Journal

2019 - Week 19 Cooking Results

Franny’s Rice and Beans (Milk Bar Life, p 102)

I was running a bit late, and decided that I wanted to do this, it did take a bit of time, but not to much, but it was a quite delicious meal to have. I’m not quite sure what the Sazon Goya added, but I do have a lot of it now (bulk on amazon, woo). I had it as leftovers the next couple of days, and it was good then too.

Tacos

Made with grass fed ground beef. My brain was playing the forgetful game and I forgot: sour cream, fresh onion, green onions. I made do, and toss the last of Franny’s rice and some other leftover rice that I had in there to. Still turned out pretty good.

Brats

Back to Lucky George and remembering to buy the beer with the brats, I clearly didn’t remember. But I wrote it down this time.

Ramp and Sausage Risotto

This is always one of those times of the year where you love what the early market brings you and you will miss it when it’s gone, but are glad for the cycles so you are fond of the season. This is good as always, and made for a lovely meal. I did have a minor WTF moment when I struggled to find the vermouth (I did, it was buried at the back of the liquor cabinet).

Mongolian Beef

So uh…this involves frying things…I don’t particularly like frying things, so skipped.

Pasta with Chicken, Tomatoes, and Feta

We tried the still in development Farmstead Feta from Lost Lake Farm. And while it was a bit salty by itself, it was nice mixed with the other things. Good dish.

Pinto Bean and Corn Dip with Cilantro

Relatively easy to put together, I may have added a bit more spice then needed, so it was a bit hotter then I suspect the recipe intends, but even so, it was pretty good. Maybe I’ll make it for a party or something. This was made for Shannon’s work thing, but there were leftovers

I also took the time make a honey rhubarb shrub. I have not tried it yet

2019 - Week 16 Cooking Results

Vietnamese-Style Chicken Meatballs With Ginger and Mint

I was running a bit late the night I had planned to do this, so instead of making the meatballs I combined these into little patties for mini pretzel buns. It was pretty good like that. This was delicious.

Chicken Taco Casserole

When it describes it as backwards nachos, it’s not kidding. It really was like that. With the addition of black beans it was a bit better, but I suspect the salt level was quite a bit more then I should probably intake at any point in time.

Brats (Crooked Gap)

Good time, good tastes, good stuff.

Sloppy Goats

So I saw a vague website suggested doing this, after a bit of a discussion I supplemented it with beef to make it 50/50, then made a sloppy Joe as I normally would (semi-random mix of herbs and spices, tomato sauce / chunks, sometimes yellow mustard). Pretty good. Kind of a waste of goat if I must say so. I’ll probably make some curry.

Eggs and Bacon

I had some sugar cured bacon sitting in the freezer. Lucky George via the Story City Locker. It was a nice bacon. I guess it wouldn’t be may favorite preparation of pork belly, but still quite good. Scrambled eggs, a bagel, and a quick dinner in the bag.

Peruvian-American Pork Adobo (Sunday)

The problem with many recipes is the size associated with produce. Small, medium, or large onions. With no indication as to the end product and how much, by weight, the onions should be, you can’t tell if that mammoth set of onions you have actually are what they indicate by large. So that being said, there was a lot of onions in this. Like a whole lot. an entirely excessive amount. I enjoyed it, the house did have a lingering onion smell, and it wasn’t near as good the second time around, especially as I ran out of decent bread for dipping.

So, Ham.

I was really worried that I was going to mess this up. After a taxing day of waiting (at the barbershop, at the grocery store), I’m not quite sure how much smoke flavor got added to the the “cold smoke” because I didn’t really see a lot of smoke, but I did let it go from around 6:30 am to around 8:PM. Then I was worried that the smoke would go way to long, so the book recommended two temperatures, so I took the 250 over the 225. I swapped the wood chips completely once. The first round was a mixture of mostly apple wood and a touch of mesquite and cherry. Second round was a handful of cherry, jack Daniels barrels chips, and the rest apple wood. I was a bit surprised as to how quickly it got to temperature, because I guess I’m used to the stall that happens for BBQ. I tested in a few places and found that yes it was actually done. I cut into it and found that pink color. I was pretty excited. Now to figure out what to do with all that ham…

Deep in the meat, close to the bone, it does get a bit less pink from the curing salt, but it still tastes pretty good. I discovered this as cut the pieces apart and off the bone. That being said, not a bad first try. Luckily I’ll have a whole other ham to try again on, make some adjustments and try to refine.

I also made Cowboy Cookies, to bring to Easter dinner tomorrow.

