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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Italian Feast - Recipes Follow




I always look forward to this particular gathering. A great time to see my wife's side of the family, and a great time to enjoy a feast. I usually start thinking about the holiday meal pretty much the day after the previous holiday meal, but in this case, my final decision came a week before it. After the 2008 Holiday Feast, I thought Moroccan might be the choice meal, but then after the year went by, there was just something about Italian that sounded right. I also think watching Under the Tuscan Sun recently had something to do with it!

Anyway, I made a menu...kind of like you see some musicians do a set list the night before a show. It helps me think through the flow of my dishes...when I need to get something in the oven, or when something will be done. I also use it as a reminder for shopping, to make sure I have everything I need. Nothing special, but here it is:









Here's the recipe rundown...

Stuffed Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Prosciutto, Basil and Fontina: I don't know what it is about this dish, but I dream about it often. I imagine this tender, explosively tasty dish oozing with textures and aroma. In my dreams, it's a breast, but I ended up going with thighs. Fact is, I didn't want to risk a dry, gummy mouthful of monotone meat. Boneless, skinless thighs won me over.

Take 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Marinate at least 2 hours in orange juice, 5-8 cloves of garlic, chopped onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Before cooking, let the thighs come out to room temperature for at least 3o minutes, and shake dry before cooking.

Heat skillet with a bit of oil, and brown both sides of thigh (1-3 minutes per side). immediately stuff with a slice of prosciutto, basil, and a slice of fontina, mozarella or other cheese. Fold over and close with a toothpick. Set flat in a baking dish (slightly oiled first). Continue for each one and put them in a single layer. When they're all in the dish, douse a little white wine, salt, and pepper on them and put them in a 400 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.

Lamb Ragu: This all came together because I had a dream about Oso Buco...maybe it was prophetic, because this ragu was amazing!! But, with 7-9 people, I didn't have time, the proper dish, or inclination to make oso buco. But, I did happen to have some lamb shanks on hand.

3-4 lamb shanks, salted and peppered. Heat a bit of oil in large oven-proof pot or dutch oven. Brown lamb on both sides (3-4 minutes per side). Remove. Add a bit more oil and 1 chopped onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then add 4 carrots chopped and 2 celery stocks chopped. Fry additional 3-4 minutes. Add 5 cloves garlic sent through a press, fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drop in 1 diced vine-ripe tomato. Add 2 bay leaves. Stir and mix well. Add 1/2 small can good chicken broth. I prefer Swansons. Set lamb on top, and pour in red wine to cover - I used a good Pinot, but I'm sure whatever you have on hand will work. Bring to a boil, then put in a 325 degree oven for 2.5 - 3 hours. Remove from oven, pull meat from bones and flake meat into mix, stirring up nicely. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep on stove on low heat until ready to use.

This sauce will work well on a pasta (probably something like rigatoni), but I had some crisp bread on hand for a side.


Vine-Ripe Tomatoes Stuffed with Orzo, Panchetta and Mushrooms: You must have ripe, vine-ripe tomatoes for this. Don't use those beefstake or whatever they are. This is a savory, sweet side that blasts texture and earthy, natural flavors.

Cut out 1-2" circle around top and core out center with small spoon. I keep the liquid and seeds, but discard the hard internal parts. Cook orzo according to instructions and set aside. Cook chopped crimini mushrooms with white wine, salt, pepper and butter - maybe 5-6 minutes. Set in a bowl. Cook up chopped panchetta, add to bowl. Fry up chopped onion with olive oil and pepper. Add to bowl. Add your tomato inards to the bowl, shave some Asiago cheese into the bowl, and chop some fresh basil as well. Add a little more salt and pepper. Now stir in some orzo, a little at a time, until you have a nice mixture. Spoon it into your tomatoes. Set the tomatoes into a greased baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for at least 50 minutes.

Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic Olive Oil, Parmesan and Capers: With so many hot dishes, I knew we needed something cooler to balance it all out. It hit me pretty quick - it needed to be angel hair, and something that could be room temperature, not exactly cold. Why? Because that's what I thought of...no other reason.

Heat 1/2 olive oil on low heat with 6-8 sliced garlic cloves. You're working on infusing the garlic into the oil, not frying it. Meanwhile, cook your pasta to al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again, and place in large serving bowl. Add garlic-oil and mix well. Add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano into it and mix. Meanwhile, soak some capers in balsamic vinaigrette, and mix those in as well. Top with fresh basil and chopped vine-ripe tomato.

Pan-Fried Mahi Mahi with Brown Butter Garlic Sauce: It's always nice to have some seafood in a full-blown meal like this. I decided on Mahi Mahi, because it has a nice texture, absorbs flavor well, and could be cooked in a small pan.

Take a large mahi mahi steak and slice it down the middle (from end to end). Generously salt, pepper, and add dried basil and marjoram...also some garlic powder. Heat a bit of butter in a small pan until foaming, and add fish. Fry on all sides...maybe 3 minutes first side, then 2, 2, and 2. Depends on how thick your pieces are. You want a nice brown crust. Remove fish to serving plate. Add more butter and reduce heat to medium. Brown the butter to a nice color and aroma without burning it. Add 3 minced cloves of garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add small grip of chopped parsley and fry a few seconds. Stir well and pour over fish. Squeeze lemon over it all.





Grilled Fennel and Portabello Mushrooms: Pour olive oil in your hands and work it into the fennel and mushrooms. Salt and pepper generously. Add to medium-hot grill for about 14 minutes per side (careful not to burn). Remove, slice and serve.

I had some other things on the side, but don't really remember. We ate too much and talked too much. You also need a good wine or two. I popped a great Bordeaux.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sugar Donuts



I've found that Chinese bakeries have great desserts that don't feel like you're eating 10,000 calories per bite. I can't be sure, but these just seem healthier than your average donut.

Sugar Donuts:

1 1/2 Cup flour
1 Cup water
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
4 Tsp sugar
vegetable oil

Boil water and salt, add flour and stir until smooth. Remove to mixer and add eggs, mixing constantly until you have a heavy batter. Take a greased spoon and drop 1" ball-sized balls into medium-high heated oil about 1" deep. Turn often, browning on all sides until they expand about 3 times their size. Remove to a plate of sugar and roll to cover.

Ah yeah!

~ Brock

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Galbi (Korean Beef Short Ribs)







This is a classic in my house. I make them often enough and my friends request them almost as much as my crepes. I almost always buy mine at 99 Ranch Market, but occasionally, they have decent ones at Stater Bros...yes, I'm a Stater Bros shopper...laugh all you want, but I'm also from Barstow and the two go hand-in-hand. The fact that you probably wouldn't expect a Stater Bros shopper to eat or make Korean food is also strange, considering the fact that they (SB) only changed their "Oriental" section to "International" in the past couple of years...a little behind the times, don't you think? But that's certainly not me, as you well know.

