Sunday, February 9, 2014

Crispy Duck Confit Pasta with Morel and Spinach Cream Sauce [Zack]

If spaghetti carbonara is the king of pasta, and bucatini amitriciana is the queen, then duck confit pasta with morel cream sauce could very well be the prince.  There are a lot of elements in this dish that mimic the savory deliciousness of carbonara:  crispy duck confit = bacon, parm reggiano = pecorino cheese, and creamy egg yolk = creamy egg yolk.

I used a good amount of chicken stock to add flavor and to replace a portion of the cream.  I found jarred morels, but if you can find fresh ones, that's even better.

In case you need a recipe on how to make homemade duck confit, check out my recipe.


Take your duck confit out of the fat and place it skin down in a cold pan.  Start the pan over medium-low heat to render the fat from the skin and to crisp it up.

Break the duck leg apart with a spatula so you can crisp maximum surface area.

Cook for about 10 minutes after you break it up, making sure to turn it over every few minutes.

Slice your shallots, chop your morels, and wash your spinach.

Start the shallots in a pan with 1T of garlic butter and a little bit of olive oil over medium heat.  Saute until they develop a little bit of color.  Add in the morels and the spinach.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the spinach has mostly wilted.

Add in your cream and chicken stock, and reduce for another 5 minutes.  Throw in the grated cheese.

Cook your pasta al dente according to the directions on the package.

Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce, top with the duck confit, crack black pepper all over, and serve with an egg yolk per portion.

.5 lb / 250g pasta
4/5 cup / 200 ml chicken stock
2T cream
1/2 cup grated reggiano
1 cup chopped morels
3 shallots
1T garlic butter (or 1T butter, 2 cloves garlic, mashed to combine)
2 egg yolks
cracked black pepper

Song - I said prince of pasta, not Prince, but oh well here goes anyways:  Prince - Breakfast Can Wait

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sriracha Honey Garlic Glazed Chicken Wings [Zack]

Wings and sriracha.  Two of my favorite things to eat, combined into one dish?  Yessur.  This is what I'm bringing to the super bowl party tomorrow (the Europeans are watching it a day late).  Since these wings are done in the oven, you can make them if you don't want to grill outside and brave the polar vortex.  And I promise, you won't miss out on any flavor.

These wings are hot.  Not blow-your-face-off hot.  Just hot - the honey and butter take the edge off of the sriracha so you can enjoy the flavor of the sauce.

You can make these the day before the big game (or dinner) and then just pop them under the broiler to heat up the wings and caramelize the sugars in the glaze.


Pre-heat your oven to 350F / 175C.  Toss your chicken wings in the dry rub ingredients.

Put some canola oil on a baking sheet and mix the dry-rubbed chicken wings around in it.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

In a small sauce pot over medium-low heat, combine the 3T garlic butter and 2.5T honey until they both become liquid.

Add the 5T sriracha and 1tsp soy sauce and cook for about 10 minutes.  The sauce should thicken up a bit.

Take the wings out of the oven.  They should have developed some color, but not be browned.

Coat them in the sauce.  You can call it a day and put them in the fridge for another time.  Then, all you'll need to do is broil these badboys before serving.

Or, if you can't wait, crank your oven up to maximum broil and place the wings back in the oven.  Put them on the middle-high rack below the broiler.  Leave them under the heat until the sugar caramelizes (about 5 minutes).  Make sure to keep an eye on the wings and turn them over in the sauce to ensure even browning.

Serve hot!

30 wings
dry rub:
1T harissa powder (or hot paprika if you can't find it)
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp cracked black pepper
1tsp salt

Sriracha Honey Garlic Glaze:
3 heaping T of garlic butter (or 3T of butter, 3 cloves garlic chopped.  mash to combine)
2.5T honey
5T sriracha (to taste)
1tsp soy sauce

Song:  Storm Queen - Look Right Through

Friends of MT: Mama’s Chops [Steve]

Degree of Difficulty: Layup
Prep time: None
Cook time:  30 minutes

·       4 Pork Loin chops (for this recipe it is best to get cheap chops because they are usually thinner and get more tender)
·       1 packet of instant onion soup mix
·       1 can of mushroom soup mix
·       Canola oil

First wash your chops (why does that sound dirty to me?) and season lightly to taste. You don’t need much seasoning at all, as the sauce will handle the majority of the seasoning for this dish (I just use salt, pepper, paprika, and adobo).

