Monday, January 21, 2013

Birthday Dinner For My Wife

Birthday Dinner For My Wife

Rib Steak Topped with Roasted Red and White Pearl Onions 
And a Red Wine and Apple Cider Vinegar  Reduction
Shallot and "Bacon" Risotto
Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake for Dessert

On days like this I know why I never went to work at a restaurant.  This meal was a challenge to do on my own.   To get all the elements timed correctly was nearly impossible.  At my wife's request I made her risotto.  This was the first time I had ever made risotto, and it is a bit of a pain.  I stood there stirring and stirring and adding stock and adding stock.  I would have added some other flavors or vegetables to the risotto but to say my wife is unadventurous would be an understatement.  The "bacon" I used was beef fry from 
Romanian Kosher Sausage Company, as were the steaks.  Of course I almost forgot the green beans, and needed to hold the steaks for a while I finished them and of course they slightly overcooked.  The cake was a bit spongy for my liking, but I never claimed to be a baker.  Even though it was not perfect, overall the dinner was tasty.  Man I wish I had full crew.  Maybe next year we'll just go out.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Football and Soft Pretzel with an Old Friend

I know it has been a while since i wrote.  I was busy with finals and my brother-in-law's wedding.  A little while ago I had the chance to watch football and bake with an old acquaintance Tiki Krakowski.  She has an awesome food blog: Hungry Souls.  We were looking at different things to make and due to my lack of baking equipment we ended up making Alton Brown's soft pretzels.  Tiki and I have very different approaches to food.  While I am much more calculated and scientific she cooks with much for warmth and love.  What makes it more surprising is she does much more baking than I do, which is generally much more exact, while I am do more cooking which is much more about touch and feel.

Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels (taken from and retyped by Tiki)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (we used margarine. I say, if you can use butter, for God's sake, use butter)
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and salt. Pour the yeast on top of the water. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low until just combined. Raise the speed to medium. Knead until smooth and pulling away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean it, grease it, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place for about 50 minutes to an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with oil. In a large pot, bring the ten cups of water and baking soda to a boil.

4. Meanwhile, dump the dough out on to a lightly oiled surface, and divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch rope. Shape each rope into a U and then twist the two end of the rope and press them into the bottom of the U to make a pretzel shape.

5.  Place the pretzels, one by one, into the water for 30 seconds- to a minute. Remove from water. Place on baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.  Eat with or without mustard.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Taking a poll:I am making a spinach and feta pizza, should I put mozzarella on it also?

Taking a poll: I am making a spinach and feta pizza, should I put mozzarella on it also?

Burger on the Week: A Very Earthy Burger

Burger on the Week: A Very Earthy Burger

I was in the mood something very earthy.  Here is the breakdown:
Top of a basic white burger bun toasted
Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms
Spicy Pickles from The Pickle Guys in Brooklyn
1/2 lb Beef Patty Season With Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Sauteed Spinach
Olive Tapenade
The Bottom of the Bun

I served it with some basic roasted sweet potato wedges.