Thursday, May 16, 2013

It may have been a year of eating since I last posted in "Feed Yo Self," but I need somewhere to document this latest venture in self sufficiency.

(I admit: the reason I haven't been able to post was because my flickr account was full, so I began exclusively eating fast food.)

The inspiration for this project came from a desire to have a supply of fresh herbs close by while I'm cooking, and a lifetime of being cheap and not being able to throw anything away.

It's called:   Clementine box herb garden.

Here is a quick photo tutorial.

And, of course, your clementine boxes.  I had two wood ones (not the cardboard Cuties, though we have gone through quite a few of those, too).  I am reminded of the Regina Spektor song where she talks about eating only boxes of tangerines.  ("So cheap and juicy!")  I've been singing that to myself while working, but you certainly don't have to. 

So, you start with the box(es), and your twine.

Ha! Remember dog foot?
  String a length of twine through the holes in the bottoms of each boxes, along one edge.

This will be the side of your window box that lays farthest from the window sill.
If you're using two boxes like me, the twine will hold them together.  For added strength, I adhered them with a little wood glue.
In which case I get to use my clamp

Now, this part sorta depends on your windowsill.  Ours is made of plastic, so it was possible to nail the boxes down onto it.  If your windowsill is brick or cement, I would thread an end of the twine through to the inside wall and nail it.

A couple of nails should do it.  Then I used the ~2' of twine left on each end to tie to more nails along the sides of the window.

hooked and clamped

At which point it should be supportive enough to hold the weight of potting soil.  I filled it halfway, adding a healthy handful of vermiculite (filler to make the soil drain better).
Plant yo plants!
I got thyme, cilantro, and Thai basil.

water that shit

Herb garden!
Now go make yo own.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


 Tonight, we're introducing a special guest:  the recipe.

Recipes and I have a complex relationship.  It's love and then it's hate, spiraling together in a dust cloud.  We're... frienemies


Mostly this twisted affair goes in one direction.  By that I mean that recipes, like those friends whose incredible selflessness you almost don't trust, have always been really accessible and helpful to me.  While I, a jealous and ungrateful storm of pride, discredit the recipes' superior experience, ignore their obvious suggestions, and instead, senselessly blaze toward an ill-conceived finished product in complete denial of my crippling hubris.

If recipes are Abel, I am Cain.

Which works as a metaphor in another sense:
                                                             in that I often kill them.

Tonight, things are gonna be different.

Tonight, I'm taking Cooking Light magazine's lead by momentarily believing in a thing such as a '20-minute meal'.   

Suspension of disbelief, folks.

Here's the objective:
"Tilapia Piccata"or, "Cheap white fish with an Italian-sounding name."  

Okay, okay, I'll try not to be too judg-y.  

For me, following this recipe will be an exercise in both humility and patience, two qualities which I am quick to proudly assert that I already have enough of, thank you.

Keep calm... and....


then, get your shit ready.  that's what the directions are for.

okay, look at everything so ready to be delicious! 
 (Many thanks to my Aunt Jeanne for the pig timer... and for the love for butter and sweets.)

Note:  while it may look like it in the image, I did NOT use the $9 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for cooking.  She's just posing for the picture.  I DID use a $2.29 bottle of salt water from Kroger's that stole the label from a bottle of cooking wine.  "Chablis," it says.  Or, if you don't speak French but are still gay enough to make anthropology jokes, "Homo Chabilis."
 The most fun part, as always, was getting to 'deglaze' the crusty pan with wine and lemon juice*.  Mostly because I think I sound like people on the food network when I say words like 'deglaze'.  That, and it makes a really nice sizzling sound.

*pro tip:  i actually used lemonade instead of lemon juice, because that was what i was drinking at the time and WHO has two seconds to cut a lemon!

My finished product:
Not a half bad forgery.  

Although, if I'm allowed to make a critique,
flavor-wise this is a little.....Light.  As in, light on flavor.
Remind me, next time, to make something out of Cooking for Aspiring Fatties.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

chiles rellenos

Okay, Wasn't it Cinco de Mayo recently?

