Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nearly Healthy Dinner

Halibut with Cajun Bowtie Pasta, Spicy Green Beans and Sweet Chili Sauce

Rub that fish with olive oil and Szegd (sp?) fish rub, sear it and finish it in the oven for eight minutes, then lay it down on a bed of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce.

For the pasta, lay down some butter in a pan with a small amount of chopped onion and garlic, soften that up, then add milk, a healthy amount of parmigiana, and some cayenne and let it reduce a bit.  When your cooked pasta is ready, add it to the pot and stir vigorously.  VIG-OR-OUS-LEE.  Add in some chopped green onions after you take it off the heat.

Beans:  butter, onion, shishito peppers, green beans, cayenne.  Enough said.

Dinner I Don't Know When

Pork Chop and Greens

Had this one a while back and honestly can't remember exactly what it was, but I'm pretty sure I rubbed the pork chop with my favorite pork rub, North Main BBQ, and olive oil, grilled it 3-4 minutes a side, and then let it rest under a foil tent with some butter on it.  Also, fairly certain the greens had something to do with collards, apple cider vinegar, bacon, butter, pepper and onion, but don't hold me to it.

Saturday Lunch

Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich with Giardiniara

For this bad boy, I heated up some olive oil in a small pan, and when hot, laid down half a ciabatta in it and grilled until it looked good and crisp.  Took it out, threw some roast beef in the pan, tossed it a bit then topped it with Swiss cheese and covered to melt it.  Put that together with some of Chicago's top contribution to this world and some parmigiana and was good to go.

Healthy Dinner...Kind Of...

Blackened Grouper with Pepperjack Grits

There once was a great man...a fat man...named Paul who perfected blackening seasoning.  Who am I to try to best him.  I rubbed some grouper that My Lovely Wife Mrs. Gordo's Brother (MLWMGB) caught last week with Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish seasoning, then painted it with melted butter and seared the shit out of it in a skillet, finishing it off in the pan in the oven for about ten minutes.

For the grits, start with some butter and a chopped up jalapeƱo and some chopped onion.  Get that going in a pot, then add one cup of grits, two cups of milk, some salt and some white pepper, and cook as instructed by the almighty cardboard box.  While that's going, grate 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pepperjack cheese (I used some made with Hatch chiles) and after the grits are done, stir that in and serve.

The red stuff there?  That's just a dusting of cayenne.  Not necessary, but adds a little bit different heat to the dish and makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

Last Night's Dinner

Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Asparagus Fried Rice

Had this one last night, very good.  Marinated a filet mignon in a combination of chili garlic paste, soy sauce, peanut oil, lime juice and pepper, grilled it and sliced it.

For the rice, throw some asparagus (thinnest you can find) on the grill and drizzle it with some peanut oil to get a char on it.  Once those are done, let them cool and chop it up.  Put some peanut oil in a non-stick pan and add some chopped onion and sliced fresh jalapeƱos and let them sizzle and soften a few minutes, then toss in the asparagus.  Once you've got that going, crack and egg and quickly scramble it, then thrown in cooked rice and some soy sauce, turn to medium high, and let it fry for a few minutes, tossing every once in a while.  When that's done, take it off the heat and add some rough chopped cilantro and green onion, and voila!, you're done.

Paired it with a cucumber, tomato, radish and bibb lettuce salad with a dressing made of equal parts lime juice, rice vinegar, minced ginger, soy sauce, and double part of peanut oil.



Bear with me please, I'm playing catch up and can't remember what this dinner at home was.  All I know is that it was GOOD.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Baked Penne with Italian Sausage

Cook the pasta, cut up and saute the sausage in some oil.  Toss that together with some red sauce, some red pepper flakes or hot italian pepperoncini, some grated ricotta salata, some bufula mozzarella or other fresh mozzarella, and some parmigiana.  Put in a dish, top with more parmigiana and bake at 375 until it just looks right.

Garbonzo Asparagus Salad

Just like it sounds.  Blanch and cool the asparagus, cook the garbonzos until warm, and toss all together with parsley, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Serve cold or at room temp, it doesn't really matter.

