Nuts! Anthony McAuliffe Would Be Proud

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Our intrepid exercise-yard enforcer and fine cook Bluebell sent me a recipe for “Savory Spiced Pecans” a long while ago. I resisted them for as long as I could, but finally relented, and they are fabulous. Now, I would call them more sweet than savory, but hell, she’s a Red Sox fan, so the fact that everything was spelled correctly is a great victory!

Anyway, I melded her excellent recipe with a much less successful recipe for “Spiced Almonds” that I found in the New York Times, and the results are above. The jar is sort of cloudy and dirty looking because the butter and sugar mixture doesn’t really get perfectly hard and dry, but that is perfectly all right, because they taste great!

Here is a link to the PDF of the recipe. It’s pretty straightforward, and to be honest the most important part is the technique from Bluebell’s recipe. The spice mixture I used can be changed according to your palate.

Coincidentally I was wandering my local market a few days ago and saw a display for spiced cashews. Now, that is also a fine idea and one that I will be exploring in the near future. Made in my own kitchen, because $14.99/lb. is just…um…nuts!

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I have extolled the virtues of the Brit’s “Sunday Roast,” and have recommended that we embrace it and improve upon it here in America.

The Ritual of Sunday Roast

The classic meal is a gray-weather-soothing, all-day-eating, then veg-on-the-couch-in-a-food-coma affair (think Thanksgiving, if it came once a week), and the communing around slabs of roast meat is a remarkably sturdy tradition—one that’s survived mad cow disease and the new appreciation in Britain for healthy (even vegan) eating and remains a nostalgic bulwark against the spread of American-style brunch.

Yup…The Sunday Pub Roasts I have attended were conspicuous in their overindulgence of wonderful, fatty, rich, alcoholic comestibles, and even more conspicuously short on healthy alternatives. It’s almost as if people like to eat good food and drink good booze and have a good time, and are less concerned with the politics of food (because that is what veganism is: pure politics). I don’t appreciate the shot at American brunch though. It’s not that big a deal in many parts of the country.

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I like looking at these sorts of things because they are usually total crap, and this one stays true to form. My first hint was the incorrect conversions for weights and volumes. But it is, as you have probably already guessed, just clickbait. But a six-month Gold Membership with Ampersand utility for anyone who can find three glaring errors.

152 Things You Must Know In the Kitchen — Ultimate Guide

Hat Tip: Misanthropic Humanitarian (although I think he was trolling me)

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Arby’s Makes Meat-Based Carrot in Response to Fake-Meat Food Trend

“Arby’s is not one of the restaurant companies interested in working with Impossible Foods,” Arby’s said in a statement this May. “The chances we will bring plant-based menu items to our restaurants, now or in the future, are absolutely impossible.”

In fact, Arby’s is so opposed to the idea of plant-based meats, that they’ve decided to essentially troll the entire fake-meat industry by creating a fake vegetable, called a “megetable.”

Hat Tip: Bitter Clinger

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Coq au Vin is an immensely satisfying cold-weather dish, but there are many recipes that are overly complicated and just too much of a slog for it to be in the regular rotation for many people. This recipe is pretty straightforward, although it is written in European Kickball units, so you will have to translate to a civilized language.

Easy coq au vin

As for the two bottles of red wine? Buy something cheap from Australia. It will be plenty rich enough, and it won’t break the bank. Or even use one bottle of red and replace the second bottle with chicken stock. It won’t be quite as rich, but it will be good. And for my sake don’t use three bay leaves. That is at least one too many.

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I absolutely love when market forces are unleashed to fix a problem.
Putting purple sea urchins on the menu could save California’s kelp forest
But because it is California, it gets stupid:

The reason for this growth in numbers of the purple sea urchins comes down to rising sea temperatures, but also a disease that affected the sunflower sea star, the urchins’ predators.

When in doubt, blame global warming! Never mind that there is another perfectly reasonable and far simpler explanation for the increase in the sea urchin population.

