Friday, December 14, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

Firstly, this is some of the most perfect looking bread I've ever made.

I got the recipe from another blog, who in turn got it from some other blog... and so on.

And after having this bread, it's no wonder it's spreading so quickly.

Also, this bread makes the most amazing french toast.

Pumpkin Brioche

For the Sponge:

¼ cup whole milk, at room temperature2
½ tsp active dry yeast
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup bread flour

Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment ans whisk until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, and flour, forming a thick batter. Cover with plastic film and let rest in a warm environment until bubbles form, 30-40 minutes.

For the Dough:

5 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ lb(2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1.Add the flour ans salt to the sponge, then add the eggs. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until the eggs are absorbed. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough will begin to slap around. Hold on to the mixer when necessary.

2. On medium-low speed, add the butter, 2 TBSP at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.(Recipe did not say to, but I switched to the dough hook at this point). Knead until the dough is shiny ans smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape out the dough, wash and dry the bowl, and coat it lightly with oil.

3.Place dough in the oiled bowl and turn it so that the top is coated with oil. Cover with plastic film and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

4.After the dough has doubled in volume, press down to deflate, folding one half into the other. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. This is the second rise.
5.Spray three 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans with pan spray. I used one large pan, two mini loafs and made 8 rolls.

6.Remove dough from fridge. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough evenly into thirds. With a rolling pin(that is floured), roll the dough into a rectangle equal to the length of the pan and double its width. Starting from the short side, roll up the dough like a jelly roll. If you would like you can add a filling. I added pumpkin pie spices with sugar in one of my loafs. Pinch the seam together. Place the dough seam side down in the prepared pan. Gently work the dough into the pan with your fingers so that it touches all sides. The dough should fill the pan halfway.

7.Cover the dough with plastic film coated with pan spray and let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size and filled the pans completely, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

8.Toward the end of proofing preheat the oven to 400F. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven.

Egg Wash:
1 large egg, plus large egg yolk

Whisk together the egg and yolk. Gently brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash.

1.Bake for 10 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 350F and bake for 30 minutes more(the mini loaves only need 17 minutes more), with a golden crust and an internal temperature of 180F.

2.Remove the brioche from the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and cool it on a rack before serving.3.If making rolls, roll them to golf ball size. Proof in paper lined muffin cups for easy baking. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

An Arm and a Leg

It's been so long since I've put anything up. I've been rather busy at school, and haven't had much time to cook, let alone blog anything.

This lamb leg post is long over due. I made this weeks ago, maybe even a month or two, and I'm just now getting some downtime.

Things should pick up around here, while I'm on winter break.

Rosemary-Garlic Leg of Lamb with Roasted Red Pears and Polenta

1 Leg of Lamb
1 Head of Garlic
2-4 Sprigs of Rosemary

Puree the garlic and rosemary into a paste. Butterfly the leg of lamb and score the flesh. rub the paste into the meat. season with salt and pepper. roll up and tie the leg with butchers twine and rub with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 450 F for about 30 min, then reduce temperature to 350 F and continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 130 F.

8 Pears
Olive Oil
Rosemary Sprigs

Half and core the pears, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and lay rosemary atop and roast for 30 min in a 350 F oven.

Serve with polenta. and don't forget the parmasan and balsamic!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waxing Poetic

I saw this little poem in some magazine while having some tea at Flying Star a while back.

In my kitchen
I preheat a memory
I fold in old friends with new
I bake a good laugh.

Although, I thought it was cute, Renee pointed out to me that it didn’t represent my outlook on life and in the kitchen. So it was remodeled as such.

In my kitchen
I preheat the oven
To bake a new friend
Which gives a good laugh.

I suppose that doesn’t have anything to do with food, but it is kind of connected to cooking…

Alright, alright. Food porn. I know. What’s food porn without pictures? We’re such a visually stimulated culture. Who wants to read about how delicious food is? No one. Just show me the graphic carrots, and luscious slabs of ribs already!