Dinner Last Week, the Week Before, or the Week Before That

Germany vs. France, the Rematch

Cassoulet and Weinkraut

and butter lettuce with apples and roquefort

For the cassoulet, cook up some navy beans with a smoked ham hock, some parsley (with stems) thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic and salt.  While that's happening, heat up some butter in a pan until hot, chop up some bacon and cook it until browned, then do the same thing with some veal stew meat and some cut up bratwurst (the white kind).  Then add some onions to the pan, some chopped garlic, and a few tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, making sure not to burn it.   Put all of that together with the drained beans, tear up that ham hock and add it, then cover with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 covered for an hour, then 275 or 300 for another hour uncovered.

For the kraut, saute some onions, then add some chopped apple, then a cup or so of white wine, then a bag of kraut and some caraway seeds.  Make sure it boils and then knock it down to a simmer for an hour or more.

Salad is just as it sounds, just whip together a tsp dijon, a mashed garlic clove, salt, pepper, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and four of olive oil and toss it.

Dinner at Some Point in the Last Month

Scallopini of Veal with White Wine Garlic Sauce with Linguini Pesto

And butter lettuce with fig balsamic dressing

For the veal:  pound out, salt and pepper, bread.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, it'll help the breadcrumbs stay on.  Heat up some oil in a nonstick pan and when it's really hot, toss the veal in and cook for a minute on each side, then transfer it to a 200 degree oven or so to keep it warm.  In the same pan, toss in some minced garlic and immediately some white wine, and let it cook down for a few minutes.  Pour it over the veal when ready.

Pesto: puree some blanched almonds, some parmigiana, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and whole bunch of basil.  Toss with pasta once the pasta is done cooking.

Dressing:  teaspoon dijon, tablespoon fig balsamic, four tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper.  whisk

Do it.


JMueller's BBQ - Austin, TX

The apple fell 37.7 miles from the tree, which given the 24,900 mile circumference of the the blue planet, equates to 0.1526% of the farthest it could have fallen.  

THAT, my friends,

is called a rounding error.

He done good.

Backstory:  trailer off South First opened by a member of the legendary Mueller family out of Taylor, the pioneers and operators of my second favorite barbecue joint in the state (technically, it bounces between one and two but its sitting at two now, not because of a subpar experience, but because my last meal was at number one)

Anyway, this place is G - O - O - D FANTASTIC.

Notice the handwritten menus with items crossed out.  That was at 12:30, so get there early.

Here's how I ordered.

"Give me a little of everything you've got left, some chipotle cole slaw, some cheese, a jalapeno, and some potato salad."

And here is what I received:



Pork ribs.




Beef Rib.


Winner winner chicken dinner.  Axe the bird and fly with the cow.  

So, I don't want to ruin how good this was with words, so I'll be brief.

Get the beef rib.  Period.

It's incredible.  Thick, coarse ground salt and pepper crust makes for an incredible bark, while the bone and the fat inside keep the meat as tender as it could possibly be.  My brisket was comparable, I lucked out and got the fatty cuts, which I prefer, but if you're going to go one or the other, my guess is the beef rib is going to have more consistency.  Do NOT, under any circumstance order your brisket lean.  Here or anywhere.

Pearl of wisdom coming....wait for it.......wait for it............

Life's too short for lean meats and light beer.

Pork ribs are great, sausage also good.  Do yourself a favor and get a chunk of cheddar cheese and some saltines and make yourself a little sausage cheese appetizer.

Sides were great, but come for the meat.  They give you sauce, but just think of it as a "thank you for dining with us" after dinner mint type thing.  Not that it's bad, it's not, but it isn't what this barbecue is about.

I'd be hard pressed to find better barbecue.


Atmosphere:  food truck with a bigolesmoker out back, plenty of outdoor seating some with umbrellas for shade, great for lunch on a nice day, great for bbq any day

Food:  Texas barbecue

Dog Friendly:  yep

Crowd:  country folk, hipsters, business casual crowd, students, you name it they're there

When to Go:  lunch, get there early

What to Order:  beef rib (short rib)

Dinner Sometime a Couple Weeks Ago


Roasted Lamb with Onion and Tziziki

Greek Salad

Greek Potatoes

Trying to remember how I did this one, my apologies for the lag in posting and the effects of late posting to my recipes.  

