February 22, 2010
Every once in a while I get a craving for one of those frou-frou drinks at Starbucks or Dunkin. At 4 bucks a pop, that can wear out the old wallet. I know, I know, the small isn’t 4 bucks, but I say “go big or go home” and go with the Large. Either way, this is really expensive for a coffee drink. I’ve been investigating coffee recipes for a while trying to find a way I could make this at home for what’s surely got to be a fraction of the price.
I think I’ve finally found something that works for a mocha latte, my latest binge I’ve been going on at Dunkin Donuts. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 packet of hot chocolate mix
- 1 cup of regular brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup of milk
Brew coffee strong (I do this anyway since I’m a borderline junkie). Put hot chocolate mix into the bottom of the final cup you’ll use. Pour coffee slowly into cup, mixing as you go, to ensure best mixing. Pour half cup of milk into another cup and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Pour hot milk into the coffee/chocolate mixture and stir.
It’s really simple and really easy, but how much does it cost?
- coffee (fresh ground) for about 5 cups at $3=$.60 per
- hot chocolate mix for 12 servings at $3=$.25 per
- milk at $3 per half gallon = MAYBE $.10 per
I estimated high on these numbers, and still came out at $.95 total for the whole thing, and end result was bigger than a $4 large at Dunkin. Also, it was just as good (without Dunkin’s occasional crappy tasting brew).
February 22, 2010
I was craving shrimp and cocktail sauce last night, so I decided to buy some frozen breaded shrimp and cook them in the oven. For the record, a small portion with fries is $6 at popeyes; a large box with portion for 3 is $6.99 at the grocery store here. You’re EASILY saving money. But I digress…
I decided to make some homemade cole slaw. This makes an absolute ton, but I feel like the portions are correct. If you want to make less, just decrease the sizes of everything in proportion
- half a head of cabbage
- half a head of red cabbage
- a handful of shredded carrots
- vinegar (i used a healthy portion of red wine vinegar)
- about a 1/2 cup of mayo
Chop the cole slaw until it’s about the same size as the carrot pieces. It’s okay if this is not perfect, difference in sizes of the pieces actually adds to the texture. Dump all into a bowl, mix heavily.
Full disclosure: I used to hate cole slaw, but I’ve found that part of the reason is that the cole slaw I was used to was ground too finely (usually in a blender) and I didn’t enjoy the taste. I really enjoy this version of cole slaw.
Here are some photos:
And just for the record, if you’re a beer person, that Long Trail IPA you can see in the background is very good. I highly recommend it.
February 21, 2010
I borrowed and adapted this recipe from Food Network’s Claire Robinson –
Here was her recipe:
- 8 thin slices pancetta (Italian pancetta (Italian pronunciation: [panˈtʃetːa]) is a type of dry cured meat, similar to bacon. It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked))
- 8 slices brioche, about 1/2-inch thick (Brioche is a highly enriched French bread,)
- 4 ounces sharp white Cheddar, thinly sliced (recommended: Farmhouse)
- 1 large heirloom tomato, cut into 4 slices
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
Lay the pancetta slices on the rack on the baking sheet and bake until crisp, 15 to 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, set your toaster to a low setting and toast the brioche slices, (they should be slightly dry but not brown).
Lay 4 slices lightly toasted brioche on a work surface and cover the slices with half the cheese, followed by a slice of tomato. Season each sandwich with a pinch of salt and a healthy grind of black pepper. Top each with 2 pancetta rounds and the remaining cheese. Lay the remaining brioche slices on top and press down lightly. Butter the top of each sandwich with 1/2 tablespoon butter.
Heat a large griddle pan over medium heat.
Melt the remaining tablespoon butter on the griddle pan and add the sandwiches, buttered side up. Cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is beginning to melt. Flip the sandwiches, press lightly, and continue cooking until golden and toasty. Transfer to a cutting board and slice the sandwiches with a serrated knife, on the diagonal. Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately.
I adapted this a little bit. As I’ve said many times, don’t kill yourself trying to make something exactly like everyone else. Make it into something that’s cost effective for you and uses things you like.
- Instead of the brioche, I used sliced rye
- Instead of the white cheddar, I used pepper jack (if you know me, you know I love spice)
- Instead of heirloom tomatoes, I used vine ripe. Tomatoes are notoriously nasty this time of year, and the vine ripe looked the most like what I think tomatoes should look like
Here are some pictures:
February 8, 2010
On Saturday, I made a Chicken Spaghetti with a little bit of a twist. I bought some spinach noodles, yes spinach noodles….linguine actually. I already had some stewed and some diced tomatoes in the pantry as well as some frozen chicken in the freezer.
The key with frozen chicken is to make sure it gets cooked. I heat it up for two minutes in the microwave then sear it in a pan until both sides have some brown and crispy going on. For this dish I decided to make chicken strips, so I sliced the chicken into long slices and then threw it back in the pan for a little while longer.
For the noodles, I boiled them all in water with some olive oil.
I added three cans of tomatoes to the chicken when it was cooked (along with some pepper flakes and garlic salt), then I allowed this mixture to warm until the noodles were done.
When the noodles were done, I mixed it with the chicken and tomatoes. Done.
February 8, 2010
Listen, I know most guys like to think themselves burger experts but I just wanted to share one thing that I find to be burger-critical.
buy good beef
I personally go with angus beef, something in the 80/20 to 83/17 range. Angus is higher quality beef so it provides a better tasting burger and the less lean burger provides a juicier burger.
Another thing that I like is a sandwich pickle on my burger, not those stupid quarter size dill pickles. Again, spending a little more will get you a much better tasting pickle and burger. If you’re really feeling ambitious, Alton Brown has a great breakdown of how to make good pickles.
February 8, 2010
I had some leftover pork from the green pork chili adventure, so I decided to make it into pork chops. Granted, this wasn’t exactly normal pork chops – the pork that I had came from a pork roast that I had used for the pork chili, so these were not “bone in” chops. Technically, they were pork roast fillets.
I roasted the remainder of the pork in the oven for about an hour at approximately 400 degrees.
After it was done roasting, I think sliced it thin and pan-sauteed it to brown the sides a little bit and make sure it was cooked thoroughly (for the love of God, do not eat raw pork – sick).
I served it with some spinach (heated up from frozen) and some wild rice. Turned out delicious.