Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Game Night: Emu Kebabs, Wild Boar Sausage and Elk Sausage

My lovely neighbor upstairs blessed me with some odd meat on my birthday.
I had no idea as to what to do with these steaks. Do you cook them like beef or chicken since they are from the avian family? After searching online I found a quick and easy marinade for Emu Kebabs and I must say it has to be some of the best meat I have ever had. On par with Fillet Mignon.So tender it practically melted off the stick. I did something a little different as well from your everyday kebab. I put potatoes on it. I boiled the potatoes first because I knew they would never be close to ready by the time the meat was. So I got them perfectly tender, put olive oil and sea salt on them then slid them on the sticks with the onion, emu and tomatoes.

Here is my recipe I used for the marinade:
1 lb. emu fillet
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Siracha
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
3 Tbsp. Lime juice
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil

I let the meat marinate along with the onions, then once I put them on the stick, I sprinkled them with white truffle sea salt and pepper.
Lets just say emu kebabs will be at my next BBQ and it will blow peoples minds.
The sausages came out great as well. The wild boar with cranberries was just the right balance of sweet and salty.
We will be cooking tomorrow so be prepared!

Fajita's and Rosted Pablanos

I apologize for my lack of updating. But here we are:
Skirt Steak Fajitas with Roasted pablanos in Crema (mexican sour cream).
We did a dry rub on the meat with a dash of habanero sauce, sliced it then cooked it in a cast iron pan. Got it about medium rare and then deglazed the pan with our vegetables(bell peppers and onions). I also made an avocado butter to spread on the tortillas which was a nice cross between guacamole and a sauce and certainly brightened up the whole concoction.

The best part had to be the roasted pablanos which we charred on my range, pealed the charded skin then sliced into strips. Then we combined the peppers with the crema and it was mind blowing. A great and delicious spin on your classic fajitas.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apple-Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts, Potatoes au Gratin et Creme Brule Crème brûlée

A rich dinner for a bunch of poor kids. I did my previous au gratin recipe with some XXX Sharp cheddar and a clove and a half of garlic. The crème brûlée was from a pre-mixed packet so I can hardly claim credit, regardless it was delish.
The chicken was an adaptation from a recipe found in Cooks Illustrated.
All in all it was a quick enough recipe for a Wednesday. I got free-range, grass fed, non-antibiotic chicken because organic always tastes better.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Voodoo that You Do: Happy Mardi Gras!

In leu of it being Mardi Gras we decided to give a try at an authentic Gumbo. Shrimp, sausage, okra and a bevy of vegetables made up this delectable soup(?)
Just the right amount of heat and meat southerners sure have their rib-sticking foods down to a science.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whitetrash Bar-B-Que

Sometimes at a good BBQ you can't always choose what to eat as easily as you would think, especially when the all the food looks delicious. To avoid being a heathen you have to sacrifice one or the other to your palate and sometimes that results in feelings of reget and self-lothing. Or perhaps I just take food too seriously.Well thanks to the good people at they have solved this culinary conundrum. The meal consists of a hotdog wrapped in cheese, then wrapped in rolled out ground beef, then wrapped in bacon, breaded, then baked. Hey at least its not fried. Try this at your next family BBQ (note: the more South you live the more this will be accepted by the majority of your gathering)
Enjoy the pictures!

One last thing: This is not tonight's meal. In the spirit of Marti Gras we will be cooking gumbo and blackened string beans. Pictures to be posted as soon as we get to it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back up to Date: Far from Suffering Succotash

It is always the most simple dishes that really resonate in your mind and trump some of the most complicated of concoctions. Every Tuesday it is usually Daniel who proclaims, "Oh this is my favorite recipe yet!", but now it is my turn. I defrosted a package of small venison steaks earlier that day. They were perfectly proportionally cut for myself, Daniel, Caitlin, and Jonathan. I whipped up a rub of cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, and red pepper flakes. I patted the steaks dry and rubbed the seasoning on. We heated up our cast iron skillet and seared them for two minutes on one side then another minute on the opposing side.
To complement these wondrous cuts of meat, Caitlin composed a succotash of lima beans, yams, corn, and shallot.
We placed the steak atop the succotash and took a hearty slab of sage butter we had made earlier that evening. To make the herb butter was simple: soften some butter, toss in some sage and roll it up in some seram wrap.
The meal was so complete we even forwent the construction of a salad.
It was the most simplistic, non-time consuming, least preparatory meal in weeks and I have to say it was my favorite so far.

