My Return from Boston

Some of you may be wondering where I have been for the past 4 days. Well, I took a trip up to Boston (from Long Island). I love this city and now is one of the best times of year to go. However, I didn’t know the Boston Marathon was going to be going on. It turned out to be okay as it was only one day and it didn’t get in our way at all of having fun.

I will not bore you with all the details of the trip but I have to say I did have some pretty good food while I was there. The first location was a breakfast place we stopped at on our way to Salem. Salem is so cool in October. I will have to go back again but when it is a little less crowded. Before we got to Salem we stopped at a place called North Avenue Diner in Wakefield Massachusetts. There I asked our waitress what she recommended I eat. She said that the eggs benedict is her favorite. It just also happened to be the weekend special and since it was Saturday, it was perfect timing. It was like Karma.

The coffee came out first. This too was gooood so I asked what brand it was. As it turned out it was called, Boston coffee, who knew. I should have gotten some to bring home. Then, out came the eggs benedict and the eggs were pouched perfectly. This was so good. I could tell the chef was proud of his hollandaise sauce as he told me how he makes it from scratch. The diner has several different varieties of eggs benedict but I went with the traditional Canadian bacon. Sam had the corned beef hash and he loved every bite of it. Whereas Jennifer, just had eggs over medium with bacon and toast. It was all so very good and I would so like to go back there come December maybe.

The next restaurant stop was a chain that I had never been too before, this was a place called Restaurant 99. We ordered the typical chain type food. Not as exciting as being at the diner but it would do. I had sirloin steak tips and chicken. It was okay and Jennifer had French onion soup. Also good. Sam enjoyed his meal as well but for the life of me I can’t remember what he had. The service was good and the place was nice looking and clean. I like a nice clean restaurant. This restaurant was a nice surprise from the usual chain restaurant experiences that often make me feel ill after leaving.

Now I’m back in New York (hence the fire above last night) and I’m headed back to work today. We took the Port Jefferson ferry back and forth, which was great! I highly recommend it. Do not forget to try the coffee while you’re on board.  

Last night, after dinner, I made Jennifer and myself, two personal apple crisps (pictured below).  I will post this recipe as soon as I can. Tonight, I will be cooking something. I just do not know what yet.

After three days is Boston, Jennifer is in some major back pain. Its been the long car ride and walking around that has done her in. Not to mention, it has been a few weeks since she had any pain injections in her lower back.  She had a doctor appointment scheduled yesterday we came back too and another one scheduled for Thursday. She will be getting five more shots along her spine to ease the pain then. At least it helps her get some sleep for a couple of weeks. I am hoping for a long lasting solution to come fourth soon.  

Enjoy your day and enjoy your own lunch and keep an eye out for my apple crisp recipe!

The Drunken Chef (Russ) 

GERMAN POTATO DUMPLINGS

Riced Potato

Special Implements:

Ricer

INGREDIENTS:

3 POUNDS OF POATOES

3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER

1 1/2 CUPS CORN STARCH

3 EGGS

1 TSP SALT

1/2 TSP WHITE PEPPER

DIRECTIONS:

Cook 3 pounds of peeled potatoes until tender.

Cool to room temp.

Use ricer and rice potatoes. The cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day mix potatoes with the, corn starch, eggs, salt and pepper.

Using your hands. Form into roughly 2 inch balls. Place one ball in simmering chicken stock using a slotted spoon. If the first ball falls apart add more cornstarch. Make the rest of the potato stuff into balls and simmer in stock for 20 minutes. Turn off stock and let cool in stock for ten minutes, serve hot .

Red Cabbage, Sauerbraten and Potato Dumpling

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

Sauerbraten

INGREDIENTS

5 pound Pot Roast

2 lagre onoins

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup water

1 tablesppon salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tablesppon brown suagr

1 head of garlic

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

10 ginger snaps very finely crushed in a zip top bag for the gravy

DIRECTIONS

In a large zip lock bag, add the vinegar, water, whole garlic cloves, brown sugar, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Chop two large onions and add that to the bag. Add the meat, squeeze out most of the air and close it tight. Place the meat in the refrigerator. Marinate the meat for a least 5 days.

On the fifth day, place the meat in a Dutch oven. Then pour in the marinade over the top. Bake at 325 for 6 hours.

Gravy: Crush the gram crackers in a zip lock bag. I use a meat tenderizer, but a small pan works well too. On stove, stir the crushed gram crackers into the cooked marinate and meat juices. Heat the gravy up on medium high heat until the gravy simmers and thickens. the gravy should coat the back of a spoon. If necessary add more crunched cookies one at a time until the sauce it the perfect consistency .

Insta-Pot directions: Add the meat and marinate to insta-pot. Turn on to the stew setting. Set the time for two hours. Let it cool on the “Stay warm” setting one hour.

When you can open the lid without having to let out any steam remove the meat and make the gravy right in the insta-pot. I add the crushed cookies and stirred them in. Then turn on the pot to sauté and stir until it simmers. Done. Unplug and Serve.

