March 31, 2015

Tuna Salad

A picture of Solid White Albacore chilling with all his friends.
Not Pictured: Chunk Light alone listening to Justin Bieber.
Tuna Salad. It's one of those things we tend to associate either with greasy restaurants or bad catering. But it has its place on our collective plates and, if you make it well enough, in our stomachs. It also keeps well in the fridge, and is an awesome food to have while drunk. That might actually be because of its versatility. Whatever you have lying around, be it crackers, bread, or corrugated cardboard, haphazardly smear some kickass Tuna Salad on it, and it'll be one of the best 3 AM meals of your life.


1 10 oz can Tuna Fish (spring for the solid white albacore. Sure, you can get "chunk light" tuna for less money, but sometimes it's nice to have your food taste like people food, and not cat food.)
1/3 cup Mayonnaise 
2 ribs of Celery
1/2 a Red Onion
1/2 a Lemon
1 TBSP fresh Parsley
1 tsp dried Dill
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

The first thing you need to do is open your can of tuna. Now, traditionally people would do this with a sharp rock or a knife, often resulting in hilarious injury. Nowadays, we do this with shoddy can openers made of cheap metal and even cheaper plastic, often resulting in hilarious injury (seriously, though...the can opener wasn't invented until almost 50 years after canning became a thing. If, like me, you've ever tried to open a can without a can opener, you're probably wondering how canning managed to stay a thing for those almost 50 years. Literally nobody knows). Once the can is open, press the lid down gently, and flip the can upside-down to drain out the concentrated fish juice. It's preferable to do this over a sink, or failing that, somebody you don't like. Then plop your Tuna into a bowl and crush it with a fork until it submits to your will, breaking up into small chunks. 

Once the Tuna is physically and emotionally crushed, take your Celery and Red Onion, and dice the crap out of them. You don't need to go crazy with it, but you don't want any large pieces. Add them in with your crushed Tuna bits. Then mince your parsley fine. How fine? Finer than you want to. Keep chopping until the bits of it are small enough that you can't even really tell what it is. Then add these in with your vegetables and Tuna. 

Homemade tuna bagels? Best mandatory 6AM
staff meeting EVER!
Next take your Mayo, Dill, and Black Peopper, add them to the party, and stir to combine. Squeeze in the lemon juice, being careful to avoid getting the seeds in your food. Then shamefacedly pick the seeds out of your food. Stir once more, and you're kind of done! What you have will taste pretty damn good. But, if you cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge for a couple hours, it'll taste even better. Regardless of whether you eat it immediately - sacrificing taste for instant gratification - or not, there's very little this stuff won't taste awesome with. Make a sandwich, out it on a crack, or just eat it plain. It's all good. I guess what I'm trying to say're welcome.

March 24, 2015

Salami Pesto Pasta Salad

In order to take pictures of my food, I need a kitchen. Which
wasn't really an option this week.
This is one of those recipes that you can't help but be shocked you didn't think of when you first see it. Because it seems so OBVIOUS. Just put all of the awesome things in the world into one bowl and see what happens. But sadly, you didn't think of it first. Neither did I. I got the idea from somewhere, I'm sure. But over the years I've adapted and tweaked whatever fever dream gave me the glory in the first place, to the point where it's definitely probably mostly original. Ish.


1 lb Rotini (if you don't have rotini, you can substitute another pasta. Or, you can stop being lazy, and go buy some. At any grocery store ever. Even those weird privately owned ones with off brand pasta with names like "rosalita's best," or "bro-rilla")
1 lb hard dried salami, cut into large chunks
1/2 lb smoked turkey, cut into wee bitty strips
3 cups Broccoli Florets
2 Roasted Red Peppers, cut into chunks
4 cups Basil
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

The first step is to make the dressing. Because it takes a while, and keeps easily in the fridge until everything else is done, and we can sometimes be efficient with our time, godsdammit. Now there are two ways to do this. The easy, wussy, food-processor way, or the needlessly painful, super masculine, mortar-and-pestle way. I usually go for the latter. Mostly because I'm a badass, and partially because I don't own a food processor. Whichever method you choose (You'll be judged. By The gods. Specifically the Greek gods. They seemed to care a ton about who was more masculine than who), you need to grind up your basil, pepper, vinegar, mustard, and half of your salt into a loose paste. Then, while stirring and praying to those super judgy Greek gods that you're not gonna stain your clothes, slowly drizzle in the oil. And voila! Basil based awesomeness at your disposal.

Next, take your broccoli, and cut the florets off of the stalks. Chop your stalks into bite-sized slices, and layer them over the bottom of a pan. Then just barely cover them with water, and layer the florets on top of that. Add in the rest of your Salt, and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot, and turn the heat down to medium. You're essentially using the stalks as a base so you can steam the florets in peace. Your florets are fully cooked once they lose their self-preservation instincts, and no longer resist being stabbed with a fork. This usually takes about 8 minutes. Once they're done, set the florets aside, and figure out something to do with the stalks. You're not using them for this recipe, so you can just throw them out. If you're a wasteful jerk. Or you can eat them. The choice is yours. And possibly Zeus's.

