Tuesday, October 18, 2011

classic beef rib cap rillette

classic beef rib cap rillette, originally uploaded by aarn! +18th October, 2011+.

seared 5-lbs beef cap/blade trim in a hot dutch oven containing 2T. olive oil. pulled the browned beef from the pan and set aside. added 1 ½ c. diced yellow onion, 2 ribs diced celery, 4 berries of all-spice, 2 cloves, 5 sprigs thyme, 1t. korean chili powder, 1/2t. old bay, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper to the hot pan. cooked until the onions were transparent, then added 1 1/2c. white wine and 2T. tomato sauce, and reduced. mixed about 26oz. of beef stock into the ingredients in the dutch oven, then placed the beef into the liquid, covered and let simmer for 3.5-hrs. let rest in the braising liquid over night. reheated the liquid and beef in a 300-degree oven until warm. strained and separated the fat from the the braising juice, and set aside, discarding all of the aromatics and herbs. pulled the beef into strands. whipped the beef strands in a stand mixer using a paddle, along with 1/2oz. gin, 9 dashes of fee brothers orange bitters, 3/4c. of the separated beef fat, 3/4c. of braising liquid, 5 cloves of olive oil poached garlic paste, 7 sprigs of chopped thyme, 1/2t. cayenne pepper, 1oz. apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste (over-seasoning slightly). pressed the fluffy and emulsified whipped rillette into bread pans, using a soft spatula to push out the air bubbles, then capped with some of the remaining beef fat. refrigerated for a week or two, then sliced and seared in a non-stick pan (probably the only reason to keep a pan like this around). served with slices of a fresh baguette, some whole-grain mustard, and homemade pickles. also, made some mean egg sandwiches with the seared rillette, cheddar, pickles, tomato, and mayonnaise.

Friday, September 9, 2011

linguica corndogs with poached garlic dijonaisssssse

linguica corndogs with poached garlic dijonaisssssse, originally uploaded by aarn! +9th September, 2011+.

mixed 3/4c. buttermilk, 2T. light cream, and 1 egg into 1-1/4c. cornmeal, 1/2c. all-purpose flour, 2T. sugar, 1t. salt, and 1t. baking soda. let stand for 10-min or so. poked some linguica sausage links (gaspar’s linguica franks) with bamboo skewers (cut down to fit into the sauce pan containing the hot oil). patted the links dry (the batter sticks better) then dipped/rolled in the batter until lightly coated, then fried one at a time in a sauce pan with 350-degree vegetable oil, until brown. held in a 200-degree oven until all of the corndogs were done.

plated with some mayonnaise whipped with smooth spicy brown mustard and poached garlic paste - to taste. these were so good. not even funny. so easy. so good. hello, fat/death.

[batter: joy]

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

stromboli with hickory smoked bacon, baby spinach, gorgonzola cheese and golden raisins

whipped together a few cloves of crushed olive oil poached garlic, some garlic oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, and an egg (since this stromboli does not have a gooey binder cheese, like mozzarella, the egg was added to hold things together and absorb extra moisture during cooking).

rolled out some plain pizza dough into a large rectangular sheet (about ¼-in thick), then brushed the garlic-tomato-egg mixture over the entire surface. covered the dough with pre-cooked bacon (had been baked and then chilled), crumbled gorgonzola cheese, golden raisins, baby spinach and salt and pepper. rolled up from one side and tucked the dough from the ends underneath, to seal everything in. covered a pizza peel with cornmeal and transferred the rolled dough to it. slid the dough onto a 400-degree baking stone in the oven until brown on top, then let rest for about 8 minutes and then sliced and served.

leftover beef and bean migas with heirloom tomato and hominy csa salsa

soaked some tortilla chips in water until soft, then drained the water off. mixed two beaten eggs into some chopped up leftover bone marrow burger and baked beans, 4 cloves of poached garlic made into paste, a few dashes of tobasco sauce, salt and pepper. folded the egg and leftover mixture into the drained tortilla chips and let stand for about fifteen minutes. carefully slid the chips and shit into a hot skillet with some olive oil and butter. cooked until the bottom was brown and then started flipping over portions of the mixture until crisp and brown (trying not to break up all of the layers). plated with some “salsa” which was a salad from the day before containing: hominy, cucumber, purple bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper.

cake-ish breakfast mini-donuts

cake-ish breakfast mini-donuts, originally uploaded by aarn! +6th September, 2011+.

used frying oil sitting in a pot on the stove is always bad news - it makes people eat mini-donuts for breakfast. grabbed the cake donut recipe from the joy of cooking, added some fresh vanilla bean, shaped, deep fried and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. breakfast.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

high infrared heat seared lime-chili big eye tuna with stewed curried red cabbage

sauteed one sliced shallot with 1 clove of garlic in 1t. of olive oil in a hot pan. cooked until tender, then added salt, pepper, 1c. chicken stock, 1T. madras curry powder, and 1t. fresh chopped thyme. added a head of thin sliced red cabbage. stirred in 2T. of butter and 2/3c. golden raisins when the liquid was almost gone, then cooked on low heat until adequately stewed (liquid gone, bound with butter, etc.).

squeezed the juice from two limes into a small sauce pan containing 3T. granulated sugar, 1t. korean chili flakes, a dash or worcestershire sauce, a dash of ground anise, a dash of ground nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. simmered over low heat until a syrupy consistency that would cling to the back of a spoon.

brushed the lime-chili syrup over the entire outer surface of two ½-lb strips of big eye tuna.

allowed a few minutes for the new Napoleon Grills Prestige II Freestyle Portable Infrared Grill from CSGrills.com to heat up, then wiped the grates down with a little olive oil, and placed a chili coated side of the fish onto the hot grill. counted to 30-second cooking each side of the tuna, using a fish spatula to gently remove the fish from the grates of the grill and move to the next side, until all sides were seared. pulled the fish from the grill, applied a little more sauce to the outside, and sliced into ¼-in thick pieces. plated over some plain jasmine rice and the curry cabbage.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

grass-fed beef short rib ramen in beeftacular broth

grass-fed beef short rib ramen in beeftacular broth, originally uploaded by aarn! +3rd August, 2011+.

cut a 1-lb chunk of grass-fed beef short rib (fresh off the moo from verrill farm in concord, ma) into two rib sections, each with a bone. braised the short rib parts in some well-seasoned braising liquid that had been previously used for beef oxtail once and beef short ribs once before (strained through a fine sieve after each use). simmered the beef in the braising liquid for about three hours over low heat. let cool a little and packaged in some liquid and let sit over night in the refrigerator. broke through the beefy fat cap the next day and pulled out the short ribs, discarded the solid pieces of beefy fat, and set aside the remaining stock. pulled the bones out of the short ribs, being careful to preserve the delicious cartilage surrounding the bone, and sliced all of the meat into quarter-inch thick slices. placed in a covered bowl and gently reheated the meat in the oven while the rest of the meal cooked.

