Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Cats #104

It's a little hard to make out, but he has his paw dangling off my wrist while I'm holding him and he's resting his chin on it. Very sweet. Much sweeter than the new Blogger interface. Anyone else simply not care for it? Maybe it's just that I don't like change... no, it sucks. Definitely sucks.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger Loose Meat Sandwich

I had never heard of a loose meat sandwich until recently and honestly when I heard the name my first thought was "sounds weird".
But when I saw some recipes my mind was changed to "sounds awesome". Most of them don't have any sauce to speak of, otherwise they'd be more like sloppy joes, but this version has a bit of one. It's not much though, mostly just for flavor. I don't have a specific recipe for this, I whipped it up on the fly. But it turned out wicked good and I got some pics, so I'm going to share it.

First things first, bacon.
It's not a bacon cheeseburger anything without bacon. Then hamburger, of course.
Browneder is better, more flavor that way. Then some onions, because I like onions.

 I didn't cook them thoroughly, I wanted a little bite left to them so they'd be reminiscent of the raw ones you usually get on a burger. But it can be done however you like, of course. Then some ketchup and mustard, because I like to keep it simple.
This would also be a great thing to use bbq sauce in, although that would make it practically sloppy joes again. You could do anything that you would put on a burger though, just enough to give it the flavor you want.
And that's it, except for the bun and cheese. Next time I'm going to mix the cheese in while it's still in the pan, make it more like a steak and cheese kind of thing. That will be good. I wound up putting lettuce on it, I had meant to put some pickles on there too but it disappeared before I remembered.
In fact I can think of a lot of ways to do this that would be good and I'm going to post about them in the future. Not only was this awesome, but it was easy and fast. If you're cooking for a group this could be done in like 20 minutes, maybe less. I suppose it could be done that fast even if you're just cooking for yourself, but you get my point. So who has had a traditional loose meat sandwich? Anyone have a recipe for them that they want to share with me? Because that would be awesome.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Cats #103

I don't know either of these kittens or the bunny, it's a random pic from the net.

 But they look just like the Real Bob did when I first adopted him (kittens, not bunny). He might have been a bit fluffier, but other than that it's right on. And since I've already posted random kittens today, here are some more from my random cat pic folder.
Yeah, I have a random cat pic folder. It doesn't make me any less of a man. Heh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hot Corned Beef Sandwich with Sauteed Onion and Melty Cheese

I have new glasses and they make me dizzy. I still want to put a post up, but I'm sure as hell not spending a lot of time writing until I'm used to seeing clearly again. So in the interest of sharing something and also keeping it brief allow me to introduce you to this sandwich. It's wicked simple, just a nice soft sub roll, fried corned beef from the deli and onions sauteed in the fat leftover from the corned beef. Oh and the cheese. The cheese is a burnt cheese puddle, which is something I first saw at Confessions of a Serial Baker. It makes the sandwich extra awesome, you should go check out how to make it and then do so. Also I think there was mustard, there usually is when I eat corned beef. I even put lettuce on it to make it healthy, which means I could technically have had two. Tremendous.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hawaiian Baked Rice

1 cup sliced ham, chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup rice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup water/broth
1 cup pizza sauce
mozzarella, to taste
salt and pepper

Lightly brown the ham in an oven safe pot (wide/shallow is best), transfer it to a bowl then add the juice/water or broth. Cook the rice, then add the pineapple, ham and stir, reserving some of the ham and pineapple for topping if you want. Spread the pizza sauce on top. Put the cheese on top, as much as you like, and the toppings. Bake at 425 until just browned. Eat.

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Love this, it's so easy and spectacular. I got the idea when I read this post from Noob Cook (got idea=stole idea). It couldn't be simpler and it's wicked good. Wiffy uses cream of mushroom soup instead of pizza sauce, which I'm sure is lovely, but I wanted to make it more pizza-y so I used sauce. I don't see any reason that you couldn't use other things instead. You could use gravy and make it like Hawaiian haystacks, I bet that would be good. Or maybe a garlicky white sauce. Whatever floats your boat. So, shall we? Lets.

