Monday, May 30, 2011

Colleen

Three day weekend and we went to Austin for a bachelor's party. Met a bum outside the hotel who was looking for a "brain trust". Trust me, I've got a brain. He says, "do you know the song Cah-ha-lean, Cah-ha-lean!"? "It's by a British band," he says. My friends think he's high out of his mind. He is. They think he wants to hit us up for money. It's 2:30 in the morning and I think so too, but he doesn't. I keep him singing, because I want to know the answer. My friend says "do you mean Eileen?" and he says "yes!" and then I start singing "I come on on Eileen..." and say "Dexy's Midnight Runners!" He's thrilled and I feel like a champ. That said, we were drunk on the river and hung over before dinner. I got back yesterday, but today was when I felt alive again, so I'm making a Turkey Pot Pie to keep myself healthy and in the zone.

Turkey Pot Pie

Crust:
2/3 c. Mantequilla (Lard)
2 c. Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 c. Skim Milk

Mix together by hand and chill.



Filling:
4 Diced Carrots
4 Diced Celery Stalks
1 Onion Cut Up Like a Nerd at a Frat Party (Metaphor!!!)
1 package Frozen Peas
3 Small White Potatoes Cubed
Small Chunk Butter
Turkey Breast Cubed Small-Like
1 Can Chicken Broth
Small Pinches Flour
Pinches of the following spices: Thyme, Basil, Cajun Seasoning, Oregano, Pepper, Salt



Saute Onion in Butter. Mix in Carrots, Celery, Peas, and Turkey and cook a little. Pour in Chicken Broth and Spices and Flour to thicken.



Divide Crust in two and spread one section in cast iron pan. Then fill pan with filling. Then flatten other half of Crust and set on top. Make 4 slits in top of Crust and bake at 425 for 20 minutes and then at 350 until golden on top and done.

Monday, May 23, 2011

You Must Be a Muggle

Yesterday I marinated my meat according to February's Chicken Tikka Masala post and then immediately left, kegs in hand, to compete in the Brew Riot, one of the most fun days of my life. Let me tell you a little about the Brew Riot:



This was early in the competition when the line was 100 people deep to get in and there was only one person taking cash and giving wristbands. It got much more crowded. We were also in the far back corner in the Texas tent.




Brew Riot's a homebrew beer competition hosted by Eno's Pizza in Bishop Arts. About 20 or so homebrewers and clubs show up each year loaded with booze to serve until it's all gone (or we get rained out as happened last night) to hordes of crazed drinkers. I brought a nice strong stout and a dialectal laced rye ale that I've been cooking with for a while since it's not a great beer. Fortunately, I'm an expert marketer and called it Harry Potter Butterbeer Rye Ale and the chicks loved it! It was by far the first keg to float at the competition and I bragged like a mofo. Of course I didn't tell anyone that it only started half full or a third full, but who's counting? I started out fairly professionally, but decided it would be awesome to drink a lot, so I got pretty drunk and started chatting up a group of girls who wanted me to brew them some Butterbeer since I was out. They were hanging out nearby, so I jotted my number down and brought it over. Here's the bits and pieces of the conversation that are worth recording:

Friend: Why are you talking to her [girl I was interested in] when I'm like the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world?
Me: I find your friend very attractive. (No idea if this was beer goggles or not.)
Friend: You just like her because she has big boobs!
I turn to look, but am rudely interrupted.
Friend: You're turning to look!
Now they're all laughing.
Friend: Why don't you like me?
Me: I'm not really into tattoos.
Girl I Wanted: I have a tattoo, you know, you just can't see it right now.
At that moment over walk two guys.
Guy: I'm her [girl I like] boyfriend.
Me: Oh man, I'm really sorry. I had no idea. You have a very cool girlfriend.
Friend: He's not her boyfriend.
Everyone but me is laughing. At me, I think. I'm confused.
Me: Then you should definitely give me a call.

More favorite exchanges from the conversation:

Me: You're what, like 24?
Girl I Wanted: [Shock in her face.] Yeah... I am. Wow. You should be a carny!

Me: I'm a little drunk right now, but I'm actually a pretty smart guy. I'm a teacher and I like to ride my bike and cook and stuff. Really, I'm pretty damn fantastic.
Friend: You're such a cocky asshole!

She said this while laughing and we talked for a while afterwards, so I don't think it's a bad sign, but I don't really expect a call as much as I'd like one, and if she does I don't even remember her name. It started with an M. I remember that. I'm just proud of myself for manning up and actually talking to a girl I found attractive. Two in two weeks who am I?! Wow.

Other fun exchanges that had nothing to do with these girls:

Random Brew Rioter: This is going to sound really gay, but I want the Harry Potter.
Me: Um, I brewed that. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Random Brew Rioter #2: Do you have anywhere to dump this beer? It's not very good. [It wasn't our beer.]
Me: I'd throw that swile away too. I mean swall. Is that right? [Long awkward pause.] You can pour it here. [It wasn't until this afternoon on the way home from work that I realized the word I was looking for was swill.]

