Vegan Trials: Curried Lentils

I have a love hate relationship with vegans; I love Tom Brady and hate feeling like a worthless meat eater from all these skinny/healthy people that occupy vegan social media.  Part of me believes there are times avoiding animal products for a short period of time is good for the body & soul.  Some days I pull a vegan-vampire and avoid meat whilst the sun is up, and as the night comes I succumb to the urges of my caveman brain.

As far as I know there are two major types of people that turn plant eater; the animal activist and those who abstain for health regardless of morality.  I can reluctantly side with the person living a leafy lifestyle due to a internal feeling and a pursuit of longevity.  Although even if the plant lifestyle health claims are valid, I can make a strong case living past 100 isn't worth missing out on a 24 ounce Tomahawk Chop. 

That brings us to animal rights activists; I love me some animals and I agree we have a double standard with which animals we eat and the ones we allow onto our beds.  I can say for certain my dog would be dead in five minutes without me, him and the rest of the Border Collies would be extinct without humans.  As an owner of all seven volumes of the Wild Life Fact Files I believe I have the expertise to speak on this issue.  I have heard arguments that our pets are some sort of prisoners, enslaved among treats and toys in our warm/dry shelters.  But in reality they are more like a shitty roommates who don't ever make rent or at worst a squatter who shits in the house, I am looking at you cats. 

I am a proponent of eating wild game over farm raised livestock however I barely can step outside without a set of wireless headphones and a wiFi signal.  I might have to stick to the grocery store until the Apocalypse, only then will l do adequate research and binge YouTube videos on hunting.  Animals are here for us to eat, we are a predator, the top of the food-chain and we eat animals in order to balance the ecosystem.  Not to mention, farming of just vegetables kills numerous species of rodents, birds and insects during the harvesting process alone.  If you're going to live a life with ZERO impact to other species you might as well plan your funeral or start foraging in the woods.  There isn't much at Wholefoods that didn't involve the merciless slaughtering of animals, and for that I am thankful.  Please excuse me while i pour out some of my kombucha for my homies...

18.03.05-32.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1-can coconut milk, measured out to 2 cups
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 tbs ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium shallot
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp madras curry powder
  • yogurt
  • lime wedges
18.03.05-33.jpg

Grate the ginger, as well as mince the onion and shallot into similar sized pieces.  Slice the garlic like Paulie from Goodfellas and get them so thin it may liquiefy when it hits the pan, but feel free to use a regular knife in lieu of a razor blade.

*I minced the ginger on a early version of this and didn't notice a difference if you want to avoid cleaning another utensil.

18.03.05-34.jpg

Begin by sautéing the chopped vegetables, cook over medium heat in a small saucepan for a total of 5-8 minutes, while your pot is on the stove slide over to the sink and wash the lintels to remove anything left behind during packaging.

18.03.05-35.jpg

Add in the spice blend about halfway through cooking the vegetables.

18.03.05-36.jpg

After adding in the spices leave the onions, shallot and garlic on the stove (stirring often) until its contents have turned translucent.

18.03.05-37.jpg

Add in the whole can of coconut milk and water into the pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, or whatever time the packaging on your lintels direct.

18.03.05-39.jpg
18.03.05-38.jpg

Serve with yogurt and a wedge of lime you fabulous animal savior.

Gluten Free Trials: Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza is arguably the best food on the planet, the old adage is often said that pizza is like sex and even the worst pizza is still good.  In contrast unsolicited sex is to gluten-free pizza in that same analogy, it's not good and should be punishable in a similar fashion if served without consent.  As previously stated I am a hater of the gluten-less wheat products masquerading as regular bakery goods, however cauliflower presented an interesting alternative.  That alternative being a vegetable based pizza crust, a cousin of broccoli that I have forever appreciated for it's take-on-any-flavor attitude.  Whether it's Buffalo sauce or mashed potatoes cauliflower can offer a guilt free version of your cheat day meal.

As a skeptical person I decided to jump into this one with two feet and before producing a single blog I recreated this 4 times before landing on a final product.

18.03.05-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Equipment:

18.03.05-2.jpg

Grate the cauliflower florets down until you hit the stem, and if you want to use absolutely everything grate down the stem on a smaller hole.  If you have a food processor I would recommend using that instead, the downside of the grater is the irregular size if the cauliflower.

18.03.05-18.jpg
18.03.05-19.jpg

Boil grated cauliflower for about 5 minutes, stir often and make sure all the small bits floating to the top are mixed to the bottom.

18.03.05-3.jpg

Line the pasta strainer with cheese cloth to retain the smallest of peices.

18.03.05-4.jpg

Wring out the cheese cloth until the moisture is almost entirely gone, salvage the last cup of liquid in case you need to add back in moisture.

