, what better way to quell my demons, than to eat something adorable. Rabbit is a delightfully lean meat. Its got just enough game in the flavor it make it have a slight zip, but not so much so that it takes away your breath. There are so many different things to do with rabbit, and since it is a notoriously tough meat, most of them involve brazing or stewing, but what about turning this puppy into the the baddest little meat nugget in the land? I made these rabbit croquettes with a tarragon and mustard aioli. The flavors are added in a small amount to compliment and not distract from our delicious little bunny.

1 rabbit, deboned and minced, or if you can find it ground

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 small chopped white or yellow onion

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground sage

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup of flour. Plus more for frying

pepper

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup panko 1/2 cup flour mixed

oil for frying

Saute your rabbit on medium with the salt, pepper, sage, garlic, onions, lemon juice, and a little butter or olive oil until the meat is cooked.  Drop the heat to low, and add in the flour. Make sure the meat is well coated and remove from the heat. Place in a bowl and set in the in refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.  Once you have removed the rabbit from the fridge,  add in the whisked egg, and form it into small rabbit nuggets, about 1/2 an inch thick. Roll the nuggets in the panko mixture and set aside on a floured plate. Put  1/4 an inch of oil in a frying pan, and heat it up to medium high. Add in the rabbit croquettes spaced approximately 1 inch apart. Let them fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.

For the aioli

2 egg yokes

1/2 cup chilled olive oil

1/2 cup chilled vegetable oil

1 clove garlic finely minced and ground into a paste

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp ground mustard. Not the shitty stuff.

1/2 tsp minced fresh tarragon

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Make this about an hour to 1 day a head so that he flavors can meld together. Whisk up your egg yokes until they begin to thicken, and slowly begin adding in olive oil a little at a time, allowing the aioli to thicken back up after each addition. Once you have added in your olive oil, and you have a nice thick mayo, whisk in the vinegar, garlic mustard, tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pro tip for people who hate whisking, use your hand blender with a whisk attachment to make life faster, and easier.

Serve it up with your delightful rabbit croquettes, and be happy that adorable things are so tasty….you monster.

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Lobster Carbonara with Stained Glass Pappardelle Noodles

My family moved from Naples to the UK in the 1800’s, which is why I feel completely comfortable bastardizing this carbonara. Everyone has an excuse, and of course, why would you want to do that to a perfectly lush, and delicious recipe. My answer is always, because I can. As usual, this whole thing came about because I found some more randoms in my freezer. I had bought a bunch of lobster tails that were on sale for $3 a piece, my herb plants needed some love and attention, and I had recently bought one too many eggs. Lastly I really wanted to attempt to make stained glass noodles. It snowballed into something fantastic.

How do you make stained glass noodles? Assuming you know how to make basic pasta dough, first you need to pick a wide noodle like pappardelle or tagliatelle. Second you need a pasta maker. Because rolling it out to paper thin by hand will wear you out. Once you get your pasta to near paper thin, take a few different herbs (I picked parsley, oregano, and thyme), and sprinkle them over the top of the rolled out pasta. Fold it in half over the herbs, and run it through the pasta maker one last time. Only once, or the herbs will tear apart in the noodle. Then lay your noodles on a flat surface, and cut them into 3/4 inch strips. Cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes or until al dente.

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For the sauce

4 lobster tails, removed from their shells, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 a cup pancetta or guanciale

4 egg yokes, and 1 large eggs

1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, thyme, and parsley

salt

pepper

olive oil

1 lb pappardelle noodles.

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Saute the mushrooms, lobster, and pancetta in a bit of olive oil, until the pancetta is just crispy. Set it aside, or on very low while you cook your noodles. While the noodles are doing their thing, whisk the egg, yokes, cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. When the noodles are finished grab 1/4 cup of the pasta water (just in case) Strain the noodles, remove the pancetta pan off the heat, and quickly add them to the lobster and pancetta. slowly pour in the egg mixture and gently toss until it coats all the noodles, and serve.

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Not Your Basic Bitch Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

I am tardy to the fall party. As a female living in Seattle I should have probably made up this post at least 8 weeks ago, preferably before the autumnal equinox, and ideally on the day that Starbucks released its tasty fall beverages. It was still well over 80 degrees here. I have all of the excuses.

pumpkin spice

In order to make this liqueur a little more special, I used fresh pumpkin, and whole spices. And set the cure time from 2 weeks to 6. It really allows all of the flavors from the spices and pumpkin to leach out into the vodka, and give you a much better flavor.

