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

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)

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
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!