thinly sliced half of a large onion into rainbows, and caramelized with a little olive oil in a deep sauce pan. added some cloves of olive oil poached garlic and some of the garlic olive oil, and the finely sliced tips from two applewood smoked serrano peppers. added 1-qt of the beefy braising liquid, about 1-1/2c. of water, a dash of soy sauce, 1t. white miso paste, and salt and pepper to taste. brought to a near boil, then added two blocks of curly ramen noodles. cooked until noodles were tender, then plated the broth and noodles in some wide rim pasta bowls with some of the warm sliced short rib meat over top, a little fresh basil and salt sprinkled over the beef, and a side of christine’s famous vegan kimchee.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the full-disclosure post

the full-disclosure post, originally uploaded by aarn! +14th July, 2011+.
i’m going to break format here for a minute...ahem...in the past three years that i have been generating one-hundred percent original content for this blog, i have received many emails from companies, blogs and websites requesting for me to add links, plug products, join webrings, etcetera. recently, i found myself in a bit of a lull, having been focused a little more on design and work than this blog, which i mainly keep just as a personal log of my foods. i feared that the site would just disappear from my interests, and i even started saying that “i used to have a food blog.” a few weeks ago i received an email from a company that sounded pretty cool. since i was/am interested in the products and technology that they distribute, i got on the phone and called them up and proposed an offer for a collaboration. i am excited to announce that i have some new technology on the way to me from my friends over at www.csgrills.com. this limited partnership is of my creation and on my terms, so you can expect to see the same style and quality of content that i have been posting for the last few years. i just wanted to put it out there, so that everyone knows what is going on when i tell you about the new technology that i am going to present on lick my balsamic in the upcoming weeks.

miso-molasses grilled shrimp over a fried rice cake and spinach with fishy-spicy-simple syrup

made some fishy-spicy-simple syrup by mixing a 1:1 ratio of sugar and hot water (about 1/2c. worth) with a splash of stinky fish sauce, the juice from half of a lemon, 1t. chili paste, a pinch of dry korean chili flakes, a dash of paprika, about 1T. of soy sauce, a little salt, and some straight vinegar - until the bite was right. the sauce was nice and loose and had just a hint of that nauseating bottled fish sauce flavor that adds an unmistakable depth. shaved some long strands of peeled carrot into the mixture and let chill in the refrigerator.
peeled and de-veined a handful of large shrimp, butterflied them down the back and patted them dry with some paper towels. tossed the shrimp in a mixture of about 4T. molasses, 2T. soy sauce, 1T. white miso paste, a few squirts of worcestershire sauce, a little unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of old bay seasoning.
made some gooey rice with a little bit of sugar and some unfiltered apple cider vinegar. let cool for a few minutes. formed a couple of rice patties on some parchment paper, then transferred the patties to a sautee pan filled with about a quarter of an inch of hot olive oil. fried the rice patties until crisp and brown on each side (not easy - never doing this again without a binder, like egg).
grilled the marinated shrimp over very high heat on a grill, turning regularly, until colored, cooked, and crispy. put some spinach down in a wide-rimmed bowl, topped with a rice cake, and a few grilled shrimp, then poured the fishy simple syrup over the top of everything and garnished with some of the dressed carrots from the sauce.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

grilled straight sirloin-chuck split burger with gruyere on a sweet roll

coarsely ground 1-lb of beef sirloin with 1-lb chuck. double-ground half of the total batch, then lightly hand mixed with a healthy amount of salt and pepper, 1t. olive oil, 1t. soy sauce, and 1t. white vinegar. formed into 1/3 to 1/2-lb balls/patties (that's right) depressing the top middle of each burger form (to avoid having a meatball instead of a burger, and for even cooking). let the grill heat up for about 30-min, then cooked the burgers for about 3-min per side, placing the sliced gruyere onto the burgers for the last two minutes of cooking. sliced and lightly fried the cut faces of some portuguese sweet rolls in butter until golden brown. slathered some mayonnaise on the rolls with a little ketchup and some dressed greens (olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper). threw some meat on the rolls - burger magic.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

fully-loaded roasted eggplant with yogurt and parsley pita bread

fully-loaded roasted eggplant with yogurt and parsley pita bread, originally uploaded by aarn! +5th January, 2011+.

mixed together 1c. of all-purpose flour with a few spoonfuls of whole milk yogurt, a pinch of salt, and a handful of fresh chopped parsley. the dough was very wet, but workable (no idea how much yogurt was actually in there, could have been almost 1:1). cut the dough into two equal sized pieces and rolled it into oblong pitas on a floured work surface. placed the rolled out dough onto a pizza peel and transferred to a hot baking stone in a 425-degree oven until brown, then flipped and repeated.

rotated a raw eggplant atop a stove burner on high heat until the outside was charred and the flesh was tender to the touch. sliced the eggplant in half, put one half on each plate, and splayed the halved eggplant like a baked potato. smeared some garlic paste (garlic, olive oil, salt, and a little lemon juice, worked together into an emulsion in a mortar and pestle) onto the open flesh side of the eggplant, then drizzled on some tahini, honey, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice. topped the eggplant off with some diced tomatoes, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and a dollop of whole milk yogurt. served with the pita.

[adapted from "the book of real isreali food" by gur]

pan seared chuck shoulder steak with garlic-mashed red potatoes and roasted fennel

sliced a fennel bulb in half and sprinkled some salt and pepper onto the cut sides. put the two sides back together, wrapped the bulb in aluminum foil, and placed in the back of a 375-degree oven for about 40-minutes (or until fork tender).

washed and quartered five small red potatoes. tossed the potatoes in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack of the 375-degree oven until brown, then turned and baked until fork tender. mashed the potatoes with 1.5T. butter, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2-3T. heavy cream, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. whipped with a spatula until smooth.

brought a 1-lb beef chuck "london broil" shoulder steak up to room temperature and sprinkled both sides with salt and pepper. heated a 10-in skillet with a little olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. placed the chuck steak into the hot skillet and cooked for about three minutes, then flipped the steak and put the skillet into the 375-degree oven for another three minutes or so. pulled the skillet and put the meat on a cutting board to rest for about 5-min, then sliced thin, plated over the mashed potatoes and sliced fennel bulb and garnished with some fresh thyme.

Friday, December 24, 2010

scavenged meatball hoagie

scavenged meatball hoagie, originally uploaded by aarn! +24th December, 2010+.
going into a move, the goal is always to try to eat everything in the refrigerator, and to avoid grocery shopping at all cost. had some all-pork meatballs in the freezer from a month or so ago - made from some leftover local pig from a terrine adventure. threw some store-bought pasta sauce in a baking dish with the defrosted meatballs (there was 1c. of prego marinara sauce leftover from roommates), and reheated in a 325-deg oven until warm. cut the meatballs in half and placed them in a split white bread torpedo roll. covered the top of the meatballs with the end of a block of white cheddar cheese (also left by the old roommates), and broiled until melty. the recipe for the meatballs was most likely very close to the recipe in the post "spaghetti and meatballs, done right," except these ones were deliciously fatty, all pork, had parmesan, and a panade of some kind of bread crumb or panko and milk. happy holidays, here's a shitty-good sandwich. bam.

