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Biscuits and Gravy
Posted May 05, 2008 at 03:38:17 PM by Bean in the Recipes category
I blogged about Momma's B&G a few years back, but I realize now that I left out a major instruction! This is a special 2-part blog with one common thread - you love it, I love it, everybody who isn't a commie or a terrorist loves it: biscuits and gravy!

Part 1: The Missing Ingredient
As I mentioned, my original post outlines the basic method of making sausage gravy, but fails to identify what I consider to be the key ingredient: Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour. It's delicious. I use it to make a roux from the leftover sausage fat and then thicken with milk once it has darkened a little. No further seasoning is needed. Simple, low ingredient count, and the best B&G I've ever tasted.

Part 2: An Experiment
As I was whipping up a batch of sausage gravy last week, I took a taste just as it was thickening up. I blurted out "This gravy is so god damn good I just wanna eat it" insinuating that biscuits, the first half of "B&G" are not even needed! Well, I decided to test it out this evening. I warmed up and ate a plate of gravy. It tasted great! Next, I warmed up a biscuit covered in gravy and ate it. I'm here to tell you that the biscuits ARE needed. The biscuits add a cruicial texture element to the mix.

So in summary: When you follow instruction in Part 1 and make your first batch, don't overreact at how good a sample tastes and eat the whole batch before the biscuits are done.
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Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Posted January 25, 2008 at 08:23:36 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
Put a chicken breast in a frying pan and cut it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once it is thoroughly cooked, remove the pan from heat, coat liberally with Frank Red Hot, cover, and set aside. Chop about a cup of cabbage into thin strips.

Lay out an egg roll wrapper and put a small amount of chopped cabbage in the center. Put some diced buffalo chicken on top of that, and then sprinkle it with a small amount of feta or blue cheese. Wrap the egg roll tightly and deep fry it to a cripsy, golden brown.

Serve atop remaining chopped cabbage, with ranch, Franks, and more cheese crumbles for dipping.

I made this Wednesday night for dinner, and it was delicious. Take a look see: buffalo chicken egg rolls
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Grilled Cheese Taco
Posted January 08, 2008 at 06:55:42 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is back at Taco Bell. Honestly, I'm not sure it ever left, cause I've had them on and off even when they aren't on the menu - but at any rate, they are being advertised again. The CGC is far and away my favorite Taco Bell item. It's a gordita shell with melted cheese on it wrapped around a taco - essentially a grilled cheese sammich merged with a taco.

So let's make one at home! I can make grilled cheese. I can make tacos. Surely, I can wrap one around the other. I figure the best way will be to make a grilled cheese in the standard fashion (don't spare the butter), then pull the two pieces of bread apart and wrap each piece around a prepared taco. Hell, I think a grilled cheese half on a taco sounds better than a gordita. BANG! I'm trying it tonight.

But here's the deal: I want YOU to make one as well. I mean, you know it's gonna taste great, so you might as well give it a shot. When you do, take a picture of the finished product, or yourself enjoying it, or both, and send them to me. I'll post the pictures (and associated notes) here for admiration and review, and the creator of the best Grilled Cheese Taco will win an AWESOME prize! Deadline: Friday AM.

Update:
I made a total of 3 GCTs last night... 2 for dinner and 1 later on for a snack. Divine. I highly reccomend any taco loving person to give it a shot (SS). Have a look.

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Summer Salsa
Posted August 01, 2007 at 06:42:52 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
Summertime is salsa time in the Schy household. Whether you grow your own veggies or just receive the benefits of knowing an avid gardener, a great way to put some of those fresh, delicious tomatoes and peppers to use is by making homemade salsa. There are many types of salsa, but my favorite is Pico de gallo. Here's how I make my own pico salsa:
  1. Cut a hole in a box.
  2. Just kidding.
  3. Gather ingredients. For this small batch, I picked 3-4 jalapenos, 2 big bell peppers, a tiny red jalapeno, 2 banana peppers and some heirloom and roma tomatoes. From the cupboard, I grabbed a big white onion, salt, cilantro (fresh is better, but I'm all out), vinegar, and lime juice (again, fresh is better, but I'm all out).
  4. Clean and half the peppers, remove the seeds and pith, then chop them up.
  5. Clean and half the tomatoes, remove the guts and seeds, then chop them up too. Roma's are great for this because they are very easy to gut and have lots of "meat". Note that some of the them are not 100% ripe. I like them this way as they are more firm and keep the salsa from getting mushy.
  6. Skin and chop the onion. In this case I only used half of the onion.
  7. Combine all chopped items in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. For this batch I'd recommend about 1/8th cup of lime juice, 1/8th cup of white vinegar, a tablespoon of dried cilantro leaves (or a handfull, if fresh), and salt to taste. Getting the right balance of acid and salt and fresh veggies is key, and it's something you just have to experiment with. Just remember, it's a lot easier to add a little more salt, vinegar, or lime than it is to take it back out.
  8. Eat it.
  9. I keep a big "mother" bowl of salsa going all summer long and give it fresh infusions of chopped veggies (and other ingredients as needed) as it gets low. Here's the fresh batch next to the mother, and the result when I mixed them together.
This is really good stuff. The make-up of the salsa varies with the availability of veggies, but always turns out great. If you have the means, I highly recommend you try making it yourself. It's a simple dish and quite easy to prepare, and I can honestly say that everyone that has tried it has liked it. Also, it stores well in the fridge and just seems to get better with time. We've gone through multiple gallons so far this year, easy.