Serve with red cabbage, potato dumplings and beer!

LUNCH

Some mornings the coffee just does not perk fast enough. I guess that’s why so many people prefer the Keurig. Its instantaneous coffee. I can no longer drink the coffee from it. To me the coffee from a Keurig taste likes it was made with instant coffee. I rather wait for a good pot coffee. I suppose too if you can’t wait for a pot of coffee to perk to might have trouble waiting 5 days for your sauerbraten to marinate. Yes, my meat has now been marinating 5 days and toady is the big day I get to cook it! I hope it turns out to be worth the wait.

I will share the sauerbraten recipe with you today at lunch. Having never made it before I may need to tweak it a bit, so I am waiting to taste it first before I send it to you, my dear readers. Remember the first rule of cookery: try it before you server it. That’s why I will post the recipe having eaten eat first.

Last night, I peeled, boiled and riced some potatoes. Today is also potato dumpling day. This is to go with the sauerbraten. I also went to the supermarket last night for a jar of pickled red cabbage. Who knew they would be out? They always had this red cabbage stuff when I didn’t need it. It is not as if it is that popular of a food item here in New York. They were out of a lot of stuff. What? Ugg. Apparently they are having a hard time getting deliveries. I will try another place on my way to work this morning. I do not love shopping at the crack of dawn or do I? Considering what I have been doing for this “cookbook hobby” of mine perhaps I am beginning to think I am masochistic. Nah! I just need that dam cup of coffee. Come on cook already!

So pictured below is the potatoes I made last night. It looks like rice right? I guess that what happens when you boil potatoes. Then you have to let them cool to room temperature and put it through a potato ricer (pictured below).

Well I’m to work. Enjoy your day and enjoy your own lunch!

The Drunken Chef (Russ) 

The Morning Ritual

Good morning. I started my morning by flipping my meat for sauerbraten and squeezing my bag of goo for friendship bread. Then making coffee. Some would say I’m living the dream and life doesn’t get much better!  I say I still could have used that $700 million dollar lottery ticket and do some real good.

Last night was salad and meatballs for Jennifer (pictured above). She ate the meatballs but not all the salad. I had leftover steak from the Carriage House Restaurant, a salad (I made) and roasted potatoes. I’m am sorry to say but I like my steak better but this was good.

After dinner I cleaned up and made Minestrone soup. This is lunch for the crew at work. I hope it tastes as good as it smells. I have not tried it yet. I can add salt or whatever at work if need be when I do finally taste it. I never usually serve a dish to a guest with out tasting it first…

Well I’m to work. Enjoy your day and enjoy your soup! The Drunken Chef (Russ)  

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup   

Serves 6 – 8

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS

Large Pot

INGREDIENTS

4 cups chicken broth (no sodium/salt)

4 cups tomato sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Large onion, chopped

2 large stalks chopped celery

2 large carrots, diced

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

1 cup canned kidney beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can green beans

2 cups baby spinach, rinsed

3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced

1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil

2 – 4 tsp Chicken Bouillon instead of salt (depending on taste)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup seashell pasta or Ditalini (the little round tubes)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, Italian Spice mix, chicken bouillon and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. For best results refrigerate overnight then reheat the portions needed.  

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.

Once pasta is cooked and soup is at a simmer (reheated if the next day) place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Drizzle on olive oil and serve with bread.

NOTES: Don’t forget the Salad and/or Saltine Crackers

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

This is my traditional chicken soup recipe. Made in a large stock pot over the stove. When its done you can always add Matzo ball or noodles or extra vegetables like bok choy. enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 pound whole chicken (remove neck and liver from cavity)

5 quarts water

½ tsp. dill

½ tsp. white pepper

¼ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. marjoram

1 Bay leaf

½ tsp. rosemary

½ tsp. Savory

2 medium onions (quartered)

2 large carrots (peeled and quartered)

1/2 pound baby carrots (diced)

1 large parsnip (peeled and diced)

2 celery stalks (quartered)

4 celery stalks (diced)

5 or more chicken bouillon cubes instead of salt to taste

1 tbsp. Fresh parsley (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:

Place the chicken in a large stock pot. Pour in 5 quarts of water and put on high heat. Add½ tsp. dill, ½ tsp. white pepper, ¼ tsp. thyme, ¼ tsp. marjoram, 1 bay leaf,

½ tsp. rosemary, ½ tsp. Savory, 2 medium onions (quartered), 2 large carrots (peeled and quartered), 2 celery stalks (quartered). Bring to a boil. Cover and turn to low and cook for 2 hours. Allow to cool for a few minutes and remove chicken to a platter. Pour broth through a large strainer removing all the solids and discard to garbage. Return broth to pot and add

1/2 pound baby carrots (diced), 4 celery stalks (diced), 1 large parsnip (peeled and diced)

1 tbsp. Fresh parsley (chopped). Return to a slow boil.

