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Pig Newton

This is a variation on a cheese course we did for tentop awhile back, and it came out so good we ran it on the opening menu at Remedy. The idea came from one of our clients at KitchenCru, Mrs. Jody Peppler; owner and operator of Thyme Management. She had made a fig filling for one of her clients that was loaded down with bacon, and she jokingly said “Hey you should make this into a ‘pig newton’ haha.” Being one in possession of a fig newton dough recipe, I didn’t find this as funny as I did inspirational. At Remedy we warmed it up and melted a piece of blue cheese on top. Pictured above I served it with a blue cheese mousse, slted caramel, and candied bacon. I made over 500 of these for IPNC’s Lunch on the Lawn. This set was very well received, I had a couple people ask me for the recipe after the event.  The “home version” of the recipes is what I have posted below.

I was very proud of how this came out and how much people enjoyed it as weird as it may have been. For me though, the best compliment came in the form of an instagram comment from one of PDX’s finest.

Fig Newton Dough

810 g AP Flour
3 g salt
6 g baking powder
140 g sugar
8 oz butter, diced, kept cold

4 eggs

2 eggs whisked (for eggwash)

Whisk together all the dry ingredients and cut in the butter like you would for a pie dough. Add the eggs and mix until the dough forms a uniform dough. Chill at least 1 hour before rolling 1/8th inch thick into a rectangle that is twice is long as it is wide. Place the prepared filling in the bottom third of the dough, in a cylinder, and then roll the dough around the filling, creating a long cylinder with the filling inside. Egg wash the entire thing generously, then place in the freezer overnight.
Next day, preheat the oven to 325 F. Bake the Fig Newton until golden brown. Cool entirely before cutting with a serrated knife into portions.

Pig Newton Filling (I didn’t really use a recipe for this, so this is best guess)
3 lbs dried mission figs
5 lbs bacon
1/2 lb brown sugar
1 cup red wine or port if you have it
water as needed

Bake the bacon until crispy and reserve the rendered fat warm. Cut the stems off the figs and place them in a sauce pot with the brown sugar and cover half way with water. Simmer the figs until they are soft and pull apart easily, stirring often. Transfer the figs to a food processor and blend smooth, adding the warm bacon fat to adjust the consistency, or water as needed. You’re looking for a thick paste, like you would find inside a fig newton. Err on the side of thicker, it should not be fluid. Small dice the bacon and fold it into the fig paste. Chill thoroughly before using in the above recipe

Blue Cheese Mousse
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz white chocolate
30 oz blue cheese (I used Pt Reyes)
4 sheets gelatine, bloomed and drained (or 1 package of powdered gelatine used according to the box)
3 cups heavy cream whipped to soft peaks

Weigh the chocolate and blue cheese into the same bowl, which needs to be big enough to hold it and the first measurement of cream. Scald the 2 1/2 Cups of cream and pour it over the cheese/chocolate mixture. Let this sit a minute, then whisk it smooth. I used an immersion blender to achieve a super smooth consistency. Whisk in the prepared gelatin and let this mixture cool to room temp before folding in the whipped cream. Chill for at least 4 hours before using.

Fried Chicken Ice Cream

It shouldn’t exist. When you put it in your mouth your palate is all “WTF?!” More than half of the people that tasted it laughed out loud just after they wiped the confused look off their faces. But much like that hamburger you once ate that used doughnuts instead of buns, sometimes things that defy reason just work; and should be embraced like all other forms of gluttony.

Full disclosure: this is not an original idea, nor is it an original recipe. Faithful Readers know I don’t have an original bone in my body. I once Googled “fried chicken ice cream” because that’s what guys like me do. What I turned up was this recipe based on a treat from the prolific Coolhaus. As I read through it I became very excited, agitated to the point of fidgeting in fact, because I saw a huge potential to improve upon the idea that they had spearheaded. What they do is create an intense fried chicken caramel, which has a ton of disgustingly good applications on its own, and ripple it into a maple brown butter ice cream. Solid. Super solid idea, none could argue. However, is this as “chicken-y” as can be? I mean if everything tastes like chicken, this needed to Chicken Punch me in the face. Why isn’t the dairy infused in this recipe? It seems like such a huge missed opportunity. Roasted chicken bones will flavor milk or cream just as well as water will when making stock, so why stop at the fried chicken caramel to drive that flavor home; I thought. Because…subtlety? Well there’s your problem right there!

