Friday, November 28, 2008

Mom's dressing

Giving away a family recipe here...this is how my grandma used to make it too. I watched my mom, and wrote down as best as I could. She never did stuffing, even though she calls it that; it's actually "dressing", i.e., basically a meatloaf outside of the bird.

Mom's "Stuffing"

2 onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, finely diced
1 loaf white bread, torn into 1" pieces (my mom says "buy the cheap stuff for this")
1 lb 80/20 ground beef (you can use the non-lean ground as well)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 eggs
olive oil + butter
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
salt + pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat about 2 tbsp oil + 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Saute celery + onion until translucent (we don't want any browning!), about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add bread, beef, eggs, and chicken stock. Knead well until very uniform (note: you could probably pulse this in a food processor to do this as well, for an even more uniform texture)

Put mixture into a 13x9 rectangular baking pan, and pat out into a flat layer. Pour a little olive oil on top.

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Aiming for about 160F temperature for doneness.

  • You may need to add more stock; this was really eyeballed. More stock should make for moister stuffing.
  • Cooking time + temp could be adjusted. This is suitable for end of turkey cooking, when lots of items are sharing the oven.
  • Could probably try adding some sausage; this is what Beckey's mom does.

turkey day 2008

Was fun!

On the menu:

  • 22lb roast turkey (with rosemary & butter under the skin, stuffed with lemon/garlic/onion/rosemary), turned out PERFECT, roasting to reach temp of 161F in thigh, and it didn't have the usual smelly/strong "turkey" flavor, which was fantastic. Mom & I managed this one; 500F for 30 min, 350 for remaining time, loosely tented top with foil.
  • Homemade cranberry sauce (mom)
  • Mom's stuffing
  • Baby Spinach salad with persimmons & candied pecans and rice vinegar/sesame oil/orange marmelade vinaigrette (mom, from a Martha Stewart recipe, I believe)
  • Mashed potatoes with onions (mom)
  • Roasted acorn squash with rosemary & olive oil (mom); I'm not a big squash fan, but this was pretty damn good!
  • Apple pie (Monica; her first one, and a pretty damn good one!)
  • Chocolate pumpkin pie (Judy)
  • Homemade sourdough bread (me, using LBB recipe)
  • cornbread (me, using Albers Corn Meal box recipe & cast iron "corncob" baking pan, plus some added chili powder per Cast Iron Cookbook)
  • brussels sprouts with pancetta (me, Bobby Flay recipe)

Brussels I did in 2 batches in cast iron pan, then put all on a roasting pan & roasted in oven. About 5 min to crisp pancetta, about 5 minutes saute in pan, about 10-15 minutes in 400F oven, with a little lemon juice on top at the end. Yum!

Not a whole lot of leftovers...some turkey, some mashers, a few brussels (even though I made a ton, they were almost all gone). I'm thinking "t-day remix":

--turkey enchiladas
--mashed potato cakes with mushroom sauce (need some criminis/portobellos/whites)

And I need to make some more cranberry sauce! I ate 1/2 a giant Costco bag this week; I like the traditional sugar syrup + cranberry style. One of my favorite cranberry remixes was Iron Chef style, with a splash of OJ, some bourbon (Gentleman Jack), and a few good glugs of real maple syrup. Added a smoky, sweet, spicy complexity that was outstanding.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Spent some time this week blending bitters, according to my own tastes/recipes; basically developing and testing recipes.

Before I started, I decided to taste all the bitters I have on hand, to get an idea of flavor profiles.

I tried to evaluate them like wine: the nose, the color, the mouthfeel, taste, and finish. Here are my results

I tasted the following bitters:

  1. Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
  2. Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
  3. Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters
  4. Regan's No 6. Orange Bitters
  5. Peychaud's Bitters
  6. Angostura Bitters
Fee Brothers Orange:
  • Contains some alcohol
  • Light in color
  • Orange in nose
  • Orange and sweetness on tongue; some viscosity from glycerin
  • Slight gentian/orris bitterness on finish
Fee Brother Peach Bitters

  • Contains no alcohol
  • Light/pale in color
  • Tiny peach on nose
  • Very sweet and almond + light peach on tongue; some viscosity from glycerin
  • Almond in finish
Fee Old Fashioned
  • No alcohol
  • Very dark looking, like cola
  • Lots of cinnamon + clove on nose
  • Very spicy cinnamon + clove on tongue instantly, followed by gentian bitterness on finish, pretty gentle; citrus + zest overtones; some viscosity from glycerin
  • Longer, lingering finish
Regan's No 6 Bitters
  • 45% alcohol
  • Very clear, tan tint
  • Strong alcohol and some bitter orange on nose
  • No sweetness on tongue; very thin and extremely bitter
  • Gentian and citrus zest on finish, along with floral and spicy rosemary notes
Peychaud's Bitters

  • 35% alcohol
  • Very red in color, like maraschino cherry
  • Slight anise on nose
  • No sweetness on tongue; light anise + herby flavor
  • Minimal bitterness on finish, short finish
Angostura Bitters

  • 45% alcohol
  • Dark red color, with tinge of brown
  • Strong molasses on nose, + light cinammon and "jagermeister" spices (clove, anise)
  • Almost no sweetness
  • Immediate gentian on tongue, with a bit of clove

bread updates

Made bread with Carl Griffiths starter a few weeks ago. Despite a nice, agressive feeding schedule (perhaps it needed another week!), it didn't get as much lift, and didn't have as complex of flavor as the LBB sourdough.

I made a loaf of LBB a few weeks ago that rose so high (because I forgot to slash the loaf); totally separated under the crust, but it was this cool, stringy texture.

Also made LBB bagels a few weeks ago, that turned out really well too, nice texture. They don't keep too well.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

more bread

My buddy John A. asked about my Carl Griffiths starter. He believed his was dead, but after some aggressive feeding, came back to life. Frankly, it's hard to kill a well-established starter. All it takes is aggressive, 3x a day feeding:

Morning (7-9am)
pour off all but 1/3 cup starter
add 1/3 cup flour
add 1/3 cup water

Afternoon (12-1pm)
pour off all but 1/3 cup starter
add 1/3 cup flour
add 1/3 cup water

Evening (5-6pm)
pour off all but 1/3 cup starter
add 2/3 cup flour
add 2/3 cup water

After 3-5 days of this, your starter will be alive again! You can even start this feeding schedule with one tablespoon worth of starter.

Today, I'm making my LBB country white bread, but with the Carl Griffiths starter. So far so good; the starter is nice, healthy and active. I halved the recipe, but when you make bread by weight (and Silverton's LBB recipes are well-designed by weight), it scales pretty well. I'm interested to see what the differences in flavor will be.

bok choy

Last weekend bought Chinese broccoli, bok choy, and a bunch of other good stuff. Decided to make the bok choy tonight using this recipe. Delicious, delicate flavor

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews Recipe


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, whole
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed, larger leaves separated from base, base trimmed but still present, holding the smaller leaves together, sliced in 1/2 down the center
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. (use a large enough pan so that bok choy are not crowded). Add green onions, garlic and cashews, and cook for 10 seconds. Add bok choy, sliced side down. Sprinkle with sesame oil and salt. Cook down for approximately 3 minutes, stirring occasionally (Like spinach, when cooked, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

2 Add soy sauce, cook for about 1 minute more. Season with additional soy, salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4.