I admit, I don’t have any ribs for this post… but I do have some awesome grilled tofu. You’ll make due. It’s uber simple. Just firm tofu cut into slabs, brushed with oil and salt and pepper, and seared on a hot grill. The sauce is 1 part soy sauce, ½ part honey, ½ part wasabi powder.

Which by the way, isn’t really wasabi. It’s a mixture of mustard, horseradish, and green. Getting the whole root and grating it yourself is the only way to be sure you’re getting the real thing. But hey, I like the powder of it’s own accord.

Waiter, There's a Banana in my Soup

This soup has the most amazing smell. It was actually drawing people from outside my apartment who were just curious as too what I was making.

Don’t get me wrong it tastes great too! After all, isn’t that the reason why we’re eating it anyhow? This soup blends the delicious autumn flavors of pumpkin and root vegetables along with the richness of beef and strangely enough, the sweetness of bananas. The spices and herbs in this soup are warm and earthy as well. Tumeric takes charge, and gives the soup a beautiful yellow color that stains the sliced onions as well. Think curry. Only, it doesn’t really taste like curry. Think curry-ISH. This isn’t your mom’s chicken noodle soup. It’s got some esoteric flavors along with a quasi-exotic taste.

This soup is full of warm-curl-up-in-that-flannel-blanket-on-the-couch flavors. Perfect for the fall, and upcoming winter.

Remember to use green bananas, as cooking with even yellow (let alone brown) ones will turn to mush really fast in your soup. Even using green bananas, by the time I got to the bottom of my 2nd bowl, they were starting to mush up. Which doesn’t taste bad… just mushy.

Also, I’d recommend using fresh pumpkin chunks in this recipe. I used some frozen pumpkin that I had cut up a few months earlier and froze. The frozen pumpkin cooks really quickly in the soup, so if you’re hell bent on using frozen since there’s no fresh, then watch the soup really closely when you add the pumpkin, or else it will fall apart.

The black-eyed bean pureé gives the soup a little more heft, and could be left out entirely. But I like beans.

Who knew soup would be so finicky?

I had this with some slightly sweet light rye bread that I baked earlier today. But that’s another story…

Pumpkin Banana Beef Stew

2/3 cup Black-Eyed Beans, soaked overnight
1-1/2 lb Beef Stew meat
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
5 cups Beef Stock1 Onion, sliced
8 oz Pumpkin, cubed
1 tsp ground Cardamom
1-1/2 tsp ground Tumeric
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp ground Cumin
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
handful of Parsley, chopped
2 Green Bananas
2 Carrots, sliced
Salt & Pepper

Drain the beans and place in a saucepot and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, and boil vigorously for 10 min. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 min. Remove from heat and let cool.

Quickly sear the beef in a stew pot and then add the stock along with the thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

Add the onions, pumpkin, cardamom, tumeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and parsley. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 15 min.

Pureé the cool beans with some of the cooking liquid until smooth.
Peel and slice the bananas. Add the bean puree, along with the bananas and carrots. Cook until the carrots have the desired tenderness (about 10 min). serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Chop Chop!

Ok, I'm finally caught up, and seem to have at least some access to a camera that doesn't also double as a phone...

These were supposed to be stuffed pork chops, but the chops were a little thin, so I just served the stuffing on the side, and it seemed to work out fine.

I modified this recipe from Alton Brown's pork chops.

Brined Pork Chops & Cranberry Corn Stuffing

4-6 Pork Chops


1/2 cup Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds, lightly crushed
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp dried Thyme

shake of cayanne
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup cold water
1 lb ice cubes

4 cups crumbled corn bread
3/4 cup crumbled walnuts
1 6 oz. package of Dried Cranberries
3/4 cup Buttermilk

1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1 tsp Ground Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1-2 Tbsp thinly sliced Sage

In a small sauce pan heat the salt, brown sugar, spices, and cider vinegar until the salt is mostly dissolved. Allow mixture to sit for 10 min to develop flavor.

