Get the Cookbook!

Click on the picture.

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Blog Index
    The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

    Entries in cooking (15)


    Man Broccoli


    Thomas Kellers Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Breast....

    We know its not Thanksgiving any more, but Jim craves turkey year round and has dreams of smoked turkey floating around his head, all year long.  Yeah, it's weird, but then he's accepted that about himself.

    He found this article in Esquire and had to repost it, as it doesn't involve a whole bird (difficult) and involves mayo (yummy) and turkey (awesome):

    Thomas Keller's Mayonnaise-Roasted Turkey Breast

    Use half turkey breasts, as the mayonnaise will not adhere properly to a full breast. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer registers 160 to 165 degrees.

    • One 2-½- to 3-pound turkey breast
    • 2 cups homemade or good-quality commercial mayonnaise
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • Liberal amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack. Rinse the breast and pat dry with paper towels. Trim away excess skin and fat.

    Mix the mayonnaise with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle the underside of the breast with salt and pepper and completely cover the skin side with the mayonnaise-nutmeg-clove-and-paprika mixture. Spread as evenly as possible. The coating should be about ½-inch thick. Place the breast, mayonnaise side up, on the rack and roast for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. The coating will have turned black. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before carving.

    Jim just left the building.  Muttered something about "Pillaging the grocery store for turkey breasts" as he ran out.


    An Ode to the Spoon

    This article in Bon Appetite on chefs and their spoons immediately captivated us.  "There's a connection between chefs and their spoons that most people who don't work in kitchens don't realize.  Chef's use spoons for practically every job, including basting, plating, saucing, tasting, flipping and turning meat, or simply stirring a pot".  Cory Lee of Benu in San Fransisco.

    Indeed. Jim found a particular spoon and loved it so much that he went back to Sur La Table and bought every one they still had.  Yes, it's not a glorious custom-made silver spoon with a certain bowl size, it's a lowly wooden spoon/spatula.  But it's his, and he LOVES it.  Jim says, "I use it for everything, just like it says in the article.  I have three of those spoons and when they die, I'm going to go on a hunt for more, and possibly have to have more made, if I can't find some like it.  I'm obssessed, I constantly reach for them in the kitchen".

    "We use different styles and shapes of spoons depending on the task we are trying to acheive," says Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in London, "For shaping quenelles, we look for spoons with a deep and tapered head.  For saucing, we will use spoons that have a square or straight edge for maximum control."

    So the next time your in the kitchen, consider the lowly spoon.  Do you have one you gravitate to?  Consider, and keep an eye on it, because someone may be hunting for YOUR special spoon.