I spent an amazingly painful few hours in the ER, having a bunch of their spines removed from my heel. They went through my fin strap, through my bootie, and deep into my foot. So anything that knocks down their population makes me a happy (and vengeful) abalone diver.

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Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Braising And Cold Weather — A Match Made in Heaven

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The hiss of the radiators is a clear signal that braising season is upon us! And while braises are notorious time sinks, they really are pretty damned easy. Sear the meat, take it out, brown the mirepoix, add some herbs and spices, return the meat, along with some liquid (wine, beer, stock, etc) to the pot, let it simmer for a long time, then eat.

Simple, with thousands of fun variations, most of which you can do on your own without needing a recipe. Just find a good basic recipe that works for you, then tweak it and twist it and make it your own.

One of my favorites is braised beef short ribs, but the dish never turned out the way I wanted it until I realized that it is counter-intuitive. Most dishes benefit from fat, but there is so much fat in the short ribs that removing most of it really does improve the dish. I do that by making it in advance, then chilling the pot overnight and simply scraping the excess fat that floated to the top then hardened.

So give braising a shot. It’s a great technique, the cook is rewarded by using cheap cuts filled with connective tissue (they break down over time and add to the succulence), and you can empty your vegetable drawer of that old bag of carrots, the limp celery, and the onions that have seen better days. Dump it all in and be a happy and frugal camper.

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Gwyneth Paltrow is a dangerous fool. Now that we have that out of the way, Let me go on a bit of a rant about healthful foods and healthy foods and unhealthy foods. But let us start with a grammar lesson! “Healthy” means in good health. It does not mean good for you. “Healthful” means good for you. And I defy you to find foods that are “healthful” and “unhealthful” independent of dose. And what I mean by that is simple…food is fuel, with a few vitamins and micro-nutrients thrown in for good measure. Most people get those vitamins and micro-nutrients from their diet without any attention being paid to much at all. So we are left with the inescapable conclusion that most food is just fuel.

That’s all. Nothing complicated. If you do well on a low-carb diet, then go for it. If you do well on a caveman diet, then go for it. But protein, fat and carbohydrate is pretty much all it is, and no amount of massaging of the sources of those macro-nutrients is going to do much.

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From commenter “Muad’dib”

Lamb rib chops are great too. Get them “French” cut, which leaves the rib handles. Marinate them as CBD suggests with olive oil, crushed fresh garlic, salt, and balsamic vinegar. We call them lambsicles.

WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

“Frenching” the ribs, whether it is on a lamb chop, a pork chop, a beef rib steak or a bumblebee is a crime against nature. That’s why it’s called “frenching!” Duh!

The meat and fat and other stuff on the ribs is a delicious bonus and should never, NEVER be trimmed off. However, I approve of this poor deluded Wisconsinite’s recipe, although I would add a bit of chopped fresh rosemary to the marinade!

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Yum. Not that a bolognese sauce is anything arcane or rare, but he puts Spanish chorizo in it, and that sounds great!

Pasta Bolognese

Don’t confuse it with the Mexican version (which also has its uses), and if you have any left over, then make paella, because chorizo is fantastic in paella!

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From commenter “Lurker Lou Here For Five Minutes” (and that’s a good nic!).

Found Haleem by accident at an Indian buffet in San Fran that had it…good thing that the lights were low. It’s very ugly no denying it.

Traditionally eaten to break the fast during Ramadan, but as there are no committed middle eastern or Indian restaurants near where I live, I thought it sounded like good cold weather eating and have made it from time to time.

Restaurant had it with lamb. Lovely. I made it with beef, s’okay. But then someone gifted me with a three year ole moose roast and I thought with all of those spices, it’d do.

What I’ve learned over the years is that moose + cumin are meant to be (other stories). There is pretty much every spice you’d want in this dish. But add a strong flavored meat and this is amazing. It does not hide the flavor, it augments it and elevates it.

This week a friend tried my recipe but subbed 15 bean mix beans for the lentils (avoiding the ugly presentation of lentil stew) and caribou (!) for the lamb or moose.

