Good Eats!

Dedicated to the idea that good food belongs to us all



I'm Sean Embry in San Antonio, Texas. I like to eat smart, but not every thing here is smart! Moderation in all things, including moderation!


I'm just a guy trying to eat something tasty, not too complex, and in a hurry. Like everyone else, I could find a use for about 8 more hours per day if I could get 'em.

Metadata: I'm not a fan of generic when it compromises the quality of a dish. In almost every case, generic cheese is inferior to name brand cheese. When I specify a name brand rather than simply the item, there is a reason in my mind for that. You may feel differently and I encourage you to experiment both ways, then decide for yourself if the extra few cents is worth the savings.

Also, I don't always have time during the week to cook. At one point, I did all my cooking for the week on Sunday, and threw everything into the freezer, and pulled out what I wanted throughout the week. For the most part, that worked well (except for leafy greens! It was a senior moment, I just wasn't thinking.) and just heated it in the microwave. Lamb didn't do well until I coated it with olive oil prior to freezing. I bought a cheap spritzer bottle and misted the olive oil on that way. Chicken and red meat did well for a few weeks, but I noticed the red meat lost flavor after that. Making sure to remove all the air I could from the plastic bags was key.I found that steamed veggies were OK simply being refrigerated rather than frozen.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Serve over penne pasta or plain. "Some like it HOT!" so add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes at the start of cooking if you like some Zing.
This recipe serves 3 (large portions) or 4 (regular portions). Multiply for as many servings as you like. Note, this freezes well for 4-6 months as long as you are careful not to leave air in the container when storing.

Ingredients:

New York Style Cheese Cake

Serves 16
Ingredients:

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Ingredients:


Alternative: prepare as above, then slice lengthwise, drizzle olive oil into bud, dust with garlic powder, then broil for 10 minutes, then garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and broil until melted and golden brown. Suggested by Alex De Pena.

Prosciutto Chicken

Ingredients: (serves one)



Boiled Shrimp



This coastal delight is a favorite.
Ingredients:

Fish and Shrimp



This is Tilapia with mushrooms and scallions, with Shrimp, Fresh steamed broccoli, and corn on the cob.



Nutrition note: Most farm raised Tilapia are corn fed, which skews the fish toward short chained Omega 6 fats, rather than the long chain Omega 3 fats which are heart healthy. See Polyunsaturated fatty acids & Effect of fish food on nutrition topics. I point this out so one doesn't substitute a fish oil pill for this serving. Take the pill, enjoy the fish for the flavor.

Parboil the Tilapia with olive oil, oyster mushrooms, Scallions and two cloves of minced garlic. For a lark, add some grated ginger, nutmeg, tarragon, fennel, or Anise.

Our sweet corn on the cob isn't our parent's corn on the cob. Boiling it for 5 minutes is right out. Modern sweet corn needs to be warmed up, not really cooked. Cooking it makes it less sweet and tough.

Zucchini Scallop Soup

(Note – I have not had a chance to make this myself yet. This recipe is from Alex De Pena of San Antonio, kinda. He would not just come out an give a recipe, he just said “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Like a true genius, he credits the world around him as if they are smarter than they are.)
Per person:

2 Zucchini's (1 to 1 1/2 if they are the large mutant type)
about 4 oz Scallops per person

Cut Zucchini into 1" pieces
in large pot, cover with water, remove Zucchini, bring pot to a rolling boil, blanch Zucchini for 3 minutes (until edges are soft)
Blend well in blender (food processor doesn't work well), add garlic,pepper and one tablespoon butter per person, to taste.
Add heavy cream to thicken.

Saute scallops in a pan with butter, garlic, and olive oil, wasting no liquid from the scallops (pour it in the pan and cook it down.)
Hold aside

Heat Zucchini, add scallop just prior to serving. Add paprika for visual appeal. Also could do parmigiana and brown under broiler.

Now you have to pretend you slaved away all day making this soup. This is a vital step to maintain your Kitchen MoJo.

Sean's alternitives

Try canned (not smoked) oysters, clams, or crab. No need to cook these as they are already cooked. Shrimp is likely not a good choice. Red meat is out. Pork will likely not work, but a delicate fish (Talipia) may work.

Chicken Fried Steak

This space reserved for a really good, crunchy, tender, yellow gravy chicken fried steak. UPDATE: I found it. Finally. Thanks to Chris Cal. of San Antonio for his help.