If you look closely, you can make out the shadow of me,
gas mask on, cooking some awesome food. And meth.
The rest of this thing is pretty straightforward. You cook your pasta until it's al dente. Al dente is Italian for "to the tooth." It's a nonsensical phrase that's supposed to mean the pasta is cooked, but still firm and offering resistance when bitten. This is not implied by "to the tooth." It sounds like it should be a dumb thing that kids would say to each other in the early 90s. But for some reason it's an accepted culinary term, the knowledge of which will allow you to out-douche people at parties. You're welcome. Anyhow, once your pasta is sufficiently toothsome add in the meat and vegetables, and then cover it in the delicious delicious sauce. Stir it up, taste it, and then adjust the salt and pepper (if necessary) to your personal (wrong) preference. And enjoy!

March 17, 2015

Irish Ice Floe

Yes, technically speaking that's gelato. But this whole thing
is about being fake Irish anyhow. Also, shut up.
It's that time of year again! When everybody lets loose, has fun, and pretends they're a little bit Irish! But just a little bit. Because otherwise we might actually have to deal some of the annoying parts that come from being a member of any large group of humans. People tend to drink to excess this time of year, and while I'm not going to tell you to do otherwise, I am going to warn you not to use the mass consumption of alcohol as an excuse to consume alcohol that isn't awesome. Because that would be sad. And sadness via alcohol has nothing to do with being fake Irish! Well, maybe a little.


1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream
3 TBSP Chopped Mint Leaves
3 TBSP Baileys Irish Cream
An unspecified amount of Guinness 

This recipe is perfect for St. Patricks day, for a number of reasons. Mainly because there's no actual cooking involved, which means the odds of you drunkenly setting yourself on fire are slightly reduced. And even if you do manage to go all human torch, it probably won't be the result of this recipe, so it's not my problem. Now what were we talking about? Oh yeah! Ice Cream, apparently. The first step to this recipe is to take your Ice Cream out of the freezer and eat a couple of scoops, because feelings. Then leave the Ice Cream out and let it get a little bit melty. Not so bad that it's 100% liquid, but loose enough that you can stir things in. 

Take your Mint Leaves, thoroughly wash them to remove unwanted dirt and protein, and chop them into itty bitty pieces. The general rule is to chop them forever until the world is a lifeless husk, which means there's nobody left to judge you on the size of the mint bits in your frosty alcoholic treat. Once your leaves are minced and civilization has collapsed, add them, along with your Bailey's into your melty Ice Cream and stir it all up. Which gives us an excuse for having earlier eaten the Ice Cream from the container like a 90's sitcom character. 

Pro-tip: take forever to get your picture set up, so that your
ice cream goes all melty. Still tastes good though.
Put your ice cream mixture back in the freezer, and wait for it to set back to it's original glory. Then break out your favorite beer mug, pour in as much Guinness as your heart contents, clean up the floor from having tried to pour all of the beer you have into one mug, and add your Ice Cream on top! It's delicious, and a good way to prevent house fires that could be blamed on me!

March 10, 2015

Chipotle Squash Soup

Remember the plan. Wait for a kid to walk by, and then
Have you ever wanted to feel so much flavor in your mouth at the same time that your taste buds needed to go to rehab? But they couldn't, because they're attached to you, like suckers? So you had to go EAT a rehab center? Again? This soup might be able to help with that. It's a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit savory, and a helluva lot of awesome. It also sounds fantastic, so it's the perfect soup to impress people with the first time you cook for them. Unless they have boring tastes, in which case screw them. They were probably lame anyways.


2 whole Butternut Squash
4 average sized Chipotle Peppers (remove the seeds or don't, depending on how spicy you like your everythings. Leaving the seeds in makes it spicier, for reasons. Capsaicin reasons)
4 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 Onions
2 cloves Garlic
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

The first thing to do is to cut each of your squash in half, lengthwise. This sounds straightforward. For most people it probably is. But it turns out that Butternut Squash have it in for me in a super murderous way. Pretty much every time I cook with them, I get mildly injured in some odd catastrophe. So even simple tasks like this become a giant pile of over-exaggerated micro-steps to keep me from horribly injuring myself and tragically dying in a kitchen before my time, just like that old Gypsy woman said. Anyhow, once your squash are cut, rub them with 1 TBSP of your Olive Oil, half of your Salt, and all of your Pepper. Place them on a baking sheet, and cook them in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in it without feeling resistance. For those of you keeping track, this is another point in this process where the squash may try to kill me. Fortunately, I've learned to outsmart it. Hopefully.