Better than lamb or moose with lentils. Seriously.

Get your hoar frostiest mutton out of the freezer and try this. Divine! Even if you don’t like mutton although I know you do.

Here is an easy recipe; I’m sure there are more difficult ones out there. I love to shred the meat but some people hand blend I guess. I’m not big on making home cooking fussy and this is home cooking.

Slow-Cooker Haleem — A Traditional Mixed Lentil and Meat Soup

Looks interesting, and Lou’s point about strong-flavored meats is a great one. I have always wondered why some famous dishes use a mild meat and a strong-flavored spice mix or accoutrements. Like…veal saltimbocca! I love the dish, but why waste mild veal? Use pork or chicken at a quarter the price.

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One of the pleasures of cooking is the mastering of techniques that make everything easier and faster and better. Ramsey may be larger than life, but he started out as a great chef, and that hasn’t changed.

How To Master 5 Basic Cooking Skills – Gordon Ramsay

For most of us this is easy stuff, with a bit of a twist that I blame on his upbringing. Olive oil in the pasta water? Nope, not necessary.

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I love baking the receptacle for this dish. What a nice idea. The recipe isn’t clear, but it sounds like you just wrap the baked pizza dough around the food, maybe like an ice cream cone or a burrito. Who knows, but it sounds like fun and I’m going to try it.

Chicken Cacciatore “Trapizzino”

The cacciatore recipe is different too, without tomato, which is a new one for me (thanks Bluebell for pointing that out).

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Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Ovis Aries And Tide-Pods…Breakfast Of Champions

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I am a lamb lover from way back, and I’ll eat pretty much any cut and in any preparation, which is a good thing, because lamb can be quite pricey. Racks of lamb or rib chops are usually among the most expensive cuts of meat in any butcher shop this side of sheep country, and even ground lamb is more than some of the fancy beef grinds I see occasionally.

And to make matters more complicated, it can be a challenging meat to cook, because it seems as though though the fat requires higher temperatures than beef or pork to render or soften into something delicious and rich instead of hard and greasy.

So for this evening’s boneless leg of lamb, I am going to try low and slow for awhile, then a quick shot of high heat to crisp it up.

Why yes, it’s going on the grill, because grilled lamb is the best lamb!

And if you can get cheap cuts, or if you are really lucky some mutton, give it a shot. If anything the shoulder chops are easier to cook and just as good, and mutton is divine, but I think an acquired taste.

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This article is a chaotic mess of leftist memes and flaccid logic, but it does bring up an interesting point about how restaurants are managed, and how their employees are motivated.
Why It’s So Hard for Restaurants to Go Tip-Free

The pay equality gap always bothered Barcito owner Andrea Borgen. The 2016 Eater Young Gun winner opened her Los Angeles business in 2015 and noticed the front of the house earned two and a half to four times as much as the kitchen staff. To address this, Borgen very publicly converted to a no-tipping model in 2016, and on July 2 she brought tipping back. Borgen views this recent shift as a sustainable way to build equity between Barcito’s front-and back-of-house staff.

I went to a well-regarded NYC restaurant a few months ago, and had a very nice meal. But the service (which was included) simply didn’t compare to my last meal there, before they shifted to a no-tipping policy. I think there is something to be said for a direct relationship between one’s work and one’s compensation, and tipping is exactly that.
I am torn between revulsion and interest… The Tide-Pod

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It ain’t the best drink, but it’s good for making fun of Tide-Pod munching, f*cktard millennials. To make one, grab yourself a 1.5 oz cordial glass similar to what I’ve got here. Or don’t, make it in a shot glass if you like. Make it in a red solo cup or in a tube sock, I really don’t care, it’s your drink. But to make it look cool like this, start by pouring 1/2 ounce of Blue Curaçao into a cordial glass. Next, combine 1/4 ounce of Bailey’s Irish Cream with 1/4 of half-n-half (one of those individual creamers is perfect). Drizzle that over a barspoon down the side of the glass to form the middle layer. To finish, take 1/2 oz UV Orange Vodka and drizzle it over the spoon to form your top layer. It kinda tastes like a creamsicle, if you are an alcoholic and use your imagination.

