January 18, 2022

Compound Butter

I actually made this a week ago on Jan 11, but wanted to try it on a few things before giving it a rating. One cool thing about this recipe is that it was the first time I used the old stand mixer my sister gave me years ago. I started out trying to use the hand mixer with the whisk attachment but that failed miserably, so out came the stand mixer and things went swimmingly from there.

stand mixing butter

I ended up with a lot, so I left some for use now, and some to freeze log-style like in the show (mine didn’t come out as neat and tidy).

some for now, some for later

This stuff is fantastic. Among other things we’ve tried it on:

  • Bread
  • Steak
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Pasta” and sauce

A great flavor boost for any of these. Looking forward to being off the low carb thing and trying it on some fresh, warm dinner rolls.

Compound Butter

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • The recipe wasn't super exact about quantities (I wish I weighed them) but I used a tablespoon of each herb coarsely chopped, and approximately one ounce of chives. I think it could have used a touch more of each, but was still really good.

January 10, 2022

Buerre Blanc

While we’re eating low carb, we might as well get some of the higher-fat recipes out of the way. So tonight I made up some Raymond Beurre Blanc to go along with some steak.

a beurre in the pan is worth...

Also making an appearance was The Fungal Saute, a perfect accompaniment for steak, made extra delicious by the butter sauce.

steak and butter sauce

We loved this, and it was really easy to make. It’ll be a go-to when I need a quick sauce. I did think it was a little too lemony/acidic for my taste, but Gemma didn’t. Next time though, I think I’ll try half the amount of lemon juice and see how that goes.

Raymond Beurre Blanc

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Gemma didn't think so, but I thought it was a tad too lemony. Next time, I want to try half the lemon juice (perhaps add a bt more cream instead?)

January 09, 2022

Poached Eggs

What better use for Poached Egg Tips than to make some Eggs Benedict? The challenge for us is we’re currently in a January low-card diet, but we made it work well!

First I got some poached eggs going.

eggs a-poaching

While they were simmering I made some keto english muffins and some easy hollandaise sauce. When everything was done, we put it all together with some smoked ham and had an amazing low carb brunch.

eggs benne

Poached Egg Tips

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Did 7 minutes for 3 eggs, which left the yolks only a bit runny. We like runnier yolks than that so next time I might try 5 or 6 minutes.

January 07, 2022

Tofu Caesar Dressing

Going to try and do Season 3’s low carb recipes as we take a bit of a diet in he new year. Last night we put together some salad with the No Guilt Caesar dressing.

dressing in the blender

I was skeptical of the tofu, but it was really good. The dressing was creamy, smooth, and garlicky. This probably won’t replace our favorite Caesar dressing from America’s Test Kitchen, but it was worth making and we’re going to finish the rest off over the next few days.

salad

Season 3 has a few low-carb-friendly recipes so I’m going to try and get those done this month.

No Guilt Caesar

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Truly no guilt -- only about 50 calories and 1 carb per 2 Tbl serving.

December 29, 2021

Baked Beans

Progress has slowed a bit during the holidays but this week I decided to cook up a BBQ dinner featuring The Once and Future Beans along with some pulled pork sliders with cole slaw (slaw made by special guest chef Chris).

Cooked the beans for about 6 hours total, and added a little more liquid at the five hour mark when the beans were tender but not quite done yet.

BBQ dinner with beans

Gave these a three only because I think I burned some of the bacon fat as I was rendering it and there are little chunks in the beans that tasted fine but made for a strange consistency.

The Once and Future Beans

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • I think I burned the bacon fat a little bit, so there were chunks in the beans, which tasted fine but made for a strange consistency. Next time I think I would render the bacon the way I do for chowder -- by adding a quarter cup of water to the pan with the bacon and letting it cook off to render.
  • Cooked for about 6 hours, but at five hours I checked them and decided I needed to add more liquid -- so I heated up and added a little less than a cup more of vegetable broth.