Add the ice cubes, water, and brine to a ziplock bag and shake until cold. Add the pork chops and let brine for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

For the stuffing, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and then put in a greased 8x8 pan. Bake for 30 min at 350 F. Then turn the oven up to 450 F to brown the top of the stuffing an extra 10 min or so.

Grill the porkchops over on a grill, or in a grill pan being sure to oil the pan with a high heat oil if using the pan instead of the grill. Grill only until just done, and you have good markings. Mine only took about 4-6 minutes total per chop.

Dinner for Breakfast?

Yet again, the deliciousness of pumpkin shows through...

I got the hankering for these a few weeks after trying my friend Erika's pumpkin waffles.

I don't have a waffle iron, so I think pancakes work just fine.

There's always a trick to pancakes at first. Getting the temperature right on the range, judging how long to flip, and actually getting the flip down.

Pumptykin Pannycakes

2 cups Flour
3 tsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Butter Milk (plus a little extra)
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
2 Egg
2 Tbsp Oil

In a separate bowl, mix together the butter milk, pumpkin, egg, oil. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spice and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine. (add a little extra buttermilk if necessary to get that pancake consistancy)

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.

Spiced Blackberry Sweet Rolls

These rolls were the direct response to my Fundamentals of Engineering Test on October 27.

After 8 hours in a gym surrounded by answer bubble sheets, and only calculus problems to keep me company, I think I needed these rolls more than you know.

When I actually made these, I still didn't have a camera to take pictures. So I left a sign up that told my roomates they weren't allowed to eat them until I found a camera.

Andy tried to steal them...

I used the extra leftover blackberry jam from the thumprint cookies. I spiced up the jam, and then used in place of butter and brown sugar in a cinnamon roll dough recipe.

Spiced Blackberry Sweet Rolls

1 cup lukewarm filtered water
3-1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/3 cup Powdered Milk
1-1/2 cup Bread Flour
3 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Bread Flour
1/2-3/4 cup more flour for kneading

1 Cup of Jam
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp Ground cloves
Splash Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
few Tbsp Cream
Lemon Juice

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, and then add the sugar, and let proof for about 10 min. Add the egg, powdered milk, and 1-1/2 cups of flour. Mix well, and then set in a warm place to sponge for 30 minutes or so.

Fold in the butter and salt, add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Knead for 15 minutes, adding flour until a smooth but slightly wet dough comes together. It should still be minorly sticky...

Rise in a large oiled bowl until doubled in size.

Turn out the risen dough, and roll into a rectangular sheet about the size of a medium baking sheet.

Spread the blackberry mix onto the dough in a thin layer. Wrap the roll up starting at one end and then using a bit of water at the other side to seal the roll.

Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces, and place in a greased 9x13 glass pan. Let rise once more until the rolls fill the baking pan. Here's one of the few times that I don't use my baking stone. It over carmelizes the sugars into a burnt mess...

When the levening is complete, bake in a 350 F oven for about 30 min, until just browning ontop.

To make the icing, mix the cream with the powdered sugar until a slightly pourable icing comes together. Add lemon juice to taste, and then slowly ice the tops of the rolls.


Sorry for the bad photo. The camera I usually use for my foodie pictures was temorarily lost, so I used my camera phone instead. Turns out, phones don't even have macro modes... or at least, mine doesn't.

Shredded Beef Burritos

1-2 lb Arm Shoulder Roast
1 Onion, Sliced
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Red Chile Powder
1/2 Cup (or more) Green Chile, chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
1/2 can Diced Tomatos, drained

Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream

Layer the onions, followed by the beef roast, spices, salt and pepper, green chile, herbs and garlic in a slow cooker and turn to high for 4 hours

After 4 hours, turn heat to low.

Remove the roast, and shred by pulling the meat apart with a knife and fork. Add all the shredded beef along with the tomatos back to the slow cooker, and continue cooking for another 3 hours on low.

Serve the shredded beef up in tortillas rolled with cheese, avacados, sour cream, lettuce and anything else you feel like adding!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumnal Thai

Have I told you all just how much I love pumpkins?