So I think I mixed up dijon mustard, a bunch of garlic, olive oil, a little oregano, salt, pepper, and maybe a little cumin and squeeze of lemon.  Think I roasted it at 500 or so for 30 minutes and then knocked it down to 325 or so for another hour.  Small boneless leg, maybe three pounds.

What I do know is that when it came out, it looked like this

And after I let it rest for twenty minutes and sliced it, it looked like this

And it tasted DAMN good.

Served it with some sliced white onion that I dusted with sumac, and homemade tziziki.

I know, not my best picture.   That said, it's easy and good.  Seed and chop a cucumber, salt and let sit in a strainer for an hour or so.  Add it to some greek yogurt, a little olive oil, equal small parts of red or white wine vinegar and lemon juice, a mashed up garlic clove, salt, pepper and a little oregano.

Potatoes:  quarter some yukon golds lengthwise, toss in olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and pepper.  Put them in at 450 until they look good.

Dip em in the yogurt.

Clean up with

Valentine's Day Dinner

For MLWMG (my lovely wife, Mrs. Gordo)...

Roquefort crusted filet mignon

Green Beans

Radishes with melted butter and chives

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Carl's Jr. - Austin, TX

Pressed for time this afternoon, I made my maiden voyage to the Carl's Jr. drive-thru.  Yes, I promise I won't review too many fast food places, as most opinions have long since been formed, and it's generally not interesting, but I felt compelled to review this one for a few reasons:

1.  Carl's Jr. is quite easily the dumbest name I've ever heard for a restaurant, no offense to Carl or his dad.

2.  A Hardee's Mushroom & Swiss loyalist (I'm from the midwest) as a kid, this was my first visit to it's twin brother.

3.  They've brought Pulp Fiction's Big Kahuna Burger to the real world, and to the lucky residents of Westlake.

And because everything is funnier in German...


Cleverly disguised as the Teriyaki Burger, we all know what this is.


Chargrilled beef, grilled pineapple, Swiss (the fake kind) cheese, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise.  Yep, Sammy Jack's favorite, the Big Kahuna Burger.  Worthy of a tasty beverage to WASH down this tasty burger.

I opted to go without lettuce, according to the picture menu it looked like the wilted green variety that certainly wouldn't make the drive, and I'd recommend you do the same.

This thing was actually really good, though you'd better be ready for the sweet tang of teriyaki sauce.  Now I've never been to a Carl's Jr., but they do a good burger.  It's actually got flavor, a nice chargrilled flavor at that, without that sickly gassy flavor that other fast food joints have, though I won't say who.

Anyway, in addition to the beef, the sauce was pretty good, and onion was perfect to cut the sweet of both it and the pineapple, as well as add a much needed texture to an otherwise very soft (and that's a good thing) sandwich.

Decent fast food if your'e in the mood for fast food.


It's fast food, I'm not going to bother with this.

Dinner for the In-Laws

Chicken Vesuvio

Fettucini Alfredo

Butter Leaf Salad with the World's Simplest and Greatest Salad Dressing

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Last Night's Dinner

Pittsburgh Style New York Strip with Shallot-Thyme Butter

With simple Italian macaroni and cheese and sauteed spinach.

Last Saturday's Dinner

Veal Scallopini with Dijon Sauce, baby spinach with butter and white wine, and penne with butter, pecorino romano, and black pepper.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Gravy

Spaghetti, meatballs, sausage, braciole, and short ribs

Marinated and fried italian peppers and onions

Garlic Bread

Game Night

Homemade Buffalo Wings

Marinated the wings in a combination of Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce, and a little bit each of chili powder, hot paprika, hot smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and salt.  Drain and dry, and deep fry for ten minutes at 350.  Combine equal parts butter, Louisiana hot sauce, and salt, heat up to combine and toss the fried wings in them before serving.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Texas Honey Ham Company - Austin, TX


Reviewed this one already...

...but stopped in for breakfast yesterday after hearing their breakfast tacos were no joke.

Their breakfast tacos were no joke.

Sausage and egg, bacon and egg, baked potato hash and egg, and ham, egg and serranos.

