Saturday, December 28, 2013

A perfect New Year's for two Dude Food Duck

I must apologize for so neglecting this site.

I got involved with a restaurant and between desperately trying to help the restaurant and teaching classes my time was taken. Even sleep was neglected.

Duck is Dude Food.
Duck is possibly the BEST New Years choice you can make if doing a dinner for two. It is special, festive and rich.

It also takes a few hours to digest so eat the large meal early and have some special treats for the champagne. I don't advise midnight duck. 

New if you live in a big city with a Chinatown you can always buy one pre-cooked and reheat it, but you can be a culinary wizard and do it yourself quite easily. 

Use DUCK, not duckling. Duck is big and loaded with fat and richness. This recipe will work with goose, but not young duckling. 

Ingredients: 
Duck
1 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider
1 cup whole star anise
1 ziplock bag

3 days before roasting mix the above together and put the marinade with the duck in a ziplock bag. Squish it around and remove the air so that it is submerged. 

About 12 hours before roasting remove from marinade, brush off excess and place on a rack to dry UNCOVERED in the refrigerator. 

It already looks good. 

I roast on an upright rack, but any rack will do. Put some water under the duck to catch the fat without smoking and place in a 250 oven for 3 to 5 hours pricking the skin periodically to allow the fat to drip. The time will depend on the size of your duck, if it is all at lean 3 hours, if hugely fatty 5. When fully roast heat oven to 550 for 5 minutes then turn off to rest. Skin will crisp nicely. 

Not the best photo but it was the best duck. 

See the head and all the bones and the fat on the surface of the water....yea. The fat. SAVE EVERYTHING. Carve off the meat and keep every bit of the rest. 

Now boil those bones with the liquid under the duck. Strain and allow the fat to solidify on the top. 

Skim it off and use for frying potatoes. 

Oh...and that broth....that wonderful broth...make a soup. Vegetables and duck broth with a few noodles and your life will never be the same.





Monday, August 5, 2013

Dude Food can be Southern Food: Grits

Grits,

Seriously one of the best foods on earth. I and love them. They are a total Dude Food. If you can make good grits (or polenta) you can impress anyone...and well, isn't that why some of you are cooking? Breakfast with soft cooked eggs and grits will win the heart of your intended.

Unfortunately most corn these days is GMO, so it is important to choose organic grits. Boycott anything Monsanto touches and make the world a better place.

I generally don't like the quick cooking grits but go for the more coarse long cooking, however I tried Bob's Red Mill quick cook because they were the only organic type available at Fairway. They were good with just the right texture.

Shrimp and grits, gillades and grits, poached eggs and grits, cheese grits, jalepeno grits etc.

They are all good.

Yankees often love grits but have no idea how to make them, they then follow the package directions and get a lumpy mess.

DON'T FOLLOW THE PACKAGE DIRECTIONS!

The package tells you to start with boiling salted water.

Start with butter. For each cup of grits you use 1/4 lb. butter and melt it in the pan on a low heat.

Then stir the grits in.


Coating them with fat keeps them from sticking together when the liquid is added. Butter is flavor.

The package tells  you to cook in water...water? Try white wine, chicken stock, ham stock, vegetable stock, this is your chance to infuse flavor into your grits.
More flavor can come from herbs. I added a tablespoon of mixed Italian Seasoning. Trader Joe's 21 Salute is great as well.

For one cup grits add 3 cups liquid.

Stir, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. For the quick cook you cover for about 5 minutes. But first check to make sure they are not too thick, if they are a touch more liquid will do.

See, they are already looking good.

Those are finished grits...unless you want to stir in a cup of cheese about now, or maybe just a touch of cream to make it all come together.

Did I say it was diet food?


A little beef and onion with just a touch of gravy with my grits. Looks good.

Now get out there and get yourself some good organic grits.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dude Food: Jowlenese sauce for pasta

Jowlenese is a take on Bolognese, but made with fresh tomatoes from my terrace and a very quick summer sauce.

I have been enraptured by my pig jowl, but at the same time if you look far to the left of the photo I had some trimmings from steaks that I had prepared for class and I ground them up.

