misshepeshu: (Bork bork bork)
[livejournal.com profile] benefitz and I created Yet Another Amazing Meal together last Sunday. We threw together a chuck roast, roasted acorn squash with lashings of butter and brown sugar, and vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic) cooked in pan drippings and dill.

The vegetables were tasty, but a touch overcooked. Note to self: Use dill more often. But the real stand-out was the chuck roast. Seriously, you guys: SO. GOOD. Ben and I couldn't stop making stupid happy noises (most of them starting with "OM" and ending with "NOM NOM NOM") as we ate it. Here's what we did:

1. Buy a 3-lb. chuck roast. The roast we got was about 2, 2-1/2" thick. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Cut 1/2" deep slits on top of the meat. I cut about 6 or 7 slits, each about 2 inches long.
3. Stuff each slit full of thinly-sliced garlic, thinly-sliced shallots, thyme and rosemary. And I mean just jam that shit in there (the way I did your mom).
4. And this last step is key: Take several slices of lean thick-cut bacon (we ended up using four) and wrap around the top of the roast. If you have twine, use it. Toothpicks and skewers would work, too, but really, just laying the bacon on top is fine, because Ben and I, we had squat.
5. Roast at 450° for 10 minutes, then turn down to 350 and roast for an hour more for rare, longer if you don't want your meat to moo at you when you cut into it. Take bacon off, eat while letting meat rest and also while carving the meat. Try not to pass out from the sheer glory that is bacon that's been roasted on top of beef and in close proximity to aromatics.
misshepeshu: (NOM)
And lo, my love for kale is almost freakish; I will stick kale into almost anything. It about rivals my love of celery. (It's also kind of weird, given that I'm not the biggest fan of green leafy vegetables in general.) Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] benefitz made the Best Kale Ever the other night, and I'm posting the recipe here before either of us forgets what he put in it.

1 large bunch curly kale
Several cloves garlic, chopped
Thinly-sliced shallots
A splash of dark chicken stock
Liberal sprinkling pepper flakes
Olive oil

Instructions: Heat olive oil in large skillet. Throw in garlic and shallots and sauté until fragrant. Add kale and chicken stock, cook until kale is slightly wilted. Add pepper flakes. Eat. Go "Holy crap, this is really, really good kale." Like, a lot.
misshepeshu: (The cake is not a lie.)
I modified an existing chocolate cake recipe to get this one, and I want to record it before I forget it. So!

1 stick butter
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1-2/3 cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence (which I neglected to add last night because Beth didn't have any)
1/2 teaspoon salt

I'm not bothering with instructions--use the creaming method you find in just about every recipe book in existence. Oh, wait, here's a semi-tricky bit: heat up 1/2 cup of buttermilk and 1/4 cup of whipping cream, then melt the chocolate in it, allow it to cool, and add the resulting mixture into the batter just after you're done beating the eggs in, and before you add the flour and the rest of the buttermilk.

Oven was at 375°F.

The cakes were pretty goddamn awesome--not too sweet, very rich, moist, extremely tender crumb.

Apropos of nothing: My bedhead this morning was the BEST EVER. I am not kidding. Pictures soon, but now, I have to get ready for law school.
misshepeshu: (Bork bork bork)
I don't think I've posted my more-or-less foolproof recipe for Awesome Roast Chicken before. There's more than one out there, and doing fancy stuff like brining it would probably improve juiciness and flavor, but this is one of the best basic recipes out there, as those who've tasted mah chicken can testify. And really, the way I do it, I end up with both roast chicken AND stew at the same time, which: win!

OK. So.

1 four to five-pound roaster
1 stick butter, softened (c'mon, you saw this coming, don't deny it)
5 to 7 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
2 large carrots, chopped
4 to 5 sticks celery, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
Whatever other vegetables you want to throw in there. Tomatoes are awesome, if you like stewed tomatoes, and they add an excellent flavor to the chicken. Ditto peppers of assorted sorts. I added kale tonight, and holy fucking shit, I'm a genius, a geeeeenius. I imagine brussel sprouts would be good, if you're the type of sick freak who eats those and doesn't find them unbearably bitter. Be creative, and don't be afraid to get what's on sale or what looks a bit dodgy and wilted--this is all going to stew together with the chicken for a while, so it'll end up tasty.
4 to 6 cups dark brown chicken stock
1 bottle white wine
3 tablespoons assorted minced herbs. The Holy Trinity is 1/2 tablespoon rosemary and the remainder being equal quantities thyme and basil, but oregano is also excellent, as are dill, fennel, tarragon and marjoram--though watch the marjoram, because it's quite the bully and your dish might end up tasting like "HELLO MY NAME IS MARJORAM HOW ARE YOU DOING I WILL NOW DANCE THE FLAMENCO ON YOUR PALATE AND RENDER IT INSENSIBLE TO ALL OTHER FLAVORS HA HA HA HA HA." If you're REALLY adventurous, you can use cumin. You maverick, you.
A couple three intact sprigs of herbs
Salt
Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Get out a big-ass roasting pan or dutch oven. Remove the giblets from the chicken (feed them to your cat or dog if you have them, otherwise toss them in the pan), rinse it briefly under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Stuff cavity with sprigs of herbs, about 1/4 of the onion and whatever else you feel like.

