I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dutch Apple Pancakes

I've read that Dutch apple pancakes are actually a German creation. Supposedly a bunch of Germans moved to Pennsylvania and started making these pancakes. "Dutch" is a corruption of the German autonym "deutsch". I don't care. I'd bet anything that the Dutch invented it because they are the best people in the world, besides the Dutch who are living in the United States! I got my recipe from the book Let's Go Dutch.

Dutch Apple Pancakes
Hollandse Appel Pannekoeken

1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup beer at room temperature
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3 apples
Juice of 1 lemon
grated peel of 1 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
3 T butter
2 T oil

Mix flour, 1 T sugar and salt. Add the beer and mix until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the 3 egg yolks.

Add 1 T sugar to the egg whites and beat until they form soft peaks. Fold into the flour mixture.

Peel and core the apples. Slice into 1/3 inch slices. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apple slices.

Combine the remaining white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel. Save 3 T of this mixture and put the rest into a plastic bag. Throw apples in the bag and shake to coat with the sugar mixture.

Melt butter and oil together. Pour it into a 9 inch pie pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the plate and cover it with the coated apples. Pour the rest of the batter over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until the pancake is golden brown - about 1 hour.

To serve, slide the pancake onto a plate. Garnish with the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture and a dollop of whipped cream.

And now, instead of a photo, in honor of our 501st post - a video!

Gino's East

I found an interesting video over at youtube discussing one of my favorite topics - Gino's Pizza. Readers may remember this recent post about Gino's.

Beef Stroganoff

I love beef stroganoff. Readers might remember an earlier post about the subject. Last night I made the Gourmet Cookbook version. I always serve it over fried potatoes instead of noodles. I got that idea from the 1954 Edition of the Soviet Cookbook. I suppose the planners couldn't get flour for noodles that year or something. They also recommended some Tobasco to spice things up a bit. I serve mine with some hot sauce as well. You want to use really good beef for this recipe because you only cook it for like a minute. If you use some crappy cut of chuck it will be all hard and chewy.

Beef Stroganoff

3 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T flour
1 cup beef broth
1 pound really good beef like tenderloin, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
3 T sour cream
1 t Dijon mustard
2 T fresh dill, chopped

Melt 1 1/2 T butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a roux - about 2 minutes. Add the broth in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes until it thickens up into a gravy. Remove from heat.

Season beef well with salt and pepper. Melt 1 T butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef just briefly until it just browns but is still pink in some spots. Remove to a plate.

Add remaining butter and olive oil to the skillet. Saute the shallots for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Return meat to skillet and stir until combined. Spread the meat mixture over a bed of fried potatoes.

Reheat the sauce over low heat. Stir in sour cream, mustard, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the beef and potatoes.

Benihana Ginger Salad Dressing

When I was a kid we used to go to Chicago. My favorite place to eat was Benihana's. It is a Japanese Steak House where they cook the food right in front of you and do all sorts of tricks. One of my favorite things at Benihana is the ginger salad dressing. It got me to eat salad as a picky eater!

Benihana Ginger Salad Dressing

1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ginger is well-pureed.

Sichuan Beef

I continued to be amazed by the recipes in the book Potsticker Chronicles. My wife made one of her favorite Chinese dishes - Sichuan Beef. This style of Chinese food is from Southwest China in the Sichuan province.

Sichuan Beef

1 pound beef, trimmed of fat
1 egg white
3 T corn starch

1/2 cup chicken broth
3 T soy sauce
1 T sherry
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freshly minced ginger
1 t sugar
1 1/2 t sesame oil
1/2 t ground pepper

3 carrots, thinkly sliced into 2 inch julienned pieces
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced lengthwise into 2 inch lon julienne strips
4 green onions sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T cornstarch mixed with 3 T water

Cut the beef into 3 inch long, 1 inch wide and 1/8th inch thick pieces. Combine the egg white and cornstarch into a batter. Drop in the beef to coat really well. Fry the beef in oil in batches until just done.

Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, remove from heat.

In a wok, heat some oil. Stir fry the vegies for about 3 minutes until they just start to soften - about 3 minutes. Add the beef and stir fry for 1 minute.

Next add the sauce and bring to a boil. Finally stir in the corn starch and water and cook just until the sauce thickens. Serve with rice and some garlic chili sauce.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tomatillo Braised Pork

One of my favorite Mexican food chefs is Rick Bayless. I have all of his books. I got this recipe from One Plate at a Time. He runs possibly the best Mexican restaurant in the US on Clark Street between Illinois and Hubbard. If you are ever in Chicago, go to the Frontera Grill.

Tomatillo Braised Pork

1 pound tomatillos
1 jalapeno
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
10 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and quartered and boiled until soft
2 pounds pork loin.

Brown the pork in a Dutch oven. Roast the tomatillos and jalapeno under the broiler until little black spots form on the skins. Drop the tomatillos and jalapeno into the blender and blend until smooth. Remove the pork to a plate. Saute the onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Drop the sauce into the pot with the onions. Cook a few minutes until the sauce thickens and darkens. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir. Drop the pork in and braise it, covered, at 325. After it has been cooking for 1/2 hour drop in the cooked potatoes. Cook for another 1/2 hour and test the temperature of the meat. When the meat reaches 160 to 165 degrees remove it from the oven.

Pour the sauce and potatoes onto a platter and top with sliced pork. I garnished it with a little feta cheese and some cilantro.
Serve with tortillas.

Garden City Salsa

A couple years ago I was stranded 600 miles from nowhere in Garden City, Kansas. I did a three month rotation out there in general surgery.
Readers might remember that there is a huge packing industry in Garden City and that the population is mostly Mexican and Vietnamese. Some of the best Mexican food I have ever had was in Garden City. Certainly the best Vietnamese food I have ever had was in Garden City.

One of the highlights every week was when this lady who worked in the pre-op area would bring in her homemade salsa. You had to get there right when she opened it because it would get devoured within seconds.

Towards the end of my rotation she told me how she makes it. It is really easy!

Garden City Salsa

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 jalapeno, broiled under the broiler until it has black spots on it
1 1/2 t onion powder
1 clove garlic
about 1 T fresh cilantro leaves
1 t powdered sugar
juice of 1 lime
a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce to taste - I used Thai garlic chili sauce
salt to taste

Combine everything but the salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste the sauce. Add salt a little bit at a time until it tastes right.

Nut Feed

Our man in the field has sent me an article from Ceylon, Minnesota.

View Larger Map

One friday each month during the winter, the Legion in Ceylon serves about 250 pounds of Rocky Mountain Oysters.

While I am not quite ready to eat cow nuts, you might be. You can get a plate for $12. Our man in the field says they are particularly tasty with Frank's Red Hot Sauce or Malt Vinegar.

Homemade Mozzarella

For Christmas I got the book Home Cheese Making. I have been reading through it a little bit. Next year I plan to make some gouda but in the meantime I made homemade mozzarella. It was especially tasty. I plan to experiment with the cheese in pizza but I used the first batch to make a tomato, red onion and mozzarella salad.

January Pork

This recipe also comes from the book The Splendid Table. In Emilia-Romagna they eat this dish in January. They slaughter the family hog and turn him into all sorts of delicious things like proscuitto, pancetta, sausage and pork loin.
January Pork
4 T extra virgin olive oil
10 juniper berries
1 clove garlic
1 clove
1/8 t black pepper
4 pound pork loin
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup white wine

Combine Olive oil, juniper berries, garlic, clove and pepper in a blender. Blend until finely chopped. Pour the sauce over the pork in a bowl and marinate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325. Transfer the pork with the marinade to a roasting pan with a rack. Sprinkle a little salt on the meat and place a bay leaf on top. Roast in the oven for about 2 hours. Pour the wine over the top of the roast 1/3 at a time. Pour the first 1/3 over after cooking for 30 minutes. 20 minutes later pour another third. Pour the last third 10 minutes later. Baste the meat frequently. You will need to cook it for a couple of hours. Take temperature readings periodically. You want to pull the pork out of the oven when it is between 160 and 165.

Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and degrease. Slice the pork and place it on a platter. Pour a little of the pan juices over to moisten the pork.

Tagliatelle with Naughty Figs

My wife got a great cookbook from her father for Christmas calledThe Splendid Table. I made a pasta dish out of there using my homemade noodles. I must say that this is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. Readers may or may not appreciate figs but I love them. I have eaten some dishes similar to this using figs and a Parmesan/cream sauce and chicken. This is the first pasta I have seen with the combination. It was supposedly developed in Bologna Italy at the Ristorante Franco Rossi.
This dish is inspired from the Renaissance era so here is a nice image from the Bolognese artist Giuseppe Maria Mitelli for your perusal.

Tagliatelle with Figs

This recipe is for 1 pound of fresh noodles. You want the noodles and the sauce to be ready at exactly the same time and exactly when you want to put it on the table. You should start the sauce when you drop the noodles into the boiling water.

1 pound fresh pasta noodles (tagliatelle) cooked al dente
8 T butter
1 pound figs, cut into 1/8ths
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
salt to taste

Heat butter in a sauce pan. Add the figs and lemon zest to the butter and cook until the figs start to turn golden brown. Add the wine and boil it off. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Toss in the drained pasta and heat for 30 seconds. Add cheese and serve immediately.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


For Christmas my wife was given the book The Splendid Table. Most of the Italian food featured on this website has been Southern Italian or Sicilian in origin. This book is different because it focuses on the food of Emilia-Romagna, a fertile wedge between Milan, Venice and Florence.
It seems to be a very green land with lots of hills.
I was a little surprised by this recipe for pasta because most pasta recipes from Italy that I have seen call for Semolina flour. This one just uses eggs and all-purpose flour.

Tagliatelle is the pasta most associated with the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It looks a lot like fettuccine to me but hey, to each his own.
My pasta machine has the perfect attachment to cut Tagliatelle so we were good to go.

Egg Pasta Dough for Tagliatelle

14 oz flour (3 1/2 cups)
4 eggs

Make a well in the center of the flour and beat the eggs. Drop the beaten eggs into the well and start mixing the dough. It will take a while but you will end up with a very hard dough. Cover it and cool it for 1/2 hour. Process it using your pasta machine.
Those are my noodles drying on the table. We are planning on a dinner tomorrow with a pasta from the book. It is taking a lot of willpower not to boil up a few of the noodles tonight.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby's Birthday

Our little one turned three. For her birthday she went over to her new cousin's house for a little meeting.
She had a wonderful time opening presents.
My present to her was an original set of Lincoln Logs.

Country-Style Curry

I am still on a Thai food kick. I think the big breakthrough came when we got the book Real Thai. I decided to make a curry that doesn't have coconut milk in it.

Country-Style Curry

1/2 pound beef, pork or tofu
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
3 T black bean sauce
1 T sugar
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
1 eggplant, not peeled, and cut into 1 inch dice
15 green beans cut into 2 inch pieces
a few fresh basil leaves
red bell pepper, cut into long thin strips
a few baby corns, cut up

Heat some oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the meat and stir fry until cooked.
Add everything else except the basil and bring to a boil. Cook until vegetables are just done.

Hot and Sour Cucumbers

We made a neat appetizer from the book Potsticker Chronicles.

Hot and Sour Cucumbers

4 cucumbers
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
6 T sugar
2 T cider vinegar
1 t crushed red pepper
1 T cornstarch mixed with 3 T cold water

Peel cucumbers and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut it into 1/2 inch spears.
Combine all of the other ingredients except cornstarch and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture gradually until the sauce is thick. Pour the sauce over the cucumbers and serve immediately.