Other than vegetables that went into a big salad this was what I had in the house yesterday.

What could I make but a jowl sauce for pasta?

Jowl sauce for two
2 ounces ground beef
4 ounces ground jowl
1 ground onion
2 large and two small tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Salt and Red pepper
Basil

I cut the jowl into cubes and put it in the food processor and ground it up with the onion. Some of the fat clung to the side, I scraped it out and used all the fat in a ceramic skillet and turned it on low to render the flavor.

When it was done I added the beef in small bits to the fat and onion mix.

The the garlic til it was fragrant and the smell was making me crazy.

I tossed in the chopped tomatoes.

They were still warm from the garden and quickly melted into the sauce, but if you have tomatoes less ripe, just mash them with a fork or a potato masher. The sauce cooks for about 10 minutes giving you time to boil water.

Add salt and pepper to taste and cook 4 to 5 ounces of pasta.

Add the pasta to the sauce to finish cooking and toss in a few handfuls of torn fresh basil.

Nothing more is needed your jowl will fully flavor the dish...and if you don't have jowl use bacon, however keep in mind that bacon will have less flavor so up it to about 6 ounces.

The finished sauce has just enough tomato but it is a jowl and beef sauce and those are the predominant flavors.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Smoked Pig Jowls, the ultimate Dude Food

Smoked Pig Jowls You can order them via this link.

We just had the Food Show here in NY. I was on the hunt for the ultimate Dude Foods and I found several, but nothing beats pig jowls.

Those of you who are older remember Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies talking about greens and jowls. It was not uncommon in the old south to use jowls to season a pot of greens or beans.

In Italy it is the most prized cut of meat  the unsmoked version is called Guanciale and is prized in dishes like Spaghetti Carbonara.

In my opinion Jowciale is more prized.

It really is the ultimate Dude Food.

Just a little bit (with all the fat) can season an entire dish.

Shells and Peas

4 ounces of thinly sliced Pig Jowl
1 lb of fresh shelled peas
1 lb of pasta
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
Pasta water

Brown your pig jowl in the pan and remove, leaving all the good fat behind.

Saute garlic in leftover oil plus added olive oil, just til fragrant, not brown.

Shell the peas in to a colander and cook the pasta in boiling salted water, when pasta is almost done take out a cup of pasta water. Drain pasta over peas, that is all that is needed to cook them.

Turn pan on high and add pasta and peas to fat, stir back in the jowl and grind with black pepper, taste for salt,  add water of liquid is needed, turn off pan and serve.

This is the simplest of summer pasta dishes, loaded with flavor.

Who knew Granny's pig jowls would some day be a highly prized item?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dude Food: Cooking in your underwear, Braised Rabbit

I recently began Dude Food classes.

They are for folks who have little to no skill and not much kitchen experience.

Wives and girlfriends often buy the classes for the men as a 'gift', they then select the menu they would want.

Being a southern boy, one of the menu choices is braised rabbit with mushrooms.

Saturday's class 4 men showed up, sent by wives and dressed for church. Clearly they had not dressed themselves. I suggested they hang the shirts and wear their t shirts and aprons and kick off the binding dress shoes.

Relieved they came to the kitchen ready for fun.

As a man I believe we SHOULD be able to cook in our underwear, especially breakfast. We can put on pants to sit down at the table with you, but keep it casual in the kitchen. It prevents staining of that nice shirt we got for our birthday.



You can buy Rabbit whole or cut up. I get mine whole from a good butcher, it is a lean inexpensive meat and I prefer it to chicken.

Once it is cut into pieces soak for one day in either Kefir or buttermilk.

Put your seasoning mix in a paper bag and shake the rabbit in the seasoning to distribute.

Seasoning
1/2 cup dry mustard
4 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt

Take the rabbit from the wet marinade and shake off, but don't dry it. Toss first in seasoning mix, and then in another bag with flour.

You are now ready to rock and roll.

No cast Iron pan for this once since we are braising. Best is a ceramic skillet.

Put about 1/4 cup sunflower oil in pan and get smoking hot.

Carefully place the rabbit in the skillet (do not crowd) and lower the heat. Keep an eye on it and let it get a nice brown color. Turn over browning on all sides.

