Saturday, November 29, 2008

duck, onion, and mushroom pizza

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Saturday in October

Did some crazy cooking last week, as the above mise en place clearly shows...
What do we have?
  • Chicken and sun-dried tomato sausages- they got grilled grilled and tossed with pasta in a quick, shallot, red pepper butter sauce. Super quick, flavorful and a definite keeper!
  • Stew stuff... garlic, tomato, red chiles, wine, beef, carrot, onion, potato and some bacon. I used the rendered bacon fat to brown the beef and sweat the veggies. At the last minute, I tossed in some uncooked spaghetti pieces (like three inch segments) and Barry really raved about the change in texture this addition added.
  • I boiled a dozen eggs so Barry would have weekday snacks.
  • Four chicken leg thighs that got grilled for lunches through the week-good to eat cold, or nuked in the microwave, Barry really likes these!

  • And, last, but not least... two racks of baby backs. More smoking experimentation... a little over eight hours this time. Tender, yet with a bit of tooth pull, I'm getting closer-still not there yet, but my comfort level is rising.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

More 30 Minute Meals

Another quick one... a simple center cut pork chop, salt and peppered, red pepper flakes and thrown on the grill. Direct medium heat about 5 minutes a side--these chops were about 2 inches thick. Quite juicy even without brining! Knorr rice as a side... probably my favorite packaged rice mix.

Breaking Fast

So, it's Sunday morning and that means breakfast. And since it's NFL time, dammit it's big breakfast time. Game on at noon, load up!

So, mise en place:
  1. grape tomatoes- quartered
  2. boiled potatoes
  3. diced onion
  4. chopped up bacon
  5. diced garlic
  6. free range, organic eggs
Not pictured: salt and pepper, red pepper flakes...

So, it's kind of easy... mostly 'cause it's the AM, and yours truly doesn't do the coffee thing, so caffeine free, non zombie kitchen action is what it is...

Anyway, toss some oil of choice-- I used corn oil, into a hot skillet. Add an inch of butter, toss in the onions and sweat them down.

Add the garlic after a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes and potatoes. Don't fuss with it... just let it cook and get all good and crunchy!

Meanwhile, in another (hot) skillet start the bacon. As the bacon cooks, toss some of the rendered fat into the potato mix to give it a boost.

Bacon done? Drain the rest of the fat and toss the eggs in... If you are scrambling them, coat the pan and shake to loosen. Once it starts to set up, scoop and fold for perfection!

Here's the result:

Remember, clicking on any pic will let you see it bigger!


Hello again... sorry for the delay...

So the good news? I'm employed! Sadly, I no longer have five hours to fuck around in the kitchen. So, it's been a week of transition... how do I cook after eight hours of work?

Of course, my first week of work coincided with Barry's first week of school, so my schedule was totally out of whack.

My whole 'modus operandi' has been shelved. I usually cooked in the moment. Go to the store, see what looks good, cook it and eat. Now, quite obviously, I have to think in advance, and that's my new challenge. In a weird sort of way, I'm looking forward to it. I've never been a Rachael Ray detractor, in fact I've bemoaned the fact that people can't just crank out a good meal at will.

Okay, now I'm that "30 Minute Meal" guy. I already know, that I'm gonna end up shopping at least three times a week, and probably more.

Since I do love to grill, and it is kind of quick... I made some NY Strips with my take on taters.

So, easy and quick.

  1. Got the time? Marinade the steaks. Don't have the time? Don't worry, salt and pepper them and let them get to room temperature while you prepare the taters.
  2. Chop up some potatoes, I leave the skin on and I used the big "baking" potatoes.
  3. In a sauce pan, bring the taters to boil and let cook for ten minutes.
  4. Now you can go for it... In a skillet melt an inch of butter and whatever is handy... onions, garlic, herbs, etc. Let it cook for a minute or so and toss in the taters.
  5. Meanwhile, grill the steaks. I have a gas grill. Direct Medium heat-- four minutes a side for medium.
  6. Let the steaks sit for five while the taters cook.
  7. Done!
Now that's a quick, and thirty minute meal, from a working guy! Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit in your underwear and enjoy, 'cause you got to go in to the office in the AM!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Misty Water Colored Memories...

