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Monday, February 11, 2013

Two Little Piggies...

It's been a while. As The Fat Knight goes on his diet, so does his blog. However, we as humans occasionally have an idea that is just too amazing not to follow through to the end. This is the story of one of those ideas.

While perusing the weekly circular for Jungle Jim's, I noticed that pork tenderloin was on sale, BOGO style. I also noticed that JJ's Bacon was on sale 2/$7. The perfect storm had arrived, and it was time to strike. I sprang from my office chair and made haste to my car. My keys jingling in anticipation, I fumbled to start up the car, then drove a completely legal speed to the store.

Upon my arrival, I made a beeline for the door. I saw an old woman eyeing my regular shopping cart, and punched her in the throat giving her the only information she needed as consolation, "Because pork, granny!" I proceeded through the store, passing up my regular temptations of cheese, whiskey, and cigars, like a whirlwind of dedication and perseverance checking children over the deli counter and throwing their loved ones through the bakery case. My eyes were on a meaty prize that day, one that my stomach would not let me lose.

So then I bought four pork tenderloins (they came in two-packs, and THOSE were BOGO), and a couple pounds of bacon. I also did the rest of my shopping, then left.


So today I awoke feeling the excited, meaty yearning for pork-on-pork action only the fattest of knights know. It was time. Here's how the recipe goes:

Pork-on-Pork Pork-Fest
You're welcome for the new wallpaper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 lb. of Bacon
  • A delicious meaty rub of your choice
  • Some Canola oil.
  • Black Pepper
Phase One:

Preheat oven to 400F

Lay a strip of bacon on your giant cutting board. Lay another strip at a right angle at one of the corners. Fold the first strip back over the second, and lay another strip down parallel to the second strip. Fold the first strip back, then lay a third strip parallel to the first and second. Repeat until you're out of room, then mimic the process downward, making sure to alternate over and under as the starting positions for each new strip. At the end, it should look like a cross between those old lawn chairs from the 80's, a potholder, and bacon. It will take almost an entire pound of bacon. You're welcome.

Phase Two:

Lay the pork tenderloin at the top of your bacon weave. Rub generously with your delicious meaty rub (I used Wow-a-Chihuahua, which is delicious.) Flip it over and rub that side, too. Now, roll it toward you, puling the bacon around it as you go. You may have to tuck in some loose edges, this is art, not science.

Rub the outside down with some canola oil, then place the monstrosity on a rack in the bottom of your stainless steel roasting pan, grind on some black pepper, then put it in the oven. Put your probe thermometer in it, and let it stay there, uncovered, until it hits 155 degrees F. 



Phase Three: 

Pull that sucker out of the oven, and put it straight onto the electric griddle to crisp up the rest of that bacon. The bottom likely needs more attention than the top. Pull it off when it's sufficiently crispy, and let it rest 10-15 minutes. Slice it up. Eat it.

Serve with: a healthy dose of "shut up, you're eating pig wrapped in pig, and you shouldn't need anything more than that." ...or a pint glass of scotch.

Next experiment: a bourbon glaze will be added.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes, Hot Sauce Tries to Kill You, Stomach and Brain First.

Fellow Knights of the Fat Table,

It's been a few months since I last posted. I do not apologize.

Here's what's been going on in the Fat Knight's Kingdom since we last spoke:

I've been continuing my spicy food conditioning. (Although my bhut jolokia plant gave me no peppers this year.) The new training goal is Jungle Jim's Weekend of Fire, to which I recently scored a free ticket.

Story time.

I think my conditioning has been going quite well. I'm able to eat habaneros straight up, and my hot sauce collection includes some pretty daunting bottles, all of which I can now handle with ease. So, one Saturday I was stopping at Jungle Jim's to pick up some hot sauce for my brother-in-law before I headed home for a gig. Now, on Saturdays, they set up tasting booths all over the store. I usually pass most of them by, as they're either produce that I've eaten before (seriously, who hasn't had a peach...?), or they're for some stupid frozen item I'd never buy, like "Vegan Gluten-Free Tofu Soy Veggie Waffles - Try them, they taste just like regular mediocre frozen waffles!"

