This song has been stuck in my head for a week thanks to Harry Connick Jr.
This is Misty’s recipe.
She’s been making this recipe for about a decade. The recipe started off really good but jumped up to the next level when I started making homemade beef and chicken stock, as a restuarant does.
People love IKEA’s Swedish Meatballs but those are not homemade, they are mass produced. These are so much better.
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 med onion, minced, about one cup
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
• 2 large egg yolks
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (You can use more nutmeg in place of this)
• 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE GRAVY
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 cups beef or chicken stock*
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Beef stock is traditional but chicken stock is so much easier to make. I always recommend using real stock over broth. Broth is just stock with all the nutritious stuff removed and mass packaged for the supermarket. Using just chicken stock is fine. If you must use broth, you might as well get beef broth. For this recipe I prefer to use half beef and half chicken stock for balance. I always have homemade stock in my freezer
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until onions have become translucent and slightly browned. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, bread crumbs, egg yolks, cooked onion, spices, milk, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Use your hands and really beat your meat (tee hee hee). You want the meat mix to be almost like a paste. This will ensure they stay in tight balls when whn you cook them. Roll the mixture into 1 to 1.5 inch meatballs. I use a scale and make each ball 1.5oz or 45g.
Heat up a large skillet and then add the other tablespoon of oil. Brown the meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 4-5 minutes. If you try to cook too many at once you will cool down the pan and they won’t brown well. Transfer each ball to a plate once cooked and leave all the brown meat bits in the pan for the next step.
Melt butter in the skillet. Whisk in flour and let bubble to form a light roux. Let it bubble and stir it for a few minutes. This will get rid of the stale flour flavor and make it smell a little like popcorn. Gradually ladle in stock and whisk until slightly thickened. Your “gravy” is going to be a little thin and that is fine. Let it reduce while you make your mashed potatoes or egg noodles. After 5-10 minutes, stir in all the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add in cooked meatballs and stir until they are heated and gravy thickens. If you want to be safe you can check the meatballs with a thermometer to ensure they are above 165°F.
Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley (optional).
Mashed potatoes are the most appropriate thing to serve these with but I really love buttered egg noodles.
Do what you want. Serve them with a boiled duck ass for all I care.
The Wildcard – Un Soupçon De Je Ne Sais Quoi
(A little bit of I Don’t Know What)
This is a concept I reference in my recipes and when I talk about cooking and wine. I often call it the WILDCARD flavor but Un Soupçon De Je Ne Sais Quoi is more douchey and works better for a blog.
I first started talking about it when I was learning about wine and could not identify a subtle flavor or scent. I could tell something was there but could not identify it. That is what gives great wine such great character. It’s just slightly too complex for the uninitiated brain.
Learning about wine is very important for a chef. It will turn your nose and taste buds into advance chemical detectors. Once you learn to detect those “little bits of I don’t know what” your appreciation of high quality food, wine, beer, spirits, etc. will go through the roof. It can change how you cook as well.
Layering In Complexity
When I cook I will complete the dish as intended and then try to find some kind of WILDCARD to add in order to trick your brain. I want people to taste or smell that WILDCARD but not be able to identify it. It should enhance without overpowering. You should know SOMETHING is there but not know what. The WILDCARD is always a pinch, a dash, or a splash.
Here are a few examples:
Standard Italian-American pizza sauce with a tiny amount of ground fennel seeds added.
A fire-grilled, dry-rubbed steak dusted lightly with fine ground espresso beans.
Scallops sautéed in butter and white wine with just a tiny splash of absinth or Pernod.
Homemade enchilada sauce with a pinch of cacao or coco powder.
Caesar dressing with just a few drops of balsamic added. Oooh! Or a sliver of fresh habanero pepper, if you dare.
A smidgeon of lemon or sugar in any dish to either brighten or fatten slightly for balance.
