"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Lazy Pulled Pork

    I am deep in study for yet another professional certification, but I also need to eat, and I need to GREATLY reduce my junk food and salt intake. But I also want good food, not just dairy products and rabbit food, and I just do not have the hours required to accomplish all these targets.

    Perusing the local micro-mart I find that they have pork butt on sale, I may just take a page out of my father’s cook book… I’ll pull out the slow cooker and let it do all the work.

    At the lair I find I am out of BBQ Rub and BBQ Sauce. This may not turn out to be the usual slap-dash event that slow cooking has become, but I suppose I can spend a couple of hours away from my studies, and decompress in my kitchen. So I’ll include those:

    BBQ Sauce
    In my youth a good night out included dinner at the Real Pit BBQ in Harker Heights, Texas. The owner / operator made a special BBQ sauce. I remember all kinds of people trying to get the Recipe, to Include a U.S. Senator and Several Governors of the State of Texas.

    As these things go, I grew up and moved away, but did not forget that sauce. After a lot of trials and a lot of errors, I complained to my sister, that I just could not get that sauce right..

    Well seems, I have been upstaged in the Social Engineering department. My sister had gone to school with owner’s son and had actually helped them make the sauce on several occasions. The secret ingredient is… As I have said before:

    Again pit masters are a secretive about their bbq sauce recipes as they are about their rubs. The items you will see in this blog are “GENERAL IDEAS“, my own recipes were given to me by my mother, grandmother, and great grand mother… I’ll hand these down to my children at some point, IF they prove worthy.

    BBQ Rub

    Rubs are a must for any good bbq or smoke job. If you do not do this, you really are missing out on 1/2 the flavor and 1/2 the fun of BBQ or smoking. (Note: This is NOT grilling, any six idiots can burn meat over an open fire.) To weave the subtle components of meat, smoke and spice into a heavenly culinary experience takes knowledge, technique and skill.

  • Pasta Carbonara

    This is why I will die of chronic cholesterol. It is also why I will die happy…. For those of you who have read my post about hedonism, this is quite indulgent, and ooohhh so simple. There are many rewards to using only the freshest cream and butter, the finest of cheese, and the best of pasta. Truly, a RogueChef classic.

    Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish from Latium, and more specifically to Rome, based on eggs, cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), bacon (guanciale or pancetta), and black pepper. Spaghetti is usually used as the pasta, however, fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini can also be used. The dish was created in the middle of the 20th century.

    The pork is cooked in fat, which may be olive oil, lard, or less frequently butter. The hot pasta is combined with a mixture of raw eggs, cheese, and a fat (butter, olive oil, or cream) away from additional direct heat to avoid coagulating the egg, either in the pasta pot or in a serving dish. The eggs should create a creamy sauce, and not curdle. Guanciale is the most commonly used meat, but pancetta and local bacon are also used. Versions of this recipe may differ in how the egg is added: some people use the whole egg, while other people use only the yolk; intermediate versions with some whole eggs and some yolk are also possible.

    Cream is not common in Italian recipes, but is often used elsewhere. Garlic is similarly found mostly outside Italy.

    Other variations on carbonara outside Italy may include peas, broccoli, mushrooms, or other vegetables. Many of these preparations have more sauce than the Italian versions. As with many other dishes, ersatz versions are made with commercial bottled sauces.

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  • Chicken Schwarma

    IMG_2405

    I’ve been on a mid-east kick lately. So how do I make it exciting, tasty, appetizing, Maybe a Shawarma… Slow cooked, juicy, flavorful, and not the expected..

    Shawarma is a Middle Eastern Arabic-style sandwich usually composed of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture of meats. Shawarma is a popular dish and fast-food staple across the Middle East; it has also become popular worldwide. Shawarma is known as guss in Iraq; it is similar to the gyros of Greece. The classic shawarma combination is pita bread, hummus, tomato & cucumber, and of course the shawarma. The additional toppings include tahini and chili sauce.

    Strips of meat or marinated chicken are stacked on a vertical spit with chunks of meat fat make sure that the meat stays juicy and an onion or tomato are placed at the top of the stack to provide flavoring. The meat is then roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of or over a flame for a period of several hours. Traditionally a wood fire was used but for modern times, a gas flame is more common. While many specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer. In this recipe, chicken is used, but beef, lamb, or combination of all three are quite common.

