Journal

Thanksgiving 2014 menu (Sunday)

Game Night - November 2014

After having decreasing turn out for a while, with blips here and there.  Sometimes enough to have two games going at a time, but most often, just one.  This led to the decrease to every other month, and I was thinking about decreasing it down to every quarter.  People have busy lives and it's understandable and I accept that.

This time we had 3, (4 if you count Kellen's game) games going at the same time.  I was quite happy with how everything was turning out (other then me starting to fall asleep at the end).

Good Stuffs.

2014 - Week 47 Cooking Results

Tenderloin Pizza (idea from AB live)

I was extremely happy with how the curst turned out on this one.  Sometimes you have sauce spill over over the side (crust ruined in that area), or there just happens to be a bit to much in that area (ruined again), or for whatever reason there is a break or tear that happens while cooking or before cooking that you miss (more annoying, and still ruined in that area).  But this time, there was no sauce spillage, no tears.  Just crust perfection.

In thinking about it, one could do more to make it more like a tenderloin, and maybe at some point I'll do that.  Pickles, Mustard...shredded lettuce after.  Something.  Anyways This was a good starter for the idea of a tenderloin pizza and we all enjoyed it.

Korean Tacos (sort of like this)

Delayed until today.  Even though my "busy season" is supposed to be over, I've still been busy, so I never got home with enough real time to get home and do the day before prep for this.  I did this Saturday (after getting the pumpkin bread in the oven).

Spicy Carrot Sandwiches

These are good as always.

Pork and Sugar Snap Peas

I saw some noodles in the cupboard that were bought for some reason that I don't remember, so I figured I should probably get them out of there to make more space (and not to waste them).  I guess they need to be made with something that is a bit more saucy because the noodles were pretty bland.  Occasionally there would be a bit where there was enough sauce and combined together well, but not mostly.

Skillet Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese

Quick, simple.  I swapped out the cheese called for for with Prairie Breeze.  It sort of did taste like a Cheeseburger.  I would make this again, because it is so quick and simple.

I pulled some chocolate out of the cupboard and I thought I had enough in the way of Lindt Chocolate (my normal brand for baking), but when I pulled out the 2nd bar that was there, it was the Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate Bar.  Now this is a perfectly tasty bar, but I'm not going to experiment (to often) on my friends when I'm not totally sure that it even sounds good.  So I then checked what else I had up there and there was a handful of bits and pieces and then some Callebaut.  So I used that on one of them and Lindt (70%) on the other.  Good stuffs.

2014 - Week 46 Cooking Results

Tuna Melt (mine using same process as last week)

Little bit more of this, little bit less of that, used things that were hanging out in the fridge.  Much more to my liking.  The process to finish?  Still remains fantastic.

Spiced Lamb Patties with Nutty Garlic Sauce

This was easier then I thought it would be to make and very good.  Between the timing of doing the meat and the sauce while the meat is cooking and the toppings while the second batch is cooking.  Good stuffs.  I have almond butter left now, so we'll see what else we can do with that (or this again)

Tenderloin Pizza (idea from AB Live)

Delayed until today.  While picking up a tenderloin from B&B Joseph and I had a short discussion with the people behind the counter about the pizza that was made and how it was done.  They had pretty good sandwiches (ok ingredients in pretty good bread).

All Pork Hot Dogs

om nom nom.  Is this becoming a delivery system for the Garlic Dill Sauerkraut?  Perhaps, but what are you going to do.

Turkey and Chorizo Burgers with Guacamole

We had this twice.  So I made it the first time (changing the ratio from 1:2 to 1:1) and then made it again later in the week (because Joseph wanted to have the pizza to).  Both times were quite good.

Baked Ziti with Sausage

So I don't know what it is about the Hy-vee I go to, but they just don't seem to carry ziti, ever.  So usually when it calls for ziti, I just swap it straight out for penne cause I know it won't be there.  This recipe had weaknesses.  Simple, good, but it seems to be under seasoned.  I addressed it a bit, but even so.  Anyways it disappeared quickly.

After some minor convincing we ordered a set of Cake Truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar.  They showed up the day we had the ziti.  These are amazing.  I don't know what else I can say about them.  ahhhh-maaaaaa-zzzziiiinnnnggg

2014 - Week 45 Cooking Results

Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs

So this was a lot easier when using canned beans.  It came together quickly and was ok.  Not great, but ok.  Maybe with the addition of the right sauce (wasn't willing to buy), it would be better but who knows.  At least I wasn't full of feelings of failure after it.

Sloppy Sammys

om nom nom

Tuna Melts (sort of following, not making pickles)

This was ok.  I've made better mixtures.  The method was not bad by any means, though.  I used a Ciabatta from Big Sky Bread.  It was...uh..to dense, honestly.  But still, you use what you have to work with.  I like the method of melting using it open face, finishing the top off in the toaster so you can add things like pickles and lettuce after the fact.  I may have to do this again (with my own mixture).  And because I bought plenty of tuna, probably will.

mini-Beef Burgers

In my efforts to avoid a particular place for a bit (I'm not sure how long they'll be in the crap house), I had Shannon run off to La Mie to pick up something to put burgers on.  She came up with dinner rolls.  These were a nice replacement to what I normally would've gotten.  I love La Mie bread, but they close before it is possible for me to get there, normally, to pick up bread, unless I do it on the way to work, which, sometimes, they aren't finished baking by that time.  And then they close at 4, so even if I leave work early at 4, I won't be able to make it there by the time they close.  So that is why the other place is my normal choice.  I can pick it up at Dahl's and another place on the way home (depending on which way I go) and not having to worry about making it there before they close.

