Sunday, June 29, 2008


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbl sugar
1 1/4 cups cold milk
3 tbls melted butter
1 egg

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a big bowl. Mix the egg and milk together then add the melted butter and stir to combine. It will be lumpy. Add the milk mixture to the flour. Mix until just smooth. Pour 1/4 cup scoops onto a heated skillet. Flip when it gets brown on the bottom, dry around the edges and bubbles are breaking. Cook till done. Makes about 8.


I love pancakes. They are one of the best things, ever. This recipe is my current favorite since it's easy and butter comes out while they cook. I mean, come on. That's good stuff right there. You add the melted butter to the cold milk and it makes little butter nuggets that mix into the batter. These form little pockets of rich, buttery goodness and some of it comes oozing out while it cooks and helps it brown. Another great thing I've found about these pancakes (and might be true of all kinds, I don't know) is that they freeze great. I make a whole batch, my girlfriend and I eat half and I freeze the other half. They reheat in the microwave surprisingly well or you could do it in the oven, somehow, I'm sure. I never tried. Unfortunately me, the camera and the lighting had a bit of a confrontation so the pictures aren't that good. But I'm putting it up anyway. That's just the kind of guy I am. All right, here we go. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In the bowl.
Sometimes I whisk it, sometimes I use a spoon, sometimes I just shake the bowl around. Depends on the time of day, really. Now, last time I made these I forgot to add the salt. It just so happens that I used salted butter and we didn't notice any difference. Something to think about. Now you want to melt the butter. I do it on the stove in these little metal cup measures. You can use a microwave too. Mix the egg and the milk together. Now add the melted butter. Notice the butter turns into those little nuggets I was talking about. This is good. Now dump it in the flour and mix it into batter. No need to go crazy, just mix to combine.Now pour 1/4 cups of it onto the skillet you have been preheating to medium high this whole time. Preheating is key if you want pancakes to brown well. Now look at this, if you can make it out through the blurry photo that is butter oozing out of the batter. These puppies grease the skillet all by themselves. Of course, I also use a nonstick skillet... if you don't you might need to grease it anyway. When the bottom is brown, little bubbles are breaking and the sides are dry flip them. There is a secret to flipping pancakes. I found it after years and years of screwing up. The secret is... don't screw up. I always do. Like that guy in the upper right there. He tried to escape off the griddle and now he is a mutant. I've found the secret, not mastered it. Now, cook them till they are brown on the other side and cooked through. Then put them on a plate, top them with your stuff of choice and eat them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Orange Pork

1 1/2 lbs of pork loin or real thick center cut chops
1 cup orange juice
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp ginger
1 tbl brown sugar
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped onion (you could use shallots too)
pinch of cayenne
salt for salting meat
a pinch of black pepper

Trim the pork, cut it into 1 inch cubes (or so) and salt it a little. Heat up some oil (or butter) in a medium hot pan and brown the pork on all sides. Do it in batches, it needs some room between chunks to brown well. While the pork is cooking mix together the juices, brown sugar and pepper. Take the meat out and brown the onion. Let the onion brown for a bit then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for a 30 seconds or so, then deglaze the pan with the orange juice mixture. Put the pork back in and simmer, covered, till tender. Take the cover off and reduce until it is thick enough to really cling to the meat. Serve over rice or egg noodles or with mashed potatos.


I got this recipe from my brother, in a different form. I don't remember it exactly since it was over the phone, rushed, written (poorly) on an envelope and a little tipsy. But this is what it is now. It's also good with pineapple orange juice, instead of just orange, and a splash of vinegar. It pretty much makes it sweet and sour sauce. You can serve it over rice or noodles or something like that. Or how I like it, with mashed potatos. If I'm serving it with mashed potatos, I don't season the potatos too much since the sauce is very flavorful. Just salt, pepper and butter usually. Ok, first you trim up the pork and cut it into chunks.

