Sous Vide Dinner #2 – Pork, Wild Rice, and Steamed Cauliflower

Sous Vide Dinner #2 - Pork, Wild Rice, and Cauliflower

I was oh-so happy with the results of my first sous vide experimentation.  It was easy, my steak was unbelievably good, and far more tender than any steak I’ve ever had before.  Figuring that things went so well the first time I’d better get cracking and see what else I could accomplish with this fantastic new (to me) cooking method.

Pork chops are another food that often leaves me wondering what the hell I was thinking.  Part of the problem is that most people over-cook pork to the point of ruination.  Pork doesn’t need to be cooked to 165 or 170 degrees.  That used to be the FDA’s safe cooking temperature.  Cooked to that point, you’d be better off just eating a chunk of your gardening gloves, such is the texture. Continue reading

Roasted Baby Carrots

Roasted Baby Carrots

Eh….What’s up Doc?  Carrots have a bad rap I think.  At one point they were a more versatile vegetable.  I blame those giant bags of “not really baby carrots” which are in actuality just very small.  Those little carrots are a snack for kids, included in every raw vegetable plate ever served, and are the go-to carrot for a good many people.  While they’re great for a snack on the go you should ignore them when making dinner.

I’m not being a carrot snob, nor a food snob.  I eat those baby carrots off raw vegetable plates like it was my job.  Tasty.  But when I’m making dinner, carrots rarely enter my mind as a side vegetable.  Sure you can make glazed carrots.  A little brown sugar and some orange juice and you’ve got yourself a fine side dish.  But to be honest when I think side dish and carrots, that’s about the extent of what I can come up with.  That’s sad. Continue reading

Holy Guacamole! – Easy Appetizer Or Snack

 

Holy Guacamole

I decided to put my finger on a hot burner this afternoon because I thought it was off.  It was not.  I had put the wrong burner on (as I often do with the stove top in our new place – poor markings and I think the dials are opposite our old stove top.)  It was hot enough to leave parts of my fingerprint seared into the burner. A good reminder the not to do that again, as if I needed one.  I am typing with a large band-aid over the top of my finger because I am an asshole.  Just saying.  I also managed to melt part of a plastic bag into the same burner the night previous for exactly the same reason.  I turned the wrong burner on.  That took several minutes of stepped heating and scraping and keeping the hood on to burn/melt/smoke most of it off.  Holy Guacamole

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Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

For a long time I shied away from bruschetta.  I had some sort of fear about uncooked tomatoes.  Not sure where I was going with that but I’m happy to say it’s been over for quite a while.  One day I said to myself “Hey – this is bread” and it’s all been roses since.

Perhaps not all roses.  I’ve had bad bruschetta foisted upon me on more than one occasion and it’s infuriating, especially since it’s not hard to make a good one.  So simple and pure is this appetizer (or meal if you’re like me); bad ingredients and an uncaring hand in the kitchen are really the only spots you can place blame.  A shame then.  Why bother?

Bruschetta can be a great many things.  In its simplest form bruschetta is bread, lightly coated with olive oil, toasted over coals, rubbed down with raw garlic, and coated lightly with cracked pepper and salt.  That sounds devastatingly good.  Variations on the theme include chopped onions, herbs, beans, and tomatoes.  The recipe that evolved below is fairly similar to what you’ll get in most Italian restaurants when you place an order. Continue reading

Real Canadian Poutine

Real Canadian PoutineOK you’re asking what the hell is Poutine.  Unless you’re from Canada, then you’re saying rock on!  I’m with you.  I didn’t know what Poutine was for a really long time.  Isn’t he the Prime Minister of Russia?  No, it’s really cheese fries with gravy, sort of.  It’s a dish that started in Quebec, which explains the name, silly French.  It’s not an old dish, it was “invented” in the late 50′s.  Hard to say that it was invented, probably more accurate that someone stumbled upon it, or discovered the possibilities.  All the ingredients were already there, it’s not like someone set forth a new element.  So popular is poutine in Canada that McDonald’s, Burger King, AND KFC all sell their own version of it.  That’s cool.  Not that any of it is likely real food, but it’s still cool.  Like a Royale with cheese.

Real Canadian PoutineWhat is poutine?  REAL poutine is simply french fries, topped with cheese curds, with brown gravy ladled on top.  Nice – a health food then!  Fake poutine can be found many places, where cheese curds are replaced with mozzarella.  I don’t find that insulting or all that different but it seems like Canadians don’t have the same open view.  What are cheese curds then?  Just think of it as squeaky cheese.  It’s really the solid part of sour milk, but you didn’t really want to know what.  And yes I meant squeaky.  If you can get fresh cheese curds (not likely outside of Canada or some specialty markets) they squeak when you eat them.  Like rubbing two balloons together.  Freaky huh?  If you get them not so fresh (more than 12 hours after being produced) they don’t squeak.  I don’t care if my cheese curds squeak (I rather prefer my food doesn’t produce its own party noises), but in Canada they must squeak.  Duly noted. Continue reading

Baked French Fries (Are They Even Fries If You Bake Them?)

Baked French FriesI’m a fan of the French Fry.  Probably too big a fan.  I like steak fries, I like thin fries, I like big potato wedge fries….Basically stick a potato in oil and I’m along for the ride.  To be sure there are bad fries as well.  There’s nothing good about soggy fries, for example.  They make me want to toss things off my balcony.  Sometimes the place down the street makes fries that are awesome, other times they come out like a mushy wet mess.  When that happens I want to toss the fries at their plate-glass windows in protest.

Fries aren’t really particularly a health food either.  No surprise that.  While potatoes are cheap, continually buying enough oil to fry them in is neither cheap nor particularly earth friendly (not to mention being able to hear your arteries snapping shut.)  So what to do?  Bake them, that’s what.  Not convinced?  I wasn’t particularly when I first decided to try it.  It does make a good fry.  Is it the same thing you’ll get from McDonald’s?  No.  Is that a bad thing?  Not in my mind.  This makes a great “fry” if you can call it that.  And they’re a hell of a lot healthier than something cooked in oil.  You’ll use some oil in this recipe, but not a vat full.  No bad thing, that. Continue reading