I’m putting Don Rickles in charge of dessert.
It’s gray and gross outside today. I got some chores to do around the house and will do them intermittently with farting around on a Sunday… so what better day to make my entire house smell like thyme & braised beef?
And a lazy recipe it is… perfect for my mood today. I took about 2 pounds of boneless short ribs, salt & peppered ’em up good, and then browned them nicely on all sides in a little olive oil.
Removed them to the slow cooker insert, then threw one cut-up onion (I cut it half, then just cut big 1 inch slices out of each half, jumbled it up a bit with my hands for big pieces), 3 chopped garlic cloves & a half tablespoon of dried thyme into the cooked oil/brown bits miscellany.
Cooked it for a bit, scraped up the brown bits, then added 1 cup chicken broth and a cup (maybe more) of a nice Italian red wine blend.
It’s mostly Nero with something else, making it just like Agrippina’s sex life. Hiyo! But seriously folks, it’s great to be back at the Circus Maximus. I’m here all week, until the lions show up… thank you and try the dormice and flamingo…
Brought the wine/onion mix to a slight simmer, added it to the slow cooker insert, and then put the cooker on high for 4 hours.
Will remove the beef to rest under foil for 10-15 minutes while I return the sauce to the stove top, cook down a bit, adjust the seasoning and then toss with the ribs. I’m figuring on two big HE-MAN sized portions, one of which will go into the freezer to taste even better as a leftover.
In the meantime, the music is on. The local jazz station has a blues show on during weekend afternoons. Maybe I’ll watch a movie during the day and another this evening. Maybe I’ll read a little. I look forward to drinking the rest of the wine with my dinner… maybe a nice big Italian-dressed salad (I’m thinking Armani) and a nice big piece of crunchy bread will suffice. Or maybe I’ll make some polenta as a bed for ’em, something I’m sure Agrippina did at the orgy more than once.
“One measly steak!” to quote Jimmy Stewart, but I cooked it up quite nicely without a grill. And here’s how.
I started with a 3/4 pound NY strip, maybe 1 1/4″ thick.
I patted it dry & sprinkled kosher salt on it. Let it sit about 20 minutes to get to room temperature.
I heated up my nonstick T-Fal 12 inch saute pan, then added a little peanut oil. Steak went in under medium-high heat. Three minutes on the first side, two minutes on the other. Then I put the pan into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to get a medium pink on it.
When it came out of then oven, I put it on a plastic cutting board and covered it with foil for 10 minutes.
That was it – it came out great. Nice crust from the oil, nice lack of gray-pink border on the inside from the oven – pretty much a nice shade of pink all the way through. Your oven may vary – I used a meat thermometer to get a 130 on it when I removed it from the oven.
Had a nice salad, some fresh French bread & a cabernet with it.Continue reading “A Wonderfully Cooked Steak”
Saw this one on TV, made some minor modifications to it, and came up with a wonderful simple way to cook chicken, especially when I’m in the mood for something light and not piping hot on a warm summer night.
“White cooked” is the Chinese version of sous vide – cooking in simmering water. If you’re someone who demands crispy skin, this ain’t for you. The skin will come out flabby and unusable, kinda like I am in the eyes of most women.
You’ll need a pot big enough to submerse a chicken or its parts in water. I saw this done with a whole chicken, I did it with a bone-in breast.
Into the water: at least 2 big tablespoons of salt – the water should be 2x as salty as pasta water.
At this point, you can pick your flavorings. When I planned on making a chicken salad with mayo afterwards, I stopped with salt. For the ginger/soy recipe, I added about a half cup of sherry, some chopped scallion and a few nickel-sized pieces of smashed ginger to the water. Any sort of aromatics in the water at this point will subtly infuse the meat, however.
Bring it to a boil. Add the chicken, bring back to a boil, and then lower to medium to keep at a simmer.
Cook uncovered 20 minutes. Then, flip the chicken over, simmer another 20 minutes. Turn the heat off, lid the pot, and let it sit another 30. Finally, take the chicken out onto a cutting board and let rest another 15.
You’ll have a nice pot of homemade chicken broth as well, to save for later. Consider this when you’re adding stuff to the water at the beginning.
Peel off the rubbery skin and separate the meat from the bone. Chill in the refrigerator if you want.
I cut up the meat and tossed it in a ginger-soy dressing made up of: 2 tbs soy, 1 tsp finely minced ginger, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil and some chopped scallion.