Galbi:

3 pounds beef short ribs
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sesame oil
8-12 cloves garlic, minced
2 bundles green onion, chopped
1 onion, liquified in a processor
2 Tsp chopped fresh ginger
salt
pepper

Mix your marinade, then marinade the ribs for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3. Grill outside, because these suckers will smoke and smell up your house! Top with toasted sesame seeds and eat with Kimchi and rice. Don't be shy.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)



While I was writing this post, I noticed there are many, many different spellings for this dish - Murg, Murgh, Merg, Makhani, Makhni, and others...I'll just go with Murgh Makhani, but sorry if I'm wrong. And, if you think the number of spellings is problematic, think about the number of recipes for this...they're all different. I'm going with simplistic, because if you find something that's good and can be made with fewer ingredients, why not? If it's false, don't do it, but if you can be real, try it once in a while.

Murgh Makhani:

2 pounds boneless chicken (I used frozen chicken breast tenders from Costco or Trader Joes)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tsp garam masala (you can buy this at many International supermarkets or find it online)
2 Tsp fresh cut ginger
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 Serrano chili, diced
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced


Prepare a marinade a few hours before: salt and pepper the chicken, then add 2 Tsp garam masala and 1 cup yogurt. Mix well, and let marinade in the fridge for about 2-3 hours.

Get your sauce going: Fry up the onion in some vegetable oil for about 5-7 minutes. Add ginger and Serrano the last minute or so. Remove to a bowl. Fry up garlic for 30 seconds, then add broth and bring to boil. Add tomato paste. Lower heat to simmer, add cream and spices and 1/2 stick butter. Stir frequently on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Use a hand blender or remove to blender, blend and pour back in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Get your chicken going the last 7 minutes.

When you're ready, thread the chicken onto skewers and BBQ it 7-9 minutes, turning frequently.

Add chicken to sauce and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Turn off heat and add 1/2 stick butter or slightly less if you don't like that much butter. Stir to melt, then serve with Basmati rice, some chutney and other sides if you're inclined.

For my side, I experimented with yams, masala and chicken broth. I baked the yams, then skinned and put them in a small pot - mashed them and added hot chicken broth and masala spices to taste and texture.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Monday, September 28, 2009

Artisanal Pizzas




I've seen the pictures; I've tasted the goods. You can't just continue buying CPK and hoping to enjoy your evening. If you really want a good pizza, make it yourself. But yeah, yeah, I know you don't want to deal with the dough. Trader Joes offers you a simple solution - cold pizza dough ready for use. You no longer have an excuse for the best pizza money can buy...your own.

So the other night Tammy and I wanted to make some. It's a simple breakdown, but here's what we used:

shrimp (salt & pepper)
feta cheese
red onion
pesto
crushed red peppers
olives
cherry, plumb or other small tomatoes
Artichoke hearts

Of course, you can always build your own with whatever you want, but I think the key to making it unique, tasty and worth the effort is to avoid the things you would normally do when you go out.

~ Brock

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Braised Short Ribs with Gruyere Potatoes and Fava Beans with Criminis & White Truffle Oil



This was a dangerous combination; the entree for a small gathering. Jason made these amazing clams as a first course and I wasn't sure if I could follow it.

Braised some beef short ribs. 3 hours in the oven and they were falling off the bone. I concocted a red wine braise because I was nervous to try a soy-bourbon the first time with guests. Jason walks in while I'm blending the sauce in-pan with a wand (as opposed to straining & reducing it). His look was like, "what are you doing!?" Now I see what's up. Anyway, it came out great and I popped out a quick gremolata to top it. I sided it with fava beans and Crimini mushrooms and a Gruyere mash.

Braise Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine:

3 pounds beef short ribs. Try to get the English cut and have your butcher slice them across the bones.
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups beef broth
2 cups red wine- choose a good, robust wine (I used a Barolo in this one)
2 bay leaf
2 Tsp dried thyme
2 Tsp dried rosemary
2 Tsp tomato paste
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 325. Salt and pepper your beef, then glug some olive oil in a oven-proof pot and brown on all sides...about 7 minutes. Remove from pot to a bowl and do the rest (you want only a single layer at a time). Remove all to the bowl.

Add some more olive oil and fry the onion for a couple minutes. Add the carrot and celery and fry for a minute or two. Add broth and wine. Add meat, tomato paste and spices, bring to a boil, then remove to oven for 3-4 hours.

Remove beef to a bowl and do 1 or two things: 1) remove solids through a strainer and return thinned sauce back to pot; or 2) use a hand blender to create a heavy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce for about 10 minutes. If your sauce is too thin, add a few pinches of flour. Plate your beef and cover with sauce.

Gremolata:

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tsp lemon juice
bread crumbs from 1 slice French bread

Chop parsley, and process bread until crumbs. Add everything in a small bowl and stir.

Fava Beans and Crimini Mushrooms:

1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled
12 Crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tsp white wine
cayene pepper
salt
pepper
White Truffle Oil

Boil fava beans for 5 minutes in salted water. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add mushrooms and fry for 5-7 minutes. Add beans and continue to fry, then add wine and fry until evaporated. Spice and remove. Drizzle with White Truffle Oil.

I've given recipes for mashed potatoes before, so check it out and add Gruyere.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Does the Google Book Search Deal Violate the Constitution?

It's interesting to me that courts, lawmakers, and the rest of the world have been so impacted by the lawlessness of the Internet. Sure, you're average Joe thinks he can do whatever he wants online, because it's a free-for-all. Lawyers have been noted many times as acting the same way. But the Register of Copyrights suggests that the Courts are taking constitutional authority granted exclusively to the Congress and exercising it unlawfully. Case in point - the Google book deal.

What I find most interesting about this article is the fact that people (including courts) seem to have a fear of the uncertainty of our intellectual property future, particularly when it comes to Google. "If we give Google some unlawful legroom, maybe they'll pave the way for us to know what we're doing." Yes, Google may be very forward-thinking, but they're not the only ones. Regardless, courts have an obligation to apply the law as-is. Congress has the obligation to create new law. If the courts find that existing law just doesn't work, it's not their job to create new law.

As in many cases, I agree with Ms. Peters.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ten Ren...Again


I've had boba drinks all over the world. True, the best I've had was boba milk tea in a plastic bag in Taiwan, but as far as the States go, Ten Ren is my choice. But, you can't think that all Ten Ren places are created equal - they're not!

If you must get the absolute best tea from the absolute best location, you must visit the location in Rowland Heights on Colima Road. The location on Fullerton Road immediately off the 60 Freeway is somewhat easier to find and they also have a full restaurant (the Coliman Road location only does snacks and drinks), but they don't make the drinks as well. You might get too sweet or too watered down. It's really inconsistent. The LA Chinatown location is pretty nasty. The Riverside location - haven't been there in years, but I think I recall it was decent.

When you visit the Colima Road location check for Andy, Jerry, or Max. They hit home runs every time. In fact, Jerry created a special drink that I only know as "Jerry's Special" - it's a coffee milk tea with black sugar. Don't tell Jerry I said this, but Max recently made it better than Jerry, so I've secretly changed the name to "Max's Special." The rest of the gang in there is really good, but if the person behind the counter looks timid to make you're drink, you're gambling with your life.

I suggest:
Passion Fruit Green Tea
Mango Kumquat Green Tea
Boba Milk Tea
Boba Green Milk Tea
"Jerry's Special" or "Max's Special" (tell them Brock sent you)

As for snacks, try the toast.

