Thursday, December 6, 2012

Excellent Green Salsa a la Breakfast Tacos

Sometimes you just need to sit back, be willing to show up a little late to class, and chow down on some killer Breakfast Tacos. It all started around noon yesterday when I went to the grocery store to buy 10 pounds of Sweet Potatoes for my Sweet Potato Ale. Mmm.... can't wait. Although I've got to say, peeling and roasting 10 pounds of potatoes is a way bigger hassle than dealing with 2 or 3 Pumpkins.

In any case, the HEB had a deal where if you buy a pack of Bacon you'd get a free pound of Italian Sausage. I had no reason to buy either, but together it all made sense; I'd make delicious pasta with the Italian Sausage and save the Bacon for the next morning when I would put it on a Breakfast Taco. All I needed to do was make some Salsa and Beans first.

Breakfast Tacos


Green Avocado Salsa:

3 Tomatillos
3 Jalapeños
1 Poblano Pepper
5 Cloves Garlic
0.75 Onion
1 Avocado
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Cumin

Roast the Tomatillos, Jalapeños, Poblano, Garlic, and Onion for 375 for about an hour (it was covered, so it wasn't really roasted). Then pulverize them with the Avocado, Spices, and Salt in a food processor. Simply incredible.

Beans:

1 c. Dry Black Beans
0.5 c. Dry Pinto Beans
1 Bunch Cilantro
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne
3.5 c. Water

Rinse and wash the Beans. Then combine everything and let slow cook for about 5 hours in a crock pot. Then mash them Hulk style.

Breakfast Tacos:

3 Eggs
4 Tortilla
4 Strips of Bacon
Shredded Cheese

Cook the Bacon. Cook the Tortillas (I always buy the pre-made but uncooked Tortillas and then cook them on my stove). Drain most of the Bacon Grease and then scramble the Eggs in whatever remains. Put everything on a Taco and enjoy breakfast for once.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pumpkin Ale

The semester is almost over. It went really quickly and was relatively easy. I say this, of course, before seeing most of my grades, but I'm optimistic. Of course, I do have a paper and presentation due on Monday that I pretty much haven't started, but you know that's not going to stop me from adding Sweet Potatoes to my Sweet Potato Ale, making some pasta, a bomber salsa, playing Halo, boozing it up a little, going to a holiday party, and going to see the Mountain Goats play today. Sure I have a quiz tomorrow morning and a couple group papers due in the afternoon. It's not like that's going to stop me from going to happy hour for student life and then a birthday party. Of course I have another birthday party Friday night and then two parties Saturday. Yeah, life's not too bad. Oh, and did I mention that it looks like I'll be interning for one of the most powerful democrats in the Texas legislature starting in a couple weeks? 

Since I keep bragging about my pumpkin ale, check it out:

Pumpkin Ale



12 lb. Hugh Baird Marris Otter 
1.2 lb. Vienna 
0.6 lb. White Wheat
0.6 lb. Caramunich 

1 oz Northdown 5.0% AA (60 min) 
½ oz Perle 7.8% AA (10 min) 
½ oz Perle 7.8% AA (5 min)

1 tbsp Yeast Nutrient (15 min)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (15 min)

12 oz. Molasses         (3 min)
0.5 cups Brown Sugar (3 min)

2 tsp Cinnamon (1 min) 
½ tsp Ground Ginger (1 min) 
½ tsp Nutmeg (1 min) 
½ tsp Allspice (1 min)
8 cloves (1 min) 

2.5 Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins roasted for 1 hr. at 375, scraped out of their skin, and racked upon. Added at racking.

Mash at 150 for 60 min. 1 qt/lb. Batch sparged 2 batches 2.5 gallons each at 174, 15 min. rest.

Brewed: 10/12/2012
OG: 1.068 based on a refractometer reading of 17 Brix. About 5.5 gallons in the primary.

Racked (and added pumpkin): 10/19/12
SG: 1.010

Kegged: 11/16/12
FG: 1.009

And it is awesome. 



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweet Potato and Kale Tacos

Hey Wong Vivant, do you remember when I was in NYC visiting your then roommate and crashed at your place? I don't remember if we cooked, but I know we talked about it and I think someone made cookies that evening. I only bring this up, because you definitely undersold your talents. Your Sweet Potato Tacos are insane! I would never have thought to put Cumin and Chili on a Sweet Potato, but it makes so much sense now that I've done it. In all honestly, I think these turned out better than any Taco I've ever made with Chicken or Beef. I'm thinking about making a Sweet Potato Curry tonight or tomorrow, because Sweet Potatoes are apparently the perfect food. Also, my next brew is going to be a Sweet Potato version of my Pumpkin Ale. I wasn't sure if I should spice it with normal Pumpkin Pie Spices, but it sounds like that's what you did with your Sweet Potato Pie (correct me if I'm wrong), and it sounds like that was delicious, so I guess that's the way it's going to be! 

Wong Vivant's Sweet Potato Tacos

Honestly, do yourself a favor and follow the recipe found here: http://wongvivant.blogspot.com/2012/11/super-hero-food.html



Here's my take: 

3 Sweet Potatoes peeled and cubed
4 Tomatillos
5 Jalapeños
8 Cloves Garlic
1 Onion

Lots of Cumin
Lots of Smoked Hot Paprika
Some Cayenne
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper (as per usual) 

1 can Black Beans
1 Green Bell Pepper diced

1 Bunch Kale chopped in large chunks

1 Bunch Cilantro

Mexican Shredded Cheese
Tortillas

On a large baking sheet place the peeled and cubed Sweet Potato, Tomatillos, Onion, Garlic, and Jalapeños. Sprinkle them with Cumin, Paprika, Cayenne, Salt and Pepper, and drizzle with Olive Oil. Roast at 375 for about 30 minutes. 

Next, open the can of Beans and bring them to a simmer with the diced Green Bell Pepper. 

While that Beans are simmering, blanch the Kale. I wasn't 100% sure what it meant to blanch something, so I looked it up. Basically, it means you stick the Kale (or Green Beans, Broccoli, whatever) into boiling water for a brief amount of time and then remove it and place it under cold water. This brightens their green color and takes away some of the bitterness. Add the Kale to the Beans.

Once the roasting items are done roasting, remove them from the oven and pulverize the Tomatillos, Jalapeños  most of the Garlic, most of the Onion, and Cilantro in a food processor to make a salsa. Add Salt if necessary and more the Spices if desired. Add the remaining Garlic and Onion to the Beans. 