Monday, December 6, 2010

seared duck leg confit with a fresh cortland apple and cranberry coulis and red potato latke

squeezed the liquid out of three peeled and coarsely grated small red potatoes, one peeled and grated russet potato, and a grated small onion, using a double layer of cheese cloth. removed the grated potato mixture from the cheese cloth and added to it 1 egg, 1T. of all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil. mixed it all together. placed a 4-in in diameter patty of the potato mixture into a hot skillet containing 3T. or so of rendered duck fat. cooked on medium heat until browned and then flipped and repeated the process.

peeled and cored two medium size cortland apples. blanched 3-oz of fresh cranberries in a few cups of boiling water, until the skin cracked on all of the berries. placed the apples and blanched cranberries in a food processer and pulsed until smooth.

pulled from the refrigerator the two remaining duck legs which were confited (still not convinced that this is a word, no matter how many times it appears in print) and capped with fat after the post "pumpernickel and duck confit stuffing with braeburn apples and hazelnuts," prior to thanksgiving. reheated the legs and fat in a 250-degree oven until the fat was clear again. removed the legs from the fat and placed them skin side down in a hot cast iron skillet until the skin was crisp and brown. flipped the legs over, so that the skin side was up, and placed the skillet in a 300-degree oven until a cake tester came out warm when the thickest part of the meat was checked.

plated the legs over a smear of the apple-cranberry coulis, some mixed greens (which were lightly coated with some seasoned rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil), and one of the duck fat fried red potato latkes. totally spaced out on the fact that there was delicious confit jelly which had been separated from the fat after the confit process. that would have been really great reduced and served over the legs. oh well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

pumpernickel and duck confit stuffing with braeburn apples and hazelnuts

dry cured two duck legs (~1.5lbs total) from sherman market with one finely diced shallot, 1 sprig worth of thyme, a bay leaf, 1/2t. savory, 1/2t. lavender, and 1/8c. salt, overnight in a non-reactive container. rinsed off the legs and seasonings and then patted the legs dry. placed the legs in a vacuum bag with 1/2-pint of rendered duck fat (bella bella birds), a sprig of fresh thyme, the rinsed spices from the dry cure, and one diced small onion. stuck the vacuum bag in a 165-degree thermocirculator (water bath) for 13-hrs. let cool for an hour, then removed the legs from the bag, strained out the spices and aromatics, ladled the fat back into a container in the refrigerator, and set aside the confit jelly. pulled the meat and fat off of the two legs and separated into thin strands (like pulled pork). broke down the skin and fat into similarly sized pieces. placed all of the fat, skin and meat in a container and ladled the still-liquid confit jelly over the top until totally covered. set aside for later in the process.

put 1T. rendered duck fat and 1T. olive oil to a 10-in saute pan over medium heat. added 2 diced small onions and 2 diced ribs of celery, and cooked until soft. seasoned with salt, pepper, 3 finely chopped fresh leaves of sage, 2 sprigs worth of finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 sprig worth of finely chopped fresh rosemary, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, and two bay leaves. reduced 1/2c. of white wine into the mixture along with a big scoop of confit jelly. mixed in 2 peeled, cored, and diced braeburn apples, 1c. of chopped hazelnuts, the pulled duck leg confit, and 2c. chicken stock. stirred around until friendly. mixed the contents of the saute pan into a bowl containing 8-slices of pumpernickel bread and 8-slices of wheat bread, which had been chopped into stuffing sized cubes. tossed well and then poured into a 3Qt. rectangular pyrex baking pan. placed the pan in a 350-degree oven for 30-minutes, then broiled the top until browned.

full pre-thanksgiving post available on selectism

Monday, November 15, 2010

rich acorn squash layered souffle-cheesecake

rich acorn squash layered souffle-cheesecake, originally uploaded by aarn! +15th November, 2010+.

came up with this one over the summer. it's a cream and cheese based batter, gently folded into stiff-peaked egg whites...so a combination of a cheesecake and a souffle. avoided using cream cheese also, because really, who knows what that is? the version of this from over the summer had fresh blueberries instead of the squash filling. fall provisions called for a more seasonal iteration, and it turned out really great.

cut the yolk from one egg, the seed from 1/4 of a vanilla bean, 2T. heavy cream, 1t. salt, 8T. butter (probably would have been fine with 4T., 8T. was overkill) and 3/4c. granulated sugar into 1c. of all-purpose flour, until the fat/liquid were broken up pretty small (a food processor would have worked also, pulsed a few times). lightly mixed the ingredients, then poured into a 9-in springform pan and packed by hand into the bottom. threw the springform with the dough into a 350-degree oven until lightly browned on top, about 15-minutes.

roasted an acorn squash by cutting it in half, removing the seeds, and placing it cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. pulled and let cool when a cake tester could easily pass through the flesh of the squash. scooped the insides of the squash into a mixing bowl. added 1/8c. granulated sugar, 1T. heavy cream, 1 egg, and 1/2t. salt to the squash and mixed until smooth. poured this filling into the still-hot springform pan, lined with the already cooked crust, and returned to the oven for about 7-minutes, until the thin layer of squash had set. pulled the springform, let cool and then placed into the freezer until ready to put in the oven again.

mixed together 7-oz of heavy cream, the seed from 1/2 of a stick of vanilla, 1/4c. sugar, a pinch of salt, 7-oz whole milk ricotta cheese, 4-oz creme fraiche, and 1/4c. all-purpose flour. whipped the whites from four eggs with 1/8t. of cream of tartar until stiff peaks. lightly folded the whites into the cheese batter mixture, making sure to not destroy the bubbles. gently transferred the souffle mixture to the chilled springform pan and immediately placed into the 350-degree oven. baked for about 45-minutes, moving from the top rack down to a rack closer to the bottom based on the browning of the souffle top. the cake is done when there is no longer a jiggle of liquid under the souffle crust. it should have about one and a half times the height and be cooked throughout.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

linguica and bitter green quiche with a stuffed double-bacon-fat-tortilla crust

this here quiche has a stuffed crust. made some tortilla dough by cutting 4-5T. of bacon fat (no lard around and didn't want to use shortening), and some pepper and salt into 1c. of all-purpose flour, then cut in water until workable. refrigerated the dough for 30-minutes or so, and then gently rolled the dough into two large pieces (being careful to not incorporate too much of the fat - to keep it flaky), each big enough to cover a 8-in round cake pan. buttered the cake pan, placed a round of parchment paper in the bottom, then buttered the parchment. placed one of the tortilla shapes into the paper-lined pan, then sprinkled 1/8-lb of sharp cheddar onto the bottom tortilla, and covered with the second tortilla dough. trimmed the dough to the size of the pan.

sauteed 1/2-lb of diced linguica in some olive oil until browned, then added five large leaves of collard greens (de-ribbed), and two small onions sliced into thin strips. seasoned with some salt and pepper and added 1/2c. white wine. cooked until the wine had reduced around the meat and greens, and the greens appeared to be wilting.

beat eight eggs using a stand mixer, until foamy. used a spatula to gently mix into the eggs salt, pepper, 1T. fresh chopped thyme, the sauteed meat and greens, and 1/8-lb of shredded white cheddar cheese. poured the filling over the tortilla dough in the cake pan, and then used the spatula to make sure that everything was evenly distributed. put it into a 350-degree oven for about 35-min or until a cake tester came out clean (not sure how long it took). allowed to cool for a few minutes and served.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

heavy cream collard green and sweet potato masala

heavy cream collard green and sweet potato masala, originally uploaded by aarn! +3rd November, 2010+.

