Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shove it in your Face!

This week should be fun in the kitchen. Come to think of it, just about every week here is fun in the kitchen! I work late a couple of days this week and Tiffany is in the middle of a tax crunch, so things aren't too groundbreaking. Last week, when I worked late on monday, I put together a sheepherd's pie in the afternoon that Tiffany could pop in the oven later. This week, I'll be doing the same tag team technique with enchiladas.


Monday: Cheese enchiladas, cider-coriander coleslaw, black beans. Trader Jose dark beer.
Tuesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup with red peppers. Paired with "whatever is in the back of the fridge" ale.
Wednesday: To make up for a rather banal Monday and Tuesday, tonight we'll be doing ceour du porc a l'armagnac, celery root gratin, and sauteed brussels sprouts. Paired with a decent bottle o' Zin from the "cellar".
Thursday: Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese with an Argula Salad with Black Mountain Pinot Noir. We eat this most weeks, I really must write it up soon.
Friday: TBA pizza! This is the first Friday after Lent, so we'll probably do something meaty and pair it with Trader Joe's Zinfandel, 2006.

Cheers,
Eric

PS: I almost forgot, I dropped by the butcher and got an ox tongue on Monday. The lengua tacos I've had in the past have been rather bland, so I'm gonna brine the hell out of it. Looks pretty nasty now, so check back in a week or two to see what's up.

Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan.

Continue reading "Shove it in your Face!."

Name our Gnome!



We got this gnome at Walgreens on Sunday, and I think he looks great presiding over the carrots and onions. But he needs a name. So, comrades, help us name our gnome! The person with the best idea will get the opportunity to, well, name the gnome! If your idea is really good (and you live in or or near the city) we'll also send you some of our crop when it's ready. Just post your ideas in the comments field!

And speaking of garden decorations, I was thinking of putting in a scarecrow. But not a dumb, rednecky, Wizard-of-Ozzy scarecrow. No it needs to be a chic scarecrow, a hip scarecrow, a punk scarecrow! Skinny-ass jeans, big sun glasses, and a loud plaid western shirts that every damn guy I see on the street seems to be wearing. And a trucker hat, or a handlebar straw mustache...

On to more serious topics. Last Friday I planted our new garden, then sat back figuring nothing would happen for a least a few weeks. Boy was I wrong! This morning, I discovered our first sprouts:


French Breakfast radishes. At least, that's what I planted there. If the nasturtiums are back, I'm gonna be righteous pissed. I also discovered that something (probably earwigs) completely destroyed two of my three Italian parsley plants.
and took a few chunks out of the tomato in the same bed
Fortunately, they haven't touched the thyme, rosemary, or cilantro. Maybe bugs don't like the stronger herbs. In the background there, by the way, is one of several shiny abalone shells we found under a pile of nasty-urtiums. They're beautiful in the sunlight and should provide enough flash to deter marauding birds. Surveying the damage caused by these bugs, I decided it was time for war!
I would prefer to garden organically, but bugs piss me off. I've installed an earwig "trap" (just an upturned pot full of wet straw) that should help control the problem more naturally, and I'm reading up on "bug vs. bug" methods of pest control. I'm also hoping that planting most of my leafy greens in raised beds will keep slugs, snails, rodents, etc. from getting too comfy. Check back next week for a progress report.
Continue reading "Name our Gnome!."

And the link is...


Tiffany wrote recently that our new domain name was guerrillagourmet.com. In fact, our new domain name is theguerrillagourmet.com. The other site is not even there. Not even a little bit.

Thanks to Chris Harris for pointing it out. Oops.

Cheers
-Eric Continue reading "And the link is...."

Monday, March 24, 2008

A bit of news...

I haven't been posting much lately, because I've been working on another project: our vegetable garden. I've had a lot of free time this past month, and I've spent most of it turning our back yard from this:

into this:
And then into this:


I think this whole project started when Tiffany suggested we clear out the yard for Fergus and maybe plant a tomato or two. Then I got excited about the idea, and Tiffany's parents offered to help us whack the weeds and clear the brambles. My dad was generous enough to kick in for some lumber and potting soil, too.