18.03.05-6.jpg

Add two cloves of grated garlic into the dry cauliflower "rice," mix thoroughly and empty into a large bowl.

18.03.05-9.jpg

Add the remaining ingredients in and mix.

18.03.05-10.jpg
18.03.05-11.jpg

After several attempts of placing the dough atop tin foil I realized parchment paper was the only viable liner.  I still used tin foil to line the pan however a trick to keeping the parchment paper down is using a wet wipe before lining the pan with parchment.

18.03.05-12.jpg

Use vegetable oil (or peanut oil used above) to grease the parchment paper.  You will soon realize why more is better.

18.03.05-13.jpg

Spread the "dough" across the parchment paper and press down firmly.  The cauliflower dough is more of a course paste than anything, mash the mixture together in the shape of a pizza or you will have rough chunks all over the joint.

18.03.05-14.jpg
18.03.05-15.jpg

Cook the cauliflower dough at 375 °F for 20-30 minutes, at this point the edges should start to turn brown.  Take the dough out of the over and try to loosen with a spatula to prepare for the flip.  Depending on the size of your pizza dough you might have trouble flipping, fortunately for me I have cat like reflexes.

Continue cooking at 375 °F for another 5-10 minutes and remove from the oven (do not turn off heat).

18.03.05-16.jpg

Add ingredients and place back in the still hot 375 °F oven for another 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the toppings.

18.03.05-17.jpg

Was it good?  Yes.  Was it as good as regular pizza?  No, however I wouldn't really call this pizza.  This was more like a flatbread mixed with a drunk pile of nachos you made in college that were not actually chips but stale crackers.  God save the gluten free people...

RIP Coconut Oil (2011-2017)

SourceSales of the oil plummeted last year, according to new data from market research firm SPINS, which tracks the health and wellness sector. Coconut oil initially attracted adherents with promises that it boosts immunity and aids in weight loss. But its popularity waned as questions emerged about those claims and the product’s effect on blood cholesterol... Nutritionists and researchers began to question the science behind some of coconut oil’s more extravagant claims — such as the idea that it accelerates weight loss by boosting metabolism. Meanwhile, manufacturers — sensing new demand for alternative oils — ramped up production of avocado oil, algae oil, animal fats and specialty butters... By the time the American Heart Association officially denounced coconut oil in June 2017 — the product has too much saturated fat, AHA said — sales were already beginning to fall, according to SPINS. Over the course of 2017, coconut oil retail sales dropped $52 million, or 24.3 percent.

The origin of food fads has changed over time from a Mad Men style marketing firm, West coast crash diet think-tanks to the basic humans on Instagram (h/t to me for being PC).  However the phenomenon and largely unknown science is how they slowly turn into staples of the American diet.  Edward Bernays the O.G. of public relations and corporate propaganda was the man who convinced Americans that bacon was for breakfast.  Now bacon can be found as part of every meal in the most click-baity recipes on the internet written by simpleton bloggers and bloggettes.  Bernays wrote "the book" on the manipulation of the American mind through advertising and even today his tactics are being used to sway the opinions of the masses. 

Nowadays a single hashtag, meme, GIF or pretty picture can start an avalanche of copycat posts.  Before anyone can blink avocado toast is on your local brunch menu for the small price of $11.  Years ago coconut oil became the darling of the internet; every Tom, Dick & Henrietta was writing why you should be jamming this white paste (gross) in every crevice of your body. 

In honor of the recent findings of the alleged false claims, let us review some of my favorite claims by the coco-nut people:

Heart Health

The obvious starting point had to be the claim that broke the coconuts shell.  Color me shocked that Cheerios never pumped Honey Nut Coconuts (trademark) while I was watching the Price is Right in my 5th year of college.

Hair Care

Rogaine must be doing pretty poorly trying to sell a product for thicker and fuller hair when the market was always looking for matted-down oily hair.  More like ro-loss...

Alzheimer's / Diabetes / AIDs / Cancer

Who would have thunk it, curing the most deadly diseases of the 20th and 21st century wouldn't be done by solving the human genome but merely opening a coconut.

Anti-Aging

I pictured the fountain of youth being full of water, turns out it's slightly more viscous.

Weight-loss & Appetite

After years of trying to reduce fat in my midsection I slowly realized only moving something other than my computer mouse would solve my problems.  That being said, I will give it another few months of rubbing this Coconut oil all over my body before I decide it isn't working.

dancestrong.gif

Chapped Lips

I had 50 words written about how the primary use of this was to lubricate food down some fat asshole's gullet, I soon realized it was the third ingredient in the balm I was applying to my stupid lips.  Damn you irony!