Ever hear of Caesar’s Italian Restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach? It opened in 1956 and closed in 2012. For some time in the 1960s my grandfather, Andrew Yonan, managed that place. That is where he got his clam chowder recipe. That is the recipe he taught my mother and me.
Every amazing clam chowder you ever had was made at some wharf, some cafe, some dive restaurant near the sea. It’s not a soup typically served it at super gourmet expensive restaurants. That means your favorite clam chowders have been made with whole milk and thickened with roux (flour and fat). These restaurants are not going to waste gallons of expensive cream on your tourist ass. You can look up all the clam chowder recipes you want that call for cream or half and half, but they are not practical for a restaurant. And another thing. Do you think all those seaside restaurants use fresh clams? GET THE SCHMUCK OUTTAHERE! Canned clams are more cost effective. They are cheap, easy, and can be picked up at any corner store. Just like yo stank-ass momma.
Over the years I have played around the the recipe and each time I screwed it over.
-Brandy, wine, sherry, or vermouth? Overpowers the clams.
-Tarragon or other herbs? Overpowers the clams.
-Garlic? Overpowers the clams.
-Carrots? Too sweet. (Although, 1/2 cup diced carrots is fine if you are into that shit)
-Cream instead of whole milk and roux? Too rich. Lactose pants-shitting poo fits.
-Leek? Leek works fine in place of onions but you barely notice. Pain in the ass.
-Chicken Stock? What are you a moron?
Don’t mess with a good thing. Restaurant clam chowder is simple.
My grandfather and mother taught me how to make this without a recipe. It was always made according to how much canned clams we had. We made it in a huge stock pot and there was enough to feed the Continental Faaakin Army.
I wrote ups this recipe so I can make a normal, human-sized portion that won’t take a month to eat. The ingredients list is based on normal grocery store portions: Quart of milk, standard cans of clams, standard bottle of clam juice, a normal onion, etc.
Makes 3 quarts
5 ounces of minced bacon, about 5 slices. Double it if you love heart attacks and shit.
1 medium yellow onion (about 2 cups minced)
1 cup diced celery (start with heart/leaves/stems. Save the good celery for snacking)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
1 quart whole milk (4 cups) – Microwave the milk to room temp+ to speed things up
1 large russet potato, 1lb – (1/2 to 1 inch cubes) – Any potato works, really.
2 (6.5-ounce) cans clams, minced, undrained
1 bottle clam juice (8oz)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (dry thyme is OK if you’re a cheapskate/lazyass)
1 to 1.25 tsp salt – Start low and increase to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp ground black pepper – Start low and increase to taste
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste in place of 1/4 teaspoon salt for more umami flavor.
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1. The Sauté – Aromatics and Clams
In a sauté pot or large fry pan, cook the bacon on medium-low heat. Stir often until the fat is rendered slowly and browned slightly but not crispy. Without draining the fat, add in the onions and celery and sauté, stirring occationally. You want the onions to release their water and caramelize so their flavors concentrate and their natural sugars come out. After 10 minutes, deglaze the pan with the clam juice and scrap up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add in the thyme, bay leaf, canned clams and all the clam liquid with it. Lower the heat and reduce the liquid while you start the next step.
2. The Roux – A Béchamel
Get a 3 quart pot or bigger. Melt your butter until it’s bubbly. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to make your roux. Whisk for a few minutes on medium-low heat until frothy. You are making a light roux but letting it cook a few minutes gets the “stale flour” flavor out. After a few minutes of stiring your roux, ladle in warm milk a cup at a time and whisk until the roux looks like a gravy before adding more milk. When all the milk is incorporated you now have a béchamel. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer and reduce. It should seem like it is too thin. It is. We want to give the whole chowder time to simmer.
This next part depends on your potatoes. If you like small potato pieces as I recommed, let the béchamel and your sauté reduce for 5 min before moving to the next step. If you want hunks of potatoes larger than an inch, you can skip ahead to the next step as they will need longer to cook.
