Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fire in Blood

And so it begins again.

It happened the moment the plumber clicked on the stove-top burners to make sure they work.

The flame ignited into a brilliant blue.

And so did my blood.

The mostly dormant bear that is my passion for food roared awake. I could feel tingling in my fingers. Itching.

I'm back.

Most of my excuses for stopping this blog (and my cooking) are gone. No place of my own? BAM house. No kitchen? BAM got a new one (well, new appliances anyway). No job? BAM I got one. Sorta. Well, my wife has a good full-time one and I have a decent part-time one. Enough to have our own place and for me to start cooking again. And with cooking comes this blog. I'm going to start out slow though... The aforementioned jobs are currently not as stable as I would like... so nothing to fancy.

First thing I made on the first day of our oven being installed? Corned beef in a bourbon molasses glaze. Got the recipe from a slow cooker book. Basiclly, it's corned beef made in a slow cooker, as usual, with a few extra kicks. Like dried chilies and a cinnamon stick. Then, when it's done, you put it in a hot oven with a bourbon-molasses glaze on it.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it that much. My wife and mother seemed to like it, but for me it was confusing. I decided the glaze had better applications elsewhere (I still have to find out where!) Also, I cut the corned beef wrong. I cut it against the grain, as you would with most roasts. This normally makes it so you chew with the grain, making the meat seem more tender. The issue is, corned beef is falling-apart-beyond tender... so you actually want to chew against the grain to gain more texture.

However, not all was lost. As with most things I make, the leftovers are always better. So much so that if I were to open a restaurant I would call it "Leftover Cafe" and everything on the menu would be inspired by a real leftover dish made by me or someone I know. It's not like I already have the 80% of the menu made or anything...

The first leftover made was put together by my wife. Basically, she put the corned beef, some garlic/herb cheese, fresh chive, and fresh basil into a food processor, spun it up, and stuffed the mixture into Pillsbury crescent roles. It was freakin' delicious.

The next dish I made, and it's good taste came as sort of a surpise. I was just trying to figure out a way to use these leftovers and I ended up with possibly one of the best sandwiches I've had. So, here goes:
2-3 slices leftover bourbon-molasses corned beef
1 tablespoon or so olive oil
1 pinch chili powder
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 flatbread sandwich halves
1 Handful shredded cheddar cheese
1 squiggly-squirt Sriracha (Asian chili sauce. Found in Asian isles of many chain grocery stores)
2 squiggly-squirts Kewpie Mayo (Japanese mayo. You'll have to go to a Asian food store to get this)
1 squiggly-squirt Deli-style mustard
1 big heap of Boston Lettuce
2-4 slices Tomatoes
A few thin slices of onion

Okay, so it seems like I'm going overboard here. But I'm not 100% sure what one specific aspect made this dish... I have to assume it was the confluence of ingredients that made it so good, so I need to be as detailed as possible. As much for you as for me.

I heated up some olive oil in a pan and slapped the leftover corned beef in there. I then proceeded to break it up into itsy bitsy pieces (do this before hand if you use a non-stick pan... Teflon is not one of the ingredients). I added the salt, smoked paprika, and chili powder (home made). I then cooked it for a while. Too long in fact. I kept leaving it alone while I washed dishes. Also, our cooktop is very hot, as it's propane (yes, I live in the sticks). So a lot of the pieces were basically burnt. But this ended up being a good thing.

I tossed the cheddar on top of the corned beef and pulled it all together into a little pile. While the cheese melted, I toasted the flatbread, smeared the mayo on one side, and mustard on the other. I then piled the corned beef onto the mustard side and squirted the Sriracha on it. Then came the onions, tomatoes, and big 'ol heap of Boston lettuce. Go crazy. Lettuce is healthy for you.

This ends up being a pretty messy sandwich. But man oh man is it good. The cooked corned beef on its on seems too sweet and dry. But with the spicy sauce and all the other stuff added to it, everything comes together in this really surprising melody of flavors.

So what did we learn today?
1. Leftovers are awesome. (I'll have to talk about the French/Mexican/American-South tacos I made)
2. Josh is back
3. Josh is crazy
4. Stout Infused Butter (My next project. Will it work? Probably not. Will I still try it? Duh.)

Thanks for reading, and remember: Don't be afraid to drink it, eat it, or cook with it. But always drink it in moderation while you cook it.


  1. You're back! I'm excited to read about your culinary adventures =)

  2. Dude, that sounds awesome but I don't see a post about the meal you made me? I'm sure it made for some great leftover recipes. Update, update, update...I'm salivating!