September 16, 2013

Meatballs Over Rice

Hi Everybody! It's time for another wonderful blog post by yours truly. As you can tell by the title of this post and the picture above, it's pretty easy to figure out what this one is all about. The truth is, there is actually more going on behind the scenes than you might believe.

The original title I wanted to use for this post was "Cooking Without Recipes". I was just going to explain how when it comes to hot foods, I usually don't follow recipes and just wing it. I would then list a bunch of tips that help me in the kitchen. Then I remembered that I hate "Tip" blog pages. In my opinion, a lot of Tip pages come off a little preachy. I usually leave a comment on the page like "I've got a tip for you! Go Fuck Yourself!!!"

Plus, I feel like I'm not really good enough to be telling people what they should be doing in the kitchen. The only thing I really suggest is to simply relax and have a little fun with it. If all else fails, just keep it simple.

What I have for you this time around can be enjoyed as a either a light appetizer or a full meal. Just use a smaller portion for the app.

For the rice, I started by sauteing some white onions with yellow and red bell peppers. A little salt and pepper to season.

Sorry for the blurry pics. Anyway, when the veggies cooked down a bit, I added a few tablespoons of Oyster sauce. When it looked like the veggies had soaked up some of that sauce, I added some pre-cooked basmati rice. Stir well and season with a little more salt and pepper. I added cumin as well, to bring a little smokiness to it.

When the rice is almost done, add a couple handfuls of fresh spinach and mix it in. This step should be done right before it hits the plate.

When it comes to the meatballs for this dish, it's really the last part of cooking that is the most important element this time around. Honestly, you can prep the meatballs anyway you like. I kept it pretty simple for the most part. I used ground beef and added Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, hot sauce and five spice powder.

I rounded the meat in to balls and placed them on a baking sheet. The went in to the oven at 375 for about 10-12 minutes.

Now it's time for that last, crucial element with the meatballs. Place some of the meatballs in to a hot pan and pour a little barbecue sauce in the pan. Cook the meatballs in the sauce until the sauce has reduced down a bit and each meatball is well coated.

This time around I used Korean barbecue sauce. For me, the best sauce to use for this is Hoison. The Hoison sauce will reduce and create a sticky, crunchy shell around each meatball. I didn't have any on hand, so I went with the Korean sauce.

From here, all you have to do is plate up.

I added a little cilantro at the end to make it all fancy. Did it work?

And there you have it. There really isn't too much to this dish. Half of it involved left-over rice, and the other half was fuckin' meatballs!

This is the kind of stuff that keeps me interested in cooking. Simple food that can make you smile and fill you up.

Oh yeah, it tasted pretty damn good!

I'm out.

September 4, 2013

Custard Pie

Welcome back to my little corner of the world wide web. What I have for you today is as simple as the name of the dish itself. Custard Pie. And that's exactly what this dessert is. Custard baked in a pie shell.

While the dessert itself is rather easy to prepare, there are a few little tips and tricks you can do to ensure that this dish is the best it can be. Before we get to that, lets start with the basics: The Recipe.

Honestly, there are so many recipes of this dessert online, I feel like I don't even need to post it. Most of the recipes I found were only different by the smallest variation, be it a few ounces of sugar or milk. But, I don't think it's fair to the reader to not know what I used to get the results I achieved. So, here it goes!

Custard Pie

1                    9 inch pie shell

2 1/4 cups     Milk
1/2                Vanilla bean, split and seeded

2                   Eggs
2                   Egg yolks
3/4 cup         Sugar
                     Freshly grated Nutmeg

If you don't have any fresh vanilla bean, you can add a couple teaspoons of good vanilla extract in place of the bean.

This first step is really for using the vanilla bean. If you don't have the bean, skip this step.

Start by slicing your vanilla bean in half and scraping out the seeds with your knife. Place the pod and seeds in a pot with the milk and bring it to a simmer. When you see the milk start to steam, turn the heat off. Stir for a second to mix the vanilla seeds around, then let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Doing this will create a stronger vanilla flavor.

Now it's time to pre-bake the pie shell. First, spray your pie tin with non-stick spray. I used a French tart shell because I like the appearance a little better. 

Once sprayed, Lay down your pie dough and make sure to press it in all the nooks and crannies. After you trim the edges, get a fork and punch a bunch of holes in the bottom to keep it from rising too much. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. You want it to be a light brown. Remember, it's going back in the oven later.

Now, the rules of baking say you need to weigh down the center with beans or pellets. I didn't do that because I was being lazy. When it came out of the oven, it did bubble in the center, but I just pushed it down with my hand while it was still hot. It turned out just fine.

With the shell done, it's time to make the filling. Crack your eggs and egg yolks and mix well. Stir in your sugar and mix until combined. 

Take out the vanilla pod from the milk and stir the milk into the egg mixture slowly. Once that is mixed, you are almost done.

Pour the mix into the cooked pie shell and bake.  I sprinkled fresh nutmeg over the top before baking, but this can be done after baking. 

Most recipes will call for you to bake this at 350. I baked mine at 325 to be on the safe side. 

After about 28 minutes or so, the pie was done. To check to see if it's done, give the tray a couple taps. It will jiggle slightly, but stop quickly. If it needs more time, it will jiggle, but look watery.

If you look at the picture above, you can see it's a bit wavy at the bottom of the pie. When I took it out, it had puffed up like a balloon  in that section. I don't know why it did that, but it didn't make much of a difference in the end.

After letting the pie cool and making some whipped cream, it was time to eat.

A little more fresh nutmeg on top and this baby was ready to go.

This thing tasted great! The nutmeg and vanilla shined through. The texture was creamy, while the pie crust was still crisp. Pre-baking the shell really helps.

As good as it was, the real treat didn't come until the next morning. I woke up and got a small slice to start my day. This pie tasted even better cold! 

Well, that's really about. I know this one might have seemed a tad long winded, but it's really easy to make. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Oh yeah, Custard Pie is also the name of a pretty good Led Zeppelin song.

I'm out.