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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Texas Pecan Pesto on: June 17, 2014 03:37:02 PM
That sounds wonderful!
I'm also jealous that you have a pecan tree.  I like pecans. 

I have 5 pecan trees Smiley
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Texas Pecan Pesto on: June 17, 2014 10:46:46 AM
Oh man, I love pesto! Do you ever freeze it? I'll freeze up some extra in muffin tins at the end of the season, and then have "fresh" pesto all winter long. Mmmm.

Not often, it normally does not last that long Smiley When I do I leave the Parmesan cheese out of the recipe.
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Re: Herb Garden project on: June 17, 2014 09:27:11 AM
Another bumper crop of basil this year in the herb garden  Grin

4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Texas Pecan Pesto on: June 17, 2014 09:22:05 AM
My basil in my herb garden is growing like weeds, time to make some pesto!

I actually use pecans instead of pine nuts (I have pecan trees in my backyard) and it turns out great  Smiley

I even go an extra step and smoke the pecans before it goes in the pesto. This gives the pesto a touch of smoke and a nice nutty pecan flavor.
If you do not have a smoker, roasting in the oven works too with pecans.

Here is what the pesto looks like when it is done. I like to hand-chop my pesto instead of using a food processor. Maybe its just me, but pesto out of a food processor has a baby-food light green look to it and has a one-note taste. When you hand-chop pesto, the basil turns a nice dark green and the small chunks of nuts, cheese and garlic create little flavor explosions in your mouth.

Here is my basil plants growing like weeds in my herb garden. If you are interested in herb gardens I did a post on mine in the Craftster forum here (it won a craftster's best of 2012):

Back to the pesto. Here is the basil, pecans, Parmesan cheese and garlic being hand chopped.

Here is the recipe:

Texas Pecan Pesto


2 to 3 cups of basil leaves (when pressed flat in measuring cup)

1 cup pecan halves

cup of shaved Parmesan cheese

3 to 4 cloves of garlic

to 1 cup of olive oil

Salt to taste


Smoke or roast pecans, if you have a smoker smoke pecans at a low temperature (180-200F) for an hour, then raise the temperature to 300F and roast for 20 minutes, turning the pecans once. If using the oven, preheat oven to 300F and roast pecans for 20 minutes, turning the pecans once.

Let pecans cool, then roughly chop (1/4 inch squares) and set aside.

Roughly chop garlic and Parmesan cheese, and then set aside.

Roughly chop basil leaves, and then add chopped pecans, garlic and Parmesan cheese and mix together on cutting board.

Finely chop basil mixture till it is almost minced (check picture in slide show above).

Place basil mixture into bowl and stir in olive oil a couple of tablespoons at a time until the mixture is just saturated with the oil. Salt to taste.

Pesto can keep for around two weeks in the refrigerator.

I wrote a little story about making the pesto and have some step-by-step pictures on my blog here:

5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Homemade Hot Sauce on: May 21, 2014 09:35:51 AM
very cool. Where did you get that cute jar?

It was Ross. I picked up 4 for around $3 each.
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: How to cook a frozen steak on: April 23, 2014 12:12:30 PM
Great tip but how long would you cook it if you wanted it medium well??  I prefer my steaks cooked a bit more Wink

Yum! Yes I was going to ask if you had a recommendation on timing for medium. Sorry, I'm a heathen! Cheesy Actually though I used to like my steaks well done+ so that is an improvement for me Cheesy

I started checking the temp of the steak with an instant read thermometer at around 50 minutes, and it was around 120F, about 12 minutes later it was around 130F. So I am guessing about an hour and 15 minutes for medium and maybe 1:30 for well? Really I would just start checking the steaks temp every 5 to 10 minutes after an hour and pull it when it is done to your liking.
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / How to cook a frozen steak on: April 23, 2014 09:19:19 AM
With beef prices up I have started buying steaks in bulk and freezing them when they are on sale.

The problem with that is having to defrost the steak before you can cook it. Turns out there is a way to cook a perfect medium rare steak without having to defrost the steak and it only takes an hour to fix. 

Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold developed a simple technique were you first freeze your steak, sear it in a hot pan (or with a blowtorch), then bake in an oven at 200ºF for one hour. This gives you a steak that is seared on the outside, but is a perfect medium rare from edge-to-edge inside. 