I LOVE pumptykins!
This south-east asian inspired pumpkin and coconut soup blends sharp and hot flavors with a sweet and rich mouthfeel. The end result is savoury yet not to the point of being cloying. And some recipes which include intense flavored ingredients like thai fish sauce, and shrimp paste can definately go overboard and make dishes so intense that only a bite or two will put you over the edge.

But not so with this soup! It's perfect for all that extra pumpkin you've began freezing. Well, at least I've been freezing every pumpkin I can get my hands on for the upcoming winter, spring, and summer without those delicious squashes.

The only drawback to this recipe is grinding the lemon grass, dried shrimp and a few other things into a paste. I either needed a much larger mortar and pestle or some other high tech means of turning all that tough cellulosic material into a paste. For the record, I don't own a liquid nitrogen hammer mill, so I guess that's out of the question.

The shrimp paste can be a little overwhelming straight out of the jar, but it's worth it in the end. Don't be put off by it's... intense odor. Shrimp paste, which is made from fermented ground shrimp in brine, is used to give foods a savoury flavour.

I threw this soup together with some simple flat rice noodles tossed with some sambal chile puree, sesame oil, and some sauteed mushrooms.

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

2 Garlic cloves, crushed
4 Shallots, finely crushed
1/2 tsp Shrimp Paste
1 Tbsp Dried Shrimp, soaked for 10 min in hot water and drained
1 Lemon Grass Stalk, chopped
2 fresh Green Thai Chiles
2-1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 lb Pumpkin, skinned and cut into thick chunks
2-1/2 Cups Coconut Cream
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
4 oz. Peeled Prawns
2 fresh Red Thai Chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
fresh Basil leaves

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, shallots, shrimp paste, dried shrimp, lemon grass, green chiles and a pinch of salt into a paste.
Bring the chicken stock to boil in a large pot. Add the paste and stir until dissolved.

Lower the heat, add the pumpkin, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
Stir in the coconut cream, bring to a simmer. Add the fish sauce, sugar, ground pepper to taste.

Add the prawns and cook until they're heated through.
Serve garnished with the red chiles and basil leaves.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Cranberry Geleé

This started out as a pumpkin cheesecake TART with the cranberry goop on top, but after realizing that:

1.) Pastries take a long time, and this cake was already going to take at least a day to do, with chilling times and everything,

2.) New Mexican dry air conditions are rarely beneficial to pastry dough


3.) I don't own a tart pan.

I decided to just turn this into a regular pumpkin cheesecake.

Now, I realized this all after I had powdered the almonds, and blended the flour, and creamed/fluffed the butter and powdered sugar for the pastry.

I decided I would try to just turn this pastry into a pecany almondy bready crust for the pumpkin cheesecake. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account that the crust would rise, and when I finished baking this kitchen sink crust, I ended up with a "crust" that more resembled a puffed up cookie. This "cookie" took up about half of my spring form, which meant a really thin cheesecake.

I scrapped the cookie crust, and started over. This time I'd make a much more traditional pecan crust. Thin, and perfect for cheesing and caking.

After the colossal crust confound, everything else went smoothly. Dare I say creamily? I think so.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Cranberry Geleé


1 Cup Pecans, finely chopped (almost powdered, like sand)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Almond Extract


16 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 inch section of Ginger pressed through a garlic press
1/8 tsp Ground Allspice
1/8 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
pinch of fresh Ground White Pepper
pinch Salt
10 oz. Pumpkin Pureé
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup (please don't substitute Eggo waffle syrup...)
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs

Cranberry Geleé

2 Cups fresh Cranberries (1/2 pound)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Orange Juice
1-1/2 tsp Unflavored Gelatin

Oven at 350 F.

Combine all the crust ingredients until homogeneous. Press into a 9X3 inch circular spring form pan, using a measuring cup to press the crust about half way up the sides of the spring form.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Oven down to 300 F.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, ground spices, nutmeg and salt, and blend until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin pureé, until once again smooth. Beat in the cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and eggs slowly until uniform... and smooth!