Teeth Whitening

Often referred to as "oil pulling" this process involves sloshing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.  A quick search will result in consumers being told this removes "toxins" form the gums and teeth.  Apparently all of those "toxins" are making my teeth yellow as fuck and has nothing to do with all the red wine and coffee I am consuming on a daily basis. 

Side note - I think we found the secret ingredient in Kinoki pads.

KinokiPads.jpg

Side note #2 - before Kinoki pads I had no idea I could poop out my feet.

 

 

Restaurant Inspirations: Shakshuka

Brunch, the most dismissed meal of the day, commonly contributed to lazy millennials and basic canidae.  How did this most appropriately timed meal get such a raw deal?  Situated between the established hours of eating cereal with your pants off and the mostly required pants wearing sandwich hour, brunch is that missing link on the lazy Sunday.  At a certain age in one's life waking up for breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday is about as unbelievable as death.  These fearless youths see brunch as a time to regain steady hands through a few cocktails and $30 omelets, try and tell me what's wrong with that.  I personally enjoy brunch, however I could go without the things I can make at home and I will typically try to search for the unconventional.

Years ago Remy and I would go on the same walk every Saturday to the same national coffee chain.  I would drink my coffee, watch the new apartment buildings being constructed around the small eating area and the forever famished Remy would inhale a small treat.  The treat would give me a few minutes of peace before the ever needy runt would moan, cry and bark telling me "it's time to go...bitch."  On our loop home we would pass the same bakery that was often packed full o' patrons drinking coffee to eating somethings that were not easily identifiable.  After 100 gazes into the storefront I figured I would at least try the coffee and case the joint inspecting it's viability for a casual dating app encounter.

Tatte Bakery & Café, was founded by an Israeli self-taught chef who took a home business to a brick and mortar location ten years ago.  The (several) locations are full of bright white finishes and feel as though you are in someones kitchen and dining room.  Contrary to what I assumed it would be comparable to a Jewish Delicatessen, it was far from that as the challah replaced any resemblance of a bagel.  The show stopper however was the one thing I have never had, the North African delicacy Shakshuka.

18.02.12-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • (1) 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup feta
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, chili powder is an acceptable substitute
18.02.12-3.jpg

Prepare vegetables by slicing the peppers and onions into long skinny sticks (also known as Julienne).  

18.02.12-4.jpg

Sauté peppers and onions in oil (or bacon fat) until translucent.

18.02.12-5.jpg

Add sliced or pressed garlic and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes.  Pro tip; if you don't care to set a timer to cook something for a few minutes, try listening to music and figure every song change is somewhere between 3-4 minutes.  This should give you a great gauge for how long something has been cooking.  Warning, after using this trick I was unable enjoy copulation with music after realizing how few songs played during moments of intimacy.

18.02.12-6.jpg

Add in all spice and stir to incorporate.

18.02.12-7.jpg

Leave on low heat while you open the can of tomatoes, stir frequently to avoid burning.  This step is useful to have a helping hand.

18.02.12-8.jpg

Add in the diced tomatoes, juice and all.

18.02.12-9.jpg

Cook over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, stir frequently as this will burn if unattended.

18.02.12-10.jpg

Add in 1/2 the feta cheese and stir throughout.  Use the back of a spoon to create 'wells' or tiny shallow graves to crack 4-6 eggs into.

18.02.12-12.jpg
18.02.12-15.jpg

Cook in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes for medium (runny) eggs, but if you prefer and over hard egg leave in for 3 minutes intervals until done. Finish with extra feta and chopped cilantro for a splash of color.

Enjoy with bread, and if you're not eating gluten well then go fuck yourself.

dance.gif

Welcome to Skinny SZN

Back in September we declared Soup SZN the time from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, which precedes the self-loathing sweater wearing stretch of the calendar which we as Americans refer to as 'the holiday season.'  The first day of the year is the natural day that those who showed zero restraint at the dessert table would encourage themselves to elevate their heart rate for more than a session of self-gratification.  In this cisgendered white male's opinion, starting the all important Skinny SZN on the 1st day of the Gregorian calendar is arbitrary and foolish.

The pagan holidays we celebrate are not the end of the self-indulgence season.  Football is the one sport that owns a day of the week and for many guys like myself owns the weekend for a third of the year.  For those who cannot battle each weekend as modern day gladiators on the gridiron, can all participate in their own griddle based war of the waistline.  Well what day should we all kick start our metabolisms you ask? That day is the last day of the football season, a non-official Federal holiday, the Monday after the Super Bowl.

