Archive for 31 January 2011

Roasting Red Peppers

31 January 2011

Tomorrow’s post will be R’s nearly-famous Roasted Red Pepper Soup … a surefire way to fight off the effects of the impending SNOWPOCALYPSE and make you forgot about its cousin, ICEZILLA, which is headed this way on Thursday. It would be up today, but there’s no bloody way I was going to spend $6 per POUND on red peppers at an unnamed grocery store, even if the store’s name rhymes with Troll Nudes. No wonder I never shop there.

We will, however, talk a little bit about roasting red peppers, in case you want to get started. Actually, roasted red peppers are a thing of beauty in their own right, and have myriad uses, so a person would be wise to have a stash of these around to use for sandwiches, eggs, tacos, salads, sauces, antipasti, rice, and so on.

There are plenty of ways to roast peppers, some easier than others, and most of them work just great. Actually, using the word “roast” is pure custom — you can broil, grill, or napalm these babies and get almost identical results. The principle behind this whole thing, which is after all the important part, is to apply heat to the peppers in order to cook them and blacken their skin, after which you peel them and remove the stem and seeds. Much like another well-known agricultural product, nobody wants their stash of red peppers to be full of stems and seeds.

Whatever process you use, the end result should be cooked, peeled pepper flesh that has started a caramelize a bit, deepening the flavor profile and creating a smokier, sweeter beast … kind of like the Humboldt Kitchen crew after a tall single malt scotch.

Some would have you fire up the gas burner and grab a pair of tongs, roasting the pepper over the flame like a marshmallow over a campfire. This gets boring after a few minutes, but works great in a pinch, like when your oven is preoccupied. Long story short, you roast the peppers this way until the skin is black, then stick them in a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. When they’ve cooled, use a clean dish rag, paper towels, or your fingers to rub most of the blackened skin off, and then remove the stem and seeds. I usually take off the hard tip at the bottom, too, but that’s just me.

For more than one or two peppers, I prefer to use the oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Scrub all the nasty stuff off the surface of your peppers, like the wax coating, the sticker, and the salmonella.
  3. Arrange the peppers on a sheet pan, leaving an inch or two of space between them to prevent their steaming instead of roasting.
  4. When the oven is hot, place the sheet pan onto the top rack. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven and the peppers. Every 10 minutes or so, turn the peppers using tongs … CAREFULLY, BECAUSE THAT 500 DEGREE OVEN WILL TORCH YOUR SKIN … or just grab the sheet pan with an oven safe glove and give it a good shake to shift and turn the peppers a bit. Unlike babies, you can and should shake your sheet pan.
  5. When the peppers are all blackened, remove them from the oven and place them (with tongs, not your fingers) into a bowl that won’t melt, and cover them with plastic wrap.
  6. When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, use a clean dish rag, paper towels, or your fingers to rub the blackened skin off.
  7. Cut a circle around the stem on the top of each pepper and remove the stem and seed pod, picking through the inside of the pepper for any seeds that may have come loose. I like to remove the little nib at the bottom of the pepper, too, but like I said, that’s just me.
  8. Use immediately, or pop them in a ziplock and stick them in the fridge for a few days. If you want to keep them longer, pack them in a jar or ziplock and top it off with olive oil.

I should probably mention that if you want to do this more quickly and feel comfortable concentrating on what your oven is doing to your peppers for a bit, then by all means preheat your (top) broiler or (charcoal or gas) grill, remove the stems and seeds from your peppers, and cut them in half so they lay flat. If using the broiler, put them skin side up on a sheet pan and stick them in. If using a grill, lay them skin side down over the flames. Now, watch and wait, making sure if you are broiling not to lose too much heat by keeping the oven door open too wide. When the skin side of the peppers blackens, remove them and follow steps 5, 6, and 8 above.

