FNCCC Information Updated

April 12, 2011

I know some of you like to plan ahead so I went ahead and randomized the remaining Food Network Chefs.  The week we will be doing them was added to each of their names as well.

You can either click on FNCCC above or click here.


Buffalo Chips (cookies… not poop)

April 12, 2011

The best part about reading about food is the pictures!  But I forgot to take any… but I forgot to take any so… yea.

This past week was Warren Brown and he had 11 recipes I think?  One of which was, “Take sugar cookies, frost them.”  Seriously, that’s pretty much how it read.  His most notable recipe was an apple cobbler that Betsy ended up making and she needs to get a writeup of that shit yo.  It was soooooooo fucking amazing I can’t even tell you.

I decided to just bake something and Betsy’s mom offered me a recipe called Buffalo Chips.  It’s a cookie recipe that has to be from the 80s or 90s, before they realized that some things in copious amounts weren’t good for you.  Starting off for the recipe it has 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of shortening, 2 cups of granulated sugar, 2 cups of brown sugar… see where this is going?

Then you have chocolate chips and shredded coconut and it’s just insane.  I’ll add the recipe to the end for those interested in it.

The amount of ingredients was a bit daunting and the amounts so large that I broke out my bowl that’s big enough to bathe a baby in.  I’ve screwed up PLENTY OF TIMES thinking a bowl was big enough only to have to transfer stuff halfway through the making.  Wasn’t going to let it happen this time around.

After you put in the butter, shortening, and 2 lbs. of sugar you get a very nice and sweet batter.  Then you have to add in 2 lbs. of flour.  It didn’t tell me to do it slowly so I dumped it all in and went to town!  It was pretty tough mixing it in.  My hand mixer was audibly struggling and I feared it would give out but we kept on mustering through it.

That’s not all though because then you add a cup of rolled quick oats (which I still have a ton left and will probably be turning into no bake cookies).  The coconut and choco chips go in at this time as well and the mixer was like… fuck this, I quit.

Betsy’s brother, Scott, was over and we were playing PS3 games and getting liquored up (wild Friday night, I know).  He comes over just to watch my cooking disasters now and he showed me how to mix it using the spatula to kind of fold this ginormous fucking batter together.

The problem that creeps up once you add the oats is that it turns it into granola and you can imagine how tough mixing 8 lbs. of granola can be.  It also has issues holding together and is very crumbly.

It calls for you to measure out 1/4 cup of the dough to make the cookie (hence the reason it’s a buffalo chip because buffalo’s poop is big).  I had wanted to do them in smaller sizes but when you get done and realize you have a silly amount of batter you toss that idea out the window and start measuring the quarter cups.  I was using a quarter cup… cup, and if you pack it too much into the measuring cup the cookie has difficulty melting.  You will endup with a cookie that looks like it came out of a catfood can (that tastes fucking amazing).

I was pretty happy with how they turned out and Scott’s dad said, “They were the best baked thing I’ve made  yet.”  He’s a sweets tasting guru so pretty good compliment /nod.

Baking Notes:

1.  I’d recommend rolling them into a ball or something after you measure the amount so they cook prettier but either way they were really good.

2.  Use a finer sugar because it turned out a bit gritty (or mix better).

(recipe goes here when you get home!)


Tirami-fuckin-su

April 2, 2011

That’s right… for Jamie Oliver I decided to make tiramisu .  I’ve decided that when you bake you don’t do it for yourself.  You bake things for others because by the time you are done mixing and beating and folding and sweating and baking you just want the thing to be done and over with.  That’s why baked goods are always given away.

Did you know baking is also french for disaster in your kitchen. I dirtied up more dishes making tiramisu than making a dinner with two sides, it’s just crazy.

Anyway, just figuring out what went in this thing was difficult.  Mr. Oliver put all his directions in grams but Food Network was nice enough to convert that into ounces.  I’ve never measured flour by ounces so I converted ounces to tablespoons (nothing could go wrong with all these conversions right?)  I don’t own a coffee maker so I stopped by Starbucks to pickup a 5-shot of espresso.  I’m sure they thought something was wrong with me because they gave me a look like I was some sort of crack addict getting their fix.

