2018 - Week 50 Cooking

So after a year or so of pondering to get the gadget and seeing them go on super sale, I finally picked up a sous vide device. I have vague plans for a couple of things, but to make sure I use It, I’m going to try to implement it in at least one recipe a week. I’m going to start with fish. Since I don’t have a lot of experience in fish, it may be the way to go. I’m curious how this will work. I was going to do eggs, but most of my providers are having new flocks or etc, so I’m kind of eggless right now.

2018 - Week 49 Cooking Results

French Tacos: baguette, Brie, Pate, cornichons

This came out of going to the Richard the Whale release. I’m not sure how this came up as we were driving to drop the Matta’s teenager off at a swim meet and a mild lack of a filter as the mild intoxication was wearing off (it was a beer release party). So the Thought and discussion of how to do a french taco came about, so you need a shell, and then ingredients that are French (in essence, not necessarily in actual origin). So after a bit of back and forth the combo was made. I picked up a american brie style cheese, some country style pate from the cheese shop and I had some leftover cornichons from thanksgiving (bought two jars). I wasn’t able to make it to La Mie to get a baguette, so I picked up an “artisinal” one which was…ok…I guess. I baked it in the oven for a bit and added cornichons to my “taco” afterwards. It was pretty damn good.

Quick and Easy Skillet Tamale Pie With Brown Butter Cornbread Crust Recipe

This was quick, it was easy and it cam together in a very tasty fashion. I was happy with how it turned out.

Crispy Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

I’m was almost out of farm fresh eggs (now am). So I decided not to experiment on the last set of eggs.

Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese

I originally started on one website’s recipe and after reading it and finding it incomplete, shopped around a bit and found one that seemed ok. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it was kind of lacking. It seemed to not hit all the notes that one would expect. The roasted garlic stood out, good cheese, but not like the random mac that I do (mustard and blue usually stand out as notes). I dunno. Lots of pots and pans too.

Bangers & Potatoes

Good, Shannon requested mashed potatoes, so I’ll do that next time.

2018 - Week 48 Cooking Results

Quick Tomato Chicken Curry

I took some of the spice rub tossed it with the chicken, some potatoes and olive oil and roasted them in the oven. It turned out pretty good. Shannon wasn’t feeling like curry, so I called adjusted.

Brats and Leftover Potato Salad & Boston baked beans

I couldn’t imagine making this for real…well for us at least, but leftovers and some Lucky George brats? Yes, Please

Grilled Cheese and Mortadella (or something else)

I love this combination, bread, fatty meat and fat. Ok…maybe that’s why. Even so.

Summer Sausage Scrambled Eggs

Saw a recipe on this combination. I think for something else, but simplified it in my mind.

Hamburgers swapped to pork patties with bacon, cause it was right on top of the pile. (Remnant Hills Farm)

So part of me thinks having more control over my website I can do things like adding a strike through, which I complained about, but then I remember the purpose of hosting it here is that I don’t have to worry about that. Anyways, this turned out well.

2018 - Week 47 Cooking & Thanksgiving Results

Yet another practice Boston butt

I used a Crooked Gap pork and it turned out very well. The rub was adapted from a book, and advice from my brother. Generally to be happy I tweak and prod and poke and experiment until it’s adapted to my flavor profile, with account taken for heat level for Shannon. The amount of time from start to end did not really allow for this, but I think the ratios:

  • 1/4 c salt

  • 1/4 c brown sugar packed

  • 2 T black pepper

  • 1 T garlic powder

  • 1 T onion powder

  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper

Work as a good base point to move forward. Now the mix of wood, how often I top the smoker container off, when I put in. And I’m thinking a new step, over the last couple of hours, to retain more liquid. If that is done by spray or wrapping the pork. Currently I’m using 1/2 Jack Daniels Barrels oak and 1/2 apple wood (by volume, visually inspected), topping off the container every 3 hours with apple wood.

Anyways, more variables to adjust, more practice to do.

Quick Tomato Chicken Curry


Mutton Burgers

They were good, and after a busy(ish) day.


Getting these to come together pretty quickly, as it is. Just a good simple meal.


There is a whole stream of photos, that document the progress along the way. My primary take away is that this is a better way of doing things. By limiting the amount of work the day of, it is generally less stressful, especially when you don’t have to worry as much about the semi-exacting timing to get a gigantic bird to cook well. I did not plan that last hour well, I should’ve had a number of things ready to go before then, and I had time too.

The potatoes struggled in the smoker to get that last texture right and I had to finish them in the oven at a slightly higher temperature. This also led to a debate between a few friends as to the proper texture of potatoes in potato salad. I compared it as similar to al dente, but a bit firmer. I’m pretty sure the smoke flavor is associated with the olive oil that they’re in, rather then the potatoes themselves, but I don’t know enough to know for sure. But even so, the fingerlings (Grade A Gardens) were a bit softer and the other potatoes (another producer through the Iowa Food Coop) were firmer. Had I known, I may have cooked them separately.

