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
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! 


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chicken Fried Venison

Chicken Fried Venison
Chicken Fried Venison
Over the weekend, my dad gave me some venison steaks. I almost immediately decided that some chicken fried venison was in order. So I grabbed some potatoes to make some home fries and got to work!

The Recipe:

  • Venison Steaks
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Marinate the venison in enough milk to cover for 4 to 6 hours. The amount of milk you use, will largely depend on the size of the container and how many venison steaks you have. 

After the steaks have marinated in the milk, mix together some flour, salt, and pepper. To be honest, I didn't measure this. I just used what I thought was enough. It's always good to have extra. Generously cover the venison in the flour mixture.

Chicken Fried Venison
Chicken Fried Venison
In a cast iron skillet, heat about a half inch of oil. To test if the oil is hot enough, sprinkle some flour in it. If it sizzles with the flour, it is ready. Place the venison steaks in the oil. Cook about 5 to 7 minutes a side. 

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stuffed Jumbo Shells

Stuffed Shells
Stuffed Shells
I always loved getting stuffed pastas when I was little when we would go out to eat. It seemed so exotic! How did they get the stuffing inside the pasta? Now not that I've mastered the art if pasta making, I'm still in awe of people who can make tortellini, but in my house we like to make our own ravioli and stuffed shells! Today's recipe is for stuffed jumbo shells.


The Recipe:
  • 2 15 Ounce Containers of Ricotta
  • 1 Package of Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Recipe Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Cup Shredded Chicken (optional)
  • 1 Box Jumbo Shells
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Salt and Pepper

Equipment:
  • Piping Bag
  • 13x9 Baking Dish
  • Food Processor

In boiling water, cook the jumbo shells until slightly al dente. Set aside.

Combine 1 container of ricotta with the tomato sauce. Set aside.

Using a food processor, combine the remaining​ container of ricotta with the spinach. I don't measure it, but I go off of color. A light, pale green us a good mix. You'll know it when you see it. Mix in some salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken if you are adding that to the mix.

Using a piping bag or 2 spoons, fill each shell with the ricotta mixture. Position each shell face up in the baking dish. Once the baking dish is full, pour the tomatoe sauce and ricotta over the shells. Then cover it up with the mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, usually about 30 minutes.

Happy Eating!