Courtesy of Bitter Clinger.

Yeah…I love this stuff. Salt cod is a weird ingredient, but damn, it is spectacular when done right.

Salt Cod Fritters

There is a French dish called “Brandade de Morue” that is essentially salt cod and whipped potatoes. it is ridiculously good. But the reconstitutiong of the cod just takes too long. It’s not difficult, but it does take planning.

State Fair of Texas Adds Even More Ridiculous Fried Foods to This Year’s Line-Up

I’m not sure I agree with “ridiculous. It’s more like, “Oh my God! That sounds decadent!”

Shanah Tovah!

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

September 22, 2019

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I have been eating a lot of bacon recently, both for the undeniable pleasure of those delectable, fatty morsels of porcine wonder, direct from a pig that gave his all for me, and for the convenient bonus that it really fills me up in the morning. Toss in an egg or two (my current obsession is with hard-boiling them), and you have yourself a fine and tasty meal. I play around with the condiments I use on the eggs, and have settled for a bit (okay, a dab. well, a large dab on each bite) of mayonnaise, but a spoonful of spicy chili crisp hits the spot too.

Back to bacon! Why is it so good? Well, it has pretty much everything pleasing about food. The fat provides wonderful mouth feel and a succulent texture, the salt gives us a pop of pleasure, the smoky meat has just enough flavor and texture to please, and to top it off, it comes in a convenient shape…just perfect for munching neatly or folding into one’s mouth in a frantic orgy of gluttony and pleasure.

Commenter “Boswell’ recently had an interesting thought…

Kale is the only thing that could actually ruin bacon.

But I stand here before you in all of my reactionary glory and say, “Even kale goes well with bacon!” I recently had a meal, courtesy of a cousin, which included a great kale and bacon and blue cheese salad. Great stuff!

So…bacon may be the perfect food. It compliments everything and ruins nothing. And don’t throw ice cream at me. I have had ice cream with bacon sprinkles and it is a fine, fine thing.

I bought a quart of milk to make a Béchamel, and for whatever reason I never needed it. So I tucked the milk into the corner of the refrigerator, where I know the temperature is slightly below freezing. I hadn’t opened the container, and since it was pasteurized (like 99.9% of milk in America), it was essentially sterile. Fast forward six months (yes, you read that correctly), and all of a sudden I needed a Béchamel, and I didn’t feel like going out for a fresh quart of milk.

So what does a cheap bastard do? Use the damned milk of course. It was fine. The container wasn’t inflated, the milk wasn’t discolored, it smelled like…um…milk, and aside from a bit of separation (which I fixed with a vigorous shake), it was indistinguishable from fresh(er) milk.

My wife was disgusted, and refused to eat the spectacular Cauliflower à la Bluebell that I made with six-month old milk and heels of old cheese, from which I trimmed the mold and desiccated bits.
GAO report examines how date label confusion contributes to food waste
I’m not suggesting that everyone use six-month old stuff, but we do fixate on the various sell by/good until/best before messages that we see on our food. For instance, if a can of peas has an expiration date one year out, then unless the can has a structural failure, I can’t imagine that the peas wouldn’t be safe two years or three years out. Sure, eventually the metal on the outside and the coating on the inside will decay enough for something bad to happen, but I doubt very much that the eight-year-old can of peas in the back of your pantry will kill you.

It is not concern for the starving in the world that motivated me to post this link, because after all, the world produces plenty of food. it is geopolitical issues that prevent us from feeding the world. Hell, if America wanted to, we could take farming seriously, spend the subsidies intelligently and probably feed the world on our own!

No, it was a very conservative sense that we shouldn’t waste. Could I have afforded the $2.25 for another quart of milk? And the $1 for gas and wear and tear to get to the store? Sure. But why waste something that is perfectly okay?

