Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No knead sour 4

A hint of sourness, seems more noticeable on this loaf than others of recent memory. Good lingering sourdough aftertaste tang.

Crust pretty crunchy but thin, very good.

Crumb is pretty nice and open, soft but fully cooked through, no gumminess

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No knead sourdough #4

Baked this off this morning. Nice browning, but not much oven spring. Need to try handling it with flour OR doing stretch and fold. I think the gluten structure was too loose.

Still I'm sure it'll taste good

I love sourdough! :)

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

turkey chili

I've been wanting to make chili again, so here goes. One new technique I learned from watching Food Network was not to brown the meat, but to add it when the liquid is added. This seems to yield a smoother, more homogenous, "meat-paste"-like chili. I miss some of the caramelized flavors you get from browining the meat, but I am happy to trade this off in lieu of smooth texture.

The end result? A smooth textured, well-balanced, mild chili.

Turkey Chili
Makes a good-sized pot (8 cups?)

2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and rough chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and rough chopped
2 medium onions, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped (or more to taste)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 can tomato paste
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes
1.5 lbs ground turkey
3 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chipotle en adobo puree (just puree contents of a can!)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp worcheshire sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp mesquite smoke seasoning powder
2 cups pork stock*, or chicken stock, or water (* leftover from carnitas)
  1. In food processor, pulse all vegetables until finely ground (like a sofrito)
  2. In large pot, heat olive oil over high heat until almost smoking
  3. Add tomato paste, and stir for 15 seconds.
  4. Add sofrito, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring only once at 2.5 minutes
  5. Turn heat to low
  6. Process tomatoes in food processor, and add to pot.
  7. Add turkey at once, and stir/beat to make into a "meat paste".
  8. Add remaining spices & seasonings, and stock at once.
  9. Turn up heat to high, heat until boiling, and cook over medium heat (bubbling thoroughly) for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  10. Adjust seasonings.
  11. Remove from heat, and serve.
  12. Once cool, refrigerate. It will taste better the next day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

corn dog secrets

I've been wanting to make corn dogs lately. So of course, I set out to find what makes a good corn dog, and recipes to match.

The prototype for me is what I've had at Hot Dog on a Stick (HDOAS). I even had a similarly good corn dog in Mammoth Lakes at the Vons. So here's my criterial for what makes a good one:
  1. Should have an fairly prominent corn flavor, and it should be fairly sweet
  2. Corn coating is not too thick, no more than 1/4" in thickness
  3. Outer crust is crispy, and a little chewy; some pull but not much
  4. Fried batter should not be gritty, gummy, gooey or overly thick
  5. Fried batter shouldn't be too airy/light, or too heavy; but, erring on lightness is better.
So I rounded up 8 recipes...from everything from personal web sites and food blogs to behemoths and I didn't even bother with Alton Brown's version for two reasons: aside from the fact that he bugs me a little, his recipe adds too much junk which is not traditional.

I chose 2 that I were substantially different enough to suggest the right direction to go. Here's what I found out for making a pretty traditional corn dog:
  1. More flour less corn: I think the right proportion is around 100:66 flour-to-cornmeal. The one I made with 100:200 flour-to-cornmeal tasted gritty, and not as "corny" to my palate as the one with less corn...yes a bit strange I know! See #2 for more related info.
  2. Sugar: more appears is better
  3. Liquid: buttermilk seems to be best. Milk's 2nd best. HDOAS uses dried milk powder and hydrates with water.
  4. Egg: 1 egg appears universal for 1 cup.
  5. Leavening: depends on the liquid you're using. Baking powder + a bit of soda is good when using buttermilk; but this makes it pretty fluffy though, good if you want it really light, but . HDOAS only uses baking powder.
  6. Oil: maybe 2 tablespoons, I think that's plenty. 4 tablespoos (1/4 cup) just makes the batter taste too oily. You're deepfrying these guys, for chrissakes, why would you need to add that much oil!!
  7. Weird stuff: if you want to get crazy, try adding some dextrose for sweetening, in addition to sugar; also a small amount of rice flour (maybe 2-4 tbsp per cup of flour?)

