spooky saffron and squid ink fresh pasta with mussels

spooky saffron and squid ink fresh pasta with mussels @ thatothercookingblog.com

Hey guys, so Halloween came and went… so happy belated Halloween to those who care. I’ve never cooked anything special for this day before so I decided I’d try and make some Halloween themed food to switch it up a bit… which really is more about making something up that matches some colours than it is about cooking anything traditional during this time. I didn’t want to just throw a bunch of candy in a basket and take a photo either… which would have been more fitting and would have been ok except for the fact that October 31st is also my girlfriend’s birthday, I had (willingly… or more like… yay, another excuse to cook something!!!) to prepare something a bit more elaborate. I also just recently bought the kitchenAid pasta maker attachment, not that I need any excuses to use it because I’m totally obsessed with that thing.

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Christmas Bolognese Pasta

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If you know or you know of somebody that holds the true original recipe for bolognese sauce please report back in the comment section if you can. I’m really curious. A simple google search returned over 200,000 result and after checking the first 2 pages of results it was obvious everybody has their own idea of what an authentic bolognese ragu should be. There are obviously the usual suspects in the ingredients list which I tried to keep in mind but seriously, cooking by most common denominator ingredients is plain boring, at least to me. 

The absolutely required ingredients in bolognese ragu.

hmm…. meat? I think that’s mainly it. Which kind? well… in today’s world beef because it’s easier to find although historically veal is probably more proper. Pancetta can also be found in pretty much all the recipes I looked at. Then we have the aromatics like onion, celery and carrots. Carrots being fairly popular and onions being in pretty much all the recipes. Wine? hit or miss really. Milk? yep… another one that is popular but not standard. Garlic for sure. Nutmeg… yep. I think nutmeg is probably the only spice being added to this sauce in modern times. No bay leaves apparently. Pork? yep, it does appear but not consistently. Stock? yep… here and there although I should say.. if I can avoid it I will refrain from using stock unless absolutely necessary in a recipe.  

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swordfish tacos sous vide… the ugly truth.

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I don’t know about this title but I had to start somewhere and it is in fact related to how I feel about what I’m about to cover here. I have basically redefined the way I eat over the years of cooking which pretty much landed me in the sous vide cooking world.  That taught me many things about food and what heat does to it. It also changed the way I see cooking in that now I do my best to applying the least amount of heat possible still placing all of my attention in flavor and texture. Each ingredient and preparation has therefor a very specific cooking time and temperature, etc, etc. You know all about that sous vide stuff, let’s move on. 

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My previous swordfish taco test. 

If you have been tuning in lately you probably noticed my post about sous vide swordfish tacos from a few weeks ago. Well, I couldn’t let it go. I did more research and found that on average the cooking temperature suggested for cooking it was a couple of degrees lower. Now, if you’re not familiar with sous vide cooking, a few degrees can mean the world. Yes, that applies to traditional cooking as well but it’s a lot more difficult to quantify or even reproduce. But sous vide cooking is all about precision and it is fairly easy to experiment with different cooking temperatures, take notes (the whole purpose of this blog 4 years ago, not recipes, not food photography, cooking notes)  and compare. 

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sunnies and sous vide’ed steak with chimichurri sauce

sunnies and sous vide'ed steak with chimichurri sauce

By now you are probably aware of my steak and eggs obsession. Almost every weekend I make some variation of this american classic. Practice makes perfect? I hope so!  Also, if you’ve been keeping up with this blog you are probably also aware of sous vide cooking being a common theme here. I love cooking sous vide, specially meats, tough or tender cuts. Anyways, here we go, let’s cook some breakfast! 

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the mighty hasselback potato

the mighty hasselback potato

At long last I have been able to fulfill a kitchen dream of mine and today I can offer a post on hasselback potatoes. Now this site starts to look like a real food blog, doesn’t it?  I’ve been seeing these potatoes since I develop that insatiable need for browsing food blogs years ago. I will admit though…  it’s quite a fun and attractive presentation for a potato. And what do I say to fun and attractive things? exactly. 

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easy chicken ramen soup

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This is really not a post. I mean, it is technically one but my intention isn’t to give you guys a recipe for an easy chicken ramen noodle soup… but I do go over it so keep reading, I actually included the information.

I mainly wanted to show some vital signs. I’ve been away for a bit but not for lack of interest but because I’ve been working on other related food projects which I will soon share with you all. It’s not a food truck but good guess.