3. The Final Chowder
Combine everything into the larger pot and add in your diced potatoes. Simmer on low until the potatoes are soft and the chowder thickens enough to cling to the back of a spoon. Stir occationally and don’t over heat. You don’t want the bottom to burn.
When the potatoes are soft, add the salt and pepper. I start with the minimum amount and then taste it. Add in more a little at a time until you like it. I love a lot of pepper but that can be added after it’s served. If you have anchovy paste – and dare to punch it up – add in 1/4 tsp in place of 1/4 tsp of the salt. Anchovy paste is very salty and will add an incredible OCEANY flavor to your soup as well as a nice kick of seafood umami. It’s not required, but it’s my WILDCARD secret flavor weapon. The last optional ingredient is a pinch of sugar. It will really round out and balance the flavor. Totally optional. But as Mary Poppins said, “A pinch of sugar helps get that black tar heroin into your eyeball. And Dick van Dyke sounds like a very confused porn act. One mo peep and ima slap the shit outta these Banks kids.”
But I digest…
Most clam chowders call for a little bit of cayenne or hot sauce. I add just enough cayenne to make the tongue tingle but not make it too spicy. If you don’t want to add it, that’s up to you. Otherwise, additional cayenne, black pepper, salt, and/or hot sauce can be added to your bowl when you’re ready to eat
Add crackers and eat with crackers while dining with crackers, you crackers.
Put this on pasta or rub it on your assy-nipples for all I care.
This is a hybrid recipe influenced by Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Scott Conant.
First you need a big pot. That can be a 6-8 quart sauté pan, a stock pot, or a dutch oven. Heat that sumbitch up and start by browning your ground beef only, before anything else to render out the fat.
Lidia’s recipe calls for removing the excess fat that floats to the top of the bolognese as it cooks. Well, why add butter and oil then? You are just wasting fat. Rendered beef fat tastes like rancid cilantro and cow taint. Pork, chicken, and dairy fat – on the other hand – is heavenly. The pork, pancetta, butter, and olive oil make a great fat flavor profile. Removing the beef fat first gets rid of the least desirable flavored fat right away.
Dump the ground beef into a strainer over the sink and let all that beef fat drip out. Place the strained ground beef in a bowl and set aside. Next brown the ground pork. Don’t dump out that pork fat, it’s delish. When it is done, transfer the cooked pork to the bowl with the cooked beef and set aside. If the bottom of the pot is brown with fond… GOOD! That’s more flavor.
Heat the oil and butter in that same pot over medium until hot. Add the pancetta and let it brown like bacon. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and cook ten mintues until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping any fond off the bottom of the pan. Cook out until the wine is evaporated some, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the cooked ground meats back into the pot. Crush the tomatoes up and add along with the tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, fennel, nutmeg, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce simmers lightly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or longer until it is very thick. The longer you cook it, the better it will taste. You want it to be thick and chunky but still loose enough to coat pasta.
Salt to taste:
Add 1/4 tsp of salt, stir and taste. You want it to brighten and be more flavorful without being too salty. You can also add a tiny pinch of sugar at the end to round it out.
Remove it from the heat and let it cool. Pick out the bay leaves. Serve over wide noodles.
Combine the beef, celery, carrots, chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms and red wine in a large ziplock bag. Pour in two cups of red wine. Let this soak overnight. If you skip this step if you are a lazy shvantz.
When you are ready to cook, strain out the solids and set aside the wine marinade liquid. Pick out the the meat, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep the strained veggies aside but put pick out the mushrooms and put them in a separate container. Pick out the bay leaf and put it in the container with the reserved wine marinade.
