Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Best Damned Brussels Sprouts You'll Ever Eat

 

Brussels sprouts are a truly divisive ingredient. You either love them or hate them. Naturally, my child hates them and runs screaming from the room if I suggest she eat some. She claims that her school cafeteria served them once and she did not like them, I contend that story is 100% bullshit. Fortunately, I watch a shit-ton of America's Test Kitchen and took some of their advice and came up with this absolute gem of a recipe. No joke. I could stand at the counter and eat the whole pound of these if left to my own devices. I imagine the gas would be absolutely spectacular. Try it and let me know!

The Best Damned Brussels Sprouts You'll Ever Eat

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, rinsed and cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease (you can make due with grapeseed or vegetable oil but you're going to lose a bunch of flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • Seasoned salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gas Mark 5)
  2. In a large, oven proof skillet (I used my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet) melt the bacon grease on medium-high heat until it has coated the bottom of the pan.
  3. Lay the Brussels sprouts, cut side down in the pan in a single layer. It is important that the cut side is making direct contact with the bottom of the pan.
  4. Let the Brussels sprouts sizzle away on the pan for about 5-6 minutes. You're looking to get a really nice sear on the bottoms. 
  5. Turn the heat off under the pan and slowly pour in the stock. Then sprinkle the top with the seasoned salt.
  6. Put in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. You want the stock to completely cook off in there. 
  7. Once the stock is cooked off, take them out of the oven and serve them up!
Good Times!


Salmon and Penne in Garlic Pesto Sauce

 There's some good recipes floating out there, if you're willing to suffer through pages of scrolling. Alternately, just find the "jump to recipe" button. While looking for inspiration for dinner, I happened across a recipe from Salt & Lavender for a salmon pasta in garlic sauce. It looked good. I decided to make it and like any good online cook, I immediately made changes without trying the original recipe. Mostly I wanted to use a jar of pesto that I've had since 2014. I also wanted way more garlic than the recipe called for. I'm sure their recipe is wonderful, and I'm sure mine is as well. Feel free to try it! I don't necessarily endorse using eight year old pesto, though.

Salmon and Penne in Garlic Pesto Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 pound salmon fillets
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup chicken/vegetable stock (water will do in a pinch, but you'll lose some richness in the sauce.)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used the stuff from the container. I never have fresh on hand.)
  • 1/2 cup jarred pesto (I used a walnut/oregano pesto I made back in 2014. Miraculously, we did not die.)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gas Mark 5)
  2. According to directions on pasta box, cook penne until al dente. Drain and set aside
  3. Pat salmon dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper on both sides (the salmon, not the paper towels)
  4. Put salmon on baking sheet and cook in oven about 10-12 minutes, or until fish starts to get flaky. 
  5. While fish is cooking, heat butter in a large pan/pot (I used a 5 quart enameled Dutch oven and needed every last bit of it) When the butter has melted and starts to bubble, add flour and mix to form a roux. Stir constantly until the roux starts to darken.
  6. Add the garlic powder and keep stirring.
  7. Add the stock and lemon juice. Then stir in the cream. Finally add the pesto and Parmesan. Stir until completely incorporated and just starting to bubble. 
  8. Crumble the salmon in to the sauce and add the penne. Mix everything thoroughly. 
Good Times!


Monday, April 25, 2022

Crab Rangoon Pizza

 I'm not sure where the inspiration came for this one. Probably from the bag of fake crab that had been in the freezer for an uncomfortable amount of time. Apparently, I'm not the first person to come up with this idea, but by the time I had figured that out, it was too late. The recipe was already scrawled on the back on an envelope. The Wife and I were both really surprised how good this was. Even The Spud condescended to take a tiny bite before going back to her crackers and cheese. I can't say the flavor was 100% authentic to a restaurant crab rangoon. You'd probably need to go a little heavier on the cream cheese. I don't recommend that, as it would make the topping way too thick. However! You could do it and just bump up the rest of the ingredients. Then forget about the flatbread as a crust, turn the topping into a dip, and use the bread for dipping. DAMN, I AM A GENIUS. I do recommend hitting it with a little hot sauce or crushed red pepper, it really brings it together. Let me know what you think, as long as it's positive. As always, notes are in blue.

