Tin Tuirtle Design

Bacon Wrapped Squirrel

clock December 31, 2013 06:36 by author Bald Turtle

I flew back home from Missouri carrying some fresh squirrels from the farm. When I was a kid we ate these fried in flour and then the drippings were used to make gravy. The end product was biscuits covered in squirrel gravy with the fried meat served on the side. Very tasty and the memories of sitting at the kitchen bar stuffing my face with this goodness are some of the best. But when I had a chance to try a little different approach I wanted something to really marinate the flesh and bring out that nut fed flavor. I chose a Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout for the base and added in soy sauce, pepper and a bit of chopped garlic. Then the squirrel was marinated in this for about 4 hours.

Once the marinating was complete each piece was wrapped in bacon and then broiled in the oven on a rack for about 25 minutes. The main thing to watch for is that squirrel, like most game, is low in fat so you have to be careful not to overcook or dry it out. Then I served this over a nice bed of thinly sliced brussel sprouts that were sautéed in olive oil and some chicken stock. The flavor was really good, but squirrel is tough. Face it... its a rodent that spends its days running around from tree to tree. The next time I am thinking of a slow cooked version, or possibly a nice stew. That depends on if I can convince my dad and nephew to part with some of their supply....

bacon wrapped squirrel

Chicago Style Pizza

clock May 13, 2012 00:34 by author Bald Turtle

One of the great absences in Beijing is the lack of a good Chicago style pizza, and also a Chicago style hotdog. I cannot do much about the hotdog without being able to get the proper buns, but I can work on the pizza. An interesting thing about my Chinese oven is that while it is smaller than the one on the U.S., it can reach higher temps. The downside is that it uses an upper electric element to do that. But high temps are what you need for pizza. That, and a really good pizza dough. I happened on a great recipe that can keep for up to 2 weeks at a time in the refrigerator.

pizza dough in China

I use a 9 inch (23cm) cake pan that is about 1.75 inches (4.5cm) deep for my Chicago pizzas. The dough is rolled out and hand stretched with fresh flour until you get something big enough to work. Since it can be fridged again, I just trim the edges around the pan (which is greased with butter) and put it back in the bowl for next time. Then spread the tomato sauce and meats in the bottom. This pizza used hamburger and pepperoni, then layers of black olives, green peppers, thin sliced zucchini and fresh tomato slices. The layers are broken up with a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella. The final step is to place a thick layer of mozzarella and a bit of salt and pepper before going in the oven.

pizza ready for the Chinese oven

Total bake time is only about 40 minutes at 428F (220C). The top element makes the cheese brown too quick, next time I will try to lower the pan even more, and maybe bring the temp down slightly so the crust browns first. But it did turn out very, very well and we had a nice movie night with pizza.

Chicago Style Pizza in Beijing

Thin Crust Pizza

clock May 12, 2012 02:25 by author Bald Turtle

I wanted to use the Pampered Chef stone baking sheet that Heidi got me to try out some thin crust pizza.  I used the same pizza dough recipe and rolled that out with ground beef, red onion, bell peppers, zucchinni, olives and smoked gouda cheese.

pizza in China

pizza in Beijing

thin crust pizza in the oven

Beef Bourguignon

clock May 3, 2012 22:06 by author Bald Turtle

The incredible, mystical Beef Bourguignon from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, page 315. First thing was finding a good quality of top sirloin to begin the stew. 1.7 kg (about 3.75 lbs) of meat.

beef in China

The meat is slow cooked with carrots and onions for 3 hours in a wine broth. This was done in my cast iron pot in the oven. The smell was amazing. Towards the end of that 3 hours I braised small onions in white wine and butter. And then about 1 lb (0.5 kg) of mushrooms quartered and browned nicely in butter.

braised onions

At the end of the 3 hours the beef, veggies and juices are strained out of the pot. The cast iron pot gets a full cleaning and then the beef and veggies are layered along with the braised onions and mushrooms. The juices that were strained are put in a saucier and then reduced for about 30 minutes until they are thick enough to coat a spoon. Then this is poured back over stew in the pot, reheated, and served over fresh noodles.

Beef Bourguignon

Playing with Rum Infusions

clock April 30, 2012 19:35 by author Bald Turtle

I stopped by Terra in Beijing to try out the new Slow Boat beers. There is a very good bartender working there from France and he spent some time talking with me about various rums and the variety of infusions they are working with on the back shelves. I was very interested, especially after he made me a wonderful Mai Tai using their cinnamon rum.

cinnamon rum infusion

So the first order of business was to go to Ikea and pick up a couple of jars to experiment with, and then I started out with a cinnamon and vanilla bean infusion using Bacardi Light.

And that was followed by a pineapple and ginger root infusion in Absolut vodka.

