Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Better Tuna Melt

Grilled vermont sharp cheese with tomato on whole wheat potato flour bread, browned on cast iron. Served with a bit of sushi tuna likewise browned on slightly hotter cast iron, with a simple splash of tamari on the cutting board. How can you go wrong? I mean, besides by making tuna extinct.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gimme S'more o' that!

I needed lunch snacks for the boys, and there wasn't a piece of the usual cellophane wrapped junk to be seen. So I made my own.

Graham Cracker
Chocolate Chips
Saran Wrap
mini marshmallows

Lay down a neatly cut half of graham cracker. Cover with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap tightly with saran wrap.

This violates my usual 'microwave only in ceramic' rule, but as the marshmallows expand, the plastic wrap reins them in. They looked perfectly tasty. Pop in lunch box. Bingo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Put De Lime In De Coconut

A rum drink served in a coconut shell for Paul on his birthday, now an annual tradition.

First, you need to neatly top the coconut with the back of a cleaver (or a file, as I first saw it done). Once you know the trick, they open, as food critic Bret Thorn notes 'like they're supposed to open that way'.

Singe fibers off the shell over the stove, and then fill with the following mixed to taste in a blender:

to taste:
coconut milk
vanilla ice cream
lime juice
palm sugar
aguadiente (a kind of rum, but literally 'fire water')
ice cubes

Now add more rum. How can you go wrong?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Armenian Style Grape Leaves

Inspired by the grape leaves at Eastern Lamejun in Belmont. I grew up eating them, they got more expensive by the minute, and I thought I could never duplicate the blend of spices. I finally wised up and simply googled 'Armenian Grape Leaves', and lo, a recipe that comes out just as good.

Simple enough: saute onion with cumin and allspice, some salt, add a little tomato past and enough water to parcook the rice and give it some bulk. Roll and pack them tightly, weigh down with a plate so they don't unravel, and simmer a good long time so they get soft and expand. Stack in serving container and cover with olive oil and lemon juice.

Pictures here of my rolling station in front of the TV (doesn't even take that long), pan waiting for cooking, and finished grape leaves, nearly perfect with a single exploded unit covering the rest with rice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oranges Donna

Well, OK, I was showing off for a friend's birthday, but I backed it up solid -- I had been thinking about this for a while. It's based on cherries jubilee, but with oranges instead of cherries, a smoky Islay single malt instead of brandy, and chocolate. Again, how can you go wrong?

Anyway, oranges Donna:
slice orange into sections, peel on, but cut away white pith
sear orange sections on hot cast iron
put on oven safe plate, cover with chocolate and dot with butter
broil until chocolate melts and starts to just burn

cover with reduction of orange juice, orange peel, and a smoky single malt scotch. serve flambe, like cherries jubilee. No lie.

This was wicked good.. by the time I thought to get the camera, there were only two left.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Plier Bread: EZ home made puffed pita

Or Plierbread, so named because I use pliers (usually my beloved Leatherman, 'Claws', inexplicably missing here) to move the oven rack. This make an Israeli style pita bread (hand sized and thick; it's sandwich bread), as opposed to several others (bedouin, yemenite) mentioned elsewhere. And it uses store made pizza crust dough.

Pita puffs because the bottom and top are cooked simultaneously, and the two crusts pull away from the middle. My setup, picture, has a cast iron serving plate in the bottom of a big, cheap aluminum roasting pan. The roasting pan nearly seals to the roof of my oven, though I'm sure I void the warranty here.

I divide a bag of store made pizza dough (regular and whole wheat) into four equal portions, roll flat in flour, and let them sit for a couple hours. Shortly before dinner, I let the roasting pan contraption heat up until the plate is smokin' hot, grab the rack with pliers, pull it out, drop in a flat of dough, push it in, and maybe flip once. The heating element cooks the top, and the cast iron cooks the bottom.

Just keep an eye on it until you get your timing down, and make sure it's not going to catch fire from the heating element. Good luck... if anyone tries this, send me pictures. Photos: my pita oven, and served with the Gerbiquitous pickles (see 'The Miflard Principle'), and home made armenian grape leaves a la Eastern Lamejun in Belmont, to be posted later.