Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thai Fish and Broccoli: A Simpler Year

Happy New Years! And happy 75th post, Tommy K! I know, I know, this blog isn't quite a year old, but we're ending the calendar year here, so I've got to celebrate. I haven't forgotten about the pumpkin pie recipe- I'll add it one of these days- but I feel that in the spirit of the new year and resolutions and such I ought to make one myself:

For the calendar year 2012 I resolve--- no, that's too much commitment and I'm still probably still some years from resolving away my fear of commitment, so...

For the calendar year 2012 I might--- ah, much better--- try, possibly, maybe, hopefully, if the mood's right, to cook simpler meals.

Wow it feels great to get that off of my chest! It's something I've wanted to say for a while, but now that I've said it, I don't know what I was so afraid of! Anyway, in the spirit of simpler meals, here's some fish and broccoli that I made the other day:

Thai Fish and Broccoli



2 Fillets "Vietnam Farm Raised Fish" from the Asian Grocery Store
1 Crown Broccoli
Sesame Oil
Fish Sauce
Srirachi
Soy Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Thai Basil
Lemon Wedge

Put each Fillet on a piece of tin foil large enough to enclose the Fish and do the same for the Broccoli. Drizzle some Oil on each Fillet and the Broccoli and spritz a little Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, and Srirachi. Sprinkle Salt and Pepper on each. Squirt some Lemmon Juice on them. And finally, on just the Fish Fillets, lay Basil leaves on them as seen in the photo. Broil for 20 minutes on your hottest oven temperature. Either my oven doesn't get hot enough or tin foil is the most heat-resistant compound known to man, because I thought these would be cooked in 10 minutes, max. I had to put them in for more time after I checked! If I'm ever banished to the sun, I'm going in a suit made of foil. And with some hip shades. Holla. Preparation of this meal was about 5 minutes and it tastes great- just like what you'd expect at a Thai restaurant. I can handle that. Rock on!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tamales

My earliest memory of tamales was when I couldn't have been more than four or five. My grandfather's sister, my Tia Koncha, was a crazy woman. She had so many plants that I used to think she lived in the jungle. I don't think she knew how many cats she had, and she had an amazing parrot that lived in her laundry room (in a cage) and spoke fluent Spanish- well according to five-year-old me who knew even less Spanish then than he does now. She had a TV in every room of the house (not exaggerating) and reeked of perfume. I never understood a single thing that came out of her mouth, but she was one of the sweetest women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and honest to God she made the best tamales I've ever had. My only real memory of them was the anticipation I would have in the car when my parents would tell me that she was making tamales for us and then the sheer pleasure I got from eating them. I couldn't tell you what type they were or how she made them, and I know there's no written recipe for them, but that's okay, because nothing I could make could ever compare. My only hope is that one day when I have kids and grand-kids, one of them looks back on my meals and is inspired to cook them for their families.

Normally tamales are made by many hands. Not only is it a long process, but it's also a pain in the ass to do by yourself. My Tias make tamales each year and invited me to help once, but I couldn't make it due to school, so instead of the loving care of my family, I had to turn to the cold disinterested attention of the internet for the basics. Fortunately I'm a boss in the kitchen, so they didn't turn out too badly. They're not my Tia's, but they're a start.

Tamales



Filling



3 Onions
3 Tomatillos
8 Cloves Garlic
1 Poblano Pepper
1 Bunch Cilantro
3 Jalapenos
2 Tomatoes
2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1.5 tbsp Cumin
1 Lime
Salt and Pepper

Boil the Tomatillos, Garlic, Poblano, Jalapenos, and Tomatoes. Liquify with Cilantro and Onion in a Blender. Add the Cumin. Boil off a lot of the liquid and cook Chicken Breast in small pieces in the Salsa that you've just made. Shred the Chicken and Salsa in your mini-food processor. Salt and Pepper and Lime to taste. Set aside.



1 can Black Beans

Boil off most of the water from the Beans and mash as if you were refrying them- which is to say: Hulk Smash!

Masa



??? Masa
1.63 lb. Pork Lard from the Mexican Grocery Store
1 Lime
2 tsp Baking Soda
Salt

I didn't measure the amount of Masa I used, but mix it with the Baking Soda and Salt. I just used enough to fully absorb all the Pork Lard and feel moist, but not wet. Kind of like a when you're with a girl and you're- never mind. Squeeze in the Lime. Why? Why the heck not?

Wrapper

x Corn Husks

Soak however many corn husks you intend on filling in warm water. This will make them pliable and will keep them from cracking. I made about 30 tamales and ran out of Masa before I used all of the filling.

Now comes the fun part... Smear the Masa mixture on each Corn Husk. Scrape some beans on them. Slap some Chicken mixture on them. Roll them up.



This takes forever, so try to enjoy yourself. Like do this part naked or something; you're not working around a flame or knife, so hukuna matata. It's fine if you're not getting a super thick layer of Masa on each Husk- when you steam them they puff up a lot.

Ideally you want your tamales to fit snugly in your pot, but since I was using a giant brewing pot, I rubber-banded them in half-dozen batches.



This worked pretty well. Make sure your tamales aren't sitting in the water. They should be on a perforated surface above the water. I improved this with random pans and crap that I had in my cabinet. I'm pretty you you could come up with something involving tin foil if you were really in a pinch. Steam them for 60-90 minutes. I don't know how to tell when they're done. Just don't worry about it, they'll turn out well.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs and The Bugle

The semester's over and not a moment too soon. An enraged parent has sent my name to the "superintendent's counsel," whatever that is, after I failed her student who didn't learn geometry. I can't wait for next semester! Whatever, hopefully I'll get into grad school. Also, I have a one word defense: scoreboard. Yeah that's right, my kids' scores are pretty damn high this year, so bring it on lady.

Ok, so screw this, you want to hear about my balls:

Spaghetti and Meatballs



Noodles

8 oz. Spaghetti Noodles (half a pack)

Cook per usual.

Sauce

10 Tomatoes
6 Cloves Garlic
4 Dried Red Chili Peppers
1 tbsp Basil
1 tbsp Oregano
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
2 Bay Leaves
Salt

Liquify Tomatoes and Garlic in blender. Simmer to thicken with Spices and Pepper, then Salt to taste.

Meatballs

1.75 lb. Ground Beef
1 c. Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 tbsp Basil
1 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Cracked Red Peppers
1 tbsp Dried Parsley
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
Salt

Puree the Onion and Garlic in a mini-food processor with Egg and Spices. Mix mixture with Meat and Bread Crumbs and pat into small balls. Cook balls in a tiny quantity of Olive Oil in your cast-iron skillet. When cooked, add to Tomato Sauce.

Mix everything together and enjoy. This is by far the most delicious Spaghetti I've ever made!

***On a sadder note, my heart goes out to John Oliver, Andy Zaltzman, Chris, and even Tom, of The Bugle. You've made my life better since the moment I first discovered you three years ago. Every time a tyrant is knocked off, or an athlete shoots himself, or penis is mounted for the world to see (that was my high school, baby!), or pun is made, oh God, what am I doing? I can't do justice to the glory that is and always will be the Bugle. It only seems fitting that I lose you the same day that I find out we lost Kim Jung Il. Just promise me, Bugle, that you'll come back, if only for a day, to give Rupert Murdock the fuckeulogy he undeniably deserves. Fuck you Chris, John, Andy, and Tom in order of who I am most afraid will steal the girlfriend that I will certainly be able to get now that I don't have you fuckers wasting all my Friday nights with the complete and total bullshit that I've come to crave like Silvo Berlusconi craves underage women. Oh yeah, stay down! But most of all, my heart goes out to my fellow Buglers. This sucks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkeyblock

Yo, what's up? I've been bad about updating this again, despite having made a mountain of awesome goodies. I made Thanksgiving dinner for my mom and brother. The potatoes were horrid. How you can make a kick-ass turkey, stuffing, and the like, but bungle mashed potatoes is beyond me, but I had been enjoying my latest Belgium brew... Actually it was kegged back in February, but I tapped it the day before Thanksgiving. My boss at the brew shop describes it as "dangerously fun" and I'm pretty stoked to have made it myself.