1 bottle Hard Cider or beer

Open the bottle and add to the rabbit CAREFULLY so you don't totally get splattered. (see why we cook in underwear and not dress clothes)

Keep pan on low and cover for 30 minutes.

Mushrooms

After 30 minutes add 1 lb of mushrooms (any kind) to your braising liquid. Check your liquid level, your sauce should be thickening but not totally reduced.

At 45 minutes remove the lid, if the sauce is thin turn the heat up for a couple of minutes to boil away excess liquid, it should be like a gravy that made itself.

This meal is so impressive, no one will know you made it in your underwear.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dude Food: Mom Tacos for Father's Day

I got this in my e mail the other day.

"Dude,

My husband recently lost his mother and I want to make him a special meal for Father's day (we have two little ones).

He said he wanted 'American tacos'. I am second generation from Mexico and so I asked him, like taco bell. No...not like taco bell.

He said they kind of have a sauce, but not like a big sauce.

I am lost.

I called his father who called them Mom tacos, the kind that all moms make.

Help me!!!!

Okay...

I totally know what he is talking about. My mom made them too.

Crisp hard shell tacos with ground beef, pork, or turkey.

I add beans to mine to make them healthier, but if he does not want that smash the beans, cover with cheese and bake til bubbly.

1 lb of ground meat
3 fresh, ripe tomatoes
Large onion
Chopped garlic
1 ripe avocado
Cabbage or lettuce for shredding
Can of pinto beans or re-fried beans
Greek Yogurt or sour cream for topping
Yellow cheddar cheese for grating (not in my recipe, but offer it as a toss on.
Cumin
Chili powder
Red pepper
Black pepper
Hot sauce
Salt

Brown your meat and onion together in a hot skillet. I used turkey for mine.

when the meat is done add a chopped tomato and a good tablespoon of garlic

Then the seasoning. Begin with a tablespoon of the Chili powder and a teaspoon of everything else. You can taste and adjust later. Once it is seasoned add in 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes and the water make the 'sauce' but keep cooking you want most of it to evaporate so they are not dry, but not wet.

At this point I add the beans. I like them in the taco mix (yes I know it looks unappealing like this.) Then taste and adjust your seasoning. I would invite him to taste at this point. He may not know the 'recipe' but he will know if it needs more hot pepper.

Prepare little containers of your add ons.

For mine, chopped tomato, avocado, shredded cabbage and greek yogurt. Most men will appreciate the addition of cheddar cheese.

Warm your shells (I suggest Trader Joe's organic as they are made with non GMO corn) and put your filling in a warm bowl letting everyone stuff and dress as they prefer.

This is a Mom taco.

It is great dude food for Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dude Food: A restaurant Find

I am not going to start 'reviewing' restaurants, but I will share one with you.

367-A Broadway, Brooklyn New York, right off the M train.


Literally under the tracks of the Hughes or Hewes street stop. I can't remember how to spell it.

This was a FIND.

I got wheel locks for my bike from Amazon. I ended up with the wrong ones. I was able to track down the store and went to exchange them for the right ones since it was just over in Brooklyn.

I was having a nice chat with the store manager and asked if there was anything in the neighborhood I should check out.

He told me to go to this Mexican grocery store, tiny but interesting with great food.

I go in, beautiful avocados, some dried peppers peppers, I move back and hidden way in the back behind all of the clutter are 4 tables and a counter.

The food was super cheap, the kitchen clean and run by a tiny Mexican woman. What could I do but order.

I had a salted tongue taco and this delicious soapa. Fortunately Monsanto has yet to destroy white grain corn for me so I was able to enjoy this hand rolled thick tortilla with relish.

You add salt, hot sauce, green sauce and I guarantee this creamy bean soapa will make you very happy.

As I was slowly enjoying every single bite I noticed a rapid take out business, mostly Mexicans but a few white dudes, but no women.

This is a dude food retreat. I think women tend to look for things like  permits and health department grades etc.

I am sure they had them (not) but none were on display.

This food was so good I will actually on purpose take the 3 train to the M and head to Brooklyn again. Dudes, it is better than the 96th Street taco truck.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dude Food: Salsa

I just read your comment and hope I am not to late for the party.

