Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Leaving a carbon footprint on your neck.

Recently I have become more and more irritated by the current incarnation of the 21st Century White Man's Burden Fad - Global Warming and assorted handwringing.

I have mellowed over the years. I used to be far more pessimistic - a common catchphrase was "Pave the Rainforest." Now I'm of the opinion that Mother Nature is going to fine without us and realistically would be better off without us. However we/us/you/I should at the very least be considerate of our fellow man and our surroundings, etc, etc, etc, stop driving gas guzzlers, etc,
The one thing that really chaps my ass about the entire "green" marketing campaign is simply the fact that common sense has been replaced by over priced and has corporate slime all over it.

Windex with Vinegar. Are you kidding me? For five bucks I can get Windex with vinegar added in? Hey, for less than a buck I can get a jug of regular white vinegar to clean with. In case you didn't know this you only need a handful of cleaning products for your home - unless you don't clean then never mind.

1. Bleach. Regular old cheap bleach.

2. White vinegar. The stuff for .99 is better than good enough.

3. Baking soda.

You can clean your house for less than $5.00 without lord only knows what is actually in Windex.

Grilled cheese & chicken sandwich of DOOM!

I hope -since I am on vacation for July - that I will be able to get some posts on here. Amanda is working and I am running the household. That's just fine by me since I am getting back into cooking and it's kind of nice to call her and put in orders for ingredients for dinner.

Yesterday I baked a chicken. Nothing terribly fancy though I did brine/marinade it for a good part of the day in kosher salt, limeade, coarse ground pepper, and something else. With the price increases on pretty much everything I have to say that a whole chicken is still the cheapest way to get your chicken fix. I slow cooked the bird and there was plenty left over. Fortunately Amanda likes leg & thigh and I'm a white meat fan - huh huh huh breasts.

With my leftover breast - huh huh huh - I tossed it in the microwave and prepped the grilled cheese. I picked up some unsalted butter from the store the other day from Challenge Dairy. It's my new favorite butter and it's cheaper than Land O'Lakes. I melted some of that and put Original Hot Mister Mustard - not the Sweet - on my bread.

Put on some Pepper Jack cheese, candied Jalapenos, thin sliced white onion, and the sliced chicken. Cooked, considered taking a picture, and then ate the sandwich before I could reach the camera. Next time I'll make sure to have a camera handy.

How do you folks dig your grilled cheese?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Super Secret Recipe Revealed!

Yes friends here it is:

Chicken-fried steak with mole colorado.

Here are facts you need to know:

  1. Chicken-fried steak (and Chicken-fried Chicken) is traditionally served with gravy. White flour (White Flour!) gravy. No me gusta el gringo gravy blanco.
  2. There are seven different styles/schools of Oaxacan mole : negro , red, yellow, colorado, green, almendrado, pipián. Mole is - in my ignorant opinion - Mexican curry. I don't mean that gross tumeric ridden powder you get in grocery stores I mean the real deal curry - a melange of flavours and spices. Personally I'm a SE-Asian curry kind of fan.
  3. One day while sitting at the Austin Diner - I'm not name dropping, we live next door and eat there all the freaking time - I wondered if a Chicken-fried Steak would be good with anything except white gravy. They did not have any mole made so I could not test my theory then and there. About a week later we went there for lunch and on the Specials menu was an Omlette with mole verde and Chicken-fried steak. I asked the waiter if the guys in the back could just put the mole verde on my Chicken-fried steak. They did. It was good but it wasn't right.
  4. If you want something done right you have to do it your damn self.
  5. Before you do it your damn self you have to learn how to do it. To the internet!
  6. I enlisted two real life Texans to help me make a trial batch of Chicken-fried steaks. This being Texas it really wasn't that difficult.
  7. The day of I began with a jar of mole - what? you ever make mole from scratch the first time out? - and started adding things to it. The flavour I was shooting for was smoky, mysterious, and dangerous. I think I did fairly well but I will tweak it a bit the next time.
  8. Making Chicken-fried steak is very, very easy but involves the need for counter space - you need room for flouring pans, etc, etc.
  9. Make more than you think you could possibly eat because you will eat all of it all the while thinking, "We have to eat it all...it won't keep!"
  10. If you have any doubts about the awesomeness of this Chicken-fried steak variation then come over and let me disspell them for you.

