Friday, December 23, 2011

Snap MST3KTwitterfest coming up. Escape 2000

Right, it was requested, sort of. So, we're going to try and run one this coming Sunday. Do the math, you know what day that is. While originally suggested to #TeamJoo this one is, as are all, open to the public.
We'll be watching a nice film about silver lame and jack boot wearing thugs set in, of all places, the Bronx.
So, get ready for #MST3KEscape2000
I'll post links to the movie on Saturday night/Sunday morning. If you have a slow connection, try downloading the parts earlier in the day.

If you don't know how this works, just watch along follow the #MST3KEscape2000 hashtag over on the Twitters.

Okay, here it is. Buffer it up or download it if you have bandwidth issues!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's the Holiday Edition of MST3K Twitterfest

And it's about time! So, mark your calendars, Sunday, December 4th at 2:00 PM Eastern we will once more get together for some good clean Mystery Science Theater fun. This time around, due to the time of year we'll be watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

We're on! That's 2:00 PM EST and 11:00 AM PST and 9:00PM Israel
If this will be your first MST3K Twitterfest, we get together at the appointed time to watch the movie. I'll have it embedded here for easy viewing. If your YouTube streaming isn't always so smooth then drop me a note, I'll set you up with a pre-cached copy. The hashtag we'll be using is #MST3KSantaClaus, so you should set up a column for that in your Twitter client. I'll also have a feed embedded here, but it's not quite as good. Looking forward to seeing you there!
You can also join up at the Facebook event and get updates and reminders.

Unfortunately the High Definition videos I found can't be embedded, but you can watch it all here. I've defaulted to 360p, but you can move to 720p depending on your bandwidth.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hey! Those burgers are stuffed!

Well, it's been a heck of a long time since I last blogged and even longer since I last blogged food. I hope to change that. Meanwhile I'm on a new diet based on Tim Ferris's book the 4-Hour Body. If you don't know Ferris and his books, you're missing out. He is all about hacking everything, from lifestyles to bodies to sleeping patterns. In any event, the short summary of the diet is that there are no carbohydrates, milk or fruit allowed during the week, but all the protein and fat your can stomach. I've been on it for close to 3 weeks and I'm losing an average of more than 3 lbs. a week. The only issue is coming up with what to eat. So, I hope to bring a few easy, and tasty, recipes for you to add to your repertoire. Unlike most of my other recipes these are generally for one or two people and not scaled up to my usual family sized, so keep that in mind if you're going to be cooking for a crowd. I'll also be doing whole meals, not just single dishes. As a side note all of the recipes will be sugar, dairy and gluten free, so if you're into that stuff you'll rock these recipes.

The first meal is Burgers stuffed with onion jam, grilled tomatoes and cabbage and almond slaw.
You'll need:
8 oz. ground beef
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup stock (or water if stock isn't available)
1/4 cup red wine
Kosher Salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 medium tomato
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/8 cup almond slivers
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Toss the shredded cabbage and vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
Dice the onion and drop it in a frying pan with a bit of oil and start sauteing them, chop the garlic and toss that in too. When they become translucent add half the stock and keep cooking them until all the liquid is gone, then add the rest of it. Cook until it's gone then add the wine, letting that reduce down. This should all take about half an hour. The truth is, it would probably be good to quadruple the amount of onions and double the liquid measures, setting 3/4 of it aside for later use. What you'll have left is a dark onion-y sludge with the consistency close to marmalade or jam. 

Next, add a teaspoon of salt, pepper and garlic powder to your ground beef, mixing it through. Then you'll want to separate it into two equal sized portion and pat them down to form two, well, patties. Make them about 1/4 of an inch thick because we're going to fold them up on themselves.

Place a heaping spoon of the onion jam in the middle of each patty and bring up the sides to engulf the filing, mush closed. Don't worry if it doesn't close all the way, close is good enough.

