Turdmania at the Eatateria

We are what we eat. We eat. We shit. Our produce grow from shit-fertilized soil. We become shit. Festive as that may be, enter the the "Eatateria," to discover an ever-increasing assortment of recipes for lovely meals, which we will soon shit out. I eat, and I shit; therefore, "I am."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Note to Self: Three Ingredient Berry Cobbler

Seriously considering making this recipe. I mean, what's not to love about it? At least two of the ingredients I have on hand currently at home (clear fizzy soda and cake mix--both sugar free, by the way). I'd just need  two 12 oz bags of frozen berries. I bet ginger ale would add some nice taste to this, too. 

Later on this month, I may or may not have a friend in from out of town (we're planning on attending a class in NYC, provided it's not cancelled, which, as of this writing, it appears that if it were to be cancelled it might end up being a last minute thing--which I can only assume would be a huge pain in the ass to the person coming in to NYC from IRELAND to teach the class. 

I might make a chorizo & sweet potato "tater tot" torta/frittata and serve this cobbler along with it. MIGHT.

Got Garnish?

This morning, Avitable posted a picture (and a recipe) of what he calls "breakfast hash." Which, to be honest, looks like it's composed almost entirely of garnishes. Almost. Look at this mess. It's a thing of beauty. Tasty, tasty beauty. :)

This reminded me of my "Crunch Salad" I sometimes make (usually in a Mr. Creosote sized bucket to last me a week of lunches). With one exception (either broccoli shreds or florets) my salad is composed entirely of garnishes. The broccoli (or even shred carrot might work too) is in there to keep my colon honest (and by honest, I mean scrubbed clean and happy). 

Now, I am sure you can make this salad without vegetation, and would no doubt be delicious. Hell. You could roll the components up inside a soft tortilla and nuke it, or fry it in a skillet for a quesadilla. Have at it. But this is for the salad form. YMMV.

Into a bucket or other vessel big enough to accommodate this mess, dump in the following ingredients:
  • 1 Bag o'broccoli florets (break 'em down smaller if they're too shrub like) OR use a bag of "broccoli slaw" (I prefer the latter for more uniformity in my servings) (Note: You could also use shredded fresh brussels sprouts if you have them on hand)
  • 1 medium red onion diced (good substitute: French's Fried Onions in a can--but save these to be added right before serving, otherwise they mush up)
  • 1 fistful of raisins (black or yellow) or craisins or currants if you're fancy
  • 1 fisftul of sunflower seeds
  • 1 fisftful (or more) of Hormel bacon bits (the shit in the bag that needs to be refrigerated after opening)
  • 1 fistful (or if you're squeamish about such things, approx 1/3 cup) crumbled blue cheese
  • Blue cheese dressing (or Hellman's mayo)
  • Salt and pepper to taste. I like to do about 15 grinds of black pepper in it.
Mix all that shit up and let it sit overnight. Serve up and garnish with the French's onions.

I sometimes will serve this up with some cubed cooked chicken or leftover steak. If you have hard boiled eggs, wedge up a few and serve with the salad to boost the protein. It's up to you.

Also: If you want to cut down on calories, you can cut your blue cheese dressing by 50% and mix in some plain yogurt, just tinker with your salt and pepper to adjust flavoring. 

Also: I sometimes will throw in some chia seeds to boost fiber, and it also helps make me feel fuller, longer. I might serve this up with some arugala sprouts or clover sprouts if I have it on hand, to add something green to the mess. YMMV.

Servings: Approximately 4-5 servings that weigh in approximately 6-7 oz per.

Nutritional information? Fuck that. You can "math it out." I only provide the yum.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Latest Favorite Cocktail

MP Taverna in Irvington calls it "Midnight Lemonade," and it's a combination of black sambuca, tonic water, lemon garnish, and I believe it's got some muddled basil in it too. 

Unfortunately due to fatty liver syndrome, I have to limit my alcoholic potables, however, this is one of those drinks I'd love to just nose dive into a vat of it, and pickle my care away. Tasty, effective pain management.

Now About My Love For Elderflower Flavored Anything

In our household this year, Valentine's Day (or "Valentino's Day, as it's known by us) was a bit of a bust. Husband had to work, and was sucked into a bottomless pit of a six hour conference call (concluding at around 3 a.m. the following morning). But before the evening got sucked away by work demands, I managed to pour some of this out for the husband and chirp "Happy Valentino's Day" before he answered the phone and was held prisoner for six hours.


The product in question is Belvoir pink lemonade, which features elderflower, and a bit of rose, and just enough fizz to make it something you don't just pound back, gulping it away. This is something special to be enjoyed and experienced.