Serve everything on a Tortilla with Cheese. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liver Spread

My level of conceit and self-centeredness needs to change. Over the past few years, I've had a harder time focusing on other people. I'm not sure why this is, but it sucks. ...particularly when you're around people you care about and are actually interested in. Nobody's said anything, but it's something I've noticed and something that I would like to work on. 

Now, I can't explain exactly what made me want to make Liver, but I made some tonight. It's super easy, packed full of protein, and tastes good, although I have a hard time eating more than a little bit. Also, it's really cheap. Give it a shot and see if you like it. The entire recipe makes enough for at least a half-dozen people and couldn't have cost more than about $3. 

Liver Spread


1 lb. of Beef Liver ($1.99/lb. at Central Market)
1 Medium Onion (~$0.50)
~2 tbsp Butter (~$0.25)
2 Hard Boiled Eggs (~$0.35)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Sautee the Liver and Onion in Butter. Salt and Pepper to taste. Pulverize in the food processor with the two Eggs. Enjoy on Pumpernickel Bread, Crackers, or whatever else you can think of! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tailgate Chili

First of all, this Chili is as promised from a couple weeks ago. I did not win the competition or even place, though mine was pretty good. Amazingly (to me, considering the Habaneros and Garlic), it was a little on the bland side. Good, but not prize-worthy. I'll make it again for sure, but add more flavor.

Enough of that; my life is great. America is great. Yes I've been drinking. Currently I'm enjoying Knob Creek on the rocks. Delicious. I was enjoying my home brewed Rye Ale earlier (and yes, I'll post the recipe sometime soon). I had a couple Shiners at school before that. It's a celebration, get over it.

America made me proud today. I'm going to focus for a second and write some stuff that I hope to share with my posterity. I was the 9th person in line in Roma to vote for President Obama in 2008. His victory was one of the absolute happiest events in my life. Very nearly as good as my first kiss, but that was actually perfect, so it doesn't count. But seriously, to me Obama's victory in 2008 truly was a symbol of hope and change. At the very least he signified a transition from the terrible policies advocated by George W., would restore the world's confidence in America, and would demonstrate just how far the nation had come in regards to race. He did all this. He also let many of us, myself included, down in many ways. But nobody's perfect and I regard Obama as my president. I used to wear a shirt that I bought at the Vans Warped Tour in 2001 or 2002 that had a picture of W. and said "Not My President". I can't claim Bill Clinton as my own, because I was too young to really know or care. W. I tried to disown. Barack Obama, however, is mine. I put my trust in him, and although he's not perfect, I still believe in him. I wish him and America the best and I hope that as a country we can come together to make this a better world.

I believe that's already happening. Washington and Colorado voted to legalize (I think?) marijuana, and Maryland joined the growing number of fair-minded states that permits gay marriage. Elizabeth Warren won in Massachusetts and Claire McCaskill beat that moron Todd Akin. There are plenty of disappointing results from today's elections, but on a whole I think America made the right choices.

To celebrate, I made out with Kathryn in the grass outside our school. Kathryn's a woman in one of my groups for class. In fact she's one of the first classmates I ever met when some of the DFW students and I met up at the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth for trivia to get to know each other. She was bashing the Ivy League and criticizing math teachers, but I can get over that. She's pretty terrific; pretty, smart, bold and sassy, and tender and sweet all at once. We made out for the first time last Friday at her party and have seen each other every day since. I like spending time with her and am happy that we're together.

Also, not that this really matters at all, but I aced my public financial management midterm and have an important interview on Thursday. I can't express how good my life is at the moment.

Tailgate Chili



3 Habaneros 
2 Jalapeños
2 Serranos 
1 Poblano Pepper
2 Green Bell Peppers
2 Onions
12 Roma Tomatoes
10 Cloves Garlic

2 lb. Ground Beef
1.5 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Smoked Sweet Paprika
1 tbsp Oregano

12 oz. Shiner Bock 
Two 15.5 oz. cans of Kidney Beans (Both Light and Dark)

Oil
Salt and Pepper


Cut up and roast one of the Onions, all of the Tomatos and Garlic, and all of the Peppers except for one Green Bell. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour at 375. Drizzle a little Oil over them and don't be afraid to Salt as much as you'd like. Once complete, puree all of these ingredients except for a handful of the Tomatoes (because I want my Chili to be slightly chunky). Note that the above picture does not have all of the Tomatoes. I put the rest on after taking the picture. 


While you're roasting and pureeing, heat up some Oil in a large pan or cast iron pot and fry the Cumin, Paprika, and Oregano. Brown the Ground Beef in the Spices and then coat the pureed Peppers and Tomato mixture. Pour into a Crock Pot, add your Shiner Bock, and the Beans. If you're like me, you're going to consider adding more Beans. This is never wrong. Salt more as necessary and don't be afraid to add more heat in the form of Cayenne if it's not where you want it. Cook over night. The next morning add the remaining Green Bell and Onion. This just adds a little texture and color. If it's too watery, add some Dry Beans and let simmer for a few more hours. 




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds and a Poem for You

I did my CIA Crisis Simulation today. We were analysts. It was super fun, but I learned no clandestine maneuvers  ...or did I?! So I was going to go to a bar with some friends afterward, but ran into one of my absolute favorite people in grad school walking home, shoes in her hand since she always wears heels and is way too professional to be my friend, although somehow it works nicely. Anyway, I could gush about how great she is, but I won't any longer. What's important is that she inspires me to want to be better and so my interpretation of that is "go home and write for fun." I opened my "My Writing" folder and stumbled upon my folder of poetry. I haven't added to it in years, but I found the following gem that is worthy of being published and I feel like this esteemed website is a perfect spotlight:


I <3 Nintendo GameCube You

I want you like Nintendo GameCube-  

In my bedroom and always on!
Sometimes I’d have to push pause to keep you from overheating,
And occasionally I’d have to let my thumbs rest from pushing your buttons so much, <growl>
But bottom-line, I’d like to put my cartridge in your system and hit start!
We’d be able to play DVDs like the video made by
Pamela and Tommy Lee,
But why watch those when I’ve got you and you’ve got me?
It’s illegal to download movies, but for you, babe, I’d make an exception.
Paramount Pictures would come and say,
“Hey, have you been stealing our movies?”
And I’d say, “Your movies aren’t objects, man, she can make her own decisions!”
And you’d grab me and say, “I want you, even if it is illegal and forbidden.”
Grr, that’s sexy!
Oh how I wish you were a Nintendo Gamecube and I were a video-game-playing-nerd. 