Now comes cooking time. I have a grill pan, but you can do all this in a regular frying pan without a problem. If you're using a flat bottomed pan add a touch of oil or non-stick spray when the pan is hot and then add the burgers. Make sure you put the top side down, that is the side you attempted to close. This will seal it so the onions don't all leak out. I'd say cook 5 minutes on each side, twice. For a total of 20 minutes in the pan.
Right after the first flip, cut your tomato into three even rounds, so two slices, one on either side of the stem. Add them to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When you flip your burgers, flip the tomatoes.

Almost done! Put the burgers on your plate, then the sprinkle the extra onions over both. Get your cabbage slaw that was set aside and mix in the almond slivers. Add that to the plate. Pour yourself tall glass of ice water and maybe add a lemon twist. Eat!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Great MST3K Tweetup of 2011 Part I've Lost Track so make it up

Yeah, it's actually the sixth time we'll be doing this. It'll be the same as last time, I'll set up a Youtube play list so everyone can watch uninterrupted.

We'll be watching Sean Connery's brother Neal star in Operation Double 007 also known as Operation Kid Brother.

So make sure you keep the date free!

Sunday, September 18th
9PM Israel
2PM Eastern
1PM Central
Noon Mountain
11AM Pacific
10AM Alaska

Join the FB event for other updates and email reminders.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Greek night in the kitchen

Greek night was fun. The only issue was that we started the fasolada soup waaaay too late and it wasn't ready before 11, so I didn't have any. I was also told by Cheryl Prater that my saganaki was weak sauce because I didn't light it on fire. She's my Greek food guru by the way. The Braim/Horta was really good. We don't have much okra so it was a nice change. Aderet as always came through with great bread (psomi) and for dessert she made loukamades. We know them as Sfinge, which is what they call them in Djerba. We had a neighbor whose family is Djerban and she used to make them for special occasions.

I'll try to put up a recipe later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Live Blogging Thai Cooking with my girls

This is mostly a place holder until about 7 PM Israel time. (Noon Eastern)
We're making Thai food.
On the menu Ho Mok Pla, Sate with crispy rice noodles and Khao niao mamuang!

7:15 PM Israel Time
We're just getting things together!

Here's the rice for the Khao niao mamnaug, it's been soaking for the last few hours.
 7:45 PM Here are our rice noodles! They're going to be the crispy base for the sate.
 The girls are helping, clean the fish and prepare the mixture for the Ho Mok Pla.
8:00 The fish is being finely diced. It will get mixed with eggs, coconut milk, green curry paste, red chili, and some lime zest as well as a squeeze of lime. That's being done by Aderet (a.k.a. #2of8)

8:25 The sate sauce is put mixed up and Emunah (a.k.a. #3of8) is cutting up the chicken to be marinated. The sweetened coconut milk is done for the dessert. I'm heating the oil for crisping the noodles.

8:45 The first test batch of Ho Mok Pla (not a Klingon name) is out! A smashing success for those who like their food extra spicy. Which is everyone except my wife. Really tasty with a nice hot finish.
9:45 Sorry for no updates. Blogspot isn't behaving.  

Okay, it's the next morning. Blogger kept crashing Firefox, I even tried Chrome and it wasn't working. 
Here are the pictures from the rest of the evening.

Here's the sate grilling away. The chicken ended up beautifully moist and the peanut sauce had a nice tang with out undertones of coconut. The peanut flavor was also wonderfully subtle. I forgot to scatter crushed peanuts on top which would have given it a nice textural crunch though.
All in all it was pretty successful. I need to work on the crispy fried rice noodles, they were a bit too oily. I should make them in advance next time so they have more time drain. Also, we were using the Wok to steam the fish custard, so I used a flat bottomed sauce pan, so I don't know if that was an issue.

The dessert was pretty delicious.  Khao niao mamuang was wonderful, the rice wasn't overly sweet and the coconut came through, the mango really matched up with, complimenting the flavor. I think the only thing I changed would have been to chop up some mint and fold it through the rice just before serving.