Serve over some crisp lettuce or cabbage. Or, you can do what I did – take the homemade broth and use it to cook some rice in the time the chicken was sitting & resting.
That other chicken, sitting and resting in front of my TV after a long day? He’s for dinner tomorrow night.
I’m not too sure why I like single malt scotches and have never really liked any of the blended varieties I’ve sampled. Maybe because I can actually pick out flavors in the singles that overcome the harshness of the alcohol. But I’ve even had some single malts that only rated a “meh” in my eyes, and I pegged them as not really being worth adding to the rotation.
Well, after the plug it got in the Trader Joe’s fearless flyer that lands in my mailbox every few months, I got curious about Finlaggen single malt. I read a few reviews on whiskey review sites, and it seemed to be on par with other stuff I’ve liked in the past, like good ol’ Glenlivet, always my reference point for single malt scotch since it was the first one I ever tried, way back in college.
I figured nineteen bucks wasn’t too much to risk to try it, and I gotta say… I think I like it BETTER than Glenlivet. It feels “thinner” on the palate than the bourbons & ryes I’ve had, less syrupy I guess. But what really got me was the nice smokiness of the taste & finish.
A good scotch ought to evoke the smokiness of a nice peaty fire, right? I should picture myself sitting with Groundskeeper Willie in front of one, passing the bottle and trying to keep warm while we await Robert the Bruce to lead us into battle the following dawn against that inbred Longshanks bastard.
And he was played by Patrick McGoohan!
Anyway, this stuff leaves a wonderful smoky finish on the palate, akin to, well…. some really good smoked whitefish. I really can’t describe it any other way, but what began as the sting of alcohol on my tongue ended as the aroma of wonderful smoked fish. And as off-putting as that might sound, it really was wonderful.
I’d sip this stuff straight, and I’ll definitely enjoy it blended with water or seltzer.
AND it was only nineteen bucks at TJs, relatively cheap for a single malt, and certainly a good buy for a solid scotch.
So thumbs up!
Not too long ago, I discovered I like rye whiskey. Up until that point, the only whiskey I’d regularly work into my rotation was Jack Daniels. “Normal” bourbons didn’t do much for me, I wasn’t crazy about the Canadian whiskeys I tried (which turns out to be meaningful in my exercise today), and I’ve only liked single malt scotches of the scotches I’ve tried.
So after trying a rye cocktail at a bar, I went to good ol’ Costco and got a monster sized bottle of Bulleit Rye, a 95% rye mash whiskey that I liked very much, blended into my usual concoction of a couple of fingers worth over ice with a splash of lemon juice & then mixed with a lemon seltzer.
I wondered about some of the other ryes out there, though. Would I notice any difference?
An easy way to test, I figured, was to head over to the local BevMo and grab a few minis of whatever ryes they had and do comparison tests each day, making 2 half-sized drinks, one with the Bulleit and one with the special guest star.
Well, they only had the Jack Daniels Rye, so I grabbed a mini (along with a six of some Moretti Rosso, one of my favorite beers) and headed home.
I mixed both the Jack Daniels Rye and the Bulleit in identical proportions in separate glasses, and then did some extremely enjoyable taste testing.
Gotta say… the Bulleit was superior, and I’m thinking I can actually pick up the difference between its 95% rye mash versus the Jack Daniels 75%. The JD isn’t bad, but has an odd finish to it, similar to what I felt when I mixed a Crown Royal Canadian whiskey drink some time ago. And “Canadian Whiskey” is mostly corn/bourbon-y type stuff flavored with rye in varying amounts.
Funny…. you’d figure a 75% rye on top of what Jack Daniels old number 7 is would be right up my alley…. but evidently it isn’t. I preferred JD to other bourbons because of it’s subtle sourness, which is why I figured I liked rye in the first place.
Sigh. I’m a prima donna…. I gotta have nearly pure rye for the stronger and more consistent flavor in the finish after each sip.
Though I gotta admit… the rye-IPA thing is WAY too much sharp/bitter for me, and I’ll leave that stuff to others. I’m not a big IPA guy anyway.
So perhaps I’ll try a small bottle of one of the other pure rye mash versions to compare to Bulleit, although the easier thing to do would be to head back to Costco and just get another 1.75 liter job and savor it over the several months it’d take me to go through it. This ain’t exactly rocket science.
