NEW KITCHEN ALERT. I moved away.
This is what happens when John is in Jersey. Things get healthier and the pictures get shittier.
People always talk about how they love certain pasta shapes for certain dishes. Everyone sounds like a jackass when they talk about this. However, they are sort of right. Orechiette is an awesome effing pasta shape and any other for this would suck. I dunno. Maybe it’s psychological. Or maybe it’s just better.
I had some chicken sausage penne thing on a date at Osteria via Stato in Chicago that was awesome, and afterwards realized chicken sausage is a legit food. So I bought some at my new ritzy white-people Whole Foods, where the hipsters actually take showers and people strap their kids into bike seats and park their dogs outside.
This recipe is secretly almost low calorie. Maybe if I didn’t pour half a bottle of wine into everything. You can get drunk off my food. Speaking of, $2 Chuck chardonnay is way less disgusting as a drinking wine than I thought it would be. But it isn’t really $2. Hmmmmm.
I cooked this for just me. Recipe is pre-multiplied to serve 2 people, though. Aren’t I nice?
Orechiette with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
2 chicken sausages, mild or spicy
1 box orechiette pasta
1 1/2 cups Chardonnay
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stalks quartered
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, the usual
Boil water. Don’t salt it. When it boils, dunk the broccoli rabe in. Fun with parboiling. Leave that in for 2 minutes. Fish it out with a slotted spoon and put it in a colander in the sink (provided your sink is less grungy than the sink I just left behind at my previous house… if it isn’t, you should be ashamed of yourself). Keep the water heating and now salt it. It will take a minute to reboil. Add pasta.
Meanwhile slice the chicken sausages down the center and peel off the skin like a dissection experiment. It will probably be gooey. In a deep saute pan, saute the garlic in oil until browned, then add the sausage. Break up the meat with a slotted spoon and cook until done - you’ll know by the color. It doesn’t take very long. Pull off the heat, add the drained broccoli rabe and white wine, and bring to a low simmer (just enough to reduce the liquids - this definitely still has alcohol in it). Add hot flakes and stir.
SAVE SOME PASTA WATER. IT WILL BE RADIOACTIVE GREEN BUT IT CAN’T HURT YOU.
Drain the orechiette and stir into the saute pan. Add grated parm and more hot flakes.
I’m still impressed I didn’t revert immediately to frozen gyoza and pizza bagels after moving out on my own, so I’m gonna probably revel in my own awesome by cooking and writing for a week before deciding I should sleep more.
But then I remember it’s me.
So the last two (three?) weeks, nothing happened.
I ate only cheese pasta and zucchini, didn’t do any dishes or laundry, watched SYTYCD auditions and several Criminal Minds marathons, and listened to the same albums on repeat while I went slightly mad in my hot, peeling attic room writing a novel (!) every night til 4 am. Bad. I think we got drunk a few times and ate some frozen custard too.
This is our last post together for a while. I’m moving to a renovated concrete warehouse loft this week and John’s going back to Jersey for 4 months. BUT THE BLOG WILL GO ON. I know you all care.
What this means: approximately 50% of the photos will be shittier than the rest because I will be taking them now. There will be some new backgrounds and surfaces from both of our other houses. I might show off pictures of my apartment in hopes Apartment Therapy will magically find it (one of many internet pipe dreams). That’s about it.
Also there is literally no reason why this recipe is called Molto Bene steak. It just is. We didn’t pick it.
Molto Bene Steak with Grilled Asparagus (adapted from James Purviance again)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
2 sprigs of rosemary
STEAK. however much you want. We used 2 nice tri-tip steaks.
Asparagus, trimmed, also however much you want
Mix marinade ingredients. Put the steak in a ziploc bag and pour in the marinade, mushing it around. Throw in the refrigerator for 2ish hours to overnight and pull out 30 minutes before cooking time. Heat up the grill (can you do that yet? I think we almost can) and scrape the nasty shit off your grates. Grill over direct high heat with the cover closed as much as possible for 5 minutes a side. Don’t light it on fire or it will turn into a meat briquette. Drizzle the asparagus spears with more balsamic vinegar. Let the steak rest 5-10 minutes after taking it off. Immediately throw the asparagus spears on there until they get grill-marked and crunchy. Winner.