Here's how we made the Ho Mok Pla:

8 oz of a delicate white fish fillet. We used St. Peter's fish, but sole or flounder should be good.
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp green Thai curry (good especially if you can't find Kaffir lime leaves)
1 Lime, both the zest and the juice
10 Basil leaves. (If you can get Thai basil, that's best. You can also use Coriander/Cilantro or regular fresh basil leaves)
Something to steam it all in. We used baking parchment, but it should be done in banana leaves. You can also use shot glasses or ramekins.

Make sure there is no skin or bones left on the fish, then dice it finely. In a separate bowl mix all the other ingredients together. I'd say taste it first. If you like it hotter dice up a couple red chilies and add them in. These will also add nice red flecks which will look nice. Mix the egg stuff into the fish. If you're going to do it in banana leaves or parchment, take a circle, put a large dollop in the middle, put a basil leaf or sprig of cilantro on top, fold over and staple it shut. Or use toothpicks. Or pins. The other option is to fill shot glasses or ramekins. 
You'll need a steamer at this point. If you don't have a one then you can improvise, a wok with a wire trivet worked for us. Fill with water to an inch or two bellow the bottom of what ever you're using and cover, bring to a fast boil. Put the packages or cups on the rack and let steam for 5 minutes. 
If you've done it in cups then just let them cool down, garnish with a fresh bit of basil/cilantro and serve with a spoon. If you've gone the package route then open up and plate it. Be careful, these things have a powerful kick. I ate a half dozen they were that good. Wonderful lime flavor, soft custardy texture, a hint of coconut and basil all tied together with the heat. We plated it with a few slices of home made pickled cucumber to add some acidity to the mix and help cool the heat.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Thor's Thunderberg Failure

So. I had this cookbook growing up. I love my comic books, as anyone who reads my blog knows. But this is the Might Marvel Superheroes Comic Book. It's one of the ways I got my start in cooking. Which is my other passion. Anyway, there was one recipe that I tried from this way back when that just didn't work out for me. I've been thinking about it and thinking about it but for some reason I didn't know why it went wrong.
It was for Thor's Thunderburg hamburgers. Went off and found a copy. Here are the ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 can kernel corn
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon mustard

Obviously, mix together, make patties, add to frying pan etc. etc.

My 7-year old self thought he need POPPING corn. No wonder it was really crunchy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Brief History of Comics part 2

As they moved into the 70s the world of comic books began to change again.
Superheroes were no longer the perfect ubermen of the DC universe, they now struggled with real human foibles as they tried to do the right thing and use their powers for good. The other main change that Marvel introduced was heroes growing and aging. Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, went from high school to college and then moved into the real world, eventually marrying.
Under the covers though, there was an alternative comic industry. One aimed not at the kids of Middle America, it was rebelling against the Comics Code and  unable to be sold in most stores. This underground comic scene grew out of the counterculture movement of the 60s. Many revolved around drugs and sex, but others addressed hot button social issues and music. Robert Crumb became the poster boy for this movement, along with his  Zap comics, joined by Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
The major advent of the 70s was the start of specialty comic stores. Until then, the majority of comic books were sold in convenience stores and off magazine racks in super markets. Many alternative type characters joined the cannon of superheroes including anti-heroes like The Swamp Thing and the new Ghost Rider. Social issues were addressed openly in mainstream comics, including drug use and inner city tensions.  The other major arrival was the graphic novel. While there were certainly book length comics as far back as the turn of the century, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that they started referring to themselves as such and the term entered the lexicon. Will Eisner’s “A Contract With God and other Tenement Stories” is credited with popularizing the term.