sauteed two finely diced small yellow onions in 3T. butter. added four cloves of thinly sliced garlic to the onions, allowed to cook until soft then added 1.5T curry powder (coriander, cumin, fenugreek, chili pepper, mustard, etc.), and an additional 1/2t. of ground coriander, 1/2t. ground black cumin seed, 1/2t. ground ginger, salt, a pinch of ground cloves, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. stirred in 1c. of chicken stock, and simmered on medium heat until almost fully reduced. poured in 1.5c. of heavy cream. lightly simmered until reduced by half. mixed in two large peeled and diced sweet potatoes, and one head (about 10 large leaves) of de-ribbed and julienned collard greens. continued to reduce until thick, lowering the heat accordingly. seasoned to taste and served.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

cider and plum braised chuck roast with smashed red potatoes and roasted squash

seasoned, tied-up and seared-off a 2.5-lb well-marbled chuck roast in a hot dutch oven containing 2T. of olive oil. browned both sides and removed the roast from the dutch oven. rendered the fat out of four slices of bacon, chopped into little lardons, in the hot oil, then added one large diced onion and let cook on medium heat until almost translucent. added to the onions two medium size diced plums, 4 smashed cloves of garlic, 1.5T. fresh chopped thyme, 1.5T. fresh chopped oregano, 3 allspice berries, 1/2t. korean chili flakes, 2 cloves, and 1/2t. of whole ajowan. allowed to simmer until heavily aromatic, then added 1c. of white wine, scraped all of the suk from the bottom of the dutch oven and let reduce until syrupy. returned the roast to the pot and poured in 1c. of apple cider, 1c. of chicken stock, and then jostled everything around and mixed in 2T. of tomato paste. covered the top of the dutch oven tightly with tin foil (thanks, cooks illustrated!) and then the metal lid, and placed the vessel in a 325-degree oven for 2.5-hrs, flipping the roast half way through the cooking time.

removed a few cups of the braising liquid about 30-minutes before the roast was done. skimmed the fat off the top, pulsed in the food processor, and then reduced with a little more stock and some fresh sprigs of thyme and oregano and some salt and pepper to taste. pulled the roast, sliced it up and served it over some boiled-smashed-roasted red potatoes and some roasted squash, topped with some of the gritty gravy mixture.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the new salt: olive oil poached garlic

the new salt: olive oil poached garlic, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th October, 2010+.

peeled enough garlic to fill a pint container with raw cloves. placed the pint of cloves into a small sauce pan. poured olive oil over the cloves in the pan until fully-submerged. put the pan over a low flame and allowed to get up to a delicate simmer. continued at this temperature (probably about 200-degrees) until the cloves were tender enough that they could be easily pierced through by a cake tester or fork. removed the cloves in oil from heat, and allowed to cool (a little bit of browning is ok, ideally the browning would occur during carry-over cooking, after removed from heat...that gives the best result). transferred the cooled garlic to a pint container with a spoon, and poured the oil that the cloves were cooked in over the top until the container was full (discarding any brown bits in the bottom of the sauce pan). placed the covered container in the refrigerator until needed (edit: use within 2-3 days).

this can also be done in the oven, for a more gentle poach. oven temperature can range from 200 to 325-degrees, cooking times vary.

olive oil poached garlic is one of the most versatile ingredients to have in the fridge. the taste is slightly more mellow and the cloves can be consumed raw or in cooked food. there is also a nice sweet undertone and the oil is great for garnishing or dipping. a pint container of these usually disappear quickly.

read on at selectism.com

[edit: it was brought to my attention that this is the ideal breeding ground for botulism, so i edited the content to say that you should eat them within a few days to be safe. i have done this technique a dozen times or so, with great results (ie: no botulism), but it's not worth the risk, so eat them fast.]

garlic mozzarella and bacon fat biscuits

garlic, mozzarella and bacon fat biscuits, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th October, 2010+.

cut 4T. of chilled bacon fat, mixed with a few cloves of olive oil poached garlic, into 2c. of all-purpose flour, 3t. baking powder, 1T. salt and 1t. fresh cracked pepper. gently mixed whole milk into the dry ingredients until the dough was bound and slightly on the sticky side. folded in grated whole milk mozzarella, shredded pepperoni and some fresh parsley. formed into eight small biscuits and slid onto a dusted baking stone in a 425-degree oven for about 15-min, until brown on the top and crispy on the bottom. let cool for a few minutes and then served.

[made from leftovers from the stromboli]

stone fired stromboli with pepperoni, fresh spinach and basil

stone fired stromboli with pepperoni, fresh spinach and basil, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th October, 2010+.

mixed together 1 1/4t. active dry yeast, 1 1/3c. luke warm water, 1T. salt, 1T. sugar, 2T. extra virgin olive oil, 4T. wheat gluten, and 3c. all-purpose flour (the go-to quick pizza dough recipe). kneaded by hand until it had the right doughy feel. coated the dough in olive oil let sit and rise in a warm place for about an hour (in a bowl, covered in plastic wrap), while the oven and baking stone got up to temperature [425-degrees].

made a quick sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes, some olive oil poached garlic, butter, fresh oregano, basil, and parsley, and tomato paste. seasoned to taste. let reduce until thick but still bright in flavor.

cut the dough in half and worked one portion of it into a 12x18-in rectangle on an oiled work surface, using a flat rolling pin (the average thickness was approximately 3/16-in). brushed a mixture of crushed garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil onto the dough. sprinkled the entire surface of the dough with fresh basil, then thin slices of margherita pepperoni, whole milk mozzarella cheese, and then large leaves of spinach. carefully rolled the dough, starting from the short end. sprinkled a pizza peel with cornmeal and transferred the rolled-up dough to it. slid the roll from the peel onto the clean baking stone, on the bottom rack of a 425-degree oven. let bake for 10-minutes or so, until the top of the dough had a nice brown color. pulled and let cool for 10-minutes so that everything could bind back up on the inside. cut into crosswise slices about 2-in thick and served over the fresh tomato sauce.

[dough: adapted from joy]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

akimenko meats presents - the first cookbook

vadim and i just put together a cookbook. here's a little excerpt from it, "perfect rare roast beef":

This roast beef recipe will work for most cuts of beef, it’s really a method rather than a recipe. I like using top round because it is fairly inexpensive and under utilized. When you are looking for a roast, look for cuts that will do well with dry heat methods of cooking, think rib, strip, sirloin, top round, eye round or knuckle to name a few.

What you need:

* 5# Top Round roast, (first cut is best)
* 6 cloves of garlic, ground into a paste
* 2 shallots, ground into a paste with the garlic
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 cups of mire poix, (2:1:1 onion, carrots, celery), optional
* Roasting Pan

The Process:

Pre-heat oven to 425′F. Set the roast aside and allow it to come to room temperature.

Rub the roast with the garlic/shallot paste, then sprinkle generously with pepper first then salt. If you like you may sit the roast on a bed of mire poix. This adds flavor to the roast, but more importantly makes a good base for a sauce or gravy from the drippings.

Throw the roast in the oven at 425′F for 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 325′F, and cook for 9 minutes per pound for rare. Remember that cooking times for these types of recipes are just guide lines. Always check the internal temperature with a food safe thermometer making sure the tip of the probe is close to the center of the roast. When the internal temperature reaches 100′F for rare or 115′F for med-rare, remove the roast and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. And don’t cheat on the resting time. During this 15 to 20 minutes the jus is redistributing throughout your roast. Cut prematurely and lose the jus to the carving block.

