It's been awhile.
April 23, 2012 AT 8:12AM | BY

nick and blake

As many of you have noticed, it's been quite a while since we posted on the site. For that—and mostly for the lack of any news—we apologize. The story of our absence isn't as exciting as we'd like it to be. Basically, due to new jobs for the both of us, we've been busy. Really busy. So we took a little break from posting while we focused on jobs that pay money. Obviously, a note saying so would have been the polite thing to do, but we just weren't sure what to say.

After some discussion, both of us have decided to put The Paupered Chef on some kind of hiatus, at least for the time being. (You can never say never, right?) The Paupered Chef has always been a site full of youthful energy, about being scrappy and curious as to where adventures in cooking could take us. As it turns out, it could take us many places, from a homemade sausage adventures to tours across the country in search of the best barbecue; from the cattle markets of Argentina to a pig jowl hung in a Brooklyn living room to make pig face bacon. Sadly, we simply don't have the time or energy to continue exploring with the same passion that have always been the heart of this site, and to give it any less than our best would feel wrong.

Don't fear! In the next months, you might see us cleaning up some of our old content and highlighting it once in awhile on the homepage. Five years of writing has built up quite a fascinating account of two young men learning to cook, and we want to preserve that as a resource and document.

And about those day jobs...we haven't strayed too far from food. Nick is currently editing the Chicago edition of Serious Eats, which he launched as the first Serious Eats site outside of its New York headquarters late last year (and once a week, you'll see Blake's work on the site in the form of Sausage City, his weekly column about all things encased meats across Chicago). Blake, for his part, is working full-time at Jamco Creative, which provides creative work for chefs and restaurants, including social media,  video, and photography.

We hope you'll stick us in your RSS reader or stop back occassionally to see what we're up to. Thanks for all the comments. Hope to see you poking around the site. And keep cooking! 

Rules for success, including porchetta
October 25, 2011 AT 9:15AM | BY Blake Royer


Ed. note: This is the third post in a "Repertoire" series on the interplay of food and style, with our friends The Midwestyle. We're helping their readers learn a few recipes, and they're teaching us a few things about doing it in style.

To say you’re an accomplished person is putting it lightly. That time you summited Kilimanjaro during a snow storm. The month you took a vow of silence. The day all the stoplights turned green.

You’ve been places, you’ve seen things, and you’ve got most situations in the bag. But the thought of hosting a dinner party? Crippling. Like trying to throw a punch under water. There are Nobel Prize winners who would buckle at the thought of preparing a meal for friends and having to sit there and face them while they eat it.

Having hosted more than few gatherings, we've learned a few things.  Call them rules, or guidelines.  We think they might be a helpful starting point.  

And if nothing else, learn to cook porchetta. You won't regret it.

The Paupered Chef officially endorses the convenient practice.
October 19, 2011 AT 10:35AM | BY Nick Kindelsperger


I, Nick Kindelsperger, wholeheartedly endorse the practice of freezing chicken stock in ice cube trays. Doing so allows one to crack them into zip-lock bags and stash them in the freezer for safe keeping. It is convenient, fairly easy to do, and downright practical (in a slightly embarrassing way). Of course, the problem with dishing out little kitchen tips and tricks like this one is that there are enough of them to make even the most organized person confused. I'm as guilty as anyone. So, I decided to wait on this one just to make sure that I actually followed through, used it all, and then did it again. It passed the test.

I've long been freezing stock. I learned early on that freezing the whole batch in one bag was the wrong way to go, because it is hard to dethaw a huge hunk of ice. So, I started freezing stock in four-cup batches, thinking that would be a normal amount to use for a recipe. That is almost never the case. Nine times out of ten, recipes call for ½ cup or less, meaning I had to partially dethaw the bags, pour off the amount I need, and then refreeze them. The process was annoying and, at least whenever I tried to do it, messy.

Just a little love for laborious cooking projects.
October 17, 2011 AT 4:09PM | BY Nick Kindelsperger


The older I get, the more I appreciate the un-simple things. Sure, I admire the shining brilliance of singularly perfect foods — like the best summer tomatoes or a properly aged steak — but I'm far more interested in dishes that combine dozens of components into a complex and bewildering whole. I speak of Mexican moles, feisty Thai salads, balanced Indian curries, and, of course, a certain Creole dish I've been in love with for a while now: gumbo.

Gumbo is a passion of mine, even if I only seem to get around to it once a year or so. Part of the problem is that I live too far away from the source for it to worth ordering at restaurants (as I once learned the hard way). But the main issue is that gumbo is an all day cooking process that absolutely can't be rushed. It is not easy or, if we could return quickly to the main thesis here, simple. Fortunately, there is much to love. 

An Argument for Grains and Vegetables
October 13, 2011 AT 9:18AM | BY Blake Royer


I’ve worked enough days in my life, from my desk at home to mind-numbing office temp gigs, to have developed some theories on lunch. To me, the working lunch is a series of balances: it should be fast, yet not fast-food; it should be a break from work, but not so indulgent you can’t get moving again; it should be fulfilling, but not a cause of sluggishness. Lunch should work for you, but so often it’s the other way around.

Here's the idea: Work ahead, do a little bit of planning, and go vegetarian. And above all keep in mind: Healthy doesn’t have to mean it tastes like cardboard.