Anyway, enough about that recipe, let’s talk about how I do it. First of all, one of the great joys of making this recipe for tentop was I found out a ten pound case of chicken skin is a thing that I can buy for $15. I never thought I’d be grateful for the huge demand for “boneless, skinless” anything, but here I am; a beneficiary of bi-product. At this juncture I’ll point out another flaw in the original recipe, especially when you double and triple this recipe as any self respecting, Hot-Blooded American will be wont to do. Chicken skin has a shit ton of fat in it, way more than the the amount of egg yolk in this recipe can emulsify into a smooth ice cream base. So if you are closely comparing the two recipes as I imagine all three of you that are reading will be, take note of step 2 in the custard method below. Another glaring misstep in my humble opinion is the inclusion of cornstarch in the OG recipe. Is it here to mitigate the excess of fat? Especially since the brown butter is left in it’s entirety in the recipe? Perhaps, but…well shit man be proactive, not reactive to ingredients’ behaviors. So I did the brown butter infusion as I would have for Brown Butter Ice Cream, but I also fried up some more of the chicken skin in that butter before proceeding with the Brown Milk process, which was created by Chef Sam Mason. The excess fat is discarded, so the custard base is my own basic recipe I’ve used for years, which requires no corn starch to work. We used this ice cream as a component of a dish at Supfast 2.

Fried Chicken Ice Cream

For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 lb chicken leg and thigh bones, roasted hard

For the fried chicken sauce:
¼ pound fresh chicken skins, roughly chopped
2 cups rich chicken stock
½ tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried sage (or 2-3 leaves of fresh sage, chopped fine)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1. Place the chicken leg and thigh bones into a pot and cover with the cream. Bring this to a boil, cover, kill the heat and let steep 30 minutes. Strain of cream and add more cream if you need to to get 2 cups. Some of the cream will be soaked into the bones. Set aside infused cream

2. Place the sugar into a sauce pot with enough water to make a wet sand consistency. Caramelize the sugar to a rich amber, I look for the color of an old penny. Whisk in the chicken infused cream, return to a boil, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside the caramel.

3. Make the fried chicken sauce: Render the chopped chicken skins of their fat and cook them do a deep, fried chicken color. Pour off 95% of the rendered fat before adding the stock and remaining seasoning ingredients. Let this step simmer 20 minutes over low heat.

4. Whisk in the chicken caramel and bring to a boil. Pour the Fried Chicken Caramel into a storage vessel and let cool to room temp before covering and chilling overnight to develop flavors. Next day strain and save for use in the ice cream base, or to impress your friends.

For the Custard Base:

3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1 roasted chicken carcass, hot and smashed up
1/2 lb butter
1/4 lb chicken skins roughly chopped
9 ounces sugar
8 large egg yolks
1. This is a two or optionally three day process, so bear that in mind. Melt the butter in a sauce pot big enough to hold the first five ingredients. Add the chicken skins and brown them as you did for the caramel sauce. The butter will brown as you do this, take care not to take it to dark.
2. Pour in the dairy, and stir the whole mess up well. Add the smashed roasted chicken carcass and pour this whole thing into a bucket to chill over night. The fat from the butter and chicken skin will infuse the cream and half & half as it rises to the top and solidifies. This is the Sam Mason Brown Milk method, the best way to make brown butter ice cream.
3. The next day, poke a hole in the now solid layer of fat and pour off the dairy. The chicken carcass should be semi-stuck in the fat. When the liquid is all poured off, strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Add enough cream to bring it back up to 4 total cups. Discard the fat and chicken carcass.
4. Make a custard by bringing the dairy and sugar to a boil, tempering in the egg yolks and cooking it until it coats the back of a spoon, or 170 F. Optional step: Chill this base overnight to develop flavors in the base. This is what true ballers do.Next day strain it and prep your ice cream machine for spinning.
5. Take your Fried Chicken Caramel and bring it to room temp. Transfer it to a squeeze bottle for rippling into the ice cream.
6. Spin the custard in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you are removing it from the machine, ripple in the caramel by layering it in. Spoon a layer of the ice cream, and squeeze the caramel over in a squiggle pattern, then repeat. Do this until all the ice cream is rippled. Spoon some into your mouth and shake your head, amazed.
We served the ice cream as pictured below, with a sour dough waffle, foie gras torchon, and a fat hunk of buttermilk fried chicken skin. Because America.