I've planted spinach, romaine, mesclun, bok choy and fennel in one raised bed. Two kinds of beets, kohlrabi and radishes are in the other bed. Against the side wall I planted onions, carrots, thyme, parsley, cilantro, rosemary and one tomato plant. Against the wall of the house I put in five more tomato plants, two jalapenos and more cilantro (a sort of "salsa wall"). We also heavily pruned the two small apple trees and the fig tree and cleaned up some rose bushes. We even "rediscovered" two camelias and a plum tree that were hidden by a nasty, feral blackberry bush.

Now that everything is in the ground, I guess it's time to...wait. Things should start maturing in the next 60 to 90 days, so be ready for some new vegetable recipes in May and June (I planted LOTS of bok choy). Apples and figs are due in September and October. The last two years the apples have been mealy and the figs all got eaten by the birds. With a little more care, I think they're both going to come through nicely this time. Applesauce, anyone?

I'm also coming to understand why farmers always look so worried. Already something is nibbling at the parsely on the west fence and two of the tomato plants are looking withery. On top of that, I spotted a huge rat in the back corner of the yard. Fergus was on top of the situation, but the scaly-tailed bastard climbed over the fence to escape. Laugh while you can, Evil Rodent, your days are numbered!
Continue reading "A bit of news...."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Writings on the Wall

Week of March 17th, 2008

Cooking Gourmet with 99¢ Food
An NPR Essay that highlights a chef who cooks only with ingredients bought at 99¢ Only Stores.

Should a Chef’s Body Size be an Issue?
Raises an interesting question regarding the opinions of the Food Network regarding a female chef’s weight.

Imcooked
Youtube for Foodies.

Innovative process turns any vegetable organic in seconds
Organic-magic or world domination plan for evil scientists??? Mwhahaha…humor aside however, this article highlights one of those small scientific “breakthroughs” that could cause havoc in the future.

Caramel walnut upside down banana cake
As if the name alone wasn’t enough to make you salivate, wait till you see the smitten kitchen’s photography…yum!

Photo by Fernando Leal, 1921, courtesy of Humanities Interactive.

Continue reading "Some Writings on the Wall."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Making friends and influencing people

Since we've began this project, I have become suddenly aware of the growing population of food people. Not, mind you, just "foodies" but people with deep and distinct opinions, observations, obsessions and reflections on the preparation of food, the history of food, and possibly most important, the enjoyment of food. Lately, we've been getting to know some really awesome people who we cannot wait to share with you.



First off, you may have noticed last Friday, but we're going to be doing a link round up of at least five interesting items each week. They will mostly be food centered, but occasionally things that I think deserve mention will sneak onto the list.

Next up, we've got our own blogroll up and in action over there on the left sidebar, below the archives & labels. We've got some solid foodie links, as well as a couple of interesting blogs thrown in for spice and flavor. Below that, you'll also notice a new contraption connecting us to the greater Foodie Blogroll. Foodie Blogroll is like the om-mecca-mecca haven of food blogs. It is generally a huge list of linkage, figuratively it is a magic map to the food blog world. The blogger who runs it also has an amazing blog which should not be missed.

Lastly, we've got a profile on FoodBuzz now and invite you all to check that site out. FoodBuzz is a great way to track different food trends and seasonal recipes, as well as finding local foodies, reviews and restaurants. In a town as diverse as San Francisco it really helps to know that there are other people out there trying to eat well!

Wow...okay, that was a lot. I can understand if you're feeling overwhelmed, or possibly just whelmed...you should check out this site to calm you down. Feeling better? Thought so, glad I could help. Now, back to matters at hand, I don't think it has ever been a better time to start eating better, enjoying your cooking and having fun in the kitchen. It is amazing what a strong and varied community there is surrounding the kitchen. So, if it is tonight or next week, let yourself be inspired people, the time is now, so get involved and take back Gourmet! Vive la Revolution!

Enjoy all of our new (and old) friends!

- Tiffany
Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan..

