Monday, February 28, 2011

A Simply Curry

I'm back!

Seriously, what happened last week?! Let me think... I went out to eat with friends on Tuesday. Wednesday I did something. Thursday? I also did something. Friday I went on a date. Niiice. I guess. Saturday I ate out because I was in a hurry to get to Fort Worth to see BUDDY GUY (truly amazing)!!!! And Sunday I ate at my ma's. It wasn't a bad week, but I like to cook so in that sense it wasn't ideal. But hey! Here I am eating seconds of a terrific curry, and ready to regale yous guys with an easy to make recipe:




Simple Chicken Curry


2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Cubed
1 Giant (all they had) Onion Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic Cut into Tiny Pieces
~1/4 Cup Raisins
2 Tomatoes Chopped Small (why not?)
1 tbsp Tumeric
1 tbsp Garam Masala
0.75 tbsp Cumin
0.75 tbsp Corriander
0.5 tbsp Cayenne
Salt and Pepper to Taste
~16 oz. Half & Half
~1 Cup Water
Little Oil

Fry Onion and Garlic for about 10 minutes in oil. Then add spices and tomatoes. About 5 minutes later add Half and Half. Then add raisins and water and chicken. Serve when chicken is safe to eat. Serve over a bed of Basmati Rice.

Nice.

Thank you all who have contributed to my financial viability. After only a month or something I'm only $1.45 away from paying off my domain name for the year!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quiche

The only thing funny about quiche is the way it's spelled.



Quiche

Butter
Flour

Mix and press into pie pan for crust.

4 eggs
Splash of Milk
1 Red Bell
1 Onion
1 Avocado
1/4 lb. Shredded Cheese
1/2 lb. Bacon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Beat eggs and milk. Add diced veggies. I only added the avocado, because I had one that needed to be used. It was good. Mix everything and pour into crust. Bake for 45 min. at 350 or until golden brown on top and not runny on the inside.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When You're Out of Schnitz, You're Out of Dinner

10 points for anybody who know where this title came from.

Last weekend I accepted a mallenge ("man challenge") to make Schnitzel so that a close friend of mine and his wife would know how to make it. I accepted without delay and then immediately went to Wikipedia to find out what schnitzel is. Here is an excerpt of that entry:

"Schnitzel is a traditional Austrian dish consisting of an escalope ["pieces of boneless meat which have been thinned out"- found in the Wikipedia entry for escalope] coated in breadcrumbs and fried. It is a popular part of Viennese and Austrian cuisine. In Austria the dish, called Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Schnitzel), is traditionally garnished with a lemon slice, Sardine filet, capers and either potato salad or potatoes with parsley and butter... In Austria and Germany, the term Wiener Schnitzel is protected by law, and any schnitzel called by that name has to be made from veal."


So... I bought a piece of veal at the Whole Foods a couple days ago and set it in some home brewed rye ale to marinate today while I was at work. I then battered it as seen in the photo... and then battered it again... and again. Like I said the other day, I've never had much luck battering food to be fried so I tried to overdo it, and overdo it I did. There was at least twice as much batter as I needed and I overcooked it since I'm relatively inexperienced when it comes to pan frying anything. I decided to go with a variation of the potato salad, but, like a fool, boiled my potato instead of roasting it in the oven. My thought process was as follows: gee, I don't have a grill, so I guess the only way I can cook a potato is in boiling water. Please don't make the same mistakes I do. Either way, all things considered I'd say it was a noble first attempt and I'm willing to give it a second shot... although I've got to say, it's pretty similar to chicken friend chicken, but without the delicious gravy. Before I forget, don't forget to serve with a nice German brew. I think a hefeweizen would've been tasty, but my only German beer on hand was a Spaten Dunkel, so that's what I had to do. Still good.



Wiener Schnitzel

0.24 lb. Veal flattened
Beer to marinate veal in.
Pancake batter to coat veal in (I tried this, because I got the idea online and have had bad luck with plain flour. I guess it worked, but probably a little too well.)
Breadcrumbs to also coat veal in for a little bit of added flavor and texture.
Egg beaten to wash meat in.
Oil to fry in.
Leftover lamb fat to add to oil to fry in so as not to go to waste.

This is a poorly written recipe, but it's late and grades are due tomorrow (today), so bear with me. Once meat has marinated, coat it with flour until the meat it dry. Knock any loose flour off. Then dip it in beaten egg so it's moist again and more flour will stick to it. I did this three or four times which was stupid. One egg wash and a little more flour or pancake batter will do just fine. Heat oil until it pops when mixed with water and fry. I cooked it for about 4 minutes before checking and flipping and then cooked for about 2 minutes. It probably required 2 and 1. The batter was burned, but not terrible. Squirt lemon over meat and use remainder as a garnish.

