February 24, 2015

Onion Dip

Aww...it's like the onion is a boxer, and the lemons are
his gloves. Or, possibly, I've gone quite mad.
Welcome to the home of every friend who's ever invited you over to watch a sporting event. There's about 1000 things all designed to be dipped in other things. The only problem is that your friends are lazy, and their onion dip consists of combining sour cream with powdered onion soup mix. Also, you just remembered that it's February and your hockey team isn't playing, so you have to watch weird off-brand sports like golf, rugby, or colonialism. Fortunately, this is a problem that's super fixable! By making your own damn onion dip, and bringing it over unannounced, unasked, and - depending on your popularity level - uninvited. What are they gonna do, turn down free food?


3 normal-sized Onions
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Cup of Mayonnaise
1 Lemon
1 TBSP Olive Oil 
An unspecified amount of salt

The first thing that you're gonna need to do is chop your Onions down in to little pieces. I prefer a fine dice, because I don't like large chunks of onion in my dips, galavanting about and causing a ruckus, but you're free to cut your onions as large as you want. I'm sure that changing this carefully written recipe to suit your personal preferences won't in any way end in disaster. Once your onions are chopped and you're blind from their horrible curse, heat up your oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add in your onions along with one large pinch of salt, and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until they're a deep brown color (allow approximately 1 lifetime). Mince the crap out of your Garlic, throw it in with the onions, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, and wait patiently for your onion/garlic mixture to cool down to room temperature.
Pro-tip: Curse loudly at the onions to
scare them into cooking faster.

Now it's time for the gross part, and by "gross," I mean "blech." Take your Sour Cream and Mayonnaise and splorp (Splorp /spuh-LOHrp/: to roughly fling in a nauseating manner. Especially for a semi-gelatinous substance) them down right on top of your onions, and stir to combine everything together. It's gonna look gross. It's gonna feel gross. Get over it. Now get your lemon, speak some kind words to it, eviscerate it, and squeeze its lemony corpse until its juice spills out. Make sure while doing this to strain out any seeds that want to come along with the juice. Pick out the seeds you failed to strain, and stir the juice into your dip. This will add some brightness, and will help to make your dip less overpoweringly rich. If you like your dip richer, feel free to add less lemon juice, or skip this step entirely. Again, I'm sure that your hubris will in no way lead you down a destructive path from which there is no return. Taste your dip, and add in salt as needed, keeping in mind that most of the things you actually dip INTO it are going to have salt of their own.
Ugly, but somehow awesome. Like a culinary Jack White

Cover your dip, and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour to let all of the flavor-melding hoodoo go down. And that's it! You've got some kind of gross looking, but incredibly awesome tasting, onion dip! Unless you went rogue, in which case kid, you've got some moxy! You also probably have a sad pile of gross glop and a lot of former friends. But you win some, and you lose some. Just to be clear, you lost this one. But it'll be ok. You can make new friends, and try try again.

February 17, 2015


We're all clear on the plan? Just mash you guys together and
hope something good happens? Alright, cool. 
Every now and again, it's important to make some ridiculous comfort food, leave whatever diet you're muddling through behind, and remind yourself just how comparatively terrible your normal food is. And few things say comfort like crazy awesome meatloaf. Seriously, why do we even eat normal food? It's not like we don't know it's worse. Foods like meatloaf, pot-pie, or mac and cheese wouldn't comfort us if they weren't better than the crap we normally shove into our collective faces. I blame divisive politics and celebrity dance shows.


