December 30, 2014

Honey Habanero Chickpea Dip

The bear blended in, quietly waiting for his chance to pounce.
Back in the day, when I was working 3 jobs and going to school full time, I soothed the voices in my sleep-deprived mind by developing a recipe for an all purpose dip that could make anything taste awesome. I would make a giant bowl of it on Sunday, and whenever I had a brief snippet of free time, I would dunk whatever was closest (chips, pita, fiberglass insulation...whatever) into this dip, savor it, and head out the door again. In this way, I stayed at least partially sane.


2 cans (12 oz each) of chickpeas
1 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 pinch Powdered Habanero
1/2 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
An unspecified amount of salt

Despite the somewhat large ingredient list, this recipe is super simple. The first thing you need to do is drain and rinse your chickpeas. Once you've done that, add....the rest of the ingredients. Mostly. All of them except the parsley and the salt. Do it now. Don't ask questions, don't waste time, just shove them ingredients down on those chickpeas.

Now comes the fun part, and by "fun" I mean "physical labor." Smash up your chickpeas using a fork until it's kinda chunky, but there are no whole bits of chickpea hanging around. Technically, you can use a food processor (also known as an automated wuss machine) to smash up your chickpeas, but the texture ends up being too smooth and that's not what you're shooting for. That's an important tip kids: if somebody serves you unpleasantly smooth chickpeas, it's a clear indicator that they're a wuss. And the price of wussery is subpar chickpea dip (let me think about it….yeah, that adds up)

Plate sold separately. That's how they get you.
Now that you've asserted your masculinity via the texture of your chickpeas, you're gonna add in a pinch of salt. I know that you're a special snowflake and might have weirdly sized fingers, but I don't care. Put a small amount of salt, akin to what might fit in a normal sized person's pinch, and stir it together. Taste it, and if you think it needs more salt you should repeat this visualization exercise. But keep in mind that this is a dip, and the things you dip into it may have salt of their own. Then mince your parsley, stir it in, and you're done! You now have an awesome dip, and with awesome dip comes loose money, easy cars, and fast women. Or something like that.

December 23, 2014

Parsnip Yam Latkes

Dammit Parsnip, learn to take a selfie! Half of us are cut off.
Guess what? It's still Chanukah! Which means 2 things:
1) We still have a religious and ethical obligation to eat as much fried food as possible
2) We don't. Want. Any. More. Potatoes.  
What's the solution? Latkes made out of other things! Why? Because they're awesome, and don't taste exactly like everything else we've been eating for the last week. Also, I had some left over oil. 

2 Parsnips
1 large Yam (ideally, you should be visibly shocked at the size of this yam. If you're wearing a monocle, it should fall into your champagne flute. That's how you know it's a good yam.)
1 standard Onion 
2 large Eggs (for those of you who don't know, eggs are subdivided into size categories. Why? Because some eggs are bigger than others. Not everything is a mystery)
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Oil, for the frying
A high tolerance for repetition

For those of you familiar with my Latke recipe, some of this might seem familiar. But I don't come to wherever you work and complain about your work habits, so shut it. The first step is to fill a bowl with water. Then take your Giant Yam and peel it. Don't let it sit. Yams start oxidizing stupid fast. It's possible that they evolved this trait as a defense mechanism against primordial chefs. It's also possible that they're just dicks. I'm not a botanist, I don't know. What I DO know is that you need to immediately take your friendly neighborhood, bloodthirsty evil box-grater, place it over your bowl 'o water, and grate your yam. And probably also your fingers. We'll call that "bonus protein." And we'll call that last sentence the grossest thing I've ever written on this blog. 

Assuming you still have an appetite, the next step is to peel and grate your parsnips and onion, into the same bowl you grated your yams into. Then you're going to drain the water out of it, roll your grated veggies in a towel and squeeze all of the moisture out of them. Add in your eggs and stir to combine. Then dump your flour in a separate bowl, along with all of the salt and spices, and stir with a fork or whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture in to the yam goop in three batches, stirring after each batch. Yes, you just stirred ingredients together outside of the goop, only to stir them into the goop. This way you help ensure that they're evenly distributed. So stop staring at me with your accusing eyes.

