Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken: Inspired and Infused

Song of the moment: Walking With A Ghost by Tegan and Sara. Props go out to one of my benevolent hosts in San Francisco for introducing me to such a vector (magnitude: loud; direction: straight to my brain). I almost literally see giant wave arrows blasting from my speakers pointed at the middle of my head. It's warping my sense of self and making me want to rock.









With heavy finger dragging over multiple keys at once, I pause- wait for it- to show my appreciation for the <- backspace key.

The arrow draws your eyes from the text. Slowing you down. Emphasizing a past full of mistakes and misgivings.

"You're twenty-six, Tommy, and what have you got to show for yourself?"

Or is that arrow simply a memo-to-self to hit the << back track arrow and repeat Walking with a Ghost?


South Style Beer Braised Asian Inspired Chicken-n-Rice

2 Chicken Legs
2 Chicken Thighs
4 cloves of Garlic
Chunk of Ginger
1 Sweet Potato
2 Carrots
7 bunches of Baby Bok Choi
5.5 oz Bachelor's Brew (one of my homebrewed Beers)**
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Rice Wine
1 tbsp Honey
Pinch of Rosemary
Olive Oil

Chop and saute Garlic and Ginger in some Olive Oil in a large pot. Cut the Sweet Potato into chunks roughly 1 cubic centimeter in size and add those. Toss in the Chicken and brown. Add the Beer, Balsamic Vinegar, Rice Wine, and Honey and Rosemary. Cover and let cook on a relatively low temperature for about 20 minutes, turning the Chicken and stirring after 10. Add the Carrots and let cook for about 10 more minutes. Add the Bok Choi. Serve as soon as soon as the Bok Choi is wilted to your desire. Salt to taste and serve over a bed of Wild Rice.

I was surprised at how harmonious and savory this dish was. I often expect the worst when adding a bunch of random ingredients, but rather than feel cluttered and chaotic, the natural sweetness of the Honey and Sweet Potato and Carrot and Beer was balanced nicely by the Rice Wine and Vinegar and perfectly complimented the Chicken.

*With my Cock Out?

**I bet Fat Tire would be a superb substitute.

***Full disclosure: I made this meal last night for dinner, but didn't want to post two recipes on the same day. You actually thought I would braise Chicken at 9:00 AM?! Good! Because I would.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Doc Money Tells Me It's Eggs Benedict

Wow! Back by popular demand is the one and only Gourmet Apartment fresh from Chicago. Chicago, as you know, has great food and I was fortunate enough to have been able to sample of few of their treats: Italian Beef, deep dish pizza (Pequot's Pizza- better than Uno's, Gino's, or any of the other more recognizable names), and pastries from Bennison's Bakery to name a few. Unfortunately, I was inspired by none of the above when I decided to make Eggs Benedict for breakfast this morning.

Well golly gee, Tommy, if those didn't inspire you, what did?

I'm glad you asked, friend. You see, when I was grocery shopping yesterday I was debating a loaf of bread when I saw English muffins. Appearing too good to be true I had to buy them... which meant that I would have to use them. Which meant that I needed eggs; none of this jam and butter for the Gourmet Apartment. This also meant that I had to google the recipe for Hollandaise Sauce in the grocery store and pick up some women- I mean lemons- in order to make the recipe.

Eggs Benedict

4 Eggs
1 English Muffin
A few slices of Gruyere (or something cheaper and equally tasty if you're not pretentious)
A few slices of Tomato
2 <= x <= 00 (that's supposed to be an infinity sign) Deli Ham
~1/3 Stick of Cheese
Tabasco Sauce (but not really)
Mustard (but not really)
1/2 Lemon (yes, really)

I got the recipe for the Hollandaise Sauce from Never again Never again. Either my Tabasco sucks and is spoiled (can that happen to Tabasco?) or that was the stupidest suggestion I've ever been given. And for that matter, Mustard? Really? It wasn't foul, but was it necessary? Or maybe it was my fault for adding too little Butter. Whatever. Point being, put the yolk from two of the Eggs in your mini-food processor along with the Lemon, the Tabasco, and the Mustard. Melt the Butter and blend it all together. Keep it warm.

