Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wok's up man?

Wok's up man?

So I know its been a while since my last post and believe me I have been meaning to post more often but you know,...life gets in the way. Now this happens to everyone, things we intend to get done end up being left undone due to time constraints, work, socialization, life emergencies and the like, the trick is to try to manage your time in such a way that it doesn’t happen or at the very least happens a lot less often. Now how can a blog about cooking help me with this you ask,...well simple feeding ourselves takes time and if we can find a way to get food made that is more conducive to our schedules it would obviously help in such matters.

Often what happens in our lives is we get stretches of time where we don’t really have that much to do coupled with other times when we seem to be so overwhelmed with various tasks that we have no idea what to do next. One of my solutions to help mitigate this is from time to time, when I am in the midst of one of those too much time on my hands periods, I make large batches of food that will store well so that I can eat on the run later when I am busy if need be. Many different types of foods are ideal for this such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes as you can portion them out into freezer containers, freeze them and keep them for months on end but everyone makes meatloaf and quite frankly I personally get kinda bored with the same American style comfort food all the time.

BAM! The Chinese come to the rescue...

Whats wonderful about simple Chinese style food is that not only is it delicious but is is fairly simple to make and usually doesn't make too much mess either but you really need a wok to cook it properly. A great deal of Chinese food especially that which we as North Americans are familiar with is stir fry based and simply no cooking pot or pan can compare to the wok when it comes to making stir fries. Two major things I like,...no make that love about stir fries is that, A)They are absolutely fantastic for stretching out your meat (proteins) and B)For the most part they lend themselves fairly well to semi long term storage. On top of all that due to the fact that you use a lot of veggies and very little oil (most of the time) stir fries tend to be quite healthy.

The thing is a stir fry doesn't have to be a stir fry in the end, there is so much more you can do with it. You can use a stir fry as the filling for a mushu style dish, you can put it into steamed dumplings, but my personal favourite is you can put it into eggrolls!!!

Not quite Chinese Egg Rolls

Note- This recipe makes about 36 egg rolls so you either are going to have to store them or have a lot of friends around to help you eat them.

Prep time for this one is a bit longer than previous recipes at about 30-40 minutes. Cooking time comes in at about 20-30 minutes.

Dishes dirtied- 1 large Wok, 2 Steel Spatulas, 1 Cutting board, 1 Chef's Knife, 1 Grater, 1 large Frying Pan, 1 small bowl, and 1 Fork.


2 lbs. Ground Pork (Beef, Chicken or Turkey can be used instead if you wish)
3 Baby Bok Choy Chopped
2 cups Grated Carrots
8 oz. Chopped Mushrooms
8 oz Bean Sprouts
10 Thai Hot Chilies Finely Chopped
10 Cloves of Garlic Finely Chopped
3 Tbsp. Of Grated Ginger
3 Tbsp. Soya Sauce
2 oz. Sesame Oil
2 cups Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
2x 1lb. Packaged Egg Roll Wrappers (Aprox. 34-36 Wrappers)

First things first you need to prep all your ingredients because once you start cooking things go fairly fast. So to this end make sure you have grated the carrots and ginger, chopped the bok choy, mushrooms, chilies and garlic, basically make sure everything is actually ready for cooking.

Now you take your Wok and put it on a medium-high heat say about 6 or a bit more on a stove top that goes to 10.

Once the wok has heated up a bit pour in the Sesame Oil then put in the Chilies, Garlic, and Ginger.

Once the garlic has started to brown (about 10 sec) Throw in your Mushrooms and Carrots. Toss them in the oil using your spatula to stir it around until all the mushrooms are starting to turn a little darker.

Now we add in the Ground meat and Soya Sauce once again stirring everything in the wok and trying to break up the ground meat into smaller pieces in the process. You will notice as the meat cooks a small amount of water and grease will begin to pool at the bottom of the wok we will let this cook for a bit constantly stirring until that pool begins to reduce a bit.

