Apr 7 | Sandwiches, Lunch, Beef | 0 Comments
Sweet Chili Sloppy Joe's1 tbsp. Oil
1 lb. Ground Beef, Chicken or Turkey
1/2 tsp. Salt and Pepper
1/3 C Sweet Chili Sauce1 tbsp. Oil or Butter
2 C Onions, sliced thin1 tbsp. Oil
3 C Greens - Spinach, Kale or Mustard, chopped
1 pinch Salt and Pepper4 Rolls or 8 slices of Bread, toasted
Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, when it smokes, add the meat and brown well, about 10 minutes. Drain off the fat by using a pair of tongs and a wad of paper towels. Season the meat with salt and pepper then stir in the sweet chili sauce.
Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, when it smokes, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown, tossing every 2 minutes. Remove the onions form the pan, add more oil and then sautee the greens until just wilted about, 3 minutes. Season the greens with salt and pepper.
Place 1/4 of the meat mixture on to the bottom of a roll. Top with sautéed onions and greens then serve hot.
Apr 7 | Breakfast, Kitchen Basics 101 , Beef | 0 Comments
Steak and Fried Eggs6 oz. Chuck Eye Steak or Skirt Steak, sliced to 1/2 Inch.
1 tsp. Salt Pepper
2 tbsp. Oil
2 Eggs, cracked into a bowl
Dry the steak very well with paper towels to remove moisture. Pound the steak flat with your hand to tenderize and season with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides. Place a medium non stick skillet over medium heat and add the 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil smokes, place the steak in the pan. Cook for 4 minutes or until you see the steak cooking up the sides. When the steak has browned well, turn once and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the steak form the pan, place it on a plate and cover for 5 minutes. While the steak is resting, clean out the pan and place it on medium heat. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and when it smokes, place the eggs in the pan. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the yolks are set.
Serve the steak and eggs with a side of grits, oatmeal or fresh fruit.
Apr 1 | Beneath the Shell: A day in the life of Chef Egg, Tools | 0 Comments
Chef Egg Makes a Chefs Knife
I recently finished a metal class at the Station North Tool Library in Baltimore. The goal of the class was to form my own chefs knife out of a thin sheet of steel, 2 rivets and 2 thin pieces of wood. The steel had already been formed so there would be no open flames and hammering for me. However there would be plenty of cutting, filing, drilling and sanding to be done before my knife would reveal itself.
The first step, pictured above, was to pick out the shape and style of my knife using wood patterns.
The next step required me to use a hand held saw/grinder tool to cut out the pattern. With lots of sparks and flying metal dust, I made sure to use eye, ear and breathing protection
Now it was time to file down all of the sharp edges using a belt sander, making sure to get everything as smooth as possible.
After everything was smooth, I clamped the metal cutout to a wood block and began to shave the metal down. This creates a bevel or angle creating a strong spine and the start of a razor sharp edge. After several hundred passes over several grits of sanding belts, I finally reach the right angle.
Now it was time to heat treat my steel in a small kiln. This process would change the chemical and physical composition of my knife to create a very strong and flexible spine while keeping the blade edge soft and flexible enough to sharpen into a razor sharp edge.
Sometimes the heating process can twist and turn, or even crack your blade if it's not done just right. Luckily for me, we just had to use a torch to heat my blade and straighten it slightly. After the blade is straight, it is cooled in a bath of oil.
After this step, it was time to go home and do my homework. Now that the majority of the shaping had been done and the first heat treatment was complete, I had to do some more heat treating at home. In my home oven, I baked the knife at 400 F for 4 hours, let the heat come down naturally, and then repeated the process. This further "tempered" the steel to make it stronger. After that, I sanded the steel to remove any discoloration.
When I returned to the shop, I had to choose wooden slats or "scales" for my handle. After drilling through metal and wood pieces, it was time to secure the wood to the metal using epoxy and metal rivets.
On my last day, it was time to grind down the wood handle to match the steel and then sand everything until it was smooth. To finish the process, I used the sanding belt to create a very sharp and lasting edge on my knife. This took several grits of sand paper and a final polish. I finished the knife by oiling the wood and metal and wrapping it an oiled cloth for storage.
Needless to say, this class was totally rad and gave me a great appreciation for the common tools that chefs and home cooks use every day. Now off to the shop for round #2!!!