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Sunday Green Board: Seitan Tacos

30 January 2011

Every Sunday, or as often as we can, we’ll be posting what we call the Sunday Green Board. The “Sunday” part is obvious, that’s when we publish the post. The “Green Board” refers to the fact the whole dish can be prepared on a green, as opposed to a red, cutting board … meaning there is no meat involved … as in vegetarian … as in, for those of you who know any of us personally, pure lunacy. Hell, we would put sausage on our corn flakes if we could get away with it, and one of our favorite vinaigrettes replaces the olive oil with bacon grease.

Anyway, back to red versus green … we can get a little forgetful in a busy kitchen, or after a few glasses of wine, and in order to prevent cross-contamination, along with the unpleasant and possibly dangerous consequences, we prep meats on a red cutting board, and fruits and veg on a green board.

Red Board = any raw flesh

Green Board = CLEANED fruits and vegetables

You may laugh, but you haven’t tried cooking after one of our martinis … so we use this simple visual cue to help avoid food poisoning, and lawsuits for that matter, so long as we remember to keep our hands clean and utensils and knives from crossing the red-green divide.

Side Note, AKA the Rant … if I see one more commercial of people cooking crap and taking the damn spoon they just used to taste their crap out of their, or their friend’s, or some kid’s, mouth, and immediately returning it to whatever pot they are cooking their crap in and resume stirring, I am going to throw a brick through the television. Seriously, start counting how any of these you see. Same damn reason I won’t eat birthday cake once you let someone spit all over it, ummm, I mean, blow out the damn candles.

Ahhhh, that’s better. Back to the Sunday Green Board … Seitan Tacos!

Seitan Tacos

Taco with Upton's Naturals chorizo-style seitan, onions, and red peppers, spiked with a Sriracha-cilantro cream

If you use the normal 6-inch corn tortillas, the following ingredients will get you about 5 tacos … more or less depending on how much filling you use, and of course everyone knows that the size of your tortillas matters.

  • corn tortillas, or if you prefer, flour tortillas, pita bread, naan, lavash, whatever you like; hell, you could put this on a bun and it’d be awesome.
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, sliced into quarter moons (cut 1/4″ wide rings, then cut the rings into three or four equal-sized pieces)
  • 1 medium-sized red pepper; cored, seeded, and sliced into 2 inch long, 1/4″ wide strips
  • 4 ounces of Upton’s Naturals (or similar brand) chorizo-style seitan … if you can’t get this, you can season your own seitan accordingly; start with some powdered ancho and chipotle, hot paprika, garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt, and maybe a little vinegar. Alternatively, you can just use actual Mexican chorizo, but it won’t be a green board dish.
  • kosher or sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, crème fraiche, sour cream, or crema fresca
  • a little bit of heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Sriracha or other spicy (NOT JUST HOT) chili-based sauce
  • a lime or two and some more chopped cilantro to garnish

Once you get your ingredients together and prepped, you can start on the dish.

  1. Mix together the yogurt and the 2 tablespoons of cilantro, and adjust the consistency with some heavy cream until it’s liquid enough to drizzle. Add a pinch of salt and stir.
  2. Add Sriracha to taste … start with a few drops, stir, taste, and adjust. Note: we like to puree the sauce in a blender or food processor to get a smooth, consistent texture. You can, though, just mix it by hand so long as you finely chop the cilantro — it’ll just look more rustic, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  3. Heat a neutral oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent and just starting to caramelize.
  4. While the onions and peppers are cooking, prepare your tortillas whatever way you like — over a flame, in a hot pan, or in a microwave or toaster oven. Keep them warm and soft.
  5. When the onions are starting to turn golden, add the seitan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. When the seitan is warm, taste and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.
  6. When the seitan mixture is hot, taste and adjust the seasoning one last time, and then remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Lay out your tortillas on a flat surface … like a CLEAN green board, maybe?
  8. Drizzle each tortilla a with a splash of the Sriracha-cilantro cream, top with a few spoonfuls of the seitan, peppers, and onion mixture, and garnish with a pinch of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
  9. Roll or fold the tortillas, plate, and serve with some of the leftover Sriracha-cilantro cream and some more hot sauce.

