Ewww, What IS That?

I am so embarrassed. I had this great idea for chili – flash fry tiny cubes of steak and pork, then put them in chili. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, I tried it today. I spent three hours standing at the counter, chopping, frying, stirring, mixing and simmering. I just tried it. I think it’s the first chili in the world that can be labeled as biological warfare. Three spoonfuls and my stomach is roiling. It doesn’t taste too bad. It’s a little too spicy. The aftertaste tips it off… there’s something seriously wrong with that stuff. I have no idea what turned it. Maybe I didn’t cook the meat long enough. Maybe one of the veggies was bad. Maybe using those three tablespoons of chili oil in the wok I used to fry up the meat.

Whatever it is, it’s awful. Since my family is coming over tomorrow, I should make a “normal” batch of chili with ground beef tomato sauce, kidney beans etc. I don’t know if I can get over the disappointent.

Categorized as cooking

Molto Kevino

I am a cooking machine. Thanks to Molto Mario, I’ve been experimenting the past couple nights with new and crazy non-recipe based dishes. For example, last night I made pounded chicken breasts rolled with fresh mozarella and fresh basil in a diced tomato sauce over vermicelli. Man, was it good. I flattened the chicken breasts by repeatedly walloping them with a rolling pin. Then, I put a fresh mozzarella ball, ripped in half, and one basil leaf on each breast, and then rolled them up. I fastened the end down with two toothpicks. I then heated up a quarter cup of olive oil (whatever covers the bottom of the pan) under meadium-high heat. Once the oil was hot (it dimples a little on the surface when it’s ready). I used tongs to drop the chicken rolls in. I browned them on all sides, then turned the heat down to medium to simmer the rolls for another fifteen minutes. After I thought they were almost done, I took them out of the pan and set them aside. I then threw in one diced onion (it was small, you might want to use half of a large one), and two sliced garlic cloves. Once the onions were brown at the edges and translucent, I poured in a can of diced tomatoes. I let that cook down for a little while, then put the chicken rolls back in. I let this melange simmer for ten minutes until the pasta was done. I again removed the rolls from the sauce, drained the pasta and then threw the pasta into the pan with the sauce and tossed it with a couple ripped up fresh basil leaves. Voila, yummy yummy.

Tonight, I wasn’t in the mood for reheated chicken stew, so I grabbed some boneless pork chops from the freezer, defrosted and then (again) pounded the hell out of of them with the rolling pin. I think they were still slightly frozen, so they didn’t get as flat as I wanted, but hey, that’s OK. I then cracked two eggs into a bowl, whipped them up and set them aside. I then poured half a cup of flour into another bowl and mixed in the following: bunches of cayenne pepper, green chili powder (you could substitute curry and cumin), black pepper and some salt.

I dragged the pork chops through the eggs and then through the flour – both sides – lightly covering it. Then, I dropped them into the same amount of heated olive oil I used on the chicken. I let it sit on one side for about ten minutes to get it nice and brown, then flipped them and let them sit for ten minutes on the raw side. I flipped it again, letting it sit on each side for seven more minutes. The chops were just perfect. They were crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside and yum-tastic.

This Saturday, they’re having a chili cook-off at church. I’m planning on making sirloin chili. I can’t wait to get started. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Categorized as cooking

I Didn’t Even Know You Could Pronounce Paella!

So, I made something approacing paella tonight. Jen made this really simple sauce last night with fresh tomatoes, olive oil and onions. It was awesome on pasta, so I figured it might be good with some of the tilapia we had in the freezer. Jen didn’t want pasta again, so we agreed on rice.

I defrosted the tilapia filets, cut up the last three large cherry tomatoes, the rest of the onion from last night, and grabbed a bunch of spices out of the cabinet. I put two splashes of olive oil in the big sauce pan along with a pat of butter, a bunch of garlic, a dash of cumin, two pinches of cilantro, a buttload of paprika, the chopped up tomatoes and onions, and about half a can of diced tomatoes. I started them on the oven over medium heat, while I put the rice on with some of the chopped up onion and a little butter and salt.

After the concoction in the sauce pan was boiling pretty good, I put the tilapia filets in and covered the whole thing. I let it simmer on medium-low until the rice was done (it was instant so it was only five minutes). I then dumped the finished rice on top of the tilapia, stirred in some of the juice, and covered it again for about 10 minutes.

It was really good when I got a bite of something other than rice. I think with twice as many fresh tomatoes, some other veggies like celery, and some more garlic, it would have been perfect. I think we’ll try it later in the week with some shredded chicken.

This was pretty much a perfect weekend other than my misadventures in home improvement. Max and I played a lot, we had great family time and had a lot of fun. I think I just may be ready for this last week of work before my vacation.