But I regress, here's my Turkey:

Turkey



14.9 lb. Turkey
3-5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
Splash of Wine
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Butter (not melted)
Olive Oil

Clean out the Turkey. Yes, it has two opening. Just like us. More importantly, Salt and Pepper the heck out of that bird. Splash wine in its big cavity along with some Rosemary. Splash some wine in your mouth. I used a nice clean Merlot. I splashed a lot of wine in my mouth that day. Lift up the skin above the breast and then shove half the butter and the remaining Rosemary on either side. Rub the bird down with some Olive Oil and then Salt and Pepper some more. Put it in a pan with some tin foil over it and bake for about three hours at 375. Remove the foil and bake for about 30-45 more minutes. This was a juicy and delicious Turkey. I'd do it like this again no hesitation. Be sure to boil the innards and save them for the Stuffing. My mom made the Gravy, so I won't get into that. Do you like the way my brother carves a Turkey?



Ok, so I'm sure you're all yelling at your computer screens "what's the real reason you're updating your blog at midnight when you have school early tomorrow morning?" Well, it's because we had a training today and I got totally turkeyblocked. You see, we had this sizzling young presenter for our staff development who came up to me after lunch (a lunch that I enjoyed with a coworker over a hookah and falafel and more, booyakasha!), touched my shoulder, and said "I really appreciated your comments during our Socratic seminar before lunch. You did a really good job trying to move the conversation forward."

"Thanks," I said not quite making the jump from she's my superior and kinda boss-like to is she flirting with me? so I said "I read the rubric and I was totally going for a 4!" I thought I was being a smartass because I was trying to show off for my coworkers who I was talking to before I was so steamily interrupted, but she wanted a high five. OMG I love it when the woman initiates contact!

"That's because he went to Yale," says my turkeyblocking coworker who was trying to embarrass me.

"What?" she says.

"Nothing," I reply. He repeats himself and I say "ignore him." Then he says it again and I say "he's trying to say that I went to Yale." She's impressed. I think. She wonders how I got into teaching. I talk about my love for my students and she wants me. Or not. Whatever, this is my blog. In your blog you can write your history however you'd like. Then my turkeyblocking coworker tells her I'm a professional brewer. "I'm not," I assure her, but tell her that I brew in my apartment.

"So you're a professional alcoholic?" she says. Is she kidding? I can't tell.

I joke around for another minute, but my coworker keeps yapping and I say "okay" in my peppy little cheerleader way, "I'm getting embarrassed, so I'm going to sit down."

"If you don't get her number" my turkeyblocking coworker tells me, "then I'm going to make fun of you all year and have much less respect for you as a man." Thanks, friend. She's only in Texas two nights a month anyway, which I suppose is perfect, but that's neither here nor there.

It's funny, though, the way I could practically see my confidence melt away as soon as I realized that I might be flirting. Got to work on this. We'll see what happens.

Stay tuned for my amazing pumpkin pie... it's so good that you'll eat around the penis-sized hole!

***Addendum: I wrote this two weeks ago, but didn't publish it for some reason. This is the last week of the semester, but I've got some awesome recipes coming up. Also, according to a coworker who knows, the hot presenter is married. I guess she wasn't coming on to me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wurstfest Bestweekend

Welcome to my weekend. Prost!



Friday:
4:45 pm: Leave School
4:50 pm: Buy Crickets for Daxos
5:15 pm: Return Home, Feed Daxos, Shave, Gather Brews and Such
6:05 pm: Hit the Road
8:00 pm: Try Recommended BBQ in Italy, TX.

A friend from my old teaching gig told me once that the best BBQ he'd ever had was at a truck stop somewhere off of I-35 on the way to Dallas. He couldn't remember the name of the place, but knew that it was next to a "spaceship." I'd done the drive a bunch of times and had no idea what he was talking about, but have kept an eye out for it ever since. Finally, two years and at least twelve passes up and down I-35 later I found it, sitting there right next to the "Spaceship Pegasus." I stopped. I would've taken a picture, but it was dark and I was in a hurry. I ate their BBQ sandwich plate and it was fine. It wasn't anything special, but the sweet taste of completing an epic quest more than compensated.

9:50 pm: Arrive in Austin
10:15 pm: Partake in Surprise Party for Old Friend

Saturday:
12:30 am: Arrive at Barbarella.

Dude, Barbarella is the coolest dance club ever! It's a giant hipster bar (and who doesn't love hipster girls with their bangs and nonchalant ambivalence). They have multiple dance floors- the intimate upstairs one jamming the same 80s music as the sweaty downstairs one, and the boss outdoor floor where the DJ rocked Daft Punk, Foster the Children, and grooves that I couldn't help but dance to under the fractured light of the full moon as it romped through the branches of Barbarella's live oaks.

2:30 am: Fall Asleep
10:00 am: Wake Up, Listen to the Yale-Princeton Game, Grade Papers

Yale won!

2:45 pm: Grab Mexican Food for Lunch.
3:40 pm: Jester King



Jester King's a ten month old brewery in Southwest Austin. They make decent beers. I like their Black Metal Stout. For $5 we got the glass that you see below (Cantaloupe-Berry Smoothie: 1 c. Frozen Cantaloupe, 1 c. Frozen Berries, and Milk. Blend. Enjoy.) and beer. The brewery's nothing special, and I'm a little alarmed by how clean and nice everything is there. It looks more like a California winery than anything beer-related. We enjoyed our brews under mesquite trees and warm November sun before heading to...



6:00 pm: Wurstfest!!!



Wurstfest is a Sausagefest of epic proportions. We parked and before we'd even gotten to the gate, a random vendor was handing us free beer- which was awesome, because the line to get in was pretty long. Haha, sausage... long... Anyway, Wurstfest is located on the banks of the beautiful Comal River in Landa Park, New Braunfels, TX. It's a giant celebration of sausage and beer. Oompah bands galore.



Extraordinarily beautiful Texas beer wenches. I met an alumnus of the school where I currently teach. I met an attractive Yale grad who's a teacher in Houston. I drank pitcher of Oktoberfest and ate an amazing plate of ham-hocks, sauerkraut, beans and potato!



Sunday:
12:00 am: Fall Asleep in the Car.
1:00 am: Wake Up.
1:01 am: Fall Asleep Inside

10:00 am: Do Laundry
3:00 pm: Drive Home

Overall I enjoy driving, but today was one of those rare drives that transcends anything we should be able to do in the material world. With 90.5 KUT playing folk music and the windows rolled down to let in the 80 degree air, I felt more like I was floating than anything else. I had to take a picture for all of you.



8:00 pm: Write Blog Entry About the Wurstfest/Bestweekend

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fried Curried Noodles

I was flattered to find out just how many of my friends read my blog. I appreciate all your advice and I took it to heart- I contacted this chick yesterday and told her that despite the awkwardness, I would enjoy seeing her again. It took her a full 25 hours, but she called me to say that she saw me as a friend only. I know what that means and I don't need another friend anyway, so I thanked her for calling, wished her luck with grad school and will most likely never see her or speak to her again. Oh well, I'm basically 27; if I can't take a little rejection, then what have I been doing my whole life?

So here I am, attempting to listen to every version of "Sexual Healing" that Spotify has to offer while relishing in a most exemplary dinner. This is not good break-up food (which is good, because we would've had to have been together in order to have broken up)... it's just good food!

Fried Curried Noodles



Sesame Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic Minced
Block of Ginger Minced
Dashes of Cumin
Dashes of Coriander
Dashes of Turmeric
1 Onion Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
2 Carrots Diced
1/2 lb. Steak Chopped into Tiny Cubes
0.54 lb. Shrimp Diced
2 Jalapenos Diced
1/2 Bunch Cilantro Cut Up
Spoonful of Sesame Seeds
Handfuls of Bean Sprouts
Salt and Pepper
2 Small Bunches Rice Noodles
Splash of Soy Sauce
Splash of Fish Sauce
Splash of Oyster Sauce
Spritz of Sriracha
Juice of 1 Lime

Heat some oil while bringing water to a boil. Fry the Garlic, Ginger, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, and Sesame Seeds. After a few minutes add about half of the Onion and 1 Jalapeno. Put the Rice Noodles in the boiling water. Put the Beef into the spiced mixture. Drain the Rice Noodles and add them to the spiced Mixture. Add the Bell Pepper, Carrots, rest of the Onion and Jalapeno. Pour in the Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce, and Sriracha. Add the Shrimp. Let cook for moments. Add the Cilantro and Bean Sprouts. Salt and Pepper to taste. Love this dish! Squeeze in the juice of one lime.

