Bacon Jam…

Thanks Ali for pointing me in the direction of this important recipe

bacon-jam_11

These ingredients sound pretty spectacular.

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

Overthinking Sandwich Aesthetics

I love Overthinking It. They truly raise the stakes of analysis to amazing levels. Take this post on sandwiches. It opens with a rather spectacular chart of the relationship between ingredients and preparatory skill.

They also get points for knowing about coffee.

Coffee is in the top middle. The ingredients do matter here, some, but not nearly as much as the preparation. It’s very easy to take some high-end small-batch free-trade shade-grown hand-roasted Ethiopia Harrar, and turn it into something that tastes like cat piss by messing up the brewing process. Its opposite number is breakfast cereal. This is all but impossible to screw up: your culinary experience is determined entirely by which brand of cereal you buy…

But it’s their take on sandwiches that really deserves to be considered.

The atrocity at left [above]  is the “Bacon Whoopee,” available at the Carnegie Deli for a mere $22.  As a bacon-delivery vector, this is superlative.  As a sandwich, it is completely incompetent.  A properly calibrated sandwich is all about balance.  It is an exquisitely tuned chord.  Allow any one element to overwhelm the others, and the sandwich is ruined.  Ruined!  You need to be able to taste every component.  At the Carnegie Deli, this is not going to happen.  This is also the problem with the sandwiches at Subway.  It doesn’t really matter what you order at subway:  they basically all taste like the bread, with a little crunchiness from the lettuce.  (This is why when I have to eat at Subway, I just get the vegetarian sub.  It tastes the same, and it’s cheaper.)

The solution… summarised.

Cheese: The slices should be very, very thin, and no more than two layers… If you want more cheese, don’t put the layers next to each other. I list cheese first because it’s the sandwich’s limiting factor.

Meat: About two to three times the size (by thickness) of your cheese layer. Thin slices are important here too: this is the one thing that the standard deli sandwich gets right. But it’s not so much because of the flavor. It’s because a thick slice of meat is hard to bite through…

Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles, Cucumbers, and the like: The combined [vegetable] layer, though, should be exactly the same size as the meat layer. Obviously if you’re using something very strongly flavored… you want to use less…

Condiments: Less than you think… Spread thin, using just enough to moisten the surface of both slices of bread, and let it go. Grinding a some fresh black pepper onto the bread after you apply the condiments is often a nice touch.

Bread: …firm enough to hold the sandwich together… not be so coarse as to scratch the roof of your mouth. The two slices, together, should be about the same thickness as the meat layer…

How to make Apple Pie from scratch

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Here is Carl Sagan’s recipe for Apple Pie. Learn it, then call the guys running the Large Hadron Collider and make an order.

To many cooks

That title is not a typo. This is an open letter to any of you out there with a culinary bent.

Tonight I’m teaching a friend of mine to cook. He’s got fried rice and steak down pat but is looking to expand his recipe book. We’re also going to talk about the significance of the book of Acts.

Given my published (here) culinary repertoire features replica Sizzler’s Cheese Toast, toasted mars bar sandwiches, a little number I like to call “Baked Bean Ravioli Surprise”, and Butter Chicken, I need your help.

We’ll do home made pizzas next week (including dough), then a variation of my mum’s Satay recipe, then my world famous, yet to be published, Spaghetti Bolognese. After that I’m open to suggestions. We’ll have covered the major food groups – Indian, Italian and Thai. What’s left?

Tonight we’re doing Butter Chicken. Feel free to give me a list of “must haves” for any single guy’s recipe book.

Homebaked: Cookies in the car

Did you know that you can bake biscuits in your car? Me neither.

It’s summer in the US so the US Lifehacker is featuring great tips for "surviving the heat".

Here’s a car cookie recipe (if you don’t just want to buy pre-mixed cookie dough)… here’s the original source of this baked goodness.

Car-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

How to make Sizzler’s Cheese Toast

It’s winter. Winter in our house means soup. Soup needs bread. The best bread for soup is Sizzler’s Cheese Toast. The best cheese toast is the stuff you make at home. Here’s a handy guide to making Sizzler’s Cheese Toast at home.

I was a Sizzler employee for some 16 months and gleaned some little bits and pieces of information that will make emulating the trademark toast possible (though it’s never quite as good).

I took these photos with my iPhone so they’re a bit grainy.