Pumpkin Seeds



Seeds of 3 Pie Pumpkins
3 Limes
Salt
Olive Oil

Scoop the Seeds out of a few Pumpkins. Soak them in some Water for a few minutes and clean the Pumpkin flesh off of them as best you can by running your hands through them. Drain the Water and let them dry for a few minutes. They'll still be wet, but it's no big deal. Heat some Olive Oil and fry them on the stove constantly (no joke) stirring them. Add more Oil if necessary. Periodically squeeze Lime Juice on them and Salt them to taste. This is so much faster, easier, and better than trying to bake them. I felt like I had complete control over how dark they got, and they had much better consistency than I've ever achieved before!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Split Pea and Lentil Soup

I'll post the other recipes that I mentioned soon. Until then, suffice it to say that grad school's caught up with me and I've had a crazy couple weeks. Things will calm down on Thursday once I've turned in a couple papers and completed this CIA simulation that I signed up for. I'm going to bring my ninja stars and grappling hook and I expect good things. I'll tell you all about it... but then I'll have to kill you!!! CIA out.

I gave a presentation in my financial management course today. It was a lot of fun. I was pretty nervous and slightly unprepared, but got back into the teaching groove after a couple minutes and overall I feel like it went pretty well. I was reporting on an interim hearing of the Texas House's Committee on County Affairs and got to talk about how our representatives were acting like high school students on the last day of school. They complimented each other on their weight loss, compared Texas's (in)ability to fix our water problems to our inability to fix our residents' toilets, and bashed the "federales" for always changing the rules midgame.

I shouldn't tease too much, though, I just sent off a couple applications in hope of securing an internship with a legislator for the upcoming session. I'm really excited about this and think I could do a great job. I hope so... there's a lot of things that need work. I think that my heart is generally in the right place at least.

Yesterday I went out on my first date since moving to Austin. She's a middle school science teacher who appreciates good beer and likes to bike. Perfect for me? ...I had a great time and after walking her to her car we hugged. My fingers slid down her arm as we released and for a fleeting moment our fingers lingered against each others' and I was reminded of how perfect first dates can be. I can't wait to go out with her again and I hope she feels similarly.

During class this evening I got the great idea to cook with Lentils again. I wound up making a Split Pea and Lentil Soup that was absolute delicious and relatively healthy.

Split Pea and Lentil Soup




1/2 c. Green Split Peas
1/2 c. Yellow Split Peas
1/2 c. French Green Lentils
1/2 c. Red Lentils
32 oz. Chicken Broth (low-sodium)

4 slices Thick-Cut Hickory-Smoked Bacon

1 Red Onion
1 Yellow Onion
1 large Shallot
3 Cloves Garlic
~1.5 in^3 Ginger

4 Carrots
3 Stalks Celery
9 Compari Tomatoes cut into eighths

Lots of Ground Thyme
Lots of Parsley Flakes
Lots of Ground Sage
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Rinse the Peas and Lentils and then bring to a boil in the Chicken Broth. Once boiling, allow to simmer for roughly an hour. While the Peas and Lentils are simmering, cut the Bacon into small chunks about 1 cm x 1 cm and fry until crispy. Add the Bacon to the simmering Peas and Lentils. Then dice the Ginger and Garlic and slice the Onions and Shallot into nice sizes and fry in the Bacon Grease. While the Onions and all that are frying, chop the Celery, Carrots, and Tomato into appropriate sizes and add to the simmering mixture. Add in the Spices and Salt and Pepper to Taste. Once the Onion mixture is nicely caramelized, add it to the Peas and Lentil soup. Add Water as necessary to achieve your desired thickness and cook until the Carrots are your favored amount of crispiness (or lack there of). I was shocked at how tasty this relatively quick and undoubtedly easy soup is!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Many blog posts will come out of today. For one, I'm brewing the White House Honey Ale. I won't post about it until it's fermented, carbonated, and in a glass looking sexy as hell, but take heart that I'm a much better brewer than President Obama.

I'm also making Chili for tomorrow's Chili Cook-Off at the tailgate. I'm pretty stoked, but I'm changing my recipe completely. Depending on how late it gets tomorrow and how much I imbibe, I won't post anything for at least a day or two, but rest assured, I'm playing to win and I'm going to want to remember it. By the way, I'm playing Brad Paisley to maintain my tailgating ass-kicking mood.

If you guys remember, I promised last year to post the recipe for my unbelievably successful Pumpkin Pie. I'm pretty sure I never posted it. If I did, well, then you're in for round two. It's so good, that you should make it even if you don't like Pumpkin Pie!

Why so many Pumpkins, you ask? Last week I made my crowd-pleasing Pumpkin Ale, but until this afternoon it was really just Pumpkin Spice Ale. I roasted three Pumpkins and smashed two and a half of them into a smooth pulp in the bottom of my secondary that I racked my Beer onto. It's already fermenting again! The other half Pumpkin...

Pumpkin Pie



Pureed Flesh of Half of a Roasted Pumpkin
14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Egg
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Ginger
Clove
Allspice
Dribble of Vanilla

To roast the Pumpkin, cut it in half and put flesh down on a baking pan with a tiny amount of water. Roast at 375 for an hour.

Mix everything together, the Spices to taste. I prefer a fair amount of Spice. Pour into a Pie Crust (I froze some Pie Crust last time I made a Pie or Quiche or something a few weeks ago and am using that). Then bake the Pie at 375 for about an hour. By the way, my recipe's better than the one to the left. Serve with fresh Whipped Cream.* And love it.



*I'm using normal Whipping Cream instead of Heavy Whipping Cream. I did this because it was a dollar cheaper, but it turned out really well and I will use the non-heavy Whipping Cream from now on.








Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Coke Wings

I hate writing resumes and cover letters. Absolutely hate it. It would be so nice if I could just walk into an office and say: "Hey, I'm pretty good at what I do. Give me a chance and I'll show you just how good I can be." That's also what I'd like to say to the women that I'm interested in. Fortunately, Obama and Romney inspired me last night. Think of the debate as a long cover letter; selling selling selling themselves to their future employer, the American people. Luckily, I'm not going to have someone standing five feet away from me and calling me a liar every time I say something.

I guess I should get to the recipe so that I have one fewer excuse not to write this cover letter. In case you're wondering, I'm applying to be an intern during the upcoming legislative session. It'll be awesome assuming I get hired.

During my public financial management class I got bored and hungry and my mind wandered to Chicken Wings. You know I love Wings. Without change I made the sauce from the following website: http://taste-for-adventure.tablespoon.com/2012/01/27/coca-cola-chicken-wings. By the way, if you go to that website, the guy breads his Wings. Don't do that. Seriously. Just drop them in the frier for seven minutes and then drop them in the sauce. You'll be happy you did. ...except for the fact that I'm not sure that I terribly like this recipe. It's not that it's bad. In fact, it tastes like something you'd get at a restaurant, but it's missing something- it's not sweet enough or hot enough or something. It's a good start, but I'm convinced that there are better ways to get that Coked-up flavor.

