I'm probably going to be using buzznet more for social networking than anything. I had an experience yesterday during my posting flurry where the database refused to recognize my account for hours and hours, and what should have been a 20 recipe spree turned into a 10 minute write up and an hour and a half of trying to post it.
My new food blog can be found here:
My new food blog can be found here:
Any guesses what this would cost at a posh restaurant?
Ok, guys. I have a confession to make. I know a bunch of you think I don't know how to make dessert. I've stated a bunch of times to my real life friends that I don't like sweet things, and that I can't bake dessert because I have no taste for it.
That's not entirely true.
This one is drawing on a lot of my cooking skills at once. Skill with alcohol, cream manipulation, and the most important aspect: plating. This dish really only works if you put it on the plate in an amazing, beautiful fashion.
If this doesn't make you hungry, you're not human.
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup creme de cacao (not the dark stuff, white chocolate godiva liqueur would work, too, really.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 tblsp sugar
at least 1 1/2 cups of raspberries
2 tblsp triple sec
1 tsp lemon juice
Grab some ramekins. If you have no ramekins, buy ramekins. If you're feeling romantic, this looks amazing in a martini glass. Personally, though, I prefer it turned out.
Warm up a sauce pan, medium heat. Put the milk in the saucepan, and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Stir it until the gelatin breaks down and dissolves. Add the cream, creme de cacao, and 1/3rd of a cup of the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, and stir until the sugar's broken up. Take it off the heat, cool it, and pour it into ramekins or glasses. Cover it, and refrigerate it for at least 6 hours.
In another sauce pan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the raspberries, triple sec, lemon juice, and the rest of the sugar. Stir it until the sugar's dissolved and the raspberries are all soft and gooey. Then, pour it through a seive and press it down to get all of the juice out of the raspberries. There's the topping.
To pull the Panna Cotta out of the mold, just soak your ramekins in hot water for a few seconds to loosen the dessert, and invert onto a plate. To top this, there are 3 ways you can do it that I find appealing. Obviously, experiment.
The first is to lay down a pool of the sauce, and plop the panna cotta on top of it. Use a spatula to invert the panna cotta. Top it with a few fresh raspberries. The second is to plate the panna cotta, and do what is in the picture, and garnish it with a few raspberries beside it. The third is nouvelle cuisine. Plate the panna cotta, and run a line of the sauce around the outside edge of the plate, 3/4ths of the way around the plate, and throw a few dots of sauce off of one of the edges, then put a small swirl of the sauce on top of the panna cotta. The nouvelle cuisine looks the best, obviously, setting it on the base of the sauce probably has the best flavor. The picture is a good marriage of the 2.
For other dressings to this, shave a bit of milk chocolate and white chocolate and dress the top of the panna cotta with them. You can also go with a tiny dollop of chocolate ice cream.
Take out the liqueur and you can really do anything with this base. Panna cotta is only limited by what you can dream up, and it's a great base to experiment with cooking with alcohol.
Tasty, but a little plain looking. A tiny dash of paprika and some chopped parsley will bring it to life.
This was my favorite food as a child. I decided to try to update it a bit for grown ups, and convert it from a traditionally breakfast-centric food to something you can serve for dinner. I'm taking this to another level, with the optional ingredient. I call it optional, but it really makes a hell of a difference. It's only optional if you can't afford it or can't buy it for some reason.
Biscuts (big, flaky ones. You can make your own, but really the ones in the tins are just easier for the same results.)
1 lb breakfast sausage
6 tblsp flour
3.5 cups whole milk (skim really doesn't like to work for this, the flavor is off)
~1 to 1.5 cups yellow pearl onions. to steal a phrase from my nemesis, you can eyeball this. It's really to your own tastes.
~1 cup button bellas, or chopped crimini mushrooms (baby bellas, but I think crimini sounds cooler. the button bellas are way better for this, though, because then you have bite sized onions and mushrooms. it makes for a nicer presentation.)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp paprika
optional (but not really) a shot of burbon
ground pepper to taste, it'll need a decent bit
Put the sausage, onions, mushrooms, and garlic in the biggest pan you can find. Mix it up, break it up, smush it around, and generally show it who's boss. Brown the sausage well, making sure none of the insides are pink (since you're breaking it up as you go, this should be easy). When it's good and browned, add the flour. Some people say add it slowly, I'm an advocate of dump it all in and stir like your life depends on it.
