Tag Archives: Main Dish

Offal Good

Growing up one typically has several friends, family members and/or teachers who become a huge part of their lives and help mold and shape them into respectable members of the community.  Being the rigid and hard headed individual that I am and was, I only had a few who were willing to step up to the plate; most of which had to because we were related.  To those individuals who did have the courage to step up on my behalf; well………..“you should be ashamed of yourselves”.  Have you seen how I turned out????  Crap Fire.

Uncle Dave (no blood relation) was one of those few individuals brave enough to take me under his wing and show me a thing or two.  Being of no blood relation, I often wonder why he was so willing to take on the challenge; regardless of his reasons, I am thankful he did.

As things go, Uncle Dave and I tend to see eye to eye.  We are both fairly rigid in our ways, we both are quite stubbourn and I can’t recall a time when either of us were wrong about anything……..that was until recently.

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Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

If I haven’t said this before, it is high time that I do………”If you put goat cheese on a turd, there is a good chance I am going to eat it”.  As odd and unappetizing as that may sound, it is true.  Yes, goat cheese is my epicurean crutch.  The creaminess and tanginess goat cheese brings to a dish is unmatched.  If you are a virgin to goat cheese, be a virgin no more.

God did not grace me in the nether regions, nor give me a crap load of cash; but what he did give me was an uncanny ability to cook.  Given that Siete can burn water, we were a match made in heaven.  This recipe certainly wooed Siete and is sure to give you the entry key into any man or women’s boudoir.

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Fat Tuesday

Depending on the driver and of course the number of riders, Bourbon Street is only about a case of beer away from A&M.  Much to my parent’s chagrin, New Orleans became a second home for me and my running buddies, which may partially explain my insatiable drinking habit and my affinity for Cajun cuisine.

As much as I enjoy good drunken buffoonery, I have never been a huge fan of Mardi Gras.  A mob of 100,000 drunken idiots, crammed onto narrow streets, pushing and shoving as they move to and fro is not my idea of fun.  No, I prefer to drink alone…..  But, regardless of my likes or dislikes, Mardi Gras has become a huge part of the Cajun culture and has greatly influenced the region as a whole. 

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Melancholy

 For a lot of Texans, we are coming to the end of our Religious Pilgrimage.  Sure there is always a spring turkey to shoot or a big redfish to land, but for all intents and purposes, hunting season is all but over.  We must now return to our familial responsibilities and hope that the return of the season comes sooner than we might expect.

It has become a tradition within my group of hunting buddies to have a “Man Dinner” at the close of every season.  A time to bring families together and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  A time to enjoy the company of our wives, our kids and……blah, blah, blah.  Who am I trying to kid.  The Man Dinner has very little to do with bring our families together.  No, the Man Dinner has everything to do with drinking beer, eating good food and telling lies about all the good and bad hunts we had.  And from what I can tell, though I have never asked, I think the women folk may enjoy it too.

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Norman Rockwell

If you have followed my blog, you know that I have a very chaotic life.  One wife, four kids, three dogs and six exes, it is enough to drive any man crazy and lord only

Norman Rockwell

knows how you can keep them all happy at the same time.  However, the other evening while finishing up dinner, I noticed something highly unusual.  Siete wasn’t bitching at me, the kids weren’t fighting and the dogs weren’t under foot.  For a brief moment I thought this must be what normal families eat like…….then Meat (the youngest) fires off a big one, sending everyone scurrying for safety.  So much for our Leave It To Beaver meal.

I am a firm believer that if someone were to serve me goat cheese ala poopoo or bacon wrapped turd, I would probably eat it without hesitation.  And although most may not subscribe to my line of thinking, goat cheese and bacon do make most things better, which is reason enough to try this gem.  It is a takeoff from Tin Star’s Chipotle Chicken Scaloppini.  Its fairly simple, it is spicy and it is sure to create your own family bliss.

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Jerry World

When you have been married as many times as I have, you eventually learn to listen or at least act like you are listening.  So, when Seite came to me and asked me if I would post her favorite recipe, I decided “what the hell”.