I think the leavening and liquid are the main things to tweak. Sugar and flour percentages seem pretty consistent. Based on my tests, I'll take my fave recipe, decrease leavening a slight bit and increase the liquid a tiny bit.

Speaking of scaling, the 1 cup flour quantities really make a ridiculous amount of batter...unless you're making a whole pack of corn dogs for the party, you need barely half.

AND I really like the idea of cutting hot dogs in half for this. AND be sure to use sticks...I like popsicle sticks. It actually make them easier to dip and handle, which is critical when dealing with hot oil.

One last comment: the meat! Of course the hot dog itself is important. HDOAS uses a turkey dog, which is a good option. I really like the relatively new Oscar Mayer Selects Premium uncured hot dogs with no nitrates, nitrites or preservatives. Flavor is great, and I don't have to worry about extra garbage in my hot dogs.

Now go forth and make corn dogs!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

KAF best burger buns #2

Slightly more egg and 14min bake time otherwise the same. Better browning, great rise, and fluffy!

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Carnitas #3

Here's the updated version, tweaking somewhat with the spices. I liked the previous one, though, very nice and mild.

Carnitas #3

1 whole pork shoulder, 3-4lb, preferably with bone, trimmed and cut into chunks.
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 onion, rough chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 large orange, sliced in rounds
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
Cold water

  1. To a big stock pot, add all ingredients. Add enough cold water to just cover the meat, bring to a boil (about 12-15 minutes at high heat), reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2.5-3 hours, until falling apart.

Results: very good, subtle flavored, very versatile: just as good in a taco as it is in a pulled pork sandwich. The "pork stock" developed as a result has really nice meaty, porky flavors for use in cooking noodles, etc., albeit with a slightly mexican twist.

I wonder if I could do a Chinese style carnitas in a similar way, but with fresh ginger, garlic, scallions, maybe still coriander, etc. I think the stock might be more versatile that way.

Roast Chicken Memorial Day 2010

Nice roast chicken last night. The flavor on this one was much more mellow and subtle than previous, mostly because no rosemary in with the butter. This one is based on Tyler Florence's "Ultimate Chicken" recipe. Skin got pretty crispy, but could've been more. The gravy was very subtle and nice too.

One 6lb. young chicken
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter, room temp, softened
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
2 cups water (or some combination of water, chicken stock, and/or decent white wine, like Charles Shaw Sav Blanc)
1 lemon, cut in half
1/2 onion, cut in half
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Combine garlic and butter, set aside.
  3. Remove giblets, and place in roasting pan, with onion, garlic cloves, carrots, celery and water.
  4. Dry off skin of bird with paper tower
  5. Separate skin from meat; put garlic butter under skin, work it under the breast and onto leg
  6. Season skin liberally with salt and pepper; NO BUTTER ON SKIN, only salt
  7. Stuff cavity with half-onion and half-lemon
  8. Roast for 60 minutes
  9. Reduce heat to 375F
  10. Roast for about 35-40 more minutes, or until thigh temp reaches 160F.

Pan Gravy

Leftover pan juices
Leftover pan fat
Leftover roasted garlic cloves
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tbsp brandy
Salt & pepper

  1. Remove giblets and vegetables, leave garlic cloves in pan
  2. Pick up chicken with wooden spoon, let juices train into roasting pan.
  3. Separate juices and fat, if possible.
  4. Mash roasted garlic cloves in pan with oil until they're a paste
  5. Heat roasting pan over medium-high heat
  6. Add flour to pan fat, stir fast, whisk for 30-60 seconds
  7. Add brandy, whisk for 15 seconds
  8. Add water and milk, whisk, bring to boil. Add more water or milk to adjust consistency.
  9. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  10. Strain thru fine mesh strainer and serve.