Enjoy, and send us your pics, substitutions, and questions!

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Italian Wontons (Part Two)

21 January 2011

OK, you’ve got your basics: red sauce and a not-incredibly-steaming-hot roasted butternut squash. Let’s get on to the business of how to take these fundamentals, add wonton skins, and turn them into something special.

Italian Wontons

To get you motivated, the end result should look something like the picture to the right … poached roasted butternut squash wontons in marinara sauce sprinkled with basil.

Note that these are not quite dumplings, and not quite pasta, but somewhere in between. The wonton skins should make these little packages light and pleasant, like the red sauce, rather than heavy like you would have with a rustic homemade ravioli in bolognese. Oh yeah, did I mention this is a vegetarian dish?

First things first, you are going to need to collect the following ingredients:

  • your red sauce (see part one)
  • your squash (see part one)
  • a nice stack of wonton skins … thaw them in the fridge or carefully in the microwave
  • Chinese Five Spice powder and some Sweet Paprika (we like smoked paprika from Hungary), you’ll need about a teaspoon of each
  • fresh thyme … you want to strip the leaves and finely mince them … you’ll need a tablespoon or two
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • the usual kitchen hardware, plus your wonton factory equipment: bowl, another bowl, cutting board, and one or more baking sheets, each with a sheet of wax paper

After collecting the ingredients, the first stage is to prepare the filling for the wonton skins and create your packages.

  1. Using a butter knife, spoon, or your fingers, remove the skin from both halves of the squash and mash it in your hands into a large bowl. Taste it, and season with salt and pepper if you feel it needs some. It shouldn’t take much, if any; you’re shooting for sweetness here.
  2. Add the Five Spice, paprika, and thyme. Mix with your hands (or, if you must, a spoon), taste it, and adjust the seasoning as you like it. At this stage, you can cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge for later if you aren’t ready to make your packages.
  3. Time to set up the wonton factory: lay out (left to right) the stack of wonton skins, the bowl of filling, a cutting board, a small bowl or cup of water, and a baking sheet covered with wax paper.
  4. Lay out some wonton skins on the board (how many depends on the size of the board), and put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each skin, slightly off towards the lower left corner.
  5. Pick up the wonton in one hand, dip your (clean) fingers in the water, and wet the edges of the square.
  6. Working carefully, fold the skin into a triangle, so that the filling  ends up in the center of the longest side of the triangle. Using your fingers, remove as much air as possible from inside the skin — it will get trapped next to the filling, so you kind of smooth it out from the filling, squeezing gently towards the edges of the triangle.
  7. Wet the bottom corner of the triangle, and bring the top corner of the triangle towards the center filling, being careful not to press the corner into the filling. Bring the bottom (wet) corner towards the filling, place it on top of the folded over top corner, and press the two together. It should look like a little overstuffed envelope. Place your package flat side down onto the baking sheet, and repeat from step 4 until you run out of filling or patience.

This sounds a lot harder than it really is, and with a little practice, you’ll cruise through your stack of skins in no time. We’re working on a video to show the technique; it’s really one of those things that is easier to do than describe. If in doubt, just follow the diagrams on the wonton skin packaging and do the best that you can.

If you’re not going to cook these now, stick your baking sheet(s) in the freezer. After the packages are frozen, take them out, place them in a freezer bag or container, and put them back until you’re ready to use them.