So, you’ve been very patient, carve that roast and eat!

read more on my favorite cookbooks on selectism. purchase the cookbook directly through magcloud, here:

The First Cookbook

Akimenko Meats Issue 1:

Vadim's recipes for Pork Rillettes, Bacon-y Meatloaf, Kielbasa, Confit Chicken Thighs, Roast Beef, Grilled Hearts, Braised Lamb Shank, Breakfast Sausage, Pate de Campagne, and Brined Pork Chops. In this first issue of the Akimenko Meats Cookbook we explore some delicious recipes and classic preparation techniques. The purpose of the magazine is to promote Akimenko Meats, a butcher shop which is opening Winter 2010 in Cambridge Massachusetts, and …

[ps: sorry for the rss flood, blogger is really bad at previewing posts when editing.]

black cumin chickpea fritters with fresh flatbreads and garlic yogurt sauce

ground up a few cloves of olive oil poached garlic with a handful of parsley, a shallot, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, a little whole grain mustard, fresh ground coriander and black cumin, a pinch of cinnamon, and 2c. of chickpeas. removed the mixture from the food processor (prior to it becoming a paste, left it a little chunky) and mixed in a little bit of flour until the consistency felt right (about 1t.). formed the chic pea mixture into quenelles and set aside until ready to be fried. set the deep fryer to 375-degrees and dropped in the falafel quenelles until brown (ideally, yes, for some reason these fell apart a bit when fried...maybe the quenelle is too gentle of a technique to use for this coarse ground mixture).

mixed one mashed clove of olive oil poached garlic, a splash of lemon juice and some salt into a cup or so of yogurt (from narragansett creamery).

lightly incorporated a pinch of salt, a splash of olive oil, a little wheat gluten, and a little bit of active dry yeast into a cup of all-purpose flour. mixed some milk into these dry-ish ingredients until at a wet-ish bread-ish dough consistency. rolled out into a handful of thin discs (about 8-in in diameter), on a flour-dusted work surface, using a french rolling pin. transferred the doughy discs to a hot baking stone in a 425-degree oven for about two minutes a side.

served the fritters over a flatbread with some quartered artichoke hearts and halved plum tomatoes (tossed in a little olive oil and lemon juice), a dollop of the garlic yogurt sauce and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

kitchen sink benedict: artichoke heart gravy over a fried egg and pan-fried buttermilk ciabatta

just a quick post to get back into the groove. simmered some marinated artichoke hearts in butter, chicken stock, and white wine. added a spoonful of hummus, made fresh the night before (yeah, basically everything from the refrigerator goes into breakfast). allowed to reduce on low heat until the liquid started to pull off of the bottom of the sauce pan, then added some fresh thyme, salt, pepper, a splash of hot sauce, a splash of soy milk (real milk would have been better), a pinch of flour, and another pat of butter. stirred well to incorporate the flour and thicken evenly. poured the gravy over a fried egg perched on a few thick slices of buttered and pan-fried homemade buttermilk ciabatta left over from the weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

raw yellow squash and zucchini spaghetti with prosciutto basil and melon

sliced 1 1/2 zucchini and 1 1/2 yellow squash into eighth-inch strips, first by using a mandolin and then perpendicular by hand. placed the medley in a colander and sprinkled with 1.5T. salt. tossed the squash to distribute the salt, then let sit for an hour to sweat off excess moisture (leaving the salt on the squash provides salt for the whole dish later. usually you would rinse cabbage after it is sweat in a similar manner). made thin strips out of 1/2 of a small melon, using the same technique as the squash. tasted the squash to make sure that it was not too salty. added the melon strips to the squash strips, along with 3-oz of thin-cut prosciutto sliced into narrow ribbons, 3T. of thin sliced basil, and 1/4-lb of parmesan, also cut into similarly sized strips.

mashed up 2-cloves of olive oil poached garlic, 1/2T. honey, and 1T. of thinly sliced fresh basil in 1T. of the olive oil that was used to poach the garlic initially (garlic olive oil). added 1T. extra virgin olive oil, and then whisked in 1.5T. of lemon juice until emulsified. mixed fresh cracked black pepper, and 1T. of whole milk ricotta into the emulsified dressing.

gently incorporated all of the ingredients and the dressing using bare hands, then served on chilled plates.

Friday, July 16, 2010

file gumbo-style tilapia stew with linguica and potato

file gumbo-style tilapia stew with linguica and potato, originally uploaded by aarn! +16th July, 2010+.

started a roux with one stick of butter (8T.) and 8T. of all-purpose flour in a 10-in cast iron skillet. cooked the roux ingredients over medium heat, stirring regularly, until dark and nutty, then mixed in 2.5T. of file powder (ground sassafras leaves).

sauteed 1/2-lb of diced linguica in 2T. butter in a medium sized sauce pan until browned and all of the fat was rendered out. added a diced half of a green pepper, one diced onion, two stalks of diced celery, and two bay leaves to the sauce pan. seasoned the trilogy with 1/4c. of diced smoked pork fat (just happened to have this in the freezer), 2 sprigs worth of fresh chopped thyme, 2 sprigs worth of fresh chopped oregano, a heavy sprinkling of tony chachere's creole seasoning, a pinch of cayenne, 2 finely chopped dried tobasco peppers, 2T. of chopped jalapeño pepper, 1T. mustard powder, 1t. dried chervil, 1/2t. cumin powder, and salt and pepper. mixed in one large russet potato, diced. let the mixture sit on medium heat until the roux was done.

slowly incorporated the contents of the sauce pan into the roux in the skillet, and added 1/4c. of white wine to loosen things up a bit. added 3c. water to the skillet with 1T. of champagne vinegar and a squirt of worcestershire sauce. placed 1-lb of skinned tilapia fillets into the skillet after the potatos were almost fork tender. simmered the mixture until the tilapia was fully cooked. reseasoned to taste and then plated the stew over some boiled white rice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

spicy summertime gazpacho with fresh cherries

spicy summertime gazpacho with fresh cherries, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th July, 2010+.

quartered eight medium sized tomatoes and placed them in a plastic prep tub. sprinkled 3T. of salt over the tomatoes, and mixed them around to get an even coating. roughly chopped two stalks of celery, with the greens, and threw them into the tub with fifteen or so pitted and stemmed fresh cherries, a quarter of a sweet vidalia onion, 1 clove of garlic, the nose half of a jalapeño pepper (without seeds), 1t. of crushed caraway seed, a pinch of celery seed, a large handful of fresh cilantro with the stems, fresh cracked pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and 1/2c. of extra virgin olive oil. allowed the tomatoes, vegetables, and seasoning to sit on the salt for an hour or so at room temperature, until a fair amount of liquid had leeched out of the tomatoes. blended everything in the bin together with another 1/2c. of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from one lemon and one lime, and salt, pepper, and additional jalapeño pepper (or just hot sauce) to the taste.

stuck the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then served in a chilled bowl, garnished with sea salt and thin sliced green onions.

Monday, June 28, 2010

roasted garlic and spinach frittata with a red potato crust

roasted garlic and spinach frittata with a red potato crust, originally uploaded by aarn! +28th June, 2010+.

whipped six eggs until foamy with 4-cloves of crushed roasted garlic, 1.5T. white miso paste, 2T. heavy cream, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of cayenne, 2T. breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and three sprigs worth of picked fresh thyme.

thinly sliced 1/4 of a vidalia onion, and one large red potato (less than 1/16th of an inch). greased a 9-in spring-form pan with butter, then tiled the bottom and as much of the side-walls as possible with the thinly sliced potato, making sure to have a good amount of overlap. sprinkled the potato layer with salt. hand-mixed a few large handfuls of fresh spinach, 1/2c. of grated sharp cheddar cheese, the thin sliced vidalia onion, and the remaining slices of potato into the egg mixture. poured/scooped the egg mixture into the potato crust in the spring-form pan. placed the pan on the bottom rack in a 350-degree oven for about 45-minutes, until the top started to brown a little and there were no signs of liquid egg mixture. removed the pan from the oven and popped off the spring form edge. let cool for 15-minutes or so,
then removed from the pan using a flexible spatula.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

rustic goat cheese, chive, and pancetta tortellini over wilted spinach with brown butter

made a fresh pasta dough by mixing together 3/4c. all-purpose flour with 1 large egg, 1/4t. salt, 1/2t. olive oil, and 1/4t. luke warm water. placed the mixed and kneaded dough in the refrigerator to chill.