1 pumpkin, grated or finely chopped with the rinds removed

1 nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamon pods

2 cloves

1 knuckle of finely sliced ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for cooking

I used 4 small jars for this, but you can also use a large jug, or even the vodka bottle itself, as long as it is about 3/4 of the way full. Saute the pumpkin with a tablespoon of brown sugar to soften them, don’t let it brown. Add the pumpkin to the jug, (along with any juices that may have come out of them while they cooked) and the spices, and set it in a cool dark place for 4 weeks. I use my phone calender to let me know when I’m supposed to add things, or strain, or to tell me when its done. At the 4 week mark, strain the spices and pumpkin, and add in the 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the liqueur, give it a good shake, and put it back in the cupboard for another two weeks, occasionally giving it a little shake.

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Once you hit 6 weeks feel free to start drinking it, you can put it in a little shot glass, or mix it with ginger ale to make a magical fall drink.

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Caramel Apple Pear Tart to Stick in Your Pie Hole

Its Pie time bitches. I took a month and a half off, sorda. I wanted to blog, but for reasons only known to me, the letter A is no longer on my laptop. I don’t want to talk about it, but I will say, karma might actually have foresight. I blogged like 15 posts about halfway and then would move on to what ever shiny object attracted my attention. Now I’m finishing them, at least some… So,  I made this salted caramel apple pear tart crumble. Yes the title is wordy, how else are you going to truly understand why you want to eat it so bad.

So I found this recipe in fine cooking magazine, no, the idea is not my own, but this is my bastardization of it. Its pretty much the same. I decided not to do a lattice. Caramel will stick to the top of the crumble better. And the amounts differ, because at some point I got too excited to pay attention.

I apologize for the quality of this photo. To avoid burn edges do what granny says, and line the edges of your pie with tinfoil.

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For the crust

1 cup butter

1 1/2  cups+ flour

3/4 cups ground hazelnuts

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

Mix the flour, hazelnuts, salt, sugar and butter together until crumbles begin to form. Add a tablespoon of cold water, and kneed it only until the water is mixed in, and form it into two balls. Roll out one of the balls on a floured surface, and flip it into a tart pan. Reform the second ball into more crumbles by adding 1/4 cup more flour, and set it aside for the filling.

For the filling

2 pears

2 apples

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp cardamom

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp salt

Thinly slice up the apples and pears, and add in the sugar, flour, cardamom and and lemon juice and zest. Mix them up and set them aside while you make the caramel. I know I can add more spices, but simplicity makes this pies flavors come out.

For the Caramel

1/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

3/4 cups heavy cream

Making your own caramel is not as big of a pain in the ass as you would think. It just feels harried and it can be scary. So, In a sauce pan on medium melt the butter, add in the sugar and salt, and stir it until the sugar has melted into the butter. Stir it every minute or two, until your sugar butter mix begins to lightly brown and caramelize. Once things feel like they are about to get out of hand with the browning,  and you are getting what looks like tiny chunks of melted wherthers candies (or hard caramels) quickly remove it from the heat, (I would suggest putting on an apron and some gloves for this) pour in the heavy cream, and whisk whisk whisk until the caramelized sugar has softened back into the the cream. If when you pour it in, a sudden freak burst of steam pops up. Just step back for a second until the heavy cream calms the F down, and go back to whisking. Once everything has combined into a lovely sauce, let it cool for a bit while you assemble your pie. (Pro tip: double the recipe and save half for your coffee. YAY!!!!)

Pie assembly

Yes, this does seem like a lot of work. It only takes like 30 minutes to get to this point once you make it twice. I’m sorry. Sometimes delicious isn’t easy. Preheat your oven to 375. Toss your pears and apples into the pie pan, and add a large potion of your caramel evenly over the top, then sprinkle the crumble over the top. Pop that in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top has crisped, and the juices of the pie have began to bubble. That bubble is so important. Remove it, and once your pie has cooled enough to serve (because you won’t want to wait) drizzle the remains of the caramel over the top of the crumble.

 

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One year of blogging, and a Deliciously Simple Marrow Recipe

Well kids, Thanks for following me over the past year as I blog my zany cooking adventures. Its been a fun experience, that has led me down some odd culinary passage ways, from making a haggis, to creative abominations using squid ink in a little cake baking. Sorry friend, you didn’t know, but you really liked it! Heh. I love my little blog and have given serious consideration to buying my domain name (any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated.)

