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Monday, July 12, 2010

Not your mom's fruit salad

So I decided to go on a fruit kick the other day and a GIANT bowl ended up lasting only 3 days with this amazing versitile fruit salad.

You will need
  • Blackberries 2 pints
  • Blueberries 2 pints
  • Cherries 1 lb
  • Strawberries 2 pints
  • Pineapple 1
  • Grapefruit 2
  • Triple-sec 1/4 cup
So no instructions really needed. Just cut everything up and toss it together. To get partiular make sure there is no white pithy stuff on the grapefruit because it is bitter. and for the cherries I cut them in half and pulled the seeds.
Oh and if you get tired of eating this salad (which I bet you wont) throw it in a blender with some ice for a smoothie or with ice and rum for a ________. Fill in the blank, what would you call it?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shredded Chicken Enchaladas with Roasted Tomatillio sauce and Habanero Salad

This is a quality recipe. Many thanks to Ash from A Year in the Kitchen for posting her enchalada casserole which was the inspiration for this recipe.

You will need
  • Jalapenos
  • 1 or 2 Onions
  • Dozen or so Tomatillios
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Adobo seasoning
  • Corn Tortillias
  • 1 Habanero
  • Scallions
  • Roasted Corn Salsa 
  • Cheese (mexican or cheddar or manchego if you're super fly)

So let's start with the chicken.
Pictures of me hacking apart a chicken aren't entirely pleasant so I'll just tell you what I did. I quartered the chicken into 2 leg/thingh pieces and two breast/tender pieces. Throw those into a pot and cover with water. Just enough to cover all the chicken, Add 2 tbsp adobo seasoning boil for 30-40 minutes.

Crank your oven up to 350 after you have the chicken going and wash and roughly cut up 1 onion 2 jalapenos, 4 cloves garlic and tomatillios.

Throw those in the oven and let them bake 15-20 minutes till the tomatillios are tender.

After they come out of the oven we go right into a blender and that is our salsa verde.

After your timer goes off for the chicken we are going to pull it off the bone. It'll be hot so I use a pair of tongs to get everything separated you want just meat no skin or bones/cartilage.

Save your stock!
Shred the chicken with a fork and add some of the remaining liquid from the pot you boiled everything in until chicken is moist and juicy but not swimming.

After you have all the ingredients prepped we can go into assembly mode.

Put a little of the salsa verde in the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.

From right to left. 
  1. Tortillia
  2. Green onion (largepieces)
  3. Shredded Chicken
  4. Roll
  5. Place in pan in a vague geometric shape (a row)
Now you're ready to cover with the rest of the salsa verde. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese looks nice and pretty.

I made a little habanero salad to go along with the dish because I like it HOT. 

Thinly slice habaneros, onion and scallion.
 I was cooking at night so the artificial light did not help the pics but the salad was beautiful orange white and green.

To plate put them on the plate top with roasted corn salsa and habenero salad.



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roasted Corn Salsa

Let have some Mexican food!

We'll start with the salsa and move on from there tomorrow.

You Will Need
  • 4 Large ripe tomatoes cubed
  • 1 bunch scallions sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro Chopped rough
  • 2 Jalapenos diced
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 sweet yellow onion (diced)
So you'll want to roast the corn first. Throw it in the oven or on the grill husk and all for 20 minutes on 400 degrees. The husk will start to brown that is perfect.

While the corn is roasting let's chop up everything else.
The scallions.

The Cilantro...

The onions tomatoes etc... and toss into a mixing bowl where they will all be happy together.

Hmm... I'm forgetting something.

The Corn! Cut it off the cob and add.
Just mix and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the best flavor.
Serve with corn chips :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Boiled Peanuts

Hi folks!
Having just spend the weekend down on gulf shores and seeing the oil on the beach for myself I wanted to tip my hat to everyone who is (actually) working towards a solution to all the nastiness that the BP well is spewing. Here's a cheap easy snack that will keep you going. Peanuts are full of good stuff that will keep an active person active.

Boiled Peanuts
Makes 15-20 servings

You will need
  • 5 lbs raw peanuts
  • 1 cup salt 
  • 1 large pot and some water.

 So fill your pot up 1/2 way with water.

Add salt.

Add peanuts.

Did you really think i was going to be hard?

OK so for the gourmet at heart it's all in the timing. I like to retain the peanut's natural flavor and not just make mushy over boiled slimy crap like you get in the gas stations that have been in the water for weeks.

Taste them as you go and after 3 to 4 hours they will be perfect. Let cool then remove them from the water do not dry! Bag wet and freeze for a ready microwave snack any time.

Easy but still yum.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Harvest String Beans and Tomatoes

So here I am with all these veggies just dreaming up different ways to cook them only to find out that people have already done them. Sometimes it feels the same way with my music. But then all you have to do is realize that anything you do has you in it and can't be copied. So here are my beans. Uniquely mine and uniquely delicious.