mixed together 1.5-oz of fresh goat cheese, one egg yolk, 1T. fresh chopped chives, 1t. panko bread crumbs, 1t. all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and five thin slices of pancetta cut into narrow ribbons.

rolled out the chilled dough and cut it into 4x4-in squares. lightly coated each square with a little egg white, folded into a triangle around a ball of the goat cheese mixture, and completed the tortellini shapes.

blanched a handful of fresh spinach leaves in a 50/50 mixture of chicken stock and water with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. removed the spinach with a slotted spoon after 30-seconds in the blanching liquid. tossed the blanched spinach in a pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of seasoned rice wine vinegar. cooked the tortellini using the same blanching liquid as the spinach and then pulled and tossed the cooked pasta in 2T. of brown butter. plated the tortellini over the blanched spinach in a warm large rimmed bowl, topped with a splash of the brown butter, salt, pepper, fresh chives, and coarse grated parmesan cheese.

simple cherry and carrot juice

simple cherry and carrot juice, originally uploaded by aarn! +3rd June, 2010+.

pitted and removed the stems from 1.5-lbs of fresh cherries. ran the cherries through a hand-crank masticating juicer with a few small peeled and diced raw carrots. used a coarse mesh strainer to remove some of the larger pulp and served in a chilled glass with some ice.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

olive oil poached chilean sea bass over mushroom and white lentils

placed a 1-lb steak of chilean sea bass in a deep casserole dish with a diced half of a yellow onion, a few sprigs of thyme, salt, pepper, and enough olive oil to just barely fully-submerge the fish. placed the covered baking dish in a 180-degree oven for 1.5-hrs. pulled the sea bass from the oil, patted off some of the excess oil, and seared both sides in a hot skillet until lightly browned.

sweated the finely diced bottom of a leek in 2T. butter in a sauce pan until tender. added 2-cloves of poached smoked garlic, salt, and pepper, and 3/4c. white cooking wine. let the wine reduce about half way and then added 1c. of white lentils, thinly sliced oyster and wood ear mushrooms, and 2.5c. of chicken stock. allowed to cook, covered on low heat, until only a small amount of liquid remained in the bottom of the sauce pan, then mounted with 2T. of butter and cooked until adequately bound. served the sea bass over the lentils on a warm plate with a squirt of fresh lemon juice over the top.

Monday, May 10, 2010

red potato and beef brisket hash with over-easy egg

red potato and beef brisket hash with over-easy egg, originally uploaded by aarn! +10th May, 2010+.

placed two diced red potatoes and a diced half of a yellow onion in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of olive oil and 1T. of butter. cooked slowly until the potatoes were almost fork tender. added 1/2c. of white wine, a splash of chicken stock, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme to the skillet and brought up to a light simmer. placed 1/2-lb of diced leftover sliced brisket on top of the simmering potatoes and onions in the stock and wine solution. covered and let steam until the brisket shredded easily. mixed all of the contents of the skillet together and simmered on slightly higher heat until the liquid had reduced. hit with a pad of butter and continued cooking until at the proper consistency. transferred the hash to a small plate and placed under the broiler until golden brown and crispy on top. served along side a fried over-easy egg.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

smoked garlic stuffed bbq brisket over buttered black bean orzo

rubbed a whole side of beef brisket with paprika, sugar, roasted garlic paste, olive oil, salt, pepper, dried mustard powder, garlic powder, tony chachere's creole seasoning, and powdered cayenne pepper. threw the whole side into an offset barrel smoker fired with cherry wood (provided from end cuts from ghd design, the wood shop adjacent to the fringe movement in union square...so it's kind of like recycling). maintained the fire on the brisket so that the thermometer on the smoking chamber read about 200-degrees for about 12-hrs. pulled the brisket and finished it in a 225-degree oven in a deep baking dish over water (steamed it), covered, on a rack, for about 6-hrs, until super tender and falling apart.

took a pint of day-old peeled garlic from sherman cafe and tossed it in a pinch of salt and put it in a tin foil pan in the smoker while the brisket cooked, for about 10-hrs. transferred the garlic to a small baking dish filled with enough olive oil to just cover all of the cloves. placed the covered baking dish in a 200-degree oven until the garlic was tender enough to be pierced easily with a toothpick.

sauteed a finely minced large shallot in a splash of olive oil and 1T. of butter in a small sauce pan. added a cup of black bean orzo (from christina's spices), and simmered until the orzo had a nice sheen. added fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and then deglazed with 1/2c. of white wine. allowed the wine to reduce for a few minutes, and then added chicken stock in 1/2c. increments (with the pot uncovered) until the orzo was at the right consistency. checked the seasoning, added salt as necessary, then mounted with 2T. butter. stirred until fully incorporated and velvety.

rolled up a few slices of the brisket around a handful of the smoked garlic, and the now-solid olive oil binder. threaded two rolls on each skewer, and seared them off over a high-heat grill until nicely marked and hot. hit the rolled meat with salt and pepper and served over the orzo on warm plates.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

clams mcgeechee: from farm to table

clams mcgeechee: from farm to table, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th April, 2010+.

lightly browned a diced onion in a large stock pot containing 1/2c. olive oil. added a pinch of salt and pepper, one sliced green bell pepper, one diced yellow crookneck squash, and 1c. white wine. allowed the mixture to come to a healthy simmer, then added 3T. minced garlic, 2T. fresh chopped oregano, 2T. fresh chopped basil, zest and juice from 1/2 lemon, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. added 3-4 dozen top neck size clams (approximately 1.5 inches in thickness), and steamed/boiled on high heat until all of the clam shells had opened. poured into a large dish and served family style with a loaf of french bread for sopping, and a palmetto pale ale to wash it down.

full article on selectism.

[recipe/clams: southern light clam farm]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

akimenko meats: bridging the gap between city dweller and local farmer

As many of you may know, my good friend Vadim Akimenko is opening an independent butcher shop in the Somerville/Cambridge area of Massachusetts. Six days ago, we started a fund raising program through Kickstarter.com and the response has been amazing. I want to thank everyone who has already contributed and put the link out there so that any interested parties know how to get involved. The funds collected through Kickstarter will help secure a location for the shop and act as some initial seed money, which will be used as a down-payment for loans and cover some expenses leading up to the opening of the shop. Akimenko Meats is also looking for some more substantial investors. The total cost of opening/building/stocking the shop is somewhere in the ballpark of $200,000, so every little bit counts. We have put together a nice list of investor rewards for people who decide to donate via Kickstarter. Check it out, or drop me a line at lickmybalsamic@gmail.com for more details or more direct contact information.

Here's a little bit of information about Akimenko Meats and what it's all about:

Akimenko Meats strives to bridge the gap between the city dweller and our local farmers. Our commitment to our neighbors is to bring in local, organic, and sustainable products while supporting the local agricultural community, building customer awareness, ultimately aiding our local economy.

Akimenko Meats will deal primarily with farms in a 250 mile radius and whole animals. To help make Akimenko Meats more sustainable we will offer house made charcuteries and stocks, making use of the whole animal. Our ultimate goal is to make local and sustainable meats available to all walks of life and year round. Akimenko Meats does not believe that eating with an ethical conscience should be a privilege that only the wealthy can afford.

