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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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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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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sous vide sirloin steak and “soft boiled” sous vide yolks

sous vide sirloin steak and "soft boiled" sous vide yolks

This is a quick one. Two main ingredients. Eggs and Steak. There were other components on the plate but I chose to leave those out and focus on what I thought mattered… my devoted consistent passion for steak and eggs. Specially eggs. 

This blog is no stranger to steak and eggs in fact, one of my most popular instagram posts was a photo a took for my article on  steak and eggs. This time I come back with a little twist. Sous vide’ed yolks… if you’re into sous vide cooking you’ve probably already spend some time experimenting with cooking eggs. It’s a great exercise to get familiar with the technique. Yolks set at about 70C and whites set at about 80C. This 10 degree difference is what makes cooking eggs a challenge, specially if cooked sous vide. Specially when we introduce long cooking periods….but I digress… It’s a complex subject and right now I don’t have the time or the patience to get into it. Next post! 

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chuck roast sous vide

chuck roast sous vide

Not the first time this has been featured on this blog but why not blog about it again. This has to be one of the most underrated preparations of all time. I’m almost inclined to suggest it might be better than leaner tenderer cuts like loin meat. The process is long. It takes about a week to make but so does bacon. And you know how meat lovers feel about bacon… correct! So this 5-7 day curing/cooking adventure will definitely yield something that might far exceed your expectations. I mean… it’s chuck meat. Cheap, tough, you have to boil this thing for hours to make it edible. The magic of sous vide never shined this bright before. Chuck roast. So simple and a powerful statement about getting misunderstood ingredients to steal the show.. I mean this thing even dropped the mike. 

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spicy ginger pork and ramen noodles.

spicy ginger pork and ramen noodles.

Ok, yes, I got extremely lazy this time and chose the easy way out.  Pork meat already marinaded… as in.. the marinade sits in the pack with the raw pork… roll your eyes all you want but it looked like heaven to me. I haven’t done this in at least 10 years. I remember back in my microwave-dinner days discovering  Trader Joe’s. The dark ages, sure… but they had this carne asada deal that was: a . m .  a . z . i . n. g… in my memories it is amazing, like when you explain to a younger person how awesome that original tv show V was…… watch it now. Ok.. moving on. 

Overtime I got more a more interested in controlling more aspects of cooking including marinades and if you’ve been keeping up with this blog, that “interest” went well beyond marinades. But I couldn’t resist the convenience of grabbing a pack of pork with an extra ton of infused flavour and sear it and mix it with ramen noodles and a ton of chalula sauce. That right there pretty accurately describes what went down here.  I mean, why bother posting a recipe for stuff like this. Seriously all it takes is 3 ingredients, one pot and welcome to the jungle. Going wrong ain’t an option. 

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Butchering lesson outcome: Part I. Roasted pork shoulder.

Butchering lesson outcome Part I. Roasted pork shoulder.

Ok, this is a couple of weeks late but happy 4th of July to America! I had an amazing time celebrating with the people I love and the food I love. If you have been following this blog, just a day before the 4th of July I attended a butchering lesson, and I was eager to cook some of the pork bounty I had earned after 8 hours of hard work, sweat and blood, literally.  Pork shoulder, slowly roasted in the oven, after a long and flavourful marinade overnight session fit the bill. 

Butchering lesson outcome Part I. Roasted pork shoulder. @ thatothercookingblog.com

When I say 8 hours of hard work, I mean 8 hours. That’s how long it takes to butcher a whole pig the traditional way although I’m sure it goes faster without annoying photographers or eagerly curious students asking a bunch of silly questions like I found myself asking. 

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Butchering Lesson.

Butchering Lesson @ thatothercookingblog.com

Before we go any further I want to warn you. I just participated in the killing of a pig.  I also documented it with pictures. I will do my best to avoid excessively-graphic imagery but as you may know,  the process of butchering an animal is a dramatic event so if you’re not comfortable with this kind of content kindly skip this post. I will stick to the facts and present this subject as mindfully and respectfully as possible and only to show and share my love and appreciation for food, cooking and all that it entails.  