All were very good...but let me sidestep here and say that just watching the guy working the morning shift on the flattop yesterday was like watching an artist with a canvas.  Eggs handled right hand only...crack, split, tossed...yes tossed (his range was about two and half feet) to the appropriate part of the griddle in the same swoop that delivered the shell to the trash.  His work with the spatulas (two of them simultaneously) puts him one rice volcano and a shrimp flip shy of the great Benny Hanna, and has me thinking his chopstick skills might rival Miyagi.

That said, back to the tacos.  All were good, the eggs being that half scrambled variety that though properly chopped together with the rest of the ingredients, leave you with a few really nice yolk bites and some texture.  The meat, all good, though there is no chorizo on the menu and the sausage, while nice, was fairly bland.  Ham was their signature ham, nicely chunked and sweet and salty at the same time.  Bacon, not over crisp, but not chewy.  Perfect consistency to be cut into the egg.  Potatoes were a nice change from a hash brown, darker in color and a little deeper in flavor, though I couldn't exactly put my finger on what they had done to them.  Tortillas were soft, and nicely wrapped in foil perfect for eating in the car if you needed to, and the salsa was homemade and fresh, on the mild side, but perfectly complementary of the tacos, not overpowering in flavor nor heat.  My recommendation if you're into heat in the morning is to adjust it using peppers.  Mild:  just use the salsa.  Medium:  get fresh jalapenos cut into your taco.  Hot:  same but with the serranos.  Just enough heat to make it hum, but not enough to cause you to turn back around on your way to work.

So, my order of preference of these things:

1.  Ham, egg, serrano
2.  Bacon and egg
3.  Baked potato hash and egg
4.  Sausage and egg

Alphabetical order of these things:

1.  Bacon and egg
2.  Baked potato hash and egg
3.  Ham, egg, serrano
4.  Sausage and egg

Front to back on the pig:

1.  Baked potato hash and egg (they'll eat anything, and trust me you want the way in, not out)
2.  Sausage and egg
3.  Bacon and egg
4.  Ham and egg

Right aligned, reverse alphabetical by ninth to last character, spaces being before A and punctuation being after Z:

1.  Ham, egg, serrano
2.  Bacon and egg
3.  Baked potato hash and egg
4.  Sausage and egg

Now, all that said, this is a mix and match place.   I'm a heat and freshness guy, so will opt for the serranos on whatever I get next, and though I do love the front part of the pig, I'll probably pass on the sausage and stick to ham and bacon.

Maybe I'll add some cheese to complete the trifecta...


Check out the prior review.

Friday Night Dinner

Thank you Rick Bayless for tonight's meal.  Tested out a few recipes, with minor modifications, from Rick Bayless's: Mexico, One Plate at a Time.

First up, seared steak tacos with blistered serranos and browned onions.

But I'll admit, I did mix and match a bit, but feel that Rick would approve, as he's incredible about including recommended variations in his cookbooks, though I didn't use that as a guide here.

Marinated the beef in the marinade for his "grilled skirt steak tacos", using skirt steak, left at room temperature in a blended mixture of white onion, garlic, cumin, lime juice and salt, which I then seared for a couple of minutes on each side in a really hot pan.  

In a nod to one of my favorite italian meals, sausage and peppers, I substituted a mix of jalapenos and poblanos (for the sensitive stomach of MLWMG), and sauteed them with some slice white onion until a nice caramelization was evident, then spashed with salt and lime, cooking for a minute more before serving alongside the steak.

Served these with warm flour tortillas and Rick's guajillo chile salsa, one of my favorites, with a side of black beans, simply made with chopped onion, epazote, and a touch of cumin and salt.

And then I went rogue.  No Rick here.  After finding some really good looking parsnips at the store, I decided to make some parsnip pancakes.

Shredded parsnips, an egg, a little flour, a pinch of Mexican oregano, a chopped jalapeno, minced garlic, a little toasted cumin, salt and pepper, formed into patties and pan-fried until brown, finishing in the oven for fifteen minutes or so.  Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and really good with a little sour cream and alongside the tacos.  No disrespect to Rick, his tacos were incredible, but these could have been the best thing on the plate.  

Thanks Rick.