“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Favourite Recipe - The Short (dis)Order Cook

Hi everyone, next up with their favourite recipe is Rachel Zenhausern, aka the Short (dis)Order Cook. She writes two blogs, the brilliant and funny Shipwrecked and Comatose and the wonderful The Essential Rhubarb Pie.

Hope you don't mind me using this one, Rachel!

She's from Mamaroneck, New York, and she's "a home cook, an amateur singer, dancer and actor, an equestrian, and a huge goofball", and she loves to cook, although she describes herself as "a bit of a bumbler in the kitchen". She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and putting her own twist on other people's recipes. She also loves entertaining, but admits to being a picky eater and says she's a failure as a "foodie".

However, she loves all kinds of food and cooking for her husband who is apparently an even pickier eater than she is!

Here's an appropriate recipe for the time of year. She says, "This is as close to perfect as chili can get with three kinds of chili peppers, lots of meat, and layers of flavor.  Enjoy!"

Triple-Spicy Turkey Chili


6-8 dried chili peppers (such as arbol habanero, guajillo, costeno, or other dried pepper variety)stemmed, seeded, and broken into little pieces
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbl oil
1 onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbl cocoa powder
2 fresh poblano peppers, finely diced 
1 1/2 pounds Ground turkey thigh meat
4 links pre-cooked spicy chicken or turkey sausage (such as chorizo or andouille) finely chopped.
1 28 oz can pureed tomatoes
1 15 oz can pinto beans
2 tsp salt 

Place the dried peppers in a small bowl.  Pour boiling water over them.  Let sit about 30 minutes to soften.  When they are soft, puree them in a blender with half of the soaking liquid.

In a large pan (I used a big saute pan, but a big saucepan will work nicely too) heat oil and add onion.  Cook until soft.  Add cumin, oregano, ancho chili powder, and cocoa powder.  Stir until onions are well coated and spices are very fragrant.  Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the poblanos and cook until they begin to soften.

Add the turkey and sausage to the pot and brown the turkey well.

Stir in the pepper puree, tomatoes,  and salt. Mix well and then gently stir in the beans.

Simmer for at least an hour.

Serve with tortilla chips and plenty of grated cheddar cheese if desired.

With all the turkey hanging around at this festive time of the year, this would be an awesome recipe to try, don't you think?

If you would like to see your favourite recipe printed here in glorious Jeff-O-Text™ on the ol' blog, then send it to me via my Facebook page or my email  jeffie2k@gmail.com with any pictures or back story to go with it, along with a short bio, and I'll get it up here asap.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favourite Recipe - Clark Brooks

Today we have a recipe sent to me from my friend and collaborator Clark Brooks.

Mr. Big Time, signing copies of his book.

The inimitable Clark lives in Tampa, FL, and as well as his regular job as a writer for RawCharge.com, the official blog of the Tampa Bay Lightning (an NHL hockey team), he pens his own blog Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle Of Consciousness thrice weekly, appears as a regular on the Spike On The Mic show (Mondays 7pm EST), has a book for sale , is part of another book, has numerous columns and magazine articles to his credit as well as a documentary film credit and some announcing and acting for good measure. Also, along with myself and Michael Noble, he is a member of The Unbelievables, a humorous fiction blog about three crimefighters, which also appears thrice weekly. How does he find the time? We're not sure, but we're glad he does.

This is his recipe:


Don't you hate it when somebody says, "I have a nice easy recipe for you" and it includes lines like "Be sure to braise the truffles on a Thermite-heated grill with a saffron oil extracted by a surly Egyptian with an eye patch and a scar on his left hand"? I know I do. Well, here's a seriously simple recipe; if you don't already have every ingredient on hand, you will be able to find what you need with a quick trip to one regular ol' grocery store.


• Two porkchops (I strongly recommend boneless; they're going to fall apart while cooking and you don't need to find a small bone by biting or swallowing it)
• One can or bottle of beer (See the note below about beer)
• One onion (I like the Spanish ones)
• One packet of dry onion soup mix (You probably have at least one packet of this laying around; every home in America does)
• One can of mushrooms (optional; I know some people don't dig mushrooms. Leave them out if you want. I like them though, so I will leave them in, thank you.)
• One crockpot (This doesn't work if you don't have a crockpot. If you don't have a crockpot, what is wrong with you? Stop what you're doing right now and go get one. Not just for this recipe, just to have one. Seriously, they're so awesome it isn't even funny.) 


1.Cut up the onion into big pieces
2.Open the can of mushrooms (unless you didn't get any because you don't like them. See note above)
3.Open the beer (don't drink it, you lush)
4.Dump everything into the crockpot (you did open the packet of onion soup mix and poured it in, didn't you? I shouldn't have had to tell you that)
5.Set the crockpot on low, put the lid on and let it do it's thing for seven or eight hours. They'll be done before that but with anything you cook in a crockpot, the longer you let it cook, the better it is.
Serve with noodles, rice or potatoes. You won't get a thick gravy but the residual juice with the onions and mushrooms is really good over starchy food.


