Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parmesan-Herb Bread Pudding

I was flipping through the channels the other day and caught the opening sequence of Anne Burrell's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. In it, she described what she'd be making that day and her herbed bread pudding caught my eye. 

You see, I have been a bread pudding fan for many many years. Sweet or savory, I love 'em. Reading the recipe online brought to mind the sinfully delicious cheese souffle that my friend Paul makes from time to time.  I freaking love that souffle.

So, without further ado, here's my version of this rich deliciousness.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pantry Fish Cakes

Working in a grocery store has given me ample opportunity to muse on various food items, recipes and general merriment in the kitchen. In fact, a good 80% of my work day consists of me daydreaming about what I can make when I get home, my next day off, and/or when I wake up the next day. (I currently work overnights stocking the grocery shelves at the local Wal-Mart. Trust me, my brain is not at all required for anything more than making sure I don't eviscerate myself with a box cutter.)

This daydreaming, however, can get downright weird.

Case in point, recently I have asked myself, on multiple occasions, what WOULD one do with a can of salmon? I ask myself this for two reasons. One, I LOOOOOVE salmon. Two... I absolutely cannot afford salmon. Remember, I bought a meat package. Splurging on more protein at over twice the price just isn't fiscally wise. In fact, it's just dumb. So I daydream about salmon... cheap salmon.

Now, it was immediately apparent that my go-to "sear-on-stove, finish-in-oven" preparation for fresh salmon was inadequate for this particular variant of my favorite seafood. I'd need to think of something new.

In my multiple hours of musing on this particular topic (yeah... I get bored) I had a brief epiphany when I remembered this recipe that I bookmarked months ago when I was daydreaming about a future wherein I COULD afford fresh salmon.

Upon further reflection, I decided that the salmon in the can probably has a decidedly different texture from that of fresh salmon. I imagined the salmon in the can to be more like tuna in a can (as they are both canned fish, I believe this constitutes a wild intuitive leap). I still thought I could make something tasty, even though I'd be straying far from what most people would call a "burger".

And here we are, after several days of mentally writing and re-writing a recipe in my head, I hit on one final dilemma.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Country Style Pork Ribs Pastoral

First off, I want to apologize. I have been cooking quite a bit for the past month, but have neglected to post a thing. This is partially because I have been going back through and revisiting old recipes. This is primarily due to the fact that I have been too lazy to bother taking pictures. Sometimes video games leech all semblance of ambition from my soul.

Fortunately, my ambition was recently bolstered by the Friends & Family Market here in Ellsworth. This fantastic store is a combination gas station, corner store, produce market, deli and butcher. The butcher offers meat packages at a discount. For $30, I completely stocked my freezer with this...
I told my sister that it felt like Christmas in April, unwrapping all of these delightful packages.  Her response... "It's Meatmas."

Meatmas indeed.

In the lower left of the above picture there is 2.5 lbs sweet italian sausage. Along with that came:
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 lbs. boneless pork country spareribs
2 lbs. chuck stew beef
Some other options for this meat package were:
  • 2 lbs. london broil steak
  • 2 lbs. bottom round roast
  • 2 lbs. beef cube steak
  • 3 lbs. pork sirloin cutlets
  • 2 lbs. italian meatballs
  • 2 lbs. slab bacon
  • 5 lbs chicken thighs
And many many more. At various price points, you can pick 4 - 18 different selections from the list. As you can imagine, I'm already planning my next package... though I won't need one for another two months at least.

In homage to my mother, I separated and re-wrapped individual portions of everything to make "freezer shopping" all that much easier.
Of all of my selections, the only one I had never cooked before were the pork spareribs. Unfortunately, the internet falls woefully short on imaginative recipes for this particular cut of meat.