It’s nothing like a classic burger, although it certainly sounds interesting as a peek into the food of bygone years. But the gushing hagiographic tone of the writer is off-putting. I doubt very much that he knows much about Hemingway, who, while one of my favorite authors, was also a prick to most of the people in his life, including all of his wives and all of his children.
How to Make Ernest Hemingway’s Favorite Hamburger
One of Hemingway’s many conceits was his arrogant assumption that the way he did things was the best way. And this recipe doesn’t disabuse me of that impression.

I might give some version of it a shot, although i am reminded of what a foodie friend said to me when I mentioned that i was going to adulterate a burger with some innocuous ingredient (chopped onion I think). “That’s meatloaf!”

[Hat Tip: Misanthropic Humanitarian]

Gordon Ramsay can cook, and he can run restaurants. I have eaten in a few, and everything worked the way it was supposed to, and that is a rare and impressive thing in an industry known for flakiness and stupidity and venality. But he has a reputation as a bit of a dick. Well, maybe more than a bit, but here he is in a different setting. Gordon Ramsay on “Hot Ones” which is a hoot! He seems like an actual human being, with a sense of humor and a brain!
[Did I post this awhile ago? Hell, I have no idea, but it’s worth a watch]

Back before Mexico turned into a war zone, I used to go occasionally, and I would bring back bottles of mezcal that I would buy from mom-and-pop stores. The stuff was probably homemade in less-than-sanitary or safe conditions, and I would filter it when I got back to civilization…through a coffee filter! I chose to ignore the risk of heavy metals or other crap, because I was young and stupid.
Burros, Stones, and Machetes: Here’s How Mezcal Is Distilled
But there has been a renaissance in the mezcal world, and some of the stuff I have tasted recently has been quite good.

[Hat Tip: redc1c4 ]

Oh great. Now I have to start using dried chickpeas instead of canned, and make my easy and rather good hummus recipe into a PITA (see what I did there?). How To make Hummus Oh, the guy’s enthusiasm is infectious! Seriously, dried chickpeas seem like the way to go, and there are other longcuts in this video that make a lot of sense.

And here is Chris Kimball’s new venture, called “Milk Street,” with a similar version of How To make Hummus

Speaking of cool ways to open wine bottles…

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Corks And Bunnies

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Corks are great, and have worked reasonably well for a very, very long time. But there is nothing magical about them, in spite of being “natural.” They don’t really breathe, so the idea that corks allow wine to age gracefully is mostly a fiction. And besides, the amount of air that can pass through the cork and then permeate the wine is vanishingly small. What really ages the wine is time, which allows the wine’s components (sugars and acids and all sorts of aromatic compounds) to play together and hopefully improve.

And there are big downsides to cork: it is a natural product and can vary tremendously, and it is also associated with the tainting of wine with a chemical called TCA (trichloroanisole), which can impart an unpleasant taste and aroma that I perceive as wet cardboard. That’s not a flavor I vigorously pursue in my booze, and I doubt many people enjoy it much.

So why use cork at all? Tradition and snobbery is pretty much the only answer I can come up with. The cost of metal closures is on par with cork, and they don’t impart any flavors at all.

When I go shopping for wine, in particular everyday drinking wine, I give bonus points to wines with screw-tops. It’s more convenient, the bottles fit in the refrigerator more easily, and even ignoring the risk of TCA contamination, there is much less risk of failure. Everyone has seen crumbly corks and corks that broke off halfway out of the bottle, and that just doesn’t happen with screw-tops.

The Aussies use screw-tops a lot, and I am seeing it more and more on American wines, and even Froggy and Spanish wines! I haven’t seen any on Portuguese wines, mostly because I rarely drink them and have very little experience. But Portugal’s greatest wines are Ports, and it can be a huge problem pulling the corks on old bottles. I wonder whether they will finally figure out that screw-tops are the way to go? I doubt it will happen any time soon, because Port drinkers love the ritual and pomp and circumstance of opening a 50 or 60-year-old bottle, and the breathless anticipation of whether the cork is total crap adds to the experience.