Heat a dutch oven or a very large sauté pan (5 qt or so) on the stove top. Add the oil and cook the pancetta until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and place in large bowl. Next, brown the beef in batches. If you cook all the beef at once the surface temperature will drop and it will not brown as well. Sear until all side have a good color. Remove and place in the bowl with the pancetta.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Add the wine marinated veggies, except the mushroom, to the dutch oven and sauté for 10-15 minute or until soft. Stir in the flour until mixed well with the veggies and fat. Pour in a little of your reserved red wine or stock and scrape the bottom to get the brown fond off the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir. I had extra yellow grape tomatoes (shown in these photos), so I used them instead of tomato paste. Pour in all your remaining stock and wine, plus the browned beef and pancetta.
Cover dutch oven/sauté pan with tight lid and put in the oven. This will all be done in two hours.
After 30 minutes: Take the lid off to evaporate water so the sauce will thicken in the oven.
After an hour: Check the beef in the oven, stir a bit, and return to oven for the final hour. Stirring gives the all the beef a chance to braise and roast.
After 90 minutes: Using another skillet, cook pearl onions (or large onion hunks) and mushrooms over medium heat with butter until mushrooms are golden and onions caramelize. This is why we cook them separately from the other batch of veggies. You want the pan to develop the burnt fond that sticks to the bottom. Deglaze this pan with cognac or brandy and scrape up the fond. Simmer until the brandy boils off but the pan is no longer covered in fond. Remove from heat.
After the full two hours: Take it out of the oven, add the mushrooms and onions, and stir. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Serve with potatoes, mashed or roasted, or thick egg noodles and garnish with minced italian parsely.
Bone. Ape tit.
This song has been stuck in my head for a week thanks to Harry Connick Jr.
For the fennel… Trim the fronds (they look like dill weed) and set aside. Remove the tough stalks (that look like celery). Cut the bulb and the softer stalks into quarter inch strips. Blanch in boiling salt water for 5-10 min until soft. Drain and let dry. If you don’t want to waste food, you can use every inch of the fennel. Just know some of it will be tough. It’s still perfectly OK to eat
Cut onion in half and slice into thick slices.
Remove garlic skin and cut cloves into peanut-sized hunks.
Strip mustard green leaves from thick stalks, wash, and cut into bite sized hunks. Massage with olive oil..
Place fennel, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and garlic into a bowl and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and balsamic vinegar. Mix and dump into cast iron skillet. Place in BBQ, grill, broiler, or oven on high bake. You can do Thurs on the stove top it you want. Cook until garlic is soft and onions/fennel start to caramelize.
At the very end, add the mustard greens to the top and return to heat unto greens wilt and crisp.
Remove from heat. Toss with the raw fennel fronds and eat.
I think this is something I have dealt with most of my life and I am only now starting to see it so I can fix it. The hardest part is realizing that I’ve always thought of this behavior as being generous and “feminist” in a way. It’s not. The farther you go back in my life, the more selfish it was. I still do it today to some degree, always looking for a pat on the back or wanting someone to be impressed by me. I’m slowly shifting towards me doing things just because or for the joy of doing it. But still. I need to own this behavior.
The White Knight Syndrome essentially stems from two erroneous beliefs that all white knights have in common. Deep down, they believe that 1) it is imperative for them to be liked by all women and 2) they are not good enough to be liked by women as they are.
Thus, the White Knight Syndrome ensues, as sort of a coping mechanism.
The white knight craves female approval, attention and companionship, as well as sex, a romantic relationship and perhaps marriage. But he doesn’t believe that he can obtain these things by just being himself, because he thinks he’s not good enough.
He believes he has to do something special to cope with this predicament. And the something special he discovered is trying to save women from their troubles. It’s no wonder he is drawn to women who need saving like a fly to honey.
At some level he thinks that if he can find women who are weak or in dire need of help, and he will swiftly jump in to provide that help, he will get these women to like him and give him all that he craves from them. Without him openly asking for any of it.
Even though the white knight asks for nothing in return for the help he offers and he may seem to offer it out of pure kindness or morality, make no mistake about it: he has a personal agenda, which he keeps hidden (often so well even he’s not truly aware of it). He wants something from the women he helps. Sometimes it’s only something emotional such as their approval, other times it’s something more material.