I found the product a few weeks back at Whole Paycheck, and bought a bottle of each, the pink lemonade and the regular lemonade with elderflower, and had hopes that it wouldn't suck, as I adore elderflower, and I also adore NOT THROWING MY MONEY AWAY. Spoiler alert: Money well spent.

So when I ran to the store to get some provisions for the weekend, I picked up two more bottles of the pink stuff, and a small vegan chocolate cup cake for us both to share, so we have something sweet for the peer pressure and Hallmark cards mandated day of love.

Long holiday weekend this weekend, we have one more bottle of the pink stuff and the cupcake has been languishing in the fridge. I hope to get one more toast in, and nom the cupcake before the day is out.

Wish me luck!


ETA: It is now mandatory that if I go to Whole Paycheck, I need to bring back a bottle of this for the husband. I love how these little rituals or traditions take hold in my household.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Maven's Leaning Tower of Bahn Mi

 
Duck breast: Marinated and in the Nesco cooker on slow cook, in
a bone dry crock for five hours; 3 hours skin side down; flip, 2 hours more. 
On a whim, I picked up the marinated duck breasts at the
market in Grand Central Station, with the intent of making
Peking duck wraps.
The duck, however, had other designs on its ultimate
nom-i-tude.
First things first is bread selection. Second? Toast that shit up. 
Fuck the Maillard Effect = carcinogenic! Fuck it in its ear!
Toast. That. Shit. Up.

While your baguette toasts up, get your veggies pickled.
I did a quick oi cha type pickle w/cukes and shallots. 
Google that shit, because I'm not giving a recipe by recipe
breakdown of all aspects of this sandwich.
This recipe is about construction.
Prep your spicy mayo.
50% mayo of your choosing, and 50% something else.
While at Whole Paycheck, I couldn't remember if I had canned
liver pate or liverwurst at home, so I spent $7 on this (good) shit.
Behold the golden hue.
And yes, I used a pretzel baguette.
Grrrrr! 
Turns out it was in the pantry all the while!
But yanno what? If I did not spend $7 on the rillettes, 
My luck would be this can would not be in the pantry. 
That's how my life rolls.
Note: Even folks on a budget can make this sandwich
See also: Pricetag on the liverwurst--you probably could get
something similar at a local dollar store.
Dispatch the duck, prepare for sandwich participation.
Assembly pic #1. Spicy mayo and oi cha on top;
Rillettes and duck on bottom.
Assembly pic #2: On top: flurry of cilantro; on bottom
fist full of clover/arugala sprouts (with some chopped 
scallions thrown in).
The final reveal:
Ready to be jammed into the pie hole of my husband.
The. End.

End note: There were leftovers. 
End note to the end note: No, you cannot have any.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Desi Chicken & Rice

What's in a name? "Desi" to the uninitiated, is a colloquial term Indians have for other Indians. I believe it loosely translates to "countrymen." Thereabouts.

"Chicken and rice." Yes. Not biryani. Not pulao (though I guess this COULD be construed, very loosely, as a quick and dirty pulao), though that's subjective.

Yesterday was the south Indian holiday Pongal. It's the harvest holiday. Traditionally you serve, you guessed it, PONGAL. I was tight on time and didn't have time to make accompaniments to go with the pongal. And really, it's just the two of us, and he's a low key man, and not very demanding. Iffin' when he says "please make this or that" for a holiday, I'll oblige. And he seemed a bit ambivalent about me making pongal (it's truly one of the easiest dishes to make in the south Indian pantheon* of rice dishes), so I held off.

"Kinda."

He was running late for dinner and insisted I go home, as he'd take a cab home. I came home and set about making dinner. I knew I needed to use up some chicken I cooked off a few days ago (which he hadn't eaten because his stomach has been "off" again). Waste not, want not is my motto.

So I had this leftover chicken (2-3 pcs which were marinated in a tamarind curry and baked off; and 2 pieces which were tandoori spiced and baked off), and I had a partially full container of Swanson's Mexcian Tortilla infused chicken broth, and a new bag of jasmine rice (we use this instead of ponni rice for dishes like pongal).

So this is what I MacGuyvered together (MacGuyvered, of course, IN the Nesco).

It started out looking, very-much, like pongal:

I put the Nesco on the browning setting and put some neutral oil in, and sizzled up some cumin seed and a bit of split moong dal. A few dashes of asafatoeida/hing, and then four measures of the Swanson's broth, followed by 2 measures of jasmine rice.

