Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spent Grain Dog Treats

After several months of inactivity, I finally started brewing again. I have a keg of Oud Bruin fermenting right now, and last week I kegged up some Brown Ale for my friend's movie release party. Tomorrow I will brew a Hefeweizen for that same party. It's a lot of fun, but it also leaves me with a lot of Spent Grain. So, now that I have a dog, I decided to put some of it to good use by making Dog Treats. In all fairness, it doesn't use that much Grain, but I compost the rest in my back yard.

The recipe came from this website: Clearly his look better, but my dog loves the ones I made and that's all that matters to me. I am copying the recipe below for the sake of easy reference for myself. My recipe makes 50% more than the recipe in the link. I did this, because I could only find Peanut Butter in 12 oz. bottles or larger and I wanted to use the whole jar.

Spent Grain Dog Treats

6 c. Spent Grain
12 oz. Smooth Peanut Butter
3 c. Flour
3 Eggs

Mix all the ingredients together and smooth onto a Silpat. Score into rectangles about 1" x 2". Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and then at 225 for 2 hours, or until they are completely dry. Snap the treats apart and store in the freezer. I don't thaw them before feeding them to my dog. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Black-Eyed Pea Medley

Another missed month. Oops.

It's been a hectic few weeks- I just took a job with the City, and last weekend I went to New Orleans with my girlfriend. Rather than try to recreate the past few weeks, suffice it to say that New Orleans was the highlight. It's got to be one of the best food cities in the nation. Our first night we ate at Irene's Cuisine, which I cannot recommend enough. It was pricy, but had a perfect atmosphere and great food. For our breakfasts we ate Beignets at Cafe du Monde, phenomenal Donuts from District Donuts, and delicious Omelets from some diner which I'll never remember. Our other lunches and dinners included Acme Oyster House, Dat Dog (a Hot Dog place where I had a Crawfish Sausage that was excessive in every possible way), Pizza at Domenica (with Roast Carrot Puree instead of Tomato Sauce--- delicious), an early happy hour dinner at SoBou (Gumbo with Mashed Potatoes instead of Rice AND Alligator Corn Dogs... both excellent), and at least one or two meals that I'm forgetting. Everything was fantastic and I came home inspired to cook even more. Unfortunately, everything was so heavy and rich that I've eaten almost only Fruits and Vegetables since I returned. But, in an attempt to make something inspired by this trip while being healthy, I present this Black-Eyed Pea Medley:

Black-Eyed Pea Medley

16 oz. package Dried Black-Eyed Peas
Large bunch Mustard Greens sliced into smaller pieces
6 Roma Tomatos chopped
2 Hatch Peppers
0.5 Onion chopped
2 Cloves Garlic chopped

~0.25 c. Olive Oil
Large pinch dried and ground Chile Pequin
Large pinch Smoked Paprika
Large pinch Jerk Seasoning
Relatively large amount of ground Pepper
Salt to taste

Soak the Black-Eyed Peas overnight and then bring to a boil and let simmer until soft. Drain the Peas into a colander and then pour the Oil into the now-empty pot. Fry the Chile Pequin, Paprika, Jerk Seasoning, Pepper, Onion, Garlic, and Hatch Peppers. Once the Onion starts looking soft, add the Tomato. Boil off some of the liquid and then add the Peas. When everything's looking good, add the Mustard Greens and cook until the Greens are nicely wilted. Serve immediately or enjoy chilled the next day.

Not only is this a healthy, filling, and delicious meal, but it is super cheap. I think the whole thing cost roughly $5 and I will probably get five meals out of it. Not bad, eh?

Oh, I completely forgot to mention that we also saw Joy the Baker in New Orleans. Apparently she lives in the French Quarter. We didn't talk to her or anything, but you know, whatever.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coffee Rubbed Pork Loin

It's been over five months and I'm not sure what I've been waiting for. I had the excuse of grad school for a while, and in March I started an internship with the city auditor's office where I've been following the local political scene to help shape our yearly strategic audit plan. It's a fun job and not too stressful, but it was a lot of work when I was trying to balance that with grad school. But I graduated in May. Overall I had a very good experience. I enjoyed the program, the school, felt like I had some terrific professors, and met some people that I hope to be friends with for decades to come. The only regret I have is that I didn't quite figure out what to do with my life. I would love to work at the state capital again for a legislator, but that's fun for five months every other year and then I'm afraid that I'll be bored for the better part of two years. The city is great, but it's not fast-paced enough for me. I'd like to do my own thing, but that's scary- and more importantly, I don't know what I would do.

