The Elements of Chili

A recipe for Texas-style chili.

30th Jan 2009

elementsofchili2

Diced instead of Ground Meat
I had stopped using ground beef a few years back, after watching a Good Eats episode. The reasoning makes sense.  When ground beef is used, the fat either needs to be drained off immediately, or needs to be skimmed off the day after when all the fat has accumulated at the top.  But if you use chunks a lot of the juices stay inside, leaving both the chili less...

First Step: Chili Powder

The best chili starts with the best chili powder.

29th Jan 2009

chilipowder2

That meant forgoing the blend I had in my spice rack and picking up a load of dried chilies from the local Mexican market.  I needed to create my own blend, something that was completely unique to me, but where do I start?  There honestly aren't that many recipes for chili powder out there.  My only real resources were Homesick Texan (great site) and Alton Brown .

Thanks to the larg...

The Way Around: Butternut Squash Ravioli with Butter Sage Sauce

A better way to make ravioli.

21st Jan 2009

butternutsquashravioli3

What kind of flour should I use? I had quite quickly settled on 100% Semolina flour when I first made tagliatelle, because I loved the bite that it gave my fresh pasta.  When I made the first batch of ravioli, I just started there, figuring it would work for all fresh pasta recipes.  But as I read more and more, I noticed that most of the recipes specifically called for all-purpose fl...

Authentic Carnitas and Three Pounds of Lard

Lard is the secret to this Mexican classic.

5th Jan 2009

carnitas 15

By the time I fished the three pounds of pork hunks from the lard and stacked them on the cutting board,far more guests had arrived than I had originally planned.  It was a New Year's Eve party, but I thought dinner would just be an intimate gathering of 5 or so, and then we'd meet up with more friends later in the night.  But apparently my calls for meeting up later meant that they should c...

The Smash Technique and Skinny Burger Perfection

How to make the best burger at home.

11th Dec 2008

smashburger1

You know the burger obsession is going off the deep end when semi-serious discussion takes place over the burger making skills of a cartoon .  Please stick with me.  This cartoon happened feature J. Wellington Wimpy, the burger-loving sidekick of Popeye.  Hamburger America author George Motz found this clip and was there to comment on Wimpy's burger making skills: "Notice how even in...

Ragù alla Bolognese

Because fresh pasta deserves a sauce this good.

20th Nov 2008

raguallabolognese01

Once I figured out how to make fresh pasta , I waited all of 12 hours before I set out to create my own Ragù alla Bolognese.  It was a goal of mine ever since watching an episode of Heston Blumenthal's TV series In Search of Perfection .  The premise of the show is for the acclaimed chef to reexamine some stodgy British classics by going back to the roots of the original dish.  His f...

Fresh Mexican Chorizo

How to make the staple Mexican sausage.

18th Sep 2008

The recipe comes from Diana Kennedy's "From My Mexican Kitchen".  This particular version comes from the Michoacán region.  She does give direction on how to stuff the mixture into casings, but I bailed out early.  Some day.

As first sausage making experiences go, I'd have to say this was pretty remarkable.  I got about 2 pounds of fresh sausage and spent about $12 dollars.  Half of it is fro...

The Wait of Dill Pickles

How to make pickles at home without filling your place with the smell of pickles.

10th Sep 2008

But all I did was worry.  Why was there no garlic in the dill pickles? Every other jar of dill pickles I had bought contained garlic.  And why did the pickling spice smell so sweet?  Dill pickles weren't sweet.  I worried that Ruhlman's recipe was too refined.  I wanted simple dill pickles.  I'd have to look elsewhere.

dillpickles03

I pulled out Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking and found Dill Pi...

The Quick-Flipped Fat Burger

Keep that spatula at hand.

26th Aug 2008

quick flippedburger03

At first everything was fine. Taking a cue from Adam Kuban , we decided to make our own onion rings instead of the normal burger pairing of fries. The recipe was taken from Simply Recipes , which soaked the onions in buttermilk and coated them in flour and cornmeal.

quick flippedburger04

We fried them in canola oil set to 350 degrees for a few minutes, until nice and golden brown.  We stashed them i...

Apple City Barbecue''s Smoked Pulled Pork

Make pulled pork at home.

5th Aug 2008

Apple City Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Day 1

applecitybarbecue02

  • 1 pork butt (4-6 pounds), preferably with the bone-in

Prick the pork butt all over with a fork.

Magic Dust: AKA the Rub

applecitybarbecue03

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic...

Real Homemade American Bacon

How to smoke pork belly at home.

2nd Jul 2008

homemadeamericanbacon02

First, I needed to find some pork belly with its skin still firmly on. My previous attempt removed it , along with a lot of precious fat directly underneath.  My bacon didn't have nearly enough fat on it to fry up, so instead cooking up beautifully in a pan, it burned .  My local butcher wouldn't sell me a piece with the skin on unless I bought 10 pounds, a fact I still find ridicu...