As the 80s dawned, some major changes were brewing in the world of comics. Two seminal series’ changed the face of the industry, both coming out of the cotton candy world of DC. 1986 saw the publication of Alan Moore’s Watchman and Frank Miller’s take on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Both were heavy, dark, and gritty. The superheroes were not nice. They lived dark lives in a dark world. Other Anti-Heroes came to the forefront in the Marvel Universe; a short Canadian killer who went by the name Wolverine fought the Hulk then went on to join the X-Men. Unlike many of his predecessors, he had no qualms about ending the life of his antagonists, something that would have made  Batman’s(and all of Gotham City’s) life much easier.  Marvel also riffed off the popular Mack Bolan books and created the Punisher, a regular Joe who, upon returning from Vietnam, finds his family dead at the hands of the mob, and goes off killing criminals. It also saw the brutal death of Batman’s sidekick Robin at the hands of the Joker.
The other sea change came in the guise of independent publisher. Marvel and DC had ruled the roost since the late 50s/early 60s but, more and more, small publishers were beginning to get their books into specialty stores.  This charge was started a bit earlier by Aardvark-Vanaheim  comics and their flagship Cerebus the Aardvark, a loose parody of the Conan Sword and Sorcery genre. Cerebrus went through 300 issues well into the 21st century, and was the longest running series done by the same creative team. Other independent properties eventually made it heavily into the mainstream consciousness. In 1984, struggling team Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird self published a black and white comic book about a group of mutated amphibians who learned martial arts from a giant talking rat and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were born. First Comics was busy publishing Grimjack, Jack Sable and American Flagg! Marvel heavyweights Jim Shooter and Bob Layton went off to found Valiant comics in 1989.
The biggest change in modern comics came in 1992 when a group of creators became frustrated with Marvel’s running the business and treatment the characters they created and built. They were only getting paid for the artwork itself, but all the merchandising profits were taken by corporate owners. They broke off to form Image Comics, which was based on the premise that the characters would be wholly owned by their creators and the publisher would only facilitate the sales.

Today the comic industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut. The last vestiges of the Comic Code died in January 2011, when it was discontinued by the last publisher still using it, Archie Comics. The industry has its own award ceremony, named for Will Eisner, with 50 categories. The San Diego Comic Con regularly sees more than 100,000 people converge to welcome the latest happenings in the world of sequential art.
I hope you to will see the beauty of this medium and join me in appreciating all its wonders.

Next: 10 of the best stories told in comic books.

A Brief History of Comics part 1

I will come right out and admit it. I am a geek. I am a hardcore geek. I revel in many different realms of geekdom. Amongst the fields where I am most comfortable with my geekdom is in comic books. I’ve been reading comics books since, well, I could read. During my early childhood, comic books were just entertainment, something to do when waiting at the supermarket whilst my mother shopped or to pass the time in line at the barber. There were the piles of Archie and Richie Rich comics that my grandparents stocked up on for the times a dozen grandkids would descend upon their house for summer vacation. In the end, I didn’t really care about comics themselves, just the ten minutes it would take me to read through whichever one was at hand. There was no appreciation of story arcs or pacing, art work and coloring, dialogue and continuity, all of these things were foreign concepts.
 It wasn’t until I was about thirteen that a classmate of mine showed me that comic books were a world of their own. He had boxes and boxes of carefully stored books, each one in an individual bag with a cardboard backing to keep the spines straight. He was able to tell me about which stories were worth following, why Marvel characters were better than DC, and showed me where to go to get the best deals. I was hooked. From then on, I spent every spare penny of pocket money and any other money I earned on comic books. Throughout my high school years, I bought thousands of books, all still in their individual bags with cardboard backs, alphabetized, and organized by publisher.
The genre has changed dramatically since I started following it back in the 80s. It is, to some extent, still dominated by the two major players, Marvel and DC, each of which has its own diehard adherents, but there is now a plethora of thriving independent publishers, each one pushing the envelope in both art and with storytelling. More importantly the consumers have evolved. The geeks who grew up in the 80s, downtrodden and ridiculed by the jocks are the engine that drove the technological revolution of the 90s. They now find themselves hitting middle age flush with success at being the new arbiters of cool and that cool is the geekdom that they grew up loving; comics.
Over the next while, I would like to introduce the readers to this medium and to some of what I see as the more interesting and exciting offerings on the market today. Keep in mind, comic books are no longer reserved for kids. Many books are squarely aimed at the adult market. While there have always been those that were of a more prurient nature, today’s mature comics actually try to tell stories that evoke the same emotions and thoughts as other mediums have been doing for years. I want to share this love with you.
I will start with a brief history of what is referred to as Sequential Art.
Comics began in the late 1800s with single frames, in black and white as part of the Sunday editions of newspapers. The Katzenjammer Kids, first published in 1897 by Randolph Hearst was the first comic to be recognizable as such, a sequence of panels with balloon speech. As it happens, it’s still running today.
It would be another 30 years until the next major advance in comics would hit the scene. Following the rise of Science Fiction and Fantasy stories, pioneered by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929 saw the serialization of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as well as the adaptation of Burroughs’ Tarzan.  As the Great Depression took hold of America, many people turned to movies to escape their daily troubles, others went to comic strips. 1931 saw the genesis of the most popular comic strip character of all times, Dick Tracy and his two-way wrist radio. 3 years later, Flash Gordon came onto the scene.
Around the same time, 1933, the first comic book was published; a collection of comic strips put together in a folded multiple page format.  The first book of all new content came out in 1935, put out by National Periodicals. The industry was starting to grow and experiment, and it was in 1938 that a strange visitor from another planet became the first in a pantheon of heroes with powers beyond the ken of normal man. Based on a series of stories they had written six years earlier, Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster sold the rights to Superman to Detective Comics (later DC) for a whopping $130. With the advent of the Superhero genre, the industry moved from the serialized strip wholeheartedly into the comic book era. Comics were outselling even the most popular news weeklies, some moving two million copies per issue, a huge amount even by today’s standards. The era saw Will Eisner’s creation The Spirit published. As World War II began, the comic book industry joined the fight, Captain America burst onto the scene, famously punching Hitler in the face in 1941. A year later he was joined by Wonder Woman, whose alter ego Diana Prince was in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps. 

