Saturday, September 27, 2008

So whatchawhatchawhatcha want?

I've come to realize that I'm not all that into haute cuisine. I've always found myself most fascinated with the food and cooking principles of Diners, Bistros and Taverns. Gastropubs are a current interest to me, as are tapas bars.

Simply put, I love the classics. I loved working at the Corner Grill for no reason other than the Down-to-Earth, Everyman type of food served there. It was always something simple, from scratch, utterly devoid of all pretension... and sometimes a little bit stabby.

So in the end, I've found myself making less fancy stuff and more durable stuff. The kind of easy grilling or slow braising that many generations before mine relied on. And, to be honest, what's more classic than Meat Loaf?

I know, I know. Meat Loaf is just... Meat. In loaf form. But, stay with me here, what about a good meat loaf? No, wait... A GREAT meat loaf. One that's dressed up with all the right compliments? How about a Meat Loaf with Frizzled Onions and an Irish Stout BBQ sauce on a slab of Foccacia Bread?

To be honest, I skanked this idea from The Claddagh Irish Pub. Kerrie and I have really found a love for this place, even though it's a little too expensive for frequent visits. They serve a meat loaf sammich with a Guinness BBQ sauce. Being that I'm me, I realized I could quite easily emulate this dish with only one failing - Those damn Irish pub "chips". Theirs are pretty awesome, and mine were shit. But the main focus of the meal, the meat loaf, was incredible. For all intents and purposes, any meat loaf recipe will do as long as it's not some jazzed up version that will conflict with the BBQ sauce. The Irish Stout BBQ sauce is where the bulk of the work is, and it's totally worth it.

Irish Stout BBQ Sauce
4 oz. Sliced Bacon
1 small Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, smashed then chopped
1/2 T Cracked Black Pepper
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 12 oz. can or bottle of Irish Stout
1 C Ketchup
1 Dash Hot Pepper Sauce
Juice from 1 Lemon, roughly 2 oz.
1 t Kosher Salt

In a sauce pan set over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp.
Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent.
Add cracked black pepper and deglaze pan with Stout and Worcestershire sauce.
Reduce until slightly thickened, then add Ketchup and reduce heat to Low.
Cook for 15 minutes, then season with Hot Pepper Sauce, Lemon Juice and Salt.
Strain sauce into a bowl, reserving the solids if needed.

The solids can be placed on top of the meat loaf with some of the sauce before it is placed in the oven for baking.


Sammich Assembly

On a tray lined with foil, place one slice of Foccacia. Top with two thin slices of meat loaf, one slice of Swiss cheese, and some BBQ sauce. Place in a 350F oven until the cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, slice an onion thinly and dredge in season flour. Fry in oil at 375F until crisp, drain on paper towels and reserve.
When the cheese on the meat loaf is melted, remove from the oven and top with a generous pile of frizzled onions.


This is really one of my new favorite meals ever. Not quite a death row meal yet, but when I figure out those Pub Chips it'll be in my Top-5...

Beastie Boys - So Whatcha Want?
David Shire - The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Parliament - We Want The Funk
Bobby Darin covered by Danny Aiello - Chubby Clementine

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hit me again Ike! And this time put some STANK on it!

As the Commodore pointed out to me today, I haven't posted recently...

A lot has happened in the past three weeks, most specifically the ass-spanking the tri-state took last week. Lots of wind folks, lots of wind... The damage cause by the remnants of Hurricane Ike was interestingly devastating. Kerrie and I lost the contents of our freezer, but managed to save everything in the fridge with a shload of ice from work.

Kerrie and I witnessed a whole lot of asshattery from our neighbors and the community in general, but overall we came away with very few scars. Aside from being without power for 48 hours, it was an alright experience. In fact, the food was pretty damned good, come to think of it. We picked up a new propane tank and grilled Hamburgers and steaks. I feel a little guilty knowing our painintheass neighbors were cooking beans on a makeshift firepit while I was grilling sirloin steaks and drinking Malbec.

Plus, there were some good moments at work too, like the fat-friggen-plate of Calamari I fried up during the peak of hysteria in Cinncinasty.

Served up with a few lemon wedges and a little garlic mayo, I was in my own corner of Heaven for a few short minutes.

Back in the real world, the damage was pretty impressive. Even now, almost two weeks later, there are still big piles of tree limbs everywhere and gas prices are sky-high. Here, lookie...

All in all, it wasn't too bad looking back. It sucks being without power, but it also put me into a very simple state of mind. Plus, there is something very comfortable about playing Uno by candle light, drinking wine, and making Ike Turner jokes about the damage cause by what was left of Hurricane Ike.

Dammit Anna Mae! These are sustained winds dammit!