Photo at top right: From the Dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz to the Revolution—The Revolutionaries by David Alafaro Siqueiros Acrylic on plywood, 1957-65


Continue reading "Making friends and influencing people."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Colcannon

I recently made this traditional Irish dish for a brunch with the triad of eaters fully in attendance. We had to feed and please a vegetarian, a vegan and a whole lotta omnivores there that morning. I chose this dish because of its relative steadying power. As a vegan/vegetarian entree, Colcannon feels like a solid meal and as an omnivore’s side dish it provides just the right about of taste, color and starch to an Irish meal. Which, if you're Schaefer generally means a healthy heap of pork and cabbage.

What follows is a vegan recipe, which can easily be adapted to your, or your guests tastes.

First Bowl – Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of Creamer Potatoes
  • 2 cups of Unsweetened Soy Milk
  • 7 Tbsp. Shortening
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Method:
  • Boil the Potatoes, skin on, until tender in the middle (about 10 minutes depending on your potatoes)
  • Cool the Potatoes and bring the Soy Milk and Shortening to a boil.
  • Peel the potatoes.
  • Return the potatoes to the their now empty, hopefully cool, pot.
  • Lightly mash, using a Potato masher, the potatoes.
  • Slowly add, about half a cup at a time, the shortening and soy milk and mash to combine.
  • Continue mashing and adding liquid until the potatoes reach a “pasty” consistency. You don’t want super smooth potatoes, nor do you want potato chunks. The ideal is going to be small, discreet chunks. Also, keep in mind that the kale we are putting in the dish will give off a certain amount of water while cooking so you don’t want these to be too wet.
  • Set aside
Second Bowl – Kale
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 lbs of kale
Method:
  • Clean and rinse the Kale and cut into strips.
  • Boil the Kale for 3 minutes, drain thoroughly.
  • Heat shortening in a frying pan, add garlic and sautee till brown
  • Add the Kale to the garlic and toss carefully for 2-5 minutes (until the Kale starts to wilt up)
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
At this point in the recipe you can put both bowls in the fridge for up to 48 hours before the final dish is assembled - perfect for entertaining!

Method:
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Line an oven proof dish with parchment paper.
  • Begin assembling the Colcannon layers. Begin with a layer of kale alternating to mashed potatoes and end with mashed potato on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes on top begin to brown.

This recipe served eight total – with 2 people eating entrée portions and 6 eating side portions.

Note: This dish is a great replacement for traditional mashed potatoes. It can also be a base for sautéed veggies or stews – for instance, our friend Amy brought fried mushrooms for brunch that topped this dish perfectly.
Continue reading "Colcannon."

Shove it in your Face!

Week of March 17th, 2008
Week of the Living Leftovers!

We’ve got a double leftover kind of menu to look forward to this week. Schaefer carved up a chicken on Saturday and we ate the breasts that night and we’ll eat the dark meat with some red chile on Wednesday. Then, Schaefer made up an entire pork shoulder for our friends on Sunday and despite the fact that they are all raging carnivores – we had leftovers. So, we’ll be doing the traditional pre-Microwave dish - Shepherd’s Pie. This is a dish that I would love to see more of, it is the ultimate love child of comfort food and convenient food. Once I figure out my favorite prep, I’ll post a recipe. However, the greatest thing about this dish is that it is simple – meat or veggie stew in a pie pan, cast iron skillet or casserole dish, covered with mashed potatoes, turnips or whatever and then baked for about half an hour.

Monday: Shepherd’s Pie made nearly entirely with leftovers from Sunday’s Brunch with Murphy’s Stout
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Three Horses Lager
Wednesday: Chile Colorado with Arroz con Poblano and Black Beans with Trader Jose Dark
Thursday: Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese with an Argula Salad with Black Mountain Pinot Noir
Friday: Mussels or Clams with Fennel and Cannellini Beans with Venetian Moon Pinot Grigio

We had a great time on Sunday and we'll be posting up some recipies and details about that party later today. Also, we have plans to unroll some new additions and changes to our blog this week, the first being that we're now at our own domain address - www.guerrillgourmet.com. The old blogspot address will still link up but this one is much easier to remember...which in turn makes it that much easier to tell your friends, family, padres, cohorts and pets all about us.

And that, my friends is that!

- Tiffany
Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan..
Continue reading "Shove it in your Face!."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monsieur Tofu?

Greetings, comrades!

