Later On

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I just made a big pot of chili, cooling now for dinner. I more or less followed the recipe in this earlier post, the way I more or less follow all recipes. (Differences: I skipped the Ro-Tel tomatoes, but used a 28-oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, along with 8-10 mild green Hatch chilis chopped.; 2 green bell peppers, 2 onions; red-wine vinegar; chocolate instead of cocoa powder.) But I did include (for example) the liquid smoke, blackstrap molasses, Illy coffee (2 Tbsp of the grounds), and a square of 100% cacao baking chocolate, along with a good glug of authentic Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (none of that US crap—important differences: malt vinegar and no high-fructose corn syrup). I buy the meat from Safeway’s “Manager’s bin”, where items land on the very last day they can be sold: great bargains (50% off the Safeway Club price).

I’m continuing to read The Martian, and I may reread Robinson Crusoe when I’m done. RC is such a satisfactory novel, and is based upon an actual person: Alexander Selkirk. And who knows? That may get back once more to start again on the seafaring friendship of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin with Master and Commander, a charming novel.

I am bemused at Hollywood’s weird decisions, the current example being the choice of Tom Cruise (5’8″) to play Jack Reacher (6’5″). Why not choose Vince Vaughn (6’5″), given that Tim Robbins (6’5″) is now somewhat long in the tooth? The illusion can be stretched only so far, after all. (Granted: they did not choose Peter Dinklage (4’5″)—a shame: he seems to me to be a better actor than Tom Cruise and has the added benefit of not being a Scientologist. (I can remember when L. Ron Hubbard started that dodge, telling someone—Damon Knight?—that the Big Bucks were in religion, not science fiction.))


Written by LeisureGuy

11 August 2016 at 5:30 pm

My version of the Atkins low-carb meatloaf

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This makes eight small (8-oz) meat loaves, each of which serves two people or is enough for two meals. I’ve blogged the recipe before, but my recipes tend to change over time. This is the latest iteration.

4 jumbo or extra-large eggs
1 small can/jar tomato paste
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tbsp fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp ground ancho chiles
1 Tbsp dry mustard or 2-3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp horseradish (get the kind that’s refrigerated)
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
6-8 ounces grated Swiss or cheddar cheese or crumbled blue cheese

Whisk the eggs well in a large bowl (somewhat larger than you think you’ll need: I use my very largest Rösle bowl), then add the rest of the ingredients listed above and whisk well to mix.

Add the following, mixing as you go. I do this in stages, using a wire whisk to mix the meat with the liquid ingredients as I go. Because ground meat tends to stick together, I tear apart the packaged lump of meat to add it in walnut-sized clumps.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
1 pound ground veal (hard to find & expensive; substitute ground pork and/or beef)
1 pound ground lamb

The idea is to have a total of 4 lbs of ground meat, including veal if you can get it. You can use ground bison/buffalo meat for some; you might even try ground turkey.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with Reynolds nonstick foil.

Recipe makes 8 mini-loaves, which I mold using a 1-cup ramekin: I oil the ramekin, pack it full to the rim, invert it to place molded mini-loaf on the foil. The ramekin I use holds just a little over one cup if filled to the very brim, so each mini-loaf is just a little over 8 oz, Thus 1/2 a mini-loaf is a meal.

If you have some of the meat mix left over (not enough to fill the ramekin), just add small amounts to the loaves already made to use up the excess.

Bake at 375ºF for about 33 minutes for the mini-loaves or 45 to 60 minutes for a single large loaf, to an internal temperature of 145ºF or more (because of the pork).

Makes 16 servings of roughly 4 oz each: 1/2 of a mini-loaf. Can be frozen

Written by LeisureGuy

7 August 2016 at 1:06 pm

For my US readers, re: Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

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The Lea & Perrins sold in the US suffers from the US capitalist disease of on-going cutting of costs (and quality): if you can increase profit, by however little, to hell with the consumer, provided you can keep the consumer from noticing.