December 05, 2021

Hosting with Good Eats

Had Gemma’s sister, sister’s husband, and nieces over on Friday night and decided to incorporate some season 3 recipes into the weekend. For dessert on Friday I made the Flandango for everyone.

cooked flans

Like most of the desserts so far, it was the first time I’ve attempted it, and was a little nervous, but they were awesome. Used caramel, chocolate, and raspberry-apricot preserves as the toppings. Next time, I’ll cool them in the fridge before serving.

chocolate flan

Saturday morning I made up a couple batches of the “Instant” Pancake Mix – one batch used regular AP flour and the other used gluten free AP flour.

pancake cookin setup

Both types of pancakes came out great – we even had a bunch left over to freeze and eat later.

GF and regular cakes

Flandango

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used caramel (4), chocolate sauce (2) and apricot-raspberry preserves (2) for the various toppings. Caramel was the clear winner.
  • Didn't catch this in the recipe, but probably should have popped them all into the fridge for a bit before serving, because the cooled ones were way better than the slightly warm ones we first ate.

"Instant" Pancake Mix

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Made two 2-cup batches (one third of the recipe) but used gluten free AP flour for one of them.
  • Probably needed to increase the amount of baking powder in the gluten free one to get a better rise.
  • Thinned out the non-gluten-free batter a little with 2-3 tablespoons of milk.

November 30, 2021

Honey Butter

Had a few minutes free so thought I’d whip up some Honey Butter. Rather than use a pound of butter and a stand mixer, I just used a single stick and mixed it in a bowl with a fork.

honey butter

Tried it on some toast and it’s amazing. Going to try it on some mashed sweet potatoes next, and then some pancakes this weekend. It’s delicious!

Honey Butter

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 5/5
  • Made just one stick worth, used 4 tsp honey and 1/8 tsp each of vanilla and cinnamon
  • Didn't use a mixer either -- just mixed it in a bowl with a fork until everything was smooth and combined.

November 28, 2021

Turkey Soup

I wanted to get into Season Three right after Thanksgiving in order to have the raw materials for Bird to the Last Drop a.k.a. Good Eats turkey soup. I’m so glad I got the timing right, because this soup was so easy to make and so delicious.

turkey soup

Everyone loved it, served with some cut up Italian bread and butter. I just wish the recipe made more – next time will probably try adding another 32oz container of vegetable stock.

Bird to the Last Drop

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Could probably have used three 32oz packages of stock instead of two.

November 25, 2021

Pear & Blueberry Tart

I had a feeling I might save a dessert for the last recipe in Season Two. So here I was with only No Pan Pear Pie left, and it just so happened to be Thanksgiving. That was just a coincidence, but a happy one – I was able to serve this with Thanksgiving dinner, and the reviews were great. The tart was sweet but not too sweet like some of the pies we had. It was nice and balanced, and the crust was amazing.

pear tart

Even though I didn’t get it to look as great as Alton did on the show, the taste made up for its funny looks.

Reflections on Season Two

Season Two started off with a whimper, in the form of a fruitcake. However, I’m really glad I started with that because I would have just been dreading it the whole time.

As I started off the season, we were a bit underwhelmed by some of the recipes. The meatloaf was a bit too spicy, the stuffed mushrooms were good but not mind blowing, and I was expecting way more from the ribs.

But as we approached the latter end of the recipes, we hit on a bunch of 5-rated ones. The fish and chips were awesome, and this will be the only way I ever make shrimp cocktail from here on. I’m not sure I’ll ever make this pear tart again, but I’m really glad I did.

I did rush a little bit through the end, though, because I wanted to make sure I was on Season Three after Thanksgiving to get to the recipes from Remains of the Bird using our leftovers. Mission accomplished, now let’s see what Season Three has in store…

No Pan Pear Pie

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used only a 1/4 of corn meal, and an extra 1/4 cup of flour
  • Instead of apple juice concentrate, I used diluted apple cider. Needed to add a lot more liquid than the recipe seemed to call for, but I got a decent crust consistency anyway.
  • Used a frozen Sarah Lee pound cake.

November 23, 2021

Fon-don’t

Well the Fondue Vudu wasn’t so great. Rather than coming together as a nice, smooth cheese sauce, it turned into a clumpy and often stringy mess. The flavor was OK but not good enough to make us ignore the consistency. It’s too bad because I had prepared a lot of great stuff to dip into it – summer sausage, roasted baby potatoes, bread chunks, and blanched broccoli.

fondue

Fondue Vudu

  • Crowd: 2/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Turned out stringy and clumpy, congealed really fast.
  • Served with summer sausage, blanched broccoli, bread chunks, and roasted baby potatoes.