All kidding aside the sponge cake was relatively easy to make.  My kitchen was hot though so getting the eggs and sugar into stiff peaks (or the ribbon stage) was a bit difficult.  I’ve seen chef’s whip shit by hand and I have NO IDEA how they do that.  I got out the electric mixer and whipped it into a splattering frenzy.  After that comes folding in a bunch of random shit.  Folding is stupid.  Why can’t I just mix that shit in?

Put the stupid cake in to bake and that’s when I started making the filling.  Not sure why it’s called a filling since it goes on like an icing but whatever.

I started making the filling when I realized I needed a cup to start melting the white chocolate in.  Grabbed the one in front of me and went oops.

The cup contained the butter that was supposed to be folded into the sponge cake…

…that was in the oven baking.

I shrugged, nothing I could do about it now!

Who came up with mascarpone?  It has the same consistency as marshmallow fluff.  It didn’t want to come out of the container, off my hands, or off the mixer.  Highly suggest making sure it is at least at room temperature or warmer.  The warmer the better.

/timer ding

I get the genoise (no idea what that means) sponge out of the oven and it actually looks good.  Test it for done’ness and it’s… done.  Set it aside to cool and started looking for a pan to put all this shit in.

Improvisation set in as I realized I have 2 things to bake in.  One is a sheet pan which would not work for this and the other is a the pan the sponge was made in.  I tipped the sponge cake over onto my cutting board and cleaned out the pan while it was continuing to cool so I could make the stupid thing in that.

The filling had something called Vin Santo in it.  For those that failed to click the link it is an italian desert wine that is sweet.  Not quite port sweet but still yummy and also dry.  When I asked about it at the liquor store the old lady looked at me like I asked if I could see her boobs.  She had never heard of a vin santo (surprise!) and asked about it.  She recommended a moscato because it’s a sweet dry white wine.  Sweet and dry aren’t two things I would have figured a wine could be but she was right and it’s really good.

Jamie’s directions on putting it together are a bit not helpful.  I should have trusted my gut here but didn’t.  I’ve always seem tiramisu as layers.  I considered cutting the edges off the sponge and then cutting it into a top / bottom layer.  If I make it again then I will most certainly do that.  Then I can drizzle the tia maria (amazing liquor that you should drink a shot with a can of coke or dr. pepper, it gives the soda a chocolate flavor) on one layer and the espresso on the other.

INSTEAD I broke the sponge up and tried piecing stuffing it back into it’s original pan.  Obviously I would endup with more sponge than I started so I had to put the extra in two bowls and make individual portions of tiramisu.  After that you drizzle on the espresso / white chocolate / tia maria.  Super easy and then you put the filling or icing on top.

I put it in the ice box to setup and then had some later that night.

It came out pretty good.  The coffee flavor from 5 shots was quite overpowering though and the desert is VERY rich.  VERY RICH!

1.  Use lady fingers OR cut the edge off the sponge and cut into two layers.  Don’t soak, just drizzle the espresso (no more than 4 shots) onto it.  Be careful with the white chocolate because it creates a crunch to it so big globs of it can really throw off the texture.

2.  Make sure the filling is warm, I’d suggest warming it up enough to pour unless you are good at putting cake icing on cake that moves a lot more than regular cake.

 

Recipe

Note: 1 oz. = 1 T

Genoise sponge:

  • 3 1/2 ounces (110 grams) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 ounces (50 grams) melted butter
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) plain flour
  • 1-ounce (30 grams) good-quality cocoa powder

Filling:

  • 1 pound 1-ounce (500 grams) mascarpone
  • 2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks*
  • 3.5 fluid ounces (100 milliliters) Vin Santo
  • 4 to 5 shots espresso coffee
  • Tia Maria liqueur
  • 3 1/2 ounces (110 grams) good-quality white chocolate, melted
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 1 bar good-quality dark chocolate, for shavings

Directions

First make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C /gas 4).

Whisk the sugar and eggs until they are at ribbon stage. Fold in the melted butter, then fold in the sifted flour and cocoa. Pour the mixture into a lined Swiss roll tin and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the sponge from the oven when it is done and leave to cool.

To make the filling, put the mascarpone, sugar, egg yolks, and Vin Santo into a bowl and mix until smooth.

To assemble the tiramisu, break up the sponge and press it into the bottom of a shallow dish. Drizzle over the coffee, Tia Maria, and white chocolate. Spoon over the mascarpone filling, then dust liberally with cocoa. Using a large knife, scrape the chocolate towards you to make shavings and arrange these delicately over the top.