Cover chicken and allow to cool until you can safely handle it. When chicken is cool cut off breasts and save in a zip lock bag to make chicken salad.  Next carefully remove all the dark meat from the chicken discarding the skin bones and cartilage. Dice dark mean on a clean cutting board and return to soup. When the vegetables have softened add 5 or more chicken bouillon cubes and taste for saltiness. Add more if necessary. Serve HOT.

NOTES

The first thing I add to the soup is two or three and handfuls of fine egg noodles. Next I sometimes add Matzo balls.

Chicken Matzo Ball Soup

Good morning. I think this is still the morning. Its dark out so who knows. I made coffee and I flipped over my meat for the sauerbraten. So it a good start to the day.

Last night I stopped on the way home for bread. I came home with my loaf of bread and heated up meats balls and spaghetti. I ate and watched Jeopardy. Then I added 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk to my friendship bread starter. It still lives. Then I flipped over my meat for the sauerbraten and went to bed. Side note: I didn’t win the lottery of $700 Million dollars. It was someone in California. As the French say: say la vie.

On a positive note, yesterday’s lunch was Chicken Matzo Ball Soup. I cheated and used my insta-pot again. I also used 2 boxes of no salt chicken stock that was on sale for $1.99 each. To this, I added 3 whole chicken breasts (with the bone). To the stock, I added 1 Carrot diced, 1 Celery Stalk diced and 1 tsp Chicken bouillon (instead of salt). I turned on the pot and set it to broth. This is high pressure and 25 minutes of cooking time. I let it cool down for 30 minutes before opening it up. While is cooling I mixed up package of Matzo ball mix. The package is nothing more than matzo meal and baking soda ,but its all premeasured and packaged so I don’t have to worry about the matzo meal going stale. To that, I added ¼-cup vegetable oil and two eggs. Let it sit in the regenerator for the rest of the time (20 minutes) then added golf ball size pieces of dough to the soup along with a cup of fine noodles. I turned on the Sauté setting until the soup simmered. Then I hit cancel. I put on the lid to the the insta-pot and pressed the “keep warm” button. I let those balls cook like that for 35 minutes.   

When I finally tasted it, it seemed to have turned out perfect. Soft vegetables in a tasty and rich broth that complimented the light matzo balls and fine egg noodles. The true test is if Maryanne’s mother approves. Maryanne was going to bring some to her. This is comfort food at its best. The only thing missing was maybe a grilled cheese sandwich. Hmmm…maybe I can have any leftover soup with grilled sandwich today.

Well lets hope I can stay awake long enough to cook dinner tonight. Keep following along all week to see how this Sauerbraten thing turns out. Until tomorrow wishing you a happy and healthy hump day!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

The Sauerbraten Saga Begins

Good morning. It’s Tuesday October 5th 2021 and too early in the morning for me to be up but I am. I am still not sleeping well. I seem to wake up at 4:30am every day. Then I have to be up an hour later for work so I can’t fall back to sleep. Maybe when we turn the clocks back I will be able to fall back to sleep.  Enough about my problems. There is cooking to be done.

Last night I started the sauerbraten marinating. The beef (two small chuck pot roasts) is marinating in a vinery mixture of: 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, two onions, a tsp of black pepper and a whole head of garlic. I squeezed it all into a zip lock bag. (see picture above) This needs to marinate for five days so it will not be until Friday before we will see and taste the fruits of our efforts. I will also be making some side dishes. I will write more about that tomorrow. Rich, from my office, has requested applesauce to go with his. This seems to be a reasonable request so apple sauce for Richie it is.

I also made moms meatballs and sauce last night. I served them with spaghetti. Mine is the one that has parmesan cheese on it. It was yummy but I feel like I gained ten pounds. I miss my teenage metabolism. Lunch today will have to be low calorie soup and a salad.

That all for now good readers. Follow along this week and see how this Sauerbraten saga plays out. Until tomorrow wishing you a happy healthy Tuesday!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

The Monday Morning Bl-auh-s

Yes, it’s Monday and many of us probably have a case of the Monday morning blahs. I used to get them a lot more when I was younger and would rather be home then going to school however now that I am older I greet Monday in a new way. I see it now an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to brighten someone’s day. That is exactly what I will be doing today. Brightening three people’s day with a bag of goo called friendship bread. It also a selfish reason because it makes me feel good trying to make someone else happy.

Oher then that it will be your typical rainy Monday. One where I have to work as no one has hit the lottery, including me (sigh). Which brings me to the second thing I will be doing today. That is buying a lottery ticket or two. It is, after all advertised at $670 million dollars. Even if I wind up with half of that money in my pocket, I think I could retired from my current job and start that culinary school/restaurant! I might even get me one of those electric powdered cars from that Tesla Guy.

Oh! That Picture above. Dinner last night. No big whoop. Steak, salad, potato. (Boring – been there did that). Shhh don’t tell anyone but the Sauerbraten is coming…

Until tomorrow wishing you a happy healthy Monday!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)