Tuesday, August 30, 2011

bomb-ass snack

Hello, children!

Today we makin' salsa!

Kids, for me salsa is a very seasonal snack, the reason being that I live in an area of the world [Kentucky] where there are distinct seasons. Unless it's between late June and early September, a good tomato is hard to come by in these parts. I am convinced that all the people out there who claim not to like tomatoes (you'd be surprised) just haven't had the opportunity to behold a really ripe one. It's entirely plausible. Real live people out there go years of their lives where their only tomato exposure happens by accident at Taco Bell. Come on. Orange cubes? And they're chewy? You're not fooling us, trucking industry. These are not tomatoes. Which makes the tomato season (yes, we're re-naming "summer" now) all the more magical and precious.

As an infant, I was lucky enough to live in the custody of a mom who grew live tomato plants from scratch in the backyard.

To me, there is still no sight more beautiful than a big heirloom tomato ripening on the vine-- warm, soft and alive to the touch, on the verge of splitting open from the weight of all the wonderful red juice inside it.
Ew. Good thing I don't write porn, right?
No better smell than those hairy green leaves, seeping oil from their pores that contains the aromatic essence of a tomato.
Ugh, seriously?

Let's make some salsa!

So, first, you want to gather your ingredients.
I'm no moral philosopher, but I highly recommend buying as many of them as you can from farmers' markets, local sources, etc.

Because you read a Michael Pollan book?

No, fool!
Because they'll taste better.

...and because people in your community made it their livelihood to ensure that their vegetables taste good during their respectively appropriate seasons, it's best to support localized sustainable economic interests, wah wah wah.
Whatever. Believe what you want, just taste my salsa and you'll know the f'ing difference, arrite?

Here are the ingredients:
4 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
1 bunch green onions
1 Anaheim pepper
1 jalapeño or serrano chili
1 clove garlic
1 lime
1 handful cilantro
1 Tbsp kosher salt

1. First 4 ingredients, dice into 1/4" pieces.
2. Next 2 ingredients mince really tiny, because they can burn you.
3. Sprinkle last 3 to taste.

This is literally the most brainless recipe since Ellie Krieger's Dark Chocolate As a Snack. (Which has since been deleted from the Food Network site, undoubtedly out of shame, so thank you foodnetworkhumor.com for preserving its glory.)

You just put everything into the same washed-out yogurt container and stir it around, preferably with a chip.
The only catch is that chopping everything up gets to be really time consuming.
just trust me, it's worth it.

That, and the onions can be really sad!
Tears of joy that I'm going to be eating salsa soon!

Now, let me share with you guys my world-class secret of salsa making.
I'm shaking my head. Posting this is going to cost me millions of dollars someday. Are you ready for this?

Scoot in close.


What makes my salsa so delicious is that I mince up some of the lime peel and add it in. Shhh! Now that I told you, just try it at home but keep it a secret, all right? The tiny bit of added lime peel adds an unexpected spicy/sour/bitterness that only pops up every fifth bite, that makes people go, "Humm. She really is a good cook. I have no idea what that flavor is, but I kind of like it."
Don't tell, I swear to god! Just try it.

Now, let's make the chips, shall we?

Yep, you heard me. I mean, store-bought shit rules. I am the Frito bandito.
... But, hypothetically, and for the sake of doing things the hard way, what would it be like if we all made our own tortilla chips?

This person knows. (Always go where there are good reviews.)
My version has not only Kosher salt, but a sprinkle of lime juice before baking. I am a fiend.
Oh, and you also absolutely have to use corn tortillas.

Yom. Corn chips and salsa from scritchy scratch? A little bit more work, but yes-ma'am, these puppies are worth it.

My Drunk Food Blog

A warm congratulation to Hannah Hart of
"My Drunk Kitchen" for her very sudden online success in the pseudo-culinary, adultolescent queermosphere. Have you seen it?

What a beautiful hot mess.
Admittedly, I have been doing a lot more of watching this bitch than actually cooking lately.
Why? Because she's me! This girl is me. She does what
I do. It's uncanny, and I can't look away.

Here's what Harto has figured out through her webseries, "My Drunk Kitchen":

1. You need to eat, but cooking is hard.
2. Alcohol is the perfect tonic when you're faced with hard things.

Yes, getting drunk invariably turns insurmountable tasks into piddlingly easy tasks.
When the reasoning mind takes a little nap
, your body will eventually take care of everything in the most efficient, pragmatic way possible. It's like your subconscious wakes up and says,
Trying to make an omelette? Wow, really shooting for the moon, aren't you? Wait, weren't you hungry? Simple solution: Mexican leftovers. BAM.

Once again, this girl is me.
The act of Feeding Yo Self as an inexperienced, too-educated-for-your-own-good, twenty-something bum is exactly they hurdle that "Feed Yo Self", "My Drunk Kitchen", and all of us really, are just trying
to overcome.
It's not easy to cook. So much protocol, but even more unnecessary freedoms. Sometimes, the kick in the ass that you need to
balls-out put an egg on the stove can come in the form of a heart-warming cocktail: a creative itch in your psyche, a little well-placed pretension, and some sloppy humor, all paired with a $4.99 bottle of Gallo Family wine.