Old clothes have never tasted so good

So, with all that venison I had laying around we decided to do a pot roast. But this isn't your mom's pot roast (unless she happens to be Cuban, Spanish or Caribbean, then I guess it would be) this roast was simmered for three hours in a tomato and pepper based stew. Called Ropa Vieja, meaning old clothes, this meal is traditionally made with flank steak, but we are not your typical chefs. We hybridized your typical pot roast technique with the ingredients of ropa vieja and came with one of our best creations thus far. Combining tomatoes, peppers, and onions, we let this baby sit for close to three hours turning a half turn every 15 minutes. To accompany our roast we boiled up some black beans, plain Jane style, with some salt and lovin'. On to the starch: we peeled, cubed, and boiled some Yukon golds then coated them with some salt, pepper, and duck fat then roasted them in the oven until golden brown. So as to shed a little green on this meal as well as to protect our eyes from macular degeneration we steamed up some kale.
Typically the meat is fully pulled apart in ropa vieja, but we wanted to keep the pieces larger so as to resemble a typical pot roast, so we compromised with some minor tearing of the meat.
Excellent meal with excellent company.

DS Likes the Butt

Pork butt pic, recipe, and method TK


I am not the biggest football fan (whatsoever), but the potentiality for slow cooked meats, thick and hearty dips, and crunchy fried skins keep me coming each year.
Guacamole can be a very impersonal dish. Just mash some avocados, red onions, some spicy seasonings and you're all set. But I went all out this year. While seeing some random commercial promoting a certain brand of avocados, I spied something that resembled a football field made of guacamole! I paused and rewound my DVR and emulated it on a smaller scale for this years Superbowl.
I did my usual mix of avocados, tomato, cumin pepper, dried chilies powdered in a blender, red onion, salt and pepper. Diced it up leaving some chunks but allowing it to be smooth enough to still be considered a dip. I then cut out little X's and O's from bell peppers using my handy dandy paring knife, as well as constructing the field goal posts from peppers and tooth picks. To top it all off I pipped on the field lines with sour cream and a zip-lock with a corner cut off. It was almost too cute to eat. The I filled the bleachers with tortilla chips. TOO CUTE!
Bring it to your in-laws next year to impress that brother of hers who thinks you're not good enough for his baby sis.

The pulled pork was out of this world and will hopefully be posted soon by the chef (Daniel)himself. Fourteen hours simmering resulting in 30 minutes of pulled pork goodness and almost instantaneous sleepiness.

My apologies to the few that actually read this.

I have been a bit behind in my blogging these past few weeks, but here I am catching up. Sorry no real step by step recipes, though most of the time there isn't much to it. If you really care I can hunt them down just shoot me an email.
On January 27th we made a ragout of pork an prunes extrapolated from a recipe found here . It turned out excellent (as per usual). We served it on top of creamy polenta which is an Italian dish made from cornmeal similar to southern grits. We finished it off with a hazelnut-cranberry-goat cheese spinach salad with a basic lemon vinaigrette. The ragout was so rich; the sweetness from the prunes really pulled in the cranberries residing in the salad, while the buttery-starchy neutrality of the polenta provided a sturdy pedestal for it to all sit upon. All together a fantastic meal.

Here is a picture of my aforementioned venison stew.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Deer Stew...Something different

Tonight I made a venison stew. Bad idea starting at 10:00 when you wont be able to eat it until 2:00am ...which is now.
I must say, it is very rich, but I now know what the term "game-y" means. It is almost like a fishy taste, though a little different and is temporary and fades while eating. Not a bad taste, but defiantly there. I enjoy it, it makes it taste...more natural? More from the earth? Or I may just deluding myself.
Anywho, I seemed to have over cooked it because there was not much "gravy" in the end, but it was far from dry. I am not even hungry but I am eating regardless. Hopefully it will metabolize and wont just sit like a rock in my stomach while I sleep.
I also watched the movie Gran Torino tonight whilst waiting for my stew to... well stew.
It was excellent and I was also informed that Clint Eastwood scores all of his own movies. Most impressive sir.
So goodnight and my hat goes off to Clint for another film well done.
Ps: I have pictures and info on this Tuesday's meeting, I apologize for my tardiness and will hopefully have a full write up by tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's almost Tuesday!

This Tuesday's menu so far features a Ragout of Pork and Prunes
Another hopeful winner from EatingWell Magazine . If it is anything like the Braised Beef and Mushrooms we're all in for a treat, as well as surplus of leftovers which only get better with time.
Hope you all had a great weekend,

Oh My Deer!

