It’s been a while but don’t think the Boston Gastronauts are down for the count. We’re back and we’ve brought another quick and easy recipe to impress your friends, and the ladies. Today we’ve made some fresh yuca fries. While at the local Asian market with my buddy Paul we found some really great looking yuca that I snatched right up. After digesting some delicious Vietnamese subs we had for lunch and sitting down to finally catch up on the season premier of the Walking Dead I set to the task of prepping for the meal.
I chopped the yuca into more manageable pieces and then went about peeling off the tree bark like skin. After that I set it to soak in a pot of cold salted water for a few minutes before bringing it to a boil. When it’s bubbling bring it down and let it simmer for like 15-20 minutes. You don’t want to see too much solid white meat on the yuca it should have a more translucent quality coming out of the pot. From there cut it into roughly 1/8″ thick fry shaped pieces to fry up. Let the yuca sit to dry for about 5 minutes before frying it.
Have another pot ready with about an 1″1/2 cooking oil in it heated to around 350. Let the yuca sit in the oil for a couple minutes until they start to look a little gold and crispy. Fry the yuca in a few batches to avoid clumping and let the fried yuca drain off excess oil over some paper towels. when ready you can add salt or other seasoning to taste.
As for the sauce it’s going to have a cheese base. So start with some “Mexican” cheese. Blend it together with 1/2 cup of half and half, one crushed clove of garlic, 1/4 table spoon chili powder, 1/4 table spoon black pepper, 11/2 tablespoon tomato paste. If you have fresh habaneros chop some up and throw those in there too. I used a combo of different hot sauces here in the apartment to bring some heat. It really depends on hot spicy you like it. Then mix all that together in a food processor until it has the consistency you’re looking for, and there ya go.
Recently while having a chance to catch my breath I traveled back down to Maryland to visit my family and friends back home. I had one buddy getting married (Congrats again Tim & Kelly!!), another buddy getting back from Marine boot camp (Congrats Sean you finally learned how to tan properly), and my dads 77th birthday (congrats dad for being awesome!) going on all in the span of about four days so I had alot to keep me busy. This didn’t stop me from catching up on our gastronautical quest though. While my mom and I scoured the local grocery store one day I spotted pigs tails. Thats right you heard me correctly. Pigs tails. Now these aren’t the cute curly things you’re expecting. They kind of looked like fingers or something. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but as we wandered throughout the store I built the meal in my head. The small brain in my stomach probably helped construct this disaster too. It would be a breakfast of epic proportions. We already had the pigs tails. So I also grabbed thick cut bacon, maple sausage, honey ham, scrapple, pork roll, and sausage gravy and with our cart loaded to bear with bodacious breakfast meats we went on our merry way. It all sat for a couple days while I tried to figure out what we would do with the pig tails. I did some research as to what would be the best solution and found a relatively easy one online.
To cook the tails I would boil them on the stove in a pot of water for about half an hour to clean them off. After that I clean out all the scum from the pot and change the water out for cold water and let it sit for a while before adding some seasoning and boiling it again for two to three hours. I used a combo of onion and garlic power, salt and pepper, and some parsley. After the water boiled down I let them sit for a while before putting them into the oven to roast at 375 degrees for about forty-five minutes. Or just leave them in there until crispy and golden brown. They turned out to be pretty amazing like really good pork ribs or something. All crackly and juicy with a really good pork flavor. Not a whole lot of meat on the tails but still really flavorful. So the day had come and we decided to build this true breakfast of champions. We cooked up all the meats and reheated the pigs tails in the oven. My mom had also made some biscuits, fried eggs, and blueberry pancakes to pad the already artery clogging endeavor that lay before us.
