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Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

This is one of the most delicious recipes I have ever prepared. I really despise the hovering stink of green peppers, so I used a red pepper instead. I make my own Andouille, and the smokiness it imparts helps make the dish. Chicken on the bone is a glorious touch. Other than the pepper, I added way more of the spices, esp. cayenne. It was pretty hot, just the way we like it. Really great on Uncle Ben's rice. Don't normally cook that kind of processed stuff, but it was just perfect for it. Anyway, this one is a WINNER and will be reprised for the Super Bowl.

Feb 03, 2011
jeff_in_redmond in Recipes

The Secret of Chicken Stock Nirvana

I make chicken stock like a mad man, and am loath to ever throw a poultry part away without first extracting the flavor into stock. However, these two tips (feet, oven) sound FABULOUS. My own little tip for making stock? Leave out the celery or keep it to a bare minimum. Celery flavor seems to really concentrate and overpower the poultry flavor. Other ingredients I always include: onions (of course, and no need to remove skins unless they're dirty), carrots (the sweetness is a great enhancement), fresh parsley, fresh thyme and bay leaves (but they MUST be from a bay tree, not the camphor-like California Bay that is so prevalent in spice aisles.)

Dec 03, 2010
jeff_in_redmond in Features

pork shoulder is tough-- keep cooking or deal with it?

If you cover it, and have liquid, IT WILL EVENTUALLY FALL APART. I PROMISE YOU!! Although at 200, it might take more like 8 hours, depending on how large it is. If part of the pork dried out because it was exposed, turn it upside down to submerge the dry part.

I cook a lot of pork and you could easily bump it up to 225. As the other posters are stating, unless the internal temp gets high enough, for long enough, the collagen and other stuff in the pork won't break down (when that happens, the pork gets tender).

Good luck!

Dec 05, 2009
jeff_in_redmond in Home Cooking

What to do with a black truffle?

I do a big Christmas brunch for my family, and I have a bee in my bonnet to buy a black truffle from a local merchant and cook with it (because it sounds delicious, but also to impress my sister-in-law :)

They are nice, fragrant black truffles from Oregon, and I'm hoping to incorporate something that will go well at brunch. I know I could cook it in eggs, but I'm looking for something more exciting.

The same merchant also has little white truffles from Oregon as well. So, I could go either way.

I'm serving sausages, bacon, french toast, salmon, etc.

Dec 05, 2009
jeff_in_redmond in Home Cooking

Ever make your own pancetta or guanciale? It's so easy.

Duck prosciutto is also one of the first things I tried from "Charcuterie," but was also the least successful. It tasted just like raw poultry: disgusting. I smoked it though, and then fried it and used it in pasta. It was pretty good.

When Ruhlman did a little stint on this board, I inquired about my results, and he said that my environment was probably too dry (it likely was), so the outside cured, but the inside never dried properly.

I acquired a used "dorm fridge" and when set on the warmest setting, the temp is perfect for curing. I haven't played with the humidity, but will probably use it next time I cure anything. I'll prob. just put a bowl of water in there.

Nov 27, 2009
jeff_in_redmond in Home Cooking

We are so spoiled!

I lived in Europe for a year, and although I HEARTILY agree that finding great local food is possibly the finest joy of living overseas, you can't ignore the fact that we miss those once-common favorite items/dishes/cuisines we can't get where we are.

For instance, I have been perpetually burned out on Mexican food (except for true Taqueria food) for the last 20 years, but what I wouldn't have given in Vienna, Austria to walk in the doors of the cheesiest Tex-Mex restaurant on the West Coast and down several servings of (free) chips and salsa. Boy, did I miss that.

As an aside, there was a gentleman living in Vienna at that time who was Austrian-Mexican (a rare breed, I'm sure). He provided my little expat ghetto (mostly Americans from the South) with proper tortilla chips. His name? G√ľnther Gonzalez.


Searching for some words of wisdom for a Thanksgiving tenderfoot.

I can't endorse strongly enough the fabulous results you describe when a turkey is brined. I use a simpler brine, just one cup of table salt to one gallon of water (probably need two gallons for a turkey), just for 8 hours though. It does give the turkey wonderful seasoning, and the meat is incredibly moist.

Last year our host made a turkey which wasn't brined and the breast meat just dries all up. I was sad, as it is a needless tragedy.