Now, here’s how to put it all together:

  1. Put a large pot of salted water over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. When it boils, reduce the heat and bring it down to a nice simmer. The water should be active but not violent.
  2. Gently heat the red sauce you’ll need in a sauce pan … the amount depends on how many skins you’re going to cook.
  3. While all that is happening, tear or roughly chop some fresh basil leaves for garnish.
  4. When the water is back down to simmering, give it a good stir to get it circulating, and drop the filled wontons in one at a time. Keeping the water circulating at this stage prevents the wontons from sinking to the bottom and sticking to the pot. Bring the water back to a simmer (raising the heat temporarily if you’re using frozen wontons), keeping your eye on the clock, stirring your red sauce as needed, and giving the water a good swirl every so often to keep the skins from sticking.
  5. After around three minutes (longer for frozen packages), the wontons should be bobbing to the surface. When they’re floating consistently, they’re done. Pull one out and cut it in half … if the inside is hot and the skin isn’t gluey, you’re done. If not, give it another 30 seconds, and test one again.
  6. Using a skimmer (or whatever you have), remove the wontons from the water, and place them on a paper towel to drain. (I suppose you could drain them like pasta, just be careful you don’t tear them open in the process.)
  7. Place the wontons gently onto a plate, spoon over some of the red sauce, and sprinkle some of the basil on top. Grate some cheese (parm would be awesome) over the top if you want to be particularly decadent, or hit it with a few drops of truffle oil. Neither of those is required.

The cooking time for frozen wontons shouldn’t be longer by more than a few minutes. If your packages tear open while cooking, then (1) they stuck to the bottom of the pan; (2) your water was simmering or boiling too rapidly, or you were uber-aggressive with the swirling; (3) you didn’t squeeze enough air out of the skins when you were assembling the packages; or (4) you were unlucky, and need to try again.

Enjoy this, and send us a pic of what you end up with, either here, or on Facebook!

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Italian Wontons (Part One)

21 January 2011

just made Italian wontonsGot a hankering for ravioli but don’t want to bust out the Kitchen Aid and rolling pin? Want some Crab Rangoon but don’t feel like shelling out $12 plus tip to get the greasy, unhealthy, trans fat soaked but oh-so-tasty ones delivered? The solution is simple, and one of the greatest time savers you should never be caught without: frozen wonton skins.

To show you how nice having a stack of these in your freezer or fridge can be, the next post will contain a nice, easy, recipe for Italian Wontons — roasted butternut squash-filled wonton skins served in a basic marinara.

But first, there are two staples you will want to have prepped and ready to go. After you make these once, you’ll find them so useful you’ll always want them around, so making the wontons will be a cinch.

  • 1 roasted butternut squash

This couldn’t be easier to make, but you have to do it ahead of time, preferably the day before, so it has time to chill. There are tons of uses for this, so roast one on Sunday and keep it in the fridge for the rest of the week. For the basic recipe you will need a medium-sized butternut squash, olive oil, kosher or sea salt, and some freshly ground pepper:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean the squash … not scrub, but just enough to clear away any obvious dirt or gunk (you know, the adhesive from the sticker?).
  3. Slice it in half lengthwise, and use a large spoon to remove the seeds.
  4. Paint the flesh of each half with a thin layer of olive oil (don’t be a wuss, use your fingers). Season both sides to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, being generous with each.
  5. Place on a baking sheet (or directly on the rack), flesh side up, and roast  in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and mushy — not falling apart, but tender enough to mash with a fork if you wanted.
  6. Remove from the oven … carefully … and let cool to room temperature, then place in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

This stuff is ready to eat after step 5 … scoop some of the flesh out, mash it, and serve it topped with butter and chives like you would mashed potatoes. You can also dice the flesh, stick it in a blender, add some minced ginger, chicken stock, and the flesh of one or two peeled and cored Granny Smith apples. Blend it, reheat in a stock pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve drizzled with some yogurt or cream, or crumbles of goat cheese, and splash with a few dots of sherry vinegar. Boom, you got soup. If you know how to make grilled cheese, you can avoid Panera all week long and keep some extra cash in your pocket.

