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Sat, Oct. 1st, 2011, 10:56 pm
2011 - Week 40 Cooking

Sat, Oct. 1st, 2011, 10:55 pm
2011 - Week 39 Cooking Results

Ham and Duck Egg Sandwhiches

So the duck eggs are from my friends at Fox Hollow.  So here's the thing.  You know how you occasionally get a double yolked egg?  I've got more double yolked eggs from Fox Hollow then I have from any of the other eggs that I've bought, not just year over year, but year vs 5 year period.  It's quite amazing.  With that, we got a double yolked duck egg.  I will admit, that the duck egg was huge, and it's not surprising that two yolks were in there, but even with that, it is still kind of amazing.

Double Yolked duck egg on Ham, Cheddar and toastSo I have some of the last Berkshire pork that I have in the house (a ham) on there.  I do love their pork, but am still recovering from a lot of spending early in the year (on my health), and would like to order more from them, but that's just not going to work for now.

The open face sandwich was pretty good.  Shannon got the double yolk, and I got two eggs (well two open faced sandwiches).  I served them with some oranges.

Probably the last BLTs of the season

I used the leftover bacon from the chili making to do this.  And I have to say, by comparison, it's not eating bacon.  No don't get me wrong, generally bacon is good, it's really hard to make bacon bad, but when you compare really good bacon, to just mediocre bacon (and we've been having some really good bacon recently), mediocre bacon doesn't really shine as much in comparison.  It was stunning how disappointing it was, taste wise, compared to duroc pork bacon.

That being said, fresh tomatoes, bacon, mayo and spinach?  It made for a good meal.

Tacos! (with leftover chili)

Just a little preparation a little chili reheating and tada! meals done.  Just that easy.

Split Pea Soup

So I tried to spice this up a bit.  I added a tablespoon of smoked paprika.  All in all I don't think it really added much.  Though maybe a bit of smokiness, which you could certainly smell when the elements were combining together (before adding the chicken stock).  But it was a pretty easy thing to put together.  And ended up tasting pretty good.  And it marks off another one of those fall favorites off my list.

Split Pea Soup


Credit where credit is due, again with the grass fed Coyote Run Farm ground beef to make for some delicious burgers.

Sun, Sep. 25th, 2011, 03:16 pm
2011 - Week 39 Cooking

So for our 5th wedding anniversary we had a fun day.  First it was going to get some blood draws to partially qualify for health insurance the next year (yay, so exciting!).  Afterwards, we headed to a just opened this past week, Tartine in West Des Moines for a late brunch.  It was very nice.  I had my first cafe au lait and it was pretty good.  I really enjoyed it, we both enjoyed a our breakfast of pain au chocolat and Eggs Benedict.  We both enjoyed it. I guess the only thing I thought was missing was an espresso machine, but that's not really that French, is it.  Anyways nice place, really to bad it is all the way out there in West Des Moines.  On the Bright side, however, later this year when I'm doing a little training over there, it might make for a short trip to pick up some deliciousness.  Anyways, simple, relatively replicatable and franchisable (quick and upscale) comfortable concept, with really good food.

That night we headed to Baru 66 for the second dose of the Baruthio's work.  Now we have been there before, but it has been a while.  It was a wonderful dinner before.  We decided to go for the 6 course chef's tasting menu.  Now these were all delicious, but the two highlights for us was the fish course which was stunning and the cinnamon ice cream which, I don't know how he makes ice cream that is so good.  We also had 3 amuse bouche.  Anyways, great night, I would love to do this again, but we'll have to set aside some money again for this.

It was a great way to spend our anniversary (other then the blood draw).  Together and with good food (that I didn't have to make).  On to this week.

  • Ham and Duck Egg Sandwhiches
  • Probably the last BLTs of the season
  • Tacos! (with leftover chili)
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Hamburgers

Sun, Sep. 25th, 2011, 02:01 pm
2011 - Week 38 Cooking Results


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So It was something I had been looking forward to all week long.  After a long trek, over a day of preparation it finally got done and we ended up serving 3 people with enough chili to feed a small army.  So I'm left with a bunch of leftovers.  It's pretty good, maybe a bit to spicy for Shannon.  I'm still working on it.

One of the changes this time around was adding some more peppers and also used a different chili powder.  And I'm thinking I should change that all together.  The one I used before was salt-free, this one has salt in it.  But I'm really thinking I should go down further and actually grind my own dried peppers into a combination  to use.  So kind of to rework the spice mixture as a whole.  We'll see.

Joseph was down doing laundry and so we finally broke out Ghost Pepper Salsa.  I had bought it because I was stunned at seeing it at a local grocery store (I'd mention who, but I'm kind of pissed at them right now).  So it has been in my cupboard for a while.  So after chili and a bit of booze for me, we had maybe a spoonful total each (a few dips, a couple of small scoops).  That was plenty.  It really lingered.  Now I am not sure what the amount that was in there.  It didn't totally incapacitate me like the Big Daddy's hot sauce, but it certainly didn't leave a pleasant feeling.

