Friday, August 27, 2010

Foreign & Domestic

I really meant to get this written on Friday night, right after it happened, but I was SO full that I passed right out. Then all day yesterday I was smoking a flat iron (delicious) and pool partying until I went to see Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights at Gruene Hall (great show). Aaaaaaaannnnd, here we go!

Where to even begin? I guess from the beginning would be good. I had been hearing about Foreign & Domestic from friends and cooks and coworkers for a few weeks and finally decided that I MUST see what all the buzz what about. The place is super cool. There are not a lot of tables, but there is a nice seating area outside for waiting. The place is like an old diner or something. The kitchen is right there in the dining room. Not like there's a window to the kitchen. The kitchen is enclosed on one side by a wall, one side by the dish room, and two sides by the diners sitting at the counter. I was one of those diners sitting at the counter. In fact, I was in (as I overheard by servers picking up food) seat 1. Literally arms' length from Chef Ned Elliot, who kindly introduced himself.

After grabbing me a Session Lager, the server asks if I'm ready to order. I tell him that I "would like to try everything," but have settled on the Grilled Melon-

with grapefruit, blackberry, candied pecans, and crispy pork. Man oh man, this was good! The melon was cold and warm at the same time. The candied pecans and berries and grapefruit provided several contrasts. And the crispy pork. Oh the crispy pork. Salty. Crunchy. Tasty. As I was finishing the melon dish, my server returns with this:

Gruyere Popovers- not much explanation needed here. They're a crispy pastry with yummy cheese inside and grated over top. I was a little perplexed at first when he set it down, as I had not ordered this, but then he let me know that it was "with their compliments" (aka on the hizouse). Flaky, cheesy, warm and delicious! I was able to conquer one, but with more food on the way, didn't want to fill up. I was also presented ("with their compliments") with a nice bowl of the Chilled Eggplant Soup-

with summer peas, marcona almonds and verjus (the juice of green grapes). Again, great. I can only eat so much cold soup though. So I was forced to take about half of this home (with my other popover). As I finished up my $Free.99 plates, the second dish I had ordered arrives. Fried Green Tomatoes-

over a garlic mayo, with pepper jelly and squash blossom stuffed with lamb's heart. Let me tell y'all that I probably made some inappropriately sensual faces whilst enjoying this dish. The tomatoes were perfectly fried crispy. The pepper jelly was sweet and spicy. The squash blossom stuffed with lamb's heart had flavors I've never experienced. The only thing I could have asked for was the dish a second time. So fantastic.

So, sitting at the counter, right where the chef is expoing also resulted in sitting right where the pastry guy was putting together desserts. I'm not sure how clearly over these last few months I've conveyed how intense my sweet tooth is. However, I DO know how clearly over these last few months I have conveyed my love of bacon, which resulted in my ordering of

The Bacon Float

Two scoops of chocolate ice cream topped with a scoop of chocolate covered bacon bit icream, topped with butterscotch, topped with A&W root beer, topped with a piece of chocolate covered bacon AND A CINNAMON SUGAR PORK RIND!!!!!!!!! Like I said, I probably made some inappropriately sensual faces whilst consuming the FGTs. I definitely made some inappropriately sensual faces [and noises] whilst enjoying this float. Chocolately, cold, bacony, ridiculous. I don't know if the chef or server heard me, but when the people sitting next to me asked how the float was, I told them that I would pay whatever they wanted to charge me for that float. It was like a dream. I really, really, really, decadently awesome dream.

After my inaugural trip (of what will soon be many) to this wonderful restaurant, I can not sing it's praises high enough. Please go to there. It's also VERY affordable. All of the small plates are under $10 and the most expensive entrée is like $23. btw the Bacon Float is $7 and worth every penny and then some.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swine is SO Fine!

Tuesday in class we didn't get to cook any food. We did, however, get to break down a whole pork loin. It went a little something like this:

I hope you enjoyed that little production. I would really love to do more, but as you could see by the moving camera, it's a bit difficult when there's 40 people in the kitchen.

We also watched the famed "Slaughterhouse Video". I've been waiting 5 months for this. It was glorious! I was a little disturbed by how much I enjoyed this film. They showed it all my friends. From the farm, down the shoot, stun gun, throat cut, skin em, cut em, gut em, etc, etc, etc. Then we scrubbed the crap out of the floor and walls.

I'll try to do a food post Thursday night with some tasty pork and veal dishes.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Remember the last time I made Beef Bourguignon? I said it wasn't a fail, but knowing what I know now, it was an epic fail.