Americans often confuse pico de gallo with salsa. Those chopped chunky concoctions, while delicious are not a true salsa.

In Mexico you will get real salsa.

You need tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos (whole seeds and all)

For mild

One Onion
Three tomatoes
One JalapeƱo
Handful of cilantro
Salt

I however like it HOT and do two pepper for every tomato.

If your skillet is small roast in batches if you need salsa for a crowd.

Char the outside of all your vegetables. Brown to black puffy skin is ideal.

Add cilantro and salt and puree in food processor.

Dude, seriously it is that simple.

It costs little and you can make it for the fraction of what store or deli bought would cost.

If you like a brighter flavor squeeze in a lime.

You make this and you can be a hero at any party or gathering.

Chill the beer and cider and invite me over.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Dude Food: How to make a GREAT Burger (Memorial Day BBQ favorites)

No ketchup, ever, seriously.

Ketchup masks flavor and that's why it is on Fast Food Burgers. When you use good meat ketchup is not desired.

Let's talk about the meat.

Whether you grill or sear do not buy grocery store hamburger. As you have read it can be anything these days and worst of all this meat has no flavor. Grass fed is best, home ground is best. A food processor can grind a blend of meats and give you a beautiful patty. Otherwise go to a good butcher and ask him to grind the cut(s) you choose. Never buy what is in the case.

Fat is key. Lean beef is death to burgers. I chose grass fed beef, that I ground with a little pork fat for extra flavor.

Make a loose patty, do not work it too much, place on a plate.

Your burger should be bigger than your bun or roll (I like Kaiser) and you need to indent it with a large spoon on both sides. Salt well and give it a grind of pepper if you like.

I like onion so I saute an onion in a separate skillet to soften.

I used a smoking hot cast iron skillet, I put a touch of sunflower oil on the burger with my finger and tossed it into the pan.

Now leave it alone. Never smash or play, you can watch but don't turn. You want a good strong sear on the burger, give it a few minutes while you make your sauce.

This is the best burger sauce ever, it makes the beef beefier and does not mask the flavor.

Mayo, mustard and soy sauce. See the proportion here, you can make it for any sized crowd just keep the proportions.

Great add ins include chopped chive or green onion and capers. Stir to mix, slice your bun and begin to layer the burger.

After at least 4 minutes you can lift the edge of the burger with a spatula, if it sticks it is not ready to turn, focus on  your condiments.

I build my burger with sauce on both sides, onions on the bottom, then chopped lettuce, tomato and ultimately the beef.

I go for Rare to Medium, I consider well done the death of the burger.

When ready to turn, it needs only a scant time before it is done.

Do the finger test, soft is rare, slightly firm is medium rare to medium, and firm is well done. A hard burger is overcooked.

This is my completed sandwich.

My mouth cannot begin to deal with that, so I cut it in half.

Dude, I am not kidding when I tell you this is one of the best burgers I have ever eaten.

Make this sauce for your next burger event, choosing and grinding meat carefully and get back to me with your reaction.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dude Food: What oil should I use?

Today GMO's are on people's minds as all over the United States there are Marches against Monsanto. I have been on twitter inviting folks to the one at Union Square this afternoon.

One of your readers heard that Canola Oil was GMO and wrote worried because it is in so many recipes and he has been using it for years.

He's right. Canola is bad stuff if you want to avoid GMO's. Many oils are GMO.

So how can you tell?

http://www.buycott.com/

Those seeking to avoid GMO's can download this app on your smart phone.

You have to join the campaigns you like so do that first or the app won't give you any information. Once you have decided what matters to you,take the app to the store and scan the barcode of the products. It's that easy.

Back to oil...there is no such thing as vegetable oil. Squeeze some broccoli and see for yourself. Vegetable oil is typically cottonseed, corn, soy, and canola blended.

Corn and Soy are the other two big culprits in the GMO sequence.

What oil can you use?

Sunflower, Grapeseed, Peanut and carefully chosen Extra Virgin Olive Oil. counterfeit-products-we-commonly-consume yea, much EVOO is fake.

