feeding freiman

wild boar.

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I think that this post is pretty unique and a definite first for “feeding freiman.”  My good buddy, GS is quite a hunter, and one day I received this picture on my phone:

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He had apparently shot quite a large wild boar; just look at the smug grin on his face.  And GS, knowing about my penchant for smoking meats, brought this over for us:

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A 9 pound ham for us to have some with.  We brined it for about 24 hours in salt water seasoned with chili flakes, peppercorns, brown sugar, and, well, you get the idea.    Cooking this meat was a little bit tricky.  Because it was a wild animal and because we were dealing with a ham, there was not a lot of fat marbled throughout the meat.  Typically hams have significantly less fat than, say a butt (shoulder), and this was obviously no exception.  Nonetheless, I did my best and came out with this:

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The meat was very tasty.  There is nothing like eating something that was alive less than a day ago.  For all of you that may be saying, “gross,” please allow me to preach for a bit: would you rather have your meat basically sterilized of flavor packaged on styrofoam for $6 a pound from Publix, or killed and delivered to your plate straight from mother nature herself (albeit with a heck of a shot from a hundred yards away)?  I choose the latter!

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The meat got a great smoke ring, and had an ever so slight gamey taste – which is NOT a bad thing at all.  The company was not so bad either.  Thank you GS , I look forward to the next one.

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Written by jason

March 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Dinner

dry aged.

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This is a technique that I have wanted to try for a while – dry aging my own steak.  The other day, Publix had Porterhouse steaks on sale for $8/lb., and since we already had plans for dinner, I knew that I finally had time to try it.

I got the biggest one they had, about 1.5lbs.  The technique is so simple – wrap the meat in paper towels, put it on a rack and put it in the coldest portion of your refrigerator – for us it’s the top right corner.

I changed the paper towels frequently – only after a few hours the first time, and about every 24 hours after that.  4 days later, the meat looked like this:

The meat probably weighed about 2/3 of it’s original weight because a lot of the water weight was now gone basically concentrating all of the meaty flavor – the major advantage of dry aged meat.

I cooked the Porterhouse via my favorite method: under the chimney starter.

It only took a few minutes per side and I was left with this broiled beauty:

You could really taste the aging process.  The meat was delicious, but the biggest difference was in the fat,  The fat was now extra buttery, melted goodness throughout the whole steak.

I highly recommend giving this a shot.  You could always buy dry aged steak. I know that Whole Foods sells it, and your local butcher probably does too.  But why pay them double or triple the cost when, with a patience and pre-planning, you can do it yourself.

Oh yeah, I already have a bone-in Ribeye aging as I write this.

Written by jason

August 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Posted in Dinner

for dad.

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So, my Dad came to visit!  I couldn’t believe it, but it had been over 2 years, since my wedding, that I last saw him.  The trip was long overdue and absolutely wonderful.

Since he has never been to Atlanta or met my friends, I wanted to have some friends over and cook a feast.  I figured it would give my friends a chance to put some pieces of my personality into place and a chance for my Dad to see who I’m spending my time with these days.

I kept the menu simple since I wanted to spend my time hanging out, not stressing too much over the food.  For the mains, I decided on beer can chicken and the smoked corned beef that I made to St. Paddy’s Day.

Instead of the chicken resting on a can of beer, I used a can Coke – just to mix things up.  I basically used the same technique that I have shown on “feeding freiman” before.  I made my own spice rub and roasted the chicken on the grill for about an hour.

I roasted some potatoes with chopped onions, and I made coleslaw as well.

Oh yes: look at the lovely plate of barbequed goodness and happy smiling faces:

The next morning was Father’s Day.  I honestly cannot tell you the last time I got to spend Father’s Day with my Dad.  Sad, but true;  I had to do something special.

Growing up, there were some Sunday mornings when Mom just needed some time to herself, and my Dad would take care of us while she slept in.  My Dad would make us what he called, “Daddy’s specials” – 2 Eggo waffles with cream cheese and jelly in the middle.  I decided that I had to surprise him with these.  For a little more substance, I scrambled some eggs and fried up plenty of bacon.

I know, not exactly a complex culinary concoction, but a nostalgic one nonetheless.  It was a great flashback to my childhood, and I’m not going to lie: Mere ate Daddy specials until the box of waffles was gone 🙂

Written by jason

July 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Dinner

july 4th.

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Sorry for the week and a half delay in getting this post done – the past couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, as you’ll soon see.

July 4th weekend didn’t start out as well as expected.  My best man, Sweeney, was supposed to be come in town for the weekend, but I had to work late.  Since I was working late, I told Mere and him that they should go out for dinner without me.  As I left the hospital around 9:45pm, I called Mere to see where they were.  All of a sudden – WHAM! – I heard the impact of the drunk driver hitting the front driver side of her car, while they were in it and parked.  He flipped his car and was taken immediately to Grady; her car was totaled.

Needless to say, I was freaking out, especially when the phone went dead.  I flew over as soon as I could and found both of them safe and sound, albeit quite shaken.  A trip to the ER later, it was about 3am by the time we got home.  As you can see, a perfect relaxing start to the weekend.

Luckily they were both fine, and after a quick drink to settle the nerves, we all passed out.

Saturday morning started quite early with all the cooking I wanted to do. (You really didn’t think that I would half ass the cooking, did you?)

I had rubbed the meat – a 4 lb. Boston Butt on the left, and a 5lb. Brisket on the right – a few days earlier with a homemade rub.  Once the grill was ready I let the meat slow cook for the next 8ish hours.

I’m so tired of making coleslaw, so I came up with some other options for side dishes.  First, I wanted to try my hand at making baked beans.   You can see the primary ingredients that I used below.  I decided to use dry Navy beans instead of canned so I made sure to soak them for 24 plus hours prior to Saturday morning.

