Tag Archives: meaty

Hot dog!

3 Sep

a hot dog on a toasted bun, with avocado, spicy sriracha mayo, grilled shrimp, and slivers of nori seaweed.

It’s Labor Day and that means it’s time to heat up the grill!  Usually when I think of gourmet grillables, hot dogs are not the first things that come to mind.  But back in June when I first cracked open that month’s Sunset Magazine to a feature on fancy-ing up your every day dog, I knew I had to give it a try.

Photo of hot dogs, shrimp and shredded nori, plus a magazine with the recipe that includes those ingredients

This weekend we decided to try out The Surfer Hot Dog, a dog topped with grilled shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo, and slivers of nori.  We made a few modifications to the recipe, spiral-cutting the dogs (as had been recommended by our dear friend and cook extraordinaire Sara) and letting them hang out in some homemade teriyaki marinade prior to grilling.  CHOW has a handy video on the how and why of spiral-cut hot dogs.

We served these bad boys with some of our homegrown tomatoes.  I roughly diced the large tomatoes and cut the smaller ones in half, tossing them with a homemade vinaigrette (rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sriracha, peanut oil, soy sauce) and chopped fresh basil.  I let them hang out on the counter for an hour before serving so that the tomatoes could soak up the dressing.  Pro-tip: don’t ever put tomatoes in the fridge! The cool temps ruin their flavor.

multi-colored tomato salad with basil in a light blue bowl

Sometimes recipes from magazines can be a disappointing, but these were worth the extra effort.  The same article included recipes for four other topped hot dogs (1, 2, 3, 4).  I think we’ll be trying out the Cowboy soon; spicy mustard, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon crumbles? Someone sure knows the way to my heart!

a hot dog on a toasted bun, with avocado, spicy sriracha mayo, grilled shrimp, and slivers of nori seaweed.

Happy Labor Day! Happy grilling!

Grillin’ it

14 May

The past few weeks have been just short of chaos at our house.  I attended the OLA annual conference in Bend in the end of April and did a poster session on some work I’ve been doing on using popular culture to teach information literacy.  The whole conference was a blur of engaging sessions, library-related swag, and watching late night TV with my friend and hotel roomie Amy.  Overall, it was a great experience and I would absolutely recommend participating in the poster session to any interested students.

That said, I would recommend that you do not wait until the last minute to create your poster board.  I believe that poster boards are actually portals to alternate dimensions where time moves at a much quicker rate.  You would be amazed at the amount of time it takes to make a mediocre poster board.  Hours and hours and hours.

Also don’t wait until the last minute because as you’re finishing up your poster board at 11pm in the hotel room, you might realize that you forgot to print off half of your reference list.  Not that I know this from experience…

OLA was also cool because Amy and I got to eat here:

Why, yes, that is an old double-decker bus that has been converted into a food cart called “The Codfather.”

The only problem with the OLA conference is that it was scheduled for the second half of my dead week in school, taking up very valuable studying time.  This term I was far less organized than usual; finals week this term definitely tested my studying abilities.  Miraculously, I survived!

Thankfully, that means that this past week has been my summer break.  My school program goes through the summer so as of today I’ve started new classes and my summer vacation is through.  I definitely milked the blessed seven days off of school for all they were worth with plenty of gardening and relaxing.

Summer vacation culminated with the annual Librarian Prom on Saturday night.  I made a giant batch of sangria based off a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  The sangria was well received at the party but not so well received the next morning, from what I hear.

I wore too much eyeliner and my favorite dress: a red caftan with Egyptian motif and many, many sequins.

Thankfully, Nate and I weren’t too hung over after the prom so we were able to spend some time with our mothers the next day for mother’s day.  The weather was beautiful, so we cooked up a great dinner on the grill for my momma.

burgundy plate with grilled broccoli, veggie couscous, and grilled chicken

Grilled chicken with a curry yogurt sauce, grilled vegetable couscous, grilled broccoli with feta, and flat bread made on the (you guessed it) grill!  Nate was responsible for the broccoli and it was truly out of this world.  I’ll see if I can convince him to share the recipe.

burgundy plate with grilled broccoli, veggie couscous and grilled chicken

What is it about eating outside that makes food taste so dang good?  My summer vacation may be over but I’m looking forward to more of this weather!

