Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pasta with Chickpeas, Bacon, and Spinach

This little recipe came to fruition when I looked through the cabinet and refrigerator contents. I noticed we had some chickpeas in the cabinet as well as some De Cecco orecchiette. I decided those two would fit together nicely since beans and pasta work well in light sauces. Now that the base of my dish was defined, I could decide what would fill in the cracks. The first consideration I had was the vegetable portion of the dish. I wanted something green. Baby spinach was eventually plucked from the bottom of my vegetable bin to fulfill my "green needs." Then to round out the flavors I decided to add a little fat and texture by adding chopped crispy bacon. (Just in case you didn't know... everything is better with bacon.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chef Milo's Country Venison Sausage

Here's a little pictorial walkthrough my third round of sausage making. If you are interested in making your own sausage, refer to my first post about making sausage at home. As always, I got this recipe from Ruhlman and Polcyn's book Charcuterie. Buy this book. It is easily my favorite cookbook of all time, and I have a lot of cookbooks.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Bunless Burger


This came to me in a moment of pure intuition last night. Here's what I was thinking, and how it came together.
  • I wanted a burger, and I had the ground beef to make one, so step one was instantly checked off the list.
  • I didn't want to use a bun because the ones I had on hand were sub-par and just not going to cut it. I had to put my burger on something, I mean, I'm not on the Atkins diet here.
  • Leftover mashed potatoes caught my eye, and I remembered the croquettes I made a few weeks ago. I decided I would sit the burger on top of one. I was thinking steak and potatoes, but with a burger and a potato croquette. (The majority of the thought process stopped here.)
  • I needed to top this burger with something a little more classy than the usual stuff. Luckily I had onions and mushroom on hand, as well as some Jarlsberg. Swiss mushroom burger on a potato croquette here we come.

How to boil water 2.0

Okay so after receiving some feedback from friends and other bloggers, I've decided a rewrite of my water boiling technique would be appropriate. Before I could rewrite this though, I really needed to reread what I had preciously said. After doing so, I found the main fault in my logic.

People expect different things from their food. I myself want to do what I like, what I know. Everyone is different, and everyone is constrained by the situation they are currently in. If you like the way you make your food in boiling water, it's okay if you stop reading now. In my humble opinion, if you like it, if the people around you like it, don't change what you're doing.

If however, you find that your pasta comes out gluey, your vegetables come out gummy or mushy, or if you just want to hear my take on cooking in boiling water, keep reading because I think I got it right this time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chicken Stuffed with Wild Rice, Pears, Walnuts and Five Spice

I can't remember if I have said this before or not, but roasted chicken is one of my favorite meals. Simple and heartwarming, I am pretty sure there isn't a person out there who doesn't like a nice piece of crispy skin off a freshly roasted chicken. Well, besides vegetarians of course. (Come on vegetarians... you know you want it too.)

Anyway, I am kind of just remaking a recipe that I posted much earlier except that I am using a small roasting chicken instead of four game hens. Just as in that recipe, you don't really need to follow the stuffing instructions/directions completely. More speficially, you don't need to use wild rice. White rice is not a good substitute, but grain mixes are an excellent substitute. (I'd reccomend any blends of couscous, orzo, baby garbanzos and red quinoa.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My letter to Paul Tonko regarding SOPA

Dear Mr. Tonko,

My name is David Lochner; I am 23 years old, a recent college graduate and a native to New York. I am writing you this letter in objection to H.R.3261, otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. After reading through the bill this morning and educating myself on what it intends to do, I can respectively say that this bill needs to be changed as it stands today or be removed from the house floor entirely. To my understanding the bill is currently being reworked and I commend any effort to allow this legislation the time to fully mature.

I could explain why I think this specific type of legislation is unwarranted and misguided as far as what the goals of the bill are. Unfortunately I do not have the time to fully express these thoughts, nor do I have full information to make a concise argument. I have full faith that people more educated on this subject than I will speak for me though.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Japanese" Eggplant Parmesean

Okay, lets get to the good stuff. Why did I call this eggplant parmesan recipe Japanese?

  • Japanese eggplant: they're the skinny purple eggplant you might find in your regular grocery store or Asian market. Do not buy them at your regular grocery store though! In my most recent price comparison the Asian market was selling them for 69 cents per pound as opposed to $3.49 a pound at a local grocery store.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: these are the best breadcrumbs ever. Period. They can be found in your local grocery store right next to the regular breadcrumbs you buy and they can be used in any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs. Use them in this recipe or on chicken parmesan and you'll see the difference right away. And yes, they just happen to be a Japanese style breadcrumb.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Beating the delivery boy: Pizza in 30 minutes or less

I can't count how many times I've made pizza. If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere between 150 to 200 in the past few years. After making it so many times, I can proudly say that I have perfected my pizza recipe. People tend to be pretty defensive about their favorite pizza places and recipes, so I am not saying this is the best recipe, the best pizza, or anything like that. What I am saying is that this recipe is perfect for me. Sometimes I change it up, sometimes I follow it to the T. For instance, this time I added some chopped parsley to my pizza because I had some on hand. Some parts of my recipe are necessary though. The important parts of my recipe are as follows.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Homemade Pastrami

I'm writing this post with a heavy heart. I prepared this recipe in the hopes that the Cincinnati Bengals would be progressing though the playoffs and that I would be writing this in a state of jubilation. Well, sometimes life just isn't what you want it to be.