The next basic item you will need is:

  • a basic red / marinara / pomodoro / tomato sauce

Yes, you can use the stuff in a can or jar if you want, so long as you like the taste of it, or can doctor it enough so that you like the taste. Otherwise, you can make your basic red sauce using canned tomatoes, some garlic cloves, kosher or sea salt, GOOD olive oil, and some patience:

  1. Buy a 28 ounce can of whole peeled ITALIAN tomatoes. The better quality you buy, the better the sauce will be. San Marzano are the standard, but any good Italian will work. Buy a few different varieties and find one you like … if they’re from California, so be it, we’re no hard guys, we just know what we like. If it’s tomato season, use fresh. Wait until the summer and you’ll see our series on making red sauce using fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market.
  2. Peel a few cloves of garlic. How many depends on how much you like garlic, but since this is a basic red sauce, you want it to taste of tomatoes, with just a hint of garlic, so 3 or 4 is probably enough. Give each clove a whack with your chef’s knife, and make sure you remove the germ — the greenish sprout in the center that gets bitter and gives you heartburn. After the whack, you should be able to scape the end up with your fingernail and pull it out.
  3. Gently (medium low) heat around 1/4 cup of GOOD olive oil in a sauce pan. The oil should cover the bottom of the pan and come up the side a bit; if it doesn’t, you’re using too big a pan. When hot (if the oils smokes, dump it, clean the pan, and start over with less heat), add the garlic and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until golden in color. If you burn the garlic, dump the oil and garlic, clean the pan, and start over. Burnt garlic is nasty.
  4. While the garlic is cooking, open the tomatoes and empty them into a bowl. Crush them with your (suitably clean) hands. Throw out any stems or pale green hard bits of tomato, and any whole herbs or leaves they may have been packaged with.
  5. When the garlic is golden, CAREFULLY pour the tomatoes (and juices) into the sauce pan, add two or three pinches of salt, and give it a good stir. Remember there is HOT oil in the pan that likes to splash up and burn things … things like your skin.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook uncovered for three hours or so, stirring every half hour. It’s done when it reduces enough to appear “saucy.” How long you need to cook it depends on the pot, the heat, and a host of environmental factors, so give yourself a break and don’t worry about anything but burning it.

When the mixture appears “saucy,” taste it and add some salt if you think it needs some. If it tastes like a basic red sauce should taste, and not like a warmed up can of smashed up tomatoes, then it’s done. If it doesn’t taste like sauce, let it simmer some more. Mine usually reduces by 1/3 to 1/2 before I feel like it’s “done.”

By the way, this recipe scales very well, and the way I see it, if you’re going to take the time to stir a pot for at least a few hours, you might as well make a ton of the stuff (just multiply the amount of garlic, olive oil, and pinches of salt by the number of cans of tomatoes you have on hand) and freeze what you aren’t going to use within a few days. Simply let the sauce cool for a couple hours, and stick it in the fridge. The next day, repackage it in useful quantities (1 or 2 cups) into freezer bags or containers and stash them in the freezer for a lazy day.

Note: g likes to add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, chili powder, or, when he’s feeling fancy, Piment d’Espelette, to the sauce. Add it after the garlic has turned golden, give it a quick stir, and then add the tomatoes.

OK, so that’s the basics. The next post will cover the recipe for making the Italian Wontons.

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Cheese Broth

12 January 2011

Yes’m … we are back (well, at least the ones that could go) from beautiful and sunny South Beach, and as promised … well, as the saying goes, más vale tarde que nunca … we want to share a cool little frugal tip for using up those old rinds or just dried up bits of grating cheeses … in particular, the potent Italian ones like Parmigiano-Reggiano (cow from, ummm, Parma) and Pecorino Romano (sheep, from, uhhh, Sardinia for the most part … gimme a break, I’m not Italian, or a lawyer, and those definitions are mostly legal distinctions these days).

