Category: Food

I ate too much.  I feel sick.

Today I made ribs in the smoker.  First try.  They came out decent.  The dry rub is a bit spicy and there is too much.   It’s a nice crust, but I sort of like less.  In fact, usually when I make ribs I don’t use a dry rub at all.  I spice it up, but not a full-on rub.

I made half the batch dry and the other I put on some BBQ sauce.  Preferred the sauce side, which isn’t a surprise given the above.

Younger son had two ribs and decided he liked them.  He already had eaten dinner so he didn’t eat too many.  I, on the other hand, also had already eaten some leftover pizza around 4 but that didn’t stop me from shoving half a rack in my pie hole.  Fortunately, I have to coach and ref hockey tonight so I might get some of the ribs burned off.

Ugh.


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Second batch not so good. Mason jars exploded when upon entering water bath.



Summer of Homemade turns into Fall of Homemade. Sous vide eggs bites. #baconandgruyèreeggbites




Summer of Homemade – Giant Peanut Butter Cups

I’m not a big sweets eater, but I wanted to try these out.  I could watch Tasty videos all day long and recently they had one where they made a giant peanut butter cup.  Theirs was the size of a cake/pie.  I didn’t want that.  Fortunately, I had some tartlette pans and figured I’d just make the recipe but use smaller pans.  Came out perfectly!

First I melted some milk chocolate (2 cups to be exact) and put that in the pan and up the sides.  I let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so.

After that, I made the filling. 2 Cups of peanut butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of butter. Yeah, these aren’t healthy foods I’m making. I filled the shells with the mix.

I melted more milk chocolate for the top and put them back in the fridge to cool for another hour (or longer).

Once they were done, I popped one out of the tart pan to try. Perfect! No way I could eat a whole one, so I just had two bites and put it back in the fridge. I made six of them so my wife will probably take a few to work tomorrow.



Summer of Homemade – Nuernberg Rostbratwuerst

Yesterday someone on my hockey team went to a sausage shop and bought a ton of sausages.  A teammate asked if the store had Nurnberger.  For whatever reason, I decided I’d make that next. (I need an ingredient for my “final project.”)

As usual, I was impatient.  The meat wasn’t as cold as it should have been.  It all worked out well, but it could’ve been better.  The seasonings were spot on.

I filled them easily.  I’ve got the hang of that part. Although, the recipe I followed said to stuff them in hog casings, but the internet says these sausages are thin and should be in sheep casings. Whatever, it’s all going in my belly, but next time (and there will be a next time), I’ll make them more traditionally.

I linked them up. I do NOT have the hang of that part. They are never the same size, never the same shape. I gotta work on that.I saved six and packaged up the rest. I’m letting them freeze a bit and then I’ll vacuum seal them for the future eats. If I sealed them now they’d get smooshed.

Finally, I fried up a few and ate it with my homemade sauerkraut. I didn’t make the bread or mustard. 🙂
They were pretty good. They’ll probably be even better after the flavors have set.

Meantime, the ones I had were good and I’m full of rostbratwuerst in the best way (dad joke).



Summer of Homemade – Sous Vide Steak

Making steak at home isn’t exactly the most challenging homemade dish I’ve tried this summer, but thiBNs was my first time trying to sous vide one.   First off, it couldn’t be easier.  Second, no mess.  Third, it was delicious.  Like the kind of delicious where one of your kids eats their whole portion and is looking over plates for some uneaten bites and this is a kid who doesn’t like steak.  Score.  My daughter had a little and McFizzle tried some.  Neither are huge meat eaters, but admitted this was better than usual.

Next time I’ll try chicken, but if nothing else this will pay for itself in perfect steaks from now on.




Summer of Homemade – Cortado (almost) edition

Almost Cortado for the win!  (almost because I think they aren’t supposed to have frothy foam, but I wanted it).  I’m having this while the Aunt Annie knock-off pretzels rise.



Summer of Homemade – Visitor Edition

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and her three kids are staying with us for the weekend.  The kids play together, the women hang out and I get to cook all by myself.  Sweet.

Friday morning I made challah french toast (didn’t actually make the challah), bacon and homemade sausages and some fruit.

Friday dinner I made a mac and cheese casserole (good but I’d probably like a bit more kick, maybe more paprika or a dash of hot sauce) and homemade chicken nuggets (I used to have a great recipe but couldn’t find it.  I made sort of generic ones.  The key to to cube the chicken and then send it ’round the food processor.  It breaks all the muscle so it’s McD’s nugget like).  Both came out well but I made way too much casserole.  Like twice as much.  So, foreshadowing alert, it comes up again.

Saturday morning I made a giant cinnamon roll, scrambled eggs and more bacon and homemade sausages.

Saturday night we grilled out dogs and burgers. I was going to make pretzel buns for the dogs/burgers but my wife and SIL requested soft pretzels instead.  So, I did that in the afternoon.  Not as homemade as the dinner could’ve been, but still enough.

Sunday morning I made pancakes and bacon.  I used a mix.  Sigh.  But, I didn’t eat any.  Instead, I had a lox, bagel and cream cheese sandwich using my homemade lox and bagel and a tomato from our neighbor’s garden.  That counts.

