Category Archives: Recipes

I use this as my own recipe book. When I make these dishes I’ll come to my own blog to remember what I did. When I find a better way to make a dish I update the blog post accordingly.

Citrus Vinaigrette

When I was a little boy growing up in Gary, Indiana I was out loitering near a crackhouse. A dog ran up to me and started humping my leg. It made eye contact with me and was very upset. I had a feeling that the dog was trying to tell me someone was in danger. I followed the dog behind a dumpster and found a man trying to use a dead rat as a crackpipe. As it turn out, the dog was just horny.

Anyhoo, here’s a recipe for a salad dressing I just made up.

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP dijon or stone ground mustard
  • ¼ cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of the blended juice from 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 orange

    The PHUK (optional):
  • Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Dash of balsamic

Caribbean-Inspired Gremolada

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Zest of 1 orange, two lemons, and three limes
  • Fresh sqeezed juice of 1 orange, two lemons, and three limes
  • 3-4 large Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped (or 2 tbsp fresh thyme)
  • 1/2 cup chopped spring onions (or one bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon All-spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes or cayenne (optional)

Whisky all ingredients together in a glass bowl. Use as marinade or garnish on veggies, rice, seafood, or chicken.

Brown Rice Tabouli

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar, honey, or agave syrup
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (I use sliced grape or cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 large cucumbers, chopped*
  • 1 cups chopped fresh herbs (such as cilantro, dill, parsley and/or basil)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika

Tabouli

1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup cooked couscous
juice of two lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
4oz feta crumbles
1 can garbanzo beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

OPTIONAL

1 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine in bowl. Taste. Add more oil, lemon, salt, and pepper until it is to your liking. Eat this shit, yo.

Bulgar wheat is bullshit. I prefer couscous. It’s made from semolina wheat and is light and fluffy. Bulgar wheat is like dingleberries that fell off the ass of a desert tortoise. Not a fan.

Swedish Meatballs

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

*STOCK

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.

Gravy:

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 a.k.a. “The PHUK”

The Wildcard – Un Soupçon De Je Ne Sais Quoi
(A little bit of I Don’t Know What)
“The PHUK did I just taste?”

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. For brevity, I will refer to it in my posts as “The PHUK.” Yes, pronounce it like the F word. I spell it differently in my recipes so you fuckers don’t get your fucks all tied in fucking knots over it.

The concept came to me when I was learning about wine but 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. I would detect that scent and then say to my wife, “The PHUK?” As in, “What the phuk am I smelling?” It was this experience that pushed me to try bigger, bolder, and more complex wine. I was always trying to get my next PHUK fix. Simple wines became boring.

Learning about wine is very important for a cook. 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. You can start to PHUK your own food!!!

Layering In Complexity

When I cook I will complete the dish as intended and then try to find some kind of WILDCARD flavor to add in order to PHUK with 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 PHUK it is. The WILDCARD is always a pinch, a dash, or a splash. You’ll taste my food and suddenly think, “The PHUK did I just eat?” I’m adding in detail that you don’t notice, but your brain does.

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.

Remember, if your recipe is average…. PHUK it!

Clam Chowder

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

The PHUK (optional):

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.

Ragù alla Bolognese

Put this on pasta or rub it on your assy-nipples for all I care.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 med onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 24 oz can Italian plum tomatoes or
  • A 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (like chianti)
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or pappardelle, cooked and drained
  • Fresh grated Parmigianno regianno

The PHUK (optional):

  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground Fennel Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Adds umami flavor)

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.

Beef Bourguignon

  • 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1” cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4oz pancetta, minced
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 cup pearl onions (or another regular onion, large chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. dry red wine (Traditionally it would be a Burgundy/Pinot, but whatevz)
  • 12oz beef stock (chicken or pork stock will work too)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme, fresh and minced
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup mushrooms, halved
  • 3oz cognac or brandy
  • Freshly minced parsley, for garnish

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.

Roasted Fennel Veggie Ragout

  • Two large fennel bulbs
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic, cut in quarters
  • 2 bunchs mustard greens, washed & chopped
  • 1 red onion, cut into thick rings
  • 1 cup mushrooms (small or cut into small hunks)

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.