A friend of mine suggested using Manchego (Manchega sheep from La Mancha, originally, anyway, not sure if that applies today). He is, however, a pharmaceutical guy, and I can’t speak to whether a Manchego version will produce some kind of exhilarating high, terrifyingly soul-destroying low, or just go nicely with some tapas and a glass of Rioja.

Back to the point: what do you do with those bits? Other, of course, than skin your knuckles on the box grater trying to get as close as possible to the nasty, hard part, bleeding all over the nice pile of grated Parm you just spent 15 minutes building, and having to throw it out (wink wink, I won’t tell anyone), because your blood was all over it (no, that must be tomato!!!).

Answer number one, which is by far the most popular, is to throw them out. This can get expensive, especially if you get legit Parmigiano-Reggiano for $20 or $25 a pound. Pecorino is cheaper, but it ain’t that much cheaper. If that doesn’t bother you, then make the broth below and use it, and send me the $2 you were going to throw away. It will go to a much better cause.

Note to the reader … if you buy the pre-grated stuff like you would find in a little green plastic shaker, DON’T MAKE THIS, and swear to me you won’t ever buy that crap again. No, really, it’s crap. Buy yourself a little chunk of legit Parmigiano-Reggiano, and ignore the measurements in random recipes and cookbooks …  a LITTLE bit of the real deal, freshly grated, goes a LOT farther than shaking on a ton of the stuff from the plastic canister. Cheese is, by nature, alive. The moment you cut into it, it starts dying. If you grate it, process it, and pack it into a plastic canister, it turns into a skeleton, except it doesn’t taste as good as dried and grated bones.

Now, I know someone is going to come up with some awesome recipe involving the sawdust they pack in those tubes and post it, and I encourage you to try. That would be cool, and if I were able to transform something like that into something really delicious, I would shout it to the world. I will not hold my breath, but please don’t let that stop anyone trying.

Don’t get me wrong, that stuff has its places … one I like is where you shake it out of little glass holders or paper packets, along with some dried red chili flakes, on a cheese and sausage pizza, at an Italian place with Sinatra on the juke box, red checked tablecloths, paper place mats with a map of Italy on them, and a sign that says pitchers of Budweiser and carafes of Chianti are just $4 from 5 to 7. I love places like that, trust me.

Anyway, back to the good stuff. It’s a complicated recipe. The ingredients are as follows: cheese end(s), water, a pot, heat, patience.

More specifically, take an ounce or two of the rinds or dried out bits of cheese, put it in a pot with a quart of water, and heat it to a simmer on a range. When the water bubbles, adjust the heat so you can maintain a gentle simmer. Check it every so often and give it a gentle swirl.

After around two hours, take the pan off the heat, and strain the liquid into a container. Discard the cheese unless you see promise in it, but for what I’d have no idea. Let the liquid cool to room temperature and put it into the fridge. The next day, take it out gently, and remove and discard the fatty bits that have risen to the surface with a spoon or paper towel. Don’t stress out over it, just get the big ones.

There, that’s it. You now have Parm/Pec/Whatever broth, or stock, or fumet, whatever you want to call it.

But what do you do with it? Oooooh … lots of cool stuff. You want an easy one? Substitute the broth for water and make some rice (skip adding any salt to the rice, the broth will be chock full of it if you used good Parm or Pec, and PLEASE, use REAL bloody rice, not that parboiled or microwave or precooked or minute or Uncle Ben or whatever stuff). When the rice is done, sprinkle some sliced chives or minced green onions over it. Add black pepper to taste.

The next morning, take some of your leftover rice, add an egg yolk and some finely minced onion, and squish it together WITH YOUR HANDS. Form it into patties and fry it like a hamburger in some butter. Make some bacon if you’re the type, as you should be, and breakfast is served. I like to add a splash of hot sauce or some finely diced jalapeño (if I have some left over … last thing I want to touch in the early morning when I’m still rubbing my eyes is a knife and a spicy chili).

