Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feelin' cheffy this weekend...

I made a loaf of bread yesterday. It looked like this.

And today I decided to use our Romertoph to make a pot roast. The sirloin roast is the last remaining piece of meat from a share I purchased over the summer. I am following a recipe from this link ( If you don't feel like clicking, I'll paste it below.

Clay Pot Roast

3.5 to 4 lb. Blade Roast (Chuck)
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
4 medium onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed
2 t. dried thyme or 2 large sprigs fresh thyme and 10 stalks fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
About 2 c. red wine
6 boiling potatoes, cut in half or quarters, or left whole, depending on size
2 parsnips, peeled, cut lengthwise in half or quarters, depending on size
1 lb. small carrots, peeled
Salt and pepper

Submerge Clay Pot, both parts, in water for 15 min. (1 hr. first time).

Trim excess fat from meat. Dry well. Salt and pepper generously, dredge with flour.

Place chopped onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in bottom of soaked clay pot. Scatter herbs over. Salt and pepper generously. Place meat on top. Pour red wine around edge, enough to cover vegetables, but not meat. Place covered clay cooker in cold oven, set to 425°. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Add carrots, potatoes, parsnips around edge of meat. Continue cooking about 1 hour, until vegetables and meat are tender.

Remove meat, carrots, potatoes, parsnips (the vegies added for the last hour of cooking) to a serving platter, keep warm. Mash chopped vegetables into juices in a skillet over high heat to reduce and thicken. Strain, then defat juices, and taste for salt and pepper. Serve over meat, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wife, birthday, and carrot cake

My wife's birthday falls in February. This means I also bake a carrot cake in February. The first two weeks of this month are always super busy for me with the birthday, and Valentine's Day and the shoveling, and slipping on ice...but I digress.

So I'm making a carrot cake today. I was going to follow this recipe for the "Loveliest Carrot Cake in the World," but my sister-in-law sent me a recipe in the email I will paste below. If you look at them carefully, you'll notice THAT THEY ARE THE SAME!

> She mentioned you were looking for the "world's best carrot cake
> recipe." While I can't promise the "world's best" distinction, this
> is definitely one of the best carrot cakes I've ever had. It's what I
> usually make for Adam's birthday -- and now Theo's, too. Its
> provenance is a bit uncertain: I have it in my recipe book as "Bea
> Fishman's Carrot Cake!", as does my mother, whom I got it from. Bea
> Fishman (friend of my mom's), however, has it in her recipe book as
> "Ruth Hall's Carrot Cake," which would suggest it actually came from
> my grandmother, although my mom has no recollection of her mother ever
> making this. Whether Bea's or Ruth's, here it is:
> Combine:
> - 1 1/2 C oil
> - 2 C sugar
> - 4 eggs
> and beat until thick and light yellow
> Mix in a separate bowl then beat in to above mixture:
> 2 C flour
> 2 tsp cinnamon
> 2 tsp baking powder
> 2 tsp baking soda
> 1 tsp salt
> Add:
> 1 1/2 lb carrots —grate in food processor (s/b approx. 3 cups post-
> grate; I often end up with more carrots than this, though)
> 1 C walnuts or pecans, chopped
> Pour batter into
> - a sheet pan
> - three 8" rounds
> or
> - two 9" rounds
> Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.
> Let cool at least 45 minutes before icing (s/b cool to the touch)
> Combine:
> - 8 oz. cream cheese
> - 1/2 C butter
> - 1 tsp vanilla
> and beat until smooth.
> Beat in:
> 1 lb. powdered sugar (3 3/4 C)
> Finally, stir in 1C chopped nuts
> Happy baking and birthday celebrating!
> Love,
> Lauren & fam

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review of Phat Cats Bistro in Amesbury, MA

I'm just a regular dude that loves food. So please take that into consideration when you read my review.

Phat Cats Bistro
Amesbury, MA

When my wife and I wanted to share a celebratory engagement dinner with our collective new family, we choose Phat Cats Bistro in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Simply put it's one of our favorite restaurants around.

Taken from their website, they "work with local farmers, domestic Seafood, and lots of natural product." This is very important to me. When I eat out, I want to the restaurants to source and choose their ingredients as well as I do at home. The menu is full of items that I don't cook. This avoids the disappointment one may feel when when you think you could make that dish better than the chef.

The dining room is cozy, and the bar has enough room for smaller parties if you forget to make a reservation. Once seated, you're always greeted by extremely friendly staff. They have a great selection of local beers and wines, and well as bunch of signature cocktails. We were served fresh baked bread with a bean spread. We have been served a few different versions. They all have been great.