Also in the early 40s, another comic genre started to show up, one that wouldn’t really be noticed until after the war. True Crime comics, pioneered by Crime Does Not Pay, became the new rage. Lurid covers and graphic stories supposedly taken from the most violent police dispatches began to draw the largest audiences.  True Crime was soon joined by Horror comics, both using drawings of scantily clad women on the cover to help move the product. As the fifties brought more and more horror comics into the market, each trying to outdo the next with their racy and macabre content, a backlash was building in Washington.

1953 saw the creation of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, chaired by Robert Hendrickson (R-New Jersey). It was founded to investigate the problems of, of course, juvenile Delinquency.  Its 1954 hearings concentrated on the popular Horror and Crime genres. The committee released their findings , which were very critical of the industry. The direct result of this was the publication later that year by psychologist Frederic Wertham, of Seduction of the Innocent; a book that is the poster child for the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. Wertham argued that, since all delinquents read comic books, comic books cause delinquency. This caused a huge backlash against the comic community. Sales fell, books were burned and publishers went out of business. The industry, in a move aimed at salvaging what they could, instituted the Comics Code. Based on Hollywood’s Production Code, it was a self-censoring move to limit the graphic depictions of violence and sexual innuendo in comic books. 

One of the results of the Code was that many of the smaller independent publishers went out of business. DC was one of the few companies to survive mostly unscathed with their stable of tame superhero books. Marvel, then called Atlas, barely survived and the only remnant of the house that brought forth the most graphic horror comics, EC,  was MAD magazine. The late 50s and early 60s brought us many of the most iconic DC heroes. The Flash, The Green Lantern and The Martian Manhunter showed up, forming the Justice League along with veterans Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
The superhero genre was back, and it was back in a big way. In 1961, Jack Kirby joined Stan Lee and began publishing Marvel’s new brand of Super Hero starting with the Fantastic Four. The Marvel Age of comics was underway. The Fantastic Four was  followed by the Hulk and Spider-Man a year later. 
Part II - Comics meet the 70s and beyond. 
Cross Posted on Big Hollywood

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Great MST3K Tweetup of 2011 Part V: Something about Puma Man

