Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Bacon Experiment

Mmmmm, bac- wait. Is that water?

My friend Eddie posted this link on Facebook and it seemed an interesting and simple experiment to try. It's an unusual way to cook bacon, essentially boiling it rather than frying it in the pan. This process renders the fat without over-cooking the meat.

Personally I can't stand crispy bacon where one bite breaks the strip into many little pieces, and the flavor has a slight hint of charcoal. Reduced cooking time always left a floppy, chewy piece that while preferable to crispy, still left something to be desired. I've ever been able to find that elusive happy medium until now.

Place the bacon as you normally would in a regular frying pan. The best part is you won't need to melt butter or add cooking spray because the bacon won't stick to the pan afterwards. Add just enough water to the cold pan to where the strips are barely submerged. Set the flame to high and wait for the water to come to a rolling boil. You will see the fat begin to render before the water boils.
At this point reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer until all the water evaporates. It was here that I made my lone mistake..

It seemed to me that there was too much water in the pan so I dumped some of it before reducing the heat. To my surprise the water evaporated much quicker than I thought it would at medium heat so the bacon was a bit undercooked by the time the water was gone. So don't make the same mistake I did and I'll tell you why in a minute...

Once the water is completely evaporated reduce the heat again, this time to medium-low and cook it to taste. You will be able to find any meat consistency you prefer because you don't need to worry about rendering any more fat.

Due to my error in water management, I had to leave the heat on higher than necessary to cook the bacon and what happened was a lack of consistency in my strips. The middles were just a bit too crispy for my liking whereas the ends were fatty and floppy. Otherwise I think this would be the best way to cook bacon save for one, very important factor; the bacon flavor was in a word, weak.

I guess there's something to be said about cooking bacon in its own fat and this morning's experiment proved that theory. Rendering fat in water dilutes the grease to a point where there is not as much grease to drain and what grease there is has a distinctly lighter color than normal bacon drippings. Since the flavor is the whole point of eating bacon in the first place I cannot recommend this process unless you are closely watching your fatty intake.

In all candor I will try this again and more closely adhere to the recommended process but I don't see that affecting the flavor all that much.

If you have cooked bacon in this manner, or plan to try, please share in discussion over at The Mike Tursi Facebook page. 

Before signing off, I must address a concern brought up by my friend and semi-regular contributor, Pornocat who felt I wasn't posting enough pictures of sexy women. So here is a gallery featuring two of my favorite things; girls and guitars. Enjoy...

Internet addict Pornocat says, "Meow-WOW! I was worried you maybe lost interest in girls, Turz. Meow."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The More You Know...

What's the difference between Tequila and Mezcal?

Contrary to popular belief, mezcal is not a type of tequila. In fact, it’s the other way around. Tequila is a type of mezcal that can only be made in Jalisco, Mexico from the blue agave plant. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made anywhere in Mexico from various types of agave. Mezcal is smokier than tequila since the agave piƱas are roasted, instead of steamed, before they are crushed.  

Would you eat the worm?

Have you eaten the worm? Let us know how it was, share at TheMikeTursi Facebook page.


Sunday, November 06, 2016

Apple Infused Vodka, D.I.Y.

Why pay extra for flavored vodka when you can make your own? It's a simple, do-it-yourself procedure called infusion and all you need, really, is a little patience.

For starters, determine what type of alcohol you want to flavor and with what. Vodka is deemed the best for this as it has no natural odor or flavor. With appletinis having exploded onto the millennial trend table I figured I would try it first with a personal fave, Granny Smith, or green apples.

For the first step all you need besides the vodka and two, fresh apples is an air-tight Mason jar.  That's the kind that your grandma used when she made her home-made jelly. It must be air tight or else this whole exercise is futile.

Cut the apples into bite-sized pieces and for God's sake don't cut yourself!  If you're clumsy get someone else to do the chopping for you. I will NOT be held responsible if you lose some digits.
Place the apple chunks into the mason jar and add vodka, like so...

Again, if you're clumsy this is another point when you should ask for help pouring. We may not cry over spilled milk but you should burn in Hell if you waste high-end vodka. Yes, I consider Stolichnaya to be high-end. Stolies is my favorite vodka and in case you're wondering why use good hooch for infusion, the better the booze the better the end product will taste. Period, stop.

Seal the concoction in the mason jar and I cannot stress enough the importance of an air-tight seal. Slightly shake the jar to ensure the seal. If some liquid bleeds out, change the jar immediately.

Here's where the patience comes into play.  Let the jar sit at room temperature for three (3) to five (5) days and keep it away from direct sunlight.  Twice a day shake the jar slightly to stir up the contents.  Stagnancy will lead to poor infusion and weak flavor.

Spend the next few days finding a store that sells cheesecloth because you need it to strain the medley of booze and fruit.

In all candor I bought cheesecloth at a Food4Less so you should be able to find it at any unsuspecting grocery store.  You'll also need a spaghetti strainer, a funnel and a large pitcher. The cocktail mixing glass is optional but way cool.  No household is complete without a mixer.

Line your strainer with the cheesecloth and poor the contents in. Let it sit and drain all liquid through the cloth. Don't waste a drop. During this time your instincts to eat some of the apple may kick in.  Do not succumb to this temptation!  The chunks won't be mushy but they will taste horrible.

At this point you'll notice the formerly clear vodka has obtained a greenish hue. This is normal.  It only means that infusion has occurred, which was the whole point of this.

Using the funnel pour your newborn apple vodka into the original bottle.  Unless you plan to drink it all in one night, you f*cking lush.
If you don't own a mixing glass, I suggest at this point putting the bottle in the fridge for this will taste better chilled, in my opinion. But if you do own a mixer...

...pour some ice in that bad boy, add your juice and shake it, baby. Strain it, sans the ice into a chilled, standard Cocktail glass. Or you can be like me and add a drop of dry Vermouth to make it an apple-flavored popular twist to the classic Martini. 

"Cheers everybody!"
You can infuse almost any combination of fruit, herb or spice into any alcohol.  Some popular combinations are gin with cucumber, or bourbon with mint.  Personally, my next experiment will be red apples and cinnamon with vodka.  I'm told when mixed with hot water it makes one heck of a Hot Toddy.

Do you have any Adventures in Infusion you'd like to share?  Engage us in discussion at The Mike Tursi Facebook Page. 

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "I made up a drink. Add Tabasco to Cinnamon Schnapps. I call it Atomic Fire Breath.  I named it after my atomic fire breath.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pardon My Duck

A guy walks into a psychiatrist's office with a duck on his head.

The shrink, understandably befuddled, mulls the scene in his head and asks,

"Is there something I can help you with?"

The duck replies, "Yeah, Doc. Help me get this guy off my ass."

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "My Favorite Year. 1982. Great motion picture."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Scene from a Car Dealership

So I went to a car dealership the other day...

Me: I'm in the market for a used car.
Salesman: We have a wide selection of certified, pre-owned vehicles.
Me: What does that mean exactly, "certified, pre-owned vehicle?"
Salesman: It means we certify that the vehicle was previously owned by another person.

Brief pause...

Me: So you have a wide selection of used cars?
Salesman: Yeah, they're used cars.

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "Tursi has gone through another months-long stretch of not posting blogs. It happens so often that we no longer assume he's dead after a few months of down time."