Cooking Stuff

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Simple, Easy and Freezer Ready Pizza Sauce

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

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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.

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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

And Now I’m in Iowa. With Children? …Really?

This is strange to me, especially since it was so sudden, but especially because it’s Iowa. It’s not too bad though, everything is wicked cheap and hopefully there are some bored, lonely, corn-fed farm girls who would be delighted to be regaled with stories of the big city. But until I find out where they’re all hiding I guess I’ll just be cooking for me.

Oh and my sister, her husband and five kids who live around the corner. Which is the real reason I’m here. Heh. In fact, you’ve already met one of my nieces when she came to visit me a year or so ago. She’s a bit bigger and more entertaining now even if she still isn’t too sure of me.

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But this will pass, I’ve been bribing her with food. Oh right, food, that’s why you’re all here! Well, not much going on since I haven’t even gone real grocery shopping yet (something about living near my sister and her fridge full of kid friendly food I’m guessing). But here, this is the last thing I cooked in Lynn in that horrible, tiny kitchen.

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It’s braised shredded pork, naan and a red wine vinegar yogurt sauce. Good times. And my sister cooks too! here is some amazing bread that she makes, I’ll post the recipe soon.

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The first thing I cooked for them while I was saying at her house (it only took me a week to find an apartment and the contract was hand written of all the crazy things) I made chicken and pasta with a garlic white sauce and broccoli.

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They had to all be separate since some kids will eat some thing and not others, etc. It was good, but I’m not used to cooking for groups so it wasn’t as good as I wanted. And in case you were worried about the Real Bob put your fears to rest, he is fine.  In fact he loves the leather couch that came with the apartment, but then so do I. 495Which is good since at the moment it’s also my bed. Heh. I’ll do a whole post about my new kitchen later, just wanted to check in and such.

Filed under: Admin Stuff, bread, cats, chicken, children, pasta, pizza, sauce

Smokey Barbecue Pulled Pork in the Oven with a Quick Barbecue Sauce

From the Vault: So busy this week, no time to write. I do however have some good stuff to post about so once I’m done with my doctors appointments and various other non-internet activities I’ll be sharing, I promise. In the meantime, more oven barbecue. I’ve made this particular recipe about a million times, it’s some kind of amazing. The smell it fills my apartment with is like some kind of wonderful pork potpourri, it’s wicked good. I suggest you all make it, eat it and then sit back and smile contentedly.

Pork shoulder
1 tbl liquid smoke

all purpose rub:
3 Tbls brown sugar
1 Tbl ground cumin
1 Tbl paprika
2 Tbls kosher salt
1 Tbl black pepper
1 Tbl chili powder
1/2 tbl mustard powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbl garlic powder

For the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1-2 tbls dry rub
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tsps cider vinegar
1 tsp molasses

For the pork: Mix the spices well. Score skin to allow fat out. Reserve 1 tbl of rub and coat pork with the rest. Cover and roast at 300º for 5-6 hours, until meat shreds easily with a fork. Pull the pork out and allow it to cool enough to handle.

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the roasting pan, bring to a boil and deglaze pan. Pour the liquids off into a heat proof bowl and cool. With two forks (or hands), pull the pork into shreds, discarding excess fat and skin. Skim fat from the liquids and discard. Pour the liquids into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the cider vinegar. Stir in the shredded pork, return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Or just pour 3/4 of the hot liquid over the shredded pork. Serve hot on a bun. I recommend pickles and coleslaw.

For the sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and let simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 10 minutes or as long as 30.

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Here it is, smoky barbecue pulled pork from the oven. If my calling this barbecue upsets you, please see my comments on it here and here. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but even more I don’t want to get involved in any “right name” crap. So, let’s just move on. How do you make pulled pork from the oven smokey? Liquid smoke baby. I really like liquid smoke. It’s not perfect, but it is really good. Since I’ve already done a big post on pulled pork I’m just going to hit the highlights here, then move on to the sauce. Which also might upset people, since apparently there is a “no ketchup in barbecue sauce” camp. Well, that’s for later.

Ok then, first the dry rub.

I changed it up a little bit this time by using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, it makes it easier to work with. I’ve used this rub on chicken and beef too and it’s been really good. Just so you know. Then I scored the skin and rubbed the rub in.

It’s good to get lots of rub on there, more rub = more flavor. Then you plop it on a rack, cover it with foil and cook it at 300 for many hours. I had a commenter, erin, on the last one say that you should do it 40 minutes a pound, but I found that wasn’t enough time. Even with this shoulder that was only two and a half pounds needed five hours before it was easy to shred. But after five hours it was ready to go.

This folks, is what fork tender looks like.

The meat should just come right off the bones in nice big chunks. Like this.

I wanted to just drop this piece on a bun as is and mow.

But I didn’t, I was good. I put it all in a bowl and shredded it.

Then I poured the juices into a gravy separator.

You would have thought there would have been more fat, but I guess most of it melted into the meat. Which is why it’s so good. Anyway, I poured the juices into a sauce pan, added the liquid smoke

and vinegar.

You could brush the shoulder with liquid smoke before putting on the rub too. That was what I had meant to do, but flaked on it. Ah well. This way worked out just fine. Then I added the water, brought it to a boil and let it go for about 5 minutes. Then I just poured most of it over the pork.

