Monday, April 30, 2012

Mexican Every Day

Yeah, it's a cookbook, a great one, but it's also my life, apparently. In the last 7 days, I've had Mexican 5 times... wait... no, six. Wowazowy!
Taco Bell twice, Taco Diner twice, homemade once and El Burrito Mexicano once...
so... much... mexican... yummy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27th, 2012: Tamales

Well, I skipped last weeks post about the Big Ben. Sorry about that. I only had cell phone pics and felt that a post about another Cheese and Burger Society burger would be a bit... droll, considering that I've been doing nothing but posting about burgers, as of late.

So, here we are... Friday night. Fridays are what day? Burger day! Not tonight, it's Mexican Wednesday on a Friday!
I made Rick Bayless' Red Chili Pork Tamales. I made a huge mess of the kitchen making this. Coating the Cuisenart in red pepper, filling the mixer with batter and coating the sink in pork grease. I loved the idea behind how to cook the pork. I'm not a huge pork fan, myself. I don't like ham or pork-chops, just bacon and ribs. So, braising the pork in a pepper puree made the pork shoulder extremely succulent, delicate and flavorful. I absolutely loved the pork.

While making it, as per Bayless' recipe, I found that the sauce was all too hot for human consumption... at least human consumption outside of myself, considering I prefer the burn of hell in my food. I

made my own sauce, that was literally Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles, Chili Verde and cumin. The sauce was delicious, but it turns out that Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis is actually fairly hot... very hot... as hot as the sauce Rick Bayless had me make! And there's still a can of Rotel "hot" diced tomatoes with chilis in my pantry. How painful will those be?

In his show, Bayless often depicts himself using threads torn off of the corn husks to tie his tamales together while they steam. I tried this and found that the strands were far to short to successfully tie the tamales down. Given that my mother does not own kitchen twine (who does anymore?!) and that the strands were too short, I used gravity as my friend. The folded ends were held down by the weight of the tamale.

I absolutely loved this recipe, actually. I highly endorse this recipe. I did... though... cook it using corn husks rather than banana leaves, which worries me... will Lanie Bayless want to be with a guy who uses corn husks instead of banana leaves?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bob's Burgers Season 2 specials

Since, I can't seem to find a proper list of the Season 2 specials, I will proceed to watch the entirity of Season 2 so far while drinking Old Style and compiling this list.

Party on, garth.

Episode 1: The Belchies
"I am Mad About Saffron"
I assume it's made with saffron in it, which I can honestly say, would be one of the more expensive burgers I'll make.

Episode 2: Bob Day Afternoon
"Chard to a crisp"
Bob describes this burger as "served with Swiss Chard," I'm assuming that it's sauteed chard, to counteract the bitterness. It sounds very similar to the Kale burger from the first season.

Episode 3: Synchronized Swimming
A bit of a continuity error on this one. In the first 5 minutes of the episode, the board reads "Burger Ala Mode - Comes with ice cream (not on tap)" but changes to "Shake your honeymaker burger (comes with honey mustard) on the next shot.
The first one is because Bob had just installed a soft serve icecream machine in the shop. The second one is easily do-able. A burger with honey-mustard. I'll just have to try and match it up to a Cheese and Burger Society burger.

The first episode of the Season to span more than one day, this makes it, also, the first episode to feature multiple "Burgers of the Day," The second one being "The one yam band burger (comes with yams)."
I don't know if that's a burger with yams on it or as a side. Maybe some sweet potato fries? If, in fact, the yams are on the burger itself, that is a hard flavor to juggle on a beef patty.

The third is the "Do Brussel (sic) Burger (comes with Brussel (sic) Sprouts)" which I assume that the sprouts are served as a side with them, as placing them on the burger itself would be rather challenging.

Episode 4: Burgerboss
"Goodnight and good leek burger"
I'd have to assume the leeks are served on the burger itself, given... well... how else would you serve them. They're not exactly a hot side for meat.

After waking up and taking more pain killers (a life I don't miss, much) Bob finds that the Burgerboss game is missing, in this scene all I can make out is "...(comes with a side of compote)" which I can only assume accompanies a Truman Capote reference. And question how exactly they make compote in a burger diner... this would be a challenge I'd like to take on.
Unfortunately, Bob spends very little time in the shop in this episode, so, we don't see much of the "special board"
The burger in the final scene is the "Band on the Bun burger (comes with wings)" which is an awesome send up to Paul McCartney and the Wings! Definitely on the side in this case.

