Tag Archives: beer

Spinach Salad with Shrimp Tempura

Serves 6

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS

INGREDIENTS

1 bag of baby spinach

1 head of romaine lettuce

2 – 3 packages of frozen shrimp tempura (12 shrimp)

1 bag of candied Pecans

1 cucumber (diced)

1 small can Mandarin oranges (chilled)

Mandarin Balsamic Vignette

DIRECTIONS

Begin by making the Balsamic Vignette. The recipe can be found by clicking the link above.

Wash and destem the spinach before placing it on 6 salad plates. Wash and coarsely chop 1 romaine lettuce heart. Place lettuce on spinach. Peel and deseed one large cucumber. Dice the cucumber and place on the salads. Sprinkle on some chopped candied pecans.

Fry the shrimp tempura. Cut it into thirds discarding the tail. Evenly distribute the shrimp on top of the 6 salads. Garnish with cold mandarin orange segments.  

Serve with Mandarin Balsamic Vignette on the side.

Wine: Chardonnay

Beer: Sam Adams Oktoberfest

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

Grilled Skirt Steak

Grilled Skirt Steak

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS

Barbeque

INGREDIENTS

Skirt Steak

Marinade I (Teriyaki) or Marinade II (Rose & Bills)

DIRECTIONS

If your butcher has already pealed and cleaned the skirt steak for you then all you have to do is add it to the marinade of your choice. Let it marinate overnight. Turn the meat over every four hours except while sleeping. If they have not taken the time to remove the fat and silver skin off the meat, you will have to do it yourself. The silver skin will make it extremely chewy and unpleasant to eat.

After the meat has marinated. Preheat the grill. Add skirt steak onto the hot grill and cook on high with the lid open and grill for one minute. Turn down the grill to medium. Cook 1 more minute. Turn steaks 90 degrees. Cook one minute. Flip. Turn heat to high. Cook one minute. Turn down grill again. Turn meat 90 degrees. Turn grill to low and cook two more minutes or until your beer or meat is done. Thin skirt steak will be well done. Fatter pieces will be medium and pink. Let the steaks rest only long enough to serve with grilled potatoes and beer.

Enjoy life, stay healthy, and enjoy Septemeberfest!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

GROCERY SHOPPING

Grocery shopping in the 21st century has not evolved into anything less time consuming since the Supermarket was first invented by Michael J. Cullen in 1930 in Jamaica Queens, New York. I started working for King Kullen supermarkets as a teenager and continued through my twenties. I watched as these family-owned stores grew in the eighties into mega-markets. This is the same time when big hair, big clothes, and big cars were the all the rage, as was the way the supermarkets were going. They now were turning into these huge mega-stores that included bakeries, seafood departments, floral shops along with the usual deli and meat departments all under one roof.

It’s true what they say: “bigger isn’t always better”. Parachute pants AKA “Hammer pants” are a fine example of this. King Kullen did add a bakery department inside their stores in the nineteen-eighties but it could not replace the wonderful Italian Bakery around the corner from my childhood home. The bakery was called Everbest bakery. If I remember their slogan correctly, it was “everything tastes better with butter” or was it “everything is baked with butter” or something like that. All I know is it was good and there were all kinds of the best tasting baked goods. These bakeries, even here in New York, are hard to find now but I seek them out for their excellent selection of fresh baked goods.

Supermarket bakeries are okay. However, they are not outstanding. After a short time, everything starts to tastes the same. The bread and rolls are not the same quality as the old-fashioned hard roll I ate when I was a child. The Italian bread in a supermarket bakery tastes exactly the same as its rolls. Don’t get me wrong, I still purchase these items for what they are and I have a use for them but to me there is nothing that can compare to walking into a family-owned bakery and taking a deep breath. Buying top quality food was always a top priority for my mother. Places like A & G bakery in Deer Park or Dolci Momenti Bakery in Patchogue reminds me of a simpler time when you weren’t overwhelmed by the enormity of a huge building but instead you can focus on your senses and that fine aroma of cinnamon buns fresh from the oven. To me it is one of those aromas of childhood. Like the smell of pine on Christmas morning coming from the tree. Now, due to allergies and other various reasons I own an artificial Christmas tree and burn a pine scented candle for effect. It’s just not the same. Once again I digress.

The Supermarket has always had its meat department. Now here in the 21st century the family-owned meat markets/butcher are all gone too. My mother shopped at a place called Spot Light. I went with her occasionally when school was out. The cashier was the butcher’s wife and she would give me a penny from the register to get a gumball. Holy shit! Who does THAT anymore? Can you imagine the cashier at Kroger’s giving some kid a buck for a pack of gum out of her cash register? For one, the mother would have a cow and scream: “Don’t give my kid that sugary treat you bitch”! Then it would be a whole big thing…I digress yet again. Today, I still go to a butcher. This new place I found has that old time wonderful smell I remember as a child. It’s just missing the saw dust on the floor. This butcher shop is mainly a restaurant supply wholesaler, but they allow local customers to come in a buy there meat. The place is called Mathews and it even has my favorite number 10 size can (32 ounces) of Italian plum tomatoes for Spaghetti Sauce.  This shop does have some great beef and chicken, but it has a lot more. Frozen seafood and some Greek gyro meat. Not to mention fresh eggs and other restaurant quality items.  Best of all is friendly service. They treat everyone just like you are one of the family!

