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Entries Tagged as 'Meat Recipes'

Fried Turkey

November 23rd, 2007 · 4 Comments

As I greeted my cousin at his house for Thanksgiving, he handed me a beer and led me to one of those contraptions that cause fear in the hearts of otherwise courageous cooks – a propane tank and a pot full of 6 gallons of oil.

Apparently in accepting the beer, I was accepting the position of cooking the turkey which meant responsibility for the turkey, the garden surrounding his pool, and depending on the amount of heat tolerance the nearby propane tank was rated at – his house and immediate backyard, a forest, and maybe the nearby government military arsenal. It was obvious this was going to take extreme care. And another beer.

There was another good-looking (regularly roasted) turkey already done, and enough other food to feed a fire department and the army, which was good, in the event we had to invite either of them, so I wasn’t too worried about messing up the turkey. But the only instructions were stamped on the lid of the pot – 325F, for 3 and a half minutes per lb. After figuring out the turkey dunker, we got him set up and he got a seasoning of salt, pepper and paprika.


My cousin assured me he had done displacement tests, since we’ve all seen the spectacular spill-over fire videos. I donned one of those Okra brand lobster mitts, worried that I’d have a pink claw melded onto my hand should something happen, but there wasn’t any asbestos around. My cousin improvised a spatter shield. I slowly dipped the turkey into the oil, and a little did spatter over, but harmlessly.


So 52 minutes later, I pulled it out the same way, and he looked great.


It turns out that frying is a great way to cook a turkey – it’s fast, it stays moist, you get a crispy skin, and it has that intoxicating KFC smell. And if you’re adventurous, you’ve got 6 gallons of boiling oil if you want to fry anything else – like twinkies, Mars bars etc.

Seriously, you might want to read some directions other than mine if you’re trying your own turkey. And watch the videos linked above. Besides, we had professional help on speed dial – my another cousin who’s a fireman in Florida, whose advice in case of accident was ‘distance’.

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Tags: Equipment and Tools · Meat Recipes · Uncategorized

Wood grilled leg of lamb

November 12th, 2006 · Comments Off

It’s really mostly charcoal grilled, with a few chunks of hickory thrown in, but it sounds better that way. Rubbed with rosemary, garlic and salt and pepper and put in the Weber Bullet (without the water pan) for 2 and a half hours (it was a 2.5 pound piece of leg). The Weber keeps the fire a foot and a half or so away from the meat, so it slow roasts with some good smoking. I don’t follow the rules exactly, but it still turns out juicy medium rare, with a good crisp skin and a little smoke ring.

In the background is a lump of this Cheesy Bread Pudding. I cut the recipe in half, and it still turned out really good.

A note on Prof Wiviott’s Master the WSM Smoker in 5 Easy Courses: As I alluded above I didn’t follow the rules, but this wasn’t smoking, it was semi-hot grilling. I use natural chunk charcoal and chunks of hickory to build a fire that gets the Weber heated up to a little over 300 – 325F. I wouldn’t cheat on his rules if I was smoking something. His main rules are using a pure, clean fire, no briquettes, no leftover coals, no fluid. However I did cheat when starting this and most fires – I’ll use a few briquettes and what’s left in the grill to start it. I’ll admit to having some lighter fluid, but usually can find a few twigs in the yard (oak and grape vine twigs, not anything funky) and I was a boy scout so I can start a fire without it. One piece of advice I have learned the hard way – wood chunks can be mildewy, and the bark should be trimmed off, or you’ll get horrible smoke. I used to think you could burn off the mildew, but that doesn’t work unless you let it burn all the way down. My last bag was pretty bad so I sniff each piece carefully before throwing it on the fire.

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Tags: Meat Recipes


October 4th, 2006 · Comments Off

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a recipe around here, but don’t worry, I am still eating. Here’s a calzone I made the other day.


I had made a batch of pizza dough that turned into some outstanding pizzas. They did not survive long enough for photography. This will be my standard pizza dough recipe from now on, so I record it here.