Fill up a skillet with 1/4 inch of oil, and heat it up over a medium flame. Take your yam glop (that's right, the addition of flour and spices turned your goop into glop. Deal with it), and form round glop-ettes, 3 inches in diameter. Use a ruler and a protractor, or else they'll burn, and all your friends will laugh at you and abandon you (citation needed). 

Fry your glop-ettes for no less than 4 minutes on each side. Like the regular latkes, you shouldn't mess with them, or check them, or prod them. And like the regular latkes, you're not going to listen to me. Because you're weak, and you'll never make it in this business (blog reading). Remove the crispy and delicious latkes from the hot oil via a complex process know as "nutting the hell up already," and put them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil off. 

Mmm...fried goodness. Maybe next week I'll make a salad.
Refill your pan with glop nuggets and, if necessary, oil (Pro-tip: If you refill the oil, give it a chance to heat up before adding in more glop. Assuming you want delicious food, and not an oil-soaked mess). Repeat until you've exhausted your glop, oil, patience, and capability to move because you've eaten all the delicious fried food the world has to offer. 

December 16, 2014

Potato Latkes

On the surface, it was a friendly exchange. But secretly, they
were both wondering just how flammable potatoes are.
It's the holiday season! It's an exciting time, when festive lights are lit, festive drinks are drunk, and holiday music assaults your ears until you want to stuff tinsel down the throats of random passers-by. And, if you're of the Jewish persuasion, you eat a whole bunch of fried foods. It's one of those happy coincidences when religious observance means doing what you really wanted to do anyway. And since Chanukah is starting any minute now, it's time to get cracking if we're gonna meet our delicious fried food quota for the season. If we don't, the ancient Greeks win. And screw those guys. Especially Archimedes.

Standard Ingredients:

4 large Russet Potatoes
1 standard issue Onion
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of oil (Olive Oil is traditional. But it has a low smoke point, and isn't ideal for frying. So lie about having used Olive Oil.)
A kitchen utensil/booby trap 

The first step is to channel 4000 years of persecution, resentment, and the occasional Madonna. Then channel this raging torrent of emotion into a deep hatred of potatoes. The next step is to peel your hated potatoes, and fill a large bowl about 3/4 of the way full with water. Take a box-grater, and while holding it over the water bowl, grate the hell out of your potatoes and any unsecured body parts you're foolish enough to allow near the grater. This will be hard. Your arm will hurt. You may bleed. "Don't mind me," the box-grater says. "I'm just here to attack your vegetables. Oh! And also your hands. You didn't need those hands, right?" Box-graters are kind of dicks. But food processors are for wusses, and also they give the latkes the wrong texture, and also I don't have one. So the box grater is a dick we're stuck with. Like all politicians!

Once you're finished taking out an entire people's aggression on mostly helpless potatoes, peel and grate your onion.  Drain your grated veggies, wrap them in a towel, and then squeeze all of the remaining moisture out of them. You might be asking why we covered them up with water in the first place, if we were just going to get rid of it all. Shut up, that's why. Potatoes oxidize when exposed to the air. Water helps prevent that. But excess moisture will totally mess with consistency of your latkes. See? It all makes sense. Kind of. 

Once your onions and potatoes are dry, stir in the eggs, salt, and pepper. Then stir in the flour, pour 1/4 of an inch of oil into a skillet, and heat it up over medium heat for about a minute. Form thin, 3 inch patties, and carefully drop them into the oil, making sure to curse my name for every oil burn you got by not taking that "carefully" part of this sentence to heart.

Merry Chanukah! And to all, clogged arteries! Worth it.
Let them sit for 5 minutes. Don't jostle them or lift them to see how they're doing. Give them space and room to do their thing. You will be tempted to ignore this and check on them. Don't do it. If you have the will of the warrior, you can succeed. You won't succeed. Once you've arbitrarily decided you know better than me
and that the first side is done, flip the fledgling latkes. Let them cook on the reverse side for another 4 minutes, and then take them out of the pan. Put them on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Once they're dry, bite into the crunchy delicious goodness and enjoy. And that, boys and girls, is the true meaning of Christmas.

