Sunday, December 14, 2008

Watch Me on Your iPod

In another cool thing that happened to me recently, you can now watch some of the videos I recorded on your iPod. I think all of them should be available at some point, but they just started with some of the more popular ones.

Mine's the "Creating SWC files."

Googling "Typical Dinner"

I analyze my logs every once in a while to see who visits my different blogs, and I was surprised when someone found my site googling the term "typical dinner." I was more surprised when I googled this term and found out I was the number one listing.

This could be one of my greatest accomplishments, or it just goes to show you how bad Google is on some worthless search terms because I know no one really links to this blog :-)

Anyways, here's proof as I don't know how long it'll last:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

High Roast Chicken

I had never actually done one of the most basic cooking skills: roasting a chicken. Rather than go with the normal roasting method, I looked through one of my favorite recipes and decided to try a high roast chicken. In order to get the skin crispy (and keep the bird from overcooking), they recommend the high roast method by butterflying the bird.

Anyways, I brined the bird, then washed it and patted it dry very thoroughly.

I tried my best to butterfly the chicken (I now have a vague idea of what to do, though as you can see below I cut the wrong part by accident in the beginning).

The backbone is what's hanging out to the right. For the most part I used scissors to do the surgery.

Following the recipe, I used a broiler pan and cut up some potatoes to put underneath on the bottom to soak up some of the grease (and by grease, I mean great chicken flavor).

I spread some butter mixed with some herbs into the skin and then seasoned the outside with salt and pepper.

Roasting for a while on high heat, we got a nicely browned bird.

Which I proceeded to cut up into pieces (again, not a fantastic job) and serve.

The let's not forget about the potatoes, which were amazingly delicious.

Overall the bird was pretty juicy and the potatoes were really good, having received a lot of flavor from the chicken drippings. I just had roast chicken at a restaurant a few days ago, and I can say the one I made was much better.

It was a really easy recipe and also a really cheap dinner. It's definitely something I'd do again.

I think next time I may try the "Zuni" way of roasting a chicken, which is instead of brining it, you season it generously with a lot of salt and let it sit in the fridge for 1-3 days. This is similar to brining, but it also dries out the skin so it's pretty tasty and very crispy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Southern Food: Boiler Peanuts and Fried Okra

Boiled peanuts have recently been promoted to South Carolina's official snack food. More importantly, it's a snack food I really love, and a few weeks ago, when I was at a farmer's market, I decided to give them a try.

Having tried making them once a long time ago, and failing, I searched a lot online to make sure I was doing them right. Anyways, I used mostly water, salt, and some veggie broth. I threw the peanuts int here and let it boil for quite a while.

And after a while, it just kept boiling over and making quite a mess.

And they didn't get soft. So I kept boiling. In total, a ridiculous amount, like 16 hours. In the end, I just gave up. They didn't taste bad--they were just a little too hard.

So I kept asking around at work what I did wrong, and the answer, I finally got was that I was that I was boiling it at too high of a heat. So a week later, I tried it again, and instead of boiling it at a high heat for so long, I got it to a boil and then simmered at a low heat for a long time. It took about 6 hours to get the peanuts soft, which is about right according to the recipes, so the low heat must be the secret. And with that came great success as the boiled peanuts made a great snack.

Another food I've come to like more and more despite moving away from the South is okra. Usually it's in bhindi masala here, but in South Carolina, the way most people eat it is fried.

Looking up recipes online, I cut up the okra and threw it around in some corn meal and flour mixture. Then I threw it in the cast iron fryer.

The first batch was a little overcooked, but the second one was much better.

Overall it was pretty good. The bhindi masala that I eat around here seems like a better use for okra and is something I'll try next time. As far as fried okra is concerned, I'll try using an egg wash next time to give it a little thicker coating.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Looks Ma, I'm famous

Ok, so I'm not that famous, but I did have the pleasure of getting video taped. It was a real life studio: green room, cameras and lights in my face, and a crew of people helping with the shoot. All in all, pretty intimidating. The videos aren't perfect as I was pretty nervous, and I really only had one shoot, but they came out pretty well. The videos are on creating SWCs, RSLs, and Modules.

You can find them in the "Flex in a Week" Training Videos, under Day 5.

There's also an Adobe Developer Center article for one of them. I'm not sure if the other will get posted there or not.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Burger Joints

Ok, so I guess I'm pretty snotty when it comes to burgers. Anytime I'm at a fast food joint, I hardly ever get a burger because they're usually not that good. But I've really got a bone to pick with the people out here. In-n-out sucks. I'm sorry, I don't know what people see in it. The burgers are tasteless and small, the texture of the fries is weird, and overall it sucks. The only thing going for them is the sauce they put on the burgers (and of course the oversized clothes pins), but I just don't think it's that good.

The reason I bring this up is because I went to DC this weekend and had some five guys again, and I gotta say, it's so much better than in-n-out. So good, in fact, that I would put it up there with other non-fast food burger joints (or even my own burgers). Their fries are also better, though, not quite as good as McDonald's. To you people who think in-n-out is the holy grail of fast food: yes, their ingredients may be fresh, but the food still sucks. Try five guys instead.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eggs Benedict

I hardly eat breakfast, but when I do on the weekends, it's pretty good. I've always loved pancakes and especially french toast. One of the more decadent breakfast dishes that I'd always heard about was eggs benedict. I had it on a cruise ship once and wasn't that impressed, but I had it at some amazing breakfast place around 54th and 9th in New York, and I was absolutely blown away--it was delicious. It's supposed to be a hard dish to make, so I decided to give it a try. It turns out it's actually not that bad, and it came out to be a delicious dish.

If you don't know what eggs benedicts is, it's an english muffin with canadian bacon, topped with a poached egg and hollondaise sauce. The recipe I followed was from the pioneer woman, one of my favorite blogs. Here's what it looks like:

I had trouble finding canadian bacon at first and kept looking in the sandwich meat section, which is where the bacon is in our grocery store, but canadian bacon, which has much less fat, was actually in the pork section with the meats.

I butterred the muffins and put it in the oven with the canadian bacon under the broiler.

Now poaching an eggs is supposed to be one of the hardest things, but I found it to actually be pretty easy. I just boiled some water in a pan, threw in some vinegar, swirled the pan around and dropped the egg in. The eggs I got were super-fresh from the farmer's market, so when I poached them all the whites stayed together.

I accidentally broke the yolk on one egg before putting it in the pot, but it still turned out pretty good.

For the sauce, I followed the blender recipe from pioneer woman. It amazes me how rich the sauce is. It's basically just egg yolks and butter. I also put a generous portion of cayenne pepper in there.

I tasted the sauce. I thought it was a little bland, but in the dish as a whole, it was quite good. I'm not sure if that means the sauce was messed up, or that's how hollandaise sauce is supposed to taste. Also, I ended up putting some ground pepper on top, but next time, I'll probably throw it into the sauce.

All the poached eggs turned out pretty well, except for the one where the yolk was broken. I was a little paranoid about undercooking it, and it was still a little runny when I cut into it. However, I think I'd like it a little more runny next time, though. The problem is that when cooking a poached egg, the yolk will still feel jiggly even if it's cooked pretty thoroughly.

I think the canadian bacon was a little dry, so next time I'll take it off a little earlier since the english muffins seem to take a little longer.

Here's everything assembled. Definitely pretty easy, especially given it's reputation, and it's definitely one of my favorite breakfast dishes.