You want to let the flour cook for a few minutes. I'd say at least 2-3. You want it good and toasted, so your gravy doesn't taste like unbaked bread.After you've good and toasted the flour, start adding the milk. You want to do this a cup at at a time, and stir it nice and well to break up the flour, and thicken. add some milk, let it cook for a minute or 2, then add another. When you're at 3 cups, you'll need to adjust the last bit of milk for a thickness you like. I suggest a half a cup. You may be ok with just the 3, or go up to 4. It's all a matter of preference at that point.
After you've added all of the milk, add in the spices, and the shot of burbon. Cook for an extra minute or 2, to let the alcohol cook off and let the flavors mingle.
Split the biscuts in half, and spoon a big helping of this stuff over them. You can garnish with fresh chopped parsley, to break up the color a bit and give it some life. A quick sprinkle (half a pinch) of paprika wouldn't go bad for presentation, either.
Ooo. Fish. Fish has always seemed a bit mystical to me, most people I know never cook the stuff. A good tuna steak is pretty cheap, and very tasty. It's great way to get into cooking a good cut of fish, and the fresh peppers are just coming into season, which means they'll be cheap and yummy.
~3 cups de-seeded chopped tomato (any will work, here. Pick one you like)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
5 tblsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless tuna steaks
In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, chiles, garlic, and 2 tblsp of the lime juice. Cover, and let it hang out for a while so the flavors mix. I'd make this the night before, if possible.
Mix the remaining lime juice with the oil. Rinse the fish and pat it dry, then brush both sides with the lime mixture. Fire up your grill for medium heat, and slap some olive oil on the grill's grate so the fish doesn't stick. Cook for about a minute and a half, flip, then cook for another 2 minutes. It should be browned but still a pale pink in the center.
Put it on a plate, top it with the salsa. Easy.
Someone didn't soak their skewers first...
Kebabs are a grilling classic. In the broiler or on the stove, you can never go wrong with putting meat on a stick and applying fire. I know everyone knows the classics, steak peppers and onions etc... so we're going to get a bit classy. I'm on an orange kick, because I love the summer fruits, so we'll do another orange dish. Why the hell not, right? Let's get a bit asian, as well, so we can back off the italian and cajun trend I've been stuck on since I started this.
3/4 tsp grated orange zest (that's the colorful part on the skin)
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tblsp firmly packed brown sugar
2 tblsp soy sauce (try to get the low sodium type if possible. Better for you that way)
4 tsp minced ginger
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tblsp sesame oil. You can use peanut oil in a pinch, or canola.
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander. You can sub oregano if you don't have coriander.
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored and cut into 1 inch cubes
a bunch of green onions, chopped into inch long sections.
Sharp sticks or kebab skewers.
In a bowl, mix the zest, juice, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, and coriander. Mix in the chicken and let it sit for at least a half hour, at most 2. If you're using wooden kebab sticks, soak them in water while you're marinating the chicken. It looks prettier that way, they don't scorch as much.
Take the chicken out of the marinade and start the skewers. Do a piece of chicken, a piece of pineapple. a piece of chicken, a green onion.
Fire up the grill (or broiler) for high heat. Throw these on the fire or under the broiler for 6 minutes, brushing occasionally with the leftover marinade. Flip them once, then do 6 more minutes, continuing to baste them in the marinade. After 12 minutes, they should be done. cut into a piece of chicken to check.
You can't tell, but I'm licking my monitor right now.
This is GREAT summer food. Also, it's rather good for you and great for people on restricted diets or diabetics. I'm particularly proud of the dressing, it's sweet and tangy, with just a touch of heat. The meat here is variable. Chicken is good, pork is also great, and I'll bet you could get away with salmon, as well. shrimp would be excellent, too.
boneless skinless chicken tenders (or breasts cut into strips. cut the breasts in half, and slice them height-wise, with the grain of the meat), about 1 lb.
about 3 large oranges, completely de-seeded and with all of the white cut off, cut into sections.
fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed
1 tblsp minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
2.5 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
optional: sliced almonds
Put the spinach and orange slices in a bowl. Heat 1 tblsp of the olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken, oregano, garlic, and chili powder, and a bit of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is fully cooked. About 5-7 minutes. Cut it open to test.