First, I took my ham and fried it up a bit. Gives it a little color and also adds some fond for extra flavor to the rice. Then I added the juice and water and let it come to a boil. Then the rice. Wiffy used a rice cooker, but I don't have one. Plus this way it's all done in one pot which makes for easier clean up, which is always good. Then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until done. Mix in most of the ham and pineapple, leave some out for topping if you like. Next, sauce. Spread that stuff around. Then cheese and toppings. Mmm, cheese. I don't care for bagged shredded mozzarella but I also hate shredding it myself. So I don't usually bother, I just chop it up. Much easier and it works just fine. Now into the hot oven until brown and delightful. Doesn't it look good? Yes it does.

Now another part of the recipe that I changed from Wiffy's is she added garlic to the rice. I didn't because my pizza sauce is pretty garlicky, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it. Hell, there's nothing stopping you from changing it up however you like. This here is a concept, not an absolute and don't let anyone tell you not to experiment. If you need ideas, stay tuned. I'm going to be making more baked rice, I enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick and Spicy Vegetarian Rice and Beans

1 cup rice
2 cups cooked beans
2 cup water or broth
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp blackening seasoning
salt, if desired

Saute the onion in some olive oil until translucent, add the garlic and stir for ~30 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add the liquid, seasoning and beans, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed. That's it.

Note: You can start with dried beans. Take a cup of rinsed/sorted dry beans, put them in a pot and add water until they're covered by a couple inches. Add ~tsp of the blackening spice and let simmer until tender, ~2 hours. You can them use some of the liquid you cooked the beans in for the rice, I did half that and half broth.

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Here's a quickie, guess what makes for a killer rice and beans seasoning? The blackening seasoning from the shrimp last week! I know, shocking. I wanted something easy, so I looked over my pantry. I had pasta, rice and beans. I've been eating a lot of pasta so I went for rice and beans. I started with dry beans, but you can just use a can and it would maim the cooking time. Although you wouldn't be able to use any of the cooking liquid from the beans, which does add a nice flavor and texture. I guess it all depends on the time frame you have. With canned beans you could have this on the table in less than a half hour, I'm guessing. And who doesn't love that? Not that I ever eat at my table these days, unless you count the dinette set table my computer is on. Heh. The one thing about the seasoning is that I found it didn't have quite enough salt for this kind of thing. It was plenty for the shrimp, but rice and beans want a little more. Although it's not really required, you could easily do a low salt thing and it still tastes wicked good.

If you wanted to un-veg it you could add some bacon or sausage. Or put it in a tortilla with some taco or carnita stuff. That would also be wicked good.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blackened Shrimp with Tomato Tarragon Pasta

slightly adapted from here

for shrimp:
shelled, deveined raw shrimp
butter

1 tsp ground basil
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsps chipotle pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika

for pasta:

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
2 tbls roughly chopped fresh tarragon
olive oil

Combine the spices and dredge the shrimp in them. Heat up a cast iron skillet very hot and melt the butter in it. Put the shrimp in the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook for ~4-5 minutes per side, they should still be slightly translucent in the middle. For the pasta, heat up a pan on medium-high with some oil, put in the tarragon and tomatoes and stir around for a minute or so. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Serve the shrimp on the pasta, the shrimp should have enough salt for both, but you can add some to the pasta if you feel like it.

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I like shrimp now. Who knew? Maybe it's my changing tastes, maybe I had just needed my culinary school graduate buddy to make it for me so it was done correctly. Either way, this was wicked good. So let's get in it, shall we?

My previously mentioned buddy came down for a visit recently and we decided to challenge my previously mentioned tastes. And we did it thusly.

