November 26, 2012

Fleischmann's Simply Homemade Bread Mix

Hi there! I know it's been a couple weeks since the last post. Sorry about that. Work has been getting busy and blah blah blah. Insert standard excuse here:___________. With that bit of business out of the way, let's get to the good stuff.

What you see above is something that didn't just intrigue me, but a good number of my coworkers as well. 

Fleischmann"s Simply Homemade Bread Mix boasts that you can make bread in less than an hour. As a pastry chef, my initial thoughts were along the lines of "BULLSHIT!" or "No Fuckin' way!". After reading the instructions, I realized it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. But then again, what you are creating is sort of like bread. Let me back up a little....

In 2009, the book My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method was published. Like this bread mix, no kneading was involved in producing the bread. The big difference with the recipes in the book to this box mix is time. The recipes in My Bread would need 12 to 18 hours to complete.

While that many hours to make a loaf of bread might seem like a lot, the flavor that much time would create would be....gargantuan. Gargantuan...I like that word. I so rarely get to use it. In fact, I'm not even sure it was appropriate to use it there. Well, fuck it. I love that scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2.

The point is, time is an essential part in bread making. The more time involved, the better chance for the yeast to build flavor. That's why I was pretty hesitant on trying this stuff. But the chef in me felt challenged. I had to see if this stuff was for real.

The instructions for this stuff couldn't be any easier. Bloom the yeast. Add flour. Mix until combined and let rest for 25 minutes. Score the top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Rest for a few minutes and enjoy. That's it. Really.

With such easy prep, I also saw an opportunity. If all you have to do is add water and stir, my son should be able to knock to this out. He's only 3, and I would certainly help him out, but this would be a good way to get him in the kitchen.

So, without further ado, here is Dominic, a.k.a Nicky Boy.

When you open the box, this is what you are gonna find.

Like most breads, you start by adding warm water to the yeast and sugar.

After about 5 minutes, stir in the flour and mix until it just comes together.

For me, that last step is really awkward. To not knead or work the dough felt wrong. But, I was going to stick with the instructions this time.

Once mixed, you shape it into a loaf on an oven tray and cover for 25 minutes.

Don't worry, Nicky Boy was getting his hands dirty too.

They tell you in the instructions that the bread isn't going to double in size. It does rise a little bit though. They tell you that scoring the top of the dough is optional and can be done to pretty it up. What the fuck??? You score the top to vent steam! It has to do with the whole science part of baking. But it's gotta be done!

I forgot to mention this before, but Dominic was doing most of the work here. Except with the knife. I have to draw the line somewhere.

After about 23 minutes in the oven, the bread was done.

Here is Nicky Boy to present his first loaf of bread!

In my opinion, the lil guy did a damn good job! Love 'ya kiddo!

So how did it taste? Pretty good. It had a decent crust to it. The herbs come through nicely without being too heavy. The texture is another issue.

The best way I can describe the texture would be to call it a "Cake-Bread". Because there is no kneading, you aren't developing any gluten. Gluten is like the muscle of the bread. Like a muscle, it needs to be worked and built up. It also needs time to rest.

With no gluten being worked up at all, there isn't much keeping this bread together. It has a crumbly texture that seems almost out of place with a bread. It doesn't have a bad mouth-feel or anything, but don't expect something like a traditional loaf you can buy from the market.

Texture aside, it tasted good. There really are few things as good as bread right out the oven. A little butter, and you have a slice of heaven. Dominic seemed to think so.

I feel this box mix is for someone that really is scared shitless about baking their own bread. I know that sounds a little harsh, but I feel like too much is being sacrificed in the name of ease.

Yes, you don't have to get your hands dirty kneading dough. But, not kneading the dough gives you a crap texture.

Yes, you can get this done in one hour. But not giving the bread proper time for fermentation is denying yeast the chance to build flavor.

Some of you might say "I don't have a stand mixer. I'm not doing that shit by hand!" Relax, most home bread recipes will only require 5 to 10 minutes of kneading. THAT'S IT!!!

There you have it. That's my take on the One Hour Bread. I had a blast getting Dominic in the kitchen and he seemed to enjoy himself. I usually don't get all that personal on here, but I felt good sharing this. I love to bake, and I hope Nicky will be able to find enjoyment in creating things in the kitchen.

Until next time my friends.

I'm out.

J. Miller

November 13, 2012

Arepa Sushi

I know that title doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's my blog, and it sounded good in my head. In any case, I'll explain more about that in a minute. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I'm a little out of my head right now, so if this comes out weird, don't be too surprised. 3 hours of sleep, a good quantity of coffee followed by a double shot of whiskey I'm working on right now, equals an odd balance of energy and being dog tired. Wait...where was I going with this....oh yeah, Arepa Sushi!