Either way, it's nice to have a summer with nothing other than work. My girlfriend and I moved in together to a small house in a great location. We lived together last summer, so the transition hasn't been that hard on me and I really like living with her so far. We adopted a pit bull about a month ago and she's completely awesome. She's two and has never had an accident in our house, doesn't chew on our stuff (with the exception of one shirt of mine...), and she's really friendly to other dogs and people. She doesn't like cats (even though I do), but otherwise she's pretty great.

I digress. Of all the perks of moving into a house, probably the best is that I have a yard and am finally able to own a grill. I bought a nice Charbroil and try to use it as often as possible. Grilled Chicken? Obviously. Grilled Peaches? Hell yeah. Grilled Watermelon Salad from the New York Times? Delicious. Grilled Pork Loin? Oh, yeah.

This is a bit of a cop-out, but since I haven't blogged in so long, I want to keep it simple. I threw together a Pork Loin the other day and it turned out perfectly. I can't wait to make this again!

Grilled Pork Loin

1 lb. Grilled Pork Loin (I bought mine at Central Market for around $7. It's a little pricey, but good quality meat tastes so much better than the cheap stuff. It's worth every penny.)

Ground Coffee Beans
Smoked Paprika
Flaked Salt
Ground Pepper

All I did was create a quick rub with some Ground Coffee, Smoked Paprika, Flaked Salt, and Ground Pepper. I did this in the wax paper that the Pork Loin came in. I just rubbed it into the the meat and then threw it on the bottom rack of my grill, which was supposedly 650 degrees or so degrees. I let it sit for about five minutes and then rolled it so that the top side became the bottom side and let it cook for another five minutes or so. I should have kept track of the time, but I didn't. In the end, the meat was perfect; deliciously seasoned, perfectly pink on the inside, and cooked nicely on the outside. I cooked some Veggies and other things with it, but the meat stole the show. Also, I used some in Scrambled Eggs the next morning for Breakfast Tacos and they were world class!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lemon Bars

Hey, happy birthday Wong Vivant!

On an unrelated note, I got to school early this morning and am sitting in class waiting for my econometrics midterm. I could be studying right now, but I studied last night and I'm feeling ok. I probably won't post this until after the midterm- in fact I know I won't, because I haven't photoed my Lemon Bars yet. Anyway, maybe I'll feel differently about the midterm after I see it. Whatever. In any case, I studied last night before my 6pm class, but then the class was canceled, so why not go home and make my Lamb and Feta Burgers and Lemon Bars from scratch. My mom loves to make Lemon Bars, but hers come from a box. They're good, but mine taste fresher and so delicious. I got the recipe from: and I highly recommend it. It's reproduced below.

Lemon Bars

1.75 c. Flour
0.67 c. Powdered Sugar
0.25 c. Cornstarch
0.5 tsp. Salt
1.5 sticks (12 tbsp.) Butter

4 Eggs
1.33 c. Sugar
3 tbsp. Flour
Zest of 2 Lemons
0.67 c. Lemon Juice (I used 5 Lemons)
0.33 c. Whole Milk
Teeny Tiny Bit of Salt

Mix Flour, Powdered Sugar (I once bought some Powdered Sugar at Wal-Mart, Great Value brand, and it's a mixture of Cane Sugar and Cornstarch, so I used a little more Powdered Sugar and a little less Cornstarch--- I don't think it makes much of a difference, but keep an eye out when you buy Powdered Sugar and make sure it says 100% Pure Cane Sugar), Cornstarch, and Salt. Cut the Butter into small slivers and pinch/mash it into the Flour mixture. It'll be pretty dusty, so don't worry if you don't have a firm dough ball or anything like that. Press the mixture into a pan lined with Buttered aluminum foil until it's about 1 cm thick. Then bake for about 15 minutes at 350.

While baking, beat the Eggs with a fork and add in the Sugar, Flour, Zest, Lemon Juice, Milk, and Salt. I actually didn't add Flour since I had a little crust mixture left over. I think it still turned out really well. Pour onto the Crust and bake for 25 minutes or so at 325. The recipe I got this from called for 18-20 minutes, but mine was still too wet. After about 10 minutes, I dusted the tops of the Bars with Crust mixture to use up the last of it. The recipe calls for Powdered Sugar- and it may have looked a little better than Crust mixture- but I liked my outcome very much. So did my girlfriend.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black Drum (Fish) with Purple Rice and Carrots

Long weekend including KUTX's first birthday party featuring Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Iron and Wine, and Neko Case. Iron and Wine was fantastic, Thao was awesome, and Neko was... not my favorite of the three, but what a voice! Normally I could care less what people wear, but Neko Case wore a normal shirt with the pants from a skeleton Halloween costume. For some reason I found this disconcerting. Went out afterward and then read all day today. Had a terrible run yesterday that was amplified by allergies and Whiskey from the night before. Needed to eat healthy food today. Made some Black Drum with Purple Rice and Carrots. It was good.