Serves 10 as side dish
You will need
Start this one like many of my recipes in a large cast iron skillet. For my regular readers you may be beginning to understand exactly how much stuff gets cooked in this skillet. After you string the beans and cut up the tomatoes you can begin heating it up. Throw some veggie oil in the bottom and wipe away the excess with a towel.

When the oil gets smoking hot add your beans and cover with a splatter guard.

Stir pretty consistently until they are starting to get some pretty little brown spots.

Turn down the heat to med.
Next you add all those tomatoes. All those pretty pretty tomatoes. Let those stew with the beans constantly stirring until they start to break down.

Now it's time to add some herbs. You want about 1/2 a cup of various fresh herbs like these.

Only I want you to chop em up fine and only use half of them at this point.
well we're almost there. You can add a little water or checken stock if the pan gets dry. The beans should be simmering in a bit of liquid.

  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
Now you just serve it up in a nice bowl and pour the beans and tomatoes in. Top with the rest of the herbs and some red and black pepper.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Zen and the art of burgers

Bow down to the Better Burger.
It towers above your head.
It's not idolatry. I promise.

Makes 3
You will need
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (between 10-20 percent fat)
  • Apple wood Smoked Bacon 6 pieces
  • Pickapeppa Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Pepper
  • Buns
  • Lettuice
  • Tomato
  • Vidalia Onion
  • Ketsup
  • Mayo
  • OMG I almost forgot the Extra Sharp White Cheddar
So everyone knows how to cook a burger. The thing that gets ignored most often is picking out the right ingredients. Get the freshest most beautiful things you can find and cook the burgers over real coal at high heat. Beyond that, it's pretty simple.

Make sure your tomatoes are ripe. I'd really be best if you grew your own.

Lettuce should be CRISP and BRIGHT.

Onions should be from Vidalia Georgia. So sweet and juicy you can eat them like an apple.

Bacon Should be THICK and smoked.

So cut up your veggies. However thick or thin you like.

Heat up the grill to HOT. I went ahead and threw my bacon on some tin foil on the side. If you don't like grease fires maybe use a pan. Personally I think the little burnt edges make for some really delicious stuff.

Add 3 or 4 tbsp Pickapeppa sauce and your pepper to the meat and mix .

Make 3 balls with a pound of meat and flatten with your hands right before you toss them on the grill.

Hiss sizzle and flip.

Halfway through side 2 add your cheese and watch it melt!

Stack artfully.

Don't forget the Ketchup and Mayo. 
I could describe the order order of operations for the toppings but let's just leave it at this.

Keep the sauces away from the bun and put them on the meat lettuce or onion so the bread stays dry and together while you are scarfing this thing down.

Also if you can eat this burger without putting it down. You'll be one step ahead of the competition.

And unlike the competition. My burgers actually look like this in real life.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Collard Greens, Southern Style

For some greens you need just a little time. For others, you just kill `em.
In the southern tradition I'm just gonna kill `em.
These collards remind me of family and football. It's always on the menu down in Dublin Ga for Thanksgiving Holiday. Props to all my culinarily gifted family down there.


You will need
  • Collards, 2 big bunches
  • Bacon (smoked)
  • Chicken Stock

So take those bad boys and wash any dirt off. Next we're going to cut up the Collards.

Cut off the last 2 inches of the stalk and then cut about 2 in strips down the middle and then across so 2 inch squares is about right.

Cut up 3 or 4 strips your bacon into  approx. 1 in squares Toss in the pan. cook on med high till they start to brown nicely.

 Throw in your collards and bang pow pop then you can add your chicken stock about 6 to 8 cups. It should come up about 3/4 on the greens. Reduce heat cover and wait.

 In about 2 or 3 hours they will be tender and delicious. Add as much salt as you want and enjoy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Rosemary and Garlic

This is a triumph.
A masterpiece!
Basically this sh*t was awesome.

Here's' how I did it.

You will need
  • Leg of lamb (shoulder?)
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh garlic 6-7 cloves
  • Sea Salt
  • Butter
  • Cotton Cooking twine
 So you want to be a millionaire? Or maybe you just want to eat like one. Here's how.

Take your lamb, remove the bone, and do some butterflying with your knife, fat side down. You know long slits designed to expose more of the surface of the meat.

Anyway trim up some of the hangy bits and pieces but leave the layer of fat on the side.

Take your garlic and chop it up. Next add 1 tbsp salt and keep chopping till you have developed a paste. Rub it on. Rub it in. Wash hands... Um.. anyway strip the branches of the rosemary reserving any of those little pieces of wood for later and add the leaves to the meat as shown.

Throw in a couple of pieces of butter. (keeps the inside from drying out not to mention makes it buttery) Now you want to tie the sucker up.