December 9, 2014

Beer Battered Cauliflower Poppers

A rare shot of cauliflower, trying to
hang out with the cool kids
When I was growing up, there was a pizza store I used to frequent that served fried cauliflower. As I grew older, I was shocked to discover that they weren't actually available...pretty much anywhere else. Also the tooth fairy isn't real. It's a hard life, I know. But the good news is, that with some luck, seasoning, and beer, I've managed to recreate the glory that was my deep fried childhood. I'm still working on the tooth fairy part.

1 head of Cauliflower (a "head" of cauliflower is the large bulbous mass from which "florettes" or "recognizable bits of cauliflower" are cut. It's called a "head" because it resembles a shrunken head in the offices of cartoon witch doctors. Also, it's the main source if cauliflower cognitive function. Prove me wrong.)
1 1/2 cups of Flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Beer
1/4 cup Fresh-grated Parmesan Cheese (if you don't have this lying around, take a wedge of Parmesan, and combine it with a grater)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 normal sized human's pinch of Cayenne Pepper
A finicky kitchen gadget
An unspecified amount of oil (vegetable or peanut)

For this recipe, you're going to have to make a batter. But don't worry! If, as a kid, you've ever mixed together a bunch of things into a weird gloop, you've got most of the technique down. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. 

The first thing to do is to beat your eggs until the yolks and whites combine into a yellow slimy goodness. Combine your egg goop with the milk, beer, and salt in a large bowl. In another, similarly large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and cheese. That's right, this recipe requires you to have 2 bowls. It's an upper class, bourgeois recipe that necessitates the ownership of all sorts of bowls and things. But there's a simple step you can take to help with this:

Get over it. It's a bowl. 

Pictured: The source of class warfare
Pour about 1/3 of the flour mixture into your egg goop. Stir until it's combined. Then repeat 2 more times, to incorporate all of your flour (isn't math fun?). Take your cauliflower, and cut it. If you're a badass, turn it upside-down, and cut on an angle into each stalk to extract the florettes. If you're less of a badass, just chop it into ugly chunks. The batter and frying will hide your shame. Almost definitely!

Now comes the fun part, and by "fun" I mean "fire-hazard." You're going to take a WHOLE lot of oil and pour it into a pot. You want the oil to be at least 3 inches high. Next you're going to get a frying thermometer (or a candy thermometer, for the many candy makers who frequent this blog). Attach it to the pot so that it dips in to the oil, but doesn't touch the bottom of the pot. Pray to whatever deity is dear to you that you don't set your house on fire, and then crank the heat until your oil is 370 degrees. Fahrenheit. Because this is America, whatever-deity-you-previously-selected-dammit! 

Image enlarged to show awesomeness
Dunk your cauliflower bits into your goopy mess, to create a goopy cauliflowery mess. Transfer a small amount of this mess to your oil. You want to fry it in small batches to prevent clumping, and to keep the temperature of the oil from dropping too much when you throw your goop in (Note to the overly literal: don't actually THROW things into hot oil. Unless you're into oil burns.) Fry the cauliflower bits, stirring occasionally, until they're golden brown, and you're having trouble resisting the urge to dunk your hand into the hot oil just to get that goodness in you. Then, depending again on how much of a turn-on you find hot oil burns, select a method of cauliflower extraction. The more timid people may want to use a slotted spoon. Put your delicious chunks of fried goodness into a bowl lined with paper towels, and repeat the whole process until you're out of things to fry. Now, if you haven't already, consume your delicious fried cauliflower awesomeness. And if you think you see me tonight, sneaking into your place with a pair of pliers and a tutu, don't worry. You're gonna wake up with a shiny quarter. 

