Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Steak and Salad: Strangers No More.

Hey gang. I used to work in a restaurant that was a sort of a California/Mexican/Douchebag fusion type of place. The owner was really friendly and full of personality, a real Dick Cheney type. The chef was cool though in that, "Hey kid, have you ever heard Steely Dan?" kind of way. I didn't get much out of that job except a crushed spirit and a kick ass idea for a steak salad. This isn't stolen, it's merely a recipe "inspired" by Chef Charlemagne. You and your girl will love it, fellas, and she'll see that you're a real sensitive dude because you made her a salad.

Here's what you need:

Approx. 1 lb. of thinly sliced steak.

Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into salad size pieces.

Red and green bell pepper, sliced long and thin.

Cucumber, peeled, and sliced thin.

Frozen corn.

Black beans, get a good quality like Bush's. Bad black beans suck.

Tomato, optional. Some people think that tomatoes are the most disgusting tasting things on earth. That's just what I heard.

To prepare the salad:

1. Cook steak. As it's very thin, it will cook very quickly, just give it a few minutes, watching it the whole way. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.

2. Combine lettuce, sliced bell peppers, sliced cucumber, in a salad bowl.

3. Cook corn, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

4. Cook beans, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing:

Mix together olive oil, red wine vinegar, a few dashes of Worchester sauce, a dash of Tabasco, and a drop of A1 sauce. Now we all know measurements are kind of iffy for dressings, so do it by taste as you go along. After you've mixed the "wets" together. Add salt and fresh ground pepper. Then add some dried Rosemary (be sure to crush it up to release flavor), and crush a garlic clove and throw it in. Shake it all together in an airtight container, or a blender, or just beat it like a dead horse.

Once the dressing is ready, remove the garlic clove and pour over the lettuce, peppers, and cucumber, and mix. Plate the dressed vegetables*. Add the corn in small bundles on opposite side of the plate. Then do the same with the black beans. Top the entire thing with the steak. Your done. Optional garnishes include sour cream, jalepenos, or Valentina hot sauce.

That's that. It's easy and it'll please your lady. Maybe once she's happy you can go back to cleaning your guns and voting republican in peace and quiet.

*Hint: Placing the entire salad on top of pita or flatbread is a great addition, but not necessary.

Going Greek. . .sort of.

So tonight, I got a knock on my door, and as usual it was a pretty lady, and guess what? She was hungry. I didn't have much in the kitchen, except in the bottom drawer, of course. But I whipped her together something pretty tantalizing, and by tantalizing I mean, it was pretty good. We got down together on some chicken pita sandwiches with homemade yogurt and cucumber sauce. They are sort of Greek inspired, but really, I don't know what the hell they are except delicious. So here goes, dude, this is what you need, besides a lady to cook for, but we're working on that, right?

Two sizable chicken breasts (settle down class)

At least half a cucumber

Pita bread, try to have at least two full slices, man.

Plain yogurt (Let's do non-fat shall we? We shall.)

Shredded lettuce (I would not suggest buying pre-shredded lettuce as tempting as that may seem)

Montreal chicken Seasoning (This will be pretty easy to find, tastes good, and costs less than buying all 3,000 spices that are in it. Hey, we're here for the people, right?)

1. Clean your chicken, and slice it into small pieces, about 2" x 1".

2. Shred your lettuce. Iceberg or Romaine will work well. Set aside.

3. To make your cucumber/yogurt sauce (now pay real close attention 'cause this gets really complicated) empty the yogurt into a bowl and with a grater, shred the cucumber in and mix together. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Set aside.

4. Sauté the meat and add the seasoning as you cook. How much you use is up to you. It may get too salty if too much is used.

5. When the meat is done cooking slice each pita in half so you can make pockets out of them (two per person). Open 'em up and throw in chicken, followed by your cucumber sauce, followed by lettuce. For some heat, I'd recommend Sriracha sauce.

That's that. Simple, right? Quick, huh? No there's more time for other things. In my case it will be a PCP fueled night listening to Carmina Burana and playing battleship with a couple playmates, for you, well, at least you'll have time for World of Warcraft and bong hits. I'll be over later for bong hits.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stuffed by a turkey.

Hey, so, yeah. Sorry about the delay, but it's hard to write a blog when you're black-out drunk for five days off tequila and gravy (called a Frisky Pilgrim) shots. What did you do that was so special? Oh, man. Your first thanksgiving with your special lady? Congratulations, now she'll be able to see what a true pig you are. Take solace in the fact that maybe she'll enjoy the honesty. No more "date eating", where you actually use a napkin, and use sentences that start with, "Please pass the".

