Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grilled Fingerling Potatoes

I Work Out

I'm on my second week of doing p90x, and I have to say that I'm in a motivational black hole.  Does it work?  Heck yes, but not if you're like me and end up eating twice as much as usual.  Honestly though, I don't even know why I'm bothering to tell you this because if you're reading a food blog called "The Fatty Chalupa" I doubt hearing about my exercise woes is on your mind.

As the weather warms up, I'm increasingly reminded, that I should be eating healthier, but instead I end up having brunches consisting of french toast and maple glazed bacon and visits to UmamiBurger (which was delicious by the way).

What I'm also finding difficult as well is finding time to document everything I cook and eat.  I could have gotten 4 blog posts out of the dish below, but there are times when enjoying everyday life with family takes precedence over posting yet another recipe for roasted asparagus on the internet.  It's all a tradeoff.

So while I should be posting another recipe for salad to encourage a healthier lifestyle, I'm trading that off instead to bring you grilled potatoes basted in garlic butter.

Whenever I have tried grilling potatoes in the past, they usually end up undercooked and bland, so I tried figuring out my best plan of attack in regards to how to parcook them with the most flavor.  I didn't want them to fall a part so I axed boiling them, steaming seemed like a hassle, so that left me with treating them like a baked potato.  I didn't oil and season them like I normally did, in fear that the crispy skins would fall off after baking, though in hindsight I think it would have been a better idea.

skewered, then slathered

a rainbow of carbs

On a scale of one to ten I give this a seven- disappointingly, despite how much butter I lathered on, the flavor of garlic and herbs were very minute.  Perhaps serving a side of garlic aioli would add some calories flavor.  However, their time on the grill is just enough to give the potatoes that smoky, charred, and somewhat cancerous flavor- delicious!

I ate them with ketchup, alright!

Grilled Fingerling Potatoes


1 pound of baby fingerling potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1/2 stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the potatoes for 25-30 minutes until fork tender, and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, melt together the butter, garlic, parsley, scallions, and salt and pepper.  Slice the potatoes lengthwise, and skewer.  Brush liberally with garlic butter and season with salt and pepper.  Grill on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned.  Immediately sprinkle with the pecorino romano.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese with Waffle Breadcrumbs

SLOme Sick

After being home for only two weeks, I'm proud to say that I already miss school.  I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that I'm not as busy as I used to be- I thrive on running around all day.  Recently I've just been ripping my hair out trying to find things to keep myself occupied, including going to the library... during summer. 

halved spaghetti
This recipe believe it or not was made last summer (Hence the less then stellar final pictures) after one of my infamous 30 person brunches.  As much as I would like to say this recipe had been brewing in my head for quite some time, in reality it was more like a throw sh!t I have in the fridge into a pot kind of recipe. 

stale waffles add crunch

creamy dreamy

Waffle Crusted Macaroni + Cheese

improvised from leftover ingredients

gruyere mac + cheese
roughly 3/4 pound pasta
2 cups of whole milk
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
a pinch of nutmeg
dash of cayenne pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of grated gruyere cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked sausage (or any other kind of meat), chopped
a couple tablespoons of chopped parsley
salt + pepper to taste

waffle breadcrumbs
minced garlic
waffle crumbs
salt + pepper
chopped parsley

Boil the pasta until al dente.  Meanwhile, add the milk, garlic, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and bouillon cube into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, until the bouillon has dissolved and the milk is infused with garlic flavor.

In a larger saucepan, melt the better and add the flour to make a roux.  Cook on medium heat for a couple minutes.  Pick out the garlic cloves from the milk, and pour the milk into the roux.  Stir constantly on medium high heat until the milk thickens into a luxurious sauce.  Off the heat, add grated gruyere cheese, sausage, parsley, and pasta.  Transfer into a serving dish.

For the waffle breadcrumbs, melt the better in a sauté pan.  Add the garlic and waffle crumbs and season with salt and pepper.  Toast the crumbs until golden and crisp.  Take off the heat and toss with chopped parsley.  Scatter generously over the mac and cheese and serve.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mini Strawberry Galettes

'Tis the Season

I'm very picky when it comes to strawberries- you see, when it comes to my favorite fruit, they top the list at number 1, but that's only in the summer when they're a) cheap, and b) actually taste like strawberries.  Any other time of the year (winter especially), they taste like hard, sour rocks of styrofoam.  But when they're in season, I've been known to demolish an entire flat in a day, too greedy to put them to use in a dessert.  Perfectly ripe strawberries are the bees' knees.  

My neighbors used to own a strawberry farm, and a couple times during the summer they would ring our doorbell with a flat or two of the sweetest, juiciest strawberries.  A day or two later I would return the favor with a strawberry tart or homemade strawberry pie.  

But now that it's officially summer (although the weather this past month has been quite cloudy), real strawberries are available.  When I say real, I mean the ones where I buy a pint for me and a pint for the recipe.

This recipe is pretty straightforward- the only thing to keep in mind is that make sure your berries aren't too big or else it's a pain to shape the crust around the fruit.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Slaters 50/50

Slater's 50/50 Burgers by Design

Another overdue restaurant review (6 months ago on New Years Eve to be exact!)