November 21, 2021

Shrimp Cocktail

Made The Shrimp Cocktail for a pre-dinner snack tonight and it was awesome. The brine made the shrimp salty and sweet, and broiling cooked them to perfection. The cocktail sauce was tangy, sweet, and spicy.

shrimp cocktail

A real crowd pleaser – both Gemma and Vivian loved it. This is how I’m going to prepare shrimp cocktail from now on.

The Shrimp Cocktail

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • For the cocktail sauce, used 2 tbl of horseradish instead of 4.

November 20, 2021

Fish and Chips

We’re getting close to the end of Season Two, so I’m starting in on the recipes that I’ve been procrastinating on for one reason or another. Tonight it was Chips and Fish, which I’d been putting off because, well, frying is kind of scary.

fish n chips

Turns out, while it did make a huge mess and took quite a while, the fries and the fish were both fantastic. The fries were crispy with a nice fluffy inside, the fish batter was light and crispy, and the fish itself was flaky and delicious.

blanching the fries

There was a moment at the beginning where I thought I’d screwed up the fries, because I misread or misremembered the recipe and thought the fries were blanched at 220, not 320. I didn’t realize that until I had finished them, so I washed them off and dried them again, then started over. Fortunately it didn’t seem to make a difference and the fried were great.

frying the fish

We served the meal with some homemade tartar sauce, which went like this:

  • 1/4 C mayo
  • 2 dill gherkins, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt

It was a great compliment to a delicious meal!

Chips and Fish

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used Samuel Adams Boston Lager for the batter. I used a whole 12oz bottle at first, then put it in the fridge fo almost an hour. After taking it out of the fridge I put in another half bottle or so. The batter was a great consistency.

November 16, 2021

Blueberry Jam

I made up the Spiced Blueberry Jammin’, canned it in the way AB shows in the episode, cooled the jars and … didn’t seem to get a vacuum on the lids. Not exactly sure why, though I might have second guessed myself because I came back later and the lids didn’t “pop” anymore. However, I had already opened them out of curiosity so they definitely lost any kind of “preserved” that they had.

the whole apparatus

boiling the filled jars

finished product

The jam itself though was pretty good. I don’t usually use a lot of jams and jellies normally, and I’d probably choose strawberry if I did, so even though this was a good experience to learn the basics of preserving, probably won’t make it again.

File this one under: I get the idea.

Spiced Blueberry Jammin'

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Left out the star anise because we didn't have any, I couldn't find any at the three local markets, and most of all I'm not crazy about it to begin with.

November 04, 2021

Banana Splits

Banana Splitsville is really three recipes in one. I started by making the doodads and the caramel sauce during my lunch break.

doodads

As you can see, at first I tried while the caramel was too hot (upper left) and ended up with lumps. As it cooled I got better doodads (the paper on the right). They were a little crunchy and stick to your teeth. Then I made the caramel sauce. I don’t think I waited long enough to see smoke (maybe it was steam, or my eyes playing tricks on me?) but it didn’t seem to matter because I got it to a boil and everything seemed (and tasted) just fine.

caramel sauce

After dinner, I then bruleed the bananas and put it all together. I didn’t quite get the glass-like texture that Alton did in the show, and I stopped with the torch when it seemed like it was cooking the bananas (notice the browning). But, they were still sweet and a bit toasty.

brulee bananas

The finished product doesn’t looks great (I blame my food photography) but it was really tasty, even though banana splits aren’t something I’d usually go for.

splitsville

Banana Splitsville

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used somewhere between a cup and 1.5 cups of cream

November 01, 2021

Burgers

I’ve been looking forward to grinding meat in the food processor for the Burger of the Gods. It was a cool experience, and the burger came out great, except that I definitely left too many of the gristly parts of the steak in when I cut it up. Gemma’s burger had so much gristle she couldn’t finish it, yet Vivian’s had none. I also prepared them with just salt in the burger mix, but next time I’d probably add in all the usual stuff I use (an egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic power, etc.)

burger of the gods

I prepared mine to eat the way Alton did on the show: a toasted bun with just some mayo. It was good! But I do like my burgers with a bit more toppings and condiments. Overall though, a great burger.

