Let’s go Outback…nah, let’s stay in.

With Summer in full swing you are bound to see the relentless commercials of going to Outback having your steak or shrimp and all the good deals and then you realize when you want a legit “steak” you either have to go to a high-priced steakhouse ( I personally recommend The Prime Rib- they have a few locations in major cities, the one on Philly is fantastic) or the second option of buying your own piece of meat and doing as you please for your own liking.

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Depending upon the type of steak or how you want it cooked there are varying options to choose from. In my case which I am an apartment dweller and do not have my own outside access, grilling is not an option. For me I took a nice looking Ribeye steak and broiled it in the oven. I went fairly simple with my semi-dry rub. Three ingredients: a light brushing of truffle-infused oil, ancho-chile powder, and a merlot-infused sea salt. I did a quick pan sear on both sides and then placed in the oven with the broil setting (I like my steak with a little pink in the middle but you can do as you please with yours).

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Side dish number one, I took some brussel sprouts, cut them in half, added some olive oil, salt, cracked peppercorn, and a little bit of lemon juice (both for flavor but also prevents browning and seared them in a pan. The other side dish I cut open and used half of a small spaghetti squash. I boiled it in some water and butter until softened. Added a little cracked pepper and some smoked cheddar for flavor.

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To top off the dish, I re-hydrated some morel mushrooms, fried them in some unsalted butter, and topped upon the steak when it was done.

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Enjoy.

 

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A Nice Chicken Dish

I’d like to apologize for the delay of posting lately, the new job is a bit more of a commute so I have been doing a lot of quick dishes which also double as lunches throughout the week. A have also undertaken a cake project (was gathering ideas and have started making some flowers today…actual post will be near end of the week).

So how about some chicken. A nice versatile meat as it can be cooked numerous ways and pairs with so many different side dishes and of course it’s healthy for you. In this case I kept it rather simple. I took two thighs and placed skin down in the dish. I then cut a lemon in half and squirted half over the chicken and into the dish. I then seasoned the chicken with Himalayan salt, cracked pepper, ancho chile powder and then poured a little oil and balsamic vinegar into the dish and swirled around the thighs and then placed in the oven.

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For the potatoes, I cut up a potato threw it in a skillet with a little water, oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Then cooked with lid on until softened then a little longer without lid. The mushrooms I used baby bella mushrooms. I threw in some truffle infused oil, cracked peppercorn, and as I am trying it out with a different dish I used a little bit of Douceur Du Jura – a nice soft cheese. Sauteed until my liking. Also can’t forget the glass of Spanish Tempranillo to finish the meal.

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Enjoy.

Flounder for Dinner

On top of the many outrageous things I like to make, sometime it is just as nice to keep it quick and simple- still have a nice wholesome meal.

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In this case, I took a few flounder filets and put them in a skillet that was heated with grapeseed oil and lime juice. I then sprinkled on some chili and some sweet paprika and sauteed until cooked (only a few minutes. I then places them over a bed of mixed greens which was dressed with a juniper-berry balsamic vinegar. I then had a glass of Gewurztraminer to compliment the light flavored fish. In all, took about 10 minutes or so to prepare and cook.

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Enjoy.

Variations of Ravioli

For quite some time now, for my meals I have typically been staying away from anything on the side of being processed and have been really just cooking and preparing all of my meals with meat, vegetables, rice, pasta, etc. and even when it comes to sauces, seasonings, and marinades I even do many of those myself as well. In this instance, I was in the mood for ravioli (have not had them for quite some time and had some free time to make a few…well actually quite a lot.

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When I first started making them earlier today, it got me thinking how when you buy the plain old cheese raviolis in the store and the amount of ingredients in them and then how I am making different flavors with meat and vegetable as well and I think I maxed out between dough and filling on around 12 ingredients it is quite amazing. You can find many variations of making simple dough for ravioli (can tailor them to your liking as well as amount needed) but put simply you have flour, eggs, and olive oil.

For the first type, I had roasted chicken in a skillet. To the chicken I added fresh parsley, garlic, ancho chili powder, lemon juice, and thyme. After this was cooked through I then pulsated it with my immersion blender attachment and then added it to a mixture of ricotta and mozzarella cheese. In total, 11 ingredients between filling and dough. For the other type, I had cut up a butternut squash. I then roasted this with some onion, cinnamon, allspice, heavy cream, clove, and sharp cheddar. As something like these which I do by hand and they take a fair amount of time to do, I do large batches so in each case, I got approximately 6 dozen which are then frozen as individual meals consisting of mixtures of each type. At some point they will then be boiled and I’ll make an olive oil based sauces to pour over them.

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Enjoy.