Personally I think that is dumb, because the bottles are expensive and rare, and why risk anything when the whole point is the pleasure of drinking what’s inside?

By the way, the bottle on the left is a five-year-old Aussie Shiraz, and it was quite good. The bottle on the right is 29-years-old, and waiting patiently for a crisp autumn weekend and a meal of braised short ribs. I just hope the cork has survived!

Anyone like rabbit? I sure do, especially grilled with a mustard glaze. I wonder whether the rabbits that live in my yard are tasty?

Don’t worry, I probably won’t trap one and grill it.

Probably.

My local poultry farm also carries rabbit, so I will try them before I resort to suburban trapping. As I have mentioned before, the only rabbit I ever saw when I was a kid was stuff from a biological products company called “Pel Freez.” Yeah, rabbits figured prominently in their manufacturing, but I really, really hope that the food rabbits and the bio rabbits were separate.

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[Hat Tip JT, who asks whether this could be Bluebell in retirement in 30 or 40 years…]

This is market economics in action. An invasive species that government can’t eradicate, but the market has an instant solution. Eat the damned things!

Aaron Franklin is a bit of a loon, but he is exactly the kind of nut-job who makes the world a better place. These three videos will take you through the entire process of smoking brisket, and you will be a better person after you watch them. Cooking shouldn’t be mystical and special and reserved for the elites….And this guy is happy to share his secrets with you.

The Brisket

The Cook

The Payoff

Fun stuff, and his other videos are great as well.

I wonder whether he will approve of my plans to sous vide a brisket?

This looks good. Breakfast Casserole In The 18th Century? – Egg And Bacon Pie

Wow. An appliance designed to cook food. Who would have thought that it was appropriate to use to..you know…cook food? I replaced my oven with a waffle maker, and you should too. Okay, but can you branch out a bit and suggest things that aren’t waffles? Because I can imagine cooking a bunch of other foods without any problems. I’ll start with chicken pounded thin and dredged in a light batter. Crunch the waffle maker down hard, and the texture will be fun.
[Hat Tips: Curmudgeon]

There are too many food and cooking sites, because far too many of them produce dreck like this. besides listing all of the bagels in the world, they don’t actually rank them, they just blather on about how good each flavor is. Besides, cinnamon-raisin is not a real bagel flavor. That’s a sop to wimps who can’t handle real bagels.

What’s next…pumpkin-spice bagels?

All the Best Bagel Flavors, Ranked

I keep telling you people; any food can be improved with the addition of fat. If you don’t like chickpeas but seem to think that you should eat them because they are healthful or some other virtue-signalling crap, then fry ’em up and serve them as a side. Or just fry them up and serve them on the side because they taste good when they are crispy.

crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt

I might hold the yogurt and use sour cream or creme fraiche instead. Or even better…use the chickpeas as a garnish for grilled pork chops. Or toss them into a stir-fry.

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Speaking of fat. Fried crab and avocado can’t possibly be bad. Avocado Crab Bomb sounds like something I would absolutely order in a restaurant, but maybe not ever try to make it at home. It seems like too much work, when the deconstructed dish would probably be even better. Crab on an avocado with some crispy fries? That sounds good to me.

But if you want to make this and invite me over, I will happily come, and bring booze too.

[Hat Tip: artisanal’ette]

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Fire Burn And Cauldron Bubble Edition

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This is why my house occasionally smells like it is on fire…I love, love, love to fire roast or toast or, let’s face it, burn peppers over my biggest burner before I cook with them. It’s easy, it’s fun, you get to burn things inside the house, and it rarely requires professional assistance from your neighborhood fire brigade. Although…my wife got stuck behind an FDNY truck a few days ago and asked whether one of the prerequisites for the job was to be handsome…so maybe for some of you that is a bonus.

