Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Steak chili with beans

The secret to this chili is beef marrow bones, which give the chili amazing succulence. Cocoa powder and blackstrap molasses deepen the flavor and add a subtle sweetness.

Chili paste:

  • 1 small can chipoltle in adobo
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • shake of cayenne pepper if you like

- remove the chipotles from the can and de-seed them/wash them out, then add with the adobo sauce to the rest of the chili paste ingredients and pulse in a blender or food processor until smooth.

chillipeppers & onion:

  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1 pasilla chili
  • 1 onion

- De-seed the chilis, dice small. Dice the onion and add to the chilis.


  • 1 pound beef shank with the bone - get one with a large bone with lots of marrow
  • 1.5 pounds chuck steak cut into cubes
  • an extra cut of beef marrow bone (like 3 in long)

^ you can get all these from Draegers meat counter

- Remove the beef shank on the bone and cube the meat. You can probably ask the butcher to do this for you if you want.

Other stuff:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes in sauce (make sure there’s no basil)
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • ½ bottle of Shiner Bock
  • 1.5 cups of chicken stock (I used homemade so this is approximate)
  • about a tsp each cumin and coriander
  • cayenne to taste

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans

  1. In a heavy dutch oven, heat up some oil and add cumin and coriander, salt and pepper. Fry the spices for about 10 seconds, then add the onion-chillipepper mixture and a pinch of kosher salt. Mix together. 
  2. Sweat the onions over medium low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in about 2 tablespoons of the chili paste, cook for about a minute.
  4. Add the molasses and diced tomatoes, stir in and cook about a minute.
  5. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer.
  6. While that is cooking, heat some oil in a skillet until the oil shimmers.
  7. Working in batches, sear the meat and bones until a nice brown crust forms on all sides. Add the meat to the onion and tomato mixture in the dutch oven.
  8. When all the meat and bones are added, deglaze the pan with the Shiner Bock, stirring and scraping up all the lovely burned bits stuck to the pan. Add this liquid to the onion-tomato mixture.
  9. Add the beans and stir the mixture in the dutch oven well, making sure that all the meat is covered.
  10. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for about 2.5 hours, until the meat falls apart.
  11. Remove the marrow bones (making sure all the marrow is out), and give the chili a good stir.
  12. Either serve immediately with cornbread, or make the night before for the next day. Gets better the longer it sits..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bacon, Sausage and Shortrib Cassoulet with Rancho Gordo Yellow Beans

Oh hi, everyone!
It's been a while since I last posted on here. Come to think of it, its been a while since I posted on East West Pastry, too. Whoops. A lot happened that made me really not want to blog, although I never stopped cooking, tweeting, or being weird, as I'm sure many of you have noticed. Two big things that happened: I got laid off at my only-okay job, and managed to snag a pretty damn good one where I get to design stuff all day. Awesome! Unfortunately it doesn't leave me a lot of time for blog posting, but nothing new there, I suppose.

This Saturday I was attempting to simultaneously make something for a dinner party and clean out my freezer/pantry at the same time, my goal to use as much frozen meat and other stuff lying around as I could manage in one go. I decided on a sort of cassoulet, using bacon, andouille sausage and english short rib on the bone. The reason I went cassoulet and not just a regular stew was that I had a pound of dried beans and as of yet had not had the opportunity to use them.

Some random thoughts about beans.
 I was going to do a dedicated illustration, but then I got distracted...
Rancho Gordo yellow-eye beans are what I had on hand, but whether your beans are fancy or unfancy, learning how to use dried beans is something everyone should try.
I'd grown up on canned beans and strange as it sounds, never had the opportunity to actually make something bean-y from the dried product.
Dried beans are far more time intensive than simply opening a can, but the benefits are great - you get direct control over the taste of the bean and the level of sodium. Also, it's cheap. Unless you get Rancho Gordo beans- but then you pay for the novelty of heirloom, right?

Who can say whether its because I used fancy beans or because I simply mastered how to cook them properly, but either way, this bean and meat stew is great - like a cross between a meaty beef stew and the best chili you've ever had.
Good enough that I had to come back after several months and post, just so that I could share the recipe. Enjoy!