Feb 26 | Techniques, Sandwiches, Breakfast, Baked Goods, Kitchen Basics 101 , Side Dishes | 0 Comments
Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits1 C Milk
1 tbsp. Vinegar
2 C Flour
2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tbsp. Baking Powder
6 tbsp. Butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
Pre heat the oven to 450 F. Mix the milk and vinegar in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to create buttermilk. Place the flour, salt, soda, powder into another bowl and whisk well. Place the butter into the dry ingredients, quickly smash the bits of butter into the flour using your fingers or a fork. Once you have pea sized pieces of butter in the flour mixture, slowly mix in the buttermilk mixture and stir until a dry dough forms.
Place the dough onto a floured surface and lightly pat out into a 1 inch square, cut in half, stack on top of the first piece and pat down into another 1 inch square. Make sure you are very gentle with the dough. Repeat this 2 more times create the flakey texture.
Pat the dough out into a 1 inch circle. Use a 2 inch floured cookie cutter or floured glass to cut out the biscuits, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg
Feb 25 | Casseroles, Chicken, Beef | 0 Comments
Shepherd's Pie1 tbsp. Oil
1 lbs. Grounds Beef, Lamb, Chicken or Turkey
1 C Onion, small dice
1 tbsp. Flour
1/4 C Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 C Beef Broth
1 C Frozen Mixed Vegetables
2 lbs. Potatoes, diced, skin on or off
3/4 C Milk or Cream
3 tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Salt and Pepper
Place the potatoes into a medium pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes very well, then smash together with milk and butter. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, pre heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, when it smokes place the ground meat into the pan. Cook the meat until cooked through. Drain the grease from the pan by using a wad of paper towels and a pair of tongs. Add the onions to the pan and cook until the onions and beef are well browned. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, beef broth and vegetables. Cook this mixture down until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pre heat the oven to 425 F. Place the beef mixture into a casserole dish and top with a layer of mashed potatoes. Spread the potatoes out with the back of fork to leave a rough texture. Bake the shepherd's pie for 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can place under the broiler to get more browning action if you like.
Now Get Crackin'!
Feb 16 | Seafood | 0 Comments
Union Craft Beer, Andouille Sausage with Shrimp and Cheesy Grits1 tbsp. Olive Oil
¾ lb. Andouille Sausage, no casing
1 lb. Shrimp
½ C Beer - Anthem
½ C Fresh Parsley, chopped
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, when it smokes, place the sausage into the pan, toss the sausage until browned well. Add the shrimp to then pan and toss for 2-3 minutes, then add the beer and simmer for 2 minutes. Toss with fresh parsley and serve over the grits. 2 tbp. Butter
1 C Onions, minced
1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
4 C Chicken Stock
1 C Beer - Anthem
1 C Corn Grits
¾ C Jalapeño Jack Cheese, shredded
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook until soft. Add the beer and stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Feb 13 | Techniques, Seafood, Gourmet Grub | 0 Comments
Lobster is generally seen as a super gourmet dish, very expensive with not a lot of return on investment. While it is generally steamed and served with melted butter, I find lobster to be kind of boring and bland. While steaming is a classic prep, it does nothing for adding flavor to the delicate meat of this fiesty crustacean.
Like a great steak, I like to pan sear split lobsters in olive oil with a little salt and pepper for the ultimate experience. Remember, if you have live lobsters, place them in the freezer for 20 minutes to stun them. If you have frozen tails, run them under clod water to defrost them and dry them very well before you start to cook them.
Pan Seared Lobster2 Whole Lobsters or Tails
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Lemon, quartered
1/3 C Fresh Parsley, chopped
Very carefully split the whole lobster lengthwise through the whole body, remove the claws form the body and crack open with the back spine of a heavy knife. Season the meat with salt and pepper and set aside. Pre heat a large heavy, skillet over medium/high heat. Add the oil to the pan, when it smokes, place the lobster in the pan, meat side down. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown on the meat side. Turn the lobster over to the shell side and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes. The lobster is done when the shell will turn bright red and starts to curl up, the meat will also come out of the shell easily when tugged with a fork.
Garish the lobster with a squeeze of lemon and a fresh chopped parsley. This dish goes great with steamed potatoes, risotto and grilled vegetables.
Pics by Hank Vorher - Yes I made this, and it tasted fantastic!