It's  a tough world out there.

Make the choices that are right for you, and if avoiding GMO's is on your list use the linked app.

If you want to come to the NY March against Monsanto it is at Union Square 50 East 17th at 1 p.m. Come say hello, look for the little short guy with the blue back pack.

Tomorrow, we get to a great burger as requested.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dude Food: Eat Your Vegetables

This Dude got busy, sorry for the delay in posts.

Asparagus: It is in season from early spring to early summer.

What did your mother tell you? Eat your vegetables. Mom was right. In addition to fiber our vegetables are loaded with good nutrition and the more we learn the more we find out how important they are. Asparagus specifically is a great source of A ( you thought it was only carrots?) and K.

Yes it makes one fluid smell and there are rumors of other impacts, but so what? Have some strawberries to counter it an get a dose of C in the process.

How beautiful is this?

Simply trim off any woody/thick ends after washing and then put in a bowl.

Add some olive oil and toss. See how easy this is...any dude can do it. Now a touch of salt.


Lay out on a baking sheet and put in a hot oven. Check after 8 minutes, you want it to get a little crackly and begin to brown at the tip. As soon as you see that...take it out.

Roast asparagus. It looks beautiful tossed on a plate, no need for a formal composition.

Serve it as a 1st course instead of salad, burgers and strawberry shortcake would make a great way to close the meal. I always eat my vegetables first when I have a burger, the side vegetable or side salad will end up ignored next to a meaty, juicy burger.

So dudes, eat your vegetables.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dude Food: Filet Mignon is the Lucy Lui of meats

Filet Mignon is the Lucy Lui of meats.

It is pretty and tender but it is tasteless and without careful preparation it sits on the plate looking pretty and bringing nothing to the meal.

If you don't believe me watch an episode of Elementary and then eat one.

My e mail has been filled with questions this week on making 'The perfect Steak'. I guess grilling season trumps Mother's Day and all you men are taking her out to a restaurant tomorrow and not cooking.. Don't forget it whatever you do.

My favorite cuts: skirt steak






 Onglet (aka hangar steak)





and Ribeye.



Fat is flavor, fat is flavor, fat is flavor.

Go to a good butcher and don't settle for grocery store meats. The best will be grass fed/finished as the taste will be much more intense.

Buy your steak 2 or 3 days before you plan to grill.

When you get it home unwrap it. Season all over lightly with kosher salt and put uncovered in the refrigerator turning over once a day.

Osmosis: The salt will move into the meat and some of the moisture will move out (don't worry, not too much) leaving you with a tender, perfectly seasoned steak. It will look a bit dry and dark on the outside.  Do not trim it.

Now get your grill or pan smoking hot, even for rare meat (my preference) you want a serious char.

Place meat on the grill and leave it alone. Don't lift, or touch or move for at least 3 minutes. Now lift gently and see if you have that char, if you do and you want it rare or medium rare, turn it over.

Then cook to desired temp.

An electric thermometer is a fool proof way to determine temp.

Another way is to touch the meat with your finger.

Soft meat is rare.

Slightly firmer is MR.

Soft firm, Medium.

When your meat gets stiff it is well done. (stop laughing)

I find well done to be the enemy of good meat. I am a big steak tartar fan myself.

Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Steak sauce and ketchup are flavor maskers and to me, ruin meat.

However a slice of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil will give you the tang of the sauce without the flavor masking.

The simplest way to complete the meal is to serve the meat on a huge bed of greens surrounded by halved tomatoes. I like to slice it first, but whole is fine.  You don't really need that baked potato.


And if you are thinking of this for Mother's day, unless your wife or mother is a big meat person, sub out salmon and save the steak for next week. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dude Food: Mother's Day

Dude,

I need help. Our daughter is now 7 and wants me to help her make a Mother's day brunch. Neither my wife nor I were born in America. Saffron was born in America and she eats everything, including many things which to me sound disgusting. 

Typically in the morning we eat a little pita with cheese, or olives, sometimes cucumber and always strong coffee. It is very light. 

With co-workers I have had eggs and toast, but for me this is heavy and not so palatable in the morning. 