Ok, here it is, MST3K Puma Man for your viewing pleasure.
It should flow smoothly from one bit to the next. We're trying something new here, so there may be bugs. Hopefully we won't run into the problems that we've seen with Hulu.
We'll plan to start the actual view at 5 minutes past the hour, so when you're on and ready, say hi and then we'll all hit play together.
The hashtag will be #MST3KPumaMan so set yourself up a column for following along.
If you're using Tweetdeck or HootSuite adding a column to watch is the easiest way to watch. If you're using the web interface open a second window (not a tab) and keep them side by side to tweet along.
Mobile Link

I hope you enjoy the show and have fun on Twitter doing it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Great MST3K Tweetup of 2011 Part IV: Revenge of the MST3K Twitterfest

We're going to getting together for another round of watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 and we'd like you to join us.
We watch online, Hulu or Netfiix if possible. If not drop me a note and I'll help you work something out.
We'll be watching Monster A-Go-Go it sounds wonderfully horrible.
As always:
10AM Alaska
11AM Pacific (and Arizona)
12 PM Mountain
1 PM Central
2 PM Eastern
7PM British Standard
9PM Israel
10PM Gulf

The official hashtag: #MST3KMonster

Get your snark ready and your twitter finger running and please invite your friends and family. The more the merrier!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Smoke. Lemon. Chicken. Tasty.

We had a big family gathering this Shabbos. My In-Laws have been her for the last week and a half so my Sister-In-Law and family joined us for the weekend. We had, baby included, 21 people and one dog in attendance. I'm happy that I had most of the week off and was able to do some serious cooking. I normally do some chicken roasting for Shabbos but I wanted to try something a bit different to wow the crowd. The Lemon burgers were such a hit that I thought I'd do another simple lemon recipe. This one needs a grill though. You can probably do it with a gas grill as well, but I have a charcoal grill so that's what I used.

You'll need:
A grill
Charcoal (not a lot, I used about half of what I'd normally use when grilling, since you want a lower heat)
Wood chips (I took from our apple tree, but hickory or oak would be fine)
Fresh rosemary

2 whole chickens (or one or more depending on how many people you want to feed and size of grill)
3 large lemons ( 1 and 1/2 per chicken)
Handful of Kosher salt

Salt the outside and inside of the chickens and slice two of the lemons thinly and one lemon cut in half. The lemon that you've cut in half squeeze into the cavity of the chicken and then stuff it inside.

Now, out to the grill. Lay out your coals and light them, when the flames have gone down and the coals are glowing take a piece of foil and lay it over the top.

Place your wood chips and rosemary on the foil.

Replace the grill and cover it with lemon slices.
Place the chickens on the lemons. I did one breast down and one back down. I think the breast down came out a bit better. So, that's what I'll suggest. Cover the chickens with the remaining lemon slices.
Put the cover on the grill and come back an hour later to make sure that it's not too hot and things aren't burning. Otherwise cover it back up for another 2 hours. Check again, then give it another hour until the coals are cool.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving. Take the lemon out of the cavity, it should be soft enough to spread like butter. After you've carved the birds, squeeze the lemon out over it for some extra zing. Hand out chunks of rind on the plates as well. Revel in the adoration of your Mother-in-Law. Smoking the chicken at a low heat keeps it very moist and you get a nice smokey flavor to counter the acidic zing of the lemon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

You got your cheesecake in my cupcake! You got your cupcake on my cheesecake!

Is it a cupcake? Is it a cheesecake? No! It's a cupcake stuffed with cheesecake! These are amazingly easy to make and even easier to swallow down. Thanks to AmHam for suggesting them.

You'll need:
Cheesecake filling
8 oz. (225g) cream cheese (room temperature)
1/3 cup (65g) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Chocolate coating
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular, not dutched)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Cupcake tins and liners
Set the oven to 350F(175F)
The inside:
Mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg
Mush everything together really well. It should be light yellow and smooth. I used a fork, but an electric hand mixer should be just fine. Cover and put in the refrigerator then get to work on the outside.