If you are looking to justify spending the month of January wearing stretchy waited pants I have three keys to support this theory.  First, it is a known fact you should not start a diet midweek although I have no science to back this up I am fairly confident science will soon back me up.  Second, for most regions the weather is starting to improve which means wearing a sweatshirt hiding your fat might be socially unacceptable.  Third, the herd of amateurs at the gym has thinned out from the initial rush of resolutions, clearing out the ellipticals and stairmasters.

This year's Skinny SZN I will be trying something different and at the same time a topic you might be indifferent to.  I will be telling everyone what I am and more importantly what I am NOT eating.  For example I will be responding to friends and family with the following auto-response texts; oh I am not eating gluten right now, did I tell you I am vegan, ah I don't think that is Paleo, and I am on this new Fox diet where I don't eat meat before sundown.  I will however be doing each fad diet independent from the next.* 

February we at TDM are abstaining from the all (deliciously) evil gluten.  If you have yet to try the gluten-less impostors posing as bagels, bread or pizza beware as these are trash.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barely, rye and oats responsible for elasticity and structure.  Without it bagels are not chewy, bread will be dense and pizza dough falls apart.  I will be searching for ways to satiate My 600 lb Life appetite without cheap gluten-free substitutes, trendy bullshit that looks great in photos and crappy food doesn't live up to the TDM taste test.

18.01.23-2.jpg

*Cheat meals are a necessary evil as I have very weak discipline.

Super Bowels II: Texas Red Chili

It's that special time of year again, the New England Patriots are facing off in the biggest game of the year versus another team with a less dreamy quarterback.  Friends and family gather around televisions across the globe to view the most watched event of the year.  But what is the real reason everyone decided to spend Sunday night in your Studio apartment in a dodgy part of town that keeps people from staying past halftime? 

If you remember last years post we discussed the rationale for people attending the Big Game, the very not fake poll we conducted told us most people attend for reasons outside sport.  Those eleven people crammed into your apartment were not there to watch the game, commercials or the halftime show on your computer monitor-sized television.  Those people came for that dip Susie makes and whatever slop you have slowly warming up in that off-brand crock pot your Mom gave you for Christmas in 2015.

If you want to have a well-recieved Big Game party you best bring the heat with some grub.  Last year I was diagnosed with a horrible case of the farts which resulted from my alt-right digestive system's intolerance for lactose.  And, unfortunately cheese is hashtag out for 2018.  Now that I have experienced this horrible disease I wanted to give back to the community while still giving a shout out to the land of Football, Texas.

18.01.23-3.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck, cubes or ground
  • 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 large white onion, pureed
  • 1 head of garlic, pureed
  • 2 large beef bones, roasted for 25 minutes at 425°F
  • Water, used about 2 cups or whatever it takes to achieve desired consistency
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tbs vegetable shortening, bacon fat is an acceptable substitute

Equipment needed here; measuring cup, can opener, knife, garlic press, large pot (dutch oven), blender and a meat grinder.  If you don't want to grind your own meat buying ground chuck from your local grocer is acceptable but a shortcut none the less.

18.01.23-4.jpg

Spice blend:

  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs cumin powder
  • 1/2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick, left whole
  • 2 star anise pods, left whole
18.01.23-5.jpg

If you bought ground meat you can just admire the following photos.  Season your beef with about half the spice blend and let sit for 20-30 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.

18.01.23-6.jpg

Set your meat grinder to a course grind and commence the grind.

18.01.23-9.jpg

Add in the second half of your seasoning and mix thoroughly.

18.01.23-7.jpg

Place your vegetable shortening into the pan and set your heat to high.  If you don't want to add any fat to this recipe feel free to use a tablespoon of vegetable oil.  The meat I used was fairly lean and adding fat was done to avoid dry beef.

18.01.23-10.jpg

Brown the seasoned beef, set aside and wipe away any excess fat/oil.

18.01.23-11.jpg
18.01.23-12.jpg

Missing from this array of photos is the puree of the garlic and onion, you didn't miss anything interesting, that being said if you don't have a blender chop these as fine as you can.  Dump the puree in the same pan over medium heat, cooking out the moisture out until the puree is less viscous and all that is left is little chunks of onion & garlic.  Add in the tomato paste and jalapeños, mix and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

18.01.23-13.jpg

All that is left to do is add back in the browned beef, diced tomatoes and enough water to create the desired consistency (some like it thicc, some don't).  Bring back the chili to a simmer over medium heat and add in the final ingredients.  By now you should have roasted the beef bones, and to be honest this is not an integral step in making chili but from my experience this gives it an added beef flavor without being overpowering.  Lastly the bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon stick can be added, leave covered for 2-4 hours on the lowest possible heat until your guests are ready to be served.  Enjoy.

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

- Coach Taylor

coachT.gif

Is that a tail or are you just happy to see me?

