Solid Gold on a Carbon Steel Budget...

There is something very zen about making stir fry.  There is a reasonable amount of knife work involved and you get to cut veggies and whatnot into shapes you might not usually use in your everyday cooking.  I like that.  lots.  the flavors are fresh and vibrant and you can tailor the dish to your personal tastes pretty easily.  You like chicken? AWESOME! You hate chicken? AWESOME! stir-fry won't judge you. It embraces the challenge. It's like the hippie drum circle (everyone's invited) of easy recipes, but as any hippie worth their djembe will tell you, you're only as good as the tools you use.

 For years, I put off buying a real wok, thinking there wasn't much difference in a wok and a big sauté pan.  Like most things in my life, I was wrong. A good wok is usually made of carbon and very thin.  this facilitates the super intense heat you need to get that unmistakable flavor of your favorite chinese food.  I bought a pretty basic one from sur la table that required seasoning, but now I treat it just like a cast iron pan and it never fails me.  That sucker heats up super fast and consistently cranks out superb stir fries and curries.  

Look people, I'm not asking you to go get yourself some "mahble cahlums", here.  It's a wok. it's less than 30 bucks, but you'll feel like a million bucks when you're guests say, "who cooked this, the pope?"

Basic Stir Fry
1 pound meat, sliced as thin as you can (I usually use chicken or beef, but pork is good too) or firm tofu
1/2 cup soy sauce
1tbs+1tsp brown sugar
3 garlic cloves
combine this stuff in bowl, let sit for 30min-1hr
from here on, its kind of up to you but I like to use
handful of almonds
dried red chile (chile de arbol)
broccoli (about 1/2 a head
1 red bell pepper, matchstick cut
1 carrot, matchstick cut
some greens (usually 2-3 big collard green leaves)

14 oz. Broth (chicken, beef, pork stock,veg stock, whatever)
1/4 c soy sauce
2tbs cornstarch
whisk this last group of ingredients together in a small bowl

heat up your wok. get that sucker super hot.  put in about a tbs of a high smoke point oil (peanut, preferably, but canola or grape seed or veg oil will work).  Add the almonds and the dried chiles, be careful not to burn them.  When they start to toast, remove and set on paper towels to drain, we'll add these back in later.  see what you just did…toasted almond and chile oil to flavor your stir fry. nice move, kids.  now, use a slotted spoon (or your sparkly clean mitts) to add the meat (or tofu) to the oil without transferring the marinade.  too much liquid would steam the meat and probably burn your face off, and we don't want that.  give the meat a couple trips around the pan until it starts to looked cooked. add it back to the bowl with the marinade, set aside.  now, add your veggies.  give them 1-2 minutes, tossing them around, and add the broth, soy, cornstarch mixture. now, add the almonds and chiles and the meat, marinade and all. let this cook, stir frying it around the pan for about 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to get thickened to your liking.  you can thin the sauce out with a little more stock or water if you need. 
serve with rice.
some essentials:
This is the wok I have. it rules. its inexpensive and a workhorse. it requires seasoning but you can do it, don't be a wuss and get a nonstick.  they're crap.
wok spatula- you need something to move a lot of food at once.  these are good, but i prefer 
this guy- I like that its slotted, I find it better for stir fry, and you most likely have a spatula already.  I'm surprised at how much I use this spoon and yes I know its more expensive than the wok. sheesh.
As much as I would love you all to go out and buy carbon steel woks, I'd love it even more if you'd check out my super talented friend, Angela's, awesome blog, here.  She is one of the sweetest, most kind hearted people I've ever met, and that would be enough, but she's also a pastry goddess.  you heard me right. PASTRY. GODDESS. Angela's got the skills to pay the bills.  She's as real as it gets in the pastry world and a pretty good writer to boot.  you will not be disappointed. cheers.

Chicken (or paneer or mixed veg) Korma…or…How Dish got his groove back...