Also, I am attempting to keep fresh salsa going year round by growing my own peps and toms indoors. More on that later!
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Chili Season
Posted December 12, 2006 at 09:17:54 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
'Tis the season! Chili season, that is. During the winter, I cook a lot of chili - and this season is no exception. Chili seems to be one of those things that a lot of men have strong feelings on, and just about everyone has their own "special" recipe. In fact, I think chili deserves it's own "special" blog entry.

I learned to cook chili by watching my mom, but my current formulation is so very far from that original recipe. I like to experiment, and through the years I've taken out things I don't care for and added things I like. I think of my personal recipe in two parts: The base and the options.
    Base:
  • Brown 1-2 pounds of ground beef in a large pan, then drain and set aside.
  • Add some oil to the pan and toss in 3-4 medium sized onions, diced.
  • After 3 minutes, add the meat back to the pan and dump in some tomatoes (36 oz or so) and 1 small can of tomato paste (with a little water).
  • Spice this mixture with 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and some salt and pepper. All spice measurements are guesses/approximations, as I've never actually measured. Do it a little at a time, by taste.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and EAT.
    Options:
  • Instead of using ground beef, use a mixture of ground beef and sausage.
  • Season the meat with a teaspoon of oregano and some black pepper while browning.
  • Dice 2-3 chilpotle peppers (in adoboe sauce) and add in with the tomatoes.
  • Instead of adding salt and water, add 1 can of chicken broth (or a few bullion cubes and some water).
  • Ladle about 1 cup of chili into a food processor and blend to a puree, then add it back to the chili (Spreads flavors around and thickens the chili).
  • Add a few squirts of yellow mustard.
And there you have my not-very-secret personal chili recipe. I've tried a few other options, like using steak or other non-ground meats, but I prefer the texture of ground meat in chili. I am staunchly opposed to using beans, pastas, or other fillers in chili, though I often cook small side pots of them for a "build-your-own-chili bar". For toppings, I like diced onions and jalapeņos, along with some shredded cheese or sour cream if available.

What special options do you use?
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Shipwreck
Posted July 10, 2006 at 08:26:15 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
Stef and I went on a 14 mile canoeing trip Saturday. We left from Cave Country Canoe's Milltown Livery around 10AM with empty stomachs and a full cooler. Around 4PM, we arrived at the end with full stomachs and an empty cooler. It was a great day... mid 80's, sunny, lots of spotty shade from the tree's lining the river, and cool water.

After canoeing, we made our way to Buffalo Trace to go camping. We did the normal camping thing - and tested out our new fatty tent too. In the morning, I made shipwreck.

Shipwreck is a breakfast food that probably has many other names and many other variations, but here's how I make it: Set an iron skillet over a hot fire and drop in a pound of sausage. Brown this, then set it aside on a paper plate. Leave the fat in the pan (it's also okay to leave a small amount of the sausage itself). Cut up two potatos (skin on) and put them in the sausage fat - add some butter if there isn't much fat left. The taters have to cook for quite a while... maybe 15-20 minutes. When they have 5 minutes left, add a chopped up onion and a healthy amount of salt and pepper. Once the onions and taters are all brown and crispy, dump the sausage back on top. Throw the greasy paper plate in the fire for fuel. Stir to combine and let it go for a few minutes, then crack 2-3 eggs over it whole shebang and stir, stir, stir. Serve with ketchup (and hotsauce, if you rikey). Delish!

