Sunday, November 5, 2017

1 Boylston Street

I had lunch with my dad the other day, and he started to tell me about a restaurant that his great grandfather owned at 1 Boylston Street, in Boston. He had little information on the place, besides the name. The restaurant was names Number One, simply because of its address. I now have a new project to learn about this place and will update as I find out more!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Grandma Dorothy's Cornbread

Grandma Dorothy's Cornbread
Cornbread served with White Bean Chili
The best kind of recipes are the ones passed down from family. They may not be the most authentic, award winning, or complex recipes out there, but when you sit down to eat them, all of the memories shared around the table come rushing back. 

My family has an entire cookbook assembled from past generations that we love to get out and cook from and reminisce over. I've even got a pot of our family gumbo on the stove as I wright this! Today I want to share Grandma Dorothy's Corn Bread, something that has been a mainstay on the table from childhood all the way through today!

The Recipe:
  • 1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 4 Teaspoons Oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is preheating, heat a cast iron skillet with half of the oil. For the oil, Grandma Dorothy used vegetable oil, but I have switched it to olive oil.
Mix the dry ingredients. I usually don't add the sugar anymore, but it does add a nice flavor to the bread. Add the egg, milk, and the remaining oil to the preheated skillet.

Grandma Dorothy's Cornbread
Grandma Dorothy's Cornbread

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is lightly brown on top.

For some variation, I usually add some chopped onion, corn, colby jack or cheddar cheese, and maybe some jalapeno.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Handy Kitchen Strainer

It's been quite some time since the last post. But don't worry, I'm still cooking as much as I can! The two little boys running around the house seem to take up most of my time lately!
Use a kitchen sink strainer as kitchen strainer
Use a kitchen sink strainer as a
kitchen strainer

As you probably know, I love to cook with fresh flavors, especially when it comes to adding fresh juices! But when I add fresh juice, I typically only want the juice and not any pulp or seeds. The biggest problem though is the

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reverse Seared New York Strip

Reverse seared New York Strip 11 Below Brewing
Reverse seared New York Strip!

One of my favorite meals is steak night! Last Saturday night was a rainy, Houston night, so what could be better than a steak and a movie at home? A creature of habit, I usually cook a steak the steak the same way each time. The same seasoning, the same sides, the same method. A good steak doesn't come cheap, so why take a chance and risk getting it wrong?

I have been hearing a lot about the "reverse sear method," when it comes to grilling meats, especially steaks. I decided to take a leap of faith with the two New York Strips I had picked up and try it out. I'm not sure that I'll ever go back. The cooking time is a little longer, but well worth the wait. The color is consistent throughout and melts like butter.

Reverse Seared New York Strip
Grill the steak over indirect heat.

Conventional wisdom would tell you that a good sear when a piece of meat first lands on the grill will lock the juices in. The reverse sear does the same thing, but better. Since the meat is not over direct heat, the juices don't ever have a chance to cook out, making for a more tender, juicier steak.

Enough of me talking about it, let's cook!

The Recipe:

  • 2 New York Strips
  • Steak Seasoning (Cavender's has always been my go to)

Prepare a charcoal grill. For tips on setting up your grill visit here. The fire should be built on one side of the grill, so that the steak can cook over indirect heat.

Reverse Seared New York Strip
Grill the steak of indirect heat

Season the steak and let sit out at room temperature. This will allow the steak to cook more evenly. 

Reverse Seared New York Strip
Finish the steak over the fire.

The idea of the "reverse sear method" is to cook the steak before it goes over the flame, leaving it to sear at the very end. Place the seasoned steak on the grill, opposite from the fire. I cooked my steak 6 to 7 minutes per side over indirect heat per side, before searing it about a minute per side over the fire. This still allowed for a nice medium rare dark pink color that was consistent throughout. This steak was delicious and I cannot wait to repeat the experience!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Taco Tuesday on the 4th of July

Carnitas Ready for Nachos

It's been pretty busy around here, leaving little time for blogging. But I'm back and ready to go, with some great new ideas.

Rewind to the 4th of July. We always have a block party in the cul de sac and this was no exception. We all decided to do a nacho bar and have everyone chip in. Homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, smoked chicken, and my contribution, carnitas.

For the carnitas, I looked at a few recipes and got work!

The Recipe:
  • 4 to 5 pound pork butt
  • 3/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Cilantro
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 5 Garlic Cloves - Minced

Carnitas on the Smoker
Carnitas on the Smoker
Combine the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, and spices. I used fresh squeezed juices for mine. Marinate the pork butt overnight. I used a gallon storage bag. Make sure to save the marinade for basting.

The next morning, get the smoker fired up. I use a combination of lump oak charcoal and hickory and pecan chunks in my smoker. Tips on getting the smoker started can be found here.

Once the smoker is ready, bring out the pork butt. Mine was on the smoker about 8 hours. I keep the smoker temperature between 200 - 250 degrees and go for a target internal temperature of at least 140 degrees.

Carnitas on the Smoker
Carnitas ready to come
off the smoker!
Once the pork butt is off the smoker, it needs to rest. If it comes out of the smoker too early, with maybe a few hours before dinner, wrap it in foil and put it in an empty cooler. This keeps it hot without over cooking it.

Once the pork butt is ready, it is time to pull it apart. I've found the best way to do this either with 2 forks or your hands.

Now, it's time to pile the carnitas insise some tortillas or on a pile of chips!

Happy Eating!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pad Thai

I've always loved Pad Thai. My love adventure with this classic Thai dish began when I was younger and wasn't sure what else to order when we would go out for Thai food! I've slowly gotten a bit more courageous, but I keep falling back to my first love of Pad Thai!

Pad Thai
Pad Thai
The other night, we were on the phone and my wife's aunt mentioned how she always remembers how good it was when I made Pad Thai for the family a few years back. I dusted off my recipe, and my wok, and set out to make it for dinner!

The Recipe:
  • 2 Limes - Juiced
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 3 Green Onions - Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Chicken
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Peanuts
  • 1 Package Rice Noodles

The key to making great food in a wok, is to get the wok good and hot. That said, the food is going to cook really fast, leaving very little time to prep in between steps. It is best to get everything chopped, prepped, and ready, before the cooking process starts. I've found that each brand and package of rice noodles has different instructions. It typically involves soaking the noodles in hot water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package. I find it is best to get this going first. It usually takes around 30 minutes. 

Pad Thai
Pad Thai
Over medium-high to high heat, add the peanut oil to the wok. Throw in the green onions and garlic. Stir around quickly. Once the garlic starts to brown, add in the 4 eggs, all at the same time. I like to use a whisk here to scramble the eggs over the heat. It makes it easier to keep the eggs from staying in one piece too. Add in the rice vinegar and fish sauce. 

Combine the chicken and cayenne in a bowl. Stir to coat the chicken with the cayenne. Add the chicken to the wok. Stir occasionally until cooked. 

Add in the peanuts and rice noodles. To make sure everything gets combined and the noodles get heated evenly, the best thing to do here is toss everything like a salad! Add in the lime juice and cilantro as you stir it.

I like to serve this with soy sauce, sriracha, and garlic chili paste.

For a few different variations, this recipe also works great with shrimp, beef, and pork. Just make sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly. 

For tips on cleaning your wok after use, go here.

Happy eating!