On to the goods. I made marrow! I had this at a little bar in capitol hill. On a hot summer day this dish is a little heavy, but as our wonderfully crappy winter and fall descends upon us, its the perfect mixture of fat and carbs that will nourish your body on particularly bleak days. I’ve made this for a few people, and gotten the typical response of, “really dude? You choose to feed me that?!”. Rest assured, they shut the hell up, after sticking it in their judgmental, finicky pie holes. Its the bodies butter. And although its normally used in making soup stock, Sopping it up with a thinly sliced baguette is seriously the way to go. I tried crustini, but once you get down to the dregs of marrow, your really need something that pulls in all of that magical marrow flavor.

For this delightful treat I use cow femur, sawed in half lengthwise by my local butcher. I suggest that, because its easier to get at the marrow. I personally can and will eat an entire bone by myself, (both sides) and this is not just because I’m a fat kid. Its because a large portion of this is cancellous bone. Meaning instead of being the central, tubular portion of the bone that contains the marrow, the ends are a matrix of tiny bones that don’t really have much sustenance in them. Sorry, they are just there to look cool.

Marrow for 2

2 cow femurs split lengthwise

a splash of olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

a sparse sprinkling Gruyere cheese (optional

a generous pinch or two of salt and pepper (I use truffle salt, regular salt is more than acceptable)

1 thinly sliced baguette

Preheat your oven to 425, rub the marrow portion of the bone down with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme, cheese and pop it in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the blood running out is no longer red. Serve with the bread slices.

Too easy right??!

marrow

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Goat Cheese in Fiery Marinara

One of my favorite things to make from scratch is marinara. Being that it was such a beautiful summer, and I’ve been able to harvest my tomatoes non stop for the last couple weeks, it seemed high time to cook up a batch, just in time for the rainy season (Late September through June, here in Seattle). Everyone seems to know, or have that sly Italian cook in their family. you know, the one that thinks that they are the bees knees by not sharing the whole recipe. Leaving out certain ingredients, to maybe keep you coming back, or in my opinion, its obviously because they are (for lack of a better term) a dick. Let me just let you in on that little marinara secret you all think is sugar. Its not. You great great aunty is giggling at you from her grave right now.  I’ve found that a handful of basil, a red pepper, and half a sweet onion does the sweetening to perfection every time.

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My favorite thing to do with said home made marinara is to broil it with any number of small goat cheese balls. Stick them in the oven on a high broil for a few minutes, and serve it up with some delightful crustini.

For the marinara

4 lbs chopped roma tomatoes at peak perfectly red ripeness

1 lb cherry tomatoes

1 thinly chopped carrot

1 celery stock

1 sweet finely chopped onion

1 chopped red pepper

1 roasted bulb of garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

a handful of chopped basil leaves

1 tsp chili peppers… or less.. or more depending on your preference.

Salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

1 cup of wine

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Cut the top off your bulb of garlic, cover it in olive oil, wrap it in tinfoil, and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Saute your  onions, celery, and carrots with olive oil, in a rather large pot. Once your onions have blanched, add in 2 cups of water, the wine, and vinegar, your tomatoes, herbs, and chili peppers.  Let that simmer on medium low for an hour or so. Somewhere in the middle of this, when your garlic has finished, pop those cloves lovingly into the pot as well. After  that hour is up, and your tomatoes have begun to crawl out of their own skin, remove them from the heat, take your hand blender, and blend them until they are a beautiful puree. If you have no hand blender, mash them like you would potatoes, or stick them in an actual blender. Tada! Home made marinara.

Now for the fun. Transfer the marinara into small ramkins, and place 4 or 5 in inch goat cheese balls in each. Toast up baguette slices that you have slathered in olive oil. Pop the ramkins in the oven on a high broil for 3 to 5 minutes and serve!

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Filed under Italian

The Butterhorn Connoisseurs Butterhorn

Many years ago I worked for Starbucks. Back when they had butterhorn cookies. The thing about their butterhorns is, they came in two different qualities, often arriving in the same box. five or six of them would be smooth and shiny, and the rest of them would be this crackled, dull looking cookie. They tasted that way too. You could always tell the customers who knew what they were looking for by the sometimes VERY specific choice as to which butterhorn they wanted. 

What you put in the inside filling is really your business, I prefer simplicity. Brown sugar and cinnamon. Some people prefer finely chopped pecans or walnuts, others put raisins in it (sacrilege).