Crab Rangoon Pizza
or Dip If You're So Inclined

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 pound artificial crab meat aka "crabuluxe," roughly chopped (don't even think about using real crab meat here. You know damned well the crab rangoon you're getting from the local place is using the fake stuff)
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ponzu sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce 
  • (in the event you don't have either of those, you could probably get away with equal amounts of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 artisan flatbread, 7 ounces (ALDI has them. If you can't get to an ALDI, find something comparable at your local store)
  • Optional: sriracha, or hot sauce of your choice. Even crushed red pepper would work
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F (220C, Gasmark 7)
  2. In a bowl, put in everything except the shredded cheese and the flatbread. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place the flatbread on a baking tray. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture over the bread.
  4. Sprinkle the shredded cheeses evenly over the top of the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Put in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted.
  6. If you're using optional hot sauce/peppers, throw it on and get to work!
Good Times!


Monday, April 4, 2022

World's Best Ever (FIGHT ME) Deluxe Super Special Pasta Salad (with extra hyperbole!)

We're back from a long hiatus due to the world being a fundamentally nonstop torrent of shit. I won't go into it, but 2022 is shaping up to be one slobberknocker of a shitty year. Last weekend we decided we needed to distract ourselves and spent an entire Saturday in the kitchen. This culinary masterpiece is one of the many things we made. This is made from ingredients you're probably going to have around the house or at the very least, can get easily. The Spanish chorizo might be a small challenge. We have to order ours on Amazon as culinary tastes around here largely center on Natural Light or Horseshoes. That said, this is a Taste Delight and received rave reviews from The Wife. Naturally, the Spud stared in horror and refused to go anywhere near it. As always, notes are in blue.

 World's Best Ever (FIGHT ME)
Deluxe Super Special Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (15.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black olives (6 ounces), drained and sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces), drained
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts (12 ounces) (DO NOT DRAIN)
  • 1 Spanish chorizo (about 8 ounces), chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
For the Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (we went with a carrot/habanero sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Cook pasta to al dente. Or according to directions if you don't know what al dente is. Drain the pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients until emulsified (the dressing, not you.)
  3. In a HUGE bowl (not kidding here. This makes an alarming amount of pasta salad. You're going to have a hard time tossing it if the bowl isn't big enough.) dump in the pasta. 
  4. Dump in everything else (including the dressing) but not the cheese. If you put in the cheese while the pasta is still hot, it's going to break down and you don't want that. 
  5. Without sending the pasta salad flying all over the kitchen, carefully mix up the salad so the dressing and artichoke marinate coats everything. 
  6. Put the salad in the fridge for an hour or two to let it cool off.
  7. Add the cheese and give it one more toss. 
Good Times!


Monday, January 24, 2022

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup

Lately we have been in survival mode. We've had some drama around the homestead and work has been one nightmare after another for me and The Wife. Among other things, I had a sinus infection that led to over three weeks of coughing. Scorpia summed it up very succinctly:
Well, more of a challenge of a last few months.

Last Sunday, I finally had the energy to throw together something new. This recipe is about as easy as you could want. We used ALDI frozen chicken breasts. I didn't even defrost the meat, I just chucked it in frozen. If you're a vegetarian, feel free to leave the meat out. This would make a fine potato soup. If you're feeling tired and lazy, this is the way to go. It's a perfect soup for this weather. It's thick and spicy and definitely takes the edge off a cold day. Try it and let me know what you think, unless it's negative, then don't. I probably couldn't handle it at this point. As always, notes are in blue.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 potatoes, cut into small (1/4") cubes. Peeling them is optional
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 pound chicken (boneless skinless thighs or breasts. I used breasts for this recipe)
  • 2 packs (2 ounces each) Buffalo Chicken Soup/Dip Mix (I got mine at Aldi. I'm sure most grocery stores have it. If you don't like spicy, do one packet. If you do like spicy, use the two recommended and then dump in some Frank's or Tabasco)
  • 32 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 block (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese (or you can use regular cream cheese)
Directions
  1. Throw everything but the cheese into a 5 quart or larger slow cooker in the order listed above. 
  2. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken (I just got in there with a couple of forks and tore it up)
  4. Add the cheese and stir until it is incorporated. 
  5. Turn to LOW and cook another 30 minutes.
Good times!