When perusing the world wide web there are two things that you are more than likely to read about today, Bitcoins or unwanted sexual advances.  One subject is a controversial item thoroughly debated in offices across the country and the other is something I would know nothing about.  The only phallic shaped object men are whipping out at TDM Incorporated is a tail, more specifically an oxtail.  Oxtail is one cut of meat that most people may overlook, good news for us the most overlooked forms of beef tend to be the most flavorful.

If you have not already noticed after reading previous blog classics such as Jerk Chicken & Nice Guy Salsa, we are a fan of Caribbean cuisine.  If you find yourself in a strange neighborhood where melanin challenged people are few and far between, try some of the stranger meats like beef tongue, tripe or goat.  If you prefer to stay in your safe apartment in the part of town where music is played in unmodified cars with windows secured in the upright position, use this recipe and find your beach.

Oxtail Stew

17.12.05-8.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 lb ox tails
  • 4 small turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped to bite size peices
  • 3 shallots, quartered
  • 3 large clove of garlic, smashed
  • 3 bell peppers, shown above as red/yellow/orange, chopped to bite sized pieces
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped the same size as the bellow peppers
  • 3-5 habañero peppers (scotch bonnet peppers if you can find them), left whole but if you like it spicy leave a small slit in the side of the pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups red wine
  • 4-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2-5 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • water (if needed)
17.10.05-45.jpg
17.10.05-46.jpg

This is different from most stews as half the vegetables are not cooked in the stew but added toward the very end.  Roast the root vegetables (parsnips, turnips and carrots) in a 450 °F oven for 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked about halfway tender.  Place into an airtight container and leave overnight in the fridge.

17.12.05-28.jpg

In your pot (Dutch oven works great) brown your salted ox tails in a tablespoon of olive oil.

17.12.05-27.jpg

Add all the remaining vegetables into the same pot that the ox tails were browned in.

17.12.05-37.jpg
17.12.05-43.jpg

Brown the vegetable mixture for a few minutes and add in the browned ox tails.  Bring the heat up to medium high before adding in the red wine, scrape the pot clean and free of any stuck bits.

17.12.10-24.jpg
17.12.10-31.jpg

Cover and place into a 250 °F oven 6-8 hours.  After spending a night in the oven your meat should separate from the bone with very little effort, a single fork will do the trick.  After a few hours studying the anatomy of a cow I was shocked to learn none of the tail bones were not connected to knee bones.  Most of the bones are so small they were lost in the stew, counting the pieces is good practice, taking lots of photos helps document and find these finger sized tooth busters.

17.12.10-29.jpg

After a night in the oven and a morning of sorting bones like an archaeologist, the vegetables are ready to add.  Place back over low heat and cover until everything arrives to the desired temperature.  Add water to reach a proper consistency. I added less and less water to the point where this last attempt had zero added liquids.

17.12.10-36.jpg

Some slight deviations taken from other recipes as seen on the internet; butter beans, scallions, allspice berries (pimento seeds) and tomato are all items I tried adding but didn't find necessary to an already complicated mix of items.  Also found in various recipes are ingredients like; Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, beef broth/stock, sugar and/or flour were all things I have seen used that I would advise excluding as this is already salty/spicy/low key thick enough on it's own.

Regardless the traditional way to serve this is over a bed of Jasmine rice.  Eat carefully this isn't for the faint of heart [insert fire emoji].

Soup SZN: Chicken Tortellini Soup

If you can believe it, the second recipe post was poorly written back in March of last year, we made a little thing called Chicken Orzo soup.  If you scroll back past uglier photos and increasingly grammatically incorrect babbling you will see this post titled A Let It Rain. And Clear It Out.  What have we learned since the start of this nonsensical chronicle?  For any food related lessons learned you might have to read along, but for the most part we have remained steadfast in our utter hate of pre-made soups.  We certainly have not held ourselves to the soup szn parameters of Labor day to Thanksgiving.  The Blacklist got old fast and we moved onto better Netflix binges, but watching TV scared every Sunday is still a fun tradition.  The good news is we might have grown up, the sign hanging in the lab displaying 'days without a regrettable drunk text' shows multiple months of properly timed text messages.

17.11.24-2.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. cheese tortellini
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 4-6 cups water
  • salt & pepper

Vegetable broth (purchase & skip ahead if you dare)

17.11.24-5.jpg

What we have here is all of the scraps from the peeling of the carrots, trimming of the celery, the center (skinny) cloves of garlic, the cutting and removing of the paper around the onion.  This is in essence trash, however after learning about the Native Americans back in the 3rd grade I learned to use all part of the animal or in this case a vegetable.

17.11.24-8.jpg

Toss with olive oil and salt.  Preheat your oven to a cool 450 °F and roast your undesirables for 20 minutes.