~ Brock

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Mole Burritos




I'll be honest with you...I've never even seen a recipe for Mole. But, I've had it a few times and have a sense for what's in it. Sure, this might not be considered true mole, so just call it "Brock's Mole" or "Spicy Chocolate Chicken" or, as Tristen asked, "Is that poop? Chicken." Regardless, it was finger lickin' good.

Prepare:

1 pound boneless chicken, cubed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 brown onion, chopped
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 Tsp sugar
3 Tsp Pasilla pepper powder
Salt
pepper
olive oil
1 Cup wine
2/3 small can Swanson's chicken broth
2 bay leaf
2 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp clove, ground
1 small box raisins (about 2-3 Tsp)

Get it crackin':

Pan fry the chicken cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper, until browned on all sides. Pour into bowl aside. Add more olive oil to pan and fry garlic for 30 seconds. Add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to boil, then reduce to medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add broth and everything else. Bring to a boil again, then reduce to medium-low for about 30 minutes. Pour contents into blender or processor (or use a wand if your pan is deep enough) and blend into a smooth sauce. Pour back into pan on medium heat and add chicken and 1 bar of 67%+ dark chocolate. Simmer on low for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

I also felt like a little cilantro-sour cream sauce to top it off, so here it goes:

1/2 Cup sour cream
2-3 Tsp white wine vinegar
small handful of cilantro

Blender it.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Stew with Israeli Couscous



It's my soft spot for foods from that neck of the woods.

Moroccan Chicken & Apricot Stew:

3 - 5 chicken breasts, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
20 - 40 dried apricots, chopped
1 small can diced tomatoes
2 small cans of chicken broth
2 - 4 TSP spices**
Olive oil
1-3 bay leaves

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a couple glugs of oil in heavy casserole. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Remove to bowl. Add chicken to pot and brown 5 minutes. Add garlic and toss 1 minute. Pour onions and juices back in pot. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add spice. Stir occasionally and simmer for about 1 hour or more.

**I've experimented with varieties of this spice mixture and you can too. Here's what I did this time (I'm using ratios instead of amounts...I prefer plenty of spice, but others don't. Use at your discretion):


1 dry-toasted cumin
1 dry-toasted coriander seed
1 garlic powder
1 1/2 paprika
1 cinnamon
1/2 tumeric
1/2 salt
1/2 pepper
1 sugar

Grind into a fine powder and use.

For the Israeli Couscous, I used a Trader Joe's Brand and followed the instructions to cook. I added it to my stew - amazing touch.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sherry Mushroom Sauce for Chicken Scallopines




This sauce would rock on a steak as well, but I was craving chicken and that's that. Follow my recipes for steak or chicken and make this sauce.

Sherry Mushroom Sauce

10 - 15 Portabella, Crimini or Shitake mushrooms**
1 Cup dry sherry
1 Cup mushroom water or chicken brother***
7 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt
pepper

**If using dried mushrooms, you'll need to soak them in warm water for 30 minutes - save the water to use.
***Use the mushroom water from your dried mushrooms, otherwise use broth

heat oil. Add mushrooms and cook 5 - 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup sherry, let bubble up, then add 1/2 cup water/broth. Stir frequently on medium-high heat until liquid absorbs. Add remaining 1/2 cup sherry, let bubble up and the rest of your water/broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and reduce liquid slightly.

Pour over chicken or steak.

~ Brock

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jerk Chicken Wraps with Banana Rice and Biting Kiwi Sauce




My honeymoon in Jamaica was my first exposure to Jerk Chicken. Endless legs and thighs expanded my own to the tune of 5 or 10 pounds in a week. Twelve years later, I'm revisiting the classic with a twist of my own (albeit in slightly healthier portions).

Unlike typical jerk chicken cooked over fire, I wanted to pan fry. This was purely a matter of convenience, because it's over 100 degrees outside and I don't feel like sweating. With my base figured out, I wanted to mix it up a bit with some healthy and tasty accompaniments. I immediately thought of mango rice, but used my mangoes the night before and only had bananas on hand. Not a problem, though I figured I'd need to counter the dry taste of bananas and rice with something like milk, cream or butter. It was coming together nicely.

But, it was starting to sound pretty heavy. That's when I thought of a lettuce wrap. Keep portions smaller, focus on the melding of flavors, and so on. Here it goes.

Jerk Chicken

I had the urge for a dry rub, knowing I was using moist chicken thighs and have had great success with them on the pan fry. The rub is this (1 is in Tsp):

1 - dried thyme
1 - onion powder
1 - garlic powder
1 - onion flakes
2 - sugar
1 - cinnamon
1 - allspice
1/2 - cayenne pepper
1/4 - salt
1/4 - cracked pepper

Mortar and pestle into a fine powder and rub that into your chicken. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Heat 1 glug of olive oil in pan on smoking hot and fry on one side 4 minutes. Flip and fry on high for another 4 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly, and chop into thick chunks.

Biting Kiwi Sauce

5 Kiwis, skinned, chopped and mashed in a large bowl
Add juice from 1 lemon
Add 1 Tsp rice vinegar
Add 1 Tsp ponzu sauce
Add 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Stir and mash, repeat. Set in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Banana Rice

1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 banana
3 - 4 Tsp sugar
1/4 C cream

put rice in pot and add water. Chop banana and stir in. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 - 40 minutes (depending on your rice type). When it's ready, remove lid, add cream and sugar and stir to warm cream.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shitake Rissotto Rocks


Jason Hagen makes me dream about food. A recurring dream is a Risotto he talks about...I don't think I've ever had his, and I've never made my own, but Sunday night was the night and it all went very well.

First off, I got a pot going and a pan going. Here's the low down...


Broth-

About 6 or 8 cups of chicken broth. After trying many brands and reading up in various places, I've settled on Swansons as being the chicken broth of choice. To the broth, I added some tarragon, chopped onion, shitake mushrooms and shallots. Simmer on low heat while you prepare everything else.

Risotto-

Get a nice wad of butter in your pan on medium heat and drop in 1 chopped onion. Fry up for about 7 minutes, then pour off into a bowl. Add some additional butter and about 10 chopped Shitake mushrooms. Fry up for about the same amount of time. Make sure the mushrooms release their water, then fry up. I also gave my mushrooms a nice shot of cracked pepper on this stage. Pour that off into your bowl with the onions.

Add more butter and drop in about 2 cups of rice. Arborio rice is the rice of choice for Risotto, but I had none on hand, so I went with short grain. Stir it up for about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup white wine and stir it up for another 4 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Now pour some broth through a strainer into your rice...maybe 3 or 4 cups. Stir that well. Let it cook up for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and watching for the rice to absorb the liquid.

I think mine took a bit longer than your normal risotto - possibly my rice choice. Anyway, I continued to add broth in 1/2 - 3/4 cup increments about every 2 or 3 minutes, always through the strainer. I added my mushrooms and onion mixture about the last 10 minutes. Taste it often, because you'll find al dente when you find al dente.

When you're there, off the heat and stir in another wad of butter. Finely grate parmesan cheese into the stir to make a creamy mixture.

