JP Eats Food Blog. Welcome to my food (and wine) blog. I am very lucky to enjoy good food and wine pretty frequently. I also spend a good deal of time learning and experimenting with both. The point of this blog is to share some of that with you as well as help me remember foods, wines, and little bits and pieces of information I pick up along the way. I rarely take pictures in nice restaurants, so most of what you see here comes from my kitchen, my friends' kitchens, or various casual and local hot spots. You can hit the archive, or never miss a post with rss.



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Roast suckling pig, boring style. This happened a couple of weeks ago but and I’m just getting around to posting it. We had grand plans of cooking this little guy sous vide in a 160 degree hot tub (completely sealed in plastic, don’t worry) and finishing it on the grill. Unfortunately, we were unable to disable the safety features of the heating unit without destroying it and we didn’t have time to come up with a new water bath solution. Next option was spit roasting in a fire pit or something fun like that, but it was pouring rain. So, how to cook a sucking pig using only a small oven?
It actually couldn’t be easier. We stuck it in a roasting pan with a grate, covered it in foil and roasted for 14 hours in a 200 degree oven.  The internal temps were 162-170 when we took it out.  We then let the oven get to max heat, removed the foil, and cooked the pig for another 15 minutes. Flipped it, cooked for another 15 minutes. Then, we brushed it liberally with maple syrup and brandy, and returned it to the oven for a few minutes, just until the glaze blackened in the smallest of patches. Flipped it over, and repeated. That was it. It was delicious.
Carving was a fun chore, but in all, this was an extremely easy way to cook pig for a crowd. The cook time is long, but there is almost no active time until the very end. I should point out that actually finding and purchasing a suckling pig is not so easy. It took a few calls and an order placed a few days in advance, and even then I had to walk down busy city streets with a pig slung over my shoulder. My favorite part of the pig acquisition process? One butcher telling me, “If you want a 50-70 pounder you can come back here and take one right now.”
Next time, we’ll do something more exciting. Promise.

Roast suckling pig, boring style. This happened a couple of weeks ago but and I’m just getting around to posting it. We had grand plans of cooking this little guy sous vide in a 160 degree hot tub (completely sealed in plastic, don’t worry) and finishing it on the grill. Unfortunately, we were unable to disable the safety features of the heating unit without destroying it and we didn’t have time to come up with a new water bath solution. Next option was spit roasting in a fire pit or something fun like that, but it was pouring rain. So, how to cook a sucking pig using only a small oven?

It actually couldn’t be easier. We stuck it in a roasting pan with a grate, covered it in foil and roasted for 14 hours in a 200 degree oven.  The internal temps were 162-170 when we took it out.  We then let the oven get to max heat, removed the foil, and cooked the pig for another 15 minutes. Flipped it, cooked for another 15 minutes. Then, we brushed it liberally with maple syrup and brandy, and returned it to the oven for a few minutes, just until the glaze blackened in the smallest of patches. Flipped it over, and repeated. That was it. It was delicious.

Carving was a fun chore, but in all, this was an extremely easy way to cook pig for a crowd. The cook time is long, but there is almost no active time until the very end. I should point out that actually finding and purchasing a suckling pig is not so easy. It took a few calls and an order placed a few days in advance, and even then I had to walk down busy city streets with a pig slung over my shoulder. My favorite part of the pig acquisition process? One butcher telling me, “If you want a 50-70 pounder you can come back here and take one right now.”

Next time, we’ll do something more exciting. Promise.

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Posted Thursday October 6, 2011 (link) | steve and patti's | suckling pig

Seattle Burger Night

I heard there were some decent burgers to be found in Seattle, but we decided to make our own. We started out with a burger sampler from Bryan Flannery, which he describes as containing:

  • Blend #1 (High School): 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Wagyu Shortribs, 25% Wagyu Top Round, 25% Wagyu Bottom Round (Total Fat Content 11%)
  • Blend #2 (University): 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Wagyu Shortribs, 25% Wagyu Eye Round, 25% Wagyu Brisket (Total Fat Content 14%)
  • Blend #3 (Grad Student): 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Wagyu Top Round, 25% Wagyu Top Sirloing, 25% Wagyu Brisket Fat Blend (Total Fat Content 18%)
  • Blend #4 (Doctorate of Alchemy): 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Wagyu Cross Rib, 25% Wagyu Porterhouse Tail, 25% Wagyu Fat Blend (Total Fat Content 24%)

If that sounds somewhat absurd to you, you’re not alone. But it’s not. Or maybe it is, but in the best possible way. At any rate, we made a bunch of different kinds of burgers as we ate our way through the different blends. I don’t think I can say we had a favorite blend. We made all of the burgers using a basic high-heat pan-cooking method to get a really good crust.