So, yeah... getting older does kind of suck, but really, not for what you imagine. Yeah, my joints ache, and my flexibility is a joke compared to my twenty-something self. And my waist is Falstaffian these days, but my regrets are focused elsewhere.

I’ve lived in the city for 45 years now, and the sub-urbanization of my city, with the dominance of chains is what makes me sad.

Clearly, the Chicago of my childhood no longer exists. Corner stores, Mom and Pop grill places, butchers, bakers and vegetable stands were ushered out with 7-11’s, White Hen’s and countless fast food franchises.

I can remember when McDonalds was a treat... a destination, a trip to 59th and Kedzie, before they became commonplace. My big (yeah I said big) I mean, OLDER (that better, Tom?) brother actually worked at the Burger King on 55th with my Aunt Mary.

Suffice to say, most of my childhood no longer exists. My hospital that I was born in, my grade school and my high school, all in Chicago, no longer exist. Who is following me with an eraser?

Even sadder, my 20 something haunts no longer exist. The bars, the restaurants, the hot dog stands, all gone...

And yet, Filberts remains

Childhood place intact! Wow! 34th and Ashland... mixed cases for 9 bucks. And, it’s good! Not too sweet, no cloying aftertaste, and all mix well with Vodka! Do yourself a favor and get some before, sadly it is gone.

3430 S. Ashland

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor cooking? But, but, but... it’s like the middle of September and you live in Chicago, and shouldn’t this be a late May topic?

Well... I do cook outdoor year round, so I guess talking ‘bout it now is as good as anytime. However, the bigger controversy is the outdoor cooking thing.

Am I grilling? Or, BBQing? Who’s toes do I want to step on. I’m a graceful sort of guy, by the way (my loafers are indeed, light), and would be crushed to actually step on a toe! And yet, this is a place where few would voluntarily tread.

OK Delk, what in the hell are you yammering about?

I use the “Umbrella” term of ‘Outdoor Cooking’ to sidestep all the inherent craziness. Right? BBQ people get bent out of shape when grillers say BBQ. BBQ people get bent out of shape over wood chips. Pork shoulder with or without bone? Dry rub? Mop? Smoke?

Headache? Yes...

Okay, then there is the charcoal versus propane debate.

Experts: nationally known, award winning, local, self proclaimed all have some sort of say in this.

What does the forward thinking home cooking newbie do?


God bless the Internet, but the more you read, the more inadequate you feel.

So at this point, I say, “My condo board will only allow propane grills.”
Should I feel straight jacketed? Or should I make the most of it?

I, unsurprisingly, opt for the latter.

So I grill, and I enjoy it. But a part of me yearns for smoking...

Purists will scoff, but I only have my trusty Weber Genesis, so do I lay down, or make an attempt? I attempt.

In the back of my mind, I imagine dark clouds of smoke billowing out of my grill and my neighbors outraged, so I vow to pull the plug on the experiment at any given moment. I read more on the ‘net and get more confused/discouraged.

Anyway, I toss out all I read, head over to Peoria Meat Packing and score a three pound pork shoulder (with bone). The Dominck’s on Halsted only has Mesquite chips, so thats, that.

I rub the meat with a combination of: Paprika, Cumin, Chile Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic and S&P, and let it sit overnight.

Front two burners off, back burner on low, temp at 220, chips in foil, drip pan with water and about four hours in...

Took about nine hours and was worth it. The best? No, but the best I made, and that alone made it worthwhile. Had I listened to the experts, I NEVER would have attempted. It was an awesome meal.

Barry took a chunk with some leftover pasta for lunch and was content. The last got chopped up and scrambled up in some eggs for a kick ass brunch.

So, the moral of the story is to just give it a try, you might be surprised!

(remember, click any pic to see it bigger!)