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and pizzerias across the country are gearing up for the big day.  Being the gluttonous whores that we are, Americans are expected to consume more than 8.3 million pies; that is 4,800 tons of pizzas – roughly 8 times the weight of Jerry Jones’ new “Vigaboard”.  Now that is a lot of friggin pizza.

Now, I am not sure when you last ordered delivery pizza, but that schit has gotten expensive.   I have made many a homemade pie and I am here to tell you, those bastards are definitely sticking it to us.  So, here is my version of the Sunday best and of course Seite’s Fav: BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza.  Homemade and delicious; sure to please the most finicky of crowds.

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Old Man Winter

I now know why poets, authors and painters are notorious alcoholics and druggies……..being creative is an ass whip’n to the highest degree, especially after the holidays.  So please forgive me if this post seems rather drab and mundane.

As seasons go, winters in Texas aren’t too bad.  Unlike the northern states, Texas winters tend to be mild and pleasant.  But on special occasions, Old Man Winter will pay us a visit.  That visit came this past Sunday and The Old Man seems to be rather pissed.  Typically, he comes and goes quickly, 30 degrees one day, 70 degrees the next.  Not this time.  No, it seems that someone has pissed him off good and he ain’t leaving anytime soon.  

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A Former Life

Some will lead you to believe that when it is time to meet my maker, I will be seated First Class on Lucifer Airlines, headed due south.  And although I will admit to not walking the straight and narrow, I am a God fearing individual and I understand the importance of spiritual beliefs and guidance.  However, as with most journeys in my life, I tend to question my faith from time to time.  Currently that question involves the understanding of reincarnation. 

Growing up, I truly believed that I was born in the wrong era.  I should have been riding the open plains, driving cattle north and fighting Comanche along the way.  I should have been playing poker and drinking whiskey with Gus McCrae.  I was born to brave the elements and sleep under the stars.  In my former life, I must have been a cowboy?  But as time passed and I realized that sleeping among the elements isn’t quite so appealing, so went my belief of reincarnation.  Or did it?

Recently, my brother (to be known hence forth as the Syndicate) sent me his recipe for Midnight Gumbo, the coup de gras of Coon Ass cooking.  See in bayou country there are two truisms, if it is worth cooking, it is likely to take all day and if you are going to cook all day, you might as well get your drunk on while doing it.  Wait…..back up and read that again……..I am beginning to see the light.  I wasn’t born in the wrong era; I was born in the wrong area.  In my previous life, I wasn’t a cowboy, I was a freak’n Cajun.  I wasn’t meant to ride the plains and drive cattle, I was born to ride air boats, hunt ducks, get liquored up and shoot gators.  I my friends, am a Coon Ass and hope this recipe will inspire you to become a want-to-be Coon Ass too.     

The Syndicate’s Midnight Gumbo*

Roux Ingredients

1 c  vegetable oil

1 c  flour

Gumbo Ingredients

½ c          Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning

2 lbs       duck breast, cubed

1 lbs       Andouille Sausage, chopped

1 each   yellow onion, chopped

1 c           celery, diced

1 each   green bell pepper, diced

3 Qtrs    duck or chicken stock

2-4          bay leaves

1 c           green onion tops, chopped

2 c           white rice

                Tabasco & Gumbo Filet, to taste

French Bread Ingredients

1 each   French bread loaf

2 T          butter

1 T          garlic, minced

A Word about Gumbo

There are only two secrets to good gumbo.  First, use good, homemade stock.  Second, take the time to make a good roux – it’s the best part of making gumbo as you will soon see.

Now many people fret over making the roux.  But making a roux is nothing more than cooking flour in oil, in a HOT CAST IRON skillet.  The only real rule in making roux is to “stir the mutha”.  And when I say stir, I mean stir – constantly.  You can raise or lower the heat if you feel like the roux is getting away from you, but never quit stirring!  A wooden spoon or spatula is the best roux-stirrer.