Burger of the Gods

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Some of the burgers were amazing, other had a ton of gristle. Next time I need to be way more careful cutting up the steaks so I don't keep anything that would turn to gristle as the burgers cooked.
  • Probably will add more than just salt to the burger mix next time, too. I like the "steak burger" flavor but I also like burgers with more in the mix.

October 25, 2021

Red Sauce and Popcorn

Tried out two Season Two recipes last night. First up was the Pantry Friendly Tomato Sauce. To me, this sauce was fantastic. Gemma doesn’t really care for the “roasted tomato” flavor in anything, so next time I want to try this without the broiling step – perhaps doing the whole sauce in a big skillet. Regardless, though, a really great red sauce that is easy to make.

red sauce

Later on I went to B.J.’s place to watch a movie and brought with me the stuff for Plain Brown Popper. I just dressed it up with a little garlic salt and melted butter, and it was a great snack. This “recipe” is more like a method, though, which is why I rate it 0, or N/A. There’s a ton of ways to dress up and customize popcorn, and next I’ll probably try putting some clarified butter and tumeric on it.

popped corn

Pantry Friendly Tomato Sauce

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used a stick blender to make give it a consistency of a thicker jarred sauce, rather than leaving a lot of chunks.
  • Would like to try this without broiling the tomatoes.

Plain Brown Popper

  • Crowd: 0/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • A good method to pop loose kernels in the microwave
  • Would experiment a bit more with dressing it up in the future.

October 19, 2021

Baked Apples

Made Baker, Baker as great dessert treat tonight, served over vanilla ice cream. These are delicious, though definitely a special treat.

baked apples

They taste just like apple crisp!

Baker, Baker

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used Fuji apples and it turned out great
  • Next time would want to try peeling each apple in "stripes" every few inches
  • Served over ice cream, but need to remember to let them cool a bit more before serving.

October 16, 2021

Waldorf Salad

This was another one I wasn’t really excited for at first. However, the mix of flavors was pretty good. It’s a Wonderful Waldorf wasn’t exactly wonderful, but it was good nonetheless.

waldorf

It's a Wonderful Waldorf

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Next time would probably go a little easier on the curry powder and leave out the red onions. The recipe makes a salad with a little more kick than the crowd would prefer.

October 15, 2021

Good Eats Grilled Cheese

Decided to try the Big Cheese Squeeze for lunch today. Improvising a sandwich press using two cast iron pans is a pretty interesting idea:

the squeeze

It definitely did the trick and the sandwich was delicious.

the cheese

Big Cheese Squeeze

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used a loaf of rustic sourdough and some 3 year aged cheddar.
  • The dijon added a nice twang to the sandwich. It probably won't become my go-to grilled cheese method, but I'll probably do it again when I feel like changing things up.
  • Gave this a 2 for ease because practically, I won't really do grilled cheese using this method again. It was fun, though.

October 12, 2021

A weekend of Good Eats

We had mostly no plans for this long holiday weekend, so I figured I’d kick off Season 2 with a bang. Did a big shopping run on Friday afternoon and then pretty much cooked all weekend. What a blast!

Friday night started off with The Fungal Saute, which we used to top some home-made pizzas.

mushrooms in the pan

Saturday morning I figured I’d break out the Chemex to do True Brew using the same ratios that AB does.

true brew

While sipping my coffee, I got to work on the Free Range Fruitcake using the dried fruit I had macerated in rum the night before.

macerating in rum

I only have an 8-inch loaf pan so with the leftover batter I used a muffin tin to make 4 fruitcake muffins. In the future, this is probably the way to go. I was keeping an open mind, but after it was done it was hard to eat. Gemma’s mom thought it was edible at least, as long as you put butter on it. Neither Gemma or I could stomach it, and I ended up tossing most of the loaf, and sending the muffins home with Gemma’s mom. Will most likely never make a fruitcake again.

fruitcake loaf and muffins

Saturday night we started by making That Ol’ Cap Magic as an appetizer, and they were delicious.