Cotes de Porc Sauce Nenette

clock April 25, 2012 19:23 by author Bald Turtle

I could not resist throwing down on another Julia Child recipe. Pork chops slow cooked in butter, garlic and green beans, served with mustard, cream and tomato sauce over fresh pasta from LMPlus - Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking pg 387. The pork chops are slow cooked for about 2 hours at very low temp. Normally I would do this in the oven, but I decided to use a good saucier pan and try it out on the stove top.

Cotes de Porc Sauce Nenette

I served this with a bottle of the Sardinian house white from LMPlus. At 160RMB per bottle it is not a bad deal for a reasonably good white wine - especially in China. For this dish the cream sauce is the key. You reduce 1.5 cups of heavy whipping cream down to .75 cups. That takes a lot of patience and care to make sure you don't burn the cream. But the result was very good, and all the customers (2 LOL) were satisfied.

Grilling some meats

clock April 21, 2012 23:56 by author Bald Turtle

Some days a guy just needs some grilled meat. Or "chuar" as the Chinese say. The skewers they sell on the street smell tasty, but are a little too scary for me. So I came home last night and decided to grill up some things for our evening watching "Game of Thrones".

bbq grill in Beijing

The smoke gets kind of scary even with all the windows open. It is critical to not have your clothes in the dryer when this process starts, as the grill and it share the same alcove. Everything will smell like the grill if you are not careful.

gas grill in China

I made some more cornbread and a side of greenbeans. We did chicken wings, lamb sausage skewers and a big piece of something that was supposed to be a ribeye. A ribeye it was not, and a bit tough. Still, not too bad and I sliced it up in little pieces today and made Annie some lunch.

Eliminating oil or butter for frying

clock April 20, 2012 23:20 by author Bald Turtle

As I continue to look at some of my cooking techniques I went back to something I learned from Paul Prudhomme. In his Fork in the Road cookbook he demonstrates how to sautee different ingredients using fruit juices - primarily apple juice. The quick explanation is the acidity in the apple juice allows you to clear the pan and prevent burning. The flavor does not work for everything, but it does work with a surprising number of things. I have made many of these dishes from his book over the years, and finally I decided to branch out and begin trying out new things on my own.

low calorie tomato chicken prep

For this dish I used chopped onion and bell peppers (red and green) and a spice mixture (definetly cajun). This was placed in the bottom of a very hot stock pot and cooked up for about 5 minutes. Once it begins to get brown on the bottom of the pot, you quickly add about a cup of apple juice. Thats the picture above. I boil this down for about 15 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken and glaze on the bottom of the pot. Then push that over to the side and add in some cubed chicken breast (also seasoned). I brown the chicken and after a few minutes add a couple of cans of whole tomato crushed up with my hands. Then some fresh chicken stock. This is followed by 4-5 cups of Chinese greens, similar to collard greens, mustard greens or bok choy.

low calorie tomato chicken in pot

I boil this for a few minutes and then that is served over some fresh spinach fettuccini from LMPlus in Central Park. I used to make all of my pasta fresh, but now I am just going downstairs and picking it up from Massimo. It is easier, the quality is excellent (come on - he is an Italian guy) and he has 5-6 different kinds. And a bottle of wine from him is about 160RMB which is not too bad for buying a decent wine in China.

tomato chicken over pasta in Beijing

Oven Fried Sole with Broccoli

clock April 17, 2012 23:16 by author Bald Turtle

I am supposed to be looking for healthy alternatives for dinner. While not terribly difficult, it is nice if it can be done in a way that is interesting. I sort of wavered on this one when I used the dressing and blue cheese, but overall it was a reasonably healthy dish. The main part of this is the sole, and that is prepared using Paul Prudhommes oven fry method from his book, Fork in the Road. The prep is key, and it involves chopped green onion and parsley mixed with spices and bread crumbs, then moistened with olive oil.

Oven Baked Sole

The fish was plated over steamed white rice. Over the top of the steamed broccoli I added some of my Mongolian Black Garlic dressing and a few pieces of Danish blue cheese. All right.. so maybe that was unneccessary, but it made the dish!

dinner in Beijing, China

Grilled Lamb Chops over Cornbread Stuffing

clock April 15, 2012 22:58 by author Bald Turtle

I enjoy working with different types of cornbread stuffing at the moment, mainly because I keep trying to work out a good cornbread recipe here and I end up with lots of extra. There were some New Zealand lamb chops with a special price over at Schindlers, so I grabbed a few and pulled out my grill pan. They were seasoned with thyme, salt, pepper and a bit of onion powder. Then placed in a bowl with some soy sauce and olive oil for a few hours.

grilled lamb chops

Cornbread stuffing is just a very easy side dish, especially if you have fresh chicken stock in the fridge like I usually do. Just saute onions and celery in butter, add crumbled cornbread and chicken stock, and you have insta-stuffing! I plated this with brussel sprouts that I ran through the food processor for slicing, and sauteed in olive oil with salt/pepper. Served with a Rogue American beer.

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