Give it a shot and enjoy!

~ Brock

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peruvian / Argentian Sauce for Steak


In Argentinian cooking, it's called Chimichurri. My neighbor is from Argentina, and I've had it many times with Argentinian BBQ. It's an amazing sauce, but I wanted to try a variation that used less liquid, more garlic, and possibly a cross-over with the Peruvian green sauce known as Aji Verde (I mean of the consistency, not of the taste).

Anyway, this is excellent with steak.

1 bunch parsley
8 cloves garlic
a little white vinegar
a little water
salt

Blend or process until liquid. Keep in mind that this sauce will start to separate into a frothy top if you don't use it right away, so use it right away and well mixed.

Here's a use on my flank steak.










~ Brock

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quick and Healthy Chinese Stir Fry

My mom used to make stir fry when I was growing up, and it was always a welcome excuse to eat vegetables. To be honest, I can't say that there's much that's really Chinese about this other than the fact that it uses some technique from Chinese cooking and has Oyster Sauce in it. Just like Panda Express isn't really Chinese food, neither is this, but that's what I'll call it.



Dice chicken and marinate in 1 part soy sauce, 1 part Chinese cooking wine, a dash of powdered ginger, and a bit of sugar.

Chop some vegetables. As you can see, I used carrots, celery, and Edamame beans. Have those ready in one bowl, and chop up a few cloves of garlic in another small bowl.

In a small cup, mix some oyster sauce with some water and corn starch. Stir very well.

Heat a wok or pan to smoking hot with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil. Fry up your vegetables until cooked, but still crisp. Remove to bowl.

Return heat to smoking hot and fry up chicken until cooked through. Drop in your garlic and continue to fry for another minute. Add all your vegetables and continue to fry for one more minute. Spread a hole in the center of your pan and pour the contents of your cup into the center, stirring rapidly. Let it bubble first, then stir everything in the pan to coat. Remove and serve.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is interesting for many reasons, but the primaries are that it's amazingly simple, good and versatile. It originated in Spain and can be made so many ways. I've even seen a recipe for White Almond Gazpacho. I think people are used to seeing it with thick chunks of tomato and cucumber, but that didn't sound appetizing to me. How I made it is how I wanted it, so if you don't like it, don't try it.


1.5 pounds vine-ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, skinned, seeds removed
1/2 red bellpepper
7 cloves garlic
2 handfulls of the inside of French bread (i.e., no crust), soaked in water and slightly squeezed of liquid
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
A few solid glugs of good olive oil
salt
pepper

Chop everything course and throw it in a processor. You might need to work in two batches, because you don't want the liquid shooting out the top! Process it until it's as smooth as you can get. If you study recipes, you find some that have you peel the tomatoes before they get processed - that's your call. I prefer the taste that comes from skins left on, and the cheesecloth deals with the solids left over. I also have a good feeling (though I haven't confirmed this yet), that if you roasted the tomatoes, red bell pepper, and garlic first, this would be even more amazing. Let me know if you try that on.

Lay out cheesecloth across small colander, and pour a batch into the cheesecloth. Strain this over a large bowl, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Work with as many batches as you need until you have only liquid in the bowl. Meanwhile, get a large cup of ice water going and stir it into the liquid, to taste. You might need to adjust the vinegar, salt and pepper at this point also.

Stick it in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with 1/2 cucumber skinned and chopped. Some like to add ice into their soup - I don't.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Monday, August 10, 2009

Salmon, Shrimp & Artichoke Heart Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce

A fairly simple, yet flavorful pasta dish. This one takes a few pans, or it takes one pan and a few turns (plus two pots). I'm still not the greatest fan of pasta, but sometimes I crave it. When I do, I don't want just spaghetti...I need to make something unique. I find that pasta lends to extreme creativity and flexibility. You can do hot or cold pastas, all different shapes and sizes, baked, boiled and/or steamed...there are just so many alternatives, it's a hard base ingredient to ignore.

Anyway, I wanted salmon and shrimp, and needed a vegetable. I had some canned artichoke hearts on hand. Here's what you do:

Chunk your salmon and season it liberally with your favorite spices. For mine, I wanted an Italian-styled blackened spice mixture - salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, basil and oregano. Work it in with olive oil and set aside. Next, spice up your shrimp the same way or a different way - don't rely on me to hold your hand. Experiment...try something different.

Heat up a skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil until smoking and fry the artichoke hearts for 3-4 minutes until browned on sides (release the liquid BEFORE you cook them). Set aside. Add a little olive oil and fry the shrimp. Opaque doesn't mean sold white...if you're not sure, take a risk and eat it before you think it's done (though if you get sick, it's your fault for not being prudent - I am a lawyer, afterall). Set those aside. Wipe your pan out and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry your salmon chunks - a couple minutes per side - don't burn and don't overcook. It's okay for the salmon to have a slight translucent appearance internally. Set aside.

Sauce:

Boil 1/2 Cup white wine, 5-7 slivers of lemon peel, and juice from one lemon in a small pot. Reduce by about 1/2, then add 1 Cup chicken stock and some fresh basil. Boil, then reduce to about half the amount. When you're pasta is ready (NOT before), you'll add a couple of pats of butter with the heat off, stirring to mix.

Pasta:

Cook pasta according to instructions. I used angel hair pasta. Meanwhile heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry about 5 cloves of garlic, chopped. Add cooked and drained pasta and mix well. Add salmon, shrimp and artichoke hearts, being careful not too make a shoddy mess of the whole thing.

Serve into a pasta dish and top with fresh minced basil and crushed red peppers. Spoon over some lemon butter sauce.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Gorgonzola Burger with Spicy Roasted Tomato-Mango Salsa




You ever have those days when you must have a burger. I've needed one for weeks, but haven't got around to it. Then a friend told me about a 50/50 he experienced at a local restaurant (50% beef/50% bacon) and it sent me over the edge.

The patty:

Take a slab of ground beef and spice it up heavily with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic. Cover your hands with olive oil and work the spices into the meat. Have a few tablespoons of whole milk handy (have it handy before your hands have raw meat on them, you nasty man or woman), and incorporate that into the meat.

I know many people prefer to make a paste with milk and white bread, but I didn't really notice a major difference when I've tried that. It's your call...try it both ways and see which you like.

Once you've worked up the meat, form a thin patty and sprinkle gorgonzola on the middle of it. Form a pouch and then a ball, then work that puppy down into a new, thick patty. Put it on a plastic or wax paper sheet until you're ready to slap it on the grill...you'll be happy you did. Meanwhile, heat the grill to Death Valley hot.

Spicy Roasted Tomato-Mango Salsa:

5 vine rippened tomatoes with tops cut off
1-2 jalapeno peppers, tops off, seeds out and halved length-wise

Put all this in a broiler very close to heat and let em roast until you start getting charred marks. Turn it all after about 10 minutes and char some more. Maybe 20 minutes total. Remove straight into a processor.

Chop up 1 red onion and fry it in a super hot dry pan, along with 4 whole cloves of garlic. You'll see some smoke, but just breathe it in. Drop that mixture into the processor also.