One favorite was a basic burger with chopped roasted New Mexico Hatch chiles, above.

Another was our take on a blue cheese stuffed burger. Stuffed burgers never cook right, so instead we made two patties with blue cheese in the middle. This also maximized the crust-to-meat ratio making for a really good burger.

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Posted Friday September 23, 2011 (link) | burger | bryan flannery | steve and patti's

More Bryan Flannery vs Lobel’s “research.” File this one under the category of It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. This is the second time we’ve done this comparison and this time, we cooked all three steaks sous vide to 120 degrees then seared them on a ridiculously hot grill for about a minute and a half per side. The Lobel’s steak was just a bit dryer than the Flannery steaks but it had incredible flavor. I don’t think we’re getting any closer to a verdict, so I guess we’ll just have to keep researching the problem!

More Bryan Flannery vs Lobel’s “research.” File this one under the category of It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. This is the second time we’ve done this comparison and this time, we cooked all three steaks sous vide to 120 degrees then seared them on a ridiculously hot grill for about a minute and a half per side. The Lobel’s steak was just a bit dryer than the Flannery steaks but it had incredible flavor. I don’t think we’re getting any closer to a verdict, so I guess we’ll just have to keep researching the problem!

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Posted Sunday April 24, 2011 (link) | steak | bryan flannery | lobel's | steve and patti's

Bryan Flannery vs. Lobel’s prime dry-aged strip steak challenge. Also known as the week of embarrassing riches of beef consumption. A recent survey showed that the average american consumes a little over a pound of beef a week, which seems about right for me. But not last week…
Last week, I finally made my way up to 82nd and Madison to visit Lobel’s and came away very impressed and with a fantastic ribeye (and some Kurobuta pork chops). As I finished the steak, I remembered that just a few days later Steve and Patti would be hosting a dinner that would be supplied with our usual favorite beef from Bryan. Why not do a steak throw down!? A few emails and phone calls later and it was all set up; we would compare one of Bryan’s Californian Private Reserve strip steaks (on the left in the photo) with one of Lobel’s midwestern strips. But more on that in a minute. The night before the steak challenge, I stopped by Steve’s to do some prep only to find one of Bryan’s burger sampler packs waiting to go on the grill. Since I’ve started grinding my own meat for burgers it’s become more and more difficult to impress me, but these were ridiculously good. One blend with applewood smoked bacon was especially delicious.
The next night was the steak challenge. Both steaks were dry-aged in the 5-6 week range, and both Bryan and Lobel’s select only the very, very best of the prime meat that’s available. While I joke that this was a challenge, really it wasn’t possible for there to be a loser in this scenario. Both steaks were of course incredible. Between the four eaters we weren’t able to come to a clear consensus. The Flannery steak was perhaps more beefy while the Lobel’s was richer? This is probably due to the California vs. Midwestern sourcing than anything else. So, on that day, call it a tie. Further research is needed!
I thought my week was done, but somehow only two days later I found myself again way up on the Upper East Side and unable to pass up another trip to Lobel’s. I had tried the strip and the ribeye, so it was time for the Porterhouse. The service was once again a pleasure, and it shouldn’t be a surprise at this point that the steak was incredibly good. I also came away with some thick cut veal chops which I’ll post about soon. 
My arteries and I are thankful that Blue Moon Fish will be back at the Greenmarket next weekend!