Beef Bourguignon over Fresh Fettuccine
Hmmmm......what's the best way to start this dish? Oh I know, B-A-C-O-N! Yea, that's right we started the bacon in a nice cool pan, and rendered out as much fat as possible until the bits were crikspy. The bacon came out and the beef went in - beef top round trimmed and cut into just bigger than bite-size pieces. The beef was in just long enough to say it was in there; like 10-15 seconds on either side. The meat comes out, the mirepoix goes in. Get some color on that, then mushroom stems and crushed garlic go in. Delgaze with red wine. Then more red wine, reduce au sec, and add veal stock. As soon as that hits a simmer, the beef goes back in. The whole pan gets tightly wrapped in foil and tossed into a 350º oven until it's fork tender.

Meanwhile, back at the BatCave, you may be asking yourself, "What the heck happened with them tasty bacon bits?" Well I'll tell you: Mushrooms got sauteed in butter. Blanched pearl onions got added to that and browned. The bacon went in there. That was THE GARNISH FOR OUR DISH!! And it will most likely become the go-to garnish for 99% of the food I eat forever. The meat came out killer. We strain that out and reduce the sauce to nappé consistency. Tomatoes go into that, the meat into that and a little parsley. Then we mounted it with copious amounts of butter.

All the while, my partner had made fresh fettuccine. We boiled that for like 90 seconds, and swirled it up on the plate. Gorgeous beef burguignon over that. And the shroom/onion/bacon garnish on top of that.

Chef Maroon could not stop complimenting the glacage we got on the meat (the sheen that is created by a perfect sauce). The meat was "Capital T Tender". The fettuccine was perfectly salted and cooked. The bacon was crikspy. He had no complaints. He said he would serve this in his restaurant (formerly an owner twice). 20

We also made a Lamb Tagine, but I really didn't care for the dish. We got a 19 so it's not like we bombed it so I don't want to talk about it. I just didn't really like it that much. It had preserved lemon, figs, and honey. So it was really sweet, but tart, and quite confusing as a savory dish.

Tomorrow is more meat fabrication: Veal and The Other White Meat (sounds like that could be my favorite sitcom of all time). So we won't get to eat. Chef Clif suggested that we make buddies with some bake shop kids across the hall. They didn't get to eat today because they made croissant dough for tomorrow. As we were walking our dish over there, their chef caught us and said she would take us in and explain the food exchange process. She did. Then she had us (well, me) explain our dish. I did so successfully. Then she asked our grade. We told em. They applauded. I'm not gonna lie here; I cook for two reasons: (1) So I don't have to do the dishes. (2) For attention. We were lucky to get out the door with my head as big as it was after that. When the chef brought our dishes back, her exact words were "O.M.G. That was absolutely fantastic". Nailed it.

From the April 26 blog: "I'll try this again soon and see if I end up with different results." I'll say! See you tomorrow with pictures of lots of raw meat!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Feast in the Middle East

Cameron sent me a message on facebook a few weeks ago that Shane's birthday was coming up and that he wanted to cook up a feast. As you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity. After a couple more messages back and forth, Cameron mentioned a Middle Eastern theme. I've never cooked Middle Eastern food (unless you count Greek - which turned out to be pretty similar) so I was excited. Then, of course, we made lamb kebabs two days prior to the party but I digress.

We chatted a couple of times about it and settled on a menu. Thursday we hit up Phoenicia market on Burnet. I will most definitely be frequenting this specialty market. They have all kinds of crazy stuff from the Middle East, India, UK, Asia, etc. We just picked up some turmeric, dried mint, sumac, and Greek-style yogurt. Friday we headed to Central Market for protein and produce. Then started some prep. I whipped up some Tabouli Salad - bulgur wheat, cucumber, tomato, parsley, mint, lemon, olive oil.

Cameron put together his Shirazi Salad - cucumber, tomato, red onion, dried mint.

I set up the chicken marinade - Greek-style yogurt, turmeric, garlic and lemon - then cut chicken thighs into bite-size pieces and tossed em in the marinade. Then I set up a tzatziki for dippin.

Saturday: We broke down a whole lamb leg roast and cut it into bite-size pieces and Cameron tossed it into a lemon-garlic vinaigrette to marinate. We made some hummus - chickpeas, pine nuts, tahini, garlic (roasted and fresh), lemon juice and olive oil. I put together a baklava - I blanched pistachios and almonds and ground them with cinnamon and sugar; made a syrup of sugar, water, lemon, clove and cinnamon; layered phyllo dough with butter and the nut mixture; baked it; poured the syrup over the baked deliciousness and let it soak for 4 hours; the result was tasty deliciousness.