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream 

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamon

2 cups flour

Filling

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk (A splash, I’m guessing… never actually meassured)

Combine your wet ingredients until well mixed, and then add in the spices and flour. This is a relatively moist dough. You will need to chill it until its workable, possibly over night. Once your dough has chilled, split it in half. and roll it out into a circle on a floured surface and cut it up like a pizza. Cover the top of the circle in your filling, and roll the cookies from the fat side to the skinny side. and set them on a greased baking sheet. Bake them at 375 for approximately 15 minutes. Set them aside to cool for 15 minutes, and then spread a light layer of glaze over the top of each cookie. Let them sit for another 30 minutes and enjoy!DSC_0309

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Filed under cookies, Desserts

You don’t have to eat meat! I brought enough gazpacho for everyone!!

Gazpacho is a wonderful thing. It takes that whole idea of turning on burners, and ovens and throws it straight into the trash. I made Gazpacho Verde. Its like Regular gazpacho’s’ bitchin’ cousin. It takes the tyranny of a hot day and makes it a non issue. With easy (and cheaper) substitutions. One thing that you might want to take heed on, is the jalapenos. 3 adds a tasty zing to the flavor . 6 adds makes it into a small oral inferno. However, letting those additional jalapenos think about their behavior in the fridge overnight, really mellows them out into a a considerate level of spice that most people (meaning me, the spicy weenie) can handle.

The gazpacho verde has spawned something though. I have a pension for adding alcohol to things. I thought that adding vodka would make an excellent drink. I call it a Vulcan Mary. Its got spice, a touch of sweet, a little sour, and has a wonderful combination of refreshing and please make the hangover go away.

1 lb tomatillos

1 honey dew melon

1 cucumber

1 green pepper

1 white onion

4 cloves of garlic

6 Jalapenos

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sparkling water

1 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp salt

Take all of these lovely ingredients, chop them up into small pieces, and place them into a blender to puree. The smaller you make the pieces, the more you can fit into your blender. Pour the puree into a mesh sieve, and allow it to sit over a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour. (overnight if you’re letting the ingredients settle).

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I feel like gazpacho is a personal food. Its like eggs, or mash potatoes, or spaghetti. No one can make it just the way you like it. some people like it thick, some like it thin. Others like it rich and creamy or even chunky. I always save about 1 cup of the blended ingredients to add to the gazpacho. The other thing I do, is set aside some greek yogurt. A tablespoon thickens and adds a very rich flavor to the gazpacho.

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Now, onto the the Star trek themed drink. For those of you who aren’t super awesome, Vulcans bleed green … as long as you make an arterial cut…. Hence the extra special name, the vulcan bloody mary. Simply take the gazpacho sans any pulp or greek yogurt, add that to a shot or 2 of vodka and some sparkling water, with a celery and a lime wedge to garnish, and enjoy.

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Roasted vension rib rack with pomegranate balsamic reduction

Time to finish your hunters education kids. You have a month and a half before deer hunting season begins… or if the idea of killing a deer,  field dressing it,  and dragging it back to your car is hard to handle,  you can head to your favorite local butcher. I am lucky enough to have such a butcher right in my neighborhood.

Venison is kinda gamey.  Certain herb combinations counteract that gamey flavor.  I chose Juniper and rosemary for this. Most sites will suggest this cut of venison be made rare to medium rare, I found that if you absolutely love a  gamey cut that’s the way to go. But if have had a recent haggis experiment, and want that flavor a little more subtle, make that cut medium rare to medium.

1 venison rib rack

1 tsp salt and 1/2 a tsp+ to salt your meat

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic

1 shallot

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

5 crushed junipers seeds

3 crushed black cardamon pods

Several sprigs of fresh thyme

several minced sprigs of fresh rosemary

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Salt your rib rack, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Take all of your herbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon, vinegar, and shallot, and toss them into a food processor. After your ribs are finished absorbing the salt, pour your marinade over the meat and that sit in the fridge over night, or for a few hours. Preheat the oven to 375 and roast it for 25-35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120, take it out, and let it sit for another 15 minutes. After you remove the roast, scrape out the drippings and toss them into a pot to make your gravy.

Venison gravy

Wild mushroom mix

Roast drippings minus the fat

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine

1 tsp flour mixed well with 1/4 cup of water

Scrape the drippings from the bottom of the roasting rack and put them to a pan with the beef broth and and wine. Bring that to a boil. Once the drippings to dissolve into your broth, allow it to reduce 1/4 of the way. After it reduces, drop the heat to medium and add in half of your flour mixture. As you add it in, begin whisking the mixture until it reaches the desired thickness.