Bye John :(
Bye John’s camera and grilling skills :(
There is a reason every culture has a wrapped dumpling-y food. Every single part of the world effing LOVES DUMPLINGS. Asian people and Eastern Euro people are probably the dumpling winners, which isn’t a surprise. Ravioli is up there. The British have generally freaky food (jellied eels? black pudding? umm) but acceptable dumplings. Even Armenia, which is 50% of John’s ancestry and also a relatively worthless nation for food, has a double-fried meat dumpling that seems pretty cool.
When you are tired from the all-day beer, grilling and Thor marathon you had the previous day, going grocery shopping sucks even more than usual. And when you have to drive to TWO different Whole Foods within a 1 mile radius to find freaking wonton wrappers, you remember why being adventurous for the sake of your food blog is a really stupid idea.
We bastardize a lot of cultures here, like Mexico and Philadelphia, and this is no exception. According to a very impassioned Wikipedia article on this topic, apparently we can’t officially call these potstickers because we used the wrong dough and failed at wrapping them the ‘right’ way.
But they are totally potstickers. They are very easy to make. And if you make a lot of them, you can freeze them in their uncooked form and re-fry them in situations when you are not equipped to cook either because you are tired and drunk, and are too poor and/or ashamed to order another Papa John’s.
Not that this ever happens to us.
Pan Fried Beef Dumplings (adapted from The Meal Planner)
1/2 lb ground beef, from sirloin
1/3 cup green onions, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dry cooking sherry
3/4 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tbsp sesame oil (we know these measurements don’t have their own spoons, but hopefully you know to add fractions)
1 package of wonton wrappers (found in the dairy section of Whole Foods… because that’s a logical place for it)
Salt + pepper
Water and 1 tsp cornstarch, for dough sealing
Mince the green onions to very fine shreds. Add the onions, beef, ginger, water, soy sauce, sherry, canola and sesame oils to a bowl and hand-mix. It will look and sound really unappetizing. Cover with foil and throw in the fridge for 30 minutes.
If you’re anything like us you will take this waiting period to eat some expensive cheese with honey and bizarro crackers.
Mix the cornstarch into a bowl of water. Lay out a sheet of foil for the dumplings. Prep a square of the dough by wetting the edges with a finger dipped in cornstarch-water (to stick the things together). Spoon a ball of the meat mix into the center of the wonton, and fold it rangoon-style to make a little pocket. Once you finish all the wrapping, heat canola oil in a nonstick skillet (one with a lid) over high heat and get two things ready: the lid to this pan, and 1/2 cup of water. Put the dumplings on for 2 minutes until the bottoms start to fry a little, then add the water and immediately slam the cover on. Drop the heat to low and let them steam for 12 minutes. Lift the lid and turn the heat up to medium to re-fry the bottoms and crisp the dough, and remove when the bottoms are golden brown and firm.
Serve with a soy sauce & rice wine vinegar dipping bowl.
Word of advice: don’t promise the extras to your dumpling-loving roommate. There will not be leftovers and anger will happen.
Whole wheat pasta sucks. Every time you put red sauce on whole wheat pasta and rub it in how you are ‘eating healthy,’ you have taken a year off of my life.
But provided you are using an oil-based sauce, there are a handful of times where it is acceptable to use whole wheat pasta, and one of them is after you overdose on Edzo’s burgers/shakes/fries for lunch and are condemned to eat a light dinner to compensate. Feel like death? Make a green vegetable and magically your self-esteem doesn’t suck so much. This is usually the same motivation that causes me to buy overpriced granola and weird whole wheatified organic versions of goldfish crackers.
Technically, you can make legit looking ‘pasta’ out of zucchini, but that would require a mandolin or really great knife skills. We used a peeler and were sloppy, so this is really whole wheat spaghetti with zucchini tagliatelle. Fancy.
P.S. the least shitty of all whole wheat pastas is actually generic 365 brand from Whole Foods. You can obviously tell it isn’t real pasta, but is one of the few that doesn’t taste like gritty nut paste garbage.
