Silliness is Golden

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Tue, Jun 20, 2006

Short Shameful Confession: Cheese Edition

I am an unregenerate cheese middlebrow. For me, the king of cheeses is extra-sharp cheddar--there's no cheese (and few foods of any kind) that I really enjoy more. My fridge always has cheddar, and usually has some cream cheese, a TJ's chevre log, and a tub of grated romano. I can go months without having the urge to try anything more exotic than those.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy exotic cheeses--I just don't enjoy them as much those staples.

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Wed, Jun 14, 2006

Disguised

It amuses me that my frying pan currently resenbles one of those magazine illustrations on "healthy eating." Only, instead of boneless skinless chicken breasts and asparagus sauteeing in spray-on light margarine, it's chicken thighs and garlic scapes (yay, Kimball Farms booth at the farmer's market!) frying in bacon grease.

Also: new drink recipe.

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Sat, Apr 22, 2006

Spring Cleaning Pasta Sauce

I looked in the fridge, and saw a few strips of bacon and a few chicken thighs. I cut the bacon into one-inch pieces, and put it in a saucepan on high heat. While that was going, I chopped up the chicken and threw it in.

What next? A couple onions. Chop them up and in they go.

Yaga has been teaching me to not stir so damn often. Browning reactions work much better if stuff sits still for a few minutes. This was sizzling away loudly enough that I had to exercise some self-discipline to take the lesson to heart.

I opened a can of whole tomatoes and went back to the fridge to see what I could find. The mixed olive-mushrom-and-artichoke-hearts antipasto got drained and thrown in. The other tin of artichoke hearts looked kind of dicy and got thrown away. I lifted the tomatoes out of the can with my spatula and added them; threw away most of the remaining liquid.

A tin of anchovies, some oregano and basil. Aw, heck. A teaspoon of Vietnamese sambal. Let that bubble away at a medium high heat, stirring every ten minutes or so while I boil some pasta.

Tasty, satisfying, and cleared a lot of space in the fridge.

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Thu, Dec 22, 2005

Semi Dogs

Our story begins with two two-pound bags of Great Northern beans. I was helping Spike stock the food pantry she runs, and was loading plastic bags of beans onto the shelf for her to later hand out to her clients. I was hasty and careless (and the bags were kinda low quality). The thumbs of both hands simultaneously sank into bags, puncturing them. Spike couldn't distribute them, but I was reluctant to throw them out, so I went home with four pounds of dried Great Northern beans.

I soaked one bag overnight, and found that they had expanded more than I'd anticipated. Half the beans I made into US Senate Bean Soup from New New Joy, a simple ham-hock flavored stew that is considerably more savory than most senators you're likely to meet.

That left the other pound. I decided to try to make baked beans, which I'd never done before. Being me, I mashed together Joy's two baked bean recipes; used plenty of bacon and molassass; tripled the recipe's allocation of onions, mustard powder, and ginger; and threw in a few chicken jalapeņo sausages from TJ's for good measure. Apparently I got so excited by all this that I neglected to include enough water or something, and it took two days of cooking and tinkering before the beans actually got soft enough to be pleasant to eat.

Once that occurred, they were delicious,and I started trying to think of what to do with them. Rummaging around in the fridge, I saw the remaining chicken jalapeņo sausage and raw bacon and remembered my trip to Tucson when Andrel took me and Charlotte out for "sammy dogs," an occasional nickname for the glorious and terrifying Sonoran-style hot dog--two dogs wrapped in bacon and grilled, served in one bun with beans, mustard, mayonnaise, cheese, and a somewhat variable bunch of other stuff. It is the nietzchian uber-nosh: beyond good and evil, a force unto itself.

My re-interpretation (code for: "version using what I had in the fridge") of this classic, while far from faithful, had an ad-hoc charm of its own.

I searched around for my cocktail skewers for a couple minutes--to hold the bacon on the sausage--and then realized that plastic wouldn't really be ideal for this task. So I used picture hanging nails.

What? I was hungry!

So. TJ's chicken sausage wrapped in bacon and grilled in the toaster oven, with molassas baked beans (in place of the traditional smoky pintos), mustard, mayo, salsa, and Vermont cheddar; served on, um, onion naan. Which is just good with just about everything.

So, yeah. I'm not ashamed. I'd do it again, man. But I do recommend taking out the nails before you eat.

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Wed, Dec 21, 2005

I. Am. That. CucumberMan.

For my birthday this year, Spike gave me three pounds of marvelous mail-order bacon. My mother gave me a tagine--the Dutch oven-like conical covered pot that leant its name to the spicy slow-cooked stews that are made therin. Mine is much prettier than the picture--smoothly graduated from the bright red top to the black base. My new enthusiasm for Moroccan cooking is mostly based in my continuing infatuation with preserved lemons, but there is much territory left to explore. For example, as Morocco is a heavily Islamic region, to the best of my knowledge the task remains for some brave and resourceful man to invent a bacon tagine.

[/diaries/diary/food/] 2 comments

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