I've just spent too long reading this and this when I should have been making (and writing about) sheperd's pie.
You'll have to check back tomorrow or the next day. Until then, check out Hezbollah Tofu. I won't be contributing anything to their project, but I'll be watching just for kicks.


Cheers,
Eric Continue reading "Monsieur Tofu?."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Close Shave

Thanks to everyone who came over for our Paddy's Day Recovery Lunch. A full and happy house makes a great Sunday. I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures...

By the way, the research I've been doing into offal has led me to some interesting places. This post (it's more than a month old, sorry) on Chris Consentino's blog contained several interesting links that really got me thinking about how much meat I eat and where I get it.

Last Thursday, I bought a 7.5 pound pork shoulder at what may be my new favorite butcher shop. I love buying big cuts of meat like this. Not only are they inexpensive (the shoulder was only $12!) but it was enough meat to feed seven people as a roast with leftovers for a pork 'n' cabbage pie tomorrow and a few lunches this week. In addition to meat, this cut also provided a large bone (for the stock pot), a small bone (for Fergus), and a large flap of skin.

As a suburban-bred Californian, I had no real idea what to do with pork skin. In fact, the whole idea made me a bit crawly inside. But I bravely pushed that aside, and grabbed my copy of Beyond Nose to Tail Eating and opened to a recipe for pork scratchings. (That's British for "pork rinds".)

First I got out my trusty kosher salt and trimmed the skin to a workable size.


Here I encountered a bit of a problem. You see, pigs are hairy animals and the hair isn't all removed in the slaughtering process. So that means that you have to shave the skin.

This is one of those things that connects you to your food on a visceral level. It's really creepy, and one of those things that remind you that meat does, in fact, come from an animal. Ultimately, shaving the skin is no different from carving the roast. Just pack the skin in salt.


Then cover in plastic wrap.

Now it's curing in the fridge. Check back in a few days for the rest!
Continue reading "A Close Shave."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Some Writings on the Wall

Week of March 10, 2008

Food Blog Search
An awesomely useful site created by a few food bloggers that utilizes google search.

“Oh, God! That bread should be so dear, and flesh and blood so cheap!” – Thomas Hood

How to make Coca-Cola at Home
You love it, but it is expensive ($1 a bottle?!) Plus you feel guilty about the environment (all that plastic!) Well…fear not, the food-handler’s got you covered in a guerrilla friendly DIY way!

Bone Marrow at Blue Ribbon

“What fascinates me about the marrow is that all that flavor and goodness lives there in the middle of a bone, a bone that might otherwise easily go neglected. What does it say about the design of the universe that something so delectable is found inside the bones of a cow?” - TAG

Dreamlines
While not food related, this is the absolutely coolest thing I have seen online, ever. This justifies the existence of things like myspace and spam.

Photo by Tina Modotti Continue reading "Some Writings on the Wall."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Heart of the Matter, Part II



Coeur du Porc a l'Armagnac

What's Guerrilla: Offal has always been a staple of broke-ass bistro cooking. A pig's heart provides enough meat for two at less than $2 per pound. Onion and herb stuffing keeps the potentially chewy meat from drying out.
What's gourmet: Pig's heart has a meaty texture surprisingly like beef. Sliced thin, served on potatoes or mixed mash, and drizzled with roasted garlic pan sauce, this otherwise cheap cut of meat looks al kinds of fancy. Also, high-end restaurants are doing stuff like this all over the place!

As I said in my post a few days ago, I've been fascinated by the idea of cooking offal ever since I first bought the Les Halles cookbook. This week I finally steeled myself to the idea and settled on the pork heart because it was easy to obtain, easyish to prepare, and serves two people just about perfectly. I was very happy with the results and heartily suggest this recipe for a romantic/ironic dinner at home. Perhaps next valentine's day, I'll do it instead of this.