Wrap the bottom of the spring form in a few layers of aluminum foil and crimp the foil up the sides (so the cheesecake won't get wet when we stick in a bain-marie)

Pour the filling into the crusted spring form and set the pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with hot water, until the level of water is about half way up the spring form sides.

Bake the cakes for 60-70 minutes, until set, but the center is still jiggly (i.e. not liquid). Be careful not to overcook. The custard will set when it cools in the fridge, later.

Let the cake cool.

Ok, the cranberry goop.

In and medium sauce pan, combine the cranberries and 1/2 cup of water and cook over moderate heat until the cranberries pop and open up. Let cool, and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth, and then press through a fine sieve. Rinse out the sauce pan.

Add the sugar, and 1/4 cup of water and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and just begins to boil. Stir in the orange juice and cranberry pureé.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 Tbsp of water and let stand until softened. Microwave the gelatin about 10 seconds until melted. Whisk the melted gelatin into the pureé mixture, and pour the cranberry sauce over the cheesecake, SLOWLY!

Refrigerate the hell out of the cake. Usually over night.

Make sure to slip a knife between the spring form and the cake before removing the sides. And use a warm knife to cut the cake.

*NOTE The cheesecake could have been a little more firm, and I would propose either adding an extra egg or even a Tbsp or two of cornstarch to the filling. But I have no idea if these will work to benefit.

Buffalo, New... Mexico

Nothing screams New Mexico like green chile cheese burgers.

And they're all the more esoteric when they're green chile BUFFALO cheese burgers. I'm not really sure that using ground buffalo makes that much of a difference in taste, but it sure is exotic. Well... at least until you go up to Albuquerque and drive out Tramway and see all those buffalo standing around nawing on grass.

I'm glad I don't eat grass, specifically. Although it seems like a lot of favored flavors have a "grassy" profile... like sauvignon blanc, and green tea, and parsley, and asperagus.

"Grassy profile?" Who makes this shit up? And who tastes grass to know what is and isn't "grassy?" I mean sometimes you can get that flavor profile by just smelling things, but then again, have any of you ever smelled shrimp paste? That stuff smells awful, but it makes a delicious thai pumpkin soup.

The green chile I use is all grown and roasted right here in New Mexico. More specifically, in San Antonio, NM. I get it in 30 lb increments at this little farmer co-op called Sichler's. They have the best chile I've tasted in NM. I cover the tables in butcher paper, and invite some unknowing friends over to help me with all the peeling. But once it's done, there's green chile for months, and my friends don't complain when I invite them over for green chile buffalo burgers.
Green Chile Buffalo Cheese Burgers


2 lbs Ground Baffalo
1/2 Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Hickory Liquid Smoke
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Dijon
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Pepper


Slices of Medium Cheddar Cheese
6 Sesame Buns

And of course: GREEN CHILE

Mix all the burger ingredients and let sit for an hour to mingle. Shape into 6 patties, about 180 grams each.

Grill over extremely hot coals until nice grill marks are evident and they're to your desired doness.

Pile up with fixings, and make a mess.

*NOTE remember when cooking the burgers to moke them as little as possible. It's best to flip them only once. Generally I cook them about 2-3 minutes on one side, flip and another 2-3 minutes on the other.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Paranormal Mother Russia

Paranormal Mother Russia? Or, at least that what I heard while sitting in Mechanics of Materials. Turns out it was "polar moment of interia." Who knew. At least I was interested in class for about 15 seconds.

What better way to celebrate paranormal mother Russia, than with beef stroganoff?

This dish has a few intricacies that maybe the traditional beef, sour cream, and noodles doesn't. This predominately has the great herby flavor of thyme, and lots of it. I love thyme. It has such an interesting characteristic. It can be bright and lively, or it can be calm and earthy depending on how you use it. In the recipe I used, thyme definately adds that earthy feeling along with the mushrooms, and sour cream, and rich beef stock. This is definately a dish for when it starts to get cold outside, and you need something to curl up on the couch with...