Let's do that.

Notice how you can make individual loops if you go under the previous loop. That's the secret. Make sure you cut a 4 or 5 foot legnth to make sure you have enough.

Repeat and tie it tight. You don't want the butter to escape do you?

It should look like a masochist when you're done.

So now it's time to cook it. I did it on the Big Green Egg. You can do the same, but only if you have one. Stefanie was coming home late so I kept the thing between 200 and 300 for about 5 hours.

For your sake lets say 2 hours in the oven at 350 or until, according to Alton Brown) the internal temperature is equal to 135 degrees. From that same recipe I learned the rosemary branches, nay, the entire plant can be smoked. On the smoker. For more flavor.

So here it is. Fat side up over a pan so all the juicy drippings have to make their way over the meat and around before dropping off into the pan.

When it's done, cut off the cotton and get down to business.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Red Lentil Curry and Onion Cakes

So here's a side dish that I found online one time (a long time ago) and have never been able to find since. So I decided to give it another try. Lentils are an amazing food nutritionally and are really dynamic as far as things you can do with them. Be looking for the main dish tomorrow. Here's a hint. It's a stuffed leg of lamb.

You will need
  • Red lentils (1.5 Cups)
  • 1 Onion (Medium Chop)
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 tbsp Flour
  • Veggie oil
This one's pretty simple and can be used as the main course in a vegetarian dish or vegan if you sub 1 tbsp ground flax seeds 3 tbsp water for the egg. Thanks to for that.

Start by soaking the Lentils for a couple hours. Careful about the size of your container they will double in size.

Throw them in the food processor for a couple of turns until they are chopped but not a paste, like so.

Transfer to  a mixing bowl and add your other ingredients.

The egg, flour, onion, and spices all can go together and then give that a good stir.
Now you're ready to make your pancakes.

Heat your skillet over medium heat. Add some oil to the bottom of the pan it will start to lose viscosity as it heats. That's how you know it's ready. Smoking oil is probably a little too hot.

Make a patty and gently lay it in the pan. Remember you are cooking with hot oil, which was used as a weapon in the middle ages becasue it HURTS when you get it on you. Please be careful.

Keep your eye on them till they look good. Like this.
Throw a little salt on them and enjoy!

They're pretty good cold too for picnics and the like.

This recipe probably makes 10-20 depending on how big you like your cakes.

I'm entering this dish in the side dish showdown on Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice which is a great blog that makes me drool every time.
Side Dish Showdown Blogger Event

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jambalaya done the right way

So I came across this recipe for jambalaya from Jerry Odum down in Louisiana. I decided to whip some up and here's what happened.
You will need
  • 1 lb smoked sausage ($3.00)
  • 4 chicken leg quarters ($4.50)
  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp, mussels, clams, crayfish, oysters or other seafood of your choice
  • Jasmine Rice (4 cups)
  • Bayou Blast (Emeril's spices) 4 tbsp
  • 3 Large stalks celery (diced)
  • 4 large sweet onions (large chop)
  • 2 bunches scallions (green onions)
  • 2 red bell peppers (diced)
  • 1 qt fresh chicken stock
So I started this one out by heating up my cast iron skillet over an open flame. Luckily I have a green egg so this was not that difficult. I put some Rajun Cajun Spicy smoked sausage on the edge and let it smoke some more (twice smoked sausage anyone) while I heated up the pan. (to about 300-350 it has to be cast iron)
I recommend de-boning the leg quarters. If you need help learning how to do that leave me a comment and I'll post it.

First prep your veggies like a good sous. Or be like the professionals and have someone else do it.

Put a drop of oil on the pan and spread it around with a paper towel. Start them skin side down after making sure there are no little bits of cartilage or gristle on the non skin side. Let them brown in the pan for a while 5-10 minutes then flip.

Like so.

Ok now set all that stuff aside and add in the onion and celery. Leave the grease in the pan. That is bayou culinary gold.

Now Jerry Odum makes this astute observation "[about the onions] Don't burn them or the whole recipe is screwed." I agree.

So this will cook for maybe 30 minutes or so while the onions get nice and soft and yummy.

You can use this time to cut up your chicken and sausage.
When the onions are ready add your meats and chicken stock till it just about covers everything. Let that simmer for another 15 minutes and you can add your other veggies.

Oh man. I just love these pictures.

Let that simmer for another 15 minutes before adding the rice and the shrimp/seafood.

Editor's note: when I made this I had to take 1/2 the recipe out of one pot and put it in another because I overflowed. You need a Large pot. This recipe will probably feed 10.

Make sure you get the pot off of direct heat after you add the rice or you will end up with crispy rice. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing.

Cook for 15 minutes until the rice starts looking good and then flip everything in the pan so that the rice from the top is buried. Add stock if necessary.

That's a lot of jambalaya.