Cameron also made these ground beef skewers - ground beef, grated onion, garlic, turmeric, sumac and an egg. You let that sit for awhile to set up and then form sort of a log out of it, skewer it and grill it and it is delicious! We also skewered the chicken and lamb and a bunch of veggies and grilled it all (in addition to some bacon and onion pork sausage that we got from CM*). Here is what our glorious Persian feast looked like:

It was fantastic. We had some grilled pita that had been made fresh at Phoenicia that morning. We had a nice veggie tray provided by Ethan. And we had some tasty cold beverages. Thanks to Summer, Keri, and Beka, this was all enjoyed poolside. We had a blast prepping, cooking, and eating this feast.

*So we saw this bacon and onion pork sausage whilst picking up our protein for the party. I ask the guy behind the counter if he had had this wonderful creation. "I made it," he replied. So, naturally, I ask if it's delicious. "I hate bacon," was his reply.

Let that soak in.

Yea. The butcher at CM that made BACON AND ONION PORK SAUSAGE HATES BACON!!!!! What?! I almost went over the counter at him. I showed him my bacon wallet and he threw in 2 extra sausages. Also, they were freaking delicious.

Friday, August 20, 2010

On the Lamb + Boeuf

My apologies. I dropped that teaser blog on you last Monday telling how excited I was about CA102 and then nothing. It's been a pretty busy and exhausting week. But you're not hear to listen to me whine. You're here to read about the tasty delights I prepared this week. Are you ready for a barrage of meat? You are? Well then, as the Russians say, "Let's do this."

Day 2:
Roast Top Round of Beef au Jus

This ain't yo momma's pot roast. We seared a beautiful top round roast until GBD, pulled it out, put it on a rack and threw it in the oven until it reached an internal temperature of 120º - tasty medium rare (as you can see). Then we built a lovely au jus sauce in the pan with that tasty suc (fond, brown bits). It was served with Jardiniére of Fresh Vegetables - haricot vert, turnips, carrots, peas; all obstructed by the boeuf - and Pommes Dauphine - pâte á choux and potato fried GBD - basically the airiest, most delicious tater tots you've ever had. 18

Boneless Leg of Lamb Roast

I had no idea how much I loved lamb until this week. Little Bo Peep shoulda tossed the curds and whey and thrown her sheep in the oven. As far as preparation, this was basically the same as the beef. Sear it; into the oven; int temp of 120º; sauce made in the pan. These were served with Pommes Boulangiére - caramelize some onions; add sliced potatoes; simmer in lamb stock until fork tender. Yummzzz. 18

Day 3:
Roast Rack of Lamb Persillé

Vegetarians have it all wrong. If God didn't want us to eat meat, he wouldn't have given it a handle. These meat lollipops were absolutely fantastic. We seared them, smeared them in dijon, dipped them in buttered panko and put it in the oven until the inside was 120º (see a theme here?). The sauce was built in the pan with red wine and lamb stock; reduced like crazy and mounted with copious amounts of butter; Chef Clif said that our sauce was "sexy sexy". Nice. We served it also with White Bean and Arugula Ragout. 18

Seared Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras and Sauce Perigourdine

Yea. I almost don't need to write anything right? The filet was seared in a hot pan with oil and basted until it was perfect medium rare. Chef John said it was "like butter" and "perfect". It was topped with a seared piece of Hudson Valley foie gras - we didn't nail the sear on that as you can see, but it was delish. The sauce had shallots, madeira wine, veal stock, truffles and butter. We served it with Haricot Vert au Beurre and Pommes Noisette - melon ball-scooped potatoes gently fried in clarified butter. 18

Day 4:
Grilled NY Strip with Béarnaise Sauce

I almost lost it when we were told that we were grilling NY strips. SOOOOO pumped!! Then I totally blew it. I cooked the steak MEDIUM!! Go ahead. Scream into a pillow. I'll wait........ Got it? Cool. Yea, I was heart broken when he cut into it. However, I did get perfect quadrillage on there, so that was nice. Our béarnaise was a little thick but considering I had broken it and brought it back to life, I wasn't too disappointed. We served this one with Yellow Squash with Shallots, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil, and Pommes Pont Neuf - thick fries with a little watercress salad in the middle. 18

