# Thursday, February 01, 2007

For my birthday back in December, I got a new cooking gadget from my father-in-law (thanks Terry). 

It's an "indoor BBQ pit".  Hmmm.  Unsafe, you might think.  Can't possibly work, you might assert.  Actually, it's pretty cool. 

True, you won't get any smoke flavor, but there are creative ways around that.  My personal favorite is Spanish smoked paprika, or some chipotle chilies in the sauce.  The thing is basically a big crock pot, with some racks that fit inside to either hold ribs upright, or hold a roast, a chicken, or a brisket off the bottom.  I've done ribs, pork roast, and brisket in it so far, with (I think) pretty decent results.  It's supposed to hold two whole chickens, but I haven't tried that yet. 

The ceramic liner comes out, and is dishwasher safe, although my one gripe with the whole setup so far is that slow-cooked barbeque sauce is nearly impossible to chisel off the interior of the "pit".  Long soaking and serious scrubbing are required, but it's still fun to use.

Thursday, February 01, 2007 6:14:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

I had some leftover BBQ brisket (I'm a big Texas style BBQ fan) that I needed to use up, so a batch of frijoles borrachos (drunken beans) was just the thing.

I cooked up some pinto beans until they were mostly soft, then in a separate pan fried up some onions, garlic, a few pickled jalapenos, some chili powder, ground Mexican oregano, salt, and ground cumin.

When the beans were done, and the veggies soft, I threw the veggies in with the beans, a beer (hence the borrachos part) and a bunch of chopped brisket. 

That cooked down until it was saucy but not soupy, and some chopped cilantro went in at the last minute.  Served with quesadillas, it was a bit hit.

Thursday, February 01, 2007 5:46:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

Boy, it's been a while since I've posted anything here.  There's probably something I can do to fix that...

I've been craving the food of my youth lately, i.e. hippy vegetarian food.  I've been dragging out my original vintage copies of Moosewood, The Vegetarian Epicure, The Tao of Cooking, etc. 

In that spirit, I made a batch of tofu "egg" salad. 

Mash up some firm tofu, and add mayonnaise to your taste, a little curry powder, salt and pepper, celery, and a handful of cashews.  Tastes just like egg salad (only without all the egg peeling and cholesterol) and makes great sandwiches or cracker spread.

Thursday, February 01, 2007 5:42:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This delicious kimchee stew is one of my favorite winter dishes.  Last night I made a batch that even my wife liked (she usually doesn't) so I had to record the process for posterity.

I started with this recipe from My Korean Kitchen (an excellent Korean food blog).  I didn't have the mushrooms, so I left those out.  I used some kimchee that I made a few weeks ago.  The biggest departure from my usual procedure was than instead of cubed pork, I used bacon.  Any old bacon will do, as great bacon would be wasted here, I think.

I also added some little disk shaped Korean rice cakes right at the end, which made for a nice texture addition, and made it a bit more filling.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:05:46 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Friday, November 17, 2006

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything here.  I've been doing a fair amount of cooking, but none of it seemed interesting enough to post about.  That's probably not true, so hopefully things'll pick up a bit here.

Last night I had a craving for chicken, so I picked up a nice 5 1/2 lb. "Rocky" organic roaster at New Seasons, as well as some veggies to go with.  My wife gave me one of those stand-up chicken roasting doo dahs a few years back, so that's what I propped Rocky up on, in a roasting pan. 

I rubbed the outside of the bird with olive oil, coarse salt, rosemary, and some black pepper, and set him roasting at 350°, with me electronic thermometer/alarm in place.  I love those things.  Totally worth every penny (and they aren't very expensive).  I set the alarm for 180°, and prepped the veggies.

About an hour into it, I took some brussel sprouts, fingerling potatoes, carrots, and chopped rutabega, and mixed them with salt, olive oil, and some more rosemary, then popped them into the bottom of the roasting pan with the chicken.  About an hour later, the alarm went off, and dinner was served. 

I've just recently started roasting brussel sprouts like this, and I love it (as does Vikki).  They aren't mushy at all, and it really cuts down on the "cabbagey" smell of them. 

The chicken came out very moist, thanks mostly to the thermometer.  It really makes a huge difference.

Tonight, the leftover chicken and veggies will chopped up, gravied, and topped with biscuits for a chicken pot pie (one of my all time favorites).  I'll probably add some sage, which I really enjoy with poultry, but I didn't want it to burn on the surface of the bird.  The rosemary holds up better.