After chowing down on shipwreck, we packed up and came home. I ate the leftovers for lunch. Good times. In related news: we are probably going to canoe/camp a few more times over the next few months, so if anyone out there is interested in making it a group adventure, let me know!
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Leeks and Soup
Posted March 13, 2006 at 12:11:28 PM by Bean in the Recipes category
Since bigD dissed on my last recipe post, I decided to try and save face with a sure0fire winner. I don't have a name for it, but it's loosely based off of a recipe for "waterzooi" that I saw on 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray. I made her version, then I made it better. Here's the better version, exactly as I prepared it, Leek Soup:

Put 2-3 cups of chicken broth/stock in a largish pot and turn that birch on high. Clean and chop two celery stalks and add to the heating broth. Grab a big ole leek and chop off the bottom and top half inches, then cut it lengthwise. Chop the halves and put the results in a big bowl of cold water and stir it around - this will help clean the leeks. Peel and chop two potatoes into 1/2" cubes and set aside, then peel and chop one white/yellow onion.

Put a decent amount of oil (3-4 tbsp ?) in a sauce pan and heat it up - then add in your potatoes. Let them sizzle and fry up real good, then stir them around and let them fry some more. You want to get the sides brown as quick as you can, without necessarily cooking the taters through. Don't worry about stuff getting stuck to the pan - you are gonna deglaze that later. Once the potatoes are nice and browned, scrape them onto a paper towel to drain briefly, then drop em into the broth, which is probably starting to boil now. Reduce the heat so that you just maintain a slow boil. Now, using the same pan and maybe a little more oil (if needed), saute the chopped onion. Again, we are looking for a lot of browning/canalization here, so have the heat up there pretty high. Once the onions start to show some good brown color, scrape em out and into the pot. Now, using the same pan (and more oil if needed), saute the leek as well. It will take up a lot of room at first, but will shrink once it starts cooking. The leek wont caramelize quite like the onion or tater, so just let it cook for 2-4 minutes and then dump it into the pot with everything else.

Now that you've got the base of the soup going, you can add some herbs. All I used was a bay leaf and a healthy does of parsley. The original recipe called for some thyme, but I didn't have any. Also, add some (1/4 cup) water to that hot fry pan you used for the veggies and stir it around to degalze it. This lets you capture all of that yummy char/fat from the pan - which you then add to the soup.

Now, once things have had a chance to meld together for 5-10 minutes, we are ready for the final touches. Remove the pot from heat and stir in about 1/3 cup of sour cream and a slice of American cheese. Stir, stir, stir, and try to keep it from curdling. Mine curdled a bit, bit it still tastes good. Maybe tempering the sour cream would work here, if you care to try.

You'll want to add some salt and pepper, to taste, and... I think that's it. This turns out to be a very thick soup... so you could easily add a few more cups of broth upfront for something less stewey and more soupy. I just ate a bowl of this for lunch, and it was bang. It was actually a blend between this soup and the Rachael Ray version. Possible modifications would be to add some chicken or shrimp into the mix (sautee'd in that same fry pan after the veggies) or a different herb bouquet.
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How to Make Good Fries
Posted March 09, 2006 at 08:20:37 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
So, the last few times I've made french fries, I've tried something different. This is a blog about it.

In Amsterdam, they had great fries. Come to find out, it's because they cook them differently. They fry them twice. GENIUS! It's called par cooking. First, they fry the tater strips in oil on fairly low heat - so as to cook the insides well, then they remove them, let them cool, and then fry them birches again in scorching hot oil to brown and crisp them. While resulting in an extraordinary french fry experience, this obviously has the downside of being very high in fat. So I though: "There has to be a better way!"

So here's Bean's alternative par cooking instructions:
Cut up some taters and put them in a pot of water with several (1 per cup of water) chicken bullion cubes added (or just use broth) and turn your deep fryer on it's highest setting. Boil the strips until they are mostly cooked, but not yet to the "ready to make mashed potatoes" stage and then remove and drain them. Let them cool and dry a bit (they will cook a little more after you remove them). After about 5 minutes, put em in the fryer - but stand back - they may pop and spit a lot if there's much water left on them. Fry them for, oh, I dunno, 3-4 minutes - or until they are dark golden and crispy. Remove them and put them on a plate covered with paper towels. Make sure to salt them before they drain completely so the salt sticks good.

They aren't quite at the level of the true par cooked fries, but they are mighty tasty, and lower in fat. The hot oil helps to sear the already cooked strips so that less fat gets absorbed into the meat of fry. Next time, I may try adding different things to the water during the boil - the possibilities are endless! (Franks, Tabasco, beef bullion, herbs and garlic, etc.) Give it a shot, and report back with your findings.
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Round Steak
Posted February 14, 2006 at 09:06:06 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
My mom always made this when I was a kid. I decided to try it out last night and it turned out great.