    Hamburger Help Her - Military Spec

    SECTION 0H323-7N

    Hamburger Help Her 

    A.       Nutritional admixture for protein and pasta
    B.       Use recommendations for usage of completed admixture
    C.       Cheese applications
    D.       Sauce and Seasoning packet entry and introduction
    E.       The work of this section applies to protein and pasta in the following locations:
    1.       Packed office worker lunch
    2.       Packed lunch of minor sibling of prospective spouse
    3.       Hot meal served in desperate attempt
    4.       Leftover eating
    5.       Meals on moving day
    A.       Section 0H323-7 – Dry Pasta:  Pasta acquisition and use
    B.       Section 0F013-3B - Beef:  Why it’s what’s for Lunch
    C.       Section 0A001-A1 – Why bad food happens to good people
    1.3     REFERENCES
    A.       NPA 1207.2 – Dry Pasta
    B.       NPA 1222.4 – Fresh Pasta
    C.       USDA MC6 – Macaroni and Cheese for use in domestic programs
    D.       ASTM J 39/C 39LM - Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Elbow Macaroni
    E.       ASTM J 309J 74W - Standard Specification for Liquid Membrane-Forming Compounds for Dry Pasta Sauce Generation
    F.       ASTM X 666 - Standard Test Method for Resistance of Date to Alcohol
    G.      COJ CRD-C 56 - Standard Test Method for Water Permeability of White Blouse
    H.       NSFW 61 – Pictographic Symbolic Representation of Ex-GirlFriend
    1.4     SUBMITTALS
    A.       Submit only when Quality Assurance test measures have been accomplished and you have washed your hands and changed out of your mom’s old Kitchen apron.
    Addenda: Didn’t we tell you to get rid of that thing?
    B.       Product Data:  Manufacturer's data sheets on each product to be used, including:
    1.       Preparation instructions and recommendations.
    2.       Storage and handling requirements and recommendations.
    3.       Installation methods.
    C.       Manufacturer's Certificates: Certify products meet or exceed specified requirements.
    A.      Taste and Aroma Testing: As you work, taste and smell what you are cooking up, always. Because we warn you, if it smells bad it almost always is bad. This principal has broad application and only very minor exceptions.
    B.      Installer Qualifications: We know what you want to install, but you are just working up to the conversation, so cool it.
    C.      Pre-installation Meeting:  Before you serve these meager rations, you need to prepare the receiver. Stipulate that you had no other food because you gave it all to the waif orphan that came to the door just before she arrived.  Also this might be a good time to say you are off your game today in the kitchen and maybe set a small bouquet of flowers on the table.
    A.      Deliver materials in manufacturer's original, unopened, undamaged containers with identification labels intact. Scratch that, hide the dam box.  She will know, and you will know, but if you manage to charm her with the tacky apron and the flowers you stole from the neighbor lady, don’t rub her face in it by leaving the box out in plain site.
    B.      Store materials protected from exposure to harmful weather conditions and at temperature conditions recommended by manufacturer. i.e. don’t store boxes of Hamburger Helper in the shower, under the bathroom sink or in your sock drawer. In fact we are not sure you shouldn’t just take that whole drawer out to the recycle bin and start over. Socks and all.
    A.      Maintain environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, and ventilation) within limits recommended by manufacturer for optimum results.  Do not prepare products under environmental conditions outside manufacturer's absolute limits.
    1.8     WARRANTY
    A.      The product shall have a shelf life of at least one year from date of manufacturer. Product shall not be manufactured more than 45 days prior to shipping. Frankly, if the box has not gone soggy with mildew, we’re pretty sure it’s fine, just go ahead and cook it an extra minute or so, the idea being that pasta and chemical seasonings “go bad” is just good marketing. Just ask the next Cougar you see about shelf life.
    A.      See Section 0HN120085.2 - Product Requirements, for additional provisions.
    B.      Section 0HN120085.2 – Everyone thinks they have extra material, but usually it is only Brunettes.
    A.      Betty Crocker, Suizie Microwave, Rebecca Fire Pit or other approved provider
    B.      Substitutions:  Not permitted.
    C.      Requests for substitutions will be considered in accordance with provisions of Section 01600.
    D.      Section 01600 Didn’t I say no substitutions.
    2.2     MATERIALS
    A.      Fresh Tomato to add a bit of realism to this disaster you have been brewing
    B.      1 pound ground beef, not the extra lean crap, get the ground steak if you can find it
    C.      Extra Cheddar Cheese for a bump of cheesy goodness
    D.      The meat shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Regulations (9 CFR Parts 301 to 350).  Noncarcass components (e.g., cheek meat, head meat, ox tails, esophagus, hearts, elbows, assholes and similar by-products, also known collectively as “offal”) shall not be used.
    E.    The pasta delivered in the Betty Crocker 5.80 ounce box shall meet the requirements as specified in the Commercial Item Description for Pasta Products, Enriched (CID) A-A-20062D, except for the following:
    1) Only Semolina flour shall be used
    2) Only enriched elbow style macaroni shall be used
    3) Size of elbow style macaroni shall be:
    a)            Thickness                                  0.0034 inch to 0.057 inch
    b)            Diameter                                    0.190 inch to 0.220 inch
    c) Length (outer Curvilinear)                        1/4 inch to 1/2 inch
    2.3     Potable Water Contact Approval:  NSF certification for use in preparations requiring potable water, based on testing in accordance with NSF 61.
    A.       One medium sized frying pan containing 1 cup Potable Water, with well-fitting cover.
    1.       Coverage:  full pot circumference
    A.       Comply with requirements of Section 03300.
    B.       Make and test trial mixes under project conditions to determine dosage rate.
    C.       Add extra cheese and fresh tomato near end of heating transfer, otherwise following manufacturer's instructions.
    D.       Heat ground beef in pan, stirring to break up chunks.
    E.       Drain fat from frying pan after beef has browned.
    F.       Stir in 1 cup hot water
    G.       Add admixture elements, 2 cups milk, sauce packet contents and uncooked pasta
    H.       Reduce heat to medium low and cover to simmer roughly 10 minutes
    I.        Stir occasionally
    J.       Cook until pasta is al dente, remove from heat
    K.      Add admixture extras here
    L.       Sauce will thicken, so don’t waste your time.
    3.2     SECTION 03300
    A.      Dress this homely dish by browning a half of a small onion chopped fine in butter before adding the ground beef
    B.      A handful of mushrooms wouldn’t go wrong either, add those in when the onions just start to look clear, and let the mushrooms shrink down, as they will.
    C.      Cut open a single clove of garlic on the fat end, rub that around on the bottom of the pan before you add the onion and mushroom.
    D.      Add four (4) shakes of oregano or two small finger pinches to the ground beef just as it starts to sizzle
    E.      Grind some fresh black pepper over the beef as it cooks and stir it in
    F.      After you plate, give the pasta and meat a short grind of the good pink sea salt, not very much, as that sauce packet has enough salt to kill a seaman.
    G.      Before you even start down this road, consider how close Lent is, maybe you could sell her on the idea that you think the two of you should give up dinner for the day in preparation for the coming religious holiday.