On to the food though!

Pastrami is essentially corned beef that has been heavily smoked. I got the majority of this recipe from  Charcuterie by Polcyn and Ruhlman, but I added my own twist to it. My main change to their recipe is their brine, or corning solution. I personally see no need to season brines. I have never experienced much flavor difference between a seasoned brine, like the one in the book, and a plain brine, like the one I used here. To me, seasoning your brine just makes for expensive salt water. My brines only consist of water, salt and sugar. I am also going to go into some serious detail on smoking. While I love the book, I do think they need a little more detail in the smoking directions. That said, the directions given in the book are more than sufficient to make this recipe, I am just being picky here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cashew Chicken

If you've been reading some of my latest posts, you'd notice that I've been on quite the Asian food kick lately. This post is no different. After buying a two pound can of cashews at Hannaford for eleven dollars, I figured I should use them to make some cashew chicken. I have never actually had cashew chicken from a Chinese place, and I must admit I have no idea what it should taste like. That said, I kind of like the way my recipe turned out. Since I have never made cashew chicken before, I borrowed and then changed the recipe for this dish to suit what I thought would work well.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to make a Chipotle Mayonnaise

This has to be one of my favorite homemade condiment recipes. It's really easy to make and it is crazy delicious, not to mention flexible. The chipotles in adobo used in this recipe are very spicy and they carry a nice smoky flavor because of the adobo sauce. Now, you might not like spicy food but that is okay since you can water down the spiciness with more mayo, omit one of the peppers or not add the adobo sauce if you want. The main trick to making this tasty to you is slowly adding the peppers and sauce one at a time until you find your desired spiciness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ponzu or Soy Glazed Salmon

After picking up some ponzu sauce from the store a week ago I have been trying to use it as much as possible. It's not that it is expensive or that it easily spoils, but I just like the flavor of it. I used it with the tempura last night and I've been dipping my meats in it now and then to see how I would like to use it.

Ponzu sauce should be in your local supermarket right along with all the other Asian specialty items. If you can't find it, that's okay because you can use soy sauce as well.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tempura! Tempura!

In the picture: Tempura of sweet potato, green beans, and shrimp
with sticky rice and ponzu sauce
Okay so after going to Akanomi a million times in the past couple months I decided it was time to do a little Japanese food of my own. When I used to work on the line, I was in charge of making the shrimp tempura dish at the restaurant. Since I was familiar with the recipe I decided this was a good place to start.

The biggest trick to tempura is keeping the batter cold as you fry. Put the batter in a bowl and put the bowl on top of another bowl filled with ice, or just keep it in the fridge as you fry. The second trick is to not over mix the batter. Make sure that the batter contains some lumps of flour to get a good looking tempura crust.

How to make your rice sticky

Here are some quick tips to make your rice stickier so it is like the kind you would get from a Chinese place:

  • Wash the rice under cold water in a sieve or colander, just make sure the holes are small enough that the rice doesn't fall through.
  • When the rice is washed, put it in your cooking vessel (pot or rice cooker) and add 1 3/4 cups of water per cup of rice.
  • Most importantly, to make your rice sticky add 1 tablespoon of sugar per cup of rice.
  • Cook the rice the way you normally would.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Challah

Last night I was inspired to make an egg-based yeast bread, seeing as how I never made one before. Challah is something that I like and I think it looks nice, so I decided I would make this traditional Jewish bread.

This recipe is not for inexperienced bread bakers nor the impatient type. (This requires almost a full day to make properly.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dry Aged Prime Rib

When you're cooking for a good amount of people this is a good standby recipe. Most people like it, it is fairly simple to make and extremely hard to screw up.The holidays are an especially iconic time to make one of these roasts, and this year it is no different.

As far as size goes, expect two to three people per rib. Don't be afraid to overbuy either, prime rib makes great leftovers. With that said, I shoot for two people per rib. If you know you have some light eaters at the table though, three per rib is fine as well.

Once you buy your rib roast you have two preparations to choose from. Normally, people will make it the day after they buy the roast, and that is certainly fine. With a little forethought though, you can dry age your roast for 7 to 10 days and have something really special to serve your guests. Dry aging is a simple process where we promote the growth of good bacteria in the meat to improve the overall quality of the product.
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