The flavor came out great, but the texture was a little off.  Despite being soaked for almost 30 hours, simmering for almost 4 hours, and being baked uncovered for another 3ish, the beans were still a little hard and undercooked.  I think that I will soak them longer and with more water the next time I decide to make this.

I also made a cold pasta salad and a grilled corn salad.  In the cold pasta salad, I used grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, oregano, parsley, capers and olives, as well as a little vinaigrette.  The grilled corn salad had roasted sunflower seeds, cilantro, tomato, and green onion.  I may be forgetting some ingredients in each dish, but you still get the point.

At this point the meat was getting close to done.  I pulled both off the grill to beautiful results.  First, the brisket with the beautiful bark.

Take a look at the sliced finished product, and do please note the gorgeous smoke ring.

Second the final product of the pulled pork:

All in all, the day was a success.  It was nice to spend the day with close friends after such a scary start to the weekend.


Written by jason

July 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Dinner

apricot pork.

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I have to say, this dish came as a bit of a shock.  This is not a typical braised dish that I would prepare, but when I saw the recipe for this dish in a cookbook, I had to try it and add my own twists, of course.

So, let’s begin – braised pork loin in a citrus sauce with onion, shallot, and apricots.

I bought a 2.5lb rib end pork loin, seasoned it well with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and seared it on all sides.

Once browned, I sautéed onions, garlic, and shallots.  Once they softened a bit, I added some earthy, lemony thyme and started building the sauce:  some orange juice (not from concentrate), lemon juice, dijon mustard, and chicken stock. I took before and after pictures so you can see how dark and rich the sauce became when the cooking finished.

Before:

After:

There were a few changes I would make next time.  I would use much more lemon juice.  The sauce came out a little sweet – especially the whole apricots.  I would definitely use less apricots and chop them instead of leaving them whole.  I would also add a little white wine, again to cut some of the sweetness of the sauce.

I served the pork with plenty of reduced sauce and along side of some quinoa.  The quinoa had some scallions and parsley in it and tested great with the sauce drizzled over it.

This is typically not a dish I would flock to, but I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out.  I could definitely improve on this, but it was still delicious.

 

Written by jason

July 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Posted in Dinner

risotto.

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I’m a pretty huge meat eater.  99% of the time, dinner involves a protein of some sort.  In fact, I’m pretty sure this is only the second vegetarian dish in the history of “feeding freiman”. (just don’t count the chicken stock)

I used 3 types of mushrooms: cremini, oyster, and shittake.  Mushrooms have that wonderful meaty quality, as well as umami.  A fifth flavor sometimes referred to as savoriness.  By the time this dish was done, I created a rich, flavorful, and filling dish, without having to use a protein.

After sautéeing the shallots, onion, and garlic in some butter, I toasted the rice for a few minutes.

I hit the toasted rice with some white wine and vermouth and then let it reduce.  I had some chicken stock left over from the “banh me’s” which I used to cook the rice.  I added about 1 cup of warm broth to the rice and let that cook until almost absorbed.  That’s basically the technique to making a risotto: add a cup of broth at a time, let it cook, absorb, and repeat until the rice is nice and tender.

A little over halfway through the cooking process, I added in some fresh thyme and the browned, tender mushrooms.  I finished cooking the rice with another 4-5 rounds of chicken stock, and it was almost time to dine.  But first, I folded in some fresh Parmesan cheese for that amazing nutty, salty bite.

Delicious.  I have actually made this dish a few times, and it gets better and better each time.  I love the creamy rice and the earthy mushrooms, coupled with the acidity of the wine, and the fresh salty cheese.

I’m not giving up my meat lovers card quite yet, but a delicious mushroom risotto is a fair compromise.

Written by jason

July 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Dinner

banh me.

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The last time I made this sandwich, it was absolutely delicious.  However, as I used a recipe from Bon Apetit Magazine, it was not quite mine.  I really wanted to make the sandwich mine; the way I would do it, not the way a recipe tells me to.

So, here it is – Banh “me”.

I knew there was only one way for me to make this dish – slow braised.  I bought a beautiful, fatty Boston butt, my favorite for slow cooking, a few days in advance of making this dish.

I seasoned it with S&P, ginger and garlic powder.  I made some slits in the meat and put chunks of fresh ginger, garlic, and lemongrass.

Because of work and timing, I couldn’t make the dish for a few days.  I think it actually worked out well, it gave the meat some time to sit with the chunks of garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, and for the spice rub to add some nice flavor as well.

When the day came to actually cook, I started by browning the meat.

Once the meat was browned, I added onion, cilantro, shallot, more ginger, garlic, and lemongrass to be sautéed.  Once they were a little browned and tender, I built the braising liquid with a homemade chicken stock, and white wine.

I had made the stock a couple of days ahead.  Because I knew that I would be using it in this dish, I wanted the stock to have flavor profiles in line with this dish.  In addition to the usual mirepoix and stock basics, I used lemongrass, lemons, cilantro, and plenty of garlic.

Last time, the recipe called for simply adding sriracha to mayonnaise.  This time, I wanted to make it mine, so I made my own spicy, sesame mayo.  Yup, I sat there whisking the oil by hand until I had a beautiful mayonnaise.  My arm was a little sore, but the end result was well worth it.

The last time, the sandwich was basically a Vietnamese style meatball sub.  This time, I was able to use similar flavor profiles, but with my culinary point of view.  The pulled pork was so tender, and the braising liquid reduced to a delicious thick sauce, adding some great flavor.  I topped the sandwich with fresh cilantro and pickled julienned daikon and carrot.  I was very happy with the end result; the sandwich came out just the was I had envisioned it.

Written by jason

June 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Dinner