Categorized as cooking

We’re making marshmallows tonight! I

We’re making marshmallows tonight! I am so excited. The recipe looks really simple and if we get brave we may try making chocolate ones as well. Then tomorrow, it’s over to my parents’ house for the big barbecue and s’mores for dessert.

In other insane the-end-must-be-near news, Jen and I beat her parents at pinochle!! To set this up for you, her parents have been married for almost three decades, and have been pinochle partners the whole time. Jen and I have been together for almost six years, and only play pinochle when we’re around them. So, this was a momentous occasion. It was unbelievable. Helped by my double-run in spades and dumb luck, we pulled off a herioc victory and exulted much into the night.

After winning, we promptly dropped the next two games in our usual “not a bang, but a whimper” fashion.

Categorized as cooking

Things I Learned In The Hall On The Way To The Bathroom

Things I learned in the hall on the way to the bathroom:

  • Marshmallows originally came from the root of a plant called, oddly enough, the marsh mallow.
  • Instead of using marsh mallow to make them now, our modern marshmallows are made with gelatin.
  • It is very easy to make homemade marshmallows. I will, of course, try to get my hands on the recipe and post it for your mallow-making pleasure.
  • The ancient Egyptians made marshmallows, as did the Native Americans (although they usually made Fluff instead of cutting them up.
  • Homemade marshmallows are bouncier and fluffier than those stale marshmallows you buy in the store (I know, because I got to eat one).

Three’s Company A post in

Three’s Company

A post in three parts… First, the world’s most perfect guacamole recipe:


  • 2 ripe avacados
  • a dash of chili powder
  • a pinch of cumin (if you don’t have cumin, curry will work)
  • a splash of salsa
  • 1 small tomato

Peel and pit the avacados, dice into small, dice sized bits and put in small mixing bowl. Dice tomato and add to bowl. Add salsa and spices, mix lightly with potato masher. Leave small chunks of avacados and tomato. There you go, it should be perfect!

We’re watching the end of the Lakers/Kings games, and I’m having a ball watching Jen react to every little thing. She’s much better and more entertaining (and cuter too) than anyone NBC could have calling the game. She’s hilarious. The game just ended and Sacramento won. Two fat white guys in Hawaiiian shirts high-fived Chris Webber, and Jen, being extremely excited that the Kings won, squeeled, “I love those two fat guys! They’re my favorite two new guys!!!” She’s now exulting over all the replays. My wife could not be cooler, cuter or more attractive to me right now. She’s the best.

And I finally finished Metropolis. I stand by my comments from earlier. It’s good. It has some of those corny Anime moments, but overall, it was great. It was beautifully done, with some seamless CGI integrated with the traditional cell. Excellent. If you liked Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and liked the idea of A.I., but thought the execution sucked, this is the movie for you.

There you go, food, fun and film. Does it get better than that?

Categorized as cooking

As I sit here, awake

As I sit here, awake because my stomach is conducting a chemistry experiment, I realize that while the Singapore Rice Noodles with chicken, pork and a plateful of curry was oh so good when I ate it, it might not do so well once it settled in. I feel like the symptom list from a Pepto-Bismal commercial.

Categorized as cooking

I need me some Vietnamese

I need me some Vietnamese food. I need it bad. Guys, lunch, tomorrow? Saigon Cafe? Come on, you know you want some fried spring rolls. You neeeeed them almost as much as I do.

You need the pork with funny noodles. The perfectly barbecued pork slices on top of thin rice noodles, covered in chopped peanuts. The crunchy carrot strings and bean sprouts. You want that little splorch of hot sauce in the corner of the bowl to dip the pork into and for a nice bite at the bottom of the bowl when you go to finish up your noodles. It’s like crack, I tell you.

Categorized as cooking

Cravings Jen wanted a hot

Jen wanted a hot dog. I don’t know why. She went on and on about how she wanted a hot dog. It was 10:30 (in the middle of Iron Chef) and she wanted a hot dog. I reminded her that there’s a 7-11 right down the street, open 24 hours and chock full o’ meat tubes. She went so far as to do the glance around the room to see if her shoes were handy. She didn’t go get one, but being the nice husband that I am, I got her one yesterday. I’m swell.

Iron Chef gave me a craving for sushi. I’ve now had sushi a grand total of twice in my life (both at the same place here in Sterling w/ the guys from work). Iron Chef on Saturday had the top sushi chef in Japan up against Iron Chef French. The sushi chef whipped up some unbelievable pieces. It was mouth/eye-watering.

So, where do cravings come from? I remember when Jen was pregnant, the books said that pregnant-lady cravings usually indicate that you need whatever that thing provides. I don’t know that that’s true of us now. Who needs what hot dogs have in them other than a sewage treatment plant? It’s all a mystery. A mystery wrapped in a bun, with mustard and ketchup covered in chili.

Categorized as cooking