I decided to unleash my inner architect and build a breakfast tower. Using biscuits as a base I built and built until it reached the sky and eclipsed the very sun. This angered Ra greatly. I topped it all off with a generous portion of sausage gravy and on top of that some ketchup for good measure (]because there wasn’t a single other vegetable included in this meal. Oops.) The pancakes kind of just sat there and looked on in horror as the pig tails provided support for this mammoth meat structure to the stars. I let it sit there in front of me for a while allowing the gravy to bond and possibly act as some kind of mortar support. I basked in its golden brown glow before diving right in face first. I made sure each bite had at least a little bit of each ingredient included. This combo of meats, I have to say, goes down in history as one of the great flavor combos. Like peanut butter and chocolate or something equally as delicious. You have creamy, crunchy, snappy, flaky, and meaty consistencies working together to provide for an interesting experience in your mouth (and in your soul.) As quickly as it was built it was gone, and me being its creator I would also be it’s un-creator. It was a very zen experience in a way. (Not really though.) My buddy Sean and I had big plans for the rest of the day, but literally after the last bite was taken we both passed out for a couple hours. Serious food coma. So as a Gastronaut I give pig tails a definite thumbs up and encourage anyone to give em a shot. I think they’re fairly safe if you don’t over think them and just look at it like any other piece of pork you might regularly eat. They’d probably just wind up in your hotdogs anyways. As a human being though I’d warn people from consuming that much meat that quickly that close together. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a really satisfying nap and you have some time then totally go for it!
So as a promised before I decided that most of everything prepared for the next post was going to have bacon involved. Therefore over this past Easter weekend when my parents came up to visit my mom helped me to prepare a feat of epic proportions While she was shopping for the usual holiday fare I managed to sneak some gastronautical goodies into the cart. I found Austrailian goat, escargot, cuttlefish in ink, and quail eggs. I grabbed all that stuff without knowing exactly what I was going to do with it when I got it back home but we managed to improvise a pretty sick meal out of it. And by “sick” i mean really good like how the young kids say it nowadays because it’s clever. We would wind up making curry candied goat and bacon strips, escargot wrapped in puff pastry with garlic, bacon, and provolone cheese, and quail eggs with bacon and sweet chili sauce.
Most of the prep for this stuff was pretty simple. Goat can be a tough meat so I went all Freddy Kruger on it and trimmed off all the gooey fat and separated all the bones and gristle. After that I added a little meat tenderizer, curry powder, and brown sugar and tossed it in the oven with some bacon and it was good to go. The quail eggs needed to be soaked for a little while in a half water half vinegar solution and then hard boiled for five minutes. Then we just peeled them and split them. We added some sweet chili sauce on top to “glue” our bacon down tight. The escargot came in a can so it was pretty simple to drain it and wrap it in the puff pastry. We sprinkled a little garlic powder on them and added some bacon and provolone cheese on top and popped them in the oven with the goat. A few minutes later everything came out looking/ tasting delicious!
Now with the cuttle fish we didn’t really end up doing anything with it cause it looked like this:
We couldn’t really find a way to wrap it in bacon or anything fun like that so I just kind of snacked on it while we cooked. It’s alot like any other kind of canned fish/squid/octopus you might encounter. The taste and texture is between the fishiness of tuna and the gumminess of squid or octopus. It’s not at all bad considering it looks like this thing was recovered from the BP oil spill. The ink didn’t really have much of an “inky” taste but after sitting out for a while a red oily liquid pooled around the black meat seemingly from out of nowhere. I’d like to think it was the cuttlefish’s way of communicating with us from beyond the grave, but I’m probably wrong. Either way it tasted fine. I would say i was actually decently surprised how tame the taste was for black canned fish stuff.
My mom also made her world famous Scotch Eggs while she was up to visit. Not anything too crazy just crazy delicious. We take five or six good size eggs and hard boil them. We peel off the shells and then wrap the eggs with breakfast sausage. From here we could have possibly wrapped them again in a layer of delicious bacon but alas it wasn’t meant to be since we were all out and were experiencing a serious bacon drought in the area apparently. From here we fry of the eggs on the oven until they are golden brown and delicious. And there you have a super awesome, super simple, next level breakfast maneuver
Until next time fellow Gastronauts. Keep eating what you don’t understand… or something!