December 2, 2014

Split Pea Soup

Wait a wouldn't cook the
blender. No, this isn't adding up at all.
Everybody should know how to make at least one soup. That soup is Split Pea Soup. It's awesome, and has the added benefit of being the easiest soup I know how to make. When I get sick, I make a giant pot of this, and just let it sit on low heat. Then, when I wander zombie-like from my bed after having been woken up by Symptoms, I stagger over to my giant pot of hot soup, have a bowl, feel slightly better, and stagger back to bed. I repeat this until I'm either no longer sick, or dead.


1 lb dried Green Split Peas
1 lb Carrots
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
2 TBSP Salt
2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
An unspecified amount of water
Split Pea emotional state:
Cautiously optimistic
A fun kitchen gadget

The first thing you need to understand about split peas, is that they're romantics at heart. Each and every one of them is just looking for true love, and when they find it, they latch on and never let go. And what split peas love more than anything else is dirt. Your job is to crush the hopes and dreams of every last split pea by vigorously rinsing them approximately 3000 times, until you finally remove all of their cherished dirt. Their cries of anguish just mean you're doing a good job.

Split Pea emotional state:
Drinking warm Pepsi straight from
the bottle in it's parents' basement
Once your split peas are clean and sad, put them in a large pot, and cover them with about 4 inches of water. Add your carrots, salt, and all of your spices, and then bring it to a boil. For those of you keeping score at home, at this point we've robbed the poor split peas of their true loves, drowned them, and then boiled them. So we're scoring pretty high on the vegetative serial killer list. If you're a vegetarian who's in it more for a hatred of vegetables than a love of animals, this soup may satisfy something primal in you.
Bowl added to prevent staining my table

Once your soup is boiling, cover that sucker and turn the heat down to low. Let it cook at a simmer for an hour. Once it's done, let it cool for about 1/2 an hour, and then get yourself an Immersion Blender. This is an increasingly common household kitchen gadget which, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, is essentially an electronic stick with sharp whirring knives at the end of it. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds. Stick it into your soup, and choppity chop away until it's smooth and awesome. Add in the toasted sesame oil, and then enjoy! (Note: for best experience, take out the whirry knife-stick before eating)

November 28, 2014

Pan-Fried Stuffing Fritters

Not all captions have to be funny. Shut up, you don't know.
Thanksgiving happens to be an awesome holiday. And before you start talking about the tragic eradication of an indigenous people, you should just shut up. Pretty much every holiday has a horrible story if you go back far enough. But I have exciting news! We live in the present! So quit the whining, and celebrate festivity, feasting, friends, family, and so on. This holiday is brought to you by the letter F. And if your F-filled holiday is anything like mine, you'll be have approximately twice as much food as you actually cooked in leftovers. I don't know how this works, but it does. So here's a fun idea for re-utilizing some of those leftovers. 


1 cup, Leftover Mashed Potatoes
2 TBSP Leftover Gravy
3 cups Leftover Stuffing
2 Eggs
A normal-sized person's pinch of salt
An unspecified amount of oil (either peanut, grapeseed, or avocado is what I'd use. Anything with a high smoke point that you can fry with)

The first thing you need to do is to lightly beat the eggs, just until the whites and the yolks start to come together. Socially acceptable utensils to use for this are a whisk, a fork, or leftover turkey bones. Unacceptable utensils are a finger (regardless of whose finger it is), or any other body part. Don't be gross. Stupid implements, not mentioned in the "unacceptable" category, because they're stupid, can include: spoons, funky hats, ennui, and holiday blues. 

Once your eggs know their place, stir in the gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. It'll probably start getting pretty loose and making some weird gloppy sounds when you stir it, making you question whether you were hungry in the first place. This is normal.

Add oil to a frying pan until you've got about a 1/4 inch of it coating the bottom,  and then heat it up over medium-high heat. Once your oil is good and hot, take your disturbing glop, and pour it into 3 inch pancakes on your pan. Approximate. Don't break out a ruler. Well, you CAN, but just know that while you're carefully measuring the exact length of your fritters, your food is burning. Also, I hate you. 