Whole Wheat & Shaved Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Basil (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 box (or bag) whole wheat spaghetti/spaghettini/linguine/fettucini/tagliatelle
2 medium size zucchinis (3/4-1 lb total)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Boil water. Salt it. Using a peeler, shave the zucchinis into long flat peels (alternately, you can pretend you are on Iron Chef and hack it away into a fine julienne, but unless you are an expert it will turn out crunchy and it won’t be our fault). Heat the oil in a pan until hot, and lightly brown the garlic. Add the red pepper flakes and immediately stir in the chopped basil, then remove from heat. By this time, you can probably drain the pasta - SAVE SOME WATER. I KNOW YOU WILL FORGET SO I AM PUTTING IT IN CAPS (spaghettiandmeatblog cares). Return pasta to its pot and add the shaved zucchini, the garlic/basil/oil mixture, some more olive oil, and cheese. Toss and add pasta water, salt, and pepper to your seasoning desires, using the pasta water to smooth out the sauce texture.
Top with more cheese, and a basil leaf if you like your pasta with added panache… but let’s be honest, we really only put the leaf on the plate to impress the internet.
We like to stay modern, and right now the trendiest thing on Food Network is to pervert another region’s dishes and call them yours. This is how Jersey diners have become popular in Texas and why grits exist in California. Effed up.
This isn’t really a cheesesteak. It is a steak sandwich with cheese and deep fried onions on a pretzel bun. However, neither of us are from Philly (who we all know the Blackhawks beat at last year’s Stanley cup, which I will rub in wherever possible), we don’t really care that we completely bastardized the cheesesteak by using the wrong cheese and the wrong bun and probably the wrong meat.
But it’s just the right amount of wrong.
Pretzel Cheesesteaks with Crispy Onion Straws
1 lb ribeye steak, sliced super thin
Cheese (white cheddar, provolone if you’re a purist, shredded mozzarella if you have grocery issues)
4 large pretzel buns
Salt & pepper
Crispy Onion Straws (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
1 large sweet onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
1-2 quarts canola oil
45 minutes before you want to start cooking, peel the onion and slice it into papery thin slices. Put all the onions in a baking dish and pour 2 cups of buttermilk over them. Refrigerate the onion dish and put the wrapped steak in the freezer.
After 45 minutes, heat the canola oil in a big dutch oven. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Dredge a small batch of the onions in the flour mixture. You can tell the oil is ready if a test onion fries brown on contact. Supposedly you can measure this to 375° but… we don’t do that and it was fine. If it’s ready, throw the batch of breaded onions in and toss around in oil until crunchy. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the fattitude you have just created. Repeat again and again.
Take the steak out of the freezer and slice in superthin slices (this should be easy since it’s cold). Heat some oil in a pan and brown the meat. Slice the buns open and heat for a few minutes in the toaster oven. Pile the cooked meat into little stacks in the pan and top with cheese and half the bun. Cook a few more seconds, until the cheese melts, and add to the bottom bun. You can do this under the broiler/in a toaster oven if you feel unconventional. Lift the top bun off and add the onion straws.
Serve with (several) Lagunitas IPAs, ideally during a marathon of old Criminal Minds episodes airing simultaneously on both A&E and Ion Television Network. Try to forget that the lead agent in half the episodes is the same guy who played Inigo Montoya, and that by doing this you fall into the target advertising demographic for Depends and funeral insurance.
THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Today’s secret ingredient is… BEER.
People love holiday cooking. We like to make sure the drinking holidays get their fair share of food recognition.
I generally make it a point not to talk about douchebaggy terms like flavor profiles, but these tacos have a really damn good one, mostly because you marinate the hell out of it in beer - dark, swarthy Mexican beer - before you cook it.
John finally learned how to sort of light a charcoal grill. Work in progress.