Coke-a-Cola Wings



12 oz. Can HEB Cola (I'm still going to call it Coke-a-Cola Wings. Whatevs.)
1/2 c. Ketchup
1/4 c. Frank's RedHot
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch Garlic Powder
Pinch Pepper

Make your Wings the right way: unbreaded and fried for seven minutes at 375. Make sure to start the sauce a good 20-30 minutes before you start frying, because it'll take a while to reduce the sauce to the thick and gooey gunk you associate with Wings. Coat the fried Wings and enjoy the heck out them with some Blue Cheese Dressing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lentil Salad

Lentil Salad? More like Lentil Mush. More like, I got some sleep last night and feel refreshed and great. I've been researching some stuff for school all day and recently took a break to make the dinner that I will be eating in a few hours. I'm thinking that I need to produce a deliverable for my group and then I might want to hit the road for an hour on my bike. Sounds like a good plan to me!

This recipe is from <http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/alice-waters-lentil-salad-44021308> and is apparently one belonging to Alice Waters. I really like Alice Waters. I actually cooked with her once- I mean, not really, but I was working at our college's school farm one summer that she helped set up. She came for her daughter's graduation and wanted a meal at the farm that I helped with in the sense that I grew the food and did some prep work. Still, it's pretty cool when you think about it. If I'm not mistaken, Eric Schlosser was there, too, and it's not like this was a terribly large event- maybe 20 people including the farm employees? Maybe I'm misremembering. In case you don't know, Alice Waters is a famous chef out in Berkley and started the Slow Food Movement in the US. She's kind of a big deal and I can only dream of having a fraction of her skills.

Lentil Salad



1 heaping cup dry French Green Lentils
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 c. diced Scallions
3 inches of thinly sliced and diced Cucumber
1 heaping tbsp chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Rinse the Lentils and then bring them to boil with a substantial amount of Water.* Let simmer until soft (roughly 30 minutes). Drain and mix in Vinegar, Olive Oil, Scallions, Parsley, and Cucumber. Salt and Pepper to taste. It tastes really fresh and delicious warm, but I chilled it for maximum saladness.

Holy crap this tastes really really good. It's so simple and earthy and clean. You just feel healthier and happier eating it. Make it. Make it now!

*Alice's recipe calls for 3 inches of Water above the top of the Lentils. I feel like this is unnecessarily high, but I'll have to experiment to know for sure.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Deviled Eggs

I feel tired and exhausted. Yesterday I took a four hour "quiz," or "learning experience," as our professor prefers to say. Either way, that was my Friday morning and I did this on four hours of sleep. Hopefully I didn't bomb it by too much. Coming home from school I realized just how much I wanted to brew and spent all afternoon and evening brewing up my annual Pumpkin Ale. This is going to be the strongest yet with an OG of 1.068. I'll refrain from posting much more until it's been kegged, tapped, and tried, but I expect it to be great. Afterward I went to a party until about 3:30 in the morning. I didn't drink much, but I certainly don't feel tiptop today. I'm too old to be out that late. ...so I've hung out all day today and read and am planning on going to an arcade for some family-friendly fun before getting to bed early.

In terms of food, I'm always looking for ways to use my Mayonaise once I make it, so today I tried making Deviled Eggs. They turned out well enough to serve at a party and are super easy to make.

Deviled Eggs



3 Hardboiled Eggs*
1 tbsp Mayonaise
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Squirts Sriracha
Pinch of Garlic Powder
Pinch of Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cut the Eggs in half and place their Yokes in a bowl. Mix together all the remaining ingredients and then spoon into empty Egg Whites. Enjoy.

*Cover eggs with about an inch or two of extra water in a pot. Bring water to a boil and let boil for 14 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and chill in cold water. These will be perfectly hard boiled. A couple minutes less boiling will make deliciously soft boiled eggs.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coleslaw

Nothing about Coleslaw sounds appetizing. Cabbage? Gross. Slaw? What the heck is slaw anyway? Cole? Same. But a quick google search shows that Coleslaw comes from the Dutch word "koosla". So what you say? I'll tell you what. "Kool" means Cabbage and "Sla" means Salad. Amazing right? Kinda makes you want to make some Coleslaw, am I right? Check my recipe that I adapted from http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/KFC-Cole-Slaw-Recipe.html. 

Coleslaw



1 Cabbage
4 Carrots
6 Radishes
1/2 Onion
1/2 c. Mayonaise
1/3 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Milk
1/4 c. Buttermilk
2 tbsp. Vinegar
Juice of Half a Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Use a food processor to shred all the veggies. Be careful, just one Cabbage will produce a huge quantity of shredded Cabbage. Mix everything together and shake the heck out of it to make it truly mixed. Then let it sit in the fridge overnight and enjoy. 

Up next: Kool-Aid 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Easy Stir Fry

So I talked to the chick I met on my bike the other day. We're talking and it's a little awkward, but what do you expect when you call someone for the first time who you picked up while biking home from school? I ask her if she'd like to go out sometime and she tells me she has a boyfriend. Really?

"You seem really cool and I just want to be upfront with you" she says, "but my friends and I are trying to meet new people, so you if you're cool with that you should come out with us." 

"Sure, yeah, that sounds cool... I need some friends outside of school." Blah blah blah, ha! I have friends outside of school. In fact, I have many many friends. What I would like is someone to share myself with on a slightly more intimate level. 

Not that I'm terribly upset- really- but as a PSA, when a guy asks for your number (unless of course it's because you're partners for a school project or something along those lines), you can assume that it's because he's interested in seeing if there's any chemistry and would like to go out. It's fine if you have a boyfriend. You can polity decline if you'd like or you can give him your number, but if you give him your number, let him know when you're giving him your number that you have a boyfriend and are only looking for friends. Otherwise he'll be disappointed. 

