Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spice Blender

To keep track of all my home blended spice blends.

First one I ever copied was Emeril's Essence or "Bayou Blast":

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika  
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

It's very tasty, but  next time I am going to try this Cajun Spice recipe:
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
    2 tablespoons dried sweet basil
    1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon white pepper
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon celery seed
    5 tablespoons sweet paprika

                      More to follow.

                      Why Blog...

                      I started this blog 5 and a half years ago, as a tribute to my step father, Moose, and as a way to keep track of my culinary adventures.  Also to have recipes handy when I was at someone else's house cooking.

                      After I was divorced, and feeding two boys, I realized 1) how much my step father loved us and 2)  how much I regretted not learning from him.  He was a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that I miss to this day.

                      Part therapy, part legacy, part notebook, I started this blog.  If my sons ever want my recipes, most of them should be here.  

                      Things have changed quite a bit since I started this Blog.  I'm re-married and now a step father in my own right.  Being a step father is a different experience, and again, the wisdom Moose gave me has made me a better person and hopefully a better step father. 

                      Currently the boys are 14 and 11, so they were 8 and 6 when I started.   Now I have four son, aged 16, 15, 14 and 11.  And a wonderful wife who says things like "I didn't like until you made it for me.  

                      I have also decided to atone for my past sins by teaching my sons to cook.  It will make them better people, and better able to compete in the world.  There is an amazing amount of physics and creativity in the kitchen.  I have been amazed and pleased by their cooking, and there choice of food.  Hungarian Paprika Chicken with fried dough, Weiner Schnitzel, Shrimp Scampi, Pizza from almost scratch.  Who knew that teens had such well developed palettes, given the opportunity and encouragement?  Food is love.

                      When I first started this blog, this was my profile.  Now it is time to change it.

                      Moose was my step-father.  He cooked for 5 of us, and we were never hungry. He made the best meatloaf, and convinced me dog food was his secret ingredient.  He died July 1, 2005, and I told the story about my first dog food meatloaf when I eulogized him.  Here's a hint, he was pulling my leg...

                      and now...

                      This blog is a tribute to my step-father Dave Oyler, aka Moose. Cooking is love.  He inspired me to cook and to be a father, by example.  One of my few regrets is that I did not  seek to learn how to cook with Moose.   Now that I am a father, I am actively teaching my sons to cook... and all that follows.

                      Wednesday, October 17, 2012

                      Cajun or "Brown" Jambalaya

                      I have finally learned that there are two kinds of Jambalya.  The kind with tomatoes and often shrimps, of which I have been most familiar.  Jambalaya with tomatoes is called Creole Jambalaya, and then there is the kind without tomatoes, and often without the trinity, called Cajun or "Brown" Jambalaya.  

                      Apparently the Creole is served in NOLA, and the Cajun is served farther out from the city.  I really need to get down to Louisiana, and Mobile too.

                      And I love them both...

                      Cajun Brown Jambalaya

                      1.5 LBS Chicken - cut into pieces that fit in your mouth
                      1 LBS Andouille sausage - cut into pieces that fit in your mouth
                        (pieces that fit in your mouth - individual results may vary)
                      3 C long grain rice
                        (Basmati is the house long grain rice, ergo everything is "Indian Fusion")
                      6 C prepared chicken broth / stock 
                        (I am liking the "Better than Bullion" brand of concentrate)

                      4 TBS = 1/4 C Vegetable Oil
                        (Canola oil is really rapeseed oil.  But the original name is hard to market) 

                      2 Med onion, chopped fine
                      2 Stalk celery, chopped fine
                      2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped

                      2-3 TBS Cajun Seasoning / Emeril's Essence 
                        (Recipe in another post, link to follow)

                      1 TBS worcestershire
                      1 TBS parsley 
                      1 tsp thyme
                      1 tsp basil 
                      1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper

                      1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder
                      1/2 + tsp cayenne pepper (more to taste)

                      4.5 - 6 Qt Dutch Oven  (4.5 Qt is tight)
                         Do this in a dutch oven, preferably NOT a non-stick pot.

                      Toss the chicken in the cajun seasoning/ spice blend, to coat.
                      Over med.+ heat saute the sausage in the oil 5+ minutes 
                        (until browned, and mostly cooked)
                      Remove sausage, and add chicken
                      SCRAPE the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. 
                        (that's gonna improve the rice.) 
                      Remove the chicken
                      SCRAPE the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. 
                      Add the vegetables, the remaining spices and saute about 2-3 minutes 
                        (until wilted or "sweated" - putting the spices in now makes them more flavory)
                      Add the broth, slowly, to deglaze any brown bits you missed
                      Bring to a boil
                      Return the meats
                      Add the rice, stirring as you do 
                      Bring to a boil
                      Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15/20 minutes, just like rice.

                      Tuesday, October 16, 2012

                      Pesto uno

                      1) There is too much Basil.
                      2) I love Pesto.
                      3) The rediscovered food processor.

                      2 Cups Packed Basil
                      1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil, + 1-2 TBS if desired (texture is very personal)
                      1/4 C + 1 TBS Pine Nuts.  (These can be lightly toasted if desired.  they brown VERY fast)
                      2 LG gloves Garlic
                      1/4 C + 1-2 TBS freshly grated sharp cheese.

                      Blend Garlic and nuts in processor, add oil, Basil and cheese.  Pulse to desired consistency.

                      Seriously.  That's it.  Best to use a spatuala.

                      Other recipes say this can be done with Walnuts or Pistachios.  Not a Walnut fan.

                      Also it can be frozen for up to 3 months, if the cheese is not added and 2 TBS oil is layered on top.

                      I plan to try pistachios with lemon basil.

                      Tuesday, October 2, 2012

                      Baked Eggplant

                      This is a basic baked eggplant recipe, which I used for the foundation of eggplant parm.

                      1 Eggplant, sliced in 1/2" thick slices
                      8 oz shredded Mozerella Cheese
                      1 C pasta sauce.

                      Grease a baking dish with 1 TBS+ Olive Oil

                      Pan 1: 1/2 C flour seasoned with 1.5 Tsp Black Pepper & Salt

                      Pan 2: Egg wash 1 Egg with 1/4 C Water or Milk

                      Pan 3: combine
                      1/3 C Breadcrumbs
                      1/3 C Parmesian cheese
                      1.5 -2 TBS Italian Seasoning
                      1 Tsp Garlic Powder

                      Dredge eggplant slices through flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumb mixture, place in oiled baking dish.
                      Bake at 350 for 15 minutes
                      Top slices with cheese, bake until melted.
                      Remove, top with pasta sauce, return to oven if you want it heated through.  Or serve as is.