Friday, May 30, 2014


Simple cornbread, perfect to accompany BBQ.  This is cooked in one of the greatest pieces of cookware ever: a cast iron skillet, which gives it a wonderful crunchy exterior.

1/2 C butter, melted
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk
1/2 t baking soda
1 C cornmeal
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
Kernels from an ear of sweet corn (you can use two ears if you want extra fresh corn taste, but the cooking time increases slightly)
1-2 T rendered bacon grease, chilled (or oil/shortening if bacon grease isn't available)

Place a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat it to 375 F.  Continue to heat it for another 15 minutes after the oven comes to temperature to ensure that the skillet is hot.
Meanwhile mix together all the ingredients except for the bacon grease.
When everything has preheated grease the skillet with the bacon grease; if the grease is chilled you can generally use a fork to move it around the sides and bottom of the skillet to cover the whole surface.  Add the batter and bake for ~25 minutes, or until done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Yet another mac and cheese post, this one is more of a classic mac and cheese with a little bacon thrown in; you could leave out the bacon, but bacon rocks.

1 1/4 C whole milk
1/2 lb macaroni or shells
3-4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
11 g sodium citrate
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T butter (or use the fat from the bacon)
1 T dijon mustard, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente.  While that is cooking saute the onion and garlic in the butter until translucent.  Add the milk and sodium and bring to a simmer.  Add the cheese, a handful at a time, allowing it to melt in while stirring frequently.  Blend the cheese sauce either in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Add the mustard, bacon, salt, and pepper.  Adjust seasoning and add the pasta to the sauce.  Cook while stirring just until the pasta has reached al dente.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chipotle and Chorizo Mac and Cheese

Another take on mac and cheese using sodium citrate to make a perfectly smooth cheese sauce.  This one mixes a little spice and smokiness in with the rich and creamy cheese sauce.  This makes and excellent side dish, or you could just fill a bowl and eat it for a meal.  If you left out the chorizo and pasta this would also make an excellent sauce for burritos.

11 g sodium citrate
8 oz hot pepper cheddar (or white cheddar), shredded
3 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 C half and half
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/4 t mustard powder
1/4 lb Mexican chorizo, browned
2 C dry macaroni, cooked according to package directions

Melt the butter and saute the onions and garlic until just starting to brown.  Add the half and half, sodium citrate, chipotles, paprika, and mustard.  Bring to a simmer and add the cheese a handful at a time; once all the cheese has been incorporated mix with an immersion blender.  Add the chorizo and adjust seasoning as needed.  Mix in the pasta and serve.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vegetarian Bao Filling

This is a vegetarian filling for Bao made of tofu and mushrooms.  It's reminiscent of char siu (Chinese BBQ pork), though obviously without the goodness of roasted pork it's not quite as awesome.

3/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced
oil to stir fry
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chile bean paste
3-4 T hoisin
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 lb extra firm tofu, pressed to drain and diced
2 T soy sauce
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until lightly smoking.  Add the mushrooms and stir fry until the mushrooms have lost much of their moisture and browned (browning the mushrooms will take a fair amount of time); you may need to add a little oil if you didn't have enough to start with.  When the mushrooms are browned add the shallots and garlic, still over high heat, and stir fry for 30 seconds to a minute.  Add the chile bean paste and stir fry until fragrant; add the soy sauce and remove from the heat.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.  Adjust seasoning, then fill the dough and cook according to the bao recipe.