There are many different kinds of roux.  Some are cooked in butter, some are cooked in lard and some are cooked in oil.  My experience has been that oil works best.  However, when it boils down to it, roux’s are generally judged by their color.  There is dirty blonde, milk chocolate, Indian red, dark chocolate and the ever elusive black roux.  The longer you cook the roux, the darker it gets.  Just remember, the darker it gets, the faster it cooks.  You can go from Indian red to dark chocolate in a matter of seconds.  And remember, coon-asses call roux “Cajun Napalm”.  It gets VERY hot and will burn if you are sloppy in your stirring.

While most folks judge their roux by color, the Syndicate has a better unit of measurement……the number of glasses (or bottles) of red wine necessary to obtain the desired color.  For Midnight Gumbo, you should count on at least a one bottle roux.  However, gumbo is a labor of love and requires patience.  Since you will be stirring constantly, you should open two bottles (just in case) and place them both within reach.

Finally, be sure to prep all ingredients prior to starting your roux, because once the roux is done, you will “cool it down” by stirring in the vegetables.  Note, the roux will immediately darken more once you add the vegetables.

Bring on the Gumbo

Season duck liberally with Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning and brown in cast iron Dutch oven.  Once browning is complete, remove from Dutch oven and set aside.  To make roux, combine oil and flour and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Once roux has reached desired color (see above) add onion, celery and bell pepper (The Holy Trinity), seasoning liberally with Hell Bitch and sauté for 10 minutes, still stirring that mutha constantly.  Add Andouille sausage, bay leaves and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.  Next, add enough stock to cover entire mixture by about one inch, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.  Approximately 5 minutes before serving gumbo, add cubed duck and allow re-heating.

Cajun Garnishment

While simmering gumbo, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sauté garlic and butter for about 3 minutes.  Cut trough in French bread, pour in garlic butter, wrap in foil and heat for approximately 10 – 15 minutes or until toasty.

Serve in deep bowl over rice and top with your desired amount of green onions, filet and Tabasco.  

* Midnight Gumbo you may ask?  Odd name for a gumbo recipe.  As I have said previously, Cajun’s love to cook, and cooking great coon ass food takes all day……. and sometimes all night.  Legend has it that this recipe was scribed sometime around midnight, after what was likely a “two bottle” roux night.  As much as I would like to have retained its original form, many of you, including me, may have had a hard time ciphering through it if sober.  Although I do not recommend sobriety when cooking gumbo, I have taken the liberty to provide you with a “translated” form, while trying to maintain its original colorfulness.  The Syndicate and I hope you enjoy!


“Once You Go Fried…”

If my memory serves me correctly, there was a saying when I was a youngster that went like “Once you go fried, you never go back”… or was it “Once you go black, you never go fried”….. Oh schit, I was never good with clichés.  None the less, a Cajun Fried Turkey is one of the most underrated Thanksgiving treats known to man. 

Frying a turkey takes an otherwise boring and uninspiring piece of meat and transforms it into a moist and delicious culinary masterpiece.  Combine that with my precooking secret weapon, a brine, and you will never go back to roasting your “white meat” again.     

Cajun Fried Turkey

Brine

1 c salt

½ c brown sugar

¼ c  Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning

2  Bay Leafs

1 c ice

2  gallons cold water

Turkey

1  13 to 14 lb. fresh turkey

4 to 5  gallons 100% peanut oil

¼ c  Hell Bitch Cajun Seasoning

1  30 Qt. turkey frying vessel

In a medium sauce pan, pour in the brining ingredients:  salt, sugar, Hell Bitch, bay leafs and 2 cups of the water.  Once the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat, pour in ice and allow it to cool.  Next, place turkey in 3 to 5 gallon Ziploc bag, pour in the remainder of the water and all the cooled brining solution.  Remove the majority of air from the bag, close bag and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours.

Once the turkey has brined, remove it from bag and wash it thoroughly.  Place turkey in empty frying vessel and fill with enough water to cover the turkey about 1 to 2 inches.  Remove the turkey, pat dry and season liberally the outside and under the skin with Hell Bitch.  Set aside.  AFTER REMOVING THE TURKEY FROM WATER, DO NOT POUR WATER OUT OF FRYING VESSEL.  SEE NEXT SET.

