When you mix an athlete, a nerd, beer, and good ingredients this is what you get.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sushi



So looking back on the blog so far, I realized just about every post is pasta, pizza, or (randomly) crab. This one is a little different from the Italian/crustacean pattern I've been following. We decided to branch out and go with sushi.

You need some special equipment for sushi, namely, a sushi mat to roll on. We decided on tuna, cucumber and avocado for fillings. Tuna seemed kind of tame by itself so we decided to attempt spicy tuna. For that we needed to make an aioli but replace the garlic with some spices. I chopped half a pound of the tuna as small as possible, minced a cherry pepper, and combined it all with three tablespoons of mayo, a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch each of paprika and cayenne.

For the sushi rice, we cooked it according to the instructions on the package then dissolved some sugar and salt in rice vinegar and vegetable oil. Once both the rice and the vinegar mixture cool we combined them.

To assemble, we laid out the mat, then a piece of sushi nori (seaweed), covered 3/4 of the nori with an even layer of rice, filled with the desired fillings, rolled and cut. It takes some time but isn't that difficult. It's a lot cheaper than getting it out and tastes a hell of a lot better when it's fresh. Enjoy your change up, I'm sure I'll be back to pizza and pasta soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Crab Puffs


The other night, we went out to The Barking Crab for some dinner and a few beers. We ran into one of my past professors and an old teammate, small world (small city I guess). We just grabbed three apps - Crab Dip, Fried Oysters, Crab Cakes - and shared. The food was exactly what I was in the mood for, nice loud outside atmosphere on the water, really good stuff. We had some leftovers so we brought the Crab Dip home. I knew it wouldn't hold long and one of my coworkers was having a rough day so I decided to make something up with the dip and bring it in to work.

I started with this biscuit recipe and substituted butter for the shortening, regular milk for buttermilk and added some seafood seasoning and a ton of black pepper.

Separately, I took the leftover dip and mixed in a bunch of cheddar cheese and some chipotle hot sauce. It looked like it would be a little thin after the cheese melted so I added an egg white to bind it up once it cooked. From there, I just rolled out the biscuit dough into little flat three inch circles added a teaspoon of the filling and figured out how to pinch them up into something that looked semi-decent. Don't worry if you mess up, the three in the photo were probably the best looking three that came out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bread Bowls



Yesterday just felt like a cooking day. I wanted a long recipe that would give me consistent breaks from work so I decided to take two things I've made before and combine them to make something I've never made before: Bread Bowls with Pasta.

Bread:
2 packets active dry yeast with about a cup of tepid water.

While the yeast is activating take three tablespoons of olive oil, add four halved cloves of garlic, fresh basil and three or four sundried tomatoes in a small oven safe pan. Throw this under the broiler until the garlic is tender, stirring occasionally. When you get to this point, you mince the garlic and slice the sundried tomatoes. Once the oil has cooled to room temperature, mix it with the yeast/water combo. Add a splash of milk, a tablespoon of salt and a pinch of sugar. Add a heavy pinch of parm. Add flour while mixing until you get to the point where it's just not sticky any more. Knead for 10 minutes while adding flour to keep the dough smooth while you knead. Let it rise until doubled in size. (About an hour and a half depending on heat/humidity) Punch it down. Split into two. Form two balls. Let rise until desired bowl size is reached. Bake at 400 until tapping the bread makes a hollow sound.

Filling:
Cut some chicken breasts into inch and a half chunks. Mix flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Toss the chicken in this mixture and pan fry until cooked through. The sauce is a tomato cream sauce similar to the ones I've made before on here. Cook up some rigatoni. In a large bowl mix the pasta, sauce, some ricotta, the chicken, some more of the sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic and some parm.

Assembly:
Cut a "lid" out of the bread and scoop out the interior excess bread. Fill bowls with the pasta filling, top with parm, mozz, romano, or any other seemingly appropriate cheeses you have around. With the lid off the bowls, finish them under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.

Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy.

[We used the leftover bread for toast in the morning, it was great and would probably make a good sandwich bread. I will probably use this one again]

Ok that was a nice break. Now back to programming...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pesto Carbosagna

This:
Leads to this:
If I told you that the lasagna I'm holding in that picture weighed 13 lbs it might be awesome enough. But if I told you it was eight layers of four of our favorite homemade sauces, that might just bump it up to epic status. We had a third good Italian in the kitchen tonight: Gabby stopped by to help... and got her car towed :( she just got back so it's all sorted out. Four sauces: Alfredo and Ricotta, Tomato Meat Sauce, Pesto, and Carbonara. There were two layers of each.

