Cooking Stuff

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Sunday Critters #13

The good news, here is a picture of the real Bob!

023The bad news, I’m completely burned out on blogging. Gonna take a break, no idea how long it’s going to be. Hopefully I’ll be back and better than ever before too long though, so don’t take me out of your feed! Heh.


Filed under: Admin Stuff, cats

Coriander Steak


  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbl coriander
  • 1-2 tbl sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lb flank steak

Mix together everything but the steak in an air tight container. Add the steak, put the lid on and shake it to coat. Let marinade for at least an hour, overnight is best. Grill or broil until it’s done how you like it, serve sliced thin.


This is a quickie, mostly because other than “it’s easy” and “it’s wicked awesome” there isn’t so much to say about this. It’s just so easy and awesome. Coriander is my new favorite thing and this marinade really highlights it’s flavor which I’ve found often gets kind of hidden in other spices.022You could broil this and have it be wicked good, but the grill is really where it’s at.035Plus now that I have a grill I pretty much want to use it all the time. Heh. I ate this (I was going to say “I served this” but I didn’t, I’m the only one who ate it this time) with some flatbread and a yogurt sauce.047Heaven. You could have it with tzatziki, of course, but this was just a quick one I made with garlic and red wine vinegar. It was just lovely. The flatbread was different that usual too, I used some sour cream in it and it came out tasty too. I’ll have to post a recipe for that another time, but right now the couch beckons and who am I to say no? Heh.


Filed under: beef, middle eastern, on the grill

Sunday Critters #11

Well, it’s already broken. Might as well let her play with it.


She’s ready for her closeup Mr whateverhisnameis. 008

Filed under: children

Simple, Easy and Freezer Ready Pizza Sauce

From the Vault: Since I’m doing this today I thought I’d post about it.


1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tbl balsamic
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of oregano
salt and pepper

Saute the onions over medium heat until transparent, add the garlic and dried herbs and saute until fragrant, ~30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and let simmer over low heat for a half hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Freeze in ice cube trays and store in a zipper bag in the freezer.


Normally when I make a pizza with tomato sauce (which is pretty rare these days, heh), I make a whole batch of sauce and then have a bunch of leftovers. But I had the idea to make some and freeze it in an ice cube tray for easy portioning, so I decided to act on it. See, this way if I want to make a pizza all I have to do is pull out a cube or two, defrost it and there it is. No need for making a whole pot of sauce just for one pizza and then having to figure out what to do with the rest. Plus this gives me the ability to add a little tomato flavor to all kinds of things, like stews or rice, all I have to do is toss in a cube.

Some of you might look at that sauce and think it’s pretty spartan. And it is really, although it’s lovely without any changes. But I wanted it to be more a base than anything else. Want more flavor for whatever you’re doing? Add a pinch or two of fresh herbs to the cubes while they defrost and you can customize it to whatever you’re making.

Add some more basil and oregano for an Italian taste, some cumin and coriander for a Middle Eastern kind of thing, chili powder and cumin would Mexicanize it, you get the picture. The idea is freezing the sauce like this gives you a lot a of options to experiment without forcing you to use an entire can of tomatoes. I’ve shared the method, now go forth and saucify!

Filed under: Freezer Food, sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage

From the Vault: My parents are visiting so while I’ve been doing a lot of cooking I haven’t been taking pictures nor do I have tons of writing time. So here, enjoy this pasta dish, it’s wicked good. Would be even better if you made the sauce in a big skillet and mixed the pasta in to cook a bit with it instead of ladling it over at the table. But really, both are fantastic.


1 large red pepper, roasted
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 Italian sausages (1/2 lb)

Brown and crumble the sausage, remove it to a paper towel lined plate, cover it and put it in the fridge. Remove all but a tbl of the fat from the pan and brown the onions. Add the garlic and saute till aromatic, about 30-40 seconds. Add the bay leaf, basil and oregano and saute for 20 seconds or so. Add the vinegar to deglaze, then add the tomatoes. Dice the pepper and add it in as well. Let simmer for at least an hour or up to 3. If you want it chunky you can hit it with a potato masher a couple times, if you want it smooth hit it with a immersion blender. Add the sausage back in and let it simmer for another half hour or so. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve over pasta.