Easy Stir Fry


Sesame Oil

6 Cloves Garlic
6 inch piece of Ginger
2 Serrano Peppers

3 Carrots
1/2 Cabbage
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Onion
~5 oz. Mushrooms

Few squirts of Soy Sauce
Fewer squirts of Fish Sauce
Few globs of Oyster Sauce

3/4 lb. Shrimp

1 bunch Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime

Heat the Sesame Oil in a wok. While it is heating, shred the Ginger, Garlic, and Serrano Peppers with the shredder attachment for your Cuisinart Food Processor. Fry in the oil. While mixture is frying, shred the Carrots, Cabbage, Green Bell Pepper, Onion, and Mushrooms. After about 10 minutes of frying, add the new mixture of Carrots, Cabbage, Bell Pepper, Onion, and Mushrooms. Cook for a moment and add the Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, and Oyster Sauce. Add the Shrimp and cook just long enough to turn them pink. I overcooked my Shrimp. Stir in the Cilantro and Lime and serve with Rice or Noodles.  With a food processor the whole thing should take 20 minutes to make and it's really tasty. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Singapore Sling

*****This is the True 100th Gourmet Apartment Post!!!!!!!!*****

School nearly stole this blog from me. My precious. I must have it.

Thanks go out to my loyal readers for harassing me about this. I've been cooking multiple times a week, but very little of it is new stuff, so that's been part of the reason I haven't written in a while. Part of the reason is also because I'm bossing it up at school. I love it down here. Regardless, as always when this happens, there's no excuse. 

Let me catch you up to speed on what's been going on in my life: 

I picked up a hottie while riding my bicycle. No joke. Half joke. I'm riding home and am stopped behind a van at an intersection when some chick comes up behind me on her bike. 

"Do you know if this road has a bike lane?"

"I don't think so. I always try to avoid it. Where are you going?"

"North Loop."

"Me, too."

"Cool, do you mind if I follow you?"

"Not at all." We ride together and talk for about ten minutes when we get to an intersection and she asks me where I get off. "Normally in the shower," I do not say. I tell her that we are actually at my turn, but ask if she'd like to get a drink together sometime. Of course my voice cracks while I ask for her number, but she gives it to me anyway. I texted a couple mornings later and she hasn't responded. I'll call her this evening and I guess that will be my last try. No matter what happens, I've always wanted to pick up a woman while riding bikes. There's one less thing on my bucket list. More or less.

In other news, I hosted a debate viewing party that was exceedingly well attended. The debate itself was a little disappointing, and not just because I'm voting Lehrer-Big Bird 2012. UT lost to UWV on Saturday. Not a good week for my teams. 

When you're having a week like mine, make yourself a Singapore Sling:

Singapore Sling



1 shot Gin
1/2 shot Brandy
1/4 shot Grenadine 
1/4 shot Lime Juice
Tonic Water
Garnish with Lime and Maraschino Cherry

Mix everything but Tonic and Garnishes in a shaker with ice. Pour over ice cubes and top off with Tonic Water. Garnish with a slice of Lime and a Maraschino Cherry. It's quite nice and refreshing and looks great. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pancake Topped with Fried Food and Ranch Dressing

With great power there must also come-- great responsibility!
                          -Stan Lee, Amazing Fantasy Issue #15

These words are no less true today than they were when they were first published 50 years ago this month. And yet here I am with the power to cook virtually anything I want and I choose to make-

Actually hold on a second. Yesterday at a pool party celebrating the end of our grad school "camp" that started five weeks ago, I was talking to a classmate who said that despite having a girlfriend he couldn't help but notice that we have some really attractive women in our cohort. I couldn't agree more. I recently met and befriended one of the most beautiful woman I've ever met in my life. I am phenomenally attracted to her (including her mind and personality) and can't wait to get to know her better over the upcoming weeks and months. Nevertheless, I found myself on the facebook profile of a woman I once loved yesterday and saw pictures of her and her boyfriend together and find myself literally sick to my stomach. I guess the cliche that you never quite get over your first love applies for me as much as for anyone else. The silver lining as I've said before is that at least I know that I'm capable of loving someone. I'm happy for her.

Now back to the food: I came up with this idea during an alumni panel when I got tired of listening to people talk about how we need to think about what kind of jobs we're going to be applying for when we haven't even registered for classes yet. Sometimes I just want to cook, you know. Maybe that's what I'll do with my new degree. Anyway, I needed something decadent and excessive. I wanted to make Ranch Dressing (even though I'm not a huge fan of it), and I wanted it in the style of the Waffle Taco that I envisioned months ago. So without further ado, I give you the Death Star!*

Pancake Topped with Fried Food and Ranch Dressing


For the Fried Food:

5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (there are leftovers!)
4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese cut into thin slices
Whites of 3 Eggs
~2 oz. Buttermilk
Flour
Oil

Cut the Chicken into thin slices, dip them and the cheese (separately) in an Egg White and Buttermilk mixture and coat with Flour. Deep fry the Chicken for 4-5 minutes and the Cheese for 1-2 minutes.

For the Pancake:

I used the recipe found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/. I wouldn't be too worried about the recipe. Any Pancake will do, but this recipe works well.

For the Ranch Dressing:



1/2 c. Homemade Mayonnaise (see my June 2012 recipe)
1/2 c. Sour Cream
1/2 - 2/2 c. Buttermilk
1 tsp. Dried Chives
1 1/2 tsp. Dried Dill
1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Just mix everything together. I used my Food Processor, which broke my heart by breaking during the process of cutting the cheese. The shatter-resistant bowl's locking mechanism broke, but they're sending me a replacement for free, so I guess it's not too big of a deal... Anyway, the original recipe that I found at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ranch-dressing-ii/ called for 1 c. of Mayo and I obviously cut that back- in part because of comments on the original recipe, but also because I like my Ranch to be a little more watery. I upped some of the Spices and used considerably more Salt and Pepper after my friend who loves Ranch critiqued mine. Overall I think this is a very successful recipe.

*A close friend of mine came of with the name. I think it certainly lives up to the name, but I'll stick with "Pancake Topped with Fried Food and Ranch Dressing" for ease reference. I also like the name "Ranchtop Mountain of the Rising Sun" that I came up with. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cantaloupe Rice Pudding

The H.E.B. was selling Cantaloupes for $0.99 last week, and even though I'm not a huge fan of Cantaloupes- why aren't Honeydews ever a buck?!- this was an offer I couldn't refuse. I let it sit around for a few days until I got an idea. And thus was born:

Cantaloupe Rice Pudding


0.5 Cantaloupe
~1 c. Water
0.75 c. Jasmine Rice
10 Cardamon Pods
Cinnamon
~2 oz Heavy Cream (only because it would've gone bad had I not found a use for it)

Liquify the Cantaloupe and slowly bring it to a boil with the water. Add the Rice, Cardamon, Cinnamon, and Cream (as well as whatever other Spices or Sugars you think would enhance the flavor). Simmer for a while. Eat it for breakfast, that's what I did!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hatch Chili and Chicken Pasta

Sitting on a rocky ledge at Zilker Park with an old friend from high school to see a live performance of the Sound of Music reminded me of just how much I love this city. Not only am I surrounded by friends and making new friends each day, but there's actually things to do--- and they're fun! As much as I enjoy kicking back with a beer (yet another thing I share with the city), it's so nice to have things to do that don't revolve around drinking. 