1 1/2 cups of 108F water
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast

2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup semolina
1-2 tsp salt

Olive Oil

The sugar and honey goes into the water, then the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until good and frothy. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until incorporated enough to get your hands into it. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes until it’s a fairly smooth ball. Roll it around in an oiled ball and let it sit there for at least a half hour, but perferably an hour. Punch it down once and wait some more if you’ve got longer than that. It will make three 10-12 inch pizzas, so you may want to divide the dough in thirds and ‘proof’ the seperate balls by flattening them and letting them rise again all alone. Flatten by hand on a floured surface. Don’t use a rolling pin.

Pizza sauce

1lb ground beef
7 or 8 big mushroooms
7-8 sundried tomatoes
a medium size onion garlic
1/2 can of tomato paste

As a replacement or addition to your own spices, I’d suggest Chicago Deep Dish Pizza spice from the Spice House

Cheese, I perfer a mix of mostly mozzarella with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, but the half of the pizza I put Wisconsin cheddar (with a light layer of Parmagiano) on was great too, if not authentic.

You’ll find people who think oil in a pizza dough is grounds for a lawsuit, but I think it’s essential for the taste. Rolling it around in oil coats it for it’s long wait and makes it just oily enough. The other night I got away with about 8 minutes of kneading, and 45 minutes of rising, with one wimpy punch down. After making 2 pizzas, I had one more ball, which sat in the frig, in an oiled zip lock bag until the next day’s lunch. On a pan scattered with cornmeal and flour, I piled the leftover sauce into the middle of the flattened dough, added a layer of cheese, folded it over and crimped the edges. It went into a hot (450F) oven for close to 20 minutes. (Pizzas take half that time, in 500F or more).

Oh, and the fork in this picture is slightly ironic, you pick this thing up and eat it.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Spaghetti and Meatballs

February 5th, 2006 · Comments Off

Spaghetti is such an American staple. But the truth is, I don’t eat it very often. I’m too busy filling myself with other kinds of pasta. And I almost never make meatballs. I’m always making a Bolognese or some other kind of meat/mushroom sauce. But here’s how I made them the other night.


1 can tomato paste
1 T dried oregano
2 t dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
a splash of Marsala
1 1/2 cups of water

Pretty simple – heat the oil, sweat the onions, throw in the garlic for a few seconds, dump in the tomato paste, oregano and basil, swirl it around a bit, splash in the Marsala, then add the water and simmer while you make the meatballs. Season. Many people add sugar to their sauce, the Marsala takes care of that.

1 lb ground beef
2-3 ozs. of ground sausage
2-3 T breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 t oregano

I don’t like bready meatballs, so I use just enough to lighten them up. Beat the egg in with the breadcrumbs and oregano and salt. Throw in the ground meat and mix well. Roll into balls. I make mine less than 3/4 the size of a golf ball. I think I made around a dozen. Brown in a little olive oil. I put mine in a 350F oven for ten minutes or so, then into the simmering sauce for 20 minutes. You should be making the spaghetti at this point. I don’t think I have to tell you how to do that.

Some spaghetti and meatball recipes are much more involved.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Paulina Market

January 14th, 2006 · Comments Off

Last weekend I made it to Paulina Market, often cited as Chicago best butcher shop. Chefs and restaurants brag about getting their meat from them. I got there a little too close to closing time, so they were unstocking the cases while I stood gaping, trying to decide what I wanted. The sausage case was a little intimidating, I had no idea what was what. I’ll need to study up on my sausage before I go back.

They have a case of game meat, elk, buffalo, venison, quail etc. Fairly pricey, but this stuff is never cheap. I got about a pound of ground goose meat for 6 bucks.

Lamb loins were on special, so I got 4 at about 12 bucks a lb. And 2 smoked ham hocks.

smoked ham hock

The lamb loins were braised in fennel, carrot and onion, served with some root vegetable puree and wild rice with some of the ground goose and mushrooms.

braised lamb loin

The goose also made it into a couple of other meals – a sheperd’s pie I should have photographed, a goose, wild mushroom pizza and a pasta sauce. The ham hocks are simmering in some split pea soup at the moment.

goose Za

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Cornish game hen with cardamom and mirin glaze

January 1st, 2006 · Comments Off

Here’s a recipe I want to perfect. It would probably work on chicken too.

Slightly inspired by the Black Cod with Miso from Nobu, I wanted to achieve a lacquered skin, with a nice sweetness. Nobu’s black cod isn’t so much about the miso, as it is about the mirin and sake that it uses in its glaze. Here’s Nobu’s recipe for black cod with miso.