Next comes the chopped Baby Bok Choy which we will add to the mix and continue stirring for another half minute or so.

Finally we add the Sprouts at which time just toss everything together so its all well mixed take off the heat and cover as the heat of the wok and the rest of the food will be enough to insure the sprouts are cooked enough.

This has to be allowed to cool for a while and any excess liquid that may have pooled in the bottom of the wok needs to be syphoned or spooned off.

We now have our Egg Roll filling,...YAY!!! Next comes the egg rolls.

We now will take Egg break it into our small bowl and beat it with the fork until the Yolk and White are thoroughly mixed together.

Take a single egg roll wrapper place it down then take some of the egg mix and with your finger or a brush put a little smearing of it around the perimeter of the egg roll wrapper.

Then take a small amount of the filling say about 2 heaping tablespoons or a bit more and place it into the centre of the wrapper in an oblong shape running lengthwise along the wrapper. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling and squeeze the ends shut and you finished forming the egg roll.

Once you have formed your egg rolls you then have to cook them to fry up the wrapper so we take our large frying pan and get it up to heat on a medium to medium-high heat (about 5-6).

Once the pan is up to heat we put in the vegetable oil (the oil should be about 1 cm deep) and wait a few minutes for it to heat up.

Then one at a time put in an egg roll using the 2 spatulas to flip it in the oil until the wrapper has turned a nice bubbly golden brown.

The Egg Rolls are now done and can be served either by themselves or as part of another dish with some plum sauce or chutney as a side for dipping.

If you are planning to store the egg rolls as soon as they are completely cooled (important not to do this before they are completely cooled) place them in covered containers. They will freeze well but really have to be reheated from frozen in the oven or refried when reheating. They will also store for about 3-4 day in the refrigerator but once again you will want to put them in the oven or refry them for reheating. Do not try to reheat egg rolls in the microwave as the wrapper will end up kinda spongy and very rubbery.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

KaBob's Your Uncle

KaBob's Your Uncle

OK so there are a few simple facts that ring true for most people things like,'we should eat more fruits and vegetables', and 'food on a stick is good'. The problem is that usually vegetables are a distant second or third choice after more alluring foods like meat and chocolate and rarely come in some sort of undeniably delicious packaging,...like being on a stick!

This is where I come in stating that I, yes I, have found that answer and remedy to all your problems and that answer is the mighty Kabob.

Now I’m sure you all know what a kabob is and in fact have probably seen them being eaten from time to time by friends and possibly loved ones but for some reason when people are thinking of what they should prepare for the BBQ they often seem to get lost in the shuffle of burger, hot dogs and steaks. Why is this well it possibly, nigh in fact probably, has to do with many reasons not the least of which is the prep time required and although I do truly extol the virtues of short prep time with little to clean up sometime a slightly greater effort is well worth it.

When looking at how to make a good kabob in general you want to identify foods that will not only cook well on a kabob but go well with the foods you put on the kabob. Usually when making kabobs the base which we will base the rest of our decisions around will be our meat and while just about any variety of meat (lamb, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp,etc...) can be used one should look for a more tender and less fatty cut generally when picking meat for kabobs like tenderloin or poultry breast meat. Then there is choosing the vegetables which should be both veggies that will cook reasonably quickly but not too quick and will also stay on the stick. Typically good vegetable choices include mushrooms, sweet peppers, onion, pineapple (not a vegetable I know but delicious grilled especially with pork or shrimp) while some less wise choices would be things like carrots and potatoes (take too long to cook) or broccoli and cauliflower which have a hard time staying on the kabob skewer.

Once you have chosen your meats/vegetables you may decide to marinate some or all of them depending but its really as simple as choosing your marinades if any, cutting the food into more or less bite sized chunks, putting the food on the kabob skewers and grilling them until cooked.

Bleeding Teddy's Kick-ass Kabobs

First off this recipe makes a lot of food so make sure you have a decent amount of people around to eat it.