Earlier in the day I went to the H.E.B., a terrific grocery store that we don't have in and around Dallas, and they were celebrating Hatch Chili Week with mad samples,  one which was a Hatch Chili Pasta dish with Chicken that was inspiring. Literally; it inspired me to make it. It didn't hurt that a very attractive woman in front of me tried the dish and told me that I had to try it. I was like "I'd rather try you baby, what are you doing tonight?" She was right about the dish so I decided to make it. H.E.B. wanted us to buy a premade Hatch Chili Soup to pour over the pasta. "It's so easy to make!" the sample-person kept saying. "I'm sorry sir, that's just not the way the Gourmet Apartment does it." I read ingredient list and kept thinking "oh no, I don't have xanthan gum and this preservative and that, I don't know..." but I did know. Here's my recipe. It's been peer reviewed. The verdict is "pretty good." My verdict was a little higher than that, but to each his/her own.

Hatch Chili and Chicken Pasta



6 Hatch Chili Peppers
3 Tomatillos
2 Jalapenos
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tomato
1 Onion
1 bunch Cilantro
6 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 can Chicken Broth 
~3 tbsp Masa
Lime Juice
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into thin slices
~6 oz. Shredded Cheese
~12 oz. Medium Shells (Pasta)
Salt and Pepper as Usual
Water as Desired

In a toaster oven on broil, roast the Hatch Chili Peppers, Tomatillos, Jalapenos, and Garlic. Puree them in a food processor. Add the Tomato, Onion, and Cilantro and puree. Working in smaller batches if necessary, mix in the Cream and Chicken Broth. The H.E.B. product's ingredient list included Corn Tortilla which I didn't want to buy for this, so I just threw in the Maseca and Lime that I have lying around. Corn Tortillas are just Maseca, Lime, and Water, so I think this was an elegant solution. Anyway, mix this in and then stir everything together in a large pot and bring to a boil. While this is happening, cook your Pasta Shells. Once the Chili Sauce is boiling, toss in the Chicken, lower the heat and let simmer. A couple minutes later, mix in the shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar that I shredded by hand). Once the Pasta is just about done, drain it and mix it into the sauce. Add Water or allow liquid to boil off as you see fit. Serve with Avocados if you're entertaining a lady friend. Even if it is just platonic.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Massaman Curry

I'm a grad student in Austin now. It's almost surreal and I love it. I love this city. People commute on their bikes, the food is excellent, the beers are exceptional, and the women are more beautiful than almost any I've ever seen. I still can't believe that it took me nearly 28 years to get down here! 

In between classes, hitting up the local bars with my friends, and taking care of life stuff (ex: today I had my car inspection updated), I've somehow found the time to cook a few meals. I was too busy settling in to write about them unfortunately, but the curry I made this evening is too good not to record. It may not be 100% authentic and is an unruly combination of internet recipes, hints from a cookbook I own, and a little of my own shenanigans, but good food is good food, so cook forth and be satisfied. 

Massaman Curry



6 Cloves Garlic
3 Green Cardamon Pods
2 Cloves
1 tsp Ground Ginger (since I forgot to buy the real stuff)
1 37.5* cent piece worth of Tamarind Pulp
Juice of 1/3 of a Lime (all I had lying around)
Juice of 1/4 of a Lemon (ditto)
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds

Put all of the above in a food processor and chop the heck out of it. 

1 Onion
2-3 tbsp Soy or Peanut Oil
~1 tbsp Fish Sauce
~1 tbsp Peanut Butter 
1 tbsp Sugar

Add the Onion to the food processor with all the other ingredients and pulse until the Onion is relatively well diced, but not pureed or anything too fine. Heat up the Oil and fry all the ingredients from the food processor. Add the Fish Sauce, Sugar, and Peanut Butter.

1 can Coconut Milk
~2 cups Water
1 Spicy Jalapeño 
3 Compari Tomatoes 
3 medium Red Potatoes 
1 medium Eggplant peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes 
1 Red Bell Pepper cut into small/medium pieces
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts sliced into thin strips
~1/2 c. Peanuts
Salt and Pepper

After the Spices and Onion have fried for about 10 minutes, add the Coconut Milk and bring to a boil. Add the Potatoes and enough water to basically cover the Potatoes. The Potatoes will need about 20 minutes to soften- maybe 30 minutes. While this is happening, puree the Tomatoes and Jalapeño and add them to the mixture. Chop the Peanuts in the food processor and set aside. Cut the remaining ingredients while you wait for the Potatoes. Once the Potatoes have begun to soften, add the Eggplant. In 5-10 minutes (once the Eggplant is looking soft and tender) add the Chicken and the Red Bell. Once the Chicken is cooked- no more than 3 or 4 minutes- add the chopped Peanuts and Salt and Pepper (I needed a fair amount of Salt) and serve with Jasmine Rice. 

*Halfway between a quarter and a half dollar in size... duh.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Crawfish Po' Boy

I'm moving a week from tomorrow which means that I have to consume everything in my freezer. I haven't bought groceries in two weeks. Life is sweet. Also, I want to vow to never have so much food in my freezer again. Will I actually make this vow? No. But I want to. Anyway, it's like Christmas... or, wait a second... I move in 8 days. That's 8 days of edible presents to myself. My mother's Jewish. That means I'm Jewish. Oh. My. God. 

It's Hanukkah in July!!!!!!!!

...with the minor exception that my freezer is full of ham and bacon and shrimp and everything that is strictly forbidden. On that note, here's my Crawfish Po' Boy!

Crawfish Po' Boy



14 oz. Package of Crawfish Tails
Iceberg Lettuce
Tomato Slices
Pickle Slices
Onion Slices
Mayo
Bread
Stuff to fry with.

Alright, so this is a weak explanation of my recipe, but if you've ever seen me deep fry, then you'll understand the way nothing is important. 



I made the Homemade Mayonaise that I wrote about a couple weeks ago, but added some Cayenne, Ground Sage, and Pepper to spice it up a bit for this Cajun dish. I used cheap French Bread from Wal-Mart. I saved the Egg Whites from the Mayo to give the Crawfish a quick egg wash before coating in a mixture of Flour, Cornmeal, and Cajun Seasoning. Fry the Crawfish Tails, coat the Bread with Mayo, and then fill with all the ingredients. This makes about 4-5 decent-sized sandwiches. 