Bryan Flannery vs. Lobel’s prime dry-aged strip steak challenge. Also known as the week of embarrassing riches of beef consumption. A recent survey showed that the average american consumes a little over a pound of beef a week, which seems about right for me. But not last week…

Last week, I finally made my way up to 82nd and Madison to visit Lobel’s and came away very impressed and with a fantastic ribeye (and some Kurobuta pork chops). As I finished the steak, I remembered that just a few days later Steve and Patti would be hosting a dinner that would be supplied with our usual favorite beef from Bryan. Why not do a steak throw down!? A few emails and phone calls later and it was all set up; we would compare one of Bryan’s Californian Private Reserve strip steaks (on the left in the photo) with one of Lobel’s midwestern strips. But more on that in a minute. The night before the steak challenge, I stopped by Steve’s to do some prep only to find one of Bryan’s burger sampler packs waiting to go on the grill. Since I’ve started grinding my own meat for burgers it’s become more and more difficult to impress me, but these were ridiculously good. One blend with applewood smoked bacon was especially delicious.

The next night was the steak challenge. Both steaks were dry-aged in the 5-6 week range, and both Bryan and Lobel’s select only the very, very best of the prime meat that’s available. While I joke that this was a challenge, really it wasn’t possible for there to be a loser in this scenario. Both steaks were of course incredible. Between the four eaters we weren’t able to come to a clear consensus. The Flannery steak was perhaps more beefy while the Lobel’s was richer? This is probably due to the California vs. Midwestern sourcing than anything else. So, on that day, call it a tie. Further research is needed!

I thought my week was done, but somehow only two days later I found myself again way up on the Upper East Side and unable to pass up another trip to Lobel’s. I had tried the strip and the ribeye, so it was time for the Porterhouse. The service was once again a pleasure, and it shouldn’t be a surprise at this point that the steak was incredibly good. I also came away with some thick cut veal chops which I’ll post about soon. 

My arteries and I are thankful that Blue Moon Fish will be back at the Greenmarket next weekend!

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Posted Monday March 14, 2011 (link) | steak | bryan flannery | lobel's | steve and patti's

Lobster and truffle grilled cheese sandwiches. I recently wrote about the lobster and truffle grilled cheese at Pamplemousse Grille in San Diego and promised a home version. Well, here they are… We used more lobster and butter poached it, because, well, all lobster is better butter poached. Unfortunately, the truffles we had access to weren’t nearly up to the quality of those used by Pamplemousse. We shaved an entire black Oregon truffle onto these sandwiches so that there was a full layer on each, but the flavor still wasn’t there. Next time, we need better truffles, or to add a truffled cheese or other source of flavor. Still a fantastic appetizer, just a bit different. Here’s how we did it:
Start with two 1.25-1.5lbs lobsters and butter poach them per Thomas Keller’s method (or just steam them, particularly if you want less butter). Butter one side of 8 slices of sandwich bread with the crusts cut off. Layer four pieces of bread (buttered side down) with 1/8 inch thick slices of cheese. We liked Comté best, but I bet a number of good cheeses work here. If you’re truffles are weak, you might want to go with an Italian truffled cheese. Next, shave truffles on each piece to taste. If you don’t have access to truffles, try the afore mentioned truffle cheese plus a drizzle of truffle oil, or even use truffle butter in place of regular for the sandwiches. Finally, add a layer of cheese, then cover with bread, butter side up. With the bottom of a skillet, flatten the sandwich firmly. Repeat for the remaining sandwiches. In a skillet over medium heat, melt a tablespoon of butter then add two of the sandwiches. Cook to golden brown on each side, then transfer to a 250 degree oven and repeat for the second batch. If the second batch comes out of the pan with the cheese not yet melted, transfer them to the oven as well until to melt. That’s it. Cut into triangles and serve, preferably with a good Champagne like this 2000 Bollinger Grande Année which is a gorgeous wine and great match for this dish.

Lobster and truffle grilled cheese sandwiches. I recently wrote about the lobster and truffle grilled cheese at Pamplemousse Grille in San Diego and promised a home version. Well, here they are… We used more lobster and butter poached it, because, well, all lobster is better butter poached. Unfortunately, the truffles we had access to weren’t nearly up to the quality of those used by Pamplemousse. We shaved an entire black Oregon truffle onto these sandwiches so that there was a full layer on each, but the flavor still wasn’t there. Next time, we need better truffles, or to add a truffled cheese or other source of flavor. Still a fantastic appetizer, just a bit different. Here’s how we did it:

Start with two 1.25-1.5lbs lobsters and butter poach them per Thomas Keller’s method (or just steam them, particularly if you want less butter). Butter one side of 8 slices of sandwich bread with the crusts cut off. Layer four pieces of bread (buttered side down) with 1/8 inch thick slices of cheese. We liked Comté best, but I bet a number of good cheeses work here. If you’re truffles are weak, you might want to go with an Italian truffled cheese. Next, shave truffles on each piece to taste. If you don’t have access to truffles, try the afore mentioned truffle cheese plus a drizzle of truffle oil, or even use truffle butter in place of regular for the sandwiches. Finally, add a layer of cheese, then cover with bread, butter side up. With the bottom of a skillet, flatten the sandwich firmly. Repeat for the remaining sandwiches. In a skillet over medium heat, melt a tablespoon of butter then add two of the sandwiches. Cook to golden brown on each side, then transfer to a 250 degree oven and repeat for the second batch. If the second batch comes out of the pan with the cheese not yet melted, transfer them to the oven as well until to melt. That’s it. Cut into triangles and serve, preferably with a good Champagne like this 2000 Bollinger Grande Année which is a gorgeous wine and great match for this dish.

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Posted Sunday March 13, 2011 (link) | lobster | truffles | grilled cheese | champagne | bollinger | steve and patti's

Bryan Flannery beef rib cap sous vide. I snapped this photo as we were plating these at a dinner at Steve and Patti’s a few weeks ago, but I just keep forgetting to post it. I first wrote about cooking one of Bryan’s rib caps sous vide almost a year ago, and it’s been one of the most visited pages on my blog in spite the fact that I didn’t include much actual info. Here’s a bit more.
Searching around the web, it seems that most people—including Bryan—suggest cooking beef rib caps to medium rare, perhaps in the 135F-145F range to render and integrate as much of the fat as possible. This makes a lot of sense, but Steve and I have come to the conclusion that cooking them sous vide to a lower temperature puts the steaks in just as good of a place while keeping the rare beef eaters (aka, us) happy. In this case we cooked the meat in our beer cooler set up at a temperature range of mostly 120F-125F for 3 hours and 40 minutes. It came out at 120 and we seared it for a couple of minutes in a smoking hot skillet, so the final internal temperature was probably more in the 125-130 range. It really is as easy as that, and the result was perfect. Rib caps are rich enough that you can literally serve them on their own with salt and pepper. They do pair well with other rich garnishes and sauces—try gorgonzola butter (pictured here) and a red wine reduction.

Bryan Flannery beef rib cap sous vide. I snapped this photo as we were plating these at a dinner at Steve and Patti’s a few weeks ago, but I just keep forgetting to post it. I first wrote about cooking one of Bryan’s rib caps sous vide almost a year ago, and it’s been one of the most visited pages on my blog in spite the fact that I didn’t include much actual info. Here’s a bit more.

Searching around the web, it seems that most people—including Bryan—suggest cooking beef rib caps to medium rare, perhaps in the 135F-145F range to render and integrate as much of the fat as possible. This makes a lot of sense, but Steve and I have come to the conclusion that cooking them sous vide to a lower temperature puts the steaks in just as good of a place while keeping the rare beef eaters (aka, us) happy. In this case we cooked the meat in our beer cooler set up at a temperature range of mostly 120F-125F for 3 hours and 40 minutes. It came out at 120 and we seared it for a couple of minutes in a smoking hot skillet, so the final internal temperature was probably more in the 125-130 range. It really is as easy as that, and the result was perfect. Rib caps are rich enough that you can literally serve them on their own with salt and pepper. They do pair well with other rich garnishes and sauces—try gorgonzola butter (pictured here) and a red wine reduction.

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Posted Tuesday March 1, 2011 (link) | bryan flannery | rib cap | sous vide | steve and patti's

Home version of the Pablo Honey from the bar at The Breslin. Sorry for the bad picture.
I love The Breslin, particularly the lamb burger, but they also have a great bar with some really good, original cocktails. I haven’t tried this one yet from the source, but we attempted to recreate it for a friend who had. It’s kind of an anise-y margarita. The tequila and anise flavors really compliment a snack bowl full of cinnamon and ancho chile spiced almonds. The recipe:
2oz good quality silver tequila
1/2oz anise-infused agave nectar
3/4oz fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and strain.
There are two tricks. First, the different nectars we bought for this varied greatly in sweetness and viscosity. It will take some experimentation around the 1/2oz portion size to get a drink you like best. Second, how to do the anise infusion. We found that lightly crushing an anise pod into 3-4 oz of nectar and letting it infuse overnight worked pretty well. Just be sure to carefully strain the nectar to prevent the little bits from getting in your drink.