  • Cube steak
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 table spoons fresh ground black and white pepper
  • 2 table spoons fresh ground Kosher salt (fine)
  • hot spice, slect from 1 table spoon Tasbaco added to wet wash, 2 tables spoons Cyanne Pepper to dry
  • Garlic to taste. If powedered, add to dry wash, if wet, add to wet wash.
  • Buttermilk to cover.
  • egg wash (from 1 to ? egges, depends on how many you are doing. You need enough to cover the patty.)i Beat eggs.
  • Tenderize the meat.
  • Wash in eggs and buttermilk. Let rest 10-20 minutes.
  • Tenderize again. Let rest 20 or more minutes while it soaks in buttermilk.
  • Soak in buttermilk, at least 2 to 4 hours.
  • Tenderize again.
  • dredge in wet wash, dry wash, wet wash again. Let soak in butter milk again.
  • after 2 hours in butter milk, drege in wet wash again, press firmly in dry wash, wet wash again.
    Deep fat frying: Use a temp probe to ensure oil is at 375 F. Don't depend on the theromstat on your fryer - these are frequently incorrect. Fry until patty is a golden brown, no more than 6 minutes per side.

    Best Burger EVER

  • 1/3 top sirlon
  • 1/3 chuck roast
  • 1/3 lamb sholder
    (given in ratio, not weight. EG: 1/3 of your target weight for each cut.)
    Grind meat fresh, no more than an hour before you start cooking. Marinade with Wouster Sauce and fresh ground salt/pepper and garlic, rosemary, tyme to taste. Do not add mint leaves to this. It won't work well. Mint on lamb is a travisty and should never ever be done ever again.

    To cook on the grill:
    Get your fire going until you can't hold your hand 4" above the grill for 5 seconds. Put 1/2 pound of burger on the grill for 4 minutes per side (medium rare).
    After the first (and last flip) put a tablespoon of butter on it.
    For medium burgers, cook 5 minutes per side. For well done, order the chicken.

    Bachelorette Stew

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can french cut green beans
  • 1-2 potatoes
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Salt to taste

    In a skillet, crumble ground beef, add contents of green beans including water, and thinly sliced potatoes (1/8th inch slices) and garlic. Cover. Cook at medium heat until potatoes are turning from crip to tender. Remove cover, cook until potatoes are tender. Serve hot.

    Change ups:

  • Add 1-3 cups of mixed frozen vegetables
  • Add Crushed red pepper for heat
  • Add mushrooms for savory
  • Add pear slices for sweet



    Blakened Salmon


    Understand, salmon is one of the few seafood items I detest. I've made this for others, and they rave about it, but to me, I'd much rather have oysters or shrimp. Salmon, prepared any way, just tastes NASTY to me.
  • 2 Tablespoons ground Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons kosher or rock salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Iron skillet
  • 2 pounds of Salmon fillets boneless/skinless
  • Mix Paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, peppers, thyme, basil, oregano in a bowl.

    Melt the butter in a pan.

  • Coat fillets in butter, dredge with spices
  • heat iron skillet to very hot. Blacken Fillets in hot skillet, 2-5 minutes per side.

    Perfect baked potatoes UPDATED 2019/02/24


    I used to think that making a perfect baked potato required all sorts of effort, a lot of work, and spice!
    OK, after being taken to task for oh-hum baked potatoes by a chef I respect, I'm sharing my instruction.
  • Forget everything you think you know about potatoes.
  • Drop all the spices
  • Drop all the work
  • Drop all the dread of doing it wrong.

    Perfect baked potatoes:

  • Take a potato about as large as your fist for a small serving, a fist and a half for a large serving.
  • Wash with soap and warm water. Rinse.
  • If desired, leave potato wet and coat with Kosher salt
  • Heat oven to 450
  • Place potato on cookie sheet, bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove after 40 minutes, pinch potato to break up solid mass, and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes. Serve warm with butter, chives, sour cream, garlic, cheese.

    A better way!

  • 1 cup water in a bowl.
  • 2 tablespoons table salt (Not kosher, we want this to disolve)
    Wash thouroughly, then Poke 2 holes per quarter turn of the potato with a fork. Place in brine, 60 to 120 seconds. Yep - that's all it takes.
    In an oven heated to 450 degrees, place potatoes on a rack in the middle of the oven. Use a temp probe to alert you when the center of the potato reaches 205 defrees F.
    See here
    Remove, coat with oil (not butter), and put back in oven for an additional 10 minutes.