Prep time- 20 minutes for the marinade, 20 minutes for cooking.

Dishes dirtied- 1 chef's knife, 1 cutting board, 2 marinating containers (Tupperware style containers), 1 food processor, 1 pair of BBQ tongs.

Other items required- Kabob Skewers


1 Lb. Jumbo Shrimp Uncooked and Thawed
1 Lb. Pork Tenderloin diced into 1” chunks
1 good sized Sweet Green Pepper
1 good sized Sweet Red Pepper
2 medium sized Sweet Onions
12-14 good sized Button Mushrooms
1 Jalapeno Pepper
3 Serrano Peppers
4-5 Cloves of Garlic
¼ cup Lemon Juice
¼ cup Sesame Seed Oil
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup Olive Oil
Dash of Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take your Jalapeno and Serrano Peppers, you Garlic, Lemon Juice, Sesame Oil, Oregano, about half your Balsamic Vinegar, Salt and Pepper and put it all into your food processor (if you don’t have a food processor a blender will work as well), blend until fairly smooth. Now take your Shrimp and Pork put it into one of your Tupperware containers pour the marinade over everything put the lid on and give a slight shake.

Next Take your Mushrooms and slice them all in half and put them in your other Tupperware container pour your olive oil and the rest of your Balsamic Vinegar over them put the lid on and give them a bit of a shake. From here we wait...

Let the Meat and Mushrooms marinate for a few hours minimum but overnight is better.

Once the meat and mushrooms are marinated take your Onions Green and Red Peppers and cut them into more or less bite sized chunks (about 1” or so) and skewer everything together on the Kabob Skewers. One little note about this is make sure to alternate the different ingredients on the skewers well, I generally go 1 piece veg, 1 meat, 2 veg, 1 meat, 1 veg, 1 meat, 2 veg, etc...

From here finishing is as simple as cooking over a medium heat grill until they are done (usually about 10-15 minutes) turning them fairly often so no sides get overdone.

I recommend serving with a bed of rice or grilled potatoes and a salad.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Quest for Fire

The Quest for Fire

In honour of the impending long summer days with hours of outdoors time that will be spent and the grills that are just begging to be used I figured I would start off my second week of this blog with a little something about outdoor grilling.

I just first off before I really get into any of the real meat of this entry I should give you all the caveat that I do NOT ever use a gas grill, I believe if you want to cook with gas get a gas oven or stove top but leave the BBQ-ing to real burning wood and charcoal. Thus everything I write will be under the assumption that you will also be using a proper BBQ and although some of what I write may be adaptable to a gas grill I assert that a traditional grill is not only tastier but more versatile in many cases and just as easy for the most part to use.

Getting started with outdoor grilling...

OK so we have decided we want to do some outdoor grilling now the question arises what do we need? Well the list of required items is fairly short but the are basically as follows.

A BBQ- Now this can be as simple as a hole dug in the ground with a grate over the top of it to one of the many variety of BBQ grills out there on the market. But assuming you are going with a store bought BBQ there are a few things you should look for in choosing what one you want. The basic things to look for regardless of anything else are; how heavy is the construction, generally heavier construction = better product, how is it put together is it mostly welds or nuts and bolts also if nuts and bolts are they flimsy or heavy nuts and bolts, and finally is it deep enough to get a decent spacing and allow for decent heat control when cooking. From there you would look at the more personalized options like how big a cooking area will you require and what kinds of cooking are you going to want to be doing, will you just be grilling or are you going to want to try smoking food as well. Personally I would always recommend going just a little bigger that you think you are going to need as you never know you may decide you want to grill that really big fish or a turkey or something similar. If you want to do smoking you will want to go bigger yet again or get yourself an offset smoker which is basically a 2 chamber BBQ so you can keep you fire in one chamber and cook your food with the smoke and indirect heat in the second chamber. I will go more into Grills in a later post

