Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken Drippings

In the constant quest to conquer cooking, I've come upon a curious new use for conventionally cast-off comida.

Chicken drippings are delicious--we all know that-- but they are rarely kept unless one is making gravy. This shouldn't be so. Chicken drippings have a multitude of uses.

By chicken drippings I mean the liquid left over after a chicken is roasted. This includes the gelatinous jus, and the fat which will rise to the top after the mixture is poured into a container and cooled (make sure to pour into a narrow container so that the fat is distinct from the jus) . Flavored by roasted chicken, the fat is much more flavorful than say an average canola or peanut oil (the kitchen literally smells like chicken soup when I'm heating the oil up) and the jus is far superior to any broth.

(mushrooms deglazed with chicken jus)
The fat is perfect for sauteeing--I cook eggs and vegetables in it--and the jus is delicious too. It's like a concentrated chicken stock. It adds a chickeny tang to anything. I add the jus to soups or I deglaze pans of vegetables with it. I am however, only touching upon the possibilities of chicken drippings. It's an awesome new ingredient that I'm excited to work with.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Best Cake Ever

This is my latest article for my school paper.

I’m often a bad brother or a bad son. When a sorry won’t suffice, I comfort my kin with food. Nothing says sorry like a sweet cake with confectioner’s sugar buttercream. Cake doubles as my birthday present to others. It’s the perfect gift. It costs little, yet is always appreciated. It’s the universal gift—who doesn’t like cake on their birthday? Plus it displays willingness to put in effort for the recipient.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with making this cake simply for yourself. It’s incredible. It’s simply my favorite cake ever. It’s tender and moist, yet rich and substantial, unlike cake made from a mix. I would eat the cake without icing, yet this vanilla buttercream frosting is as delicious as the cake. So claim that you’re making it for someone’s birthday, but make sure you get a slice.
The recipe is from Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. There are a good amount of ingredients but it’s not difficult to make. You must be sure to use cake flour, not all purpose, or else the cake will be sunken in the center.

Golden Cake
The recipe is from Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. There are a good amount of ingredients but it’s not difficult to make. You must be sure to use cake flour, not all purpose, or else the cake will be sunken in the center.
Non-stick spray
2 large eggs
3 large yolks
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 tbs unsalted butter cut into four pieces
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Spray a 9 x 2 round cake pan with non-stick spray then top with a circle or parchment paper.
3. Stir together the eggs, yolk, buttermilk and vanilla together.
4. In a stand mixer, thoroughly mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
5. Add butter and oil and mix on medium speed for 1.5 minutes.
6. Slowly add the egg mixture.
7. Whip the cream with a hand mixer until it forms peaks that fall over but retain their shape with the mixer is removed from the cream.
8. Fold the cream into the batter.
9. Bake the cake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean but moist.

Confectioner’s Sugar Buttercream Icing
• 1 ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• ½ cup Crisco
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 2 tbs heavy cream
1. With a stand mixer, whip the butter with the Crisco then beat in the vanilla extract.
2. On the lowest speed, slowly add the sugar.
3. Add the cream.
4. Add more sugar or cream to adjust the texture.
5. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I'm just in that cereal mood. How will I break the fast tomorrow morning?

My Favorite Cake. Ever.

Gimme a day or two to post the recipe.

Ant Trap

Ants have been crawlin cross my kitchen counter recently. I wanted to do something about it.

I dipped this Chile de Arbol in sugar water (aka the incredibly refreshing city punch: 1 part sugar 1 part water) and set it out in the counter.

No, of course it didn't work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pet Peeve explained

Some readers didn't understand this, but I'm not actually comparing myself to Michelangelo or John Keats. The piece is satiric. It's a joke. I'm making something that really isn't a big deal and I'm blowing it out of proportion... on purpose. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pet Peeve

Recently in English we had to write about a pet peeve in a satiric, colloquial tone. Here's my response (names have been changed). I just threw in some pictures of cinnamon buns to keep it interesting.

Not as Easy as Pie

Imagine, for a second, that you’re a doctor. You’re at a party with a bunch of friends, but also a lot of people that you don’t know. You and your buddy go over to talk to a group of people cause, you know, you’re trying to make some new friends. You go around the circle listing your professions, and after you mention that you’re a dermatologist, one of the men you just met blurts out, “Maybe you can help me! I need to know if this mole under my armpit is cancerous.” What would you do in this situation? Would you not be pretty annoyed? Well I’m faced with a very similar predicament every weekend, and I’ve come to the breaking point!

You see, I generally try to be a pretty nice, friendly guy. I’m certainly no Mr. Rogers, but I’m no Steve Stiffler either. I like to help people out just like the next guy and my favors often involve food and cooking. It’s what I know and love. It’s my signature. I can definitely be the mean big brother, but I make it up by baking treats for my sisters. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday so I baked her a cake. My cooking is either a display of affection or a gift, and that’s why it’s absolutely absurd, when people assume that I will just cook for anyone who asks!

I don’t like it, no, I can’t stand it, when random kids ask me to cook for them. I guess it has kind of gotten around school that I cook a little here and there, and so whenever I go to some social gathering with people I haven’t met before, they don’t even take the time to introduce themselves before asking “will you cook for me.” “Nick I hear you’re a big famous chef, will you make me some cheesecake? Nick how are you at making banana bread? Nick when it’s my birthday will you roast me a chicken?” No, No and No! Just last week I was at my friend’s house talking to a few girls that I had hardly met. I guess they overheard me when I said to my friend “Let’s have a picnic at the park tomorrow” because one girl promptly responded, “will you make a picnic for all of us?” “Absofrickinlutely not” I thought, but didn’t say. But from now on, I’m gonna let them know how I feel. “No Jessica Johnson I will never make you cream cheese brownies. No Andrew Carter, I couldn’t care less that you’re a burger connoisseur. No, unnamed lax bra, the fact that you have the mega-munchies does not make me want to cook for you. No Jen Matthews, well, actually yes Jen Matthews I would love to cook for you.” But the point remains. I actually met a girl once who asked me to make her an omelet. That soon became the extent of our relationship—whenever I saw her, she would ask me to make her omelets. That was it! How egregious, how disrespectful, how discourteous can you be? Be my friend talk to me, and maybe one day, I will tell you, that in the future, there is a chance that I might potentially cook for you.

Believe me, I love cooking, and I’m generally friendly, but if I cooked for everyone who asked, my cooking would become an empty gesture. It would have little meaning or significance. Imagine for a second, that I became known for whoring my skillet around and cooking for anyone. Then all of a sudden, the most beautiful girl—deep blue eyes, long blonde hair, enjoys long walks on the beach—transferred into this English class. I could try to impress her with some pancakes, but that wouldn’t be special because I’ve already made those for Billy and Sue and Jane. I could bake her my famous cookies, but she knows that I do that for anyone that asks. Basically by cooking for everyone, I’ve thrown away my one shot at this blonde beach babe.
But there is a larger picture. Did longshoremen ask John Keats to write them poems? Did Venetian cheese mongers ask Michelangelo to paint the ceilings of their shops? Did Austrian yodelers ask Mozart to compose them symphonies? No, and unless we’ve spoken, I will not make you apple pie.
Here's a post I just wrote for the Amateur Gourmet community blog.

Saturday, April 3, 2010