Bacon, Sausage and Shortrib Cassoulet with Rancho Gordo Yellow-Eye Beans

  • Rancho gordo yellow-eye beans, 16oz – soaked for at least an hour, more preferable.
  • One onion, sliced in half and each half skewered with a clove
  • Three cloves garlic
  • Dried thyme, dried parsley, ½ tsp each, one bay leaf
  • Water to cover
  • 2 andouille sausages
  • 5 portions of English short rib on the bone (bonus if butcher can separate meat from bone and chunk the meat for you)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 2 small carrots, diced fine
  • 1 stalk celery, diced fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Creole seasoning (paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper) – to taste
  • Splash of red wine
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 tsp tomato paste

  1. Combine the bean stuff in a pot and bring to a boil – lower to a simmer once there and let simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beans are just about done. ‘about done’ is when they are edible, still a little mealy.
  2. While the beans are boiling, prepare the meat. Prep your short-ribs by sprinkling salt and pepper on both sides (and dredge in flour if you desire). Add grape-seed oil to a large Dutch oven and bring to high heat. Working in batches, brown the short rib and bones, making sure to get a good sear on both sides. Be sure not to crowd the pot. Remove to a plate and reserve for later. Prick the sausages with a fork and brown on all sides, then cut into fourths and reserve.
  3. Add the bacon lardons to the pot and fry the bacon, stirring constantly so nothing burns. Once the bacon is well along, turn down the heat to medium and add the flavor-builders and spices, along with some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and cooked down. 
  4. Add a splash of red wine when it starts to look dry, scraping and stirring up everything that’s stuck to the bottom of the pot. 
  5. When the mixture begins to boil, add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the mix is reduced slightly.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees.
  7. When the beans are done, strain the beans over a bowl to retain the bean broth, then put the beans in a bowl and remove the onion, bay leaf, and little bits of bean skin that are easy to remove. Save the bean broth.
  8. Stir the beans into your tomato mixture. Add the meat back into the pot, pushing everything down into the bean and sauce so that all the meat is more or less covered. Add enough of the bean broth to cover all.
  9. Bake, covered, in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New project!

Another year, another side project.
This one is really cool, though, something I've been kicking around for a while.
You know the drill: instead of reading me here on Foodbat, check out my new site, East West Pastry.
Hopefully this one will stick around and be more than just a design/coding exercise, because it's something I'm actually super interested in and have been for a long time.

See you there!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fear and pork chops

I went into this month's Charcutepalooza challenge, the brining challenge, with an entirely different notion of what I would do. The technique of brining meat - that is, letting it sit for a time in a salty, flavored liquid - can be applied to so many materials, everything from whole chickens to sides of beef. I originally planned on making corned beef, which sounded not only fun and interesting but delicious.

Then, out of the blue, my good friend Ayn called to tell me she was making pickled beef tongue for the challenge, but bought two, and ooh, weren't they a bit big, and would I want one?

How can one say no?

We met for cocktails, and I was handed a non-descript bi-rite bag. I had serious deja-vu of a similar hand-off I'd had with Ben of YFBC only a few months before, of a roasted pig head in a Trader Joe's bag. Only that time, I was doing the handing off, not the taking, and didn't actually have to think about what I'd do with the thing afterwards.

I open the bag. The tongue looked back at me.

And...well. I chickened out. It's in my freezer. I don't know what to do with it. Maybe I'll make lengua tacos.

It's not the idea of working with a three pound cow tongue that freaks me out. Ayn made corned beef tongue, and it doesn't look like too scary a process.

Its the idea of making a pickled cow tongue, and then getting my husband to eat it.

This is the other side of exploratory food, and maybe not everyone cares about it. Heck, I usually don't care about it, and most times the things I make are awesome and delicious enough that it doesn't matter. But somehow, something told me that this would pass a line.

So. I made pork chops.

Pork chops are a challenge for me, even though that's probably not the case for most 'normal' people. I didn't grow up eating pork, aside from guiltily made side of microwave bacon every so often. We didn't keep kosher, really, we just...didn't eat it.
My first pork chop, in fact, was eaten at my mother in law's perhaps two years ago. wasn't great. (Don't tell my husband, okay?)

So, not ONLY have I personally never made a pork chop, nor have much experience eating them, but they are a favorite 'mom's cooking' dish of my husbands. No pressure, right?

Not only did these turn out great - juicy and flavorful with a good sear - but they were dead easy. I even had time to make sides, which doesn't happen a whole lot in our house.

I'd never made these before, but you bet I'll make em again.

Apple-brined pork chops

I bought two bone-in pork chops, just over an inch thick each. If you are cooking for more, double the amount of brine. Brine is a basic recipe (based on Dean and Deluca's ) with my flavorings added.

The brine:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 bay leaves, crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • large pinch of cardamom seeds
  • 2 dried birdseye chillis
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 sage leaves, crushed
  • 1 apple, chopped (don't bother coring)
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, salt, and sugar to a boil.
  2. Add the aromatics: bay, cloves, cardamom, pepper, chilli, garlic and sage. Bring to a simmer and let it go on for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cool completely.
  1. Prepare the receptacle. Since I only did two porkchops, I was able to brine in a doubled up ziploc baggie, but if you plan on making more, you may need a tupperware or something.
  2. Add the pork chops and brine to the receptacle, along with the chopped apple.
  3. Brine for two hours, a bit longer if your pork chops are very thick.
  4. Remove the pork chops from the brine, and wash them very well.
  5. Pat them dry and chill in the fridge, covered by some plastic wrap if you wish, for anywhere from 15 minutes to a day. (I actually brined mine the night before and for the next evening)
To cook:
  1. Bring the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Get a oven safe pan (I use my handy le creuset skillet) and get it very hot over high heat. 
  3. add about a tablespoon of vegetable or grapeseed oil just to coat.
  4. Sear the pork chops on either side (about a minute on either side). Turn the blower on, things might get smoky.
  5. Put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is about 135 degrees.
  6. Remove from the oven, cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Serve with whatever you like - I ended up sauteeing mushrooms in the pan juices and a bit of butter, and made garlic spinach and roasted potatoes. 