Borrowing something I saw on Epic Meal Time. I thought it would be cool to try out some breakfast ravioli. Now seeing as it was just myself and I was fixing breakfast this morning before I headed into work I figured I’d dumb it down and work with what I had readily available. I thought I was going to at least have some sausage at my disposal but when I opened them up there was only but musty green dust swirling around the bottom of the box. God knows how long those things must have been sitting in our fridge for that kind of transformation to occur. After that shocking discovery I regained my kitchen composure and began to improvise. I had already decided that I was going to try and do one with cream cheese and jalapenos which I already had out but then I thought: what else would go good stuffed into french toast ravioli? I ran back upstairs and got a banana and some peanut butter. I also grabbed the cottage cheese and peaches I had gotten at the store the other day. So these are the three ingredients I would stuff in my breakfast ravioli. From here I grabbed the loaf of bread and began de-crusting six pieces to make the “pasta” part. (I didn’t want to waste any bread so at the same time I used those crusts and made some croutons by just melting some butter and tossing them with some Italian seasoning and garlic and throwing them in the oven for 10-15 minutes.)
I would apply the filling to one side and then sandwich them together and seal up the ravioli with a fork on both sides to make sure they’re good and tight. I just used white bread but I imagine it would be good with like a cinnamon raisin bread too. Your choice. Anyways from there I had a basic french toast egg dip (eggs, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract all mixed together) already set and I coated the the raviolis and fried them up on the stove. They held together fine and ended up tasting delicious. All together it only took about a half hour and I still had plenty of time to get ready for work. So this week we just have a short little post about a quick and easy breakfast recipe which is also fun cause you can put just about anything you want in these things. Go ahead and try it out for yourselves! And to the guys at Epic Meal Time I apologize for the lack of copious meats (bacon) and boozahol (jack) included in this recipe, but thanks for giving me the idea! I promise though next time EVERYTHING will be wrapped in bacon, even the bacon.
So as much as I wanted to include both these in one post I thought better since they don’t really seem to have much in common. Plus they occurred weeks apart. I wanted to share an impromptu creation story. So a few days back while remarking on the facebooks that all I had eaten that day was blood oranges and pistachios my nephew Dan, an awesome chef and honorary Gastronaut, said I should make salsa. As soon as I read that my brain exploded. I suddenly got really excited. I had endeavored to make salsa a year or so ago at christmas kind of as a gag gift to give out. I ended up making several jars of it and surprisingly everyone really liked it. Since then i’ve always wanted to try my hand at it again. I had even gotten one of those silly chopping implements you always see being sold on TV. The only difference was I got it for only one easy payment of five bucks at a store down the street. I only ever got to enjoy chopping the heck out of poor helpless veggies once. I wanted to get my monies worth so of course I was going to do this again. Seeing as I had planned to have some friends over for St. Pats I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to test out my creation. Wether it was good or bad I would find out from several of my closest friends because they’re honest and I trust their opinions.
Surprisingly everyone really seemed to like it, and I dare say it was the hit of the party. The only thing that could have made it any better was if it was more green to match just about everything else that night. I’ve seen other citrus or fruit based salsas and in fact I absolutely love mango salsa, but this was totally different. I was surprised with how it came out and especially surprised with how easy it was to put together. It made just about the perfect amount for a handful of people. I think what scared me away from making salsa for so long was that I made like a metric ton of it the last time and by the end of that process I never wanted to look at/eat salsa again. This time around it was quick and easy like a sleazy track star and I was more excited to actually try what I had just created. I think what won me over specifically was the combo of salty and sweet between the oranges and the pistachios. I’ve mentioned before I love the salty/sweet combo and it really shows here again, and you can definitely taste it with the right balance of both ingredients.