Mix together the dry ingredients:
Mix together the wet ingredients:
Make a well in dry stuff:
Add the wet stuff!
Put 'em all together and stir it all up until smooth and creamy. Go get your muffin tin and liners and let's get these puppies together. Fill the cups 2/3 full with chocolate.
Once you've gotten through your chocolate get out the cheesecake filling and put a big dollop in the middle of each cup on top of the chocolate. Try to get it as even and round as possible, but unlike what your kids might tell you, it doesn't change the way it tastes if it's kind of messy. It'll go into the oven for 25 minutes at which point the cheesecake should be set, if not give it another couple minutes.
As you can see, we need a bit of practice keeping the cheesecake even. Very subtle taste, but nice creamy middle with the rich outside.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Now Famous Lemon Burgers

So, yesterday was Israeli Independence Day. We, as is the national tradition, grilled. I actually had a great day in the kitchen. It started out with waffles and strawberry syrup from scratch, followed by an interview on the Stage Right show. I then made pie crust dough for the eventual apple pie as well as mixed up a batch of pizza crust dough for foccacia.
We were having a bunch of guests over in the afternoon so I needed to start getting the meat situation worked out. That brings us to the main reason for this blog entry. A while back I had seen a cooking show where someone stuffed lemons with cheese and veggies, so I figured I'd make a bit of a change and make Lemon Burgers. I don't have pictures of the process since I was kind of busy all day. It's pretty simple though.


1 lb. ground beef (1/2 kg)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 cloves of garlic thinly diced
1 tbsp coarse ground pepper
3-4 large lemons

Mix the ground beef, barbecue sauce, garlic and pepper together. Slice the lemons into inch thick rounds and cut out the centers. Make sure you leave a small amount of pulp attached to the inside of the rind. Take the pulp from one of the lemons, cut out chunks so you don't get the white connective fibers and mix that in with the beef. Then stuff the lemon rinds with the ground beef.
I like to put it in the refrigerator for an hour or two so the meat sets. Then it's off to the gril.
Meanwhile, it was foccacia time! Rolled out, a bit of olive oil, coarse salt and fresh rosemary, then into the oven. When they were finished, I made a compound oil with some more olive oil and fire roasted garlic, which I spread on the bottom of the foccacia before putting it on the coals.

Anyway, back to the burgers...
Lay them out on the grill, spread evenly.
Depending how you like yours done, 6 minutes, then flipped, then again and once more.
That should get them to a nice medium. More importantly, the whole neighborhood should smell like lemons and the rinds should be nice and sweet. Eat the whole thing as is. Totally gluten free and exploding with flavor. Though you can put it on a bun if you want, go light on the condiments.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's not too long until you'll get your Shortbread. Even if you can't have Gluten.

So, it's no secret that I love shortbread. I used to think that the only way to get good shortbread was to drop down some serious cheddar on Walker's Shortbread Fingers. Then when I got back into cooking, one of the first things I tried was making shortbread. Surprisingly enough, it's pretty darn easy. It's basically flour, sugar and butter. It's called bread, by the way, since the British taxed cookies and cakes when they occupied Scotland and this was a way around that. Anyway, I've been making shortbread pretty regularly since, most of the time Millionaire's Shortbread. What I haven't been able to do is make a good Gluten Free shortbread. The version I have in my previous blog post was OK, it was kind of heavy though. I finally found a version that is light and crispy. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try it out with butter, since our son who can't have gluten can't have milk either, so if you try this it will probably be much better with butter.

You'll need:
1/2 Cup cornstarch
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter or margarine (175g)

Preheat your oven to 300F (150C).
Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.

Make sure your shortening is cold and cut it into cubes and add it to the dry mix.

Then get mixing.Start with a fork but you'll need to get to kneading it with your hands.

I had a bit of help.
It should form a slightly sticky ball. Put it onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a log. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. This is actually when you should turn on the oven.
When it's set and the shortening has hardened cut it into rounds and place them on some parchment on a cookie sheet.

Now you can get fancy. I put chopped almonds on some and vanilla sugar on the rest.
20 minutes in the oven...
They kind of melted into each other. I'll work on that, but they're super crisp and very tasty. So, get baking!