Well, this particular Saturday, they had a gauntlet of hot sauces set up next to the hot sauce aisle. The challenge was simple: If you complete the gauntlet (eat every hot sauce), there's a ticket to Weekend of Fire with your name on it. "Bingo!" said the Fat Knight, "I have prepared for just such a challenge, and am sure to vanquish this foe!" So, I commence tasting the sauces, no problem. Don't get me wrong, some were quite hot, but nothing I couldn't handle. I even maintained a decent level of composure in front of the people watching me go toe to toe with the bottles of doom. When I finished the last one, I spoke with the spicy guru manning the table, and suggested he put out a different scorpion sauce by the same manufacturer of the one he had on the table, as I think it has a tremendously better flavor (Sancto Scorpio, for the curious among you). He pulled a bottle right off the shelf, opened it, and added it to the gauntlet. Satisfied with my victory, I made my way through the checkout, ticket in hand. I made it. The conditioning, surely, has paid off.


About half an hour later, a time bomb went off in my stomach. It was as if someone had put a knife in my side, and then began pumping acid in through the wound. In addition, it felt like my body temperature had risen fifteen degrees, and my brain started spinning with maniacal delusions of death and fear. Not sure what to do, I did the first thing that seemed like it would make me feel better: Drink water. Made it worse. So, naturally the next step was to strip off all my clothes, and lay down in a cold, empty bath tub until the pain subsided. This pleasant image lasted about thirty minutes. I then felt absolutely fine, and went along my merry way.

The dangerous part of this is that I don't know which sauce that caused it, if any. The moral of the story: Don't eat eight super hot sauces on a stomach filled solely with coffee. You'll feel like you're dying.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Capsaicin Corner: Part 1

Let's cut to the chase - I realized I'm not half the glutton I could be until I eat something I prepared from the very beginning of its existence. Ideally, I would raise a cow, and then eat it in one sitting. Unfortunately, my backyard (and local zoning regulations) keep this from being a possibility (FOR NOW), and I'm limited to something I never thought I'd do... gardening.
Vegetables.

I know. 

Time to make this worth it. What could a fat knight possibly grow that would be worthy of gluttonous praise, while enhancing the deliciousness of my regular dietary regimen? 

Hungarian Blacks
Boom. Hot peppers. So, I now have a pretty kickass collection of capsaicin creatures in my backyard. I'm growing your standard peppers, of course, and some less standard options, such as the Little Nubian and the Hungarian Black, but the real prize of my collection is the world's (former) hottest pepper: The Bhut Jolokia. The Ghost Chili.


Ready, set... OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!
One problem, folks... The Bhut Jolokia is EFFING HOT. I decided I need to build up a gradual tolerance by the time I am able to pick peppers from that bad boy. I bought an assortment of hot peppers from the local Mega-Grocer (Jungle Jim's is the greatest place on earth. Look it up. Go there.), which I planned on eating raw in ascending heat order. I ate one a day for a little bit, but then I got a call from a couple friends who wanted to help me on my journey. Fellow spice-addicts Tyler and Steve decided it was Chili Night.

I drove down to Tyler's apartment with my bag of peppers. He had already started the chili in the slow-cooker. We added to what he already had in the Spicy Texas Chili recipe the contents of my pepper bag. Here's the recipe we used (admittedly, Tyler did most of the work on this one):

Chili Bread Bowl VOLCANO!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 4.5-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons green hot sauce
  • Sliced scallions, fresh cilantro and/or sour cream, for topping
  • Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

Directions

Toss the beef with 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in batches until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not crowd the pan). Transfer to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chiles, cumin and chili powder and cook 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the tomatoes andsimmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low, 7 hours.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the hot sauce to the chili. Serve with scallions, cilantro and/or sour cream for topping, and chips, if desired. (Reserve 3 to 4 cups for Chili-Corn Casserole.).
Per serving: Calories 482; Fat 29 g (Saturated 11 g); Cholesterol 117 mg; Sodium 1,227 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Fiber 0 g; Protein 36 g


The only real difference is... we added a billion extra peppers... and served it in a bread bowl. To make the bread bowls, buy the little round loaves of sourdough from the grocer, cut a circle in each from the top with your bread knife, and the chunk should just pull right out. Might require minor wiggling.
My reaction to Chili Bread Bowl Volcano.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Location: Eating Cow in Cow-lifornia

Ah, we meat again, readers...

I spent the past week in the Los Angeles/Santa Barbara area, acting as best man in my friends' (N and D) wedding. This particular friend (N) is every bit as carnivorous and gloriously gluttonous as I am, so his bachelor party required that we put some serious Fat Knight stank on it. This is the tale of our weekend.

I arrived at LAX Thursday afternoon. N's in-laws-to-be graciously provided us with a totally bitchin' beach condo in Carpinteria, about two hours north of the airport. One of the other groomsmen rented a car for the weekend, which was supposed to be an Impala, but turned out to be a Crown Victoria. We cruised up the PCH in our cop-mobile, saluting suspicious traffic-mates and getting to know each other. 