While this is going on, poach the two remaining Eggs. I watched a couple youtube videos on how to poach an Egg. My old housemate, bless her soul, told me to create a whirlpool and drop the Egg into this whirlpool to create perfectly poached Eggs every time. A guy on youtube said the same thing, but I don't like to be told what to do, so I followed some other guy who suggested I just pour it into some simmering water (just below a boil). This worked out well for me. The first one wasn't so good, but that's because I poached the whites from the two Eggs whose yolks I stole with it and it got a little gunky. The second Egg was much better. You leave the Eggs in the simmering water for about five minutes. Dry the Eggs on a paper towel while the two halves of the English Muffin are toasting.

On the toasted Muffin halves place a piece (or more if you'd like) of Ham, slices of Tomato, the drier poached Eggs, Cheese (preferably melted), and then drizzle the Hollandaise Sauce on for chizzle.

It's the Pamela Anderson of breakfasts, you know what I mean, the Double D: Decadent and Delicious.

And this why I'm single.

A note about the picture: I know it looks gross. WTF Hollandaise Sauce? I guess I need more Butter to thin it out? Anyone? White Wine maybe? And those French Fry looking things are actually slices of Cheese. I'm rusty after a week, what do you want?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mom's Lamb and Cannellini Beans

I leave for Chicago on Tuesday to see my grandfather for a week, so this is probably it for the next few days. Considering that I'm going to see family and have just spent the day with my mom and brother I thought that making and sharing one of my mom's quick and delicious recipes would be appropriate.

Lamb Chops in Cannellini Beans

2 Lamb Shoulder Chops
1 can Cannellini Beans
Salt and Pepper

Brown Lamb Chops in Olive Oil in a skillet and then pour the can of Cannellini Beans over them. Simmer with Thyme, Mint, and Salt and Pepper to taste. The whole meal should take no more than 15 minutes to make and looks and tastes great.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back from the Phog

After three-some (hehe threesome) weeks, I am returned. Over mountains and hills, across beaches and ragged weathered seal-lined bluffs, through pastures and fields of grapes, shaded by the magnificence of giant sequoias and redwoods, squeezed down crowded bridges and windy streets, burnt by the sun, rained on by the heavens, and battered by the wind, yes, I am returned. Marginally thinner and plausibly wiser I now sit in front of my computer, the very one I was anxious to leave, bored and unwilling to go to bed. Scattered around my xbox controller and TV remote are the flashlights and tools and the first aid kit and rope and my copy of Don Quixote, my journal and weathered Atlantic Monthly, and all the other odds and ends that I'm too tired of looking at to bother putting into storage. Yes, I am returned.

It was an absolutely fantastic ride of which my pictures could not possibly do justice, but as much as I had fun and will fantasize about the cool nights and sunny days, it's also nice to be home. I cooked very little on this trip, but I hope to post a couple of my meals one of these days when I have nothing else to post, but that night's not tonight, because I made PHO!!!


Everything in this recipe is approximate, because I didn't bother to measure anything out, so take or leave my numbers and make sure it tastes good to you.

For the broth:

2 c. Water
3 tbsp. Rice Wine
3 tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp. Fish Sauce
1 Jalapeno chopped
7 oz. (half a pack) Rice Noodle (Thick) Dac San Viet Nam Banh Canh*

Mix the liquids and simmer with the Rice Noodles and Jalapeno.

While the noodles are simmering:

8 cloves of Garlic diced
1.5 square inches of diced Ginger
2 Carrots sliced
8 bunches of Baby Bok Choi
1 pack Firm Tofu cubed.
~30 Fish Balls from the Asian Grocery Store (this is what makes this good)

Saute (in Sesame Oil) the Garlic and Ginger and then after a while add the Bok Choi and Carrots. Then add the Tofu. Pour the mixture and the Fish Balls into the broth.

1/2 lb. thinly sliced Beef (have the store slice it thinly, because I can't do it this thin by hand... at least not easily)
4 Green Onions chopped
Big bunch of Cilantro chopped
Big bunch of Thai Basil chopped

Saute all of these ingredients in some more Sesame Oil and squeezed Lime and then add to soup. Simmer as long as you want and garnish with some fresh Thai Basil.

This is restaurant quality. I will make this again. Will you?

*It's rare for me to really like the noodles, so I had to list the brand and name as it appears on the package (minus the accents) so that I can make this again.

**Did the title make sense? San Francisco has a lot of fog and I made a pho. Can you dig it?