Chop up a whole mango and drop it into the processor. Then add salt, pepper, 2 glugs of olive oil.

Wipe out your dry pan and add 1 tablespoon of whole cumin and the same amount of whole coriander. Dry roast them, then grind it all into a powder...add it into the processor.

Process this spicy goodness into a smooth salsa, then package it up for the fridge...it needs to cool and blend for at least 1 hour before use. The longer the better.

Back to the grill:

It's on high and you're ready with your burger...slap it on there. Lay a strip or two of bacon across the top, close the lid and let the fire work magic. Check it back in about 5 minutes and flip it, putting your bacon on the other side now. This will impart a nice taste and moisture, but you don't need to eat that bacon if you don't want. Let the burger cook another 5-7 minutes on that side and it's done.

Top your burger with your favorite condiments. Be careful, because the gorgonzola creates these little pockets of super-hot oil that can spray your face and burn you. Handle with care.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A & J Rocks Irvine

I'm easing into a series on restaurants. Today is as good a day as any, so I'll start with A & J restaurant in Irvine. This is authentic Taiwanese food (yes, I've been - Taiwan and A&J) and it's dirt cheap. There are plenty of good write-ups on Yelp and I'd agree with most of them.

It's not the cleanest looking place, but you can't beat the food. As noted, the spicy beef noodle soup is bomb. Other items of note: pan fried dumplings, sour & spicy noodles (or wontons), tofu with peanuts, spicy hot cucumber, pan fried meat bun, green onion pancake, fried pork chop, and, of course, anything on the breakfast menu.

They're located South of the 5 freeway on Jeffrey Road. Across the street is 99 Ranch Market and a bank, so spend the day.

Brock

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Curried Steak Salad with Candied Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Fuji Apples




Sometimes you just want something quick and fresh. Yeah, yeah, your first thought being, "but steak doesn't sound quick or fresh." It is, though...or at least, it can be. Particularly when you couple it with a cold salad. Here's a good rendition, although there are 50 ways you could change it up.

Steak:

I prefer flank steak. It's low-fat, very adaptable, and works well with a salad. I usually buy a large pack at Costco and cut it up into strips about 4" - 5" wide (just individually wrap, then bag and freeze the pieces you won't use immediately). Seasoning on this one I'll give in ratios, since I don't know whether you're using one piece, 2 pieces or whatever of steak. The key is to really spice it up. It seems like so many people are scared to use a lot of spice...go ahead and get down with your bad self, you'll appreciate the effort.
1 1/2 - curry powder
1 - cumin
1 - coriander
1/2 - pepper
1/4 - salt
1 - garlic
1 - paprika (I used Hungarian sweet, but you can do smoked as well)
Grind all this in a spice mill and slather it on your steak. Let the steak sit on the counter for about 1 hour before you cook it. I've found that this is a key to cooking good steak of any type - letting the temp raise before you cook. Turn your grill on high and sear for 4 minutes, then flip and sear another 4 - 5 (medium rare). Remove, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Candied Walnuts:

1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
1/4 Cup sugar
2 pads butter

Melt and stir on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir often and don't let burn. Cool on a tray and stir/shake often.

Salad:

Romaine lettuce, sliced
Fuji Apple, skinned, sliced
Gorgonzola (I buy a small tub at Trader Joes), crumbled over
Shake walnuts over the top
Top with a few slices of steak

As for dressing, I really like Girard's Champagne Dressing, but you can pretty much use your favorite or make your own.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Rumble: LA

Don't miss our monthly LA installment of The Rumble. 3 of Clubs in Hollywood at 9PM Thursday. It's gonna sizzle.

Future Sounds releases 33rd compilation - Future Sounds 33

We've had so much going on, it's been hard to even catch a breath. But, our latest compilation - Future Sounds 33 - hit iTunes yesterday and we're stoked about it. So get into your iTunes store, search for Future Sounds, and you'll see it!

Future Sounds Rolls out WOXY iPhone App

Sorry it's been a while, but I've been busy. A lot of things in a lot of areas.

First off, it's the announcement of our new iPhone App!! Of course we're all excited that our radio station, WOXY, is now available on your mobile. Here's what Bryan, our Program Director, has to say about the new app.

So visit the iTunes store and search for it. WOXY!!

Brock

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wild Bill's Beignets

This was an amazing find while I was in Nashville. My wife happened to be walking by and first saw them...she got me one and I had to go back and buy a few more.

Beignets are apparently French Donuts. I've heard they're popular in New Orleans. Funny thing is we found them in some kind of Harley store called Wild Bill's.

I'm not sure what the connection is between Harleys and Beignets, but I really don't care. They were good.

If you're in Nashville, stop by Broadway and 5th and look for Wild Bill's- Beignets and Harley parts. It's a show stopper.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crisped Chicken on Moroccan-Style Lemon and Onion





I've said it before- I love Moroccan food. I love the intersection of sweet and savory, and Moroccan cuisine excels at it. If you're scared to experiment, this is an entry level dish. The chicken is pretty basic and mildly flavored. It's the Lemon and Onion that gives it the kick.

Crisped Chicken:

4 chicken tenders, lightly salted and peppered
Ample corn starch, turn the chicken in it to coat

Fry the morsels until browned and cooked throughout- maybe 4 minutes. Set aside under tented foil, or cook these at the same time you make your Lemon and Onions.

Moroccan-Style Lemon and Onions:

Cut off large and lengthy chunks of 1 lemon peel
slice 1 onion

Add 2 glugs olive oil to pan and heat. Add onions and fry for 2 minutes. Add lemon peel and fry additional 2 minutes. Add 1/2 white wine. Boil, then lower heat to moderate. Add a few whole coriander seeds. Add 3-4 Tbsp of honey. Lower heat and cook until syrupy.

Add this to chicken and enjoy it!

~ Brock

Morocan Chick Pea and Shallot Soup





I'm a sucker for Moroccan food. It's brilliant, flavorful and downright interesting. Of course, this is an experiment in taste and texture, and I'm not sure that this soup really exists in Morocco. Nevertheless, it should. It's earthy and natural.

Moroccan Chick Pea & Shallot Soup:

1 large shallot, course chopped
1 Can chick peas (garbanzo beans); drained and washed
1 organic tomato, chopped
Handful of baby carrots, chopped large
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground toasted cumin (toast your own)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 whole cloves garlic, minced
Salt
Pepper
Chicken Broth
Olive Oil

Heat a glug or two of olive oil in a pot. Add shallots and fry for 2 minutes. Add tomato and stir for 1 minute. Add chick peas and carrots. Add chicken broth to cover (about 4-6 cups). Add spices, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.

Nice with some meat.

~ Brock

Monday, April 27, 2009

Herb Salmon Cakes With Horseradish Tartar Sauce





These bad boys are tasty! I got the idea after seeing a picture of crab cakes on the cover of some magazine. You'll love the moist interior balanced against the crispy exterior.

Herb Salmon Cakes:

Prepare Herb Mixture; set aside.

In a processor, turn about 3-4 slices of thick country/french bread into crumbs. Save 1 cup, and pour the rest into a baking dish or other rimmed dish.