Random Brew Rioter #3: Why do you call it Harry Potter Butterbeer?
Me: You must be a Muggle.

***Just FYI: I made the Chicken Tikka Masala with Half & Half, Ghee instead of butter, Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, and one Tomato instead of two since I ran out. I liked the February version much more. Tonight's wasn't bad, but I think the cream really made a difference.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Catch

And we will not go out. I tried. I'm a good catch. Her loss.

School is wearing me out. The kids are worn out. They've had too many tests recently. I'm tired of giving them. Fortunately, my dinner this evening was relatively fast and easy to make. I got the recipe from "The Way To Cook" by Julia Child for poached trout. I'm so used to making frozen salmon fillets that I bought in a big bag for $9.99 that I'd forgotten what real fish tastes like. I should rephrase that: most fish I eat is either fried or baked (my usual method with salmon) and I rarely eat delicate fish like trout despite the fact that I absolutely love it. Tonight was a nice change of pace, I'll have to make it a regular part of my rotation. Here's the recipe:



Poached Trout

Use enough Water to fill a pan (I used an enameled cast-iron pot) about 3 inches deep and bring to a boil. Add 1.5 tsp Salt and 3 tbs Red Wine Vinegar per quart of Water required. Lower heat so the Water is almost but not quite boiling and gently submerge Rainbow Trout Fillets. After 3-4 minutes, remove Trout and place on a paper towel to dry off. Drizzle melted Butter and Lemon on top and sprinkle with Dried Parsley. This is the best fish I've had in ages. The skin was phenomenal too!

The greens are sauteed Swiss Chard. Rinse a bunch of Chard and cut into more manageable pieces. Saute in a small amount of Olive Oil and Salt and Pepper. Wilt nicely, but leave it slightly crunchy or else it has what I consider to be an undesirable texture. All in all this was a spectacularly good meal!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mussels in Black Bean Sauce

Last Saturday a chick wanted me. Nice! Too bad I was interested in another... Will we go out? Find out in my next entry! As far as the chick who wanted me is concerned: it's a classic girl likes boy likes other girl which by transitive property means that the girl likes the other girl. Hott. I just hope other girl likes me more. Nice!

The more I write the more I realize all my emotions can be fully realized with either "Nice!" or "Lame." Lame.



Mussels in Black Bean Sauce

~2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Cubic Inch Ginger Diced
3 Giant Garlic Cloves Chopped Petite
Big Bunch Green Onion Chopped
8 Dried Red Chilies
4 tbsp Liquified Black Beans (take some whole black beans from a can and food process them like whoa)
1/4 c. Shao-Hsing (Basically a Chinese Red Rice Wine as far as I can tell)
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
Dash of Sugar
Cornstarch to thicken with to your heart's content.
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
12 oz. Mussel Meat

In the Oil: fry the Ginger, Garlic, Green Onion, and Dried Peppers. Breath in the peppery air and feel alive. Add the Black Bean gunk, Shao-Hsing, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sugar, and any Water needed to get to your desired consistency. Oh no, you've added too much water! Chill (you, not the dish). Add some Cornstarch. When boiling, add Pepper and Mussel Meat. Cook to desired consistency. Serve with dumplings that were frozen, but have now been boiled. Dip in Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, or any other sauce you like. The Yin-Yang bowl was a gift. I know it's flashy, but I like it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two Letters and a Kale Potato Soup

Dear Wong Vivant,

I read your blog often. Your positive attitude and absolutely beautiful pictures make me feel inadequate. But it also makes me happy, because I know you in real life and think you're very cool. Anyway, this post goes out to you.

Sincerely,
The Gourmet Apartment

****************************************

Dear Readers,

If you're unfamiliar with http://wongvivant.blogspot.com/ you need to check it out. It's amazing. Her May 4th post of a Kale Potato Soup that she cooked made my mouth water and I ran out to make it. For a better read and much more beautiful pictures (I'm going to start working on this, seriously), you should read her blog... just please don't stop reading mine, too.

Sincerely,
The Gourmet Apartment



Kale Potato Soup

3 Red Potatos cut into Petite Chunks
1 Small Onion Chopped Up
1 Bunch Leeks (I youtubed how to use them... just like Wong Vivant... dammit!)
32 oz. Vegetable Stock
"Lots of Kale" Seriously Wong Vivant, I think I used about 80 times as much Kale as you did. Your words are very misleading and your soup looks better than mine. Also, why do you have so much more broth?

Roast Potato and Onion in oven at 350 for 30 minutes or so until brown and charred to glass pan thus requiring excessive force to clean. Saute Leeks in butter. This makes them taste like bacon. It's awesome. Bring Vegetable Stock to a boil and add Potatoes, Onion, and Leeks. When Potatoes are soft, break them like my circle quiz broke my students' will to learn (my bad, not! seriously kids, have you ever heard of a little thing called studying?). Chop Kale into smallish slivers and add to soup. Let wilt and then enjoy. I actually had two carnivorous friends and loyal readers over to enjoy dinner and some beers with me. They went back for seconds. Nice!