The appetizers are unique and tasty. My Chicken Littles had a crisp sesame seed crust and were cooked to perfection. The side of spicy homemade ketchup was a great match. We've also had the Baked Blues and Cheese Platter. I would order them all again.

There are a nice range of options for dinner and small portions offered for those with a smaller appetite. They also give the flexibility to add chicken and sausage to some dishes. I think the Fish Tacos have overcome that gnocchi as my favorite dish. The Fisherman's Stew and Risotto also are recommended.

All of the desserts are homemade, and created with local ingredients. Strawberries are in season now, and last night we had a nice Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with homemade ice cream. The crust was my favorite part, with my wife eating most of the filling. I think we had a "Jack Sprat Thing" going on last night.

If you live near Amesbury, make a reservation at Phat Cats Bistro. You will be guaranteed a great meal with local ingredients, and not break your bank doing it.

Life, I guess?

I haven't been posting recipes lately - that's pretty obvious. But I haven't stopped eating, cooking, or all of the other things I do to enjoy life. Maybe the blog can be a way to communicate to people how they can make small changes for the better? I try to eat locally, but sometimes I don't. I try to eat organic, but sometimes I can't. There are lifestyle changes we can embrace that can make a difference, and maybe I've made a couple that could work for you. This will be my forum for sharing.

It's also start of the distributions for everybody's farm shares. I'll try to start posting recipes again.

Maybe I'll write restaurant reviews too.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Huevos Rancheros

The best Huevos Rancheros I've ever eaten was served at Cafe Pascal's in Santa Fe, NM. Cafe Pascal's in a great little restaurant that is packed every morning. They have delicious green chile, something I have had enough of in New Mexico to consider myself a bit of an aficionado. I have lots of different red and green chile powders in my cabinet, and they come in handy when attempting to use flavors of the Southwest.

Huevos Rancheros

2 eggs
Leftover rice
Black beans
1 small onion
1 pepper
8 oz. tomatoes
Olive oil
2 tsp. red chile

This isn't hard if you have some things ready. I had some leftover spanish rice and some black beans from another meal. I put them in small sauce pans and warmed them while I made the tomato chile sauce.

Chop the garlic, onion, and pepper. Heat some EVOO and add the veggies along with some salt and pepper. Saute the onions until translucent and the peppers are tender. Add the crushed tomatoes and a couple teaspoons of red chile powder. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or so.

When the sauce is about ready, fry two eggs to your liking. I layered a few tortilla chips, topped them with the fried eggs smothered in chile sauce, and served the rice and beans on the side. I forgot cheese. If I were you, I'd cover it in cheddar cheese.

You will also be able to find me contributing to

Newburyport-Today is a private entity that works in cooperation with he Mayor's Office and the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce. Newburyport Today is interested in promoting local non-profits, publicizing our local businesses and their products / services, as well as showcasing our areas abundance of natural wonders.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Keep on truckin'

I've been trying to make my bread better. It's been slightly challenging, as everything I try yields a new issue. Luckily the issues are aesthetics related, so each learning experience is still delicious. I made two loaves of bread for Easter dinner today. I haven't tried the bread yet, but I'll let you know how it came out. I used a slightly different recipe, used a second rise, and formed the loaves differently.

Rustic Sourdough Bread

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
3 cups bread flour
2/3 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp honey

Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and mix for roughly ten minutes. If the dough is too wet, add flour until it reaches a "tacky" consistency. Let rest for twenty minutes. Knead for five minutes on a floured surface. Let the dough rise for 2 hours (or until doubled) in a lightly oiled and covered bowl. After two hours, cut the dough in two, knead again, and form into two loaves.

I let is rise for 1 more hour on the tiles I cooked it on (covered). I put some cornmeal on the tiles before putting the formed loaves on it. Score the loaves prior to cooking.

Add a pan of water into the oven turn to 350 and bake for 30-45 minutes. Tap the loaves. They sound hollow when they're done. Let rest for thirty minutes before slicing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good News and Contest

Good news everybody...I got a job. Now the "Unemployed Guy" needs to rename his blog. I think I should have a reverse acronym contest to determine the new title. So the constraint is that the title should have six words (I know I messed this up the first time) starting with U, E, G, V, F, and S.

My first attempt didn't stray that far from the original title, but you do not have to keep any words if you don't want. Leave your suggestions in the comments section on the blog, on Facebook, or DM me on Twitter.

Here's my attempt.


Anybody got anything better?