Tentop has evolved in ways that my faithful readers never would have dreamed at it’s inception, at that is too cool for me to put into words. Our latest dinner however, was a little closer to the basic form we started with. To put it most simply, two guys cooking the food they wanted to cook. We had the fortunate benefit of having Nick Keane on board as our bar tender, and his drinks were the starting point for all the dishes that Michael and I came up with. While my liver may never forgive me for the R&D put in on this menu, I feel it was some of the best food Micheal and I have cooked, and it had to be; to stand up to Nick’s banging concoctions.

The whole menu and pairings were killer, as I hope you can imagine; but I’d like to focus on two dishes. Our entree, Delmonico Steak Frites is a good snapshot of how we approach dish design. Take a classic, in this case two classics, and jam ‘em into something new, something the same but different. Here we started with Steak Rossini, a classic even among the classics, basically filet and seared foie gras. With our typical “we can do better” attitude, we switched out the filet mignon for rib eye, (as we are, in fact, men;) and the seared foie for torchon, because it spreads like butter. We molded the torchon into a fancy flexible mold to get the cool shape. A full rib eye steak seemed a bit much for a multi-coursed meal like this, so at Michael’s suggestion we had it butchered in the Delmonico style by Ian of Tails & Trotters. I know better than to tackle a butchery project like this on my own, and Ian’s skill is widely known. He did such a good job that we ended up cooking the suckers whole, and then sexily slicing them at service. So we’ve got steak, we’ve got foie…how about truffle fries? So yeah, we jammed in yet another classic; Steak frites. Nick came up with the perfect pairing with this, a goose fat washed Manhattan, which had a lingering earthiness to it that rode smoothly underneath the profound richness of this dish. Fuck was it good.

My other favorite of the night was partially due to the pairing, and partially due to the fact that I literally dreamed this dish up. When we tasted through the cocktails the first time, I knew right away I needed to rethink my dessert. This cocktail (originally named the McRittenhouse before Nick settled on Bitter Vieux,) is one of the best I’ve tasted. Thick and syrupy, stirred of course, and perfectly balanced. This drink needed more than a slice of pie next to it. I’d been dicking around a bunch with the Milk Bar cookbook, with mixed results, and the answer eventually came from there…kind of. I had a dream one night, and my better half can verify this, because I woke up spouting gibberish about “the best ice cream sandwich” before rolling over to return to loudly snoring. The dream involved my combining Tosi’s milk crumb recipe with the age-old “crunchy layer” I learned from Chef Tony Martin. I made the crunchy layer, then covered it with the milk crumbs, covered both with a layer of parchment and weighted it down. After it was set I portioned it into rectangles and used it as the “bread” for an ice cream sandwich. In my dream, I did this process countless times. I just kept doing it and doing it until I woke up. Weird huh? Anyway, dreams do come true sometimes, and in this case, thankfully so. Here’s a recipe.

Milk Crumb Crunch

first, make the milk crumbs.

you’ll probably want to double the recipe, it’s a good thing to have around.

then you’ll need:

12 oz of chocolate (I use 64% cocoa barry)

3 cups of feuilletine (if you can’t get feuilletine, you can use an equal amount of ground nuts, corn flakes, potato chips, or any combination there of. Just some crunchy shit you think will taste good in chocolate)

1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Prepare a half sheet pan with a silpat.

2. When the chocolate is melted, mix in the feuilletine all at once. Quickly spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan using an offset spatula.

3. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle an even layer of milk crumbs over it. Cover this with parchment and pile on a few half sheets on top to press the two recipes together.