Blend Your Salsa: A Tale of Two Salsas

Moving beyond pico de gallo into real authentic territory

21st May 2008

blendyoursalsa01

I thought I knew everything there was to know about salsa.  Tomatoes, garlic, onions, jalapenos, lime juice, salt.  Chop, mix, serve.  It’s an enormous pain, but the alternative (jarred salsa) just doesn’t compare.  Taking the time to chop is a noble pursuit.

That was until Blake visited last weekend.  What he threw together in a matter of minutes turned blood red and clung to every chip l...

Hamine Eggs: The Search for the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

A different method for hard boiling eggs.

30th Apr 2008

And what better place to find proof than Harold McGee?  His On Food and Cooking had a whole section on long cooked eggs.  He calls them “an intriguing alternative” which can be cooked for anywhere between “6 to 18 hours.”  Still no recipe, but I’m finally on to something.  The most interesting aspect about the process is what happens to the flavor, which he says generates “flavo...

Gorgefest Saturday

Manhattan. 1 day. 9 Restaurants.

26th Nov 2007

saturday gorgefest 01

I hadn’t been to New York since my exodus in July and I returned with a plan.  I wasn’t going to waste any moment visiting attractions, or seeing a Broadway play.  I lived there for two years, so it felt right to walk back in and get to what I spent most of my time doing: eating.  And with the Paupered Chefs reunited for the first time in half a year, it really wasn't that hard for ou...

Steak au Poivre: Real Cheap and Kind of Authentic

First was the rather easy substitution of bourbon for the cognac

17th Sep 2007

steak au poivre 04

I tend to spend way too much time researching what I'm going to eat.  Nearly every recipe is cross-examined against other works I have, just to make sure I'm doing things correctly.  But I was on to this recipe the moment I saw Alton pull out his steaks.  I didn't check if this was the authentic way to make this, I just went for it.

What could cause me to go into such enthusiastic fits?  S...

Zuni Cafe''s Roast Chicken

The heat was intense, but this roast chicken was the best yet

8th Aug 2006

roastchicken6 1

Yeah, it's true, I did decide to roast a chicken on the hottest day of the year , much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, my neighbor Jason, and my brow which had to battle the entire evening against a downfall of sweat pouring over my forehead.  And while the hysterics of previously mentioned cocktail mistress (girlfriend) could be seen as an over-dramatization of slightly toasty dinner, s...

Baja Fish Tacos

The best fried fish tacos we've ever had.

9th Jun 2006

Our own version culled from a few different recipes, an emulation of the classic recipe of homemade tortillas, lightly fried tempura-style fish, a dairy-based white sauce, and fresh, crunchy, gently spicy cabbage.

paupered chef 746

Real Baja fish tacos are nothing like what you're used to eating when it comes to Mexican food.  In fact, true Mexican cuisine might be our biggest missed chance.  Satisfied...

Melting Potatoes

Those on a diet should click away now

4th Jun 2006

meltingpotatoes01

Those on a diet should click away now.  Those left will have their heart beat just a few ticks faster when these are finally removed from the oven, and even faster once the oil starts pumping through your system...

Barbara Kafka loves these, and we love her from creating them.  They are horrible for your health, use just a little less butter than a hollandaise, and look like burnt, mushy,...

Kafka''s Herb-Roasted Chicken

How to roast a chicken at 500 degrees

4th Jun 2006

High heat has its positives and negatives, but one thing for sure is that it definitely tastes much different than whatever the Joy of Cooking will throw at you.

In fact, one of the only downsides is that this recipe is easy to the point of being rather boring.  For the busy this is a godsend, but we cooked it with some much more challenging melting potatoes , that upped the ante on the fat...

Burgers & Cupcakes

Two things people like to wait in line for. Again.

25th May 2006

burgersandcup01

Burgers and Cupcakes
458 9th Ave, at 36th st.
Distance from Shake Shack: 0.94 miles
Travel Time: 27 minutes

of People in Line: 9

Burgers and Cupcakes is humorous only to New Yorkers, who can't help but smile at the gall of building a restaurant that caters solely to the big apple's idiocy to stand in line for the most obscenely simple things.  I was spurred to undertake the odysse...

Taste of Chinatown 2006

Braving the cold weather for all the $1 tasting plates you could want

P1010025_1 Tai Hong Lau 70 Mott Street Deep Fried Dumplings Verdict: The first of many deep-fried samplings, not the cheapest but quite tasty.  They had an assortment of vegetables and mini shrimp. P1010026 P1010027_2

Roast Chicken: Getting Dirty With the Bird

You know exactly where it came from. This thing used to be an animal. You’ll want to name it.

18th Apr 2006

dirtybird02

Hello, there.  The first step to perfectly roasting a chicken is to get acquainted with the subject.  At first I hid it underneath the wrapping when chopping and prepping, like I was ashamed that it might see me.  But the only way to really get the chicken to do what you want is to get personal.  You'll be shoving lemons and such inside its cavity short enough.  Don't get squeamish.

