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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

Un Soupçon De Je Ne Sais Quoi – (A little bit of I Don’t Know What)

  • 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.

Chicken Cacciatore

• 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!

Kale Salad

The Kale Salad at The Eagle in Indianapolis is just about the best I have ever had. This is my attempt to recreate it.

  • 2 bunches Kale. Tuscan or Dinasaur kale prefered. Washed with the center stem removed.
  • 1/4 cup bourbon soaked raisins. Dried cranberries, or any dried fruit, would prolly work too. (recipe below)
  • 1 julienned granny smith apple (core removed)
  • 3-4 oz graded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Maple cider vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Cornbread croutons
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion. Optional. (My idea. Not in The Eagle’s recipe)


Bourbon Soaked Raisins

You’ll want to do this in advance to get them properly bourbon-soaked. If you don’t want to deal with bourbon or you are in a rush, normal raisins will do. I think dried cranberries or apricots would be delish as well. I’m using some old-ass dried cranberries that are so old you can barely chew them. Perfect for a good overnight whiskey soak.

Place your raisins, or whatever, in a mason jar. Top them with bourbon, screw that lid on good, and let them sit overnight. A few hours minimum is fine if you are in a rush. Or you can soak several quarts of them them for a month to use as needed. The bourbon will preserve them for years, but they might turn to goop after a while. You’ll need to figure that shit out for yourself. You can do this with any dried fruit and any alcohol. Rum and brandy are great as well.


Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Be sure your vinaigrette is made before you prep the kale. This will enough for 6-8 salad servings. Save the left over dressing in a bottle and keep it in the fridge for later.

• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
• 2 mashed garlic cloves (Mash into a paste)
• 2 tsp dijon mustard
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Kale Massage

Wash the kale and remove the thick center stem. Chop into hunks that will fit into a normal human mouth. Place in a bowl and drizzle in some of your vinaigrette. Massage the kale with your hands. No need to go to town on ’em. The kale doesn’t need a good rogering. This is massaged kale, not Happy Ending kale. You want the oils, salts, and acids to soften the kale so it’s more lettuce like and less like eating mulch or wicker. Feel free to smack the kale around, but please get consent first! And use a safe word, like ARUGULA!

Granny Smith Apples

While the kale recovers from your molestation, take the core out of a granny smith apple and cut it into either matchsticks or thin slices. I cut the apple in half, use a truffle shaver for the thin slices, and then cut it down further with a knife. I don’t peel apples just like I don’t peel potatoes. It’s a waste of food.

Croutons

I am pretty lazy and doubt I will be making cornbread croutons just for this dish. Buy croutons at the store or skip them if you want to avoid carbs. Otherwise, croutons are easy to make. Cut up your bread/cornbread into cubes. Spray with oil. Put in the oven at 400°F and bake until they are dry and crunchy. Easy peasy.

Batch of old cornbread / bread / french loaf / etc

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut leftover or day-old bread/cornbread into cubes, any size. Place cubes on a baking sheet.

Drizzle/spray with olive oil and toss lightly to coat.
Sprinkle with of salt and pepper to taste.
Toast in oven until sides are a dark brown, about 10-15 minutes, flipping once during baking.

Cheddar

I love cheddar. Use the sharpest cheddar you can find. Hard, sharp cheeses are intense in flavor. You don’t really need much to punch up a salad like this. You can use is sparingly the way you would use Parmigiano-Reggiano. Or shred the cheddar into large hunks and add enough to make your arm go numb. I think you get it up to restaurant quality by drowning it in dressing and going ape shit with the cheese.

Kale Salad

Combine the kale, onion, raisins (or cranberrries), cheese, and apples in a bowl and mix in the dressing. I will let you decide if you want it floating in dressing or not, but be generous. Toss your salad. Be sure to stretch first or you might injure your neck or back. It’s always safer to have someone else toss your salad.

Add more dressing as needed. It should be well coated but you should not have a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl.

Serve the salad and top with the croutons. Eat that shit, yo! And enjoy your nice superfood dump tomorrow.

La Saña – An Enchilada-Inspired Casserole

This is one of our regular healthy meals. It is flavorful, relativly low carb, high in protein, and we make it without meat. You can make more decadent with a few changes (noted in parentheses).

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can black beans or kidney beans (or cooked ground beef)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 1 pint of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (or rice)
  • 1 package of Mission Carb Balance “soft taco” tortillas (or standard tortillas, flour or corn)
  • OPTIONAL – 16 oz of shredded hard cheese. We use a supermarket “Fiesta blend” or a pepperjack. Skip the cheese if you are counting calories

In a big pot, sauté the onions and bell pepper until tender. I let it sauté 5-10 min and brown a bit. Mix in everything except the refried beans, tortillas, and cheese. Simmer the MIX until it is no longer soupy. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Heat the refried beans on the stove or microwave and blend in half cup of water to make the beans easier to spread. Make a single layer of tortillas on the bottom of a large casserole dish. I cut them in half or qurters to fill the space more efficiently. Spread all the refried beans on top of the tortilla layer. Spread half the MIX on top of the refried bean later. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the first MIX layer. Add a second layer of tortillas. Spread the rest of the MIX on top of the last tortilla layer. Top the entire casserole with the rest of the shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the inside is hot. All the ingredients should have been pre-cooked there is no required temperature to hit.

It’s layered kinda like a lasagne but with the flavors of an enchilada. The name is something I made up. It is pronounced “lasagne” but I spelled it in Spanish syntax since it’s Mexican food-inspired.

¡La Saña!

Caesar Christopherus

This is my recipe for caesar salad.

Hail Caesar!

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (sold in tubes at the store)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Real dijon, not that Grey Poop-On junk.
2 egg yolks (pasteurized egg recommended) OR 1 tablespoon premium mayonnaise if you must.
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese. Buy a real block of cheese. Not that canned shit.

Chopped romaine lettuce. (This recipe should cover two heads or 40oz of chopped romain. Spinach and kale are great too. Go crazy! My favorite is Arugula! )

OPTIONAL – Pinch of hot red pepper flakes. Caesar salad with a a kick chili heat is amazing, but it’s not for everyone.

Mash garlic, anchovy paste, salt, and pepper into a fine goop. I use a mortar and pestle. In a mixing bowl, food processor, or cup, add the lemon juice, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mayo, parmesean, and mix into the fine goop you just mashed. If using a bowl, slowly drizzle in the olive oil last while whisking the mixture vigouously.

Authentic caesar needs egg. You can punch up dressing by using one egg plus one egg yolk for a bigger flavor. I pasteurize my own eggs at home, but you can buy them pasteurized from many stores. Use raw eggs at your own risk. Otherwise, mayo is an OK substitute for egg, since mayo is eggs and oil. It works well, it’s more convienent, and has less salmonella. I find that one tablespoon of mayo is about right for me. Any more than that and the mayo flavor will take over. Use Hellmen’s/Best Foods ore better. If you use cheap mayo you will destroy the dressing, in my opinion. If you use Miracle Whip… Kill yourself.