I'm just happy that I'm not in this recipe. 
Let your fritters get nice and brown. Then flip them. You could use a spatula for this. Or you could do it by hand, like a man. Once you've proven your masculinity via hot-oil burns, brown the 2nd side, and remove the fritters from the pan.  Repeat this process until you're out of glop. You may have to add in more oil between batches. Now enjoy! Personally, I throw a little bit of leftover cranberry sauce on top of them when I eat them, but that's super optional. Unless you want to emulate me, in which case it's mandatory. Happy thanksgiving everybody!

November 25, 2014


Who are we? Ingredients! What do we want? To die for the
 greater good! What!? Screw that noise. I was thinking wifi.
Back when people were first discovering which dinosaurs were edible and which were jerks, they developed the "Mother Sauces," named after famed food pioneer Cornelius Mother, who stole most of his ideas from his crackpot father (Boldfaced lies. Probably.). The Bechamel is one of these mother sauces. It's sometimes called white sauce or cream sauce, but it's all the same. And it's awesome. It's rich and super adaptable, like Chamillionaire would be if the world was a more literal place.


2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Flour
2 cups Whole Milk
An unspecified amount of salt

This is a pretty simple recipe, actually. Just kidding! You need to use French words, like “Bechamel” (Pronounced “Surrender”) and “Roux” (Pronounced “Surrender”). But seriously, it’s not so bad. The first thing you’ve got to do is make a “Roux,” and the first part of THAT is melting your butter over medium heat. I prefer cutting mine into small chunks first, both because it helps it melt quickly and evenly, and because I feel like I’m dissecting the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. 

Once your butter is good and melted, add the flour SLOWLY, while stirring like a crazy person who thinks that the only way to express love or find happiness is to stir butter and flour. Constantly. Extra points if you really get into character, and take prescription meds that don’t belong to you. This will help ensure a smooth Roux, with no extraneous lumps or credit problems. Add in a pinch of salt (If you have abnormally sized fingers, try to envision how much salt would be in a normal person’s pinch. Then put that much salt in), and then let the butter/flour glop cook for a couple minutes. Stir occasionally, to prevent both the mixture from burning, and you from ever regaining feeling in your arm. The official party line is to cook it until "it smells nutty," which is actually pretty accurate, despite sounding like directions you'd get from a ridiculous hippy. For those not smelling their goop, keep it going until it darkens to a light brown color.

And there you have it! A Roux! Which is commonly used to thicken soups and sauces, which is fortunate, since this is ostensibly a recipe for a sauce. To complete the sauce, crank up your heat all the way to medium-high, and get your milk ready. Pour it in to your pan of Roux goo, SLOWLY, again channeling the spirit of your homeless Vietnam veteran with the hook for a hand who stirs like a beast. Yes, I gave the fictional construct I created in order to tell you to stir a backstory. What of it?

I can't figure out why they call me white sauce. It's a mystery.
Let your milk, butter, and flour mixture heat up, stirring it occasionally until it thickens. You don't want it boiling, just well heated, thick, and creamy. Once you've got that going on, add "salt to taste." That's what recipes say when they have no clue how much goddamn salt you're gonna need, because  everybody's taste buds are different, and also maybe you suck at measuring. Here's what you do, taste the sauce, add a little less salt than you think it needs, stir it, taste it again, and repeat until it tastes good to you. Or Until you run out of salt. Or sauce.

November 21, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those things that just takes me back to my childhood. Well, the good parts anyway. I want to officially state for the record that Chicken Pot Pie doesn't make me think of when I got Mono in the 4th grade. Though it probably will now. I should have stopped writing a couple sentences back. But we press on! I've made this recipe with entirely homemade ingredients before. I've also made it with store bought pie crusts, and a bag of frozen assorted vegetables. The homemade way tastes awesome, but the lazy way is easy. And it still tastes pretty damn good. Personally, this is one of my favorite dishes, and I want as much of it to exist in the world as possible. So I'm throwing a bone to you lazy people out there. I won't be forcing you to make pie crust, and if you want to you can replace all the vegetables with a bag of assorted frozen veggies. Preferably defrosted, unless you like cold, crunchy pot pie and frequent trips to the dentist.