Once your squash is done, and its murderous intent is hopefully cooked out, set it aside to cool. While that's going down, get a pot, and then chop and sauté your onions in the remainder of your Olive Oil and Salt. After 5 minutes, add in your squash (Pro-tip: for a tastier, smoother, and all-around less awful soup, peel the damn things before you add them in). Continue cooking another 2 minutes, and then add in you Chipotles and your Garlic, all chopped up. Cook down another minute or so, when the garlic starts to smell super awesome. Which is what garlic does. Then add in your Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, and Cumin, and cook for another 30 seconds or so. It'll start to smell awesome. Or, more awesome. Or whatever. That's your overly ambiguous cue to add in your Vegetable Stock.

Not pictured: my many wounds, both physical and emotional
You can, if you're lazy, crazy, or stressed for time, use Vegetable Stock from a box. Or, you can make your own. You know, like a man. Whichever way you decide to go, for which I totally will not judge you (Probably. I'll try, at least. I'm already judging you), once you add your Vegetable Stock in, bring the whole mix up to a boil, then cover it and reduce the heat down to low. Let it cook for 1/2 an hour, and then turn the heat off. And there you have it! Kind of! Maybe, but not really. Your soup will taste awesome at this point, but to really give it the will of the warrior, you're gonna need to blend it. You can do this by letting it cool, pouring it in small batches into a blender, and then carefully moving your finished batches to a separate container. But that sounds pretty awful, and takes forever, so I take an immersion blender (Also known as a whirry electric stick with knives at the end of it), dunk it inside the soup, and just go to town on it. Whichever blending method you choose, be it my way or stupid, it'll leave you with some awesome soup that your neighbors will be jealous of. But they can't have any. They know what they did.

March 3, 2015


If you invite other people over to help, they
may go crazy and make nonsense shapes.
There is a Jewish holiday called Purim. It's one of the lesser known ones. You won't see it on episodes of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which is a shame, because it's mostly celebrated through excessive drinking, merriment, and eating delicious cookies called Hamentashen. Like most Jewish holidays, its meaning pretty much boils down to "a long long time ago, somebody tried to kill all the Jews, and they didn't succeed. So eat foods, drink alcohols, and be merry." And yes, it's technically possible to fulfill that eating, drinking, and merriment with store bought cookies, but there's something nice about making them yourself. Also, this way they won't taste like cardboard.


4 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 and 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
Assorted flavors of Jam and Pie Filling
A cylindrical rolling implement (Like a rolling pin, a lead pipe, or the femur of your enemies)
More Sugar!
More Flour!

The first step is to sift your flour. If you're anything like me, you don't have a flour sifter handy. But sifting flour is just aerating it and breaking up any crazy flour lumps. You can totally do that with a whisk, or even a fork if you need to. So it looks like all you people who bought flour sifters before reading past the first sentence of the paragraph are suckers! Thanks for reading, suckers! Make sure to click on the banner ads and buy things. Anyhow, once your flour is broken down and airy, like an aging hippie, add in the Baking Powder and the Salt, and stir to combine.

Take a second bowl, add in the Sugar and the Oil, and whisk it until it forms a semi-gelatinous sugar-ooze (which, for the record, would be an awesome band name). Then add in the Orange Juice, Eggs, Lemon Juice, and Vanilla. Stir this mixture until everything is incorporated. Now the time has come to mix your two worlds. Add about 1/4 of your Flour mixture into your goop bowl, and whisk it until it fully incorporates. Then repeat that process with an equal amount of your flour mixture 3 more times (math!) By the end, you'll probably have to abandon your whisk as a lost cause, and just start digging in there with your hands. The downside is that it's messy and kind of gross. The upside that you have an excuse to give in to the urge to lick the batter, which cartoons have taught me is one of the fundamental forces of the universe.

Once your dough is finished, mix some more flour and sugar together, and spread it out on a sanitary flat surface. Plop your dough down in the center, flour up your rolling implement to keep it from sticking. You can do this by rolling it in your flour/sugar mixture, but you get valuable bonus points if you throw handfuls of flour and sugar at it, pretending that you're the crooked warden at an old-timey prison. In any event, roll out your dough until it's thin. How thin? That depends on your personal tastes, but no thicker than a 1/4 inch.

You could stop at just once batch. Or you could be awesome.
Take either a round cookie cutter that you bought special at a store for this purpose, or literally any drinking glass ever, and cut rounds out of the dough. Place them on to a greased baking sheet, take the dough leavings, re-roll it, and repeat until it's all done. Then put about a teaspoon of filling into each cookie, and fold it into a triangle, finally putting a use to that ridiculous culinary origami class you took in college. Bake those suckers at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven and location and lots of other factors. You can tell they're done when they firm up and get brown around the edges. And that's it! Let them cool down, and eat the crap out of them, either while celebrating a Jewish holiday, or while drunk in your bathtub on a Wednesday night. Or both!