"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Brats in Beer

    beer-brats-

    Ah Summer, Grilling, BaseBall, Hotdogs, and Beer.. Now how to make this better… Maybe combine a few … Let’s see,
    Beer, check,
    Hotdog, how mundane, maybe Bratwurst,
    Grill, check,
    Garlic, Yeah now we are talking..
    Onions, Oh, Baby!!!

    From wikipedia:

    Bratwurst is a common type of sausage in the United States, especially in the state of Wisconsin, where the largest ancestry group is German.[10] Originally brought to North America by German immigrants, it is a common sight at summer cookouts, alongside the more famous hot dog. Wisconsin is also the origin of the “beer brat”, a regional favorite where the bratwurst are poached in beer (generally a mixture of a pilsner style beer with butter and onions) prior to grilling over charcoal.

    In the area around the upstate lair we have a number of small, organic meat providers, so it is quite easy to find fresh or smoked local sausages, and the lair is quite close to “Little Poland” in Brooklyn, so finding good quality sausages is quite easy. It may take others a bit of effort to find these, but the taste more than makes up for the trouble. If all else fails get a GOOD quality commercial product.

  • Quiche

    Time for food, but given the recent set of medical stupidity one must go a bit lighter. So maybe eggs, but sunny-side up, over easy, scrambled, just is NOT going to do it for me.

    I WANT TASTE!. I WANT TEXTURE! I WANT SAVORY…. So a quiche, but one with real bacon, real veggies, and lots of cheese and eggs..

    Quiche is essentially an custard made with milk and eggs poured into a pie crust and baked. You want just enough eggs to set the milk, but not so many that the quiche becomes truck tire. You want a bit of wobble in your quiche as it comes out of the oven. Wobble means silky, melt-away custard in every bite.

    The fool-proof part comes courtesy of the French. They long-ago settled on the perfect formula of one part egg to two parts milk. A standard large egg weighs two ounces and a cup of milk is eight ounces, so a good rule of thumb is two eggs per cup of milk. One can bump this up a bit to make a more substantial quiche and go with three eggs and a cup and a half of milk in a nine-inch pie crust.

    Or as one person wrote:

    I always use the Julia Child ratio: put the eggs in a large measuring cup and add enough dairy (cream/half & half/milk) to bring the total up to 1/2 cup per egg. So, if you used 4 eggs, you’d add enough dairy to make 2 cups of custard. So simple to remember and a perfect blend of dairy and egg: not too thick, not too liquid, just right.

    Now as per quiches, they have a reputation as a fancy French entree, and for being rather persnickety to prepare, but quiches are actually very easy to make. With a little science, some good chemistry, a proper ratio and a bit of technique, quiches can be a very good selection for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack.

    There are some things key to good quichery :

    1. Flaky Crust
    2. First of all, the pie crust must be tender and flaky. A good tart crust, works well.

    3. A tasty Filling
    4. The filling must have some kind of structure so the pie will hold together when sliced. As the eggs cook, they set, forming a custard. A basic quiche recipe using the proportions of 1-2 cups of dairy with 3-4 eggs will work. Any other add ins, (bacon, sausage, mushrooms, onions, etc) need to be fully cooked and cooled, BEFORE adding to the filling. In this case, 1 cup dairy to 4 eggs, plus my add ins. I am looking for hearty here.

    5. Proper Baking
    6. Following baking times and temperatures are KEY to a quiche that is cooked but not rubbery. I.E. The center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.

    You can fill your quiches with just about anything; they’re wonderful refrigerator Velcro. Leftover bacon, cooked chicken, ham, cooked vegetables, bits of cheese transform into a “slice of heaven”

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  • Ciabatta Pizza

    FB-pizza

    I am not feeling all that well today, and I have a lab night scheduled this evening, so food needs to be fast and tasty. Looks like it is time for a bad wolf cheat.

    I’m thinking pizza, but I’m not ordering in, and I am defiantly not prepping dough, so perhaps french bread pizza, but with a nice crisp texture, and a wide body for adding toppings. I’m think ciabatta here, almost a focaccia, but not quite.

