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.