Feb 5 | Techniques, Gourmet Grub, Beef | 1 Comments
Pan Fried Rib Eye Steak12-16 oz Rib Eye Steak
1-2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Pepper
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
Take the steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temp, about 30 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 450 F. Dry the steak very well with paper towels and season both sides well with salt and pepper. Place a very heavy skillet, preferably cast iron over medium/high heat and let sit for 3 minutes until super hot. Add the oil to the pan, when the oil starts to smoke, place the steak in the pan. DO NOT TOUCH THE STEAK for 5-7 minutes, it will be smokey, so turn on your fans and open some windows. When the steak has cooked up the sides and is golden brown on the bottom side, turn the steak over. Cook the steak for 5 minutes, DO NOT TOUCH, then place the pan in the oven for about 7-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness. If the pan is not oven safe, remove the steak and place it on a baking sheet.
The steak is cooked to medium/rare (about 135 F - 140 F) when the middle is poked with you finger and is slightly soft with a little firmness. Rare steak (125 F - 130 F) is very soft, you can feel the undercooked meat and well done (165 F - 170 F) is completely firm.
I like my steak at about 140 F with a crispy outside and a just cooked through center.
Now Get Crackin'!
Jan 30 | Dairy, Techniques, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gourmet Grub | 0 Comments
This recipe for cast iron pizza will beat any brick oven pizza joint by miles. The cast iron gets super hot and creates a crispy crust that can only be found in pro pizza ovens. I used a large 14 inch cast iron pizza pan that can be found at a Walmart, Target or Amazon.com. You can also place this pan on your grill, jack up the heat to high and get awesome pizzas throughout the year!
You can top your pizzas with all kinds of stuff. I like grilled and fresh vegetables, pulled pork or chicken, BBQ sauce and assorted meats and cheeses. Get Funky With It!!!
Lastly, Big Ups to my buddy Hank Vorher, who took this great picture! Yes, I really made that pizza.
Now Get Crackin'!
Link to Pizza Pan -
Cast Iron Pan Pizza1/4 C Corn Meal
1 Pre Made Pizza Dough, cut into 2
1 C Good Quality Tomato Sauce or Pizza Sauce
12 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thin
1/3 C Basil, sliced thin
1 tsp. Salt and Pepper
1/4 C Olive Oil
First Step - Pre heat the oven to 525 F or as hot as hot as it will get.
A) Thin Crust PizzaPlace a large cast iron pizza pan on the bottom oven shelf and let it get hot for 30 minutes.
Lightly dust a counter top or large cutting board with flour. Slowly roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is very thin.
Sprinkle a pizza peel or a baking sheet with no edge, with 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal and place the dough over the cornmeal. Give it a little shake to make sure it moves around a little and does not stick
Top the pizza lightly with sauce, cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Carefully open the oven and shake the pizza off the peel or sheet pan and on to the cast iron pan. Close the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Check the pizza for bubbles, and pop them with a fork if they appear. Close the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and the crust is crispy. Garnish the pizza with fresh, chopped basil.
B) Thick Crust Pan PizzaOil a large cast iron pan very well. Roll out the dough the size of the pan and place it in the pan, pushing the dough up the sides to form a deep crust.
Top with sauce, leaving an inch around the sides with no sauce and then top with cheese and assorted toppings. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Place on the bottom of a 525 F oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.Top with fresh copped basil and enjoy!
Jan 29 | Pork, Chicken | 0 Comments
Chorizo and Potato Tostadas10 Corn Tortillas
1/4 C Oil1lb. Chorizo Sausage,Chicken or Pork, no casing
1/2 C Onions, small dice
1 C Potato, small dice
1 tbsp. Garlic, minced1/2 C Cabbage, shredded
1/3 C Carrot, shredded
1/3 C Radish, shredded
1/2 C Cojita, Queso Fresco or Cheddar Cheese
3 Limes, sliced
1/3 C Cilantro, chopped
Pre heat the oven to 400 F. Spread 2 tablespoons of oil on a large baking sheet and lay out the tortillas. Rub both sides of the tortillas in the oil, place in the oven an cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the tostadas form the oven and season with a pinch of salt.
Pre heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. When the oil smokes, place the sausage, potato, onion and garlic in the pan and sauté (aka toss) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
To serve, place a 1/4 C of the sausage/potato filling onto a tortilla and top with shredded cabbage, carrot, radish and cheese. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro.
For an all veggie option, you can serve this with beans, chopped vegetables, sweet potatoes, tofu or tempeh.