Or curl up with your Mechanics of Materials. At least it provided a good distraction from all that beam bending nonsense.

Beef Stroganoff Over Noodles

3 Cups Beef Stock
1 Carrot, roughly cut
3 big sprigs of Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into small cubes
Salt and Pepper
1 Onion, chopped
2 Tbsp Dry Sherry
5 Tbsp Butter
8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves Garlic
1-2 Tbsp fresh minced Thyme
2 heaping Tbsp Sour Cream, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 lb Wide Egg Noodles

Heat the beef stock with the carrot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves to a boil.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauce pan over high heat. Fry the beef in batches until browned all over (it took me about 4 batches), adding more oil if necessary. Add the onions, and cook until softened. Add all the beef back to the pan, and add the sherry. Cook until the alcohol has evaporated off.

Strain the beef broth to remove the carrot and herbs. Add the broth to the beef and onions, and simmer on an extremely low flame for 1.5 hours, uncovered. You're looking to reduce the stock by about half...

In a large skillet heat 3 Tbsp butter along with 3 Tbsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic and chopped thyme. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and releasing their juices.

Once mushrooms are done, add fold them into the beef mixture along with the sour cream and dijon.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente, and then drain. Toss with the remaining 2 Tbsp butter until melted.

Serve the stroganoff over the buttered noodles with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parsley.

Nuts About PaJAMas

I've had this jar of local fruit spread for about 6 months now, and I've never gotten around to use it. It's perfectly good jam. It's blackberry, even! But short of the good ol' 2 a.m. staple, PB & J sammich, I don't really use jam that much, unless it's in something.

Which is precisely why I decided these cookies were worth this jar of jammy goodness.

Jarry jammy jam jam june and july, jimmy jauntily jolts his joints.

I'm sorry but we don't serve belligerent bully bears beer in bars in Billings. Billings is in Montana.

I wonder how their jam is?

Thumb Print Jam Cookies

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter
3 Large Eggs (Separated)
1/4 tsp Salt
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Pecans (Finely Chopped)
1 Cup Fruit Preserves (this is the jam!)

Preheat Oven to 350 F.

Beat sugar and butter until fluffy, add the egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Slowly add the flour and stir until well blended.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Put the pecans in a serarate bowl.

Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg whites, and then roll in the pecans to coat. Place on baking sheet and use your thumb to press the top of each cookie, making an indent (Thats for the Jam!)

Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, and then remove from over (they won't be done yet). Carefully spoon jam into the center of each cookie, reshaping the thumbprint as needed with a spoon.

Return the cookies back to the oven for an additional 6-9 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who Needs Take-Out

Honestly, other than the time and maybe convenience that take out pizza provides, why on earth would people rather eat some cheap rendition of pizza with "hut" in the their name, or a company that should be making board games?

This crust is more heavenly then any greasy pizza chain could possibly hope to replicate. And more over, you choose the amounts of ingredients. I love my pizzas piled up with toppings, and a nice thick crust on the end. Take-out is blasé. I'll pass Papa John. Thanks, but no thanks.

I always wonder why people seem so inspired to pick up the crap that all these fast food places dish out. Ok, now, I admit, every once in a blue moon, I end up at one those joints wanting a greasy oily burgery burger, but I more than not regret it afterwards. Err...rather my stomach regrets it...

It certainly could be the huge amounts of salt that chains use in all their food. I mean, lets get things straight, salt makes things taste good. The salt aggitates the taste buds on your tongue, which in turn makes them more receptive to flavors. But sometimes, I wonder. The other night I was re-reading a book called "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, and the selected chapter was curiously on taste tests and the aptitude for people to choose certain products over another based on the snap judgements from things like labels, advertising availability, and strangely... packaging. The tests were done with E&J Brandy, and Christian Brothers. Through a series of tests, they had fangled out the plausibilty that people were choosing E&J over Christian based solely on the packaging of the product. Rather tragic, I'd say.

