Friday, July 31, 2009

Strawberry S'moreos

I saw these last month over at Cakespy and I knew I had to make them. It just had to happen. I was expecting something delicious, but damn. Damn, people. These things are needlessly good. If you survive the sugar rush you will never be the same again. My girlfriend had bought s'mores fixings during the last big grocery store run, which we promptly forgot about. Then she came home with some strawberry Oreos a couple days ago. The gears in my head started turning and today I remembered s'moreos. So I made them.

First things first, pop open an Oreo (or you can just use two) and put a sqaure of chocolate in there. Like I said, these are strawberry flavored. They are spectacular, by the way, they taste kind of like Frankenberry cereal. I had never seen them before, I think they'e one of those Limited Edition things that companies like to torture us with. Anyway, next up is a hot marshmallow. Ah, city living. Yeah, I toasted it over my stove. It works and you get the toasty bits that you just don't get in the microwave. Then it's just a matter of dropping the hot ball of sugary goo onto the cookie and putting it back together. Squish.
And eat.If you don't already have plans to go out and get the stuff you need to make these then I'm going to have to assume you're a robot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Experiment: Pan Seared Brown Butter Peaches

Yeah. I don't have a recipe for this one either, sorry. This is the first incarnation of what will probably be many. I did it on a whim and while it was good, it wasn't... complete. Next time (probably tomorrow) I will use brown sugar instead of white and maybe some cinnamon. I'm also tempted to add a pinch of salt, to both heighten the flavor and pull out some of the juices. I have this vision of peach juice, melted brown sugar and browned butter turning into a faux caramel mixture kind of thing. I don't know if that's actually going to happen, but I'm going to try. For those of you who are keeping score at home, here is what I did.

First, I got my butter going (I used about a half tablespoon). I figured it should be just starting to brown when I put the peaches on, otherwise it runs the risk of burning. That took just a couple minutes. Then I cut a peach in half. I figure one peach is a portion (fruit is good and all), but you could do half per person and still have it be fine. I sprinkled them with some sugar and plopped them onto the pan. I used nonstick heated to medium/medium high for this. Once they had browned up I plopped some in a bowl, poured the browned butter in the convenient hollow where the pit had been and thought "This could use some ice cream". So I put some ice cream on there. It was Hagen Daaz caramelized pear and pecan. It went really well with it. I think making a reduction with the browned butter, whatever juices the peach puts out, any leftover sugar and a sweet wine would be good. More experiments are clearly needed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Brisket

Ok, so it's not really wrapped in bacon. But "bacon topped" doesn't have the same ring to it and the concept is the same. I'm not posting a recipe for this because I'm still working on the rub and I didn't get very many good pictures. I need to sit down and reevaluate my approach to photography, starting with getting myself Photoshop. Anyway, I when I saw this post over at Girlichef I remembered I had a brisket in the freezer. And since hers looked so good I had to make it. All I did was rub it with a rub and cover it with bacon. You could use whatever rub you want, the one at Girlichef looks great, this one from my barbecue pulled beef would also be good. Then I covered it and tossed it into a 300 degree oven for a couple hours. After the first hour or so I uncovered it so the bacon would crisp. This is pretty much what it looked like when it was done. It actually came out a bit dry, I think because I uncovered it. Or maybe I just didn't cook it long enough. But there were plenty of juices, so I just poured them over it and it all worked out fine. I made it into sandwiches. Good times, especially on a toasted seasame seed roll.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cheese Fondue

1/2 pound Fontina
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled, halved crosswise
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
Pinch nutmeg

Place the shredded cheese and cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Set aside.Rub the inside of a 4-quart pot with the garlic, then discard. Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the wine. Stir constantly in a zig-zag pattern to prevent the cheese from seizing and balling up. Cook until the cheese is just melted and creamy. Do not let boil. Once smooth, stir in kirsch and nutmeg.Transfer the cheese to a fondue serving pot, set over a flame to keep warm. Other cheese options: I like Gruyere at all times, but Jarlsberg or Ementaller instead of Fontina are great.Serves 4.


This one comes from my brother, he made it a while ago when we were over his apartment. I had never had cheese fondue made in a classic style before, with wine and kirsch, since my parents are teetotalers. When they made it it was just melted cheese. Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't the same as this. This was unreal. Let's just get right to it shall we?