It is still important today to purchase only good quality food items for your family and yourself. Shopping is an art or it can be. Some people are good at buying clothes and dressing nice. I tend to spend my energy on buying more groceries and eating well then looking like I do. Just like clothes, name brand stuff is usually better than the store brand but not always. Somethings like cheese are unique to the brand. An example of this is mozzarella cheese. I have tried many brands over the years but I prefer getting Polly-O brand when it’s on sale. I even freeze what I don’t use right away because it is what like to use on my chicken parmesan and baked ravioli so it is always good for me to have extra on hand.

Produce too has always been in the supermarket. At least as long as I can remember. Some supermarkets have better produce then others, but no one can beat the local farm stand for freshness and taste, and you are also supporting your local economy by buying fresh from the farm. Besides that, I have read that eating local produce is healthier for you in terms of cutting down your allergies. As you eat more local produce and honey, the local pollen is absorbed by your body and this helps you to withstand those heavy pollen days when the local flowers and trees are in bloom. This is not a bad thing. This of course is not truly a medical definition but you get the point I hope. Local produce is good for you.

I do enjoy being able to buy vegetables out-of-season in supermarkets. I rarely buy fruit this way, as it is usually is tasteless, although once in a while it is nice to have grapes with cheese in the middle of winter. Buying produce locally while it is in season can’t be beat. To this day I still cannot buy a single peach from any place other than the farm stands on the east end of Long Island or I find them mealy and dry. While I’m all the way out there I might as well get a bottle of wine or maybe a case. This whole fresh fruit thing is why I make apple pies in the fall when the fresh apples are in abundance. Peach pie is perfect at the end of summer and blueberry pie is baked in spring…etc etc.

Another thing supermarkets sell is cold cuts from their deli counter. Most of the time these are mass produced pieces of cured meat and were terrible coming from supermarkets. Even back in the eighties, much to my surprise was the fact that my favorite cold cut company, BoarsHead, is not found on sale everywhere across the country. I distinctly remember my mother having to go to yet another store just to by the cold cuts in the Boarshead brand we all enjoyed. Even when my Aunt Betty and Uncle Harry moved to Florida in the seventies they ask us to bring down cold cuts and bread with us whenever we visited. We never had the money to visit Florida from New York often but when we could, my mother always packed as much stuff as far as bread and cold cuts as we could carry on the plane. At the time no supermarkets carried the Boarshead Brand and not every deli has this brand or sold it in sufficient quantity to keep it fresh so you had to pick and choose where you went to get it. The second item at these local deli’s were there “homemade” salads. Particularly the potato salad, cold slaw, and macaroni salad.  I am always looking for ways to improve my own recipe for these salads to match the taste and flavor of the ones I grew up on in my local deli. If memory serves me and it usually does when it comes to food. These salads were always found to be the best in large German-owned delicatessens two or three towns away from where we lived. Yes, I too went there to buy cold cuts as soon as I was old enough to drive. Even our pickles came from a specialty store because we were just so dam fussy. That place is no longer in business and we all miss that Sterns family store terribly.  Now I know where I get it from! Uggg! I’m crazy!

Fish to me is also a summer season food. I don’t know why, but I guess it stems from when I went fishing here on Long Island or out to dinner by the water. We used to have the best calms and scallops around until we polluted the water in the Great South Bay. Now I have to get stuff from as far away as Maine or Alaska. I don’t even fish much anymore but I used to love it. My taste and pallet for fish has increased too, especially with the addition of Sushi. Sushi is one of those things I don’t make myself and leave that to the experts. I do really try and make more fish, but no one will eat it. Partially during the spring I like eating fish grilled. The fall however is a good time to try and fry it. So I think I need to make more Fish and Chips or fried flounder or even fried shrimp. I buy this all at a local fish store in Amityville. Something about a fish store being right down by the water makes them seem more authentic and fresh even though everything arrives by truck these days.

I think since I started writing this article I have lost track, I cant remember the total number of stores my mother used to travel to, to buy our weekly groceries. Even our beverages were not purchased at the local supermarket, which was call Food Fair back then. For that stuff she travelled to a place called the Beverage Barn two towns away in an opposite direction from anything else just because it has the best prices on beer and soda. They even helped load up her car because she was in her late fifties early sixties buying multiple heavy cases of bottled beer.

I am looking forward now to the fall months if only for its abundance of apples and Oktoberfest Beer of course. So go shop. Eat as local as much as you can and buy those name brand things you love when they are on sale. Don’t limit yourself to only shopping at the super-mega market, rather take some extra time to patronize your local shops, you’ll be happy you did!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

STUFFED Baked Potatoes (ala Barbecue)

Happy Thursday. Yesterday, I had hot dogs with my famous spicy onions. That’s a recipe that already here (just click the link above) but here is a new one.