Whatever, it's always Cinco de Mayo in my life, since I'm pretty sure I spend 50% of my life pretending that I'm Mexican.

Let me poorly imitate a cuisine classic que me encanta.

Enter chiles rellenos inautenticos.  For the lazy.
Yeah, that lazy.

 Also known as "cheating".


And that.  Although this is Kroger brand and all wrong, it's cheaper than imported and the label is in Spanish, rite??

Still not exactly Aaron Sanchez-approved.
 Just look.
Eh, throw it in, whatever whatever. IMG_1885 IMG_1888 IMG_1896 IMG_1906
Light everything on fire IMG_1910 
Consume; act like you just beat America in futbol; don't tell anyone that what you're covering up with Herdez salsa is actually factory processed.   ¡Buen provecho!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

frog on a log in a bog

Here's a phenomenon that I'm not sure if you're aware of (because I wasn't):

say what?
Not this Bog of Eternal Stench.

BOG is a delicious dish from the South.  It's sssortof like jambalaya, in that it has chicken, spicy sausage, heavy seasonings, [sometimes] seafood, and rice mixed in.

But, instead of being accompanied by a feathered bra and a tacky fake-voodoo cure for a hangover.....
  Bog is more likely to be found under the shade of a tall tree, wearing a Civil War-era hoop skirt and a drinking a glass of sweet tea.

It all starts here:

The slow cooker.  I'm using chicken thighs because the dark meat chicken has that richer flavor, and more likely to pull apart once it cooks down so you can shred it easily with a fork.  Bones and skin on.  'Cause, for 8-10 hours in the crock pot, you really want all that flavor to soak in to the meat.  It creates a delicious and tender situation.

Throw 'em in, cover with water, and then wait

Go out for the day.  Cast your sails?  Go out into the...uh, fields?  Tour a historic log cabin (that's what I did).  Wave your rebel flag around (I didn't do that).

After a long, sultry day, settle in for a steamy and gut-filling dinner.
That'll plug the pocket of your gastric cavity for a spell
 The water boiling with the chicken all day has resulted in a nice stock.  Don't get rid of it, it's important for the flavor and besides, you've been working hard on it all day.  Cook some rice in the chicken water while you use two forks to pull the meat off the bone.
Add other stuff of importance.  Sausage and serrano peppers.  I stirred in celery at the end, and I've also seen it with fresh sweet corn.  My sources tell me that Old Bay is a must.  Let your imagination run wild.  All the flavors are there, it's just up to you to assemble the bog to your heart's content.


Bog is a simple dish, and deserves to be appreciated for being just that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


This post is Part II of recovery after a week of eating buttery, dripping New Orleans food. Proving that I still vaguely know how to cook and eat vegetables.

Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, and russet potatoes.

roasted up with a little bit of olive oil, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic.
topped with shaved parm and a hard boiled egg to give it substance
Just as good leftover for a Sunday snack.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Grill it

Just got back from a week eating my way through the Big Easy. Spring break for grown-ups. I tried many new things: turtle soup; oysters on the half shell. But the common thread in my vacationing was, as it usually is, major indulgences. Beignets, dude. Fried chicken. Chicken fried LIFE. Pralines.

My body ... craves ... vitamins. Like I've never needed them before. Detox.
Strangely, it's very nice to be back home from vacation. Routine dishwashing doesn't seem so painful anymore. That could have something to do with the warm spring weather so easily lifting everybody's mood.
It's a beautiful day today. We normally don't have days like today (sunny, in the mid-70's) until late April. But sure enough, spring has sprung at the Park Hills apartments and we are firing up the grill!
bottoms up.

Grill smoked camera

A Pre-grilling snack--Katie's imitation of the sesame cucumbers at P. F. Chang's. It couldn't get any better than this!


Did I just heave an accidental sigh at how delicious that was? Excuse me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegebul Soup


Grapeseed oil, Garlic. Leeks. Potatoes, already baked in the crock pot. Barley. Lentils. Frozen peas. Sweet corn. Carrots, Celery. Chicken stock. Cooking sherry. Herbs, spices.

Whatever I feel like.

Steamy. So you can see what it smells like.
Dig in.