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,