4. Chill until fully set, at least one hour. Bring the pan up to room temperature before portioning into desired shape. How I used it is pictured below, as the cookie in a butter pecan ice cream sandwich. We served it with salted orange caramel and

Bitter Viuex by Nick Keane

1 1/2oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 Laird’s Applejack
3/4 Lillet Blanc
1/4 Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Fees whiskey barrel bitters

  1. Fill a mixing glass half way with ice.
  2. Add liquors and other cocktail ingredients.
  3. Twirl a bar spoon to stir for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a well-chilled glass.


Chef’s and faithful readers the world over have had a long standing obsession with ramen, and not just the instant ramen that has fed countless generations of college students the world over. This Japanese comfort food calls more and more food lovers into it’s ranks yearly, but relatively few have taken the challenge of trying to make their own.  David Chang’s expose on the topic in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine recently has had many kitchens buzzing, and mine is no exception. I tried making his recipes verbatim soon after reading the magazine, and felt so armed to start fucking around with my own version.

The noodles for this ended up being Chang’s recipe, verbatim. I experimented with making potato noodles using potato flour; didn’t work. The noodles kept expanding then turning to mush when I went to cook them. After I had given up I was told that I should have worked in xanthan as a binder, which one day I may try.

For the broth, we did a traditional corned beef braise; wherein a beef brisket is brined for five days, then braised for four hours in a low oven. We strained off the broth, augmented it with a simple beef stock made from cows’ necks. We steeped in konbu and ground dried shiitake mushrooms, and reduced the broth by one third. The traditional seasoning for ramen broth comes from what’s called tare (tar-ay,) a rich syrupy stuff made from chicken backs, soy, mirin, sake, and bacon. We tweaked this by using hanger steak instead of the chicken backs, and smoked ham hock along with the bacon. The tare is blended into the broth right before it hits the bowl. Again, I adapted all of this from Lucky Peach, so I hope David Chang doesn’t sue me. However, I guess if he was going to, he would have already.
The idea behind this dish was to “fuse” corn beef and cabbage with ramen, and the garnishes reinforced this. We had baby carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes, raw shredded cabbage, pickled mushrooms, and a breaded and fried soft boiled egg. We made a radicchio chip that had the very similar texture and flavor to the traditional nori. The hunk of corned beef was pull apart tender, warmed through in a little bit of the ramen broth.

Overall, I was extremely happy with this dish. As my own toughest critic, I have a few critiques. Firstly, ramen should not be part of a multi-coursed dinner. Ramen IS a multi-coursed dinner. I did not have enough broth in relation to the other ingredients in the bowl because I was worried about over filling people, as is my custom. Ramen should be a huge satisfying meal unto itself, not just a stop on runaway fusion train.

It’s worth mentioning that PDX Eater did a little piece on this dish for their reoccurring Chef in the Kitchen feature. A big and warm thanks to Erin Dejesus for her great article and ongoing interest in KitchenCru, and as many thanks to the talented photographer Dina Avila for her beautiful photos. The article is cool in an of it self and all, all though I was so excited during the shoot I forgot to put the corned beef in it. The real joy of this article however, came the day after; when people started to comment. Check it out, it’s worth a good laugh.

Milk Braised Rabbit Casonsei with Mike Perez.


It should come as no surprise that tentop’s recent Pastafarian dinner was a resounding success.  Pasta is universally loved around the world and our guests were happy to eat five courses of it. The highly exalted Flying Spaghetti Monster was pleased and we felt his benevolent smile shining upon us all. The guest Chef, one Michael Perez; is a talented cook, one as immersed in the Chef life as I’ve seen. Fucking guy lives and breathes kitchens, and this pasta dinner proved his skill. It was a blast working with him again, we’ve got a rich history. Each dish was more succulent than the last, but recipe that follows was by far my favorite. As I was picking the meat off the rabbit carcasses I kept popping the plump little milk braised garlic cloves into my mouth. Your supposed to save those for the farce I guess. Use this filling to stuff your favorite pasta, we did casonsei, which look like little candy wrappers. Don’t be afraid to bust out your dick shaped cutter for other fun filled shape. I bet it would also make a great burrito filling.