Somehow the wide variety of flavors made sense between the 4 lbs of pasta. The cross section does it justice. Leave a comment if you want the recipe for any or all of the sauces. Ok, back to my power hour. I have no way of describing the couple hours it took to put this together but I hope this does it justice.


Got one eye closed to see the screen. Happy 21st to hannah and happy i'm falling for you katherine. recipes. apparently y'all want recipes so here they come:

alfredo is easy as hell. start with a roux, milk and light cream, fresh parm and pecorino romano, third clove garlc, very little. that's one layer done. if you're throwing it in something like this you want it thick like glue so you put half a pound of cream cheese in to help it stick, if you're just putting it over pasta keep it a little thin..

Pesto: Four 4 ounce packages of fresh basil (God bless you if you still have a fresh basil plant in the summer, ours passed on a bit ago) look out for the wilts, you don't want that garbage. One clove of garlic, a few handfulls of parm and pecorino romano, some pignoli nuts, and enough olive oil to make the emulsion get to the right consistency. Really, play with it once or twice, you'll know. Blend that all together with a stick blender and make it smooth.

Two layers left..
Tomato is easy. Render some beef down. Meanwhile, boil some plum tomatoes for about ten minutes. Flash cool them with ice water. Whole point is to get the skin off easily. Quarter them and throw them in some olive oil with a clove of garlic. If you have a stick blender hit em with that (sorry should I be fancy and call it an immersion blender?). If not they'll render down on their own. Pat of butter helps too, if this lasagna wasn't fatty enough for ya. If you have some time, do this first and let them all marinate with the oil and garlic. Like with any tomato sauce I've ever encountered, the longer it sits in the fridge, the better.

Last layer: Carbonara

So this one we kind of invented. Carbonara is amazing. Done correctly, it's delicious. We hammered on it a bit and decided to brush the carbonara layer with egg yolks, cover it in parm and overcooked bacon. Sauteed onions topped off that layer. We did each twice. Ended up pretty good :) you know me. if i put a smiley i am either obsessed with the food, obsessed with my beer, or obsessed with my girl. ya'll can figure it out this time on your own

Drunk Chicks


Let these chicks chill out in the fridge for a couple hours. Shove half a beer inside of them, throw them on the grill until they're done. Pretty easy but they're incredibly juicy (especially if you cook them all the way through and don't have to throw them under the broiler like I had to last night).
Left: Buffalo Chick. Franks and Butter melted together. Blue Cheese dressing on top.
Center: BBQ Chick. Drizzled with olive oil. Made a dry rub with garlic, paprika, salt, onion powder, red pepper, and probably some other stuff I can't remember. Rub it innn
Right: Teriyaki Chick. Made up my brother's Teriyaki marinade and let her hang out in that for awhile.

Here is the finished product:


Ok... actually this is the finished product - after 6(7?) thirties for dessert post-chicken:


Tonight... one of the most epic things I've ever put together. Danny had an idea. We're running with it. Running fast. Like running up Mount Everest and jumping off a cliff. This is going to be huge. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 5, 2011

They're Coming...

The Calm Before the Storm



My buddy Danny is in town for the weekend.



He's an Italian from New York so of course he wants to cook. And we still like him even if he is a Jets fan. We got hungry and the 9am Blood Mary's and 11am Keystones weren't enough on their own to kill our hangovers - Owen is still hungover - so we decided to make some pasta because that was all we had in the house. I made a tomato cream sauce with some swiss that was leftover from the crepes and some ricotta salata, it's an amazing cheese that I was just introduced to this summer: check it out. While I was doing that, Danny stewed some tomatoes with garlic.



We added the tomatoes and garlic to the cream sauce along with some sauteed onions. Drenched the pasta in the sauce, and threw it under the broiler for a few minutes. It's pretty similar to stuff we've done before but it was good.

The main reason for this post is to prepare you for what's coming. Tonight, three beer can chickens, each with a different flavor (see the banner picture above for a preview). And tomorrow... all I'm going to say is that it's going to be pretty wild. We're working out on a Saturday morning just to prepare for the beast...