On a final note, the new Batman movie premiered last night and a dozen or more people were killed along with another few dozen who were injured in a shooting during the movie in Colorado. I find myself more and more affected by things like this as I get older. I just don't understand how people can so readily take each others' lives. I wish there was some sense of community- some sense that we are in this together and that rather than waste what little we have by murdering each other we could instead work to create something better. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jambalaya

I had an eye appointment today so that I can get new glasses and contacts before grad school... I went to the wrong eye doctor. Yep, I'm ready for grad school. Fortunately, they took care of me with little wait and were cheaper than the place where I apparently set up my appointment. 

In other news, a now-former coworker and I saw Spiderman in XD-RealD 3D. Why so many D's? Who knows. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but in the same was that I completely loved Captain America; it wasn't a good movie, but it made me happy anyway. I guess that's what people mean when they call something a guilty pleasure. Here's my short review:

The Amazing Spiderman needed to be in 3D, but they wasted the potential with one or two pointless shots that involved 3D and little else. Andrew Garfield was alright, but too cool for Peter and I don't believe that he was as smart as he's supposed to be. Peter's supposed to be a quiet bookish nerd who happens to be in shape (because who wasn't in the 60s) and then gains the confidence to be a hilarious smart ass after realizing his potential as Spider-Man. Relationships changed for no apparent reason all throughout the movie. Take Aunt May and Flash Thompson, for example. Aunt May has a list of reasons to be frustrated with Peter, but then he brings home eggs and everything's cool. With Flash, the bain of Peter Park's high school experience, at the end of the movie they're suddenly buddy buddy. Why? I would've enjoyed more corny one-liners, too. And while I'm at it, why is Gwen Stacy, a 17 year old high schooler, the head intern or whatever at Oscorp Industries? I don't buy it. But, Stan Lee had an awesome cameo (as usual) and Emma Stone was super sexy (as usual), so all in all: B+. I'm an easy grader and it's Spider-Man, so I'm going to love it just because. ...even if it is just filler between the Avengers and the Dark Night Rises. 

And yes CBS, I am free for a starring role in the Big Bang Theory. 

Jambalaya



1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders cut into small pieces
14 oz. Andouille Sausage cut into small pieces
14 oz. Crawfish Tails
2 Tomatoes diced
1 Green Bell Pepper diced
4 Celery Stalks diced
5 Cloves Garlic minced
2 small Onions diced
1 c. Chicken Broth
1 tbsp. Oregano
1 tbsp. Dried Parsley 
2 tsp. Tony Chachere's Original Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp. Cayenne 
1 tsp. Thyme 
5 Bay Leaves

I was in a hurry to get to my eye appointment, so I prepared everything in about 20 minutes. I cut the Chicken and Sausage by hand and threw it into the Crock Pot. Then I diced the Tomato, Green Bell, Celery, and Onion in my food processor one at a time and added that. I used the food processor with the Garlic and added that along with the Spices and Seasoning. Next, pour in the Chicken Broth, mix, and let the Crock Pot cook on high for 4-5 hours. With about 30 minutes left, add the Crawfish Tails and then serve over a bed of Rice. It's not perfect, but it's super easy and was well-received by my former coworker and I. 

The recipe was adapted slightly from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/colleens-slow-cooker-jambalaya/. Good luck and enjoy! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Corn Dog Muffins

I've begun thinking about my move to Austin. I mean logistically- after all, I've been thinking about this move for the past 3 years. Things are coming together nicely. I have to go to the dentist, have an eye exam, and take care of a couple other odds and ends- Manly Board Game Night, Man Day, Spiderman, the new Batman movie, you know, important things that all happen to have the word "man" in them. I'm listening to Ace of Base right now.

Ace of Base is very significant for me. I remember 5th grade... the Sign was huge and I hated it. All I listened to back then was classic rock and oldies- real oldies like Earth Angel and everything that Buddy Holly and the Beatles did---- none of this Tainted Love and Karma Chameleon (both of which I love) that pass as oldies nowadays. Anyway, I convinced myself that I hated Ace of Base (along with Britney Spears, *Nsync, and most other pop bands that I now enjoy) and refused to listen to them. Then one day I was at a garage sale and found the Sign and bought it for fifteen cents or something ridiculous like that. I haven't stopped listening to it since.

What made me buy it, you ask? That's a great question. I grew up in a suburb of Dallas and by the time I was in middle school and high school I was hip enough to listen to the alternative rock station 94.5 the Edge... in addition to the oldies and classic rock station. This was also about the time that I started staying up late for homework. On Sunday evenings the Edge played the Adventure Club with Josh. It's still on if I'm not mistaken. Josh would play new bands and songs that were more or less never played anywhere else and I enjoyed being able to say that I'd heard it first, so I listened while doing homework. 

I know, I know, this has nothing to do with Ace of Base... oh, but it does! After the adventure club- at 10 pm, if memory serves me correctly, the Adventure Club ended and Red Square Retro began. The horrors, the horrors. What sane human could ever enjoy 80s music?! Not me, that's for sure. I always changed it immediately back to classis rock or oldies. But after a while it wasn't so immediate. It wasn't that I liked the music, but there were a couple decent songs and occasionally they came on at the beginning of the broadcast. After a few months I was shocked to discover that the only 80s songs I enjoyed always came on at the beginning of the broadcast. By my junior year I was listening to the whole thing every Sunday. It was one of the high points of my week. 

It wasn't until the last week of my freshman year of college while we were packing up our dorm rooms that I heard my friend rocking out to the Cure. I was drawn to him like an Appalachian baby to Mountain Dew and discovered that everyone in college loved 80s music. The next year I started going to 80s parties and felt like I'd finally found a home. It hasn't gotten me laid yet, but I can't imagine being with a woman who doesn't appreciate the genius of the Smiths. Still, I know it's a fad. The 80s are back, but already I feel like they're slipping from the mainstream yet again. It doesn't matter, I'll listen to them until they're cool again, and then I'll keep listening to them.

So how does this relate to Ace of Base? When I realized that I adored a genre of music that I'd once always thought I despised, I began to take a second look at everyone else... including Ace of Base. Aqua, Madonna, Backstreet Boys, TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, Creed. 

Holy crap, no. Creed is and will most likely always be the band I consider the worst ever. Nickelback's a close second, but I truly believe that without Creed there would be no Nickelback. They're more or less the same band anyway, but, to paraphrase a band and a song that I really love, y'all don't want to hear me, y'all just want to know how to make Corn Dog Muffins.