That's all for now. I must think of a way to tweak my mole...or something...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Secret new recipe in the works.

That's right folks. Super. Secret. New.

Okay it's a variation on a theme so it's not that new but the R&D is happening this weekend.

More news to follow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Thanks to friend Farley for the gift of a cast iron skillet. I kind of love it. A lot. Every time I cook with it I love it more. I have to admit that I felt a bit strange making tofu stir fry in it.

I've looked around on the internet for recipes and have found some good ones but most of them seem like home cooking. I love home cooking and love cooking at home but with this new diet bacon is kind of a no no and some of the dishes that sound awesome - baked cheezy potatoes and cornbread - but I don't think they are on the list.

What do you guys think? Any ideas?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Veganomicon

My husband trains for marathons...
I play World of Warcraft...
My husband worries about what he eats...
I eat butter pats (sorry guys and gals, gross but true)...

His cholesterol levels are off the charts (think Lipitor for the under 30)...
Mine, well, all of my typical doctor-type test levels rock (thank you ever forgiving Irish genes)...


As a wedding present we received a gift certificate to Borders and as usual I check out the cooking section. This time I pick up the Veganomicon, in my estimation a bonifide vegan cooking bible. Let me say folks, (awesome name and all) it does not disappoint.

Now for the record, I'm not sure I am a person who will ever go completely vegan (although for the most part, I'll try anything once). The fact remains however that I have the tendancy to take vegetables and fry them, boil them, bake them, or salad them and not much else - the "not much else" part being: actually seasoning them or really making something out of them as a stand-alone.

In tandem with this, how, how I asked myself, does one cook without cheese? (Cheese is apparently one of the cholesterol enemies? *sigh*)

Cooking vegetables? A forgotten art?

How did this happen to a self-described avid vegetable gardener?

Anyway, if you get a chance check out the Veganomicon. It's simple to use and definitely foodie. It is filled with recipes (meals and desserts) that are off the charts and made completely from flora.

Two new favorites: Coconut-lemon bundt cake, lasagne marinara with spinach

A note on the lasagne: I have to say that this really blew me away. Lasagne without cheese? Admittedly, my initial motivation was curiosity. What exactly would homemade tofu "ricotta" possibly taste like? In the end, the dish was a hit and even hubby - the ultimate cheese hound - loved it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Frozen chicken don't have to taste like frostbit ass.

We buy bags of frozen chicken because they are convenient and in the long run cheaper. I don't know why I feel the need to defend myself but hey I do so...

I've been making fairly quick and tasty dish: Chicken in a pan. With vegetables. Don't go nuts all at once now. Here's the break down.

Frozen chicken breast(s) - not thawed.
A cup or two of vegetable or chicken stock.
A liberal dose of oil - olive, whatever you want.
A good splash of vermouth.
A good splash of Rose's Lime Juice.
A punch of Kosher Salt.
Black pepper.
A couple of good doses of Top Secret spice mix.
A fistful of crushed garlic cloves...or less if you're not a garlic fan.
Some kind of herb - whatever you have sitting around and want to use.
A skillet/saute pan with a lid.

Heat up your skillet over med heat, crush the garlic, heat the oil, brown the garlic, gently place the frozen (not thawed) chicken breasts in the pan. Add everything into the pan, cover the chicken in spices and herbs, leave the heat where it is, cover the pan. Go smoke a cigarette or switch out the laundry or watch Robot Chicken then come back. Turn the chicken over, add more stock/broth, spices, herbs. Cover. Prep whatever vegetables you want - I like to use red peppers and onions but I'm sure anything would work. Start your rice or pasta or whatever you want. Look at the chicken, does the chicken look done? Does the liquid on the bottom look kind of good and browned and kind of saucy? OK, take the chicken out and put it aside on a plate. Put the prepped vegetables in the pan and move them around until they are done. I usually slice up the chicken and add it back to the mix and turn off the heat and cover until my rice or pasta is done. Add your chicken to whatever and eat. Yay! Dinner!