Spice mix. So good. Spicy without being overwhelming, strong flavors without overpowering the other stuff. I think it would be good on chicken, too. Anyway the whole process is pretty easy (especially when you're watching someone else do it so you can take pictures...), just dredge up the shrimp. Melt a touch of butter in a hot cast iron pan. Heh. My buddy actually only used the butter for the first batch, he didn't like the way they came out when cooked like that quite as much as in a mostly dry pan. Although the butter did do something amazing. We'll get back to that. But now that your butter is melted and the pan is hot lay those shrimp down. Oooh yeah. Buttery. Now while this is going on there is water boiling for pasta. I took a whole bunch of shots of my buddy making that too, but it was so steamed up in the kitchen that none came out. Unfortunate. But everything else worked out awesome. I was surprised that my buddy didn't salt or pepper the pasta, but he assured me the shrimp would add plenty and he was right. Adding more would have been overwhelming. Oh and that butter he cooked the first batch of shrimp in? Yeah we kept it. For dipping. Unbelievable. Seriously, so good.

And there you have it, my first although certainly not last, shrimp post. Definitely not going to be a common thing though, fricking expensive. I kept the shells, gonna make stock with them. Hmm, maybe for jambalaya. That would be appropriate. Well, looks like I'm off to go do some research on my next shrimp dish. Heh.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Repost: Molten Chocolate Cakes

I feel bad. I promised things that didn't happen. So here is a repost of one of the best things I've ever done. It doesn't matter that the girlfriend I'm referring to is no longer someone whose tastes are relevant, nor does it matter that Valentines Day was some time ago. The cake speaks for itself. Chocolate usually does. Enjoy.

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So I got an email a while ago from Kate of Serendipity. She wanted to know if I wanted to take part in a Valentines Day roundup where she would send me some chocolate, I would do something with it and post about it.

At first I was kind of dubious, seeing as how I'm really not a big V-Day person. I get my girlfriend flowers (which I do periodically anyway), a card, I cook her a dinner she enjoys (which I do all the time regardless), probably some champagne in there and yeah, that's it really. I didn't even do a post about it last year.

But then I remembered where Kate lives.

She lives in Belgium.

So, to recap, she offered to send me Belgian chocolate and all I had to do was make something with it? Yeah, I'm down. Completely. Always happy to take part in activities with my fellow bloggers. Heh.When the package came it was like Christmas. I opened up the envelope and let out a most undignified (not to mention unmanly) squeal of delight. Four bars of chocolate, two in foil and two in plastic with a sticker declaring they were artisan. Or that's what I'm guessing "artisanale" means. Because I'm clever like that. I don't have pictures of all of them, some of it mysteriously (and rapidly) disappeared. Mostly the big bar from that artisan place. Yeah, no idea what happened that. Heh. The question was, what to do with it? What to do with it, indeed.

But the answer, really, was simple. When you have awesome chocolate you have to make an awesome chocolate cake. That's it. So, molten chocolate cakes it was. Because really, is there a more awesome chocolate cake? I'm not convinced that there is. Plus it's so ridiculously easy. I didn't use the same recipe from last time I posted about them, I used this one from Tasty Kitchen. It used all bar chocolate, instead of some cocoa powder, so the cakes weren't so dark. Which means my girlfriend likes them more, too. Which is good, for Valentines Day.

So thanks Kate! This was a lot of fun. Now, have you kids all been to her blog? If not you should, she takes wicked good pictures. And I'm not just saying that because she sends me chocolate. Heh.

Oh and since it is Sunday, here's Noodles. Wanting what she can't have.
Check out what the other folks did with their chocolate, here is a link to the roundup.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Know, I Promised

I made a shrimp related promise and after several days there isn't any shrimp to be seen. But you see, there's a reason. That's going to be a big post with one real recipe and a smaller, side dishy kind of recipe so when I do write it up I want to be in better form than I've been the last few days. I need to wait until the muse strikes me, which now that it's on the screen instead of in my head sounds more painful than inspiring (not to mention pretentious, heh.). So while I'm waiting for that to happen, here is a piece of pizza. It's meatball, bbq sauce and onion. It was quite good. Here is the same flavors, except with Swiss instead of mozzarella and cheddar, in a calzone. It too was quite good. Hopefully that will at least slightly make up for my grievous miscarriage of shrimpitude.

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