Something to Burn- Usually when home grilling as it is a bit easier to control we use charcoal but wood or a combination of the two can be used just as easily. If using just wood in most commercial grills you have to use only dense hardwood and the denser the better as it will burn slower as a general rule. Now on the other hand if you are using charcoal I would generally recommend going with a 'Natural Lump' charcoal over a 'Pressed Briquet' style as it generally gives you better tasting results. I find the 'Pressed Briquet' style of charcoal sometimes imparts a bit of a “fuel like taste” which you can also get if you use a petroleum based starter without giving it ample time to completely burn off, therefore if using a petroleum based starter you have to give it alt least 25-30 minutes to burn before cooking to insure you don’t wreck your food even if the grill is up to heat before then. This can of course be avoided by using the “Chimney” method and using paper as a starter but this also requires you to have a chimney starter which you must then either buy or make yourself.

Cooking Utensils- I find in general unless using a larger grill that normal kitchen spatulas and tongs will do the job just fine as long as they are metal not not really flimsy but in the case that you have either a very large grill, plastic utensils or flimsy utensils you may want to go out and pick up a BBQ set. These can be picked up quite cheaply at a wide variety places like dollar stores, grocery stores and hardware stores.

Now that we have acquired the basics it's time to fire up the grill...

From Flame to Plate

Lighting the grill is very easy but it something many people put way to much thought and consideration into often getting the job done sub-optimally. Quite simplay the 2 easiest ways are either the chimney method or the pyramid method. With the chimney method you take a 'chimney which can be as simple as an apple juice can with the top and bottom cut off and a few holes in the sides for air flow to some reasonably fancy ones you can buy already made. You then crumple up some paper put in under the charcoal grill (most BBQs will have two 'grills one deeply recessed in the BBQ that the coals sit on and one that goes above the coals that you put the food on), put the chimney above the crumpled paper, fill chimney with charcoal, and light the paper. It will take about 20 minutes for the coals to catch completely at which time you use some tongs to remove the chimney place down the cooking grill and get ready to cook. With the pyramid method you pile the coals in a pyramid or cone shape and either try to light from below with paper like the chimney method (this can be hard) or with a small (note small) amount of petroleum based fire starter. Once the coal have caught spread them out a bit put the cooking grill into place and you are basically ready to cook.

Now all we have to do is wait from the grill to heat up a bit and make sure out flame is at our more or less desired cooking temperature. To regulate the flame in a fixed height open pit grill the only method really is to have a spray bottle of water on hand and if the flame is too hot them to spray the coals just a little bit. On a typical closed grill we have more options though. On a typical closed grill we have a set of vents one at the base of the grill that regulates the amount of air intake possible to the grill and one on the lid that regulates air/smoke exhaust. By opening these op you can increase airflow thus increasing the heat of your flame and by closing these you can reduce the heat by reducing airflow. The exact amounts you have to open and close the vents will take some experimentation and will vary but its fairly simple to get the hang of.

Everything is finally ready to put our meat or veggies on the grill,...YAY!!!

Depending on what you are cooking times will very and if you haven’t done much cooking you may find having a meat thermometer to be very helpful in getting your food cooked correctly. You also may or may not, depending on what you are cooking, want to sauce your food during the cooking process but really the grilling itself especially done with wood or wood chips should impart enough flavour on its own that nothing else should be necessary (not that it can't add to the experience).

We have now covered a lot of the BBQ basics and will be ready to discuss some more techniques and some recipes in our next instalment.

Bleeding Teddy – The Bachelor Gourmet

Friday, May 25, 2012

Deep Frying & the Golden Oil of the Gods

Deep Frying & the Golden Oil of the Gods

As every Bachelor knows Deep Fried foods are about as close to nirvana as one can get. First off nothing seems to seal in flavour like a quick bath in hot oil and second with the way fried foods clog your arteries they leave you that much closer to kicking the proverbial bucket, thus also bringing you much closer to nirvana. For the following we will pretend that the artery clogging properties of deep fried foods do not exist and only focus on the positive.

