Monday, February 27, 2012

Pi R Squared

I don't mean to write so sporadically, but I get busy and this site suffers. It should be one of the last things to suffer, but I tend to sacrifice that which I enjoy the most. I have been busy; school is kicking me in the nuts. Just last week I saw three people cry- only two of whom were students. I don't know what's going on, but I feel like everyone wants to kill each other. I suspect that "the Knowing" will occur a week from Friday. That's the day that I find out whether or not I get into grad school. I don't want to jinx things, but I think I have a good shot of getting in. If I don't, I don't know what I'll do. I'm restless and tired of Dallas, but I need somewhere to go and something to do. As usual, we'll see.

Tomorrow we're having an open house type of thing at school and the math department decided to serve pis- I mean pies. The calculus teacher suggested that all of our pies should be square, because (pi)r^2. I may be the only one to have made one by hand, so I bought a new pan and presto: pi r squared!

Apple Pie

For the crust:

Below is the text of the article copied exactly as it appeared in my browser. I hope the NY Times can accept a less than properly cited theft. I just want this in my blog so I can use it again without having to google it from the beginning. It turned out well. I used Red Wine Vinegar instead of Apple Cider Vinegar since I have yet to buy the latter.

Eat: Pie Fidelity (February 19, 2012)
Related Recipe

Apple Pie (February 19, 2012)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold

3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Yolk of 1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/4 cup water, from 3/4 cup ice water.

1. Using your fingertips or the pulse function of a food processor, blend together the flour, fats and salt until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. There should be pebbles of butter throughout the mixture.

2. Add egg yolk and vinegar to ¾ cup ice water and stir to combine. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of this mixture over the dough and gently stir or pulse to combine. Gather a golfball-size bit of dough and squeeze to combine. If it does not hold together, add a little more of the liquid and stir or pulse, then check again. Repeat as necessary.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather together into a rough ball. You want to be careful not to overwork the flour, but not too careful; the dough should hold together. Divide the ball in half with a knife or a pastry scraper, then divide each portion in half again, and again, to create eight portions. Using the heel of your hand, flatten each portion of dough once or twice to expand the pebbles of butter, then gather the dough together again in one ball. Divide this ball in half.

4. Flatten each ball into a 5- or 6-inch disc and dust lightly with flour. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.

For the filling- and this I came up with all by myself!

9 Granny Smith Apples peeled and sliced into thin slivers.
2 Handfuls Cane Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
8 Cloves ground
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tbsp Butter
~1 tbsp Flour

Mix the Apples with the Spices and Sugar and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 until tender. Melt in the Butter and thicken with the Flour. Ladle into the Pie Crust and bake for another 30-40 minutes until golden and nice.

Serve at a high school open house and watch others enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Borscht: Pink for Valentine's Day

Hurrah. To celebrate the Valentine's Day I made a perfectly pink dish.

Here's the back story:

In 2008 I started dating a girl. She denies this. Whatever. We broke up shortly thereafter, but remain wildly in love. She also denies this. But whatever. I went to visit her in her hometown in upstate New York in 2008 and she took me to all the places she used to frequent. I had the Borscht at a small cafe and was crazy about it. This girl's sister was a waitress at this place and I asked her to covertly steal the recipe for me. To my horror she just asked the chef who gave it to her willingly. I reproduce it for you exactly as I received it (except for the pictures which are all Gourmet Apartment):

"Summer Borscht"

5 med fresh beets or 32 oz can diced beets
2cps ck stock
16 oz sour cream
1/2 c plain yoghurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 c med diced cukes, seeds out
1/2 c chopped scallion
2 tbsp chopp fresh dill
1 tsp salt

Beets in large boiling water, cook uncovered 'till tender (30-40 mins)
remove, put in bowl to cool

strain cooking liquid through sieve, set aside to cool

Lg bowl: wisk 1.5 c beet liquid, ck stock, sour cream, yog, lemon, vinegar, salt, pepper