Episode 5: Foodtrucks
"Chorizo your own adventure burger"
This seems like a great idea for a topping. There's the Cheese and Burger Society's Sheboygan for a starting point for this. Chorizo is a bit spicier than brats, though. So, it makes balancing hard to execute on this one. Bob, you are a challenging chap.

another odd continuity error causes the board to change from "Chorizo your own adventure burger" to "What's the Worcestershire that could happen burger" about five minutes in, which I assume is a burger with Worcestershire sauce in the meat. Pretty sure I've done it.

After Gene blows up the truck, another special appears on the board, this one reading "Where have you bean all my life (served with a bed of beans)" which is strange, that the special changed three times in one day. Maybe we can chalk this up to Louise playing with the board? Obviously, a burger served with some kind of bean side?

Well, looking back on the show... when you see the parenthesis framing the add-on, it indicates that it's a side while the specials that don't feature the parenthesis seem be "on burger." The Yams and Brussels Sprouts seem to be sides while the Chorizo and Swiss Chard seem to be toppings. And, now we have a standardization. And now we have me being a little too into this show.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 15th, 2012: Burger Sunday; New Bacon-ings

Well, I missed Burger Friday this week due to working. And I will, again, this week. So, what did I do? I made "The Gypsy" from The Cheese and Burger Society. I also rolled my "Bob's Burger" theme into this one. I made the "New Bacon-ings" from the pilot episode of the show. "Served with Bacon." I took some liberties with it by making it a much fancier burger than Bob would have served. The Gypsy is a very interesting burger. It mixes a lot of different flavors together, some of which you'd never think would come together well.

The burger is topped with fresh mozzarella and parmigiana cheese. I got the real stuff, not the "shaky" cheese as Paula Small would put it (+5 internets for referencing two Loren Bouchard TV series in one post!). The mozzarella and parmigiana sat atop two strips of thick cut peppered bacon (I believe Hormel brand, I can't quite remember) on top of a 1/3 lbs patty. This construct sat on thinly sliced red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers. The bun was an "Onion Kaiser" bun with ranch dressing. The one gripe I have is that the crunch of the cucumbers mixed with the crunch of the bacon made each bite feel a little odd. Two distinct crunches, one top, one bottom.

Now, I'd never think that Ranch and cucumbers would go well with bacon, beef and Italian cheeses, but I was wrong. The brightness of the cucumbers and Ranch dressing sort of "framed" the other flavors of the burger. I was very impressed with the suggestions of the Cheese and Burger Society.

I really liked it!

Another $20 burger successfully executed.

First picture courtesy of Eater

Friday, April 13, 2012

next burger?
yes, this will be the next burger I make.

April 11th, 2012: Chicken Escebeche, Rice and Corn

Sorry, no pictures on this one. My bad. My mother and I were cooking up a storm Wednesday night. There's something inherently awesome about Hispanic cuisine. Tex-mex, Mexican, Tapas, Columbian... you name it: if they speak Spanish where it's from, it's fantastic food. In fact, you could blanket statement that to "If they speak a Romantic language" and include France and Italy, if you wanted. But, I guess, the real statement should be "If they speak a language there, they have awesome food," cause I've yet to find an ethnicity/lingual barrier that dictates whether or not food is good.

In anycase, our family definitely has a love affair with Mexican food. One of the most watched cooking shows in the house (yeah, still living with my parents) is Rick Bayless' Mexico: One Plate at a Time, although I must admit: one of the main reasons I watch is because of that daughter of his (that sounds way creepier than it should be, she's in her mid twenties, I think. And it's a joke, I greatly enjoy Rick's journeys round the world). It isn't surprising that his cookbooks "Mexican Everyday" and "Fiesta at Rick's" are our most used cookbooks in the house, either.

I, honestly, can't really track down the exact moment or time in my life that our family gained our affinity to the cuisine of Mexico/Spain/South America. So, I'm not even going to try and explain. It's just like my posts in the past of "Mexican Wednesday." This week my family had Escebeche, Fajitas and my Mother and I just had lunch at Burrito Mexicano, which is the best Mexican I've had outside of a proper restaurant atmosphere.

The Escebeche actually came out of one of Bayless' books, which one? I couldn't tell you. The page the recipe resides on actually floats between the two books, it's been torn out somehow. And the recipe is fantastic. I'm not going to get too specific about it, but it's essentially poached chicken with caramelized onions and carrots in a Jalapeno pickle brine. It's fairly salty, but has a lot of flavors in the mix to combat it. Sometimes, it's a bit on the spicy side. This time, it was not.

