Step One : Watch Top Chef
Step Two : Find 2 or 3 simple dishes and make them often until you can make them well while drunk.a> This is important, cause if you are reading this blog, you will probably be in this state often. For a start, begin here. 101 Badass Simple Recipes from the NY Times
Step Three : Talk about what you have made. People will be full of all types of suggestions as to how to improve your dish and what you did wrong. Although they only offer these to show that they are superior to you, remember them, cause they are probably giving away there best shit for free.
Step Four : Try a new dish every month.
Step Five : If you don't understand a technique, look it up on YouTube. I use it all the time.
After a year, you will notice a considerable difference in your cooking. However, because there has been no change in your considerable drinking, don't be surprised to not only find the sordid mess that is your apartment, but also the disaster is now your kitchen. It is not rare for me to drunkenly declare something along the lines of "I make the best f*cking chicken fried steak in New York City!" At 1 am. which will explain the rail of flour from the kitchen to your bedroom. Sitting right next to the pool of vomit/urine. Whichever is your drunken excess of choice.
Last night I decided to make something I have never made before but have tasted before. This is important. You shouldn't try something you haven't tasted. It's hard to determine what you did wrong when you screwed it up. So for the step by step recipe with many photos, click through to start your foray into the world of the Ghetto Gourmand and the recipe that I call, INVOLTINI DI CARNE ALLA MUMBLES.
As I said, we're gonna keep these recipes cheap. The limit I have placed on myself is $20.00. Heres the receipt as proof.
Now for a brief review of the ingredients.
5 or 6 slices of Round Steak or London Broil (some places even have it labeled braccioli)
6 New Potatoes (you don't have to peel these)
1 head of garlic
1 bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon is what I use, and usually Australian, more on this later)
1 package of mushrooms
Fresh Sage and Rosemary
1 large shallot
Beef stock (if you use the liquid type as shown in the pic below get low sodium, the bouillion cubes are much cheaper, but I like the liquid better)
Bacon, prosciutto is better, but the shit is expensive
A slice of provolone for every slice of meat you have
Wax paper or Saran wrap
Flour, cornstarch or Bisto
Prep all your ingredients as shown below. notice there is one large bulb of garlic finely sliced in the top left. These are for your meat. The remaining whole bulbs are for your potatoes
Lay a sheet of your wax paper down under your meat. Make it big enough so you can move the meat across three time before laying down another. It will get beat to hell by the rather unorthodox method of thinning I use and it makes prep time faster if you don't have to keep tearing out another one all the time.
Lay another one the same size to cover it.
Take your wine bottle, upright in hand and beat the shit out of it slowly but forcefully starting at the edges and work your way to the middle. It should be at least 1.5X larger than when you started, 2X is the best, but I'm lazy.
Drizzle a small amount of your olive oil so your herbs stick to the meat. Spread it with your fingers to cover one side of the meat. Resist the urge to do what you normally do when your fingers are covered with any type of lubricant. REMEMBER there is a lady present. Stick said lubed fingers in the lady's ear. They LOVE this. It shows them you are playful in the kitchen and not a maniac after watching severely beat slabs of meat for the past ten minutes.
Sprinkle rosemary, thyme and pepper.
CUT THE BACON LIKE SO!
PLACE CHEESE LIKE SO!
Yeah, remember that shit you usually eat? I said pizza and Mickey D's? Well throw Taco Bell in there too and roll it like a burrito. This will probably be the only step you don't f*ck up, so relish it. Use toothpicks to help secure it. You don't want the cheese melting in the pan, if it does, it's okay, but do your best, lackey.
Place pan on medium high heat. Let it get really hot, then place a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in it. Let it heat. When you can roll the pan and the oil flows freely in any direction let it sit for about 30 more seconds and you are ready to go. Sear the top first till it gets brown as shown below, do the same for the bottom. I use tongs then to stand each roll up and sear the folded portion of the roll a bit. Not necessary, but it works to maintain the hold for the 20 - 30 minutes it will be sitting in the broth and wine.
Remove the rolls from the pan and let it sit. This will help them congeal as well as produce juices. You want this for your sauce. The stuff you see in the pan below is a collection of meat dripping, cheese and oil. We're gonna use this. Turn the heat down a bit. Should still be at about medium heat now.
