Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Things I like right now…

1) I’m reading Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine To The World Of Food And the People Who Cook. I’m really into it but the thing with this book is that there are a bunch of really great chapters and then there are a few not so great chapters. The the great ones are really awesome and at times, hysterical. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something to read. You can purchase it HERE.

2)  Chef John Mooney is about to open the country’s first “rooftop-to-table” restaurant in New York City. This guys has a full hydroponic farm on roof of his restaurant. It the kind of things I’m trying to do in my life. This guy did it first but I can live with that. Let’s hope that by doing this, Mooney is about to start something big! – Click here to see it

3) Besides having come up with one of the most awesome brand names in the restaurant industry accompanied by the coolest logo (in my mind at least), David Chang, Chef and Owner of Momofuku Restaurants is the effing man! There is a great chapter in Bourdain’s book dedicated to him. He’s one of the most important and acclaimed chefs in American right now, even though he thinks that’s a complete joke. He just looks like a guy you want to hang out with. This video is evident of that.  I’m eating at Momofuko Ssam bar on Wednesday…feed me pork buns now!

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Quick update on the pink flower…

For those of you who aren’t aware, I am 100% against the little pink flower that appears next to all my posts. Nothing against flower loving people, I have nothing against flowers, I just don’t want them next to my posts. After 4 weeks of doing this, I have yet to figure out how to remove it. I have learned to tune it out but many of you may be asking yourselves, “What’s with the pink flower?” and thats valid. Just ignore it, please, its embarrassing enough!

Shooting new recipes…coming soon!

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce/Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus/Perfect Garlic Basmati Rice

I love to grill. I love that its just hot grates over a scorching flame that you throw food on, stand around with a drink and make sure shit doesn’t blow up or set fire…more or less. Of course there are nuances that distinguish good grillers from bad grillers but its nothing that a little practice can’t fix. A few things you’ll learn from some time in front of the flame is that all grills aren’t created equal and that getting to know your grill, its hot spots and how well it cooks food can really improve the outcome of what your grilling significantly. You also want to generally not fuss with whatever your grilling, you want those nice marks so just leave alone and let it happen. For the most part, grilling is all about prep, getting everything ready to just go outside and slap it on the grill. In this recipe, I’m using an electric grill…its really the only option I have. I also use a trick I picked up to make sure your rice comes out perfect every time. Its just a solid meal that I love to eat.

This probably serves about 4 people but I’ll make it for two, get some heroes and make a ridiculous Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich to have for lunch the next day…but I’ll shoot that recipe another time.

Marinade Ingredients:

About a 1 1/2 Lb Flank Steak, Preferably No Antibiotics or Growth Hormones and Grass-fed

4-5 Limes

2 Scallions, Chopped

3 Garlic Cloves, Grated

A knob of Ginger, Grated

2-3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

A Heaping Pinch of Red Pepper Flake

Salt & Pepper

Oil for the Grates

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To make your marinade, combine the lemon juice, the grated ginger and garlic, the scallions, the soy sauce, the red pepper flake and salt and pepper. If you want to add a little sweetness, like I did after the picture above was taken, you can add a little honey or agave nectar if you’ve got it on hand. Either put the steak on a large freezer zip-lock bag or a tupperware container and season the steak generously with salt and pepper. Add the marinade and make sure the whole steak is gets some marination love. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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Chimichurri Sauce:

Chimichurri is a tangy green sauce from Argentina. Its basically just some herbs, garlic, vinegar and oil. Its real good!

Ingredients:

A Big Handful of Flat-Leaf Parsley

A Small Handful of Cilantro

2-3 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar

3 Garlic Cloves

Pinch of Red Pepper Flake

About a 1/2 cup of Olive Oil

Salt

A Blender

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Chop the the herbs and the garlic. If you have a good blender, you wont need to chop it but since mine is a little whimp, I chop to give it a little head start…

Toss into the blender with red pepper flake, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and zap it up nice! Throw it in the fridge until your ready to plate.

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Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus:

2 ingredient…that all. If you don’t like asparagus, you probably had it the wrong way. You don’t need salt or pepper or oil or lemon in this recipe. The fat and the saltiness from the pancetta is all the flavor you need and the grill kinda caramelizes the asparagus, its amazing, just do it!

Ingredients:

1 Bunch of Fresh Asparagus. Avoid the limp asparagus when shopping, limp is not good 😉

1/4 Lb of Paper Thin Pancetta

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Cut off the wooden ends of the asparagus. Some people say to shave the outside of the asparagus but what a pain in the ass that is, plus I don’t see the need. Wrap the asparagus with the pancetta and throw it in the fridge until your grill heats up and you’ve started on the rice.

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Perfect Garlic Basmati Rice:

When I say perfect, I’m not trying to brag, there’s merely an easy system to make sure your rice comes out perfect every time. I picked up this little trick for perfect rice but I still cannot believe anyone actually figured this thing out. I was watching Everday Exotic on the Cooking Channel and the host, Roger Mooking or something, made perfect rice without having to measure it out. I included measurements just in case this scares you but I promise, it works.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Basmati Rice

2 Cups of Vegetable Stock

4-5 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced (You don’t have to use that much if you don’t like too much but I love garlic, big time)

A Knob of Butter

A Few Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Salt

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Halve lengthwise then slice the garlic. Heat a small pot over medium-high heat and add the butter (flavor) and olive oil (to make sure the butter doesn’t burn). When its hot, add the garlic and cook until it just begins to brown, probably about 3-5 minutes, but make sure not to burn the garlic…use your judgment.  Add the rice, a pinch of salt and a little bit more olive oil if the pot looks a little dry. Stir the rice to cover in oil and toast for about 1-2 minutes again making sure not to burn anything (I’ve done before, its a waste).