I know, I know. It's been like, forever, trevor.  Many things have been a changing', and I'm here to fill you in.  First thing- I am no longer a baker.  I know. Weird.  Its weird for me too.  But I am now chief soup and sandwich guy at the bakery.  And its wonderful.  I thought I loved making bread all day, but I  love this even more.  The fam is doing well and I hope you all are in good health and such.  And now lets get down to it.  Lets make some curry.

at casa Dish, we eat curry once a week.  I was greatly relieved when I found out my kid liked curry as much as i do (that crap about kids not liking strong flavors is, well…crap.). It's a crowd pleaser, a tongue-teaser, and a budget squeezer (in a good way).  It can be tweaked here and there to suit lots of different tastes and diets (the lady of the house is allergic to dairy so this is actually a dairy free version).  

If I want a veggie version, I'll substitute with chunks of grilled paneer or I've also made it vegan with some chickpeas and mixed veg.  The main thing is that you get the sauce down. After that, the sky is the limit on what you can do with this.

Basically, we start by searing our well seasoned chicken.  I use (and recommend) a pressure cooker for curries for then sake of time and cleanup.  After it has some nice color, set it aside and then ad your veg and spices to the same pot.  Maybe drizzle in a little more oil. Saute until they start to get translucent and then add some liquid (chicken stock or veg stock). put the lid on and make sure its sealed, bring it to the highest pressure and cook for five minutes.  It'll look something like the pic above.  Then, I blend it up with my immersion blender.  You can use a counter top blender if you want, just don't burn your face-off. (seriously, the only travolta worth watching, and only because he's nicolas cage).

add the chicken back to the pureed sauce and cover with the lid.  Bring to the highest pressure again cook for five more minutes.  release pressure and then check seasonings for taste. I'll stir in a little almond milk at this point and some dairy free butter. obviously if you can eat dairy, add heavy cream or milk and regular butter. Boom. Easy.  If you don't have a pressure cooker (WHAT?! SERIOUSLY?! HOW DO YOU FUNCTION?!) that's just fine.  It'll just take way longer, and maybe you're cool like that.  Well, zen-master, I am not.  When I want curry, I want it now. 

Serve it up like this, and your guests will think you know a thing or two about cooking. shhh, it'll be our secret that it only took 30 minutes.

Chicken (or whatever) Korma 
veg oil
1 pound chicken (or paneer or mixed veg of your choice)
1 med onion, doesn't matter how you slice it (its still an onion!)
2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 stalk celery
1 carrot
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs garam masala
1 tbs coriander powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried curry leaves (crumbled up into powder, just use your hands)
1-2 tsp fenugreek powder
14 oz stock
salt and pepper
I went over the method above, you got this.
DISH recommends: Fagor Pressure cooker.  the Kuhn Rikon ones are nice too.

I'm only mostly dead (which is still barely alive)...

Wow.  It definitely has been some time.  But I'm here and I'm in the mood to do a post so here we go!  This post is going to be about one thing, and by that I mean several things, but mostly it's about getting dinner on the table as fast i can.  Now, for someone who is a pretty big fan of prep work, this is a different ball game for me.  Its not that i am against fast meals (especially now), but I just never had the time constraints/sleep deprivation/bath-time/daycare pick-up,drop-off/cloth diapers/wrangling a floppy seventeen pound salmon/trying to dress,undress, said salmon/nap time, etc. that I do these days.  and, obviously, my daughter is way cuter than a salmon, but no less hard to clothe...

ok, this big hot mess you see here is a big skillet of sausage, veggies, and beer.  I'll say that again: SAUSAGES, VEGGIES, and BEER!!  its dead simple, beyond delicious, and pretty healthy.  Full of vitamins, and just the right amount of spice to warm you up and give some comfort on these brisk days ahead.  It kind of just happened on accident because I was trying to use up all of the glorious veggies i get every week from robinette farm csa (more on that later), but it was so good and fast that it has been a welcome addition to our rotation.