Beer-Marinated Chicken Tacos (adapted from James Purviance)
1 cup dark Mexican beer (aka, Negra Modelo)
2 tbsp dark toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken pieces (thighs and breast for me the white-meat eater, but the thighs are probably better)
Asadero/Chihuahua cheese (or 4-cheese mexican blend, because that’s how they do it at Surf Taco in Jersey, hollaaaa)
Small corn tortillas
Limes limes limes
Mix your marinade ingredients (beer, sesame, garlic, oregano, salt/pepper/cayenne) in a bowl and put your chicken bits in a plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and squish it around. Refrigerate 4-24 hours. The longer you go, the beerier it will be, and beer is good.
Do you know how to light a grill? Yeah, we sort of don’t either. Make a noble attempt at lighting a chimney full of charcoal, until it ashes over fully. Make sure the grill grate is fully heated, and grill the chicken (to 170°ish internal temp). Slice the chicken into thin strips or cubes or whatever your preferred chicken shape is, make a few long avocado slices, and heat up corn tortillas in a frying pan. Add cheese and top with a festive lime wedge. Then drink the other 5 beers you didn’t use.
Pasta? Again? You bet your ass.
There is literally no excuse to not make this pasta. It requires no talent, six ingredients, and the 12 minutes you were going to waste tweeting stupid pun hashtags about Osama being dead. #youknowitstrue
We could easily re-make this dish in less time than it took me to write about it.
Red Wine Pasta with Bacon and White Beans (adapted from Jules Clancy)
1.5-2 cups red wine (not pinot noir)
5 tbsp tomato paste
1 can cannelini beans
1 box mezzi rigatoni pasta
5-6 strips Applewood smoked bacon
Start boiling the pasta water. Right before you put the pasta on, dump 1.5 cups of wine, the tomato paste, the beans, and the bean liquid into a saute pan over medium heat. Throw in the mezzi rigatoni. Bring the sauce to a boil and then drop to a simmer. Stir frequently, til the wine reduces (you can add more if it becomes thick, and probably should), the beans start to break, and the texture thickens.
While this happens, cook bacon. John’s important educational moment:
Bacon really, really needs to be cooked low and slow. Aka, don’t turn the burner to high and shrivel those suckers to an oblivion the way they do at diners. A breakup almost occurred because Anna used to like bacon charred to the texture of tree bark, so she learned quickly that cooking bacon that way actually sucks. Instead, start the bacon in a cold cast iron pan then place over low heat. It’ll start sizzling after a few minutes, so just keep turning it with a fork periodically until the fat renders and the meat is crispy and brown. You’ll know its done when it looks a little rabid and white bubbles start moving over the tops of the slices. Pat it dry, coarsely chop it up, and try not to eat half of it before the pasta’s done.
Drain the pasta (people never remember to save the water and then swear at the sink as they realize mid-pour that they forgot, but that isn’t necessary here) and toss into the sauce. Stir in the bacon bits, pepper, and a little cheese. Top with more cheese.
Pasta erryday. Pasta forever.
Since it seems all we really make are dishes involving pasta and seasoned meat (I mean, this is spaghettiandmeatblog.tumblr.com, so I’m not sure what else you can really expect), every once in awhile it’s probably necessary to prove we can cook real people food. That’s what this post is for. Look at that accent mark. That’s how you know this shit is fancy.
Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Pizza with Béchamel (adapted from Andrés Barrera)
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic
2 cloves, taken from head of garlic and smashed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup Chardonnay
1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese (low-fat cheese will turn into translucent, hard strings of nasty, so don’t use it)
Stone ground pizza crust (for some rustic flair)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
For Béchamel sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tbsp. flour
Preheat the oven to 450°. Peel the outer layers off the garlic and remove 2 cloves. Slice top off width-wise and wrap tightly in foil. Smother in olive oil and roast for 35ish minutes. Aka the easiest thing to ever cook and if you don’t know how to do it just stop reading right now.
Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the 3 tbsp flour until it forms a thick paste. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth. Bring béchamel to a simmer over moderately high heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook about 10 minutes, whisking often. Season with salt & pepper. This is the pizza sauce.
While you’re making fat paste, saute the smashed garlic and mushrooms in olive oil and the 1 tbsp of butter for 10-20 minutes, until they turn brown and shrink a lot. The thinner you cut them, the more delicious they will be. Toss in 1 tbsp of flour to thicken the liquids. Deglaze the mushroom crusty bits with the white wine, and simmer off the liquid.
