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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hangover Cure

I'm pretty sure the Brits have always thought they are smarter than us Americans. Well, did you hear that they found the cure to the hangover? The bacon sarnie! The bacon what, you say? Because they have to be weird and have silly names for everything, a "sarnie" is just a sandwich, a name they made up too, but apparenly isn't good enough for them. Looking for any excuse to eat bacon, I went for it.

4 slices of the best bacon you can find
2 slices bread
room temperature butter
ketchup or HP sauce, or both

Cook the bacon the way you like it. Then drain it on some paper towels. Butter 2 slices of bread. Fold over bacon slices on the buttered side of 1 slice of bread. Now cover it with HP sauce and ketchup.

Wait, what's HP sauce you say? HP Sauce has a malt vinegar base, blended with tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices. If you don't have it, there is no reason to go out and buy. Ketchup with do the trick. But hey, if you want to try it, Amazon sells it.

Now cover with other piece of bread, buttered side down and smush together. Slice in half and serve.

And if that doesn't fix your headache, have a bloody mary. Always does the trick for me.

That Thomas Keller knows his stuff

A guy doesn't run some of the best restaurants in the country without knowing a thing or two about food. But when someone tells me to use one of his recipes, I immediately think it has to be complicated, expensive and involve some difficult technique. Friends have told me about this recipe for a while now, and I had the opportunity to try it at my friend Joe's on New Years Day, and it is delicious. So simple, but so flavorful. So I went out and bought a chicken - deciding to give it a try on my own tonight....SUCCESS!

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken (get the good stuff here -it's worth it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

The first step should start as early as you can. Rinse the chicken and dry dry dry it, both inside and out. If you leave water, it will steam the chicken, and there will be no crack, I mean, crust, to enjoy. I patted mine down with paper towel and then put in the fridge for a few hours to keep drying.

About an hour before you are ready to start cooking, take the bird out and let it come to room temperature. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 450...oh, and take the batteries out of the smoke detector and open every window in your house.....believe me.
Salt and pepper inside the bird and then truss the chicken. Truss? Whatdayasay? Yep, trussing. It's easy. And it makes a difference. Do it. Don't know how? Watch this.

Now lay the chicken in a roasting pan and salt the bird. Don't be shy. You want to see the salt. Use at least a tablespoon....I used more I am sure. Throw a little pepper on there too.

Now roast for about 50 minutes or until the bird is done. Your oven is going to go crazy. Fat is going to go all over the place, making really cool noises, but also lots of smoke. Don't freak out. Don't mess with the chicken. Just sit down and get excited for dinner.

Remove the chicken and add thyme to the pan. Baste the chicken with pan juices and then let it rest on a cutting board for about 15 minutes. This might be the hardest part of the whole recipe.
Then carve that baby up, baste with butter, and serve with dijon mustard on the side for dipping.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frou Frou Grilled Cheese

Forget the grilled cheese whose only prep work was to remove a little square of plastic. This sandwich takes only about 1 more minute and uses fresh delicious ingredients (what's in that square of "cheese" anyway?)

2 slices of bread (a nice fresh loaf is preferred, but I used store brand wheat)
olive oil (or butter if you don't have)
fresh mozzarella
pesto (homemade is always best, but the store-bought kind works just fine)
salt & peppper

Preheat your pan, griddler, panini maker...whatever you got, on medium heat. While it heats up, you can make your sammy. Put a bit of olive oil on 1 side of both pieces of bread. Flip over and spread the pesto on both slices. Slice your tomato really thin and cover an entire side of one piece of the bread. Then slice your mozzarella and put on top of tomatoes, covering with salt and pepper. Cover with other piece of bread and grill just like you would a grilled cheese. I lowered the heat a bit to make sure that my cheese was definitely melted before the bread burned. Slice and serve when bread is golden brown and cheese is melted inside.

And put those nasty cheese squares back in the know they'll last forever in there anyways.

(really bad shot, sorry)