Our Last Meal

thomas-and-jake-farewell

Some meals you just don’t want to end. The ambiance is perfect, the company lively and welcoming and, most importantly, the food is fantastic. But eventually the check arrives, or your hosts shoo you out, or you get tired and start doing dishes in the hopes your guests will get the point. The time has come dear friends for us to start doing the dishes. After 4 years, hundreds of recipes published (and even more left in the test kitchen), and some great and not-so-great dishes we regret to tell you that we’ve served our last course. You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. To quote the great Alice Cooper, school’s…out…for…ever.

We’d like to thank our parents for giving us a taste for adventure (and hot dish), and teaching us that vacations are to be planned around what meal or snack we can have next. To our friends and greatest fans: thanks for anticipating our next post, for coming to us for advice on cooking (it made us feel important), and for always eagerly volunteering to try our latest concoctions, good or bad. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

If you can’t quit us you can head on over to Adventures in Red and Brown,
where Jake is continuing with cooking and expanding into cocktails, beers, housewares, travel, basically anything that suits him and his fiancee’s fancy. You’ll get your fix of Thomas too; he’s the resident graphic designer and contributor. Thanks again for all of your support.

— Jake & Thomas Brown —

The Rye Smile

A complex quaffable.

A robust rye refreshment not for delicate palates.

Beer cocktails have been in the steady rotation for us over the past couple of months (which is partially why we’ve been so lax in posting). In a recent stroke of madness/genius, Jake decided to try a little rye on rye action with a dash of complexity from Cynar and a sweet finish courtesy of Cherry Heering. This one’s full of big flavors that will make you smile like you’re in on an inside joke…or just like you’ve had a pint glass full of liquor.

Equipment Needed: Pint Glass, Cocktail Spoon, Jigger or Shot Glass

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz rye whiskey (about $30/750 ml)
  • 1/2 oz Cynar (about $25/750 ml)
  • 1/2 oz Cherry Heering (about $30/750 ml)
  • 12 oz rye IPA (we used Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA, about $10.99/6 pack)
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary for garnish ($1.50/ sprig)

Preparation:

  • Pour in your hard liquors and stir them together. Add the rye beer and stir slowly to mix further without making everything foam up. If you want to dilute the drink now’s the time to add an ice cube or two.
  • Garnish with rosemary. Drink, smile wryly, repeat.

Caramelized Onion Butter

Face it, your gonna eat it until you're out of bread.

Face it, your gonna eat it until you’re out of bread.

We’re not sure why it took us so long to understand that mixing things into your butter is awesome. And why wouldn’t it be? Fat + anything = awesome (this is a well known tenet of string theory; just sayin’). Better yet, it’s easy and adds just the right amount of little lilly-guilding to any occasion. If any of this sounds unappealing just head back to BuzzFeed or whatever the hell else you were doing. If the thought of having caramelized onions…in butter form…to spread on whatever you want gives you culinary wood then keep reading.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Wooden Spoon, Serving Spoon, Small Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Serving Dish (to hold the finished butter)

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Suggested Beer Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1-2 TBSP dark maple syrup ($6.99/8 oz)
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar ($2.79/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Put a stick of butter in a small mixing bowl so it comes to room temperature by the time  you’re ready to add the onions.
  • Peel and finely dice your onion. You want super small pieces so they caramelize quickly and you aren’t eating big chunks once you fold everything together.
  • Put your frying pan over medium heat. After about a minute, add 1 tablespoon of the room temp butter and throw in the onion. Stir them until the butter has melted and let them sit for 3 minutes. Add a liberal sprinkling of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper and let sit for another 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the apple cider vinegar, stir and let sit for another 3 minutes.
  • Pour the maple syrup over the top, stir and let sit for another 3 minutes. From here on out, stir the now caramelicious onions every 3 minutes until they’ve reduced to about a quarter of the original size; this will take about 20 minutes or more.
If you can find it. use dark amber maple syrup for a richer flavor.

If you can find it. use dark amber maple syrup for a richer flavor.

  • Remove the onions from the frying pan and let them cool to room temperature. Add them to your small mixing bowl with the softened butter. Using a spoon, slowly fold all that deliciousness evenly into the butter and then transfer it to your serving container.
Thoroughly stir the whole lot so you equally distribute the caramely goodness.