Ingredients

  • Frozen thick cut bread – and I mean really thick cut… doorstop style
  • Enough butter – softened but not melted to put a 2mm thick spread on each piece of bread you intend to cook (Sizzler’s website says they use margarine).
  • Parmesan Cheese (quantity depends on how cheesy you like things). I used 200g of powdered Parmesan with 500g of butter. You can also make acceptable “pan bread” by skipping the cheese, if you don’t like Parmesan.
  • A frypan heated to around 160 degrees

Directions

  1. Keep the bread frozen at all times prior to cooking – this is seriously important.
  2. Mix/beat/stir the Parmesan cheese into the butter until you have a smooth paste with an even texture.
  3. Spread the butter/cheese mix on the bread – and when done put it back in the freezer, you might think it’s a good idea to store them butter sides together in the freezer. It’s not. Your best bet is to separate them with greaseproof paper.
  4. Heat the fry pan – use either a non stick pan or a pan treated with some sort of cooking spray – oil and butter are out, they’ll throw out the balance. You want a moderate heat, the bread is thawing on the pan and you want the cheese to be a golden colour. I’ve settled on about 160 degrees on the electric frypan and three quarter power on the stove.
  5. Put the frozen bread spread side down on the pan.
  6. Cook the bread on one side until the uncooked side is thawed, squishy to touch, and slightly warm.
  7. Your cheesy toast should now be ready.
  8. Repeat.

Totally cool recipe

I need to try this while it’s still summer. Frozen iced coffee. On a stick. I would think the Vietnamese filter is negotiable. Main ingredients – coffee and condensed milk. Sounds good.

Food, glorious food

I thought I had reached some sort of bad food nirvana when I posted my favourite bad recipes back in 2006 – Including the simultaneously much loved and much maligned “Toasted Mars Bar Sandwich”… seriously, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

But I’ve been outdone. With this. A hot dog covered in chips on a stick. deep fried.

Heart attack on a stick

Heart attack on a stick

Ingredients:

One hotdog
One large russet burbank potato
Plenty of oil for deep frying

For the batter:
100gms of plain flour
75gms of cornmeal
1 egg
2 teaspoons of sugar
half a cup of milk

Directions are on the aforementioned site. I guess the stick is essential for the guilt induced bulimia.

Recipe for Disaster

Everyone needs a few low cost, low effort recipes for cases of extreme emergency. This blog provides enough “bachelor” meals to last a life time of apathetic Saturdays. Having survived a number of housemates – and having had to occasionally resort to whipping up postmodern culinary masterpiece (the Blue Poles of the kitchen).

I was going to post a couple of my recent experimental meals for your enjoyment – because like in art (including music) experimental cooking leads to innovation for those of you who don’t share the creative bent.

So here are my 3 current favourites – note 2 are fairly similar in basic design principals.

Baked Bean Ravioli Surprise
Serves 4
A dish from the Lorimer school of cheffery – so named because chef’s were surprised and delighted when the dish proved edible – and even eatable – edible of course only implying that it will not do you harm.

Ingredients
1 500 gram tin of Baked Beans
1 500 gram packet of Ravioli
Cheese

Method
Prepare a saucepan full of boiling water
Add Ravioli
Stir until soft
Warm baked beans in second saucepan
Drain water from ravioli
mix baked beans and ravioli
add cheese
eat.

Mallownut Delight
Serves 1
Delightful blend of flavouring – can be prepared successfully without the nutella. Like a toasted marshmallow – with a protective breadlike cover.

Ingredients
4 slices white bread
a handful of marshmallows
nutella – or hazelnut spread substitute

Method
Liberally spread bread slices with hazelnut spread
Slice marshmallows and add to bread
Add slices of bread to toasted sandwich maker
heat – watch carefully as sandwiches have a tendency to leak. Marhsmallow is a bugger to clean off the sandwich toaster.
Serve hot.

Toasted Marswich
Serves 1
There’s nothing sandy about this concoction – a guaranteed winner that will whet your appetite and delight your taste buds.

Ingredients
2 Slices of bread
1 Mars Bar

Method
Slice Mars Bar
Place on Bread evenly
Toast in toasted sandwich maker
Serve hot.

If you have any great (bad) recipes – feel free to add them. Or even suggest terrible alternatives to my three dishes. With the Christmas Season approaching these are surefire ways to successfully entertain guests – or even for a night alone in front of the TV.