While I do enjoy a lot of the festivities that comes along with celebrating New Years, I will say that nothing beats a going out to dinner and then having a small group session of Dance Central followed by generic supermarket ice cream.  Yep, I party hard.

Whenever I go out to dinner with family, we have a tendency to knowingly and willingly order far too much food than we would ever consume in order to maximize the amount of leftovers to eat for breakfast the next day.  Tonight was a prime example, where we decided to order the sampler with every single appetizer they offer.

Behold, a mountain of brown

Beer battered onion strings: Disappointingly greasy, and suffered the universal onion ring problem of the onion sliding out of its sleeve.  However, it was still tasty nonetheless in that who-cares-if-it's-bad-for-you-and-mediocre-I'm-just-hungry kind of way.
Sweet potato fries: Delicately crisp on the outside and perfectly sweet and dense on the inside.  I      couldn't stop myself from eating almost all of it.

Fried mac and cheese: The light, crisp breading gave way to a creamy and surprisingly zesty pocket of mac and cheese.  Another favorite of the night.
Fried artichokes: Obviously made with canned artichokes, the end result just ended up being soggy, greasy, bland, and definitely way too acidic to eat.  Fail.

Fried Pickles: I like pickles, and tried warming up to these, but they just had an extremely unpleasant texture and the batter became soggy from the moisture.

The platter also came with a selection of sauces.  Starting clockwise from the bottom:

Sage Mayonnaise: Meant to accompany the fried artichoke hearts.  Wasn't too remarkable, and just tasted like an herby mayo
House-made BBQ Sauce: Pretty good as far as barbecue sauces go- zesty and vibrant.
Pumpkin Sauce: Meant for the sweet potato fries; tasted like thin pumpkin pie filling, and threw me for a loop (in a bad way).
Original Mustard Sauce: Zesty, sharp, and tasty.  Meant to be eaten with the fried pickles.
Tapatio Mayonnaise: Had a nice kick to it, which cut through all of the greasiness, which was much appreciated.  Was supposed to be eaten with the fried mac and cheese.
Bacon-Infused Ketchup: Deliciously smoky, with little bits of bacon in it to scoop up with french fries.  I found myself scraping out the cup with whatever remaining sweet potato fries were left.

(the cup in the center was just plain ranch)

We pretty much were full after that humongous platter of greasy, fried food, so most of us ended up taking a few bites of our entrees before calling it a successful night.  Successful in that we had a mountain of leftovers for the day after.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette


Well, I finally moved out of my school apartment and am now writing this post in the comfort of my own living room.  I will be the first to admit that 2012 so far has been a bit odd in terms of blogging-  I would write at most 2 posts in a row before taking a one month hiatus.  This wasn't happening because I was over blogging, but instead because I became caught up with things that I thought were more important than doing something I love.  

One of my biggest regrets of last summer was wasting it doing nothing.  So this summer was supposed to make up for lost time- I scored a second interview for a marketing internship, a rare accomplishment for a first year, and without sounding like an arrogant prick I most likely would have started that internship two days ago.  But instead, I politely withdrew my application. 

I thought marketing would finally be a side of business that would allow me room to express creativity (there's only so much you can do with accounting and finance).  However, after realizing that a marketing internship would consist of 35 hours of market research about a petroleum company's customers, I finally decided it was time to stop kidding myself.  This entire school year consisted of putting my creativity on the back burner so I could unsuccessfully succeed at college.  So here I am, again heading into a summer with absolutely nothing planned. 

But that doesn't mean, I plan on lollygagging for the next 3 months (although doing so for at least one week would be nice).   I will be preparing for a position on student government for next year, along with an executive board position for my fraternity.  But most of all, I finally have the time and energy to get back into photography, art, and cooking.  It also finally means I can immerse myself back into blogging.

In short, this summer isn't about readying myself for the job market by doing an internship where I won't experience any personal growth.  Instead, I'm back to chasing after what I originally truly loved doing, including catching up on all these backed up late posts!

A year or two ago, I made an amaze-balls recipe that I found on David Leibovitz's site for roasted chicken with caramelized shallots.  Was it delicious?  Heck yes, but for me the star of the dish that I couldn't get enough of was the umami-bomb that was the liquid at the bottom of the roasting pan.  I hoarded that stuff as long as I possibly could, specifically using it as a salad dressing, which is where this idea came form.  

For a vinaigrette this takes quite a bit of time- you have to gently caramelize the shallots until they begin melting from being so soft.  It's definitely worth it though, because this is such a damn versatile condiment.  It goes with nearly everything from fish, chicken, and red meat, and I even serve it with bread as a dip. 

Usually I'm not a big fan of cooking with vinegar because of how sharp it ends up being, so I rounded out the final vinaigrette with some maple syrup, and it was perfect!  The soy adds that perfect touch of rich umami flavor that lessens the sharpness of the vinegar.  This is definitely now my all time favorite salad dressing (although I think I've been saying that everything has been my favorite dish lately).

Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette
inspired by David Leibovitz' Caramelized Shallot Chicken

2-3 large shallots, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 - 1 cup olive oil (the amount depends on your preference; also extra virgin would be a bit too overpowering I think in this case)
2-3 teaspoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of maple syrup, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a saute pan on medium-low heat, sweat the butter and shallots for 20-30 minutes until they became soft and caramelized.  Cool to room temperature, and whisk together with the remaining ingredients.