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.


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.


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
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.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I can teach any Man to Cook


No matter who you want to impress, your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or Mother in Law I can help you create a simple meal any dude can prepare.

Feel free to make contact. Ask questions. Tell me your issues. Send disaster recipe photos, or other photos.

I will work with you until you can make a meal that impresses.

Keep your eyes on this space.

Dude, seriously, you can cook. Even if your idea of cuisine is a microwaved burrito, get a skillet and let's begin.