First,...

How to Throw a Successful Tapas Party II: Paying Handsomely at Casa Mono

In which our minds are blown by the food

5th Apr 2006

Founded by Mario Battali and Joe Bastianich, Casa Mono is no culinary secret, nor is it hidden in some trendy outpost like Red Hook or Bushwick.  It sits in stately Gramercy amongst the trees of Irving Place, which hush the hustle of neighboring Union Square. I'd never stepped foot in a Battali-affiliated place before, and I felt nervous and ready. It's not that his restaurants are exceedingly ex...

How to Throw a Successful Tapas Party

In which we find a wildly handsome Spanish man

tapasparty01

Step 1: Find a Spanish Man.

tapasparty02

Step 2: Find a Spanish Ham.

tapasparty03

Preferably, a wildly handsome Spanish friend with a hunk of Spanish ham that his mother sent him.  Jorge had looks.  And he had the ham.   What follows is an evening of many, many stages that included overcoming fears of anchovies, quail eggs, and two romantic party members who ate their share, doted on each other, and c...

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

Based on the potato, gnocchi is the ultimate pauper's meal--but it sure doesn't taste like it

28th Mar 2006

P1010027_2

Gnocchi.  No idea. For years this has been the unpronounceable dish on the menu that starred me down and begged to be blurted out to the uproarious laughter of the seasoned waiter.  "Did you hear what he just said?" Hell, I didn't have any idea what it was.  Was it a type of pasta?  Dumpling?  Did it have a filling?  This feeling of inadequacy kept the recognizable dish on the menu page...

Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches

Gourmet calls this the best tuna sandwich they've "ever tasted."

20th Mar 2006

My copy of Gourmet Magazine arrives every month to a sneer and a laugh.  Talk of glorious trips to the ends of the earth, newly opened restaurants in Tokyo, and how to find that perfect $200 pasta maker, doesn't translate well into my cramped, cash-strapped life.  Yet, I read it every time.   Maybe it's my thirst for knowledge, or envy of having loads of disposable cash, but I nod approvingly...

Egg Mayonnaise and Cress Sandwich

Recreating a fond memory from being poor in London

14th Feb 2006

Though egg mayonnaise is essentially the same thing as American egg salad, it doesn't taste like your average pitch-in.   The mayonnaise was creamy but it had a lightness to it, which probably has something to do with the proportion of ingredients.  Instead of deli-style New York sandwiches where a literal pound of meat is thrown on each sandwich--"It's like a cow with a cracker on either side,...

The Great Potato Contest

A bag of potatoes and a quest for the cheapest dinner possible

With minds planted firmly in the dirt, we probed the...

greatpotatocontest 00

With minds planted firmly in the dirt, we probed the starchy tuber for secrets buried within, all in search of the perfect cooked potato.   Armed with a bag of $2.99 Idahos, we set aflame preconcieved notions, sexed things up, and tried to find the courage (and stomachs) to eat nothing but potatoes like our poor brethren of the 19t...

English Cucumber Sandwiches

"Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?"

4th Feb 2006

cucumber11 1 1

(Hey everyone. Be sure to check out my most recent post on cucumber sandwiches for a slightly more authentic version.)

"...Hallo!  Why all these cups?  Why cucumber sandwiches?  Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?"
-Jack, from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

After my body had officialy rejected anything of substance thanks to my w...

"Wit What?"

An exploration of Philadelphia's quintessential greasy delicacy...the cheesesteak

1st Feb 2006

With Blake off for the weekend, Nick blew the whole...

cheesesteak02

With Blake off for the weekend, Nick blew the whole Paupered Chef budget on a $20 Chinatown Bus ticket to Philadelphia in search of the city's quintessential greasy delicacy...the cheesesteak.  Armed with locals with serious appetites, he checked out some of their favorite institutions in search of the real thing...Wait, with cheez w...

Dinner with Genghis Khan

We did our research, spared no expense, and faced the terrors of salmonella. We survived to teach you how to give this haughty dish an American makeover.

Leonards The Paupered Chef ransack their local butcher in search of the fresh meat to one of France's most risky dishes. Will they have time to cook it?

dinnerwithgenghiskhan04

The Paupered Chefs ransack their local butcher in search of fresh meat for one of France's most risky dishes.  Will they have time to cook their steak tartare? We did our research, spared no expense, and faced the terrors of salmonella. We sur...

White Risotto with Pesto

Trust this recipe, and never lose faith: it is actually quite simple, and can be used as a launching point for lots of other inspired ideas.

21st Jan 2006

whiterisottoandpesto01

I remember vividly the first time I thumbed through a cookbook with a sense of purpose. I was home on a break during my freshman year of college, and my mom had been relating to me her excitement about a book my sister sent from London.  She excitedly exclaimed that “it had even been autographed.”  I smiled and nodded approvingly, unaffected.  It was a cookbook, after all.  My sister w...