Pure. Gluttonous. Genius.
In Carpinteria on Friday afternoon, the bachelor party commenced. First we headed over to a burger joint known as The Spot. This place is quite literally a shack with a patio, but what a glorious shack it was. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd get to utter the order "Double Cheeseburger, add pastrami, add bacon." The resulting mound of meat and joy made me cry one single, salty tear of burning carnivorous passion, which turned out to be the perfect condiment. The burger was thick and meaty, the bacon was substantial, and the pastrami... oh the pastrami. The cook threw it on the grill before putting it on the burger. Pure. Gluttonous. Genius.

Next we hit up a brewery tour at the Island Brewing Company. I had arranged the tour a couple weeks in advance with the owner, Paul, and he met us there at around 2:30. The place was already filled to seating capacity, and he said by 5, folks likely wouldn't be able to move around much. It's no wonder why, the beers were excellent and the prices were low. $4-$6 depending on size. Also, there were some really interesting beers in stock, such as an IPA aged 18 months in bourbon casks, or their super-hoppy Night Sail, an amazing combination of dark malty goodness and ultra-floral Zythos blend hops. The unanimous winner of the lot was the Jubilee Ale - a perfectly balanced red ale with smoky, caramel maltiness and a big, strong finish. We drank many beers.

Next, we decided to walk around town for a bit, hitting some bars, etc. Eventually we met up with our final groomsman partner, NS (you may know him from HIS food blog, which I may or may not link to the right). It was dinner time, and since we had gone to the source for our beer, it seemed only fitting that we should go to the source for our dinner. The Palm is a local spot in Carpenteria where you can order a variety of meaty treats, but there's a catch: they bring them to you raw. Cold, in fact. Straight out of the fridge. Now, before you freak out and call the health department, the fun of this place is that you get to grill your own steak (or fish, if you're a skinny knight). They've got a double sided grill installed in one wall of the restaurant, plus a salad bar (meh) and all you can eat baked potatoes and baked beans. The fact of the matter here is that I can't very accurately review a restaurant where you cook your own food, since when I go there, it's a top-tier steakhouse, and when you go there it's the Sizzler. 

How many baritones does it take to grill a steak?
What I can speak to is the experience. We had a fantastic time standing around, grilling nice cuts of meat and eating like cavemen. 

The details of the rest of Friday night have been omitted to protect the innocence of those involved.

Saturday, we had another lunch experience. If you know anyone from California, you've surely heard about In-N-Out Burger, and how all other burgers are essentially piles of organic vegan gluten-free horseshit in comparison. Here's the scoop:

Animal Style
In-N-Out is definitely delicious. The fact that you can potentially order an 8x8 (eight patties, eight pieces of cheese) had the Fat Knight's taste buds doing backflips. The real thing you need to know about this place is that there's a secret menu/ordering procedure (except the service is way more polite than the Soup Nazi). If you ever make it to one of these fine establishments, make sure to say the words "Animal Style" in reference to your burger. This includes several condimental improvements, but the most vital difference is the mustard-grilled patty. The cook puts the patty on the grill, then, before the flip, throws down some mustard on the top side, then flipping it to cook all that mustardy goodness directly into your cowchunk. If you're wondering, this is the correct decision.

There were several more meaty treats this weekend, mostly from the catering staff at the wedding site, and one excellent burger from the father of the bride last night (who is trying his damnedest to replicate a Terry's Turf Club burger, and getting quite close). 

Remember, folks, if it didn't die, it's a side!

The Fat Knight

Monday, May 7, 2012

Smoke on the Water

Or in the water, rather.

(Soundtrack for this post)

Two days ago my new grill arrived. Today, the new side firebox/smoker showed up. We immediately assembled each. After many serious glances at one another, my roommates and I decided it was time - Time for genius. Time for glory. Time for wings.

Luckily, I had just defrosted the ultra-family-value-pack of wings I had in the freezer. We were prepared to pursue poultry perfection. Chicken: check. Charcoal (hardwood, lump): check. Chunks of oak for making the smoke: check. BBQ Rub, Beans, Corn on the Cob: check, check, check on the check.

KER-CRASH-MA-RUMBLE!

Thunderstorm. Son of a bitch. If it has only one flaw (and it's yet to be determined that this is one), it is that my grill is an outside-only tool. Or, rather, it was one. Until now...