Nov 04, 2009
jeff_in_redmond in Home Cooking

how to get pepper oil off my face and hands

Were they latex gloves? I can see someone sensitive to latex being able to detect it. I doubt they would detect vinyl glove aroma. Also, maybe he made a lucky guess to yank someone's chain? :) Sounds like something I'd do!

how to get pepper oil off my face and hands

Does anyone besides me use gloves when cleaning chiles/peppers? Just those cheap, disposable latex or vinyl ones? That works.

help me buy a dutch oven

I bought the 7 1/4 quart Le Creuset dutch oven a few years back and I am VERY happy with it. Great size, we make every kind of spaghetti sauce, stew, soup in it on the stove top. It is obviously marvelous for braising in the oven, making pork/duck confit, "Almost-No-Knead Bread" (from Cooks Illustrated, we use it for this more than anything else). It is weighty, but it's not like I'm carrying it very far. Holds heat amazingly well. We store it on top of the stove, actually.

My only complaint about it is that it has been hard to get cooked-on food off the outside of it. I'm not talking chunks of cooked on food, just the grease splatters that turn dark brown. It's kind of a patina, but I'd like to get it looking like new.

This is easily one of the most satisfying pieces of kitchen gear I have ever bought (not least of all that it's a Le Creuset :) I HIGHLY recommend it.

It's $245 on Jeff.

Oct 08, 2009
jeff_in_redmond in Cookware

Spending a Weekend in Seattle-- Food recs anyone? :)

It's gotten lots of press lately, and I'm sure will be labeled trendy soon, but Serious Pie has been our favorite restaurant for over a year now. It's pizza, but it's not. Amazing, chewy, carmelly-charred crust, and delicious toppings. Never thought I'd say this, but the one with the cracked eggs, arugula and gianciale (cured pork) is my favorite. The way the runny yolk acts as a dressing to the greens is marvelous.

It's in Seattle on 3rd and Virigina, pretty close to the Pike Place Market, which is tourist central (and very worth visiting). Get one pizza per person. The Maritime Pilsner on tap is DELICIOUS. Same for lunch or dinner (or in-between).

I recommend the Market in the late morning, snack your way through it (oldest Starbucks is still there), early dinner (like 4-ish) at Serious Pie, take a ferry ride to Bainbridge and back (less than 90 minutes round trip), and then Cafe Campagne (the one downstairs from Campagne) for late second dinner and drinks.

Have fun!

Michael Ruhlman: Expert in Residence!

Michael: I made the duck breast prosciutto within hours of buying your book, but after the proscribed amount of hanging time, it looked great, but still just tasted like raw poultry. I went ahead and smoked it and used it like pancetta (very good, chopped into little cubes), but was wondering what might have been missing in the process. The curing room was cool enough, but maybe wasn't humid enough? Thanks.

Michael Ruhlman: Expert in Residence!

HI Michael: "Charcuterie" has added a very exciting aspect to my cooking. THANK YOU and Brian!

Just wondering, when using a mini fridge to cure, why salt (as opposed to fresh) water in the fridge? To keep from spoiling?

Thanks. Jeff.

Any GREAT bread bakeries/baguettes on the Eastside? (Redmond/Bellevue/Kirkland)

Thanks. I'll check out both those places! I appreciate the recommendations.

Any GREAT bread bakeries/baguettes on the Eastside? (Redmond/Bellevue/Kirkland)

I have had a HECK of a time finding any decent, REAL bakeries that bake rustic, Euro-style loaves and/or classic French baguettes on the Eastside. There's Panera, but I'm looking for something less chainy. I would die for something like a Dahlia Bakery or Macrina in my neck of the woods. I'm particularly interested in a place that cranks out killer baguettes in some volume (I do some large volume cooking now and again). Hancocks and Hoffmans are real decent, but focus on the pastries. Anyone tried the bakery on Main St. in Bothell?

I'm much less interested in the cute storefront and really just want a place that cranks out quality stuff. Thanks! Jeff.

Can anyone suggest a great garlic press?

Man, I'll say I can. It's the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press. I was sick of buying a poorly designed garlic press every year or two. They either break, are difficult to clean, oxidize from the dishwasher (aluminum ones) or just don't have the balls to do the job.

I've had the Kuhn RIkon for about six months. It's STAINLESS STEEL, so you it goes in the dishwasher, has a clever basket design that is easy to clean, and has some SERIOUS leverage that pulverizes garlic without much efffort. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO PEEL THE GARLIC IF YOU'RE LAZY!!

It costs about $30 on Amazon, but I'll be able to use this garlic press for all time and eternity.

Hope that helps!! Jeff.