So she took care of that issue since she was able to be out and about during the day.  But this was nice and simple.  Locally raised beef (I think Lucky George), little salt and pepper, and some cheese (and other toppings).  It added up to be a good quick dinner, before Shannon headed off to her art class.

Smokin' Mac & Cheese

I don't think that Smokin really describes this that well.  It had a little bit of heat and a little bit of smoke from the chipotle pepper, but it wasn't anything that was direct and forward.  I was in a rush from getting home a little later then I intended (the stop by the Cheese shop to pick up meat and have a beer didn't help either, but I already had left work after 6).  So I rushed through, and may have not reduced down the sauce enough.  It did overflow a bit in the oven (which actually created smoke...maybe that's where it was :-D ), but after cooking through it was a pretty good dish of mac & cheese.

Tomato Fennel Soup (sort of based on) with grilled cheese

After a blender blade replacement, the blender was back up to full service.  it appears as if whatever the turning mechanism was had basically given up the ghost.  I'm not sure if it's just age, in general, or what, but after a quick part swap out, I was back in business.

Makes me think that perhaps I should go after the food processor blade next.  Not that it doesn't work, but perhaps it is no longer sharp or as sharp as it used to be.  That's neither here nor there right now.

I had some of the last fresh fennel from Cleverley Farms, tomatoes from a can and etc.  It made for a nice soup, but I don't think it had quite enough of the fennel flavor.  You could taste it in there, I just want it a bit more.  I made grilled cheese using some of the leftover gorgonzola and some Prairie Breeze.  Good stuffs.  Came together well and dipped into the soup well.

2014 - Week 45 Cooking

So this is the first week of the last (for the third time) super busy season for me at work.  Since things can go very good (not much has changed), or very bad (they didn't tell me about things that should've changed), this can lead to obnoxiously long hours, or a normal week.  To counter this, I will plan on an excessively easy week of cooking.

2014 - Week 44 Cooking Results & a bit of Alton Brown fun

We, Joseph, Shannon and I, had bought tickets a while back to see the Alton Brown Edible Inevitable Tour.  I'm a fan of the mixture of science and humor.  We had pretty good seats (orchestra area), and really enjoyed the show.  At the time of one of the volunteer portions, Joseph made it abundantly clear that he wanted to be chosen, and was.  The show overall was very entertaining for all of us (me, food lover (cooker and eater); Joseph, food professional; and Shannon, food lover (eater)).  So if it is coming to your town, give it a go.  Video screens are available even for the not so close seats.  Alton Brown did go to a number of the places I suggested during a semi-drunken (ok mostly drunken) state (not that he followed my list, but apparently I'm not the only one who suggested the items).

Last night, I went off on a man-date with JZ and a number of other dudes where the plan was to play a bunch of Munchkin, but we ended up playing mostly Dominion (super fun, super variable), then a bit of Munchkin.  Let it be recorded for history that this was the first time that Drew has seen me not win at Munchkin (I've not won a bunch of times).  While we were doing that Shannon was off having a lady-date seeing St. Vincent with the elusive Courtney at the Fleur.  Pretty good week, over all.  Though there were some food failures this week.

The BA Patty Melt

So while I think I had heard using mayonnaise for grilled cheese or things like that was good and I Know I've used mayo to crisp up and keep my turkey moist (as opposed to pork fat, which I've also done).  Maybe I'm just kidding myself though.

These right here, were amazing.  Crisp crust on the bread, good meat mixture.  Good mixture of cheeses (Prairie Breeze and Prairie Rose).  Cooked down onions.

So damn good.  I'll be making this again, for sure.

Chili (today)

Seared in the pan, transferred to the crock-pot, fond from the pan gotten up and added to crock-pot...er slow cooker (I have no idea what the brand of my slow cooker is).  Then I slowly simmered it over the next while.  Pretty good, less spicy (on purpose).  Its not that I don't want it spicy, it's that I don't think I can so much take it anymore.  Anyways generally happy with the results.  Maybe vinegar should be a late add to it.  it brightened it up when you add a few dashes of Frank's Red Hot to the dish...  I'll have to think on that.

Wok-Fried Black Pepper Beef and Celery

I couldn't find gia vi...ok I didn't even bother looking for gia vi.  I was going to make my own, but was once again limited by time (I needed to head off to my man-date).  So basically this recipe is only represented by the fact that I used the ingredients to some extent.  I cut the beef, then marinated it for a little bit in a combination of the spices, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce and some Sriracha.  I chopped up the celery, used the onions I had leftover and it just came together.  Served over some heated up leftover rice, a quick dinner, used some leftovers and still quite good.

Chorizo Tacos

Om nom nom

Rice and Beans with Fried Eggs (Modified)

This counted as a double failure this week.  So the thought was, hey, I've got some extra beans because the Slow cooker isn't as big as my Chantal pot, add some more liquids bam, use the beans and avoid buying (a cheap) can of beans.  This didn't work out because of timing.  One night I got home late from work, the other time the time was limited by going out to the Alton Brown show.  Either way it just kept being frustrating, and we just had eggs and toast instead.  So I'm going to actually follow the damn recipe...

Pork Burgers

Om Nom nom