Sunday, November 29, 2009

Old Fashioned (the Restaurant, not the drink)

Although you can get an old fashioned there, the restaurant in Madison is a great place.

Lunch visit with the daughter - I had the House Burger, she the special (Italian Sausage)

Great food - House Burger is a burger cooked the way you want it - woo hoo - ordered medium rare and got it -- over a wood grill - with bacon, garlic sauce, fried onions, aged chedder and a fried egg - also cooked perfectly - bottom not burnt, yolk perfectly runny but no snot on top (you know what I mean - that runny clear stuff that most of us go for easy over for). Comes with fries or salad, 8.95. A burger that anyone at Red Robin could only dream of being served.

Place is busy, even on a slow day. I understand the wait can be 3 hours for the fish fry on Friday, so go early or late, or expect to try one of their 150 beers

Need to fine it? Try This

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Power to the People Coffee!

Great Coffee, from Just Coffee in Madison Wi.

They may be hippies, but darn fine coffee. Here in Eau Claire it is used as the coffee for Harmony Cafe (closed, but reportedly reopening). My kids find it funny that a climate change denying republican leaning old guy loves hippie coffee, but there you go

My favorite is Revolution Roast, but I have never tried one that wasn't great

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yes, This is the BEST TURKEY EVER

I said it in ALL CAPS so it must be true - right?

Anyway - based on Alton Browns, with edits, has the best turkey ever - no, not the deep fried one, although that is very fine too.

My only addition - get about six dry ancho chilis - cut them up and put them in the brine. I started brining turkey with them years ago when I read about it in a Whole Foods thing - great addition - they do not add any heat to the turkey, but it is a great enhancer to the flavor


Brine - 1 cup salt (I use sea salt), 1 cup brown sugar, 6 dried ancho chilis, cut up, 1/2 gallon of water
Bring all up to heat, stirring to disolve. When the salt/sugar is disolved, take off of heat, and add ice cubes till the ice does not melt (about 5 lbs).
Place cleaned turkey in turkey brine holder (I use a big stock pot), pour brine over, and top off with water till bird is almost covered. Put breast portion down, so if some of the turkey is not covered, it doesnt matter as much. Place stock pot in fridge, or if you are like me and have no room, in a ice chest, surrounded by more ice. If you are in Wisconsin, and it's about 30 degrees outside, put it in your garage, covered (keep out the raccoons dontchaknow.

I like to brine for about 6 hours, so I usually do it the morning of, as we start cooking the turkey 2ish, eating 5 to 6 ish)

Cook following Alton's instructions (dont forget to rinse off before cooking).

Feel free to smoke the bird after this brine, or deepfry, or just roast.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Gift Made of Love

It was my daughters birthday recently. As we were discussing the menu plans for her birthday fete, the topic of desert arose.

Cake was the decision, chocolate. My wife suggested a cake from the bakery, as we were in the middle of the school year (with my wife back in college also).

My daughters response - NO.

A store bought cake is not made of love, she proclaimed.

She did not say made with love - she said made of love.

It struck me at that moment that in our house, making meals are made of love. That when I cook, I do it from love - for the doing for my family. When I am home alone, my meals are modest. But when made for others - I plan, I labor, I put forth every effort, even for a simple lunch.

What in your house is made of love?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

30 Minute Shredded Chicken Taco's

Did I ever mention I love the pressure cooker?

3 lbs chicken thighs, with the skin off (can use boneless if you like - more expensive, but a little less work
1 jar salsa
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 packet chicken taco seasoning

Toss in pressure cooker
Bring to pressure, then back temp off till it's a low whistle
Cook for 20 minutes
De pressurize

Using tongs, take out the thighs, shred meat (will be falling apart)
At the same time, boil down the cooking liquid -
Combine shredded chicken and some of the sauce

Serve with your favorite taco seasonings!

Subsititute bbq sauce for the salsa if you want shredded chicken sandwiches.