Brochette d'Agneau á la Marocaine avec courgettes et poivrons
(Lamb Shish Kebab with Squash and Peppers)

[photo unavailable]
I just didn't take a picture of this dish. It was super good and we nailed it, I just forgot to get a pic. I'm sorry. Get off my back already! We marinated chunks of lamb sirloin in a lemon vinaigrette with garlic, oregano, and cumin; skewered it with red bell peppers and squash, grilled it, and served it over white rice. 19.5

Day 5:
Bulgogoi with Steamed Rice

Korean beef stir-fry. This was just delicious and I will most certainly be recreating this at home. We marinated beef in GGS (ginger, garlic, scallions), soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil for about an hour. We pulled one of the grates off the stove top and got the woks down about 2" above the burner to get it rocket hot. The beef seared in about 3 seconds. We pulled it out and threw in the marinade until it reached a nice glaze consistency. The beef went back in to coat and then we served it over sticky white rice and garnished with scallions and sesame seeds. Very good. 18

Gigot d'Agneau Braisée à l'Orange et à la Menthe, accompangé de betteraves
(Braised Lamb Shank with Orange & Mint and Swiss Chard)

Baaaaah. Okay, I realize that you can see the broken sauce below the orange, but let's focus on the postives: absolutely perfect orange suprémes (thanks Uchi) and a shank that was literally spoon tender - yea, SPOON tender. We seared that bad boy GBD and tossed it in the oven to soak in lamb stock, white wine, fresh squeezed orange juice, and mirepoix for two hours. It was crazy good. I wasn't a huge fan of the Chard - leafy greens tend to leave my teeth feeling like there's no enamel left. 18

What a great week! I ate like a king for 4 days. We ate beef and lamb like it was goin' out of style and we have one more day of it. Monday we make Beef Bourguignon with Fresh Fettuccini and Moroccan Tagine of Lamb with CousCous. I. Can't. Wait. Then we break down a leg of veal on Tuesday.

Today, Cameron and I busted out a ridiculous Persian Feast for Shane's birthday. It was killer. I'll post about it tomorrow though. Today was a lot of reading. You're tired. Sleep tight - unless you're reading this tomorrow morning, in which case, have a great day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Knife Skills and Life Skills

As promised, CA102 started today. RECAP: CA100- terms, equipment, techniques (in theory). CA101- soups, sauces, stocks, breakfast, pasta. CA102- MEAT!!!!, composed plates (protein, veg, starch, sauce). I'm so excited! This class (and garde manger) are the reason I signed up for culinary school.

TODAY: We got the rundown about our Chef Instructors for the next 6 weeks. Chef Clif has wanted to be a chef since 5th grade. It's all he knows. It's all he wants to know. Chef Maroon has worked his way from dishwasher to executive chef to general manager. He used to run the House of Prime Rib in San Fransisco. Yea. Between the two, they have over 50 years of experience.

After the formalities, Chef Clif showed us how to break down a 40 pound steamship round (leg of cow).

It was glorious. There was blood and sinew flying all over the place. It was glorious! Then he broke down a beef short loin - that's T-bones- which then became New York strips and tenderloins.

After the beefy goodness, Chef Maroon took the reins to show us how to break down a leg o lamb. First, he removed the shank and then we (in teams of two) went and took off the shank. Then we watched him remove the H-bone (hip bone) and then we (alternating partners) went and took off the H-bone.

Then he took off the flap steak and horesehoe and then we did. Then all that was left was the sirloin, gooseneck, and top round. What a great day.

Each and every day will be very exciting. We will cook meat 7 different ways over the next six weeks. Fish, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, and who knows what else. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Diablos en Caballo

So after making the Devils on Horseback at Mulberry and learning that you could pretty much interchange the fruit and cheese and pork as you wanted, I decided to whip up a version of my own: I got some dried mango that was coated with sugar and chili powder, and some queso quesadilla (Mexican melting cheese). Around those two ingredients, I wrapped bacon that I had candied with brown sugar and cumin. And they looked like this after a couple minutes in the oven:

I call them "Diablos en Caballo". They were pretty ridiculously delicious. However, they can (and will) be improved upon. The bacon pretty much took over the whole thing. So I either need to increase the fruit and cheese, which would make it more than 1 bite, OR (if you ever quote me on this, I'll deny it) I need to decrease the bacon. I'll figure it out. I served it with a salsa made of tomatillos, hot hatch chilis, cilantro, onion, garlic, and lime juice.