Like a swat team storming a bank full of hostages, the roommates and I burst forth into a fiery blaze of efficiency and mirth. Yeah, that's right. Mirth. We were so damned mirthful, you might expect that we had whistled while we worked. Whistling is for lesser beings. We just thought about whistling so hard that it lit the charcoal in the chimney starter. Then, just because we're so good at mind-whistling, we put it out and lit it again - all with our mind-whistles.

I mind-whistled some charcoal into readiness. R and G brought the grill around to the front of the house and threw open the garage door. I began prepping the wings, covering them with the BBQ Rub as generously as Santa on December sixth. That's his birthday. Look it up.

G rigged the garage with an array of masterfully placed fans (I guess, in this scenario, he's the guy in the van running intel and saying things like "I just need twenty more seconds to get into the mainframe... blasted firewall proxy USB mouse-click webcrawler!"). The smoke was kept out of the garage by this.

R cleaned a pot we didn't end up using for the beans (because we effing baked those emeffers). That's right, we're so good at this that we do extra work while we work.

I placed the wings on the grill. We drank beers. We loved them.

We waited about an hour.

On went the corn, wrapped in foil with butter and a secret seasoning G refers to secretly as "black pepper" - sounds mysterious, and despite my begging, he refuses to tell me what's in it. The beans went into the oven, with a generous layer of BBQ Rub forming a layer on top.

We waited another half hour or so. We drank more beers. We loved them again/still.

When the time came, we all stood in a moment of silence as we smelled the oaky, smokey goodness of the grill. We opened the lid and were offered a sample of the smoke-filled air. We graciously accepted, because badasses are gracious. We made heaping plates of food, and ate them. Hard.

Thunderstorm - Vanquished.

For all you serious folks who are interested in recipes:

Chicken:

1 Mega-Value Pack of chicken wings
Enough BBQ Rub to cover the hell out of them

Directions: Cover the hell out of the chicken wings with the BBQ Rub. Put them in a smoker over indirect heat (aim for 225) for an hour and fifteen minutes. We went longer for safety, about an hour and a half. Can't be too careful on a first run. We used oak and it was super-smokey. Next time I'll likely use half oak, half apple, and consider some herbage as well.

Beans:

1 Can of Maple Cured Bush's (Cheating. Don't care.)
Enough BBQ Rub to liberally cover the hell out of the top of the beans.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit. This is a BBQ post. Celsius is un-American). Put the beans in a casserole dish. Ours was square. It's hip to be square. Liberally cover the hell out of the top of the beans with BBQ rub. Bake for 45 minutes or until wings are done, whichever is longer.

Corn:

6 ears of corn
Aluminum foil
Butter
"black pepper"

Directions: Remove husk and silk from corn. put in a packet made from aluminum foil along with butter and "black pepper." Cook on grill above charcoal for the final 30 minutes of wing-cooking. If necessary, finish in bean oven.

Beer:

1 Beer

Directions: Open the beer. Drink the beer. Repeat.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gluttony, Catholic Style -OR- Fish and Chips of Christ, Fried for You.

Well, fellow food-eaters, I must confess... I was in the mood for some serious gluttony Friday night. Wild fantasies of bacon cheeseburgers and lamb chops danced in my single-track carnivore brain all day, waiting for the climactic pressure-releasing sizzle of meat hitting pan. Then it hit me... It's Friday. It's Lent. Roommate is Catholic. Not gonna happen.

We turned our attention to the other, other white meat: Cod.

Below is one of the easiest, cheapest, deliciousest meals you'll cook from this blog. We did an old fashioned, church-basement fish fry - complete with chips (ooh, Britishy).

There's seriously nothing to it. Here we go:

You will need:
As much Cod as you care to eat. We bought a fairly large filet, about 2lbs. Probably would've fed 3-4.
Some potatoes. We bought a 10lb. bag. Now we eat fries every day. I recommend this option.
Cocktail Sauce (optional)
Malt Vinegar (NOT OPTIONAL)
Lemons
Sea Salt

Fish Batter:
1 tbsp. malt vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder




Phase one: Prepare ye the way of The Fries
Heat your deep-fryer or pot of oil (which will now just be included in the term deep-fryer) to 320 degrees. Fahrenheit... This is America.
Cut potatoes into french-fry-sized chunks. I have a badass mandoline slicer with a fry-sized cross-blade attachment, because I'm a winner. You can use a knife, but it will take you longer than driving to the store and buying a similar piece of badassery.
Rinse the soon-to-be-fries under cold water in a colander. Slosh them around a bit. The goal here is to rinse away some potato starch. Put them on a paper towel to dry off.