    Twice Baked potatoes:
    AS above, but cut in half, remolve meat into bowl, mash with buttermilk and chives and butter, return mash to empty peals, press in shreaded cheese.

    Note that we are not poking holes in the potato, we are not coating it in oil, and we are not wrapping it in foil. Wash, pop into ovan, enjoy!

    Hot and sour soup


    This dish is as simple as falling off a log but is so flavorful! Also, it's something you should play with to get it just right for you. The measurements below are suggestions only.

  • 2 - 3 eggs beaten
  • Chicken, pork, scallops or beef to taste, about 8 oz.
  • Bamboo shoots (Asian isle at the store) about 8 oz.
  • Dried wood ear mushrooms (Asian isle) about 4-6 caps (CAPS, not CUPS!! A palm full is good.)
  • Dried shatiiki mushrooms (asian isle) about 4-6 caps
  • garlic to taste
  • ginger to taste - about 1/4 - 1/2 oz. fresh, or one pinch dried - maybe a little more.
  • chicken broth (2 qt.) - or 1/2 water 1/2 broth if you have to. I use low sodium, it just means you use more salt later for taste.
  • green onions 1/2 to a full bunch - to taste
  • 1 tea spoon of sessime oil - to taste
  • 2-5 tablespoons of soy sauce (to taste)
  • 3-6 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (to taste)
  • hard tofu 4 to 5 oz if you like clear soup, 8 to 12 ounces if you like a hearty soup.
  • corn starch - 2 to 4 tablspoons depending on how thick you want the soup.
  • crushed red pepper to taste (or omit)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons white pepper

    Nice to have is fish oil.

  • cut the tofu into bite sized chunks. In a large soup pot, pour in broth and add tofu. Set to low to medium heat to warm. Add vinegar.
  • Cut chicken, pork, or scallops into tiny half bite sized chunks and cook. (Fry or what ever.) Add to chicken broth.
  • in a small sauce pan, rehydrate mushrooms in 1/2 a cup of water, *this can be omitted* reserving the water for later if you like. Slice mushrooms into strips. Add to chicken broth.
  • Add cold water or cold chicken broth to corn starch in a prep bowl. You are looking for a mix that is pourable and not thick, over use of liquid just means longer on the boil to thicken so it's not hugely important how much liquid you use, but about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup seems about right.
  • taste the bamboo shoots. If they are bitter, boil in vinegar for 30 seconds. If they are canned, it's likely they won't be bitter.
  • Add ginger, garlic, white pepper to taste - consider citrus zest to add a bright note.
  • Start stiring to get the liquid all moving, and carefuly pour in the eggs to make long streamers. Don't stir too vigirously or you will get scrambeld eggs and not egg threads.
  • Add corn starch mix to thicken to desired consistance. I like my hot and sour soup very thick.

    Shinto Pinto Beans


    Not really anything Shino about it, I just like the name.
  • 2 cups pinto beans (dried)
  • 4 or more garlic cloves (minced)
  • Onion (large, or 2 small)
  • Jalipeno Peppers (to taste)
  • Bacon (to taste, or just saved greese)
    Wash the beans until the water runs clear. Remove any rocks or stems. In a large pot, add beans and 6 cups of water (You'll use 3:1 water / pinto beans). Let soak over night. Beans will swell up to about two and a half the dried size. Pour off water, wash again, and hold aside. In the pot, add 6 cups of water (or chicken broth, or a mix of the two) and bring to a fast rolling boil. Add beans, allow to boil for about 10 minutes, reduce to a low simmer and cover. In about an hour or two, add garlic, onion, jalipeno, and bacon. Allow to simmer until tender, about three hours or so.

    If the beans need to be thickened, just mash up some.
    If the liquid level goes below the beans, add more HOT liquid. Never add cold.
    You can also cut in sausage links, hot dogs, or chicken.
    keeps very well in the freezer, but thaw using hot water rather than a microwave.