3. Mix salt, pepper, garlic and minced herbs with butter. Now here's the slightly tricky part: gently lift the flap of skin over the breast, and insert your fingers between the flesh and skin. Slow and gently work your fingers in there until you've created room between the skin and the meat. Then work in a few generous pats of the butter mixture; mush that shit around so the breast is covered evenly. Then spread the rest of the butter on the chicken.

4. Set chicken in the pan and toss in the vegetables. Toss in the broth and the wine. Roast for about an hour to an hour and a half--chicken's done when it's about 170° in the thickest part of its breast (180 if you like your chicken well-done). Baste occasionally if you feel like it with the pan juices. Check at least once to ensure the aromatics in the butter aren't getting burnt; if they're looking toasty, just scrape 'em off the chicken and onto the liquid.

5. Try not to die from the awesome smell filling your house or apartment.

Once you're done with the meat, you can use the carcass to make chicken soup.

In conclusion: YAY ROAST CHICKEN!
misshepeshu: (The cake is not a lie.)
Fact: Crushed pieces of Oreo cookies are awesome in just about every conceivable sort of dessert, including brownies.

Another fact: Crushes pieces of Oreo cookies are also awesome ON TOP of brownies.

Why in the hell aren't there more Oreo brownies out there? What's wrong with people?

Anyway, here's a recipe, for those of you are interested in PURE MOTHERFUCKING AWESOME IN A PAN:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used three lines of Trader Joe's Pound Plus 72% Dark Belgian chocolate, which amounted to about 6.6 ounces)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Scharffen Berger, baby)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (you can use white sugar, but dark brown sugar intensifies the flavor, isn't quite as sweet and makes everything moister and happier. You can also decrease the mixture by 1/4 cup if you like your brownies really bittersweet)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed Oreo pieces (I used the Trader Joe's knock-offs, which are even better than Oreos)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or (if you're lazy like me) in the microwave. Let mixture cool.

2. Whip eggs until foamy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla essence; mix well.

3. Add chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly.

4. Add flour, fold/stir until just combined.

5. Add chocolate chips and 1/4 cup Oreo pieces. Sprinkle remaining Oreo pieces on top. Pour into 9 x 13 pan or 10" springform.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tester inserted in middle of brownie comes out with moist crumbs attached. Allow to cool in the pan about 20 minutes, then dig in. Serve with vanilla ice-cream and/or whipped cream. Sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries optional, but increases awesomeness exponentially.
misshepeshu: (Koay teow)
Kiam Chai Ark literally means "salty vegetable duck" in Hokkien, and it's a traditional Hokkien soup that my mother would make every Chinese New Year. I came up with a version this year that turned out astonishingly well--almost as good as what my mom would've made. Here's the recipe:

900-1000 g salted mustard greens, also known as sour salted mustard cabbage (you can get these in vacuum-sealed 300 g packages at a good Asian grocery store, though the best stores will have big old tubs of brine from which you can pick out which heads you want)
1 3-lb. roast duck (you can roast your own, or cheat and buy one from a Chinese restaurant, or you can skip it entirely and make the soup vegetarian)
1 large yellow onion
6-8 cloves peeled, crushed garlic
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 20-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, or if tomatoes are in season, get 5 or 6 good-sized tomatoes and cut into quarters
1 whole nutmeg
2 dried chillies, cut in half, more if you like it hotter

1. Rinse mustard greens thoroughly under running water to get rid of excess brine. Chop off thick part of stem and separate leaves, and chop leftover stems into 1" chunks.

2. Drain the canned tomatoes and cut them in half.

3. Chop up the duck into 10 pieces or so and remove excess subcutaneous fat, though save the skin. Snack liberally on the meat.

4. Crush nutmeg briefly--you don't want powder, you just want it bashed around a little.

5. Throw everything into a large stockpot (the one I used had a 4-gallon capacity, I believe) and fill with enough water to cover.

6. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down so the soup simmers. Let simmer for at least 4 hours, preferably 5 to 6. Enjoy with some jasmine rice, or as an accompaniment to dishes like pork with ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce, or stir-fried choy sum/yu choy (a.k.a. edible rape--huh huh, edible rape), or sweet and sour fish.

Note: if you have a roast chicken carcass or pork bones, those would work excellently for this soup as well. In that case, this recipe would become kiam chai keh (salty vegetable chicken) or kiam chai bak (salty vegetable meat--pork is synonymous with meat in a lot of Chinese dialects).
misshepeshu: (Bork bork bork)
I came home to a warm apartment smelling like chicken stock today. Pretty nice, given how godawful cold Portland is alla sudden. But now my windows are beyond steamed up--they're actually dripping with condensation. Eeek.