Because I love you all so very much I am going to share with you the super top secret recipe that I sort of cobbled together. I give Dan the credit for inspiring me to bring this to fruition, but I embellished a little on his original salsa starter ingredients. So here it is:
The Boston Gastronauts Blood Orange and Pistachio Salsa:
2 Blood Oranges
2-4 handfulls of Pistachios
1/2 a Red Onion
1/2 a Green Pepper
3-4 Jalapeno Peppers (I can’t remember if I did 3 or 4)
1 Medium Tomato
Some simple syrup
Aaaaand last but not least just a pinch of AWESOME!
Everything’s pretty much diced and thrown together and mixed up at the end, and there ya have it. A whole bowl fulla’ yummy!
So this week for something different I’ve decided to document a recent culinary endeavor that was new to me. I hadn’t really gotten my hands dirty in the kitchen in a while and I missed it so I took it upon myself to go out and find something that looked like trouble. It didn’t take me that long to serendipitously run into a random cut of meat that didn’t look like anything I’d ever seen before. That’s right I had the exciting experience of prepping and cooking a cow tongue that I found at the local grocery store. That kind of makes it sound like I found it behind the store in a ditch or something, but no they actually had it cleanly packaged in the meat section next to the livers and kidneys and other goodies. On a side note I thoroughly enjoyed the little stickers stating that the quality and freshness were guaranteed.
While unfortunately it wasn’t the whole tongue it was still a pretty decent cross section of bovine lolly licker. If you look at the picture it’s hard to imagine the whole tongue being like three times the size of the chunk I had. There’s a lot to look at when dealing with a tongue. There are a lot of “what the hell is that?” moments. I didn’t realize until I got it home that I had no idea what I could even do with a cow tongue. I eventually went to the vast emporium of knowledge that is the internet to scope out what I could do with the hunk of meat and find out how I could cook it. Surprisingly enough the tongue is a lot more complicated then you’d think. The most involved part of the preparation of the tongue would be skinning it. That’s right you need to skin this bad boy. I had no idea there was tongue skin. I don’t know why, but it just didn’t occur to me. Skinning a cows tongue or at least the part of a cows tongue that I had was probably one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I’m not usually squeamish with things like that but the process made me slightly uncomfortable plus the texture of the tongue skin is already a little strange if you think about it. It’s oddly scaly.
So the whole process of getting this guy ready takes about two to three hours. You start by scrubbing the tongue down to clean it off with some cold water. Then your going to let it sit in some cold water for about an hour changing the water once or twice to drain off the excess salt. After the tongues bath your going to want to chop up some vegetables. In my case I had carrots, onions, and some celery sitting around. Pepper em up and throw them and the clean tongue into a big pot with some water and put em on to boil. When it comes to a boil your going to want to bring it back down and let it simmer like that for another hour or so. Every once in a while you might want to check and skim some of the muck off the top of the water. I don’t know exactly what that muck is. I probably should have tasted some for the blog but the thought didn’t cross my mind. maybe next time.
After the tongues done boiling for an hour or so. You quickly drop it into some more cold water and let it sit for a while. This is apparently supposed to help make it easier to snatch the skin off. Like when you skin tomatoes and the transfer from hot to cold so quickly makes the skin just slip right off. It didn’t work out so well for me I kinda had to dig at it with a knife for a while. It was more like peeling a really stubborn meaty potato. I eventually got it all and the tongue was good to go. I let it sit overnight in the fridge cause at that point I had already eaten dinner and didn’t want my cow tongue experience be tainted by a ruined appetite.
The next night was perfect. I had stayed out late with friends and hadn’t gotten anything to eat so by the time I headed home around 2AM I was starved. Cow tongue to the rescue. I sliced some extra thin and piled it on a roll with some mayo and banana peppers. It was amazing midnight snack food. it was like a really good roast beef sandwich, The texture of tongue is a little bit different although you can definitely tell it’s beef. It’s softer like almost “melts in your mouth”, but slightly different. I also tried it again fried the next morning with some eggs. It was a lot like a strange combination of scrapple and beef bacon, but that didn’t bother me at all. If we could cross breed foods that would probably be on my list of things to do. So I totally say go out and get some beef tongue and have a blast. Make sandwiches, make tacos, make whatever the heck you want it’ll be freakin’ delicious. Here’s to makin’ out with cows!
