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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Something Worth Crying About


“An honest laborious Country-man, with good Bread, Salt and a little Parsley, will make a contented Meal with a roasted Onion.”

—John Evelyn (17th Century English diarist)


©2014 Chris Terrell
One of the best uses for onions:
French onion soup
I have a large basket in my kitchen where I keep produce and bread. This basket invariably contains one or two onions, a few garlic cloves or shallots, and perhaps occasionally some leeks. And while the fridge and panty may be a bit low on provisions, these few items are enough to make a contented meal indeed. 

Onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks are all part of the allium genus and have been on our plates and in our bowls for a long time. The onion originated in northern Asia and Palestine and has been cultivated for more than five thousand years.

Onions range in flavor from sweet to pungent, but in either form they enhance the flavor of almost any dish. The same is no less true about garlic. Without it, Italian and French food would not be the same. Shallots’ sweetness and subtle flavor gives food an onion flavor without the harshness of an onion. Thus, they can be served raw and diced in a mustard vinaigrette. But . . .  leeks? Where to begin! With their full and rich flavor, they stand on their own as a dish, such as the iconic French dish, poireaux vinaigrette (more on that below).

Unless you’ve been using your microwave to eat Hot Pockets your entire life and have never even owned another piece of kitchen equipment, then you have probably experienced burning tears when cutting an onion or even a shallot. What’s that all about? It’s basic chemistry. 

When you cut an onion, you break millions of tiny cells, which causes an enzyme to freely mix with sulfenic acids to produce some crazy thing called propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfuric gas that wafts up into your eyes. (Yes, I know this sounds like some kind of 1950s horror movie!) The gas then reacts with the water in your tears and forms sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away. Thankfully, cooking onions inactivates the enzyme. Otherwise, we wouldn’t eat them! 

Unless you want to wear safety goggles, there’s not much you can do to prevent the tears. I have actually tried swimming googles but then couldn’t see what I was doing. I decided that I would gladly trade a few tears for a few stitches on my index finger! I’ve also read that running a fan or cutting the onions under running water works. Again, sharp knife, wet slippery onions—not a good plan. And here’s the strangest one of all: take a match, light it, then blow it out, and then hold said smoldering match between your teeth as you cut the onion. This one doesn’t  work either—I’ve tried it too!  But all those tears are worth the price—a culinary road to Canossa if you will—whose reward is the sweet smell of onions slowly caramelizing into a rich golden brown on the stove.

Here are two of my favorite recipes involving the genus allium, one from Julia Child and her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and one from David Lebovitz’s, My French Kitchen. Bon appetite and feel free to cry!

Julia Child’s Onion Soup

The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2 1/2 hours at least from start to finish. Though the preliminary cooking in butter requires some watching, the actual simmering can proceed almost unattended.

For 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil
A heavy-bottomed, 4 quart covered saucepan
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (helps the onions to brown)
2 quarts of boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
3 tablespoon cognac [In my opinion, optional]
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread [You can also use stale, day-old French bread]
1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese [I always use Gruyere!]
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 mins.

Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.

Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning. Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to the simmer.

Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into a soup tureen or soup cups over the rounds of and pass the cheese separately. [Now this is where I part ways with Ms. Child, I slice the Gruyere and heap it on top of the individual soup bowls and place under the broiler until melted and browned.]

David Lebovitz’s Poireaux Vinaigrette À La Moutarde et Aux Lardons
(Leeks with mustard-bacon vinaigrette)

Traditionally the leeks were cooked in a big pot of boiling water. However, it’s better to steam them, which prevents them from getting waterlogged. Smaller leeks, which appear in the springtime…are preferable for this dish because they’re quite tender, although larger leeks are just fine, too. Just make sure that you clean the leeks very well…, and cook them until they’re completely soft all the way through.

[According to Mr. Leibovitz, it is imperative that, if you are serving these to any Parisian friends you may have, the leeks be arranged tête a queue (head to tail).]

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Bacon Vinaigrette 

2 cups (200g) thick-cut smoked bacon cut into lardons 
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
3 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil [I prefer Canola.]
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

5 large or 10 small leeks, well cleaned
2 hard-cooked eggs 

Preparation

To make the vinaigrette, cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet until nearly crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. When cool, chop the bacon into pieces about the size of tine peas.

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and salt. Whisk in the oils, 1 tablespoon at a time (the sauce may emulsify, which is fine), then stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley and two-thirds of the bacon. Set aside.