Peel beets/ rub skins off w/ hands

add veggies to soup

cover w/ plastic wrap, chill 4 hrs or overnight

season to taste, serve cold w/ s-cream and fresh dill sprig.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Spaghetti [Squash] and Tomato Sauce

Overall I'm quite a happy person. People see me as an optimist (at least I think they do), and generally they're correct. But I think Dallas gets to me; our values are Puritanical, we're sexually repressed, there's not much going on of interest in terms of the Great Outdoors, and most of the people are a little too materialistic and class-interested for my taste.

Spaghetti [Squash] and Tomato Sauce

1 Spaghetti Squash

4 Large Roma Tomatoes
6 Cloves Garlic
1.25 Onions Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
2 Large Pinches Fennel Seeds [Hulk] Smash[ed]
5 Pinches Basil
2 Large Pinches Oregano
3 Large Pinches Cracked Pepper Flakes
1 Block of Swiss Chess (which makes ~1 bowl Shredded Cheese when grated with a nice microplane)
Salt and Pepper (just for fun)
Sexy Quantity of Olive Oil Fun

Cut the Squash in half and bake at 350-400 for ~45 minutes.

While Squash is cooking, saute the Onion and 2/3 of the Garlic for a few minutes in Olive Oil. While The Onion and Garlic are sauteing, add the spices, puree the Tomato with the remaining Garlic and add all of the above to the Onion and Garlic mixture.

Once the Squash is done, take it out and allow to cool slightly. While the Squash cools, add the Cheese and Red Bell to the sauce. Scrape out the Squash with a fork, Salt and Pepper, and then add the Cheesy-Tomato sauce to the Squash. Feed it to your face like a boss- seriously, this is vegetarian, so don't feel bad. You might as well complete the deal with a bottle of wine (I bought a bottle of Banrock Station 2008 Shiraz (whatever that is) for $3.33 the other day at Sprouts). What. A. Life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken Baked in Beer and Herbs

I went out with this girl Laura last week and had a great time. I thought she enjoyed herself as well, but I've called her twice since our date (spaced out over five days- I'm not a stalker) and she hasn't responded, so I guess that's that. I'm not quite sure why, but it's her loss. At least that's what I always tell myself. Always. At some point I would like to actually be in a relationship, but maybe that's too much to ask for.

Yesterday I taught Saturday school, went to my monthly gaming session and finally won my first game of Risk Legacy, and then hung out with a couple of my friends and their wives. We watched "What's Your Number" which was horribly predictable and dumb, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I cuddled with my friend's dog.

Today I graded papers, did laundry and dishes, cooked dinner, and will hopefully get to bed early without having completed all the school work I really needed to complete. At least grades are more or less done.

Chicken Baked in Beer and Herbs

In any case, this is the first recipe I've tried off of the newsletter I get every month:

It is simple and easy and I enjoyed it. My take on "herbs de provence" were a mixture of rosemary, basil, crushed fennel seeds, thyme, and rubbed sage. The beer I used was Ska Brewing's Buster Nut Brown Ale. I thought it was a pretty tasty brown ale, but ratebeer disagreed. I don't know if that's because I can't tell the difference between good and bad beer or if I just don't drink enough brown ales to differentiate anymore. I used 4 Carrots and included about 2 tsp of Juniper Berries, because I had them and why not!