Healthy Potato Salad

1 Russet Potato chopped.
1/2 Red Bell chopped
1/2 Red Onion chopped
Some Asparagus chopped
1/8 bunch Mint Leaves chopped
~2 tbsp Olive Oil
Splash of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 Lemon squeezed

Drain potatoes and mix everything together. Again, please do yourself a favor and roast your potato. What was I thinking?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oven Roasted Lamb

Dear Lady,

I'm sorry that I cook better than your boyfriend/husband/significant other/cat, but to paraphrase Beyonce, if you liked me then you should've put a ring me. Just kidding, you know I'm not the marrying type.

Sincerely,
The Gourmet Apartment


I'm not drunk. At all. Or even tipsy. I did, however, discover the most perfect Valentine's Day beer, Pauwel Kwak. It's a Strong Belgium Ale that is very sweet and fruity. The overwhelming fruit flavor, to me, is cherry, but I also get apple and a few flavors that I cannot place. I think it would've paired well with chocolate and makes a nice aphrodisiac even when you're flying solo.

I'm sorry, that was gross, but the lamb I made was anything but. This turned out absolutely perfect. Enjoy!




Oven Roasted Lamb Shoulder Roast

2.82 lb. Lamb Shoulder Roast
1/2 bunch Fresh Mint
2 tsp Dried Rosemary
1 tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
1 tbsp Pepper crushed
Generous Heaping Olive Oil
Splash or Two Red Wine Vinegar

Puree everything other than the meat in a mini food processor. Make a few slits in the meat with a nice knife and tenderly massage mixture into and all around the hunk of meat. Place meat in small Pyrex baking dish and cover with tin foil. I added a small amount of water, but based on the juices that seeped out, that wasn't necessary. Bake at 325 for 4 hours. If you don't enjoy this meal then you should consider becoming a vegetarian.

Happy Valentine's Day... Ladies.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Deep Frier Fries Man's Nuts

Deep fried food is great, right? It's a staple in pretty much every cuisine that I can think of, so why do I find it so freaking hard to do! I encourage anyone who knows what they're talking about to leave a comment explaining in easy to understand steps how to make a batter that sticks. Thank you.

Chile Rellenos

2 Poblano Peppers seeded from the top.
1/3 lb. ground beef cooked
1/3 c. white rice
small amount of onion, jalapeno, and garlic sauteed
fun-sized amount of Mexican cheese

Shove everything into pepper and figure out how to fry. If you do, let me know. If you'd rather bake it, this turns out pretty well. Some cumin and other spices would be nice. What was I thinking?

Fried Stuffed Avocado

Do everything above but in a seeded, peeled, and slightly hollowed avocado. I've had this at a restaurant in Austin, Trudy's, and it was awesome. Mine made me want to vomit. Well, that's an exaggeration, but it's not good.

***Addendum: Apparently Google has decided that the appropriate ads for my site start with "How big is your weight loss goal?" Very funny, Mr. Google. Very funny.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

I would've posted this yesterday, but I enjoyed my snow day just a little too much and woke up at three in the morning with the lights still on, leftovers still on the stove, and a 10 minute phone call to my old housemate that I don't remember making. Somehow I still managed to dominate my top students on the American Mathematics Competition test today.

Chicken Tikka Masala

For the marinade:
3 lb whole chicken butchered into more manageable pieces
Just under 1 tbsp peppercorns crushed
~0.6 tbsp cayenne pepper
5 cloves garlic chopped
1 square inch ginger chopped
1 tbsp cumin
0.4 tbsp cinnamon
½ lemon squeezed
6 oz. plain yogurt
0.5 tbsp garam masala
A few dashes of salt- maybe 0.5 tbsp total

Mix all this and let chicken marinade in fridge overnight.

For the sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
Dash of salt.
2 tomatoes pureed in mini-food processor
2 cups heavy cream
bunch cilantro chopped

Bake chicken at 375 for 15 minutes and then at 400 of 10 minutes. While this is baking, mix all the ingredients for the sauce minus the cilantro and simmer. Take baked chicken and let simmer in sauce for a few minutes and then toss in cilantro. Eat over a basmati rice, or bread if you'd rather.

I adapted this recipe from http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/chicken-tikka-masala/Detail.aspx. It turned out really well, but I'd lay off a little on the cayenne. Again, I like it hot, but I also like balance. Also, when I do this again I'm going to leave out the butter which was overkill and try it with half-and-half.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here We Go

I don't like the Packers, but I absolutely hate the Steelers and I really like football, so great game! Also, I'd like to give a shout out to the hot teacher in that dream sequence commercial for some car. I don't really care what the commercial was for, but I love hot teachers. Without them (you know who you are), I'd be asexual.

