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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

American Cheese & Pickle

American Cheese & Pickle Sandwich

We all know that I make a study of British food. What we may not know, since I haven't written the post yet, is that one of my areas of concentration is sandwiches and another is pickle. As in branston pickle. The ease of obtaining a cheese and pickle sandwich is a never ending source of delight... When in the UK.

When in the US, we are more or less fucked. It's possible to import some branston, but it's far from common. The cheddar you can get is never quite right, nor is the bread. Sometimes I try, obsessively, to recreate the exact experience that I've had across the sea.

Sometimes, I give the fuck up. This is a recipe I developed in the kitchens of my old job. Cheese and Pickle with the most American of ingredients possible.

Since the only kind of pickled anything we have here is pickled cucumbers, dill chips are the obvious choice. Since the cheddar is never right anyway, we have some nice american cream cheese. Spreading cream cheese requires toast. This all makes sense.

The results are not unpleasant but they're not British either, like an english muffin. This is a tasty sandwich that makes me feel sad and out of place.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Coronation Chicken

Can I just say how much I love that I've been eating a coronation chicken derivative for the past 10 years and not even known it. Thanks Rakka!

I also love the story. Go read it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scotch Devils

Scotch Devil

There be eggs
Ready for the cooking
There's been a lot of build up. Probably too much. It's a scotch egg, made with those pickled "deviled" eggs that I've been talking about for two weeks. So it's a Scotch Deviled Egg, or a Scotch Devil for short.

Back to the salt thing I was talking about in the first post. I put half a tablespoon of salt in this whole thing, but it's still bursting with flavor.

Here's how it go:


Meat part
1.25 pounds ground turkey
.5 tbs salt
1 tsp cayenne  pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
some ground pepper
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ginger powder

1 egg (beaten) for wash
breadcrumbs with cayenne pepper

Scotch Eggs are usually made with sausage meat, and you could do that here. I didn't have any. And I didn't have any sage, which would have helped. But it's ok, because lots of hot spicy spice!

The process is pretty obvious.
  1. Mix up the Meat part.
  2. Wrap up your eggs in it (I only had 5 because I used one to test my eggs).
  3. Mix some cayenne into the bread crumbs
  4. Roll the meated eggs, one at a time, in the egg then the bread crumbs.
  5. Bake them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
And they really do come out very tasty. The capsaicin hits first, then the vinegar from the pickled egg. Then the egg from egg. I dig it. I'll dig it again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Deviled" Eggs

"Deviled" Egg

Brown on the outside

Here's a pile

Remember dem eggs we set ta picklin? Well, they sher did pickle up real good, I tell you what.

Seriously though, this is after a little less than a week on the shelf in the pantry. They went a bit rubbery on the outside, and I expect the'd be rubbery all the way through if I left them longer. All the spices turned them a medium brown.

Remember, these are supposed to be spicy. In fact, they're supposed to be a pickled version of deviled eggs.

But they spicy flavor was not that strong. Possibly because the spices settled out after the first day or so. I either need to figure out an emulsification strategy or an agitation strategy. Or give up on making this the spicy part.

The spicy part? Of what? Oh, wouldn't you like to know. But that's the next post.

In the mean time, let's talk about the recipe for these.

3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup malt vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1/4 onion
1 jalapeño
6 eggs

Boil the eggies, let them cool, remove the shells. Put all the other stuff in a pot, boil it for a bit, let it cool. Put the eggs in a jar, put the juice in the jar, seal the jar. Leave it in a cool place for about a week. And I mean 'cool' temperature wise. It's not sufficient to leave it in the presence of the Fonz for a week.

Keep in mind, this recipe is a work in progress, but I'm pretty sure it won't kill you. But no promises.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It Smells Like Spicy Easter In Here

Deviling Eggs

Devil Spices
The Ceremony Is About to Commence
I had this idea, right. It's not going to be ready for some days, but I can't wait to start talking about it. Consider this a preview.

So here's my fundamental dilema. Point 1: My rickety old cardiovascular thingamy tends to pour on the psi. Point 2: A need for weird prepared foods is the very core of my being.

Overstated point 2 a bit. To be honest it's more like the D'' layer.

Anyway. The point is that 1 & 2 don't go together very well. This is because most prepared foods, weird or not, are basically just flavored salt.

One day last week I got a sandwich from sbux and noticed that it accounted for 47% of the recommended salt intake for the day. That sounds like something I'm making up. But I'm not. Not at all. So I think, maybe, before the blood just erupts from my temples, that I need to take charge of the whole show.

The solution to my dilema is simple, if not easy. I prepare my own ridiculous food (I know, you're shocked, right?) sans salt.

And lo, these spicy pickled eggs have no added salt. And probably they'll have some flavor. I dunno. I'm just winging this. I made the recipe up as I went, while looking at this.

We'll know in about a week. That's when the fun really begins. That's when we move on to phase 2. heeeee!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Onigiri at BibimBap [Joomuk-bap]

BibimBap is in the spot formerly occupied by Bento Kudasai. The place has changed owners, names etc. several times in the past year or two. I used to be called Grab N Bowl, which I never went to because it was called Grab N Bowl. BibimBap is apparently new enough that nobody has interneted it yet. I'm not going to be the one. At least not today.

Anyway, I thought I'd stop in for a light breakfast. Onigiri breakfast.

spicy tuna, fried anchovy, crab meat

Yes, that's an anchovy's head. Fried Anchovy joomuk-bap.

crab meat joomuk-bap

spicy tuna joomuk-bap

This being a Korean place, I think it's probably more properly called joomukbob or joomuk-bap. And, indeed, these are not the triangles of rice with stuff in the middle that I was expecting.

Not that I'm complaining. These things were good.

Well, the crab and the spicy tuna were fantastic. The fried anchovy was just a bit much.

Because it was a giant ball of fried anchovies.

A. Giant. ball of fried anchovies.

Heads and all. Now, I like weird preserved fish things as much as the next man. But no. Don't think I'm having it again.

Other stuff, yeah. I'll go back for the other stuff.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chocolate Orange Toasty

The best thing ever

cali style sweet orange marmalade
ooooh yeah [smashes through wall]

Oh, Leffy done did it again.

Culinary history is happening right here. right now.

Your classic PB&J has many variations, but they all fall in to the larger "nut butter and sweet fruit preserves sandwich" category. So does this. It is the OM&N, the Orange Marmalade and Nutella sandwich.

It is made, as you can see, from California Style Sweet Orange marmalade, Nutella, and white toast. It goes together like a standard PB&J on toast. And it is the best thing ever.

I'm not even joking. It is literally and objectively the best thing ever to happen in the history of the universe. It even surpasses the Raspberry Jam and Nutella sandwich (not an easy feat).

You're welcome.