As I sit here, egging myself on to write in this blog (literally, whisking an egg like mad 'til I egg myself), I can't help wonder:

Is Harto really my alter biebgo? (that's "alter ego" + Bieber. As confirmed by my sister, everyone must have one.)

Stated so concisely in the imbibed wit of MDK, after lofty cooking pursuits are abandoned for two styrafoam tubs and a microwave,

"It's a good idea...

...to eat.
Every day."

Isn't that really all that this blog is saying?

I mean, let's take a step back and look at


Now, I guess Harto isn't exactly like me.
She's like... a wildly successful version of me.

See, I try to be legitimate and fail: taking countless photos of a grilled cheese sandwich like I was competing with Bobby Flay, vainly choosing not to post about that one time I made a steak that was too salty... (I mean way too salty. See, I forgot I had salted it the first time. And then forgot about forgetting and salted it again. It was like a salt lick made of flesh. Gross.) Vain, vain, vain, vain.

The interesting thing you notice about MDK is that she never actually makes anything. Hilarious videos, yes. But see, she never comes out with a real, edible result of what she sets out to cook. Just gets drunker and drunker. Which ensues in hilarity, and so by all means.

I'm always doing that shit, though.

I heat up leftovers, and then, staring into the depths of that pot of rice, realize that all I want is for someone else to cook me up a medium-rare steak topped with lump crab meat and Bearnaise sauce. Goodbye, home-cooked meal/savings. Nice knowing ya.

I throw out an old plastic bag and think I'm the greatest homemaker ever, and then Katie comes home to see nasty dishes everywhere, smirking, "Oh, I see you cleaned the kitchen."

I get so self-satisfied with the thought that I'm the only one getting enjoyment out of this watermelon that I lovingly sliced, and then a fruit fly goes up my nose.

I guess what I'm saying is that the main difference between me and Hannah Hart is that I would never choose to have that haircut.

The second thing is that she is--I'm just going to say it--probably not as well nourished as I am.

Which is a resounding success for the mission of Feed Yo Self and its constituents.
Even if my excessive watching of the Food Network impulses me to go out and buy $30 worth of chervil.

Hats off to Hannah Hart, but cheers and a swig for still none of us really knowing what we're doing, but f'ing doing it anyway.

Let's make muffins.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I can make omelette?!

My first.
(hold on! there's a much more mouthwatering photo at end of post.)

Not exactly a commercial for nonstick teflon pans, but somehow I managed to fold it cleanly.
Breakfast for dinner just got gourmet.

3 eggs
2 Tbsp half & half
2 tsp kosher salt
red onion, chopped
green pepper, chopped
chopped fresh herbs: parsley, sage, and thyme
handful baby spinach
kalamata olive pieces
shredded white cheese

Whisk first 6 ingredients together.

& Then
Melt butter in a medium pan, turning to coat entire bottom and sides. While the pan is smokin' hot, dump in the eggs and stuff. Cover the pan with a lid and let it hang out on medium heat for a couple minutes.
When the middle bubbles up and starts looking floppy and hilarious, that's when you sprinkle on the cheese, spinach leaves, and a few surprise olives.

Very carefully,
run your spatula around the pan edges. Slide it under half the omelette, and flipskies.
Cover pan again, turn heat on low and leave it 5 min. Flip to the other side and repeat another 5 min.
Carefully remove from pan; top with chives and parmesan.

Hm. Stay tuned for the Mediterranean omelette (feta, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced pepperoncini), Mexican omelette (queso fresco, ancho chilis, chorizo, topped with cilantro), and the State Fair omelette (donut burgers, fried kool-aid, served on a stick).

Julie vs. Julia, better watch yo self.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Broke but happy

So I've been, um, a bad blogger.

These last coupla months have been busy.
There is a very small number of things in this world that I get paid to do, and unfortunately, taking pictures of my lunch before I pour it down the front of my shirt is not one of them.

I did manage to orchestrate a move this summer. From one apartment to another. In the same city.

It was time to move out of the student ghetto.
To a place architecturally designed to accommodate more activities than just drinking.

...Which also means I get a whole new kitchen!

The pile of furnishings I rent now include (get this) counters, cupboards, a pantry, and even a dishwasher!

Guys, this is a big step up.

Now, since I have been doing nothing but laundry and watching Telemundo for about a week straight,
it's time to ease back into blogging.

I will begin by traversing a territory in which my undergraduate repertoire has left me feeling very practiced.

The Ramen noodle.

And, without further ado, today's lesson:

How to make Ramen noodles taste okay (Thai-style)
Brought to you by four years' experience of periodically eating lavishly in an expensive restaurant only to come home and be broke for the next two weeks.

1. Start with this. You know how to do this. Takes three minutes in the saucepan, as per package instructions.

2. Go 'head and add the flavoring. This is the "Oriental" spice packet (the one that comes in the blue bag). Then, I'll dash in a bit of Thai red curry paste, which is what you see on the bottom right.

3. You know exactly what this is.

And before you start to protest in disgust, think about Thai peanut sauce.
Then, think about how much a bowl of Ramen normally does not fill you up.
I'll take all the cheap protein I can get!
This is creamy, but the crunchy variety would also bring a little faux-Pad Thai-zing. I would be into that.

4. chili and lime, two of the best things to ever happen to food...

5. Mix and throw on a little cilantro.

Now, don't go jumping out of your pants over it or anything.
They're just Ramen noodles.