Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jack is Cooking: Vietnamese Pho with Beef Shanks

Well Hello Internet!

I recently got a nice slow cooker, so i've been experimenting with it quite a bit.  One of the first things i made in it was some awesome beef broth, which i used to make a Vietnamese pho with.  

Pho is basically a soup, except you can put whatever you want in it.  the most important thing to have is a delicious broth to begin with, and it has to be super hot!  Then you put some noodles in a bowl, along with any other ingredients you want - meat, vegetables, peppers, sauces, and/or oils before pouring the piping hot broth over.  The broth cooks all the veggies and you have one delicious meal.

Here's the ingredients for my beef shank broth:

This is good for about 4 bowls of soup

5 cups of water
1 large beef shank or 2 small beef shanks (about 1.5 lbs bone included).
1 onion (sliced)
1 inch fresh ginger (sliced)
1/2 tspn fennel seed
2 or 3 cloves
1 cardamom pod
5 cups water
1/2 Tbspn Better than Boullion (Beef) {this stuff is great.  much better than the cubes}
1 Tbspn fish sauce
salt to taste
1/2 tspn Sugar

Theres just a few steps to take care of before throwing it all into the slow cooker.  This could also be done on a stove in a heavy pot or dutch oven.
The first thing to do is to cut the meat off of the bones, and cut into bite size pieces.  Set a pot of water to boil, and add the bones and the pieces of meat.  Cook just for 2 or 3 minutes. This is just to blanch the bones and the meat, a lot of scum will come out and settle on the top of the water.  Scoop this away and discard.  This prevents the broth from becoming cloudy.

While the bones and meat are in the water, place the onion and ginger in the oven on broil just until they get a little brown. (about 3-4 minutes)

If you are adventurous enough to have 3 things going, take a small skillet and toast all the spices over a medium heat.  After toasting take a piece of cheese cloth, or spice bag and tie all the spices up in a neat bundle.  This also makes the broth wonderfully flavorful, but prevents the broth from clouding also.

Remove the bones and the meat from the water and discard the water.  Place the meat and bones in your slow cooker, or in a heavy cast stove pot.  Throw in the 5 cups of water, the spice packet, the roasted onions and ginger,  the fish sauce, beef bouillon, salt, and sugar, set the slow cooker on low and let it cook for about 6 hours.   If you are doing it on the stove, set the stove to the lowest it can go, and cook for at least 2 or 3 hours - replenishing some water if you need to.

After 6 hours take the broth and strain it into a pot over the stove.  Discard the bones and spice packet, and set aside the meat.  

Bring the strained broth to a rolling boil and get ready your bowls of other ingredients.

The particular pho that i made, i did so with meat, onions, and ginger from the shanks, rice noodles, bokchoy, cabbage, and pickled jalapeños.

Place everything nicely in the bowl, and then pour the piping hot broth over.  The broth will instantly cook all the veggies.  Garnish with some sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, and a little sesame oil.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Jack is Cooking: A Busy Year!

Well Hello Internet!

Its been a long time since i posted any recipes, i've been very busy formalizing Jackiscooking into an actual company!

As you may know earlier this year i engaged in an Indiegogo campaign to raise some money to build a certified meat processing facility so i could produce my own Salami, Bacon, and Sausage.

There was great success, and i was able to build the facility, tackle mountains of regulatory paperwork, and begin selling my delicious charcuterie!

I now have a backlog of recipes to publish, which i will begin doing in the next few weeks.

A few weeks ago the wonderful photographer B. Docktor came and took some great shots of salami making in action.

That day i was making my French Style Saucisson Sec - a dried sausage with no added spices, so all you get is the delicious flavor of cured pork!

Here comes the meat mixture:

Preparing the casings:

Stuffing Salami (This is serious business!  look how concentrated i am!)

Each Saucisson must be the same size!

The Curing Chamber!  here i am moving some Chorizo around to make room for my Saucisson Sec!  Each batch of sausages is fermented for 48 hours in my greening room (This is a room that is very humid, and quite warm) before heading to the Curing chamber (Below) to hang for 3-4 weeks.

just me and a whole lot of salami!

Check out B's website here:

so stay tuned here for new recipes coming soon, and for all info on JACüTERIE check out

its going to be big.  


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jack is Cooking an (over)Stuffed Baked Potato with JACüTERIE Bacon

Well Hello Internet!

Last night i made an extremely delicious Stuffed Baked potato.  I stuffed it full delicious veggies and also my own No Nitrate Added "Classic" Bacon that will be available to purchase soon from JACüTERIE!  be sure to check out my Indiegogo project so i can get my commercial kitchen running so everybody can buy delicious bacon and sausages from me!