For the pomegranate balsamic reduction

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1 tbs butter

Juice 1 cup of pomegranate seeds (I used my lemon squeezer

1 tsp honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

On low, melt your butter, add in your honey, and combine it. Add in the pomegranate juice and balsalmic and reduce it until it thickens and serve it gingerly over the top of your meat.

Venison (11)

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Filed under Exotic meats

Portobello Lamb burgers. Soooo Juicy. Soooo Delicious

Excited face! I went out with my father today taking pictures and even went on a small hike. But the awesome came at the end, when I found a butcher just a few miles from me, called the butcher shop cafe. I am over the moon about the special order situation. It seems that a lot of places near hear will do a tri tip roast, but this guy has no problem ordering kangaroo. In fact he has it on hand right now. Things are about to get far more interesting boys and girls.

This weekend I made portobello lamb burgers. Its a simple and delicious alternative to using using bread buns on your burgers, and will make this lamb burger extra juicy. One thing that makes me sad when I eat a burger, is sinking my teeth into it, and finding that someone decided the best option when making them was to not season their ground meat.  This burger will not disappoint in the flavor department. I promise.

8 portobello mushroom caps

1 pound ground lamb

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 purple onion

4 cloves of garlic

a few chopped sprigs of fresh thyme and a oregano

1 tsp salt

1 tsp curry

Juice of 1 lemon

Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Place the ground lamb in a bowl, and add the feta cheese, onion, garlic, herbs, curry, salt, and pepper. Mix those ingredients gently together, and  separate them into 4 patties. You can stick these lovely smashed balls of meat on the stove or on the grill and cook them for 8 minutes each side on medium high. Take the portobello mushroom caps, and  cover them in a light coat of oil and salt on both sides. Grill them, or stick them in the oven for 8 minutes each side as well until the tops turn a darker shade of brown.

Build up your burger in your most favorite way, with your favorite sauces and dig in. My suggestion is a nice garlic aioli, curried ketchup and maybe a few extra napkins.

Portobello burger

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Filed under Lamb, Uncategorized

The Great Salmon Grilled Cheese Experiment

Last week I made salmon. A few moments after tweeting about it, one of my favorite people in the whole world responded that she too was having salmon, but since it was leftovers, it was going into a grilled cheese. That really tickled my fancy. In the creepiest way “tickled my fancy” can be understood. I needed to know what was going on in her mouth right that second, and so, the salmon grilled cheese experiment was born. Plans were made, cheese, bread, and salmon were bought. Aspirin was taken for its blood thinning properties to prevent any possible episodes that were about to take place. I was about to take that heart healthy protein, and make it my culinary bitch.

The main thing she said was missing was a sauce. Tomato soup is quite traditional to go along with grilled cheese. However, there was a slight allergy issue that was hindering that. I spent the rest of the week pondering that. Tarter is too thick, its also a bit crude for a grilled cheese, I thought about various salad dressings, oil and vinegar dips, and aiolis. It was all too rich. Hollandaise would be perfect but it was a bit too thick. Beurre blanc would also be magical but it was a bit too thin. What to do…. Combine the greatness of hollandaise with phenomenal flavor of beurre blanc, that’s what. Holland blanc… beurredaise..

So here’s the details of our little experiment. Bread: Sour dough. Cheeses: Swiss or cheddah. Salmon: Chinook or lox. Sauce: Beurredaise. Yes, I know there are about 400 other combinations, but in the interest of not weighing 400 pounds, and the fact that  there were only two bellies to fill, we narrowed it down a bit.

What it came down to was Swiss on sour dough, my salmon recipe sans tomato, and the Beurredaise sauce. I took the left over herbed butter from the salmon and used it to fry up my sammich. The lox was ok with the swiss, but when we put it with the cheddar and the sauce it turned out to be really overwhelmingly flavorful. Swiss had the perfect mild flavor to go along with the oven roasted salmon.

Beurredaise recipe

1 cup of chablis

2 bay leafs

a few peppercorns

1 sprig of dill

1 sprig of thyme

1/2 a coarsly chopped shallot

1 clove of garlic

1 egg yoke

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup of butter.

salt and pepper to taste

Put your wine, lemon juice shallot, garlic, peppercorns and herbs into a sauce pan. Bring that to a boil and reduce it by half. Run that through a strainer and let it cool for a few minutes. Put it back on the stove on low. Whisk up an egg until it thickens, and add that to your wine. Continue to whisk with all of your might until the whole mixture thickens. Place it in a bowl and serve it up with your delicious salmon grilled cheese.

And that was that. Salmon grill cheese with a lovely hybrid sauce. Thanks Jeni, for the wonderful idea!

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