March 25, 2010
So, I made a mountain of cole slaw the other day, trying to eliminate leftover cabbage in my fridge. While not making for an exciting progression of sides (even though I think I’ve perfected awesome cole slaw), it did give me an opportunity to try making some entrees that I’d been wanting to try.
This is a deer steak that I seared in the pan and then cooked in the oven for about 20 minutes. It looks more rare in the photo than it actually was…it was more like a medium well. I can’t really say that I was impressed with how this turned out, thus leading to my next dish.
This is a blackened deer steak (medium well) with cole slaw. I used the same blackened chicken recipe except with the venison. I rolled the steak in cajun spice and pan seared, then I put in the oven for 20 mins. It turned out awesome and the mixture of the slightly gamey venision, the cajun spice, and the balsamic vinegar/crunch of the cole slaw was fantastic.This is barbecued chicken. I defrosted the chicken, drowned in BBQ sauce and put in the oven for about 20 mins. I wasn’t crazy about this and would have liked to see the sauce crisp up a little bit. I think I’ll try putting it under the broiler next time.
March 19, 2010
I’ve had a lot of guests in from out of town for the last couple weeks so I haven’t spent much time whipping up meals in the kitchen. When people from NC visit me here, they generally want to get out and see the area (I can’t blame them). I thought I would write some quick review of some restaurants I’ve visited recently and the little bit of food that has been made around here.
- Sonny’s Famous Steaks – my parents and I got this tip from a handsome cab driver. The steaks here are better than the Pat’s/Geno’s tourist stops; they were juicier and seemed to be better cuts of meat. Also, eating inside, as my trip to Pats on Monday in the blistering cold showed, is a huge plus. It’s in the vicinity (easy walking distance) of old town and many of the independence tourist sites so that’s a huge plus as well.
- Chinese food in chinatown – nothing to write home about, frankly. Of course, I think the critical element here is ordering something that Chinese people actually eat and I didn’t even know where to begin. I’ll take the blame for this one not being good.
- Katz’s Deli – a very famous deli that wouldn’t have even crossed my radar except for Anthony Bourdain’s disappearing manhattan episode. It was also home to the famous “i’ll have what she’s having” scene from when harry met sally. Anyway, aside from all the tourist stuff about this place, the food is delicious. I had a pastrami on rye and some pickles and a Dr. Brown’s – delicious. I highly recommend it, but you may want to go early and on a weekday if you can.
- We went to multiple Irish pubs in the Times Square vicinity. I could never go back and not feel like I was missing anything. The food was average, uninteresting, and the beer left something to be desired. Blech.
- Tad’s Steaks (times square) – I honestly chose not to eat the food here because the place looked dingy and the food looked old.
- Triumph Brewing (princeton NJ) – higher end decor (it’s princeton), expensive prices (it’s princeton), and I still thought the food was rather average and nothing to write home about. I had their basic in-house IPA and found it to be rather uninteresting. it wasn’t bad, but wasn’t really good. Dear River Horse Brewing, can YOU open a place in Princeton and supplant Triumph? Thanks in advance.
- Chapala (Hamilton, NJ) – I’m accustomed to mexican restaurants providing the same-old menu. Chapala ventures from that a bit and still manages to provide a solid menu that I think most people can find something they want. It is a tad pricey (it’s NJ), but I had the lunch special 5.99 which was chicken mole with refried beans and rice. If you want to read up on Mole, check out wikipedia. This particular version was a frahijo pepper (i think…that’s probably not even close) with a chocolate flavor added – it was spectacular.
We also did cook a little bit when the chef was in town. She whipped up some guacamole with red jalapenos, avocado, lime juice, and garlic that was delicious. I think we inhaled enough of it for several people. She also did some eggs benedict (a dish i had never eaten) and it turned out great as well .
My parents brought me some venison from home, so I’m excited about whipping up something with that, and I’m looking at maybe doing a chicken curry with some of the spices I found stuck in random places around our apartment.
March 12, 2010
I got this recipe from my grandmother Lail, a legendary cook in my personal opinion. I have this dream that one day I’ll own a smoker and have my own kick-ass BBQ recipe but until then I wanted to attempt to make the food that I miss the most from the South.
Here’s grandmother Lail’s email I got when I asked her:
“Jeff, I use Boston Butts They are pork. I also use a crockpot . I usually buy 6 to 8 pound ones. Put Butt into crockpot with fat side on top. Cook on High for 6 to 7 hours or until you can take a fork and strip meat from bone. Strip all meat from bone into a bowl to resemble strips of BBQ. Pour some of the drippings over meat so it will not be dry to taste. Salt according to your taste add your favorite sauce and ENJOY. “
So I ventured out to the store and of course they didn’t have boston butt. After looking around a bit, I decided to go with the pork shoulder that I had seen in other places on the web. I got a 10 pound pork shoulder ($9) and took it home along with what I thought was the best facsimile of NC BBQ sauce.
So I took the pork shoulder, defrosted and unwrapped it and the damn thing wouldn’t fit in my crockpot! I stared at the pork shoulder, stared at the crockpot, back to the pork, back to the crockpot. After repeating this ritual a few times, I came up with a backup plan. I put the oven at 300 degrees and tossed the pork shoulder in a pan. Then I left it in there for about 15 mins. After that, I pulled it out of the oven, deboned it, then threw the meat into the crockpot and discarded the bone in the shoulder and some of the fat.
I then let it cook in the crockpot on high for about 6 hours. I took it out piece by piece after 6 hours and chopped it into small chunks and served with onion rings and cole slaw.
- If you don’t smoke it, you really miss out on the delicious crust and smoky flavor
- I did feel like this came out a little greasy. Maybe I should have taken out more fat.
- The sauce I bought was not the NC sauce I was used to. My parents brought some Hickory Smokehouse sauce up from NC last week, and it was so much better.
Not a bad way to make this dish, but don’t expect it to be the same, especially if you’re used to the good carolina stuff.