I am a Foodie

My motto about food is: "I'll try anything 3 times, and if I don't like it...I'll try it again."

Incredible Edible Eggs

Incredible Edible Eggs

Since going (mostly) Paleo in October 2012, I’ve been experimenting with eggs.  Eggs are a central part of my diet.  I eat 2-3 every morning.  I make omelettes, frittatas, french style scrambled eggs, country style scrambles, fried eggs, sunny side-up, shakshouka (or at least a variation of my own), and everything else I can think of with these incredible edible eggs.

Recently, I decided to try out a few spicy fried egg dishes and came up with one of my favorite breakfasts: Spicy, sriracha laced fried eggs covered in melted cheese.  It’s dynamite.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (cage free and organic, preferably)
  • Cheese (your choice, I’ve experimented with smoked gouda and cheddars)
  • Seasoning Salt (I like Chef Paul’s Magic Seasoning, or Tony Chachere’s)
  • Cajun Seasoning (most have too much salt, use my recipe)
  • Sriracha (the finest hot sauce ever created)
  • Fat (Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Beef Fat, Bacon Fat…your choice)

Process:

  1. Place an over safe pan on high heat.  Preheat the broiler.
  2. Put fat into an oven safe pan on high heat.  When pan is coated, reduce heat to low-medium.
  3. Crack 3 eggs into the pan.
  4. Season the eggs with seasoning salt and cajun spice.
  5. Drizzle sriracha liberally.
  6. Cover with cheese.
  7. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbly and slightly browning.
  8. Remove from the broiler and serve immediately.

See video:

Cajun Seasoning

Original Big Daddy’s Seasoning

(From Big Daddy’s in Massapequa, Long Island)

  • 1/2 Cup               Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup               Dried Basil
  • 1/4 Cup               Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup               Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup               Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup               White Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons        Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoons        Dried Thyme

My Adaptation of Big Daddy’s Seasoning

  • 1/2 Cup               Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup               Dried Basil
  • 1/4 Cup               Hungarian Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup               Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup               Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup               White Pepper
  • 1/8 Cup               Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 Cup               Onion Powder
  • 6 teaspoons        Kosher Salt
  • 2 teaspoons        Dried Thyme

Sweet Smoky Magic

  • 1/2 my big daddy seasoning (see above)
  • 1/4 cup chipotle
  • 1/4 cup crushed habanero
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 

How to build great salads

This is not a salad recipe but rather away of thinking about the construction of a salad.

When I put together a salad I’m not thinking about the ingredients exactly but about flavors and textures.

Here is the blueprint:

Start with the Base:

Something green and leafy (typically), though you can use anything really : asparagus, green beans, artichokes, rice, steak…whatever. But for simplicity, stick with green and leafy.

Next, add the following…

Something sweet
Something salty
Something creamy or soft
Something crunchy or crispy
Something tart or bitter

You should look to add at least two of the above elements, though the ideal combination will often include all five. Look for opportunities to double up by finding things that are soft and sweet, or crispy and salty.

So, an example :

Arugula (base: leafy), prosciutto (salty), Buffalo mozzarella (soft), toasted pine nuts (crunchy), lemon vinaigrette (tart)

Another example,
Romaine (base: leafy and crunchy), avocado (creamy), bacon (crispy and salty), orange segments (sweet), balsamic vinaigrette (tart)

You get the picture.

A good exercise is to make a list of salad ingredients you like by the different categories: sweet, salty, crunchy, etc

Go forth. Make salads.

And come back to let me know about your creations in the comments!

Double Decker Cheat Day Grilled Cheese

Today was cheat day…or as I call it: Faturday.

So I chose to make myself an obscene sandwich.  Don’t judge me, I ran nearly 4 miles before taking on this beast of a sandwich.

Normally I don’t eat bread or anything with gluten, or grains.  So on my cheat day, I go full force.  Today I made a Double decker grilled cheese with ham, cheddar, fried eggs, and fried shallot mayo.  I was pleased with the result.

Ingredients

  • Three slices of bread
  • Four slices of ham
  • Two handfuls of shredded cheddar
  • One shallots
  • One tablespoon of Japanese mayonnaise
  • A generous slather of salted butter

Instructions

First thing I did was make the fried shallot mayo.  So I finely diced a large shallot, and fried it in a little bit of olive oil.  Once the shallots were nice and carmelized, I removed it with a slotted spoon (to remove as much oil as possible), and mixed it with Japanese (Kewpie) mayo.  I set it aside.

Next, I buttered all three slices of bread (liberally) and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I set it aside.

Next I got my other ingredients ready.  I fried my ham in the same pan as the shallots after adding a little butter.  I set my eggs aside, I set my cheese aside and as my ham finished frying in the pan, I put the slices of bread, butter-side-down in a hot pan.  Next, I turned on the broiler.

While the bread grilled in the pan,  I topped two slices of bread with a generous handful of shredded cheddar.  After about a minute of grilling the buttered bread in the pan, I threw the pan under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Meanwhile, I put a non stick pan on the stove and started frying two eggs.

As the eggs reached 75% done, I pulled the pan out from under the broiler.  The cheese was melted and gooey.  I topped the third slice of bread with the shallot mayo and my fried ham.  I topped the other two slices of bread with my fried eggs.

 

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Next, I put the whole thing together.  The ham covered bread goes face up in the middle, and the other two surround it.

Voila!

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Christmas Dinner

Today, my friend Naomi and I made Christmas dinner for 6.

We made a salad: arugula, baby spinach, baby chard, craisins, candied walnuts, goat cheese, lemon-thyme vinaigrette.20131225-145843.jpg

 

4-cheese tortellini with sweet sausage and spinach. Parmesan and bread crumbs.20131225-145852.jpg

 

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Roasted broccoli with lemon and parmesan20131225-145910.jpg

 

Sautéed asparagus with lemon and parmesan20131225-145915.jpg

Braised beef short ribs with red wine and onions.20131225-145923.jpg

Mirai – Chicago

Mirai is what Nobu would be if it wasn’t so impressed with itself.  Mirai is a remarkable blend of casual and upscale, presenting high quality fish in a comfortable relaxed setting.

There is no reason to leave the restaurant without having some of the following:

  • Ask in advance (when making the reservation) for the Aji (pronounced Ah-Jee).  It is a gorgeous spanish mackeral served whole as sashimi.  Fish lovers will sure appreciate it.
  • The Spicy Mono roll and the Kani Nigiri (Spicy Crab Sushi) are both winners…get it.
  • The Shrimp Togarashi was also delicious.  Butterflied shrimp in a creamy, spicy sauce.

The service was invisible but attentive, friendly but not too casual and not too formal.

Mirai is a standout sushi restaurant in a city that already presents a ton of great places to eat.

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Moto – Chicago

Having eaten at Alinea twice, I was prepared for the molecular gastronomy, modernist cuisine at Moto.

Though Alinea was a tough act to follow, Moto had plenty of dishes worth remarking about.  Though some of the portions were noticeably tiny, I think the intentions were in the right place.  If you can appreciate modern art, the kind where there is simply one red square on a white canvas, you can appreciate Moto. The food is more than just taste, it is also smell and thought.  The process that goes into dishes is part of the experience.

Whether it is the house grown salad greens or the conceptual recreations of classic dishes, Moto is a carefully designed experience.  If you can afford the $175 per person that this restaurant requires, it is worth it to experience the intersection of modern art and modern cuisine.  I would talk about specific dishes, but by the time you arrive, it’s likely that the menu has changed.  Just go experience it.

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