For dinner, I made two kinds of ravioli.  Again, I took a shortcut on “homemade.”  I didn’t make the pasta dough.  I bought wonton wrappers and used those.  I did make the fillings, however.  One was a basic beef in a marinara and the other was crab in a lemon butter sauce.  The crab was tasty but it lacked some presentation because I didn’t have chervil.

All good.



Summer of Sausage – Polish Sausage

OK.  These turned out pretty darn good.  They are on the mild side so I might add a bit more garlic the next time I make them.  And there will be a next time because I bought 14 lbs of pork on sale at Costco.  I’m OK with that because these are very good.

Tonight I’m going to grill one up. I have three jars of sauerkraut fermenting on the shelf that won’t be ready for another few days. So, I guess I should say I have cabbage fermenting. This weekend I’ll probably have a ton of polish with kraut.

I still have some tweaking to go on cooking methods.  You can’t see them too much in this picture but I had them laying flat on a rack so there are rack marks.  I’m going to get some stainless steel rods or wooden dowels to make hanging racks.

My next batch of meat sticks (probably make them next week because I got my ECA in the mail today) and polish will be hung in the smoker.  Don’t know how much of a difference it’ll really make, but I don’t mind trying out things.




Summer of Homemade – More meat sticks!

Last time I made them they were probably 60% pork/40% beef.  This time they are 100% beef and taste pretty darn good. Better than the last batch.

I’m not done tweaking them.  Next batch I’m going with two more changes.

One.  I still can’t get sheep casings to work well.  I think I need a smaller fill tube (twss).  I did manage to get a few of them done in sheep.  The rest are just collagen casing.  Good stuff, but I think the sheep (which are thinner) have a bit more snap.

Two.  I need to add ECA (encapsulated citric acid) to give it a bit of tang.  The local spice store didn’t have any so I’ll need to order it.  Fortunately, I have an Amazon gift card with a few bucks left on it.

Once I get it nailed down, I’ll make a batch to ship to Bob and Pat for a taste test.



Summer of Homemade – Pasta

For dinner tonight I made fresh pasta.  I’m getting better at it, but I still make a mess.  Tonight’s batch came out perfectly.  Very happy.  I followed this recipe, but rolled and cut it with an old fashioned pasta machine.  I don’t have the Kitchenaid attachment.  I also made it fettuccine cut.  For my sauce, I just used garlic, olive oil and parm.  (the kid will only eat Prego so didn’t bother with homemade)

I also made homemade rolls (recipe) because by the time I thought of it it was too late to make a decent loaf of crusty bread.  The rolls also came out perfectly.

I had a sausage (also homemade) as a protein.  The wife and kids had meatballs (store bought because, again, the kids don’t like actually good homemade foods…yet).

Sadly, I didn’t bother with a veggie, but there was fruit for dessert.  I definitely need to get better about adding more veggies at each meal.

I have some pasta dough leftover that I’m going to try to turn into crab ravioli with a butter sauce.



Martini recipe #1

Last night I tried my homemade compound gin.  Basically, you just flavor vodka.  The only requirement to make it “gin” is a neutral base spirit with a 37.5% ABV and juniper as the dominant botanical.

I followed the recipe here.

I didn’t follow the instructions exactly.  Glad I didn’t.

To recap the ingredients.

750ml Vodka (I used cheap stuff, because I’m cheap)

2TBL Juniper Berries

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

2 Cardamom pods

2 peppercorns

Half a cinnamon stick

dried peel slice of lemon and orange

In the recipe at the link, you put it all together (expect the peels) for 24 hours.  Taste.  Add the peels and any botanical boost you want.  Let sit another 24 hours.

Instead, I let the vodka and juniper berries sit for 24 hours and then added the rest for 12 hours.

It came out OK.  Not great.  The reason it was OK was because it actually had a pretty strong cinnamon flavor.  The first time I made it I didn’t use cinnamon.  I might try again and use 1/4 stick.  Maybe I just had some high power cinnamon, but it was real noticeable in the gin.

I will try again.  This time I’m going to pay more attention.  I’m going to taste the juniper and vodka mix before I add anything else.  I might add more juniper to get more of that taste.  Meantime, I need to find some gin cocktail with cinnamon in it and make that drink but leave out the added cinnamon.  Nah, I’ll just power through the remaining and get to work on my next batch.

I did see another recipe that was supposed to approximate Bombay Sapphire.  It had a ton of botanicals, but what I liked was it had ratios of strong/weak botanicals.  I might just use that as base ratios and try different ones.  Maybe split the 750 into two mason jars and make two different batches.  Or buy two bottles and make four mason jars!  Or…….



Summer of Homemade – Pretzel rolls

Dinner is going to be tasty AF! (recipe link)



Good eats…

Breakfast:

Homemade Lox, bagel, cream cheese.  Good stuff.  Even DJ McFizzle loves the lox and bagels, and like Mikey, he doesn’t like anything.  It was simple to make the lox and worth it.  It’s more than 50% cheaper than store bought.  The bagels are a bit on the small side, but it actually works out perfectly.  They are small only because store bagels are big and I really don’t need all that.  Less is more.