Beef Ribs- A nice meal…and easy to have some left-overs as well

I am now past the halfway point of the first week of my new job as a chemist at FujiFilm down in Delaware. The days are not too overbearing however until I either finish training and go on normal shifts or move in the fall. besides work I also have a decent sized commute. These factors as well as others will dictate a little more of what I will be cooking and eating- become a little more practical in the sense of easy cook or things with nice pre-prep (i.e. evening before) as well as potentiality of left-overs, i.e. next day lunch. For this one I did some beef ribs.

I was doing some food shopping last night and was looking for some different ideas and I came across beef ribs (racks are similar to baby backs but instead of pork are beef). I bought a package (typically two rack pieces) and took one section and cut up the ribs individually. I made a sauce/marinade blend  consisting of tomato paste, pinot noir, chili powder, and other various spices. They were all mixed well in a pot and sat in the refrigerator over night.

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This pot in the evening was then put in the oven at around 300 degrees which then gave me time to prep side dishes. Tonight I did fried/breaded cauliflower and from an earlier meal had couscous with shiitake mushrooms and various spices.

The nice thing was the cooking time in the oven gave me time to get the wash on and in the dryer and then by the time everything all done and cleaned up time to get all the laundry. It was simple enough cooking where I have extra ribs and cauliflower which will now be a weekday lunch while at work. Simple, tasty, practical.

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Enjoy.

A Thanks (and a break from food).

To everyone in the U.S. I hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July celebration and for everyone else just an awesome weekend as it is now the middle of the summer.

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As I was visiting family and taking some time to relax my cooking (what little I had done over the weekend) revolved around typical bbqing, but be on the lookout for some fun and innovative grilling concepts over the next few months on the weekends.

A lot has changed over the past few years, sometimes for the better and at other times not so much, i.e. company closure earlier this year. At first when it happened it was just like ok so now what, but there was never a point where it was like taxing and overly stressful as I must give thanks to my parents for how they raised me over the years and the knowledge they imparted to me so I was still capable of financially supporting myself in such a situation.

However, after a while, I started to have tendencies of becoming a bit unfocused at times and one thing that really helped was cooking and blogging (as there was one stretch where I was pumping out meals and desserts on a daily basis…and I live by myself).

One thing that really helped me put everything into better perspective and to help my own motivation and confidence was working with Heavenly Driven Disaster Relief   who if you are in the Jersey area and have some time they have a few houses left in the Atlantic City/Margate area they will be completing over the next few weeks and hopefully be done by the end of the month.

Having something (such as a cause) to put my own time and effort into and to learn new skills and putting them in such a positive manner felt really good and just listening to peoples story’s (both of homeowners as well as other people I was working with) helped put my own life into better perspective and to refocus on what I wanted for not only myself but to also use my own skills/capabilities and to take the time to help out others as well- and in both situations to really take pride in what I do.

At the current juncture, I am happy with where I am at. I just had my first day at FujiFilm as a QC Chemist and everything is starting to head back in the right direction again. I must thank everyone along the way starting with my parents and the rest of my family for their continued support and belief in my capabilities and all the time over the years helping me develop into who I am today.

(most recent self-portrait)

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Even though the new schedule will be a bit hectic, not to worry, plenty of food still to come soon. Wish everyone the best as well.

 

 

Made a whole meal..but you only get to see the dessert.

This past week I had went back down to Atlantic City to help finish on a couple of houses (are only a few left and then some of the people will be going to other areas to help out). I figured it would be a nice thing for one of the nights to make a nice dinner. Well since we had a long day and everyone was hungry, was no real time to take pictures of the dinner itself. If you love grilled chicken and grilled potatoes, then Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction is the book for you. Both the Mustard-Aoli grilled potatoes and the Grilled Red Chile-Buttermilk Brined Chicken with a spicy mango-honey glaze were phenomenal. But on with the dessert which I had come up with based on a variety of different ideas. It is a very nice summer dessert because the whipped filling isn’t overly heavy and raspberries and chocolate are good any time of the year.

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To start, I made a thin chocolate souffle type cake in a 12×16 inch pan. Really a combination of making a simple meringue and then in a separate bowl a chocolate-whiskey combination then folding in and pouring-then bake. For the filling, I made a simple whipped cream with mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract. After the initial cake was baked and sliced into rectangles, I then put layers of cream with raspberries on top between layers of the chocolate cake. It is then topped with powdered sugar. To finish, I made a chocolate-whiskey sauce to drizzle over and serve. The nice thing was besides a little bit of baking time, it is not time consuming at all and only requires a few ingredients and is not too hard to make.

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Unrelated, I also must say from a photographic perspective I love the countertop and tiled wall where we are staying at while down there. Love to have that in my own kitchen someday.

Enjoy.