Chop 2 salmon filets (no skin) into large chunks about 2x2. Drop those into a processor and pulse a couple of times. Need to have small chunks- NOT paste!!

Drop the fish and 1 cup bread crumbs into a mixing bowl. Add 1-2 Tbsp Herb Mixture. Scramble 1 egg and pour it into your mixing bowl. Wash your hands, then mix it all by hand. Form a few cakes of about 2-3" in diameter. Set those into the crumbs in your baking dish and coat all sides. Set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil to medium heat. Fry each salmon cake about 4-6 minutes, caring not to burn and turning frequently. Top with lemon and parsley. Eat with Horseradish Tartar Sauce (below).

Horseradish Tartar Sauce:

1/2 Cup Miracle Whip
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1-2 Tbsp horseradish
1/2 finely chopped pickle. Mix well and chill.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Herb Seasoning




This worked with my Salmon Cakes, but would also go well on corn, in mashed potatoes or a bunch of other things.

Herb Seasoning:

3 part dried Oregano
2 part thyme
2 part Tarragon
1 part ginger
1 part garlic
1 part black pepper
pinch of sea salt

Now I used everything dried, but you can just as easily use fresh on the herbs, ginger and garlic. Experiment with proportion, but you'll love it.

~ Brock

Monday, April 6, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Rumble LA - April 2


Fresh off the SxSW heat, Future Sounds brings you The Rumble in LA on April 2. It's going to be a good one, so if you haven't come out before, let this be your first.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shrimp & Turnip Rounds with Hoisin-Sake Sauce




Percentage-wise, few people use variety in the kitchen. Most people, I think, believe variety somehow takes longer- costs more- is too much work. For me, I think variety often comes from what you already have on hand. The cupboards, the freezer, the shelves. For this one, I wanted to use turnips as my base ingredient. Sweet, yet bitter- they're interesting. But I didn't want them alone, so...

Peel and cube (1/4") 2 small turnips, pan fry for about 5-7 minutes, until nicely browned and soft
pan fry 4 or 5 shrimp with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and butter- cool and dice (1/4")
Cook a handful of edamame according to instructions, cool, separate beans, discard shells
[here's what I did - 2 dates, chopped- the result was horrible. The tasted blended well, but not the texture. Maybe if I let the dates rest in warm water for 20 minutes, or something, but that's up to you.]
[here's what I should have done - 2 strips of bacon, cooked crisp, then chopped. The salt would add a nice variety, and the texture would have been amazing in this simple dish.]

Stack it all. Layers are attractive, but you could also put everything in a bowl, and mix. I used a biscuit cutter to mold this one.

Then I figured I needed a sauce. Since I added edamame, I figured something Asian-influenced would pair well.

1/4 Cup sake, add to small pot, bring to quick boil, then lowest heat setting.
Add 1-2 TSP hoisin sauce, stir quickly- don't let it burn or settle on the bottom of the pot.

Heat this, stirring constantly, for maybe 2 minutes, then drizzle over your vegetables.

In this picture, you also see a blood orange vinaigrette over pan fired crispy chicken. I'll let you know about that one in a different post.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Blood Orange Vinaigrette (over pan fired crispy chicken)

In my earliest post for Shrimp & Turnip Rounds with Hoisin-Sake Sauce, you saw a picture of a red vinaigrette over chicken. That's this one here...

Juice of 1/2 a blood orange
2-3 TSP white wine vinegar
1 TSP deli mustard
1/4 Cup olive oil

Mix well, and drizzle over whatever.

Pan Fired Crispy Chicken:

4 boneless chicken strips- salt and pepper them well.
Dump some cornstarch over the chicken, and press it into both sides to cover. Shake off the excess.
Heat 2 TSP vegetable oil in a pan, then fry the chicken a few minutes on each side.

~ Brock

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sweet Profiteroles (dessert puffs)




This is based on the Choux (pronounced "shoe") from France.

These are a fairly quick and fun dessert. I had my 4 year old son in the kitchen with me, helping me pour and mix ingredients. The best part is making them with your favorite toppings or filings. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Here's what you need:

1 Cup water
1 Cup flour
3 Tsp butter - cubed
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs

Put the water, salt, and butter in a saucepan and warm to a simmer- no boiling. Then add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon quickly and constantly until a ball forms. By this point, it shouldn't stick and should look sort of translucent. Maybe takes 1 - 2 minutes doing this part.

Remove from heat.

Drop the ball into a mixer (or into a mixing bowl so you can use a hand mixer). Cool it for about 4 minutes, then one-by-one add the eggs, mixing constantly. At first, it will look lumpy and eggy. After a few minutes, it will turn into a thicker paste. Make sure you keep mixing until you passed the lumpy stage.

Use parchment paper on cookies sheets. Dollop heaping tablespoons of paste onto it about a few inches apart. If the paste starts to run or deflate, it's not mixed enough.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove and cool. Slice open and add your favorite inserts- pudding, cool whip, ice cream, etc. You can also sprinkle powdered sugar, melted chocolate, strawberries, or other things over the top.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pan Fired Flank Steak with Red Pepper Aioli and Red Onion Gremolata




I wasn't sure about an aioli on a steak, but I saw a picture on a magazine and thought, "why not?" Plus, I'm a big fan of red meat. Didn't feel like firing up the grill, which left the pan - iron skillet, that is. Thought about finishing in the oven, but come on, don't you love the smoke of a pan fired steak? Now you can't live by meat alone (particularly when you're married), so I needed at least one vegetable. Had recently acquired some rutabegas, so there you go.

Now if you follow me, you know I like a lot of small accompaniments. I was sort of craving a pesto- maybe tarragon, but didn't have any. I did have fresh spinach. I also had some almonds. It was all coming together. I pictured it in my mind, but I needed something to top with the pesto- why not potatoes? Mashed, of course. Maybe sounds strange, but potatoes -- pasta -- potatoes...close enough. Plus, what's the point of only eating what you know. You'll never know anything if you don't try everything.

Pan fired flank steak:

bring 2 pieces of flank steak to room temperature. Sprinkle with ample salt, pepper and garlic powder. Put some olive oil on your hands and work in the oil and spices into both sides of the steaks. Let them sit until you're ready.

Heat an iron skillet to high- almost smoking. Drop your steaks in. Leave for maybe 4 minutes, then flip and leave for another 3 minutes (rare-ish). Remove and lay on cutting board, tent foil and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Then slice thinly.

Pepper Aioli:

1/4 mayo
1 TBS crushed red pepper
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt to taste
4 cloves garlic- minced or through a press

Mix all ingredients well. If it's too thick, just add a bit more oil and/or vinegar (experiment with the taste to check your prefences). Top a glob on your sliced steak.

Red Onion Gremolata:

1/2 red onion, minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 TSB lemon juice

Mix well. Top on your steak.

Rutabegas with Leek and White Wine:

Peel and chop your rutabegas into 1/2 inch cubes
slice the white part of 1 leek
1/8 C white wine
salt
pepper
1 TSP butter

In a large ramekin, put everything except the butter and mix well. Place in oven on 400 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring occassionaly.

Meanwhile, place 1 TSP oil in pan and heat to medium high. Remove ramekin from oven and pour everything into pan and fry until coloration is nice and rutabegas are soft. Divide onto plates and top with sea salt.