17.11.24-9.jpg

Post roast...

17.11.24-10.jpg

Drop the roasted vegetable misfits into 4-6 cups of hot water and simmer covered for an 1-2 hours.

17.11.24-11.jpg

Remove the vegetables and lay to rest in the trash can as they have served their purpose.  Relocate the liquid to a separate container and keep for up to 3-5 days.

The Main Event

17.11.24-4.jpg

Cube the boneless skinless chicken thighs, salt and pepper liberally.

In previous recipes we used bone-in skinless thighs, this was a mistake.  In the end there is a nice broth with a braised piece of chicken that doesn't resemble much of a soup.  Post cooking there is extra work to be done shredding chicken and placing it back into the soup.  If you want a richer chicken flavor add chicken bones during the vegetable stock, or just use chicken broth.

17.11.24-13.jpg

Brown on high heat, don't bother trying to cook these through as they will finish in the soup.

*In college I got in an argument with a lesser minded group of people over the necessity of browning meat such as this.  They struggled to argue the need to 'kill' food born parasites, claiming dropping raw meat into a liquid would result in a disease ridden cooking liquid!  I would absolutely encourage everyone to brown thy meats as this adds flavor and locks in moisture, but don't fall into the same trap these albeit losers.  Just like using a crock pot (piece of shit) you can drop raw meat into the hot liquid with the only requirement being heating the liquid and most importanly center of each piece to 165 °F.

17.11.24-14.jpg

Set aside the browned chicken cubes on a paper towel to remove excess fat.

17.11.24-17.jpg

Take uniformly chopped carrots, celery and onion and brown in the rendered chicken fat.

I left the garlic whole here to add a slight flavor of garlic, the finer the chop the more flavor each bite will have.

17.11.24-19.jpg

Add back in the chicken thighs to the browned veggies.

17.11.24-21.jpg
17.11.24-18.jpg

Place the bound bay leaf & thyme in the soup, I also added marjoram leaves into the soup for flavor and color.

Add the vegetable broth and let simmer for about an hour, the longer you leave this on the heat the more mushy your vegetables will get.

17.11.24-22.jpg

Another step I stole from some forgettable TV cook was too cook the pasta in the broth, however still removing it and setting aside for future use.  This ensures the pasta does not absorb too much of the liquid and stays firm/non-mushy.

17.11.24-26.jpg

Add a little Parmesan cheese to this for an extra bit of awesome.  Enjoy.

billymadisonsoup.gif

Soup SZN: Tomato Basil Soup

With the final days of (peak) soup season nearing it's aqueous end, we bring in the big guns for the grand finale.  If you are a human being, not even limiting this statement to well adjusted people or having parents that love them, you probably ate a fair amount of Campbell's Tomato soup.  The iconic can was made famous by the original Cabbage Patch Kid, Andy Warhol, in the 1960's but remained famous thanks to nightmare fuel melting snowmen commercials.  Considering the amount of salt, sugar, red dye no. 2 and unknown chemicals used in the making of the this iconic soup I decided to make my own.

17.10.05-51.jpg

Ingredients:

  • (4) vine ripe tomatoes
  • (1) medium onion
  • (2-4) large cloves of garlic
  • (1) pint whole whipping cream, whole milk works as well for a lighter soup
  • 1/2 bunch of basil
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • water
  • salt & pepper
17.10.05-54.jpg

Roast tomatoes at 450°F for 45 minutes or until they burst.

17.10.05-53.jpg
17.10.05-55.jpg

Brown the garlic and onion, I kept the garlic whole to avoid burning and didn't bother cutting anything too small since this will all be liquid in the end.

17.10.05-56.jpg

Remove the stems and toss in the roasted tomatoes.

17.10.05-57.jpg

Remove from heat and add in the chicken bouillon cubes, cream & blend until smooth.  There are few pieces of kitchen equipment I would deem necessary an immersion blender is probably my number #1.

Add water until you reach your desired consistency.

17.10.05-58.jpg

If your taste buds are basura (trash in Spanish, multi-lingual nbd) you can substitute parsley for basil.  I throw this in last in order to not over-blend.

17.10.05-60.jpg

Bring back up to a simmer and this is ready to eat.

Is there anything else to eat this with other than a grilled cheese?  Maybe something but nothing better.

Smelling Pickles

When growing up in the suburbs of Boston, bullies would always start a retort with "Leahy you fuckin' pickle sniffah..." this and that.  To this day I am perplexed at that statement, I would enjoy looking at their fat adult faces and say your damn right I love me some pickles.  Pickles are without a shred of doubt in my top ten smell list, somewhere between my own farts and gasoline.  

