Recipes

now browsing by category

Your kitchen tested starting off point for great meals.

 

Caramel Fish Sauce

I was recently referred to this recipe supposedly penned by Andrew "Bug Breath" Zimmern, which is published on the website of the world's worst culinary magazine, Food & Wine. Fish Sauce Caramel - sounds edgy! Further reading reveals that the recipe is pompous, intimidating, unbalanced and worst of all, BORING. the goodsOooooo but it's got "Asian Fish Sauce" in it. F&W Bitches, please - I drink "Asian Fish Sauce" or as we call it, fish sauce, from a FLASK. The concept is sound, it's a loose interpretation of a vietnamese nuoc cham, but it's too lose and really leaves a lot to be desired. So I'm here to rescue this poor concept from the obscurity of what the mentally handicapped authors of F&W consider "unusual". Caramel Nuoc Cham, Rogue Estate style:
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1 Tbl Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 C Water
Combine the Sugar, water and lemon juice in a 6 qt saucepan over medium high until it caramelizes. 15-20 minutes depending on your cooktop. stir occasionally not obsessively. When it gets to a pleasing caramel color, reduce the heat to the warm/simmer and stir in the following:
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Star Anise Powderimage
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1 tsp Sambal Chili Paste (or Sriracha pepper sauce.)
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Fish Sauce (the brand is really unimportant here.)
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 2 C finely diced Red or White Onion (whichever you prefer.)
Keep the whole mess simmering for 5 minutes while stirring to get everything cozy and warmed up, then turn the heat off and move the pan someplace to cool. Once it's below napalm levels, transfer to an appropriately sized bowl or jar with a sealable lid. Use it on damn near anything, keep it in the fridge for 2 weeks, as if it would actually last that long. "Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan" my ass. If you F&W tools are going to ghost write recipes for Zimmern, you could at least pretend to write in his voice and, heaven forbid, make the crap you're peddling accessible to your dwindling audience. -///
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Bacon’s More Sophisticated Cousin

IMG_0242

The cast of characters. See also: The Usual Suspects.

Braised meats aren’t usually thought of when pondering Asian cuisine. Braising is generally associated with the French in dishes such as Boeuf Bourguignon, or American Pot Roasts. This is a fool-hardy assumption, however. Enter the Japanese preparation and staple of any ramen-ya worth its weight in rice, braised pork belly, or Chashu. Yet another adaptation of a Chinese dish, char siu, chashu has become something else entirely. While char siu usually refers to a roasted meat glazed with honey and soy (and added red food coloring in some cases) the Japanese took most of the same ingredients, turned it into a braise, and added their own flair with the addition of mirin and sake. Also, the Chinese use the term “char siu” to refer to any number of meats roasted in the same manner, for the Japanese however, chashu is made with pork belly. Nothing else. We can get behind that. The recipe that follows is a cross-reference between two other recipes I found and my own added spin here and there. The process is fairly long, as with most braises, but the ingredients are pretty cheap and simple. The differences in my recipe and the ones I referenced are these: One recipe called for rolling the belly, which is traditional, and the other did not. I went with the flat preparation. While rolling the belly takes longer to cook it comes out juicier, or so I hear, but that can be solved by simply cutting down on the oven time and keeping vigilant watch. There was, however, the issue of the skin. It likes to be cooked for a LONG time, which would make the rolled method more logical. I soldiered on with my plan though. The rolled recipe also called for skin on (or rind on) pork belly, while the other called for skin off. This suggestion I did follow. The flat prep recipe said to sear all sides and blanch the meat before braising while the other said to roll it and go. I seared, only the meat side, and did not blanch. I left the skin un-seared, and blanching after searing would inevitably wash away some of the brown color the sear provided. Color = flavor, a fundamental philosophy in all of cooking, so blanching after searing just seemed like a bad idea to me. That recipe was from a very highly respected chef, though, so what the hell do I know. One recipe also called for the addition of typically Chinese or South-East Asian spices like cinnamon, star anise and black peppercorns. This, too, I followed, predictably. Perhaps just as predictably the fish sauce was my addition. Had to be done. There was no way around it. It was for the benefit of science and all mankind, you see. I expected the skin to be tough and un-chewable but I was wrong. Very wrong! It was gooey and sticky and gelatinous, and provided a very interesting contrast in texture to the supple fat and the chewy yet melting to the tooth meat. Next time I try this I’m going to try one of the suggestions I shied away from this run just to see the difference. But for now, I’m satisfied with these results. It was good. It was really good. It was really fucking good! This is going to be a picture heavy post, so those of you who are easily offended by unadulterated and unapologetic food porn may wish to close this window now or just fuck off from the room. It’s about to get real up in this bitch. Chashu, Japanese braised pork belly. The ingredients:    
IMG_0253

Fuck you, Malbon! Any blood spilled because of this addiction is on YOUR hands!