Spinach Pesto:

1 C fresh Spinach
small handful of toasted almonds
2 glugs olive oil
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
Salt
4 garlic cloves

In a processor, add spinach, almonds, salt and garlic, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Remove from processor to bowl. Add cheese and stir until mixed. Top off on mashed potatoes or even your steak.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes:

2 russet potatoes, pealed and cubed
1/2 C whipping cream
2 TSP butter
2 glugs olive oil
salt
pepper
2 TSP horseradish

Boil enough water for the potatoes, and boil them for 15 minutes. Drain, then return to dry pot.

Add all ingredients and mash together until you reach nirvana.

This is a pretty simple meal, so make it quick and enjoy!

~ Brock

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Broiled Japanese Salmon on Endive with Honey-kumquat Vinaigrette


Healthy and quick. This meal can be on the table in about 15 minutes. I love fish, and salmon is a staple in my house. My fishmonger is 30 minutes away, so I often have to rely on something frozen. I've grown to like Costco's frozen bagged fish- salmon and Mahi-Mahi. I've ventured into their frozen shrimp as well (taking me away from Trader Joe's frozen shrimp, which has been pretty bad lately). Anyway, dealing with frozen salmon is almost as easy as fresh- just run some cool water over for a few minutes, then let it rest to warm up. It's usually ready to go within 30 minutes, because the filets aren't too thick.

Take two salmon filets. Cut them into 1 1/2" cubes. Toss them with soy sauce, brown sugar, sake, sesame oil, ginger, salt and pepper. Place on foil in broiler for maybe 10 minutes. Play it by ear- your broiler might be different than mine.

Lay out your endive. Maybe slice some onions too. White or red would go best.

Honey-Kumquat Vinaigrette-

2 TSP honey
2 TSP kumquat juice
A splash of sake
1 tsp sugar
1/4 olive oil
salt
pepper

Mix well.

Top your greens with the fish and onions. Add some chopped green onions in here too if you like - they'd go well with it. Drizzle your vinaigrette over it all. Top with toasted sesame seeds and maybe some black pepper.

~ Brock

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lamb Ciabatta Sandwich with Mint-Horseradish Aioli

I hear it a lot..."I just want something easy," or "it doesn't have to be anything too fancy." What's the difference? Does it take less time to boil a hotdog than it does to make a lamb sandwhich? Nope. Sorry, haters.

Start with a small cut of lamb...something that looks like a ribeye or t-bone. Who cares which one- just pick one. It will be good anyway. Get beyond the instructions and take a chance. Douse it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh minced garlic, and bring it to the counter for at least 1 hour before cooking. Then take your iron skillet and get that thing smoking (literally) on high. Slaughter the lamb on one side for maybe 4 minutes, then flip it to the other side for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. This will be about what you see in my pic. Your kitchen will be full of smoke- maybe even the whole house. Open some windows and chill. When it's done, remove it to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Slice for your sandwich- thick or thin, you choose.

While that's all going down, slather some olive oil and pepper on your ciabatta and toast it. When it's done, open the oven door and move the bread near the opening. Lay some slices of brie on those bad boys and let it soften, while remaining in the warmth of the oven.

You'll need some arugala, crumbled blue, feta, or gorganzola cheese, pepperchinis, and olive oil and pepper. Add those to your liking.

Assemble your sandwhich - might want to add some red onions in there too.

Why not add a spicy aioli? 1 egg yolk, about 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 TSP white wine vinegar, 1 TSP lemon juice, 1 TSP horseradish, 2 TSP chopped fresh mint, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill for a bit. Drizzle the stuff over everything.

I think you'll like it. If not, freeze it and give it to me when you see me.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Friday, March 6, 2009

Licensing versus Distribution: Why the Eminem Case Matters

Maybe you followed it, but probably not. You saw "Eminem" and thought, "oh, the great white hope!" Ha! Or you thought, "who cares about him anyway?" Either way, he wasn't even directly involved in the lawsuit touted as Eminem's suit for millions! The case was brought by Eminem's former publishing companies (at least according to a detnews.com report). The question was whether digital downloads constitute a purchase or a license. If they are a purchase, then it's the same thing as a CD sale and the royalty is a distribution royalty. If it's a license, then the royalty is much higher- usually 50%. Big difference when you're talking millions of downloads, but a difference of roughly $1.78 when you're talking about your average artist.

The court sided with Universal and said the the digital download is a distribution- a purchase, and not a license. A win for the labels.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hints of Italy and Greece


You can always make a quick gourmet meal with just a handful of ingredients. For what you see here, the main items are white beans (the white bean dip towards the top left), garbanzo beans (the hummus you see towards the center), cucumbers, red onions, feta cheese, and pitas. This is a vegetarian take in this picture, but most of the time I some type of kabob or something like that.

White Bean Dip

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tsp water
juice from 1/2 lemon
1-2 glugs olive oil
salt
pepper
paprika

mash the ingredients together and leave some chunks. Sprinkle some paprika and olive oil over the top.

Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 C tahini (sesame seed paste)
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice from 1/2 lemon
1-2 glugs olive oil
salt
pepper

Everything in a processor. If it's too thick add a bit of water. You might want to experiment with the tahini and lemon juice to find the right taste for you.

Enjoy!

~Brock

The Rumble LA Brings a Fitz


It don't stop

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pan Seared Chicken with Spicy-Crispy Onions and Tokay Shallot Mustard Sauce




Tammy was craving a chicken dish I made last year and could never re-create...for some reason, I just forgot what I did. I figured a better dish would smooth things over. My starting point was knowing I wanted a pan seared chicken. I sometimes like to use those "tenders"...the small pieces of breast that maintain moisture a bit better than a full breast. They're also very versatile across many recipes.

I built up from there.

We both love onions, but didn't feel like caramelized or raw. I also just wanted an onion as an accent item, not as a full component.

Then the sauce...I'm big on sauces and I love to incorporate different liquors. Since the last sauce I made had rum or wine, I think, I pulled out a Tokay. I know it's on the sweet side, and knowing I'd be using onions, I decided I needed some spice to sway the sweetness...a tokay mustard sauce. But tokay and mustard alone lack that earthy component, so I decided to incorporate shallots.

Here it does, yo:

Pan Seared Chicken:

4 ckicken breast tenders
salt
pepper
paprika
dried basil
dried garlic
1 egg white
corn starch

use the first 5 ingredients to form a nice coating. Let them sit on the chicken for a few minutes, then dredge in the egg white, the roll in corn starch to cover.

Heat up 2 TSP oil and fry both sides until golden brown...maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

Spicy-Crispy Onions:

1 onion
corn starch
baking soda
1 TSP crushed red pepper
salt
pepper

Slice onions and put them in a bowl. Salt and pepper, then add red pepper. Add about 1 TSP corn starch, and a sprinkle of baking soda. Add 1 tsp egg white and stir it all well.

Fry with 1 TSP oil on medium-high heat until crispy. Remove and set aside for later use.

