Friday, October 30, 2009
This is one of those times when two simultaneous kitchen projects somehow came together to form one glorious and tasty concoction. I was taste testing Helmbold's hot dog sauce for a comparison with the Hot Dog Charlie's chili sauce, and I was also whipping up some Baozi (steamed buns) as a way to utilize some left over red pork. Somewhere during the evening the idea for Hot Dog Bao came to me like a flash of lighting from the heavens! I often find inspiration in the glorious tube steak (does that sound bad?).
I will start out by sharing the original idea that I had, we shall get to the hot dog bao in a moment. As I said before, I had some left over red pork from Lam's Kitchen in Guilderland. They do a fairly good job of the pork, it is cheesy, sweet, with a garish artificial redness, but I like it anyways.
I whipped up some airy, bao dough according to this recipe. Make sure you let it have a really good rise, bao should be airy little pillows of dough.
I halved the dough, made it into a little dough snake, and hacked it up into equal, golf ball sized balls. I flattened these out by hand and filled with about a table spoon of pork. I had chopped the pork up fairly fine and mixed in a little hoisin sauce.
The bao went into my little steaming tray to rise for about an hour, this is them pre-rise.
I steamed the buns for about 30 minutes. They came out all shiny and soft, looking very like legit cha siu bao that I have bought pre-made at the Asian Markets. The dough was soft and there was just enough porky goodness in the center.
I had a bunch of dough left when I ran out of pork, and this is when divine inspiration struck. I saw the pile of Helmbold's little dogs that I had cooked and the hot dog sauce bubbling away on the stove and immediately decided that this would make a superlative steamed bun filling.
I used about an inch of dog and a teaspoon of chili for the center of each bun.
These steamed for about 30 minutes as well, they came out looking like unassuming steamed buns. No hint to the hot dog center could be discerned from the outside. I thought that this one looked especially good.
And here it is ripped open to display the wursty center. Maybe this pic is a little NSFW? or maybe I just have a dirty mind.
Anyway, the hot dog bao were really good. A lot of hot dog carts steam their buns anyways, so this is not a huge departure from normality. As I am planning to have a hot-dog-stravaganza imminently, I froze most of these to share with friends at a later date. My full review of the Helmbold's hot dog sauce will be coming in the next couple days. I trust that everyone will have a pleasant weekend.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If you haven't already, go check out This is Why You're Fat. It is a great collection of humorous and fat laden concoctions that people on the internets have come up with. Some time ago I was contacted by the the authors of the site regarding a book that they were planning. They asked if they might include my recipe for White Castle Casserole. Being a benevolent blogmeister, I agreed without hesitation. Well, my pre-ordered copy arrived today and I was happy to see a full page spread!
Anyhow, not to self indulgently endorse a product but this is quite the amusing little coffee table book. The only thing I was upset about is that I forgot to let them know that I stopped paying for the ridiculousfoodsociety.com domain, and that is how they credited me. I guess anyone who is interested will figure out a way to get to the blogspot/new addresses.
I leave you with the sound of me patting myself on the back.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Hotdogs. Man vs. Bear... For Your Monday Viewing Pleasure (Can You Tell I Was Too Lazy to Post Anything Worthwhile This Weekend?)
This is an oldy, but maybe some of you all haven't seen it. The indomitable Kobayashi goes toe to toe with a brown bear in a hot dog eating contest, FTW. I have yet another hot dog post coming shortly, so I guess this popped into my mind as sort of a preamble to that. So forgive me for wasting a couple minutes of your life. By the way, for a little non sequitur humor, I think I should challenge a local black bear to a tea drinking contest. My readers would come to cheer, no?
Friday, October 23, 2009
**EDIT NUMERO DOS**
Absolutely nobody try this. It is probably poisonous. If you make this you might die. Let me alone enjoy the frothy goodness. That is my legal disclaimer. Anyone who made this prior to this warning, burn the lot ceremoniously in your front yard. I do believe the Taliban is using aged nog to further their agenda in the east. Aged nog is an instrument of Satan, used to bath sinners in the whorey netherworld. Again, this eggnog will kill you and most of your family. Live in fear. Ahhhhhhhh.... That is me in my death knell from drinking the stuff. Please help, gurgle gurgle....
**EDIT NUMERO DOS***
Read this, Old But Not Lethal: Why raw eggs in aged eggnog are safe.. Should answer the safety questions. But like I said, do this at your own risk ye worryworts. To freak out the squares even more, do you know that eggs, in their shells, at room temperature, last for about 3 weeks? How the hell do you think humans survived for the thousands of years in the P.R.E. (pre-refrigerator era)?