mushroom caps apps

Dinner was Good Eats Meat Loaf with Better Than Grannie’s Creamed Corn on the side. The creamed corn was phenomenal, and it’s something I’d definitely make again, even though getting the kernels off the cobs was a bit messy.

creamed corn

The meat loaf was good as well, though a bit on the spicy side. It was almost like a load of taco meat, which isn’t a bad thing, but next time I’ll leave out the red pepper and chili powder. But, the glaze was awesome and gave the loaf a flavorful, crunchy crust.

meat loaf

Sunday night we hard pork chops and 10 Minute Apple Sauce with a side of Creamed Corn Cornbread. The apple sauce was good and complemented the grilled chops very well.

apple sauce before

apple sauce after

The cornbread was OK, definitely not a 2, but it was a little dry. Vivian did have a lot of fun helping me make it though!

Vivian helping make cornbread

cornbread in a skillet

Finally, to top the long weekend off I decided to cook up a batch of Who Loves Ya Baby-Back? ribs. They were flavorful and delicious, and cooking them with liquid was an interesting addition to the way I usually do them in the over with just a dry rub. I think if I had cooked them longer than 2.5 hours they would have been more “fall off the bone” but they were tasty nonetheless and Vivian just crushed them one after another.

I want my baby back baby back

And that’s it! One holiday weekend and got through almost half of Season Two!

The Fungal Saute

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Used half of the recipe to put on pizza, and it was great!
  • Used the other half for stuff mushrooms

True Brew

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • What can I say? Chemex makes an awesome cup of coffee.

Free Range Fruitcake

  • Crowd: 2/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • I only have an 8-inch loaf pan so I used the remaining batter in muffin tins. If I were going to do this again, I'd make them all muffins.
  • This was the only time I've had fruitcake, and probably will be the last.

That Ol' Cap Magic

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used gluten free bread crumbs which worked out just fine

Good Eats Meat Loaf

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • This was good, but a little on the spicy side. Next time will probably leave out the red pepper and chili powder.

Better Than Grannie's Creamed Corn

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • No recipe notes on this one, it was great!

10 Minute Apple Sauce

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Before hitting it with the immersion blender I poured off all the liquid. Once I started blending, I poured the liquid into the bowl to help blend. This got me a great sauce consistency and I think had I left all the liquid in, it would have been more like a soup than a sauce.

Creamed Corn Cornbread

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Recipe says 20 minutes but it took only about 15.

Who Loves Ya Baby-Back?

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Made a few substitutions in the rub -- paprika for chili powder, chili powder for cayenne, and garlic powder for jalapeno seasoning.
  • Could have probably cooked them for another half hour or so

October 05, 2021

Season One Finale - Fish in a Salt Dome

I attempted to do the Striped Bass in Salt Dome about a week ago, but after visiting all the seafood shops and supermarkets in the area (there’s like 4 or 5) I discovered that whole fish isn’t very common. So I started calling around until I found a place about 30m away that sells whole fish every day.

At first I sought out a striped bass like Alton used in the show, but then I learned that the minimum size you can buy is 35”. That’s like 18-20 pounds of fish, oh and striper is like $25 a pound. So, yeah that idea was out.

Instead I ended up with a ~3 pound haddock, which was nice size for the three of us.

a haddock

I have to admit I was skeptical of this one, but in the end it turned out great (if not a tad overcooked, which was my fault not the recipe or the technique). The flavor was great, with the citrus and herbs giving the meat a great subtle flavor. Also, just to note, the fish was not salty at all.

Salt dome, pre-cook:

salt dome

Cooked salt dome:

cooked salt dome

The big reveal:

And the aftermath:

the aftermath

Reflections on Season One

And that wraps up season one. From start to finish it took a little less than 2 and a half months.

So far the project has been really fun and I’ve cooked some stuff that I never really thought I would.

Can’t say that I was too surprised the last recipe would be the fish in the salt dome, or that three of the last four would be desserts. I started pretty fast through the recipes then slowed way down when it got to these. Season Two only has 2 or 3 desserts so hopefully I won’t have that lull at the end.