I then added perhaps 1/4 package of frozen peas and carrots, then layered the cooked chicken pieces on top. I closed up the Nesco, and set it to 9 minutes on high pressure. And I left it with the lid on, and let it depressurize on its own, and hoped for the best. I left the lid on and left it on the warmer setting until he got home roughly 40 minutes later.

When he arrived home, I quickly plated up some chicken and rice, and added some of those French's TYPE fried onions (I use Trader Joes' brand, but you know the fried onions I'm talking about), and a dusting of a ready made, store-bought "podi" (as we call it in our household), aka Simply Asia Sweet Ginger Garlic Seasoning.

My first impulse always is to gild the lily with more more more. Perhaps some cashews or cilantro, or a fistful of sultanas or something. But this dish? I kept it simple. It wasn't supposed to be a super special dish. But something substantial and gut filling.

And turns out? It was utterly delicious. (Or so he says!)

Waiting to hear back from the husband to see if he deems last night's dindin to be "Kozhi pongal" or if that's just too blasphemous for words:)

Also noteworthy: Despite the broth being chicken based, I *do* want to MacGuyver a small batch of rasam with what little bit I have left. I think the flavor profile will lend itself very well to it.

To date: I've tried both, the Thai Ginger and the Mexican Tortilla infused broths by Swanson. If I can find the hot and sour variety, I'll be very happy. So far, I've been very happy with this particular pantry item. Packs a whole lotta flavor in a shelf stable package.  

*Note: IMHO, or for my purposes I define the Pantheon of South Indian rice based dishes as INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
"Baths" (sambar rice, yogurt rice, tamarind rice, lemon rice, etc)
Biryani (note: I am not including pulao, as it's not typically a South Indian dish)
Kichidee/kicheree
Pongal
Payasam (note: not all payasam are rice based)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cooking Passions

A rarity here. An actual blog post vs a recipe w/anecdotes thrown in.

I've come to talk alot IRL with friends about the things I've found fascinating and HAD TO FIGURE OUT AND DO DO DO myself. And I'm not sure if I've ever itemized those passions herein. 

I mean, there's the obvious: I love pork. I love to cook authentic Indian or Thai food, and breeze my way through some French cuisine in my repertoire. But beyond that, there have been some things which truly fascinated me and I needed to do an in depth study. So off the top of my head, I figure I might as well itemize it herein, if not for any other reason but for a reminder for myself of things I've tried, enjoyed or failed at.

1. Kombucha. Loved brewing it at first. But soon, I found I wasn't drinking as much as I was brewing, and eventually my scoby became high maintenance like a pet (I needed to clean/sterilize the brewing jar/vessel every 7-10 days, then set up the "feed" a new batch of lukewarm sweet tea for it to feast upon). I couldn't give my brew away, and couldn't drink it fast enough. And in the end a speck of airborne black mold got the better of it, and I eventually discontinued with the frenzy. Now if I want some kombucha, I just grab a jar of ready made, drink it, and get on with my life. But nothing beats home brewed--but I've got a life!

2. Paneer. Super easy. And the end product was not any more tasty than ready made in the market. Cost was relatively the same. So no real benefit to continue. But I did. And I'm glad. And even MacGuyvered a use for the leftover whey (foccaccia!). Still, easier and less time consuming to just buy it ready made.

3. Banana baked goods. Did so many variations on this theme, I cannot bring myself to make another loaf of banana bread or a frangipane. Nope. I have a daydream of doing a Bananas Foster Kuchen, but that'll a long time from now, when I can stomach the idea of baked goods with banana. Full disclosure: I still eat several bananas a week, as is, or sometimes with a shmear of peanut butter, but beyond that? Nope. Done with the banana baked goods.

3a. Meringue/Daquoise/Frangipane/Sponge. I loved experimenting with the full array of baked goods involving the use of egg whites. Love it!

4. Brownies. I am still on a quest for the perfect brownie. Cakey on top, fudgey dense in the bottom, and something with more than a little bit of NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT to it. I tried the 3 ingredient or even the black bean brownies, all tasted well, but left me very flatulent. But I am on the precipice of a Superfood Brownie. And again, I need to figure out how to halve this recipe down, so I'll make a slab that'll provide 3-4 decent sized brownies, and I"ll be done with it. I detest wasting food, and I am beyond the point of giving a shit enough about my co-workers to bring in the overflow of my cooking spoils. Fuck them. 