And I'm about to make it worse as I make my ersatz demi-glace--ersatz beacuse it doesn't involve having to make sauce espagnole.

So, the basic proportion: 4 parts brown stock to 1 part decent red wine and a couple of thinly-sliced shallots. Do not, for the love all that's holy, use the borderline-undrinkable crap wine, because you're going to concentrate the flavor as you boil this down, and if something tastes like ass to begin with, it's not really going to improve as you reduce it and reduce it and reduce it, as you're doing with demi. In fact, there's a decent chance it's going to end up tasting like concentrated ass.

In a large pot, add the shallots and wine. Reduce at high heat until about half the liquid remains. Add stock, reduce heat, and reduce, reduce, reduce until you have a dark, thick liquid. You don't want it to be sludgy--you want to stop just short of that. And then strain the resulting liquid for as many times as you can stand through a cheescloth-lined sieve. Let cool, slap into some containers or ice-cube trays and freeze the suckers until you need them. Use the demi for gravy, dark sauces, and to add flavor to soups and soupy things; I've used it in the past to add depth and flavor to a whole host of things, from boeuf bourguinon to étoufée to squash soup. Repeat after me, folks: bouillon is for LOZERS and WIMPS. Demi-glace, either the real thing or this fakey-mcfake version I've just explained to you, is the way to go, man.

Edited to add: I was just snuggling with Hitlercat, when I realized her fur smells faintly of chicken stock.

This is very amusing to me.
misshepeshu: (Bork bork bork)
With the weather turning cold and Thanksgiving just around the corner, 'tis the season for to be making chicken stock, yes it is.

(...crap, speaking of which, I just remembered that I forgot to add peppercorns to my stock. DOH.)

Uh, anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, making stock from scratch. It's insanely easy and insanely good--much better than store-bought--but also insanely time-consuming. However, fear not! Much of the process is passive, i.e. you let your stock simmer away quietly on your stove, and you can putter around and do other things. Myself, I've done things like, ohhh, go to bed or go to work while leaving the stock simmering on medium-low on the stove. Which is probably stupid, because OMG THE STOVE COULD EXPLODE IF UNATTENDED, or the stock could boil dry, but I make such a huge batch (I have a 6-gallon stockpot) and I keep the heat so low that the odds of that happening are pretty damn infinitesimal.

Aaanyway, I much prefer making dark chicken stock, which involves roasting the bones and is a good deal more versatile than light chicken stock, because this dark chicken stock can be used on red meat as well as white. If you're hard-core, this substitution is unacceptable. However, I'm only medium-core and far too lazy to make beef and lamb stock, and Anthony Bourdain has assured me (and everyone else who's read his snarky and excellent Les Halles Cookbook) that many highly-rated and highly-regarded restaurants cheat in this way, too, and what can I say? I'm Anthony Bourdain's bitch.

In Which Our Intrepid Heroine Gives A Long-Winded Recipe and Rambly Instructions on How To Make Your Own Stock, If You Didn't Know Already, and If You Didn't, Well, It's About Goddamn Time You Learned )


So, later tonight: instructions on how to make demi-glace, guerilla-style. Hang on to your panties, kids.
misshepeshu: (Bork bork bork)
Last night, with the help of my friend Jim, I made the Best Turkey Sandwich of ALL TIME. I'm not kidding. It consisted of:

- 1/3 lb. smoked organic turkey breast
- A thick slice of perfectly ripe organic tomato
- Several slices of organic cucumber (I basically layered on so much cucumber on top of the turkey that I couldn't really see the meat any more)
- Thinly-sliced red bell pepper
- Slices of shiitake mushroom that had been dunked in salted olive oil and roasted for several minutes
- Tillamook Colby Jack cheese
- Organic green leaf lettuce
- A crusty loaf of organic ciabatta bread from New Seasons
- And for the spread, minced fresh basil mixed in with this wacky vegan Dijonnaise

The sandwich ended up being so big, I couldn't bite through all of it at once, no matter how much I tried to squish it. So I attacked it in layers--I'd take a bite from the bottom layer (mostly meat, cheese and cucumber) and then a bite from the top layer (mostly veggies and mushrooms). Soooo good, and incredibly messy. The only way it could've been any tastier would've been if we'd had some avocado to throw on that sumbitch. Oh, and if we'd had garlic to roast with the mushrooms. The vegetables were amazing; really, they're what made the sandwich--Jim had gone to the farmer's market earlier in the afternoon and bought them, so they were fresh and at peak ripeness.

Yeah, I know it's ridiculous that I'm writing about this, but the sandwich was so good, it deserves its own Livejournal entry. I only wish I had my camera with me so I could've taken a picture of its massively delicious goodness.

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