Prime Rib & Potato pizza

December 27th, 2009

Today I wanted to make pizza, but at the same time get rid of some of the leftovers we have accumulated from Christmas celebrations. I used both ham, chicken, and prime rib. The most notable pizza was made with the prime rib, hence the picture above. I thinly sliced a thick piece of prime rib and put them on a regular homemade crust with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese (recipe found elsewhere on the site). On top of that went some roasted red potato wedges. Yum! When it came out of the oven I topped it with some thin slices of asiago cheese.

Risengrød – Danish warm rice pudding

December 12th, 2009

It’s Christmas season, so I’ve got a hankering for traditional danish comfort foods. One of them is warm rice pudding. My mom used to make this on the 23rd of December, so we would have leftovers for traditional Danish Ris-ala-mande. I’ll use these leftovers for rice pudding pancakes tomorrow instead.

It is dead simple to make it. I used a recipe from a book my mother gave me a while back called Ingeborg Suhr – Mad.

  • 1 cup water
  • 180 grams Arborio Rice
  • 5 cups of milk (I used skim)
  • salt to taste

Bring the cup of water to a boil and add the rice while stirring. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on your pot.  Add the milk and bring to a simmer, and cook for 40-50 minutes with a lid on your pot. Check after 40 minutes to check the consistency and make sure the pudding isn’t burning at the bottom of the pot. My mom would usually cook a huge batch and leave the pot wrapped in a large down comforter for hours. Serve with a teaspon of butter and cinnamon sugar made from 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tbsp sugar.

This was pretty tasty and even Nicholas scarfed it down. It was not quite as creamy as I remember from my childhood, so I would replace the water and skim milk with whole milk and not bother with the first 10 minute step.

Cream of Asparagus soup

December 12th, 2009

A week or so ago I made a pretty tasty asparagus soup. I’m posting it now because I really liked the recipe, but also because I wanted to recommend the stick blender I have. It’s the Cuisinart Stick Blender and it is very inexpensive. I’m constantly surprised how well it blends despite the low price tag. The following recipe was made with ingredients on hand, so not really fancy or anything.

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lbs of asparagus
  • 2 medium sized russet potatoes diced
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces of pancetta
  • 1 smoked bratwurst
  • 2 fluid ounces of cream

Trim the asparagus and cut the heads off and reserve. Chop the asparagus roughly. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the chopped asparagus along with the potatoes. Cook for 30 minutes with a lid on until breaking apart. Blend with the stick blender. Add rendered pancetta and tops of asparagus back to the pot and bring everything to a low simmer. S

Did I remember to say how much I love the stick blender? This soup was very smooth.

If I had other ingredients on hand I would have cooked some shallots and garlic until translucent in a little olive oil, then added the asparagus, potatoes, and stock. I would also leave out the bratwurst and pancetta as the taste of the pancetta was quite strong. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Gyoza with bean sprouts

December 11th, 2009

The idea to use bean sprouts came from my last trip to Wagamama, in South Colonnade London, where the the gyozas tasted quite a bit like bean sprouts and had the fresh bean sprout crunch. The fresh crunch of the sprouts did not come through in these dumplings though, but may have been because I chopped them too finely.  If you don’t like bean sprouts you can use pretty much any vegetable that you have on hand that is fresh.

I usually just buy pre-made wrappers at the grocery store as they are quite a bit of work to make. The filling is quite easy to make though.

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 6 chopped scallions
  • 1 large handful of chopped bean sprouts
  • 1 large piece of ginger grated
  • A few squirts of Shaoxing rice wine
  • A few squirts of Chinkiang black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of Sesame oil
  • Kosher Salt + Pepper

Mix everything together until you have a good bind. Place a spoonful of the filling on each of the dumpling wrappers and seal them shut. Once you have assembled enough for a full pan put a little oil in your pan and heat it up. Once the oil is hot put the dumplings in and let them fry for 2-3 minutes to get a good caramelization on the bottom. Then pour in enough water to cover the dumplings about half an inch up. Put a lid on the pan and let the dumplings steam for 5 minutes under the lid. Remove cover and let the water eveporate. Serve piping hot.

For the most authentic taste you need an authentic style dipping sauce like the one you can get at Din Tai Fung in Beijing – one of their many locations in Asia. The following

  • 2 parts Chinkiang black vinegar
  • 1 part Soy sauce
  • Chili/garlic sauce to taste
  • Thinly julliened ginger

Mix up and use as dipping sauce for your fresh-made dumplings.


October 25th, 2009

Yesterday I got up early, still jet-lagged from my trip to China, and decided to go to the grocery store at 6am to stock up the fridge a bit. I decided that I was going to make a frittata so I picked up some shredded potatoes, some tomatoes, cooked turkey, and some eggs.

When I got home I put together the following ingredients in a 12 inch oven-safe skillet:

  • 1 lb shredded potatoes
  • 3 diced roma tomatoes
  • 6 oz diced cooked turkey
  • 2 medium shallots sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of thinly shredded mozarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Layer all the ingredients evenly and pour over 10 eggs that you mixed together. Cook at 350F in the skillet for 35 minutes or until the eggs are just set.