Chicken dinner(s)

1 Apr

I am just loving having this blog as a creative outlet.  I can hardly stop thinking of things to do, make, and write about.  Unfortunately, that also makes it difficult to focus on my other projects, namely that Master’s degree I’m currently working.  I’m up to my eyeballs in schoolwork right now, which unfortunately means that all of the exciting things I want to read and write about have to be put on hold for those things that I need to read and write about.

Basically this is just a long-winded way of saying that content might be scarce around here for the next few weeks, although I’m hoping to find a balance between work (or school, in this case) and play.

In the meantime, here’s a cute ass picture of my favorite kitten.

And just because I can’t help myself, a quick mention of what we’ll be eating the next few days:

The other day, my Pinterest feed featured an article from theKitchn on making a five day menu plan based around a rotisserie chicken.  At our house, we’re all for making the most out of food, and out of meat in particular.  I usually save chicken bones for stock (collecting them in a bag in the freezer until there’s enough) but that’s usually where our meat thriftiness stops.  For the past week, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about roasting a chicken and making use of every last part.

Well, today was the big day and we just finished our chicken dinner.  I followed Thomas Keller’s simple roast chicken recipe, using a few modifications that I found in the comments.  In all honesty, I’ve made this recipe several times before and I always seem to have mixed results.  When it’s good, it is amazing, with everything a roast chicken should have: crispy skin and succulent flesh.  But there are times when it isn’t so good, usually because upon carving the bird, I realize that it hasn’t quite cooked all the way through.  Cooking this recipe definitely makes for a perfect time to whip out your (possibly neglected) thermometers, both oven and instant-read.  You may also want to add 10 minutes to the recommended cooking time.

I have to admit that I feel a little weird posting this photo for two reasons.  First, our camera battery was dead so I took this photo with my phone and I’m not sure it’s really “up to snuff,” as they say.  (Do other people say that too or is it just another one of those weird things my mom says?)

Second, during a culinary discussion at a recent excursion to local brewery Block 15, I lectured my dear friend Aileen about the importance of chicken trussing.  Trussing is the fancy way of saying tying it up with string so that it cooks evenly.  Everyone who is anyone recommends that you do it and I’m not usually one to go against the grain on these types of things.  That said, you may notice that this chicken is remarkably “un-trussed.”  That’s not because I’m making a statement.  It’s because the only string we have in the house right now is made of nylon.  Cooking tip #1: don’t tie your chicken up in plastic string and then put it in a 450F degree oven.

If you want more info on trussing a chicken, I suggest checking out ye olde YouTube.  One of the best how-to videos I’ve found so far stars Brian Polcyn using a slightly more advanced chicken trussing technique.  Polcyn is a Chicago chef and co-author of the cookbook Charcuterie that I currently have checked out from the library.  I love it when my culinary interests cross paths unexpectedly!

Despite our lack of appropriate restraints (by which I mean cotton butcher’s twine), I roasted the bird.  Tonight we had the legs with roast potatoes and carrots and a green salad.  After dinner, I finished carving it.  Carving is another technique that can be intimidating if you haven’t done it before.  It’s important to remove the legs first and then the breasts.  YouTube can come to the rescue on carving as well.  (It’s also great for a refresher on how to tie a bow tie, but that’s a whole different can of worms.)

After carving, one breast was shredded and went straight into a pot with a sliced onion, some homemade turkey stock, and the last of the homegrown tomatillo salsa from last year.  Tomorrow, we’ll eat the stew (which was inspired by this recipe on Simply Recipes) for lunch with some rice and beans.  The other breast went into the fridge; I’m not sure what we’ll do with it yet.  In the meantime, the carcass and wings are simmering in the slow cooker for some homemade chicken stock.

I’m not sure we’ll quite get five-meals out of this bird, but I’m feeling like I’m doing my part to be a more ethical meat eater.  Using everything this way makes buying the more expensive, free-range chicken seem almost affordable despite being on a limited, grad school student budget.  The whole free range chicken was $2.49 per pound, which is cheaper per pound than some of the pricier pieces of conventionally raised chicken.

While cleaning up from dinner tonight, I glanced in the trash can; the only part of the chicken that was in there was the plastic it came wrapped in.  I think I could get used to that.

Spice is nice – kimchi stew

28 Feb

Close up of kimchi stew with chicken and tofu over steamed jasmine rice.