Phase two: I baptize you with oil for deliciousness
The oil should be 320 degrees.
Drop your fries into the oil, and take a moment to think about how much you love potatoes.
Cut fish into uniform slices, as large as you'd want to eat. I like to keep them fairly girthy so they stay fluffy inside while they cook.
Mix all ingredients for Fish Batter in a bowl until smooth. Only takes about a minute with a whisk.
When fries are translucent-looking, pull them out, put on paper towel.
Turn oil temp. up to 375 degrees.

Phase three: Follow me, and I will make you fishers of fish.
While fries rest on paper towel, we fish.
Set your batter bowl next to the fryer.
Dip fish in batter, let drip for a few seconds, drop in hot oil. Repeat as necessary.
You can probably fit a 2-3 pieces of fish at once. Just cycle through until you're done.
*NOTE: I found that if your fryer has a basket, the batter likes to make a terrible mess in it. Remove basket, drop in a couple pieces of fish, and turn/remove with tongs.
As you remove fish, cover with foil to keep warm.

Phase four: Rebirth of the Fries
Once fish is done, let oil reach 375 again, and re-drop fries to flash fry the hell out of them. This is an exercise in eyeballing. Just watch the color, and cook to your preference. The darker, the crispier. At any rate, I recommend taking them out just before the bubbling dies down completely. If you wait until after, moisture has stopped escaping the fries, which means there's no longer anything pushing out against the oil, and you get greasy fries.
After you remove fries, put them in a big bowl and toss with some salt (there are, however, other options... upcoming post regarding fries...) then plate with fish and a big chunk of lemon for juice purposes.

Phase five: Feeding the multitude
Put the plates on table. Make sure there is also malt vinegar, sea salt, cocktail sauce, and some source of lemon juice on the table.
Also put some beers on the table. This is crucial.

And... voila! We've successfully taken the sacrifice out of Lent, and managed to incorporate one of the seven deadly sins, to boot.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mini-Post: Peppercorn Ranch Dressing (AKA Creamy Sauce from the Heavens)

Good Morrow, Food-Eaters!

So, I have a full post in the works, but this should hold you over until then. 

My roommate and I have decided to pretend to be healthy (which actually means we now eat well whenever we feel guilty, which is significantly more often than our previous amount: not at all), so we've taken a liking to one particular guilt-eliminator: The Salad

Here's the thing about salads... You can eat whatever you want and call it healthy, just as long as you serve it on a bed of lettuce. Long story short, we are now the world's leading experts on the 3000 calorie salad. Suck it, Paula Deen. 

These pancakes are healthier than our salads.
So, the goal here is to eat everything we like, and still get eight to ten servings of vegetables so we can call it healthy. I would like to clarify something: the lettuce is not an ingredient. It is an excuse. A sort of scapegoat for health, if you will. Since it doesn't count, I won't even discuss the salad itself. You can pretty much add the following to any salad and make it worth eating:

STEAK!
Get yourself a flank steak. 

Take a gallon zip top bag, and add 2oz. of balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic this time as an experiment... got it for $1.99 and wanted to see if it could sub in when I don't want to use the 20 year aged VSOP top shelf vinegar. It can.), 1oz. of liquid smoke, 2-3 generous shakes of chipotle powder, 1 moderate shake each of garlic powder and onion powder, some sea salt to taste, and a few oz. of olive oil (based on how big your flank steak is). Put your flank steak in its rightful place - the bag of deliciousness. Let this bad boy marinate for about an hour on your counter (because then it will be at room temp. when you go to cook it. Place cast iron grill pan in oven. Set to broil. When sufficiently hot, add flank steak. 

Take a moment to savor the sizzle...

Cook it to medium/medium-rare. I know you don't think you like meat pink in the middle, but you do. Trust me. If you cook this beyond that level, I'm not responsible for your misery. You'll flip it once some time in the middle. Use your brain to know when. When it's done, use your badass slicer to cut it against the grain in thin slices. Then cut the slices in half so they'll fit on salads. In the meantime, you'll be making...

CREAMY PEPPERCORN DRESSING!
You will need the following:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (but seriously, more.)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used half of a really juicy lemon.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper (I used way more of this. It was intense... in a good way)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (I broke this down and used garlic powder and sea salt.)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Here's the tricky part: Combine all the ingredients and mix until it looks like dressing. Congratulations, you've now won at salad dressing.

CONCLUSION:
Put these things on a salad and eat it. We also added smokehouse blue cheese. While it was awesome, I'll probably go with regular blue next time. You'll get about four non-salads out of this. Eat it all.

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