Corn Dog Muffins



1 c. Yellow Cornmeal
1 c. Flour
1 c. Milk
1 Egg
3 tsp. Sugar
4 tsp. Baking Powder
0.5 tsp Salt
0.25 c. Vegetable Oil
1 can Drained Kernel Corn
2 pinches Smoked Sweet Paprika 
1 pinch Oregano
1 pinch Marjoram
1 pinch Cracked Red Pepper Flakes
1 pinch Pepper
7 Hot Dogs diced

Mix all the dry ingredients together then add everything else and mix well. Bake for about 20 minutes in cupcake tins at 425. Cool and enjoy. 


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gazpacho and The Hangover Part III

Oh my gosh, this past week was spent visiting family and friends on South Padre Island. It was a blast, but the island kicked my ass. I woke up on the morning of July 6th in a penthouse hotelroom tired and sore, and unaware that I was about to star in the Hangover Part III. 


Here's the backstory: I was there to hang out with my family, but was going to see some friends who were on the Island for a wedding. On the 5th, my cousins and I proceed to get completely and totally trashed. Shot-gunning beers on the beach. Yelling at hot girls in bikinis. Playing volleyball and diving around unnecessarily, becoming immortalized in the sand. We were drinking Turbos (amazing drink that I'm going to have to attempt to recreate soon) and Coconut Rum out of the bottle. It was a mess to say the least- and all the more so, because my phone broke (for no fault of my own- it's messed up a few times since I've had it and I finally went in to the T-Mobile and my replacement is in the mail as we speak). So after dinner we're pre-gaming with some chicks we met on the beach- friends of friends of cousins or whatnot and I'm being an ass, because I don't care at all for these chicks and just want to meet up with my friends who I can't even call, but know are at a particular bar. I guess I could've walked, but in the end everyone headed out and I find my friends. Awesome! We drink and chill and then go to the Whataburger. Shortly after we arrive, dumb bikini chick arrives from the pre-game. We're all making fun of each other until my family surprisingly (or not) shows up. Party! For a few minutes, at least, until my teacher friends and I head out. We picked a good time to leave, too, because apparently all hell broke loose after we left. Whatever, while the Whataburger was doing whatever we find a hotel with a $300 a night penthouse suite that hasn't been rented, so they give it to use for $69, but we're too tired to enjoy it, so we just sleep.


In the morning we get breakfast tacos and then a friend drops my Doctor friend, who shall henceforth be known as Doc, and I off at my aunt's condo where all my stuff is. Literally all my stuff other than my wallet. She has my (broken) phone, keys, clothes, glasses, toothbrush, everything. Also, I'm wearing my cousin's way-too-tight shirt. I'm hung over, and I don't understand why nobody's at the condo. 


Doc's following me and I have no clue what's going on, so we start walking down the beach towards the bar where everyone seems to congregate. She has my cousin's number in her phone, so we talk to him and he has no idea what's going on, but he gives me a couple numbers and I start calling relatives- none of whom answer. According to Doc I was leaving messages along the lines of "Hey, I don't really know what's going on... I'm just trying to figure out what happened last night, and you know, where everyone and everything is. What's going on?" 


So you can see why the Hangover is becoming an apt analogy. 


Finally we get to the bar and I hear my name. Heck yes, it's my aunt who has all my stuff! Score! "Cousin said you were leaving the island?" I say.


"We are," she says. "We had to check out of the condo, but we wanted to enjoy the beach a little more."


Right on, I think. She tells me about the previous night's drama and then I ask her where my stuff is. Don't worry she tells me, you cousin has your phone and your other cousin has your things. I'm relieved. Where is the cousin with my things? Back at home. Home? You mean on the island, right? Nope. She meant an hour and a half away. 


WTF family. Seriously? You guys know I'm on the island and despite there being three or four condos/hotel rooms on the island and a half dozen cars all of where you could have put my stuff, you decide to send it an hour and a half away. Dammit. This is about the time, a la Hangover, that my cousin takes out her camera to show me pictures of the previous night. Thanks. This is also around the time that it becomes clear that I"m covered in bruises- or blisters, really of unknown origin. My whole left arm is covered. I have a giant blister over my left peck (boob). It's really quite gross. They're still there, but improving. I don't want to be seen like this! But anyway...


Doc and I borrow a car and drive out to get my stuff. When we finally arrive my cousin's she's all like "oh you came back for your beers?" 


"No, I didn't choose to drive 3 hours roundtrip to grab a couple beers that you took. Are you out of your freaking mind!!!" I didn't say that, but seriously. Wow. 


So Doc and I get my stuff (and leave the beers) and we look at each other and say we might as well drive the extra hour to West Valley where we used to live for dinner. We ate a Pirata at Tacos Aka, a Raspa, and a Papa Loco from El Jarepeo (which we had to save until the next morning). Neither of us could believe how much we used to be able to  eat.


We drive the now 3 hours back to the Island and decide to camp on the beach. The weather's perfect for it; warm, but cool enough to sleep comfortably. The gentle roll of the ocean against the shore. A huge moon and stars above. We get our tent up around midnight and have just finished talking and enjoying the scenery around 1-1:30 when, as we're just beginning to drift off, some damn fools start blasting Corridos. For 45 minutes I kid you not they played the same damn song. They continued playing until well past 3. Around 2 some idiot frat boys join in the fun, pull right next to us and start blasting rap. I'm only 27, but get off my lawn. Damn.

Waking up the next morning sandy, bug-bitten, blistered, tired, not-hungover, but feeling like I might as well be, and then cracking open a Papa Loca on the beach made me realize how good my life is. I have the best friends and family I could hope for. My body will recover, after all, I'm just 27.


Gazpacho






9 Vine Ripened Tomatoes
1 Large Cucumber Seeded
2 Red Bell Peppers
1 Red Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1/8 c. Balsamic Vinegar
1/8 c. Vinegar
1/4 c. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

I made this entirely in the food processor.

Liquify 5 of the Tomatoes in the food processor. Most recipes call for Tomato Juice, but this is the same thing and you know exactly what's in it. Salt this to taste. It may require more salt than you're used to, but that seems normal for Tomatoes, as it is with Beans and a couple other Salt-intensive foods. Set this liquid aside in a large bowl.

Now chop the Garlic as well as you can. Slice the Onion in small chunks and then let the food processor cut it coarsely. Add this to the Tomato Juice. Do the same with the Red Bell. Then with the Cucumber. Then with the Tomato. Stir in the Vinegars and Oil, add Salt and Pepper as necessary, and enjoy.

I thought there was a little too much Vinger in this and I might cut it down a little next time or else juice more Tomatoes. Otherwise it was really quite good. It's more or less just  a non-spicy Salsa or Pico de Gallo in Tomato Juice, but it certainly makes a fresh and refreshing summer soup!