Saturday, January 31, 2015

Get In My Belly! Pot Roast Edition!!!

"Cook a perfect pot roast and you will never dine alone."
-Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie

Oh Dear OCHO,
The Blizzard of 2015 was bearing down upon Beantowne Faire.  I came prepared.
Boston was shut down for pert-near 2 days (yet Kudos to the MBTA for humping out that 2nd Day Wednesday...HUZZAH!).
So the Monday Before the Storm, I went to the Butcher.  I got a Chicken.  I got a Pork Loin with a nice fat cap on the top.  And a really nice Pot Roast.
I got a huge case of Miller Lite.  I had 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's.  Some Sweet Potatoes and I was all set to be snowed in.

So How Does One Cook a Perfect Pot Roast?  
How can I make manifest Willie's Advice?  
I learned a few things about Braising Beef under the chefs & restaurants in my life and let me tell you, there is an advantage to Braising Beef in a Pro Kitchen.  Ventilation.  Searing the Beef is Part of the Overall Charm in enjoying cuts such as pot roast, short ribs or ox tail but iDigress...
I use a 12qt Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven I call "Marie Antoinette".  All done in one pot.  Using a Crock Pot will not get you these results unless you prep in a another pan.
Pre-Heat your oven at 270 degrees.  While the oven is heating, we can start on the stovetop.
On high heat, Sear all sides.  Please have 2 thick Dry Towels or Dry oven mitts handy!
First: aggressively season with kosher salt.  Another Good Thing is letting the Roast rest, seasoned, until the chill of the Fridge wears off.  It takes about 7 minutes on each flat side, moving once on high to medium-high heat in a little canola oil.  Use tongs & safety on the edges.  It will get smokier than Hades' Antechamber if you're not properly ventilated.  I open windows, put fans in them for exhaust, close bedroom doors.  That is not Burnt.  That is Crust.  There is a Culinary Difference Between the Two.
I'm serious about searing.  Heck, the dog goes running under my bed!
Pro Tip: Transfer pot roast to a plate. Carefully dispose oil and wipe down the inside.  New oil will be needed for cooking the mirepoix.
Now medium heat.  Cook off your mirepoix in about 4 oz of tomato paste.  To get a really awesome umami flavor, I learned to use Fermented Black Beans.  It adds a really nice dimension to my braised beef that I've only found in Kalbi of Korean BBQ.

I use homemade Chicken Stock.  I had about 2 qts.  You can compensate for the rest of the liquid with water, I do yet I didn't need it this time.  I had plenty of stock to almost cover the Roast with the Volumetric Displacement of the Meat & Mirepoix.  I also added just a little bit of kosher salt, a little at a time until the stock tasted barely seasoned.  Taste!  I added a bay leaf, some whole peppercorn and a Bouquet Garnis.  Bring stock to a boil and add roast.  The liquid should come up to Almost The Top.  You don't want to submerge yet you never, ever, ever want to cheat your Braise of Too Little Liquid.  Sheeesh, IMHO there is no such thing.  This becomes my Braising Liquid!  A Hybrid of Chicken & Beef & Veggies that I can make a myriad of different sauces from or just its natural Jus.

Leftovers are given a great fate in this Flat.
It now appears I'm ready for the Super Bowl as well.
And, Go New England Patriots!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Brewing Beer!

Bringing in 2015 the Right Way.  With a Home Brew!
Peter, Aaron & myself this time along with Eliza on Bottle Capping!

We've brewed a Kolsch.  A Kolsch is a Lager type of beer brewed at Ale conditions.
It's a whole...thing to it.  Like seriously!  Lagering a beer is a process besides a style.  I suggested doing a Miller Lite clone.  Yet the brewing method requires a bit more time than what we envisioned.  We really wanted 5 gallons of our homebrew to be bottled and ready to enjoy in 4-5 weeks for our Next Nigh-Legendary Party.
My executive chef at HK suggested a "Kolsch" upon hearing my dilemma.  Thanks, Chef Chris O'Shea, you're getting a big bottle.
We brewed this in a 44qt. pot with a false bottom, which then we sparged the grain with hot water.  We also used 1oz of dry hops in the Ale Pail.  it's gonna be floral without the acid...but iDigress!!
In addition, we bottled our Belgian Ale.  A Duvel clone!  And our Orange Chocolate Porter was finally ready to be enjoyed, especially along with the candy that inspired the brew.  Namaste.

We successfully brewed 6 beers in 12 Months.  Yay.

To the Slideshow!  Thanks for coming.  Did you bring some beer?  ^_~

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Smoking PUCK: Distilled

Sure I said this after another OT Shootout loss but then again...
It made me think.
I hate ties yet the Shootout is now showing signs of its Overall Value & Contribution to My Enjoyment of the Sport.  Seriously, are you satisfied with it?
Maybe it's a reality we should all accept.
Ask a "Futbol" fan about the Fairness Level of the OT Shootout.
I'm for longer Overtimes!  Are you?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Get in my Belly: Our Friend, the Chicken...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Don't Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Good Lord Split Ya!

The Year of the Sammich.
No More Resolutions, Only Menus...

Happy New Year

Monday, December 29, 2014

Get In My Belly: This Lil Piggy Had Roast Beef

Hey There!
Welcome to "Get in my Belly".
I'm the King of Takeout & Delivery.  My Doctor's so concerned, she's told me my blood is Type BBQ.
::ba-dum-dum, cymbal crash::
Yet Sometimes I am a Man Possessed!!!
As when my brudda Doctor Hooey told me how everyone at home is down with a bug.
The first thing I thought of since he was cooking lunch was...
Chicken Soup!  And while at the Butcher, I picked up a 5 lb chicken

I also spied a post-Holiday "gift".  Beef at $4.99 a pound and I was eyeballing a beautiful 4lb top round roast for under $25.  So while oven was on to roast chicken quarters and while the stock pot needed about 3 hours to make with Chicken Stock, I could make Roast Beef.
I came out with a nigh-perfect roast this time around.  I seasoned the roast, fired a 300deg oven, placed on a rack then foil covered.  I let that ride for 75 minutes.  I checked it & the internal temp was over 90deg.  I crank the oven to 325deg, uncover the roast and check every ten minutes until I achieved an internal temp of 120deg in the deeepest center.  I let rest on a wooden carving board.  There is some magic involved with resting roasted meats & birds on wood & I cannot question it.
I let the roast rest for 10 minutes before checking the internal temp again.  Over ten minutes the juices redistribute everywhere and it "carries over", meaning resting the roast will keep cooking until it equalizes at room temperature, at it's most succulent to boot.
All awhile it was to make Chicken Soup in the hopes of getting it to Peter's family.  I got a under gallon of chix stock with the carcass, mirepoix & three hours.  I cooked off a pound of Ditalini separately and shocked in cold water.  I roasted the skinless chicken quarters until internal temp of 170deg, rested on wood & let cool to later dice.  Brunoise mirepoix, raw added to boiling stock until tender, I then added the pasta & cooked chicken to the end.  Oh yeah, finish with a little slurry.  Slurry is equal parts Cold Water & Cornstarch to thicken soups & gravies.  I used only 2oz of cornstarch therefore we need how much water?  Make sure you get the corners too & your slurry should look & pour like Heavy Cream.  Add slurry to the simmering soup and you'll never forget I told you Granny's Secret Recipe ;)
Homemade Chicken Soup Made with Love!

I then cut into my Roast.  I was beheld to marvel.  I felt a poem coming over me...

So this Little Piggy will be eating roast beef!  Soup & Sammiches!
Anybody want some before it's gone?