Milk Braised Rabbit farce by Mike Perez

1 rabbit (hind quarters)
4 Spanish yellow onions(julienne)
1 gallon milk
1 bulb garlic
6 oz Pecorino Romano
1 bunch thyme (1/2 picked and chopped)
1 bunch rosemary (1/2 picked and chopped)

Season legs and sear. Rest on a rack. Add onions to pan and caramelize, reserve half of the caramelized onions for later. Add all the garlic to the onions in the pan with the thyme and rosemary (whole) sauté until you smell the aromatics. Add legs back to pan and add milk to cover. Braise at 300*f until meat is falling off bone.
Shred pecorino. While hot pick rabbit off bone and salvage any garlic left in the milk, discard milk (it will be separated) and braised onions. In a food processor; process rabbit, fresh milk, chopped herbs(to taste), reserved onions, pecorino, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Balls deep.
-side note
You HAVE to process everything while hot or it will not be emulsify correctly or have a proper consistency. When the farce cools it will tighten up and be ready to pipe into any number of dick shaped pastas.

Tentop Takes the Next Step.

My original idea for tentop was not to create a thematic supper club. I knew when I took the kitchen manager job at KitchenCru that i would need a creative outlet, a venue where I could experiment with food and write about it.  I also thought I might be able to create a place for buddies of mine to cook; sous chefs or line cooks. Talented people who wanted to cook their own food, but worked under another Chef, so couldn’t. Not another venue to give the reach around to the usual suspects of the Portland food scene, but a place for the talented up and comers who make those Chefs’ celebrity possible. As noble as that all sounds, I also saw it as a chance to continue learning new techniques and biting ideas, the foundation of my culinary prowess. And the obvious benefit of doing half the work and receiving the same amount of glory was not unappealing, truth be told.

So, proud to say; our latest dinner showcased talented Chef Mark Dunleavy of Tabla on NE 28th. I met Mark at Ten-01, and I’ve written about him before on this blog. He picked a menu direction that turned out to be a hard sell: offal. I was a bit disappointed and surprised by this in Portland, with everyone preaching the whole “nose to tail” eating and all that farm to table shit. I figured people would be tripping over themselves to eat this stuff, but we didn’t fill the seats until the last minute. Chef Dunleavy created a menu both interesting and accessible, for the veterans of organ meats and noobs alike. The guests who attended were blown away, we had one couple tell us they wanted to buy a season pass to tentop; and they were visiting from DC.

After posting the pictures from this dinner on facebook, I’ve been inundated with requests from cook buddies in Portland who want to get in here and do a dinner with tentop; and I couldn’t be happier. Upcoming dinners will include themes like “Fusion,” because love it or hate it, it’s where innovation in food comes from. Also “Molecular,” because I know a talented Chef who can teach me some cool shit. And what about straight up Mexican? Everybody loves that shit, and I’ve got a guy for that. So stay tuned faithful readers, if there is still any of you out there. Here’s Mark’s menu, I handled the dessert, of course. I’ll be bugging him to hook me up with some recipes to post.

Offal Good

Chef Mark Dunleavy

foie gras mousse

“ants on a log”

pig heart rueben

house made rye, heart pastrami

confit lamb tongue

beets, watercress, horseradish


pig’s head, marinated mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds

veal kidneys

deviled with potatoes, grilled hanger steak and parsley sauce


in the style of pastilla with carrot ice cream


“pig tail,” blood caramel, milk chocolate mousse

Hamburger & Hot Dog.

What’s more comforting to faithful readers like yourselves than a hamburger and hotdog? For me, I always want to eat one or the other of these invented elsewhere but perfected by America delicacies. I eat hot dogs or hamburgers more than anything else, Shorty can verify, and there are few things that I will argue more vehemently than the proper way to make/cook a burger. It’s my favorite food, there I said it. I am a simple man with simple tastes.

For tentop’s Junk Food dinner, we spun the old classics into something we could call our own, It’s just how we roll. The dog we did in the style of choucroute, the classic Alsatian dish of sauerkraut, sausage, pork belly, and sometimes potatoes. We followed through on the theme with a soft pretzel bun and whole grain mustard. We made our own smoked andouille sausage, a milestone for me. I’ve seen sausage piped into casings dozens of times, but have never done it myself. It’s easier than it looks, but it ain’t exactly easy.