By the way, somehow (***cough cough fellow teacher!!!***) my students found out that I brew beer. Never! I don't know what you're talking about. Isn't that illegal (uh, not since the 70's...)... My regular kids know the deal. They know it's true. My advanced students can't believe it. One said "I can't imagine Mr. Tommy K drinking alcohol; he seems like he'd be afraid of a soda!" I feel like Batman being unmasked. It doesn't feel good. Also, it's like "Hey dude, I'm the Batman, today's not a good day to lie to me, I think I'll be doing the face punching," you know?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Best Beer You'll Never Taste (and Other Lamentations)

I just returned from my date. We went to the Festival at the Switchyard in Carrolton to see Third Eye Blind. I attempted to hold her hand during Never Let You Go. I'm never going to be smooth. It's not who I am. Tonight was our third date and I'd never done more than hug her at the end of our first two dates. I wanted to initiate contact in some way, so I leaned over during the song and said "would it be too corny if I asked to hold your hand?" Her response was "um, you can hold my hand, but..." She never completed her thought and I never held her hand. It's a weird feeling to be standing next to a woman whom you're completely and utterly attracted to and would like nothing more than to be around, but want to leave so badly that for a split second you think about ditching her at a concert and going home. To be clear, I can't imagine a scenario where I'd ever actually ditch a person like that. It was just a pathetic thought borne out of disappointment. Fortunately they started playing Semi-Charmed Kind of Life and all was quickly ignored. I enjoyed the rest of the show, however acutely aware I was of the awkwardness of the situation, and we had a pleasant ride home. I suspect I will never see her again. I don't think I'll ask her out on another date. If I misread the situation in some way she'll call me. Until then, I hope that any lonely readers out there find someone even half as great as this chick was. I'd never have had the balls to ask out a woman like her in real life, so I guess I should give a shout-out to online dating and be happy for the dates I had.

Fuck this. You know what else I did today? I bottled the best damn beer you'll never taste.* I corked 20 bottles like the connoisseur I am. Most of these bottles will go to the brewshop and as gifts to various friends. I capped eight 12 oz bottles- at least three will go to competition. If they carbonate properly I expect big things out of them. I've been drinking the boot full of beer that I didn't bottle. My friend gave me das boot as an early birthday present (my birthday's a little less than two weeks from now). Even flat it's out of this world.

I won't explain the brewing process to you on this post- maybe on a future one- but you should check out www.howtobrew.com if you want to know. I do all grain brews (like I said, I'm a real connoisseur), which is Section 3, but you should do some easier brews before tackling a ten-percenter like this one.

Belgium III aka Why Do I Even Bother Manscaping
Strong Belgium Dark
5.5 Gallons 9.98% ABV



14 lb. Belgium Pils
1.5 lb. Cara-45 (Caramunich)
0.5 lb. Aromatic Malt
0.4 Biscuit Malt
0.25 Special B
0.15 Dingemans Chocolate

28.2 oz. Small Lump Sugar from the Asian Grocery Store (because it's cheaper)
0.6 c. Cane Sugar

1 oz. Fuggles (4.20 % AA) (60 min)
0.5 oz. Czech Saaz (4.00% AA) (10 min)
0.5 oz. Czech Saaz (4.00% AA) (5 min)

Wyeast Belgium Abbey II
Safbrew T-58

Brewed 10.10.2011 (Fair Day!!!)
5.5 Gallons Collected
OG: 1.092

Racked: 10.23.2011
SG: 1.018

Bottled: 11.5.2011 (1.2 c Priming Sugar)
FG: 1.016

Mash at 152 and ferment at 68.

Is there a reason that all I can listen to right now is Slow Motion by Third Eye Blind and Why'd It Take So Long For You To Fall In Love With Me by the Tah-Dahs on repeat? Yeah. It's because I'm a 14 year old girl stuck in the body of a slightly overweight, but actually pretty good looking 26 (just about 27) year old man.

*Except for some of you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Exquisite Veal Curry

I'm tired. I have grading to do, but I hate it so much. I think I may try to wake up early and take care of a lot of it before school tomorrow morning. We'll see.

On Halloween I had the privilege of going out on a second date with the woman I went out with while sick. We took the train downtown and went to a haunted house. I had a great time! I also can't believe how attracted I am to her. She's a perfect combination of nice, fun, smart, classy, and beautiful. I can say all this, because she has no idea that I write a blog. I'm a slow dater. I don't know how to change this about myself. We've hugged once at the end of both of our dates after I walked her to her car, but I've had steamier hugs with my guy friends, so who knows. I worry that I take things too slowly, but I when I'm really into a woman I get nervous and cautious and try to be gentlemanly. She seemed to have a good time and I think we'll go out again. Who knew you could find a woman like this on the internet.

But back to the food: I've been on a crazy roll recently. I honestly haven't made a bad dish in two weeks. This may be a record. I bought some Ground Veal that was on sale yesterday since the expiration date was only a day away. I didn't know what to do with it, but I threw it into a Curry with Avocado that needed to be used, a Butternut Squash that had to be used, and a lot of other ingredients. It is 100% awesome. I'd peddle this to the President if he was in town and in need of sustenance. You can make a meal like this, too, if you just follow this complex recipe:

Curried Veal and Squash Medley



1 Butternut Squash
4 tbsp Ghee
4 Cloves Garlic diced
0.75 in^2 Ginger diced
0.6 tbsp Cumin
0.6 tbsp Coriander
0.5 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Cayenne
0.75 tsp Cinnamon
1 Onion diced
1 lb. Ground Veal
6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Avocado
1 Red Bell Pepper largely chunked
Salt and Pepper

Cut the Squash and roast in the oven at 375 until it's soft. While this is happening, melt the Ghee in your wok. Fry the Garlic and Ginger. After a few minutes add the Spices. Next add the Onion and fry. When the Onion is soft, add the Ground Veal. Cook while continuously stirring to break the Veal into small chunks. Then add the Tomato Paste and Lime Juice. When fully cooked scrape in the Avocado and mash up. I only added this because it was going bad, but it certainly didn't hurt the meal. What a meal! Turn off the heat and add the Red Bell Pepper and Salt and Pepper to taste. Take out the Squash and serve both the Squash and the Ground Veal mixture over Basmati Rice. Feel free to mix them up and enjoy the wonders of this most excellent feast! Serve this to guests... they'll be impressed!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's a Hot Dog. It's a Hamburger. It's a Fried Egg.

Here are some texts I received from my happy "hour". I say "hour" because it went all night and ended with me passed out on the floor. At least I can't remember Game 7 of the World Series.

10:28 pm: Thanks for a great time
10:55 pm: You were seriously sleeping on the floor
11:02 pm: Night night

11:58 am: Thanks for a great time. We must do this again.
12:04 pm: You were awesome. I believe my new found goal in life is to always be around you tipsy or at least try really hard to get you there.
12:12 pm: Lol. No worries. I'll keep it to a minimum since I love my liver as well.

5:55 pm: Hey crazy dude. Did you recover from yesterday? It was fun and I am glad you invited us.
6:03 pm: thought you might want this: [a pic of me posing, shirtless, in my robe with a pipe in my mouth.]

What the hell happened? It's been a while since I've gotten this drunk. When I woke up I found that I'd drunk all the cold water I normally keep in my fridge. Thankfully. I wasn't that hung over and I got all my AI homework done. That's right readers, Tommy K has to do something to stay sharp, so he's learning the basics of Artificial Intelligence from the online Stanford class.

Hot Dog Style Hamburger with Fried Egg



1/2 lb. Ground Beef
2 Eggs
Cheese
2 Hot Dog Buns
Ketchup and Mustard

Collard Greens
Mustard Greens
Turnip Greens
Butter
Salt and Pepper

I started by making the greens. Just saute them in some Butter with Salt and Pepper until they reach your desired ratio of wilt to crisp.