Since my steaks were already frozen I decided to give it a try for my blog.

Since I have a blowtorch, I seared my steak with the torch, instead of searing it with a hot pan (that's just how I role Cheesy ). I also decided I would smoke my steak on my smoker at around 200ºF instead of using an oven.

It worked, the steaks turned out great with a perfect medium rare from edge-to-edge. Plus, this was really easy to do.

Here are some pics on how it turned out.

And here is a link to my blog post on this, it also includes steps on how to wrap your steaks for freezing.

Until beef prices go down, I think I will be fixing a lot of frozen steaks.  Smiley
8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Christmas Rib Roast on: December 24, 2013 12:45:34 PM
Wow. You are making me hungry. A blow torch. Too cool!  Roll Eyes I have seen those used on other cooking shows, too. So it did not shock me. It looks tasty. I generally sear mine in a pan, but maybe I should invest in one of those. It looks like it would be quicker, and no burned fingers. {I use my hands to turn things often...silly me. With live fire, I would remember things are HOT!}. I am glad your dinner turned out grand. It surely looks juicy.  Grin


I have a iwatani torch that cost around $30, they sell them on amazon. I had it 3 or 4 years and use it all the time. It is very easy to use and runs on butane. Anytime you need to brown or add a little char to your steak, just hit it with the torch!
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Christmas Rib Roast on: December 24, 2013 09:20:27 AM
I lucked into a prime rib roast that a friend ordered by mistake. She thought she was buying the rib roast that was on sale, but asked the butcher for a 4 bone prime rib. She ended up with a 10 pound prime rib roast that came in right at $200. So she decided to have a dinner party and invited my wife and myself over. I volunteered to cook the roast, I mean, how many times do you get to play with a $200 piece of meat?

Here are a couple of tips in case you find yourself in the same situation.

Rib Roast Tips

Be sure to have a good meat thermometer! Rib roast are expensive, so you need to make sure you dont overcook your roast, pull at 125 to 130F for medium rare, 135 to 140F for medium.

Try to buy a choice or prime grade rib roast. A prime rib roast is best, but can be very expensive. I normally try to find a choice rib roast with lots of marbling.

How big a roast? The rule of thumb for rib roast is for each bone you can add two people, so a three bone rib roast feeds 6 people.

Here are some pics on how it turned out:

That is one expensive piece of meat!

I like to brown my meat with a blowtorch, feel free to use a hot pan Smiley

Roast resting.

Slicing the rib roast, juice was squirting out as I was cutting.

Here is a close-up of how juicy the roast was.

The prime rib roast was great! It better be for around $200. I am just glad I did not mess it up.

10  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Beer Brined Pork Roast on: October 21, 2013 12:22:46 PM
Made a Beer Brined Pork Roast that turned out nice and juicy! The secret for juicy pork and chicken is brining.

Brining is a solution of salt and sugar in a liquid (in this case beer) that you soak your pork (or poultry) in for a minimum of 1 hour per pound. I normally brine pork chops or a broken down chicken for about three hours, pork roast or whole chicken overnight and a turkey for 24 hours. The brine will be partly absorbed (the meat actually gains weight), adding seasonings and moisture to the meat, even after cooking.

Using beer in the brine will add a nice flavor to the pork roast.
To beer brine a 3-pound pork roast you will need:

2 12-ounce bottles of beer (I like using a bock or ale)
cup kosher salt (or a 2 tablespoons of table or canning salt)
cup sugar
Resealable plastic bag large enough for pork roast

I also add these optional spices to the brine:

1 sprig fresh Rosemary
1 sprig fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole coriander
1 tablespoon whole mustard seed

To brine, place pork roast into resealable plastic bag; add sprigs of Rosemary and sage.

Mix all the remaining brining ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a whisk till the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Pour brine into plastic bag letting it cover the pork roast, then seal bag making sure to remove as much air from the bag before sealing.

Place bag in a bowl or pan to catch any liquid (if the bag springs a leak), then place into the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Remove pork roast from brine and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry with paper towel, and put back into refrigerator on a pan or plate for 2 hours to air-dry.

Season and roast pork at 400F for 1 hour, then lower heat too 325F and continue roasting until the internal temperature reads 150F on a instant read (or meat) thermometer (about 30 minutes).

Here are some more pics.

More step-by-step pictures here.
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