After the chicken is done, pull it from the pan and set it aside. Mix the remaining olive oil with the orange juice and pour them into the pan, breaking up those little tasty bits on the bottom. Cook for a few minutes, maybe 3, to reduce the dressing a bit, then pour it into a container and add in the vinegar and mustard. Mix well. Slice the chicken along the grain of the meat into thin strips. 1/4 of an inch thick at the most, you want them big enough to get some bite, but small enough that you'd be able to eat one and get some of the rest of the salad as well.
To serve, put the combination of spinach and oranges on a plate, top with a heaping pile of the chicken, and drizzle the orange vinaigrette over the top of the whole thing.
Optional: Take out a frying pan, and heat it on high heat. Put nothing in it to lubricate, and toss in a big handfull of sliced almonds. Shake the pan around real well and mix up the almonds, cooking for about 2-3 minutes until they start to brown. Pour them over the top of the salad as garnish.
A properly blackened catfish fillet.
This is classic. I'm an advocate of mixing your own spice blends to better control the salt content, and so you know exactly how your spices interact. I find that spices you mix yourself are way more flavorful than store-bought mixes. This is a generic cajun-style seasoning. It's great for blackening meats, or adding a bit of heat and depth to just about any dish.
equal portions of the following. You'll probably want to stick to all dried herbs for this one.
optional: chipotle powder
Easy stuff. Mix it together thoroughly, and put it in either a salt shaker (label it, if you're like me eventually you'll have 800 various seasoning mixes, and confusing your cajun seasoning for your carribean jerk seasoning is a messy thing when you're making cajun alfredo.) or an empty spice container (bonus points for putting it in a cajun spice container).
Now, since this was such a quick post, I'll fill you in on a secret. "Blackened" does not mean burn it. Blackened catfish or chicken is not supposed to actually be black. The process of blackening is to lightly toast the herbs on the outside of the meat on medium-high heat, to extract more flavor. If it's golden brown, you're great. If it's actually black, you're overdoing it. To blacken something on a grill, you want a good heat, and you want to place the meat directly above the fire. Cook it for about 2-3 minutes a side, until the herbs are toasted, and then move it to the edges of the grill, away from the direct fire, or to the top rack for propane grills. Finish the meat off with indirect heat. THAT is blackened meat. If you're served anything else, they did it wrong. Look at the picture for a reference of what blackened spices SHOULD look like.
The toast of the gods.
Keeping in the theme of light, summery italian cuisine, here's an amazing starter that can be quickly fired on a grill, or just tossed together before dinner. It's great date food, and criminally simple. Omit the topping and you have bruschetta classica, or real authentic italian garlic bread.
diced de-seeded tomatoes (Again, I go with campari. Plum tomatoes would be great here, as well.)
sliced thick crusted italian bread, about 1/2 inch thick.
1 clove of garlic, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
chopped basil (stack all of the basil, roll it into a tube, and then chop it. This is called julienne, and I find it provides maximum flavor and great texture, because of the long thin strips)
salt and pepper to taste
So, start off by toasting the bread in your broiler, a toaster oven, or on a grill. Grill it till it's golden brown. While it's toasting, mix together the tomatoes, basil, enough olive oil to coat the mixture without making it insanely soggy, and the salt and pepper. TASTE. That's the only way to be sure you've got a good mix. I'd give you portions, but this is really a make it how you like it kind of dish.
PROTIP: I keep a small container of diced tomatoes onhand, constantly, so I don't need to mess with dicing anything when I want to make a chunky sauce, salsa, or bruschetta.
After the bread is toasted, rub it (you'll feel silly, but it really does work) with the clove of garlic, gently. Then sprinkle the olive oil onto the bread, getting it a bit moist but being careful not to make it too soggy. Stop here, and you have traditional italian garlic bread. This is real bruschetta, the authentic basic recipe doesn't have the tomatoes. So, if a restaurant claims their bruschetta al pomodoro is just bruschetta, laugh at them like a good food snob.
For bruschetta al pomodoro, spoon a good helping of the herbed tomato mixture onto the bread. Simple enough.
Variations on this are many. I suggest away from vinaigrettes, as they can overpower the sweet simplicity of the tomatoes and basil, and hide the garlic entirely. The authentic italian style stuff never uses vinegar. The best variation I feel you can do is simply to chop up a clove of garlic and toast it lightly in a pan, in a tiny bit of olive oil, and mix it in to the tomatoes, then add in some grated fresh parmigiana reggio cheese. If you must add a bit more spice to it, I suggest fresh chopped oregano, in a very small quantity.