There are plenty of over the counter pickles you can purchase for your sweet, salty and sour pleasures.  However, sometimes there isn't a pickle with the right shape and flavor for a sandwich and when that happens the solution is very simple.  Pickling vegetables is the easiest preparation we will cover, just like an ugly person with a strong intuition this is un-fuck-up-able.

17.10.05-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package of dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 2 large cucumbers, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt, Morton Tender Quick
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of each whole spice; mustard seed, corriander, black peppercorn
17.10.05-2.jpg

Use a clean jar with a screw top or a clamp jar, these Kilner jars work great and I use them for everything.  Dump all ingredients but add in your vinegar/water solution last to avoid overflow.

17.10.05-3.jpg

Use a variety of whole spices (black peppercorns are a must), avoid ground spices whenever possible.  Whole spices impart a slight flavor without being overpowering.

17.10.05-4.jpg
17.10.05-5.jpg

These will be perfectly pickled in 48 hours, you can keep them in your fridge up to 2 months however I would eat these within a few weeks.  If you want to pickle a whole bunch of vegetables before the winter/apocalypse use the Ball screw top jars, and pickle things for long term storage.

17.10.05-6.jpg

"Call me when he breaks out the cheese."

Soup SZN

'Tis the szn for well seasoned soups.  Some may say it is the season for being jolly however we are a few months away from that, check out the blog for jolly recipes after Thanksgiving.  That being said, the three month period in between Labor day and Thanksgiving are what we at TDM Corp. refer to as THE soup szn.  The start of the soup szn comes about when it is finally cold enough at night to get down with a hot bowl of liquids.  The end of this szn coincides with looking forward to weeks of leftover turkeys and an extra fifteen pounds to lose before I am willing to get naked in front of someone with the lights on.

Since you could still pop your top off in this unseasonably warm weather we have chosen to go a little lighter than normal.  We left the cream in the fridge and rinsed off some suspect kale to go with a beef & kale soup you could even have before the gym.

Beef & Kale Soup

17.09.21-16.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs beef round (stew) cubed
  • 2 packets beef stock concentrate, about 4 cups of stock
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 small bag of kale, chopped & rinsed
  • 1 can small white beans
  • 1 lb ruby gold potatoes

 

17.09.21-20.jpg
17.09.21-21.jpg

Liberally salt & pepper, let meat sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

17.09.21-22.jpg

Sprinkler a few spoonfuls of all-purpose flour over the top of the seasoned beef, toss and coat all pieces as equally as possible. 

17.09.21-25.jpg

There is no need to delay any longer, brown the salted/peppered/floured meat in a pan with a tablespoon of oil.

17.09.21-27.jpg
17.09.21-28.jpg

In the same pan in the same oil, brown the carrots, red bell pepper & onion.  Before adding the tomato paste, add in the garlic and brown for a minute.  Coat all the vegetable with the tomato paste and turn the heat down to avoid burning.

17.09.21-30.jpg

Add back in the beef with all the juices.

17.09.21-33.jpg

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer (or its lowest point) & cover.  At this point we can sit back relax, but before you do halve the potatoes, rinse the kale & beans.

17.09.21-34.jpg

After about 30-45 minutes of simmering, the meat should be fully cooked but not yet tender.  At this point add in the kale, rinsed beans and potatoes.  

Let simmer for another 30-45 minutes until the potatoes and kale are tender.

17.09.21-37.jpg

Serve with shaved parmesean cheese and enjoy.

EYHOBC: Prosexual Brownies

In this day and age our diction is rapidly changing.  Words that were once slipped into casual conversation are now met with cringing faces and cupped ears.  If ten years ago you were to tell me 'slut' is equally abrasive as words with double consonants that my spell-check often corrects to 'forgot,' I would say you are an insane person.  That being said, I am willing to adapt with the times and tuck my tail between my legs in the spirit of being liked.

Slutty brownies are a brownie with a cookie bottom and an Oreo center.  Generally getting double teamed by two cookies would make any dessert properly labeled with a sexually adventurous slur.  Conservative America would be bashful of a brownie full of nuts, or even one mixing it up with a cookie could be a little too risqué.  So we work-shopped the idea, brought in a focus group, hit the lab running and created a middle ground cookie-brownie hybrid.

Prosexual brownies are our version to stop the slut shaming of this beloved dessert.

Ingredients:

(Cookie Dough Base)

  • 3 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour

  • 110g ‘special’ butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour

  • 1 cup packed dark sugar

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, (1) 12 oz. package

(Brownie Batter)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 2-1/2 cups white sugar

  • 1-1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup flour

 

17.08.21-1.jpg

You know the drill, cream your butter concoction with the granulated and brown sugar.  Add the vanilla extract at the end before adding your dry ingredients.