Prep the pizza crust by rubbing it lovingly with a very thin layer of olive oil, then spread on a thin coating of the béchamel (we are using the accent on purpose just to be jackasses, since we know you like it). By this point the garlic should be done, so take it out and hack the cloves into garlic mush bits and spread them around the pizza. Top with shredded mozzarella and the sauteed mushrooms. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on your crunch preference.
SEE? That was a recipe for real people, even though you will probably eat it in front of the TV like we did. And even though you might end up getting drunk and replaying the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time on your N64 tonight, this pizza can be your ticket to feeling a whole lot better about your purpose in life as an adult.
Who doesn’t love chicken skin? Cartman loves crispy chicken skin. The writers at our rival blog love crispy chicken skin. Everyone loves crispy chicken skin. Even vegetarians probably love it, even if they can’t admit it. It’s okay.
Tonight we made some chicken parts from Whole Foods into roasty, crispy chicken delight, without the brick recipes usually say you need. You don’t need it. Like most things we make, there is a) not a significant amount of actual recipe and b) a lot of technique and timing involved. Follow the timing. DGAF about the measurements, since we make them up most of the time anyway. Also, rapini = broccolini = broccoli rabe. Basically, asparagus-looking stalks with fluffy broccoli heads. They are delicious, but hard to find outside of pretentious grocery stores.
Roasted Chicken and Rapini (adapted from the Red Cat’s Roasted Chicken technique)
4 tbsp. canola oil (don’t substitute olive oil, you need the high smoke point)
2 1/2 boneless, skin-on chicken parts
Salt & Pepper
See? The ingredients are a joke. The skill is more important.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Season the chicken parts. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until a water drop flicked onto it evaporates, and then add the canola oil. When the oil shimmers, put in the chicken skin-side down and cook 3-5 minutes until crispay. Remove from heat and put the pan in the oven for about 20 minutes. Cook it until the internal temp is 175ish.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 bunches of rapini
1/4-cup water or chicken broth
2 tbsp salted butter
Salt, pepper, & crushed red pepper flakes
Pour oils into saute pan over medium heat and saute garlic until golden. Add rapini, tossing in the oil, add water or broth, and cover. Reduce heat and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 8ish minutes. Remove cover, season with salt/pepper/hot flakes, and stir in butter. Serve on top of the chicken.
PS. Esquire uses this recipe in the ‘Cooking for Men’ section, aka, how to make every woman want you. Cosmopolitan uses a dumb variation of this called ‘engagement chicken’ to get men to propose. Basically, make this chicken if you don’t want to be forever alone.
Hi kids, John this time. Time for some free-form improvisational Mexican cooking. Jewel, where we go when we are out of money, was having a sale on telera rolls aka the bread you make Mexican tortas out of. Having been inspired by the food of this guy at fine locations like Old Orchard and O’Hare airport, I decided to give them a shot at home.
Carne Asada Tortas (like I said, improvised. Our measurements are rarely reliable anyway, you shouldn’t be trusting them)
1 Mexican telera roll
1/2 lb thin sliced steak (mine was bottom round)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced
1 red radish, julienne (cut into thin strips for all you rubes out there)
Mexican cheese blend
For the marinade:
1 T olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 T red vinegar
2 T World Market fajita seasoning blend
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 T Mexican chili powder
1 Serrano pepper, halved and de-seeded
Combine the marinade ingredients and the steak in a plastic bag and marinade overnight or as long as possible.
Keeping the meat in the bag (derp, why would you not do this), pound it thin with a frying pan/brick/truckosaurus hands/heavy object. After you have beaten your meat, heat a skillet over high heat and sear the meat until cooked through, about 1 minute a side. Pile the meat in the center of the pan, cover with cheese and then the top of the telera roll. While the cheese is melting, spread sour cream on the bottom half of the roll, then transfer steaming meat/cheese/bread pile onto it. Garnish with avocado slices and radish and consume while watching the same re-run of Bizarre Foods you’ve watched 86 times this week.