This was cute when I opened it.

Chili, crumbled corn chips, shredded cheddar and sour cream

Moroccan-Style Chicken Sandwich (p59 September 2011 Bon Appétit)

So I started to follow the recipe, and decided I didn't really want to do it, so I ended up making it into a chicken salad.  I mostly followed it, but swapped out some of the yogurt for some mayo and called it good.  It was a bit strange.  The slivered almonds really added some weirdness to the texture.  The currents were the same way.  It was nice to added to the flavor, but it was kind of odd.  That being said, the sauce I added, and the yogurt and mayo it ended up clearly to wet.  I finished it up today and it still had the same issue, too wet, slivered almonds, and odd tastes of currents (not sure if it is a good thing or not).

Pasta with Butcher Crick Tomatoes (sort of based on this) (actually going to go closer to this, this time)

So I had a a pile of tomatoes from Butcher Crick.  So I chopped them up.

A pile of delicious tomatoesSo one of the main points here is the wide varieties of flavors from tomato to tomato.  Some are sweeter, some are tarter, some are very acidic, some not as much.  It was interesting to have such a good examples side by side to each other.  All of these taste phenomenally better then anything that comes from the store.  And that's probably the amount of time between picking and cutting.  Anything in the store has been off the vine for a least a few days.  Anyways, I cooked a little garlic, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes in olive oil and then added the tomatoes and cooked them until they were nearly breaking apart.  Meanwhile the pasta was cooking in a pot and so I took the near finished pasta, and finished combining them in the pan.  Topped with a little parmesan (the real kind, not the awful stuff) and it was finished.

Fresh tomato pastaSimple and delicious.

Shepherds Pie

So it was sort of based on the Alton Brown recipe.  So, first off, I have to say that it shouldn't be as hard as it was to find extra lamb (bought 1 pound at the farmers market, bought the second at a store).  So this was after not finding any at my main store, going to the upscale store, visiting the local other chain, and then visiting the branch on Ingersoll (usually have lamb products).  I should of drained off a bit more of the lamb fat (there was a bit to much in there).  Plus the added problem of not having enough potatoes.  Anyways, the lamb kind of took over, but it was still delicious.  And I really have to say that it took care of the chapped lips that I had.  Clearly I am going to have to do this again, but this time around, I'm going to buy all the lamb I need from the market.

The whole Shepherds Pie (a bit of a mess)Looks a bit better in the bowl

Sat, Sep. 17th, 2011, 04:51 pm
2011 - Week 38 Cooking

The weather has turned.  This is clearly shown by the fact that I am purposefully wearing both long pants and socks.  Though the heat hasn't been turned on yet (closed windows and warm enough days have kept the house warm).  And with that, my cravings for fall dishes, including chili has grown.  I was thinking about making chili for game night tonight, but when it came down to it, I just didn't have enough time (and/or drive) on Friday to get the beans and other ingredients that I would need to put together a chili for tonight.  Though I will be making it this next weekend.  I have the roasted peppers, I'm ready to go for it. 

This next week is a special week.  Five years ago on September 23 we both signed on the dotted line and had quite the celebration for our Wedding.  Since that time, we've done a lot of things together, a few things apart but I have to say personally, it has probably been the best time of my life (other things have been a bit odder).  I'm glad we got married, and I'm glad we're still married.

  • Chili
  • Moroccan-Style Chicken Sandwich (p59 September 2011 Bon Appétit)
  • Pasta with Butcher Crick Tomatoes (sort of based on this) (actually going to go closer to this, this time)
  • Shepherds Pie

Sat, Sep. 17th, 2011, 03:17 pm
2011 - Week 37 Cooking Results

Smoked Duck (La Ventosa Ranch)

Joseph comes down, he does some laundry in our machines and also brings some bread that he made in one of his culinary school classes.  So we had some salad, some bread and smoked duck.  It was quite delicious, though expensive.  Joseph talked about smoking his own duck, and while I wouldn't dissuade him, duck isn't exactly cheap...ever.  But it was very good, worth having again, but an expensive meal.

Smoked duck from La Ventosa Ranch

Coyote Run Farm Grass Fed Beef burgers

As always, pretty good.  I had thought about making sloppy sammys with this, but I didn't have the ingredients to do so.

Bratwurst with Juan O'Sullivan's Green Chile Verde

That Green Chile Verde is something else.  Quite the dish, and it just adds so much flavor to anything that you put it on.

Grilled Ham, Cheese, and Pickle Sandwiches (p73 August 2011 Bon Appétit)

First I don't understand the title of this sandwich.  In my mind ham does not equal prosciutto.  There is no ham in this sandwich, but there is prosciutto. That being said, this was one of the most savory sandwiches ever.  And that may be because I split the 3 oz package of prosciutto between two sandwiches, instead of four.  It was divine.  I added a little mustard and I was in a little slice of Sammy heaven.  Make this sandwich.  Use La Quercia prosciutto.  No baloney, this is a reason why I could never go: a. meat free; b. pork free.

One of the best sandwiches ever.