In January, Nate and I made about four pounds of homemade kimchi and we’re just using up the last of it.  We tried eating it a number of different ways but my favorite was definitely as kimchi stew served with some jasmine rice.  It was really tasty and could easily be made with store bought kimchi.

bowl of kimchi stew with kimchi, chicken and tofu with jasmine rice.

Maangchi’s recipe for kimchi stew recommends using pork belly or canned tuna.  I was feeling lazy, so I figured I would pick up a few cans of tuna from Trader Joe’s.  When I got there, the tuna was around $3.00 a can.  I don’t buy tuna very often so I don’t know if this is a reasonable price or not but it seemed expensive for fish in a can.  I’m not up-to-date on different tuna species and ethical fishing practices so I’m not sure if this contributed to the price.  In all honesty, I’ve never been much of a fan of canned tuna anyway.

So, after walking through the store and eying the meat case, I noticed that TJ’s has organic free-range chicken drumsticks for $1.99/lb.  Sold!

Obviously, this recipe isn’t vegetarian, but I think you could easily adapt it to be.  You could leave out the chicken, use veggie broth and maybe add some extra tofu.  I imagine that sauteing some mushrooms along with the onions would be damn tasty, too!  Keep in mind, though, that kimchi is often made with fish sauce and if you use store bought kimchi it may not be vegetarian.

Chicken Kimchi Stew – makes six to eight servings

Adapted from Maangchi’s Kimchi stew (kimchi chigae)


  • 1 and 1/2 lbs chicken drumsticks, skin on
  • 1 Tbsp high temperature oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 c. kimchi, cut into bite size chunks if needed
  • 3+ c. chicken broth or water
  • 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 package tofu
  • Salt and pepper
  • Soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce (optional)
  • Steamed jasmine rice (for serving)

Heat about half the oil in dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot with a lid.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken on all sides.  The goal here is not to cook the chicken through, but to create some flavor (“Brown food tastes good,” as Chef Anne Burrell says).  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan.  Once hot, add in the onion and saute for a few minutes until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute or two.  Add some of the broth/water and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the kimchi, red pepper flakes, the remaining broth, and the drumsticks.  The drumsticks won’t be covered by the liquid, that’s fine.  I like my stews to be more chunky than soupy.  If you’d like more broth, feel free to add some more liquid.  Bring everything to simmer, then reduce the heat.  Cover the pot and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool briefly.  Shred/slice the chicken from the bones (which you should save to make chicken broth).  You can either remove the skin and toss it or you can slice it up as well.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Cut up the tofu (I like to leave it in fairly large pieces but it’s up to you) and add that to the pot as well.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve in bowls over the jasmine rice.  Season with pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce to taste.

Close up of kimchi stew with chicken and tofu over steamed jasmine rice.

One final note: I think this would be a great recipe to pull out when someone you care about is feeling under the weather.  Spicy chicken soup should really help clear out those sinuses!

Short and stout

25 Jan

I’ve been obsessed with celeb chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for four or five years now.  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (or HFW as he is lovingly referred to amongst our friends) champions a “back to the land” type of cooking.  He encourages eating food that you’ve grown yourself or that you’ve found growing wild.  He’s also a strong proponent of raising your own meat and then eating every last bit of it.

Unlike many of his British TV chef counter-parts (Jaime, Nigella, etc.), he’s not very well-known in the United States.  As far as I know, there isn’t an American channel that offers any of his any of his programing.  Which is a little surprising because he’s been making TV shows under the River Cottage name since 1998.

Woman with very short brown hair holding up a copy of "The River Cottage Meat Book" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Thankfully, Berkeley’s Ten Speed Press (part of Random House) has started publishing HFW’s books in the US.  When we first saw a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book at Powell’s a few years ago, Nate snatched up a copy for me.  Since then, we’ve purchased several other River Cottage books, each of which will probably be featured on the blog at some point or another.

The topic of today’s post, however, is beef in stout.  This is one of two recipes from the book that see the most action at our house (the other: cold roast beef open sandwich).  When I received the January River Cottage email newsletter in my inbox, I was excited to see that they were featuring the recipe on their website. That gave me the perfect excuse to feature it on my blog!

I want to mention that even though this is a stew, it’s not exactly thrifty.  That said, it does serve 8-10 and the flavors are big; this could definitely be the base of a meal where your goal is to impress without seeming stuffy.

