Thursday, July 23, 2009

Deboning My Chicken

I was bored last night and I had to debone my chicken after finishing the laundry. I was curious to see how long it would take me with my chef's knife after see Yan Can Cook do a complete breakdown in 19 seconds. I didn't want to break it into pieces as I plan to smoke and stuff it whole.

Why I chose my chef's knife and not my deboning knife? Figure I'd try to make it more of a challenge.

Some things that happened during the video:

-My total time was about 4:23 or something.
-How do I feel about my time, not bad, not great, was good, could have been better...
-I'd say I could have cut off a good 30 seconds if the chicken didn't have a rubber upper right joint... so I'm technically shaving some time off and calling it 4 minutes because I can.
-I removed the bone from the thigh and not the leg because I like to keep that intact for shape.
-My camera was at a crappy angle, so you can't really see the cuts inside unfortunately, but you do hear me calling the chicken a bastard at one point.
-I seriously think that with a cooperative dead chicken and using my boning knife, I might have made it in about 3 minutes. We'll just have to wait until I do my next chicken...
-Unlike my audio debut on the linecook podcast, there are no f-bombs.
-From the weird camera angle, someone noted that it does look like I am defiling or "boning" the chicken with a big knife. I didn't say it...
-Yes, I own a pair of ham fists. They're not too dainty, but I guess its okay to have man hands when you are a man.

My camera ran out of memory the very second I finished, but I snapped a pic of the inside to show you the cut inside.

HFP Video Debut:

Post Deboning Pics:

2 Tickets To The Guns Show Please.

A Hollowed Existence

Backside View

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PDX, Here I Come!

Going to Portland, Oregon for the first time in two weeks! I'm excited for the wedding, the restaurants, the produce and all the microbreweries. I've already booked Le Pigeon - a restaurant I've been trying to get to the last 2 years. Thanks everyone for the recommendations, I've got a list of options and I figure I'd share it with everyone. I am planning on buying a ton of mushrooms at a farmer's market as well, so I can bring a ton back with me. They seem SO much cheaper and better in the Pacific NW. Whoever wants in on a big mushroom share buy, maybe you can twitter me to work something out...

My List:

Bijou Cafe
Bunk Sandwiches
Screen Door
Park Kitchen
Acropolis (strip club breakfast, $8 steak and eggs, hell yeah!)
Wong's King for dim sum

Happy Hour/Cocktails Late:
Clyde Common
Beaker Flask

Le Pigeon
Pok Pok
Sel Gris

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Am No Longer Pie Crust Challenged...

For many years, I have been crippled by my inability to proper make good pie crust. It was a condition that I have struggled with day in and day out - a problem that only grew with each continued failure or each Thanksgiving moment when I chose graham cracker crumbs over the true McCoy. There were many moments that I struggled with this affliction. There were times when I jokingly played along when pastry chef friends while they would marvel at each other's buttery flakiness while I stood, looking longingly, into darkness. But I knew with great resolve and an overly unjustifiable sense of arrogance, I would some day succeed...

My friends, that day has come... and gone. (I actually figured out pie crusts months ago, its just that I haven't cooked one since, so I figure I'd make this post more dramatic than it actually is.)

So armed with a flaky crust and a shitload of tasty dark maroon cherries, I made Sexy Dark Cherry Pie. I also made Sexy Dark Mini Cherry Pies because mini versions of stuff is just cool.

Before we launch straight into the pics, I want to share some basic tips with people on fixing their pie crusts. So, this is what you need to know:

Basic Pie Crust Rules aka How To Not Be A Pie Crust Cripple:
1. Everything NEEDS to be COLD! Cold butter, cold shortening, cold water.
2. All your ratios need to be WEIGHED out, not eyeballed. It's simple: 3lbs flour, 1lb butter, 1lb shortening, big dash of salt and 1 cup cold water. This will make approximately 4 closed 9-inch pies, or 8 open ones...DUH.
3. Tiny peas of peas of fat = good, golf ball shaped fat = no good.
4. Let the dough chill for a while before using: an hour or a day or a week.
5. All pies that are open faced or set quickly need to have a prebaked bottom, all others including fruit pies do not.
6. Find a hot girl with little hands to crimp the crusts on the mini pies because my ham fists aren't good at it.
7. Pie filling is supposed to taste like fruit, not fruit rollup. Use good and fresh fruit for filling. Use good amounts of acid (lemon juice and peel) and salt to enhance true fruit sweetness. You can also cut some sweetness from filling with a little wine, too. I splashed tasty Sequoia Grove Cab into my cherry pie filling.

