Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Soup

Damn, this is all Misty, but it is truly a fine meal.

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon red pepper flake
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 onion, finely chopped

Start your onion to sautee very slowly. Make a roux with the flour, curry powder, and cumin. Once this is cooked over medium heat (a few minutes - 3? 5?), whisk in broth gradually. Stir in pumpkin and 1/2 and 1/2. Season with your sugar, soy, salt, and various peppers. Cook for awhile, maybe 15 minutes. Adjust the thickness with liquid of your choice. It occurs to me that beer would make a fine thinning agent, though someone with more cooking experience may tell us that is a bad idea. Don't know. Try it?! Garnish with onions.

If you want to make this a veggie dish, you are probably adept enough already at making veggie dishes that it is pointless for me to try and instruct you in these dark arts. I yield the floor to -- and am happy to annouce -- BeefRobot's official Vegetarian Correspondent, Libby Rice.

Enjoy your fall cooking.

Robot out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Capping Off a Weekend

. . .And we find ourselves here at the end of another week, hungry no more, overjoyed by the prospects that met with our collective will and were overcome.

First off, I am kinda sick, so things weren't quite up to par this weekend. We did pizza night on Friday, see the last pizza post for the details. This pizza was half mine, half Misty's, and thus, half sausage, cheddar, tomato sauce, mozzarella, jalapenos, and orange and green peppers. The other half was pesto, mozz, and orange and green peppers. We again added fresh tomatoes after the pie came outta the oven as we have many, many tomatoes left to eat. A salsa will be fashioned from these fine red globes and soon.

Today saw a fine festival of meats: I decided this afternoon that I should eat the steak that was sitting in my fridge after I pulled it out of the freezer. A pan fried ribeye makes the perfect mid-afternoon snack for a slightly cold- or flu-ridden dude. Put steak on plate, add salt, cracked black pepper. Heat pan, add butter, add steak. Cook to desired doneness, today, the medium side of medium rare.

How, you ask, do you follow up a ribeye at 5pm? Pork loin, of course. Tonight, I pulled out a Cory special as it was my task to prepare dinner tonight. Take a pork loin, grab a sharp knife. Take your knife and cut up an apple into small pieces. The size of your pork loin determines how big your apple slices will be. Cut up some garlic into slightly smaller pieces than the apples. Using your sharp knife, make as many pockets in the pork loin as you can fashion. Be sure not to cut through either the side or bottom of your fine loin while doing this. Fill your pockets with apple and garlic. I generally put the garlic in first. Now, the important part: wrap your loin, apples and all, with bacon. Your average pork loin will take 4 slices of bacon. You now have achieved harmony in your life; the use of 2 or more pork products in any one meal constitutes a superlative use of your time on this planet.

Bake the loin at 375 until it is 155 degrees inside. This can be anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes, depending. Before you complain about my cooking directions, go buy a meat thermometer. Beef will be giving you cooking times in degrees Fahrenheit as well, so follow my (Robot's) advice and spend the dough. MOST IMPORTANTLY: let your meat rest for about 10-15 minutes under a tent of foil before you dare cut it.

I dump the liquid left from the meat and add 1/2 cup of white wine. Bring to a slow boil while your meat rests. Add to top of meat. Mmm.

Dessert tonight was a pomegranate. The pom is a delightful fruit - and when you get it ready to eat, it looks like a bowl of red corn. This may serve any number of scary looking Halloween food needs. To get your pomegranate to an edible form, do the following: (1) quarter it; (2) drop these into a bowl of cold agua for 5 minutes; (3) peel the nubbins from the flesh of the fruit. This is not a clean process, and you will certainly accomplish a blood spatter pattern on your shirt. Act accordingly, as pom stains just like red wine.

This reminds me, I didn't tell you about the wine pairing with the pork. Tonight was a 2006 Michael Lynch White Bordeaux, which is sauvignon blanc. This particular wine is really coming into its own - we had it a while back and it was very gravelly, almost chemically so, especially on the aftertaste, without much fruit. Tonight, I felt it was quite fruity, with a wonderful melon flavor dancing around the edges all the way through. Misty still thought it was a little chemical tasting on the finish, and I can see that, but tend to think it is more a preference against the white Bordeaux than anything. If you don't like it, you just don't like it, nothing wrong with that. We bought this at Best Cellars - not sure if they have these in your city yet - I know they're in Houston. This place is great for having a small but high quality collection of well-priced wines. Also, they deliver for free.

Time for some rest - got a long week of Halloween party prep to do.

Robot Out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sometimes you just have to make do...

Inspired by Cory's pizza post, I decided to make one of my own. So, while at Sprout's the other day, I grabbed some frozen dough. They make it in their bakery, and I can only assume it's some kindof delicious. I came home, and immediately threw it in the freezer.
Yesterday, when I was ready to create this pizza, guess what was still frozen?

Lucky for me I had some ground beef and pork available, already thawed. What's good to do with ground beef and pork?