Cast iron dutch oven of dark brown steak stew with mushrooms

Anyway, go forth and check out the River Cottage recipe for beef in stout.  Just to make things easy for you, I’m copying down the ingredient list from my U.S. version of The Meat Book so that you don’t have to worry about conversions.  Look at how nice I am!

  • 3 pounds chuck or stewing beef or shank
  • 8 ounces salt pork, pancetta or bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter or drippings
  • 1 pound baby onions
  • Up to 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4 cups stout
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A sprig of thyme
  • A few parsley stems
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms

I’ve found that baby onions are a pain in the ass to deal with, quite frankly, so I replace them with one large onion cut in half and sliced going with the grain.  I’ve left out the bacon before but my taste-testers noticed a difference.  We usually use Guinness Extra Stout (in a bottle) which has a little more bite than the Guinness Draught (in a can).  You can use whatever you like!

HFW recommends accompanying your beef in stout with dumplings or mashed potatoes.  Personally, I like buttered egg noodles, and roast squash and Brussels sprouts with mine but the choice is up to you.

Also, in case you’re wondering if this post is affiliated with anything HFW or River Cottage or Ten Speed Press, it’s not.  Nope, I’m just obsessed!

Truly eggcellent pizza

13 Jan

A diptych of two photos of a slice of pizza with an egg on it. The second photo shows the egg being cut with a fork and yolk running out onto the plate.

During the college years, homemade pizza was a frequent occurrence.  Decent pizza toppings could regularly be scavenged from even the most neglected of refrigerators and fresh pizza dough from the local market was cheap.  Sure, we didn’t have a rolling pin so the pizzas were usually misshapen and lumpy, but I liked to think that just made them unique or rustic.

The post-college years have seen considerably less homemade pizza action.  I guess moving into a town with an exceptionally good pizza place (American Dream Pizza, which I would highly recommend) will do that to you.  Still, homemade pizza occasionally makes an appearance.  This past summer, we made a few pizzas on the BBQ, which while both entertaining and delicious is not the topic of this blog post.

Nope, this post is about pizza with eggs on it.

Photo of a homemade pizza topped with prosciutto, green onions and two eggs.

I’m guessing that anyone that reads this post will have one of two responses to pizza with eggs on it.  Either, like me, they are a huge fan of runny-yolked eggs and could hardly imagine a better pizza topping, or they can’t imagine why a person would be so crazy as to ruin a perfectly good pizza.

I hope you are in the former category.  If not, this post may not be for you.

This pizza is topped with a homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, green onions and two eggs.  I tossed the green onions in a little olive oil so that they would be sure to crisp up rather than steam in the oven.  We arranged the toppings in such a way to have little pouches for the eggs to sit in, that’s why the onions appear to be in a grid.  This arrangement probably could have held four eggs, but since there were only two of us to share this pizza that seemed like it might be over-doing things (as if putting eggs on pizza isn’t already over-doing things).

We baked the pizza in a very hot oven on a pre-heated cast iron pizza pan.  Pizza recipes usually seem to suggest baking the pizza from anywhere from 8-15 minutes.  At our house we usually judge whether our pizza is done based on looks and smell rather than by how much time has passed (partly because we usually forget to set the kitchen timer).  We cooked the pizza until the crust started to turn golden and the cheese was melty but not yet turning brown.  Then we removed the pan from the oven and cracked eggs onto the “nests” we had built with our pizza toppings and returned the pizza to the oven.

Image of a bearded man with black framed glasses slicing a pizza with a mezzaluna, or large half-moon shaped pizza cutter.

Personally, my egg preference is over-easy, with completely set whites but completely runny yolks.  This can be hard to achieve in the oven so I kept a close watch on the pizza.  If you like your eggs similarly, remove the pizza when the whites of the eggs are mostly set but still a little jiggly.  Since they are on a seriously hot pizza, the eggs will continue to cook after they come out of the oven.  Once out of the oven, you can add salt and pepper and/or parmesan cheese as your heart desires.

Want a more solid yolk?  Either add your eggs to the pizza earlier or poke the yolk with a fork after you add it to the pizza.  It will combine with the whites and cook a little more quickly.

A diptych of two photos of a slice of pizza with an egg on it.  The second photo shows the egg being cut with a fork and yolk running out onto the plate.

Really, though, why would you want a more solid yolk?  Usually I’m against eating pizza with a fork.  In this case I’m happy to make an exception!