Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fayettenams & The Whiskey Infusion

About fourish years ago, i was on tour; playing music with friends of mine. Now keep in mind, living in a van (or Aerostar) for almost month will force you to be resourceful whether you like it or not, and you WILL like it. In fact, i still catch myself at home eating fish out of cans and saltines with mustard and pissing outside. These ideals plus a bottle of whiskey (usually plastic) always in the van is where the real fun begins.

So right alongside every bottle of whiskey is a bottle of hot sauce, and seeing as though the only way to deal with pain is to add more (according to the surreality that is "tour") the only logical thing to do is to chase hot sauce with whiskey or vice versa.

Thus: The Fayettenam

It doesn't matter what order you chase what with. Either way it's a strange satisfaction where the firewater puts out the fire. They sort of cancel each other out leaving you with a tomato-y after taste. GIVE IT A SHOT!

And on this note, whiskey needs to be experimented with more. Don't put liquor on a pedestal all the time, let it be human, let it feel comfortable with it's culinary brethren. Anytime i have a glass of whiskey handy i peruse the pantries and the gardens seeking infusions.

Here's a few ideas: Just rip a few pieces of these and drop them in your glass of whiskey (which you should be taking your time drinking) and notice the flavors evolve and grow stronger.

Szechuan Peppercorn
Coriander Seed

So on and so forth. Then nibble on the herb or spice at the bottom of the cup and you'll see how good whiskey soaked basil really is.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mr. Breakfast + Club Snacks

So i ran into this interesting site today.
It's called Mr. Breakfast and it's got homemade cereal recipes, breakfast restaurants with reviews, and (my favorite thing) Product Reviews, in which new cereals are reviewed by the postmaster and i'm a sucker for new products, especially consumer favorites like cereal, chips, soda. Because they get so ridiculous after a certain point, there are many failed cereals as well as temporary releases for movies and such. Burger King has "Flame-Broiled" flavored chips which technically should taste like charcoal, but i put this to the test myself and whilst driving by a Burger King with the windows down and eating these chips, i got it. It basically tastes like that manufactured smell that wafts around most fast food chains (McDonalds & Burger King distinctly have their own). Now Pringles has new chip flavors called "Restaurant Cravers" with flavors like "Onion Blossom" and Doritos have released "Late Night" or "Last Call" or some shit like that, where the flavors are based on those after da club snacks that are so heavily desired post-binging and hitting on your favorite girl every weekend.


Basically: snack companies have to resort to being hipster weirdos to come up with something new.

So i was thinking. Actually eating. A parfait. Peaches & Raspberries with Granola and Yogurt.
Why can't they make a cereal out of this old fashioned idea.

-Most cereals are already adding "yogurt bites" [usually pink and coinciding with breast cancer funding] to appeal to women and wanna-be health-nuts.

-Freeze-dried fruit has also made it's way to cereals now, for those too lazy to cut up their own fruit.

-Plus, granola is a huge component for most cereals, especially lately.

put all these ideas together and you've got "Parfait Crunch" and the flavor combos are endless.

just an idea. i thought about making my own cereal anyways. we'll see through further developments, stay tuned!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gourmet Recession #2: Spinach & Rice

One of my favorites; created by my grandmother adapted from Trinidadian customs in that perfect way she does things. I was always confused as a child, because all of my colleagues (yeah right, children don't have colleagues) would shy away from spinach more than most greens/vegetables, leaving me to wonder why, because to me, spinach was one of the most looked-forward-to meals i had (and continue to have). Still to this day i try to convince people to make this at home, they don't get it. There's nothing in the words "Spinach & Rice" that sounds exciting, so i say: JUST TRY IT. Then you will understand.
The salt pork, i feel, is the real highlight and secret to why this is so spectacular, it gives it a savory quality that makes it constantly desirable. I've tried the same thing with bacon....the results are not the same. And i've compared minced garlic versus whole crushed garlic, and the whole garlic are little treasures that flavor the whole dish but when you bite into one it's such a reward. Also, the combination of spinach and white rice is unmatched. The spinach by itself could be boring (unless served as a side dish) but this is designed to be a main course (RE: Gourmet Recession).

Estimated Cost: $2-$3
Serves 2

Spinach & Rice
1.5 inches of salt pork (fat & meat: even portions); diced (not too small)
1/2 med. onion; sliced
2.5 garlic cloves (or 3 if you prefer)
1 pack of frozen chopped spinach (preferably defrosted the night before)
small amount of vegetable oil (just to barely coat bottom of pan)
black pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)*

Heat vegetable oil over med. high heat
Add salt pork until dark red and fat has rendered a bit, while stirring
Add onions, continue stirring
Add garlic and black pepper, continue stirring
Cook until onions are sweating and garlic is golden
Add spinach and salt; stir to combine everything
Turn heat down to medium low and cook for at least 15 minutes so all the flavors mend and the spinach has cooked off most of it's moisture.
Taste, adjust seasonings.
Serve with white rice

*Keep in mind that the salt pork has a good amount of salt in it, so you won't need as much salt as you normally would when cooking spinach. Taste as you go, see how the flavors develop

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gourmet Recession #1: Chickpea Salad

Ah yes! Volume 1 of my recipes and tips for a rocky economy.
This is a guide on how to live on groceries alone and really stretch that dollar till George Washington looks fatter. So wipe the dust off of those pantry tins, buy a new can opener (or a cleaver) and get to work! Whether or not you have a job.

