Friday, July 25, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 24 July 2014

This time I don't have to share credit with my normal flavour consultant.

Christian was over for dinner, and there were steaks in the fridge, so it only made sense to fire up the Weber and cook them.

As sides we had a mess of kale (fresh from the garden!) with bacon, shallots, and a few peppers, and then a nice pot of yellow rice with some caramelized onions.Both sides were excellent.
As to the steaks, they were nice thick strip steaks, so while the coals settled in, it gave them a nice dose of salt and pepper, seasoning the second side as the steaks hit the grill seasoned side down.
I'm not sure whence the inspiration, but I was thinking about oranges and lemons as they cooked. Well, there were a couple nice lemons in the basked, so I got my microplane and as the steaks finished up on the second side, that nicely seared first side received a dose of lemon zest. It smelled great, and the zest seemed to melt into the juices collecting on the steaks, so they didn't really look very different from any other steak.

However -
Both Heidi and Christian are likely to add some steak sauce when enjoying a steak, but both tasted first and then totally refrained - the steak needed no enhancement.

I still think I'd like to try this with orange zest, but the lemon was so delicious that I can heartily recommend this to any and all.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 17 July 2014

Boneless breasts and thighs.
What to do with them to make them delicious on the grill?

How about this:
  • Salt and pepper all around.
  • A glaze made of spicy sweet mustard, maple syrup, Colman's dry mustard, and a bit of hot sauce.
 Smear that glaze on and grill, smearing more as they pieces turn.

Well, we'll say this about that - it was beyond tasty. It got the "you can make this any time you want" seal of approval from Heidi.

Enough said?
Highly recommended - please enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

RIP Ollie Fretter

You may not remember him, but Ollie Fretter was the king of appliances back before the "big box" stores took over.
Fretter v. Highland Appliance was the big time - I remember an RA in college walking back and forth between the two with competitive quotes for his stereo rig until one of them couldn't beat the other and sent him back across the street to make his purchase.

Thanks for the memories (and the first colour TV we bought to outfit the library at Bob).

In honour of the "I'll give you five pounds of coffee if I can't beat your best deal" tagline:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 28 June 2014

Ah, burgers.
Burgers on the grill.
Burgers on the grill on a Summer evening.

That's pretty darned good, but what if we make the burgers better?

That's just what we did this past weekend, made the burgers better.
A 50/50 mix of ground lamb and ground beef (chuck) was the base, but then we went to town.
Added into the meat were the following:
Old Bay and chipotle powder (a sort of North American harissa, if you will), pine nuts, and capers.
We mixed it all together, but without over-mixing, and onto the grill the patties went (about 6oz patties as an estimate) to cook to perfection.
An added benefit was the mayo with Old Bay and beau monde smeared on the buns.

Oh dear, these were quite the tasty burgers.
Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pescage du Jour - 23 June 2014

Ah, those pesky fish. They're not really that hard to cook, they're just hard not to overcook.

At last, I success with fishy perfection. It wasn't paella, but it was paellish in some ways.
While a pot of yellow rice cooked on the stove, I prepared a nice swordfish steak with some curry powder, paprika, and salt on each side. That was seared in canola oil, flipped, and removed - at just the right time!
Into that skillet went chopped onions, some chopped piquillo peppers, and some diced button mushrooms. I had some leftover chicken, so about a thigh's-worth was diced and added as well.
When they were just right, in went the rice for a quick stir while I cut up the swordfish and added the pieces to the rice.
What a bowl of flavour!
Oh, I also added some chopped pistachios and cashews which had been spiced with curry powder and paprika as well. They add a nice flavour and a great occasional crunch to many a dish in our house.

This was extremely delicious and highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 20 May 2014 (avec Fromages du Jour!)

Well, well, well. At last we've come up with an appetizer worthy of being shared here.

The main course was a lovely beef tenderloin roast. A simple seasoning mix (salt, pepper, chipotle powder, and a bit of beau monde) all over it and then a roast in a 425F oven for a while, just until the internal temp hit 140F. A rest while finishing up some pasta with roasted vegetables and a bit of plain greek yogurt was all it took before we could slice it and enjoy.
And enjoy it we did!

Ah, but what of the appetizer, eh?

In keeping with a couple of the latest crazes, we decided to do a riff on KFC's sandwich (that one with chicken instead of bread) and hit hard the old gluten-free trend as well.
So ... grilled cheese sandwiches.

"How?" I hear you ask. Thus:
Slices of Haloumi cheese were used as the ersatz bread were arranged with a slice of American cheese between them. A grilling in a skillet added the beautiful grill / char marks to the Haloumi, and the central cheese did a nice bit of melting.

Ah, but the proof of the sandwich is in the eating, no? Yes.

What a revelation! A beautiful saltiness with a squeak that was reminiscent of fresh curds greeted each bite. There really is no need for bread in grilled sandwiches anymore - Haloumi is the new Whole Wheat. (Feel free to quote me on that.)


Friday, April 25, 2014

Carnages du Jour - 23 April 2014

Well, the weather was nice enough to fire up the old Weber, and so I did.

As always, it seemed a waste to simply cook what we would eat that night, so a quick scan of the available foodstuffs was undertaken, and in addition to the day's burgers and cauliflower, a pork tenderloin was found and prepped.