It's a really good recipe. Normally I wouldn't cook my chicken at 400 for a full hour, but I did and the beer caramelized and the dish is delicious. Thank you!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Belgium Strong Golden Ale

Last year I celebrated the Super Bowl by brewing what would become my finest beer thus far- a Belgium Strong Golden Ale. I should've entered it in a competition, but stupidly I didn't. Well, I shouldn't say stupidly, I mean my friends and I did enjoy every singly drop. I took it to our department Christmas party where it got mad props. I should probably be more humble, but seriously, it was awesome. So I thought what better way to celebrate this Super Bowl than by brewing the same beer again? Oh, and if I bottle it in two weeks it'll even be ready for the Bluebonnet Brewoff next month? Yes! If all goes as planned I'll finally meet my goal of submitting three beers: a Belgium Strong Dark, a Saison, and this Belgium Strong Golden Ale. This one is a little on the weak side with an initial gravity of 1.068 (which means that it'll probably clock in right around 7% since I expect it to finish dry), and the Saison is going to be a little cloudier than I'd like, I think, but regardless, these are going to be some of the finer beers the judges have the pleasure of tasting and I expect them all to make it to the second round. If my Strong Dark calms down a little (it tasted like rocket fuel when I bottled it due to the fact that it's right around 10% ABV) it should have a good chance of placing. And if not, I bottled enough that I may just have to let it sit around for the next year until it's nice and mellow for the 2013 contest! Anyway, if you want a recipe that has been described as "dangerously fun" by my boss and owner of the local homebrew supply shop, then you'll want to make this. Also, if you want to meet me in person, come find me representing the store at the St. Paddy's Day parade next month!

By the way, congratulations New York, that was an amazing game. Madonna for MVP!

Belgium "Strong" Golden Ale

12 lb. Dingmans Pils
0.75 lb. Cara 20 (Cara Vienne)
0.5 lb. Gambrinus Honey Malt
0.5 lb. Weyermann Carafoam
0.5 lb. Weyermann Lt. Wheat
0.2 lb. Dingmans Special B
0.2 lb. Dingmans Aromatic Malt

14 oz. Light Lump Sugar from the Asian Grocery Store
1 cups Cane Sugar

1 oz. Gr. Tettnang 3.7% AA (60 min)
0.5 oz. Gr Hersbrucker 2.6% AA (60 min)

0.5 oz. Gr Hersbrucker 2.6% AA (10 min)
0.5 oz Styrian Golding 3.8% AA (5 min)

Rind of 1 orange and 1 grapefruit
1 tbsp coriander crushed with mortar and pestle
1 tablet Whirlfloc (Irish Moss)
1 tbsp Yeast Nutrient

Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity Ale Yeast

Mash at 150 for 1 hour. Double batch sparge and collect 7.5 gallons.

OG: 1.068

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


My two married friends asked me at Man Day a couple weeks ago if I could post a recipe for Chili. I said I'd never made it before, but would give it a shot- but that when I did, my Chili would have Beans and Noodles, just like my mother's. Unwilling to sell out and use prepackaged Chili Mix, I told them I'd make it from scratch. So, to make a long story short, here is my first (and pretty solid) attempt at Chili. It could use a little more spice, but it's not bad at all. Without having ever made Chili before, I based my spices off of a box of Chili Mix from the grocery store. Attached is a photo of the ingredient list.


1.5 lb Ground Beef
9 cloves chopped Garlic
1.5 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Paprika
0.75 tbsp Cayenne
4 large pinches Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp Oregano
7 Roma Tomatos
2 Onions
2 Green Bell Peppers
6 oz Tomato Paste
1 15.5 oz can Light Red Kidney Beans
1 15.5 oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
6 oz Elbow Noodles

Brown the Ground Beef in a large pot. While the Beef is browning, Fry the Garlic, Cumin, Paprika, Cayenne, Pepper Flakes, and Oregano in a cask-iron skillet in however much oil is necessary. Chop and add the Onions. Liquefy the Roma Tomatoes in a blender or mini-food processor and add to the Onion-Spice mixture. Drain the fat from the Ground Beef. Then mix the Tomato Paste with the Ground Beef, and pour in the Kidney Beans. Pour in the mixture from the skillet. Add Noodles, as much Water as necessary to cook the Noodles, and let simmer until the Noodles are fully cooked. Enjoy. If you make this recipe, please comment this entry with suggestions for improvements.