Some of you reading may or may not know that I live in Nova Scotia where the only thing close to as abundant as unemployed fishermen is fresh fish, albeit as the numbers of the former rise the numbers of the latter seem to decline almost like there is some kind of correlation. This said I felt being from Nova Scotia that it behoved me to talk at least somewhat about fish or at the very least food from the sea.

Seafood is something that people generally seem to love or hate for the most part with one real exception, Fish & Chips which just about everyone I've ever known seems to love or at least like a lot. Now I suspect from what I have written so far that you now expect me to go about how to make a great fish and chips but you would be wrong as it takes years to perfect how to truly make a great fish and chips and I have had neither the time or the inclination to do the learning and recipe testing required. This is probably because I've never personally been a huge fan of wither Haddock or Cod which at least here are the 2 main types of fish generally used for fish and chips. What I do love on the other hand is Clams and they can be found in huge abundance here plus they fry up divinely.

Now frying clams is quite a bit different than frying fish as you have to use a dry batter or breading due to the fact that a wet batter just wont stick to clams at all and what you end up with is bits of fried clam with nothing on them and bits of fried batter with nothing in it. That is why I chose a recipe using breading which personally I find makes better clams than any dry batter I've ever had. Also in the following recipe I use Peanut Oil which I find due to its flavour properties and ability to take a very high heat makes the best deep frying oil ,although I will admit that pure beef lard is even better but a bit beyond my price range to use as a frying medium, but if you are not wanting to use peanut oil for any reason (allergies, taste, etc...) you can always replace the peanut oil with either vegetable oil or canola oil.

I should also probably mention that unlike my recipes up to this point this recipe makes way more food than one person can or at least should eat in one sitting but what you do is with this recipe is between you and whatever god you choose.

Spicy Breaded Nova Scotia Clams

Dishes Dirtied – 1 mixing bowl, 1 small bowl, 1 deep fryer or large wok, 1 steel spatula or tongs

1 lb. Clean shelled clams (Make sure to wash these thoroughly before using)
1 Egg
2 Cups of fine breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. Chili or Cajun spice mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
¾ Qt. Peanut oil if using a wok or as much as needed if using a deep frier (this will depend on what brand/model you are using)

Start by making sure your clams are really well washed to make sure you don't end up with gritty fried clams as they are kinda gross. Once this is done dry off your hands put your oil on at a medium/high (about 7 on most stoves) temperature and we are ready to begin.

Take all your dry ingredients and thoroughly mix them together in the mixing bowl making sure you have as homogenous a mixture as possible. Then in your small bowl beat your egg until it is bubbling up a little.

Dip all the clams into the egg mixture if they won't all fit then do a few at a time. Then take a clam out of the egg mix shake it off a little roll it in the breading shake it again and then put it in the oil. If the Oil is hot enough it should start instantly bubbling if it doesn’t then wait another few minutes before going to the next one. Once the oil is at the right temperature just start repeating this process but don’t try to do more than about 5 clams at a time because they cook very quick and you could burn them.

As the breading on the clams begins to turn a really deep shade of golden brown using the tongs or spatula remove them from the oil and place them on a plate for serving. Cooking about 5 at a time it should still only take you about 6-7 minutes or so to cook the whole pound of clams.

The clams are now ready to be served with your choice of sides which would usually be fries (I will discuss these in a future post) or maybe a salad or coleslaw. I personally also recommend dripping a bit of lemon juice on the clams before eating.

One final note,...make sure when buying your clams that you are getting whole clams and not 'clam strips'. Clam strips are cut from giant deep sea clams and are not nearly as tasty as whole clams, they have a much less pleasant texture as well.

Bleeding Teddy - The Bachelor Gourmet

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Implements of Construction

The Implements of Construction

Today I have decided to take a brief departure from recipes to discuss those items which you need to implement said recipes. We are all aware of the utter plethora of various kitchen gadgets and devices that are available on the market but money and space is limited so the question is what to get and as money doesn't grow on trees (I know this as I tried planting a loony) how much to spend.