Then I divided my Ground Beef into two clumps and rolled them into the shape of a hot dog since I had Hot Dog Buns. Cook on the stove and fry a couple Eggs on them to add a little heft to the meal. Melt some Cheese on top and add a little Ketchup and Mustard. Don't forget to toast the Buns.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Premium Cheesy Italian Pasta

I invited my coworkers over for a happy hour tomorrow. I'm quite pleased with the e-mail invitation. Check it out:

Hi,

I know this is short notice for most of you, but you’re all welcome to come over tomorrow after school to sample my newest pumpkin beverage or whatever else I have. I live in downtown xxxxx, so it’s just a short drive north on xxxxx road just past xxxxx street. My apartment overlooks scenic xxxxx Park and the xxxxx. The address is xxxxx xxxxx, Apt xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx xxxxx. I’m going to leave shortly after school, so 4:45 or 5 for a little bit would be nice. I’m a laid back guy, so whatever.

Tommy K


Pretty sick, right.

Anyway, I made this super-delicious and highly cheesy pasta dish. Yes it's restaurant quality. Yes, it's so cheesy that it can't be good for you.

Premium Cheesy Italian Pasta



7 oz. Pasta of Your Choice (Personally I like it a little thicker. That's what she said. I used Fettuccine.)
3 Roma Tomatos Sliced
0.25 lb. Salad Greens
6 oz. Basil
Olive Oil
5 Hot Italian Sausages Cut to Pieces
Pinch of Oregano
Pinch of Fennel
Pinch of Cracked Red Peppers
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 lb. Mozzarella Cut Thinly
Parmesan for Garnish

Bring Water to a boil. If you're as cool as I am you'd include the liquid from the Mozzarella with the water and then walk away and find that it foams like a can of shaving cream all over the stove. Wicked. Cook the Pasta. Drain. Place noodles back into pot and drizzle with Olive Oil. Add Salad Greens, Chopped Basil, Spices, and Sausage. When Sausage is pretty much cooked add Mozzarella. When serving garnish with Parmesan. This is decadently delicious. In fact: this dish:decadently delicious::I am:awesomely alliterative.

By the way, I discovered the Tah-Dahs in college and always sing "Alcoholic" and "Temporary" to myself despite the fact that I haven't heard either song in probably 5 years. They got about two seconds of airtime and I'm quite sure nobody has any idea who they are. Their wikipedia page still refers to an album we should expect out sometime in 2006. I can't say that they're a terribly good or innovative band, but I love them nonetheless and found their one album, Le Fun, on spotify. Bless you spotify, seriously. Anyway, you should listen to "Alcoholic" and "Temporary" if you're ever in the mood to have a little of Le Fun. Expect a few Tah-Dah quotes in the posts to come. Also, expect severe celebration when the Rangers win tonight. And expect some sweet Beavis and Butthead watchage when tonight's episode goes online.

F*** St. Louis. At least it was a good game.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cabrito Guisado

I dined with an old friend tonight. She was actually the first girl that I ever went on a date with, although we didn't determine that it was officially a "date" until many years later. Tonight was not a date; just two old friends taking advantage of the fact that they were in the same city to catch up a little. Still, she's every bit as lovely as I've always found her despite the fact that my first impression was "she's not as pretty as I remember." I quickly realized that I was blind. I always tell myself that I'm not attracted to women that I clearly am attracted to. That's my tell. If I tell you that I don't find a pretty woman pretty, then you can be pretty sure that I want them all-encompassingly (even if that's not a real word).

AnYwHo, I made some Cabrito Guisado the other day which I highly recommend to anyone with tastebuds. Cabrito, by the way, is sexy for goat. Guisado is a stew or something along those lines. Put it on a tortilla and shove it in your mouth.

Cabrito Guisado



3 lb. Goat Meat from the Asian Grocery Store (because it's cheaper that way and they chop it into nice cubes for you)
2 Jalapenos cut into long quarters
8 Cloves Garlic minced
2 tsp El Cumino
Oil
Salt and Pepper
Water

Fry the Garlic and Cumin in Oil and quickly brown the Cabrito. Pour the spiced Goat into a slow cooker, Salt and Pepper it to taste, put the Jalapeno slices on top, put maybe a cup or so worth of Water into the slow cooker, and let cook all day. When you arrive home turn it into a taco. Impress your friends or blog about it.

***Word of caution: Watch out for bones.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Get Your Red Hots

Is this a baseball reference because the Rangers are in the World Series?

I'd like to take a second to give a shout out to a dedicated reader and super-hot friend who criticized my last post with the following:

"...and your blog makes it sound like you picked up a hooker in 'a bad part of town- and by town I mean cities away from the city where I needed to be or public transportation that would help get me there.'

When actually, you were rescued by Wilma Flintstone and driven safely home. THEN you got ass."


First of all: hottest Wilma Flintstone ever. Secondly: thank you again! Thirdly: Call me Mr. Flintstone, cause I can make your bed rock.

By the way, I'm not a player. Far from in fact, but scandals sell, so that's what I do, you know. Can you dig? I went out with that internet chick last Tuesday. It was the first time that I've gone out with an internet chick and seen a future. I normally find a million faults with a woman before we've even sat down, but I have yet to find one with her: she's pretty, smart, interesting, likes the same music and TV shows that I like, volunteers... what more could you ask for? Sadly, my voice was rocky and I think I may have underestimated my illness when I said I was over a cold, but had lost my voice. I guess that doesn't make sense. I hope I didn't get her sick. I still haven't completely recovered. I texted her a couple days later to say that I enjoyed meeting her and want to go it again and she replied without any mention of meeting again. I hope she's just waiting for me to get better and ask her out, because I would like to see something come of this. I have Daxos, but I haven't played with him since I got sick last weekend. I know whatever I have almost certainly can't jump to him, but I still don't want to risk it. I love that lizard!

Hot Italian Sausage:



3 Hot Italian Sausages
0.75 Onion Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
Dash of Cumin
Dash of Garlic Powder
A Little Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
3 Hot Dog Buns
Cheese

Saute the Onion in Oil with Garlic Powder and Cumin. After Onion is cooked, but still slightly crunchy, add Sausages. Salt and Pepper to taste. Shortly before completion add diced Red Bell. Toast the buns and put Sausage and Onion mix on with a little cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Miss You, Too! PANCAKES!

This one's is just for you Doc Money, but in case anyone else is reading, you're welcome too.

This blog is about my life. And food. Specifically pancakes, I guess, but I'll get to that later. I got sick during 6th period last week. I would like to blame my snot-laden kids or some of my sick coworkers, but I also ate an m&m that fell on the floor recently and seem to think that riding my bike across the country and getting dirty has made me invulnerable to germs. That's clearly a lie. I slept a lot Friday night, felt somewhat better Saturday, and then felt great yesterday. Sweet. Then I got to 5th period today and lost my voice. I took some medicine to try to help my throat and get my voice back. I know, I know, I always claim that the only drug I do is alcohol, but this is different. It's for a girl.

You see, I met a woman on the interweb a week or two ago and am going on a date with her tomorrow. At least I hope I am. If I can't talk when I wake up tomorrow I may have to cancel which would totally suck. I'm hoping these drugs work- or that divine intervention saves my ass and gets me, uh, ass? That last comment probably sealed my fate. It's been 354 days. Not that I'm counting. Honestly I'm not- I just happen to remember the last time, because it happened after I decided to take an ill-fated nap on the train on my way back from Fort Worth the weekend before Halloween and just so happened to get stuck in a bad part of town- and by town I mean cities away from the city where I needed to be or public transportation that would help get me there.

Anyhow, I've taken to online dating as loyal readers know and sadly none of my dates and I have been right for each other. Well, the woman I'm meeting tomorrow sounds pretty cool, so here's hoping things go well. Come to think of it, maybe if I lose my voice it'll actually improve my chances!

So that's my life lately, Doc Money. Daxos is good. I carved a pumpkin on Saturday at my friend's pumpkin carving party. School's going pretty well. I recently e-mailed some professors and asked if they'd be willing to write me letters of recommendation for grad school, so I guess all in all things are pretty good.