If you're taking this to a barbecue, mix together the topping beforehand and bring it in a bag in a cooler, fire the bread on the grill, and continue as normal. This, at a cookout, would be unexpected. In the land of potato salad, the bruschetta reigns supreme.
This is a simple and traditional italian classic. It's guaranteed to wow at any bbq, and will take you a half of a second to prepare if you're fast with a knife. This is somewhat a hallmark of italian cooking. Sweet and flavorful, the simplicity of the dish lets the ingredients shine. The aesthetics of the dish are designed to match the colors of the italian flag.
Sliced tomatoes (for most of these style of dishes I recommend campari on the vine tomatoes. Vine ripened tomatoes are sweeter, fresher, and I find the taste to be incomparable. Traditionally, insalata caprese is made with plum tomatoes. I find the campari tomatoes to be a better match. Slice them a bit thick.)
sliced mozarella (really, the higher quality the better. round is more aesthetically pleasing, and balls of mozarella tend to be higher quality)
fresh basil (chop it if you wish, I find whole leaves to be more aesthetically appealing. Get the small leaf variety. The big hydroponic leaves are less flavorful, and are better used in cooked dishes)
extra virgin olive oil
ground pepper to taste (some people use salt, I find the mozarella provides all the salt you need. Traditionally salt is added, so use your own judgement. I say try it my way first, then adjust the salt to your pallate)
This is more of an arrangement than a cooking process. Slice the tomatoes and mozarella to about the same thickness, and place them on a plate. you want to follow the color theme of the flag of italy. So, place a tomato slice, place some mozarella, then place a basil leaf. Repeat in a ring around the edge of the plate, then put another, smaller circle of this arrangement in the center. Garnish the very middle of the dish with a few leaves of basil, still attatched together. I usually use a sprig of 3 small leaves.
Drizzle the whole thing with a light sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, and grind some fresh pepper onto it. You don't want this to sit in the oil for an amazing amount of time, so I'd suggest if you're bringing it to a bbq, take a bit of olive oil with you in an empty water bottle or something and cover the hole with your thumb, leaving a tiny opening for you to shake the oil out of.
I suggest against vinegar, or a vinaigrette, for this recipe. It might taste ok, and isn't awful, but you're burying all of the subtle flavors and complexities of the basic dish.
Time to step back from the "crap you can cook on a bbq" and switch over to "crap you can cook on an open fire". I'm not only an evil taco, I'm also an equal opportunity taco.
This is a classic chili, I pulled it out of a cook book from 1957 and the only changes I made to it are things like translating "no. 2 can" to something that will actually make sense, and adding an ingredient or 2 that it actually made me violently angry the original author omitted.
1 large sweet onion, medium chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tblsp olive oil
1 lb beef tips (pre cut for braising, ground beef will work in a pinch but I prefer the texture of the beef tips)
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped small
2 cups chopped tomatoes (can be canned)
2 cups kidney beans (drained)
1/4 cup corn
2 tblsp cumin
2 tblsp oregano (fresh will make this a lot better)
1 tblsp chili powder
1 tblsp cayenne pepper
optional: 2 shots of whiskey
salt and pepper to taste (I use a tblsp)
Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to go clear. Add the meat and stir, until the meat is no longer pink, then 2 minutes past that. Add all of the rest of the stuff. Cover, and cook slowly for 45 minutes or so. Taste it, and mess with the seasoning however you want. If it's too runny, uncover it and raise the heat a bit. Serve either by itself or over rice. Garnish with cheddar cheese.
To do this on a fire, what you want to do is throw the pot on the fire when the fire's built a good ember, and the base of the fire is a bright red, but the flames have died off a tiny bit. You're probably going to have to throw at least 1 more log on the fire while cooking this. My recommendation is use smaller sticks so you can control the temperature better. You'll have to fiddle with it more often, but you'll get a lot more of an even temperature that way.
This chili is like crack, possibly the best I've ever tasted that didn't involve 3 hours of cooking and all fresh chili spices. The whiskey really does jack up (heh.) the flavor a lot. It's optional, but I strongly suggest it.
This dish, more than ANY, I suggest messing with. The type of meat, take out the meat, add some carrots, use red onions, try some chipotle pepper, substitute black beans for the kidney beans, etc.... Chili really is a standard. Every chef should know how to make it, and make it well. Every chef, as well, should have their own chili recipe. Just don't be one of those secret ingredient douchebags. Good food exists to be shared.