17.08.21-2.jpg

Add in all the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the chocolate chips at the very end.  After a few minutes of mixing together you'll have yourself a nice little cookie mixture.  If you thought this was a long enough process you can just say fuck the brownie, let's just eat a few cookies and forget about our problems.

Choose your own adventure blog; if you say DON'T fuck the brownies read on.

17.08.21-4.jpg

Melt your butter and whisk in the powdered cocoa.  I am no baking expert but you can also use semi-sweet chocolate bars and melt them down with the butter if you are not a fan of powedered cocoa.

17.08.21-6.jpg

Mix in granular sugar.

17.08.21-7.jpg

After you have mixed in the granular sugar you'll have a very course, likely warm-hot mixture.  Let this cool down before adding your whisked eggs and vanilla extract.

17.08.21-9.jpg
17.08.21-10.jpg

Once you add the very small amount of liquid (eggs/vanilla) to the mixture it will start to resemble a smooth brownie batter.  However it should need a little substance, add in your salt and flour to finish this made from scratch brownie batter.  

17.08.21-12.jpg

Press the cookie dough into your sheet pan as evenly as possible, reserve cookie dough aside if you are using a pan smaller than 12" x 12".  After the cookie dough is pressed into the pan, dump your brown batter into the pan.  Use your friend gravity to let the brownie batter flow evenly across the pan coating all surfaces of the raw cookie.  

WARNING, the brownie batter will settle to the lowest points of your cookie dough, an even dough creates and even brownie.  See below for a poor attempt at pressing the cookie into the edges of the pan.

17.08.21-13.jpg
17.08.21-15.jpg

Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 °F, use a toothpick or small knife to test the brownie batter.  The cookie will likely be underdone if you follow all these steps.  If you like a cookie more well-done, the best way to handle this is using less cookie dough and if you think letting it cook longer is a solution enjoy your dry ass brownies bitcc (that is a gender nuetral diss for all those wondering).

As you might be able to tell the cookie blew up the sides of the pan, which created a few nicely even pieces toward the middle but on the sides we had a little more cookie which isn't always a bad thing.  Just remember if you cookie too much before you brownie, you're gonna have a bad time.

17.09.21-5.jpg

One of these days I will make dessert I can ingest without blocking out the following 12 hours of my life.

Pssst You're Basic: Garlic...Boom Roasted

Life comes at you fast.  It felt like yesterday the start of Summer was here, my pale body was peeling from forehead to the tip of my toes and the A/C was cranked down to 69 hoping that it would somehow transfer erogenous energy into my underutilized mattress.  Now we are fast approaching vest weather, my personal favorite time of year.  As man built like a marshmallow stick figure I carry all my weight in the vest region.  Vest guys like myself live for a 50° day where we can hide a few weeks of a sedentary lifestyle.

Vest weather also signifies the unofficial start of eating weather.  No longer will we live off salads, gluten-free bread and vodka sodas.  Bring on the heavy meals and IPA's.

Minus the Summer retreats we have taken a brief hiatus at TDM due to the start of a new adventure, and by adventure I mean moving down the street to a different apartment!  Once we settle in our newest TDM Lab we will be bringing the heat with a brand new (v. similar) set of recipes.

Shall we...

MichaelScott_2.gif
5.13.17-3.jpg

Step 1a:  Cut the top off the garlic head enough to expose the cloves.  Try not to remove large pieces of garlic clove and don't worry about exposing all of the cloves.  Drizzle in a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and a small pinch of salt.

Step 1b:  Take a 1'x1' square of aluminum foil, remove all air and twist off into a Hersey's Kiss like pouch tight enough to not let any moisture out but not tight enough that you won't be able to check on this while it's hot.

5.13.17-4.jpg

Step 2:  After 25 minutes check on the status of your roasted garlic, look for the color of the exposed garlic cloves to be light brown in color.  The natural paper wrapping should look slightly translucent.  Leave another 5-10 minutes based on the color of the cloves, and be wary on leaving this in for too long as it can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of minutes.

After doing this a few times you will be able to check on this based on the smell, assuming you haven't previously abused your nasal cavity.

5.13.17-5.jpg

Step 3:  Open the foil pouch, let the contents cool down for 20 minutes and proceed to squeeze the life out of the bottom of the head of garlic.  If you did the steps above correctly the little roasted cloves will pop out effortlessly.

5.13.17-6.jpg

Step 4:  Use the back of a spoon and mash your mixture into a paste.  This paste, if stored preoperly, can be refrigerated for a week and used in a wide assortment of applications.  One of my favorite uses for roasted garlic is in homemade salad dressings, it also makes a great addition to bread... or boom roasted garlic bread.

MichaelScott1.gif