Later this week, we’re going to discuss … and damnit, there better be a video … how to use this stuff to make a couple other slightly more sophisticated but not much more complicated dishes: a nice tomato and basil risotto, and a stunning cacio e pepe … a quick pasta that’s great hangover food. As a special treat, r has provided a fantastic looking Red Onion Soup that’s perfect for these short January days … we’re going to give a bulk (i.e. restaurant) version as well as one for smaller crowds.

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Don’t throw them out!

05 January 2011

parmesan cheese rind

Ever wonder what to do with those leftover rinds and dried out ends of Parmesan or Pecorino?

Don’t throw them out!

This week we’ll post a simple and clever way to squeeze every bit of flavor out of these potent Italian cheeses!

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A preview … r getting down in the kitchen …

04 January 2011

r gets down in the kitchen … PREVIEW

A low budget VIDEO preview of what’s to come … done on spec by r, who is the one wearing the gloves in the video. Click the link to watch.

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Welcome to Humboldt Kitchen

04 January 2011

Lest I repeat myself, welcome to Humboldt Kitchen, and thanks for reading this far!

It would be presumptuous to ask you to register or subscribe to the RSS feed without my taking a little time to explain exactly what it is you’d be reading. Simpler, though, and more to the point, is to say what Humboldt Kitchen is not.

  1. It’s not about sports. Usually. Food is sometimes like sport, so there will be infrequent exceptions to this rule. There will be definite exceptions if some sports person likes our food and will state that publicly. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
  2. It’s not about everything in between, despite what the above tag line reads. That’s really just a way to say “We’re going to let things happen at this stage, freeing us to let the site evolve and improve without feeling constricted by too rigid a scope.” I went to school a long time to learn how to write bullshit statements like that, just ask Sallie Mae. For the sake of of international readers, and there better well damn be some, Sallie Mae is the quasi-governmental organization that handles student loans … AKA the money we borrow from the Federal government to give, most often, to the State government’s university. Maybe it’d be cheaper for everyone if we got rid of that kind of stupidity and just … oh, well, that brings up …
  3. No politics. OK, well, except for food politics … that could be fun.
  4. It’s not about $400 pans, $300 steaks, and $250 gadgets that you use once a year. In a sense, though, it is, except without all the $$$$$$’s. At Humboldt Kitchen, we love a bargain, and believe that civilization and the art and pleasure of food got along just fine before stores started selling special little magical pans, ingredients, and gizmos for big bucks to foodies desperate for that edge that would help them elevate a dish to epic proportions. Crap, we said “epic.” I offer my apologies. HK … yes, I know, it’s an unfortunate coincidence …believes in giving you the tools and knowledge and skill so that you don’t need to get a second (or third, or fourth …) job to buy the MUST-HAVE TRENDIEST MOST AWESOME UTENSIL / STEAK / GADGET to get a result. Short version: we want you to get fantastic results with good quality hardware and ingredients without selling your soul to afford it. Your soul is important; without it, everything you cook will be crap. With a good soul, you can make anything taste amazing.
  5. Definitely not about authenticity. Authenticity is about history … what people did with what they had. Humboldt Kitchen is the future. Don’t get me wrong: we love authentic methods and ingredients and combinations, but not just for the sake of being authentic … they have to make things better. Fact of the matter is, if you aren’t cooking over an open fire or a hole in the ground (leave charcuterie out of this for now), it ain’t that authentic anyway. Matter of fact, unless you grew, foraged, or killed what it is you’re cooking, you can toss that authentic label right out the window. Let’s just settle for good or amazing or better, and leave authentic to the historians, OK?

We’re also not about lists, or blathering on, and on, and on, and … yeah, you get the idea. That being said, there’s a lot more that we’re not, and I’m going to lay that out in the next couple posts.

In the meantime … register on our site (link on the bottom right of the page), like us on Facebook (link on the upper right), or subscribe to the RSS feed (back to the bottom right), and come along for the journey with us. You won’t be disappointed.

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