 


FNCCC 16 – Jamie Oliver

March 28, 2011

This week we have Mr. Jamie Oliver himself.  He’s absolutely adorable and super kind hearted (at least that’s how he’s portrayed on the tele (tele is what the british call T.V.).  Last I heard he had revolutionized British school systems or whatever and was hard working at doing it in America as well.  Little did he know that the last time America made change there was a Civil War.  He should be careful, we might declare war on his country (it’s just how we roll).

Jamie has an awesome bio and for his age I’d say he’s accomplished quite a bit.  I don’t remember the name of the show he did in America but the British version of it was called Jamie’s School Dinners.  If you get a chance to watch the American version it was pretty good and certainly an eye opener as to why all the obesity is getting so rampant in America (or you could look down the street and see fast food dot’d along every street corner).

I haven’t looked at his recipes yet but I’m guessing for the most part they are healthy.  I’m gonna take my Q from Mr. Oliver here and try to do maybe a healthy desert or something.

Edit:  Had to add in his recipes link, duh.  Betsy said he doesn’t have a lot of recipes so you might need to do some googling.


IRL: Mushroom Ravioli

March 26, 2011

This last week was by far the toughest FNCCC I’ve done.  Even tougher than the wild mushroom risotto.  I opt’d for not only making ravioli, I decided to make the pasta itself…

FROM SCRATCH! (bolded for emphasis)

It actually turned out pretty good, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.

I wanted Betsy to be able to eat them so I opt’d for a portobello ravioli filling from some guy named Barry Wohl.  The ravioli dough though is from our illustrious Mario.

Pasta Dough:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus 1/2 cup for dusting work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Let’s talk about the pasta dough recipe.  You are supposed to make a well in the middle of the flour and put your eggs / oil into it.  From there you simply start stirring in the flour to create the dough.  Sounds easy enough… BUT IT ISN’T!  You don’t actually endup using all that flour.  I had about a cup left after I made the dough and was starting to freak.

The dough became flaky when I tried to incorporate too much flour so I added some water to try and help rehydrate it and it seemed to work.  I wrapped the dough in plastic and sat it aside.

Unsure of whether I did it right or not I made a second round of dough while the first “rested”.  I called Betsy to ask her about it and she wanted to point out that the dough doesn’t actually rise and didn’t want me to wait an hour trying to figure out why it was the same size.  Thanks for the faith B!

A friend of mine was over and helped me make the mushroom filling, mainly because he didn’t want to wait all night just to get fucking dinner.

The filling was rather easy although we did skip the whole, put it in the oven then stir every 10 mins.  We just sauteed the fuck out of it.  Then you throw it into the food processor and make something that looks like speckled baby poop or maybe ground quail eggs.

Next up was the rolling the pasta out.  I cut it into 4 pieces and then used my patented roller / empty wine bottle to roll it out, worked great.  Then I fed it into the pasta squeezer thing that makes it thinner and I’m not sure how you do this as one person but Scooter and me got ‘er done.

At first I was going with the round ravioli method.  Seemed easy but the top of my glass drinking cup wasn’t sharp enough so switched to putting them in squares.  Scott showed me how easy it was to make them like that (even though he got lazy towards the end and was just making ravioli apples.

By this time the pasta was ready to be dropped into the boiling water and I was surprised at just how fast fresh pasta gets ready.  It said to drop the ravioli and when they float to the top you give them about 60 seconds.  I gave them 30’ish and they came out perfect (but I prefer my pasta a bit more al dente… french for not quite cooked).

We ate a few and they tasted fine by themselves but the flavor was quite strong.  The ravioli filling recipe didn’t list a sauce so I improvised with what I had on hand and did a garlic butter sauce with coriander and oregano in it.  Not bad but the flavors were too subtle to really compete against the garlic onion portobello mushroom ravioli.  I’d highly suggest pairing them with a marinara sauce and they’d be great or if you have the skill, bread them and fry them.  Holy underwear batman, that would be good.

Lesson here is that you should never be afraid to try out new dishes.  I never for once thought I could make pasta dough FROM SCRATCH (not even using a fucking mixing bowl / pasta hook).  I have a second batch of it that I froze and am looking forward to using.