Monday, May 9, 2011

What do you call 4 drowing Mexicans?

Cuatro cinco!!!

This is so silly it could have come from only one woman! (Not me, you jerks!) But seriously, in honor of Cinco de Mayo I wanted to do something festive, so I took my leftoever chicken and turned it into these enchiladas. They were pretty darn good, so I hope you enjoy! I know this is a few days late, but the recipe's all there and I've got time since I've got to brew my second Bachelor's Brew tonight in honor of Kevin's imminent tying of the knot, so why... knot?



Cinco de Mayo Enchiladas

Chicken Breast cooked a shredded in a mini food processor.
Small Onion Diced
x Jalapenos Diced
4 Cloves Garlic Diced
Big Bunch Cilantro
Pinch of Cumin
Refried Beans from a Can
10 Flour Tortillas
15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
~9 oz. Shredded Cheese
Avocado and Sour Cream to Taste

Saute Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro, and Onion with Cumin. Coat tortillas in tomato sauce and fill with Beans, Sauteed Mix, Chicken, and cheese. Fill with Sour Cream if you don't forget like me. Roll tortillas and cover with remaining tomato sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Not wholly authentic, but it's a start.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where da porn at?

I baked a chicken and made some biscuits for dinner this evening. It was my first attempt at biscuits and I followed the ingredient list from the first hit under "biscuit recipe" on google: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html. I didn't do the whole "gently fold dough over" blah blah blah (I know what you're thinking, but this has nothing to do with the title...). Either way, they turned out decently if not quite moist enough, and they'll be enjoyed.



The chicken was a spur of the moment decision when I saw that a fresh herb pack consisting of thyme, rosemary and sage was on sale at Kroger for $0.99. "I can save eighty cents!" I exclaimed before proclaiming, "I must make a chicken!" I added some parsley for obvious reasons and pureed everything in some smoked salt, pepper and olive oil before rubbing it all over and into the chicken (still has nothing to do with the title). The bird baked for about 2 hours at 350 without foil or a cover or anything and came out crisp and moist.

Now about the porn... sometime during college I began associating porn with chicken. I must've known why at one point, but had to do a little research and (re)discovered the following information from wikipedia:

"Porn 'n Chicken was a club based at Yale University. The secret society blazed briefly in the headlines in 2001 when members announced plans to make their own pornographic film on campus starring other Yale students, although the film was never released or even completed. Nevertheless, a fictionalized version of the club's experiences was produced as a TV movie titled Porn 'n Chicken and broadcast on Comedy Central."

Who knew? I remember at one point talking with a platonic friend about getting some Popeye's and Pirates, but having her copy of Pirates fall through and never having time to see it through again. Oh well, tonight certainly isn't the right night to correct this. It just makes me nostalgic.

Fun fact: the word "moist" was used three times in this entry. My apologies, ladies.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ride Not Taken

Papaya (???) D-Lite

1 lb. Papaya
1/2 Mango
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
8 oz. Milk

Liquify all ingredients in a blender and enjoy a drink that tastes more like a Mango Lassi than anything with Papaya. What a delicious and healthy way to celebrate the ride not taken...

Speaking of which, this weekend is/was the Bike MS: Sam's Club MS150. It's a 150 mile (actually 160.4 according to the ride map they gave us) bike ride to raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis. Yesterday's ride, the longer of the two at 86.1 miles, was pretty easy for me. It's amazing how hard you can go when being fed and hydrated every 10-15 miles. The second half- after lunch- was the more challenging part since it got hilly by north Texas standards and we were riding into a headwind. I passed a number of people and groups and felt pretty damn good about myself. On the final 15 mile stretch, a relatively lonely stretch since everyone was falling back and getting tired, I couldn't help but sing Gang Starr's Moment of Truth: "They say it's lonely at the top in whatever you do, you've always got to watch mother f---ers around you..." I rode with Team USPI after being invited by my good friend Kevin who works for the company and was pretty pumped to see that I finished second on the team only to a semi-professional racer who could've finished in half my time had he not stopped to chat with some friends. He still beat me by well over an hour. Whatever, I'm still thrilled to have done as well as I did and with relative ease.

So, you ask, why am I writing this at 9:30 in the morning on Day 2 of the ride? It was canceled due to severe weather. In all honesty, I'm rather happy about this. Ideally the weather would've been nice and I would've rocked this ride, too, but I'm always nervous to ride in the rain and am particularly nervous on a new road bike that I've never handled on wet roads. What I'm not proud to admit is that I decided against today's ride at 4:30, a full 40 minutes before an e-mail notified everyone that the ride had been officially canceled, but I guess it all worked out. Anyway, now I've done the MS86.3. To all my friends and family who contributed to the cause, thank you for your support and hopefully in future years it won't go down like this.