Monday, 30 July 2012

Johnny is Still Working on the Same Recipe

             One of the first things that I took on cooking completely of my own volition was a chicken dish that came out of one of the first cook books that I ever owned. I think we found it in a warehouse store. It was simply titled Italian and as I flipped through it I was enamored with the pictures of all of these seemingly foreign types of food. I wanted to make this food, I was ten. I brow beat my mother to help me find things we never ate, things like prosciutto. I made the dish and was completely in love with the process. I continued to play with the recipe until I got it down. It became my go to dish, the dish that I would make to impress girls. So this recipe is a continuation of that first dish. I find a certain kind of solace in playing and tweaking dishes to make them different and hopefully better. So here we go a little stuffed chicken breast and   don’t worry my lovelies there is bacon in it.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Basil and Goat’s Cheese to the tune of Night Moves by Bob Seger

2 Chicken Breasts
4 strips of Bacon
250g of Good Goat’s Cheese
1 clove of minced Garlic
8-10 leaves of fresh Basil minced
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

-Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees.

-Mix together the cheese, garlic and basil. Now you have the stuffing.

-Cut a pocket in the chicken and stuff with the cheese mixture, pinch shut, season with salt and pepper, then wrap in the bacon tying with butchers twine to secure it.

-Heat a cast iron skillet, add oil, and sear off the chicken. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the juices run clear.

-Serve with creamy polenta and pan fried zucchini and you are done. Give it a go and try to impress members of the opposite sex.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Johnny’s More Complicated Philly Cheese Steak

            I don’t know why I am in love as I am with the idea of the Philly Cheese steak, maybe I have seen the Rocky movies too many times or perhaps it just combines two things that I love in a sandwich. I just know that I love them so very much. I have been playing with the recipe for years and I still have not gotten it 100% right yet. I have made good sandwiches and utter failures but I have never gotten it perfect. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I am a west coast guy screwing around with an east coast staple. I feel as though I am getting close though so here I go sharing it with you. A few things that you should know about the Cheese Steak: They are much simpler than the one that I am showing you how to make. Basically it is steak on an Italian roll with onion or without, wit or wit out if you are in Philly, and some form of cheese. As I have been lead to believe Cheez Whiz is the tradition. I have also come to understand that rib eye is the preferred cut of meat for this sandwich. I have made it with other cuts and it has worked out well. Just be sure there is some marbling in the meat because you want some fat in it. In this recipe I used prime rib but you can use less costly cuts. Talk to your butcher and he will move you in the right direction. I would go skirt steak personally, but that is just me. Let’s get to it.

Johnny’s More Complicated Philly Cheese Steak to the tune of “Lucky Man” by the Verve

Okay, so three parts to this recipe: the cheese, the veggies and the meat. My advice is to do the prep on the meat first, then hit the cheese sauce and veggies, then finish up the meat and bring everything together.

The cheese:

Trying to stay at least a little bit true to the original I did this with a homemade cheese sauce that is more like the whiz than just putting shredded cheese on the thing. I also added a little bit of jalapeño to cut through the richness of the sauce. I also make this sauce by sight so I am not sure about the proportions so this is a pretty rough outline. If it looks too thick to you add more milk. If it looks too thin cook it down more or add more cheese, whatever you like.

Equal parts butter and flour
Cheese, smoked cheddar works great, make it as cheesy as you want or can afford
1 jalapeño finely diced
Salt and pepper

-melt your butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and then add your flour whisk like crazy to get your roux.

-add your milk and keep whisking until there are no lumps. Add in your peppers and cheese and let it melt in while you keep whisking. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

The Veggies:

1 onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
A handful each of brown mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms cut into smallish chunks, make sure you can still tell that they are mushrooms.
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Red and green bell peppers cut into strips

-pre heat your oven to 350

-toss all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix them together, transfer them to a baking pan and pop them into the oven to roast about 15 minutes or so. Taste to check for doneness. Remove and put aside

The meat:

2ish lbs of prime rib sliced as thin as you can, it is easier to do this when the meat is really cold.
5 strips of bacon diced
4 cloves of crushed garlic
½ an onion finely diced
Salt and Pepper
A good glug of olive oil

-shove all of your ingredients into a big zip lock bag, seal it, and give it a little massage to mix everything together. Stick it into the fridge for a couple of hours to let it work. Remove from the fridge about ten minutes before you start cooking to allow the meat to temper.

-heat up a cast iron skillet with some oil in it. Put you meat in and cook, constantly turning and flipping it. Taste often to ensure it gets to the point of doneness that you like.

Bring it all together:

Good rolls or Italian Bread

-add your veggies to the meat that is still working on your stove cook them together for a couple of minutes to let the flavors mingle and get comfy with each other.
Getting Comfy

-assemble. It is your sandwich so add as much of what you like as you like. Serve them hot. Eat them fast and enjoy.