There were some great surprises in Season One though. I’ve never made biscuits, shortcake, or scones before and I don’t think I would have if it weren’t for this. Now I have these recipes in my back pocket for when I need them. Making ice cream is another skill I’m happy I’ve picked up.

For Season Two, I’m going to make sure to start earlier on the ones I’d rather put off, so I’m not dragging my feet by the end. And it’s going to start with that fruit cake…

Striped Bass in Salt Dome

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used a 3 pound haddock, which halved the recipe -- so, one box of salt, 2 eggs, and 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cooked it at 425 for 20 minutes but that wasn't quite enough. Bumped it up to 450 and gave it another 10 minutes, but probably should have been another 5.
  • The citrus and herbs gave the meat a great seasoning, and it was not too salty at all.
  • The flavor of the fish was amazing, but kind of a pain to make.

September 26, 2021

Lava Muffins

Cooked these when our neighbors invited us over for dinner, and they were a hit! Not everyone liked the sauce with the melted ice cream and espresso powder, but everyone enjoyed the gooey chocolate muffins. Served these over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate lava muffin and vanilla ice cream

Chocolate Lava Muffins

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Filled up muffin tins almost to the top, rather than using a 4-ounce scoop, so I got only 8 or 9 of them.
  • Cooked for 13 minutes instead of 10, probably could have gone to 15

September 18, 2021

Chocolate Mousse

I tried making the Chocolate Mousse a couple weeks ago and the attempt failed miserably. When I went to fold the whipped cream into the chocolate, I ended up with a soupy mess. I think I didn’t let the chocolate cool enough and the whipped cream melted.

This time things went much better!

getting ready to fold

Spooned it into ramekins, let it set in the fridge, then served it up with some whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

out of the fridge

ready to serve

Chocolate Mousse

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Really good, and very rich. To help cut the richness a bit we served this with some whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

September 17, 2021

Coffee Granita

Decided to do this on a Friday since it’s extra coffee in the afternoon. Used a venti dark roast from Starbucks, some orange zest, and some Allan’s coffee brandy.

the granita

Served it up with some whipped cream and a few raspberries to top it off.

granita served

Coffee Granita

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • This was pretty good, much better that we thought it'd be. Probably won't crave it when the weather gets war, but will be a good one to bring out now and then.

September 11, 2021

Onion Soup

Years and years ago I got an electric skillet for Christmas. Opening the gift I immediately thought of the Good Eats French Onion Soup recipe. I never found a use for the skillet, but I always kept it stashed away in the hopes that one day I’d use it for making this soup.

5 pounds of caramelized onions

Today was finally the day!

I even borrowed my mom’s onion soup crocks to make it extra authentic.

onion soup fresh from the broiler

This soup was really, really good. Erin said it was some of the best onion soup she’s ever had. I give it a solid 4, though probably won’t be making it again anytime soon due to the labor intensive and… pungent preparation.

French Onion Soup

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used 5lb of onions total -- 3 pounds of Vidalia and 2 pounds of reds.
  • Cutting up 5lb of onions is a terrible job, and I'd recommend that folks trying this recipe cut them before anyone else is around. People near the kitchen were all having a tough time of it.
  • Topped w/ shredded gruyere.
  • Skipped the cognac, though I'm not sure it made a difference. The soup was still amazing!

September 06, 2021

Gratin

Finally got to use my mandoline slicer today and made some Potato/Portobello Gratin.

(OK, that picture doesn’t make this look too appetizing but believe me it was really delicious.)

I used the full 3/4 C of half and half like in the recipe but it looked like a little too much so I poured some off. The gratin came out really tasty, but not very “saucy”. However, there was a really good crispy crust around the edges that might not have been there with too much more liquid. Perhaps if I do this one again I’ll keep all the half and half and see how it turns out.

Potato/Portobello Gratin

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used 7 Yukon Golds but could have used a bunch more -- in the seven there were some smaller ones and medium ones. Next time I'll make sure to weigh them and note that down.
  • The market only had one portobello cap so I used some chopped baby bellas and it was still great.

August 31, 2021

Scones

What I like about the quick bread recipes from the episode The Dough Also Rises is that it’s all usually stuff you’ve got on hand and they takes no time at all to make. Today I decided before dinner to whip up a half batch of Scones using dried cranberries.