I'm glad I tackled this particular challenge. Uh, now to do about the tongue in my freezer...

Monday, March 7, 2011

On the feeding and care of gamers.

We are a household of gamers.
This brings up a few interesting things that you don't notice in a 'normal' household. The plethora of tiny, plastic alien figurines. That each of us answers to a couple of different names, not necessarily the ones we were born with. That neither of our favorite animals are real. (Mine's a squig, his is Shai-hulud.) And that we gain pleasure from sitting in front of a screen, talking with and fighting imaginary monsters with people we've never met.

Around the house, you'll see dishes halfway done (my place in the queue is ready, will do these later!). Laundry left untended. And, as it is now with RIFT coming out and both of us engrossed in the game, total dependency on snacks.

Gamers need snacks to survive. They must be of a specific sort, requiring little to no cooking as well as the ability to be eaten with one hand. This tends to lead to junk food.
Case in point: I arrived home last week after leaving the husband alone for a weekend with our brand new game, I find:
  • one pizza box
  • two boxes of pop-tarts
  • an empty bag of lays potato chips
  • one frozen shephards pie
  • one bag of pizza rolls
  • one cannister of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough
These are things that don't normally exist in our household, but then we've been without a really addicting game for a while. This cannot hold. 

I've started to brainstorm on healthy gaming snacks.
Once again, parameters are:
- must be able to eat with one hand
- simple; little to no cooking required

So far I've come up with pretty much the menu you'd feed a little kid:

  • Blueberries
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • pretzel thins with hummus
  • String cheese
  • Popcorn
  • Sliced turkey or salami
  • Cheerios or other dry cereal 
  • apple slices
  • Almonds

This is working so far, but Husband is getting bored with these, and that's never a good sign. 
If there are any other gamers in the woodworks, I'd love to hear some further ideas. That, or it's back to indian takeout.

(also, obligatory plug: RIFT is a fantastic game, and if you want to join us, we're on Reclaimer owning face in PVP.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Belly of the beast: Bacon challenge!

I am not often inspired by restaurant food. 
This is mostly because, when I go out to eat, it’s some cheap hole in the wall that makes the sort of ethnic food that I’m not prepared to make at home. 
This is an exception: at Metropolitan Grill in Seattle - our extremely expensive celebratory dinner place of choice - there was an interesting side dish available: bacon with Meyer lemon caramel and sweet onions. The combination was something I’d heard before, but the preparation was what was really interesting to me: the bacon was thick cut, and I mean THICK, like three quarters of an inch thick. and crispy, glazed with this sweet lemon caramel, and drenched in large rings of caramelized onions.

So when, for this month’s #charcutepalooza challenge, we had the opportunity to make fresh bacon, this was immediately what leaped to mind.

I used ruhlman’s method for making fresh bacon, so I won’t bother to post the recipe here; his is excellent. 

I WILL say that I was shocked by how easy, how simple it was to pull off. 
Probably, the week of curing time and 2.5 hours of roasting notwithstanding, maybe half an hour of work.

My preparation, inspired by the Met, uses blood oranges instead of Meyer lemons because I didn’t feel like going to the store.

Blood orange caramel glaze:
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • .5 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup blood orange juice
  • .25 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the lemon juice, sugar, and water to a rapid boil.
  2. Lower the heat to a rolling boil and cook until the mixture to a golden brown. DO NOT STIR.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowwwwly add the blood orange juice. 
  4. Once the mixture calms down, return to heat, whisk together and add the salt and pepper. 
  5. Bring back to a boil, then remove from heat entirely and let cool.

Caramelized sweet onions:
  • Sweet onions (maui, vidalia) cut into large rings
  • 1 tsp bacon grease
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  1. melt the bacon grease and butter together.
  2. Add the onions, salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. Cook the onions over medium high heat until mostly translucent and browned on the edges.
  4. Lower the heat and cook until caramelized.
The bacon:
Set the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the bacon about 3/4 of an inch thick. Lay on tinfoil on a sheet pan so that the glaze doesn't get everywhere. 
Cook for 10 minutes.
Glaze on a bit of the caramel sauce, then flip.
Cook another 10 minutes, glaze on some more sauce and cook another minute.
Assemble: Onions, then bacon, then some drizzled sauce. I had some skin that I crisped up as well.