Pasta with Butcher Crick Tomatoes (sort of based on this)

Ok, so I started with the thought of that, but didn't have enough tomatoes left, so, after wondering how to do it, and knowing that I had a lot of stuff left in the fridge, so I started adding several things to it to make it all work together, left over parmesan (quality stuff), ricotta (cheap), etc etc.  I don't think I could reproduce it.  I turned out well.  We both had it for lunch the next day.


Skipped, went to Bandit Burrito instead.  After a long day of cleaning (OCD kitchen for me, rest of the house for Shannon), getting Shannon's car's oil changed (dodging the upsale), having my furnace serviced, a visit from DirecTV (new DVR (which fixed the minor problem), woo!), I didn't want to mess up my clean kitchen.  Now that I think about it, I still have quite a bit more to do (bottle shelf, dusted and cleaned, top of fridge, and clean out the inside of the fridge).  So we chatted for a bit on where to go, and ended up with me going and retrieving a pair of burritos.

Sun, Sep. 11th, 2011, 01:46 pm
10 Years Ago

I wrote about this, 5 Years Ago, and I still remember the same thing.  

I have seen many things over the past week dealing with this dreadful anniversary, and I clearly have not processed all my feelings about this, because they have been boiling up in rather strange ways.

My heart goes out to all of those who lost someone on that day and all of those who risked and some who sacrificed their lives that day.

Sun, Sep. 11th, 2011, 01:36 pm
2011 - Week 37 Cooking

Sun, Sep. 11th, 2011, 12:09 pm
2011 - Week 36 Cooking Results

Quick Tomato Sauce (p13 May/June 2009 Cook's Illustrated), Garlic Bread, Salad and Full Proof Vinaigrette (p45 Fall 2011 Entertaining)

One of the things Shannon has suggested, was to take the pizza dough that I've been making, was that she thought it would make a good garlic bread or bread sticks or whatever.  So I used a movie night dinner to do this.  I took a good chunk of butter (probably too much), several cloves of garlic and then cooked them slowly in a pan and brushed the garlic and butter on the top of the pizza dough, and then baked it like I normally do.  The only reason why I say that there was probably too much butter, is that there was small pools of butter on the dough after it was done baking.  And while butter makes things delicious, this is a bit much I suppose.  I've made the quick tomato sauce before (several times), and it was a simple salad of baby greens and shredded carrots.  Shannon though the vinaigrette was a bit too tart, and I suppose it could've been.  I eyeballed the Dijon mustard, and anytime I eyeball mustard, I'm generally going to add more then the recipe calls for.  I kind of forgot to take a picture of the whole meal, as I tend to do, but it turned out pretty good.  Simple flavors, nice combinations.  After dinner, Chris, Holly and Shannon headed down to Snookies to get a dessert and I stayed home to do some dishes and get ready to do some work (after hours stuff).

After the movie, I offered a second dessert.  I had spent the previous night juicing a good chunk of key limes and wanted others to try it.  So I served it.  I had small samples from the side of the ice cream maker and it seemed ok, but for me, tart is often a good thing (I love me some rhubarb).  I suppose I should have used my food tester (Shannon) first to get an opinion on it.  So it was too tart, even by the end of the small part, I was getting tired of it.  I wasn't exactly thrilled by that.  However, on the positive side, it had a nice consistency and good mouth feel.  So I do have enough to make it again, and am thinking about it, but I don't really want to hand squeeze all those key limes.  It looked nice too.

Graziano Sausage Pizza

So last week we had the Graziano sausage and it was good and I thought I had gotten my fix for a while, but after seeing my younger brother have a sandwich last Sunday, kind of triggered that desire again.  So we had this pizza.  I decided to use the remaining lamb and also some extra low moisture tomatoes to also top the pizza.   It turned out well, and was a nice dinner.

Graziano Sausage, Lamb and Tomato Pizza

Lamb Burgers

So a new vendor, Hedgeapple Farm (clearly not the most up to date), and also a raiser of Icelandic sheep (who knew?).  The lamb was pretty good, and made for a good burger at a decent price.  So I hope to buy from them again.  However, I didn't see them at the market this week.  So maybe next week.  I really should start setting money aside, to buy meat (lamb, pork, beef, etc) by the quarter or half, rather then at a time, but that would also mean I need a deep freezer.  I guess I'll have to add this to a more direct goal.

Pasta with Anchovies, Chile, and Dill Breadcrumbs

So this was an interesting way to cook.  We had a visitor from the fine people at DirecTV who were here investigating the signal strength, while I was trying to cook dinner (my request for scheduling).  So I was able to quickly put this together.  It ended up being pretty good.  I'm not sure if it was the anchovies that I picked, or just anchovies in general, but they had that general fishy smell.  After the filets got all mashed up, it was a nice savory dish and Shannon finished it off for lunch, so I assume she liked it too.  It was a pretty quick meal, though I got distracted from time to time, helping the DirecTV guy out (directions, signing papers, etc).

Sun, Sep. 4th, 2011, 05:03 pm
2011 - Week 36 Cooking

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