Anyway, the technique is self evident, and the flavor boost is huge. Even if you peel the blistered skin you are left with the toasty, smoky flavor of the pepper, and that is a grand and glorious thing. I pop them in a paper bag to steam after I toast them on the stove when I am planning to peel them. That allows the peppers to soften a bit and it seems to loosen the skin.

When I make salsa I overload it with peppers, and it doesn’t really matter what kind, as long as I toast them first. The flecks of charred skin in the sauce are a lovely addition. Oh, you can do the tomatoes the same way, and even in the depths of winter the charring makes them palatable. Sort of.

Random Notes From The Vast Kitchens Of Chez Dildo

The pickling experiment continues, with the sensational addition of thinly sliced red onion and sliced jalapenos. Not together! I pulled some of the veins and seeds out of the jalapenos because I didn’t want them to be too hot. I was looking for a nice bit of heat and a vinegary tang, and I got it! A few of the pickled jalapeno rings on top of a burger but under the cheese is a damned fine way to build a cheeseburger.

Yes, I am lazy, so the four racks of pork ribs I made a few weeks ago went onto the grill, not into the smoker. Fine, take my man card and make me wear a frilly apron (or in Garrett’s case, a lovely gingham one), but we had 20 people for dinner, so I was interested in easy over authentic. But I got smart and used two temperature probes, and discovered something most of you knew already; the temperature gradient in a gas grill is huge, particularly if you have only one of the burners going (the one under the smoke box). About 210° on the far side, and about 385° over the smoke box.

Grilling asparagus is much easier if you put them on the grill at right angles to the grates. Just sayin’.

Meatballs were on the menu, and there was much rejoicing, and much cleaning too. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any shortcuts, so making the meatballs was a careful and gentle and long process, ending with frying them a bit, which is messy. But gently formed meatballs that are browned in fat then simmered in good tomatoes is a fine thing. And plopping a couple or five of them on top of my almost-world-famous ratatouille is a different and most excellent combination. And a dollop of ricotta doesn’t hurt.

My grandmother also made spectacular chopped liver, but the idea that one uses beef liver borders on heretical. It’s nonsense. Offensive nonsense. Arrantly offensive nonsense. Patently ridiculous, arrantly offensive nonsense.
A Love Letter to Chopped Liver
There are lots of versions of chopped liver, from the simple concoctions of Ashkenazim (broadly, Jews from Eastern Europe) to the labor-intensive deliciousness of a fine pâté or rilletes. But I have never had a bad one, and I have never had one made from beef livers.

QED.

So, these people are vegans, so that means they are loons. But they are funny loons, and for some reason they don’t come across as preachy as much as just foul-mouthed and funny.
Grilled Romaine Salad
That being said, this recipe would be damned good with a Caesar dressing (raw egg!) and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Just sayin’.

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Anybody ever seen or used one of these things? Because it sounds like an elegant method, although an auto feed for the fuel would make it close to perfect. Anyway, here’s the website, which is worth poking around if any of you are sort of geeky about cooking. Or just geeky. Or like barbecue. KBQ

I did not know that there was such a thing as Tupelo Honey. I mean, I knew about this Tupalo Honey, because everybody knows Van Morrison. But it’s also a real honey? And, apparently, a rather good one.

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This is French cooking at its best. Oh, I guess the haute cuisine of Paris and Lyon are better known, but getting out of the cities (or eating at a good bistro in one fo the big cities) will reveal the kind of food that many Frenchmen eat, and it is good stuff! Normandy-style pork and cider casserole reminds me of the stews my mother used to make. Well, not all of them. The ones with tripe or brains or, strangely, the veal stew, made me gag.

Food and cooking tips, Castelvetrano olives with a sprinkle of chili flakes, young wild pigs, crisp bacon (although I am moving toward less crisp), thick and fluffy pita, and good tomatoes that aren’t square, pale pink and covered with Mestizo E.coli: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com. Any advocacy of French Toast with syrup will result in disciplinary action up to and including being nuked from orbit. And yes, shaking a Manhattan is blasphemy…it’s in the Bible!

Here is a pdf of my Lemon Cheesecake recipe.