With water still in frying vessel, take a permanent marker and mark the water level on the vessel, which will indicate the amount of oil you will need to fry the turkey.  Once marked, pour water out of vessel, dry out the inside and pour in peanut oil to the indicating mark.  Set vessel on propane burner and bring the temperature to 350 degrees F and maintain for 5 minutes.  Once at 350, slowly lower the bird into the oil and maintain the temperature between 325 to 350 degrees F.  Cook bird for 3 to 4 minutes per pound.  After approximately 35 minutes, check temperature of the bird in the thickest part of the breast using a temperature probe.  Once the breast reaches 151 degrees F, gently remove from oil and allow bird to rest for 30 minutes.  The turkey will reach an internal temperature of 161 degrees F due to carry over cooking.  Once rested, carve and serve.  

Note:  

1 Always fry a turkey outdoors and free of anything flammable.  I tend to fry my turkey in the driveway.  Hot oil will likely splatter out of the pot when placing the cold turkey in the hot oil, so you may want to use a non-flammable splatter pad, which can be found at most hardware or sporting good stores. 

2 If you choose to use Course Kosher salt instead of table salt, you will need to increase the amount of salt to 1 ½ cups.

For more culinary treats and compliments, check us out at www.schitbird.com


Good O’ Day Syndrome

There are very few movies that stand the test of time….It’s a Wonderful Life, Smokey and the Bandit, Braveheart and my perennial favorite, Lonesome Dove.   On occasion, the wife and I will bust out an old favorite and subject our squids to a little “forced family fun”.  More often than not, the wife and I find the movie every bit as entertaining as it was the first time we saw it; on the other hand, the kids can’t seem to stop bitching and complaining because the movie isn’t “kick ass” enough to hold their attention.  As much as I hate to admit it, by today’s standards, the little bastards are probably right and if we are honest with ourselves, the misses and I are probably just reliving the glory days.  As true as it may be, give me Caddy Shack or Raising Arizona any day over Hangover or 40 Year Old Virgin.

Much like movies, I have found that family recipes also have a very short shelf life.  Most that get passed down from generation to generation can’t hold up to the “kick ass” recipes of today.  However, on occasion, there will be one family jewel that is timeless.  Though I use “family” somewhat loosely for I am unsure of the recipes origin, South of the Border Fettuccine has long been a family tradition in our household.  Like most recipes that have been handed down (see the blog entry “To Make Amends”), I have taken the liberty to bastardize it a bit and call it my own.  It is simple, it is good and aside from a few candy asses I know, I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy this perennial favorite.

South of the Border Fettuccine

14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes

15.5 oz can black beans

16 oz box of dried fettuccine

2t Yard Bird Seasoning

2T  butter

2  garlic cloves, minced

1  medium jalapeno, seeded & minced

1/4c  cilantro, chopped

4 oz sherry cooking wine

4 oz chicken stock

2 chicken breasts

Preheat grill to 400 degrees, season chicken with Yard Bird Poultry Seasoning and grill chicken for about 3 minutes per side.  Place chicken on plate and allow to rest.  Please note, chicken will not be cooked all the way through, but will finish cooking when added to the sauce at the end. 

While chicken is resting, place water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Cook fettuccine according to the box directions.

While chicken is resting and the pasta water is coming to a boil, preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add butter and jalapenos and sauté for 3 minutes.  While jalapenos are sautéing, pour tomatoes and black beans into a colander and rinsed thoroughly.  Once rinsed, add tomato/black bean mixture to pan and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic, ¼ cup of the cilantro and continue sautéing.   After an additional 2 minutes of sautéing, deglaze the pan with sherry, add chicken stock and simmer for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.  While the ingredients are simmering, chop chicken and add to the sauce.   Once chicken is cooked all the way through (approximately 2 to 3 minutes), serve over cooked fettuccine noodles.

Please note, for those who are short on time, store bought rotisserie chicken is a good substitute for grilled chicken.

For more “kick ass” recipes and accoutrements, visits us at www.schitbird.com.


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