Blueberry Pancakes



The following recipe I 100% copied and pasted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/detail.aspx:

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


I would definitely cut back a little on the baking powder, but otherwise these were good. I took about 4 oz. of Frozen Blueberries, thawed them, and put them on the soggy side of the pancakes before flipping. This worked out well, but would've worked better had I first drained the bag of liquid. They were still good, though. Serve with Pure Maple Syrup and Orange Juice or Milk.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cannellini Bean Soup

Not too long ago I introduced you to my bearded dragon, Daxos. Well, as you may have guessed, I won't let him settle for the same greens day after day, so I always try to have two or three different types of leafy greens on hand for him. Last week I bought turnip greens and collard greens. Not knowing what to do with them since Daxos is a pretty small dude and can't eat more than a couple leaves I turned to the internet and found the following recipe which I only slightly adjusted:

http://melissaraydavis.hubpages.com/hub/Cannellini-Bean-Soup-Recipe-Collard-Greens

When I showed up to school the next day (yes, I had a busy week and cooked this up five days ago) one of the teachers I eat with said "what've you got today?"

"Cannellini bean soup," I replied.

"Can I try it," she said scooping a small amount onto her fork. "Mmm, that's pretty good."

"You're damn right it's good. Who do you think I am? I'm Tommy K."

"Psh, don't get all big headed and cocky."

"I'm sorry, that's the way your mom likes it."

Cannellini Bean Soup



Olive Oil
1 Onion Diced
6 Cloves Garlic
3 Stalks Celery Diced
1 lb Dried Cannellini Beans
1 c. White Wine (I tossed the bottle or I'd be more specific... uh, sorry?)
~8 c. Water
Salt to Taste (this may require a fair amount; it always does with dried beans.)
2 Bay Leaves
5 Sprigs Freshly Cut Rosemary
0.5 tsp Thyme
Dash Oregano
Moderate Dash Cayenne
Heapin' Helpin's Chopped Collard Greens and Turnip Greens
Pepper to Taste

Saute about 4/5 of the Onion, all of the Celery and all of the Garlic in a little bit of Olive Oil. Add them to the rinsed Beans in a Crock Pot. Pour in the Wine, Water, Salt, and Herbs and Spices. Let cook on low for many hours. Add more Water if necessary. About 30 minutes before serving add the remaining Onion and Greens. Let cook for 30 minutes and serve in a bowl, Bread bowl, or Superbowl.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back That Fish Up

You got me: I'm listening to Juvenile's epic soliloquy "Back That Azz Up". I'm also eating a fish feast. Seriously, I don't know if it's that I cook fish like I was raised in the Red Lobster (assuming the Red Lobster's great- I wouldn't know since I haven't eaten there in probably two decades...), or if it's just that I love seafood (in which case I should probably hit up the all-you-can-eat shrimp at the Red Lobster...). Either way, I just want to point out that "you's a fine motha-f****a, won't you back that azz up!"

Terrifically Great-Fantastically Wonderful Fish



1 lb +- (plus or minus) 0.25 lb Mahi Mahi
1 tbsp H.E.B. brand South Carolina BBQ Sauce
Dashes Soy Sauce
Dash Fish Sauce
Dash Oyster Sauce
Dash Srirachi
Sesame Oil
The Artist Known for "Push-It" to Taste

~1 lb Asparagus

Coat a cast iron skillet with Sesame Oil and mix all the non-fish items in a bowl minus the "The Artist Known for 'Push-It'". "The Artist Known for 'Push-It'" the slick skillet (yes, this is a euphemism for President Bill Clinton). Put in the Mahi Mahi skin up. Let sizzle for a moment or two. Then flip and coat with a sauce created by mixing all the remaining ingredients to taste. Let cook for a moment or two... possibly the length of a short song like "Please Play This Song on the Radio" by NOFX" or roughly half the length of "Push-It". Then recklessly throw in the Asparagus. Let cook until Asparagus tastes right. Serve. Garnish with the last drizzles of sauce and you'll love this for chizzles.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Butt Cheese

I've drunk more than just one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer this evening. I've in fact had two beers in addition to the bourbon and scotch. Why? Because I'm tired of doing school work. How many days in a row should I have to have multiple meetings and training and what not. I know what you're going to say: "you didn't have meetings or trainings on Friday." Piss off, alright. Friday was an exception. Seriously, I went 12 days without cooking. That's a record for me. I think I cooked more when I was out in the middle of nowhere West Coasting it this summer. Whatever, I got Spotify and Spotify rocks. Download it. Listen to music. Lou Reed is the coolest dude who's ever pleased my ear.

I went to Austin two weekends ago. It was pleasurable more or less (less only because I couldn't shake the thought that I had tests and quizzes to write and grade and lessons to plan and parents to call oh my). More importantly, it was inspiring. In case you're the English teacher or math teacher in my school- by the way, math really should be capitalized since we're every bit as important as English (though to a lesser degree if I had to be honest), but whatevs, diggy, eat a dill (tab -Miles)- I'd like you to not bring this up to anyone- principally principals- but I went to check out the LBJ School of Public Affairs. I loved it. I'm applying to it and I fully plan on petitioning their decision if I don't get accepted. It's not that I don't like my job- I do. I love my kids and I'm grateful for the opportunity to meld their minds, but math is not my passion and I think I would be more successful at saving the world from the policy perspective.

So much alliteration!

Anyway, long story elongated: I went to Austin to see the school and stopped by Austin Homebrew Supply Co. and bought ingredients to make'a the mozza'rella. Historically insignificant fail. Don't buy H.E.B. (the "B" stands for "Butt," no joke; it was started by Florence Butt ) unless you want Ricotta.

So anyway, here's my experience making Mozzarella. I mean Ricotta.

Butt Ricotta

***Full disclaimer: I followed the Austin Homebrew recipe as closely as I could.***

1 Gallon H.E.B(utt) Whole Milk
0.5 Tablets Vegetable Rennet
2 tsp Citric Acid
0.5 tsp Calcium Chloride
.0.75 tsp Cheese Salt
1/2 c. Water

Mix Citric Acid and CaCl in 0.25 c. Water. Crush and dissolve Rennet Tablet half in remaining water.



Bring Milk to 55 F and mix in Acid CaCl mix (any chem people, is CaCl the proper notation for Calcium Cloride? Any ^-1 or anything like that? Also, don't you love the level of (high)schooling necessary to enjoy this blog?).



Heat to 88 F and mix in the Rennet mixture in an "up and down motion for about 30 seconds".



Bring to 105 and then cover pot and let set for 20 minutes.



When the whey is clear and the curds are clumped, scoop out with a slotted spoon. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible and microwave for 1 minute on high. Pour out liquid. Fold in Cheese Salt. Then microwave again for 30 seconds. Do this until elastic like mozzarella. Pull apart and squeeze with plastic gloves if you're not feeling particularly manly. Personally, it was still too hot for me even with the gloves on. Keep doing this until cheese is thick and stringy.



Mine never got like that. It stayed gloopy-gloppy. That's Ricotta! They say if your Milk was pasteurized at too high of a temperature it will do this. Oh well, it made some damn good lasagna. More on that later!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Back Ribs (er, uh, Ham and Hatch Quiche)

Labor Day, Eat Babies!

I should've made baby back ribs for this very reason, but instead I made a quiche. I'm effeminate.

Actually, I'm loving my holiday. It's a tender 74 degrees outside and my air is off and my windows are open. How awesome is that! Yesterday I did a couple laps around the lake on my bike and all I have left to do today is get some schoolwork done and get a drink with some random internet hottie.

On Friday I bought a Bearded Dragon- a super-sick (as in awesome) lizard that I've named Daxos after the leader of the Arcadians in 300. Were they as hardcore as the Spartans? No. In fact they were the ones who chided King Leonides for bringing such a small army only to concede that they brought a rag-tag group of potters and such and had, indeed, brought fewer soldiers. Still, Daxos is too chill to be a Spartan. I wanted to name him Gadhafi after seeing him brutally decimate an entire population of tasty crickets, but... well I don't need to explain why I decided against this.



If you haven't tried Spotify yet, it's totally rad. It's a free music listening program like Ruckus, but everything streams so my computer is no longer full of music that I don't have the rights to. I highly recommend it. My sincere gratitude to my friend the Lobster Baron for sending me an invitation e-mail and then to my roommate that never was who told me to actually read the e-mail. So far I've added Bruno Mars (don't maim), the new Kanye-Jay Z album which is good, and Florence + the Machine!