Kung Pao Chicken

There was an episode of Seinfeld where George and Kramer ordered Kung Pao Chicken and started sweating all terrible from the red chili flakes. It was named after a Chinese emporer a long time ago. Tonight I decided to make a version from the book Potsticker Chronicles. It is a really good cookbook on Chinese food but it features more Americanized versions. I am fine with that, being an American and all. I modified the recipe to have double the sauce because we like saucy Chinese food. I suppose that particular fancy comes from eating at Wanna's, which always had saucy food.

Kung Pao Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 egg white
3 T corn starch
peanut oil
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch diamond shaped pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch diamond shaped pieces
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T minced ginger
2 dried red hot chili peppers
1 cup skinless peanuts

6 T soy sauce
4 T sherry
6 cloves garlic, pressed
4 t sugar
1/2 t salt
4 T water
2 T corn starch

1) Combine chicken pieces with egg white, 3 T cornstarch, 2 T water and mix well. Fry in oil and then drain well.

2) Combine bell peppers, green onions and bell peppers in a colander and rinse well with water. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
3) Prepare the sauce by combining all of the ingredients.
4) Stir fry the vegies in a wok until starting to soften. Add the chicken cubes and stir until heated through. Add the peanuts and toss everything until well mixed.
5) Add the sauce and cook, stirring until it looks done.

Serve with Jasmine rice.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Home Made Wide Rice Noodles

I was hungry again for HPB. I searched for wide rice noodles like they use at Penny's Noodles but I couldn't find any. I decided to make some. I searched around for a recipe but I couldn't find a great one. I finally found one that was a cross between semolina flour and rice flour. The only trick is you need a Pasta Machine.

Wide Rice Noodles for HPB

1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1/2 cup rice flour
2 T vegetable oil
2 eggs

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir real well. Now kneed the dough for a while. If it wants to crumble at a few drops of water. Next run it through a pasta machine to make big flat sheets. Slice to make wide noodles.
Here is what wide noodles look like on a plate of HPB. Check out the steam!
Tonight we served it with a bowl of Thai Sweet Potato Soup.

Knife Back All Better

Right around the time I was making horseradish with my uncle I broke the tip of my everyday knife. It was a Spyderco so I looked at the website and found out that I could send it in for $5 and get it sharpened. The repair of the tip was another $20. Not wanting to get a new knife I sent it in with a check for $25. Yesterday the knife came back all better and super sharp with the uncashed check for $25. Talk about excellent customer service!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Hangover Classic

Today I ran in the Cherokee Road Runner's Hangover Classic. It is a 10 mile race held in Louisville every January first. It was my first race. I started running on September 15th of this last year so about 3 and a half months ago. I had an absolute blast even though I was up all night last night moonlighting. Its hard to turn down time and a half.

Pretty much all of the things my friends said about racing ended up being true. I got to the registration and I was totally revved up. I wasn't expecting it to be that way because I wasn't running to compete against other runners. I was trying to run well based on how I performed on some of my training runs.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 305.

It is wrist mounted GPS unit that tracks your heart rate, speed and a bunch of other data. You connect it to your computer when you get home and it tells you second by second what your heart rate was and plots your course on a map. It tells you things like % grade and elevation and a bunch of other stuff that I don't even use. You can program in custom workouts that will help you keep your heart rate in a certain range over a certain distance or amount of time.

Using the Garmin and a bunch of training tips from my triathlete friend D and my biking friend Easy E I gradually improved over the last 3 months. My resting heart rate is typically about 56 when standing. Just being at the race raised it to 67!

About 10 minutes before the start I trotted around a little bit just to get warmed up. It was only 30 degrees out. I lined up about halfway back in the pack. There were probably between 5 and 6 hundred people running. Before I knew it people were running. I was a little disappointed because there was no starting gun!
There were so many people that for the first mile I couldn't even run at my usual pace. There were too many people in the way. Finally I got up to what felt like my usual pace.

