September 27, 2015

Deviled Eggs

Look at them. Sitting there. Plotting.
I try not to get too judgy and religious, except about the truly important things like which way you hang your toilet paper. But it's high time that we, as a community of people on planet Earth, got together and stopped calling Deviled Eggs...Deviled. Because it's stupid. It's a term that was invented to describe any food prepared with hot seasonings because "omg spicy hot equals hellfire equals DEVILED!" Back when this became a thing, people were used to eating boiled mush, if they were lucky (Don't ask what they ate if they were unlucky.) The point is, to them, an incredibly small amount of pepper or mustard was mind blowing, and clearly the work of the delicious delicious devil. We don't have that same indoctrination in to the world of bland. So shut it already.


3 standard issue Eggs (Chicken is preferable)
1/2 TBSP Mayo
1/2 TBSP Sweet Relish 
1 tsp Dijon Mustard 
1 average human sized pinch of Salt
1 smallish human sized pinch of Cayenne Pepper
An unspecified amount of Smoked Paprika

The first thing you're gonna need to do is boil up your eggs. Sure, that sounds easy, but over cooked eggs get weird discolored yolks, and the yolks are heavily featured in this recipe, and if they don't look just right you'll RUIN your niece's quinceanera. Fortunately, I'm here to help keep you from getting disowned. At least for food related reasons. I can't do anything about that van with the mural of a tiger riding a centaur. Good luck with that. But for the eggs, you're gonna just barely cover them with water in a pot and throw it on to medium heat. Wait approximately forever until it boils, then cover the pot and turn the heat off. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 14 minutes, and then put them in cool water to keep them from over cooking. 

Now comes the fun part, and by "fun," I mean "give up now. Seriously. Pack it up. Go get a burger or something. It's not even worth it anymore." Because now it's time to peel your eggs. Technically, there is a thin membrane between the egg and the shell, and if you work your finger into it just right you can peel off the shell without much hassle. This works about 60% of the time. The rest of the time, your life becomes a ghastly hellscape of peeling tiny bits of your egg at a time and trying, with increasing desperation, to convince yourself that the large bits of egg you're inadvertently tearing off are extra bits. As if you got your eggs from an Ikea Chicken who decided to throw in some extras just in case you need them. 

You can always tell when I'm posting from out of town by
the different dishes. Also...because I just told you. Forget that.
Once your eggs are peeled and you've stopped weeping, cut those suckers in half to get at their sweet innards. Scoop out the yolks, and mash them up with your Mayo, Relish Mustard, Salt, and Cayenne. This is the part where you exact sweet vengeance on your eggs by mashing their innards and stuffing them back inside of them, like some sort of gruesome egg-inquisition. Stuff each egg with as much filling as you can muster, and then sprinkle your Smoked Paprika on top of them. How much? Figure it out. Its delicious, but the paprika here is about 50% ingredient and 50% garnish, with a 10% margin of error. And that's it! You've got delicious eggs which credulous medieval serfs might think is the work of the devil because it's got spices! And the devil's eggs leads to the devil's toast, which leads to loose morals, which leads to ritual human sacrifice. Which leads to mixed dancing.

September 22, 2015


My clothes got stained just looking at this
It's the Jewish high-holiday season, and that means one thing. Kosher markets desperately trying to unload a crapload of surplus pomegranates. And also some nonsense about self-examination and changing for the year to come. But you can't put that in booze, so who cares?


4 Cups Pomegranate Juice (That's gonna be about 16 Pomegranates. If you want, you can use the store-bought pre-juiced stuff, but just be cognizant of the fact that I will be judging you)
1 Cup Sugar
1 TBSP Lemon Juice

The first thing you're gonna need to do is get comfortable with staining your shirt, counter, walls, and loved ones. Because, pretty uniquely as far as fruits go, pomegranates are aware of the indignity you're about to put them through. And they're angry. Fortunately, drowning is their one weakness. Like pretty much every non-aquatic organism! So lightly slice through the thick outer skin of your pomegranate, just to kind of piss it off. Then submerge it in water, and tear it up. The seeds, which are technically called arils (pretentious people will only call them arils. Because they're the worst), will sink while the waxy white bits will float. Take your pretentious drowned arils, and put them in a blender, food processor, or other implement of destruction, and then strain it through cheesecloth. And there you have it! Pomegranate juice! Or you can buy it in juice form from pretty much any grocery store for the low low price of your dignity.