33 Union Street
Boston MA 02108
617 248 8835
So here we are a year later and the Boston Gastronauts surge forward into a new year of gastronomical adventures. Most recently I had the privilege of attending the soft opening of a neat new restaurant in the area. It’s called Saus and it brings a unique blend of American and European styles to two very familiar food stuffs. They serve Belgian pommes frites and Liége waffels. Can’t say I’ve seen many french fry and waffle places in my time, and this being my first exposure to it it left quite the impression.
A new friend from work had invited me along to check out his friends new restaurant. Sharing the fact that I was a food blogger he quickly filled me in on the details of what I could expect from Saus. We got a little turned around on the train but eventually found ourselves at the Haymarket stop and walked right over. It’s located right near the Union Oyster House just down Union street. We walk in and immediately see that the space itself is unique. It’s small but tall so its a nice cozy space. A long dark wooden bench lines the far side of the restaurant. The design is pretty cool. There are mirrors, which really open the space up, and the far wall is decorated in a grid of Tin Tin comics, which is an awesome touch. Then there are photos of Bruges and Boston on the other side. So far I haven’t eaten anything and I’m already impressed. It just looks so cool!
I’m introduced to Chin, Tanya, and Renee, three of the big brains behind this operation. They give me a quick run down on a few things but they’re all really busy getting things together and keeping things running smoothly, so they were running all over the place. I order some fries and a waffle and prepare for my mind to be blown. There was a pretty quick turnaround from my order so I didn’t hafta’ wait long, which is always awesome.
With my fries I get the vampire slayer sauce. This place is all about their gourmet sauce selections if you didn’t already gather. The vampire slayer is a mayo based sauce infused with a whole buncha’ garlic-y goodness. I was also given some of the Cheddar and Duvel Ale sauce, which is like a beer and cheese sauce. That was also pretty amazing. With both of those I also snagged some house ketchup. I mean what are fries without ketchup really? I’m a secret ketchup crazy, too, so don’t tell anyone. I was one of those kids who put it on everything growing up. I’m not as bad nowadays but this ketchup that they make from scratch right there in house might just have re-ignited a tomato based psychosis. Heinz best look out cause this stuff is good with a capital “G”. I find most ketchups off the shelf are either too salty or too sweet, but theirs finds a really good balance of both.
Fries: crispy, golden, and delicious. Check! Sauce: above and beyond any other sauce I’ve encountered in any restaurant in my twenty three years on this planet. Check! Now I’m about to dive into my waffle. I had no idea what I was in for, and nothing could prepare me for what I was about to taste. I got my waffle with the salted caramel sauce. It was incredible. Pretty much easily the most delicious waffle I’ve had in my entire life. I know I’m saying a lot of really bold things in this blog entry but I honestly need everyone reading to know I’m serious. After a long time having fries and waffles they become one of those things you tend to take for granted. You might even get sick of them after a while. Even if you did though I have no doubt in my mind that coming to Saus and trying their food will rekindle a deep love for both. This waffle, my god, it was like the perfect combination of salty and sweet. It’s like the most perfect chocolate covered pretzel but more like a creme brulee.
So yeah it was pretty darn good. Now I just gotta’ find the time to get back there and try some more of what they have to offer. They have a bunch of different sauces, and rotating weekly special sauces which is neat cause there are so many different combos to try. I was also psyched to see they are also going to be having Poutine. I myself have never seen that anywhere outside of Canada. Now that it’s only a hop on the T away I’m worried at the potential of gaining back all the weight I’ve lost recently, but it just might be worth it.
On a side note Boston Restaurant week is coming up. It’s more like two weeks (March 6-11, and 13-18 2011), but yea if anyone would like to join us in possibly checking out/ reviewing some of the participating restaurants just give us a headsup and shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! You could possibly land a guest spot on your very favorite Boston food blog, and who wouldn’t jump at the chance for that right??