Tag: cooking

Made a real Paella tonight

So I had to try. It’s this recipe:

The only difference I couldn’t get frozen peas – had to use canned. I drained them off and mixed them in. Again no photos – we were hungry. But it turned out spectacularly. This time I used low sodium chicken stock, and real Arborio rice. Plus this time around I had julienne red bell pepper.

The process is to saute the shrimp shells and then add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain out the shells and set the stock aside. Heat an oven to 375F to 400F – your oven may vary.

Slice up your favorite sausage¬† – I used the hot sausage from Trader Joe’s but all you need is two links sliced up. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and cook the sausage in that oil. Then add some chopped onion, let that soften for about three minutes and then garlic and finally the Arborio rice. Get it well coated with that flavorful oil. Then in goes the reserved stock. Layer the shrimp over the top and lay out the julienne peppers and into that hot oven for 20 minutes. In my case it was fully cooked when it came out and the shrimp wasn’t tough – it was tasty.

And the thing about this dish, I did not add any salt whatsoever. But it was flavorful – I got the spiciness from the sausage, the sweetness of the shrimp and the pepper. It was awesome. You should give it a try.

Substituting ground turkey for ground beef

Made a small batch of chili tonight. Didn’t have ground beef but had ground turkey.

Tell me if you can see it’s turkey in this:


So here’s how I did it. First chopped half an onion and sliced two carrots. Put maybe a quarter cup of vegetable oil in the pan and let the onion and carrot cook one medium-low heat. Added some salt.

Then after 10-12 minutes added the spices. About a quarter cup of chili powder, along with a tablespoon of cumin, dried oregano, paprika, cayenne and salt and pepper.

Let that simmer for 5 or so minutes, just to waken the spices.

Then in goes the turkey – stir to break it up. It will pick up the spice as it cooks.

Finally some garlic tomato sauce, about 2/3 of a jars worth.

Then a can of red kidney beans, along with some white beans.

Next I gotta try making chili with pork. That might be really good.

Food: French toast

So for years I’ve tried just about every type of bread for French Toast. And my skill and technique have markedly improved.

But last night we were at BJ’s Wholesale club and I noted they had Challah. We bought a two pack of it and now I know why. Apparently in Jewish circles, one is used when the Shabat begins on Friday, and then the other loaf on Saturday. We just shifted it a day – since in my Catholic rearing Sunday is the Sabbath. Sure I’ve shucked off the religious gobbledygook but the old traditions die hard.

Plus the fact that Sunday is the day we’re pretty much unfettered to cook what we please. So this morning I cut up 3/4’s a loaf of Challah into slices. Then I made the batter. One nice technique – separate the yolks from the white. Into the yolks some milk, ¬†turbinado sugar, vanilla, pinch of salt and blend together. Then whip the whites into soft peaks – the trusty stick blender with whisk attachment is marvelous for that.

Combine the two folding the white into the yolks – then dust with a little cinnamon and mix it up.

Slices get soaked in that marvelous mixture for a few minutes per side then onto a rack to set while you cook bacon, or cut up the avocado, tomato and onion.

Then set the heat on the griddle to about 275F. About 2 or so minutes per side and then onto a warmed plate.

Had that French Toast with a nice little tomato, avocado and red onion salad, with some salt, pepper and then a cherry balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Also had a few slices of bacon each.

Sunday breakfast, or more properly brunch is fantastic. Now to think about dinner later on. Either Filet Mignon or that wonderful Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Chicken with lemon and basil. Choices, choices, choices.

Another cooking tool

So I’ve long used probe thermometers to measure the temperature of some dish. But as I learn more about cooking and baking I realized – something was missing.

The something is an infrared thermometer. When you think about it, the infrared thermometer really is a space age tool. Or are we past the space age now so we’re firmly into the age of artificial intelligence and robotics. Let’s hope they never combine those two – oh who am I kidding. We’re pretty much building SkyNet as I type.

But the infrared thermometer really is a fun tool. It also includes a laser so wherever the point lands, you can read the temperature of that spot. Because at this phase even the surface temperature of food is critical.

Even when we’re being overrun by artificially intelligent robots being directed by SkyNet. Guess we’ll have to do invent time travel into the past soon enough so we can stop it happening. Actually upon some thought I do believe we can travel into the past. It’s just the future we cannot travel into since we haven’t gotten there yet.

Took the plunge

By plunge I’m talking about Sous Vide cooking. It’s a a way to keep water at a certain constant temperature.

