Beginners Guide: What Equipment Do I Buy? Part 1: Knives

One of the things I love about cooking is that everyone has their own style. Cooking is an art which means people tend to bring in their own vision, culture, and experiences into every dish they make. I truly love this. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, you can learn a lot about someone based on what they do in the kitchen. Even though this essentially means that everyone brings something different to the kitchen, there is one thing everyone cooking has in common – you need quality tools to get the job done. All chefs need knives, pots/pans, and accessories to bring their food to life.

Which brings me to Zatorrius. Zatorrius (I just call him Z) is one of my best friends that I met at the nationally ranked amazing Florida State University. Z, a fellow foodie, was often my best taste tester. He’s hard to please and has a very specific 3-point scale. “Eh” means its needs work or scrap the recipe. “Meh, its ok” means it’s pretty good, I’m onto something, keep tweaking. “It’s pretty good” means wow, you knocked it out of the park, make me more right now. He’s also one of my go to people for southern food. To this day, his mom made me one of the best southern meals I have ever had. I will often travel with Z and one of my other best friends (Michael) and we try to eat everything on the menu at the restaurants we pass through. Foodie trips are the best trips, especially with these guys.

zName: Zatorrius
Rating: Pretty Good

Z is a decent cook eater and a below average cook (his words, not mine). He has been looking to take his cooking to the next level. When I first started this blog (way back when), he told me he wasn’t sure he owned the cooking equipment he needed for all of your basic cooking needs, likewise, he wasn’t sure what he had was of the right quality or brand. He asked me to do a series on the blog of what every basic or beginner cook should own to produce quality meals. It was a great idea and I should have done it sooner, but I digress. It may be three years too late, but the time has finally come – Z, this one goes out to you.

This series will be broken into three parts. This is part one, Knives. The second part will be for Pots and Pans. Finally, part three will be for Kitchen Accessories and Extras.

In general, this can be a difficult topic to tackle for two reasons. Continue reading

Cook the Blog: Cluster’s and Hops Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich

This is it. The main event. After weeks of anticipation I am posting the full recipe to Cluster’s and Hops “Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich”. I should say upfront – this is not an official recipe. I am not some special person who knows the chef or anything. I just really liked the sandwich when I ate it and decided to do a bit of food hacking. I won’t say this recipe is exact – but it is pretty close.

Here is how Cluster’s and Hops describes the sandwich on their menu:
GRILLED GOAT CHEESE SANDWICH roasted eggplant, carmelized onion, goat cheese, fig jam, lavender & white truffle oil on grilled rosemary olive bread

Now, let’s get started.

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Restaurant Review: Backwoods Bistro, Tallahassee FL

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Backwoods Bistro. On the one hand, the people I had known who had eaten in their original location in Sopchoppy FL seemed to love the place. On the other hand, the people I knew who had eaten at their Tallahassee location weren’t impressed. What did I know about the place? I knew it was built in a building that used to house a comedy club. That’s it. I didn’t even know what kind of food they served. I had no idea if it was a nice restaurant or a causal restaurant. The one thing I did know? I was hungry.

Backwoods bistro

Walking into the place,

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Recipe – Fig Compote

I know what your thinking, I haven’t put up a recipe in a long time, and I decide to come back with fig compote? Really? Well…. that’s exactly what I am doing. I’m breaking all the rules on this one.

Actually, the next full recipe I plan to post is for a certain sandwich at Cluster’s and Hops that I loved so much I had to figure out how to make it at home. In order to make the sandwich though, we first have to make fig compote to go on the sandwich. Hence, the reason this post exists.

I don’t think a lot of people have eaten figs outside of a fig newton, which is a shame because they are delicious.

Ingredients:
Fresh Figs (1 package)
1 and 1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup White Wine
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Water

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Food Tour – Charleston South Carolina – The rest of day 1 and the half of Day 2

Let’s start with the end of day 1 before I talk about day 2.

First stop of the night, Boone’s
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Restaurant Review: Joe Mama’s Wood Fired Pizza, Tallahassee FL

I had a fantastic opportunity today thanks to the Tallahassee Food Bloggers Association (#tfba). The group got together for the first time and went behind the scenes of a new restaurant in Tallahassee. That restaurant was Joe Mama’s Wood Fired Pizza. Special thanks to the TFBA and Joe Mama’s manager, Devon Nunneley for getting this event together.

During the event, I got to explore the restaurant. I met the chefs, owner, managers, staff, fellow local food bloggers, saw the kitchen, wood fire oven, food preparation, learn about their family/restaurant story and their food philosophy.

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There was a lot of great, in depth nerdy food knowledge that I learned at Joe Mama’s, especially concerning pizza. Here are some of the things I think the average food goer and foodie would want to know: Continue reading

Cook the Blog: The Podcast?

Hello everyone. I had to make a podcast as a class assignment. So I figured, why not do it on cooking and post it to my blog? And thus, Cook the Blog: The Podcast was created. I am not expecting to make another podcast, but if I get good reception, I will consider it.

Anyway, click the link below to give it a listen and leave feedback if your inclined. It’s goofy, and you can probably tell it was originally made for a class. If I do continue this, the format would probably change a bit.

Cook the Blog: The Podcast

Coming soon, a review of Backwoods Bistro and a recipe for fig jam.

Technique: How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite ingredients. They go great on burgers, sandwiches, in pasta, on a pizza, or even in casseroles. Why bother though? Although preparing caramelized onions is rather easy, it takes time. Caramelized onions have a sweeter and deeper flavor than raw onions. Also, it’s a way to get an onion flavor into a recipe for people that do not like onions. A lot of people have a taste aversion to raw onions. Just ask Scott Conant:

As much as I love caramelized onions, there is a specific reason why I am writing this article now. I have a special recipe that I am going to share soon that requires them. More info on that recipe coming soon.

This is my first recipe I am posting since I have moved. That means after the break, there is a much nicer kitchen to be seen. I love my new gas stove.

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Restaurant Review: Vertigo Burgers and Fries, Tallahassee FL

I have secretly been waiting for Vertigo Burgers and Fries for months. Vertigo comes from the minds of the owners of Cypress, a restaurant I have always wanted to try but haven’t been able to. The rumors of how high a bill can get had scared me away (for now). One day, I was browsing urbantallahassee.com and I found out about Vertigo. Ever since then I have been stalking Vertigo’s website and Facebook group waiting for a hint of their opening date. That day has finally come, but the question remains, did it live up to the hype I built for it in my head?

Find out after the break
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Recipe: Pulled Pork

This month has been crazy for me. My fiancée and I have been preparing to move all month. It still took longer than I thought it would. However, we are finally unpacked and getting settled. Being on the other side of Tallahassee means I will have a greater opportunity to try restaurants on the other side of town.

Since I have finished unpacking, I finally have the time for a new post.

About This Recipe
This is the final part of a three part series on Barbecue (for now). In this part, I am going to show you how to take a barbecue rub and a barbecue sauce and put it together to make pulled pork. However, you could use this rub and sauce to make any kind of barbecue.

I personally feel the best pulled pork (or barbecue in general) comes from a smoker. However, I do not have a smoker. Neither do most people. This recipe uses a device that is found in a lot more homes, a slow cooker. It still comes out tender and delicious, I promise.
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