To prepare the leeks, fill a large pot fitted with a steamer with a couple of inches of water. Bring it to a boil over high heat and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until tender; when you poke them with a sharp paring knife, it should meet no resistance at the root ends. (Smaller leeks willtake about 15 minutes, and larger ones will take about 30 minutes.)

Remove the leeks and let drain and cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut the leeks in half crosswise, and arrange on a serving platter, alternating them head to tail.

Peel and dice the hard-cooked eggs and scatter them over the leeks. Pour the vinaigrette over the leeks and toss them and the pieces of egg in the dressing so they’re thoroughly coated, then  scatter over the remaining bacon pieces and parsley.











Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meals on Wheels

Recently, I watched the movie Chef, and while I don’t expect this movie to win and Academy Award, much less be nominated, it was nonetheless a pleasant diversion. The movie stars Jon Favreau, who plays Carl Caspar, a once-hailed chef. After a scathing review by a renowned critic and blogger, Caspar discovers that he’s not cooking what he wants to cook. Rather, he is forced to sling the tired old staples that the uncreative owner (played by Dustin Hoffman), thinks people really want. This tension between the comfortable and the new is a never-ending battle in the culinary world that will never be won: 

Riva: Look, if you bought Stones tickets and Jagger didn't play Satisfaction, how would you feel? Would you be happy?

Carl Casper: No.

Riva: No! You'd burn the place to the f___king ground.

Carl's solution is to buy a food truck so he can make the food that's his passion. In this case, Cuban sandwiches.

This  movie got me thinking about my latest pipe dream (the previous one being a Bourdain-esque culinary-travel TV show): gourmet hot dog food truck! Like the Cubanos Carl makes in Chef, hot dogs are the ultimate street food. (And next to pizza, my favorite.)

The genius of the food truck is its accessibility, both for the owner and the patron. A food truck costs about $250,000 to get up and running. And while this is not exactly chump change, it is certainly a lot less than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Food trucks can also be found in places where good food is usually hard to find. 

Of course, food trucks are having their Über moment—opposition from established restaurants who obviously have more political clout and don’t like the competition. This leads to—you guessed—ridiculous, anti-consumer, anti-competitive regulation. Yet, despite all these hurdles, there seems to be a new food truck rolling out every week. 

So, what would the menu be for my gourmet hot dog food truck? Here’s my first run at it:

Fat Louie


All beef dog with caramelized onions, melted gruyere cheese and sauce of mayo, Dijon mustard and diced cornichons, all served on a baguette

Big Sur

Turkey sausage, diced avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro

Hemingway

Pork sausage with Manchego and smoked Spanish paprika aioli

Spicy Kahuna


Pork dog with roasted pineapple and jalapeño salsa 


Carolina

Pork dog with slaw and Carolina style BBQ sauce

Patagonia

Beef dog with chimichurri sauce and diced red onion

The Big Easy

Pork dog with olive salad and remoulade sauce 

The Bandito

Beef dog with chipotle ketchup and banana peppers.

The next step is to test these recipes to find out if they taste as good as they sound on paper. I did that with two of them this past weekend: the Fat Louie and the Spicy Kahuna. The most important thing I learned is that one should wash one’s hands THOROUGHLY after cutting jalapeño peppers and before placing said hands anywhere near one’s eyes! Thank God for Benadryl! The other lesson I learned is that caramelizing onions is not easy to do while trying to watching a ridiculously close Alabama-Arkansas football game. 

But, at the end of the day, these two dogs turned out pretty good.


Maybe, just maybe, I’ve got a future in the food truck business! And if one of my readers out there happens to have a spare $250,000 laying around and thinks a gourmet hot dog food truck sounds like a good investment, then give me a call!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Making the Cut

Recently, I had dinner at an upscale steak house in Scottsdale, Arizona, and their menu had a interesting addition. On the back was a chart showing all the various cuts of beef. Talk about knowing where your food comes from! If I were some kind of über-foodie-bureaucrat, I would require that all steak houses include such a chart on their menus. I would do this for several reasons. First, if you are going to be a serious consumer of steak, you need to know how the flavor and texture profiles of steak are influenced by how it's cut. Second, if you are going to be serious about cooking steak, then you need to know which cuts work best with the cooking technique involved—e.g. braising, roasting, or grilling. 

In order to understand steak, you first need to know the “primal” cuts. This is not a reference to our stone-age ancestors or what you may see in the supermarket labeled as “prime cut.” Rather, primal cuts are the large, portions of meat cut during the initial butchering. In other words, think of “primal cuts” (e.g.,  chuck, flank, or short loin) as states and the steaks that come these primal cuts (e.g., pot roast, skirt steak, or Porterhouse) as cities. 

