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Sink-O de Mayo

May 5, 2017

My plumbing is a big mess.  The professionals were here on Wednesday and will be back on Monday to break open the basement floor.

Naturally, this is a good excuse to have some beers.  Beers are always a good excuse to have tacos.  Not that anyone ever needs an excuse for tacos.

And here we are on the 5th of May.  The force was with us yesterday and the dark side is back already.  So I grabbed some Dark Tower beer and got to work with what I had.

I already had Brussel sprouts and I saw this recipe while perusing for ideas, so I ordered a few items for delivery from a fancy grocer.  They were out of limes, queso fresco and queso blanco.  That’s a high level fail.

I persevered thanks to that 9.2% ABV beer.

I riffed a bit off the recipe – adding red bell pepper and leek; using Serrano peppers instead of poblano and adding ancho pepper powder.

The hardest part of this was cutting Brussel sprouts in half and chopping onion.

It all worked.  Queso fresco would have been nice, but I got over it.  Probably.  The sauce really is damn good.  So is the beer.

Now I have a sink full of dishes to clean and I don’t want to risk running a bunch of water until the professionals come back.

These tacos were worth it.

We are gathered here today…

Saucey sauce.

Save me, angry cowboy.

Sprouts, red bell pepper and garlic.  I can still smell that garlic.

Work it.  Sweat.

Warm and ready.

Here we have tacos.  Thank somebody.  (Me, mostly)

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Kale, kale, the gang’s all here

November 9, 2016

In case you weren’t paying attention, my canine buddy lost her cancer battle at the end of July.  This resulted in an instant demolition of my daily structure.

In the days immediate following, I allowed myself to wallow.  The result was losing touch with my workouts and my writing.  It might seem antithetical, but my newfound free time was the worst thing that could happen to my productivity.

That’s how I’m wired.  Action begets action.  Inaction…you get the picture.

So, the Friday before Halloween, I brought home a coach who promptly sorted my shit.  I’m now completely exhausted and much more productive.  Just in time for Nanowrimo and the holiday eating season.

Spirit, a three-year-old rescue Husky has run me ragged and diligently helped me dog-proof the house again.  Did you know there was still a packet of fish food on a bottom shelf?  I didn’t either.  It’s not there anymore.

My new schedule and resulting tiredness has me temporarily reshuffling my cooking.  I need quick and easy and no extra grocery trips.  So I put off my crazy ice-cream ideas and the pretzel making experiments.

Nothing is easier than sautéing some kale.  Kale sautéed with red onion, apple and red wine vinegar.  Topped with a veggie sausage.

Also super easy – a baked Portobello cap with parsley, tomato, fresh parmesan and an egg.  Plus some salsa.

Easy baked chicken thighs in a marinade of garlic, orange juice, balsamic, and soy sauce.  Used for a sammich – on toasted oat bread, with fresh baby spinach, avocado and a good mustard.

This stuff takes nearly no effort and hardly any time (other than the marinating time for the thighs).  Even Spirit can pause her shenanigans long enough to let me prepare this food.  Almost.

Mush(room) ado about nothing

September 15, 2016

Having to, unplanned, get a new refrigerator is a weirdly refreshing experience.  Like getting a first apartment with your first real fridge.  An empty canvas.

I have a habit of periodically rearranging how I use the shelves and drawers for no reason anyway.  As my usage habits change, I rearrange accordingly for max efficiency.  That’s what I tell myself anyway.  In reality, it is probably the result of manic boredom.

Either way, I’m still stocking back up and it’s reined my cooking in.  Back to a more simplistic style.  As my weekly produce arrives, I use it up on the spot.

And so we have…some simply stuffed portobello mushroom caps.

Baked in the oven at high temp (450 F or so) for about 20 minutes.  Then stuffed and put back in the oven until it looked ready (5-7 minutes more).

The stuffing is a mix of flash-sautéed minced garlic, cilantro, green onion, grated parmesan, fresh basil and bread crumbs.

The Assemblage.  The garlic was late and missed the class picture.

 

Mixing up the stuffing.  I sautéed the garlic first to mellow it out.  Drizzled in a little olive oil just to bind it up.  I also layered a few thin tomato slices in the mushroom caps before piling on the stuffing.  Because I can.