This recipe can be done on the barbeque or in the oven. So it is versatile and yumerific!

Stuffed Baked Potato Recipe

        Serves 8

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS

Microwave

Barbeque or Oven

Cutting Board

Vegetable brush

INGREDIENTS

8 extra-large Russet Potatoes

2 pounds Bacon

1 large head of broccoli

16 ounces sour cream

8 ounces butter

Fresh chives

Olive Oil

Coarse Salt

Cheese sauce (click here for recipe)

DIRECTIONS

I selected my russet potatoes at the local farm stand from the loose pile sold by the pound.  Scrub the potatoes with a vegetable brush under cold water. Coat the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle on coarse ground salt (McCormick salt grinder). Pierce the potatoes in several places with a fork. I think this step helps to prevent the potatoes from “popping open” while they are cooking in the microwave. Place oil covered and forked potatoes in a microwave safe bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Poke a hole or two in the plastic to let some steam to escape. Microwave these suckers for five to fifteen minutes on high or until the potatoes just begins to give to the touch a little. Check the potatoes after each five-minute interval of cooking for doneness. My six pounds of potatoes took the full fifteen minutes.  Be careful both the bowl and the potatoes are hot! Remove from the microwave using oven mitts. CAREFULLY remove plastic wrap. This whole microwave step speeds up the cooking time of the potatoes so they cook faster. After the microwave, you can transfer the potatoes to a four hundred degree oven for thirty minutes or very hot barbeque. Be careful not to burn the potatoes on the grill. I turned the burners off that were directly under my potatoes and finished cooking them just as if they were being “baked” in an oven.

While the potatoes are “baking” it time to steam the broccoli. Wash the broccoli under cold water. Cut the stems away from the head of broccoli. Cut the head of the broccoli into bit size pieces. Place the broccoli florets into a microwave safe bowl. Add a ¼-cup of water to the bowl. Cover with a paper plate to keep steam in bowl or plastic wrap and cut slits in plastic to let some steam escape. When the potatoes are cooked, (thirty minutes have passed) begin cooking broccoli in the microwave high for six minutes.

Remove broccoli from the microwave using oven mitts. Carefully remove the plastic or take off the paper plate.

Carefully slice open each potato and place on a plate. Add one half tablespoon of butter to each half. Add the steaming hot broccoli then cover with shredded cheddar cheese. Add bacon, sour cream and chives to finish it.

Cheese sauce option: For true over indulgence, make a fancy ass cheese sauce, like the one shown on the potatoes above. Instead of grated cheese, cover the whole potato with cheese sauce at the end. Mmm. Yummy.

Serve this with your favorite wheat beer like Weihenstephan or a Blue Moon.

Enjoy life, stay healthy, and may everyone be kind to you.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

INSTA-POT PULLED PORK (CARNITAS)

Below is the recipe for pulled pork from an Insta-pot that I promised a while back. I use it for tacos, burritos or even nachos.

Carnitas Recipe

Serves 8

SPECIAL IMPLEMENTS

Insta-Pot

Chef’s Knife

Cutting Board

INGREDIENTS

SOFT TACOS

8 flour tortillas

1 large tomatoes diced

16 ounces cheddar cheese shredded

1 head lettuce (shredded)

1 jar taco sauce or Cholula hot sauce or both

Pitted and sliced black olives (optional)

Guacamole or sour cream (optional)

PULLED PORK

2 Loins of Pork

1 small can of chili peppers (pictured below)

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 container of low sodium beef broth

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp Garlic powder

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black pepper

4 tablespoons Olive oil.

DIRECTIONS

PULLED PORK:

Cut the meat into large pieces. Season by sprinkling with onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper. Let the seasoned meat marinate for a minimum of two hours in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

In a 6-quart or larger Insta-Pot add just two tablespoons of olive oil. Turn on the insta-pot to Sauté and brown the meat in two or three batches. Return all the meat back into the pot. Add an onion that has been peeled and quartered to the pot. Add three cloves of whole garlic. Pour in enough beef broth to almost cover the meat.  

Cover and Cook for one hour on the “stew” setting. Move the meat without the cooking liquid to a bowl. It should fall apart easily. Use meat for tacos, burritos or nachos.

SOFT TACOS or BURRITOS:

Add cheese to a flour tortilla, add meat on top, and add guacamole and/or sour cream. Pour on the sauce of your choice (Cholula hot sauce or taco). Top with shredded lettuce and diced tomato. This also goes well with grilled red bell peppers and onion instead of the lettuce and tomato. 

NACHOS

Fill a platter with chips. Add grated cheddar cheese on top and melt in oven or microwave. Top with meat, guacamole, sour cream, sliced black olives; or add hot refried beans and jalapeno peppers for an additional extraordinary culinary experience.

This can be paired with a nice old vine red zinfandel or an Icey Cold Modelo Beer.

Enjoy life, stay healthy, and may everyone be kind to you. 

The Drunken Chef (Russ)