Not all cuts of beef are the same, and this has a lot to do with biology. Don’t forget that you are consuming something that was once alive—it moved around, or at least it should have. Because an animal's legs and neck muscles do the most work in terms of walking and eating, they are the strongest and, consequently, the toughest. And the farthest one gets from the “horn” and “hoof,” the more tender the meat gets. This is where how one cooks beef starts to make sense.

Less tender cuts of meat—e.g, brisket, chuck pot roast, rump roast, or flank steak—produce the best results when cooked slowly, either braising or roasting. Personally, I think braising is an underrated way to cook meat.

The more tender cuts—e.g., sirloin, filet, rib eye—are better cooked quickly, either on the grill, pan fried or pan roasted. Of these, everyone considers the filet (a/k/a “Filet Mignon”) to be the creme-de-la-creme of steaks because of its tenderness and melt-in-your-mouth quality. But at the end of the day, the filet doesn’t pack a lot of flavor. This is why it should be marinated (more on that later) or served with a sauce, such as Béarnaise. But if you want real “steak” flavor, you can’t go wrong with the New York strip. (It was the steak my Dad got for grilling every Saturday night.) All you need is a hot grill or cast iron skillet, some salt and pepper, maybe some butter if you are using the skillet, and you’re done. The steak’s flavor does the rest. No need for a fancy sauce.

But why is it called “New York Strip”? In 1837, Delmonico's Restaurant, which proclaimed itself “America’s first fine dining restaurant,” had as one of its signature dishes, a cut from the short loin, called—you guessed it—a Delmonico steak. Because the Delmonico steak became associated with the City from whence it came, it has been referred to as a New York strip ever since.

A few paragraphs back, I talked about filets and how they need a marinade or sauce to really make it work. The best marinade for a filet is, in my humble opinion, Dale’s Steak Seasoning. Dale’s was the “house” steak sauce for an old restaurant in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, called Dale’s Cellar Restaurant, so named because it was located in the cellar of a multi-story apartment building. It was also air-conditioned, something prominently advertised, and something that was no small amenity in 1949! This marinade works with any kind of meat, but steak especially. I take a nice fillet, put it in a Ziploc bag with some Dale’s and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes; throw it on a hot grill; and instant nirvana!


Just goes to show you: you don’t need a fancy steakhouse to enjoy a good steak!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, 11:30AM

One of my favorite meals is brunch. I like it because of its idiosyncratic rituals and traditions.


Brunch is best served on a Sunday with a good, strong Bloody Mary. Why Sunday and why a Bloody Mary? Do you really have to ask? Brunch, done right, is the antidote for the late-night poker game with the guys; the dinner party that lingered a little too long; or the plain ol’ “painting-the-town-red” kind of night.

The Bloody Mary is the perfect drink for brunch. It’s just boozy enough, but not too over the top. After all, you are likely drinking before noon, or at least you should be. (I like to start brunch around 11:30, so I can watch the horrified faces of the after-church crowd walk past my table—me, with the unkempt hair and the guts of the Sunday New York Times insouciantly piled on my table next to my second Bloody Mary—“obviously, I’ve been here a while folks!”)   Also, the Bloody Mary is  not completely unhealthy. After all, tomatoes are full of things called lycopene and antioxidants, which I’ve been told are good for you. And don’t forget about that celery stalk! Some good roughage there!

So where did the Bloody Mary come from? Like most great drinks, its provenance is shrouded in mystery and controversy. As the old saying goes, success has many fathers, and so does the Bloody Mary. One version has it invented in the 1930s by a bartender named Henry Zbikiewicz at New York's 21 Club. Another version claims that the comedian George Jessel, who frequented the 21 Club, invented it. A third version, and the one I will go with, is that Fernand Petiot, the bartender at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York, invented it in 1934. I’ve been to the King Cole Bar, and they do a great Bloody Mary, though it will cost you a pretty penny.

Here’s the recipe Mr. Petiot gave to New Yorker magazine in July 1964: 

I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour. 

Of course, brunch is more than just booze served before noon. As the name implies, brunch presents a culinary conundrum. Sweet or savory? Eggs or waffles? French toast or grits? This is why, for me, brunch has a golden hour. Too early and all you want is typical breakfast food, but too late and you want more in the way of lunch food. Recently, I had a great brunch that was the perfect combination of the two: chicken and waffles. Now, if you’ve never tried this kind of soul food, then you have seriously missed out. Chicken and waffles is a sublime combination of sweet and savory. Of course, one can never go wrong with the classic Eggs Benedict. And if you are asking yourself where that dish came from, then you guessed it: who knows! This origin of Eggs Benedict, like the Bloody Mary, is surrounded by controversy. Suffice it to say, it apparently originated in New York City.