Scones

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used dried cranberries
  • The last of the quick bread recipes, these scones were as crumbly as other ones I've had but a bit less dense. Very good recipe!

August 30, 2021

Roast Beef w/ Gravy

The night before, I made a White Roux in a small skillet, using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour.

After making the roux I popped it in the fridge to use the next day. While at it, I salted a 2.5 lb top round roast and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Tonight, I cooked the roast using this recipe – all in the name of getting some pan drippings for making Gravy from Roast Drippings

The gravy was fantastic, though I believe I thickened it a little too much. Don’t believe that picture up there, it was really delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever let pan drippings go to waste again.

White Roux

  • Crowd: 0/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Made this roux with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour, and its thickening power was just as good as gluten flour.

Gravy from Roast Drippings

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Followed the recipe and added 2 tablespoons of the roux, but seemed to thicken it a bit too much, so thinned it out with a little water. Still was a bit too thick though really delicious anyway.

August 19, 2021

Strawberry Shortcake Parfait

Googling something along the lines of “what do I do with lemon curd” brings you eventually to this Strawberry Shortcake & Lemon Curd Parfaits recipe.

The great thing about this idea is that I could use both the Lemon Curd and the Shortcake recipes from season one, all in one dessert.

Basically, you layer shortcake/lemon curd/strawberries twice, and then top it all off with some whipped cream. It’s amazingly delicious.

Lemon Curd

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • First time using a double-boiler!
  • I used 2 large lemons in this, got more than 1/3 cup of juice and plenty of zest. If I did this again I'd measure the zest because it was plenty.

Shortcake

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • These might have been a bit easier than the biscuits because you don't need to roll them out on the counter -- you can go right from the bowl to the sheet pan.
  • Gemma gave them a 5

August 15, 2021

Power the Pilaf

I’ve been looking forward to making AB’s Rice Pilaf and today I figured I’d bring all the stuff down to my folks’ place and make it along with our dinner. Served it with some grilled chicken and veggies. Everyone loved it – will definitely do rice this way again.

Rice Pilaf

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Had to skip the red pepper because when I cut it open, there were a bunch of bugs crawling around inside -- yuck.

August 14, 2021

Sawmill Gravy

Sawmill Gravy a.k.a. sausage gravy, has been a camping staple for us for years, though it’s always been Dan who makes it. This was my first attempt at it, and I’m so glad I know how to make it now. Will definitely pull this one out some time again.

Sawmill Gravy

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Served this over the Southern Biscuits we made earlier in the week
  • Used low fat milk (1%) and it was still great

August 13, 2021

Key Lime Sorbet

Not much to say about the Key Lime Sorbet – I guess we’re not really sorbet fans, so this wasn’t really our cup of tea.

Update: brought it to my parents’ place the next day and my parents and my sister seemed to like it a lot, though, so it’s not going to go to waste.

Key Lime Sorbet

  • Crowd: 2/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Used lime marmalade from here
  • I may have given it a 3 but everyone else was a 2 so I went with the crowd on this one.

August 12, 2021

Southern Biscuits

Getting into the latter half of season one, this is where I’m starting to get farther out of my comfort zone. I don’t typically do baked goods, doughs, pastries, etc. and Alton sprinkles a lot of them throughout the series. That’s good though, it’s one of the reasons I’m doing this in the first place!

Today was Southern Biscuits from the episode “The Dough Also Rises”.

But with a small twist. The other night at dinner, Gemma and I were talking about this project and given that she prefers to eat gluten-free, she asked if I could try some of these recipes GF. So, for these biscuits I made two half-batches: one with regular AP flour, and the other with gluten free replacement flour.

On the left: with gluten, on the right: gluten free. Not pictured: the one Vivian immediately stole and scarfed down.

The GF version was just as good as the gluten version, though the dough was a HUGE pain to work with. It never really formed into a workable dough, but I guess that makes sense because gluten is what makes doughs, um, doughy.

Southern Biscuits

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • Biscuits were more "cakey" than "flakey" but that's fine -- I think that's the intention for this recipe anyway.
  • They are SO good, even the GF ones are fantastic.

