Excerpt – Time, Fire, and Cuisine

One of my first friends in college was a Hawaiian girl and between my accent. I sound like a complete bumpkin accent and her pigeon speak it seemed we could understand each other without having to talk to anyone else. The difference is akin to Moxxi from Borderlands with her normal voice and her accent. Below was the first dish she told me about back on the islands.

It was also with her that we talked what kind of books and what we hated about cookbooks nowadays. They seemed like glory shot filled food porn magazines and they did not teach or better someone’s cooking ability. Having this up now on my own blog kinda makes me look back at the path to get here and to any would be authors wanting to start a book of any kind. Be in it for the long haul.

July 9th – Spam musubi

Knowing that musubi is a Hawaiian dish on default we are going to pair it with something that is about as integrated in to the island cuisine, spam. Looking at the can some people may not enjoy the taste of such a thing and if that is the case you can remove the spam for some spicy Portuguese sausage.

Start your preparation by taking some good sushi rice or in the case that none can be found some medium grain rice cooked so that it is slightly sticky. This can be done by finding a rice grain with a lot of starch and only rinsing it once in cold water quickly. Like the Japanese sushi you will need to create a blend of your favorite vinegars to flavor the rice. I prefer mixing a batch of vinegar that is a quarter of the dry rice by volume. My vinegar mix starts off at 3:2 rice wine vinegar to apple cider vinegar.

After mixing up the vinegars in a container and your rice is cooked you want to remove the rice from the pan in to a bowl preferably wooden. Wooden bowls, not being so popular though may be hard to get to so just relax before taking your favorite mixing bowl out.

Before you flavor the rice though on a cutting board take your spam, remove it from the can and cut in to slices as big as your middle and ring finger combined. Begin cooking these in a pan letting them crisp up a little before topping your rice.

Place your rice in to a bowl and with a firm spatula begin breaking up the rice until you get a half dozen large clumps. Then slowly pour in your vinegar while breaking down the sticky ball so that they have a slightly tacky surface while appearing moist.

Shape your sushi to be held with two fingers. Begin shaping your race making sure to wet your hands as the rice will stick to your palms less. Finish by topping your creation with your fried spam or sauteed sausage. Matches well with anything teriyaki flavored as well as a light seaweed salad.

Sushi rice – 4:1 dry rice to vinegar mix by volume

Vinegar mix – 3:2 rice wine vinegar to apple cider vinegar.

Excerpt – Life, Love, and Cooking

This was originally a project that had started years ago because I wanted to show that one could make better food by better understanding it. How knowing some of the basics could build in to masterpieces on a plate, and no matter what we all need to eat. Typing this up is just the start of another step as instead of taking that project in full (about 129k words) it will be split in half for just about 62k in words.

Revising has to be done, word choice improved, pictures put in and a whole list of things that will in complete honesty may add up to absolutely nothing financially. That wasn’t why I did this project though, as I did it so that maybe someone out there in the real world. Someone who feels like they can’t do something will read it and even if they don’t agree on anything else find solace in the point that the world can be created by those willing to work for it and make it better. Enough waxing philosophically from the sixth month here is the last excerpt of this project.

June 26th- Meat loaf

This homey American dish has been recreated in almost every house with countless different flavorings. All meat loafs do have some things in common.

First is the use of ground meat whether its pork, turkey, chicken, beef or any other meat that can be ground. Lentils are even used as the base in a vegetarian option loaf.

Vegetables are often chopped in small chunks to give the loaf more texture when it is finished as well as a bit of extra color. The most common vegetables are the three belonging to the french mirepoix celery, carrot, onion.

Next is the glue that holds the entire thing together as it cooks. Eggs are one of the most popular items whether in yolks or whites separately or together are often used to bind everything together. For those who cant use all ground meat or those who want to cut the fat will often add bread crumbs in various forms. Sometimes old bread will be soaked in milk before being added to the ground beef.

Taking your meat in a bowl you would first add the vegetables and mix before finishing with the addition of your thickener and flavorings. Mixing until everything is amalgamated you would then shape it so it can fit in a high walled dish. Before setting it in the oven it can be wrapped in bacon to provide more flavor. As it cooks a large amount of fat will be left in the bottom of the dish with which you can make a gravy.