    After cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, made up into a sandwich with pita bread or rolled up in lafa together with vegetables (cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, cabbage) and a dressing (tahini, hummus, chili sauce, flavored with vinegar and spices). In some countries, (Romania, Bulgaria, Jordan, Israel, or the United Arab Emirates), french fries are included in the sandwich

    Shawarma is eaten either as a fast food type dish by itself, with grilled bread, or fresh pita bread, or with other regional foods like Tabouli, Hummus.

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  • Lettuce and Bacon

    bs-salad

    It is spring and the first heads of lettuce are coming in, I so must have a dish from my youth. I can not count the number of nights dinner was thick strips of bacon, fried, with a salad of lettuce and onion, or spinach greens wilted with a hot bacon and vinegar dressing, served with a big wedge of corn bread and butter.

    One can “class” this up and use spinach greens with a “Hot Bacon Dressing”, but I’ll always think of this as wilted lettuce.

    These are the things that memories are made of, (some times, you wish to go back for just one more meal)

    Background
    As said before

    Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly, or back of a pig, then cured, and smoked. Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes.

    Sarah Hepola, on Salon.com, suggests that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion: “Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips.

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  • Colcannon and Bacon

    It is early spring, and that means St. Patrick’s day (and yes, St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of technologists, when he drove the snakes from Ireland, he created the first worm drive).

    If I seem a little underwhelmed by the holiday, you will have to excuse me, it is not the holiday, it is all the trappings. Great rowdy, drunken crowds whose sole claim to to being Irish is that they wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button on St. Patties day, and stand around on street corners swilling poor quality beer with green food coloring…

    While the above is rather annoying, the true tragedy of Saint Patrick’s day is the crime of foisting American corned beef and cabbage off as being Irish.

    The New England boiled dinner is a traditional New England meal, consisting of corned beef or a smoked “picnic ham” shoulder, with cabbage and added vegetable items, often including potato, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, white turnip and onion. When using a beef roast, this meal is often known simply as corned beef and cabbage even with the addition of other vegetables.

    Corned beef and cabbage is perhaps the most common form. Although not a traditional Irish meal, it has become a part of Irish-American culture and is often related (Mistakenly) to Irish holidays such as Saint Patrick’s Day. In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is Bacon and Cabbage (more akin to Canadian style bacon or ham). Corned beef and cabbage became popular in America after Irish immigrants in the eastern United States used corned beef instead of pork in their traditional dish.

    Bacon and Cabbage seems to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day, I love the combination of potatoes, cabbage, onion and bacon all through the cooler months of Fall and Winter!

    The dish consists of boiled or braised bacon (this refers to Back Bacon, almost a loin of bacon which is cured and/or smoked. It does not refer to sliced bacon or rashers which one might fry) served with boiled cabbage and potatoes.

    The dish continues to be a very common meal in Ireland. There are many different variations on the theme of bacon and cabbage, but in general the dish tends to involve slicing the back bacon after it has been well cooked and serving it with whole boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage.

    The dish usually calls for butter for the potatoes (which are often mashed with the cabbage). The potatoes and cabbage prepared in this manner are severed with a white sauce and are often called colcannon

    The bacon used for the meal can vary somewhat depending on individual preference. Usually Back Bacon is used for the recipe, but other cuts of bacon are sometimes preferred. However, the bacon used is almost always cured.

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  • Slow Cooker Pulled pork

    The local micomart had pork shoulders on sale today, at a very good price, so now I’m looking at this and trying to sort out how to cook and not spend hours dealing with it.

    But taking a trick from my father, I have a the shoulder, some onions, some bbq sauce left from the last smoke job, and some liquid smoke. Take all of this and plop into a slow cooker and simmer until the meat breaks down and the sauce thickens to a rich, meaty, spicy spoonable mass.

    Serve over split Hoagie or Onions Rolls, with cole slaw, BBQ Beans, or pickles and raw onion, add an Ice Cold Beer and I am almost ready for the coming week.

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