Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I can remember a time as a young boy when I was not allowed to cook. That is to say, I wanted to cook at a young age and so my parents had to actively keep me away from the oven and knives. The explanation of this was simple; my brother entered culinary school at the age of 18, at which point I was only 6 years old. Naturally, I wanted to do whatever big brother was doing... there was also the allure of a great deal of danger via the fire and sharp knives. I was instructed by ma dukes that I would be able to start cooking, on my own, at the age of 12. I can clearly remember the first thing I could actually cook in a pan, on the stove. Scrambled eggs. That became my life for a short time. Scrambled eggs for breakfast every day. "Dad, Mom, would you like some scrambled eggs". it was a big deal. Then i tried spaghetti. It took me about 4 or 5 tries of putting pasta into cold water and having it all stick together to get the idea to ask my mom how to do it properly. i put butter and parm cheese from a shaker on that shit and loved it. and thats how I learned how to cook. i started with the basics and fucked up a lot. along the way i learned a few things, watched a lot of the food channel and read some books and articles. now i can say with confidence, im a good cook. I encourage what few readers I have to do the same.

In that vain, I am posting one of the easiest recipes i know. Roasted Chicken and Potatos. this has to be one of the easiest things i know how to make because it involves only a small amount of prep and no stove top cooking at all.

Roast Chicken and Potato's


1 roasting chicken cut into 8 pieces
2 large or 4 medium potato's cut in 1.5 inch pieces
1 large sweet potato cut in 1.5 inch pieces
1 medium onion sliced thick
2 cloves garlic sliced
4 small sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbl spoon olive oil


1. in a casserole dish combine the potato, sweet potato, onion, olive oil, thyme, and some s&p and toss to coat and mix.

2. add a generous amount of salt to the chicken pieces and lay them on top of the potato's skin side up. place rosemary on top of the chicken and cover. if you casserole has no lid, cover tightly with tin foil.

3. place the casserole dish in a 325 degree oven and cook for 1.5 - 2 hours, or until the tops of the chicken turn brown.

4. remove from the oven and let the dish cool down. add some salt and pepper if it needs it.

to serve, remove the herbs and use the liquid at the bottom of the dish as a sauce. it should be savory and slightly sweet from the sweet potato. enjoy

PS. in the pictures, you might notice some sausage. its great as I described above or with a little sausage, like the pics.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I have dinner parties, not pot lucks...

i sometimes have a hard time inviting people over to my house for supper. they want to try to mess up the game. i have people over for dinner a lot and i like to do things a certain way. I dont like help, and i dont want you to bring anything except a bottle of wine or some desert. i also hate when people try to wash my dishes. That's just the way we did it in my family. when you come to my house, you do no work, when i go to your house, I do no work. that was the rule. unless it was some kind of big party with the WHOLE side of my fathers family, in which case no one family could really produce enough food to feed that many people (my dads side of the family was a force of nature. There was soooo many people, and the holiday parties were often held in rented halls). I'm also not a fan of bringing stuff over to peoples houses. and i am mos def not doing your dishes. Dishes are a personal thing. you eat off of them. and everyone has their dishes ritual. some people... i should say, most people dont cut the mustard when it comes to my very specific set of standards that i apply to doing dishes. so if you come over for dinner, follow those two rules: dont bring food, and dont wash my dishes

now that i've gotten that out of the way, i would like to say that i think people like the idea of sharing the cooking tasks because they dont want to cook that much. they dont want to fuck up the sides or its just to much to think about. the best way to do that is to make easy side dishes that you can quickly ready, say, while your roast or steaks are resting. seeing as its summer and this is a quick and awesome side dish to do on the grill, i thought it was fitting.

Grilled Asparagus w. Mustard and Mayo

1 - fist sized bunch of asparagus (stalks removed)
2 - tbl spoons of mayo
1 - tbl spoon of Dijon mustard
1.5 - tsp of maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste


1. in a bowl mix mayo, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper. ready a very hot bbq grill

2. apply mixture to asparagus, covering all of them completely

3. wait till grill is very hot and lay the asparagus on the grill. you will get a lot of smoke when the mixture starts to drip into the fire.

4. using tongs, turn the asparagus every 1.5 minutes for about 4 minutes or until you have developed a nice color on the asparagus. be careful to use a HOT grill so you dont have to keep the asparagus on the grill too long and end up with over cooked veg.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm not a Foodie!

there are 2 words that constantly confound and frustrate me: "Foodie" and "Gourmet". Food is not ment to be put in classes, where only those in the know or with the money get to enjoy the higher end of the spectrum. first of all, it imply's a class system to something that defies class. second, its bullshit - although some impressive dishes are very hard to make, much of the best food (in this authors humble opinion) is derived from simple ingredients and preparation. have we come so far in our obsession of celebrity and attaining that which is out of our grasp that we now seek to only have the latest food trends touch our pallets? food is a basic need for all of us. much of the food we hold dear came from the most humble of backgrounds. eating lobster was considered a sign of poverty until the last 100 years for example.

i guess what i am trying to say is that food should be seen as accessible. making good food should be everyones goal, as it is such an easy one to attain. to eat from the sea is to eat the sea, to eat from the earth is to eat the earth. this is our most basic communion with our planet, and should not be used to classify ourselves as different from one another, but bring us closer to one another.

I've decided to give you a recipe for cheesy polenta. its a simple dish, and one that will impress. exactly what food should be.

Cheese Polenta


1 cup course polenta
3 cups water
1 cup whole milk
150 grams Fontina cheese
200 grams old cheddar cheese
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 small finely chopped onion
3 fresh cobbs of corn, with kernels removed from stock


1. in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. add onion and cook gently for 2 minutes. add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

2. add water and turn heat up to high. bring water to a boil.

3. slowly wisk in polenta. continue to wisk for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. if the polenta gets too stiff, add a little more water until it is easy to work with. after 5 minutes add the corn. once the polenta is a little tender to the bite, remove from the heat and put the lid on the pot. rest for 10 - 20 minutes (the resting will continue to cook the polenta).

4. re-introduce the pot to a medium-high flame on the burner. add milk and slowly work in as the polenta warms. you might have to add a little more milk if the polenta stays stiff. wait until it is heated through, though because the heat will loosen the polenta. add salt and pepper to taste. add most of the cheese (reserve some for topping) and fold into the polenta. remove from heat.

5. using a soup ladle, poor the polenta into individual sized ramekins and top with leftover fontina and cheddar cheese. add a crack of black pepper, if you like. set the oven to broil and place the ramekins directly under the heat source in your oven for 4 or 5 minutes, or untill the tops are golden brown. serve immediately

this recipe takes a little attention at the beginning but its pretty simple and very tasty.