Lunch:

Pimiento cheese sandwich and a few meat sticks.  I made the pimiento cheese after I impulse bought the spices when I went to buy other spices.  It’s a bit spicy  (duh, it has ghost pepper salt) and I was just so-so on it, but then I melted it on a bit on crusty bread and holy smokes!  The meat sticks are my last package from my first batch.  This week I’m going to buy some lamb and fat and make lamb sticks.

Now I’m 100% planning on falling asleep on the couch while watching the Cubs game.  I reffed four hockey games yesterday/night and today I have absolutely NOTHING to do and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Nothing.  So far I read a bit, played guitar and generally found ways to sit down.

Tonight I’m going to crack open my homemade compound gin for a nice martini.  I didn’t make the vermouth or grow olives, but it’s all a work in progress.




And it begins…

Today I started to make lox.  It’s not really all that difficult.  Basically, coat a piece of salmon in salt/sugar and let it do it’s thing for 48 hours or more.

This is the salmon covered in the salt/sugar.  I wrapped it in plastic wrap, leaving one end open to drain, and put it in the fridge at a slight angle so it drains.  I’ll leave it there for 24 hours and check it.  If the salt/sugar is still there, I’ll leave it another 24.  If not, I’ll add more and leave it for 24.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll make the bagels to go with it.



Less is more, flipped

I think for my next self-challenge I’m going to start making more of my own food.  I don’t mean I’m not going out to eat because I don’t eat out that much.  I mean I’m going to slow it all down and make from scratch as much as I can.

That means baking bagels, bread, hot dog/burger buns That means making a pizza from scratch instead of heating up a frozen pizza.  That means making fresh pasta.  I do have some stuff to make cheese so I might try to make mozzarella for the pizza or pasta.

I don’t have access to hunting (although I have a gun) so I can’t go kill my own deer or pheasant.  I’d like to, but not much deer hunting is allowed in the city here.  Apparently shooting people seems to be fine, but not the deer.

I’ve enjoyed making sausages and generally enjoy making things.  I can’t do any construction/fixing around the house, but I can cook so that it’ll be it.

As soon as I scrape together some extra money I’m going to build/buy a still and distill my own moonshine (to make into gin eventually).  Already spent about an hour on YouTube the other night figuring out what I need and how to do it.

So, by next spring I’m going to have a BBQ where every single thing was homemade from the buns to the sausage to the pasta salad side to the hootch.  After that, it’ll be pizzas with homemade dough, raised tomatoes, cheese (although I will have to buy the milk) and pepperoni/sausage/veggie toppings.

Just because.  And because humanity doesn’t bother me when I make stuff.

(starting smaller this weekend by curing my own lox and making bagels)



Not that anyone asked…

I used collagen casings to make the meat sticks today.  I just had one and they are delicious.  VERY spicy, but again, when you make chipotle meat sticks what do you expect.

The collagen casings were so much easier to use than the sheep casings.  I don’t know if it was the size, the lack of soaking or what, but they were easy peasy.  So easy that I actually took all the breakfast sausage I filled in hog casings and re-filled them in the collagen.

I’ll work my way up to sheep casings.

I will say, these meat sticks are as good as any I’ve had from a butcher shop.  Next time I might play around with the meat blend (for reasons I used too much pork.  I wanted a 85/15 but it was more like 60/40).  I’ll also make a batch that isn’t quite as spicy although I will be interested to see how the flavor develops as it sits.

All in all, this was the best batch of sausages so far this summer.  The breakfast sausage is a close second.  This was the first with curing and the smoker.  Next up is serious polish sausage.

I might have to have a Back to School-Labor Day BBQ to use up all this sausage.

This has become a sausage blog.  Sorry. (I did run today)



Summer of Sausage – Breakfast Sausage

Summer of sausage continues.  Not smoked.  Still waiting on some supplies for that.

Decided it was time for a basic spicy breakfast sausage.  These came out great.  These are about the four best ones.

Working with sheep casings was way to frustrating.  I couldn’t find the opening (twss), they kept bursting, just not good.  I managed to get one solid tube filled and then said “F it” and used hog casing.  No links, just big old sausage.

I lost patience to try different things.  More water in the meat?  Colder meat?  Was it the brand of casings?  Don’t know.

What I do know is I’m going to use collagen casings for my meat sticks next week.  That will be it’s own side issue because they might not taste as good, but I don’t think my blood pressure can deal with sheep casings for a bit.

In the meantime, I won’t run out of breakfast sausage anytime soon.

And while I haven’t posted music in a bit:

While making sausage:

#500 – Pornography – The Cure

While doing homework:

#501 – Too-Rye-Ah – Dexys Midnight Runners

Now what I need it @trivialbob to start homebrewing beer so we can swap encased meat for beer.  And I need Mr. @jessilloo to hunt a few deer to swap making venison sausage for a 10% cut of the meat.  Even better, stage at Mr. @ironinsideandout for a week.



Summer of Sausage – Brats

Homemade bratwurst with kraut and brown mustard on a pretzel bun. #ideal


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