Monday, October 25, 2021

Best Ever (FIGHT ME) Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

 I don't normally bandy around the term "BEST EVER." It's trite. It's overused. It generally denotes a slow cooker recipe that is, in fact, not the best ever. HOWEVER, this recipe is, based solely on my experience with tomato soups, the BEST EVER. I will gladly fight anyone who says differently. How do I know it's the BEST EVER? I really fucking hate tomato soup and this was actually pretty good. I know The Wife enjoyed it immensely. The Spud enjoyed it, but all she's ever had was canned tomato soup from Aldi, so the bar was set pretty low there. Other than the caramelizing of onions, this recipe is super easy. Just remember not to add the cream until the end. As always, notes are in blue.

I can say without fear of contradiction, this is the
Best Ever*
Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 quart canned tomatoes, undrained (we used our own canned tomatoes. If you don't have home canned, just use an equivalent amount of canned stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 quart reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons Ukrainian Village seasoning from the Spice House (if you can't or won't get the seasoning, use a mix of Kosher salt, garlic, onion, bell peppers, and pepper. No clue as to what ratios you'd use. That's why I'm using the seasoning). 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half rings
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
Directions
  1. In a pan, melt butter and sauté onions on medium heat until they caramelize, about 7-10 minutes. 
  2. Add the onions and everything else other than the cream into a slow cooker (I used a 5 quart)
  3. Cook on LOW for 4-1/2 hours.
  4. At the end of the 4-1/2 hours, use and immersion blender to completely blend the soup. It should be completely smooth. (if you don't have an immersion blender, you're going to have to transfer the soup to a blender and do it in batches)
  5. Once the soup is blended, add the cream and stir. 
Good Times? THE BEST

*In the highly unlikely event you don't feel this soup is the BEST EVER, it is likely due to some sort of failing on your part. Probably an unrefined palate or some sort of taste bud injury from a microwave burrito.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

'Nero Fiddles Hot Sauce

 We are about halfway through September and the garden is still throwing habanero peppers like it's mad at us. The Wife is making noises about giving some of them away, and that just won't do. So I decided to make a hot sauce recipe that uses two dozen peppers a batch. I did. This one is a real roller coaster ride. It's like a Saturday morning with a six-year old in the house. It starts off nice and pleasant and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. That's the best way I can describe it. More specifically, it's got a bright, slightly fruity taste. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. I could probably make some absolutely deadly hot-wings. Possibly add a few drops to a Bloody Mary. Maybe just drink it straight if I wanted to scream for a while. Basically a lovely flavor plays around in your mouth as you burn.

This recipe will yield 1-1/2 pints of sauce. If you own a Insta-Pot Ace blender, you can actually do everything but the canning step in the blender by running the puree program. 

Give it a spin and tell me what you think, as long as it's positive. As always, notes are in blue.

'Nero Fiddles Hot Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen habanero peppers, stems removed (don't you even think about removing the seeds, you big baby)
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white tequila (if you don't do alcohol, just omit and split the difference between more vinegar and lime juice)
Directions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour contents of blender into a non-reactive pot. Heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Return to the blender (or use an immersion blender) to ensure everything is totally liquefied. 
  4. If you're not going to can this sauce, you're done. 
    Fire in the hole!
  5. If you are canning, fill three half pint jars to 1/4 inch headspace and secure lid and ring. Process in a boiling water bath for about 12-15 minutes. As always, review canning procedures at The National Center for Home Food Preservation to make sure you don't accidentally poison anyone. 
Good times!