Here is what you'll need, sans hardware. We've got some Gruyere, Fontina, kirsch, white wine, salt and of course good crusty bread. In keeping with my theme of never getting pictures of everything, not pictured are lemon juice and corn starch. The bread should be cubed, but you should make sure to have some crust on each piece. Crust is key, without it the chunks won't stay on the fork. Now, we'll want some shredded cheese. Ah yeah, that's the stuff. Almost. There we go. That's half the cheese we need. Excited yet? Heh. Now it's tossed with the cornstarch (it helps keep it smooth) and set it aside. Rub down a sauce pot with some garlic (I think my brother referred to this as "blessing"). Now pour in the wine and lemon juice and heat it up to a gentle simmer. The wine was Groth Sauvignon Blanc and while I don't have my usual dealie about it I do highly recommend it, it was really good. Oh and note, nothing should ever, ever boil in this recipe. That will break the cheese and you really don't want that, it will ruin the texture. Add the cheese, a bit at a time to the wine, stirring constantly in a zig zag pattern. Once all the cheese is in and it's nice and smooth add the kirsch and nutmeg. This was my first time trying kirsch and I noticed an odd thing about it. It's brandy, right? Made from cherries? But it tastes like tequila. It was good, don't get me wrong, I just found that weird. Anyway, the fondue is done, transfer it to a fondue pot and have at it. We did bread, but I was thinking this would be good with vegetables too. Broccoli, pepper chunks, whatever you think would go well with a pound of melted cheese. Hell, chunks of roast beef or ham would be awesome too. Now I've mentioned my girlfriend doesn't really eat cheese, so she had some turkey balls that I didn't get a picture of. But what was also wicked good was dipping the bread in the fondue and then into the tomato sauce from the meatballs. Good times kids.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Experiment: Black Tea Rice Pudding

3 cups whole milk
1/3 cup basmati rice
2 tbls sugar
1 egg
2 bags of black tea like English Breakfast
pinch of salt

Pour the milk into a pot, put the tea bags in, bring it to a simmer and let reduce until it's about 2 1/2 cups. Add the rice, salt and sugar and let cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk the egg and add a couple tbls, one tbl at a time, to it, whisking the whole time. Slowly add the egg mixture to the rice and milk, again stirring the whole time. Cook for another minute or so, until thick. It's best hot.


This was one of those things that seemed like such a good idea at the time but just didn't quite work out the way I had hoped. I was looking for a light, creamy dessert that tasted like a good cup of tea. What I got was some wicked thick goo that tasted like... something else. It's not that it was horrible, it just wasn't that good. I'm going to try it again at some point, make some changes and see how it goes. For one I don't think I'm going to put an egg in next time, I think that is what did in the texture. I also might not use basmati, but that was the only rice I could find around here and I didn't feel like going to the grocery store. The nutty flavor was actually pretty good with the tea, but I think it might have been too competetive. Anyway, here is what I did.

First, as the recipe states, I poured the milk in a pot. Tossed in the tea bags and let it simmer for a while. Another thing I might change next is instead of infusing the milk with the tea using a half a cup or so of very strong brewed tea. Then I added the rice, sugar and salt and let it cook until it was tender. I didn't get shots of whisking the egg, or whisking some of the hot rice mixture into it but I assure you that that's what I did next. I took the tea bags out at this point. Then I poured it slowly into rice, stirring constantly. I used a whisk for this and it broke up some of the rice, which kind of sucked. But it also reincorporated the skin that had formed when I walked away for about three seconds while it was cooking and that was good. So I cooked and stirred until it was thick. Very thick. Much thicker than I thought it would be. But there it is, black tea rice pudding. It wasn't great, but I think with some changes it could be. More experiments are clearly needed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Cats

My, it's been a while since I've done this. There is a reason though. You see, I'm not very organized. Heh. And I've been working weekends, which is when I toss these together. But I'm off today, so here we go!

The real Bob is kind hard to get candids of. As soon as he notices the camera he wants to look right at it. It can be frustrating, but I do sometimes get great expressions. Here's Noodles contemplating the leg of our bed for some reason. And here she is passed out nip-drunk on the scratching post. We sprinkled it with catnip and she sat there rubbing her face on it till she fell asleep. She might have a problem. And I'll leave you with this deceptively peaceful looking scene. You can just pretend there wasn't chasing and violence about three seconds later.

Oh, if you need a kitten fix my brother has a fresh batch. In the most recent post they get a bath.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guacamole Chicken Salad and the Giveaway Winner

The winner is... Vegannewbie! Because she started it off with "There once was..." and that's just awesome. Shoot me an email at with your shipping info and we'll get your salsa package out to you. Oh, one thing. They ran out of the coupons so they're going to toss another jar of salsa in for you. Just so you know.