We want our customers to be engaged directly with our butchers, so we will not have meat in cases. This is another way to bring the customers closer to the source of their food, bring down the barriers that separate us from the customers and build personal relationship to help support the community. Our unique philosophy for customer service will set us apart from other shops in the area.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

garlic coffee-mug popovers

garlic coffee-mug popovers, originally uploaded by aarn! +14th March, 2010+.

crushed together 2 cloves of garlic with a pinch of salt, 1t. garlic powder, 1 sprig of fresh chopped rosemary, and 2 cloves of olive oil poached garlic, in a mortar and pestle until it made a smooth paste. beat together in a mixing bowl 2 large eggs, 1c. whole milk, 1/2t. salt, 3T. of melted butter and the garlic paste. mixed 1c. of sifted all purpose flour into the wet mixture, until fully integrated. let the batter sit for 15-minutes.

placed four large diner-style mugs on a baking sheet and placed in a 450-degree oven. dropped a 3/4T. pad of butter in the bottom of each cup after they had been in the oven for about 5-minutes. let the mugs and butter heat up for about 15-minutes, then mixed the batter one last time and distributed it evenly into the hot buttered mugs in the oven. allowed the batter to bake[/fry] at 450-degrees for 20-minutes, then lowered the temperature to 350-degrees for an additional 15-minutes (until the tops were nice and crispy-brown).

ran a small paring knife around the inside edge of each mug and shook out the popovers. let cool on a rack for a few minutes, then ate them all.

[notes: recipe modified from cooks illustrated. added more butter to the mixture, cooked in butter instead of veg. oil, and added the spice paste thing. and yeah, who has a popover pan? i'm not going to buy a special pan for one dish that i have never made before and might not make again, sure they didn't really pop-over, but whatever.]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

cheddar-rosemary biscuits with sake-sausage gravy and a pickled pepper puree

cut 1 1/2T. of bacon drippings and 1 1/2T. lard into 1c. of sifted bread flour. added to the dry mixture: 1 1/2t. baking powder, 1t. salt, 1t. coarse-ground black pepper, and 1t. of fresh chopped rosemary. gently mixed a little bit of milk and 1c. of coarsely shredded sharp white cheddar into the dry ingredients, and then enough heavy cream to make the dough the right consistency (being careful to not over mix and incorporate the blobs of fat from the bacon and lard into the liquid, the consistency for the biscuit dough is similar to the consistency of the baked biscuit, should not change shape after placed on the baking sheet). dropped three globs onto a buttered baking sheet, then placed on a middle rack in a 435-degree oven until the bottom was nice and brown and the top started to develop some color, probably about 15 or 20-minutes.

heated a skillet containing a little bit of olive oil. added a finely diced half of an onion to the hot skillet. cooked the onion until slightly tender, added four sliced-up homemade sausages. let the sausages brown for a bit, but not fully cook, then added a cup or so of cheap-ass sake, a pinch of salt, pepper, korean chili flakes, hot pepper flakes, fresh thyme, and marjoram. let the sake reduce for a few minutes, then added a splash of stock, 2T. butter, 2T. of flour, and stirred until well-incorporated. hit the gravy mixture with a healthy splash of heavy cream, and a few dashes of hot sauce, then let reduce until the proper muddy consistency.

poured a heaping puddle of heart attack over the flaky biscuit, topped with a squirt of homemade pickled pepper puree.

[note: as i was editing the photo, i realized that unless you know and love biscuits and gravy, this probably looks like a pile of vomit...it's really hard to make this dish look appetizing. also, taken with a friend's camera, wish that i had my lens for this one, natural light finally.]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

grilled pork belly with cranberry-vermouth sauce, broccoli rabe, trumpet mushrooms, and roasted potatoes

seared off some sliced trumpet mushrooms and sauteed with some broccoli rabe. roasted up some potatoes which had been tossed in some olive oil salt and pepper. vadim made a sauce with some dried cranberries and antica vermouth (his original idea was the "pork manhattan," but he ended up with cranberries instead of cherries somehow...oh yeah, and there weren't any bitters...so that didn't work out). grilled up some pork bellies which had been previously sous vide for 4hrs or so in lard with a few sprigs of thyme and some cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. nice write-up, right? sometimes the details escape you.

[note: most of this meal was made by vadim. we had been experimenting with the bot' pot and the pork bellies a week or so before, so we needed to eat them. oh, and the photo is bad. just wanted to blog it for the record.]

curried brioche french-toad

curried brioche french-toad, originally uploaded by aarn! +13th February, 2010+.

beat an egg and mixed in a pinch of coriander-heavy curry powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, some mustard powder, salt, and orange zest. beat until the spices were well mixed and then added 1c. of coconut milk and a splash of whole milk. cut some one-inch thick slices of iggy's brioche loaf (sherman market) and soaked them in the seasoned mixture until almost fully-soggy. used a small glass to cut out circular regions in the slices of loaf. placed the slices in a hot skillet with a little butter and olive oil, allowed to sear for a second and then dropped an egg in the hole on each slice. cooked until bread was nicely browned, then flipped and cooked until finished. another option would have been to use thicker slices, sear them off the same way, and then finish them in the oven (the go-to french toast technique).

plated up with the fried center pieces that had been previously removed and a drizzle of paprika oil.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

herb-rubbed pork loin roast with light gravy, coconut milk and black cumin bulgar wheat, and sauteed kale

mashed up three cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle, with a sprig or two of fresh thyme and rosemary, salt, black pepper, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of white sugar. rubbed a trussed pork loin roast (locally raised, from the whole pig that was butchered) with this mixture, then placed the loin on a bed of quartered yellow onions and celery stalks in a cast iron skillet. placed the skillet in a 275-degree oven, uncovered, until the internal temperature was 150-degrees. pulled the skillet and roast and turned the oven up to 500-degrees. placed the roast on a rack on top of a baking sheet and threw it in the oven for about 5-minutes, until the outside had developed a nice crust. removed the roast from the oven and let rest on a plate covered in aluminum foil for about 10-minutes, until ready to serve.

finely diced a small shallot and sauteed in a sauce pan with a little butter. added some crushed black cumin, a dash of nutmeg and marjoram, salt, pepper, and a pinch of korean chili flakes. dumped 1c. of dry bulgar wheat into the sauce pan, stirred around until coated in the oil and spices, and let sit on heat, stirring occasionally, until a nice nutty aroma was present. added a handful of dried chopped cranberries to the pan, and then poured 1c. of coconut milk and 1/2c. of water over the dry ingredients. simmered covered until the bulgar was tender, then mounted with 1T. with butter and served.

de-ribbed a bunch of kale, then sliced into 3/8-inch wide ribbons, rinsed, and let sit in chilly water. strained the kale. sliced up and then sauteed a large shallot in a pad of butter. added a few cloves of olive oil poached garlic, salt, pepper, and a cup or so of sherry to the sautee pan, then placed the strained kale on top and let simmer. mixed the kale around until slightly wilted, and most of the liquid had reduced, then removed from heat. tossed with a splash of apple cider vinegar, to taste, and then plated.

took the skillet, still containing the onion, celery, and roast drippings, and placed it over medium heat, until simmering slightly. added a splash of water, a sprig of thyme, 1T. of butter, and 1c. of sherry wine. let simmer and reduce for a minute, then added 1T. of flour, whisking until incorporated. salt and peppered to taste. allowed to reduce to a nice gravy consistency, then pressed through a chinois. de-trussed the roast, sliced it up, plated it, and slathered with gravy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

angus tenderloin with sausaged-mashed potatoes and balsamic soaked cippolini onions

joshua robot came over for dinner last night and brought some really awesome ceramic plates by the very talented autumn higgins, out of portland.