When the rice starts to smell nutty, its time to add the stock. Here is where the crazy shit goes down. Add the stock but the amazing trick here is to stick your middle finger into the stock and just touch the top of the rice (not the bottom of the pan)…you’ll know you have enough when the stock just reaches the first joint a the top of your middle finger. Bring it to the boil, drop the heat to low and put a lid on. Cook for 15 minutes and your rice is fragrant and perfect, every time.

(get the dirty thoughts out of your head)

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By now your grill should already be preheated on high so its nice and hot…my faux indoor grill heats up fast so I can wait to turn it on and avoid increasing the temperature in the apartment any more than it has to (I mean its only the hottest summer EVER!).

Take the meat out of the marinade and dab it with a paper towel to dry it off…let it sit for 15-30 minutes (whenever you cook meat, you always want it come to room temperature before you cook it and ALWAYS let it rest after you cook it before cutting into it. This lets the juices redistribute and it also continues to cook a little bit more). Put the steak on the grill on an diagonal and cook for 2 1/2 minutes…then turn it 90 degrees and cook for another 2 1/2 minutes. After about 5-6 minutes cooking on that side, flip it over and repeat the same steps on the other side. After the last turn of the steak, you can start throwing on the asparagus. After 10-12 minutes, your steak should be a little under medium rare but when you take it off to rest, the residual heat will cook the steak to medium rare. Finish grilling the asparagus, basically, they are done when the look done…again, use your judgment.

When the steak is done resting, slice it on the bias (or really thin slices on an angel against the gain…this will make it extra tender and tender is good).

To plate, just make a pile of the rice and lay the asparagus next to it. Lay a few slices of the meat out and then spoon the chimichurri sauce over the steak and digg in.

What do you think?

The Best of Wine Library TV…Gary Vaynerchuk is Crushing It for REAL!

I’m food freak but I’m slowly becoming a wine freak as well. This creeping freak inside me is largely thanks to Gary Vay-ner-chuk. I know, I know…I told you about him a few posts earlier but I really want you guys to learn to appreciate wine if you don’t already do and at the very least, be entertained by this wild man. With me, I always felt “out of my league” when it came to shopping for or ordering wine. What the hell am I looking at, there are 5,000 different bottles, I am staring blindly at them as though I’m looking into a black whole. This guy broke down that intimidation, that “elitist” perception I had floating in my mind about wine. Besides, I started to get curious about the real value that pairing the right wine with the food your eating actually adds. Now I buy a new (and different) bottle of wine at the very least every 2-3 days…and I’m loving it (unlike Monsanto…just had to say that).

This is a highlight video he just posted of his most recent videos. If you don’t like this guy after watching this, than you never will. But to me…he’s THE man and I will share his work often!

P.S. Did I tell you he inspired me to start this blog…ya, that’s important too. Read his book CRUSH IT! It’ll change your life.

Gotta love him!

Check him out

http://tv.winelibrary.com/

http://garyvaynerchuk.com/

http://vaynermedia.com/

UnFuck the Gulf!

I’m so fucking pissed at BP for ruining so many amazing things in the Gulf, especially all that delicious seafood. Instead of expressing myself, this video pretty much says it all!

As much as I love the content of this video…it’s pretty lame they are only donating 5 fucking dollars out of a $13 shirt.

Let’s get freaky!

(Cooler logo coming soon…)

First and foremost, excuse the little pink flower next to this post…this was the most interesting theme I found on WordPress, I have no idea how to write code and I can’t seem to change it. If anyone knows how to get rid of it, email me at scusato@gmail.com.

Yes, I’m a food freak. I’ve decide I’m going to start talking about food. At first I’ll pretty much be talking to myself, writing recipes, venting anger about food issue that bother me, sharing my food point of view, stuff like that. Hopefully though it won’t be like that. This is my little attempt to get more people excited about food. But not just liking food, actually appreciating it…getting people to the point that they care enough about food that they become particular about where it comes from, how fresh it is, and how good they feel  about buying it and eating it as well as enjoying the process it takes to cook a meal.

I’ll start humbly…I’ll take you through the meals I cook for myself and share with you those recipes and pictures. Maybe I’ll expand to videos, maybe not, we’ll take it one step at a time but I’m going to do my best to make sure I’m posting interesting stuff. Let me know if I’m boring (scusato@gmail.com) and I’ll change try and make it less boring.

I’ve been spending the last 4 years slowly becoming a better cook. I always thought I could cook (as many probably do) but in hindsight, I wasn’t so good. But I practiced as often as I could and I improved with every dish I made. I became more creative, and more confident working with food.

My goal is to have the culinary wisdom to be able to go to the market and feel comfortable working with any ingredient I see and making delicious food that satisfies both my urge to eat healthily as well as my urge to indulge. I believe strongly that you are only as good a cook as the ingredients your using. My cooking really took off when I began to give a shit about the ingredients I was using. A few easy techniques and equipment and forget about it, you can bang out anything in the kitchen.

I’m not a trained chef, rather a self taught cook. My brother is a chef so I guess that doesn’t hurt but mainly I love reading cookbooks, watching food, reading about food and using any means necessary to become a better cook. I by no means claim to be the best cook you’ll find but I strive everyday to improve and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.

If you are obsessed with food, and you think you might be a freak like me, then it sounds like you should be reading my blog…that’s it! Now go cook something.