Without further ado, try this quiche!

Ham and Hatch Quiche



For the crust:

Spoonful of Lard
However much Flour to get a fairly dry consistency
Pinch of Marjoram
Pinch of Sage
Pinch of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper

Mix all this together. I made the mistake of not baking it for a couple minutes to harden it before putting in my filling. I'm a newb. My crust was gross, but if it had hardened I think I would've liked it. I liked having spices in the crust.

For the filling:

4 Eggs
1 lb. Frozen Spinach defrosted and squeezed to remove excess water
1.5 c. Shredded Cheese (I used a variety of expensive cheeses that were beginning to mold. It was quite delicious and elegant, but any normal cheese should work.)
3 Spicy Roasted Hatch Chili Peppers diced (this is what made my filling so ultimate)
3 large pieces of cooked Ham diced
1/3 Onion diced
Salt and Pepper

Mix everything together and pour into filling. Back at 350 for about 45 minutes. This is one heck of a good quiche!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Greenish Curry

Hi Friends,

I've cooked a few meals since my last post but have been too tired from school to blog about it. I might be a little stressed, though I can't tell, and I'm sure I'm a few other things, but I don't feel like verbalizing them. I've done two 5 mile runs since my last post, and my school year is going well so far. I like my students and feel much more confident in my classroom. My personal life is lame, and it's come to my awareness that I have trouble relating to or talking to adults outside of my few teacher friends and those whom I've known and loved for years. I never understood the stereotypical TV husband who didn't like to talk and kept few friends, but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm fated to live similarly. Weak fear seems to consume me. I say weak only because it's different from terror or fright... it's just an overhanging feeling that I'm moving further and further from where I always wanted to be.

Today I've been listening to "Our House" by Madness repeatedly. I can't put my finger on it, but it saddens me. I've also been listening to "While I'm Away" by Good Old War. With few specifics since this is a post for the world and not a private journal like I sometimes seem to think it is, I'll just say that it reminds me of a faded fantasy that I've been trying to squelch for years but somehow, sometimes, quite literally wets my eyes.

More often than not when I run I run to the sounds of cars and crickets and the clanging of keys in my pockets, but when I do choose to listen to music I can't help but notice how slow is the tempo of many of my songs. So I choose alcohol over caffeine and sober pubs over raucous clubs. I'm old.

Greenish Curry



1 block Firm Tofu
Oil

Fry the Tofu in a grown woman-sized helping of Oil.

5 Cloves of Garlic
1 square inch Ginger
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne
1 bunch Cilantro
1 bunch Thai Basil
1 Tomato
10 oz. Chicken Broth
1 can Coconut Milk

Dice up and set aside half of the Cilantro and Basil for later. Puree all of the remaining ingredients including fully half of the Cilantro and Basil in a food processor and add to the frying Tofu.


0.5 Onion
1 tbs Fish Sauce
2 tsp Oyster Sauce
2 handfuls Grape Tomatoes cut in half
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
0.75 lb Beef
Big bunch Rice Noodles
1 Lime
Pepper

Add the Onion, Fish Sauce, and Oyster Sauce after Tofu and puree has had time to marinate and cook for a while. After about five minutes add the tomato. After 10 minutes add the Bell Pepper and Beef and Rice Noodles (which should have been soaking in water for some time now and are soft). Simmer until Beef is cooked. Squeeze the juice of one Lime and season with Pepper to taste. Then add the remaining half of the chopped Cilantro and Basil.

Enjoy this tasty meal!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mountains of Fried Food

First of all, I'd like to give you guys an update on the state of my apartment:

The apartment manager called to say that it's not possible for an AC unit to cool more than 20 degrees below the outside temperature, so when it's 107 outside I shouldn't expect it to get below 87. I don't buy it. I have too many friends in the area who don't live with that, and regardless, if it's 95 at 10:00 pm and my apartment is still at 83 something's wrong. Oh, and my fridge started leaking again.

But back to the food:

My brother came over yesterday and wanted to use the deep fryer, as usual. So we defrosted some chicken wings, went to the Asian grocery store to get shrimp, squid, and oysters, and cut up a potato and two carrots. None of this is ground breaking stuff as frequent readers will know, but this was by far the best job we've ever done. I fantasize about opening a beer garden in the hill country and serving mountains of fried food like this:



The one thing I'll add is that I finally got smart about how to apply the flower: I filled a small Tupperware about 1/4 full with flour, put in whatever I planned on coating, shook the heck out of it, and then removed them for the fryer. Wings (not breaded) fry for 7-8 minutes, Potatoes and Carrots (also not breaded) went in for 7 minutes, Shrimp and Oysters (both breaded) fried for 2, and Squid (breaded) fried for 4. Each one was fantastic.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pork Chops and Roast Veggies

I spent 12 hours at school today preparing for my kids on Monday. I still don't feel prepared, but teachers never do. I stopped by the bike shop and the grocery store on the way home and by the time I arrived the sun had set. I felt bloated with the weight of profound loneliness. And here I am I turning my cooking blog into this most manly of journals yet again.

The past three hours were spent primarily watching Mad Men while replacing the large front gear, the entire rear cassette, and the chain on my touring bike. I didn't get to go on a run, but I should be able to wake up early enough to go before it gets too hot tomorrow. That's the hope at least. I'm getting better at working on bikes and now that I have a chain whip and couple other tools there's not too much I shouldn't be able to take care of on my own. Still, I'd like someone to teach me how to replace the break cables and gear cables.

Maintenance came to my apartment to fix something in the refrigerator and to look into my AC for the third time this year. The exact words they wrote on my report were "CHECKED AC, ITS WORKING FINE." So I sent them another maintenance request as shown below:


First of all, I appreciate how quickly you guys always come out when I place a request and I wanted to say thank you for fixing my refrigerator this morning.

That said, I've had you guys check my AC three times now this year- twice this summer, and Charles looked at it today and wrote "Checked AC, it's working fine." I don't know what time he came out, but the date call had a time of 9:16 AM. Either way, I just returned from work fifteen minutes ago at 8:45 pm, my AC is set at 70, and it's 83 degrees in my apartment. I've lived with that all summer. I don't consider that working fine. Furthermore, the fan still squeaks, something that was looked at and oiled a couple months ago. I don't want to give you the wrong impression, I love my apartment and will recommend the complex to anyone who asks, but don't patronize me. Even taking into account that I live on the third floor and have western exposure, it was dark when I got home and who knows how many hours the AC had been set at 70. A working AC unit can cool to 70 degrees, much less get below 80 when set at 70.


I think I was way too nice. I even added the apostrophe in "it's" to make the rage-inducing comment less grammatically infuriating. Like I told my friend just after I got home: I can live with my AC being broken, but if you're going to lie to my face and patronize me, you can go f- yourself. By the way, I'm writing this at 12:15 at night and it's still 80 in my apartment. Assholes.

I'm sorry that this is such a rambling and anger-laden post. In between fixing my bike and complaining about the audacity of my apartment complex I did cook dinner. Check it out:



Pork Chops with Roast Turnips and Beets

3 Pork Chops
1/3 c. Apple Sauce
Pinch of Cumin
Pinch of Coriander
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Cayenne
Spoonful of Honey
Salt and Pepper
Oil

Mix all of the Spices and Honey into the Applesauce. Brown the Pork Chops, flip, and let cook with spiced Applesauce on top until safe to eat.

1 Beet
1 Turnip
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Meanwhile, 30 minutes ago, you should have cut the Beet and Turnip into small cubes, given a little Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper, and put in your toaster over on 400.* After about 40-45 minutes they should be ready to melt in your mouth!

Nice meal!

*"Meanwhile, 30 minutes ago..." LOL

Monday, August 15, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash and Chicken

A couple weeks ago during a school training my coworker told me he was planning on running a half marathon in December and recommended I run it with him. That makes two of the five math teachers in my department running half marathons in December, so I how could I refuse. I hadn't wanted to start training since it's been so hot, but seeing how time presses on regardless I decided I had no choice and started today. I rode my bike to a nice running path and ran about three miles. Way to go! I decided that I might want to start eating more healthily as well. Here's my first attempt (notice the complete absence of beer in the picture... dammit...):



Curried Butternut Squash and Chicken

1 tbsp Ghee
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Cinnamon
Dash Ground Nutmeg
Spoonful of Honey
1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into smallish cubes
1/4 Onion cut into medium chunks
1 Green Bell Pepper diced
1 Chicken Breast cut similarly to the Squash

Fry spices in Ghee. Add the Squash, Onion, Honey and about a half cup of Water and let cook until the Squash is soft. Add the Green Bell Pepper and Chicken and simmer until Chicken is fully cooked. Salt and Pepper nicely. Serve with Couscous.

Pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The High Life

The last Friday of summer vacation and this is what I do with it. Wow. Don't expect me to do this ever again, but as you'll see when you watch the video, this was a special occasion and special occasions sometimes warrant special posts. I wrote the lyrics after having listened to Nicki Minaj for hours and Kanye West for years. But I can't sing, obviously, so I downloaded an auto-tune program to help me sound like T-Pain who also cannot sing. I still sound bad. It's like Count Dracula if he were straight out of white Compton.

I am sorry for some of the language. I blame the media.

Seriously I can't believe I'm posting this. It's amazing the things I'm willing to do online that I would never admit to in the real world.

One final note, I just watched the video one last time in disbelief and apparently the quality was dropped in the posting. I'm sorry if some of the educational text was lost, but I'm too tired and embarrassed to try and fix it.



The High Life
By The Gourmet Apartment

F--- the big breweries and their MGD
Give me less choice than the KGB
You want some good s---
You gotta get it from me
A liquid effigy
Like a G
From my home-brewery

Hop hop hop hop hop hop hop
Hershbrucker an-
Hallertauer an-
Saaz
I got copper to my left
Stainless to my right
15 barrels boiling
Whirlpool is in sight

I'm a pro
I profess
Now I write the test
No longer impressed
By your protein rest
At the bar, to ingest
I'm yours to request
I'm the best
Mothaf------; it's no contest

(spoken)
I'd like to slow things down a little
For all the ladies out there who say they don't like beer
Now I'm not saying you're not hot
All I'm saying is

Drink me, drink me, say that you'll drink me
Brew me, brew me, so you can drink me
Pour me, share me, ménage à trois
Smell me, taste me, drink me so raw
I can't drink no other lover, but you

Biotch

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bagels!

Before I begin this post, I'd like to reply to this comment a friend (and potential baby mama) had for me in an e-mail:

p.s. you might want to re-consider this line from your latest blog: "And let me just say, to all the grandmothers out there, you'd better be damn glad that I wasn't on the prowl for man 40-some years ago, because my cooking would've done things in their mouths that they wouldn't have been able to even imagine enough to fantasize about."
(unless that wasn't a typo? ;)


No it wasn't a typo; sometimes I just choose to start sentences with the word And. Thank you very much.

Now that that's taken care of, get this: I made bagels today! There're some things in the world, bagels for instance, that I've always just kind of assumed were impossible to make at home. I realize that if I can make and carbonate my own beer, a bagel should be a cinch, but it was something I'd never thought to make. That said, I wasn't seeking to make bagels today despite having read up on them a little last night. Rather, I was aiming to make cinnamon rolls for my brother and I, but because I can never get my bread to rise properly I took the dough and made bagels instead.



Bagels

1 Package Fleischer's Rapid Rise Yeast
0.5 c. Water
0.5 c. Milk
2/3 stick melted Butter
1/4 c. Sugar
1 Egg
3.5 c. Flour
Poppy Seeds (Optional)
Sesame Seeds (Optional)

Dissolve Yeast in warm Water. Mix Milk, Butter, Sugar, and the Egg well. Slowly add Flour and Yeast. Mix until ??? (I'm so bad at baking. I just got lucky today.) Let rise in a warm area covered with a damp towel. If it doesn't rise much like mine, then you can make Bagels! Roll into balls (I made 6) and poke a hole in the middle. Put them in boiling water for 3.5 minutes per side, then bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Before putting them in the oven I placed the wet future Bagels on a plate of Sesame and Poppy Seeds, but this is purely optional. And delicious.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Manly Dinner

I recently discovered that Mad Men is streaming on Netflix, and you know how frustratingly susceptible I am to awesomeness. It's not that I want to live their lives exactly, I mean Hell, I might just have to slap a woman if she thinks her place is in the kitchen. (Kidding, kidding, I don't really hit women, it's just a bit of Mad Men misogyny to keep this post historically accurate.) But in all seriousness, I've fallen hard for the chic fashions of the show- ladies, you have no idea how big a turn on a flowery dress and 1960s hair is for me- and as any devoted reader knows, I'm more than a little interested in drink.

And let me just say, to all the grandmothers out there, you'd better be damn glad that I wasn't on the prowl for man 40-some years ago, because my cooking would've done things in their mouths that they wouldn't have been able to even imagine enough to fantasize about. Mmmm, check out this dinner:

Manly Steak. Potatoes. Carrots. Corn.



One 8 oz. 100% Grass Fed Organic New York Sirloin Steak

Melt some butter in a cast iron skillet (dammit, I've told you, I live in an apartment and can't have a grill!) and season it with Salt and Pepper. Get it nice and hot and then plop on that steak. Cook for about 2 minutes per side in order to get it to look like this:



1 Ear of Corn
3 Organic (in the 60s wasn't everything organic?) Carrots

Steam all of this for just a minute or two. Remember, I think vegetables are supremely better tasting if only slightly cooked and still crunchy. Sprinkle Salt over them. You can add Butter, too, if you're feeling decadent, but I didn't.

x number of Baby Potatoes

Boil these for 20-30 minutes or however long it takes for them to be fork tender. Serve with Salt and Pepper and Butter.

And the Manhattan.

2.5 oz Rye
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
Couple Dashes Bitters
1 Maraschino Cherry

Fill your shaker with ice and pour in all the liquids. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Wait, wrong time period. I think. Let's see... shake it like a booty? No. ...a hand? That's a little lame... much like this sorry attempt at humor... Oh, I know! Shake it like a Rattle and Roll! Strain it into a martini glass. Yes I bought two of these today at Crate and Barrel. They were only $1.95 each and I hope you'll agree that they're totally awesome. Drop in your Cherry for a big dose of style and grace.

I made the entire meal- drink, prep work, everything- in about 10 minutes. Okay, so I haven't cleaned up yet, but there's very little to clean. I know what you're thinking: the potatoes need at least 20 or 30 minutes. True. I made those yesterday with a mediocre batch of ribs. I was too lazy to blog about my mediocrity, but the potatoes were great and all I had to do was put them in the microwave (how 1950s, I know!) for a minute.

By the way, did you see the steam in the first picture? Don Draper himself couldn't make this meal look more appetizing.

-Gourmet Apartment out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby Food or Classy Soup?

I ask you, readers, do you remember the website whatsbetter.com? Friends, I know you do.

Simply put it was a website which displayed two pictures or ideas and asked you to choose the better of the two. Sometimes it was easy like: What's better? Clutching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat, or Letting Victory Slip Through Your Open Fingers. (I'm sure the wording was slightly different, but it's been many years. Forgive me.) Other times it was harder like: What's better? The Atomic Bomb or Brussel Sprouts. Again, I can't remember the exact things we compared, but somehow my friends and I wasted countless (none of us were math majors) hours of our sophomore year of college analyzing and debating the intricacies of random ideas and objects. On more than one occasion, I believe, it resulted in nerdy fisticuffs.

In a similar vain, I hope the following question plagues overachieving nerds for generations. Like all maddening questions, this one is quite simple:

Baby Food or a New York Times Recipe for Chilled Pea Soup?



You can find the recipe here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/health/nutrition/18recipehealth.html

It was actually quite delicious, but I think I preferred it hot.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicken: Inspired and Infused

Song of the moment: Walking With A Ghost by Tegan and Sara. Props go out to one of my benevolent hosts in San Francisco for introducing me to such a vector (magnitude: loud; direction: straight to my brain). I almost literally see giant wave arrows blasting from my speakers pointed at the middle of my head. It's warping my sense of self and making me want to rock.

Must-

resist-

the-

urge-

to-

be-

more-

awesome!

With heavy finger dragging over multiple keys at once, I pause- wait for it- to show my appreciation for the <- backspace key.