2019 - Week 15 Cooking Results

Piri Piri Meatballs

Unlike some weeks in the past where I have made entirely to many meatball dishes, having one is not to bad. I used some grass fed beef. Making the sauce was nice. I feel like my blender two often sits idle, to where sometimes I wonder why I have one. This week, twice! The Piri Piri reminds me a bit of the sauce that I bought once or twice but it lacked some of the flavor, even so, I think. It was nice, but I would be curious about an actual sauce, though getting the pepper here would challenging. This made for a nice dinner. Maybe it should be served with bread or on flatbread.

Peruvian-American Pork Adobo (Friday, Saturday)

I made the brine on Friday night before making a nice grilled cheese for dinner. I adjusted it a bit, as I didn’t feel like making the paste, but i did have some of the powder (woo Allspice). While I was going to start it Saturday morning, we are leaving the option open to go out with Shannon’s sister as they are up here for my niece’s dance competition. Unfortunately we won’t be able to go, but it’s nice that she is progressing in her dance. I’ll finish this on Sunday. I do feel vaguely guilty for using corporate pork. So Continued next week…

Buffalo burgers (Bare Bison)

To add cheese but not overwhelm the bison, Darren recommended the Consider Bardwell Farm Pawlet. It made for a nice combination. I did like the bison so I’m going to probably order more when I start to get the freezer to the point where it is ok to fill it up again.

Chacarero Chileno (Modified, Sous Vide) (Sunday)

Instead of taking out a grill and searing these outside. I took some steak cuts from Lucky George and sous vide then to just over mid rare. I then seared them for about a minute on each side. I was able to time this so that we could eat dinner at about the time we would. I really like the mildly pickled beans and steak on the sandwich. As a side note, I used the mayo and beans on several lunches later in the week. The beans did not go over well with Shannon but they garlic mayo did.

Easiest Lamb Gyros with Creamy Yogurt Sauce (Mutton, Lucky George)

Yes, this was very easy to do. So easy and quick that I think Shannon was surprised when I called her up for dinner. The mutton combined with a few spices made it easy to mix and prepare and the cooking led to allowing to do other things (unload and reload the dishwasher) while waiting for the sear to happen. I would make this again. I passed on the cherry tomatoes cause it seems like a paltry add (and spring has barely started so most tomatoes taste like garbage).

Ham Prep

Grilled Cheese

2019 - Week 14 Cooking Results

Green Mac & Cheese

This was a nice way to vegetables and fiber to the diet, making it hard to avoid. it was easy to do, if you have the tools, but would be challenging without a food processor. That beings aid, I used smoked hot paprika (instead of basically coloring paprika). I would add maybe a dash or two of hot sauce. Luckily the cheese shop had some mozzarella again, so I was able to use that to top it off.

Canadian Bacon Strata (I have a surprising amount of Canadian Bacon left)

I’ve been cleaning out my freezer and noticed that I had quite a bit of Canadian Bacon left. So This seems like it used a lot of Canadian Bacon, so there we went. I made it Friday night, then cooked it Saturday. I thought about making it for breakfast, but the long bake time and Shannon heading out for her hair appointment made it unlikely to get finished in a timely fashion. I popped it in the oven a little before 5:PM and we ate quite a bit later.

Spicy-Sweet Sambal Pork Noodles

Shortly after making this the first time, I stated, I need to make this again. It holds up. Delicious and easy.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Unlike last time where I could’ve sworn I had bought wild rice, I actually had wild rice. The soup turned out just as good as last time. As a change, I used some chicken thighs and sous-vide cooked them one of the previous days (butter, salt pepper, chicken) Made for perfectly just underdone chicken to finish off in the soup in nice neatly chopped chunks.

Hamburgers (Lucky George, label for type obscured)

Good as always.

Chacarero Chileno (Modified, Sous Vide)

Delayed! (I was going to make this Saturday, but the Friday plan wanted to soak for 2+ hours, thus pushing this into Sunday)

Weezer & Pixies (Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, 3/28/2019)

Pixies

Weezer

2019 - Week 13 Cooking Results

I need to sharpen my knives. I got a new magnetic block which I like, but I’ve noticed as I’ve swapped the order of the knives available, that I need to sharpen both of my chef knives. I’ve taken them to be sharpened before and I’ve had my brother sharpen them. I’ve intended to buy a sharpener for a while, just keep putting it off.

I went to see Weezer & Pixies and Basement (? I think) with Nathan. It marked the Pixies off the bucket list for me (I’ve seen Weezer a couple times before). I’ve kinda wanted to see them since college, but they broke up before college, and got back together after. It was a very fun show. Afterwards we walked to Hello Marjorie for some cocktails. I am annoyed that it was my first visit there. Maybe I’ll have to find an excuse to go for cocktails more.