Regardless of any external distractions I will return to my blog asap. I have salmon cappelletti to share with you. Also, homemade parmesan cheese… yes, it’s been in my pantry curing away for months now. I have a few more recipes I would like to talk about so anyways, stay tuned. Californians, it will eventually cool down. It has to. 

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sous vide swordfish tacos. 54C 30min.

sous vide swordfish tacos. 54C 30min. @ thatothercookingblog.com

Certain ingredients can be misunderstood, others, I just simply don’t like. Swordfish I basically hated. But it was all nothing but a big misunderstanding.  Understandably so. I still remember the first time somebody grilled swordfish steaks at some party and offered me a piece. It was like eating really densely packed sawdust and pretending to love it. For years, that remained to be how people cooked this fish and offered it to me. I wasn’t into cooking then but I did love attending bbq parties. The two things I knew at a bbq party were: stay away from grilled chicken breasts and definitely stay away from grilled swordfish. 

Years of hatred. Almost 2 decades actually. That all changed in 30 minutes. This morning at 5:30am to be precise. I’m not an early bird but I often have the inability to sleep for more than a few hours on a regular night. I’m fully awake after that, simply staring at the ceiling until it’s time to get ready to go to work. It’s Saturday so I didn’t have the work problem. I knew that Ralphs on Olympic opens 24/7.  Yeah, got some fish. Also learned that by California law you can’t buy alcohol before 6am. It was 5:55am by the time I hit the checkout and they made me wait. I took a six pack of beers with me in the end.

sous vide swordfish tacos. 54C 30min.  @ thatothercookingblog.com

A week ago I cooked swordfish at a dinner party at my girlfriend’s house. I remember putting extreme care and attention over that skillet. Guess what… dry sawdusty steaks. Ok, they weren’t that bad, but come on! I thought I knew what I was doing in the kitchen! Well, obviously not. And definitely I haven’t figured out this swordfish technical cooking issue. If there’s anyone out there that can claim being able to pan roast or grill or simply warm up this thing on a skillet without it going dry, call me.  

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Tortilla Española.

Tortilla Española @ thatothercookingblog.com by Paul Palop

Ok, so you think you can cook? I don’t mean to deter you from that cooking obsession thing we’re all too familiar with (quite the opposite actually) but omelette-making is a true test for any cook. Tortilla española is not exactly an omelette but similar enough and the skill set is the same basically. I admit I have messed up my fair share of omelettes and tortillas españolas. It’s not easy and if I’m not focused on a given day I will very likely screw it up no matter how many times I practice. 

If there was ever an ingredient that required gentle and precise cooking that is the beloved egg. Sous vide could come to the rescue here and take away all the fun but I like a challenge and when it comes to cooking challenges, tortilla española is a real fun one. This spanish omelette is originally and traditionally cooked with only potatoes. It’s also known as tortilla de patatas or potato omelette. The are a few variants out there and my favorite one has yellow onions. Don’t use red ones, trust me. 

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simple fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes.

simple fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes.

If there is such thing as purpose in life, the purpose in the life of chicken would definitely be becoming fried chicken. Hmmm, that was probably a bit harsh, but hey, it’s my honest assessment of what happened to most chickens I’ve met. If you like eating chicken, fried chicken is one of the most delicious things you can do with it next to roasting or sous vide cooking it. I have tried sous vide AND frying combined. Freezing the cooked meat and then deep frying it just to get the proper crust with a perfectly cooked inside… it’s all great but a lot of extra work and to be perfectly honest, a waste of time . You can check out my first standard fried chicken post here. And some sous vide/freezing experimentation here

I will stand by it. Making fried chicken doesn’t really need any fancy sous vide technique or careful temperature control. The problem is, chicken skin takes forever to brown and so do flour coatings, so unless you up the frying temperature by a lot, no matter how you approach the cooking, the meat will overcook. You’re thinking liquid nitrogen, I know..  (ok, maybe you aren’t) well good luck finding that stuff and living through the pain of using it. Don’t despair though.  Like I said, a great fried chicken is attainable with your stove, some flour and oil.  Juiciness and crispiness achieved by conventional and simple cooking techniques. 

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Bison flank steak roulade. Sous Vide. 56C 1h.

Bison flank steak roulade. Sous Vide. 56C 1h.

This will be another quick post for there is nothing complicated about cooking sous vide. Flank steak has a wonderful texture and flavour. Bison flank steak is probably more tender and more delicate in flavour as well. I rolled up the flank steak and tied it up like a small roast. Then cooked it sous vide for 1 hour and deep fried it for about 1 minute at 375F.  I had previously seasoned the meat with just salt before vacuum sealing.

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