Ingredients:

I pork heart. Get one here.
One medium onion.
A few sprigs of thyme and parsley, plucked.
A spoonful of fat (preferably lard.)
Several cloves of roasted garlic.
Two shots of brandy. Tony's recipe calls for Armagnac, I grabbed something rather cheaper.
Half a cup of proper chicken stock. I happened to have made some that day.
A knob of butter.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rough chop the onion and pluck the herbs. Get your fat heating in an oven proof fry pan, and saute the onion/herb mixture until fragrant and giving. Set aside to cool but DO NOT wash the pan.*

Turn your attention to the heart. Trim of the bits of fat and cartiladge at the top and rinse the inside thoroughly. Stuff the (hopefully cool) onions and herbs into the ventricles and valves (this part made me more than a bit squeamish) and season all over with salt and pepper.

Get the onion pan back on the stove and sizzling. You might add a bit of oil if it looks dry. Sear the heart on all sides. (You'll need tongs to hold the slippery bastard in place.) when It's brown all 'round, pop in the oven to roast until medium rare. I did mine for ten minutes and it was a bit too rare in the middle. I'll give it fifteen next time.

When it's done, pull the heart out and shroud in foil for a quick rest and turn your attentions to your brown pan. Toss in your brandy (one shot for the pan and one for you) and scrape the brown bits from the bottom while it hisses and sizzles. Reduce it until the pan is nearly dry, then introduce your garlic, any leftover onions, and the chicken stock. Let the stock reduce by at least half, pull the pan off heat and whisk in a knob of butter. Slice the heart as thin as you can, and arrange atop mash. Spoon your sauce artfully over, and serve. We also served braised cabbage with bacon and herbs.

*It seems like the entirety of French cuisine revolves around the little brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Wash that fond out or singe it, and generations of French cooks will roll over in their graves.
Continue reading "The Heart of the Matter, Part II."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's a blog without pictures?

Whew! I've had a busy day. I baked a nice loaf of bread, bought a pig's heart, cleared a sizeable chunk of what will be our garden, and simmered up a few quarts of chicken stock. These are all things I would love to post about, but I can't seem to find the camera....

Oh well! Here's a picture from the "archives".
Continue reading "What's a blog without pictures?."

And I thought I was pretty cool...

Thanks to Chowhound for pointing me in the direction of this Chronicle story by this author, whose blog I will be reading from now on. I'll also be combing through this.

Cheers,
Eric Continue reading "And I thought I was pretty cool...."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shove it in your Face!

Week of March 10th, 2008

Ah, Daylight Savings Time – that cruel and unfeeling herald of spring. On the one hand, I’m excited because this means that the sun will be up later at night, which of course means – grilling! On the other hand…I am sooo tired, this time change is going to take awhile to sink in. Anyway, on to the week’s menu – a cornucopia of chaos and cultural creativity!

Monday: Shrimp Kebabs with Coconut Rice and Fried Plantains –
Served with Mission Pale Ale
Tuesday: African Pork and Sweet Potato Stew with Couscous – Served with Three Horses Lager
Wednesday: Schaefer’s going to do things with parts of the pig you don’t normally think of, well eating. I hear it will be French, fantastic and tasty…more to come when he finishes deciding which part he’s going to cook and how hes going to cook it.
Thursday: Grilled Mackerel with rice and a Spring Mix Salad – Served with a Pinot Grigio
Friday: Making the pizza – probably deep dish and unquestionably vegetarian (It’s Lent for another week.)

As you might be able to guess, I’m the planner in the kitchen and Schaefer's more the "fly by the seat of your pants maverick" type. When I’m working a lot, like I am right now, and Schaefer’s doing the bulk of the cooking – well, then its usually planned that morning or that afternoon. When I’m doing meals though, I like to be prepared. I have found that planning a week’s menu before you go grocery shopping does wonders for your budget and stress level. I used to wander around the store and stare aimlessly into the fridge and pantry…now I kick back and thumb through cookbooks and then go to the store to buy only what I need – cheaper and much more enjoyable! Plus you don’t risk overbuying things you don’t need or forgetting what you have in stock. Menu planning challenges you to think creatively and seasonally and constantly push yourself to hit all those nutritional highs and lows. This style of planning is part of what I will be talking about in the upcoming posts regarding the Guerrilla Dinner Party (GDP) principals. At first it may seem a bit overly OCD, but I’ve really found that having a solid menu, and sticking to it, saves money, time and stress, so more to come on that later.