I guess the first thing that should be determined first is what is the single most important tool in the kitchen. Well for that we are looking for the most versatile piece of equipment that we have that can perform the largest number of functions in the kitchen, and when looked at from that angle the answer is obvious (if it wasn't already) that this tool is the chef's knife.

This isn’t because because knifes are so f'n cool (although we both know they are) but the knife is in fact so important in the act of cooking that I would suggest being willing to spend at least half your kitchen budget on a top quality knife and steel if you are shopping on a limited budget. One of the things is if you are patient enough most of the other really necessary tools can be found in an acceptable shape and quality at places like thrift and second hand stores but that rarely if ever goes for knives.

So the next question arises, well how does one choose the right knife? Well there are few major things to look for to see if you have the right knife. The first and most important is of course the quality of the steel from which the knife is made. The thing is I could get very technical and try talking out of my ass about number grades and whatnot that I don’t really know anything about or I could quite simply just breakdown for you what I do know.

First off look at where the steel is from as there are some countries that are well known for making great steel blades such as Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and Japan. Conversely there are other countries that are known for producing low or consumer grade steel knives which are softer and can be prone to 'pitting' such as much of eastern Europe and China thus steel from these locals is generally to be avoided.

Second check the balance of the knife on your standard 10”-12” chef's knife the balance point should ideally be about 1/2”-3/4” down the blade from the handle. If the balance on the knife is off that often will indicate problems or irregularities with the blade construction.

Third look at the 'Tang' of the blade, the tang is the portion of the knife steel that extends beyond the blade into the handle. Does the tang run all the way through the handle? If not it may indicate a weak point in the knife.

Fourth look at the 2 profiles of the blade. The first is simply the front to back profile, does the blade have a nice curve to the edge without being too extreme so that the knife can rock back and forth nicely using a minimum of up and down hand movement. The second profile is the back profile of the blade. Look at the very back of the blade holding the knife out in front of you. If the blade remains the top thickness for the first third of the way down before the bevel to the blade begins this is ideal.

Finally look at how well the edge is ground. A brand new top quality chef's knife should be razor sharp, with a small but barely noticeable 'hollow' at the edge (like the curves on the bottom of a valentine's heart).

Now that you have the right knife the question is how to properly care for it. The easiest and most important thing I can stress as far as this goes is getting a decent knife sharpening steel and sharpening the blade a few times every use or every other use, as long as the blade is kept sharp it shouldn’t need major sharpening which can really shorten the blade life. Also never use 'scotchbrite' pads or anything else that is abrasive to clean your knife, really as long as you clean your knife right after use it should require little more than a rinse of water and a wipe with a towel.

So you ask now Why in gods name did you just bore us with all this useless crap about knives? Well simply the knife can take the place of almost every kitchen gadget out there on the market and do the job just as well as the specialized gadget and often better. When you have a good knife you don't need a garlic press, a food processor, a meat grinder, a grater, and the list goes on.

Now of course a knife alone won't cook you a meal other implements will be needed. Probably next on your list after the right knife is a small selection of pots and pans. For this your most important piece is probably a 4-6 qt. Saucepan because if you have no other pots and pans you can still do just about anything you want that can be done on a stove top in a medium saucepan. Next you would want a 12”-14” frying pan and finally a small saucepan around 1-1.5 qt. You will also need some sort of oven pan but nothing special just a simple ceramic or corning ware oven pan will do and you can get them all the time at thrift stores for next to nothing. Once you have these pots and pans you are fairly well set, sure sometime a few others here and there would be really nice but you should be able to accomplish just about anything you want with these.

I don’t have too much more to say about picking out your pots and pans other than to stress AVOID NON-STICK AT ALL COSTS!!! Go with stainless steel or cast iron or even glass/ceramic over non-stick any day because I’ve yet to find the food mess that soaking in hot water for a half hour wont solve with the exception of burnt rice and that will destroy your non-stick pots as well.