It was quite complimentary to the Diablos. The spice and acid cut through the sweetness of the candied bacon and the richness of the cheese. Everybody really seemed to enjoy them. I will make these again and again. They are a welcome addition to my repertoire.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Devils on Horseback

So I, unfortunately, have had to drop one of my shifts at Uchi... because I got a regular stage (like mirage) at Mulberry!!!! Tuesday night was a blast! I showed up and made the "Devils on Horseback" from start to finish - made the devil dust to candy the bacon, candied the bacon, cut the figs, added gorgonzola, wrapped it all in bacon - increable!!! Apparently, this is a pretty standard British dish. Although this is not the traditional preparation. The standard is some sort of dried fruit, optional cheese, and it's all wrapped in some sort of pork product - turns out the British did provide something tasty to the culinary world! I also made the pickled veggies for the banh mi sandwich and pesto for the prosciutto sandwich. And then Jacob, the sous chef, was all, "Hey, I'm gonna have you run the pantry station tonight". "Ummmm....what?" Yea, I made all the sandwiches, salads, and apps for the whole service. It was freaking awesome! SO MUCH FUN!!! I'm really pumped to be there on a regular basis and I'm sure it will provide a buttload of interesting blog info.

Tomorrow I'm eating at Estância Churrascaria and then going to see "The Expendables" - Man Day. It's supposed to be as good as Fogo De Chao, I'll be the judge of that. I also hope to get down on some good grub this weekend and hope to even cook some good food this weekend. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Do You? I Do. Me Too!

As promised, ♫ here comes the blog ♪! So my mom calls me up last April or so and says, "Hey, I'm coordinating a wedding this August for 150 people. Do you want to cater it?" "Yes." After some ridiculous back and forth, they eventually decide on a taco bar. Nice. Let's do this.

Several months of emails and spreadsheets and cost comparisons and we decide on a menu:

Hickory Smoked Pork Tacos
pineapple mango pico

Chicken Fajita Tacos
jalapeño créma

Salsa Verde

tomatillo, habañero, lime

Salsa Roja
tomato, cilantro, jalapeño

Queso Blanco

Seasonal Fruit
honey vanilla yogurt dip

Fresh Vegetables
ranch veggie dip

Cheese and Crackers

Watermelon Palette Starters
with vanilla simple syrup & frozen melon

Yea, it was a pretty simple, but a pretty good amount of work. Let's just work through this dish by dish shall we?

I bought 60 pounds of pork butts. Mmmhmmm. I fired up the grill and smoked them suckers with hickory for 8 hours. Originally I wanted to pull the pork, but that proved to be a little more time consuming than I thought (and what was supposed to be a 20 minute ceremony ended up being 8), so I ended up just choppin' it up. It was real tasty.

The pork was served with a pineapple mango pico. Fresh pineapple, mango, red bells, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Done. People could not get enough of this stuff and were begging for the recipe.

I cheated on the chicken. I used pre-marinated fajita meat. Please save your hate for vegetarians. If it makes you feel better, I did use thighs instead of breasts. It's almost impossible to dry that stuff out; not to mention it's got about 1000x more flavor than the breasts. I also added onions and bell peppers that I had seasoned with cumin and worcestershire. I served these tacos with a créma flavored with jalapeño, lime, and avocado.

The salsa verde was roasted tomatillos, onion, lime, cilantro, roasted garlic, jalapeño, and habañero - my first time using habañeros and most certainly not my last.

The salsa roja was rotel, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, cumin, lime juice, s&p. This is my go-to. Always a winner.

As stated in a previous blog, I experimented with a béchamel-based queso and failed miserably. I did some soul-searching and spoke with one of my chef instructors. The answer? Velveeta. Yup. Processed cheese food. It's almost impossible to mess it up.

The fruit, veggies, and cheese need no description.

As the guests walked from the ceremony to the food tents, they were met by our staff with trays of "watermelon palette starters". I puréed watermelon with vanilla simple syrup, strained it, and chilled it. Then I took cantaloupe, honeydew, and Israeli cantaloupe, balled em, rolled em in the vanilla simple, and froze em. Place the balls in the cup, cover them with refreshing watermelon purée, and watch peoples eyes roll into the back of their heads. Another smash hit.

Overall, it was a great success. It was a little stressful trying to get all the food on the table in 2 minutes, but we got it and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. The parents were super-grateful and signed the check, so that's all that really matters right?