    Ciabatta, (literally slipper bread) is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour and yeast. Ciabatta is somewhat elongated, broad and flat and is baked in many variations.

    Ciabatta bread was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1985 by Marks & Spencer, then brought to America in 1987 by Orlando Bakery, a Cleveland firm. They brought over 3 bakers from Italy to develop the product and the mass production process. They successfully introduced a fresh bread, then later, a frozen version. It was quickly copied throughout the United States.

    The more open-crumbed form, which is usual in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a biga or sourdough starter.

    Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. Pizza was originally invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world.[1] An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a “pizzeria”. Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza. In 2009, upon Italy’s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed dish.

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  • Fried Rice

    bfr

    So we did Chinese food several nights ago, and as always we have little white boxes of rice drying out in the fridge. I really need to do something with these. There is too much for one person, but not enough to feed the lair. Perhaps lengthening with veggies and a hint of meat for flavor, and a quick stir fry in the wok.

    The real key to this dish is to fry the rice in the bacon fat. I had intended to use my Caramelized bacon in this dish, but it seems to have disappeared, along with a lot of toothpicks. So I’ll have to use regular bacon. This recipe comes to me from the Japanese American community. It is very simple Japanese / Asian soul food, and in being so simple, it is has a very complex taste. Really not something I’d care to try and describe, but the salt and smoke of the bacon, with the nuttiness from browning the rice, with the sharpness of the scallions and the bite of the chili, all backed by the texture, and culinary chameleoness of the mushrooms, make for a heavenly dish.

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  • Chicken and Rice (Street Chicken)

    One of the staples of lunch around my office, we have it a least once a week. What it is exactly is a large question. Chicken, usually thigh or other dark meat, (this is critical for the flavor) marinated in some form of sauce, then cooked on a griddle and served with yellow rice, a white sauce and a red hot sauce.

    After many year of eating this, and looking at it, chatting up the cart owners, and trying to sort out the flavors, I think I have come a close approximation.

    The real secret is in the marinade. A mixture of dairy, citrus, spices, salt and pepper.

    Street food is food obtainable from a streetside vendor, often from a makeshift or portable stall. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. The food and green groceries sold in farmers’ markets may also fall into this category, including the food exhibited and sold in gathering fairs, such as agricultural show and state fair. Most street food are both finger and fast food. Food and green groceries are available on the street for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant meal and a supermarket.

    Street food is intimately connected with take-out, junk food, snacks, and fast food; it is distinguished by its local flavor and by being purchased on the sidewalk, without entering any building. Both take-out and fast food are often sold from counters inside buildings.

    For the squeamish, one must remember, this cart / stall is some one’s business, if they poison their customers, they will not be in business tomorrow. (And depending on the area, may not be healthy.) But as always, let your senses be your guide, if it smells wrong, walk away. (I’ve been know to leave very nice restaurants because things just did not smell right.)

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  • Prime Steak Pie

    PrimePie

    Wow, there was prime rib left from the dinner, not a lot, but enough to stretch to one more rather decent meal. I’ll make a Steak and Guniness stew and add mushrooms, leeks and other veggies to make a “stout” and hearty stew. Then I’ll cover with a thick coating of mashed potatoes, perhaps with a horseradish flavor.

    Background

    A steak pie is a traditional meat pie served in Britain. It is made from stewing steak and beef gravy, enclosed in a pastry shell. Sometimes mixed vegetables are included in the filling. Steak pie is subtly different from Steak and kidney pie. In Ireland Guinness Stout is added along with bacon and onions. It is commonly referred to as a Steak and Guinness Pie (or Guinness Pie for short). In Scotland sausages are traditionally added to the steak. This practice goes back to the days when families could not afford more steak and the pie was padded out with cheaper meat. It is still to this day preferable to have the sausages and many butchers still sell them in large quantities. Many people would argue that the sausage enhances the flavor. The dish is often served with “steak chips” (thickly sliced potatoes fried, sometimes fried in beef dripping).

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