To make my daughter happy without making my wife gag is the dilemma. 

Yanon



I got you covered. Explain to your daughter that Mother's day is all about her mother and it is important to make what Mom wants to eat, not what Saffron wants to serve. 

I feel your pain, to me pancakes and waffles are gag inducing, as is cereal. I am no fan of those heavy, gloppy, carby, American breakfasts. 

Here is your basic platter for three. 

Make a nice bed of chopped lettuce. Slice a large tomato and a block of feta cheese, alternate them and place olives at the side. 

If you have not introduced your daughter to the healthier breakfasts of other cultures this is a great time to do it. 

Serve this with a basket of whole wheat pita, warmed in olive oil (giving Saffron the opportunity to 'cook') and some boiled eggs. 

This is incredibly similar to the recipe I just posted for Shopska Salad and leftover Shopska is one of my favorite breakfasts. 

If your daughter is one of those who absolutely refuses to consider this, and you are indulgent, chop the cheese and tomatoes, lay in a small casserole and top with 3 eggs for a Frittata  and serve with the pita and olives. 

It doesn't sound as if you can make them both happy...I vote for Mom as it is Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dude Food: How to make a great Salad

Every dude needs to know how to make a great salad and by this I don't mean lettuce in a bowl with dressing from a bottle. I mean an actual salad that starts with whole vegetables. 

The Bulgarians know salad, they eat everything, but mostly vegetables and every meal begins with several salads and vegetables. Michael Pollan would approve.  This is a Bulgarian Shopska, it means chopped salad. 

Tomatoes, the first tomatoes of the summer are the cherry. Cut 25 (or more) in half. The easiest way to do this is to take two plastic lids, hold the tomatoes in place and using a sharp knife cut them all at once. 
1 medium red onion chopped, small but not tiny. 

 Juice of one lemon
2 Persian or one large cucumber cut into chunks. 


 Red, yellow, or Orange pepper, one large. Clean and cut into small cubes and add everything in a small bow. 


To the bowl add 1/2 lb of  feta cheese crumbled and a splash of good olive oil. 

Stir it all together, give a couple of shakes of salt and stir again. 

Let it rest, hang out, for up to an hour outside of the refrigerator and serve. It makes a great base for grilled shrimp or chicken and is light and refreshing. 

To really shake it up...once watermelon begin to appear in your area, chop up some melon to add. 

In the winter when the vegetables have less oomph, toss in some black olives. 

Dude....see how simple this is, you really can cook. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dude Food: No more jarred tomato sauce

Never call it spaghetti sauce, it makes you look ignorant.

Any sauce you put on spaghetti is spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce can be put on penne, lasagne or any pasta really.

Also never say Marinara, it is used to describe either a seafood or fisherman's sauce in Italy. Just go with tomato sauce. It is what it is.

Count me as one of those Americans who love tomato sauce on pasta.

This sauce is truly American as it contains the most important American ingredient ever.


Bacon. 

You get out (and clean) your scissors and cut your bacon slices into thin strips. 

For two nice servings begin with 6 slices of bacon. 

Saute until just barely crisp and remove from the pan. 



SAVE THE FAT. Fat is flavor.

Take 6 cloves of garlic and chop them and add them to the bacon fat. 

When the garlic smell begins to really hit you add in the two large chopped Roma tomatoes. 

Do NOT seed or peel the tomatoes. The seeds and peel contain fiber and if you want a glorious morning you need the fiber, they take nothing away from the taste or texture. 

Let them sizzle a bit and when they start to break down add one cup of white wine. Yes, white. You can use red if it is all you have but white will highlight and add to the fruitiness of the tomatoes. 

No matter what you saw your mother do, no matter what you read elsewhere NEVER add sugar to tomato sauce, simply choose good tomatoes. 

The problem with the jarred and canned sauces is sugar or worse, high fructose corn syrup. This recipe can be prepared so quickly that when the water has boiled and the pasta is done the sauce will be ready. 

Now, keep the wine out you may need a splash as time goes on. 

Bring the tomatoes and wine to a boil then turn to a simmer, when the tomatoes are soft get out your potato masher or a large fork. 