First, the pork.
A quick blend of a small amount of cornmeal, some ground cumin seed, dry mustard, and beau monde was spread on the pork, and it was put over a slightly less hot part of the fire to roast without getting too charred. The pork was joined by a slightly broken-down head of cauliflower with a nice dose of butter and minced garlic, all rolled up in aluminum foil.

As those two roasted under the cover, I prepped the burgers:
Into a pound or so of ground chuck went a generous bunch of extra hot horseradish, some sesame oil, salt and pepper, and a couple tablespoons of capers.
Once it was all mixed nicely, three nice patties were prepped and cooked.

Everything finished up about the same time (including the bowtie pasta that hadn't been mentioned until now - dressed with a sauce of greek yogurt and cumin) and the burgers were greatly enjoyed with the cauliflower and pasta.

The next night, the pork was reheated along with the rest of the cauliflower and some peas with pearl onions dressed with greek yogurt . A yogurt and cumin sauce accompanied it all and all was delicious.

Both highly recommended.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 16 April 2014

My trusty flavour consultant, Christian, has come up with yet another winner. (I'll take some of the credit, as I suggested part of this discovery, although at least partly in jest.)

There had been a pork butt waiting in the fridge for some time, so Heidi popped it in the oven for one of those lovely all-day roastings that end up in pork that doesn't really need to be pulled; it basically pulled itself with the help of mean old Mr. Gravity.
Salt and pepper were the sole seasonings, and it was just delicious.

Christian came over to have dinner: Heidi suggested mashed potatoes, I suggested sandwiches, Christian went for both.
Oh, those sandwiches I suggested were on cinnamon-swirl raisin bread. (I know, bear with me a moment.)
Heidi decided to forgo the sandwich and have her pork on her potatoes. That's always a nice combo, so it's hard to blame her.
Christian and I, however, decided on a mash-up of the two options.

The winning sandwich - and it really is a winner - was the following:
Very lightly toasted raisin bread, smear one slice with mashed potatoes, cover with pulled pork, drizzle with a bit of maple syrup, and close with the other slice of bread.

Please don't think ill of us - this sandwich was simply delicious.
Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 08 April 2014

It was a decidedly Alaskan dinner on the 8th.
No, there was no salmon involved, nor halibut, nor caribou, nor even muskox.
No, it was none of those, but rather an attempt - and quite a successful one - to replicate the steak bites at Brewster's in Fairbanks.

Heidi managed a very tasty marinade and then a sauce by mixing Hoisin, Worcestershire, Soy, and Szechuan stir-fry sauces, then adding a bit of sesame oil to add just that special note that it always brings.
Given that the original was fairly secret, apart from its base being Alaskan Amber (what a delicious beer, and what a shame it's not available in Michigan yet), the flavour profile (and aroma) was spot on to this reporter's recollection.

Next up, we'll have to beer batter some fresh halibut!


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Carnage du Jour - 01 April 2014

Here's a blast from the past I just found in my files.
Way back last century, there was a string of interesting memos posted in the building where I worked; purportedly from the maintenance types working there. I thought I'd share one from back in 1993. I think the only comments needed are of the "yuck" or "oog" varieties.

Enjoy! (no, please don't)

The People's Memoe:
An Underground Guide to Happenings in and around the "Wickes Building"
July 9, 1993 Volume 3, No. 8
cc: G. Kerr, J. Child

Mike and I were talking recently about how the weather has altered our eating habits. Both of us have found ourselves eating a greater number of "cold" or "chilled" entrées, due to the fact that our respective wives have found the heat too great to allow for actual "cooking".

In the course of our conversation, I discovered that Mike studied at the famous Cordon Bleu school, and graduated with honors from that venerated institution. Mike informs me that he still does quite a bit of cooking, and I asked him to supply me with some recipes which we could then share with the tenants and leaseholders of the Whelps Building. Mike and I are happy to report that he couldn't have been happier to comply with my request, and here is a sample. For a complete Mike and I cookbook, leave $29.95 in an unmarked envelope on the southeast corner of the Wilkie Memorial Fountain (WMF) along with the address to which the book ought to be shipped. Note - CASH ONLY, please no checks, money orders, or stamps; we don't accept any plastic, either.

Fettuccini Froid avec du Chien Michel
(serves 6-8)
1 lb. Uncooked fettuccini noodles
3qts. salted boiling water
1/4 C. plus 1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. minced onion
1/4 t. coarse black pepper
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C. heavy cream or whipping cream paprika to taste
parsley as garnish
1 4-5 lb poodle with fur removed cut into ±1 inch cubes

Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water, with 1T olive oil, for 8-10 minutes (until al dente);
drain and refrigerate. In a large skillet over medium high heat, sear the poodle chunks on all
six sides. Remove to a plate until later. In the 1/4 C olive oil, cook the onion and garlic until the onions are soft, but not yet browned. Add the poodle chunks and cream, reduce heat to low
and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pepper and parmesan cheese. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Place pasta on serving dish and top with poodle mixture. Sprinkle with paprika for color. Serve immediately, as the contrasting
temperatures of the pasta and the topping is one of the unique aspects of this dish.

If you enjoy this dish, order the Mike And I Cookbook (MAIC); so you don't forget, order before midnight tonight. See you at the Wilkie Memorial Fountain (WMF)!
A "Mike & I" Publication