So Lea & Perrins in the US is made with distilled white vinegar (very cheap) instead of malt vinegar, and uses high-fructose corn syrup rather than sugar. But in the UK, Lea & Perrins follows the original formula more closely.

You can order authentic (i.e., UK-made) Lea & Perrins here. To save (relatively speaking) on shipping costs, I ordered two bottles, which totals more than a quart, so they should last me for quite a while. I most recently used it for a steak topping, which I believe I found originally in Morrison Wood’s With a Jug of Wine. After you remove the steaks from the grill, melt some softened butter on top (about a pat), then sprinkle with smoked salt (examples), ground mustard powder, garlic powder, and about 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. The idea is that you make a sauce on the steak instead of in a pan.

Do that on both sides, though normally I do only one side. It is a very tasty addition.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 May 2016 at 10:50 am

Posted in Beef, Food, Recipes

Corned beef for Easter: One holiday off…

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I didn’t get around to cooking corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, so we’re having it today. We’ll have lamb for the next holiday feast, and so on: one holiday behind.

I’m using this simple (but interesting) recipe. The folding round rack I use to cool the Breakfast Bites is exactly the right size to fit my All-Clad Stainless 6-qt pot, and when folded it holds the beef a comfortable inch or so above the water. The roll of aluminum foil is a good width to allow me to crimp it tightly all round the top, and then I covered it with the lid for good measure. I have never used Kitchen Bouquet® but I wanted to try the recipe as stated, so we now have one bottle (less one tablespoon).

To accompany the corned beef, I’m make Brussels sprouts—mini-cabbage—using this recipe: Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon.

One thing I greatly enjoyed in preparing the beef: I got to use my Leifheit garlic slicer, which is extremely well made and works like a charm. Recommended for any garlic lover.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 March 2016 at 10:51 am

Posted in Beef, Food, Recipes

Mississippi Roast resport

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Several days ago I inadvertently revealed my dinner plans by including the link for a Mississippi Roast recipe in a post about a razor I’m selling. I thought that, since I mentioned it, I should close the loop by reporting on how it turned out.

It’s an extremely good cold-weather dish—rich and savory—and it reheats very well indeed, one of those dishes that seem to get better with reheating.

I did a 4.6-lb roast, and the dozen pepperoncini really didn’t seem enough. I plan next time to use 1/4-1/2 c of sliced pepperoncini. I’ll decide based on how it looks.

The floured surface does indeed form a kind of crust in the browning, but the crust is subsumed into the liquid that develops in the cooking, so it’s not all that critical. The main thing is that the flour is cooked in the oil to make a roux, in effect, thus thickening the liquid.

For the neutral oil, I used avocado oil: very high (500ºF) smoke point, better than most other oils.

The recipe calls for 1 tsp of buttermilk. It is to laugh: buy a quart of buttermilk to use 1 tsp? I used a tsp of sour cream, not that it would make any noticeable difference. I also could not really taste the dill in the dressing.

I definitely plan to repeat it. Small servings are called for, but even small servings are quite satisfying: 6 Tbsp of butter help that along.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 January 2016 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Beef, Daily life, Food, Recipes

Dinner: Roast New York Strip Loin with Garlic-Herb Crust

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The veg is rutabaga: peeled, cubed, cooked in beef stock with ginger, garlic, and butter and simmered until the stock is reduced to a thick sauce and then mashed.

The centerpiece is the beef, of course: Roast NY Strip Loin with Garlic-Herb Crust. Regular readers will recognize that I had this cut earlier, using this recipe, more or less—less, to be honest: cooked at 200ºF until done, then temperature elevated to brown. But I definitely did use the horseradish sauce recipe, made with crème fraîche, and I’m using it again. This time I am following this recipe. I did, of course, allow the roast to come to room temperature before putting it into the oven (for a 5-lb roast this took about 3 hours), and I did cook it 15 minutes at 450ºF but then turned the oven down to 325ºF (not 350ºF) for a while, but it seemed to be cooking fast, so I reduced it to 225ºF. The key is to get the roast to the target temperature, but slowly. You don’t really have to use a particular roasting temperature (beef doesn’t have a thermometer), so long as you judge doneness by a meat thermometer instead of by time. I went for 135º and then tented to roast for 10-15 minutes.