just as an experiment in a normal cooking setting (as in trying to turn out a meal in about an hour, and not slow cooking, and not a tough cut of meat), rubbed two small angus tenderloin cuts in salt, pepper, crushed garlic and fresh thyme, vacuum sealed them in plastic bags, and threw them in the thermal immersion circulator at 115-degrees F for about an hour. the goal was to either partially cook them or to at least infuse the flavor of the seasonings into the meat.

quartered two large russet potatoes length-wise, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. placed the sliced potatoes in a 425-degree oven on a baking sheet, covered in parchment paper, until fork tender, flipping them at some point. threw the potatoes in a mixing bowl with 3T. of butter, 1 clove of garlic, and fresh thyme (all of which had been mashed together in a mortar and pestle, making a compound butter of sorts). mashed the potatoes by hand, adding some chicken stock, and a splash of milk. removed a link of the garlic sausage from the casing and sauteed the meat in a little vegetable oil until cooked. added the sausage to the mashed potato mixture, once the mash consistency seemed good. a splash of sherry vinegar, and a little salt and pepper to taste finished these off.

peeled, and removed the ends from a handful of cippolini onions. melted a few tablespoons of butter in a sautee pan and browned both cut sides of the small onions until they were a little bit tender and had some good coloring. placed the hot onions in a small prep bowl containing about 1c. of balsamic vinegar and let sit covered until the meal was ready to plate.

pulled the tenderloin cuts from the circulator and removed the chunks of garlic from the surface of the meat. in a very hot skillet, seared off both sides of the steaks in butter with a few sprigs of thyme, basting as necessary. pulled the steaks when they felt right, tented with foil on a plate and let sit for a few minutes.

removed the onions from the balsamic soak, and plated everything up.

[notes: the flavor was nicely infused into the cuts of meat, but with such a tender cut, it seemed unecessary. it's possible that the hour or so in sous vide produced a more uniform tenderness in the meat, but it's hard to tell. haven't been cooking/eating much beef. probably because pork is better.]

fresh garlic sausage with sauteed kale, pan-seared bacon cornbread, and thyme sawmill gravy

stuffed some garlic sausage the night before (with vadim and peter), with pork scraps (from last weeks butchering extravaganza), olive oil poached garlic, garlic powder, fresh garlic salt, pepper, and thyme. cooked the sausage in a skillet with a few drops of vegetable oil until both sides were brown, then sliced in half and seared them, cut side down, in the skillet until lightly browned. removed the sausage from heat and set aside, covered.

soaked some kale in cold water, dried, and sliced into thin strips. sauteed two finely chopped shallots in 2T. butter, with a pinch of salt, pepper, cayenne, and mustard powder, until tender, then deglased with 1/2c. chicken stock and let reduce slightly. added kale, and sauteed until tender, then removed the pan from heat and added 2T. of sherry vinegar, tossed and let sit until ready to plate.

had some leftover reinhart bacon cornbread from the night before. sliced the cornbread into 3/4 pads, smothered in butter and seared in a dry sautee pan until brown and crisp.

added 1T. of lard to the skillet (still containing the drippings from the sausage), and put it back on heat. poured 1c. of chicken stock into the skillet, with a pinch of salt, pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. put about 1T. of flour into the skillet and stirred constantly until thick. poured the gravy through a sieve and discarded the bits.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sous vide experiment: perfectly well-done chuck fillet

sous vide experiment: perfectly well-done chuck fillet, originally uploaded by aarn! +15th December, 2009+.

rigged up a thermal immersion circulator from random parts from the electronics lab and a 6-qt crock pot. vacuum sealed a 1.5-lb chuck fillet in a plastic bag with a few sprigs of tarragon and two crushed cloves of garlic. placed the bag in the 146-degree bath of the circulator for 3.5-hrs (70-mm thick cut @ 146-deg bath temp - according to baldwin's practical guide to sous vide cooking). the cut came out perfectly well-done, uniformly cooked, and juicy. ideally the cut would have been cooked to a lower temperature and then finished on high heat, but those kind of luxuries don't exist when you are running an experiment at your office.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"the pig & the butcher": akimenko meats x quarter productions

akimenko meats x lickmybalsamic - pig day!, originally uploaded by aarn! +14th December, 2009+.

a little change of format here. i've been spending a lot of time learning, cooking, and working on new foods and ventures. a good friend of mine, vadim, of the future akimenko meats, our friend steve from quarter productions, and lick my balsamic, teamed up with 10 other individuals to finance the purchase of an entire pig. we then rented out a professional kitchen and had a video shoot while vadim took the animal apart. this is the second time in the last few months that i have seen the complete breakdown of a pig, and each time it has been an amazing experience. steve managed to capture the art as well as the passion that is involved in such an activity (when done right) in his video "the pig & the butcher." big thanks to everyone who helped finance this (enjoy your meat!) and everyone who was involved. in the last week since the butchering, cuts of meat have been cured, rubbed, smoked, baked, sous vide, pulled, deep fried, and frozen. at this point only about 1-lb of the 211-lb pig has gone to waste. a picture set of the butchering can be found here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

juniper and thyme-rubbed and smoked venison ribs with brown rice and beans and herbed butter roasted beets

went on a little trip to do some research for a project with vadim (future proprietor of akimenko meats). ended up out in new braintree, ma at misty river view farms, the largest venison farm in massachusetts. david and rhonda were nice enough to give vadim a nice looking rack of venison ribs to mess around with.

mashed together a few cloves of garlic with six juniper berries (christina's spices), black peppercorns, a few sprigs worth of fresh thyme, a generous amount of salt, a heavy pinch of sugar (about 2:1, salt:sugar), and a splash of canola oil in a mortar and pestle, until a well-mixed paste. removed the membrane from the bottom of the venison ribs, then rubbed them with the paste, focusing on the fleshier parts. put down a layer of lightly ashed-over charcoal in the fire box of the smoker, topped with a layer of aromatic african mahogany chunks (which had been soaking all day, thanks to the turk for scraps from his
shop). placed the ribs in the smoking chamber and adjusted the airflow to maintain a 200-degree chamber temperature. smoked the ribs for about 3hrs, then finished in aluminum foil in the oven for an hour or so.

browned a handful of diced pieces of home-cured pork belly with julienned chicken skin (in an open pressure cooker), until the skin was tender and the fat had been adequately rendered. added a 1T. of unsalted butter, a diced onion, a few cloves of crushed garlic, a couple of sprigs of thyme, dry mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne, some tony chachere's seasoning, a pinch of marjoram, and cumin powder. simmered until the onions were tender, then added 2c. of organic short grain brown rice and lightly toasted over medium heat until slightly darker in color and most of the oil had been absorbed from the pan. added 4c. of boiling water, stirred lightly, then covered the pressure-cooker on low heat until the rice was almost done (40-min or so). added a layer of re-hydrated black beans on top of the rice, and covered again, to steam the beans and come up to temperature (did not stir in, rice continued to cook for a few minutes longer). stirred in the beans once the rice was done, removed from heat and left covered until ready to eat.

crushed two cloves of garlic with some thyme, smoked paprika, caraway seed, salt and pepper, in the mortar and pestle. added 2T. of softened butter and mashed until a nice loose compound butter. coated a handful of rinsed and trimmed beets (parker farms) in the butter mixture, then roasted at 425-degrees in a covered pan until fork-soft, peeled, quartered, and tossed in julienned fresh mint and orange zest, to taste.

[lots of stuff/fantasic plating: vadim]