And ate a forkful of it.

Man that stuff is good. Smoky, slightly sweet and spicy. Good times kids.

Ok, now quickie barbecue sauce. I remembered reading in a Cooks Illustrated about a sauce for ribs they made where they used some of the rub to make it. I thought it was a great idea. So I stole it. Now, some people have a problem with using ketchup to make barbecue sauce (and some people think barbecue sauce itself is wrong) and if you are one of those folks then feel free to not use this recipe. But again, please don’t come on here and tell me it’s an abomination. I really just don’t care. I like it. I had wanted to use tomato puree for it, but didn’t have any. So I used ketchup and it came out fine. I just winged it, really.

I put one cup of ketchup,

half a cup of apple cider,

one tablespoon of the dry rub,

about a teaspoon of molasses

and two teaspoons of vinegar.

Then I mixed it up and let it simmer for a while.

The longer it simmers the better it is, but you could just do it for ten minutes if you are in a huge rush. Of course, you just spent five hours cooking the pork, you might as well take a half hour to make the sauce. Heh.

Filed under: barbecue, pork, sauce, slow cooking

More Pizza

Seriously, I’m still in shock about how little pizza I have posted here. So, more.106

This is another one with that barbecue sauce I made but it also has broccoli, chicken, onions, cheddar and mozzarella. Came out wicked good, I love broccoli on pizza. It gets just lightly roasted in the fat from the cheese and gives a great contrast in texture.112

Plus it makes it healthy so you can eat twice as much. The chicken I just browned and braised in chicken broth seasoned with smoked paprika, garlic and onion. I shred it by hand so as to leave jagged edges for more browning. Browning is key as I’m sure you know.  115Whew, ok, feeling a little better now that there’s two pizza posts. I’ll probably post more soon though. Heh. I need to do something about the lighting in my apartment, too. It’s made of suck. More experimentation is clearly needed.

Filed under: barbecue, chicken, pizza, sauce

Kansas City Meets Thailand: Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

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1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 small onion, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbl oyster sauce
2 tsps sriracha sauce (or more!)
1 tbl liquid smoke
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Grate the onion and garlic and saute them on medium heat in a little oil in small sauce pan. Add everything else and let simmer for a couple minutes or until it’s as thick as you like. Let cool, store in the fridge.

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This sauce is an adaptation of the sauce I used in this post at the old site from the Cheater BBQ cookbook. My ex didn’t like that sauce very much but now that her taste isn’t a concern not only do I get to make it but I get to make it spicy! Hell. Yes. I also get to play with ingredients she would even let me bring into the apartment like oyster sauce. Oh, this is the sauce I used on the pizza I posted the other day, it doesn’t really taste asian it just has a unique something. Anyway, it was a spectacular sauce adventure, why not read on and vicariously adventure with me.

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The recipe calls for grated onion, so I grated some onion. I used the rectangular back and forthy side on the box grater. I’m not sure what it’s actually called, so that’s what I’m calling it from now on. It turned the onion into mush which is good since chunky bbq sauce is an abomination in my eyes. I also used that side to grate the garlic, mostly because I didn’t feel like digging out my press or chopping and squishing and so forth.

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Then I tossed it into a pan with a little bacon grease, because I have it that’s why, and sauteed it for awhile. Basically until it started sticking, then I just tossed the rest of everything in.

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The road to adding oyster sauce was actually semi-accidental. I was going to use sriracha because it is my not so secret lover and I use it in everything these days and I realized I was out of Worcestershire sauce. BBQ sauce really needs some kind of brown umami flavor especially the sweet, tomatoey Kansas City style. I didn’t want to use soy sauce, I would have used hoisin but I was out of that too, then my eyes alighted upon the oyster sauce. Perfect, I thought, especially since I was already using another asian ingredient.

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So, yeah, a new favorite sauce was born, hell I even bottled it. I bet it would be even better with a little hoisin, next time I make it I’m going to toss some in. Maybe some ginger, too. And lemongrass. Crap, I need to use it up so I can make more.

Filed under: asian, barbecue, fusion, sauce

Tzatziki

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  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup peeled, deseeded, chopped cucumber
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together, cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

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“Bob, why are you posting a condiment with nothing to put it on?” I hear you cry.

“What, can’t a guy share a recipe without also posting something to go with it?” I respond.

“No.” you assert.

Maniacal laughter, I… uh, laugh. I guess. Anyway, tzatziki. It’s awesome. I love to put it on all kinds of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern stuff. Like what? Oh, you know, stuff. Look, I’m a busy man, lots of things to do. I’ll get back to you about what I put it on, ok? Ok. Heh.

Filed under: sauce

Stuff I Love: Sriracha

Holy crap, words can’t describe my love for sriracha.

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I got my first bottle not too long ago and I’m pretty sure I’ve put it in/on/around everything I’ve eaten since then.

For those not in the know, sriracha is a Thai hot chili sauce. It has a powerful fresh chili flavor and goes great in everything. I’ve particularly liked it mixed with mayonnaise and put on sandwiches, mixed in ketchup for fries and on eggs, falafel, ham hash, in stew, in a marinade for beef, in egg salad… that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. But there’s more. I’d love to hear what other people do with this stuff. Hint, hint. Heh.

Filed under: sauce, Stuff I Love

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