Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pico De Gallo -Weapons Grade!

Not hot enough for you yet? This Pico de Gallo is sure to turn up the heat!! Made with five different fresh hot peppers and a mess of cilantro it could perhaps be the most dangerous thing in your refrigerator! Now, I can eat this stuff with a fork, but I love love love spicy! Of course this isn’t for everyone so feel free to tone it down by moderating, or leaving out some of the peppers. This fresh salsa will keep for about a week, but if you can’t eat it all in that space of time, try vacuum packaging some of it. It should keep for up to a month that way. Salsa isn’t just for chips either! Try a few spoonfuls on the next chicken dish you make. Or if white fish is on the menu soon marinate and bake it in a few cups of Pico. Top a burger with it; hell I’ve even made an omelet with it. It’s very versatile, so get creative!! Look for a few recipes in the coming week that  incorporate this deliciously fresh and spicy Pico De Gallo!

Assemble and Combine the Following:

  • Four vine ripened tomatoes (about 2 C. diced)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cored, seeded diced
  • 1/2 large red onion (about 2 C. diced)
  • 4 -6 Scallions (about 1 C. sliced on the bias)
  • 1 Bunch of fresh cilantro (stems removed, about 2 C. chopped)
  • 3 Poblano Peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 Serano Peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Anaheim Peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Jalapeno peppers seeded, very finely chopped
  • 1 Habanero pepper seeded , very finely chopped
  • Four TBSP dried cayenne pepper
  • Four TBSP dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 C. lemon juice
    Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. I’ve found that it helps all salsa if you stir the contents a few times (I just shake the storage container every few hours) to ensure that everything is marrying up well.

     

Spam, Rations, and Shell-Shock: Remembering D-Day

Sixty seven years ago today, at 630 AM GMT+2 the world witnessed the largest, most widely known, and arguably one of the most important D-Day operations ever to be undertaken. The Western Allied forces launched a grizzly assault on Nazi occupied France, setting in motion an arduous war that ultimately freed Europe from the tyrannical rule of Adolf Hitler. The politics, world-impact, and moral-impact of this subject has been the subject of books and discourse for decades. Speaking of politics, I’ve been inundated all day all week with pointless (while often humorous) banter about a certain Congressman from New York’s 9th District and his inability to -er- control himself. Regrettably, this distastefully sad blip in the news landscape seems to have eclipsed the importance of remembering D-Day for what it stood for and all those brave American and Allied soldiers that lost their lives sixty-seven years ago today and in the following eleven or so months in the European Theatre. So, This Reckless Culinarian set out to highlight one human aspect of this, one of the most significant days in the timeline of Human Culture.

It’s said that the United States Army is the best fed in the world, that it “marches on it’s stomach” (or something like that), so what better way to humanize the events that took place almost seventy years ago than by giving a little thought to what made D-Day and the European War possible? That is to say: What did our brave warriors EAT while putting their lives on the line for freedom and Democracy? I did a little reading, and grabbed some pictures from Wikipedia and other sources that provide insight into the matter. Personally I would sooner starve than eat most of this stuff. That being said, I’ve never been trapped in a fox hole for three days. The food that fuelled the war effort is interesting to say the least. Consider the idea of eating canned “Chopped Ham and Eggs” from a K-Ration Breakfast Unit every morning. Then, go thank a soldier. MRE’s (Meals ready to eat) have replaced thinks like SPAM, the K, C, and 10-IN-1 rations of yester-year on the battle-field. I’ve tried a few MRE’s; I’m sure they’re not as bad as SPAM (something I will NEVER eat) but they’re still pretty yuck.

C-Ration 3700 Calories

(Breakfast Unit Pictured)


Attribution: Flickr user: <DK> ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfeenixfotoblargh/ ).

Note: The Vanilla Caramels and Old Gold Cigarettes were not included in B-Unit Rations.

The K-Ration: 2700 Calories

Breakfast Unit


Dinner (Lunch) Unit:


Supper Unit:


The 10-In-1 Ration: 4188 Calories

A pure exercise in efficacy and waste reduction, the 10-IN-1 was designed to feed ten soldiers for one day. I had trouble finding pictures of the 10-IN-1, but I did find an example “menu.” It appears to me that the larger size of the 10-IN-1 allowed for a bit more variety and therefore was more acceptable to the Soldier on the ground.

  • one pound of beef in broth
  • one pound of steak and kidneys
  • 8 ounces of liver loaf
  • 8 ounces of corned beef
  • 12 ounces of luncheon loaf (similar to Spam precooked meat product)
  • 8 ounces of bacon
  • 2 pounds of margarine
  • one pound of lard
  • one pound of fruit preserves
  • one pound of honey
  • one pound of raisins
  • one pound of chocolate
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 8 ounces of egg powder
  • 2 pounds of KLIM whole-milk powder (1st issue)
  • 4 cans of evaporated milk (2nd issue)
  • 2 pounds of coffee

Further reading:

  1. The Army’s Food Program

    Robert P. Patterson, Under Secretary of War

    The Quartermaster Review

    May-June 1945

    http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/WWII/army_food.htm

  2. Rations in Review

    Colonel James C. Longino, Q.M.C.

    The Quartermaster Review

    May-June 1946
    http://www.qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/WWII/rations_in_review.htm

  3. Army Operational Rations – Historical Background

    <http://www.qmfound.com/army_rations_historical_background.htm>

  4. SPAM AGAIN

    http://www.americainwwii.com/stories/spamagain.html

  5. Good Eats

    World War II Army marched on its stomach

    http://www.monmouth.army.mil/monmouthmessage/stories051509/news_story_03.html

Vegetarian Stir-Fry with Pineapple

Since I’ve got all this pineapple hanging around, I’ve been trying to find use for it as much as possible. I can’t in good conscience let that delicious stuff go to waste! I’ve never been a fan of anything sweet, but pineapple lends itself perfectly to savory dishes. As the world’s biggest fan of Asian Cuisine, if I had my way my days would be little more than a constant, hedonistic stuffing of the face with sushi, edamame, stir-fry, sake, sticky rice balls, and gyoza. Fortunately for my waist line I have commitments and work and responsibilities that make this dream of mine impossible. That being said, if you’re ever searching for me in the afterlife I’ll be the 400 pound white guy on a Greek-Style couch being attended to by a very skilled sushi chef.

