Sunday, September 23, 2012

Leff's Hot Sauce

Leff's Green Hot
 Of course I was going to get around to making my own hot sauce. You know this. This is me we're talking about.

There are tons of recipes out there like this and this. I didn't worry about them too much, but I did use them as rough guides. I made two kinds and I kinda made them up as I went.

Leff's Red Hot
Leff's Green Hot is simpler, so we'll start there. Here's what you do. Chunk about 12 jalapeños in to a pot with a half an onion and some oil. After they soften bung in some water and keep 'em boiling for about 20 minutes. A pinch of salt goes in somewhere.

jalapeños and onions
Let 'em cool down for a bit. Put the fine blade in the food mill and go to town on your mixture. Pour a cup of plain white vinegar through the mill. Now you've got hot sauce, but it's not any good yet.

Greene Green Sauce
Put sauce in a jar and that in the fridge. Wait two weeks.

While you wait, bake a potato (set the oven to just above room temperature or it will be done early) and sour some cream (I do this just by looking at regular cream. Cream would normally like this, but I give it the evil eye).

Put them all together.

Hot Potato
You'll find that the vinegar has mellowed and so has the spiciness. The sauce has become well behaved. Some might say civilized.

Now for the Leff's Red Hot. Same deal but replace 3 of the jalapeños with rehydrated New Mexico chilies. Use the rehydration water to boil everything in. Use red wine vinegar instead of plain white. Same deal with the waiting. Decant into a scrupulously clean frank's red hot bottle, but still keep it in the fridge.

For some reason all of my red sauce photos kinda sucked, so you might get the impression that I like the green better. The truth is, I do. The red wine vinegar is too dominant in the final sauce. It's a good note to have in there, but it can be too strong. Next time I'll go halvies on it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

homemade bubble dogs

moody bubble dogs (bacon bbq and josé)
Rakka and I are probably going to stop by Bubble dogs on our next London visit. But we couldn't wait a whole month, so we made some ourselves. We had some prosecco and some turkey dogs, so we didn't have to.

It's important to play up the fancy, so this is a dog with spicy thai aioli and garden herbs. Which translates to mayonnaise mixed with the ubiquitous cock sauce (sriracha) with parsley and onion on top. The bubble dogs menu would have been a small eye but the onions would have been pickled.

with spicy thai aioli and garden herbs
We also did a bacon barbecue version known as the fourth of july (minus cole slaw because we were out)  and a josé, which has avocado, hot peppers, sour cream and salsa.

You may notice that we did the spiral cut like whoa.

Spiral cut
Oh, and we didn't have any buns for some reason so I made some from this recipe. Turned out that this was important. Store bought would have collapsed under the weight of the toppings, and wouldn't have been long enough for the dogs extended by the spirals.

Home made hot dog buns
And the result? Hot dogs and champers go surprisingly well. The bacon barbecue dog was particularly well accompanied by a nice dry prosecco. The sweetness of the barbecue sauce fills in the dry spots in the prosecco, who's fruitiness plays off the smokey note from the bacon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Simple Ottolenghi

"Simple" Ottolenghi
The trick with Ottolenghi recipes, like this one, is to leave off half the steps and a third of the ingredients. No I didn't make a smoker for the corn. No, I didn't pre-fry the potatoes before adding them to the chicken. For that matter, no I didn't quarter a whole chicken and cook it bone in.

It was still damn tasty, but it took half the time and half the washing up. Laziness for the win.

Engineering jargon provides a name we can use for this approach. The KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. It applies to a lot of recipes, especially those from celebrity chefs.

On an unrelated note, here's a little quiz. What is made from jalapenos and onions but won't be ready for two weeks?

jalapenos and onions
The secret will be revealed, and you may find this utterly shocking, in two weeks.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Plum Sauce two ways

Sweet Plum Sauce
I've mentioned the damson plum tree before. Well, last year it didn't do much fruiting. This year, though, it's back on form. And it's harvest time.

Plums on the tree
The trouble is, they're not eating plums; too tart. I made plum jam a few years ago. The recipe called for so much sugar to offset the acid that I could barely eat it, in the end. And it gets tiresome after a while anyway.

Lots of plums
But, being cheap as I am, I couldn't sit around and watch all of the plums fall to the ground to rot. So this weekend I collected a colander full and got down to making some sauces.

The first was a chinese style sauce. Tangy, spicy, garlicy, salty. I started with this recipe, but I didn't follow along exactly.

Chinese style plum sauce
The second was a plum version of cranberry sauce. We were having roast chicken and I thought it appropriate. It was sweeter, and chunkier, but still very plummy (photo at the top). This one I more or less made up. About 12 plums, about a third of cup of sugar, some orange juice, and a pinch of salt.

It was very tasty on that roast chicken. I'm going to make some dumplings or something for the chinese sauce.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ritz Burgers

Ritz Burgers
Rakka didn't want a bun. She wanted crackers. Done.

Pan fried burgers with bread crumbs and parsley kind of smell like my grandma's house. It sort of felt like the 70s. Can't you just see somebody serving these at a cocktail party in Milwaukee about 1975?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homemade Tortillas

Yay, Tortillas!

My first attempt at making Tortillas was basically successful! My first attempt at preserving my first tortillas for more than 5 minutes was less so. Lesson Learned: tortilla warming solution is not optional.

Anyway, let's make some tortillas. It's just flour, baking soda, salt, vegetable shortening and water.

everything but the water

I don't have a tortilla press, but I do have a rolling pin. Turns out rolling pins are sufficient for flattening dough. Who knew‽ 

Ready to Roll

I might have made these just a tad too thin.


They did puff up as expected though, so maybe not too thin.


And here we come to the finale. The reason d'tortillas, so to speak. I did all this work because I wanted bean burritos out of a can.

Bean Burritos out of a can
I am truly living the dream!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

making baguettes

Oh, yeah, that's a baguette
So the other day I wanted a baguette. I didn't have one. But I did have flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water. Turns out that's enough.

Looking about right
Also, a couple pans of water in the oven for some humidity helps. It makes it all crusty. 

It was surprisingly easy.