So, we have our Bloody Mary and our chicken and waffles or Eggs Benedict. What’s left? Companionship! Brunch is equally enjoyable alone, immersed in your newspaper of choice (mine—New York Times); with just one other person (who may have his or her Sunday paper of choice different from yours—New York Post perhaps); or with a large, boisterous group of friends or family. Either way, you can’t go wrong: a belly full of food and booze and the fading embers of the weekend.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pasta Part 2

Lately, I’ve been training for a marathon to be held in late October. At this point in my training, the weekly long runs are getting longer and longer (today’s was 22 miles). That means a lot of what runners call “carb loading”—storing glycogen to fuel your body. And what’s the most popular—and tasty—method of carb loading? Pasta!

So, I decided to make what I call spaghetti bolognese. Bolognese sauce, which is known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce from Bologna, Italy. And like many old, traditional dishes, no two recipes are alike. (The first published recipe for ragù wasn't until 1891.)

In Bologna, ragù is served on a bed of tagliatelle pasta. Elsewhere, especially the United States, bolognese contains minced meat and tomatoes dominate much more than the original. (“Traditional” ragù contains no tomatoes, except for some tomato paste. ) Perhaps, in order to avoid all these technicalities, Americans whether of Italian extraction or not, simply call it “spaghetti with meat sauce” and call it a night. 


My recipe is slightly different from the “traditional” ragù and is more of a meld between what we call in the United States “spaghetti sauce” and what a nonna in Bologna would call ragù. I’ll start with the official version first.

On October 17, 1982, the Bolognese chapter of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, "after having carried out long and laborious investigations and conducted studies and research,” decreed the following recipe to be the official one for classic ragù alla bolognese. 

Official Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

1  5-oz. piece pancetta, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 lb. ground skirt steak
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. Homemade Tomato Paste
1 1/2 cups milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. heavy cream
Homemade Tagliatelle (You can cheat and buy the stuff at the local Piggly Wiggly.)


Preparation

1. Put the pancetta into a heavy-bottomed medium pot (preferably terra-cotta) over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the skirt steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until broken up and lightly browned and beginning to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Add the wine to the pot; cook until evaporated, about 4 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the tomato paste and 2 tbsp. water; add to the pot and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally and adding some of the milk, little by little, until all the milk is added and the sauce is very thick, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

4. Season the ragù with salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Toss with farfalle, fresh tagliatelle, or the pasta of your choice. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.

The Insouciant Chef’s Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

2 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
1 package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage (5 links) with the casings removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of good olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red wine
2 garlic cloves minced
Oregano to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2  teaspoons ground fennel
3-4 basil leaves finely chopped
Preparation
In a large, heavy pot (preferably a Dutch oven), sauté the onion, green bell pepper, and carrots with salt and pepper on medium high heat until soft; add garlic and sauté for about a minute or until fragrant; reduce the temperature to low, cover, and sweat the vegetables for about 10-15 minutes. 
Add red wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, tomatoes (hand crushed and with liquid) and bring to a good simmer. Incorporate the oregano, red pepper, fennel, and basel.
In a separate sauté pan, brown the sausage and incorporate into the sauce; reduce to a low simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste periodically and add salt, pepper, etc., to suit your tastes.


Try them both out and see which one you like better, or make your own!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Authentic __________ [Insert Name of Cuisine Here]

The most overused word in the foodie universe these days is “authentic.”  And, to avoid accusations of hypocrisy, I freely admit that I have probably used the word myself. How many times have you heard someone mention—usually with a tone of self-satisfaction—a restaurant where the food was the authentic embodiment of some country or people’s cuisine (usually the more exotic the better)? Really, how would they know? Have they actually been to Kerala region of India? 

So what does it mean for a particular dish to be “authentic?” More importantly, authentic to whom, when and where?

The increased culinary emphasis of authenticity is a blessing and a curse—the product of the increasingly diverse nature of culinary options in America today. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t have talked about an “authentic” Indian or Vietnamese restaurant because we were lucky to have a third-rate Chinese restaurant serving lo mien. Now, we have cafes offering banh mi sandwiches with southern style barbecue sauce. But does that make that banh mi any less authentic than one served from a truck in Hanoi? 