Black Drum with Purple Rice and Carrots

5 pieces (about 1.25 lb.) Black Drum (Fish)
~1/3 Lemon
Salt and Pepper
Variety of Spices

Purple Rice

Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

I leave the Spices up to you. I've never made Black Drum before, but it was one of the cheaper Fish at Central Market ($10.99/lb.--- admittedly, Central Market is a relatively high quality and expensive grocery store) and I wanted to try it out. I had five pieces. Each one had some Lemon Juice squeezed over it along with Salt and Pepper. One piece had nothing else added- it was probably my favorite. Another had "Lemon Pepper" (don't ask, it was at my girlfriend's place and wanted to try it). This was fine. Another had Parsley Flakes added on and this was probably my second favorite. Another had Smoked Paprika. I put a little too much on, but I think it was an excellent addition and would've been fantastic if I'd used slightly less. I recommend experimenting. The last had a small amount of Ancho Chili Powder. This is overpowering and does not belong on this Fish. Regardless, cook for about 15-18 minutes at 350 until the Fish is flakey and white. It's a tremendously good.

Make the Rice as you would any other Rice- twice as much Water as Rice. It took a little longer to cook than normal White Rice, but was worth the wait (35-40 min). It benefitted from Salt and Pepper.

Slice the Carrots into small strips and mix with a small amount of Honey, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. Bake at 350 for ~30 min and it's delicious. Take them out while they're still slightly crunchy for a real treat.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Veggie Burger--- a First Attempt

Google e-mailed me to tell me that they debited my account for another year of the Gourmet Apartment. So I guess it's our anniversary. It's nice to see how the Gourmet Apartment and I have changed over the past couple years. There's much less meat on this site than there was a couple years ago, for one. Also, I'm a much happier person than I was before. I love my new city, enjoy the work I'm doing in my master's program, and am in a happy relationship.

Two years ago, I couldn't imagine making a Veggie Burger, but there I was last night trying to think of something delicious to make that my girlfriend could also enjoy, and this is what I thought of:

Veggie Burger

15.5 oz. can of Whole Black Beans
3 oz. Tomato Paste (only because my girlfriend's roommate needed about an ounce of a 4 oz. container and was going to throw away the rest...)
0.75 c. 4-Color Quinoa (cooked in 1.5 c. Water)
1 bunch Parsley
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
0.5 Onion diced
Pinch of Ground Rosemary, Thyme, Cumin, and Dried Basil
Salt and Pepper

Boil off as much liquid as you can from the Black Beans and stir in the Tomato Paste. After about half of the liquid has been boiled off, add in the chopped Garlic and half of the diced Onion. Meanwhile cook the Quinoa. Chop the Parsley in a food processor and then add the Bean mixture once the remaining water has mostly boiled off. Pulse a couple times and then add the cooked Quinoa. Add in the Spices and remaining Onion and pulse a few more times to mix everything up. Form the mixture into patties on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the patty is more or less hard and slightly crusty on the outside. The mixture should make 5 fairly large patties (with a couple spoonfuls left over to eat unbaked) or 6-7 smaller, but still sizable patties.

The patty is not supposed to resemble Meat. I do not believe in Veggie Burgers that are supposed to trick vegetarians into believing they are eating Meat. These Burgers are their own thing- earthy and flavorful and happy in their own shoes. Still, I put them on a good Bun with Ketchup, Mustard, a tad of Sriracha, and the usual Lettuce, Tomato, and Onion triumvirate. Also, cheese. Unfortunately, I had no Pickles.

For a first attempt, though slightly overcooked, they were really satisfying and delicious. I ate a leftover burger this morning for breakfast- well, lunch since I woke up late- and was still pleased. But next time I want to try using fewer Beans and adding some Sunflower Seeds and Sprouts of some sort.

***The mixed drink in the background was made with 2 parts Tequila to 1 part Aged Rum, with a dash of Grenadine Syrup and topped off with fresh squeezed Orange Juice. Pretty good.