Meat loaf works well in thin slices for sandwiches while thicker slices can work for an entree all their own. It pairs well with hearty vegetables like scalloped potatoes.

Excerpt – Life, love, and cooking

Enjoy!

March 10th – Bacon fat

Today’s society has brought a new font of knowledge on the topics of saturated fats. While looking back in the era of our grandparents cooking some of us may remember the old tin can or glass jar where the drippings of the breakfast bacon would go. As a fat it holds itself much to a use like butter, solid at room temperature.

Cook your bacon in the pan on medium heat making sure to drain the fat after every other batch. Before you get the third batch going take your wire mesh strainer and pour the fat from the pan in to the strainer with the can waiting underneath. The strainer will remove the extra shards of bacon still left in the fat.

Due to the amount of salt in the bacon you will have a lot of salt in the drippings. This was the reason why some people would have the can out because so much salt can act as a preservative. Even if this is the case I keep mine in the fridge so that way there is less chance of accidental spills. Even though it is technically a solid at room temperature that does not mean it is a rigid solid. It will be a little softer then room temperature butter if you need something to associate it to.

Collecting, straining, and storing fat aside what would be some things you would want to use it with. The answer stands anywhere you want a savory fat to be heated. It can be added to warm sauces, used in replacement for oil in sautes as well as stir fry’s.

Wash some potatoes and cut them in to rings a half inch thick dry them off before warming your bacon fat in a pan to medium heat. Drop your slices of potato in to the fat and let them cook until they get a good coloration before flipping. As soon as the second side is finished let dry on a paper towel before sprinkling with old bay seasoning for a tasty snack.

Excerpt – Life, love, and cooking

So before we go in to the excerpt let me tell you something about this project. It originally started as something that someone read one page per day that would take them from the basics as I had learned them, skills and stories having that all build in to the end of the year. So things like basic sauce making, stocks and doughs in January while in December their would be actual full meal breakdowns.

The problem I found out with that is that makes a lot of writing. Starting off on the editing process I found out that everything ended up just under 125k words. For those who write the National Novel Writing Month has the goal of 50k so in short I wrote a lot for one book. After some thinking about what would be the best way to handle this I may have found an answer. If anyone would like to comment their two cents on it, I would appreciate it.

Options are either release it as one massive book or in two portions. If It gets split in to two portions it won’t be over the year obviously, but it will be easier to handle I would think. Also, I will have one excerpt from each month of the book on this blog. So twelve different excerpts to let you see how it is so far. One down eleven to go and with this, ten to go.

February 20th –A million starbucks yet

Knowing how popular coffee is in this country; tea has suffered the fate of falling in its shadow. Consisting of so many different flavors from all around the world some exist for taste while some take double duty for a sleeping aid or a caffeinated drink of choice. Since the amount any times is lower then your coffee or soda you can get a small boost without worrying about the crash.

At any house absolutely anywhere one good pot of tea just needs a couple pieces of information and some water. The info you will want will be how much you are steeping, what temp the water needs to be at for best flavor as well, as well how long.

For one 8 ounce cup of tea start with 1.5 tsp of whatever leaves you need except in the case of green and black which can be dropped to 1 tsp. Green is often sold in powders so you will need less of it. Reason is of how much surface area with the powder versus regular leaves. Black tea is often very strong so start off with one tsp just to see if you like that.

Green and white teas are good when steeped at 175 for between two to four minutes. Oolong and black go twenty degrees higher for 3 to 4 minutes. Herbals do best just under boiling at 205 for 5 minutes. Of course other teas are out there and they will have special preparation such as Chai for example. Learn how to maximize the flavor and invite your friends for a cup and a game. When making iced teas double the amount of leaves or powder.

You can have a tea pot, however you do not need one for good tea. If you want one there are many models and styles to choose from. Extra care needs to be taken though as with iron teapots you do not want to over heat a pot to blacken the paint or leave your leaves inside it for a period has that may invite rust or a loss of finish.