So what about pizza? Chains may have more of a hold on the market through advertising and brand name recognition than just flavor profiles by themselves.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if food was solely about the pallete. Unfortunately, and no matter what anyone else tells you about "plating doesn't matter, it's all about the taste," it simply isn't true. Looks matter. Especially when it comes down to which foods people are going to eat, and more importantly, like.

I know, I know, I wish it wasn't this way, but I really can't argue anymore from some purist stance. People are just way too swayed by aesthetics. So I'll try and accomodate. For you. Don't thank me, it's the least I can do.

Back to creations.

During my little wait for the dough to rise, I made a little trip to the Socorro Brewery to pick up 2 growlers of their oh so delicious pumpkin beer. God, I love pumpkins. It's seriously my favorite ingredient ever... for right now. I have a whole slew of pumpkin goods on their way. It would make me hungry all over again if I hadn't stuffed my face with pizza just moments ago.

Better than the HUT Pizza:

Oven at 375 F.

1 Cup Luke Warm Water
3 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 T Sugar
1-2 T Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
Bread Flour (we'll to portions later...)

Combine the water and yeast to dissolve. Add the sugar and let proof for about 10 min or until foamy (this is to give the yeast a little boost).
Add in the oil and the salt.

Now here's the flour part... Add flour and knead until the dough is just minorly sticky, but still holds its shape and is relatively smooth. Essentially, you're just adding a little bit less flour than you would for making a regular hearty loaf of crusty bread. This will come in handy when spreading the dough out for the crust.

Let rise until doubled in size.

1 lb Pork
1/2 Onion diced
2 cloves Garlic
As much Red Pepper flakes as you can endure
2-3 Spoonfuls of Green Chile
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatos crushed with your hands (oh goody, sloppy fun)
2 T Tomato Paste (so your pizza isn't drippy)
1/4 Cup Parsley loosely chopped
4-5 sprigs of Basil loosely chopped

Fry up that pork and onion in a hot skillet until brown.

Add the garlic, flakes and green chile, and set aside off the heat.

Pour your mixed crushed tomatos and tomato paste over the top while you spread out the dough.

Dump your risen dough on a well floured surface, or even just on your baking stone which has been dusted with cornmeal. Stretch and pull the dough untill you've covered your stone or have it as big as your little heart desires.

Add the pork and tomato mixture. cover with basil, and parsley. Then cover with the cheeses.

Bake in oven for about 30 min until crust is crusty, and cheese is just beginning to brown.

Black & Tan and Oatmeal Stout

NO!!! Not beer, you alcoholics...

They're black & tan cookies, and coriander steel cut oatmeal with wheat berries, and chinese black rice with whipped cream atop.

This was inspired by the teahouse in Santa Fe. I think they made it with coriander, or at least the coriander tastes fanstastic even if they didn't use it.

Black and Tan Cookies

1/3 Cup Cocoa
2-1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Butter
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Nutmeg
5 oz. Chocolate Chips
5 oz. Peanut Butter Chips

Preheat Oven to 365 F.

Black Mixture:
Combine the hot chocolate, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl.

Tan Mixture:
Combine 1-1/3 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp nutmeg in a bowl.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla untill fluffy. Add eggs and mix thoroughly. Split into 2 equal batches.

In one batch, gradually beat in the "black mixture," and repeat with the other batch and the "tan mixture." Combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and add half to each batch.

Drop small rounds of the "black" onto a cookie sheet or baking stone. Repeat using the "tan," and use your fingers to form a "black & tan" round by squishing the two doughs together.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, and then cool on a wire rack.

Coriander Steel Cut Oatmeal with Wheat Berries and Chinese Black Rice

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup Steel Cut Oats
3 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Cup + 1 Tbsp Buttermilk
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp (or more) Coriander
1 Cup cooked Wheat Berries
Cooked Black Rice

In a large sauce pot, melt the butter and then add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes or until the oats begin to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes, without stirring.

Combine the milk and 1/2 of the butter milk with the oatmeal. Stir to combine, and allow to gently cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the spices, and cooked wheat berries and spoon into bowls. Lay a glob of sticky black rice on top of the oatmeal and drizzle with the extra buttermilk and some honey. Top the whole thing off with a dollop of whipped cream.