Mash the tomatoes, leave them a little bit chunky but mash some of that goodness into the sauce. 

Keep at a simmer while you cook your pasta, I chose spaghetti, but penne is great for this sauce. Make SURE you salt the water well. 

Now add a touch of salt to your sauce and a good bit of crushed red pepper. That really is all the seasoning you will need, taste it...see?

Cook pasta to a hard al dente, you are going to drain it while it is still a touch tough, and then finish cooking in the sauce. 

You still want al dente but bring the sauce back up and after a minute or two taste a strand to see if the texture is correct.

By finishing the pasta in the sauce you impart more flavor to the pasta. Reserve a little cooking water or add a splash of wine if the sauce gets to tight before the pasta has finished. 

Now toss the bacon back in and stir well.

You are ready to serve. 

Since this is an American sauce use cheese. A classic Amatriciana would not use cheese, but who cares, use the cheese.  We are not being classic. 

Serve this to your significant other, with a big salad first. 

Watch the smile...and since you have both eaten garlic, you might as well kiss each other. 

Seriously Dude,

Is this not more impressive than that nasty Ragu with ground beef? 

Cook to impress.

Any dude can. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dude Food: It's Grilling Season, Sausage Stuffed Chicken

Before you go out there and toss some dull chicken on the grill and slap it with BBQ sauce from a jar, consider this dish because DUDE, my version is not boring.

First you need your chicken spatchcocked. It means removing the backbone, not what you were thinking. A good butcher can do it for you, but if you buy your meat at a chain grocery you have to do it yourself.

Just cut along both sides of the spine with a pair os scissors. Remove the bone and put it in the freezer because eventually you are going to make chicken stock...seriously.

Now flatten that chicken out with your hands. Lightly salt both sides of the chicken with kosher salt and put it in the refrigerator unwrapped, skin side up on a large plate or pan.

Why?

You are doing two things. The power of osmosis is going to salt your chicken all the way through and the power of the refrigerator will dry the skin. Dry skin will give you a crisp crackling result.

Since you have two days go out and buy an electric thermometer for food.  I like this one.

It will allow you to cook your chicken perfectly.

Two days have passed and you need to impress your friends.

Here is your shopping list.

4 ripe tomatoes
1 lb. Lamb or Pork Sausage (FAT is key, no lean chicken sausage)
1/2 lb of Feta Cheese
2 lemons
Flatbread (the thinner the better but Pita will do in a pinch)
Mesclun mix (a bag is fine)
Check your spice cabinet and make sure you have
Cumin
Coriander
Cinnamon
Oregano
Brown Sugar
White pepper
Good Olive Oil

Get some cheese and crackers and wine for your guests will you prepare the meal.

First chop your tomatoes,  toss with some olive oil and Feta and let rest. Easy.

Now mix one tablespoon of each of the spices together with 1 of the brown sugar. Rub into the chicken. You want it coated with massive spice.

Now take your spicy fingers and slide under the skin. It is dry and will be loose but you want it separate from the meat.

If the sausage has a casing, remove the casing. Now stuff the sausage under the skin, get it everywhere, even into that drumstick. Pat the skin down, it will look like a fat, fat chicken. This is a good thing.

Get your grill nice and hot and put the chicken skin side down over the flame just until it begins to get sear marks and crackle, don't burn it.

Turn skin side up and move to indirect heat insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, cover and and walk away. Resist the urge to check it and play with it. It's not your dick it's a chicken and can survive some time without attention.

At 165 your chicken is done. When you opent  the grill it will be crisp, crackling and brown with flavor and juice. Remove to a platter and cover with foil and leave it alone again.

Now prepare pretty plates. Let's assume 4 people.

Mound some greens on each plate and top with the tomato and feta adding a good bit of flat bread to the side. Slice the lemons and put two nice wedges on each plate.

Once the chicken has rested for 5 minutes you can cut it with the scissors (you did wash them after you took the back out right?)

Let your guests dictate white and dark and you get what is left, be a good host

Now squeeze the lemon onto the chicken and tear at it with the bread.

Dude, truly this is one of the finest grilling recipes ever. You will not miss that nasty jarred HFCS filled sauce one bit.