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French Fries

Serving yesterday’s burgers on an empty plate just wouldn’t be right. It didn’t take much thought to decide what side dish best accompanies burgers. Obviously, I had to make French fries.

Burger and fries.

Burger and fries.

Fresh French fries are everything that frozen, fast food fries are not: crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, and a true potato flavor. Contrary to what many people think, French fries are neither difficult nor particularly messy to make. A pot, oil, potatoes, and salt are all you really need. Once it is set up, large batches can quickly be made–which is a good thing, as these are fairly addicting. Not that the basic recipe needs any changing, but I borrowed a trick from Cooks Illustrated to get these extra crispy.

A big plate of fries.

A big plate of fries.

Click through for the recipe and tips on frying.

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Bison and Beef Burgers

Spring is here, and apart from gardens and fresher greens, this means that cooking outside is officially ‘in season’. As this past weekend was the first weekend of Spring, waking the grill from its winter slumber seemed only natural. To ease it–and myself–back into grilling, I wanted to stick with something tried and true: burgers.

Burgers. (Bison and beef)

Burgers. (Bison and beef)

With a myriad of options available regarding cooking methods, meats, and toppings, burgers are nearly infinitely customizable. Unlike my previous documented excess, these were much more modest. I did make one fairly significant change by using two different kinds of meats. Using all beef will result in a superb burger, but I wanted an extra depth of flavor and a big meaty kick in these. Combining the ground beef with ground bison added the extra dimension of flavor that I was looking for. Using a combination of meats, seasonings, and a different shaping technique ensured that these burgers would be a cut above the rest. 

Burgers. (Bison and beef)

Burgers. (Bison and beef)

Click through to see details on how to make the burgers, the shaping method, and the seasonings I used.

Continue reading ‘Bison and Beef Burgers’

Spring Is Here

Spring is here! Hopefully this means that the cold weather is finally going away. Yay for lower heating bills, fresh produce, and being able to cook and eat outside!

Mini plant pots for seeds.

Mini plant pots for seeds.

In the spirit of Spring, I decided to see how green my thumb is. I’m starting a small garden from seeds and small plants. I’ve already planted a few seeds and they are trying their best to germinate.

Click through to see what I’m planting.

Pizza Party

Pizza Time, the Ninja Turtles would be proud.

Part of the gang, making pizzas.

Over the weekend I had a group of friends over and made pizza for them all. My challenge was to be able to quickly make enough pizzas and also be able to enjoy the company and a few drinks.

I ended up making over 30 pizzas and had a choice of about 20 different toppings.

Tasty pizza!

Tasty pizza!

Did I succeed? Find out how it went and 10 tips cooking pizza for a crowd after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Pizza Party’

Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom

I watched this video like 5 or 6 times in a row, mouth agape. Rabbits, hamsters, cats, dogs, fish, even ducks(!) all munching away!

The hamster 31 seconds in is just going nuts over that broccoli.

Now I just have the song stuck in my head…. nom nom nom nom nom nom

Broiled Chicken and Couscous

This dish is very easy to prepare and comes out great. When you are looking to cook something tasty, but don’t want to spend much time, broiled chicken fits the bill. That crisp skin and tender meat tastes as good as it looks.

The key to outstanding chicken is to brine it. What is a brine you ask? Well, funny you should ask, the yesterday’s post this explains that!

Broiled Chicken and Lemon Couscous (with pistachios)

Broiled Chicken and Lemon Couscous (with pistachios)

Couscous—-sooooo easy. If you can measure a cup of water into a skillet and bring it to a boil, you can make couscous. You don’t even need to time it. And if you get something wrong, it’s easy to correct! (I’ll get into correcting it and making it fancy after the jump.)

Lemon Couscous with pistachios

Lemon Couscous with pistachios

And the broiled chicken. Easy, simple, and can be made extremely tasty if you have some seasonings. Don’t forget to brine it though! Continue reading ‘Broiled Chicken and Couscous’

What is a Brine?

Essentially a brine is just salty water in which food is soaked. This helps augment the flavor and the texture of the meat. Most white meats (chicken, turkey and pork) can benefit from a soak in a brine. Other flavors (spices, sugar) can be added to a brine, but to be a brine it must have salt.

I do this nearly every time I prepare a chicken dish. It’s just so simple and easy to do and results in a huge boost in flavor. Even a half hour soak in salty water is noticeable.

But how does this work? Why salt? Should you add anything else (sugar, pepper)? How long to soak it? Click through the jump to find out why it works and how to quickly make your own.
Continue reading ‘What is a Brine?’

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