 Butchering Lesson @ thatothercookingblog.com

As a meat eater, I was feeling  compelled to witness and participate in the butchering of an animal. I felt  that without doing so… eating meat was just a convenient luxury, far removed from the harsh reality of taking life to feed people. I also wanted to participate out of respect for the animals and the butchering craft that I know so little about. I thought If I were to continue to eat meat, I needed exposure to the entire story. And not the theory which we can all look up somewhere.  I needed to see what was really involved. There’s drama in the act of killing no matter how “humanely” the killing is carried out. Our butchering instructor minimized suffering and worked as swiftly as possible. 

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Hot Spicy Pork Tamales | Perfect for this ridiculous SoCal heat wave.

Hot Spicy Pork Tamales | Perfect for this ridiculous SoCal heat wave. @ thatothercookingblog.com by Paul Palop

I will admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of tamales in general until like 2 weeks ago. I had some amazing ones at the farmer’s market here in Brentwood. Usually, when I get them at other places it’s always same story… dry, boring, bland, like what’s the point of all this.  I thought they were hopeless and could never understand their popularity… well, until the farmers market incident. That there changed my whole view on tamales. There was definitely hope! I went from “f-off tamales”… to… “I love tamales” in one bite. I also went straight to the groceries store and got a beautiful pork shoulder which I roasted in preparation for the tamale feast that was about to take place only a few days after.

Hot Spicy Pork Tamales | Perfect for this ridiculous SoCal heat wave. @ thatothercookingblog.com by Paul Palop

I’m not mexican but I’m no stranger to corn masa flour either. I’m from venezuela, corn masa is the venezuelan equivalent of bread. We eat corn masa 7 days a week with pretty much every meal… although I still prefer bread personally (sorry guys! I do)..hmmmm bread…I love gluten too btw. 

I’m also no stranger to pork. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time you know piggies definitely go on the menu pretty often. And stuffing anything with pork is the most effective way to ensure success and popularity in the non-vegetarian world. I like to think I’m right in assuming this.

Hot Spicy Pork Tamales | Perfect for this ridiculous SoCal heat wave. @ thatothercookingblog.com by Paul Palop

I’m in the other hand a bit of a newbie when it comes to cooking with chiles, specially dried ones. I’ve used them a few times  in the past (in one occasion I had to evacuate my apartment, it was like a can of pepper spray went off in there after opening the pressure cooker, that was some serious heat my friends, which I could remember the kind of chile I was using) but I haven’t really experimented with them much since. So I figured, I have this beautiful piece of pork, I got these dry chiles, I have a renewed hope in the mexican staple… it’s inevitable. It must be. Tamales happened. 

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The Best Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder I Ever Cooked

The Best Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder I've Ever Made

I chose the wrong time of the year to roast a 15 pound pork shoulder for sure. The heat wave that’s hitting southern California right now probably contributed to the amazing quality of the crackling I got. I mean, it is HOT and DRY in here!  But that didn’t stop me. I wanted to make pork tamales really bad and starting with a perfectly roasted pork shoulder is what I consider key… ok, I don’t know if that’s how most traditional recipes approach it but that’s how I make pork tamales. I’ve found many recipes suggesting  boiling the pork, which is fine, but roasting develops more flavor complexity. Guess what…. I love complexity sometimes. Sure, it will take longer, but it is SO WORTH IT. 

The Best Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder I've Ever Made @ thatothercookingblog.com by Paul Palop

This pork piece could be served as is, carved at the dinner table and you would definitely impress your dinner crowd. It looks amazing, extremely elegant! and it smells amazing as well. Whether you’re thinking of serving the roast straight or using the meat for far more ambitious applications let me break down the process of making this roast in 3 very easy steps. 

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