5. Pork. In the last year, I have gone crazy with pork roasts ranging from a Puerto Rican styled pernil, to a Chinese char siu, to my favorite, Italian Porchetta. I've studied it. Loved it. And will no doubt make more--once my nemesis, my freezer, has been destashed sufficiently. Between just my overzealousness of cooking and my husband's stomach being tempermental, what I've managed to cook hasn't been consumed as readily as possible.  Ah... pork. I love you.

6. Confit.  This really should be a 5a. on this list. I've grown to love this method of cooking, but love it mostly for its STORABILITY. Thanksgiving I did a confit of turkey thigh, cooked entirely in rendered out pork belly. VERY VERY RICH. I think I'd do better, by confiting it in chicken or turkey fat, and keeping it submerged in a small enough container to keep the meat completely submerged. Great way to ensure I'm not wasting food, and by extension MONEY, by having to toss out food that isn't eaten quick enough. Confit can stay in the fridge for almost a month, if the meatstuffs are completely cooked and completely submerged under a layer of fat.

7. Chorizo.  This really should be a 5b.  If there's one pork product I would consume to cheat on bacon with, it'd be chorizo. Last year saw me hand blending my own and using it in patty form, or forming around hard boiled eggs for "Scotch Eggs." Good stuff.

8. Smoking. I adore smoking meats. I love smoking meat and then doing something ELSE with that meat, rather than just eating it as is as a roast. Unfortunately for my purposes, any smoking I do is of the HOT SMOKE variety, which is to say that my meat ends up cooking in the process, versus a COLD SMOKE where the meat is smoked with the smoke source being indirect and not of a temperature that would cook the meat. Unfortunately cold smoking requires a bit more space to set up a proper smoking unit, and I live in a condo, so I'm quite limited in that respect. WHich then would lead to the next progression in the charcuterie pantheon: CURING. Perhaps sometime in the new year I'll do that. Perhaps.

9. Yogurt. Been there. Made that. It's more convenient for my purposes to get my yogurts ready made, with fruit included, and they are all portion controlled and lunch bag friendly. But a nice skill to know if I ever need to make my own yogurt. Side note: I do have some granules to make my own kefir, should the urge ever strike.

10.  "Podi." As it's known in India. Podi simply means "powder". It could mean a fine grind of an assortment of spices like in a store bought curry spice blend, or it could mean a more coarse blend of a few spices like jeera, chili, and some toasted dals and other seasonings to be sprinkled on rice or dosa or iddli. Turns out there are other cultures that do similar, and it's called DUKKA. Some middle eastern countries employ it as a dip with bread. So you take your bread, dip in olive oil then dip in dukka and enjoy. In both cases, Podi or Dukka, I love to use them in unconventional ways. Using malagai podi (euphemistically known/called "gun powder") on scrambled eggs... or using dukka as a crunchy topping on chicken thighs to be baked off in the oven. Amps up the flavor, and the texture. LOADS OF FUN, and the assortments of blends you can make are wonderful.

11.  Quail eggs. Discovered them CANNED in the Asian market, and adore them. 

12. Elderberry/Elderflower. In 2012 I discovered the tastiness and health benefits of elderberry and elderflower. I've used both elderberry losenges, elderflower tea, and enjoyed elderflower liquer. Truly a unique, and lovely flavor profile, and adds a LOT of nuance to cocktails and teas. Both, my husband and I, adore it. And without a doubt when either of us is feeling ill or under the weather, it is the first thing we make for the other: elderflower tea. When we were in Denmark last year, we had the opportunity to drink elderflower WATER, and it really was a treat. I look at it as something uniquely European and one of life's little pleasures.

13. "Kanga Nadu." In 2012, I also discovered the mind exploding deliciousness of Chettinad food, and have sought out ways to cook it at home. Next to Keralite cuisine, Chettinad is my #1 permutation on Indian cuisine.  

14. Pressure Cooking.  2013 Provided me with a new addiction: using my electric pressure cooker. I've long used stove top models for years. And talked it up so much to a friend, that she decided to try it out too--however, she found stove top models to be too intimidating and opted for an electric model. And when the time came for me to get a replacement pressure cooker, I followed suit and got the same model she uses. And it's been a mind-explodingly good experience.  I do everything from hard boiled eggs, to soups/stocks/stews, roasts, steamed cakes, rice dishes, etc in it. It's a real pleasure and produces delicious food in a fraction of the time it'd take to cook it in a conventional manner in the oven.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Better Late Than Never: My Belated Thanksgiving Menu

Sounds fancy, but with the exception of steaming my pumpkin, everything was a leftover or made ahead, or was made from a "mise" set up for something else, as well as using up a few pantry and freezer items. I did not go out shopping for anything special, and was made with whatever I had on hand.

