Category Archives: What the Fork?

Foodie related articles.

Smoked Almonds

I did this once before.  It was great.  Thought I might try adding a bit of brown sugar this time around.  We’ll see where that takes it.

I started with the below.  I vaguely remember using a combination of olive oil and butter last time.  Could be wrong though.   We’ll see what I do next time.

Ingredients:

  • 48 oz bag of almonds (about 11 C)
  • 2 t cayenne
  • 2 T salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T peanut oil

Put the almonds into a large bowl and coat thoroughly with olive oil.  Combine spices in a mortar and pestle or a ramekin.  Sprinkle and mix into almonds, again coating thoroughly.

Put them in a single layer in pans for your smoker of choice.  Smoke hot (250f to 300f) for some time (twenty minutes or until satisfyingly roasted).

Not as good as my previous batch (down to good from amazing).  I’ll have to experiment more.

Maybe borrow from this one next time.

JamesIsIn

Black Rice and Cheese with Broccoli

New food experiment.  Mac and cheese but with black rice as the starch and add some broccoli because why not.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black rice
    • 2 cups water (or stock)
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 t mushroom paste (Better than Bouillon)
  • roux from 1 cube butter and 1 cup flour
    • pepper
    • nutmeg
    • cayenne
    • maybe 1/2 C each Parmesan and Asiago
    • couple cups milk or so
    • 1 lb shredded medium cheddar
    • 1 lb frozen chopped broccoli
    • salt

Add in order above (though that extra milk can be added as needed).  Use lowest heat throughout so the oils don’t break the emulsification.

Pretty thick.  Maybe too thick?  I was lazy and used pre-shredded Parmesan, Asiago, and cheddar.  The Asiago and cheddar contain starches which can interfere with emulsification and make the final sauce less smooth so that’s likely a factor.  Flavor is pretty good but can likely be made better.  Arguably the flavor of the broccoli overpowers all else; it’s very strong compared to the rest.

JamesIsIn

Dried Blueberry Ice Cream

Last weekend I made a new flavor of ice cream.  Centered around dried blueberries, I used brown sugar and maple syrup instead of white sugar.  Still used the usual vanilla and added cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • the usual custard
    • sub ¾ C brown sugar and ¼ C maple syrup
  • 1 C dried blueberries
  • 2 T vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon ?

Next time chop the blueberries and macerate them a day ahead in a portion of the milk and cream mixture.  Also, maybe use cinnamon stick.

Second run and the maceration was very successful.  I macerated the dried blueberries (after finely chopping) in about half a cup of the cream.  Added this after cooking.

JamesIsIn

Oatmeal Meatballs

Been trying to a) decrease my consumption of red meat (fuck you, cholesterol) and b) increase my consumption of soluble fiber (fuck you, cholesterol), so I’ve cobbled together some meatballs with oatmeal and where I can use various combinations of meat as situations demand.  Here is the basic recipe which I just made and which were really delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb meat (I used hot Italian style sausage made at my local grocery)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 good sized shallots finely chopped
  • 1 C oatmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs
  • (one could add some Worcestershire or garlic if desired)
  • 1½ t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 2 t cayenne

Directions:

  • For oven baked, set oven to 375f; for pan fried prepare a cast iron skillet with oil
  • Mix all the stuff in a bowl.
  • Make balls from the mixture no larger than a golf ball.
  • For oven, disperse balls over sheet (with or without parchment paper); or place gently into hot oil to shallow fry and brown evenly on various sides.
  • Bake for 25 minutes; not sure how long to fry but you got this.

This is technically a double batch so one could cut everything in half and do a smaller batch.

Note that I used half ground turkey (chicken would substitute, of course).  I should be able to alter the primary meat (in this case hot Italian style sausage) to use lamb or beef (again using half turkey) with solid results.  I may try the lamb version this weekend.  We shall see.

Have fun!

JamesIsIn

Stuffed Courgette

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini (split and hollowed)
  • 1lb sausage
  • sage
  • pistachios
  • nutmeg
  • cardamom
  • pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup black rice

Directions:

  • split zucchini and hollow the inner bits (you can grind these and eat them if you want)
  • mix the stuff together (including any ground up bits from the zucchini)
  • fill the boats with all the stuff
  • bake for an hour at maybe 325f
  • adjust the above as necessary

Best of luck.

JamesIsIn

Pickled Onions

Just a few ingredients and a jar.  I now keep these perpetually on-hand for sandwiches and salads and whatever else.  So good.