There are about a million articles written by know-it-alls on the internet about how to cook with beer. Most of them are probably valid because since when are know-it-alls wrong about anything? Still, don't feel like you have to read all or any of them. Just pick a beer you like or that's cheap or whatever you want. You're just looking to add some flavor to make the pork chops "pop". Seriously, whatever you have is fine. If you serve this to some beer snob who doesn't like your preference, kick them out and let them fight alley cats for empty tuna fish cans. In fact, don't even invite them over in the first place because those people tend to be a drag, whether beer is involved or not.

Thanks, Clark! that sounds delish, and since I do have a crock pot, is one I am definitely going to try.

If you would like to see your favourite recipe printed here in glorious Jeff-O-Text™ on the ol' blog, then send it to me via my Facebook page or my email  jeffie2k@gmail.com with any pictures or back story to go with it, along with a short bio, and I'll get it up here asap.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Favourite Recipe - Charlie Hickmott

I recently asked a few good friends and family members to furnish me with their favourite recipe. The one they always do that's absolutely guaranteed to work every time. The standby, go-to recipe that will not let them down.  And I today present to you the first in that series (at least, I hope it'll be a series), from my own flesh and blood - my son Charlie.

Ready to cook up some tasty jazz grooves.

Charlie lives in Portland, Oregon and works in a taco joint. He's a very smart young man (if I say so myself), an accomplished musician (he's drummed in punk bands and jazz combos alike), is well-read, sophisticated, smart, funny, and a good cook. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh? Eh?) It is an honour for me to reproduce here his favourite recipe, partly because it makes me look good and partly because it's less work for me to do I'm extremely proud to be his Dad. So I'll quit waffling and hand over to Charlie.

As my girlfriend Allison would say, my favourite recipe is to walk into a kitchen and use food I find to make a meal, ad lib and without any more thought process than, "Hey, that looks tasty, put it in the pan." But I was asked for a single recipe, not just an amalgam of every recipe. So, after long deliberation, I have settled on not one, but three recipes because 
(1) I couldn't decide after all and 
(2) This makes a charming meal when served all together. 

Part the First; Make The Steak

Okay, I'll not bore everyone on how to make steak. There are a hundred different cookbooks telling you how to cook the perfect steak. I'm sure you can handle it if you are reading a food blog. But my absolute favorite marinade is the simplest you can get. Acid plus oil plus herb equals yummy beef. I recommend lime for this particular meal, and that will be a theme. Grab your steak, whichever you prefer (make it a cheap one so I don't waste your money) and slap it in a roasting tray, Tupperware container, anything you have laying around. Then go wild with that lime. I humbly suggest zesting the peel of the lime onto the steak, then use about half of a lime's juice on each piece of meat. Follow that up with a glug of olive oil and whatever herb you prefer. Let's say cilantro (Coriander) for today for a slightly south of the border theme. Now, the fun part. Rub said ingredients vigorously into your steak and let soak for 15-20 minutes before grilling to perfection.

Part the Second; Potatoes

Potatoes are brilliant. I love them to death. I can hardly live without them. Not many other foods (besides eggs) are so versatile and fun to work with. The next recipe is easy and healthier than what you might find under a sign of golden arches for example, and tastier too. Take your potato (stroke it, caress it) and slice it in half lengthwise, then slice that half lengthwise about seven times or so to get vaguely french fry type shapes out of it. Once you have as many as you like, put them all on a baking sheet that has been covered with aluminum foil (trust me, you'll want it.) To prevent sticking you could spray the sheet with cooking spray or oil or what have you. Be liberal, as potatoes tend to get sticky. Take the time to now pre-heat the oven to about 425 Fahrenheit. Once your potatoes are on the tray, sprinkle them with just an inkling of corn starch, then a good squeeze of lime and some more zest. Maybe Parmesan cheese if you're feeling up for it. Some whole cloves of garlic would not go amiss here, or simple garlic powder if you don't have the real type. Bake these suckers for about 30 minutes or until they're soft. If you can't wait that long, feel free to parboil them first for about ten minutes. 

 Part the Third; Avocado Crema

This last recipe brings it all together. If you live in an area where you can find Crema Agria, then feel free to use that. Otherwise Greek yogurt will do the trick, or creme fraiche, or even sour cream in a pinch. Chop up a good handful of cilantro (coriander) and set it aside. Then, in a Tupperware container, peel and pit two avocados per four cup batch of Crema. Add the cilantro and stir, making sure to get all the avocado off the bottom. Add another lime's worth of juice and this sauce will tie the steak to the fries and make a meal out of it all. Hope you all have fun trying this dish. I take no responsibility if it fails miserably.

Thanks Charlie for that great recipe combination! I'm trying this as soon as I get a chance, and I'll post the results right here on the blog for all to see. 

If you would like to see your favourite recipe printed here in glorious Jeff-O-Text™ on the ol' blog, then send it to me via my Facebook page or my email  jeffie2k@gmail.com with any pictures or back story to go with it, along with a short bio, and I'll get it up here asap. 


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