2-2.5 pounds raw Pork Belly – uncured, not smoked, rind on 1 cup Mirin 1 bottle (300 ml) Hakutsuru Draft sake ½ cup of Honey 1 ½ cups Soy Sauce (Yamasa brand is my preference) 3” knob of fresh Ginger – peeled and crushed 1 Star Anise 1 stick of Cinnamon 1 tsp. Black Peppercorns 5 cloves of Garlic 6 cleaned and chopped Scallions 3 Tbsp. Red Boat Fish Sauce Kadoya Sesame oil Light Vegetable or Olive oil (No extra virgin!)        
IMG_0244

Yeah, yeah, I already know what your gonna say about overcrowding the pan... The meat is thick enough and is going to be cooked long enough to render that point moot.

Procedure: Preheat oven to 275 degrees, 250 if it wil go that low. Oil a pan with the light veggie oil and heat until just starting to smoke. Sear the meat side of the pork belly until golden brown. Set aside. Add a little bit of sesame oil and toast the dry spices (anise, cinnamon and black pepper) until aromatic, about 90 seconds. Add the crushed ginger and sauté for a few seconds, then add the garlic whole and stir fry for a few more seconds. When the garlic is just starting to take on a bit of color deglaze with the sake and mirin. Reduce by about half, we're really just looking to burn off the alcohol.  Once reduced add the soy sauce, honey, scallions and fish sauce and bring back to a simmer.        
IMG_0246

Most of the flavor in dry spices is locked in their oils. Toasting in a little oil brings them out more than if just pitched right in and gives them a little more complexity

    Place your pork belly skin side down in a deep and tight fitting oven-proof container and cover with the hot liquid. Cover loosely and place in the oven for 2 hours. Check on it at this point, the point of a paring knife should sink through to the bottom of the pan with little resistance.             Once it’s finished, pull it out of the oven and place it in the refrigerator, still covered in its braising liquid, until fully chilled. What will emerge is a slightly gelatinous liquid and pork belly that is much easier to slice into serving sized portions. If one were to slice it hot one would end up with a mess of basically pulled pork belly. Decidedly NOT what we are looking for here.        
IMG_0252

Ready to cover and lounge in the oven for a couple hours

Slice into 3 or 4 blocks through the narrower width (if it was whole this would be the length of the belly) and then into ½ to ¼ inch slices against the grain of the meat at the time of service. To reheat there are a few methods you could take. You could thicken the liquid with cornstarch and use it to glaze the slices in the oven or in a steamer until heated through. Or you could simply drop the slices in some simmering soup and pour that over some ramen. If you own a brulee torch you could char it slightly, which is certainly the most dramatic approach. Or you could do what I did. I placed the slices on a broiler plate, covered it with its braising liquid and put it in the broiler until it started to audibly pop. The popping is from the skin that was left on. At this point I pulled it from the boiler, basted the slices with the liquid in the pan, and put them back under the broiler, repeating this a few times until the slices were nicely browned.    
IMG_0260

Ready for it's semi-final destination. The Broiler!

Serving suggestions for this are myriad. As already stated, this is a classic topping for ramen, but Chef Takashi out here in Chicago serves it with steamed buns. Hell, you could just shove it in your slavering maw straight outa the broiler! By this point it’s been long enough in the making that any delivery method would be simply that. Just a means to get that unctuous pig belly into your impatiently awaiting face! The braising liquid in and of itself is a thing of beauty! Use it to season soup broth, as a pig infused marinade, as a fucking beverage! Seriously, its used to marinade the soft boiled, runny yolk but firm white eggs that are also a staple ramen topping!    
IMG_0262

Finally ready for a vicious tongue lashing! You dirty little pork belly...

I REALLY hope you guys try this, time investment be damned! Just like most braises, this one just gets better if left in the fridge for a couple days before serving. Which means you can make it well in advance and be the fucking hero of any dinner party! All the work having been done the day before, and being better for the aging, leaves you to focus on other things that might need to be done at the last minute. The pork belly will wait. It’s patient like that. This is a seriously good accompaniment to just about any vaguely Asian inspired menu. You will be in love. You will want to pour the liquid in your eyes.You will want to rub the meat all over your body to attract a mate. And if they are repulsed by it, fuck them! They aren’t good enough for you anyway if they don’t like perfume of pork fat, ginger and soy sauce!    
IMG_0247

Kadoya. Ask for it by name!

