Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Raining cats and dogs

It's considerably earlier than I normally post. I'm having the first cup of coffee of the day, listening to it rain like mad outside, and testing out my homemade yogurt this morning. I made it last night. No fancy yogurt maker here. I used 4 -1 quart mason jars, our trusty cooler, a gallon of milk (I used this brand - I support local dairies who can sell me creamline milk in the stores, sorry home cheesemaker rant off now), and a cup of commercial yogurt. I used this brand of yogurt (I picked up the non-fat) as it's just, as Chef said gone off milk with bugs, no pectin, starch, or other things that don't belong in my yogurt (things that make using it for culture more challenging). For the specifics of my method go here. I think my temperature was a little lower than his - a degree or so (maybe I can use this to get a more accurate thermometer...I have to figure out how to sell it though). He says three hours - my first run at three hours didn't look remotely like yogurt. About an hour and a half later though I had a mostly solid mass in the middle and milky whey outside. I pulled them out of the water bath, dried them, and popped them in the fridge. I opened one to sniff - smell of milk/cream and just the slightest hint of yogurt. Much different than commercial yogurt - fresher - not processed tasting. It's not quite as thick either. I'll try to post some snaps before I eat it all/convert it to other yummy projects. One quart is destined for yogurt cheese and I may strain the rest as I like my yogurt a bit thicker. Oh...and the fun part - total cost was about $7 for a gallon plus of yogurt (excludes my time and the little bit of nat gas & electricity used to heat water and milk). I can't get two quarts of the same sort of thing here for that cost. There are some D-I-Y's that just make you feel good (and healthy).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Southern twist on Cochon de Lait

I'm cooking for the office tomorrow...decided on my take on Cochon de Lait - dry rubbed, marinated pork butt that I cooked en daube...well...a Crock Pot to be honest. I've pulled the pork and put on some of the marinade/cooking liquid to make it...juicy but not soggy. This is serious stuff. Marinade was simplicity - 1 cup homemade Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup Cajun Power Garlic Sauce, and 1 1/2 tsp Pecan Liquid Smoke...allow to rest 3 days. Rub is mine for now...I'll share later. I'm reducing the remaining liquid to be served as a sauce. Smells of BBQ right now. I'll let you know how the office receives a free lunch.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Another great find...

This is two great finds in Recovery New Orleans - last week was China Rose in Metairie - a Chinese restaurant that runs three menus - an Americanized Chinese that we all know, an authentic Chinese which is about five times as long as the first (and endlessly more flavorful), and a noodle menu. My wife and I ordered off the authentic menu and were thrilled. Tonight was a Mexican place. It came about from a coupon mailer that showed up in today's mail - the food looked good and they had half off (even if the food hadn't been great I wouldn't have paid full price for all of it). I did a little digging - local paper and several other food-related sites gave Taco San Miguel high marks. It has two locations the Metairie one and then one closer to the house in Mid-City. You can't miss it...bright orange building and a bright yellow sign...not easy on the eyes but I wasn't there for the decor. I ordered my usual - Carne Asada and the wife ordered the taco special with chicken. Service was simple - the large portion of steak, grilled onions, salsa Mexicana, black beans, rice, and corn or flour tortillas. I'm used to the steak going from slightly flavorful to blah and normally stringy. Not here - richly flavored - garlic, lime, chile, cumin, and all sorts of other wonderful flavors, coupled with sweet onions, a hit of heat from the salsa (my in-laws joined mother-in-law was a little surprised by the...oomph of the jalepeno in the salsa) and the flavor of the tortilla, coupled with the nearly tender steak, made for an amazing (and cheap) meal. The wife didn't say much as she was obviously enjoying the chicken tacos with what looked like a mole sauce and the same simple accompaniments. One of the oddities of this area are some of the laws that have been put on the books after the storm. With the influx of labor to clean up and rebuild came, amongst other things, taco trucks. There are still some scattered in the city proper, but in Jefferson Parish they outlawed them. Some just move across the parish line and a few said fine and set up shop. This is one of those - the story is that the owner is/was an electrician who became a restauranteur. I'm not investigating that - I just investigate food - and this was outstanding. When we can eat for $20 and have this quality of food and portion size I'll be back, as often as I can.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

This is what happens...

when work gets in the way of the rest of your life. I've been cooking and eating like a madman (and being very successful at it for that matter) and have pictures to post and other stuff. There will be more to follow - it's a weekend in the kitchen - and I can't wait