I am a nog fanatic. I love eggnog in all of its incarnations, in fact, one of my main reasons for loving Stewart's is that they have eggnog all of the year round. Did you know that the secret to really good, homemade, spiced (i.e. with tons of booze) eggnog is age? That is right, I know it sounds kind of weird to age a liquid that is composed in part by raw eggs, but it is true. The relatively high alcohol content of the frothy brew keeps bacterial growth in check. However, you still want to use fresh ingredients and be fairly sterile when you are throwing this together.
While I was gathering the nog ingredients, something occurred to me. This really must have been a special beverage back in old timey times. It represents a significant investment to purchase all of the necessary ingredients for good eggnog. This was a concoction perfect for impressing friends and family during the holidays and I guess it was a good way of showing your guests how much you cared about them. I wanted to use the freshest, local dairy products that I could find, so I stopped by Gade Farm for the milk. They have fresh, whole milk in glass bottles! You pay a deposit on the bottles and then you can return them when you buy new milk. The milk is from Meadowbrook Farms and Dairy out of Clarksville, NY. I will be using 1/2 gallon for my recipe.
I got some pretty brown eggs from the Coop on Central Ave. I forget which farm they were from. You need a dozen yolks (seperated) for the nog.
I forgot to pickup cream at both Gade Farm and the Coop, so I had to run over to Price Chopper to grab the requisite cup of heavy cream.
Now on to the good stuff, the booze. You are going to want to be pretty aggressive with the alcohol as this is what is going to keep your product safe. I used one bottle (liter) of Old Granddaddy Bourbon, a cup of dark rum, and a cup of Courvoisier Cognac.
This is going to make for a very boozy nog, if you have light drinkers around you might want to go half and half with virgin nog when serving this. I happen to enjoy the heady flavors of the rum and bourbon in copious amounts.
So to reiterate the ingredients we have: 1/2 gallon milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 12 egg yolks, 2 cups sugar, 1 liter bourbon, 1 cup Cognac, and 1 cup dark rum. Combine all in a suitable, sterile glass gallon jug. I use the same ones that I use for bottling beer. Mix thoroughly and store in your fridge.
I find that at least a month's ageing is best, I plan on not breaking this particular nog out until about a week before X-mas. You can make it now and drink it next Christmas if you want, as long as it doesn't start to smell funky or turn green you should be good. It is going to take a lot of will power for me not to crack it open and consume the gallon in sneaky nips between now and the holiday season, but I am going to try.
I know that my very last post was about an interesting meat that I found at Price Chopper (Goat Meat), and maybe I am getting boring here, but I had to share this as well. I happened to be strolling through P-Choppers today to get a last minute item for the concoction I am whipping up for a subsequent post. I immediately spotted something strange and wonderful amongst the pork in the meat case, pork bellies! Pork Bellies are a subject to which I have devoted more than a little time in my life (click here for some posts on this). Usually you have to go to either the Asian Market or the Butcher to get decent bellies, finding them in a run of the mill, suburban grocery store is rare. It seems that P-Chops is branching out in terms of their meat selection, which is good no?
Monday, October 19, 2009
What did I find at P-Chops tonight (see here for my ongoing Price Chopper obsession, it is becoming a problem) you ask? Goat meat! Now I know you can get goat meat at the local Asian Markets (sort of sketchy looking), but this was especially nice looking stuff. Only 2.79$ a pound for "Australian Frozen Goat Meat." Not a bad price for the meaty, vibrantly colored, sections of goat leg. As I bought the stuff frozen, I do not feel rushed to cook it. I am awaiting a good recipe to fall into my lap, but I am thinking goat curry. We shall see.
What is your favorite quick meal to be consumed whilst standing and hunched over your kitchen sink with a little howling human in the next room? We should discuss. This is my story.
Today I am home minding the 9 month old, whirlwind, wild woman that is my lovely young issue, Lady Giblet. I am pretty sure that she woke up bent on destruction (of cats, lamps, etc...), so I did not have the opportunity to cook and eat a leisurely luncheon. Luckily, it just so happened that I had on hand the makings of the handheld, beef, cheese, and bread delivery system that we call the hamburger sandwich.