    Yum Yum Tatters aka Scalloped Potatoes


    Creamy and delicious, good as a side or see add ons below for making it the main dish
  • preheat oven to 350
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk, half and half, or heavy cream
  • Cheddar cheese, shreaded, about a cup, sharp or mild to taste.
  • 3-4 large potatoes, peeled

    Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat and whisk in flour. Pour in milk, whisk well and turn off heat. The key here is not not let the sauce thicken in the pan, it will do that in the oven later.
    In a large cassarole dish, coat with oil or butter (to make clean up easier), slice potatoes thin and layer in shreaded cheese. Add sliced ham and mushrooms if you wish. Pepper is good too. A bit of garlic and thin sliced yellow or sweet onion wouldn't be amiss here. Pour in milk.
    pop into the oven for an hour to an hour and a half, until tender all through.
    Pro tip: Clean cassarole dish immedately, or put to soak in soap and water.

    Fried mushrooms / onion rings


    Nothing says comfort food like fried mushrooms or fried onion rings.
  • Bread crumbs - I use about 4oz (half a box) of Panko crumbs, but Salteens will do in a pinch.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered onion (only for mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon hot cayenne pepper (less for less spicy, more for more spicy)
  • Enough cooking oil (I use canoloa but you can use anything but lard) to deep fry the onion ring or mushrooms. You need enough space to cook half a dozen at a time without crowding the pan. Never cowd when frying with a coating. (French fries are OK to crowd.)

    Wash the mushrooms first, cutting off at least the tough part of the stem. Set aside to let air dry for an hour or so or simply use a paper towel to dry them.
    Mix all the dry ingreadients well. You can skip the garlic and onion if you wish. Add the water, and you should get a really thick paste. This is too thick. Add a tiny amount of water at a time to thin it out a little bit. You want to hit a spot where it's still thick, but easily coats the mushrooms or onion rings. Wash the mushrooms (skip for onion rings). Bring the oil up to around 350 degrees, maybe 360. Remember the temp will drop quite a lot when you add the food, and what you do not want is for the oil to get cold enough to load up the food with oil. That will happen around 320 degrees, so you want the oil hotter than that at all times.
    Now you want to put the bread crumbs on. I do this by using a fork to hold the food, and use my other hand to grab a fist full of breading and pour it over the food. There is no wrong way to do this. Once the food is well breaded, you can set aside on a wire rack, or start cooking right away. Doesn't matter, but the longer before you fry the better the coating will hold to the food. Fry for about 3-5 minutes. You are looking to completely fry the coating, but not make mushrooms, well, mushy, or onion rings to simply fade away. Put on a wire rack to let cool, and sprnkel a little more salt to taste if you wish. For mushrooms, use the mashed potato white gravy recipie above, just add a little black pepper and cayenne to it. If you want a nice ruddy color, add a bit of paprika.

    Easy roast turkey

    Throw away all the things you've learned about cooking that Thanksgiving turkey. This is the ticket:


  • 3-5 packages of hot dog buns
  • cluster of celery
  • sliced mushrooms
  • onion
  • garlic (powered or minced, whatev's.)
  • A turkey
  • A pan to hold the turkey
  • Thermometer (yes, you need one!)
    Tear up the hot dog buns and let sit out the night before. You want them to dry a bit.
    Oven to 325. No, not 350, not 500. 325. Set it there. Visit pain and vengence on anyone foolish enough to change the temp. Slide the themometer probe into the thik part of the brest. Chop up the celery, onion, mushrooms and mix with the bread. Remove the giblets from the turkey, shove the bread mix into the cavities of the turkey. Pat room temp butter around the turkey skin. Now, for the harest part. Put the turkey brest side DOWN in the pan. Yes, you are going to cook this upside down. Cook at 325 until the themometer reads about 155. Remove turkey. Let rest for half an hour to an hour. I'll add how to make gravy later, after I figure out how to do it the easy way.
    Should you brine the turkey? Yes, if it isn't brined already. Most are. The key here is to use not just salt, but brown sugar too in the brine mix. The other key is to not allow the brine mix to get too warm. I have a food grade 5 gallon bucket I got from a deli. I put the turkey in the refer overnight to brine. Since we are stuffing this turkey, we must be very careful not to allow it to get too warm and cause microbes to grow. Yes, I know everybody and their dog all say stuffed turkey is not food safe. I think they are full of it as long as you take precautions not to let it get warm. In 50 years of eating turkey, I've never gotten sick from food poisoning. Sick from eating too much, yes.