 I wanted to show you guys a little bit of the other reason I have been so absent lately,  This here baguette is the result of about three years of trial and error.  You see, normally at work, we were mixing baguettes in the early morn' and then baking them that same day, which is fine, but it also requires someone to get up super early (12 or 1 am) and then process the dough so it can be baked off.  Well, after much trial and error, we figured out a way to freeze the dough and hold it overnight so instead of coming in at a super early time, we can come in at a still early, but not early as to be quantified as "super" time.  this probably does not excite you, but it means that I can have more of a normal schedule and more of a normal sleep cycle, which feels like heaven.
 This is just a picture of me devouring a cake that mames had made for me for fathers day.  Our friend Angela (the pastry machine. It's not just a nickname, folks, lady's got skillz...).  It was delicious.  and it was all mine.  Which sounds lovely, but mames and pops can't have dairy right now and I like to share, so I can safely say that it was the only time that cake will be bittersweet.
 This is a typical pick up from my robinette csa. I was skeptical at first, but it has proven to be such a great deal.  I think we paid around 300 clams (which averages out to about 15 dollars a week), and every wednesday we get fresh, organic veggies.  they also had melons for a while...
I can't say enough good things about the csa program.
 A beer bread that I was making for the farmers market for a while.  It was made with cutthroat porter and then rolled in oats before baking.  I'll probably bring a version of it back for the hols.

 Alright, so my wife is obsessed with the Pinterest.  I have no idea what it is, all I know is that she brings me dozens of recipes to try. I like this.  I suspect that there are other uses for pinterest, but this is the only one that matters to me.  recipes for days.
This is just a steak.  cooked perfectly. with some chips and 'spargus.

I had to put this one in:)  Apparently the pears I made her were a little tart. and yeah, my kid is already a food nut.  she likes just about everything and eats like it's the business.  this makes me happy.

Beer braised sausages and veg
olive oil
5 good quality brats
1 onion, red or white or yellow, your choice
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 red bell, small dice
2 good sized potatoes, cubed
1 stalk celery, extra small dice, include the inner leaves if you can
1 bunch rainbow chard, or kale, or greens of your choice
1/2 dark beer, such as a porter, stout, or dark ale
salt and pepper
1tbs plus 1 tsp sweet paprika, I've used smoked too, also good.

get the biggest lidded skillet or sauté pan that you have, put it on med heat and once its hot add some olive oil.  sear the sausages on all sides , but not until done.  remove them from the pan and set aside.  sauté the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and celery until they are getting some nice color and then add the potatoes.  slice the sausages into the size you would like them (use a serrated knife, as they will be raw-ish in the middle and hard to slice) and then add to the skillet.  sprinkle in the paprika, salt and pepper, an then give it all a stir.  pour in half of the beer and cover the skillet. drink the rest while you wait for the potatoes to cook through.  Wash the greens and then chop them up fairly thin. add to the skillet when the potatoes are almost done.  your skillet should be really full, it takes some finessing, but the greens will cook down, I assure you.  if it starts to dry out a little you can add a little bit of water, just adjust the seasoning accordingly.  I hope you give it a try!!

so here's the deal, alright:  My kid, my precious sweet shoogy boogy, is finally starting to sleep through the night.  This is a good thing. especially for this blog.  I promise to make an effort to be nicer to ol' bloggy and update more often.  Ive been trying a lot of new stuff and cooking lots of tasty treats so I hope to get on here and share them soon.  piece out.  (<--I know that's a typo, haters, I'm trying to be ironic).
DISH recommends: robinette farms csa.  Get your veg on.  such high quality tasty stuff.  I feel like it was a really great deal for my family and was really nice veg.

how 'bout a little pep...