1 pound, ground Beef Chuck
1 Egg
1/3 cup, Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Carrots
1 Onion
2 Ribs of Celery (For a detailed rambling tangent about celery nomenclature, check out my Vegetable Stock recipe)
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp Hot Sauce
2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Ketchup
An unspecified amount of salt

Right foot...blue! Carrot, could you...
just move your...this is gonna suuuck.
The first thing to do is to chop your onion, carrots, celery and garlic into small chunks. They don't need to be ridiculously tiny, but none of them should be larger than a 1/4 inch or so. Most people prefer a finer chop on the garlic, but whatever floats your boat (water floats boats. That phrase makes no sense). Put your oil in a pan, crank it to medium-high heat, and then toss in your chopped onion, carrot, and celery corpses. Sauté them for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to appease the Mayan spoon deity. If placated, she will keep your vegetables from burning.

Once your vegetables are tender (i.e. you can stick a fork through them without splashing oil all over your face and going through life with an unfortunate nickname) throw in your garlic, and sauté for another 40 seconds or so. Turn off the heat, and let all the veggies cool to room temperature. Take a large bowl, and add your ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, cooked veggie conglomerate, 1/2 of your hot sauce, and 1/2 of your balsamic vinegar. If you're using kosher meat, it's probably got enough salt in it already. If not, you'll want to add about 1/2 a teaspoon. 

Not pictured: the shame of eating a whole meatloaf alone
Take your hands and mush that glop together until you've lost any desire to eat this, or anything else. Take your meat goop, and dump it on to a baking pan. Form it into a loaf using your skills of the artist. Combine your ketchup with the rest of your vinegar and hot sauce. Use that mixture to glaze your fledgling loaf. Then bake it at 350 for an hour. Once it's out of the oven, spend no less than 5 minutes in existential turmoil, deciding whether to cut into it to check for done-ness or not. And remember: no matter what you decide, you'll always be wrong.

February 10, 2015

Holiday-Spiced Schnapps

I only buy vodka named after countries from "Risk"
Have you ever wanted to get punched in the face by alcohol and Christmas at the same time? What am I saying? Of course you have. But they don't run that mall-santa-fight-club all year round, so what are you supposed to do during all of the months that don't end in "cember?" Especially when the craving is fresh, during months that end in "ary?" The answer, of course, is to make some somewhat homemade Holiday-Spiced Schnapps! Why "somewhat homemade?" Because we're not making our own grain liquor out of a homemade still...yet (#SlipperySlopeToStartingAMethLab).


2 Cups Sugar
1.5 Cups Water
4 Sticks Cinnamon
18 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
An unspecified amount of Vodka (Somewhere close to 1 bottle)
1 average-human-sized pinch Salt
1 empty Bottle (It didn't have to be empty when you started making the recipe, but it definitely needs to be empty by the end. So...get on that)

For those familiar with my Peppermint Schnapps recipe, this should be pretty familiar. The basic ingredients for our boozy goodness are Simple Syrup (made by melting sugar into water), and vodka. It's not exactly rocket science. Let me immediately take that back. I've met a couple rocket scientists, and mixing vodka with Simple Syrup is a big part of how I imagine they spend their days. But it's still not complicated. The key difference here is that our Simple Syrup is gonna be infused with all kinds of spiced goodness.

The first step is to make your infused syrup. I make it slightly differently than the regular kind, but it's still not too bad. Take your Sugar, Water, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Ginger, and add them all to a saucepan. Crank that heat all the way up to a manly-medium (which is also the name of my idea for a TV show about a former male model who talks to ghosts to solve crimes on the Louisiana bayou), and stir your mixture regularly while bringing it to a boil. Once you've got that boil going, throw in your pinch 'o Salt, slap a lid on that sucker, turn the heat off, and let it cool thoroughly. I know, you're a raging alcoholic, and you want your booze NOW. But your patience will be rewarded. The Cinnamon and Clove flavor will get much more intense. And also, you won't evaporate all of the alcohol out of your vodka by mixing it with a hot liquid. Because, physics. And also chemistry.