Thanks go out to my wonderful father for procuring me 35lbs of venison to keep me warm all winter. This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, the rest is in his freezer on Long Island. Today's haul is comprised of four bags of ground venison, two venison roasts, one package of venison steaks, two bags of stew meat, and two packages of small venison steaks.
Lets just say despite this tumultuous economy, I wont be going hungry anytime soon.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Psychedelic Freak Out - Braised Beef & Mushroom

So, for the past week I have been struggling with this horrific cold, which has only been exasperated and amplified by personal turmoil, cold weather, and poor general upkeep on my part. Anyway, I broke down and finally decided to go to the doctor and while sitting in the waiting room I picked up a copy of EatingWell Magazine. While flipping through the pages two recipes stuck my fancy: Braised Beef & Mushrooms and Ragout of Pork and Prunes (stay tuned for next Tuesday). Upon consulting with my eating mates Hilary and Steve, their general disdain towards prunes solved the crisis of which to cook, we went with the braised beef.
To accompany our stew we decided to watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was my first time watching it and my word is Audry Hepburn attractive!
I digress, onto the stew:

This was my first stew and I have to say I was more than pleased on how it came out I was concerned, at first, with the lack of liquid initially introduced the pot, but with the moisture in the meat and mushrooms a stock soon appeared, almost from nowhere!

The Recipe:
4 Cups finely diced onions
2 Large Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
@ Tbsp Paprika
2 Tsp Fresh Marjoram
4 Lbs Beef Chuck in 1.5" cubes
2 Lbs Cremini Mushrooms
1 Cup Beef Broth
8 Large Shiitake Mushroom Caps
2-3 Tsp Dill or Tarragon for garnish

Firstly: Preheat your oven to 350°F
Heat some oil and butter in your Dutch Oven or large heavy casserole on the burner, make sure it is large because there are a lot of ingredients that have to fit in there. It was a little touch and go regarding whether or not it would all fit in there.
Toss in the Garlic and onions. Let them brown.
Note: We did not brown the beef first to seal in the juices, because we wanted it to really absorb the mushroom flavor.
Once your onions and garlic have softened up toss in the tomato paste, paprika and marjoram.
While that's keeping warm in the pot (lower heat so as not to dehydrate the paste)
Season your beef with a copious amount of pepper and a sprinkling of Kosher salt.
Add the beef and cremini mushrooms to the pot and stir it all together. This took some finesse since my pot looked closed to brimming over with mushrooms and meat, but I pulled it off. Cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid and bake until the beef is tender, figure a good 2 hours. The longer the better IMHO.
After you have sampled your broth and checked the tenderness of your beef add some salt and pepper to your own liking and stir in the shiitake mushrooms. Toss that pot back in and bake for another 15 minutes

Note: The reason for the post hoc addition of the shiitake is that when over-cooked, they get a bit rubbery which is no fun for the chef nor the consumer
Remove from oven and let stand, undisturbed, for 15 minutes (I over-eagerly skipped this step)
Next transfer the meat and mushrooms from the pot using a slotted spoon to a bowl. Return the pot to heat to reduce the broth until it coats a spoon.
I also added a little wine, which you can never go wrong with. Around 20-30 minutes of reduction I added the beef and mushrooms to the pot and gave it a good stir and simmer. I cooked some egg noodles to serve as a base for the stew to sit upon and also to add a little starch to the meal.
Finally garnish with some dill or tarragon, if desired.
In the end it was a well needed and well received assemblage of comfort food.
Some amendments I would consider to the original recipe would be to toss in some potatoes, carrots, and perhaps celery, but then again that would be a plain ol' stew and not Braised Beef & Mushrooms.
Regardless, it made me feel better and put me to bed faster than any prescription or substance in my repertoire.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yea no big deal

We have matching aprons....No big deal

From left to right: Daniel, Daniel(DSLite),and Caitlin

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes We Can...

Cook a whole red snapper! Or, at least, Saveur thinks we can. This will be the first home-cooked meal of the Obama Administration - stay tuned!

By the way, as long as we've got the red (snapper) part taken care of, any suggestions for white and blue?

A Little Bit Crunchy, A Little Bit Wok and Roll

Ahhh there is nothing more elegant than fresh, lightly seared tuna. This Tuesday, as in yesterday, we made quite the meal and quite the mess. Our dinner consisted of: Lightly seared tuna with a wasabi-honey marinade resting upon deep-fried scallion rice cakes with shaved celery, and a finally a watercress salad and cucumbers with a honey mustard vinegar dressing. Needless to say, no one went home hungry

The tuna was procured from Whole Foods market and it sure was looking fresh.
We took the tuna, divided it into three portions, and stuck it in the bag with the marinade. The marinade consisted of:
3 tbsp honey
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp of wasabi (flavor to your own taste)
and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Please note that all measurements were eyeballed. cooking is always more fun when you experiment so use these as only a guide.