1 chicken breast
2 pie crusts
2-3 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken stock work equally well. If you feel weirdly sadistic, you can try and take pleasure in cooking a chicken inside the stock you got from another chicken. I won't judge you.)
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (alright, I've been thinking about it, and I might judge you about that chicken stock thing after all. Weirdo.)
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 rib celery, diced (For a long, rambling treatise on the origins of the term "rib of celery," see my Vegetable Stock recipe)
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup lima beans

This one's mine. Go make your own
The first step is to bake your chicken breast in an oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. It doesn't matter if it's not cooked all the way through, but it should be well on its way. One you take it out, you're gonna let it cool down so that you can shred it later.

While you've got your chicken cooking, heat up your oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and toss in your onion. Saute` it for about 5 minutes, and then toss in the rest of your vegetation, salt, and pepper. Also toss the idea that you're going to share the pot pie, because at this point it's gonna start smelling pretty damned good. Cook it for another 5 minutes, then add in the flour and cook it for another minute or so. At this point there shouldn't be any moisture in the pan.

Now you're gonna take your stock and start praying the the gods of sauce thickness. Pour in the stock, while stirring CONSTANTLY. Imagine that you're a POW who loves stirring, but hasn't been able to for 10 long years. And one day, you're finally rescued and reunited with your beloved spoon. Channel that emotion here. You may have noticed that there wasn't an exact measure for the stock. That's because lots of factors can affect the thickness of your sauce, including how high above sea level you are. So keep it going until it's slightly looser than you think it should be (No way am I rising to that bait), stir in the thyme, and turn off the flame. 

By now your chicken should have come out of the oven, and cooled down somewhat. So it's time to shred that sucker into chunks (using forks is acceptable if you're squeamish and delicate. Otherwise use your hands), and add it in to your mixture. 

Now the time has come to "dock" the pie crusts. Some people might tell you that this means creating small holes in the dough so that steam can escape as is cooks. But that sounds like some voodoo mumbo jumbo to me, so I say you stab your pie crust over and over with a fork to soothe your inner demons, and prevent pastry uprisings. Once your crust is sufficiently cowed, pour your pot pie mixture into it. Cover it with the second crust, and press it down around the edges to form a seal. Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until it looks golden brown and ridiculously awesome (Protip: neurotically open your oven to check on the doneness of your pot pie every 2 minutes to ensure even cooking, and prevent scabies)

Peppermint Schnapps

If a friend ever tells you these things go
together, punch them in the throat.
A couple of years ago, a friend suggested that I crush a whole bunch of candy canes with my mortar and pestle, and dissolve them in vodka. I, on occasion, am a fool, and so I agreed. After countless hours of playing a weirdly literal version of Candy Crush, I was rewarded with a drink that was pink, strong, and kind of toothpasty. I was also rewarded with a numb feeling in my arm. And with some possibly permanent globs of crushed candy embedded in my mortar and pestle, in my counter, and in my hair. But still, it gave me a starting point from which to form something awesome. Something sweet. Something that could cause friends to worry that I was becoming an alcoholic.


2 cups Sugar
1.5 cups Water
2 tsp Peppermint Extract
Most of 1 bottle Vodka (cheap stuff)

Optional extras to make life less crappy:

1 empty bottle
1 Funnel
Love, Food, and Shelter 

The first step to this recipe is to make a "simple syrup." Chances are, if you look at any recipe for any cocktail that's more involved than booze and juice (or Coke. Or whatever. Shut up.) it's got simple syrup in it. And, despite the fact that it's got simple in the name, which says to my brain that it'll be super annoying to make, it's not hard. Just take your water, boil it, add in your sugar, turn the fire off, and stir until it's all dissolved. If you've got particularly fire-resistant sugar, stir it over low heat until it finally gives in and dissolves away. And that's it! Simple syrup! Which is pretty much the only part of this recipe that a hypothetical trained monkey named Drunky Kong wouldn't be able to do. I'm betting he'd have trouble with the burners.

