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Mad Man’s Brilliance

20 Dec

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I introduced you to the culinary stylings of my brother’s mad scientist compadre (whom we are calling MM) with this purple pie.

Twas’ unfair, really, as I should have started with his AMAZING cranberry concoctions. He made both sweet and savory cranberry sauces, the former saving my not-sweet-enough-and-underspiced-because-my-brother-doesn’t-properly-stock-his-kitchen pumpkin pie when I got the brilliant idea to use it as a pie topping, the latter receiving raves from all carnivores on hand.

I’m thinking a New Year’s resolution will be to not use so many run-on sentences.

And to not resort to terse monosyllabic sarcasm instead.

Elegantly crafted sentences of the proper coherent length!

Someday.

The sauces! MM gave me his estimation of what he did. A mad scientist never make notes while cooking, they just maniacally stir cauldrons and cackle. Or so I like to imagine MM doing in chilly Chicago where the cold seeps into the brains of its residents and leads them to such kitchen shenanigans.

Back in LA I made scaled down renditions of the sauces, even the bacon one! Litelife makes surprisingly tasty smoky tempeh strips called Fakin’ Bacon. MM is a renegade chef so I figured I should follow in his spirit and not be tied down to what he had done.
Here be my tempeh-bacon version:

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Sip a Sazerac while making these.
I did.

Actually I made two different Sazerac recipes, from which I plan to concoct my ideal Saz and post it later. But you see the first two versions hanging out behind the bacon sauce.

Never thought “bacon sauce” would be words blogged here.

And good golly!

Apparently I like not only absinthe, but bourbon. Trouble’s a brewing!

Bourbon, berries, and bacon, baby.

MM’s Orange-Whiskey Cranberries, my adaptations (because I didn’t have enough cranberries and booze) in parenthesis

1 1/2 bags of cranberries (I had only two cups)
Juice of two oranges (I used one)
Zest of one orange (1/2 an orange)
About 4 shots of bourbon (4 Tbsp. of Jameson)
1 1/2 c. Brown sugar (1/2 c. Brown, 1/4 of white)
1 tsp. cinnamon (1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
Put everything in a pan, add H2O to a bit below the cranberry line. Bring to boil then reduce and thicken to taste. Add salt to taste. Gets thicker as it cools so leave it a wee bit soupy, says me. If you made a pumpkin pie that wasn’t sweet enough too, use this as a topping!

MM’s Bacon Cranberries

8 slices of bacon (3 slices “Fakin’ Bacon-LiteLife’s smoky tempeh bacon strips)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped (1/3 c. Chopped yellow onion)
Garlic (I used 1/2 tsp. chopped)
1 chopped Granny Smith apple (1/3 c. Chopped Fuji apple)
1.5 bags cranberries (2 c.)
Water to come up 1 inch below cranberries
1 1/2 c. Sugar (1/2 cup)
Chili powder (1 tsp.)
Sriracha (2 tsp.)
A bouquet garni of black peppercorn, rosemary and bay leaf (A grind or so of black pepper, a pinch of dried rosemary, bay leaf)
Salt to taste
If using bacon, render the fat, chop bacon and set bacon aside. Use the fat to cook onion, garlic and apple. If not using bacon, chop the Fakin’ and set it aside. Spray pot with a nonstick spray before sautéing onion, garlic and apple. Add cranberries, water, sugar, Sriracha, chili powder, bouquet garni or black pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf (and if you are using the Fakin’ add it now) and reduce. If using regular bacon add once it cools, add salt if you like. Don’t forget to take out the bouquet garni, or bay leaf if using the dried herbs.

#veganGatsby

7 Aug


Oh, it is my clever hash marks to indicate a hash recipe. Clever, clever.
I do love it when literature and food collide. I was re-reading The Great Gatsby(yes I am a nerd, I also re-read A Tale of Two Cities every few years), and came to the line “A succulent hash arrived, and Mr. Wolfsheim, forgetting the more sentimental atmosphere of the old Metropole, began to eat with ferocious delicacy”. I’d already written a draft of this blog on my vegan hash when I came to this line, and it seemed like a sign that I was writing the right blog. Ok, not really a sign. Just a cool coincidence that gave me reason to add quote from F Scott Fitzgerald.
I doubt Mr. Wolfsheim’s 1920′s New York hash even remotely resembled the vegan one I made.
I posted a couple of recipes for egg hashes(and probably have one more coming!) so I decided it was time for a vegan friendly hash. Also, I love tempeh. Deeply. Almost as deeply as I love Mark Bittman. Tempeh Hash recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian? Food-gasm time! That cookbook is to me what the Kama Sutra is to…I dunno, people who like sex. Which ought to be everyone.
Ok I sort of hate the term food-gasm. Yet I use it. Forgive me.
Don’t leave out the ginger in this recipe. Unless ginger is not your cup of tea in which case you really should not read this post. Though it is worth reading to check out the wicked awesome ice cubes.
Lest I ramble on incessantly about the nubbliness of tempeh, sex, Bittman and use more silly food-blog terms(Nom! Awesomesauce! Nummers! Slurp!)…just smack me and tell me to shut up. But don’t blame me if that gets me excited. Or violent. Or both. Go read some Fitzgerald.
Here’s the recipe:
Tempeh Hash(reduced to single-person size and leaving out anything I did not have on hand from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
1 5 oz. white potato, diced
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/3 of an 8oz. block of tempeh, crumbled
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
hot pepper flakes to taste
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1/3 tsp. sugar
1/3 c. diced red bell pepper
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
Spray a pan with nonstick spray. heat to medium-high. Add taters, let sit undisturbed til edges brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook 10-15 more til brown, transfer to plate.
Spray again, heat to medium-high(again). Add tempeh, stir frequently til deeply colored and crisp. Add to plate with potatoes but don’t stir.
Spray for the third and last time. Put back on medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic and stir a minute or two then reduce heat to medium-low and let caramelize, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk chile flakes, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Put onion mixture back over medium heat. Add tempeh and potatoes, stir until hot and sizzling, add soy mixture, toss to coat, then stir in bell pepper and cilantro. Put on plate and make purtier with additional cilantro. if you don’t want to be vegan, and a bit more Gatsby-ish you could put a fried egg on top. And have a side of bathtub gin. I ate this hot one night and cold the next and would eat it on a train, in a plane(maybe not I hate eating on planes), and definitely in Spain. Gotta get to Spain someday. Whatever you do eat ferociously, and if you are feeling dainty, with delicacy.
Questions of the day: Where do you most want to travel, and what will you eat there?
What do you like to read over and over?

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