Chickpea Salad

1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
2 carrots; peeled and cut in brunoise (or diced)
3 cloves garlic; roast 2 and reserve 1 raw; all minced
1/2 med. onion or 2 shallots; diced
2 celery stems with leaves attached; chopped
curry powder
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sugar
fenugreek (kasoori methi) [optional]
*the ingredients without a specific measurement means i usually eyeball it and taste as i go, so sprinkle to your adjusted taste

Heat a small pan over medium-high heat with extra virgin olive barely coating the bottom of the pan
Add carrot, do not stir for 3 minutes
Turn heat down to medium
Add the 1 clove of raw garlic; stir; take pan off heat
While carrot/garlic is cooling, open can of garbanzo beans and strain through a chinois or fine mesh strainer
Run water thoroughly over garbanzos
Put garbanzos in a large glass bowl with the onion/celery/carrot/garlic
Add the cumin/curry powder/salt/pepper
Add olive oil & balsamic vinegar to taste
Mix well!
And your done, son!
Cheap & easy, who doesn't like that?

Now, the great thing about this dish is that you can sort of use this as a template.
It's very easy to get creative with this.
It comes with a "what's in your fridge" or "how to empty your fridge" mentality.
I always try and make it different here are some more great additions/substitutions:

pancetta (or bacon)
tiny dried shrimp
sesame seeds
toasted nuts
fried shallots
goat/feta cheese

it's basically endless! don't do only this recipe! well, use it at least once! then just keep adding like you're at Sizzler or something.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Feel Like a Gaucho...

If you ever couldn't wait to be a King. Sans wealth, control, decapitation (well, sort of) and living like the kid from Blank Check (well, sort of); then you should plop your soon-to-be fat ass on a chair at The Knife. $26 (on a weekday) will get you endless meats of all shapes and one flavor PLUS a bottle of wine all to yourself. Helps you forget how much you hate yourself for eating here. And if you go with enough people, chances are they will lose track of how many bottles of wine you've already received, and so will you. It's good for a competitive bunch (endless beef usually is) and you will drive home wishing you weren't (not suggesting you'd want to stay there, just that you wouldn't want to drive or walk or speak because you feel like that last bacon-wrapped short rib is floating atop the red wine halfway up your esophagus and might start seeping backwards through your mouth, thus driving being the next thing worse to running (unless its to the bathroom). Not to mention you'll be tipsy and the color of your face will be a Merlot with an oaky finish.



So, as you can see i missed the meeting on how blogs organize.
Bear with me folks, and read backwards for a lil bit. Or at least for the last post. Maybe 

   this           post 
out of order



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes

Bring (liberally) salted water to a boil with 1 clove; 1 bay leaf; 1 cinnamon stick. While water is coming to a boil, peel and quarter (3-4) red potatoes. Boil potatoes until tender to the point where a knife slides in and out of potato without resistance
         Heat butter over med-high heat. Add sliced onions, stir occasionally to prevent burning. When onions start to brown and go limp, lower the heat while continuing to stir
    While potatoes are boiling and onions are caramelizing, gently heat a small saucepan of cream.When hot, remove from heat and add thyme and star anise, let steep (as if you're making hot tea. While steeping, set up a double boiler or bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer and place a metal bowl over the saucepan. Break up some white chocolate pieces and add to the metal bowl, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted.  (tempering)

   Stir steeped warm cream into melted white chocolate until fully incorporated. Add salt and white pepper, stir to combine
Drain potatoes when tender, return to warm saucepan. Add butter, salt, and cream/white chocolate mixture to potatoes while mashing until fully incorporated. Grate fresh nutmeg and stir to combine. Add caramelized onions. The End.

White Chocolate & Potatoes

                                                                     White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes

Thursday, April 2, 2009

White Chocolate & Potatoes

I've always been excited about savory applications to items that usually are not. Perfect first example: CHOCOLATE
Now, everyone's dipped their fork into a Mole here and again, or maybe you haven't. The first time I did I almost fell over in excitement. Then I got back up and had it again for breakfast the next morning. Pondering ensues...
I was adding heavy cream and yogurt to my mashed potatoes one day trying to conceive of methods for the perfect mashed potato, and i realized that potatoes themselves carry a distinct sweetness from the starch. Why not exemplify it's sweetness with a sweeter cream! Now, clearly i couldn't use milk chocolate cause then you will have mashed doo-doo (steaming at that). SO naturally white chocolate was the perfect candidate.
maybe even a potato salad with white chocolate mayonnaise! (sometimes color comparison is all you need)
In the next few days (or hours) im going to see how this turns out and i'll get back to you.