So we took our cast iron skillet and heated it on high heat for 15 minutes to ensure its maximum heat potential.
Drizzled on a little olive oil and seared those babies up. Make sure you only do a light searing at very high heat. You want the majority of the middle to be raw.

Note: One thing we failed to do is cook the tuna last. It only takes a few minutes to cook and is best served hot. Make sure everything else is cooked and ready to plate before cooking the tuna.

We saved the marinade, added a little balsamic vinegar and reduced it to pour on the steaks and cakes.

The deep-fried rice cakes were easy peasy.
Just take some cooked rice, cut up some scallions, add some bread crumbs (or corn flake crumbs in our case) and two eggs.
Mix it together and spread it on a greased or floured piece of foil evenly (about 1/4" - 1/2" thick.
using a cup or cookie cutter cut out 3" diameter circles and put them in your hot oil you had heating up on your back burner. Let them brown on each side and voila! Fun and easy rice cakes. Make sure not to over load the oil because they tended to be delicate and could crumble trying to separate them in the oil.

Finally the Watercress salad. Pretty straight forward. Cut up some watercress, add some mandolined cucumbers and add dressing. The dressing, courtesy of Miss Caitlin was phenomenal. Eyeballing in portions of soy sauce, honey mustard, vinegar she came up with a splendid vegetal compliment to the tuna steaks.

Now on the wine:
Daniel graced us by splurging on some 2007 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Reisling Kabinett. Though I am not as well versed in wine as my cohorts, I will say this much: the wine was perfectly balanced, if not a little acidic which shows its potential for aging. You already could even get some of the crude oil on the nose that will only get better and more prominent with age. Definitely a treat.
The second bottle was from my own collection, a 2006 Maximin Grunhauser Herrenber Riesling Kabinett. Not as much acidity as the Donnhoff and much more fruit forward. This is a great affordable Riesling with much more personality than the majority of wines at the same price point.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leg of Lamb and Potatoes Au Gratin

My Potatoes Au Gratin, abstracted and amended from this recipe. I substituted the original cheese (cheddar) with a 60 day old aged Fontina
While shopping for the cheese and other ingredients at Whole Foods we decided to experiment with cooking some lamb. With no recipe on hand and little patience for browsing for one on my blackberry in Union Square we bought a pre-herbed leg of lamb. Of all the places to get lazy with cooking, I would much rather be at Whole Foods than most any other chain grocery in the city for pre-seasoned meats. Broiled on both sides for around 8-10 minutes the lamb was tender and juicy beyond description. I should have included pictures of the food being served, but we were all so hungry that any thought of such action could leave the brazen photographer fighting over scraps.
Au Revior,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bored, Hungry, and Unemployed

Today I had a hankering for some broccoli and cheddar soup, so I whipped some up.

Here are the basics:
2tbsp butter, saute one med. onion (coarsely chopped) all up in there with a sprinkling of garlic powder and white ground pepper.
Then add 1 quart of heated chicken stock, add 2 cups diced broccoli
Take a cup of whole milk, whisk in 1/2cup of flour then add that to the soup.
Let it sim simmer, salt and pepper to your liking. Wait until the broc is tender (once again to your liking) then add the 8oz of grated sharp cheddar
I added a bit too much salt, which as an over-salter tasted great to me, but perhaps not to everyone so use your own discretion.
I also made a quick sausage ragu, but got so caught up in cooking then eating I forgot to take another time.
oh and also here is a picture of my workshop

Some Catching up...

Well this morning, unable to sleep, I decided we should seriously blog about our meals. Many of my friends are aware of our club comprised of three members: Daniel, Myself and Caitlin. Dubbed the Tuesday Night Supper Club for obvious reasons has provided us with a way to stay in touch weekly and to try new things...culinarily speaking. If I remember its conception correctly I had a bag of ground venison and I offered to come by and cook Daniel and Caitlin a Shepheard's pie. My style of cooking tends to be a bit brutish; thus employing frozen vegetables, half-ass knife skills, total disregard for the Maillard reaction, and using bootleg non-stick pans. I have since moved past that and participating in this club has allowed for the honing of my culinary skills as well as keep in touch with some close friends who had defected to Brooklyn some time ago.
Pictures, brief recopies, and other things of interest will be discussed here, as well as damn near anything else that inspires us to share with the rest of the blogging community.
If all comes to fruition we will have a bounty of comprehensive recipes, mouth watering pictures, and unrestrained wine reviews.
Best regards and happy cooking,