You will of course want to finish out your collection of tools with some of the standard fare such as spatulas, cooking spoons, cutting boards etc... but all that should be fairly easy to come by at a fairly inexpensive price (once again thrift and second hand stores hint,...hint,...)

Bleeding Teddy – The Bachelor Gourmet

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Perfect 15 minute Steak...Indoors!

The Perfect 15 minute Steak...Indoors!

Contained within the culinary diversions of the bachelor few food are as highly prized as the steak. Now although a perfectly grilled steak is often considered about as close to the divine as can be found on the earth that is an option available to many during only short periods of the year where outdoor grilling is reasonably feasible. That is where I step in with the admitted inspiration coming from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

First off a little history on how I came up with this recipe. A while back I was watching a lot of Top Chef (one might say I was becoming a bit of an addict) which is where I first became aware of Anthony Bourdain and while I was web surfing for more crap about the show I encountered a steak recipe that he used to use in his restaurant. Although I rarely cook from a recipe I decided to make an exception in this case as just reading the recipe was making my mouth water but low and behold his recipe called for cognac something which I miraculously didn't have on hand so to the rescue came some very nice blended aged scotch.

It was amazing one of the best steaks I had ever had definitely better than any I had ever had in any restaurant save one or 2 maybe but at the same time I knew I could improve on this. So over the next few weeks I tirelessly tested new tweaks using different varieties of steak, alcohol, seasonings and other additives and here is the final result...

Whiskey sauce seared butter steak

Dishes Dirtied- 1 Frying Pan, 1 Kitchen Knife, 1 Cutting Board, 1 Spatula, 1 Oven Pan

1- 12 to 14 oz Bone in Strip loin Steak
2- Ounces of Bourbon
1/8- Cup of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
4- Ounces of Mushrooms
1- Bundle of Green Onions
Salt and Pepper to your taste

First thing to do is get the prep work out of the way so we take the mushrooms and onions and slice them up keeping them separate then finely chop the garlic. While you are doing this prep preheat your oven to 350F and put the pan on to get hot at a medium/high temperature (around 7 on most stoves). Once this is done you are ready to begin cooking.

Now we go over to the frying pan and place in our butter, while it is melting we take a sprinkle of salt and pepper and put them into the butter along with the garlic. Once the butter is completely melted wait another 3 or 4 seconds or until the garlic begins to sizzle then place in the steak. Sear the steak on each each side for about 3-4 minutes or until some nice browning appear then take your steak put it into the oven pan and place it inot your preheated oven. The steak is now basically done depending on how well you like your steak leave it in the oven for 6-7 minutes for rare, 8-10 for medium rare, and 10-12 for medium any more than that and you are just cooking the steak to death.

With the steak in the oven we go back to the frying pan and put in our mushrooms and then carefully pouring in the whiskey (be very careful as you are pouring alcohol to a hot pan so as to avoid flare ups). We now just saute the mushrooms until they are about done and the liquid in the pan has started to reduce. Just before the mushrooms are done add your green onions to the frying pan as well.

Now that the mushrooms and onions are done and the steak is out of the oven garnish the steak with the mushrooms and serve with the potato or salad side dish of your choice. If you are anything like me you will find yourself in culinary bliss.

There are few really fun ways to play with this recipe as well. If you add a dry rub of chillies to the steak before cooking and replace the bourbon with 1-1/2 oz of Tequila and ½ oz of Lime juice and you have a lovely Margarita steak. Also using Sherry with a touch of cream instead of the Bourbon is fantastic as well and tastes very french.

As a final note I will add a few pointers on picking out the right steak as not all steaks are created equal.
The first thing to look for and that which most people already know about is Marbling. Marbling quite simply is the fine lines of fatty tissue inside the muscle (meaty) tissue of the steak. What you are looking for here is thin veins of fat that are somewhat common and dispersed evenly throughout the steak.