But I digress. Hey, it’s hard not to get caught up in imagining your own personal heaven!

My favorite Thai restaurant in town serves possibly the best Pad Khe Mao in the mortal universe. It’s a spicy dish, with jumbo rice noodles, pineapple, onions, pole beans, egg, bean sprouts, basil leaves, in a delicate yet blindingly spicy super secret sauce. It is, (and I say this without hesitation) pure gastronomic bliss! And it inspired this little ditty.

Assemble the following:

  • 1/2 C. Spinach (Fresh is obviously preferred, but all I had was frozen)
  • 1/4 C. Mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 C. Pineapple chunks
  • 2 Scallion (Spring Onion) sliced on the bias
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 inch of *FRESH* ginger
  • 1/2 C. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C. Carrots, sliced on the bias
  • 1 C. Tofu cubes
  • Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • Your favorite Garam Masala (there are so many varieties, pinning one down is virtually impossible)
  • 2 TBSP. Wok (canola/ peanut) oil
  • 1 TSP. Rice Wine vinegar
  • Cooked Long Grain Rice

 

It’s important to remember that stir fry is a lot like lighting a very short fuse on a very big stick of dynamite. Once you get started, there’s no turning back (i.e.: no time to chop that ingredient you forgot) so it is vitally important that everything be at the

ready before you even put heat to the wok. I recommend dividing things into groups based on how long it will take them to cook. But I’ve also thrown it all in at once, and the result was still delicious, though some of the veggies were still a little raw. However, I love raw vegetables. The point is to have everything ready to go before you lay a finger on the stove.

Do this with it:

  • Use the most powerful burner position. Check the manual on your stove. Even my cheap, General Electric piece of junk stove has one burner that puts out about 500 BTU’s more than the other three.
  • Heat the wok until you fear that it’s going to melt. Trust me, it will not. Woks have been used like this for a few thousand years.
  • Add the oil. It should immediately spread out and get all shimmery and glossy. It should start to smoke a little bit within a few seconds. If this doesn’t happen, you have misjudged all sorts of ancient Asian wisdom and should apologize to our forbearers and start over.
  • At sight of the first whisps of smoke, it’s time to get started.
  • Pick up the wok and toss in the ingredients. (If you’re scared of getting burned by splatter, it’s a sign you should spend more time in the kitchen and toughen up, you wuss!) If you grouped things by cooking time, expect three to five minutes cooking time per group. The important thing is to hear that sizzle every time you add something new. If no sizzle is heard, the wok didn’t get back up to temperature. But do not despair; just cook everything a little longer.
  • Keep tossing things around in the wok, either by delicate flick of the wrist or by stirring with a spatula, until a nice earthy brown look to the edges of everything can be seen.
  • Add the Rice Wine Vinegar and toss some more, return the Wok to the heat for a minute or two.
  • After the vinegar has cooked down, kill the heat and immediately add the Crushed red and cayenne peppers, and the Garam Masala.
  • Toss a little more, then plate with the rice and serve.

Important wisdom from Julia Child [sic] : Go out into the yard with some beans or rice grains or something, put them in a pan and keep tossing them all over the place until they all land back in the pan! Then you’ve got it, and you can say goodbye to that stirring spoon or spatula!

Pinapple Ginger Pork Tender Loin Marinade

After a long seemingly eternal hiatus, I’ve decided to Resurrect The Reckless Culinarian!

Look for a Redesign of the look and feel of the blog coming soon. As well as a migration away from single dishes to whole meals. In the Meantime, I’ll try to post as many of my culinary explosions as I can!

Some may recall that I was one of those snarky vegetarians for about a year. You know the type: “you, yes YOU! are destroying the planet and have condemned yourself to a life of poor health because you eat meat!” etc. Quite annoying. Last September while attending a friends Labor Day cook out, my will broke. I had brought my cool meat substitutes and had all kinds of talking points ready for when I was questioned about what I was eating… She slapped one Filet Mignon steak down on the grill and it took all of thirty seconds before I very sheepishly asked her to throw one on for me. I mean these puppies were HIGH quality stuff she ordered from out of state. Grass-fed, humanely treated, happiest cows on Earth. Whatever. Needless to say, my views on meat have softened considerably since that day. I try to eat the highest quality meat I can get my hands on no more than two or three times a week, and never on Monday (http://www.meatlessmonday.org).

Pork has become my meat of choice. A well fed hog produces some pretty nutrient dense meat, and there’s so many things you can do with it.
This Recipe will marinate about 2 lbs of tenderloin.

Assemble The Following:

  • 4 OZ Crushed Pineapple
  • 4 OZ Pineapple Juice
  • 3 CL Minced Garlic
  • 2 TSP Soysauce
  • Pinch Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 TSP Ground Ginger (or 1 Inch Fresh)

Do This With It:

Combine Everything a food processor and pulse until Smooth,
Tenderize your Pork Loin with a  few jabs of a knife, and plenty of meat mallet action.
Pour the Marinade over the tenderloin, cover, and refrigerate for as long as you can abate hunger (2.5 hours minimum)

Doesn't look too tasty here, but have faith!!

Don’t discard the marinade after it’s done it’s job. We’re gonna make a delicious glaze out of it… I think.