Home version of the Pablo Honey from the bar at The Breslin. Sorry for the bad picture.

I love The Breslin, particularly the lamb burger, but they also have a great bar with some really good, original cocktails. I haven’t tried this one yet from the source, but we attempted to recreate it for a friend who had. It’s kind of an anise-y margarita. The tequila and anise flavors really compliment a snack bowl full of cinnamon and ancho chile spiced almonds. The recipe:

  • 2oz good quality silver tequila
  • 1/2oz anise-infused agave nectar
  • 3/4oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain.

There are two tricks. First, the different nectars we bought for this varied greatly in sweetness and viscosity. It will take some experimentation around the 1/2oz portion size to get a drink you like best. Second, how to do the anise infusion. We found that lightly crushing an anise pod into 3-4 oz of nectar and letting it infuse overnight worked pretty well. Just be sure to carefully strain the nectar to prevent the little bits from getting in your drink.

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Posted Friday November 5, 2010 (link) | cocktail | the breslin | recipe | steve and patti's

Pan-seared veal rib eye over orzo, from dinner at Stephen and Patti’s. We cut the rib eyes off the bone and used the bones and scraps to make fresh veal stock for use in the orzo (made like this) and in the brandy reduction pan sauce for finishing.

Pan-seared veal rib eye over orzo, from dinner at Stephen and Patti’s. We cut the rib eyes off the bone and used the bones and scraps to make fresh veal stock for use in the orzo (made like this) and in the brandy reduction pan sauce for finishing.

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Posted Friday November 5, 2010 (link) | veal | orzo | steve and patti's

This week we imported many, many pounds of salmon and halibut from Pike Place Fish in Seattle. We enjoyed butter poached halibut cheeks over Israeli couscous with red and green chiles, BLiS Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup glazed king salmon filets sous-vide, and cedar plank grilled coho salmon steaks.  The halibut was great, despite having been frozen. The bourbon-maple king salmon was also really good, although we are still working on this and Stephen has a great post about this round of salmon sous-vide. The cedar plank coho (my only photo of the night as I was being social) was also great, but sadly led to the demise of the cedar plank.
The salmon from Pike Place was good and certainly better than any we get out east. But, Bryan Flannery’s from previous meal was better.

This week we imported many, many pounds of salmon and halibut from Pike Place Fish in Seattle. We enjoyed butter poached halibut cheeks over Israeli couscous with red and green chiles, BLiS Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup glazed king salmon filets sous-vide, and cedar plank grilled coho salmon steaks.  The halibut was great, despite having been frozen. The bourbon-maple king salmon was also really good, although we are still working on this and Stephen has a great post about this round of salmon sous-vide. The cedar plank coho (my only photo of the night as I was being social) was also great, but sadly led to the demise of the cedar plank.

The salmon from Pike Place was good and certainly better than any we get out east. But, Bryan Flannery’s from previous meal was better.

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Posted Friday August 27, 2010 (link) | salmon | halibut | pike place fish | sous vide | steve and patti's

Fazzoletti with Guanciale, Parmesiano-Reggiano, and black truffle. Steve and Patti made the beautiful handkerchief pasta. We gently folded each of them around a bit of Guanciale in a thick cream sauce, topped with Parmesan, then shaved black summer truffles over that. The size I suggested for the pasta was probably an inch too big (next time, we’ll make 4-inch noodles), but this was this was a fantastic dish all around.

Fazzoletti with Guanciale, Parmesiano-Reggiano, and black truffle. Steve and Patti made the beautiful handkerchief pasta. We gently folded each of them around a bit of Guanciale in a thick cream sauce, topped with Parmesan, then shaved black summer truffles over that. The size I suggested for the pasta was probably an inch too big (next time, we’ll make 4-inch noodles), but this was this was a fantastic dish all around.

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Posted Wednesday August 11, 2010 (link) | fazzoletti | truffles | guanciale | steve and patti's