Thoroughly stir the whole lot so you equally distribute the caramely goodness.

  • If you want to roll it up you can use the same technique that we did for our melted leek and bacon butter; it’s a fancier presentation but takes a little more effort. Either way, let the whole lot sit in the fridge for at least an hour before you serve. It’ll last in the icebox for up to 5 days but that probably won’t be an issue.

It’s Valentine’s Day (but you already knew that)

Whether you're hoping to get hit with an arrow or running away from this little bastard, we've got you covered.

Whether you’re hoping to get hit with an arrow or running away from this little bastard, we’ve got you covered.

You started seeing cards and heart-laden decorations in stores before the Christmas trees were even down. You’ve read every listicle from every publisher about what to get your sweetheart, where to eat, what to say, what to cook, or how to celebrate anti-Valentine’s day but here you are. It’s noon, you’re trolling the Interwebs and realize you’ve read about being prepared but haven’t actually prepared anything. Fear not—just like we saved your ass for the Super Bowl, we’re gonna do the same for V-Day. Whether you’re celebrating with that special someone, mocking the day with others, or cooking happily by yourself we’ve put together some simple meal ideas to keep the effort minimal and the results maximal.

Dining Solo: the company’s good and you don’t have to argue over what to eat.

Anti-Valentine’s Dinner: fu*k you, Hallmark. Work on making Grandparent’s Day a bigger thing.

The Lovers’ Meal: gaze amorously into each others eyes and eat these heartwarming classics

Dessert: whether you’re hating or participating there’s no reason not to make the Elvis Pie.

  • To make things quicker, get a store-bought graham cracker crust.
  • You can also save time by using raw bananas and not baking them
  • You can save even more time by slicing and frying the bacon, then tossing it in maple syrup before mixing it in the pie

Mexican Snakebite

A fruity, smoky one-two punch to your wake winter-addled taste buds.

A fruity, smoky one-two punch to your wake winter-addled taste buds.

It’s that special time of year where winter refuses to release its icy grip and spring  keeps hinting that it’s just around the corner. 62 and sunny one day, then 30 and snowing the next. It’s enough to drive you to drink; thankfully we’ve got you covered. The Mexican Snakebite features apple cider and cinnamon to satisfy those winter flavor cravings, while the añejo tequila is a smoky little stomach sombrero to remind you that warmer days are nigh.

Equipment Needed: Rocks Glass, Spoon, Shot Glass

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot añejo tequila (about $30/750ml)
  • 8 oz hard apple cider (we used Naked Flock Pumpkin, about $7.99/22 oz)
  • 1 stick cinnamon ($3.59/2 oz jar)
  • Ground cinnamon ($3.49/2.4 oz)

Preparation:

  • Pour the cider into your rocks glass then add the tequila.
  • Add a dash of ground cinnamon (or two if you’re feeling wild) and give it a light stir. Drop in a cinnamon stick for garnish and a nice warming layer.

Super Bowl Snacking: The Two Minute Drill

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You told yourself you wouldn’t do it this year. That you’d be ready and have everything planned out. Now, here it is, a mere 5 hours before kick off (10 if you count all the pre-game bullsh*t), and you’ve got no food ready. You may not have even hit the store yet. Well fear not, we’ve got you covered. Check out the links from our past recipes below for quick and easy crowd pleasers, then get your ass to the store, man! You can thank us later.

Let’s start with the most important thing, drinks.

Now for some snacks and appetizers.

My Bloody Valentine

Love your liver.

Love is in the air and more likely than not you’re trying to figure out a little something to impress the object of your affection. With three simple ingredients and the twirl of a spoon you can make yourself a couple glasses of pure sexy: slightly sweet, slightly tart, a little floral, and hard to take your hands off. Plan to make twice as many as you think you’ll need; your night’s about to get interesting.

