Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

This is it. This is the big one. Best cookie I've made. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 C white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 2 t vanilla

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt


  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. With an electric mixer, cream wet ingredients until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients until fully mixed.
  3. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet while continuing to beat with electric mixer.
  4. Fold in mix-ins
  5. Drop by spoonful on parchment paper. Cook for 9 minutes.
Dough refrigerates very well; add 1 minute to cook time of using refrigerated dough.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Eggnog by the gallon

Eggnog by the Gallon

I love eggnog. It's the culinary highlight of the Christmas season. It took some tweaking to get this recipe nailed down, but I'm happy with it. You'll have to watch for sales on the run-up to Christmas, though. If you pay full price for the ingredients you'll hardly save money over what you get from the store. It'll taste better, though.


  • 1 pack instant french vanilla pudding 
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 quart half&half
  • 1/2 gallon or more of whole milk
  • 1 pack Egg Beaters
  • 1 pack cool whip (defrosted)

  1. Pour milk into large pitcher
  2. Mix sugar, nutmeg, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour half & half and Egg Beaters into bowl. Whisk until incorporated.
  4. Add maybe a quart of milk and full pack of cool whip. Whisk until incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture back into milk jug. Cap and shake. Fill half of remaining space with milk from pitcher. Cap and shake. Finish filling gallon with milk from pitcher. Cap and shake.
  6. Let sit for at least 2 hours for flavors to mingle.

Buckboard Bacon

In the last year, I’ve made over sixty pounds of bacon. No, I didn’t eat it all myself. But we’ve eaten a lot of it: more bacon than we’ve ever had. I can hear you wondering about my cholesterol levels: they’re actually down from a couple of years ago. I’m not saying that’s because of this bacon, but I’m not NOT saying it.
This bacon differs from store-bought in two ways.
  1. It’s made from the pork shoulder, not the pork belly. Traditional American bacon is made from pork belly, which can be expensive. Canadian bacon uses the same techniques, but with pork loin. This bacon is “buckboard” bacon, using the same techniques but with pork shoulder. That gives it a consistency somewhere between American and Canadian bacon, depending on the slice in question. Some slices will be almost as fatty as American bacon, others will be almost as lean as Canadian. Your mileage may vary.
  2. It’s hot-smoked, not cold-smoked. Most low-end supermarket bacon isn’t smoked at all, just flavored with liquid smoke. The high-end stuff is cold-smoked: it’s subjected to up to 4 hours of smoke, but no heat above 100 degrees. This is difficult and dangerous for the home enthusiast. This bacon is hot-smoked: smoked (or baked) at ~200 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 145. This means the bacon is technically safe to eat when it’s removed from the smoker or oven. It’ll taste better fried, though (like ham).
If that sounds like something you’d be willing to eat, it’s actually really easy to make.

Micah’s Pretty Good Bacon Recipe
  1. Cut pork shoulder into slabs of bacon. A pork shoulder or “Boston Butt” is a big hunk of meat; probably the largest one handled by a typical home cook. It usually has a shoulder blade somewhere inside it. You’ll need to cut up big slab into smaller pieces for easier handling, curing, and smoking. I find 2” thick slabs to be ideal. Anything more than 3” will take extra time to cure.
  2. Cure slabs. Coat the slab with the appropriate amount of bacon cure. If making your own, mix up 450g kosher salt, 225g brown sugar, 50g curing salt (the pink stuff). Weigh the slab, then use 5% by weight. A 20oz slab would need 1oz cure, a 40oz slab would need 2oz cure, etc. Rub the slab with the appropriate amount of cure, and put in a Ziploc bag for 10-14 days. Don’t worry, it can’t “over-cure.” Moisture will leave the meat and make a brine in the bag. Flip the bag every few days to redistribute the brine.
  3. Soak, dry, and rub slabs. After 2 weeks, remove the bacon and rinse it. If you like very salty bacon, move forward immediately. If you hate salt, soak slab in cold water for 1 hour. I recommend starting with a half-hour soak and moving up or down in subsequent batches. Remove slabs from water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Use a dry rub for flavoring (My go-to rub is 3 parts brown sugar, 2 parts Cajun seasoning, 1 part Montreal steak seasoning). Let sit in fridge for between 0 and 24 hours, then add to “smoker.”
  4. Smoke & cool. If you have a smoker, great! It’ll add extra flavor to the bacon. Otherwise, put bacon on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and cook in a 225 degree oven for 3-4 hours. A meat thermometer is helpful; pull bacon when internal temperature reaches 145. Then cool uncovered in fridge for up to 8 hours before bagging in a Ziploc bag. I have no idea how long it will last in the fridge; we always eat it first! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

(Ground) Beef with Broccoli

There's a right way to make beef with broccoli, and this isn't it. The real dish uses finely cut flank steak and fresh broccoli, stir-fried in a delightful, tangy sauce.

Here's the thing, though: my kids won't eat that, the ingredients are too expensive, and it's a lot of work. While my version of the dish isn't terribly authentic, I can make the entire thing in 20 minutes, it uses cheap ground beef and frozen broccoli, and my kids will stuff themselves. So guess which one we make?

First things first: make rice. Simple White Rice Recipe. While that's cooking, do this:


  • 1.5 lbs ground beef.
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 packs broccoli
  • 1/4 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 t crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1/2 C reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T sesame oil

  1. In a large pan, brown and drain ground beef. When beef is mostly brown, add garlic.
  2. In a microwave, cook broccoli to "mostly done." This will depend on your broccoli and your microwave. We use the stuff from Sam's Club and cook it about 9 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, crushed red pepper, ground ginger, and corn starch. Mix until combined, then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix again.
  4. Add broccoli to beef and stir to combine. Add sauce, stir, and cook until it comes to a simmer.
Serve over rice!