In an attempt to finish the beans and carne from God knows how long ago, I made Superbowl Nachos! Like the Papa Loca or the TI song, you can have whatever you'd like on it. I dished out some chips on a small Pyrex baking dish, mashed the remainder of my beans in a small frying pan and then poured them, along with the remainder of the carne which I shredded in my mini food processor and some cheese on top. I sauteed two jalapenos, half an onion, and half a green bell pepper. While that sauteed, I chopped a tomato and put it on the baking nachos and mashed half an avocado. When the veggies were nicely sauteed, I pulled out the nachos, splattered everything over them with a dab of sour cream and enjoyed.

Earlier in the day I brewed a gorgeous Trappist style ale with an OG of 1.070. I probably won't tap it until next November or December when it's had time to age a little and the temperatures drop again, but it's going to be damn good. I think I may have to brew an Imperial Stout to store until next winter, too, but that's for another week.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Papa Loca

On the outskirts of Roma, Texas, a little town that is more Mexico than America, lies El Jaripeo, an eatery more food cart than restaurant that touched me in ways I'm only beginning to understand, because, you see, when I close my eyes at night I picture tacos.

Roma is about halfway between McAllen and Laredo on the border of Mexico. With a population of just under 10,000 people and located a good ten to twenty miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, H.E.B., or American movie theater, it's a relatively isolated place. The local high school doesn't throw a homecoming dance, because they can't compete with the allure of Mexico where even the freshman are free to drink and party without concern. In my two years there I watch helplessly as brush fires worked their way towards my neighborhood, saw children raft through our yards after heavy rains flooded our streets and houses, and fell asleep to the sounds of gunshots ringing in holidays- Mexican and American alike.

Still, despite the problems, Roma was my homa for two of the best years of my life. I met great people, learned things I would never have learned had I taken every course in our college catalog, and ate absolutely fantastic food... which returns me to El Jaripeo. El Jaripeo sits just off Highway 83 between Roma and Escobares. It has no parking lot- only a bit of field worn ragged by an untold number of cars and trucks- and if you don't feel like exiting your vehicle, one of the high schoolers working there will be happy to come to you. Despite the oppressive heat of the valley, if you eat there, you eat outside. I always found this particularly satisfying since it gave me time to pick chile pequines from one of the wild bushes surrounding the trailer to spice up my meal. It was on one of these hot nights, as trucks roared along the dusty lanes of 83, that I realized this was the perfect restaurant. My favorite thing about El Jaripeo is that the only structure permanently attached to the ground, or so it seems, is a lone fireplace where Mesquite wood, salt, and lime, meld so perfectly that I salivate with just the thought. I've never had Mexican food in Mexico or anywhere else that even comes close to the food I got in Roma.

I bring all this up, because El Jaripeo served Papa Loca which was a baked potato- actually two baked potatoes- that had been cooking in Mesquite coals all day, loaded with cheese, sour cream, onion, cilantro, and a ridiculous quantity of carne. I'd go with a few friends and we'd get this as an appetizer of sorts and then be full before would could even touch our tacos- and we still wouldn't have finished the Papa Loca. So with some of my left over carne I made a much inferior, but still satisfying Papa Loca of my own. Even with one potato it took me two nights to eat. I highly recommend it if you have leftover meat and a potato and hopefully you won't forget the onion and you'll actually have cilantro in your fridge to complete the deal.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Carne Guisada, Beans, Tortillas, and Booze

I constantly censor myself. I have my job to think about for one, but more importantly, I have the feeling that only friends of mine have visited this site- especially since I saw a link to my blog on a friend's gchat status (and thanks for not clicking on the ads guys... I'm still a hundred million clicks away from retiring and starting a sick brewery) and for some reason that embarrasses me.

But on a serious note, this is Day #2 of what could be the zombie apocalypse, but is really just some frozen roads. Either way, I haven't left my apartment in two days and was beginning to go crazy so I had to pull out the whiskey, Belgium beer, and Mexican food! Sure, sure, tequila, "lite" beer, and something that won't give you gas might be a little better for dealing with cabin fever, but except for the tequila, that's just not my style.



Carne Guisada

1.8 lb. beef cubed
1/2 onion chopped
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp pepper
5 cloves garlic chopped

Brown in a cast iron pan and then simmer with a little water in a pot for hours upon hours until tender and fantastic.

Beans!

2/3 cup dried black beans
1/3 cup dried pinto beans
3+ jalapenos cut in half or quarters or whatever- it all just disintegrates anyway
1/2 onion chopped up
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
salt to taste (dried beans require a lot more than I'd expected)

Cook in a slow cooker for hours. For a nice greasy sheen and better flavor, throw in any fat that you cut off the meat or have saved from bacon or some other tasty animal.

Tortillas

1 cup masa (like flour or corn meal)
2/3 cup water
dash salt

I stole this recipe from the back of the bag of masa. I've tried doing it to feel, but the consistency's never as good as when I measure it out. My tortillas always come out a little thick, but they're still good. I use wax paper on my tortilla press to keep things from sticking and cook them on a thin steel pan I bought in Mexico.

Garnish with fresh avocado, cilantro, salsa, and lime.