Unfortunately, to the white knight’s utter surprise, instead of providing him what he wants from women, his behavior mostly generates steep negative consequences.
When I was 11 years old my father had since moved out. My brother was off drinking and doing drugs with his 15 year old friends. My mother, severely depressed and with lupus, was either at work or asleep that entire year. I ran the house in 1985. I cooked, cleaned, went shopping on my bicycle for groceries.
I think my White Knight Syndrome manifested as a sorta Freudian need to make my mom happy and have her acknowledge that I was one of the “good males” unlike my father and brother. To this day I feel this need to have women validate that I am a good man//husband, that I cook and clean, that I am attentive to women’s needs, etc. I am realizing that is a primary motivator for why I post so many videos of me cooking elaborate meals. The meal was good without advertising it to the world! I’m looking for praise, specifically from all the woman I know. I thi k I subconsciously am trying to get the attention of women who wish they had a man who is like me. I’m think I’m seeking a pat on the back and I’m just now realizing how totally disingenuous and self-indulgent this is.
I am improving as I get older. I feel more comfortable with myself and have the means to just be generous for generosity’s sake. By discovering and acknowledging my White Knight Syndrome tendancies, hopefully out outgrow them. Mostly, I still want to be the best man I can be but be mindful as to WHY and do it just for self improvement instead of validation.
And yes, part of me wants women to praise this blog post for showing that I am self-aware and can become a better man.
Oh well. Baby steps.
• 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs. (or breasts if you like it lean and dull)
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 1 tsp paprika
• 8oz. mixed mushrooms, I’m using crimini and shiitake
• 1 onion, diced small
• 1 red pepper, diced medium
• 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 3 celary stocks, diced small
• 4-6 garlic cloves, minced (or sliced paper thin with truffle shaver)
• 1 pint chicken stock
• Half bottle of dry red wine
• 6 oz. can tomato paste
• 1 cup (or half pound) fresh grape or cherry tomatoes
•Assorted herbs: Parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme. About a teaspon each, minced. (I am using a rosemary branch from the bush in my front yard).
• Olive oil
• 1/2 stick of salted butter
• 1 tbsp balsamic (or a squeeze of lemon)
• Salt to taste
Marinate the chicken in one cup of your dry red wine for at least an hour or overnight. Remember to save that wine marinade when you start cooking. It will go into the braise.
Place the flour in a wide bowl and mix in the paprika and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour. Using a very large saute pan or dutch oven, brown the chicken on high heat until golden. Take the chicken out and set aside.
Add a quarter stick of butter to that pan and then saute the onions, carrots, peppers, and celery for about 10-15 min. Half way through add your minced herbs and garlic
In another pan, saute the mushrooms in the other quarter stick of butter and saute until they express their liquid and turn golden brown. I do the mushrooms seperate from the other veggies specifically so they will get golden. I may splash in a little red wine or sweet vermouth with the shrooms too just for shits and giggles.
Deglaze the mushroom pan with red wine, scraping up all the scraps. Combine all the veggies and mushrooms into your larger pot. Add in the rest of your wine and scrape the bottom to get all the crispy goodies loose. Place the chicken into the pot on the bottom, under all the veggies. Add the grape tomates and the rosmary branch. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer for an hour.
Remove the chicken and set aside while you finish the sauce.
Mix in the tomato paste to thicken it so it sticks to the pasta. Add your acidity to taste. A tbsp of balsamic adds both sweet and acidity. Lemon is way more acidic. Don’t go crazy with the lemon juice. Just a sqeeze.
You can add the chicken back in if you wish or just serve up the meal.
Place a hunk of chicken over the cooked pasta of your choice (I use angle hair), and then spoon the sauce over it. Cover in parmesean. Garnish with fresh basil.
Eat that shit, ya jaggoff!