On the cocktail note, we discovered a thing we didn’t know about. Aquafaba, apparently is a vegan alternative to egg whites, can be used as a replacement. More research is called for. I have an interest in cocktails but usually I get distracted by getting intoxicated. So you have notes but you can’t always trust yourself and your tastebuds after a few drinks.

Shrimp Fried Rice (cleaning out the freezer of leftover shrimp)

Made some rice, used it to make fried rice twice. I don’t remember what I bought the shrimp for, but it worked out pretty well.. I brought the shrimp up to temperature then cooked and follow the directions for the most part. Fried rice is a perfect example of why you need to get everything in place before you start. I admit that I don’t always do the prep first, cause I know that you usually have time built into a recipe while something cooks to get the next step or two ready. But often it makes sense to get ready.

Kielbasa and Lentil Soup

There was a judgement call to make on the type of lentils to use and etc, so I made a call, and apparently it was wrong (red lentils). It ended up being less soupy and more pea soupy. Which was fine, I think the taste was pretty good, but it looks nothing even remotely like the picture on the site. I had leftovers from an early lunch today, still quite good.

Large Black Ham Slices & Eggs

So they were a bit bigger then I expected so when I pulled out the ham slices, I expected it to fit in a pan…then had to pull out another pan… So I have scrambled eggs in a pan, then two other pans with ham steaks, it was a bit silly. Relatively easy to manage, dinner was done quick.

Mangalitsa Pork Burgers

Low and slow…still a bit of complaints from the smoke alarm. A warning. Just a bit of warning, but not to bad. The burgers themselves seem to be flavored with something. I can’t tell what, but not just a flavor of pork… Anyways I think I thought the same thing when we had it before. Did we have it before? I’m pretty sure. Anyways, It’s pretty good. I’ll have to try it again.

Green Onion Sausage Pizza

After the semi-failure of the pizza from week 4, it was good to get back on the right path. the Cheese Shop had by chance, some fresh mozzarella. I made a grab of it and used it. I slowly stretched out the dough (over about 30 minutes or so). While I was waiting for that I shredded the cheese, cooked the green onion sausage and made the sauce. It was good to have it again with a nice crisp crust.

2019 - Week 11 Cooking Results

Chicken Alfredo

As this was for Shannon’s Birthday, I was frustrated with myself as I well and truly fucked this up. Re-reading the recipe I can see why, but I’m still frustrated with myself not being able to pull it out. I’m going to do this again. Maybe not this recipe, but ffs, I’m annoyed with myself.

Easy Meatloaf

So this was interesting. It is always a bit odd to watch the variables that change to make the relatively simple combination of eggs, milk, bread of some type to add as a binder. The English muffins was a bit new for me. That being said, this was a little bland for my taste. I tried to follow it as closely as possible and added a stripe of Dijon mustard before baking it. It was ok, it made for good sandwiches.

Hamburgers (for real this time)

I tried my best to cook these low and slow, to avoid setting off the smoke dectector…

ugggg…

ugggg…

Oh well. I have been passively investigating a hood vent, but the fridge needs help more then that does, I guess.

Grilled Cheese (Emmentaler)

A little fried Canadian bacon, a bit of cheese and some lightly soured bread (normally it would be called sourdough, but seriously I know what it should taste like, and while better then some bread, it’s not sourdough). It worked out pretty well. The cheese was bought as part of a drive to save the Emmentaler. It’s a great cheese. Sandwiches were pretty good.

I made some brownies. I haven’t made them in a while. they turned out pretty good, I follow a recipe on Serious Eats. They got good reviews.

2019 - Week 7 Cooking Results

I have been trying to make notes throughout the week of cooking to make these more accurate to the feelings that I had at the time making them. Clearly this week got away from me (I’m playing the “Why is Sam tired” game again). I’ve tried to adjust the process a bit for how I collect recipes to make too. So I have a list of things I might want to make that I do throughout the week, rather then just waiting for for Sunday morning to go through a weeks worth of email and bookmarks. It kind of distributes the effort through the week, rather then making a large burden all at once. It also works better when my emotions aren’t particularly cooperating.