Remember that Australian beef tenderloin that I was squawking about a couple weeks ago? Well, I forgot to photograph what I did with the actual tenderloin (roasted it and made a bacon/mustard/maple glaze, delivered it to a sick friend). But I hear it was good. As for the trimmings (side meat/chain meat) I ground it all up with my trusty meat grinder and formed it into smallish burger patties, about the size of ones you would get in a standard fast food burger. I separated these with some foil and froze them for future consumption. I cooked up a few last night, the wife was not very hungry so there were leftovers. I grabbed a couple of these, warmed them in the microwave, smeared on some goat cheese, placed on some toasted whole wheat bread, finished with some Tiger Sauce and devoured the impromptu double cheeseburger in about 30 seconds. Ugly, but really very good. That Australian beef was a steal, I would buy it again in a heartbeat.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I guess it is a little late in the season for me to get in the pickling/canning mode, but better late than never. I randomly had the idea to make Sriracha Pickles. You see, I recently purchased a mandoline and have been itching to use it.
My mandoline came with a crinkle cut blade perfect for making pickle chips. I always enjoy those expensive, gimmicky, spicy pickles that have been popping up lately and it seemed to me that I could recreate these at home for a pittance. I decided upon Sriracha as my main source of flavor.
I am almost ashamed to be writing about Sriracha. It has become such a clichéd fad among Top Chef contestants and "foodies" (I shudder at typing that word, I hate it so), that I almost don't want to hear any more about the red stuff. But it really is a work horse condiment and will bring both garlic and heat to my pickle party.
I started by rinsing a few pounds of smallish cucumbers and subsequently chopped them up into lovely, crinkly rounds with the mandoline (a great addition to my kitchen arsenal).
I boiled up a brine of 6 cups water, 2 cups white vinegar, and 1/3 cup pickling salt. 2 sterilized 1 quart ball jars got loosely packed with the pickle chips. I added about 1/4 cup of Sriracha to each jar and then poured the hot brine over the cucumbers. I sealed the jars and processed them in boiling water for 15 minutes.
I figure the pickles should be tart and spicy enough in a few weeks. I have high hopes for these guys, I think they will be the perfect pulled pork sandwich toppers. Maybe not though, sometimes my experiments turn out a little funky. We shall see.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Don't know why, but I was waxing a little nostalgic about my humble blogger beginnings. Thought maybe new readers would like a look to the past. I started the Ridiculous Food Society blog as kind of a gag, just a way to pass the time. Early on, I embraced the Bacon meme and pretty much became a one trick pony (as you can see by the following list). After that I morphed into a site that attempts to celebrate the food and culture of our own little corner of the world. These are the top ten most trafficked posts in no particular order. I randomized it because I didn't want everyone to click only the first couple, I am annoying that way. By the way, I think there are much better posts in my archives if you feel like searching. This is not necessarily my own top ten, so I also took the liberty of sneaking one or two of my favorites in there.
1. Canned Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps
2. Candied Bacon Brioche Sticky Buns with Pecan and Pistachio
3. Prison Cuisine: "Spread" and Frito Tamale
4. The Ultimate Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich
5. Homage to Stewart's
6. Homemade Bacon Butter
7. White Castle and Bacon Breakfast Break
8. Bacon Rice Krispies Treats
9. The Capital Region Hot Dog Micro-Region
10. Red Feather Canned Butter and Cheese Review
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I don't know how this escaped my notice, but the Price Chopper over in the plaza with Big Lots on Central Ave. (just west of 155 near K-Mart) has morphed itself into a shiny, new, "Market Center." I learned about this via some comments on the Fussy Little Blog's post about knishes. Mr. Fussy has been doing a series of posts about Jewish/Kosher Deli foods in preparation for tonight's lecture on the subject over at UAlbany (Go Danes, that is my alma matter). Apparently, this particular P-Chops has a very large Kosher section to include a butcher. If you have read my blog you know that I have a strange love of Price Chopper and all of its weirdness (click to read many of the articles I have devoted to the subject). Needless to say I had to check it out.
Walking in, I noticed that this P-chops was much more stylish and polished then my usual Guilderland location. Just look at the gleaming produce section.
Check out the Prussian order of these greens, almost too orderly.
There is even a little "cafe" type area where you can eat or drink coffee.
This Chopper offers a lot of pre-made sandwiches, hot soups, salads, and things like that so I guess this is nice. It is almost like the Golubs (owners of the chain) are trying to steal some of Wegmans' thunder. Actually, that is what this "Market Center" reminded me of, a Wegmans.
Moving on to the Kosher section, my reason for being there.
There is a tolerably large selection of Kosher/Israeli dry goods as Price Chopper is not shy to let you know.