If you didn’t have a (now) picky 4 year old, you could add some diced green/red pepper to the mix along with some scallions.

Sour Cream & Onion dip

September 16th, 2009

This weekend I remembered a recipe that an old friend of mine used to make a lot. It is a basic sour cream and onion dip and it’s mighty tasty!

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Peel the onion and then grate it on a microplane grater. Mix in the sour cream, paprika, and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning with salt and refrigerate for a few hours before use. Great dip for chips!

Danish Ryebread – Rugbrød

September 16th, 2009

With my family visiting for a few weeks I really had a craving to make a true Danish Rye bread.  I didn’t want them to have to bring any, and I had yet to find something I liked locally after Blakey’s bakery closed a few years back. I have scoured the Internet and my books for recipes, but none have really hit the spot or had quite the right ingredients – some had caraway seeds, some no whole rye kernels. I finally just tried putting rye flour and rye kernels together and got some decent results. That meant more research and I was able to find a few key points that led me to my final recipe. The Pullman pan with cover and to cook the bread low and slow. This post got me quite a bit of the way there.

After purchasing the pan I tried two times to make the right bread. The flavor was right and cooking time probably a little on the short time (3 hours at 300F), but the loaves looked like they had collapsed. I mixed up the following recipe and raised the temp to 325F for 3 hours and 20 minutes and it came out beautiful! I really tried to model this recipe after the coarse types of rye bread in Denmark like “Skovmandsbrød”.

  • 2 cups sour dough starter (100 gram rye flour, 100 gram boiled rye kernels, 150 grams water, 1/4 tsp yeast – sit out for 48 hours covered)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup non-roasted sunflower seeds
  • 3 cups boiled rye kernels
  • 6 cups rye flour
  • 2 tbsp molases

The flour and rye kernels are all from Mississippi Market. I boil the rye kernels because the end product comes out too hard with the rye kernels left unsoaked and the boiling process makes them nice and soft quickly. I basically cover them in water and bring them to a boil and quickly turn off the heat. Then let them cool and use both the water and the rye kernels in the bread. I let the dough sit for almost two days, until it’s both completely inflated and deflated – it seemed to help with the rise. If I didn’t the bread rose unevenly in the oven in a V-shape. Reserve 2 cups of the dough for the sourdough starter and the rest will fit beautiful in the Pullman pan.

It has taken me quite a while to get this right as I started on the post in June, but finally I can eat a real Danish style rye bread for lunch!

Taylor Waterproof Digital Thermometer 9847FDA

August 14th, 2009

I took a trip to the local restaurant supply store, Hockenbergs this week and I picked up a digital thermometer. It’s has a very slim tip to be able to take the temperature of meat while it is cooking. I expect that it will help me not getting chicken and pork to dry completely out while cooking.
The reviews aren’t great on amazon, but the complaints mostly seem to be centered around the thermometer not being completely waterproof. I used it two days ago when I was making the custard for a batch of Guinness Milk-Chocolate ice cream from Perfect Scoop.

VMWare ESXi – migrating old machines to newer hardware

August 9th, 2009

Over the last few months I’ve been migrating a few old machines to a new(er) Dell T105 running VMWare ESXi. I upgraded the standard configuration to 4GB memory, a 1.5TB sata drive, and an additional Broadcom pci-x gigabit card. I’ve got a quad core processor, AMD Opteron 2.3 GHz Budapest 1356, coming from NewEgg soon and I’m hoping to upgrade the ram to the max 8GB shortly. This is quite a step up from one of the machines I’ve been hosting my sites and email from – my wife’s old AMD K6 350 MHz from when she started college. It has been a trooper over the last 11 years. All I’ve had to do is replace the fan once while it was sitting and humming away at my old work. My original plan was to try and get the machine running directly in a vm by just copying over the filesystems and making sure the kernel would support the new hardware. That was easier said than done, so I ended up simply migrating the services over slowly.

In July I migrated all the email hosted on it to gmail directly and it is so much easier to deal with. Yesterday (Saturday August 8th) I moved all the websites to it and got all of the DNS switched over. All that is left is to switch it off! I’m already thinking about what I can do to turn off my next oldest computer, a Dell PowerEdge 1400SC “server” with a 18GB 10K rpm U160 SCSI drive and a couple ide drives.

Honey-Mustard Potato Salad

August 3rd, 2009

I made this a few weeks back, it turned out quite tasty. I had been reading a few blogs and it sounded like it was easy to make a tasty warm potato salad without having to use a mayo-based dressing. I cooked up 1 1/2 lb small red potatoes with the skin on like normal and made sure not to overcook them. While the potatoes were cooking I whisked together this quick dressing for the potatoes to suck up.

  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

I dumped the potatoes into the dressing and flipped them a few times, then foiled the bowl and let them sit while I grilled up some pork chops to go with the potato salad. The pork chops were marinated in garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano for an hour before going on a very hot charcoal grill. Overall the meal turned out pretty good!