Live well and COOK PORK! -Jack        
IMG_0264

Serving suggestion! This or dive at it like a savage that hasn't seen pork belly in years. Either would be completely appropriate.

Yard to Plate – The Lighter Side of Spaghetti

Here in the Great Lakes region the harvest season is in full swing - the bounty of the summer's labors piled high on tables in every farm market and every kitchen counter for those who's gardens survived the punishing summer drought. What started as a quick "I want to use some of this stuff from the garden" side dish last week has been refined as the main course this week and I'm happy enough with it to share it here. This one is pretty simple and  can be served hot or cold. The preparation of the squash is flexible - steaming squash is one of the few tasks I think a microwave oven is perfect for: 12 minutes in a modestly powered microwave should be enough to produce a perfectly al dente 2lb spaghetti squash every time and you don't need to dirty a single dish. The Software:
  • 2 lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, diced (Use a few different types if available)
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tblsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Chive)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
The Method: Halve or quarter the squash and scoop out the seeds and other goop. Like pumpkin seeds, seeds from all squash varieties are absolutely delicious when dried, toasted and salted, so save em up and make yourself a nice little snack. For the sake of simplicity, (Simplicity? is this really The Rogue Estate?) stick the squash portions in the microwave and let it go for 12 minutes. Check it at 6 minutes if you are unsure of your microwave's capabilities and adjust accordingly. Before, during or after the squash steaming described above, put a 1/4 inch dice on the tomatoes and onions, removing any excess seeds or other goopy bits. Put a real fine mince (or a chiffonade if you're fancy) on the herbs. I used roughly equal parts of Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Chive for this application, but let your own preferences guide you - spaghetti squash's mild flavor lends itself compatible with just about everything, much like it's namesake pasta. Melt the butter and whisk it into the olive oil, then put everything else into the bowl and toss or stir to coat and combine. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and set aside to let the flavors meld a bit. Back to the squash - you'll know it's done with you can pull it apart with a fork and little to no effort. Use the fork to scrape the husk clean  and discard the husk. Portion out the squash onto whatever individual serving vessels suit your fancy - in this case I used 8" plates.  At this point you can serve hot or allow the squash to cool. Give the sauce a good stir to redistribute the liquid and scoop it on top of the plated squash. Drizzle an extra spoonful of the liquid over each plate and serve immediately.   This dish goes well with an autumn sunset and a hunk of good bread to soak up the juice and oil leftover when the squash is gone. Drop a reply here or on the facebook if you give this a whirl, we'd love to know how it turns out and if you came up with any great modifications. As with any of our recipes, this is but a guide - explore, modify and make each dish your own - taste, taste, TASTE! -///    
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Stumbling Toward Dinner

Winner-winner, onion dinner! Recently, The Rogue Estate gang entered a contest offered by search aggregate website StumbleUpon, seeking dinner party concepts built upon themes and recipes found using only their web service. The result? WE WON! My love of onions in all their forms is no secret around the Rogue Estate Kitchens and often the platform for good sarcastic laughs. "One of these days, we should do a dinner of nothing but onions, ha ha ha." And so it was meant to be, another snotty comment turned hair-brained scheme. The challenge - using StumbleUpon's keyword based stumble tool, find recipes to build a menu for a dinner party. The subject - no kidding - Onions. Not merely recipes that just happen to have onions as supporting players, but recipes of which the onions are the stars, supported by the other ingredients. Additionally, I wanted a full cohesive menu instead of a collection of random dishes or appetizers. Lastly - some variety. Rogue Estate is about culinary exploration, not "same old same old". After a few evenings of stumbling and researching recipes, the menu was set. I wrote up our contest entry and submitted it to StumbleUpon. A couple weeks later after the contest had been forgotten, this email arrived: "Thanks so much for applying to the StumbleUpon Dinner Party promotion. We'd love for you to host this awesome "Onion Themed" potluck! We thought that was a funny concept." Onion Chef's Night was a GO! This is the full menu we prepared, with StumbleUpon links to the source recipes: App / Snack Caramelized Onion & Bacon dip with chips http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1eSySl/networkedblogs.com/nrwkY Salad Shaved brussels sprouts and onion salad - we added more onion varieties to this, including a fried red onion garnish. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/296bw6/www.food52.com/recipes/7650_shaved_brussels_sprout_salad_with_red_onion_lemon_and_pecorino Main Red Onions stuffed with pork sausage - fuck martha stewart, but this is a good reference and we used Corridor Sausage to hit this one out of the park. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/172RhB/www.marthastewart.com/857640/sausage-stuffed-red-onions Grilled Onion "Steaks" with honey dijon glaze. Ridiculously simple, and quite satisfying. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/3rrcZj/www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/BBQ-ONION-STEAKS-WITH-HONEY-MUSTARD-SAUCE-235354 Sides French onion soup stuffed mushroom caps - fuck yeah. these things were killer. An awesome alternative to the bowl of soup. Will definitely use this concept again somewhere. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/32lhDQ/thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/11/french-onion-soup-stuffed-mushrooms/ Sweet & Savory Dessert Cauliflower & Onion Tart - this was a monster, or maybe we were burned out on onions by dessert. Either way we took it over the edge by serving with a dollop of Slow Jams Cranberry & Red Onion Jam. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/7qRubQ/smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/cauliflower-and-caramelized-onion-tart/ We took a bunch of photos, of course... for the sake of laziness, they're posted to our Facebook Page, of which you are hopefully a fan and if not, show us some thumbs-up love! -///  
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.

