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.