Ingredients:

  • Onion (red)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C vinegar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • some crushed red peppers

Directions:

  • Warm the water and vinegar enough to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Fill a seal-able jar with thinly sliced red onion.
  • Pour the cooled liquid mixture into the jar, covering the onion slices.
  • Seal jar and place in the refrigerator.

Go forth and make sandwiches!

JamesIsIn

Smoked Oatmeal Stuffing

I wanted to try something different for stuffing this year, so I surfed the Web and cobbled together several stuffing recipes to form this delicious mess of brown.  It does contain some pretty classic elements (dried fruit and sage, for example), but using oatmeal as the base instead of toasted bread as well as punching it up with dried Bing cherries should set this apart from the competitors.  (In my mind, when a recipe I create turns out well I imagine myself having done well in a contest.)

Anyway, here are the important bits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sausage (I used hot Italian because that was available)
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 2 or 4 celery stalks diced
  • 2 or 3 leeks sliced maybe half an inch thick
  • 8 oz dried Bing cherries
  • fresh sage (I probably added around two of those plastic fresh boxes from my garden so maybe a quarter cup?) (this is the only herb so don’t skimp unless the sausage you use is sage forward, in which case go easier I guess)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne to taste
  • 1 cube butter give or take very soft
  • 5 cups rolled oats + 1 cup steel cut oats (one could alter the ratio as desired)
  • 3 or 4 cups chicken stock (I make my own; be careful if you use store bought because they tend to be salty)

Directions:

  • Brown the sausage (it will cook together later so concentrate on browning only)
  • (I use a pastry knife to break up the browned sausage once browned)
  • transfer sausage to very large bowl
  • In the same pan and beginning with the shallots and then in order the celery, leeks, and cherries
  • add the oatmeal(s), sage, and the soft butter to the bowl; mix let macerate for ten minutes
  • add maybe half the stock to the bowl; mix
  • When the vegetables are softened add them to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Add salt, pepper, and cayenne tasting as you progress
  • Add up to the remaining stock (not too wet but not too dry) and continue to mix thoroughly
  • layer the mixture into your smoking pan(s), cover in foil, and transfer to smoker
  • smoke for a good 90 minutes repositioning as necessary (my smoker only goes to 275f so that’s what I used)
  • uncover and smoke for another half hour (adjust covering and uncovering to get your desired smokiness

Something like that.  I didn’t take notes.  Or these are my notes just several days after the fact.  Probably the next batch will be even better!  This is likely the best stuffing I’ve ever had so that’s something.

JamesIsIn

Mom’s Goulash (Mostly)

My mom made a pretty authentic goulash in certain respects.  In certain other respects it wasn’t really goulash at all.  I’m now making something somewhere in between.

The Hungarians would make a sort of soup called goulash and serve that with or over cubed boiled potatoes.  The Germans like a thicker version and serve that over spaetzle.  My mom used elbow macaroni.  I have a spaetzle maker but usually just reach for a nice orzo lately.

My mom used a combination of tomato juice and tomatoes.  I skip the juice.  Feel free to include some to make a thinner version.  You could also add chicken stock to take it more into the soup dimension.  My mom used stewed tomatoes but I use just diced.  She also added “a little sugar”.  I’ve dropped this as well.

My mom used ground beef, but I’ve gone more traditional here and cube nice beef and brown that.

Finally, my mom didn’t use paprika (I know!) and I use a lot.  If I can brown the beef and sauté the onions over fire I use Hungarian sweet, but if I can’t I use Spanish smoked paprika instead.  Or maybe a combination.  I’m not too picky about this detail.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb beef (browned)
  • 2 large onions (sautéed but not browned)
  • 1 T garlic (optional, I usually skip but sweat these after the onions)
  • tomatoes (2 x 28 oz cans of Muir Glen diced is typical for me)
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ C paprika (yes, a lot)

Directions:

  • brown beef and set aside
  • sauté onions in whatever fat remains, scrap up the bits, and let them go translucent (take your time)
  • add everything into the pot (except the pasta) and let that simmer for a long while, relax
  • cook the pasta you chose (or potatoes or make spaetzle) (1 box of orzo is a good portion for the above)
  • you can combine the starch and sauce together and server or serve portions (I usually combine in the pasta just prior to serving time so it’s a one pot stop)

That’s it.  Basic.  Easy.  Fucking delicious.

JamesIsIn