I had just been to Penzey’s, where i got a bunch of stuff, including some allspice and black cardamom. I also got some ground galangal, which is something I hadn’t seen before.

I figured the cardamom and mirin would be a nice match together, and it works well. I didn’t have any sake, but I did add a little maderia, for a little extra liquid. The mirin I bought was rather expensive, otherwise, I would have used the whole bottle. The ingredients for this attempt:

1/2 cup mirin
1/3 cup maderia
1/2 a minched onion (2-3 T)
3 T sugar
2 T honey
3 t cardamom, freshly ground
1 t salt

I threw all of the above into a pot, boiling it for 10 or 20 seconds to melt the sugar and boil off a little alcohol. After a bit of cooling, I poured it over two Cornish game hens, and let them marinate for an hour. The hens were stuffed with some onion and tangerine and went into a 350 F oven for an hour, then I turned the oven up to 450 F and left them in for another 15 minutes. During the cooking, they got a slathering of the reserved marinade once in awhile.


It turned out delicious but I’ll work on this one and make a few corrections. Next time I’ll thicken the sauce with more honey or sugar, and put the hens under the broiler for a bit to really crisp up the skin. I’ll also buy the cheap mirin so I won’t feel bad about using more, and I’ll leave out the Maderia. I might do this sort of thing with just Maderia, but I think the flavor of the mirin and cardamom work well enough by themselves. One thing I have learned about my cooking is that removing an ingredient sometimes makes a better dish. This is because I tend to be an experimental cook, adding things to try to figure out what a dish ‘needs’, when what it really needs is more simplicity.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Mutsu apple and Thai Basil Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

October 6th, 2005 · Comments Off

I haven’t posted a recipe lately – here’s one.

Mutsu apple and Thai Basil Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

I got a few Mutsu apples from the Evanston farmer’s market. Mutsus are also known as Crispins and are a sweet, crisp, long-lasting apples. A woman tasting a slice at the booth gave a description more likey to be heard at a wine tasting “notes of honey and tart spice’. She also described the skin as heavy a slightly ‘chamois’ quality. She knew her apples and noted that they hadn’t peaked yet. The conversation moved on to the longevity of these apples, and I learned that the best way to keep them, is to wrap them individually in newspaper and store them in the frig. They could last up to 3 months but the farmer said she had been told that one of her apples was fine a year later.

I also grabbed some Thai basil, and the spicy fragrancy seemed a good match with the apples and a pork tenderloin I had at home. I also had a couple of packages of filo dough in the freezer.

I didn’t really do any planning for this dish, I just winged it, but next time I might throw in a few more fancy steps like roasting the apples first. Also, in my haste, I thought I might save some time and add some flavor by parboiling the tenderloin in a mix of water, apple, apple cider vinegar, and a bunch of the Thai basil. It worked, but for a better stuffed look, it would have been better to cut the tenderloin so it rolled out, which you really can’t do once the meat is even slightly cooked.

After parboiling, I cut the tenderloin like you would a roll of french bread for a sandwhich – not cutting all the way through, and scooping out a bit to add room for the stuffing. The excess meat was minced and added to the stuffing which consisted of minced apple and minced Thai basil. I think I threw a shake or two of ginger in there, and if I didn’t, I should have.

The whole stuffed tenderloin was then wrapped in several layers of thawed filo dough, which was dampened with melted butter. Because of the way I cut the tenderloin, I didn’t need to tie it up. It went into an iron pan, and into a 350F degree oven until the filo was brown and flaky.

I would recommend pre-cooking the tenderloin somehow, by browning or by my parboiling method, since if the meat is too thick, it may not cook before the filo is browned.

Slice the meat with a very sharp knife, preferably with a bread knife, to show off the stuffing, which should infuse the inside of the meat with it’s apple-ly basil goodness.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Food Blog – The lost recipes.

May 27th, 2005 · Comments Off

Over the years of doing this, I’ve collected many photos of dishes I’ve never written up. Whether due to laziness or some other affliction, these dishes will never have accompanying recipes. But rather than rot in my photo files, I’ll serve some of them up here anyway.


Pasta with Italian Sausage. This is a typical everyday meal for me. This usualy turns out better coated with mozarella in thrown in the oven for awhile.