I’ve been a subscriber to Chef Steps on YouTube for a long time now. I’ve tried their crispy waffle recipe and their Crispy Creme donut recipe. Both were big hits around here.

So they’ve been talking about their Joule Sous Vide cooker. It’s a stick that is controlled by a phone app.

This means that in addition the the $199 I spent on the sous vide cooker I’m going to have to spend another $169 to get a new phone with enough on board memory to install the app and another $60 for a vacuum sealer and $25 for some bags.

So the total to do sous vide will be $453. Add to that the $339 I paid for the KitchenAid Pro 600 mixer and we’re up to $792 just for necessary gear. And almost forgot the $10 for the Diastatic Malt Powder necessary for both the waffles and donuts and we’re at a grand total of $802.

So cooking in a new way is expensive. Well – not that much over time.

First use of dry powdered sour cream

So it’s easy to reconstitute – 5 parts of the sour cream powder to 3 parts water.

I used it to make 2 cups of sour cream today. Just have to stir it for a bit to get it smooth. Then into the shortbread biscuit ingredients and tasty cheddar biscuits later.

The nice part about the powdered sour cream is it’s shelf stable without refrigeration. That is a big plus. It means one big jar of the powdered stuff is easy to keep on hand.

I also tried another trick. I put a tablespoon of it in scrambled eggs. It was great.

This all started when I bought diastatic malt powder. And then there’s flour – I have All Purpose, Wheat, Bread and Pastry flour. Yeah – I’m definitely a foodie.

Then there are the oils – peanut, canola, olive, almond, cayenne, etc. Plus a bunch of balsamic vinegars like cherry, champagne, etc. All of it came from an little olive oil place not too far from here on Hope Street in Providence. It’s right near Not Just Snacks and Not Just Spices and is called Olive Del Mondo (Olive of the World). I think I’ve dropped $150 in there in the last couple months.

Put it this way – salad dressing with the cayenne olive oil – and a nice orange flavored at that. And I used the Champagne Balsamic. That with some chopped garlic, heavy grain mustard, some salt and pepper and fantastic salad dressing – and no sugar.

Zucchini Fried pass number two

I had found this recipe for Zucchine Fries. They’re basically sticks of Zucchini, dredged through egg then panko or breadcrumb and placed on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray.

But the panko didn’t stick. This time I cut up the sticks of Zucchini, dusted them with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Then into flour, shake them off and into egg, coat all sides. Then into panko/breadcrumb mixture.

Stuff sticks REALLY well with the flour coat first. They’re in the 400F oven now. I’ll check them in about 20 minutes.

I find myself doing this with recipes, improving on them to suit our tastes. Or how I used sausage, pepper, and kidney beans and used a seasoning mix I usually use when I make chili. It was awesome.

Then there’s the Blueberry pie I made. It was tasty but a bit too tart. So then I made a Strawberry pie – very nice. I upped the sugar from 2/3 to a full cup and added an additional tablespoon of brown sugar to the crumb mix. Makes a HUGE different. I have a couple pints of blueberries in the fridge. Maybe I’ll make that next – this time omitting the lemon zest and juice.

Another day in Boston

This time around just Keyron and I. Had to hit the Haymarket because I’ve been charged with making the Thanksgiving lasagna this year. And I want the sauce to be good so I’ve got 9lbs of plum tomatoes, a whole mess of basil, and that peeled garlic again.

I think when all is processed out I’ll get about 8 to 10 cups which is PLENTY of tomato sauce to make a lasagna. To put it into perspective it’s more than a half gallon of sauce. It’s so easy to do too though this time I’m going to have to do it in two batches.

I usually start by chopping up the tomatoes into little chunks. Then I chiffonade the basil. Mix it all together in my big 6qt. stainless steel bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon of salt per pound of tomatoes, pepper to taste, and even a little garlic powder.

Mix it all up and then lay it out on a baking sheet pan. Into a 350F oven for at least an hour, if not more. What you’re looking for here is that the tomatoes have exuded their juice and the juices are starting to condense. It’ll look similar to that below. You have to watch this one. Here’s what it looks like prior to being placed in the oven:

Before the Oven
Before the Oven

When you remove it from the oven it should look a bit like this:


When it reaches the stage shown above it’ ready to process. Plum tomatoes don’t seem to have a lot of seeds so I just run it all through the food processor using the chopper blade. You’ll end up with something like this:

The Finished Sauce
The Finished Sauce

Enjoy! And you have to admit, doesn’t this look better than the stuff you buy in a jar?

And yes I’ve posted these pix before but they’re total food porn and deserve to be shared again.