To accompany it, we made rice with cilantro and green onions in it, to give it some color and flavor. There were two ears of corn in the fridge that were probably about ready to go bad, and not wanting to let some perfectly good sweet corn go, I proved to my parents that you don't need to butter corn.

I took a chef's knife and cut the corn off the cob (something my mother proclaimed "That's how Rick Bayless does it!" at) and then put it onto a bit of tin foil. The foil then went into a steamer to cook the corn. It proved to be very fresh and sweet tasting corn without any of the "dull, frozen" corn taste that my mother generally covers with a tablespoon of butter. It also retained all of its flavor and nutrients compared to boiling corn on the cob.

It's was a very good dinner, all in all. It delivered on all fronts. I just wish I could figure out my family's fascination with the cuisine.

April 6th, 2012: Bacon and Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin, Sauteed Kale and Parsnip Chips

Ok, I love Parsnips. Not doubt about it. They're the best thing since sliced bread for me. So, I made 'em again. The pork was marinated in a mixture of bacon, bacon grease, cracked pepper corns, garlic and salt. It was DELICIOUS. There's not much to tell about this meal, as it's not drastically different from anything I've cooked before. I could gush over the Parsnips, but I won't.

In anycase, something new is the Kale. I'd always wanted to give it a try, since I saw it on Bob's Burgers. I know, I have an H. Jon Benjamin addiction. So, I tried it. I had no idea on how to cook it, so I googled it. The first recipe that came up belonged to Bobby Flay and I figured "why the hell not." It was sauteed with garlic. I wasn't amazed by it. It tasted like "bitter lettuce," but it really did pop once it was sauteed. Although my rabbit, Toki Wartooth, did enjoy the kale. I think it was the first vegetable that he actually ate pretty quickly.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I lied

April 5th, 2012: Candied and chocolate dipped Serrano peppers

Well, I'm pushing my whole weekend's cooking plans back a day. But, I did manage to finagle my way into making something absurd tonight. No pictures, though, sorry.

I've got this awkward affinity towards spicy food. I don't know what it is. I love the Mango-Habenero wings at Be-Dubs (is that how you say it on the internet?), I have a collection of hot sauces (many of which were lost during the separation from my previous life)and LOVE Poppers. There's something sincerely strange with the frequency that I eat crazy spicy foods. I'm currently sitting on a collection of about 8 hot sauces currently, which my parents stare at in bewilderment. My favorite has to be the El Yucateco Green Habenero. I find it to be a very aromatic hot sauce with a punch that just doesn't forgive. It really sticks with you.

But, tonight, I went even more insane . I took the second spiciest pepper I could find at the local stores and covered it in brown sugar and backed it for about an hour at 400f.

I then coated them in unsweetened chocolate and powdered sugar. They are nearly inedibly hot, though. It's a bit of a double edged sword on this one.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March 30th, 2012: Burger Friday

Ah, Patrick Warburton. One of the most easily recognizable voices in Hollywood. Him and H Jon Benjamin.

In anycase, talking about Patrick, I made a burger straight outta his universe. His wholesome universe of Cheese and Burger. I love that website. As avid readers know, I am a burger freak, celebrating every weekend possible by making a unique burger. Ranging from simple ideas to stupid crazy open face burgers. Well, this time I went for more of a "$20 burger" idea and crafted something truly artisianal. That word has "anal" in it, hehehe.

So, I used "The Southern Belle" (burger 19) as inspiration. I couldn't find the "pepperslaw" they say to use, and couldn't find sourdough in a size suitable to use for burger buns. Nor could I find "Wisconsin" Gruyere, only Swiss and French. So, I settled for the Swiss, being 4 dollars cheaper than the French (at $8.99).

The burger was a perfectly seasoned 1/3lbs patty sitting on top of dill pickle spears topped with sauteed onion, Gruyere, coleslaw and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. I put it on Focaccia bread, a truly inspired idea. I sliced the bread and then buttered it and pan fried it to make "toasted buns" with a unique twist.

The burger was absolutely delicious, almost the most perfect burger I've ever made.

I currently have a Pork Tenderloin marinating for dinner tomorrow night (April 5th) that will be served alongside sauteed kale and baked parsnip chips. Following that, my next "Burger Friday" will be the first step in a journey. A magnificent journey I dub the "Bob's Burgers Adventure." I'll be making burgers based on Bob's Burgers' specials in the show. Most likely starting with the "Never Been Feta (Foot Feta-ish)" or "New Bacon-ings."