See, vodka is clear. So I added a candy cane to
give you some visual stimulation. But vodka
is corrosive. So the candy cane is...bleeding? 
Now, unless you like your alcohol to have no alcohol in it, like a communist, you're gonna want to let your simple syrup cool completely before doing anything else with it. Because alcohol evaporates at a low temperature and yadda yadda gypsy curses, and just do it. Once it's cool, have your trained monkey combine the rest of the ingredients. Add in the vodka slowly, and taste it until it's to your liking. Stir it all together, bottle it if you swing that way, and then keep it in the freezer for at least 12 hours. Though beware: if you used very little vodka, this stuff WILL actually freeze. So if you're kind of an alcohol wuss (by which I mean, a complete alcohol wuss), keep it in the fridge. 

Now just sit back and wait for a suitable occasion, such as a holiday, a birthday, or a Monday. Then crack open your homemade schnapps, and listen to your friends rave about how good it is while at the same time silently judging you with their eyes!

Vegetable Stock

Vegetables, mingling before jumping in the pool
Over the course of my life, I’ve encountered my fair share of vegetarians. And the ones who I haven’t managed to fend off with a wooden spoon have since become my friends. As a result, I find myself cooking a whole lot more vegetarian food than I’m comfortable with, but one thing that helps make it less stressful is having a good base. Because, as anybody who’s ever been in any band ever can tell you, good bass is hard to find. (Get it? It’s a bad joke. Get used to it, because there are more coming) So here is the recipe for the vegetable stock that I use in….well, in most things. If it’s got the word vegetarian, or the name of any vegetable (or is the same color or shape as a vegetable, or made inappropriate jokes about somebody who had a horrible car crash and ended up as a vegetable [Oh, relax. It’s an inappropriate joke made at a fictional person’s expense]), chances are I use this stock in it. Did we all lose track of that last sentence? It was a doozy. I use this vegetable stock a lot. That was the gist. There, now we’re all caught up. Happy? Me neither.


1 pound of Carrots
4 Ribs of Celery (for those unfamiliar, a “rib” of celery is the exact same thing as a stalk of celery. According to the most reliable unsourced quotes on the internet, originally the word “stalk” referred to the entire bunch of celery, and “rib” was each individual piece. But not anymore because language degrades, and nothing’s as good as it used to be, and get off my lawn you kids)
1 large onion
1 Parsnip
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 TBSP Salt
An unspecified amount of water

The first step is to prepare your vegetables. This is not complicated. It involves peeling the carrots, parsnip and onion, and also washing the celery. If you don’t know how to peel vegetables, here’s a handy guide:

1)Figure it out. It’s not rocket science

Chop the carrots, celery, parsnip and onion into large chunks. You’re going to be straining them out later, so you want easily identifiable bits. Especially if you don’t own a strainer, and you remove the vegetables by plunging your hands into the burning hot stock, and grabbing vegetable chunks. You know, like a man. 
Everything was going great at the veggie
hot tub until somebody invited a ladle

Place your chopped veggie carcasses into a pot along with all of the spices (that’s the garlic powder, thyme, pepper, and salt for those of you who just skimmed down to this paragraph for no reason). Put water in the pot until it’s about an inch higher than any of the vegetables. Place it on a high flame, uncovered, until it boils. Then lock that sucker down with a lid, and reduce the heat down to low. Let it sit for 45 minutes. Taste it, making sure the salt and pepper are to your liking. Adjust it because it’ll always be wrong. Then let it cool, and remove your dead veggies. And that’s it! Now, assuming you’ve been cooking along as you read this, you’ve got some quality vegetable stock! And that’s useful stuff. Honestly, just because it tastes good and is easier, I almost always replace chicken stock with this stuff. That’s the same reason I drink heavily instead of seeing a therapist. Also, it’s cheaper. In both cases!