Second is the grain of the meat. The grain should be reasonably fine while still having texture. A grain that is too fine will lead to a texture less steak and a grain that is too coarse will lead to a steak that is too tough.

Finally and this should go without saying if the option is available to you get your meat directly from a farmer or from a farmers market. A local farmer (non factory farm) is going to treat their meat and prepare their meat the way they would want done for themselves thus you usually get meat that is better bred, raised, slaughtered, aged, and butchered. If getting directly from a farmer isn't an option then maybe a traditional style butcher is available in your area and they are a great second option.

Simply a well chosen and cooked steak truly is the king of all meat dishes and is something that should be in the cooking repertoire of any self loving bachelor so enjoy and until next time keep your food close and your liquor even closer.

Bleeding Teddy – The Bachelor Gourmet

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Introductions and the basic burger

The Bachelor Gourmet...

 First off what is Bachelor Gourmet? Well simply it is food that goes beyond your simple reheated spaghetti, Kraft dinner or a microwave TV dinner while taking a minimum of preparation time and dirtying a minimum number of dishes. Some call them one dish wonders but regardless of what you call them it simply comes down to the fact that lazy people want to eat well too.

In different posts on this blog I will go into such subjects as ingredient quality, food handling, food storage, eating out, flavour experimentation, and calorie counting/low calorie cooking but I will begin with a post on what I believe to be one of the easiest ways to elevate one of the most basic and common dishes to a true culinary experience. The basic Burger.

Traditionally the basic burger is a fatty slab of ground beef smothered in processed cheese, sickly sweet and 'tangy' sauces, lettuce, and tomato, slapped between to halves of a cheap white bread bun, not necessarily a bad meal but definitely not fitting of calling itself anything even close to gourmet. Now while ingredient selection can do some to help this such as going with local free range or organic beef (I always think you should buy locally grown/produced food whenever possible) and using real cheese rather than processed crap it still comes a way from being considered gourmet. So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Lumberjack Burger Provincial

 Prep Time- 15 minutes, Dishes Dirtied- 1 frying pan, 1 spatula, & 1 plate

1/3 lb. Lean Ground Sirloin
1 Egg
1-1/2 Strips of Bacon
3-4 Slices of Brie
Worcestershire Sauce

First preheat your frying pan to a high medium temperature (about 6 on most stoves) you then take the bacon and cook it in your frying pan until it has achieved the desired level of crispiness. While the bacon is cooking form your burger patty from the beef and once the bacon is done remove it from the pan and place it on paper towel to drip.

You now begin cooking the burger by placing it in the pan you cooked the bacon in without changing the temperature. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side and when you flip it put a few drops of the Worcestershire sauce. The second side you cook for about 4 minutes then flip again. Now you place the Brie and the Bacon on the burger and cover for about 2 minutes. The burger is now done take it and put it on your plate but there is one final step so don't eat it yet.

Now keeping the frying pan at the same heat we fry our egg sunny side up or over easy/hard if you prefer. I recommend sunny side up but the choice is yours. The simply place the egg on top of the burger serve with some chips or a salad, the beverage of your choice and enjoy.

You will find the complexity of all the flavours mingling when you break into the yolk and in runs over everything absolutely delicious and at the end of everything you only have the 3 dishes to clean.

Just a couple notes on this recipe. First off if you are using grocery store or frozen ground meat you will have to cook your burger for about 2-3 minutes more per a side to insure it is totally cooked through as it tends to be not as safe as locally grown and acquired beef is. Second if you wish you can swap out just about any variety of cheese you want for the brie although I would generally recommend either a very rich cheese like brie or a very flavourful cheese like very old cheddar or swiss.

Well I hope you've enjoyed this little introduction and please check back from time to time to see what new recipes I've been able to conjure from the recesses of my mind. Also please do not hesitate in the slightest to give me your feedback on what you think of this blog on your ideas of how I might improve it.

Bleeding Teddy – The Bachelor Gourmet