Shallot Tokay Mustard Sauce:

1/4 C Tokay
1/4 C whipping cream
salt
pepper
1 large shallot, sliced
1 tsp deli mustard

Fry up shallots in 1 TSP oil for about 2 minutes. Add Tokay and let boil about 30 seconds. Add whipping cream and let boil about 30 more seconds. Drop in mustard, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Lay out your chicken, top with some crispy onions, then spoon some sauce over the top.

Rock and roll, baby!

~ Brock

Friday, February 6, 2009

Spicy Garlic Linguine with Artichoke Hearts and Spinach




You know, I'm on the fence when it comes to pasta. On the one hand, it irritates me that it's one of those things that people love to talk about. They brag, and I hate to hear bragging. On the other hand, it's versatile, you can make so many dishes with so many types of pasta, and it's generally pretty damn good. The other thing is that pasta dishes are usually pretty quick to make, and that's important. So, here's a quick one for you. Feels light, not too many ingredients necessary, and pops with flavor.

Enough linguine for two people, cook according to instructions. Meanwhile...

6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 handful of fresh spinach, washed
6 artichoke hearts from the can, drained and sliced
1/4 olive oil

Heat olive oil to medium-hot. Add shallots and garlic. Cook a minute or two, then add crushed red pepper, for about 1 minute. Add artichoke hearts for 1 minute, then add drained cooked pasta, and toss in spinach. Flip up heat to high and toss well. Split between your bowls and enjoy.

~ Brock

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tropical Feast

I really regret not having my camera handy on this one, because if a picture speaks a thousand words, I wouldn't need to say much. But, I'm out of luck, so here goes...

It all started with a detour to 99 Ranch Market to pick up some groceries. I saw Golden Kiwis and the mental feast was instantly born. It had to center around fruit and steak...those were my rules. I also wanted it semi-healthy...it just sounded better in my head that way. I'm gonna throw down the recipes, then lay out the use.

Grilled Pineapple Steak:

1 lb skirt or flank steak
2 handfuls of crushed pineapple, with juices (don't use canned- cut off some slices from a pineapple and squeeze them in your hand over the steak)
salt
pepper
5 cloves of minced garlic
2 glogs of olive oil

Rub the oil into the steak. Salt and pepper generously. Sprinkle the garlic over both sides and work it in with your fingers. Work in the crushed pineapple and juices. Let it stand for about 1 hour outside of the fridge.

Throw on a hot grill for 3 minutes per side. Let it sit for 10 minutes after you cook it, then slice it against the grain into 1 inch x 1/4 inch strips. Set aside.

Golden Kiwi Spiced Dip:

6 golden kiwis- skinned and minced
2 Tsb minced red onion
1 Tsp sliced red pepper (hot, not bell)
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt pepper.

Mix everything and store in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Papaya Salsa:

1 Hawaiian papaya, chopped (yes, you skin and seed it first)
1 vine ripe tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
salt
pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix well and store in the fridge at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Fried Banana Rolls:

1 package egg roll wrappers
6 or 7 large bananas, chopped
4 Tsp sugar, mixed with 1 Tsp cinnamon

lay out an egg roll wrapper, fill it with bananas, then top with your sugar mixture. Roll according to the pictures on the back of the package (that's for you rule followers). Set aside.

Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil to medium-hot. Fry the rolls until golden brown on all sides, set aside.

Sides:

1 head of red leaf lettuce, washed and whole leaves ready to use

1 large pineapple, cut into spears. Grill or eat cold

Feasting:

Make a lettuce wrap with the lettuce, some steak, and some of the kiwi dip and some of the papaya salsa. Dip your banana rolls in the kiwi dip. Stack some steak on a pineapple spear. You can even drop your face in a big bowl of everything...it's your call.

Enjoy!

~ Brock

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Copyright Royalty Judges Release Details on Royalties

If you need a nice 2 hour read on the inner workings of royalty proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Judges, read this.

In sum, it gives you a description of the history, the respective parties' positions on the subject, then the logic in establishing rates. If you're a musician, songwriter, or otherwise interested in the industry, give yourself a crash course and read up.

Brock

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bloggers Beware - Another Lawsuit Storm is Brewing

I have serious doubts this case will make it very far (particularly since there's apparently a cross-complaint against the plaintiff alleging the identical wrongful conduct), but you should still watch it. In substance, when bloggers, news sites, etc., use headlines and leaders from third party sites as their own link points, it's now being called Copyright Infringement. Now if that ain't a crock...

First, I think it's fair use.

Second, I think it's inconsistent with the entire news-linking-web system of practice.

Third, it doesn't displace traffic to the underlying sites, it pushes traffic to those sites.

Fourth, simply because the linking party generates revenue from this business model doesn't mean it's wrong.

Fifth, I seriously doubt that the company filing the lawsuit has never done what they're complaining about.

Sixty, they will lose this case if it goes to trial.

Keep watch, my people.

~ Brock

Obama Exempts YouTube from Collecting Data

Apparently there's a long-standing rule that the federal government can't collect e-data on people that visit the Whitehouse (or other federal agency) website. Obama's team made a teeny-weeny exception...YouTube (owned by Google) CAN collect data (via cookies) relating to videos used all over the Whitehouse site. That's a pretty interesting little kickback, isn't it?

Among contractual lawyers, we tend to use "directly or indirectly" language as a means to avoid a primary party saying, "I didn't do it," when they allow someone else to do whatever it is they're not supposed to do. So the federal government can't collect data, but it can let someone else- Google- do it. Hmmmmmm. Here's a quote from CNET:

While the White House might not be tracking visitors, the Google-owned video sharing site is free to use persistent cookies to track the browsing behavior of millions of visitors to Obama's home in cyberspace.
Now I don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty powerful and important exemption. So on a purely objective level, I think it's pretty fishy.

But- and that's a HUGE BUT (ha ha)- I'm also a firm believer that our government should be at the cutting edge of technology usage, not years behind (as was recently reported). I doubt this little exemption directly relates to that goal, particularly since this isn't about a technical limitation. In the end, Obama so far is pushing the technology envelope in the Office and I hope he continues to do so.

~ Brock

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cognac-Currant Cream Sauce


It's York's birthday, so I thought I'd bake him...I mean, Tammy wanted to bake him...a nice cake using some fresh currants I bought from Trader Joes and some Hennessy I have in the vault.

First, the chocolate cake. Because of timing, I needed to make a quick cake...something I could make with the ingredients on hand. I had a Pillsbury box of dark chocolate cake (which is great on its own), and chose that as my base.

My focus was on the sauce. Using currants as my focal point, I did the following:

1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup whipping cream
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 fresh currants
2 tsp cognac

I place everything in a small pot and heat on low for about 15 minutes. Then, I mass some of the berries with a wooden spoon...some whole, some crushed. Then I bring to a medium-high boil for 4 minutes (without stirring) and remove from heat.

Here is a quick shot of the sauce after I used some...a lot of the berries left because I strained most of the sauce into a baster and on top:



Once the cake is cooled, I used a turkey baster and infused some strained sauce throughout the cake. Then I drizzled sauce over the top, and spooned berries (from the sauce) about the top. Shake some powder sugar over it all and viola!

Enjoy yourself.

~ Brock