    Knife Skills


    Master Class - LA Times articles by great chefs like Thomas Keller

    The Los Angeles Time has a great series of articles called "Master Class" which includes writing by such great chef's as Thomas Keller on seasoning and brining, Nancy Silverton on focaccia, Tom Colicchio on using vinaigrette as a braising liquid, and Sang Yoon on how to kick catsup into an experience. 

    Thomas Keller on Seasoning

    Nancy Silverton on Focacia

    Tom Colicchio on Vinaigrette

    Sang Yoon on Catsup

    Check out

    Check out


    Military Recipe April 1957 - Shit on a Shingle (SOS)

    Repost of a classic Man Meets Stove recipe:

    Be sure and get your carcass ready.....

    TM 10-412-1





                100 Servings
                1 cup each
                Preparation and cooking time: about 11/4 hours

    BEEF, CARCASS...................35 POUNDS
    Cut in pieces and grind (FINE).

          GROUND (FINE).............24 POUNDS

    Brown beef in its own fat in roasting pans on top of range.
    Remove excess fat during cooking period.

          CHOPPED (FINE).............1 POUND……....…3/4 QUART
    SALT………………..………..5 OUNCES…….......1/2 CUP
    PEPPER, BLACK……...……1/4 OUNCE….......….1 TABLESPOON
    BAY LEAF…………………………………….........1 LEAF

    Add onions and seasoning and mix thoroughly.

    MILK, EVAPORATED………………………..........2 GALLONS
    (WATER FOR MILK)………........…………………2 GALLONS

    Add 3 gallons of milk to beef mixture and heat to simmering, stir-
          ring frequently

    FLOUR, WHEAT, HARD.…...2 POUNDS……........1 ¾ QUARTS
    Mix flour with the remaining gallon of milk and stir into hot mix-
    Bring to a boil, stirring steadily, reduce heat and simmer until

    TOAST…………………………………………........100 SLICES
    Serve on toast.

