I used my Weber Smokey mountain last weekend... OMG awesome. I woke up at 4 to start it up for pulled pork and after some finangling it was going steady locked in at 215F. When I opened the door every hour to add coals it dropped to 200F and it never got above 235F. However I had to run it with everything open or it would dip beneath that.
I'm assuming that I just needed to use more than the recommended 100 pieces of charcoal to have to close some of those openings? I was a solid gorgeous 16C with no wind so I see no reason why that would be a problem. I'll also have to devote some time to learning the minion method.
But omg the food, delicious and gorgeous. I made the famous Mr. Brown on 2 pieces of pork butt. After 12 hours each was at 170, FDA recommends food safe at 140, but it wasn't pull apart with forks soft. And since I sat next to it for 12 hours I absolutely know it didn't go above 290 or even 250. So I'm left with the issue that I'd need to run it until I can get 190F as my internal temp, which means I'd need to run it for at least 16 hours. I used between 200-300 briquettes.
Still makes delicious sandwiches, which taste similar to ham but with a large smokey flavour and a delicious flavourful bark.
Also gotta vouch for a chimney starter, no one within hours drive sells theirs but there are a few off brands and they work very well.
I had some ground lamb in the fridge and decided to make lamburgers. Seasoned those with a dash of salt&pepper, cumin, and oregano.
Figured I'd go for a Greek style burger and whip up a yogurt sauce. Didn't have any plain yogurt, so went with Mexican-style sour cream (which is thicker and more tangy). Added in some key-lime juice, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper, and a bit of fresh mint from the yard.
Meanwhile, my wife sautéed up some onions and 'shrooms with rosemary and mint from the yard. We piled those up on the burgers and topped with the sauce. They were fantastic.
I rarely cook chicken since it's boring unless you get the real deal, and I'm too lazy to hit the farmer's markets with that much forethought. However the urge struck at Kroger and instead of picking up breasts for fried rice, jambalaya, etc. I picked up some thighs which I vastly prefer when someone else is cooking.
Anyway, these were thigh chunks without the drumstick, and I wasn't really sure what to do with them, so I treated them like Chicken Ribs. First I patted them with salt and pepper on both sides, then heated oil in a cast iron skillet to pretty damned hot. In went the thigh, skin side down.
While that was going on I made a foil pouch and put in 2 tsp of ground sage, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to coat. After about 5 minutes in the skillet the skin had a nice sear on it, and I chucked the thigh chunks into the pouch, sealed it, poked a tiny hole for steam, and put it into a 350-degree oven for forty minutes.
Once done I pierced the pouch and reduced the drippings, mixing in 1 tbsp of barbeque sauce, 1 tsp of spicy mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. While the chicken cooled on the plate I used a brush to put the reduction on the chicken as a sauce. Accompanying were mashed Yukon Gold potatoes (boil, drain, add minced onion and garlic, salt and pepper, tbsp butter, minced tbsp funky hard cheese, finish with half-and-half for consistency) and coleslaw (cabbage, shredded carrot, minced onion, minced garlic, rice wine vinegar, pinch sugar, salt and pepper, tbsp mayo).
A good meal was had by me.
I cooked a pretty awesome Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta tonight-- diced chicken, ham, mushrooms, garlic, shallots, Italian dressing (all of this cooked in a foil pouch, too, like Houngan suggested: about 40 minutes at 350) and Alfredo sauce over medium shell pasta, then cooked as a casserole with breadcrumbs, cheese, and Parmesan for about an hour. Darn tasty.
Mmmm, sounds good.
I'm going on vacation tomorrow and will be cooking a lot. First priority is stuff I haven't done before. Stuff I'm considering:
Pot au feu
Confit Byaldi (the uberdish from Ratatouille)
Maybe get another sourdough starter going, and make some nice compound butter.
Need to expand my vocabulary of dressings and BBQ sauces.
Want to incorporate artichokes and fennel into more stuff.
As for desserts I'm going to try stuff from http://www.chefeddy.com/ , like verrines, tarts, expanding my garnish skills, and probably doing some sorbets and ice cream.
I had extarbags make my Sunday potroast in the slowcooker. He's a champ because he wouldn't be able to eat this because of all the mushrooms.
He took a chuck roast, and put it in the slow cooker with a container of Trader Joe's mirepoix, a can of crushed tomatoes, 2lbs of sliced cremini mushrooms, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, red wine, and Trader Joe's beef broth.
Verdict: after correcting for salt in the morning, it is perfect. Just what I wanted. I will bring it all week for lunch. It is mostly mushrooms.
Trust me on this one!
Sweet potatoes, maybe four big ones. One banana. Wash potatoes, poke holes with fork, sprinkle with kosher salt, wrap in foil, grill at 350-400 for about 50 minutes. At about 40 minutes, stick the banana on there (still in the peel.) In 5-7 minutes, flip the banana over and grill for another 5-7. Take everything to the kitchen! Take skins off the potatoes and scoop the gooey banana goodness out of the peel. Add some milk, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and mash everything up. Glorious.
Thank epicurious.com for this idea.
Flammekueche! Or tarte flambée if you're more on the French side, but I prefer the sound of a dish that could be an unlockable weapon in Soulcalibur.