Cooking wheat berries is simple. Just add about 1 cup of wheat berries to about 3 cups of water. Boil until soft and delicious. ... About 20-30 minutes.

Same sort of situation with the black rice. If the rice you bought doesn't have plain and out directions, just follow a simple rice recipe of about 1 cup rice to 2-1/4 Cup water. boil for 20 ish minutes until done. Honestly, just get a rice cooker, it's easier that way.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bun Thit Nuong

Finding what this stuff was even called was quite a task. Starting off in some small little green Vietnamese restaurant up in Albuquerque called Viet Taste, I found this dish to be completely irresistible. Unfortunately, I never bothered to take note of the name of what I was eating. After a good while surfing Google, and drawing circles on the closest pad of engineering paper, I found some things that looked similar.

My entire explosives surety class was spent focusing not on... well... explosives but rather getting back to my kitchen. Mind you, explosives surety is my longest class all week, spanning around two and half hours...

Finally, I got home, and with the help of a friend and a few drinks, we succeeded in our goal.

Complaining about how people won't shut up in class...

no, no, no. That's not it.

Making food! Right. Vietnamese noodles with veggies and pork and shrimp, along with that delectable salty sour sauce that goes over the whole dish.

Bun Thit Nuong:

1 lb pork sliced thin
3 Shallots minced
3 cloves of Garlic
2 T Sambal
2 T Fish Sauce
2 T Lime Juice
2 t Sugar

Rice Noodles
Sesame Oil

Matchstick Carrots
Napa Cabage
Bean Sprouts

Marinate pork in first set of ingredients 30 minutes or more.

Bring rice vermicelli to boil in water. Remove from heat. Let set 5 minutes till softened through. Drain and rinse in cold water. Toss with sesame oil.

Blanch carrots in boiling water 1 minute. Drain. Then blanch sprouts 30 seconds. Drain

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil. Remove pork from marinade, and sauté quickly till just done, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp afterwards and sear just until done.

Place pork and vegetables on noodles to cover of them.

Pour nuoc cham over all for flavor and eat.

Nuoc Cham:

2 T Rice Seasoned Vinegar
3 T Lime Juice
1/4 C Fish Sauce
1/3 C Water
1 T Sugar
1 clove Garlic
1 Thai Bird Chile sliced into rounds
1 T julienned Carrots

Mix all ingredients and let sit for a while.



Be patient while i figure out how this thing works. I'll be adding a lot of entries right off the bat from old archived projects. Things will calm down after a while.

Who am I?

Well I suppose that's not really the point of this, but I'll let you all in on a little of the brains running this shin-dig.

Brains. One thing I've never tried, but don't think for a second that I wouldn't. Alright, so who I am, let's see... My name is Lance Wilson, and I live in a total void of anti-culinary culture called Morenci, AZ. I know some of you probably have no idea where that is, but don't worry, I won't hold it against you.

Living here can often be troublesome for someone who enjoys food so much and has very little access to anything worthwhile. I mean, aside from the fact that the number of amazing places to eat here numbers at ZERO, the availability of ingredients for making your own decadence is rather limited too. Not only is it a scavenger hunt to find anything in the store here, but if the store that actually sells anything edible doesn't have what you're looking for, you're out of luck. Better go redesign dinner.

I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I went to school in Socorro, New Mexico at New Mexico Tech for chemical engineering. And of course, (for those of you who know nothing about New Mexico) our chile rocks your socks off. I'm not saying it's the hottest chile ever, there are certainly some litte thai peppers that have rocketed my head right off my throat, but there is simply no substitute for green chile. It's addicting to say the least. At any rate, I work as a metallurgist in a copper mine, overseeing the production of the world's largest hydrometallurgical copper process. How's that for a side note on culinary adventures? What's hydromet copper, you ask? Go ask google, this is a food blog... sheesh.



first stuff. making things work.