I'm doing a stage at Mulberry again tomorrow, so that should provide some nice material. I also hope to do some cooking this week. Tonight I made stir-fry that was super killer, but I'll save that for later. And stay tuned, because I start CA102 next week - proteins and fabrication and fully-composed plates, OH MY!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fowl Feast

Meaty Monday was excellent!! It's a gathering of chefs, cooks and food enthusiasts on the first Monday of every month. Every month has a different theme. This month was "Birds of a feather".
Sorry for the super crappy pic, but I had to take it with my phone. These are just a few of the items presented at the fowl feast. [clockwise] At the top are my turquitos (more on that later), then cheese-stuffed peppers, armagnac marinated quail, duckloaf (yep), and duck au vin (like coq au vin (French chicken stew), but with duck). Not pictured were pesto grilled quail, Asian-flavored grilled and fried cornish hens, swan cream puffs and cake.

Now back to the turquitos. Yesterday, I seared some turkey legs in the dutch oven. Pulled those and set aside. Threw in onions and jalapeños till they got a little color. Then garlic, guajillos, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. As soon as the garlic hit, I tossed the legs back in and covered it with a couple Negra Modelos. Up to a boil. Down to a simmer. Cover for and hour and a half. Pulled the legs to chill. Reduced the sauce by half. Shredded the legs. Pureed the sauce. Pour the sauce over the meat and let it sit all night.

Then today, I spooned the mix into corn tortillas and fried em!!! Turkey taquitos = turquitos. They were not the winner of the evening, but they was tasty and all got eaten quickly - so that's a win for this guy.

Also, don't get your hopes up, but there was a photographer there from Edible Austin so I may be making a cameo in an upcoming issue. You can rest assured that I'll let you know if I make it in.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

'K So....Not This Time

Yeesh! What a brutal couple of weeks. Moving and sick and moving some more and sick some more. Yuck. However, I have broken on through to the other side. It feels nice to not feel awful.

I did make to school all last week, which was nice. Still though, Hospitality Supervision has provided little to no entertainment. Nutrition has proven to be quite fascinating, but probably just to me, so I won't bore you with random facts about Vitamin K and Folate.

I also made it in to Uchi twice this week. Wednesday was pretty standard stuff - ebi for maki (shrimp for the sushi bar; you know, the flat ones that sit on the rice?), garlic brunoise, paper-thin Thai chili rings, oh and I scaled and gutted a few fish - can't remember what kind they were, but they were about 7oz each, European, and sold whole for $28. Friday was pretty standard as well, more garlic brunoise, sesame relish, sweet potatoes, yucca chips, and yuzu marmalade - delicious!

I finally felt up to doing some cooking this weekend so I got me some short ribs. I browned them first in a dutch oven, removed them to a plate. Added a little more oil, and tossed in my mirepoix. Once I got some good color on that, I added a few chopped tomatoes and some garlic. As soon as I smelt the garlic bloom, I deglazed the pan with some whiskey - yea that's right, whiskey. Burned off the alcohol and tossed the ribs back into the party. More whiskey, a little water to cover and simmer for 3 hours.

Not bad for a phone pic huh? I served the ribs with mashed potatoes and green beans with grape tomatoes. I should have reduced the liquid down afterwards to make a sauce, but I got a little lazy. Nonetheless, Whiskey-Braised Short Ribs were quite tasty and a lovely addition to my repertoire - even if a little tweaking is in order.

Today, I decided to make my own queso from scratch via a bechamel and I failed miserably. "WHAT!?!?" you ask? That's right, even I turn out a less than amazing food item from time to time. It happens to us all. This was a great learning experience though. Mistakes:
-I didn't use enough roux.
-I didn't bring the milk up to a high enough temperature.
-In addition to nice-melting Mexican cheeses, I attempted to melt colby jack into the queso resulting in a gritty cheese dip - this was ultimately the demise of my culinary debacle.

I apologize to mostly Seth, whom declared queso his #1 favorite food. I had hoped to blow his mind with the best queso he had ever eaten. Instead, I ended up with a gritty, gloopy, not-fit-for-cafeteria mac n cheese cheese sauce. I know what I did wrong though. So I will conquer this dish. Queso, you're on notice!

I had also mentioned that turkey legs would be making an appearance in today's blog, however, they are only half-way to their final destination (Turkitos). Hopefully they'll end up killer and make the Meaty Monday blog. Only time will tell. Until then.