"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Cajun Blackened Seasoning

    Two weekends ago, my wife asked me for a Cajun style Blackened Seasoning mix for a recipe she was working on. Turns out she was preparing fish tacos. I’m not a real fan of fish, unless it is catfish, breaded and fried, but these were quite exceptional. I’ll coax the fish taco recipe from her, but in the meantime here is the seasoning mix I built.

  • Bad Wolf Surf and Turf


    It’s late summer and grilling time at my upstate lair. The local mega-mart had porterhouses on sale, plus a sale on 16-20, raw, shell on, IQF shrimp. Sounds like surf and turf to me.

    I’ll season both sides of the steak, with a steak salt, (~1.5″ thick, 1.5lb) and let it come to room temperature, whilst the shrimp are thawing. And go down to prep the grill.

    I’ll want a high direct heat for this and things will move quickly, so if you are going to do this have everything ready

    The first thing to go on is the steak, directly over the sear station, let it sit for ~2 1/2 minutes, turn 90 degrees and let it cook for another 2 1/2 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, flip the steak, and place the shrimp on the grill.

    Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes and flip, rotate the steak 90 degrees as well. (Forms those nice cross hatch grill marks), after 2 additional minutes, take the shrimp off in the order they were placed on the grill and remove the steak. (The shells will be a vibrant pink, and the flesh opaque.)

    Rest the steak for 5 minutes and serve.

  • Liver with Onions and Bacon


    As I struggle to recover from Ebola Bad Wolf, I want FOOD, good tasty COMFORT FOOD. As I shuffled from client to office to client, I passed a local diner. The special of the day was Liver with onions…. This is real comfort food, so I visited the “establishment”, and ordered a lunch. (I REALLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER, I REALLY SHOULD)

    The less than sumptuous select gucci grade calves leather I was served, covered in a greasy, salty gravy, with onions that managed to be overcooked and raw at the same time, came close to precipitating a environmental purge command from my body. (The mashies are not to be discussed as they failed to meet even the poor standards of Manhattan Diners.)

    Time to take matters into my own hands and produce liver with bacon and mashed potatoes, covered with mounds of sauteed sweet onions and drenched with a glorious red onion gravy is a meal from my youth. Hot, simple, hearty, comfort food.

    Wikipedia says:

    Liver and onions is a traditional dish. Its main ingredients are slices of liver (usually pork or beef) and onions. The liver and the onions are usually fried or cooked together, but sometimes they may be fried separated and mixed together afterwards. The liver is often cut in fine slices, but it also may be diced. Liver and onions is a favorite in the UK and in Germany, where it is usually eaten along with boiled or mashed potatoes. Lamb’s liver is the usual choice in the UK and is often accompanied by fried bacon.

    In the French traditional recipe the liver is fried with butter and lard. In Catalan cuisine olive oil is used, instead of butter, and fried garlic is added to the mixture. In Italian cuisine, the fegato alla Veneziana recipe includes a dash of red wine or vinegar and the fegato alla Romana a dash of white wine and is cooked in lard.

    In the USA, liver and onions as a dish once enjoyed widespread popularity and could usually be found at family diners and American home-style restaurants. This meal is currently more common to the cuisines of the southern and upper mid-western style foods.

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  • Mu Wan (Fresh Bacon and Capciums- Thai Style)

    Mu wan literally translates to “sweet pork”. This dish is made by first cooking or steaming marinated pork until done, and then, after slicing it, simmering it with caramelised sugar, fish sauce and water until the sauce is reduced and the pork becomes shiny. A quicker method is by frying all the ingredients slowly until the sauce is reduced and sticks to the pork.

    Bacon’s sweet, salty and satisfying flavor lends itself well to many dishes, including soups, baked beans, vegetables, savory main dishes. Sadly most Americans just never really see more of bacon than two or three rashers next to their fried eggs.

    Now while visiting my favorite thai restaurant, the owner commented that she had seen one of my articles on Smoked Bacon Chunks, and that it was very similar to a Thai Sweet Pork dish (Mu Wan), and that she used Pork Tenderloin, but cooked that pork in a sauce. (Needless to say, she and I were in the kitchen for a bit annoying the cooking staff…).

    One thing we did try was to add several large handfuls of chili peppers, mild and “not-so-mild” along with the bacon and wilt them down with the bacon in the sauce. The sweetness of the sauce was enhanced by the heat of the peppers, and made a delightful dish to serve over rice. Adjust the amount of hot peppers to the level of heat you want in the final dish. The peppers cook down and get milder, but jalapenos would be the hottest pepper I’d use in this dish, and I’d use them sparingly…

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  • Meatless Monday – Garlic Butter Noodles

    Today is filled with crisis, move prep, laptop fixing, network monitoring, backup setup, server tossing, and hard drive wreaking. A very full day, I was about to order Chinese, but a denizen of the lair was carping about the time delivery took, and I could do something faster

    Ok, the challenge is down. Fast and filling, savory and simple, Noodles seem to fit the bill. But with a bit of a twist, say butter, ginger, garlic, and maybe a bit of scallion, with a hint of chili.

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  • Sujeonggwa – Ginger Tea Tonic

    One too many crisis, one too many late nights, followed by an early morning, with pages / sms’s / phone calls in between, too many meals of coffee and coffee. I am wrung out, no energy, no motivation, just limp like a dish rag.

    I need some thing to kick me back into gear, and stave off the return of the flu.

    Sounds like a job for Soojunggwa, as per wikipedia:

    ‘Sujeonggwa’ is a Korean traditional fruit punch. Dark reddish brown in color, it is made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn and is often garnished with pine nuts. The punch is made by brewing first the cinnamon, ginger and peppercorn at a slow boil. The solids are then removed for clarification and the remaining liquid is boiled again after adding either honey or brown sugar. The dried persimmons are cut into portions and are added to soak and soften after the brew has completely cooled. This is usually done several hours before serving, as extensive soaking of the fruit may thicken the clear liquid to a murky appearance.

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