I followed some of the advice in comments. For example, I doubled the ingredients in the garlic-herb paste and after applying it (and note the instruction to dry the roast well before applying the garlic-herb paste) wrapped the roast well in Saran-wrap and left it in the fridge for 36 hours. You could probably just go to 3 Tbsp if you want instead of 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp. (1 Tbsp = 3 tsp, and I have both 1.5 Tbsp and 2 Tbsp measuring spoons: it’s easy to measure out two 1.5 Tbsp. That’s 1 tsp extra, but probably insignificant.)

Thus for the paste I used:

  • 8 garlic cloves [actually 10: recipes never call for enough garlic]
  • 16 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves [I’ll probably use dried thyme in the future, and somewhat less—fresh thyme leaves are a pain to pull from the stems.]
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp fresh rosemary [optional, but suggested in comments, and I used it]
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground black pepper

I forgot to process the garlic cloves separately as the first step, but it seemed to make no difference when I processed them with the other ingredients. I did use the rosemary leaves (thus my ability to detect the rosemary fragrance in Le Père  Lucien shaving soap this morning). Re: recipes not calling for enough garlic: I’ll not forget the recipe for a pot of spaghetti sauce that called for 1/4 tsp of minced garlic. That is insane.

I have a 5-lb roast, which will give us leftovers for days. I really do like this cut, though it’s somewhat expensive: no bones, easy carving, regular grain. And this time I got the butcher to leave 1/4″ fat on the roast. Some roasts are trimmed severely, but the fat is essential for flavor and turns out not to be bad for you, contrary to what we were told. (We were told, you will recall, that oleomargarine was better for us than butter, and then it was found that the trans fats in oleomargarine are very bad for you.)

A good example of too enthusiastic fat-trimming can be seen in this video, more or less using the same recipe:


Written by LeisureGuy

23 January 2016 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Beef, Food, Low carb, Recipes

Dinner report

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The Whole Roasted NY Strip Loin is superb: very tasty, very easy to carve, and altogether wonderful, albeit I did not cook it as described at the link but rather used this method. After the roast rested out of the oven for 10 minutes, tented with foil, I returned it to the oven for 6 minutes of high-temperature (500ºF) browning, and next time think I will go with 8 minutes or even 10.

One important note: the (bad science) anti-fat crusade has made butchers gun-shy of allowing fat on meat. I suggest you specify at least 1/4″ of fat over the top of the roast, and put that in writing. I specified it, did not put it in writing, and got a roast with minimal fat—and the fat is important for tenderness and flavor.

The horseradish sauce in the first link is excellent. Due to corporate desires for greater profit, the 8-oz containers of creme fraîche are now 7 ounces, but I added 1 oz (=2 Tbsp) of sour cream to get the full amount. I used fresh horseradish, peeled and grated, which is much more delicate that horseradish in a jar. I did use the full 3 Tbsp of freshly grated horseradish and could even have done 4. I used English mustard rather than Dijon mustard, but either would work: the mustard is but an accent. The recipe calls for “pepper,” and I used white pepper (1/4-1/2 tsp) rather than grinding black pepper, since I didn’t want black specks in the sauce. I used an equal amount of kosher salt.

The greens—actually, the “reds”: red kale and red chard—were excellent, prepared according to this recipe except that I cooked the greens covered for 15 minutes after adding the wine before boiling off the wine.

A nice Pinot Noir, and later this evening we’ll have authentic plum pudding (no plums, and “pudding” in this case is the British word for “dessert”) with brandy butter.

Altogether a very nice Xmas feast with a fair amount of roast left over for sandwiches and the like, along with about half the horseradish sauce.

I hope your own holidays have been merry and joyous, and I give you my best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2015 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Beef, Daily life, Food, Recipes


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