Love this sauce, the roasted red peppers add a great sweetness to it and something about Italian sausage and tomato sauce is just awesome. You can use spicy or sweet sausage in this, whatever you enjoy most. I use sweet because my girlfriend doesn’t feel it for spicy and she does the grocery shopping. If you want it chunky you don’t have to hit it with the blender, we just like tomato sauce smooth. Plus if you leave it chunky you don’t have to leave the sausage out till the end, unless you don’t want pieces of sausage. Anyway, here is what I did.

First I roasted a pepper. I love roasted peppers, they are just awesome. This one was pretty big. How big? Bigger than a can of tomatoes. I like a lot of pepper flavor in the sauce. If I had only had small ones I would have used two. After roasting, I sliced off the top and bottom, took out the seeds and spread it out for slicing. Of course that’s the only thing I got a decent shot of. Then I cut it into chunks and set it aside. Next I browned up the sausage. I had taken these out of the casing to make crumbling easier. Once they were all nicely browned I pulled them out. I put them on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess fat (there was more than enough left in the pan, too much would over power the other flavors) then tossed it into the fridge since I didn’t want to let it sit out for the whole cooking time.Mmmmm, that’s one fondy pot. It’s going to make the sauce nice and rich. Browned up the onions, then the garlic. I didn’t worry about mincing the garlic too fine since I was going to blend it, but if you are leaving it chunky you might want to make the pieces smaller. Or leave them big, if you like big chunks of garlic. Once the garlic was done I added in the spices and sauteed them for a minute. This helps bring out the oils from them, which brings out the flavor. Then I deglazed with the vinegar, although I didn’t get a good picture of it. Red wine would be good too, but I didn’t have any. Once I had scraped up the fond I added in the tomatoes. Then the pepper chunks. Then I let it simmer for about an hour, making sure to stir it every once and a while so it didn’t burn. I would have done it longer, but I had to be at work in a couple hours. Don’t forget to take out the bay leaf! I didn’t want it in there when I blended it with the wand mixer. Blending it makes it nice and smooth, helps it cling to pasta. Then the sausage went back in and I let it simmer for another half hour or so to let the flavors mingle. I added a little black pepper, but it didn’t need salt since the canned tomatoes I used had plenty in them. And that’s it. Some pasta, a little cheese and a goodly amount of sauce and you have a meal.Good stuff folks. A little cream in the sauce would have been good too or some Parmesan. Add a little extra richness. Not that it really needs it. Heh.

Filed under: pasta, sausage

Sunday Critters #10

160 163 004 This post was brought to you by the letter Z.


Filed under: cats, children

Tuna Melt Deep Dish Pan Pizza

You read that right, although if you saw my old posts on tuna melt pizza or the tuna melt calzone you won’t be surprised. Tuna salad does marvelous things on pizza, like browning beautifully. See that lovely Maillard action going on there?023That’s the tuna salad. Well and the crust, the crust came out awesome too. Even the bottom got nicely browned.002I baked it in a dark metal 8″ cake pan that I slathered with olive oil in a 450 degree oven for I have no idea how long. Until everything was browned and delicious.   010 The dough was actually a shot from the hip, I just took maybe 1/2 cup each water and milk, a little honey, yeast and salt and a bunch of flour. Mixed it until I got tired of it and let it rise while I decided what I wanted to do with it. After a couple hours I wanted pizza, had some tuna salad in the fridge and called it serendipity.014 - CopySince I’m such a nice guy I brought the last slice over to my sister who was appropriately thrilled. One of my nieces insisted that she *had* to try it and she loved it too. She’s lucky her mother is nice as well. Heh.

Filed under: fish, pizza

Crunchy, Low Fat Falafel


1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas (7 oz)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro —(cut in half)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin (more?)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne

Soak the chickpeas in cold water (covered by a couple inches) at room temp for at least 12 hours and up to 24. Drain and rinse. Put everything in a food processor and whiz for about 2 minutes. Spread the mixture into a thin layer on a baking sheet and let dry for one hour. Scoop 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the stuff, form/press it into patties and either:

a) Plop it into a preheated (medium heat)  nonstick skillet with a little olive oil until brown on one side, about 2 minutes, then flip it and brown on the other. Eat.

b) Plop it onto lightly oiled aluminum foil on a baking sheet, form it into patties and freeze. Then when you want them toss them, still frozen, into a preheated skillet and cook for ~3 minutes a side or until browned how you like. Eat.