August 09, 2021

Broiled Butterflied Chicken & Mashers

Combined Season 1 recipes Broiled, Butterflied Chicken and Mashers for tonight’s dinner. Served them up with some sauteed spinach.

Broiled, Butterflied Chicken

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • The recipe calls for a 3-4 pound chicken, but the smallest I could get was a 5 pounder. The chicken came out really moist and tender, however I had to add an extra 20-25 minutes to the cook time to get it to temp. That's expected, because the recipe is for a smaller bird.
  • We think it would have been much better if it used way less pepper. It came out so peppery that I had to wash off my daughter's portion.
  • AB says that the veggies give all they had during cooking but we ate the carrots anyway -- they weren't bad!
  • The jus was fantastic! Next time I will turn it into a gravy.

Mashers

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Really liked these. Using both russets and red potatoes is a great move.
  • Not our all-time-favorite mashed but they were up there. I don't usually have buttermilk on hand but this is a good use for it.

August 03, 2021

Eggs Over Easy & Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

Not in the same meal, though.

Kept the “breakfast for lunch” train rolling with some Eggs Over Easy.

Then for dessert with tonight’s dinner, we did Alton’s Serious Vanilla Ice Cream served on top of a slice of vanilla pound cake with some sliced peaches and whipped cream to top it all off.

Two 5-for-5 recipes in a day!

Eggs Over Easy

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 5/5
  • My all time favorite way to eat eggs, and though I didn't remember it until today, I've been using this exact method for decades.

Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Crowd: 5/5
  • Ease: 3/5
  • This ice cream was so incredibly tasty, the tiny touch of peach flavor is an awesome addition.
  • Found out later that in the episode AB added a pinch of kosher salt, which I didn't do here. Would like to give a shot next time.

August 02, 2021

Pan Seared Rib Eye & Hail Caesar Salad

Dinner tonight: Pan Seared Rib Eye and Hail Caesar Salad. Put it together with some grilled sweet potato steak fries.

(I think my food photography is getting progressively worse)

Pan Seared Rib Eye

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • When not putting steaks on the grill, this is pretty much exactly how I usually do steaks.

Hail Caesar Salad

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Pretty good "classic" restaurant style Caesar dressing. Not bad, though we've had better (even homemade) Caesar before.

August 02, 2021

Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled

Thought I’d bang out a Season 1 recipe with breakfast-as-lunch Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled

Scrambled Eggs Unscrambled

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • No crowd this time, just for my own lunch.
  • AB says to cook only until there's no more liquid in the pan, then transfer to the plate. To me, that leaves the eggs a little too runny for my taste. I usually cook them a little bit longer, which I like better, so that's why I gave this a 3 out of 5.

July 29, 2021

Pan Fried Fish & Pasta

Continuing on with Season 1, the next couple recipes went into tonight’s dinner:

We usually prepare pasta with just butter and cheese, but this prepartion was a good change of pace. Combined with roasted broccoli, this was a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Like before, notes and ratings on each:

Pan Fried Fish

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Used a large (1 pound) skin-on haddock fillet
  • Definitely a great weeknight fish recipe, very easy with relatively few steps
  • Loved the butter/caper sauce

Pasta

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 4/5
  • Liked this simple preparation a lot!

July 24, 2021

Starting Season 1

Began cooking Season 1 today!

Putting together a meal with a few recipes from the season is a good way to start on the list, so I started with:

Here are our notes and ratings for each. Check the FAQ for what the ratings mean.

Grilled Salmon Steaks

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • These were fantastic, would definitely make them again.
  • Did the spice mix like in the show for Gemma and me, and just salt for Vivian. Both variations were a hit.
  • Preparation was a pain though -- the steaks had a ton of pin bones and try as I might I couldn't get them all. Tying them was a bit tricky, had do do a couple twice before they held together.

The Baked Potato

  • Crowd: 4/5
  • Ease: 5/5
  • Would rarely think of doing baked potatoes, but they were great
  • An hour plus cooking, though, means they'll probably stay a rarity

Veni Vedi Vinaigrette

  • Crowd: 3/5
  • Ease: 5/5
  • This was light and tangy, and dead simple to put together.
  • We do a similar dressing with lemon olive oil and white wine vinegar that we like better