Throw in garlic and shallots. Disperse them evenly but keep them sitting on the part of the pan that is directly above the flame. Once they are evenly separated, don't stir them, let them sit in place for a bit.
Once the start to get translucent, push them to the outside of the pan. There is much less heat here, they will essentially stay warm but it will keep them from burning. Oh and those sweet juices will keep melding with the oil. Your guest should be burning with hunger by now. It should smell awesome in your apartment, providing you've bathed in the past few days. offer her another glass of wine and tell her this story.
"A lot of people talk shit about the synthetic cork (the lower grade Australian wines almost always have these) but Yellowtail is the number one imported wine in America a lot of this has to do with the fact that America has a lot more winos than it used to due to the huge layoffs on Wall Street, but hey, at least I have a job! (this reminds her that you are gainfully employed) Wine snobs argue that the synthetic cork serves only as a plug. It does nothing to tell the connoisseur of the ageing of the flavors of the wine. They argue that synthetic corks are not good for wine that's consumed after being stored for five years. And to that I say, "Eat a dick!" (don't say that, say some thing like Sacre Bleu!, it sounds classier, continuing on...)
When's the last time you had a bottle of wine in your house for more than five years? Never? Yeah, me either. Shit tastes good right, baby? And the food smells good? That's right. Play DJ, darling, Daddy can't let the garlic burn."
Place the carrots in the center first. These take longer to cook, so do as I say and spread them evenly.
Now the mushrooms, lay them on TOP. Don't mix them in. You are gonna cover this so they will sweat and wilt.
Probably 10 minutes of cooking to get them to this stage.
Now pour half of a cup of wine, maybe 3/4 of a cup. It has to reduce to half of what it started at. Cover the bottom of the pan liberally. Heat should still be at medium. REMOVE COVER FOR THIS STEP.
When it has reduced, should be about 10 minutes or so, add beef broth, probably a cup or so. You want it to come up to half the height of the rolls and place them back in the pan now. Put rolls on center of heat source and nestle the vegetables around it like so.
Let this cook for about 20 or 30 minutes. While this is happening, quarter your potatoes and place them in cold water so they don't turn brown from the air. Cook sauce until it starts to reduce and thicken. Remove the rolls when it thickens and turn heat to low.
You should have filled your pot for the potatoes with water and salted it liberally, 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt, covered it and brought it to boil on high heat while sauce was thickening. It should come to a boil right about when sauce thickens. PLACE POTATOES AND GARLIC IN NOW, NOT BEFORE. Keep it half covered to maintain high heat but do so to prevent it from boiling over. It should cook for about ten minutes. When you can stick a knife in the pieces and pull them from the water, if they fall off from the weight of the potato, they are done. Remove from water immediately and strain, because they'll keep cooking. You don't want to screw up your best chance of seeing ANY action from mealy potatoes. TRUST ME.
Cooking requires you to do a bunch a shit at the same time, so while the potatoes are cooking, you should be working your sauce. You want it thick. When you put a spoon in it, you should have a thick coating of it left on after removing it. A millimeter or so. I thickened mine with Bisto. Look it up. It's the easiest for when you are drunk and I am almost always drunk when I decide to take a step like making a new meal. I mean you 've been working for about an hour and 15 minutes at this point (easiest way out). Flour and cornstarch works but it's easy to create clumps and a can of Bisto will last forever and lends itself to beef sauces due to it's inherent flavor. You can use it for cottage pie and other things, so it won't go to waste. Thicken your sauce, mash your potatoes and add milk and butter. Add a spoon full of butter to the sauce for the girl on the couch to the sauce. And your done.
Remove the toothpicks from the rolls that have been sitting and slice them into medallions (little circles). Plate and serve. I chose a horrible presentation method but I was wasted on cheap vodka and waxing philosophical on etymology of involtini, to volcano, to Voltaire and decided to have the rolls and sauce ERUPT from the potatoes. Bad idea. It looked like a mess. My old lady suggested a simple potatoes with sauce on one side and the rolls arranged cut side up with a drizzle of sauce. I think this is better. I hope you try it. I'm out.