Onto the pics:

Big Cherry Pie

Mini Cherry Pies

Ooey gooey Cherry bowl of action

Mini Pie.

More Mini Pies!!!
(Yes, some had a little leakage due to unproper crimping.
It's because of my man hands and inability to crimp in a muffin pan.)

The Big Hot Food Porn Sexy Dark Cherry Pie

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wednesday Test Kitchen... overdue

I know my test kitchen stuff has kind of been overdue, but that's likely more because I haven't had much of a chance to properly grab the pics from my camera and upload them. Well, hopefully we'll have a few backlogs of Test Kitchen blogs this week.

The first of the WTK blogs actually comes from a dinner that I made for a couple of good friends the other night. It made a lot of sense because I was really just trying to plan a nice, somewhat light summer menu. Nothing but nice and simple seasonal cooking with circulators, some chemicals and multiple blending devices. Ah, yes.

Onto the menu:

First: Heirloom Tomato Salad
-shaved Andante Minuet, basil balsamic gastrique, Point Reyes blue cheese foam, olive oil

Second: Smoked Corn Soup
-mesquite wood smoked white corn

Third: Duo of 24 Hour Short Rib
-Guiness beef stock reduction, house made vadouvan, slow roasted sweet onions

Four: Lychees and Tart Cherry Jam in Chilled Ambrosia Melon Soup

For the salad, I actually had intentions of using cream, the cheese and some gum to create small round puffs between each layer of tomato - which meant that I'd stack it. I didn't end up doing that because apparently one of my diners couldn't really handle the cream. The pics for the other plates are midway into eating, so I'm sorry if they don't look perfectly plated. I was busy eating and forgot to take pics until too late.

I didn't know whether I should have gone with my blueberry bourbon jam for the chilled melon soup instead, but the cherry turned out great, so I guess I won't second guess my decision. While both guests enjoyed the dessert, one of them thought the blueberry bourbon might even have been better. But, it might just be the fact that he loved the blueberry bourbon jam all on its own. Hmmm....

Onto the pics:

Smoked Corn

Heirloom Salad

Smoked Corn Puree with drops of olive oil

24 Hour Short Rib Duet - Guiness Beef and Vadouvan
(the plating was nice prior to being messed up by a hungry me)

Chilled Ambrosia Melon Soup

Goodbye Broken Record Kitchen!

This is a late post, but 2 Fridays ago, the Broken Record duo unexpectedly left their post because as they told me in their own words, "we need a break, we've had 5 days off the last 9 months." So on their last night, my buddy and I decided to go down there for some grub. It was a little disheartening to see such great food go away, but I know they'll resurface somewhere else soon enough. It is probably only just a matter of time.

I thought I'd post this as a lil Hot Food Porn salute to Broken Record's former kitchen. I am always a fan and supporter for those people who have the balls to go out and cook the way they want to cook regardless of what venue the food presents itself in. It was fun, tasty and fantastic food. Cheers and good luck on your travels.

What we ate: Buffalo Wings (best West Coast impersonation I've had), Oyster Po'boy, Macadamia Nut Brittle, and Gumbo (I think).

Unfortunately, they ran out of biscuits dammit.

Driving FAIL

I saw this story on barstoolsports blog. Just had to post it...

An Oscar Meyer Wienermobile crashed into the home and outdoor deck of Nick Krupp in Racine, Wis. on Friday morning, July 17, 2009. According to a witness, the vehicle was parked in the driveway. The driver lurched the vehicle forward instead of backing out of the driveway, hitting Krupp's deck and cracking the foundation of his house.

(AP Photo/Journal Times, Tom McCauley)

Some Thoughts:

-I guess it kind of puts the whole "hotdog in a hallway" joke into new perspective...

-What like the back of a volkswagon? Nope, like a big red house.

-Mom was hungry.

-This hot dog trend is getting out of control.