The burger was a version of something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile, which I discovered here. It’s one of those “because fuck you that’s why” kind of dishes. We took truffle mac e chee, solidified it in the fridge, then cut out round discs which we stuffed into the burgers. The trim left over we breaded and deep fried as a side, and just called it “hamburger with truffle mac e chee,” making the stuffed part a surprise. The buns were a recipe I’m coming to lean on more and more from Ideas in Food. By the way, every time I say “Ideas in Food,” I think of something else.  It’s a simple dough that is highly adaptable to many applications; foccacia, loaves, buns, etc. I even used it once as a spare tire on my car. Anyway, I stole it from one of the best books released this year, go buy a copy. But first make this bread.

Fail Safe Bread by Ideas in Food.

975 g AP flour

4.5 g dry active yeast

12.5 g sugar (or honey, or maple syrup, or brown sugar)

18 g salt

2.5 cups water, milk, tea, beer, etc warm like bathwater, not too hot

oil for brushing, semolina for tray.

Nachos and Wings

The latest tentop dinner at KitchenCru was a smash, or at the very least; we all got smashed. We opened both evenings with a big bowl of espillette almond caramel corn, and an even bigger bowl of iced down coldies. I mean what better way to kick off a Junk Food dinner than with an ice cold PBR or Ranier?

Pictured above was the first (and my favorite) course of the menu, Nachos. We cut some white corn tortillas into triangles and fried ‘em off, then smeared ‘em with white bean puree. Then they got some cooked chorizo, a big hunk of octopus, manchego cheese and a sunny side quail egg. In my humble assessment, this was one of the most successful food items I have created. And, it breaks the “No Cheese With Seafood” rule quite readily. We served this with a startlingly outstanding Sangria Slushie, cold and refreshing. I had the lovely miss Chen portion this up in front of quests, it’s just so damn COOL to see a whole cooked octopus. Incidentally, cooking octopus is not as nearly as intimidating as I once thought. Simply blanch it real quick in nearly boiling water, then pressure cook it for an hour, and let the steam dissipate naturally. Furthermore, pressure cookers aren’t nearly as terrifying as I expected them to be. Thanks to Tony Two Fingers for walking me through this technique.

The second appetizer course was Wings, a trio of those plump little beauties. And just to be clear, this. If I had my way I would never eat a drumette, only wings. And since I do get my way at tentop, only wings were served. I steamed all the wings after brining them overnight for twelve minutes. Then the wings sat on a rack over night to dry out for ultimate crispiness. When we finally went to fry them they had a full on pellicle going . We had three types, starting with the classic Buffalo. The only way to eat hot wings of this style is with blue cheese dressing, and because we do things a bit over the top here at tentop, we chose Rossini blue cheese for ours. This is hands down the best blue cheese on the planet, and it should be for the price. Shit for the price you should get a free bowl of soup. Second we had an Asian style wing, with a spicy chili crust and a plum dipping sauce. Lastly, my favorite; the Cool Ranch Dorito breaded wing with spicy peanut sauce. I used to put Doritos on my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s where the idea had it’s origins.

These first two courses were a real microcosm of what we do at tentop. We take an idea, and then we push it as far over the top as we can. And that’s not for everybody, and that’s OK. Fuck the haters. We only want ten at a time anyway.

Cool Ranch Breaded Chicken Wings with Spicy Peanut Sauce

3 lbs chicken wings

3/4 cup kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups boiling water from

1 gallon of water

1 tblsp fresh ground black pepper

5 eggs

3 cups flour

1 large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos

1. Measure the gallon of water and remove 2 cups of it, placing it in a pot and bringing it to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and whisk in the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir to dissolve. Add this mixture back into the gallon of water.

2. Add the wings to the brine and cover, refrigerate for 5-6 hrs. Rinse wings well and pat dry. Lightly steam or quickly blanch the wings, about ten minutes in the steamer or 2 minutes in boiling water. Place wings on a rack set over a sheet pan and let dry out, uncovered, over night in the fridge.

3. Next day, pulverize the Cool Ranch Doritos in a food processor and create a work space for the standard breading procedure, with the ground Doritos as the breading. Proceed with breading in the manner described in the linked article.