Things I learned about falafel:

  1. 1 bag of dry chick peas makes a small mountain of falafel.
  2. You can brush the raw patties with a little olive oil and freeze them. Then just toss them, frozen, onto a heated pan whenever you want some.
  3. Falafel is wicked frigging awesome.

Things I still don’t know about falafel:

  1. What you call the fricking raw, paste stuff. Dough? Batter? I have no idea.

Seriously though, what do you call it? Meh, doesn’t matter, I’m finally posting this recipe! Are you excited yet? You will be. Well, if you like falafel that is. Shall we make some? Yes we shall.

First things first, chickpeas.050These were soaked for about 12 hours, I think, then drained and brought to my sisters house. Because that’s where we were making it, you see. Then she got me some parsley from her garden, cilantro, garlic and onion.048Plopped in the food processor and whizzed about.054Spices added.057Chickpeas on top.059More whizzing, until pasty.063Then we turned it out onto a cookie sheet, I recommend removing the blade at this point. 066Spread it around to dry and wait. I hate waiting. /end Inigo069At this point my sister and I put 1/4 cups of it into a well oiled, preheated on high waffle iron. Because we wanted to see if it would work.101It did. Now everyone say “waffle falafel”. It’s even more fun to say than to eat. Well, almost. Heh. However, this post will mostly be about freezing them. Sadly I didn’t get any prep shots of that for some reason, but what I do is take my 1 1/2 tbl cookie scoop and take out rounded dollops, dollop them onto a greased piece of foil lined baking sheet and flatten them a bit. Then toss them in the freezer for a couple hours, pull them out, dump ’em in a freezer bag and toss them back in. That’s it. Then whenever I want falafel I pull a couple out and put them in a preheated skillet.038 A few minutes and a flip later, lunch. 055Or snack. Or appetizer. Or whatever, it’s falafel. Eat it, preferably with some kind of delicious yogurt sauce or tahini.

Filed under: middle eastern, side dish, vegetarian

Sunday Critters #9

I think she heard a Who.


In the recycling.

Filed under: children

How to Show You Care

My Facebook friends have already seen this, but this is a care package my mom just sent me. 005Ok, seriously, how awesome is my mom? When she comes to visit next I’m going to cook her so much good stuff… wait. She’s coming in just a couple weeks, I’m beginning to doubt the altruism here. Heh. Well sinister motives or no I have a box full of wicked good spices many of which I can’t seem to get in Iowa. Let’s discuss a few, why not.

Northwoods seasoning mix and it’s “fire” variant. I’ve had them before and love them. Sprinkle it on oiled potato wedges before baking, rub into a steak, mix into meatloaf, I’ve done all of those and they’ve been awesome.

Adobo. *Joy*. This is the Spanish style, not Filipino and it’s just wonderful (note, those chipotle peppers you get in the little cans are an adobo thing). I use it in tacos, fajitas, stew, chili, grilled cheese, all kinds of stuff.

Tien Tsin peppers!!! I can make General Gau’s chicken! And kung pao! If I could dance this would be a time to do it. If you are interested in the tech specs they are ~50,000-75,000 on the Scoville scale. Not a delicate pepper.

And that’s it for the ones I’ve used other than marjoram and oregano which I’m guessing she put in as filler. Not that I’m complaining, I went to make gyros the other day and realized I didn’t have marjoram. It wasn’t cool. I’ve also used tomato paste, but not chili pepper paste. I think chili is happening soon, especially since she included a can of jalapenos. Hmm, her last care package had a jar of chipotle peppers and paprika. It’s like she *wants* me to make chili…

As for the rest we’ve got sumac, fenugreek, zatar mix, something called “sandwich sprinkle” which I’m intrigued with, lemongrass, herbes de Provence, Greek seasoning, garam masala, two heat levels of curry powder, chili 3000 (sounds like a terrible monster movie, which makes me love it already), raspberry enlightenment (that *has* to be good), Arizona dreaming, Galena St and Skittles. Whew. So much awesome. The package had a couple other things too, some rice, bandaids, neosporin, sesame sticks, a head massager that I thought was a whisk… I think that’s it. And really, one can’t ask for more. My sister and me already have a list of things to make when my parents come visit in a couple weeks, I think it’s about to get longer.

***disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Penzeys and did not receive anything from them to make this post. However, Penzeys, if you would like to give me things to make more posts my contact information is in the sidebar. Thanks.

Filed under: spice mix, spices, Stuff I Love

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