Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kwahite!! Ahm huntin' Wabbits- & Chili makes it out of the house!!

I've been promising the Millwrights at work a sample of my Cincinnati Chili recipe  for months now.  I'd set a few dates that I'd bring it in, but was kept from my obligations by the installation of a new roof and emergency surgery on our dog Buddy.  I finally made some for them Monday night.   This time I was able to follow my own directions- not a soupy version this time 'round.  I bought a ton of cheese, brought in a bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce (I know I've espoused using Crystal, but I had it in the kitchen waiting to be used for buffalo wings and didn't want to let it sit forever.  Ever seen really old hot sauce?  It turns brown and really gross).   I made a shit-ton of spaghetti (I still have enough for lunch that day and then some).  At the store I could not find oyster crackers.  Oh well- can't replicate the entire experience.   I did make a mistake that I won't make again- I used 20% fat ground beef. Eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwww.  I pulled my hand out of the pot after breaking up the meat in the broth and water to find it covered in fat.   That was really nasty.  It might have been the store using a fattier cut than advertised, but I'm not taking that chance again- 15 or 7% from now on.   I ended up sopping up fat from the top of the chili a few hours after I moved it to Tupperware for transport that morning.  Most importantly, none of my test subjects tossed their cookies, complained of stomach cramps, ran to the John with diarrhea, or refused to touch the stuff.  Everyone ate at least one full plate.  Now, nobody came up to me and exclaimed, "Where has this stuff been all my life?  I've been wasting my stomach capacity on this crappy Hormel for way too long!!".   Depending upon the griping of one of the guys I may make it at least one more time (he was on vacation).  

Last night I tried making Russian Tea Biscuits.  There is a link to the recipe I used in an earlier posting (Nov. 30th).   I did not use the fruit pie filling suggested.  I left the insides dry- cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and I used chopped pecans instead of walnuts.  The pecans were left over from Heavenly Hash (see later this post).  It turned out pretty well.  The dough is really nice, but could be a little more dry.  Perhaps a few more minutes in the oven.  I would like to try to replicate the treats I've come to love from Davis Bakery in Cleveland.  The filling was close- it seems they may have some butter or something to keep the filling more moist.  My wife had a great suggestion- icing.  Icing like that found on cinnamon rolls.  That could be good.   Of course- all washed down with a tall ice cold glass of milk, 

Heavenly Hash  is a candy treat that pops up around Louisiana and other parts during the Lenten Season.  It is ridiculously simple, and ridiculously good. Melt chocolate.  Pour half the chocolate on a baking sheet covered with wax paper.  Dump chopped pecans and mini marshmallows onto the chocolate.  Cover with the remaining chocolate.  Allow to cool.  Cut into two-bite sized pieces. Eat.  The good folks at Elmer's Candy  out of Ponchatoula Louisiana distribute a commercial
version of the stuff.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Resurrection of The Puddin' Pop.

Puddin' Pops Rule.  But I've not been able to find them on the shelves of any grocery stores for a while.  Whilst in Kent visiting my brother and his family for Thanksgiving he told me how to make my own.  So freaking simple I should have figured it out myself.  Ready- make Jello Pudding.  Dump pudding into popsicle molds (or ice cube trays), add stick.  Freeze.  Remove pop from mold.  Enjoy.  Brilliant.  Genius.   

Made a nice steak dinner last night following several of the recipes from Tom Fitzmorris's book, Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food. Entree- Strip Steak Bordelaise (pg 155).  The recipe calls for a whole bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux to be reduced to a cup's worth of liquid.  I hated to see so much wine evaporate.  I may have to try this again as I don't think I quite followed the directions too well.  For those interested in the bottle of wine- Bogle Vineyards Cab. 2006.  This was quite good by itself.  Not too much tannin (not that I'm any sort of real wine connoisseur).  it was raining outside so I decided to purchase cast iron grill skillet with which to broil the steaks.  It worked really well.  As usual I need to pay more attention to cooking time- let's just say that they turned out WELL DONE.  Loved hearing the butter sizzling away in the skillet.  Sides- Mashed Potatoes and Broiled Asparagus Parmigiano (pg. 225).   Sonya tells me that my potatoes are a but too lumpy, but seasoned well.  The asparagus was wonderful.  I'd make this again in a heartbeat.  Growing up I hated asparagus.  I wouldn't touch the stuff.  Somehow a few years ago I decided to give it another try and I found that when well prepared it is good- especially when grilled or broiled.  For dessert I made Heavenly Hash- a treat found here in Louisiana during the Easter season-  Chocolate, nuts, and marshmallow in lumps all mushed together.  Tom has a recipe for this on page 292.  

Made tuna steaks under the broiler on Monday night.  Again- well done- past where I wanted them.  I will eventually learn this skill.  First time I've ever prepared them and even cooked as far as I did I feel that they turned out well.  

Other news-  Papa Johns just opened a location near the house.  Finally.  We've been stuck just far enough away from two other locations that we couldn't get delivery from either.  I usually find PJs pizza to be better than Domino's.  The crust is better and I like the sweeter sauce.  Great stuff.  Another pizza joint replaced the recently defunct Hogie and Deaux's.  I always thought the name as really clever.  Their pizza was decent.  This new place called Roma's has a New York style crust.  The kind of slice that flops down on itself and the only good way to eat it is by folding it in half.  Gave it a shot during the week too.  Not too bad.  I also ordered a Meatball Parmigiana hoagie.  The meat mix was a bit odd. Perhaps they had veal in there or something, I dunno.  Sonya enjoyed it.  When I dropped by there was only one guy working the entire place- prepping, cooking, taking orders, the works.  We'll see how long they last.  I wish the guy luck.   We'll give him another try.  Got to support the local guy.