This one was amazingly easy and came out great. I’d already bought shrimp for dinner. I hemmed and hawed between making a simple scampi and doing a dry-cooked szechuan shrimp, and then I played the episode of America’s Test Kitchen my DVR recorded today where they did this recipe (mostly), and cooked this one up immediately after watching it.
First, I peeled the shrimp (3/4 pound) and then brined ’em in a bowl of water with a tablespoon each of salt & sugar, for about 15 minutes.
I took the shells and sauteed ’em in some olive oil until they turned pink & fragrant, then added 1/2 cup of water to make a little fresh shrimp broth. I let it simmer maybe 5 minutes, then removed the shells and set aside for later.
Into the main saute pan: half an onion, chopped – three garlic cloves, sliced (not minced – overwhelming garlic flavor that way), a few pinches of red pepper flakes, maybe 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper, and a few pinches of kosher salt – all cooked in some olive oil for a few minutes until golden and soft.
Added a 1/4 tsp of fish sauce (they used actual anchovies on TV), then added 1/2 can of chopped tomato, and 1/2 can of cannelini beans with their liquid, along with the shrimp broth. Brought it up to near boil, then simmered it, covered, for 15 minutes.
Added the drained/patted dry shrimp, mixed in, recovered & let simmer for 7-10 minutes.
At the end, hit it with some lemon juice & basil (on TV they also added lemon zest).
It looked thicker on TV than what I finished with, but this was easily taken care of by removing shrimp/beans/tomato/whatever with a slotted spoon & then cooking down the remainder for only a few minutes.
Good stuff – a wonderful mix of shrimp flavor with hits of the pepper, and then followed by the lemon and basil combo, all mellowed by the creaminess of the beans. HELL YEAH!
I had it with some ciabatta bread (any good crunchy bread’ll do), side salad and a pinot grigio.
Then I watched the rest of the America’s Test Kitchen episode, and their top rated manual pasta making machine turned out to be the most expensive $75 retail Atlas 150, the one I FOUND AT A THRIFT STORE, USED ONLY ONCE MAYBE, STILL IN ITS BOX, FOR ONLY FIFTEEN BUCKS!!!!
I’ve been thinking of getting myself yet another kitchen gadget, this time one of those Instant Pots, that combine a pressure cooker, slow cooker & sauteé-r into one countertop electronic thigamajig that’ll make my cooking of stews, chilis and the like much easier….
… and then I came across this guy’s version of a pressure cooker mac and cheese that intrigues me greatly.
Check it out:
Tonight, however, it’ll be a simple chicken dish, since I just restocked on boneless breasts & thighs. I’m thinking I’ll cut the breast into cutlets, pound ’em flat, dredge in some seasoned flour, brown in olive oil on both sides, remove from the pan, throw in some minced garlic, chopped tomato and white wine, return the chicken to the pan and let simmer in the sauce for 20 minutes or so before adding a little basil & pepper and serving.
Get all that?
Told you it was easy.
I’ll probably grab the 3 qt version of the Instapot and cut the portions of the mac & cheese recipe down from the family-size serving in the vid to the I’ll just sit here alone in the dark with my meager dinner before I end it all proportions. I’d hate for the cops busting down my door in the hazmat suits to take my rotting corpse away think that I wasted food.
Whenever I cook up a batch of my pasta sauce, I prefer to use a sweet wine. I like the ways in which it enhances & brings out the flavor of the tomatoes, giving them a mysterious sweet quality that makes the sauce taste a lot riper, despite being made from canned.
For a while, I’d been using Casa Rossa, a nice Brachetto wine they used to sell at Trader Joes. AND THEN THOSE BASTARDS DISCONTINUED IT. And from what I can tell, they sell no other sparkling sweet Brachetto varieties.
So I found some alternates that have worked pretty well. Moscatos and Lambruscos are pretty close to Brachettos in flavor. One fizzy Moscato from the Puglia region, Sara Bee, has worked about as well as the Casa Rossa. I’ve also gotten good results from a California variety of Moscato from Blue Fin.
The sweet Dornfelder German grape is the source of the Joseph Hagler Sweet Red sold at Trader Joe’s, and while not quite as sweet as the Moscato, it worked very well in the sauce recipe. They sell a few Lambrusco varieties as well…. I’ll have to add those to the sauce experimentation at some point.
I loaded up on some of those sweet wines today, along with the usual assortment of Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Montepulcianos that I like.