For starters, this is clearly not sushi. No rice anywhere to be seen. But, sushi is what inspired me to create this. It's what inspired me to set it up and plate it like this. So, I'm calling it SUSHI!!!

OK, double shot done with. Uh..Yeah! If you have been keeping up with the blog, you might remember that earlier this year, I fell in love with arepas. I mean, these things just fucking rock. I kept seeing them on the food stations and had to try it myself. I'm happy I did.

As much as I loved it, I knew there was more to do with it than making patties out it and cutting it in half. I had seen a couple sites that had a stuffed arepa, but nothing done in a roll. After some thought, I knew I wanted to do sort of a "Faux" sushi type deal.

I like the presentation of square sushi rolls, so that part was taken care of. Now came the big question: What to stuff it with?

My first thoughts were to use a breakfast sausage. Not a bad idea, but I wanted something a bit more fancy. Italian sausages came up next, but I didn't wanna go that route. In the end I chose to go with a Portuguese sausage. I think I made the right call.

I decided to add roasted peppers to the mix. A little bite and good for color.

Since it was starting to have a South American feel to it, I thought I would try hand at making a chimichurri to add as a garnish and for flavor. Up to this point, I had never made it before. So, it would be something new for me as well.

OK, I just poured a glass of Vitamin Water and Vodka, and eerily enough, this shit doesn't taste bad at all! Fuck, what have I done? Uh.....ok. I think something has kicked in, so I'm just gonna start putting up the pictures while I can still see straight.

First, roast the peppers.

I also roasted a yellow pepper, but didn't get a pic. I sliced those up and then prepped the sausage. I wanted to put a little color on it for look and taste.

At this point, I prepped the arepa dough. Check my older post on arepas for a step by step. Basically, add warm water to the mix until combined. DONE!

In the spirit of sushi, and not being able to come up with any other way to do this, I used one of those mats they use to roll sushi to do this. I'm way too buzzed at this point to search for a good link for this, so just look at the pic.

I wrapped it in plastic and was ready to work the dough. I wasn't sure if the dough would be pliable enough to spread out on the mat, but it actually spread really easy, kind of like your sister!

I then laid out the peppers and sausage. Wow, round two of the V&V cocktail! I'm fuckin' buzzed!

From here, I roll it up!

After rolling two, I made the chimichurri. Sorry, no pics on that one. Think of it as a pesto with parsley instead of basil. And no cheese or pine nuts. I gotta finish this quick, cuz I'm going numb over here.

Next, it takes forever to type this becauze there's a shitload of fucking typos. Next, I saute on each side.

ugh, that burp didn't taste good. After it cools for a second or three, cut it like sushi.

Then you plate it up and eat! Bet you didn't see that one coming!

I like that second pic. It's kinda off kilter, like the old batman tv series with Adam West. BAM!! POW!! ZOINKS!!

It tasted pretty fucking good! Arepas rock to begin with. Add the peppers and sausage, you get a winning combo.

The real kicker was the chimichurri. It brought a fresh, garlicy punch to the mix that elevated everything. Chimichurri is my new thang. I love this shit. Giggity.

Know who else loved the chimichurri. My son. My lil dude. My heart. His name is Dominic. And I was surprised he liked the chimichurri as much as he did! He asked for seconds and thirds!

I try and keep my family out of this for numerous reasons, but he really liked the chimichurri, and he's a pretty picky eater. If he likes it, than you gotta try it! 'Nuff said!

I know, He's cute as all hell. It's ok. I think the same thing.

Don't worry, you are gonna see more of him next post.  That's it for now. I'm pretty much drunk at this point. It's taken a lot long to write this than it should have! I've never used the delete button this much.

I'm out Bitch!

J. Millerrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

November 8, 2012

New Ideas For Taco Bell

Earlier today, I read an article about Taco Bell wrapping a baked potato in a tortilla. My imagination ran wild with this new information. That is why I am here now, ready to share with you my ideas for what Taco Bell could do to take this whole "burrito" thing to an epic level.

Before we get started, here is the link to the original article.

Now, instead all of these new burritos being sold at every location, they would be sold at whatever region it would best suit. Some could be sold everywhere, some wouldn't make it 5 miles out of it's city or state. In most cases, they would be tested at a ballpark, kind of like this one here.

All of these burritos will start with a big ass tortilla. For beans and rice, I'll write B&R. After'll have to see for yourself.