It's very easy to make, and the same basic premise from this recipe can be modified to use any vegetables or meat.  I find that canned tuna or salmon is also very good in a stuffed baked potato.  The sky is the limit on this one!

Here's what i used:

2 Large Russet Potatoes
4 Strips JACüTERIE "Classic" Bacon - Diced
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Medium Sized Carrots
1/2 Cup Sweet Yellow Corn
1 Cup Green Beans (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Here is what to do:
First preheat your oven to 400°
While that is heating up take your potatoes and prick them a few times with a fork.  rub olive oil all over them and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

When the oven is hot put them right in the oven.  No need to wrap them in tinfoil or anything, we want this potatoes to get nice and crispy on the outside.  Bake them for about 1 hour.

When there is approximately 20 minutes left on the potatoes you can start cooking up the veggies.
First i fried the diced bacon until it was nice and crispy.  Drain the fat out, and add the onions.  Fry the onions and bacon together until the onions start getting caramalized.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding in the rest of the veggies.  Cook the bacon onion veggie mixture until its all sizzling hot.  Set this aside.

By this time your potatoes will be ready, so take them out of the oven.  While they are still hot cut a wedge that is approximately 1/4 of the potato out of the top.  Carefully scoop all the insides of the potato out into a bowl.  Add some butter and some milk and mash it all, as if you were making mashed potato.  To this potato mash add in all the bacon veggie goodness, as well as half of the cheese.

Now comes the time for stuffing.  Stuff this potato mixture back into the potato.  No it will not all fit, but that's why they are OVER stuffed!!  you want this to be spilling out of the top, literally bursting at the seams.

(I even put a little of it on the smaller wedge i cut out to make some delicious potato skins.)

Finally sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the potatoes and place them back in the oven for about 20 minutes.

They are ready when the cheese has melted and started to go golden on the top!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Jack is Cooking: JACüTERIE

For the past year i've been secretly working on this, working on recipes, thinking about it, and now its happening. Premiering in mid 2013 JACüTERIE will provide some of the most delicious dried sausages and other cured meats all locally made in the Hudson Valley. Everything will be made naturally using the best meats from Herondale Farm and other natural ingredients sourced from the best places possible!

Right now though i need some help from everybody i know, from friends, family, and followers of this blog!  i need to raise 10,000 in the next 45 days so i can get some of the more pricey equipment.  If you help me out with this you will be among the first to get to try some of these great sausages and bacon and many many other delicious things!!!

I also have some t shirts and tote bags etc that you can get for contributing to the campaign!

So Check it out here at this link:


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jack is Cooking Sourdough Bread (Again)

Well Hello Internet!

It's been a while since my last post, but i have a whole bunch of recipes to post, that have been festering for a while somewhere in my computer.  Here is the first of many!

If you have been following this blog for a while you will remember that the some of the firsts posts i did were regarding Sourdough bread.  Back then i had a weak starter that took some time to figure out exactly how to get it to work right.  Eventually though the starter died for one reason or another, and i didn't ever make a new one.

Recently though for my birthday i was given 1 cup of a starter named Bernie by my good friends Nick and Mandy.

Bernie is tried and true, and has his roots from many generations ago.  So i started again with my bread making endeavors!

Here's my new recipe for sourdough bread.  This will work with just about any starter, but as always i have notes as to what i might change next time to make an even better loaf.

First I decided to multiply the starter so I always have extra.  

I added 3 cups of flour and 2 cups of water to the1 cup of starter

Then I let this sit for actually almost 24 hours.  (A little bit longer than necessary but that's just how the timing worked out).  All those Bernie bacterias got to work in there!

I then removed 2 cups for future generations of Bernie... 

To the remaining sponge I added 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of salt.  I folded that in and then added about 2 cups of flour.  At this point I was able to handle the dough I added about stony her 1/2 to 1 cup of flour through kneading.  Knead for 5 minutes then let it rest for 5 and then knead 5 more minutes.  (Next time i think i will knead longer) Form into a ball.

I let it rise for about 2.5 hours.  About halfway through I made a kind of rising box by putting rolling up a warm damp kitchen towel and Putting the towel and the dough underneath a large Tupperware container.  This definitely helped the rising.... But i think it could still be warmer in my kitchen while rising - this would make it even better

I then preheated the oven to 450 with my pizza/bread stone in it.  After it was preheated I out the bread in and sprayed it with water (crucial step!)

After 30 minutes I rotated the bread, sprayed it with water again and turned the oven down to 375. I continued baking for another 40 minutes but it could have stayed in another 20 I think.  It needed a little bit more in the very middle..

Then I let it rest as long as I could manage before I had to eat about half of it...

So that's what I did, and it turned out pretty awesome!!

stay tuned for more