Equipment Needed: Champagne Flute, Citrus Juicer or Reamer, 2 Storage Containers w/ Lids (16 oz or larger), Strainer, Spoon, Bar Spoon or Swizzle Stick

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz blood orange juice (blood oranges are about $2.99/lb; 10 average sized oranges yield about 2 cups of juice)
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain (about $30/750 ml)
  • 3 oz sparkling wine (about $18/750 ml for the decent stuff)

Preparation:

  • If you can find blood orange juice already pressed you’re golden. Otherwise, slice your oranges in half and use your juicing implement of choice to get to it. Squeeze the liquid into one of your storage containers until you’ve got enough for your crowd.
  • You’re going to want to strain the pulp and skin pieces out; a chewy cocktail is not sexy. To do so, put a strainer over another storage container and pour the juice through it. Using the back of a spoon press down gently on the solids and get the remaining liquid out. Be careful not to press too hard, you’ll just be pushing the pulp back into the mix.
Move the spoon gently over the solids to squeeze out any remainders of the juice.

Move the spoon gently over the solids to squeeze out any remainders of the juice.

  • Now to the drink itself. Take a champagne flute and pour in some sparkling wine. Add a splash of blood orange juice and top it off with the St. Germain. Stir very gently a couple of times so the flavors meld. Link arms, drink, and repeat.

Roasted Squash and Fontina Sandwiches

A hearty and warming sandwich that captures the best of winter.

Comfort food style without the gut bomb results.

Winter. It’s still here and all the comfort food you’ve been indulging in probably isn’t doing much for your waistline (we’re wearing this season’s finest mesh shorts at this point). Enter the roasted squash sandwich: well portioned, extremely flavorful, filling, and somewhat healthy as long as you use the meat and cheese more as garnish than a centerpiece. It’s a hearty and handheld meal that may even have you wishing for the groundhog to see his shadow.

Equipment Needed: 2 Large Baking Sheets or Baking Dishes, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Serving Spoon, Vegetable Peeler, Tongs or Spatula

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, lighter Chiantis

Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Oktoberfest or Autumn Ales, Winter Ales

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about $1.49/lb)
  • 1 large onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 garlic cloves ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 apples (about $2.99/lb)
  • 6 oz fontina cheese (about $12.99/lb)
  • 8 slices sourdough bread ($3.99/loaf)
  • 8 slices Prosciutto ($17.99/lb)
  • 3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground allspice ($3.69/2 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground cinnamon ($3.49/2.4 oz)
  • 2-3 TSP brown sugar ($1.59/lb)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Peel the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Once both sides are clean, slice them cross-wise into 1/2 inch pieces. Spread them evenly across your baking sheet.
Slice the pieces as uniformly as possible so they cook evenly.

Slice the pieces as uniformly as possible so they cook evenly.

  • Peel and halve the onion, then slice it crosswise into 1/4 inch slices and place them on the baking sheet as well. It’ll probably be a little crowded at this point but try not to overlap the veggies too much.
  • Peel and mince the garlic cloves and sprinkle them across all of the veggies. Drizzle your olive oil over the whole lot and give it a dusting of the allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes.
Season the veggies more aggressively if you don't plan to use condiments for your sandwich.

Season the veggies more aggressively if you don’t plan to use condiments for your sandwich.

  • While things are roasting you can prepare your other fillings. Cut your apples in half, remove the cores and slice them into thin pieces. Slice the fontina as well and set aside.
  • On a separate baking sheet lay out 4 pieces of your bread to get it ready for the fillings. Once 20 minutes has passed, flip your veggies and pop them back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until they’re nicely browned and fork tender.
  • When the squash and onions are done, layer them on the bread and then place your proscuitto, apples, fontina, and other slice of bread on top. Pop them back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted nicely and the bread is lightly toasted. Cut them in half and serve with some whole grain or honey mustard if desired.
Try to avoid piling your sandwich fillings too high so everything doesn't squeeze out the sides when you bite it.

Try to avoid piling your sandwich fillings too high so everything doesn’t squeeze out the sides when you bite it.

Leek and Bacon Butter

Welcome to your new obsession: trying to figure out the myriad things you can use to make compound butter

Welcome to your new obsession: trying to figure out the myriad things you can use to make compound butter.