For Valentines Shannon picked the Cheese Bar. They did a fantastic job.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice With White Sauce

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t take the time to toast the rice, as I started dinner a bit late and it was this or Shepherd’s pie. But the rice was not quite done, but didn’t have more time to really play more. So that as a distraction, this still came together really well. I like the flavor combination of the sauce and the chicken and rice. I had it for breakfast for the next several days.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I could have sworn I bought wild rice. I could’ve sworn I put it away, but when I went to look for it, I couldn’t find it so I used some leftover jasmine and basmati rice. I really liked the way this turned out. And I think I’ll have to do it again with wild rice.

Taco Salad

an old standby for the win.

Coconut Apple Ginger Dal

This ended up being more filling then I expected. It was savory and sweet at the same time, which was pretty nice. It had some long cooking times, also a plus, because it allowed me to rest my eyes for a bit.

Shepherd’s Pie

I make the shepherd’s joke almost every time I make this, as it’s included in the recipe. I know I bought the mutton in the mid to late fall from Lucky George with the intentions of making Alton Brown’s version of a Shepherd’s Pie. I added a bit more Worcestershire sauce, didn’t particularly measure the corn and peas. I had a bit more mutton then called for, but what I’m I going to do with a faction of a pound of mutton? I had some potatoes that I bought from the last winter market and peeled them, only to remember how annoying peeling small potatoes can be. To save a pan, I finished it in my 12” pan. I should’ve had a bit more potatoes, I think. Oh well. Still came out really good. I bought a bottle of Champagne for New Years that we didn’t end up opening, so we had it with the Pie. It was a nice contrast.

2019 - Week 6 Cooking Results

Porter Bacon Mac & Cheese

In selecting the porter to use, I was thinking of going to a bells porter, but ended up with the Alaskan Brewing Company Smoked Porter. As I am no longer on limited sauce I was able to finish off the beer myself. Pretty good. So making the sauce I may have added a bit too much butter, but it still came together pretty well. I used more pans then the recipe called for so I could get the sauce started while the pasta was finishing. I used a whole package of (just over a pound) of large black pig bacon from Lucky George Farm. After combining everything in the pan I made the sauce in, I dusted them with some buttered breadcrumbs. Baked it off and it turned out really good. A bit of smokey flavor from the porter, nice cheese and bacon flavor. Good things.

Coconut Apple Ginger Dal

Delayed (went to dinner with the Mattas)!

Beef and Bean Soup

It’s chili, with a lot more chicken stock. We had some leftover corn chips (not Fritos). It was pretty good.

Boogaloo Wonderland Sandwiches

This was interesting. Ground beef, onions, softened up, then add something like a ketchup based bbq sauce. Baked and melted cheese and sauced. Kind of like a sloppy joe, but not as juicy. I couldn’t bring myself to use American cheese, so I topped it with Holey Cow. It went over ok. I think I liked it more than Shannon did.

Fish

So this time around I seared off the tuna steaks after getting them up to almost the right temperature. I may have left them in the pan a touch to long, but I feel like I’m getting the hang of this. So like an extra 30 seconds too long.

2019 - Week 5 Cooking Results

Spaghetti with Carbonara (and chicken)

I guess I didn’t need to add the chicken, but I did anyways. I couldn’t remember at the end of the recipe of what it called for in the way of pasta water. I clearly added to much as the sauce became a bit to runny then I think was intent. It puddled at the bottom rather than clung to the noodles, I also thought the noodles were done, and they were a bit under done, but only a touch. I then made some cookies, for Shannon’s work thing. I think they are allowing a dress down a bit since it’s going to be kind of ridiculous outside.

Weeknight beans on toast

Beans and sausage some garlic toast. It was delicious.

Plov (Uzbek Rice Pilaf) and Chicken?

This was ok. not great, but I used it as an excuse to use some of the saffron threads that I have. It was fine, I cooked and chopped up some chicken to add to it.

One-Skillet Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie

I had a thought that this was a weeknight meal. It is clearly not. That being said, it was clear and relatively simple to do, just needed quite a bit of time. It was not helped by the fact that I got home from work and laid down on the couch for a 2 hour nap. I did work through the process, and used my 12” skillet to make this. It came out pretty well, nice combination of pastry and sauce and other things. I think they could’ve gone with cutting out circles of the puff pastry dough to layer on the sauce. It was a bit runny when we had it, but really quite good. Pretty good the next day too.

Sous Vide Pork Chop

I really enjoy this. You cook it to just below the right temp and then ba bam! High heat, seared and done. You can hold it at that temp if you happened to have fall asleep, and need a bit of time to wake up. I did catch a little flack when talking about it as a way to cook things with some of my co-workers.

Goat Burgers

I cooked these in butter, low and slow as goat tends to be lean. We had them on little pretzel buns with a triple milk cheddar. Good things.