Not just any old Meatloaf. It's the "whatever Brad's got in the pantry is going into this to add nutritional value" meatloaf.

Chipotle Meatloaf:
2lbs total of ground meat -- beef, pork or turkey. The choice is yours. I like a combo.
1 Red Bell Pepper -- diced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper -- diced
1 Onion (yellow, in this case) -- diced
1 Can Ro*Tel -- I used regular strength – partially drained
An Egg
2/3 Cup of Panko -- or any old breadcrumb (+-)
1 Tbsp Chili Powder* (+-)
1 tsp Garlic Powder (+-) or fresh, if you've got it.
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper (+-)

Chipotle Meatloaf Sauce: -- you might want to double this.
1 Can Tomato Sauce – the small one. 8oz I think?
2-3 Chipotle peppers (from the can, with the adobo) -- chopped
1 tsp Chili Powder*
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
Pinch of salt

Let's get started.
Get those meats out of the fridge, so they can come to room temperature. Set your oven @ 350.

Throw your diced peppers and onion into a skillet and sauté them for a few minutes, until they’ve softened and the rawness is cooked out of them. Don’t overdo it. Let those cool while you add the remainder of your ingredients to that pile of meat in a bowl. Put all the sauce ingredients together and mix half of the sauce in with your meat mixture – know that chipotle’s are HOT, so, if you don’t like spicy use less. Reserve the other half for spooning on top of the loaf while it bakes. Now that your veggies are cool, throw them in with the rest of the mix. Place your hands into the meat mixture and fold it together until all the ingredients are incorporated. Don’t overdo this either. The more you mix, the more like sausage and less like meatloaf this thing is going to be. Mine was pretty wet when it all came together, so, I added more breadcrumbs. Now that your loaf is nicely mixed, put it in your loaf pan, and throw it in the oven. After about 15 minutes, spoon the rest of the sauce on top of the loaf, and bake until the internal temp is 160. Mine took about an hour.

Note if you had some sautéed zucchini, squash, tomato, celery or otherwise, these would also be delicious in this meatloaf. That’s the cool thing about meatloaf. You can put pretty much anything into it. Also, you’d be wise to make a double recipe of the sauce, so you can have some on the side for dipping. Or, put less in the loaf, it’s up to you. If you made double, and had some left over at the end, you could make a Bloody Mary with it.

*Taste your chili powder. If it’s really hot, use less. If it’s really salty, use less salt. Maybe it’s old and has lost its punch – do not add more in this case. Go buy some new. Or, better yet, make your own. Look for that post this weekend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday night

So yea, Friday night was pizza night chez nous. We grabbed some premade dough (it comes in a plastic baggie), homemade mozzarella (ditto), and pepper salami. The guy at the Italian store knows Misty.

We dropped down some red and green bell peppers and the requisite 4 cloves of minced garlic and threw the pie in the oven. After it was done, we sliced up the tomatoes (grown in our front yard), basil (still thriving after the 2 batches of pesto we've made), and 2 more cloves of garlic because that's how we roll.

Man, this was our Friday night. We are effing old.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fine Thighs

I don't own a microwave. It's not because I don't like microwaves, or think that they irradiate your food, or feel that some day the microwave is going to combine with the coffee maker and the toaster and create some sort of kitchen appliance robot with stick blender hands that will slice me into pieces and go on to terrorize the neighborhood. The microwave is the brains. Take away the brains, and you just have a regular robot... Wait. Sorry. I don't really know where that came from. I don't have a microwave because I don't have the counter space. I'm working on getting an over the stove one mounted to the wall. This requires a cabinet, so, I'm working on getting one of those too. My kitchen is kind of a work in progress.

Now, on to the meat of this post. When you don't have a microwave, you have to plan two days in advance when you want to have some frozen chicken thawed out to cook. This gives you two days to think about what you're going to do with those delicious thighs. Yep, thighs. A word that never looks like it's spelled correctly. And, by far, the most delicious part of the chicken. I used to be exclusive to the breast. The boneless, skinless thigh fillet turned me on to good, dark meat* chicken. Now, it's almost all I use. Though today we're talking bone in, skin on, cheapest thing you can get at the grocery store, thighs.

Greek Chicken
Bone in, skin on, thighs -- I used four last night.
Your oven -- set at 400
A lemon
A quantity of dried oregano
Garlic -- powder, or fresh
Olive oil
Leftover kalamata olives that you forgot about in the back or your fridge. Or not. It's whatever.

Trim those thighs of whatever excess skin and fat you want to remove from them and set them in your finest roasting pan. If you want to put them on a rack in said roasting pan, they'll just cook a little faster, but, won't swim in their own juices. Your choice. I like a rack, but, it works without.