Heat enough oil in skillet to coat the bottom of skillet (I probably put more oil than I needed in the pic below). Light fry chops, do not cook thoroughly.

Remove chops from skillet and place on a plate. Add can of soup or and about a ½ can of water to skillet.

Heat and stir till mixture is somewhat smooth it should be a somewhat thick gravy texture.

Add chops, top them with the packet of onion soup mix (I also added more water and a bit of soup in order to completely saturate the chops).

Continue simmering chops and soup mix in covered skillet over low heat, the longer the better  (as it will get more and more flavor) but it only really needs to sit until the chops are fully cooked. Feel free to stir the mix if you want and taste the gravy to make sure it’s to your liking.

When you’re all done, take the chops off and place them on a plate and cover in gravy.

We ate ours with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (why choose when you can have both?), and some baked asparagus in garlic sauce.

Please note we purposely only ate two of the chops and let the rest sit in the fridge.  This is one of those foods that I strongly believe taste better the next day as the chops are essentially marinating in the gravy.

Song to jam to: Outkast – “A few of my favorite things”

Friends of MT: Honey Ham Sandwich [Steve]

Drink: Honey Ham Sandwich [Steve]

Intro by Zack:

The first day Steve and I met, my former roommate Pete and I were having a drink at a party. We had brought our favorite Cognac along and Steve looked thirsty. We became friends immediately and were close ever since. By some stroke of luck (I’m not sure God would want to claim this one), both Steve and I received rotation assignments in Jacksonville, Florida and decided to live together. I think he was initially surprised at how well we got along as roommates, considering I’m a bit eccentric in the kitchen (among other things). We had a blast as roommates and he quickly established that he was the “grill man” of the house. We’d work together in the kitchen and then I’d let him handle the grilling while I prepared the sides. It worked out well and I now have weird pangs of longing for some of his steaks, burgers, or other grilled specialties.

One of my favorite memories of being in Jacksonville was when his mom came to visit and cooked pork chops for everyone. Tom and June came over for dinner and everyone enjoyed a ton of laughs and some good soul food. I can still picture the dinner in my mind. Steve has graciously provided us his own recipe for them so I can cook up a “slice of home” in Belgium.

Here are 2 of Steve's favorite things to make in the kitchen (entry by Steve):
I have a complex.  I’m super conscious of anything I feed to the few people who will admit to being my friends / family. You see, everyone around me makes better food than I do.

Best friend 1 (Zack):                                        CHECK
Best friend 2 (Pete):                                        CHECK
Every single Koulermos:                                  CHECK
Soon to be Koulermos (Lauren):                       CHECK
Mom:                                                             CHECK
Wife:                                                              CHECK

Essentially I am on the B team of every single person that I know who reads this wonderful website. So when Zack requested that I write some type of recipe I was a smidgen gun-shy. Sure, I have 3 maybe 4 things that I make pretty well. But beyond that I am a “guess and check” champion (meaning 50% of my food is delicious, 50% is edible …or ends up as dog food).

So for my first actual food recipe to the site I went with something super crazy easy and sticking with the theme I’ll call them Mama’s Chops (also it is loosely based on my Mom’s recipe).

And because Zack asked me to write something over a year ago it only felt right that I “contribute” two things.  So I decided to add a bonus item involving one thing I don’t think I’m too terrible at which is creating random alcoholic beverages (can you tell why Zack and Pete are my best friends) and then giving them equally random titles.

Let’ start with the drink… because you should always lead with what’s most important.

Drink: Honey Ham Sandwich [Steve]

This drink is essentially a mix of a Jack and Ginger (my go to dive bar drink), a whiskey old-fashioned (when I’m trying to keep it classy), and a touch of honey (because I’m a 9 year old boy trapped in a 27 year old man’s body). I’m terrible at measuring but I will try my best with this (sorry no pictures). Also feel free to add additional alcohol if you are a man (ehem Pete and Zack).

·         Honey Whiskey (if you don’t have it use regular whiskey and honey)
·         Lemon juice
·         Orange Bitters
·         Ginger ale
·         Ice

It’s super easy. Just pour the following in a shaker
·         4oz (2 double shots) of honey whiskey.
o   If you don’t have honey whiskey or want to be classy use regular whiskey and 2 T of honey (or more if you like sweets) to the shaker.  
§  Adding additional whisky would not be frowned upon.
·         2 dashes of orange bitters in the glass (if you’re feeling fancy you can you grate some orange grind)
·         1 dash of lemon juice
·         Fill remaining shaker with ice.