You’ll never get better if you keep making the same grilled cheese over and over.

Side note… this really tears the kitchen up…

 

“]

 

 

 


FNCCC 17 – Mario Batali

March 20, 2011

That’s right folks… it’s the mother fucking italian wonder, Mario Batali.  Not only was Mario destroying the competition on Iron Chef America he was also saving the Princess from Bowser (with the help of his brother Luigi).

Mario has one of the better bio’s of people I’ve read.  By better I mean I actually wanted to read it and I found out interesting things about Mario.  Did you know he was married and had two sons?  Did you know he doesn’t actually have formal training (ie. from a school) but he was taught by some uber chef in Mexico.  Which seems weird since he cooks italian but whateva!

Anyway I’m super stoked about Mario because he’s Italian and I eff’ing love Italian food.  I hope if you cook something with pasta (which you will) then you do something awesome like make your own pasta.  Now THAT would be in the true spirit of Mr. Batali.

Mario has a fuckton of recipes so I highly suggest using the search function to sort his recipes a bit better (ie. pasta, chicken, beef, goomba).


IRL: FNCCC – Chinese 5-Spice Chicken Wings and Cilantro Dip

March 18, 2011

Mr. Dave Lieberman was the chef this week and he had A LOT of soups to choose from… but I’m not much of a soup guy.  In fact, I’m not a chicken wings guy either.  I don’t really like eating foods that get my hands all dirty and nasty.  It’s why the only ribs I eat are literally fork tender.

I chose to make them anyway, Chinese 5-spice chicken wings.  I failed to recognize that I live in a tiny ass town though.  A lot of the more obscure components in dishes we don’t even carry in town.  Our asian market is an isle in Walmart.  I checked the spices though and guess what… no chinese 5 spice.

/call Betsy

She looks up a recipe for me so I can just make the chinese 5 spice on my own.  This stuff is crazy, it makes me think of curry in that there’s a fuckton of different things in it.

  • 1 tsp. ground Szechwan pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground star anise
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper

I’m not sure what a szechwan pepper is… but we don’t have them in any form.  Star anise?  I’ve heard of them, I think they are usually used in desserts?  No idea, but we didn’t have that either.  I have fennel seeds though!  Granted, I’d have had to grind them myself so I can’t imagine that being fun.  Ground cinnamon, salt, and white pepper are all easy enough to get.  Ground cloves is what broke me though, it was $10 for a bottle of it and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t ever use them again.

Chinese 5-spice was a bust /le sigh.  I already had the stuff for the cilantro dip though and I LOVE CILANTRO.  I was determined to make it and so I grabbed some Ms. Dash Extra Spicy that wasn’t designed as a rub at all.

I bought the chicken as already cut into winglettes because there was no way in hell I was going to butcher me some chicken.  Maybe I should become a vegetarian… maybe just when I cook!

The chicken wings had to be patted dry which wasn’t too difficult and they actually don’t feel all that bad in your hands (nothing like a lump of pork does)!  I put them in one of my gi-fucking-normous bowls that I got at a garage sale last year and tossed it.  I was only going to make half of the wings, not knowing if I’d even be capable of making anything tastey since I was taking a chance on the nonrub.  The nonrub had cayenne pepper in it already so I added an extra tablespoon of the nonrub rather than a whole bunch of extra cayenne possibly making them over spicy.

The part that really appealed to me about this recipe was the fact the chicken wings were supposed to be crispy on the outside.  I HATE BUFFALO WINGS.  They are the epitomy of getting your hands nasty while trying to eat something, plus I don’t like the flavor.  Mainly it’s the dirty factor though.

I got the chicken tossed, laid out on sheet pans and in the oven.

Next up was the cilantro dip.  Did I mention I love cilantro?  It’s the only reason I considered making something that combines, sour cream, mayo, and yogurt… srsly… wtf?!  Once the lemon is added in it thins it out quite a bit and very much resembles ranch.  If I made it again I’d probably leave the yogurt out as it made it too sweet for me (yes, I used the right yogurt all the people that just asked that).

/elapse 25 minutes

Wings were done!  They were PERFECT.  Crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside.  I salted them perfectly and I guessed right on just how much nonrub to add.  I would make these again for sure and would happily try mixing the spices on them.  Making them like this where they aren’t drenched is a great way to do it as well.


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