At the 1.5 mile mark there was this idiot running with a dog. One of the guys who was in the pack with me went to pass her and the dog jumped literally under the guy's feet. He went down hard and I would be very surprised if he didn't break a wrist in the fall.

At 2 miles into the race I looked down at the Garmin just out of curiosity and my heart rate was 165. My pace at that point was 7 minute 56 second miles. My first thought was 'uh oh.' The highest heart rate I have run with over a long distance up to this point was 161 for 7 miles with a pace of 8:34. At the end of that run I felt dead. I was worried that I would tire out before the end of the race. I ran for another 1/4 of a mile at that pace and I still felt amazing. In fact I felt like I could push it a lot faster. So I made the decision to keep my heart rate between 165 and 170 for a while to see how I felt.

For the first 5 miles I would occasionally get passed by someone who looked very fast. I didn't even think about it. My friends told me that eventually you settle in and you don't care about what the other people are doing. You mostly focus on one guy and try to beat him. So for the first five miles I would pick out someone up in the distance who looked a little goofy and try to catch up. The trick was to do it keeping my heart rate between 165 and 170.

The first guy I did this to was about 7 feet tall and he had on a skin tight blue Spandex jumpsuit. He was pretty fast but I caught him and never saw him again. I did this a few more times and then I was at the 5 mile point. I still felt great so I decided to keep my pace. Then another goofy looking guy passed me so I followed him for a mile. It wasn't that much of a jump in my heart rate to keep up with him so by the time I was at mile 6 my heart rate was solidly 170 and would jump above every once in a while. My pace would go between about 7:43 and 7:56.

Right before mile 6 I snarfed down a Power Gel.
Power Gel is concentrated sugar with salt and a little caffeine in it. I learned that from my friends D and Easy E. I don't think it makes you any faster but it perks you up a bit.

Also at mile 6 I grabbed a bottle of water and took a few sips. I still felt very strong and I decided to pick it up for the rest of the race.

I ran miles 6 to 8 with a heart rate between 173 and 178. My pace at that point varied between 7:30 and 7:43. The first thing I did was catch and pass the goofy looking guy that passed me back at mile 5. Then I started picking out people in the distance who looked strong. I caught a bunch of them and passed them.

From miles 6 to 10 I was passed by 2 people. The first one passed me at about mile 7.5 so I picked up my pace a little so that he couldn't get out of sprinting range. The second one came out of nowhere and passed me like I was standing still. I never saw him again.

From miles 8 to 9 I kept my heart rate between 177 and 180. This put my pace during that stretch at 7:03. I closed the distance a little on the guy that passed me at mile 7.5.

The last mile I did in a dead out sprint. My heart rate was at 182 for the entire last mile. My predicted maximum is 186 so I was running at 98% of my predicted maximum heart rate. The fastest heart rate I have ever actually recorded was 184.

I passed the guy! When I passed him I heard him gasp. He started sprinting to catch up to me and I could hear his feet back there pounding and he sounded like a steam engine sucking wind. And the more he huffed and puffed the harder I ran. He never caught me. Thankfully my wife was just a few feet before the finish line and caught some of the action.
Thats me in the yellow! Here is a little more action.

I crossed the finish line at 1:17:55. My average heart rate for the run was 171 and my average pace was 7 minute 47 second miles. That isn't a very good time as far as competitive running goes but it was certainly good for me. I was happy with my effort.

There were guys who finished in like 55 minutes! Holy smokes batman. I think they must have an extra bone in their ankle or something. I might be able to do that in a car.

The next big race I am training for is the Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon. I think this year's race is going to be April 26th. People come from all over the world to race so I will most certainly get smoked.

Between now and then I want to drop 10 more pounds and gradually improve my speed. After I get our taxes paid I want to buy a bicycle so that I can ride the bike on days between my runs for some hot cross-training action.