Start with some kind of steak. If you use a good cut, there is no need to tenderize it, but if you get a tougher, cheaper steak, get the butcher to run it through a tenderizer or else do it yourself. Oh yeah, you'll need to peel some potatoes and boil them in water with a small amount of beef boulion added. These will be for the accompanying mashed taters. Back to the steak: cut it into either strips or smallish, flat chunks. Bread it in Kentucky Colonel Seasoned Flour (no egg wash needed) and then pan fry it in hot oil. It won't take too long, but you want to make sure to get the edges crispy.

Once your meat is cooked, pull it out of the oil and set it aside. Add more seasoned flour to the remaining oil and leftover bits to make a thick, medium colored roux. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Your taters should be about done now, so drain them, but be sure to save the water/broth you drain off. Slowly add this broth to the roux and stir the bejeebus out of it to make sure you don't get chunks. Continue adding broth until it's a little thinner than you want it to be, then add the steak back in and let the whole shebang simmer while you finish up the taters (with milk, cream, butter, or whatever you like).

Add some brown'n'serve rolls and you've got yourself a bangorific meal.
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Sausage Balls
Posted January 09, 2006 at 09:01:50 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
So, here's a bangtastic recipe for a great breakfast-on-the-go meal, snack, or family function comfort food: Sausage Balls.

Mix 3 cups of bisquick with 1 pound (1 log) of sausage. It takes a while to mix it all together, and it'll seem too dry, but it's okay. Once mixed, add in 1 pound (which is generally 2 bags) of sharp shredded chedder and mix well again. Roll into balls (about 1" diameter) and bake in the oven at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Best served in my mom's ceramic sausage ball dish, but just about anythign will work.
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Souper
Posted February 25, 2005 at 11:38:14 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
Made some good soup the other night. It was hella-easy and tasted Tony-The-Tiger Grrrrrrreat!

Buy a rotiserie chicken and shred it. Set it aside. Pour 1 16oz jar of Salsa Verde into a pot and let it get hot. Add in 1 can of beans (white/black/whatever), 4 cups of chicken stock, the shredded chicken, and a little cumin. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with a dollup of sour cream and some tortilla chips. Thank me later.

In the line-up for tonight: Homemade fondue and Cap'n Crunch-battered chicken strips, sereved with honey-mustard and a pint or two of custom-designed, homemade, handcrafted beer. TGIFBABAI!

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Mmmm
Posted December 17, 2004 at 08:29:09 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
Get 1 sleeve of Saltines, 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, and a bag of milk chocolate chips. Trust me.

Preheat your oven to 350. Line one rimmed cookie sheet with foil and Pam. Place 1 layer of crackers in the bottom. Bring 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar to a steady boil in a small saucepan for 1 minute then pour the mixture over the crackers. Place the pan in the oven for 8 minutes, then take it out and sprinkle one bag of milk chocolate chips on top. After a few minutes, spread the chocolate into an even layer and put it in the fridge. When cool, cut or break it into whatever size chunks you want.

Result: Betz, candy, ever.

You're welcome.

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Toffee
Posted December 19, 2003 at 01:49:31 PM by Bean in the Recipes category
Here is the best holiday candy I have ever had:

Combine 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar in a pot. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Pour over a layer of saltines laid out on a oiled-foil-lined cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Right after you take it out, sprinkle 1 bag of milk chocolate chips on top. After 5 minutes or so, spread the now melted chocolate evenly. Refridgerate until rigid, then break or cut into small chunks. Easy as pie. Tastes better than pie though. So, effin, good.

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Spicey Tort Roll-ups
Posted May 15, 2003 at 10:38:47 PM by Bean in the Recipes category
Take one dollup of sour cream and an equal amount of cream chese and combine them in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of taco seasoning mix and as many chopped jalapenos as you can handle; blend well. Spread the mixture very thinly over a tortilla and then roll it up tightly. Chop off the ends (since they are not rolled well) and then slice the remaining roll sushi-style. Turn the peice up on end and top with a sprinkling of seasoning mix (or chilli powder) and shredded cheese (I used a 4-cheese "Mexican" mix). Put them in a hot oven with the broiler on just long enough to melt the cheese on top. Then remove them from the oven and refridgerate. Serve after chilled, possibly with a side of salsa or pico de gallo. Tasty.

I made my first batch with a little too much cream cheese mixture. The end product was way to creamy and rich. My advice is to add more jalapenos than you think you need to and to spread the mixture thinner than you think you should. This could be improved upon with the addition of black olives, chives, or possibly some chopped tomatos. If you try this recipe (and I highly recomend it), let me know what you think.

And now here is a drawing of how Caleb steals USB memory sticks from Radio Shack (hint: he eats them).

usb



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