Big chunks can cook longer in the sauce, so I go for 1 inch or so. This time around I didn't gauge quite right and got thinner ones. Oh well. Heat up some oil or butter in a hot, but not smoking, pan. While the pan is heating is a good time to mix together the juices, sugar, cayenne and pepper. If you are using powdered ginger or garlic instead of fresh for some reason, put them in the liquid now too. Unless you have a huge pan you will want to brown the pork in batches so they get a good crust. Brown them up on all the sides you can but don't worry about cooking them, they are going to simmer in the sauce for some time. Once all your meat is browned toss in the onion. Brown that up as much as you can, but don't burn the fond on the bottom there. Add the garlic and ginger in with the onions right at the end and just sautee it all for 20-30 seconds or so. Then pour in the sauce. Scrap the up all the lovely brown stuff and bring the sauce just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and dump the meat back in. Cover it up and let it simmer until it's just getting tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the sauce is really thick. If you don't want to wait too long, or if you already have the amount of sauce you want, just mix in a corn starch roux and thicken it up that way. If you are serving it over pasta then you will want a thinner sauce than if you are serving it with something. That it's not on top of. You know what I mean.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lo Mein

1 lb flank steak
1 small head of broccoli
sno peas, I don't know how many. A big handful.
1 cup of bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger, I like fresh, but the dried stuff works.
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or mashed or pressed or however you do it.
3-4 tbls of hoisin sauce
1 tsp sugar (or more if you like a sweeter marinade)
couple turns of cracked black pepper.
1/2 pound of cooked pasta (I usually use spaghetti.)

Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper in a sealable container. Add beef and marinate for 30 minutes to several hours. Cut the broccoli into medium chunks and trim the snow peas, if needed. Remove meat from marinade, reserving any liquid and garlic/ginger chunks you can. Pat the meat dry with paper towels, slice it in half along the grain and then in 1/4 inch slices against the grain. Stir fry the vegetables until almost done, set them aside. Stir fry the beef until almost done, in two shifts, then set it aside. Pour the reserved marinade in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and add hoisin sauce, stir. Add pasta, stir to coat. Add everything else, stir until well combined. Let it sit, stirring occasionally until everything has finished cooking, 1-2 minutes (maybe less).


What I'm making here isn't really very authentic, since I'm using spaghetti, but that's ok. I kind of made it up as I went along anyway and it has evolved into this. You can make a whole bunch of different sauces for it, but my favorite is hoisin and soy sauce. So that's what I'm making. First, meat. I like flank steak, but you can use steak tips, chicken breast, pork loin, whatever. You don't have to use meat either, tofu works... I assume. Frankly, I'm not going to try. Tofu is gross. You could also just leave out the meat altogether and just have pasta, veggies and sauce. But I'm not going to, I'm using flank steak.
Yeah. 1.9 pounds of sweet, beefy goodness. It is also twice as much as I need, so it gets chopped in half. Half goes in the freezer, half goes in a ziploc bag. In with the meat goes the 1/4 cup soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper. If you mix them together before hand it is much easier. Trust me. Get as much air out as you can and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to several hours. Now lets prep the vegetables. Broccoli, chop off big florets then slice them in half. Like so. I can only get packaged snow peas right now so I like to trim the ends off, since they are all dry.Chop the onion into fairly big pieces. Or smaller ones, whatever you like. I don't care. I'm not even going to show you mine, so there. Bean sprouts don't need any prep other than a quick rinse. Carrots are also good, so are peppers (I like the orange ones best for this) but I don't have any right at the moment. Now the beef. Take it out of the marinade, keeping any liquid that's leftover. I like to scrape as much garlic and ginger off the meat as I can, since the marinade is the base of the sauce. I let this marinade for four hours. Lovely. Pat the meat dry with some paper towels, it helps reduce the liquid when you stirfry them. Slice the steak in half along the grain, then in quarter inch slices against the grain. Heat up some oil in your wok, stirfry pan or whatever you are using. I have an oil that is a mix of canola, garlic and ginger that I really like. Toss in the broccoli (if you were using carrots they would go in first), stir them for a little bit. Then toss in the snow peas, stir them too. The goal here is to cook them a little shy of how you want them done since they cook more in the sauce.Also cook the onions, until they are just starting to brown around the edges. You want the heat up pretty high for this. Put them aside and heat up a little more oil if you need it, you want it almost smoking. Now put about half the beef in, if you do it all it will braise instead of brown. Of course, braising is lovely too. But I want to brown them here, on both sides. When they are almost done pull them out and put the other half in. When it's done pull it out. Now take the marinade and pour it in the pan. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to med-low and add the hoisin sauce. Stir it up and let it cook for a bit, just to kill the raw beefyness. Then toss in the pasta. My onions are also in here. But only because I screwed up my timing. You should add them with everything at the end. Mix the pasta till its coated. Then add everything else back in. Mix until combined (this takes a minute or two, it's where everything finishes cooking). Then eat it.


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