We hope you came off your January detox as quickly as we did because we’ve got one more delicious ditty to add to the seemingly infinite lists of food trends for the year: compound butter. Yes folks, it is possible to actually make butter more delicious and it simply entails mixing things in with it. To absolutely no one’s surprise we chose bacon as our gateway compound. But wait, there’s more! We also caramelized some leeks to give it a sweet and slightly vegetal backbone. You can use this to make any dish more interesting (potatoes, roasted veggies and pasta come to mind) but we’re betting you’ll do what we did and just end up eating most of it on fresh bread. Resolutions be damned.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, Serving Spoon, Small Mixing Bowl, Medium Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Parchment Paper or Wax Paper, Plastic Wrap

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Suggested Beer Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick and 3 TBSP unsalted butter (divided) ($4.99/lb)
  • 1 small leek (about $2.99/lb)
  • 1 clove garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon ($7.99/lb)

Preparation:

  • Do two things before you start to save yourself a lot of mess 1)Put a stick of butter in your medium mixing bowl. You want it room temperature when you’re ready to make things compound. 2) Lay out a 12 inch piece of parchment paper so you’re literally ready to roll once the leeks have melted down.
  • Cut the green woody end and the root end off of the leek. Halve it lengthwise and then cut each piece into thin half-moon slices. Put them in your small mixing bowl and pour cold water over everything. Swish them around to loosen the dirt and then drain and pat them dry.
Leeks have a knack for getting dirt in them so you may need to rinse twice.

Leeks have a knack for getting dirt in them so you may need to rinse twice.

  • Peel and mince your garlic clove. Set it aside until later in the leek melting process.
  • Slice the bacon strips crosswise into thin pieces, then chop those pieces into super tiny chunks so they incorporate easier. Place them in the frying pan over medium heat and crisp them up for about 5-8 minutes (you want them crunchy; this isn’t for debate). Remove the pieces and set them on a paper towel to drain, but leave the grease in the pan.
Chop the bacon into tiny pieces so it mixes, spreads and is easier to eat.

Chop the bacon into tiny pieces so it mixes, spreads and is easier to eat.

  • Add the sliced leeks to the pan along with 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir everything around so it’s well-coated and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Stir, let sit, and repeat for about 8-10 minutes then turn the heat to low, add the garlic and cook for another 10-12 minutes until the leeks are well caramelized.
  • Remove the frying pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Add the veggies and the bacon to your small mixing bowl with the softened butter. Using a spoon, slowly fold all that deliciousness evenly into the butter and plop it down on the parchment paper you laid out.
  • The next part is more art than science. Think like you’re rolling up a piece of paper or poster and roll the parchment paper around the compound butter.
Hold the ends of the paper and roll down to meld the butter together.

Hold the ends of the paper and roll down to meld the butter together.

  • Once you’re satisfied with the tubeness of your butter, put a piece of plastic wrap around the whole lot and twist the ends to seal everything up. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before you serve. It’ll last in the icebox for up to 5 days but that probably won’t be an issue.

The Dainty Lumberjack

A deceptively smooth cocktail with an ax to grind.

Yes, we’ve been posting a lot of cocktails lately but hey, Jake just set up a sweet-ass bar in his apartment and we’ve gotta practice. This fall-inspired potable derives its name from its ingredients and surprisingly innocuous taste. Burly bourbon gets tempered and sweetly complemented by apple cider and Aperol. Don’t be fooled by the smoothness though, too many of these will have you throwing on plaid and raring to chop down random objects.

Equipment Needed: Rocks Glass, Shot Glass, Spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 shots bourbon (we used Knob Creek) (about $30/750 ml)
  • 1/2 shot Aperol (you can use another aperitif like Campari if you want) (about $25/750 ml)
  • 4 oz apple cider (about $3.50/half-gallon)
  • 1 cinnamon stick ($3.59/2 oz jar)
  • Ground cinnamon ($3.59/3.5 oz jar)
  • Ice (free)
  • Whole cloves (optional) ($3.99/1 oz jar)

Preparation:

  • Pour the bourbon, Aperol and apple cider in your glass and stir everything together.
  • Add a couple of dashes of cinnamon. Cloves add another level of taste complexity so add a couple now if you so desire (though you should keep it at 2-3 so you don’t overpower things).
  • Pop in a couple of ice cubes and give the whole mix one last stir with a cinnamon stick, which you can either toss in the drink or use for garnish.
  • Consume daintily (pinkies out!) and contemplate clearing a forest.