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.
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.
The simplest, most delicious meal when you are about to leave town, own no food, and don’t want to blow $50 bucks at Whole Foods for 5 items. It is our permanent fallback for blizzards, during allergy season, after drinking, and before drinking. Sometimes during drinking. There are very few life problems that aglio y olio does not improve.
Box of long pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
Hot pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
Cook your pasta to the appropriate al dente. While it cooks, crush the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and brown in oil with the hot flakes. Remove from heat.
Save a little pasta water before draining. Remove the garlic mush from the pan and put the pan back on the heat with the pasta, adding the reserved water (to help it bind). Grind some black pepper and grate Parm on top after plating.