4. Preheat your deep fryer to 350. Fry the wings until GBD, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with…

Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

A Fortieth Birthday Cake

Because you know, it’s like you’re dying; turning forty. At least that’s the joke. Anyway, I had fun making this one. I hadn’t made a sheet cake in awhile, maybe not since Didier’s 39th birthday cake a year ago. The cake itself was a lemon sponge, the filling vanilla butt cream and fresh blueberries and raspberries. The coffin is made from the same, minus the berries, and glazed with chocolate and crusted with cocoa nibs. I made the tombstone out of chocolate shortbread.

The cake was well recieved, and the party was well attended; as all the Porteaud parties are. Kara and Didier Porteau are two of the most beloved people I know, an integral part of the family that adopted me at Ten-01. The party included much eating, drinking, and merriment, and I did a good amount of what I like to call “dancing.” Didier was a real sport about the cake, and there was much hugging and high-fiving long before I reached the “I love you man” stage, which was inevitable. When the numerous candles were finally blown out, we lowered the coffin into the grave before eating.

Lemon Sponge Cake

makes 6 1/2 sheet cakes

Measure the eggs, sugar, vanilla, mayo, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. This probably won’t fit in your standard Kitchen Aid, you may want to halve it. Whip this mixture on medium high until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. It can really just keep whipping. Whip the shit out of it as they say.

While the eggs are having the shit whipped out of them, sift together the AP flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Zest and juice the lemons. Measure the milk.

On low speed, add the wet and dry ingredients in three steps, alternating between the two. Start and end with the dry ingredients. When it’s all in, kick the mixer up to medium to ensure total incorporation.

Line six half sheet pans with parchment. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. I weigh each, 34 ounces is a nice amount for a layer. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven until GBD, rotating once during baking; about 12 - 18 minutes total.

Chicken Skin Crusted Pot Pie.

Sadly, in my excitement; I only got this one crappy picture of this truly delicious awesomeness before it was descended upon like so much carrion by vultures. In truth, half the pie made it over to Clyde, where it was traded to glassy-eyed bar tenders for artisan cocktails. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself, faithful readers. Let’s set the way back machine to two months ago, right around Pi Day.

The creation of this pie was yet another result of my highly perked job as manager of KitchenCru’s glorious facility. It all started with leaf lard, which I obtained via our high profile clients; Tails & Trotters. They had a bunch of trimmings that they didn’t have the time or inclination to do anything with, so they passed it along to me. After cleaning and rendering I ended up with about six thirty-two ounce deli cups of pure white lard, perfect for a sumptuous and flaky pie crust. Of which, I of course; made way to much. I had pie dough for miles. The first pie I made in celebration of Pi Day, a fig-apple-caramel delight that I believe I also traded a portion of for beverages at my favorite bar. The second pie i wanted to be savory. The day that I decided to do it, happened to be a day that my employer and co-worker had put on a lunch including corn beef sandwiches, knish, and other delicious NY deli items. A by-product of the shmaltz needed to make knish: cooked chicken meat and skin. I had a direction. I started my pie filling with some home made pancetta I had scored from Chef Andrew Garret of High Heat Catering.

Lard Crust

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour chilled
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup diced, frozen lard
1/3 cup ice water

Chicken Skin Crusted Pot Pie

Roll out the pie dough like a boss, line the pie tin and set in the fridge to chill.

Render the pancetta over medium heat, be careful not to brown too much, as it will continue to cook.

Add the shallots and garlic and reduce the heat, sweat ‘em.

Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and saute until partially cooked. Add the flour and cook for three minutes

Add the stock and cream and bring to a simmer. Cook at least ten minutes to thicken and cook off flour taste. Add the frozen peas.

Add the cooked chicken and fold together the filling. Allow it to cool to room temp.

Dump the filling into the prepared crust and roll out the top piece of dough like a boss. Fill the pie level to heaping, but don’t over-fill. If you have extra, eat it.

When you’ve got the pie topped and have crimped the edges,  egg wash that bitch. Sprinkle on the chicken skin, making sure every bit is covered. Pat it in a little to make sure it’s secure.

Bake that sucker until the crust is GBD. Cool to room temp before attempting to slice.