 

Looking good out of the oven.  Crisped up lightly on top.

 

I thew down some really ripe tomatoes and topped them with the remaining green onion, salt and pepper, and the bits of stuffing that were beautifully crisped and nearly stuck to the bottom of the baking dish.

 

Going for the gold

August 22, 2016

The Olympics have come and gone.

There were some interesting stories.  The Swedish women’s soccer team was fun to watch. Ryan Lochte is still a moron.

For all the hand-wringing about what would happen in Rio, it ended up being a fairly typical version of the Olympics.

Table tennis is fun to watch.  The US men’s basketball team sleepwalked themselves to a gold medal.  Fencing is weird.  The equestrian course was brutal.

In the spirit of the thing, I decided to do some Brazilian-style cooking on Saturday night.

I can state with conviction that a Brazilian fish stew is a tasty and relatively easy dish to make.  There was a bunch of chopping and it took some time (primarily marinating), but the complexity is in the flavors, not the cooking technique.

I used this recipe as a starting point, altering spices to my liking and using catfish (it was available and it is sturdy enough to withstand the cooking in tact) and scallops (added last minute so as not to overcook).

I drank an Argentinian wine while cooking.  Don’t tell Brazil.

Fritter my timbers

July 28, 2016

My never-ending quest to use all the zucchini in the world continued with some zucchini fritters.

Really easy to make and pretty tasty.

Very few ingredients.  I used this recipe, but added roasted garlic.

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Stuff for things.

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Didn’t even bleed.

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This is where the sizzle happens.

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I want me gold!

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Topped with sour cream and hot sauce, because hot sauce is life.

 

 

 

Put a smile on your face ten miles wide

June 1, 2016

Yeah, um, cherry pie.

I went off this recipe, more or less.  Added some blueberries and didn’t use all that sweetener.

Pretty easy to make.  I only used the sweetener for the cherry-blueberry chia jam.  If I do it again, I wouldn’t even bother with that.  Left the crust and topping without the added sweeteners.

I really liked the crust.  I used sticky coconut shavings to help it bind and give it whatever sweetness it needed beyond the listed ingredients.  Would probably make an OK cookie with a little adjustment.

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That’s the jam.

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This part would have been the pits, but I just did it with my hands and I felt powerful and majestic and juicy.

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This is starting to feel like something good.  Swingin’ in the kitchen.

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This part was easier than I expected.  I don’t know what I was fretting about.  Dryness, I suppose.  Nobody likes a dry slice of pie. I’ve seen what happened to good King Joffrey.

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Crust is ready to go.  Just need to fill ‘er up.

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Done and done.

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Managed to hold form for a slice.

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Backside view.  You knew it was coming.

 

I’m hoping the general lack of sugar will mean I can still fit into my hair band pants.  Sweet cherry pie, yeah.

 

Butternut Squash Ice Cream

March 14, 2016

Next in the never-ending installments of “what do I do with all this squash,” comes Butternut Squash Ice Cream.

Don’t give up on me.  You can make ice cream out of anything.  Of all the things people have made ice cream with, butternut squash isn’t even high on the WTF list.

It’s a sweet squash anyway.  Besides, once you add a boatload of sugar and cream, everything tastes fine.

I used this basic recipe from JamesBeard.org, so you know it’s legit.

Paired it with some butterscotch sauce, pistachios and chopped dates.  Worth waiting two days.

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Varsity Team Picture

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Infusing.  Cinnamon sticks love baths.

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Roasted squash.  From shapely gourd to golden god in less than an hour.

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Sugar and yolks are ready to party.

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Whisking.  So much whisking.  But finally ready.  Ready to sit and chill.  No Netflix was involved.

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Butterscotch.  It’s going to happen.  Quickly.  Pay attention.

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I know that looks like a bunch of butter, but it is called butterscotch.

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OK, that’s…yeah, bad beach day.  Have faith.

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After whisking all my problems away, it’s creamy sugar lava.

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You got to cool it now.  Ooooooh, watch out!  Add vanilla and salt to taste.

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Through the power vested in me by The Interzone Time Council, it is the next day.  Time to churn and burn (if you’re into that).

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This is much easier with a machine.

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There you have it.  Butternut squash ice cream, butterscotch sauce, pistachios and dates.

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