Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Get in My Belly!

Stick to Your Ribs!

Ever had Bad Ribs?
I mean Mean Ribs?
Ribs so tough that when you bit into it, you coulda sworn it bit back?
That you work & work & pull & chew & chew & chew.
Left with what feels like teethful of tendons?

I've been there too.  
It's a terrible place to be.  
Especially when you've gone to the trouble of leaving your home, going to a restaurant, reading a menu and anticipating a plate full of one of your favorite foods!  

I for one, deal badly with disappointment.  Yeah.  I've gotten better at it.  
Yet one thing I still can not tolerate?
Bad Ribs!!!  

So I have a two-pronged approach so I'm never ever disappointed again...well when comes to Ribs =)
I use this approach with basically any type of pork ribs.  This works with beef ribs too.
Phase 1: It's basically a simple Braising technique:
Low Heat, Longer Time, Enclosed Space.
What I do?
300 degree oven.
For about 2 hours.
And a tight foil pack for the ribs, to lock in the moisture. (in hindsight, I could have fired this phase in my cast-iron dutch oven as well instead of a foil packet...mental note!)
I used a rack of Pork Baby Back Ribs.  Different ribs are like different Rices; they all share the same basics yet each specific has its own unique quality but iDigress...
I used a simple rub of Kosher Salt & Garlic Powder with an equal amount of Brown Sugar.  I cover both sides the full rack.  I also throw in a few crushed garlic cloves for aromatics.
I did check the internal temperature of the ribs at 180+ degrees when I pulled them from the oven. Anything over 160deg is great yet we want to keep them juicy so no overcooking, please?
It's pretty simple.  It just takes proper technique & the right amount of time.
Phase 2: When finished "braising", I'll slather the Ribs in BBQ Sauce and fire under my broiler.  I'll glaze the ribs three times.  It's almost like a brulee.  This is the part where you could also finish on a grill, outside or indoor for the grill marks but either one will do.  I love the almost burnt bits.
Just for reference, as always I use my own homemade BBQ sauce.  I make it while the ribs are cooking.

Thanks and Don't Ever Settle for Anything but Satisfaction!
Have a Great Rib Instead!
Never again bite a rib that can bite you back. =)

And Bonus Pointers in Pork!
Since the oven was on and I love to be a Little Pig when it comes to Cooking Pork...
I got a Boneless Pork Loin.  I love a huge cap of fat on top of a loin.
That's where all the flavor lives!!!  When I cook a pork loin, I make sure that fat cap is well-seasoned and pointing "north"...aka Up!
I season the loin in Kosher Salt, Garlic Powder, regular paprika, chili powder and just a few shakes of cayenne, then an equal part brown sugar.  I rub every inch of its surface and if your loin is tied off in twine, then get your fingers in there and stuff that cavity with your seasoning & a few raw garlic cloves for the aromatics.
Cooking pork loin depends on how much it weights.  I start it off in a really hot oven for the first 40 minutes, about 450 degrees, spinning the pan once.  This will start to crisp the skin.
Then I drop to 350 degrees until I've reached an internal temperature of 140+ degrees at the loin's centermost thickest!  Of course the thinner tail section will be hotter, sooner.  Finishing the loin could take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour & a half depending on how thick the beastie is.
Pull and let rest on a wooden cutting board for ten minutes.  The roast should gain almost ten degrees while resting & recirculating all the juices.
It's become a staple in my fridge.  I use it as an entree, for sandwiches, for tacos...
Even cold, it'll be the juiciest piece of pork you though you could never cook at home.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Get In My Belly!

F@&# Valentine's Day Edition!! 

Down With Love!  Phooey!!  This Year give her what?
For me, Valentine's Day is nothing more than Capitalism's Victory over Love.
Imagine for a second, some empathy...use your mind's eye and try to see the Shadow of this Great & Mighty celebration.
Living in this Shadow, we the Unloved, the Unworthy, the Unwanted say in Chorus...
"F@&# Valentine's Day!"

I recently made yet another quixotic tilt at the Windmill of Love.  Well 2015 started off great on paper but iDigress...

So instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided on something Spiritual.
I decided to ask Krishna to be my Valentine.  Yeah, that blue guy, not a smurf.  Plays a mean flute, got a wickid sense of humor & he's one hell of a driver!  My Best Friend of Besties, know what I mean, Jellybean?

The Buzz on the IntrePoop this 2015 Valentines was "Bacon Roses".
I got inspired.  And I raised the level on it too.
I decided I'm going with my Inspiration and making these for my Valentine.
The Self, the Soul, the sliver of God that lives within you, me & everything else.

So Enjoy a little D.I.Y. in the Spirit of Romance.
To quote the enigmatic D.A. Bass, "If you don't know 5 different ways to make chocolate, you're gonna lose that girl..."
Remember: You Can Do This At Home Too!  This is Fun with Cooking.
Stay tuned for the corrections I'll apply to the method here that I thought of after tasting the finished product.  Thanks.

I bring you, "Dark Chocolate Dipped Long-Stemmed Bacon Roses"!
Huzzah and GET IN MY BELLY!!!

POSTSCRIPT: I need to be honest, although the execution went exactly to my vision, the end product I felt was unsatisfactory.
Next time I make them I'll do two things to make them perfect:
1.  I'll save the "seasoning" of the rosebuds with brown sugar & cayenne until they're done cooking.
2.  I'll fire the roses on a rack.  The direct contact of the bacon, the aluminum foil and the over-caramelization of the brown sugar seriously charred one side of the roses and made it very displeasing to the tooth.
3.  The bacon fat for unsalted butter substitution lent no noticeable flavor distinction yet I'd do it again just for the shitzengiggles.
I am going to make this for my Valentine someday...and it'll be perfect next time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


From the International Space Station!

Monday, February 09, 2015


"Apollo Speeches"
Click Link Above to Embiggen! 

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