Pizza dough, stretched into a roughy 10" square and baked at 475 for about 5 minutes to firm. Top with creme fraiche (adding a tablespoon of flour for some thickening), thick-sliced bacon lardons, and julienned onions sweated in the bacon drippings. Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes, and voila! Alsatian goodness.
I had an extra bit of pork shoulder lying around and decided to grind it up into chorizo sausage. Of coarse now that I have a pound or so of it I can't decide what to make with it. Any recommendations?
Also I'm still waiting for someone to figure out how to bake chorizo into cornmeal.
So... meat cornbread? Eww.
I've got a couple of tomato plants (grape tomatoes) that refuse to stop producing no matter how much I ignore them. They were almost completely obscured by tall grass and weeds, and when I went out last week to pull said grass & weeds I found a couple of pints of beautiful grape tomatoes hiding there, ready to be picked. I turned to Cook's Country.
Halved and quartered them, then let them sit with a little salt and sugar for about half an hour. Drained them off then dumped them in a salad spinner and strained all that liquid too. Ended up with about half a cup of tomato juice/water which I put in a saucepan with some balsamic vinegar and a chopped garlic clove. Simmered that gently until it reduced to a few tablespoons. Let it cool and then whisked in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
Chopped a cup of basil from my basil plant and cut up 8 ounces or so of fresh mozzarella.
Tossed it all together and took it to a 4th party.
It was great but I need to get better mozzarella next time. Also probably should have dressed it earlier than I did.
So I'm going through my pots and pans and right-sizing. We bought this set quite a few years ago, and are realizing that we use maybe 2 pots out of it, so we're going to get rid of it and condense to most the stuff that Alton Brown recommends (most of it we already have).
12" cast iron skillet (have one)
10" stainless steel skillet
8" non-stick skillet (ordered a new cheap one)
12" saute pan (ordered a new one)
3-4qt saucepan or saucier w/lid (see below)
1 qt saucier (for small stuff like ramen -- yeah, overkill!, need to find a lid for it)
8-12 qt stockpot with lid (have)
5 qt dutch oven (my favorite La Cruset pot)
Now the question is what to do for the saucepan/saucier -- a 3-4qt saucier is expensive, but the sloped sides are really attractive. 3-4qt normal saucepans are cheap.
Note -- only non-stick is the 8" pan. I've made that mistake before, and I don't understand why nearly every set sold (even with the suckiness of sets) are non-stick everything, including a roasting pan. Non-stick roasting pan? Really?
4-6 egg, whisked together
1 cup cream or milk
1 cup parmesan
1 cup mozzarella
a bunch of torn up basil leaves
Mix all this up and put it in your well greased pie pan. Then, the best part, is take a bunch of grape tomatoes, halve them, and float them on top of the quiche, cut side up.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until set and browned on top.
The tomatoes get all roasted and delicious.
It is so good.
And for knives, I stand by America's Test Kitchen's recommendation for Victorinox Forschners.
I use my 8" and 12" cast iron more than anything else, followed by my 5 or 8 qt Le Creuset dutch overs. I don't bother with a non-stick anything (I use cast iron instead).
Health thing. During the low-fat crazies of the 80s everyone was trying hard not to cook with oil or butter, so instead we decided that ingesting the chemicals in non-stick cooking was better...Note -- only non-stick is the 8" pan. I've made that mistake before, and I don't understand why nearly every set sold (even with the suckiness of sets) are non-stick everything, including a roasting pan. Non-stick roasting pan? Really?
Tramontina Triply sold at Walmart. The aluminum core goes up the sides like All-Clad pans and is recommended by America's Test Kitchen.
I don't have them myself- I have All-Clad.
Some recent stuff:
First time I've had this and it came out amazing.
Indian-inspired venison curry with coriander and Guinness bread
Pretty decent also, but it's hard to go wrong with a curry if you're sensible about spices.
interman, how do you thicken your curry? I made some last night, but I was sort of afraid to throw too much into an overly full pot and so wound up with soup. Tasty soup, but still soup.
1 red velvet cake box mix
1 can of cream cheese frosting
Some chocolate melting bits
Cookie sheets lined with wax paper
Make the cake as instructed on the box. Let the cake cool completely. COMPLETELY. Then break it all up into crumbs with your fingers in a big bowl. The take about 3/4ths of the can of frosting and put it in with the cake. Use your hands to mush it all together until totally mixed. It gets messy! Then break off pieces and roll them into balls, setting them aside on the wax paper. When you've rolled them all, put them in the fridge for AT LEAST four hours. You want them to be totally chilled. I left mine in for a good 7 or 8. Then take them out, melt the chocolate, dip them in, and let them rest again on the wax paper.
They are totally easy and super delicious. I ended up making around 170 of these from one cake mix, brought them to a 3rd of July party and they were gone in two hours. I dipped mine in white chocolate and the red cake looked great against it when you bit into it. People also had NO IDEA how I made them--they kept commenting on how the cake was super moist and did I cut circles out of the cake and then dip it in chocolate? Total hit.
Is there another forum game afoot?
I am cooking a frozen pizza as I type this! It's some kind of gourmet abomination with chicken and alfredo sauce and probably magic unicorn dust or something. I am going to eat it in the name of science!