And that, my friends is that!

- Tiffany
Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan.. Continue reading "Shove it in your Face!."

The Heart of the Matter

So lately I've been thinking about offal. It seems like there's a bit of a revolution in the food world regarding the "fifth-quarter". For a while now, chefs like Fergus Henderson, Anthony Bourdain, and Chris Consentino have been putting tripe, boudin noir, and porchetta di testa on the plates of foodies with money to burn. But as they will be happy to tell you, such things have always been the staples of classic, poor-ass bistro cooking. Like Consentino says here, "My mother's generation threw it in the garbage, and now I think our generation is trying to pull it out. At least I am."


I figure that's right up the alley of the guerrilla gourmet, so I'm ready to give it a shot. I've done a bit of reading and settled on "coeur de porc a l'armagnac" from the Les Halles cookbook. I think I've sold Tiffany on the whole idea. (Don't worry, honey, I'll have something on the back burner just in case.) I've scouted around the city for a good source. Not surprisingly, I suppose, English is not the first language at any of these places. Does anyone know how to say "Uh, hey dude, which squiggly bit is this? Is it, like, fresh?" in Spanish or Chinese?

So check back tomorrow for more of the story.

Cheers! Continue reading "The Heart of the Matter."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Just one more thing...

Tiffany forgot just one thing in her recent GDP post.

6. Make it rock!

Cheers,
Eric Continue reading "Just one more thing...."

Brief of Note...

I wanted to take a quick moment and thank all of the wonderful people who have supported us in getting this project off the ground. Schaefer and I have been talking about doing this blog for years and if it wasn't for you guys we never would have gone for it. Without your encouragement, we couldn't do this.

So keep feeding us and we'll keep feeding you!
Thank you!! Continue reading "Brief of Note...."

It is time to stop worrying and party!

My personal favorite part of cooking guerrilla is being able to feed people, lots of people, especially when I can feed them good food and good booze and we can all have a kick-ass time. Schaefer and I have lovely friends who we absolutely love feeding, but there is no way that we could do it without the Guerrilla Dinner Party principals. Cooking guerrilla allows you to celebrate your friends and your food…and more important, it means you can do it without spending a ton of money.

The best example of this is the differences between our annual Thanksgiving Dinners.

2005 Dinner (Pre-Guerrilla)
Cost: $120
Served: 4
Menu:
Steamed Crab
Lime Vinegrette Cole Slaw

Dirty Rice (which Laura brought, so it doesn’t figure into the price tag)

Pecan Pie



2006 Thanksgiving Dinner (Post Guerrilla)

Cost: $100
Served: 8
Menu:
Steamed Crab
Spring Mix Salad with pickled Beets and Eggs

Fresh Baked Bread

Forbidden “Black” Rice
Jess brought a lovely dessert (so it doesn’t figure into the price tag)

What were the major differences between these two meals? Everyone ate and everyone had a good time, but you’re talking about a difference of $30 a person and $12.50 a person – and that is a huge difference! At first glance, it seems that they should be near equal as both featured the same main entrée dish (Steamed Crab), and that if anything the second party should have cost more than the first simply based on the number of people and the number of different dishes we served. The difference is simple and demonstrates the principals of a Guerrilla Dinner Party (GDP):

1. Make It Yourself
2. Make It Simple
3. Make It Fresh
4. Make It Traditional
5. Make It Fun

Over my next few blog posts, I’ll be focused on these five principals of the Guerrilla Dinner Party. I’ll talk about everything from menu planning to execution and plating, basically outlining for you the whole concept of the GDP.

Additionally, we’ll be hosting a dinner (well brunch technically) party on Sunday March 15th so I’ll be using that as another example, hopefully, of a party well done!

- Tiffany

Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan...

Continue reading "It is time to stop worrying and party!."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Clams with Chorizo and White Beans

Guerrilla: Fresh, live clams can be gotten pretty cheap at any Chinese fishmonger (I like this one) and are a snap to cook. Chorizo is great with shellfish, and you only need a little bit for a spicy punch.
Gourmet: Clams are delicious and lots of people think they're fancy and expensive. This Spanish/Portuguese way of cooking them is earthy and exotic.