 i love pepper steak.  It exists in that spicy no man's land between fajitaville and stir fry country.  It's relatively cheap to make and fast to prepare.  Two things that are high on my list these days.  It's well-spiced with cumin, coriander, and chile powder and has the consistency of a perfect curry.  I like to serve it with rice, but the wife show and I have been known to eat it over mashed potatoes.  it's delicious. get over yourselves.  In the photo above, I was cooking it outside, since it just so happened to be a billion degrees inside our house and I wasn't about to add to the inferno.  I actually like cooking some things like this.  It was a method that i started using when we renovated (ahem, still renovating:) our kitchen and turned out to be pretty slick.  I'll post the do below.
 Behold, the carburetor. or carbonator. or irish carb-bomb.  I haven't decided what to call this sandwich I've been making, I only know that it haunts my waking moments and beckons to me like a starchy, salty siren. Baguette, mayo, avocado, crispy roasted potatoes and onions, and arugula.  It's all you need. ever.
 This is me, walking my pups, and carrying little pops.  I get so much done because of this baby carrier we received from our dear friends.  I'm able to do laundry, go on a hike/walk, cook, get groceries, and whatever else I might need to do whilst holding my little one and retaining the use of my mitts.  It distributes her weight really perfectly too, so I don't wear my back out.
 This started while our family was in town and I can't stop.  If you zoom in there, you'll see a brat split down the middle and resting on top of burger heaven.  It's solid gold wonderment. the snap of the brat paired with the burger is not only delicious, its a time saver...
...and that's something that I can totally get down with.  Any spare time I can wrangle, I try to spend with my two lovely ladies.  Seriously, take a look at this kid, who wouldn't want to hang out with this cool little chubster.  The entire time mames' was pregnant, people would always tell us, "everything changes", or "soak up this time together", and we did, we really did and I cherish that time I had with just the two of us.  Everything did change.  i learned that my heart was bigger than I ever imagined, I learned what it was like to see my wife's smile on someone else's face, I learned that my wife was stronger than I (or her) ever imagined (10 hours of labor with no meds of any kind, sheesh.), but the biggest revelation Ive had in these past three months was that the way I feel about my daughter, is the way my parents feel about me.
ok, down to biznass:
Pepper Steak:
olive oil
1lb flatiron steak, cut super thin (like ally mcbeal, or daphne, pre-niles), seasoned with s&p
1 red bell pepper, strippified
1 poblano pepper, ""
1 orange or yellow pepper, ""
1 onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic
nice handful cilantro
2 tsp each, chile powder, cumin, coriander powder
salt and peps
(i usually prep everything above and put it in a large bowl of love)

1 8 oz can tomato sauce
get a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet super hot and add a little olive oil, then add the contents of the love bowl into said smoking pan and stir until you start to get a little color on the veggies, about 4-5 minutes.  now add your sauce and stir until it coats all of the other ingredients and then fill up the sauce can with some water.  add this and reduce it down until desired thickness is achieved, about 5 mins.  you can make this as saucy or dry as you want, i like it just a little saucy, but on the thicker side.  serve with rice or over potatoes, or you could spoon it into tortillas and have some pretty bomb tacos.  pieces.
Dish Recommends:  Ergo Baby Carrier. this is the only way I get anything done around here.

You may have noticed my absence...

I feel like i owe everyone an apology. You see, lately, I've felt a lot like this.

I've kind of gotten bored with this blog and haven't updated much, because, well, I got into the habit of thinking that I always needed to have a recipe that correlated with my photos or whatever, and that just got to be a little too much work (I started this thing to show my mom/friends what I had been cooking for dinners/working on and it became really fun, and that is what I am going to go back to doing. because I like it. and this blog is mine.)  You see, I've been quite busy. While I would have loved to have been writing about things like this, this, and this,

I have been busy doing things like this
getting ready for these :)
and while that hasn't given me a whole lot of time to spend on this blog, I still want these people
and these people,
and these people,
to know that even though I may be elbow deep in this
Or spending time with her:)
I will do my best to try and write more about things like this