Lamb Curry. Made with the excellent red curry from the Spice House. Probably made with some hot thai peppers, mushrooms and coconut milk.

Short ribs and soba. Some sort of vegetables, probably lots of red peppers.

Beef and Mushroom pasty. Pie dough type crust. I obviously followed a recipe from somewhere.

Beef Stroganoff. This also had to be made from a recipe. I wouldn’t now how to make it just by winging it.

Kumquat Chicken with Fennel and Spaetzle. Probably lots of honey and ginger to make that nice glaze.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Sweet and Sour Chicken

January 9th, 2005 · Comments Off

This is the typical American-strip-mall Chinese Restaurant style dish. Lightly battered and fried chunks of chicken get a luscious reduced sauce of pineapple juice with a slight vinegar edge. My version has mandarin oranges and is loaded with ginger and spiced with some thai peppers. The juice from the oranges, and some honey give my recipe a more sweet-than sour side. I think I’ve done this recipe before, but I just recently noticed that many of my early recipes never got imported back into the archives. I’ll work on that sometime, but for now, here’s the recipe:

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 or 2 thai peppers
2 T minced ginger
3 or 4 green onions
1 8oz. can of pineapple chunks
1 small can of mandarin oranges
2 T cornstarch
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 1/2 lb chicken breast and/or thigh meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 beaten egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger

Your favorite rice

Cooking oil for frying

sweetnsour1.jpgThe first picture is from my archives, it may have been a lost recipe, or maybe I never wrote it up. I’m not sure what i did with the rice that time, I might have made it with saffron or something to color it. I think I prefer regular jasmine rice for this dish. The second image is from tonight. I added mushrooms this time which didn’t do anything bad, but they really don’t belong here.

This recipe is a bit of a pain in the ass, but everybody loves it.

Put on the rice. I threw in some minced ginger and a green onion. This is a good time to prep your veggies.

Grab your big-ass cast-iron skillet and put about a cup of oil in it to heat. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, consider getting one for this sort of thing. If you have a deep fryer you can use that.

Mix up the batter in a big bowl, in the order of ingredients above, until smooth. Dump your chicken chunks into the batter and make sure they’re all coated.

sweetnsour.jpgDrop each chunk into the hot oil carefully, one by one allowing each piece some space. Don’t try to do them all at the same time, you will have to do three or four pans. My recipe from a Better Homes and Garden Chinese Cooking cookbook says 365 degrees F, but that sounds really hot. I’m afraid you’ll just have to learn how hot the oil needs to be. I’ve learned from experience that a little less than medium flame on my stove is perfect. The chicken chunks should take about 3 minutes a side until golden brown. Too much faster and the batter will brown before the chicken is cooked. Flip them carefully with long tongs. (with a deep fryer, you won’t have to worry about flipping). Drain the chunks and keep them warm.

While your doing this, open the canned fruit and dump all the fruit and juice except half the pineapple juice into another skillet (don’t splash into the hot oil!). Start it towards a boil, throwing in the vinegar, honey, peppers, onions and ginger. Add the cornstarch to the reserved half of the juice and mix well, then add to the boiling mix. Cook until bubbly and thickened enough to coat.

You should have perfectly timed this to be ready just as the rice is, and all the chicken chunks are fried. Dump the chicken into the sauce, and cook just until heated through. I usually add more honey at this stage, it give everything a nice sheen. Plate over rice.

I should mention, if you’re lazy, that these fried chicken chunks are delicious on their own. They’re great dipped in a mix of honey and Sriracha hot chili sauce (the stuff with the rooster on it).

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Chicken Sandwich

December 19th, 2004 · Comments Off

pankochicken2.jpgI haven’t posted any food pictures recently, so I thought I’d put up what I had the other day – Panko-breaded chicken sandwich on Calamata olive bread. Sounds fancier than it is. The bread is from Dominick’s (a supermarket).

Panko is a Japanese bread-crumb, I had some left over from my last trip to Mitsuwa. I breaded a few butterflied chicken breasts using the method I learned from Alton Brown: dip the meat in flour, shake, then into an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water, shake, then into the breadcrumbs. Let sit for ten minutes.

I fried the breaded-breasts in about a half cup of oil in an iron skillet.

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Tags: Meat Recipes