Menu:

  • Confit of turkey thigh (done last week; and to be reheated and dressed w/a glaze made of cranberry jelly, jalapeno jelly and dijon mustard)
  • Stuffing/dressing w/shitakes, fennel, wild rice, turkey sausage, "stuffing mix" and sultanas, to be garnished w/roasted, chopped hazelnuts
  • Roasted "Kitchen Sink" consisting of cubed: Kabocha squash, Mutsu apple, red bell pepper, fennel, onion, sultanas, dried cranberries, shredded carrot, drizzled w/olive oil, "Ginger People" ginger syrup, maple syrup, salt and pepper, and to be garnished w/hazelnut duqqa and possibly cilantro sprigs (Leftovers will morph nicely into an autumnal soup later in the week if it doesn't get eaten entirely today)
  • Pumpkin custard baked in an oreo cookie crumb crust, baked DUMP STYLE (Kabocha dispatched and steamed, so as far as pumpkin pies go, it doesn't get any fresher than this).
Interesting experiment for naught:

During the fall, my family never, ever did anything with the seeds of a pumpkin we've carved. We always tossed it. And on a lot of food sites I see so many yummy things done with it, and I'm all about the health benefits of ingestibles, so I went to the trouble of cleaning and roasting the seeds, only to realize that there is no way I can chew them sufficiently for me to NOT worry about a blockage or other irritation to my pouch. Maharajah has a similar concern, though more re: gastric distress issues than blockage issues. Spoiler alert: The birds on my balcony will be eating good.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crock Pot Breakfasty Shit, Part: 5

This Week's Permutation: Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake!

I've really been looking forward to this week's flavor! 

Ingredients:
1/2 C. Steel cut oats (not quick cooking) 1/2 C. Quinoa 1/2 C. Dry milk powder
1 C. Canned Pumpkin puree 4 C. Water 1 T. Butter 1.5 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Allspice 1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg Pinch Salt 1 T. Chia seed 1 T. Ground flax seed 1 Tsp. Vanilla
Bonus flavor layer: If you can find it in the stores, Torani makes a great sugar free line of flavored syrups for fancy coffee drinks. Put 1-2 T of the caramel or the pumpkin pie flavor into this to boost the pumpkin pie flavor.
Mix everything up well in the Nesco. Set it to slow cook for about 5 hours, and be sure to set the valve to VENT. I did this, and it was in the warm mode for an additional  2-3 hours. Unsure of any further moisture emitted during this time.
I portioned it up in the bottom of my Sistema cup, and into the insert on the top, I put my topping.

Topping: About 5 candied pecans chopped rough, 2 bischoff biscuits mashed though not totally pulverized, sprinkle of cinnamon. Bonus topping: If you can find it in the stores, Smuckers sugar free caramel topping (not to be confused with the caramel flavor syrup listed above). A little squirt of that, plus the crunchies, could be a nice surprise. Like eating dessert for the most important meal of the day!  
  
Note: I do about 5 hours in my crock, because I find that it's all that's needed for what amounts to a half batch of cereal. Also, perhaps the Nesco slow cooker setting might run a little warmer than a standard crock pot with a low and a high setting. YMMV.  It helps to check on it midway to prevent scorch, if your new to crock pot cooking, and when trying out new grains.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Species Du Jour: Part 3 (Pork)

Dinner tonight:

DIY Porchetta. 

The one time I ever had porchetta was a few Easters ago when the husband and I had it at Tarry Lodge. I fell in love with it instantly, and to me it was a mystery of sorts. 

Ever since I saw the glorious photo on this site, I decided right then and there, that I needed to make one of these. Granted, it's just me and the husband, so a full on porchetta to serve 20 would be overkill, tasty tasty overkill. Instead, I got about 1.5 lbs of butterflied pork butt, and four slices of rib belly and set about making my own. Note: yes, I know, most porchetta uses pork belly where the skin is attached. As lovely as that is, I cannot bring myself to eat the skin (as lovely delicious as it is, it doesn't offer up much in the way of nutrition). Yes. I've got food guilt about some things. This is one of those things.

Here's the before and after photos.

BEFORE:

Before cooking, this is what my lovely baby looked like. Not-too-shabby trussing job either, given I was in active pain and drunk. This baby is rolled up around some garlic-shallot paste, apple slices, minced up Chinese chives, fresh rosemary and sage, sitting on top of remaining accoutrements and a little puddle of white wine.

Depending on how I feel when I get home from work, this baby could be served with some steamed kabocha squash, gnocchi, or some leftover polenta and pot stuck brussels sprouts from the other day.