Kickass bottle not included. Go find your own.
Once your syrup mixture is cool, strain it. I know it seems like a pain. Do it anyway. Otherwise you're going to get cloves in your face every time you try and take a drink. Once it's good and strained, start adding in the vodka according to your level of preference and/or wussiness. Once you've got your balance where you want it, bottle up your mixture of awesomeness. You can bottle it using the tried and true "trying to pour carefully, and doing pretty well until you make that one mistake, and everything devolves from there and you end up covered in alcohol and shame" method. Or you can invest in a $3 plastic funnel and make your life simpler. It's up to you. In any event, once your booze is bottled, cool it for no less than 10 hours (careful though. If you're an alcohol wuss you may not have enough actual booze in there to keep if from freezing. In which case, the fridge is your friend). Then open it up and consume it until you've got that holiday cheer again.

February 3, 2015

Macaroni And Cheese

I don't know who Anna is, but her pasta is about to get crazy
There's something special about Mac and Cheese. It brings me back to my childhood. Except without all of the uncomfortable parts that came from actually LIVING my childhood. Let's be honest for a second (that's right, everything else I say is a lie). When you're a kid, everything is either the best thing that's ever happened, or so terrible that your life is pretty much over. It's exhausting. But the silver lining in the rain cloud of angst (gross), is Macaroni and Cheese. It feels like a perfect slice of Americana. It's warm, wholesome and incredibly cheesy. Especially the way I make it.


3 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP All Purpose Flour
1 lb. Macaroni (it's technically possible to replace the Macaroni with any reasonably small pasta shape. If you're a communist)
4 Cups Milk
1 tsp Salt
8 oz. Cheddar 
8 oz. Pepper Jack
6 oz. Provolone 
An unspecified amount of Parmesan 

The first thing to do is to put a pot full of water on a high flame so that you can eventually cook your pasta. Because water hates you, and decided long ago that it was gonna take forever to boil. So get that going in the beginning, and use that time waiting for water to stop being a dick working on the rest of the recipe. Speaking of which, next you're gonna melt your butter and make a roux. Because you're making a Bechamel sauce. For those of you too lazy to follow that link, essentially you're melting the butter, mixing in the flour, and then slowly incorporating the milk while stirring like a crazy person to make a creamy creamy cream sauce. 

Now comes the cheesy part, and by "cheesy" I mean "Awesome. And involving cheese." Keep your Bechamel on a medium-low flame (it should be warm, but shouldn't be steaming) and add in a handful of shredded Cheddar. Stir it until it melts and fully incorporates into the sauce. Then repeat this until you've added in half of your Cheddar, and all of your Pepper Jack. Add in your Salt, stir to incorporate it, and turn your heat off. 

By this point, your water should have given in to torture and started boiling. Hopefully when this happened you had the foresight to actually add in your pasta so that it could be cooked by the time your sauce was done. If not, start cooking it now, secure in the knowledge that I'm secretly judging you. Cook the pasta until it's "al dente." ("al dente," technically speaking, means "to the tooth," which is stupid. What it practically means, is that the pasta is cooked through, but is still firm and offers resistance when bitten. Should you shout "to the tooth!" at the top of your lungs before you eat pasta cooked this way? Follow your heart. So yes.) Once your pasta is sufficiently toothy, drain it, and then add it in to your cheese sauce to make a steaming pile of awesomeness. 

15 minutes later a shocking amount of this pan was empty
Take a handful of Cheddar, and spread it along the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add in your entire pot of goopy, cheesy, noodly goodness, and spread it evenly across the pan. Then top it with the rest of the Cheddar, the Provolone, and the Parmesan. How much Parmesan? However much you want. There's no such thing as too much Parmesan. So keep adding it until you arbitrarily decide you've added enough, or until your arm hurts from all of that repetitive motion. Bake it at 400 until everything on top melts and starts to crisp up. Pretty much until it looks as awesome as it smells. Then, take it out of the oven, and struggle not to eat it until it's cooled down a little bit. Or, just dunk your hand in to the burning hot pan, and grab handfuls, stuff them into your mouth and sustain relatively serious burns. Either way.