Here's a quickie for you guys. I made this chicken salad with some guacamole that my girlfriend bought. It's just chicken, 3 parts guacamole, 1 part mayo, some diced onion, salt and pepper. It was really good. We made wraps with it (that I didn't get a shot of). We just put some salad we got from a pizza shop on them, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, the whole deal. It was wicked good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vanilla Dipping Sauce for Apple Potstickers

It's kind of funny, when I wrote the apple potsticker post almost everyone said they wanted vanilla ice cream with them. Now, I had mentioned that I had a dipping sauce in mind to make. My goal for that was a thick, warm dip that tasted like vanilla ice cream. What I got was something that tasted like vanilla pudding. I didn't get any pics either, except a couple final product shots. But what I did was take about a cup and a half of whole milk and bring it almost to a simmer. Then I added some sugar and vanilla and let it reduce till it was about a half cup. Then it wasn't quite thick enough so I added some cornstarch slurry made with milk. It was good, but not quite what I was going for. The texture was fine, it clung to the dumplings just like you would want. And the flavor was good, it just didn't taste like vanilla ice cream.

This time I also baked the potstickers, just to see what would happen. I browned them on the one side like regular potstickers, then I brushed them with a little butter and tossed them in a 400 degree oven till they were crispy on the outside. They were really good (and not too high in fat), but I think not really potstickers anymore due to the drastic cooking change. I'm going to work on the idea though and get a post up about it in the future. More experiments are clearly needed.

So how about some advice, kids. How can I get my dipping sauce to taste like vanila ice cream? I suppose I could just melt some ice cream, but it doesn't taste quite right melted. Plus that's pretty boring. Heh.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Experiment: Apple Potstickers

Sorry, no measurements for this one.

wonton wrapper dough
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
ground ginger
chopped nuts (optional)

Chop the apple into 1/4" thick cubes, mix with some cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, ginger and a tiny bit of salt. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, half an hour is better. Sprinkle your work surface with sugar and roll out 3-4" circles (or whatever) of dough. Place tablespoons of apple mixture into the middle of the circle (and some nuts if you're using them), pour some of the macerating liquid on there, fold them up, pinch them closed very firmly and squish them together a bit. Heat up a nonstick pan, preferably with a good cover, over medium-high heat and melt some butter in it. Place the potstickers seam side up into the pan. Let them sit until browned, 3-5 minutes, then add about a tbl of water per potsticker, cover and let steam until the water is absorbed and the dough is cooked. Eat hot.


I know, it's kind of weird. But I was bored and didn't have a lot of stuff on hand. Plus it was wicked good. Next time I do it I'm going to make some changes though. Instead of water for steaming I'm going to use cider or apple juice. And I'm going to make a dipping sauce. I think a juice/maple syrup mix would be good or even a thinned jam. I have an idea for one that I'm going to work on and do a post about later. But it's top secret for now. Heh.

This is a pretty standard potsticker method, at least by what I've found. I had never made them before, though and the whole thing was put together on a whim. I found myself with the dough and I needed something to do with it. My girlfriend was out of town and she doesn't like potstickers, the chewy steamed dough skeeves her out. But this was just for me. I had some frozen meat, but nothing that I could get at quickly and easily. I did have an apple though. So I made these.

First, chopped apple, cinnamon, sugar, salt, nutmeg and ginger. I tossed the ginger in as a nod to the Asian method. Yeah, I've been watching Ming Tsai, it's no big deal. Heh. I didn't measure anything, but it was about a tsp of cinnamon, a tiny pinch of salt and a pinch of everything else. Then I let it macerate for about a half hour. I rolled out the dough in sugar since it's not sweet on it's own. Then I plunked about a tbl of apple mixture. Some chopped pecans are good too. Then I spooned on a bit of the maceration liquid and folded it up. You need to press the ends together quite firmly. I tried wetting the edge of the dough to help it stay together, but it didn't seem to help. So I just squeezed it hard and it worked fine. Then I kind of squished it together so it could stand seam side up. Not as pretty as the ones from a restaurant, but whatever. Now melt some butter in a nonstick pan over medium high heat. It's just got to be butter for this. Really. You want a pan that has a tight lid, preferably. But I just use tinfoil since I don't have a lid for my nonstick stirfry pan. Once it's hot I placed the potstickers into the pan and let them brown. This took about 5 minutes. Careful when you're checking them, they're slippery. Once they're browned add some liquid. I used water, but like I said next time I'm going to use juice. Or maybe wine... Anyway, I think I used about three tablespoons of water, but I'm not really sure. I'm going to make potstickers again and get more precise directions. Then I covered them till they had absorbed the water and were fully cooked. And that's it. They were wicked good, definitely something I'm going to work on since I think they can be even better.


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