All posts by pittsburghgourmet

London, England

I used to do “Best Meal of the Trip” … but now there are too many trips to keep up!

But I’ll do one for London, because London certainly has plenty of good places to eat … especially if you aren’t the one paying!

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It’s also very walkable.  I often gain about five pounds per trip, just because restaurant food is much less healthy than my cooking, and I get less exercise when I’m trapped in meetings all day.  But I was surprised when I got back from London that I had only gained … one!  It’s probably because my boss and I walked several miles a night in search of all the best food …

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Sous-Braised Chicken

I love braising meats.  It’s how I made them juicy and flavorful before I discovered sous vide.  But you can’t directly convert many braises into sous vide recipes, because the temperature for the meat isn’t high enough to cook the vegetables.

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Thankfully, you can do both!  It shaves off quite a bit of actual cooking time …

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Tana Ethiopian Cuisine

I’ve only had Ethiopian food twice.  Once was while traveling in Boston near Cambridge.  The second time was last week.  Who knew Pittsburgh had Ethiopian food?

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I’m not a huge fan of injera (the flat bread that is used to eat Ehtiopian food … no silverware!), but flavorful meats are one of my favorites.

I highly recommend ordering one of the five item combinations (pictured), but it’s a lot of food!  I really should have put something in for scale; the pile in the center is the size of a small chicken.  I guess you can figure it out from the size of the egg relative to the platter …

Very tasty and good.  The lamb and chicken were particularly good.  There’s a good mix of meat and vegetarian options.

Chinese Minced Pork Noodles (Zha Jiang Mian)

Keeping up with the Asian spaghetti theme (which was completely accidental …), this is another Cook’s Illustrated recipe that turned out to be outstanding:

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Minced Pork Noodles—Zha jiang mian 炸酱面

It’s a very rich, flavorful meat sauce that you’d swear contains tomato, but it doesn’t.  It’s just packed with umami ingredients like mushrooms, soy and miso.  The hoisin sauce gives it a nice tanginess.

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Heirloom SpaghetThai

One of the fun things about cooking is that there’s no rule that you have to stick to one culture or style of cuisine.  Once you know what you’re doing, you can make whatever you want, and it’s ok if the dishes are downright whimsical, as long as they taste great.  Cook’s Illustrated had an article on tomato sauces recently, and I was going to try it out.  But then, in the grocery store, I decided to go in another direction …

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Instant Scrambled Eggs

Let’s face it, scrambling an egg is already one of the easiest meals you can make.  But what if it was even easier and faster?

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over high heat.
  2. Crack 2-3 eggs into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, scramble with fork until whites and yolks are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Have plastic spatula at the ready.
  4. (caution: this step produces significant amounts of steam) when oil starts to smoke, pour eggs into hot oil.
  5. Pull cooked egg away from sides and bottom of pan, allowing remaining liquid to come into contact with hot pan.
  6. Mix and continue until egg is thoroughly cooked, about 10-15 seconds.

The eggs literally have no time to burn, deflate, dry out, or do pretty much anything else in the 30 seconds it takes to do the cooking!  And they can’t stick, because the pan is coated with olive oil.  You get nice, fluffy scrambled eggs with a total prep and cook time of about 2-3 minutes.  Probably could do the entire thing in under 60 seconds if you practiced.

Creamy Potatoes and Leeks

Usually I just have a baked potato with my steak, but I decided to get a bit fancy this morning:

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This recipe is based on a recipe for “creamed potatoes and spring onions” from Fine Cooking, but that recipe had lots of things wrong with it that I had to fix.  Like labeling white wine as “optional”.  Not including any garlic.  Boiling water over medium high heat.  WHO DOES THAT???  It’s not like you have to worry you’re going to burn the water …

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Sirloin Steak with Chimichurri Butter

I’ve been starting to make compound butters more often, mostly because they are absurdly easy to make.  Just take a bunch of strongly flavored herbs and spices, mix them into softened butter, and freeze.  And they keep forever so you can just pull them out of the freezer whenever you want to use them.

Also, sirloin steaks were buy one, get one free.  So it seemed like a good time to experiment.

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