There is a nice selection of grocery type products, but I was not hugely impressed. Nothing really exotic or exciting, mostly stuff that I have seen around. The true star of the Kosher market was the freezer section. There we find a plethora of goodies. The first thing that drew my was, sitting right next to each other, both schmaltz and chicken livers (click for Mr. Fussy's discussion of chopped livers).
Next, there were a bunch of knishes. Here are the frozen ones.
There were also some fresh ones in a cold case, they looked a little sad. I did not get one, I will buy the Knish Knosh ones from Eats when I need a knish fix. There was also some noodle kugle and a couple other things.
I purchased some of the frozen, fried, square ones. I remember eating these as a kid, but I can't really remember where my parents would get them. I mostly remember absolutely covering them in brown mustard, I have always loved mustard.
I also got some premade falafel balls.
As well as some frozen vegetarian kibbeh, discounted from 8.99 to 2.99! I love a good deal and I love me some kibbeh.
There was a small selection of kosher meats as well as cold cuts. I forgot to take a picture, sorry. All in all, a pretty good selection of kosher goods. Check it out if you are into that sort of thing.
I was pretty impressed with this new Price Chopper as a whole. There was a much bigger selection of almost everything than what is found at my usual Guilderland spot. Simple things like the fact that they sell the Hembold's 4 inchers all of the time make it an excellent shopping experience.
I think that when I need to do a major shop, I might just travel the extra couple miles to the Market Center. Although, I will have to say that that part of Colonie makes me sad somehow. It is just so ugly and drab, especially in the winter when the snow gets all dirty. It makes me depressed for some reason that I don't really understand. A ride up Central Ave. in fall or winter gives Mr. Dave the blues.
So, I stopped at the drive-thru at the Burger King on Western Ave. in Guilderland for a large, fountain, diet Coke. I openly admit to being completely addicted to the fizzy, chemical brew which is probably wreaking havoc on my poor kidneys and prostate. But even Mr. Dave must have a few vices. Anyways, the above image flashed across the little intercom/TV contraption. It proudly proclaimed, "Everything tastes better with bacon and cheese." I would generally agree with this statement in most cases (albeit not necessarily with Burger Kings particular brand of cheese and bacon), but there are certain exceptions.
Stay with me here, I am getting to the point directly. An adolescent voice piped up from the intercom stating that the register was broken and I would have to come inside to order. Fie I say, if I am going to get my lazy kiester out of my Toyota, I am going to go ahead and patronize the Mr. Subb in the plaza 100 feet away from the BK.
We have already discussed my love for the Neba, I even wondered if it should be named the quintessential Capital Region food. For new readers I shall summarize. The Neba is a hot roast beef and jus sandwich originally served by Mike's Neba locations in the Albany, NY area. It had a fierce local following, but disappeared for many years, only to be resurrected by Mr. Subb. Mr. Subb is the legacy restaurant to Mike's Neba, sharing the same (but not original) owner of Mike's Neba. Confuse anyone?
Anyhow, walking into the Mr. Subb, I noticed this new section of the menu board.
It is offering Neba melts, Nebas with bacon/cheddar, ham and cheese Nebas?!? What is this abomination? For shame, for shame! The glory of the Neba lies with its simplicity, the lovely combination of jus, beef, and roll. Perhaps a little horseradish/horseradish sauce for kick, but that is it. As if to punctuate my point about the glory of bare beef and bread, an older gentlemen came in and ordered a "Hot Beef." There is no Hot Beef on the menu, this is the old language, but the guy at the counter new what he was talking about. The Hot Beef is a kissing cousin to the Neba. It is simply warmed roast beef on a sub roll. Nothing else. The Mr. Subb kid knowingly asked, "No cheese or anything, right?" The wizened gentlemen answered with an emphatic, "Bah, noooo."
You see, I think that modern food offerings have gone a little crazy with condiments/additions/etc... Especially in the sandwich/sub category. It is almost as if people are becoming hardwired to expect something on top of whatever they are eating. Places like Subway which base their business model on piling 15 odd items on to any given sandwich are to blame for this. It is my opinion that Subway does this to cover up the horrid, processed taste of their meats and cheeses with all of the extras. Myself, as much as I love cheese and bacon, I will take the simple Neba without the greasy duo. Intending to buy only the soda, I had to indulge myself in beefy bliss.
So, you are wrong Mr. Burger King telecom/TV apparatus. Not everything tastes better with bacon and cheese. If you are going to get a Neba, resist the urge for all of the additions and savor the original. Just a little sage advice from Mr. Dave.