Zest that lemon into a bowl, and then juice that lemon into the same bowl. My lemon wasn't all that juicy, so I added a little rice wine vinegar. Throw in some dried oregano -- probably a tablespoon or so. Maybe a 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder or a couple of cloves minced fine. Add enough olive oil to make this a runny paste, and then smear it all over those fine thighs. On the skin, under the skin, all over. Hit them with some salt and pepper (don't be shy about this) and throw them in your oven.

Last night my thighs took 50 minutes. Yours might take less time. Or possibly more. If you're using boneless, I'd certainly drop the heat, and time. Mine came out golden, with deliciously crispy skin.

Set those thighs on a plate, and drain all those juices into a cup. Strain off the fat, then pour those juices back into the pan, put that pan on a burner, and scrape up all those tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let that sauce reduce, and if you have them, throw in some kalamata olives, and a bit of butter. If you don't, don't worry about it. It will still be delicious. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and eat.

Last night my chicken was accompanied by some wild rice from a box, and some sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. It made for a fine meal.


*Dark meat chicken isn't nearly as dark as it used to be. Unless you're buying free range. I don't, so my dark meat isn't really all that dark.

Eastern Standard Time Means I Beat Brad to Work on Hangover Fridays

Leading off this fine Friday morning, I would like to share a simple drink that became out of a couple of strange coincidences. First, one of Misty’s friends brought over some pineapple in a can, you know, the kind your mom used to put on a piece of iceberg, add a dollop of mayonnaise, sprinkle with cheddar, and call a salad? Maybe you didn’t grow up in my house. Anyway, can of pineapple leaves behind 1/3 can of pineapple juice, which Cory knows will be good later when inspiration strikes.

Second strange coincidence: Misty and I are going out to meet her friends, so I am certain that a glass of Pyrat Rum (props to Blake/Jandro for finding this one) is necessary before we put feet to pavement. About halfway through this glass, either I am tired of drinking it or she is ready to go, who really knows which one, meaning that, the next morning (a Saturday), I wake up to a rum slushy in my freezer.

Inspiration, as you now infer, strikes, and pineapple juice meets rum slushy for a delightful breakfast cocktail. The Pyrat Rum is really the lynchpin to this drink. If you think you left behind the darker rum varietals in college, think again. This is your grown-ups’ rum, y’all. Maybe you add a cherry if you’re feeling special.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Second Post

So, yea here we are. We are better than you. Our daddy's gonna have yo' job.

Watching the #24 TCU Horned Frogs whip up on #8 BYU (for the moment at least) makes me think of a pic I saw today of frog leg pizza, about which some idiotic people in an idiotic land were angry because frog legs are taken from frogs while they are alive. In some terrorist haven like Indonesia. Where they eat kids, cats, and probably also muddle ground bible pages into their mixed drinks.

It is true, we will be strikingly imprecise in most measurements, but we will commit to letting you in on most all of the food we eat. It will, as noted, be mostly us telling each other what it was that we decided was tasty enough to grub on the night before. If that isn't sexy enough for you, click back over to redtube. Otherwise, read our effing blog once in awhile and, maybe you like. More sauce? I get you more sauce.

More to the point, what did I eat tonight? Leftover Chinese delivery from perhaps the icon among icons of that particular genre, City Lights. Say it with me. Now with an accent, elongate that long I. Starter was your hot & sour soup and some Crab Rangoon. These disappear fast around here, meaning last night. For tonight's starter, I eighthed 2 smallish tomatoes from our garden and we dipped them in Trader Joe's Tzatziki sauce. For some dumb reason, we have no Ranch in our fridge.

For an entree, I had shredded pork in garlic sauce. This is one of the best things you have ever eaten, thank you Darren/Chong. Misty had sauteed lite chicken in General Tsao sauce with broccoli. They never fail to make the thinly sliced chicken wafers the perfect combination of juicy and done. Tonight, a nice BudLight accompanied my dinner.

Brad and I have both independently come to the conclusion that some chili is in order, so come prepared for that in the near future.

BeefRobot out!

First Post

So, were here to talk about food. Mostly what we've cooked at home, but, occasionally what we eat at restaurants, friends houses, or what our wives cook. Neither of us are actually married, yet, but, we're both pretty close. Ok, some of us are closer than others.

You may occasionally find us rambling about something completely different. I may mention, from time to time, something about welding, or building a natural gas assisted fire pit from parts I stole from a hot water heater my neighbor discarded on trash day. I recruited my neighbor from across the street to help me load it up and move it to my garage, so, I'm slightly less WT than if I had just gone and stripped it for parts right there on the curb, right?

If we publish a recipe, and suggest that you add 'some' of an ingredient, or a handful of another, or a pinch of something -- don't send us a note and ask us how much this incredibly non-specific measurement is. I promise, if we had any idea how much it was, we'd have put a specific measurement down. Sometimes, you just have to try things on your own.

Anyway, don't expect much from us, and you likely won't be disappointed. We make no promises as to how often we'll be updating this, or if the content will even be worth a damn. If you don't like it, eat me.