Ingredients to serve two people:
15-20 Manila clams, should come in around. Here are a couple of rules that will make your shellfish experience a lot more enjoyable.
About 3 inches of chorizo (hold off on the gutter humor, please, Tore). Dry or fresh, your choice.
Half an onion, chopped.
One can of white beans. It would be much more guerrilla to buy dry beans and soak them, but I was lazy this time.
Half a bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped rough.
Several cloves of garlic, sliced.
A cup of dry white wine. Beer would probably be fine here too.
Olive oil, salt, pepper. If your chorizo lacks cojones, be ready with a hefty pinch or red pepper flakes and cumin.
Bread, pasta, or rice. Whatever you like to soak up the juices.

Method:
Get some olive oil smoking in a wide saute pan or the bottom of a pot (anything with a heavy bottom and tight lid) and toss the onions around until they soften. (If you have fresh, raw chorizo, add it too.) When the onions are soft, add the garlic. (If you have dry, cured chorizo, this is the time.) When things are nice and fragrant, add your liquid and give a few seconds to come to a simmer. Add the clams and most of the cilantro, shake the pan a bit to let things get acquainted, then slap the lid down. Let things simmer on heat until the clams are open (three or four minutes). I like to put a few pieces of bread (or a pile of rice or pasta) in the bottom of a bowl, spoon the clams stuff over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cilantro. A wedge or two of lemon would be brilliant here too...
Continue reading "Clams with Chorizo and White Beans."

On Bread



Comrades, the honest loaf is under attack, and I call upon you to save it! It is assailed on one side by flimsy supermarket pap, and on the other by over-priced boutique brick. Worst of all, after many thousands of years as a proud anchor of the western diet, bread is threatened by hucksters that want to do away with it entirely! I'll just say that good bread is important. This person and this person have more good things to say on the subject.

Lots of people ask me, "Eric, what the is first step in the guerrilla gourmet revolution?" Actually, no one has yet asked me any questions in my capacity as comandante, but if someone were to ask me such a question, I would reply "Comrade, bake bread!" The essence of guerrilla cooking is in spending time and skill rather than money. Good bread from a store costs a great deal of money. Good bread from home requires nothing but time and skill..

Yet, oddly, many home chefs, even ones who would think nothing of spending three days on a cassoulet, think that baking takes too much time. Those who fearlessly whip together bearnaise sauce think that working dough requires some magical voodoo. It's true that good bread resists recipes. It's true that yeast, flour and water don't always get along quite the way you want them to. But patience and dedication (the qualities of the guerrillero) will pull you through in time.

So go out and bake your own bread. I'm not going to give you a recipe here; a nuanced description would fill too many column inches. But I will recommend venerable James Beard's Beard on Bread as my guide. Continue reading "On Bread."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shove it in your face!

This week’s menu is inspired by a rather insipid schedule for both of us…oh wells!

Monday: Bratwursts with Potatoes roasted with fennel and Sautéed Cabbage and Radishes – 3 Horses Dutch Beer
Tuesday: Grilled Pepper Jack Cheese Sandwiches on Quinoa Bread with Roasted Red Peppers and Tomato Soup. – Full Sail LTD Lager
Wednesday: Clams cooked in a white wine, capers and preserved lemon sauce served with a pasta of some sort– White Wine
Thursday: Turkey meatloaf with Red Peppers served with an arugula salad and rice pilaf. – Mission Pale Ale
Friday: Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce served on Israeli couscous. – Mission Pale Ale

Right now, we’re really getting focused and gearing up for spring and summer. We’ve started planning our soon to exist vegetable garden and are making necessary arrangements for a truly awesome post-St. Patrick’s Day Brunch. We’ll be posting the full brunch menu up here once we settle on the number of guests we’re expecting.

Lastly, I'm happy to welcome my good friend, Squidling to your humble screen. This little guy has been chosen to mascot for our flikr page. Rumor has it that Schaefer has been abusing puppy pictures, just to get more readers! Just kidding...
Anyway, photos of our cooking (and soon Fergus the wonder pup) can be found here.

And that, my friends, is that.

- Tiffany

Recuerde, para el hombre no hay mal pan...

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