Bob’s Bacon Saganaki Recipe

The Rogue Estate's BBQ Bob and Street Eatzz's Chef Tom presented a cooking demo at the first Baconfest Michigan in the Royal Oak Farmer's Market on June 2, 2012. This is one of the dishes they prepared for the crowd. It started innocently enough - What can we do with our sponsor's product - Bakon Vodka - that hasn't already been done before? Every variation of savory cocktail is pretty much covered on their website and we're cooks, not bartenders. "Let's torch something... flambe' style." The answer became obvious - Detroit has a large Greek population and our exposure to their culinary culture over the decades has led to a local love with the customary flaming cheese dish: Saganaki. At GreekTown restaurants and late night coneys scattered around the Metro Detroit area the familiar shout of "OPA!" and the woosh of alcohol fueled flames have delighted diners for generations. So how to take this classic and make it our own? The traditional Saganaki uses the Greek cheese Kasseri, which is a semi soft cheese of sheep's milk. We had trouble finding a decent Kasseri that didn't disintegrate during the cooking process, so we switched to a semi soft Mexican Queso which fried up much nicer and maintained a rich, creamy consistency over it's crispy when fried skin, with the added benefits of tasting better, being easier to find and costing much less than the Kasseri. Frankly, Saganaki isn't a high art - any rich, semi-soft melting cheese will do. A word of caution: This dish does require open flame. As such, prepare it outside if at all possible. If you must cook it indoors, do so only with a very small amount of alcohol, preferably in a kitchen with very high ceilings. The Software: 1 round of Greek style (fluffy) Pita Bread 2 tblsp Bacon Jam* 4 strips of smoked bacon 2-4oz of Queso or other Semi-soft cheese 2 oz Bakon Vodka or other savory, flammable booze. 1 lemon, halved and seeded 1 tsp minced fresh chives Special Hardware: Cast Iron Skillet, fry pan or sizzler platter Long Reach grill lighter or fireplace match Procedure: Preheat Oven or Toaster Oven to 200F. Halve the lemon and pick out all the visible seeds. Heat up your cast iron and fry the bacon as desired. The point here is to render the bacon grease out to fry the cheese in. When the bacon is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan to a paper towel and snack as desired. Slice your cheese as thick as you wish. We find 1/2 inch thick slabs to be the perfect balance of decadent and manageable as far as cook time is concerned. Place the cheese slabs into the cast iron on medium low heat until the bottom begins to brown and the top begins to melt. Remove the cast iron from the heat source and place in an area free from flammable overhead objects. Pour Bakon Vodka over the cheese, stand back and light the sizzling and highly flammable steam with your grill lighter or long fireplace match. Yell "OPA!" when the fireball erupts. Squeeze the lemon halves over the diminishing flames and melty cheese. Remove the pita from the oven and using a spatula, place the melty fried cheese on top of the Bacon Jam Pita. Sprinkle with minced chives and additional lemon juice as desired and eat immediately. *Slow Jams Jam developed our Bacon Jam for us. In time we hope it will be a regular part of their product line up. Meanwhile, their Cranberry Red Onion or Sweet Pepper Jams mixed with some fried and finely minced bacon would also be fantastic. Did you get to see our cooking demo and try this awesome dish at Baconfest Michigan? How'd you like it? Let us know in the comments.  
A consummate nerd, yet still plays well with others.