For the Pork, they were of varied size, and bone size, So some were a bit over 200 degrees and some where a bit under and some were about on. It was a bit challenging and I didn’t have enough things to monitor them all, especially since the climb in temperature at the end was very slow (falling temp outside probably slowed it a bit). Mixed together, I think it was pretty good, not as good as I want it to be, but still pretty good. To serve, I mixed in a bit of apple cider vinegar, the spice mix, and warmed it up in a crock pot with apple cider in the bottom.

I literally misplaced half a pound of Parmigiano Reggiano. I good portion of that meant to go into the mashed potatoes. I still don’t know where it is. So I called an audible and we had garlic mashed potatoes.

Everything else went about as expected. The Cheese spread got some complements and asks for the recipe, I toned down the spice level a bit to adapt to my family. Overall I’m pretty happy, and I was able to be social with my family, as opposed to normally where I stare out the window, sip whiskey for half an hour and unwind the stress.

I want to thank my wife Shannon for helping me pull this off one more year (taking care of all the non-kitchen stuff and some of the kitchen stuff), The support of many local wonderful farmers, and high class shops like the Cheese Shop and Iowa Food Coop. And my family for helping expand the food selection and helping with the serving and etc.

Thanksgiving 2018 - Updates and notes


  • Carrots, Celery, Cornichons - Tuesday

    • Carrots bought at Iowa Food Coop Tuesday, Prepped Tuesday Night

    • Celery bought Sunday, prepped Tuesday

    • Bought Sunday or Tuesday (depending on availability and quality, last type purchased, not great (inexpensive))

  • (Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball removed) Spicy Cheese Spread - Tuesday

    • Still thinking about this or just the cheese dip that goes over well, consult with Shannon

  • Underground Meats Summer Sausage? (if available) - Thursday

    • Buy Tuesday, Cut up Thursday

  • Cheese

  • Crackers

    • Buy Sunday


  • Whipped Honey Butter

    • Buy butter on Sunday, Can do this Monday

  • Lefse - Bought (unless someone wants to send me some)

    • Buy Sunday

  • Rolls (La Mie?)

    • Investigate La Mie on Monday, or find other alternatives


  • Pulled Pork (Wednesday)

    • Need to find about how much I should make per person. Have Pork shoulders from Lucky George (bought today) defrosting)

    • Maybe 10 pounds? ((5 oz /16)*2 (weight loss) * 15 Guests

    • Check freezer for more meet, just in case

  • Smoked Potato Salad (Tuesday, Wednesday)

    • Examine recipe Sunday,

    • Extra potatoes picked up from Grade A, technically yesterday

    • Ordered potatoes from Iowa Food Coop for Tuesday Pick up, smoke Tuesday night?

  • Baked Beans (Wednesday, Thursday)

    • Decide on recipe Sunday

  • Mac & Cheese (Thursday)

    • Decide on recipe Sunday, probably Cooks Illustrated baked mac and cheese? maybe something else

  • Cornbread (Thursday)

    • Go for a good old standby, (cooks Illustrated)

  • Hard Cider Gravy - Thursday (1 Burner) - replace chicken fat / butter, with pork fat

    • done before, should be easy. Maybe buy some cider to pair with this?…or just drink

  • Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes - Thursday, stove top (at times 2 burners)

    • Maybe go to Costco for potatoes, Hy-vee probably fine.

  • Fruit Salad - Mom

  • Macaroni Salad - Nancy


  • Apple Pie (Slow Food Central Iowa)

    • Pick up Wednesday? I think

  • Pumpkin Pie (Slow Food Central Iowa)

    • Pick up Wednesday? I think

  • Ice Cream - bought

    • Gotta decide what, maybe I’ll get lucky and Black Cat will have some, if not, purchase something of quality (vanilla)

  • Cookies - Isaac Bringing

  • Pie? - Maybe Mom, not sure per discussion

  • Chocolate Pie - Kim

2018 - Week 46 Cooking Results

Yet another practice Boston butt

Moving to tomorrow, the timing for today didn’t work out.

Practice Smoking fingerling potatoes

I did this today. It made for a nice easy experience. A little olive oil, a little salt, a little pepper, boom, done (like 90 something minutes later).

Tom Kha Gai

Relatively easy to make, a good use of both chicken and coconut milk.

Kimchi Udon with Scallions

I’m going to give up on making this for a bit.

Taco Salad

Easy, done. I used some of the leftover pork butt with beans and tomatoes. This left a nice smokey flavor to the normal flavor. it was a nice touch.

Grilled Cheese and Mortadella

I really do love Mortadella, it warms up nice and contrasts well with the the cheese and the bread. I had some nice crisp bread too, which I seem to be getting better at.

Pork Burgers

OM nom nom.

Thanksgiving 2018


  • Carrots, Celery, Cornichons - Tuesday

  • Classic Cheddar Cheese Ball - Tuesday

  • Underground Meats Summer Sausage? (if available) - Thursday

  • Crackers



  • Pulled Pork (Wednesday)

  • Smoked Potato Salad (Tuesday, Wednesday)

  • Baked Beans (Wednesday, Thursday)

  • Mac & Cheese (Thursday)

  • Cornbread (Thursday)

  • Hard Cider Gravy - Thursday (1 Burner) - replace chicken fat / butter, with pork fat

  • Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes - Thursday, stove top (at times 2 burners)