I Work With Evil Evil People

I had a goal to be at 220 by the end of the month.  This was a goal that I made in January, but with living at work I have not eaten right.  I have eaten well, but not right.  Somehow, I manged to maintain my fatness at a constant level, I don’t know how.  Anyway, I have been giving it a good try to get as close to the goal as I can for two weeks.  I figured two weeks of misery might get me close.  I have been doing OK for the past 4 days, but today the people I work with decided that they needed to go to Five Guys Burgers.  Five Guys is the best burgers and fries that you can get out of a chain.  And I succumbed, I hate them.  Man, it was good.

Kelsey’s Lemon Curd

We went to the Home and Garden show for the sole purpose of seeing Kelsey Nixon.  She was our family favourite when she was on the Food network.  Anyway, we sat in the front row as she went through two different recipe sets.  The first was veggie chowder which Chey ATE and LIKED.  I asked what happened and she said “Well, Dad, Kelsey made it and I decided that I would try it and I would like it.”  I wish I had that kind of power.  Anyway, Kelsey was one of the nicest people that I have ever met.  She was gracious and nice as Logan asked silly 5 year old questions, and happily posed for several pictures TWICE (I still did not know how to work the new camera).  She is a great person, and an incredible chef we wish her all the greatest joys in her life.

The second set of recipes was a dessert.  Lemon Curd over pound cake with fresh berries.  We have taken the inspiration of her Lemon Curd and made it for ourselves.  Be prepared to eat this alot!  Chey made the whole thing, I just was the supervisor/photographer.

3 Lemons
4 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of Butter melted
1/8 tsp of salt

The mise-en-place

Remove the zest from 2 lemons.  The skin of the all citrus fruit adds an incredible amount of flavour.  Get it, use it, love it. I use a microplane grater but have used a vegetable pealer as well. Just don’t get the white pith that is nasty.

Juice the lemons for this recipe Kelsey recommended that you fresh squeeze the lemon.  I wholeheartedly agree I find that fresh squeezed lemon and limes have a dramatic, different flavour over the the stuff in a squeeze bottle, and it is well worth the time.

Mix all the ingredients together.  Make sure it is whisked very well.

Now the magic.  Most recipes will require you to use a double boiler stir attentively for the next 20 to 40 minutes and you are still going to be lucky if it actually doesn’t turn into sweet, scrambled eggs.  Not this one, it uses the microwave, yes the MICROWAVE.  Awesome I know.

Put in microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir well.  Repeat until it will coat the back of a spoon (a term called nappe).  The line should hold its “shape” on the spoon when vertical.  It takes between 5 and 7 times depending on the microwave power.

We put the curd in a pre-made tart shells and topped it with a blueberry.  PS if you ever want to question your masculinity go into Orson Gygi and ask someone for tart shells.  The worker was very helpful as he yelled half-way acrossed the store to another clerk “Can you help this gentleman find the tart shells.”

Any this was amazing, easy and delicious, and that is the trifecta of cooking.
Thanks Kelsey you ROCK!!

Meat and Potatoes

Well I went to Sams-Club today to pay off Christmas.  There was a line, which I am now convinced that it was staged, so I decided to wander around to get free food.  Don’t judge me!  As I was pacing the monument of American excess I found… fingerling potatoes, with different colours.  The wannabe chef in me started howling, screaming and begging to use such a seldom found ingredient.   So off to the meat counter,  “What goes with potatoes?” I asked myself. “You moron,” I answered as several customer started to glance my way, “Beef, its what for dinner.”  A package of round steaks hit my cart with a thump.  Then I asked my self WWABD, What Would Alton Brown Do?  I’m not sure what he would have done, but I went with Blue Cheese.  That right Jody I’m back baby.

This was a very simple recipe I used a fajitas skillet over medium-high heat to sear the meat that I had seasoned with olive oil and salt and pepper.  I mixed some butter and cheese and after I flipped the meat I put the mixture on top and through the whole mess in a 425° oven until it was done.  OK it was a little over done it was medium not med-rare like it should have been.

PS After all was said and done going in to pay my bill cost me $80.00.  I bought other stuff too, Don’t Judge Me.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Actually, this is a dressing since stuffing is evil.

1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped Fennel aka anise
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 stick of butter, more if your heart can handle it.
1 1/2 tbls fennel seeds
2 1/2 tbls rubbed sage
1 cup milk
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs Dried bread chunks

In a dry pan on medium heat toast the fennel seeds until you can smell licorice. Add butter and sage. Cook until butter starts to brown then throw in chopped veggies cook until slightly soft, not mushy you still want a little crunch when you bite them. Put veggies into a large bowl and let cool. In the same skillet add sausage and brown then add to bowl. Add bread mix (I use my CLEAN hands) add milk, mix. Salt, pepper and sage to taste, mix. Add broth until you get the texture that you want I like a it a little dry, it seem to moisten as it sits.