What's that? You went to her parents house? Damn, dude. I hope you made a good impression. Hopefully this wasn't the first time you met her folks, so at least they'll be spared some of your awkwardness, but it isn't too late to make a good impression as a house guest.

My advice, when entering a house where you are undoubtedly being watched and judged at every waking moment (sleeping too depending on how creepy her uncle Paul is), you should make it a point to come bearing gifts. Just like the Indians brought the Pilgrims maize and taught them farming tricks. Do not follow the Pilgrim's lead and infect your girl's family with smallpox.

So, what to bring? Don't show up on thanksgiving too ambitious. Leave the cooking for the home team, after all, it's their show, their traditions, and their Indian princess you're violating, er, courting. That's what the kids call it now, right? Courting? John Smith are you with me? Don't show up with your mom's famous bean casserole. Don't mess with anything that will be on the table when dinner is served. These things are sacred, and thou whilst not make a gross cranberry jello something or other. Ever. However; one thing that is allowed on the table is a nice bottle of wine. Good work, dude! Now, this is thanksgiving, so be prepared to extend yourself and spend a little extra than what you'd usually get. They cooked a nice meal, and they should be able to wash it down with something nice. I'd say spend 18-30 bucks. If you need help at the wine merchant just ask. They'll suggest something safe and tasty.

If you are dead set on bringing food, try an appetizer. Does her dad like football? Try something that will work for the game. Perhaps some quality cheese and meat. Everyone loves a nice platter of snacks, and you'll be one step closer to the inner circle if you show up with a circular tray of cheeses, meats, veggies, etc.. Pizza rolls and High Life ain't gonna cut it today. Tomorrow, of course, but today, no.

Perhaps better than any tray of cheddar or bottle of Zin, is a simple thank you card. Chicks are all over these things. They hand them out like business cards. Write one of these bad boys up and you're on easy street. If you roll like I roll, be sure to pick up an apology card. Better luck next year.

The Frisky Pilgrim

1 1/2 parts Tequila

2 parts Gravy

2 parts Cranberry juice

Pour into a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake and pour. The gravy should be cool enough at this point that the fat will congeal at the top of the glass. Garnish with a piece of dark meat and serve.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Morning After

Nice work, pal. You did it. Between your sobbing and the name-calling, it was the best night of your life. Sad but true. Now what's going to get rid of that hangover? Yes, indeed; a bloody mary will do the trick nicely*. Now hold up a sec -- don't go buying some pre-made mix because a) it makes you look like a douchebag, and we are trying to hide that fact, and b) they don't taste as good as what you can make from scratch. Here's what you're gonna need:

V8 juice 12 Fl. oz (low sodium if you're a wuss, or have a bum ticker)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice (never EVER use store bought lemon juice) from 1 lemon
Worchester Sauce
Tabasco Sauce**
Salt and pepper
4 gallons of vodka
Various garnishes (celery -the classic, olives, lemon wedge, pickles, peppercini's, asparagus, vidalia onion, what have you)

Fill two highball glasses (the tall ones dude) with ice.

If it were me I'd stick a stalk of celery in a bathtub full of Vodka, but it's you, so put about 1 1/2 oz of premium vodka in over the ice.

Add half the lemon juice to each glass.

Add a dash or two of Worchester sauce.

Add a dash of Tabasco (the whole bottle if you're a real man like me) to taste.

Add fresh ground pepper if you can, or pre-ground will be ok. Add to taste. Same with the salt.

Fill the glass with V8 until you are about 1/2 " from the top of the glass. Mix.

Add your garnishes, drink, get drunk by noon. This should be repeated seven days a week.

*Bloody Mary's will cure your hangover but they wont get rid of your recently acquired itch. Sorry.

**Note: There are bloody mary's that get their kick from horseradish. They are good, but this is my preference. If you like horseradish in your bloody Mary then get the hell out of here you sissy. If your girl doesn't like the Tabasco, you may want to think twice about her***.

***No girl can resist the Tabasco, I'm just too much man.

Get your chick under a brick.