A recent trip to Huntington, West Virginia, provides a perfect example. I was in town on business; it was late; I was hungry. Like many of us, I grabbed my iPhone and pulled up the Urbanspoon app and found a place called Black Sheep Burritos and Brews. It got a pretty good rating and seemed halfway decent, so I decided to give it a try. I thought I’d find the typical burrito there, but to my surprise, they served one with Hawaiian pork-confit with a grilled pineapple glaze, shaved red cabbage and fried plantains; and one called the “Bulgogi,” with ginger and sesame marinated flank steak, kimchi, and cilantro Dijon and smoked  cashews. The one that really caught my eye, however, was a curry burrito. Vindaloo spiced chicken with smoked peach chutney, seasoned rice, all topped with a curry sauce.  Of course, this is not even remotely “authentic” Indian, but then again neither is chicken Tikka masala (the national dish of England).

A nation’s cuisine is not monolithic. It is inaccurate to speak of one kind of “French,” “Italian,” or “Indian” food because what people eat varies so widely within their own borders. Classic haute cuisine in Paris would be foreign to people raised on the rustic stews of Southwest France. The red sauce that Americans associate with Italian food is rarely found in the cuisine of Northern Italy. And what most Americans consider “Indian”—a country of a billion people—comes from just one rather modest-sized region. If anything, authenticity is a concentric circle that expands outward from the home to the larger world. The authenticity of my mom’s fried chicken did not extend past the front door, and North Carolina style barbecue ceases to exist once you drive into South Carolina. Authenticity is also about time, as much as place, because like any human cultural endeavor, cuisines evolve over time. For example, what is “American” cuisine? Is it jelled veal from colonial New Hampshire (yes, this is a real dish) or a turducken? 


With the world getting smaller and the international travel ever more routine, maybe one day there will be something called “world cuisine,” the last concentric circle. Pizza is seen as American more than Italian, with a pie from a NYC pizzeria no less authentic than one from the Piazza Navona in Rome. Heck, you can get chicken Vindaloo burrito in a small restaurant in Huntington, West Virginia!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Where'd You Go Joe?!

© 2014 Chris Terrell
In my last post, I wrote about school cafeteria lunches from my childhood. One obvious dish I failed to mention was the sloppy Joe! I loved sloppy Joes growing up. We got them at least once a week at school (Friday?). And my mom would make them too. She used a can mix called Manwich. I can still recall their ad slogan: “A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal.” And yes it was, albeit a messy one, and that was part of its charm—the one time a kid was allowed to be messy at dinner.

The sloppy Joe was born in 1930—the height of the Great Depression—in a diner in Sioux City, Iowa. It was named after the cook, a guy named “Joe.” Other than that, his true identity is long-forgotten. 

And then I got to thinking. Does anyone eat sloppy Joes anymore, especially kids? I’m not so sure. Maybe sloppy Joes have an image problem—perceived as being unhealthy and overly processed, anathema to our locally scored, organic food zeitgeist. I suspect that Alice Waters would rather choke on an organic rutabaga than eat a sloppy Joe. 

Of course, this is unfair. A sloppy Joe sandwich is nothing more than ground beef, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, and seasoning. As such, it is really no more “unhealthy” than a hamburger, which, as far as I know, is doing quite well in America. Think of the sloppy Joe as a deconstructed hamburger. 

I asked my kids if they had ever had a sloppy Joe, and they said “yes.” I was surprised because I was pretty sure I had never made them one. They said it was during a trip to the lake and a friend’s mom had made one. I asked, “from a can?” “Yes,” they replied. Feeling somewhat guilty that I had never made them a sloppy Joe sandwich, I decided then and there that for dinner that night, sloppy Joes were on the menu. Except mine would be from scratch.  Here’s the recipe:

Sloppy Joe 
Ingredients

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
16 oz. ground beef
2 cups canned tomato sauce
4 tsp. Worcestershire
2 tsp. chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
4-6 hamburger buns, toasted

Preparation
1. Heat oil in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes.
2. Add beef and cook until browned, stirring so that the meat breaks up into small pieces, about 8 minutes.
3. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire, chili powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thick, about 10 minutes.
4. Divide between buns and serve.
And like the hamburger, the sloppy Joe can easily shed its work-a-day clothes, throw on some Armani and, voila!, go gourmet. Just think of the possibilities. A tandoori sloppy Joe, a foie gras sloppy Joe (hell, Daniel Boulud has a foie gras burger!), a southwestern-style sloppy Joe with chipotle peppers and ancho chili powder. I think the sloppy Joe’s renewed day in the sun may be quickly approaching. All it needs is a bearded hipster to put it on the menu in a restaurant in Brooklyn. Instant rock star status!