Monday, October 29, 2012

The Price of Cooking

Hello boils and ghouls, how's it hanging? Halloween is my favorite holiday and although it does have lots of goofy culinary applications I won't be giving you any recipes this year for eyeball cupcakes or bloody finger ramen. This year my treat to you is the gift of Vincent Price, the master of horror who is known for being in some of the greatest horror movies ever and also for his rap and subsequent cackling on  Michael Jackson's Thriller. It's a little known fact about the Missouri native that, besides being a contributor and benefactor to the fine arts, was a terrific gourmand and cook book author.

Besides the books, which he wrote with his wife, he recorded many how-to auditory excursions that were a step by step instructions on how to make various global cuisines. Some of his recipes are now quite quaint, including ingredients like MSG and accessories such as asbestos trivets. Over all, the recipes are sound and the techniques he walks the listeners through won't be mentioned for another thirty years when the food networks starts up. 

Vincent Price also recorded many radio programs and for a while had his own show called "The Price of Fear" which spanned 22 episodes and were fantastic. Each episode was supposed to be a little slice of Price's life with the macabre as an ever present character. The episode I have linked to this post (specialty of the House) is a combination of his two great loves. It's a horror story that is based around food, restaurants and the gourmand experience. I love this episode and I hope you will two.

Below is the story which you can listen to at your convenience. 

  Happy Halloween everyone! Just in case you were wondering I will be going trick or treating with my son dressed like Wilfred. I bought that costume last year and bullshit if I'm not going to get a few wears out of it for as much money as I paid for it. Be safe and watch out for bag snatchers!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hot Sauce

©2012 John Houser III
Peppers are super cheap and abundant at the farmers' markets. What should you do with them? Make hot sauce of course. Check it out here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This is what I did with my summer vacation

Ok..... this what I've done for the past month and a half.

If you haven't been reading The Baltimore Sun Taste section every Wednesday for my "From the Harvest" then I would just like to say thanks for nothing. Now that you're good and berated I would like to tell you that it's OK, I don't mind that you haven't read my pieces but for fucks sake, help a brother out. Alright alright... I'm done with the tantrum, seriously, you can un-clench your butt cheeks. I still love you.

Now that we're done with the (made up) unpleasantries lets get to the round up of my last bunch of articles. I'm really proud of them all and if you haven't seen them I hope you find at least one of them will make you want to get out and cook. Most of the items I've written about are still at the farmers' markets so get out there and make some food. I'm really happy with the way people have been responding to the recipes as well as the conversations about food and technique I've had with people either in-person or through email. So keep the questions and comments coming. I'm here to help.

There's a lot going on and it's exciting. As always I'll keep you updated.

So lets get to it:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I should trademark the word "Cuketail"

The latest recipe from my "From the Harvest" series in The Baltimore Sun went up last week and it has been shared a lot. And why the hell not? It's delicious AND it has booze in it! When it's really hot outside like it is at this moment heavier drinks can just make you feel even more miserable. A drink like this is refreshing and not full of sugar (the simple syrup is just a vehicle for the powerful ginger flavor) so it can be enjoyed (over and over) at your cookout of choice this week.
A little background on this drink. My wife and I were in Barcelona Spain 2 1/2 years ago and the apartment we were renting was right around the corner from Albert Adria's (Ferran's brother) Tapas bar Inopia. Giddy with excitement for our second meal at this amazing tapas bar (we went two nights before with friends), we went there early knowing that the line would be long and the patrons crazy to get in. Unfortunately, others had the same idea and we were given a 45 minute wait with the assurances that if we went over to the bar across the street for a few cocktails, a staff member would come over and get us when it was our turn to be let in to Inopia. Never ones to turn down a chance to relax and have an adult beverage or two, my wife and I skipped across the street with hopes that the 45 minutes would fly by.
Xixbar was the name of the joint and gin is what they served. Neither my wife nor I were really big fans of gin at the time but when a place is dedicated to gin, you don't order whiskey so after figuring out what the recipes on the menu said, we ordered with thoughts still of the upcoming meal across the street. What was served to us were drinks as big as fish bowls, some garnished with rose petals and chunks of smashed ginger with others garnished with cucumber and lime. To say it was eye opening is a gross understatement. Needless to say we left that place fans of the gin cocktail and while we had an incredible dinner at Inopia, we wished they could run across the street and get us a gin drink. Throughout the week and a half we were there we hit Inopia three times and hit Xixbar four times promising ourselves we would try to recreate the great drinks we had there when we got home.

The drink at Xixbar. Notice the cucumber, lime and rose petal garnishes.
©2012 John Houser III

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From the Harvest to my brain and into your mouth

I've been writing a weekly piece for The Baltimore Sun called "From the Harvest" and for the past month I've got to tell you that I'm having a blast. It's fun and challenging to go to the market and try to come up with my next article while perusing the culinary madhouse that is the JFX farmers' market. 