    Check out

    Check out


    Pickling Pro-Tips

    Saw a post by a friend of ours, Donnie Dillon. He was making these Sun Pickles.  We asked him for his pro-tips on pickling and here was his response:

    "Pro Tip #1. Just do it. Making pickles is literally as easy as boiling water. It requires no special equipment or exotic supplies. A few fresh herbs, a pinch of salt, an maybe a splash of vinegar is all it takes.

    Pro Tip #2. Start with small batches. It is as easy to make 1 quart of pickles as it is to make 5 gallons and small batches let you play with herbs and flavors until you find a profile that you like.

    Pro Tip #3. Don't stop at cucumbers. Try fresh okra, or cauliflower, beans, onions, etc. Mix and match! One of the best batches I have ever made was pickles eggs and onions. So far the only thing that turned out really badly was carrots."

    We would add that if you use up a jar of pickles that you like, you can reuse the pickling juices to make another batch.  Just re-load with cucumbers, or whatever!


    Check out
    Check out


    Rules of Chef's Club

    The First Rule of Chef's Club is Don't Talk About Chef's Club. 

    The Second Rule of Chef's Club is Never Admit You Used the Microwave.

    Photo by kokopinto (flickr).


    Velveeta Fudge? No, really!

    I was watching Iron Chef a while back and I about jumped out of my Barcalounger  when I saw Paula Dean slap down some Velveeta “Cheese Product” and start mixing in sugar, butter, corn syrup etc into what was to become a…wait for it…fudge.  You heard that right, Velveeta Fudge. 

    The virtual taste buds in my brain went to work on that flavor profile, and the verdict was “It may not suck!”  So I went over to the Food Network website to check out the Paula Dean recipe.  I read through the comments and found out that Paula’s version of the fudge was highly variable, depending on which cocoa powder you used.  Failure meant fudge that tasted of cheese product.  Not good.  I also found out that Paula quite possibly got the recipe from Kraft itself and that the commentators said the Kraft recipe worked fine!

    So I ran down to the grocery store to get the ingredients to try this recipe out.  I recommend that if anyone looks at you funny when you pick up the “Cheese product”, just tell them it’s a gag gift for a bachelor party and involves a stripper.  They won't ask any more questions.  Do not admit your actually going to eat it, and certainly not in fudge.

    The first thing I noticed when making the cheese fudge was that it is a damn sight better than Ole’ Fashioned Fudge in that it is cooked fast in the microwave, and doesn’t require a candy thermometer.  Win!  Aside from the cooling off period in the refrigerator, the whole thing takes about 10 minutes to make, mixing and all.  Pretty slick. 

    The taste test was….interesting.  I am used to eating fudge that grabs you by the teeth, slaps your jaw with richness, and then goes off in your brain like a firecracker of sweetness.  With Old Fashioned Fudge you KNOW you just ate a chocolate bomb. 

    This was not that. 

    It isn’t a chocolate bar, but it’s not quite decadent fudgie goodness either, it was something in between.  Medium fudge. 

    That’s just not right.

    That being said, I can see two possibilities out of it.  One possibility is that one could modify the recipe with more chocolate and sugar to get more bang out of it, or the other possibility it that one can simply get another recipe for microwave fudge. 

    In Part 2, I am going to mix up a batch of microwave fudge and do a taste smackdown...

    UPDATE: Jim's wife, the Teutonic Goddess, woke up and pronounced the fudge "excellent" and "salty goodness".  Just goes to show, we are not the final word! 
    Kraft Velveeta Fudge

    12 oz VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 cup  (2 sticks) butter or margarine
    6 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
    2 Tbsp.  light corn syrup
    2 pkg. (16 oz. each) powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
    1-1/2 cups  chopped PLANTERS Pecans
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Add chocolate mixture, in batches, to sugar in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and vanilla.

    Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan. Smooth top with spatula; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until firm before cutting into 1-inch squares to serve. (For longer storage, wrap tightly and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before serving.)

    Place Velveeta, butter, chocolate, and corn syrup in large microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on High for 2 min. Stir.  Micorwave and additional minute; stir until well blended.