The Fat Fuck Burrito- B&R, cold chunks of Irish Butter, 1 entire pack of deep fried bacon, cheese whiz and potato chips. Covered in a brown gravy made with Lard. Mmmm....lard.

The Gamer Burrito - B&R, flaming hot Cheetos, 2 hot dogs, pepper jack cheese and a Mountain Dew Code Red reduction sauce.

The Stoner Burrito - Crumbled Rice Krispy treats, Jelly beans (get it, rice and beans), bologna, american cheese, ketchup and flaming hot Cheetos. Yeah, I'd get fucked up before eating this one.

The GB Packer Burrito - It's just a 3lb block of cheddar cheese wrapped in a tortilla. It also comes with coupons to your local bowling alley. What the fuck else do they do in Wisconsin???

The Mississippi Burning Burrito - Meatloaf and mashed potatoes wrapped in a tortilla. It's rolled out longer than normal, to cut the back portion off. The back portion is then cut in half and each piece is placed on each side of the rest of the burrito to make the shape of a cross. When they serve it to you, they pour a little 151 on top and set it a blaze. This could be a huge hit down south.

The Vegan Burrito - It's just a handful of dirt wrapped in some pansy whole wheat wrap. The company knows that the odds of a vegan eating there are slim to none.

The Portland Burrito - Coffee smoked salmon, wild rice, organic carrots and ramps, and fresh leaves of cannabis.

The Cuban a.k.a The Elian Burrito - All the normal fixings of a Cuban sandwich wrapped in a tortilla. Only difference is that it's served on a small rubber ring and comes with a cigar.

The New Yorker - The tortilla is covered in marinara, sheets of lasagna pasta are laid down on that. More marina. Mozzarella, peppers, basil and braised sewer rat finish this off. When served, the employee is REQUIRED to tell you to "Go Fuck Yourself".

The Broke Back Burrito - B&R, braised buffalo, roasted fingerling potatoes and au jus. As it being serverd, they take a smoked venison sausage and ram it into the back of the burrito. Then, they take a squeeze bottle with mexican crema and shoot it across the top of it 3 or 4 times.

What better way to end this than with a money shot.

If you are wondering how much time I spent on this, no more than the time to actually type it out. I had about 4 of them thought up when I read the original article. The rest I came up with as I was typing.

That's it for now. Hope you got at least 1 laugh out of this. If you didn't, that's just too fucking bad!

I'm out.

J. Miller

November 4, 2012

The Bison Burger

Hi Everybody! Glad you could make it back for another edition of my blog. What you see above is something that had piqued my interest for quite a while. The Ralph's market in my neighborhood started selling this last year. I would always pass by it and say "That looks interesting. I'll try it next paycheck." I don't know how many months I said this, but it was a while before I finally said "Fuck it" and bought it.

Why all the hesitation in such a simple purchase? The price. It was $8.99 for this one package. Good cuts of steak are less per pound than this stuff. I'm not a complete cheapskate, but this is pushing it, especially for ground meat. But, on the other hand, this was going to be something new for me. I didn't know anything about it, so it could have tasted like gold for all I knew. In the end, I knew I was gonna try this stuff eventually. What better time than now?

I knew I was going to make a burger out of the bison meat, so I got all the standard burger fixings, except pickles. I don't like pickles. They suck. Case closed.

First thing I did was rough chop some onion and saute until it started to get some color.

I separated the ground bison into two patties. For those of you that don't know me that well, when I make burgers, I don't fuck around with sliders or small patties. It's go big or piss off!

As you can see, the bison is a bit on the lean side. I don't have any pics of when it was cooking, but I can tell you that it didn't leave a pool of fat in the pan.

The only things I seasoned the burgers with was salt and pepper. Even though I did add a slice of cheese to the finished burger, I didn't want to cover the true taste of the meat.

Now for a closer look.

Now for the Diner's, Drive ins and Dives cut-my-burger-in-half shot.

Look at that! Spread open for the world to see! With a hot, juicy pink center! That just makes my mouth water.

So how does it taste? Pretty good. Nine dollars a pound good? No. It didn't have a "gamey" taste to it, but you could tell that it wasn't beef from a cow. It had a richness that is a little difficult for me to describe.

With it being lean, you aren't going to have juice running down your arm. But it's overall taste is of good quality. I hate using catchy phrases, but I guess you could say it has an "earthy" flavor.

Overall, it was a tasty burger. But, I don't think I'll be buying any more bison meat anytime soon. If you want to try something different, but don't like lamb or goat, give this one a go.

I'm out.

J. Miller