Over the the past month this what I've come up with:

©2012 John Houser III

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Aspirational Asparagus

©2012 John Houser III

Big news! I am back to having a weekly piece in The Baltimore Sun! I will be covering the seasonal fruits and vegetables at our local farmers market. I'm really excited to tackle this pretty serious undertaking.
The farmers’ market has become a central part of food shopping for many people again. This time ten years ago farmers’ markets were considered a little too hippy-ish for most people. As the farm-to-table culture in cooking and food circles gained more popularity so has the idea of supporting farmer’s market. There are many farmers’ markets around and in Baltimore, most notably the Sunday JFX farmers’ market as well as the Waverly market and the new Fells Point market (both on Saturdays). Each of the farmers’ markets in the area share many of the same vendors but all have their own charm and personality to offer the patrons who come by every week to get their food. From early spring to late fall our area farmers’ markets provide us with an abundance of local and seasonable food produced by people who care as much about the craft of farming as they do making a buck or two. This is the reason for these articles, to help you navigate what is in season and more importantly; how to cook it. I have chosen to kick off my market guide by featuring the Grande Dame of spring: asparagus. Here's the link:

I came up with three recipes and I'm pretty proud of all three. Here's the line up:

1. Asparagus soup
2. Grilled asparagus in a bacon/ kimchi emulsion
3. Shaved asparagus with prosciutto and poached egg on toast

Monday, May 14, 2012

Knives are fun

©2012 John Houser III

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Most useless culinary tool ever???


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Epic Kale

I had a pretty big piece come out a few weeks ago. It was all about kale. Kale has been getting a lot of play lately and has become a new poster vegetable for farmers markets and sustainable/ organic food types. It's super cheap and extremely versatile to cook with. So with this in mind, my editors at The Sun contacted me and charged me with the task of coming up with three recipes featuring kale. As a bonus, I got to shoot the pictures for the piece as well. The final product turned out really well. I got the front page of the taste section as well as three new recipes to add to my repertoire this summer when we always have a ton of kale in the fridge from  our local CSA. Here's what the page layout looked like:

(©2012 John Houser II)

Did I mention that I did all of this in four days? Yes, I'm bragging a bit, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. So I haven't had a chance to post original recipes to this blog, but I got paid to do it for someone else and link the page for you all to read and get the recipes. So I hope you like the piece and the recipes. The soup is my favorite BTW, it kicks ass. Talk to you all soon. Here's the link to the piece on The Baltimore Sun's website.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mad Menu

I am, believe it or not, working on new content for the blog but I did want to point out this cool piece I had in The Baltimore Sun last week. Mad Men came back to TV and to complement the return of the show I wrote a piece providing retro food and drink recipes. For the food we researched old recipes from long-gone restaurants in the Baltimore area that had their renaissance in the 60's. Most of the recipes came from a great book called "Dining In -- Baltimore". It's a fun book featuring classic recipes that might not be easy to make but is definitely worth a read (if you can find a copy). I changed a few ingredients here and there to make it easier for the home cook to handle while trying to maintain the integrity of the original recipe.


Along with the food, I also got to pair drinks with each course. I'm not a huge mixed drink aficionado, but the drinks I chose were true to the time and goddamn tasty if I do say myself. The "last word" is now my new favorite drink and will be a staple of this summer's cookouts. I also learned to love Campari while testing the drinks. Drink testing, as you can imagine, is the hardest part of food writing what with the drinking and ensuing inebriation.

The wonderful part of this piece is that although it was written for the premiere episode of the season, you can make these recipes for any episode you want. So go on and read, make the recipes and try not to drink too many of the drinks (I know it's hard). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask as always.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

There is a lot going on (aka: apology #8,273.9)

I feel like I am neglecting my first (fake) child by giving attention to my real child/ jobs/ life and I feel horrible for it. I have been writing recipes for The Sun lately though. They have me developing tailgate recipes for the Baltimore Ravens games. It's been a hell of a lot of fun and makes me wish that recipe development was my real job. Hopefully one day, but until then check them out:

Meatball subs:,0,4732205.story


I have another on coming up this week. I hope it's not the last one because I like doing this but also because I want the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl (and beat Tom Brady on national TV). I'll post it as soon as it goes live.

I will feed this beast more and do what I can to get recipes cooking tips to you, my wonderful (and sexy might I add) readers.

Cheers and pickles,

Here's a photo of one of my favorite grilling dishes. This recipe will pop up with the spring flowers, but until then imagine how good it is (or just bother me so I'll post it early).