Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheese Straws

I'm going to a bacon-themed dinner party tonight! My original plan was to make an edible bacon sculpture for the table. That being a little difficult, I then opted for simplicity and found an easy recipe for cheese straws, a Southern staple that I've actually never tried before. I know, it's not bacon, but I think it'll complement things well.

cheese straws

They're really quite easy to make. Take grated cheddar, flour, butter, salt and cayenne pepper and pulse it in a food processor. Add milk. Pulse some more. Roll out, cut into strips and bake. I don't know if this should bother me, but they kinda taste like Cheez-Its. Anywho, I'm looking forward to a lot of bacon this evening.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jalapeños + Cherry Tomatoes + Garlic

There's something about this simple combination. It's a sauce that David serves over steak- in this case a bison flank steak. Chopped jalapeños, cherry tomatoes and garlic go into a hot pan with the steak. The steak sears and cooks for a few minutes and is removed from the pan. What remains is stirred around a bit and then moved to a blender with some red wine vinegar (or sherry), olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times. Done. And it was soooo good.

Chopped jalapeños, cherry tomatoes, garlic

Sorry, no pic of the final product, but it was the aroma after this particular stage that was so wildly sweet and spicy and delicious. I think something was honestly wrong with me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ich Bin Ein Hamburger?

I almost forgot about this. On Saturday, I kayaked 25km. On Sunday, I ran a half marathon. Never again will I attempt such idiocy in one weekend. I say that.

At any rate, after the run I needed something to make me feel better. My running mate Josh and I decided to hit up Cypress Street Pint and Plate for their $3 house draught (which is a local Sweetwater IPA!). Additionally, I ordered the monster of all burgers, their Cypress Sublime Burger: "Cypress Burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar, barbecue sauce, topped with TWO local Sublime glazed donuts as the bun." Of course, I asked them to add a fried egg! This, ladies and gentlemen, is Atlanta in a meal.

Cypress Sublime Burger

It was delicious! Definitely a fork and knife type of burger- the French would be proud- but dang, this is what brunch ought to be! Sweet, savory, gooey, meaty, gummy, full of fried, full of smokiness and full of soul.

But I'm insatiable, so I scoured the menu in search of something more. I was also quite drunk by this point after two IPAs (after a 13.1 mile run, mind you). Poutine, anyone? Not on the menu, but they have fries. They have breakfast gravy for biscuits. They have bacon. This is anything but traditional, but we're not in Canada, anyway, so it matters not. The server was surprisingly accommodating and put the order in.

Brunch Poutine?

Most certainly drunk food. Their breakfast gravy had a bit of a kick to it, but overall, I was satisfied. Like Canadian cheese fries, but with gravy instead of cheese. Genius.

Now I gotta detox and run another half marathon to work this all off.

Breakfast for Dinner

I'm going out of town tomorrow and I didn't want to spend the money to go out or to get take-out. I settled for making a scramble with onions and scallions with a fresh roasted tomato over some toasted bread. Most of this was really straightforward and easy. The tomato took a little longer than I had hoped, but when I deemed it done, I plopped the halves over the scramble, rubbed the bread with the tomato/olive oil juices from the roasting pan and toasted that up. Plate and eat. Sweet navel orange for dessert and I'm happy.

roasted vine tomatoes over onion scramble and toast

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chinese Braised Pork Butt

For the past six months, I've been roasting pork butts according to David Chang's simple Momofuku recipe. This go around, I decided to have a go at braising the beast. I included the overnight curing, then plopped the butt in a stock pot with crushed ginger, half a head of garlic, carrots, mushroom soy, light soy, brown sugar, a Taiwanese spice packet ("cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cumin, clove"), and topped it off with water. Cover and let it simmer low for three hours. When my mom does this kind of braising for any meats, she usually adds thick seaweed, too, but I only have kombu, so I added that after three hours.

pork butt braising away

As it cooks, it gives off this really intoxicating aroma full of sweet spices and savory meatiness. It literally fills the entire house. By now, I've been poking and prodding at it to check for doneness, occasionally tearing some pieces off to try =D. Here's a mini-bowl with sauteed bok choy and steamed rice:

Chinese braised pork butt (with carrot) and sauteed bok choy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week in Review

I don't know how I manage to fit all of these things in my schedule.

Wednesday? Katie invited me over for stuffed peppers that evening. They were huge! And scrumptious. I've just begun training for a half marathon, so I devoured half a baguette in addition to the meal she prepared. I also baked some cookies (best recipe ever) and made ice cream sandwiches with them. I'm such a fat ass!

Katie's stuffed pepper, salad with strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette
mmm... ice cream sandwich

Thursday evening? Michael made these ridiculously delicious Thai ribs from a Bon Appetit recipe. It had all sorts of awesome flavors, ranging from creamy coconut milk to bright notes of lemongrass. Yum. I made the po-white fried rice.

Michael's Thai ribs, my basic fried rice

Saturday evening? David and I have had a hankering to check out the poutine on the late night menu at Leon's Full Service in Decatur. It was alright, but it's a pretty cheap late night pleasure. Their interpretation used a melting cheese in lieu of curds and there was also the addition of a fried egg on top. I was honestly expecting something a tad richer. Otherwise, the chicken liver plate was absolutely divine and the fried camembert was equally pleasing. Drinks aside, those shared plates probably cost no more than $24 split four ways. Yay, recession!

poutine at Leon's Full Service