She'll love it. . .trust me. I've made this dish for all my ladies at least once, and no doubt, it is a star. It's pretty easy, the only thing you need is time. Unfortunately I don't have too much time anymore since I began training for World's Strongest Man, but I'm sure you do. I know your this close to beating World of Warcraft, but let's face it. You're not gettin' any from the guy in Pittsburgh who you shot in level four then stole your magic potion or whatever the hell goes on in that game. Nerd. Back to the matter at hand. Chicken under a brick. Here's what you need:

3- to 4-lb. chicken
2-1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or olive oil, as needed

Don't stress about the fresh herbs, you'll be able to get them for a couple bucks at any decent grocery store. Or you can get the whole bush at Costco. Now here's how it's gonna go down:

Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat it dry. Now you're gonna have to split the chicken. Check out the pics at the bottom to give you an idea. Rinse and dry the chicken halves again. Combine the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a large Zip-Lock bag or mixing bowl. Add the chicken halves. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you don't have that much time, relax guy. It'll still be delicious.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Wrap two bricks in a couple of layers of foil. (If you don't have bricks, which most of us don't, use another heavy pan weighed down with cans.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, let the excess marinade drain off, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set a large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add just enough vegetable oil to lightly film the pan. Put the chicken halves, skin side down, in the pan and immediately put a brick on top of each half. Turn the heat to medium and cook (without moving the chicken) until the skin is a deep golden brown (check with a spatula) and the chicken is cooked about halfway through, 20 to 25 min. Remove the bricks, turn the chicken halves over, and put the pan in the hot oven to finish roasting the chicken until a thermometer registers at least 165°F, another 20 to 25 min. Good lord, this'll be good. It'll take some guts and determination, but just look where that got Steven Segal

Cut off the first two wing joints on each wing with a chef's knife or a cleaver.

Turn the chicken breast side down on the cutting board and remove the backbone with poultry shears or a sharp chef's knife. Cut along one side of the backbone and then back down along the other. You'll cut through the rib cage at one end and the thigh joint at the other.

Remove the keel bone. Cut a short incision in the middle of the top of the keel bone (this has cartilage on the top end) and flatten the chicken. The keel bone should partially pop out. Trim the rest of it away with a paring or boning knife. Now cut the bird completely in half.

Hack off the knuckle from each drumstick with a cleaver or with the heel of a chef's knife.

Slide a sharp paring or boning knife under the ribs on both chicken halves and carefully cut them out.

The partially boned chicken can now lie flat in a pan and will cook evenly.

Thanks to for the splitting images and instructions.

Ok, man. Got it? Serve this tasty bird to your tasty bird with a nice side of mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable if you're into that kind of thing. Maybe try blue lake green beans, but be sure to cut off the ends or risk blowing the whole evening. Nothing says, "I don't really give a rat's ass about you" like not trimming green beans does.

C'mon on in dude.

Well, alright man. You found the kitchen. Nice work. Remember the kitchen? I'm not just talking about your cupboards with Easy Mac and Lucky Charms, I mean the real kitchen. Stoves, ovens, spices, fresh food. . .you know those things. You've at least heard of them, right? Oh you don't really care? Well, you know who does? Your girlfriend. Your wife. Your Mom (Time to move out of the basement, man.). You may be content to microwave a bag of pizza rolls every night, but that ain't gonna impress the ladies. Time to get cookin' bro. This blog will help you find the right meal, for the right occasion, for the right results. Who knows, you might actually learn something along the way, and it won't just be the number to the closest pizza place*.

Before we even get to anything to eat, you need to clean the spilled beer out of the fridge and pull your cigarette butts out of the sink. We can't have you cooking for your lady in a kitchen that looks like Phi Kappa Tau at Ohio State. Clean that shit up, buddy. Buy some Windex. You might need dishes, too. Good knives are a must. If you can't swing Cutco knives and you can't stand to see Chef Tony slice one more tomato or clean one more Trout, try poking around online and look for some deals. You can't use your pizza cutter for everything.

Now don't worry, we won't be getting too technical on CFYG!, because, frankly, we don't know shit except how to cook stuff. Sure we may throw a few $10 words around like, "grill" and "al dente" but don't let that fool you. We're as rough around the edges as you are. We only started this blog because we were too manly and it was throwing off the natural balance in the world. The United Nations asked us to do something a little less masculine, so we relinquished our black belts and relaxed our death grips to bring you Cook For Your Girl. Our humble mission is to help you, the common kitchen idiot, how to impress your woman (or whoever it may be) with your new found culinary prowess. You play your cards right and don't start a fire and she may ask you to show your other prowess. So grab an apron and one of those chef hats and let's get started.

*Better keep that number handy for the time being.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

You hungry?

What's burning? Sound familiar? Good thing you found Cook For Your Girl! Don't worry, this page will be up and running soon, until then order a pizza. . .