The arrow draws your eyes from the text. Slowing you down. Emphasizing a past full of mistakes and misgivings.

"You're twenty-six, Tommy, and what have you got to show for yourself?"

Or is that arrow simply a memo-to-self to hit the << back track arrow and repeat Walking with a Ghost?

ROCK OUT!*



South Style Beer Braised Asian Inspired Chicken-n-Rice

2 Chicken Legs
2 Chicken Thighs
4 cloves of Garlic
Chunk of Ginger
1 Sweet Potato
2 Carrots
7 bunches of Baby Bok Choi
5.5 oz Bachelor's Brew (one of my homebrewed Beers)**
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Rice Wine
1 tbsp Honey
Pinch of Rosemary
Olive Oil
Salt

Chop and saute Garlic and Ginger in some Olive Oil in a large pot. Cut the Sweet Potato into chunks roughly 1 cubic centimeter in size and add those. Toss in the Chicken and brown. Add the Beer, Balsamic Vinegar, Rice Wine, and Honey and Rosemary. Cover and let cook on a relatively low temperature for about 20 minutes, turning the Chicken and stirring after 10. Add the Carrots and let cook for about 10 more minutes. Add the Bok Choi. Serve as soon as soon as the Bok Choi is wilted to your desire. Salt to taste and serve over a bed of Wild Rice.

I was surprised at how harmonious and savory this dish was. I often expect the worst when adding a bunch of random ingredients, but rather than feel cluttered and chaotic, the natural sweetness of the Honey and Sweet Potato and Carrot and Beer was balanced nicely by the Rice Wine and Vinegar and perfectly complimented the Chicken.

*With my Cock Out?

**I bet Fat Tire would be a superb substitute.

***Full disclosure: I made this meal last night for dinner, but didn't want to post two recipes on the same day. You actually thought I would braise Chicken at 9:00 AM?! Good! Because I would.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Doc Money Tells Me It's Eggs Benedict

Wow! Back by popular demand is the one and only Gourmet Apartment fresh from Chicago. Chicago, as you know, has great food and I was fortunate enough to have been able to sample of few of their treats: Italian Beef, deep dish pizza (Pequot's Pizza- better than Uno's, Gino's, or any of the other more recognizable names), and pastries from Bennison's Bakery to name a few. Unfortunately, I was inspired by none of the above when I decided to make Eggs Benedict for breakfast this morning.

Well golly gee, Tommy, if those didn't inspire you, what did?

I'm glad you asked, friend. You see, when I was grocery shopping yesterday I was debating a loaf of bread when I saw English muffins. Appearing too good to be true I had to buy them... which meant that I would have to use them. Which meant that I needed eggs; none of this jam and butter for the Gourmet Apartment. This also meant that I had to google the recipe for Hollandaise Sauce in the grocery store and pick up some women- I mean lemons- in order to make the recipe.



Eggs Benedict

4 Eggs
1 English Muffin
A few slices of Gruyere (or something cheaper and equally tasty if you're not pretentious)
A few slices of Tomato
2 <= x <= 00 (that's supposed to be an infinity sign) Deli Ham
~1/3 Stick of Cheese
Tabasco Sauce (but not really)
Mustard (but not really)
1/2 Lemon (yes, really)

I got the recipe for the Hollandaise Sauce from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/blender-hollandaise-sauce/detail.aspx. Never again allrecipes.com. Never again. Either my Tabasco sucks and is spoiled (can that happen to Tabasco?) or that was the stupidest suggestion I've ever been given. And for that matter, Mustard? Really? It wasn't foul, but was it necessary? Or maybe it was my fault for adding too little Butter. Whatever. Point being, put the yolk from two of the Eggs in your mini-food processor along with the Lemon, the Tabasco, and the Mustard. Melt the Butter and blend it all together. Keep it warm.

While this is going on, poach the two remaining Eggs. I watched a couple youtube videos on how to poach an Egg. My old housemate, bless her soul, told me to create a whirlpool and drop the Egg into this whirlpool to create perfectly poached Eggs every time. A guy on youtube said the same thing, but I don't like to be told what to do, so I followed some other guy who suggested I just pour it into some simmering water (just below a boil). This worked out well for me. The first one wasn't so good, but that's because I poached the whites from the two Eggs whose yolks I stole with it and it got a little gunky. The second Egg was much better. You leave the Eggs in the simmering water for about five minutes. Dry the Eggs on a paper towel while the two halves of the English Muffin are toasting.

On the toasted Muffin halves place a piece (or more if you'd like) of Ham, slices of Tomato, the drier poached Eggs, Cheese (preferably melted), and then drizzle the Hollandaise Sauce on for chizzle.

It's the Pamela Anderson of breakfasts, you know what I mean, the Double D: Decadent and Delicious.

And this why I'm single.

A note about the picture: I know it looks gross. WTF Hollandaise Sauce? I guess I need more Butter to thin it out? Anyone? White Wine maybe? And those French Fry looking things are actually slices of Cheese. I'm rusty after a week, what do you want?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mom's Lamb and Cannellini Beans

I leave for Chicago on Tuesday to see my grandfather for a week, so this is probably it for the next few days. Considering that I'm going to see family and have just spent the day with my mom and brother I thought that making and sharing one of my mom's quick and delicious recipes would be appropriate.



Lamb Chops in Cannellini Beans

2 Lamb Shoulder Chops
1 can Cannellini Beans
Thyme
Mint
Salt and Pepper

Brown Lamb Chops in Olive Oil in a skillet and then pour the can of Cannellini Beans over them. Simmer with Thyme, Mint, and Salt and Pepper to taste. The whole meal should take no more than 15 minutes to make and looks and tastes great.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back from the Phog

After three-some (hehe threesome) weeks, I am returned. Over mountains and hills, across beaches and ragged weathered seal-lined bluffs, through pastures and fields of grapes, shaded by the magnificence of giant sequoias and redwoods, squeezed down crowded bridges and windy streets, burnt by the sun, rained on by the heavens, and battered by the wind, yes, I am returned. Marginally thinner and plausibly wiser I now sit in front of my computer, the very one I was anxious to leave, bored and unwilling to go to bed. Scattered around my xbox controller and TV remote are the flashlights and tools and the first aid kit and rope and my copy of Don Quixote, my journal and weathered Atlantic Monthly, and all the other odds and ends that I'm too tired of looking at to bother putting into storage. Yes, I am returned.

It was an absolutely fantastic ride of which my pictures could not possibly do justice, but as much as I had fun and will fantasize about the cool nights and sunny days, it's also nice to be home. I cooked very little on this trip, but I hope to post a couple of my meals one of these days when I have nothing else to post, but that night's not tonight, because I made PHO!!!



Pho

Everything in this recipe is approximate, because I didn't bother to measure anything out, so take or leave my numbers and make sure it tastes good to you.

For the broth:

2 c. Water
3 tbsp. Rice Wine
3 tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp. Fish Sauce
1 Jalapeno chopped
7 oz. (half a pack) Rice Noodle (Thick) Dac San Viet Nam Banh Canh*

Mix the liquids and simmer with the Rice Noodles and Jalapeno.

While the noodles are simmering:

8 cloves of Garlic diced
1.5 square inches of diced Ginger
2 Carrots sliced
8 bunches of Baby Bok Choi
1 pack Firm Tofu cubed.
~30 Fish Balls from the Asian Grocery Store (this is what makes this good)

Saute (in Sesame Oil) the Garlic and Ginger and then after a while add the Bok Choi and Carrots. Then add the Tofu. Pour the mixture and the Fish Balls into the broth.

1/2 lb. thinly sliced Beef (have the store slice it thinly, because I can't do it this thin by hand... at least not easily)
4 Green Onions chopped
Big bunch of Cilantro chopped
Big bunch of Thai Basil chopped
Lime

Saute all of these ingredients in some more Sesame Oil and squeezed Lime and then add to soup. Simmer as long as you want and garnish with some fresh Thai Basil.

This is restaurant quality. I will make this again. Will you?

*It's rare for me to really like the noodles, so I had to list the brand and name as it appears on the package (minus the accents) so that I can make this again.

**Did the title make sense? San Francisco has a lot of fog and I made a pho. Can you dig it?