Shake all of that together. Put a couple of cubes of ice in an 8 oz glass. Fill the glass about halfway with your mix (leave the rest in the fridge for seconds). Pour about a shot or 2 of Ginger ale over the beverage. Then stir and enjoy. Note you can pretty much change any of these ingredients to scale it to your taste…

Song to jam to: Ying Yang Twins – “Shake” (I defy you not to dance to this awful song)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Friends of MT: Pete Patel's Spicy Chili [Pete]

Intro by Zack:

As a first entry to the “Friends of Mama Tommys” page, it’s appropriate to have someone very close to me post.  Pete and I were roommates for 3 years while we worked together in New Jersey.  He is one of my best friends and was a blast to live with.  Always up for a cooking adventure, we had some really fun dinner parties (and Wacky Wine Wednesdays).  We both learned a lot together in the kitchen and he taught me quite a few tricks.  My BBQ ribs would probably still be average if he had not taught me his methods.  Also, I attribute my ability to eat very spicy food to him.  I remember going through bottles of sriracha like it was ketchup – adding it to everything from eggs in the morning, to stir fries at night.  His training paid off – when our lease ran out and his parents took both of us in (while I was in transition to Europe for 3 months), his mom didn’t back off on the spice in her daily meals.  That was a huge compliment!

One night, Pete, Lauren and I had a chili contest.  We invited over about 15 friends, told them to bring some beers, and each of us made our favorite chili recipe.  Pete’s chili was spicy (as always) and a crowd favorite for sure.  He's been gracious enough to share his recipe with everyone.

Here is Pete's recipe from that night:

I am a two trick pony when it comes to cooking; I know ribs and Chili. To try and keep pace with the excellent smorgasbord of recipes on Mama Tommy’s I have to bring what I know best (Sorry it is going to be the Chili, the ribs perhaps another time). I will caveat my style of cooking by saying that when I cook I am never able to recreate the same thing twice due the fact that I blackout when I add the spices. That being said, please feel free to adjust the spice section to your taste, as the recipe is more of a base chili guide and the spices are bells and whistles.


Start off by opening one of the beers and taking a sip. Now that we are on the way you can start by cooking all three meats. I usually start with the beef, then the Sausage, and then finish off with the Bacon. Once the bacon is done I put them back on the cutting board and dice them into smaller pieces.


While the meats are cooking I start to dice the onions, peppers, and Chilies.  


Once the meats are done cooking we can begin to construct the chili. We start a large pot on the stove at medium heat with a little bit of olive oil inside. Once that gets hot enough I add the diced onions, peppers, garlic, and chilies and let them begin to cook. I stir occasionally and let them cook for 3-5 minutes, before moving the next step.

By this time you should at least be done with one of your beers, if not man up and finish the one you started (chug if you have to) then open up the second beer and start sipping.

For the next step, you can begin with adding some beer into the pot but I recommend a very small amount (1/4 of the bottle) just to give the chili some of the flavor.  Now that the veggies have been cooked I add the tomatoes (not the sauce), meat, and beans at this point. Let them heat up together with the veggies for another 3-5 minutes stirring frequently.

Next, I start adding the Sriracha sauce, spicy chili powder, any other spices you want (the ones I put in are pictured below), and tomato sauce. The reason you wait to add the tomato sauce until this point is that the chili will naturally start to create their own juices as the veggies cook. By adding the tomato sauce after everything goes in you can control the “sauciness” of the chili. I personally like it more meaty and chunky, but if you like it saucy, you can do the needful with the tomato sauce.

At this point you are basically done, turn the heat down a little bit and let the chili cook itself and reduce for 10 -15 minutes. Also your second beer should be completed by this point as well, if you haven’t completed it, your desire is in question.

When you are ready to eat put the chili in a bowl and just drop the coriander, chips, and some Cheese on top.

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Pound Hot Italian Sausage
6 Strips Bacon
1 Green Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper (Or Red Pepper, or whatever color of the rainbow Pepper you like)
1 Yellow Onion
1 Cup Beans (or 1 can of beans)
Garlic powder (or actual crushed garlic)
3 Tomatoes (or Canned Diced Tomatoes)
2 Cans Tomato Sauce
Lemon Pepper
6 Birds Eye Chili’s
Sriracha Sauce
1-6 Tablespoons Spicy Chili Powder (not paprika, this has to have a kick; we buy from the Indian Store)
Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Beers

Music track: “Low Rider”  by  War
Serving Size: Your family and then some