Friday, November 17, 2006 5:33:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Once again, I had some winter squash that needed using up, and I happened to recently come across a reference from the journals of Lewis and Clark about a stew they were fed by the Mandan/Hidatsa while wintering at Fort Mandan.  They referred to stew of pumpkin, chokecherries, beans and dried corn.  I thought that sounded good, so I gave it a try. 

I added some stew beef (buffalo would have been better) and a few spices, but otherwise pretty much stuck with the basics as described.  I used parched sweet corn, pinto beans, dried cherries, and butternut squash, and added some dried sage and salt and pepper, plus a dash of balsamic vinegar, as it was a bit too sweet for my taste otherwise. 

I started by browning the beef, then added the dried pintos and water to cover, and simmered until the beans were nearly done, then added the dried cherries and parched corn, and cooked until the beef was starting to get tender, then added the chopped squash, and cooked it until it was soft but not mushy. 

Served with green salad and cornbread, it made a nice Fall dinner.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 6:04:02 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, October 05, 2006

I had half of a lovely Amber Cup squash to use up, so last night I tried Saffron Trail’s Parsi Dhansak, which is basically dal with pumpkin.  My favorite part was that you pressure cook the pumpkin with the dal, and it all came out done just right.  Very easy to get right.  I didn’t have any methi, so added some cilantro instead, which I thought came out well. 

I love winter squash, but it’s one of those things that I just never think to cook.  I bought a bunch of beauties at the farmers market last weekend, so I’ll be experimenting with some more squash recipes in the next week or so.  Over the weekend I made a squash soup (with the other half of the Amber Cup) with some apples, pears, onions and fresh sage.  I added just a touch of balsamic vinegar at the end, since it was a little too sweet with the fruit.  The balsamic cut it just enough.  I topped each bowl of soup with some fried sage leaves (fresh sage leaves fried in oil until crisp) which make a really attractive garnice, and they’re tasty too. 

I’m thinking Morroccan-themed pumpkin & tomato over couscous tonight.  Report to follow…

Thursday, October 05, 2006 6:03:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, September 21, 2006

I know I've said it before, but caldo gallego has got to be one of my very favorite soups.  I made a batch last night that went basically as I described before, but added some Spanish smoked paprika at the end.  Totally put it over the top.  Loved it.  It's such an easy soup, and full of nutritional goodness, especially from the kale, which is one of my favorite greens. 

It's nice that we're finally getting a bit of soup weather here in Oregon.  It's been such a hot summer, it's a pleasant change to get some cooler, wetter days.  Makes it so much easier to plan for dinner when it's OK to produce some heat in the kitchen.  :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006 4:47:10 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yes, indeed, the rumors are true.  There is a restaurant serving Ethiopian food in Hillsboro.  Vikki and I had lunch there on Monday.  It's still mostly a deli/diner, so most of the menu is burger-fries and cold sandwiches, but they have 7 Ethiopian dishes on the menu, each of which comes with a salad and your choice of injera or rice.  We had a spicy beef dish, and the collard greens, both with injera.  Very tasty!  The injera was very fresh, and the flavor of both dishes was excellent.  It's a bit expensive, and portions are small, so keep that in mind.  It's not the cheapest lunch around, but a welcome addition to the local lunchtime scene for sure.

Lalibela Ethiopian Cafe, 5289 NE Elam Young Pkwy, #F-800, 97124

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 5:53:43 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]

I had some rutabegas I needed to use up (doesn't everyone?) and decided to try the traditional Scottish version, "bashed neeps".  Basically, you cube your rutagegas (turnip? swede?) and boil until tender, then mash with some salt, pepper, a touch of mace, and plenty of butter.

These made a great side dish with some of New Seasons' pork bratwurst cooked in beer (Fat Tire) with some onions.  Much more interesting than mashed potatoes, and less starchy.  The rutabegas have less of a "turnipy" taste (IMHO) than the white turnips, so might have a wider appeal. 

Monday night I had to use up some turnips ( :-) ) so I made some "armored turnips" which is a medieval recipe.  Cube and boil the turnips until tender, but still firm, then drain and add some butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and ground ginger, then stir in some cheese.  I used parmesan.  Very tasty, and a quick and interesting side dish.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 5:43:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]