Cook for 1/2 hour at 425 on the top rack of the oven if you like a good crust on the top.  Otherwise 375 in the middle.

My Best Turkey Ever

I’m Thankful for Alton Brown.  His Good Eats Roasted Turkey changed my life or at least for one day a year it did.  I have been playing with my brine for years now and this year I hit paydirt.

1 gallon water (divided as needed)
8 Pounds of ice (roughly 1 gallon)
1 1/4 kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbls rubbed sage
2 tbls fennel seed
2 tbls Old Bay seasoning
2 tbls whole pepper corns
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion quartered
6 head of garlic crushed

Put all of the dry ingredients into a medium pan. Add enough water to dissolve the salt/sugar. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then simmer for another 15, or more, allow to cool. Place thawed turkey in a clean food safe plastic bucket add brine, remaining water and ice. Put somewhere cold I use my garage right next to the outside door.

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove turkey from brine, rinse, and pat dry. Coat turkey with oil Salt, pepper, and sprinkle with Old Bay the outside and inside of the bird. Place in ripping hot oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook until probe thermometer reads 165. Remove from oven, cover with tin foil, and allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes this is a critical step for a juicy bird.

PS this is a summary of the cooking process for an in depth step by step. Please follow Alton cooking instruction from the link above.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is was a big hit at our Thanksgiving 2008 card night.
12 oz Pepper Jack Cheese grated the “kick” comes from this so if it is not enough add some crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz Mozzarella grated
16 oz Frozen Spinach, thawed and as much water removed as possible
10 oz of chopped Artichokes
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, you can use the green can crap, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Mix everything, except Parmigiano,  together in a bowl.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Place everything in oven proof dish heat at 350 until hot and gooey.  Sprinkle Parmigiano cheese and broil until golden brown and delicious.  I served mine with corn chips but this will manage with just about anything.

Buffalo Chicken Wing Burger

I LOVE hot wings, I mean I really love hot wings. I, also, love burgers. I figured two great tastes that should go great together.

1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion diced
1 cup hot wing sauce (I like Frank’s with some habanero mixed in)
Buns and blue cheese crumbles (yes blue cheese again. I can’t help myself I love the stuff the blueer the better)

Saute onion until soft add to ground turkey along with 2 tsp kosher salt along with 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tbl Italian seasoning. Mix well and form 4 patties. Cook patties on medium heat until brown.  Drench in hot wing sauce and put on bun with blue cheese crumbles.  Yummy yummy, burn the tummy.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

I am only going to discuss the making the shredded chicken. If you can’t figure out how to make a taco why are you even reading this?

5 lbs chicken breast
2 packages of El Paso Taco seasoning (some will call this cheating, I am one of them but there is a time and a place for everything right?)
3 tbls diced garlic

Brown chicken put in dutch oven/crock pot/casserole. Add garlic, seasoning and 2 cups of liquid (make a choice). Cook at 325 for 2 hours or until the chicken can be shredded with a fork. Shred chicken mix with sauce and serve how you want. Shredded chicken can be used in tons of stuff and is great reheated.

PS if you have not tried shredded cabbage and lime on a taco you don’t know what you are missing.

Dutch Oven Stand-by

This is a really simple quick Dutch Oven recipe. If you are running out of time (like I was for Dinner) this is the go to.

5 lb of meat. chicken, pork, veal, salmon, beef it does not matter. It turns out best if it is in 1 to 2 inch chunks let time be your guide.
1 bottle of store bought BBQ sauce (anything but Kraft yuck)

Brown meat. Add sauce cook until it is done.

This is very basic. Play with it and make it work however you think it works best.

Bacon Blue Cheese Dutch Oven Potatoes

I love to take “classic” recipes and add a odd little twist to it. Everyone who has a Dutch Oven has a Potato recipe that calls for bacon, potatoes, and cheese. So here goes my twist.

1/2 pound bacon (render this until crispy there is nothing worse than soggy bacon)
3 lbs potatoes cubed (or sliced diced julienned or whole whatever floats your boat)
1 large onion diced (same as above)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/3 cup of Lighthouse Blue cheese dressing
#10 Dutch oven
Render (make crispy over medium-low heat) bacon, I had to do this on a Coleman stove as I never have lots of luck with coals for this. Keep as much of the rendered bacon fat as you think your heart will handle. Add onions, garlic and cook until soft then add potatoes, stir and put on lid. Place brickets on lid and under Dutch oven. A general rule of the number of coals to use is the # minus 2 on the bottom plus 2 on top so for a #10 (meaning 10 inch diameter) Dutch oven would have 12 brickets on the top and 8 on the bottom.
Cook until potatoes are soft and stir in dressing right before serving.