Friday, April 27, 2007

Now taking requests for the Summer spice mix.

That's right. There was a Christmas mix...okay a mix that came out around Christmas but didn't have any funky "holiday" peppermint or nog or anything mulled. Now I think I'm gonna make a Summer batch. Something probably spicier than last time. Let me know if you want something a lot spicier and I'll put something together for ya.

Just let me know and send a mailing address and I'll get something out to ya.

Good Eats win a Peabody.

Is there anything Alton Brown can't do?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brussels Sprouts

Most people don't like Brussels Sprouts then again most people like American Idol. I like Brussels Sprouts, in particular I like them roasted. Here's a simple way to do it. I actually stole this recipe from Playboy a million years ago and only half remember it.

Get a bag of Brussels Sprouts.
Boil some water.
Preheat the over to about 400...give or take depending on your oven.
Blanch the Brussels Sprouts for a couple of minutes - about 5 or one cigarette.
Drain and rinse off whatever loose leaves or dirt is left.

So far so good? Here comes the hard part.

Toss the Sprouts in olive oil, bread crumbs, coarse ground pepper, kosher salt, and "shakey" cheese.

Put the sprouts on a baking sheet. Personally I put a layer of tin foil on the sheet so I don't have to clean up afterwards.

Put the baking sheet and the sprouts in the oven. Cook for a half hour. Shake them around, throw some more breadcrumbs on them if you want, put them back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes.

Poke them with a fork. If they look done then they are done.

Serve with whatever you feel like eating with Brussel Sprouts. Chicken's a safe bet.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Of Cake and Rabid Babies

My niece is 14 months old now and I think I've stumbled upon evidence that she is in fact my child. At the very least we're kindred spirits, the first evidence of which is manifesting itself through food.

When my niece was born she was a shrimpy little thing. She still is. However, what has become apparent is that she can eat. I mean not only does she eat, but she really packs it away. AND apparently she already has favorites.

When the cake came out to the table this Easter, she tranformed from "cute baby" to "rabid for cake baby". She beelined for the cake (she was sitting on the cleaned post-supper table: mistake) and needed to be restrained mid-way through. In reaction to this she cried - a wail of anguish from the depths of her small soul. Now here's the best part: of course she was to have cake and as my sister cut her piece she began to shake. Yes, my niece shook and kicked her feet with baby excitement/glee over her slice.

Oh... the places we'll go and the things we will eat someday wee one.

So in solumn salute, here is one of my favorites gleened from The Herb and Spice Handbook by Arabella Boxer. The instructons she gives are more detailed, but what's below will work too.

This is for you small cake-rabid one (or at least it will be someday when you have more teeth and can handle the sugar content).

Oven: Preheated to 350

The goods:

6 tablespoons of butter
4 ounces of chocolate (The author recommends semisweet, but there is room to play. I like and have used the darker stuff.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
3 eggs
heavy cream

Melt the chocolate. Once melted let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter 'til mixed through and then stir in flour and sugar. Separate your eggs and throughly mix in your egg yolks. Then whisk your egg whites until stiff and fold them into the chocolate goodness.

Fill your pan with the chocolate mix. I'm not a very scientific cook, so I say find a pan that seems to fit and go with it. Rough guidelines: you should butter the pan first and the mixture should fill your pan just over half way. Bake for 15 minutes (the cake should/will rise) and remove from oven. Let cool.

Frosting: Lightly whip heavy cream. I can't imagine using a sugary frosting for this. The thought makes me twitch.

The book recommends adding strawberries and mint inside and over after baking. I haven't tried this but I think it could be fantastic.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Breakfast tacos.

I didn't know what the hell a breakfast taco was when I moved to Texas way back in 1999. No seriously, I'll tell you a story:

I had some tortillas, some bacon, a fried egg, and some hot sauce. I slapped them together. I made another one. I made another one. I thought that I had discovered something new and exciting. Later that day I told a co-worker my brilliant innovation and they just kind of...looked at me. Then said, "You made breakfast tacos." I can smile about it now but at the time it was terrible.

Breakfast tacos are kind of a big deal here in Austin, TX. Practically every where has breakfast tacos - gas stations, cafes, coffee joints, bakeries, truck stops, you name it. Sometimes they are really piss poor - gluey tortillas, rubbery eggs, bland beans, half cooked bacon. Sometimes they are totally completely awesome and will banish hangovers, evil spirits, dark thoughts, and will cure gout. There's a taco truck next to a construction site near work -Carmen's - that has quite possibly the best that I have had. Over stuffed with fresh, light scrambled eggs, crispy - almost burnt slabs of bacon, and great tortillas. Cheap too, plus it's kind of awesome to stand there wolfing down breakfast tacos and a real Coke with a bunch of construction workers.

Breakfast tacos come in any number of variations but most common is egg & potato or egg & bacon. The main constant is that the eggs are scrambled. If I make them at home I just fry the egg - I'm a big fan of the sunny side up.

You can use a good red salsa - not to chunky or watery. A good verde is my personal favorite - the citrus and bright heat makes for a great wake-up call. Hell, good old fashioned hot sauce - Lousiana Sunshine, Cajun Chef, or some of the awesome cheaper than a buck a bottle Mexican stuff. If you don't have access to the cheap Mexican stuff let me know and I'll send you some.

I'm still pretty much a Yankee because I haven't truly begun to appreciate corn tortillas. I'm a flour tortilla man myself. Then again most places I go to have flour tortillas for breakfast then corn or flour for lunch. If anyone has any insights please let me know.

Here's a quick recipe for those of you who are unfamiliar:

Make some scrambled eggs.
Make some thick sliced bacon or salt pork.
Get some kick ass salsa.
Flour tortillas.

Slap the damn things together. Eat. Get ready to start grilling and drinking.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

All right!

Starting up a new off shoot site here. Was thinking that a straight up food/cooking/eating/feeding/general chatter about food would be entertaining. If it works it works...if it doesn't then it doesn't. We shall see.