Make sure to wait so long to take your picture that the
Grenadine all settles at the bottom and you don't get pretty
patterns in your tequila sunrise. Bonus points for storing your
Grenadine in a leftover tequila bottle.
Once you have your juice all taken care of, throw it in a pot along with your Sugar and Lemon Juice. Throw it on some medium heat, and stir it occasionally until the sugar melts completely. Then turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it reduce. Which essentially means just let it sit over the heat and try not to get super nervous about whether it's burning or not. Also stir occasionally, partially to actually keep it from burning, but mostly just to ease the sad voices in your head. When it's reduced by half, meaning there's about 2 cups left in the pot, turn off the heat. It'll still be kinda liquidy. Calm down. It'll get thicker as it cools down. And that's all there is to homemade Grenadine, which incidentally tastes about 1000 times better than the corn syrup stuff they sell in stores. This stuff has a ton of uses. You can make mixed drinks like a Tequila Sunrise, or a Kamikaze. It probably has other uses too!

September 13, 2015

Fresh Ricotta

Ricotta: For when you're torturing lemons, and you get hungry
It's the Jewish High Holiday season! Which is why I'm posting this today as opposed my normal Tuesday. In classic Jewish tradition, on Tuesday I'll either be lamenting all of my sins from this past year, or I'll be in an epic food coma. It's pretty much impossible to tell which. And since it's a traditional Jewish Holiday season full of traditional Jewish this and that, we're making something awesome that has absolutely nothing to do with any of that! I've been meaning to get more into the cheese making, and Ricotta is a great place to start. Because it's simple, awesome, only mildly disgusting, and let's us severely question the mental capacity of nursery rhyme characters. You'll see.


1/2 Gallon of Whole Milk
1.5 Cups Heavy Cream
3 Lemons
1/2 tsp Salt
Cheesecloth. Or, if all of the stores open when you decide to make cheese at 2 AM on a Sunday morning don't sell cheesecloth because fate is capricious and unfair, good quality Coffee Filters.

Some of you might be thinking, "That's a small list of ingredients. This is gonna be easy!" Some of you may be thinking "That's a suspiciously small list of ingredients. This is gonna suuuuuuck." Good news! You're both kind of right! The first thing you're gonna need to do is heat up your Milk and Cream, over medium-low heat. You don't want the Cream and Milk to boil, burn, or scald, so ideally use a heavy-bottomed pan, and stir it relatively regularly. Lots of nonsense recipes will tell you to use frying/candy thermometers to make sure your mixture hits a certain temperature range, and you're welcome to do that if you like wasting your time and effort. Or, you could just make sure that it's warm, but not HOT. Can you handle that? Really? Alright, fine, use your damn thermometer.

Add in the juice from your lemons a little bit at a time while stirring. I add it in by the half-lemon, but if you're one of those "squeeze all of your lemons ahead of time" kinds of people, who probably has a shelf in your cupboard for shelf-liners, add in your lemon juice a Tablespoon at a time. And know that we probably can't be friends. The acid from the Lemons is going to start to curdle the Milk and Cream, separating it into thick, white, floaty curds, and murky, thin, whey (Nobody in their right mind...nobody, would consider this to be a reasonable snack food. Little Miss Muffet was probably on lots and lots of drugs. Which is a different recipe) . It will be very obvious when this separation happens. It looks gross. It's like if milk sneezed and didn't have a tissue. Turn the heat off, and let it sit for about 20 minutes to more fully separate.

Not pictured: 20 minutes spent deciding between
Pita Chips and tortilla chips.
Now comes the fun part, and by "fun" I mean.....squishy, I guess. Take a fine  strainer, or a slotted spoon, and remove your floaty gross curds from your somehow-grosser whey. Throw the curds in a bowl and stir in the Salt. Then stuff them into Cheesecloth, and figure out some way to dangle it over something. The two most preferred methods are just sticking the cheesecloth back in the strainer and putting it in the sink, or using the complicated tie-it-to-a-spoon-and-dangle-it-in-a-pot method. Which isn't actually that hard, but doesn't really have any added value over the infinitely simpler strainer method. Of course, this all assumes you have basic things like cheesecloth and strainers. If life likes to mess with you as much as it does with me, it's time to punch causality in the throat and stuff your Curds in your coffee filters, then stab your coffee filters with chopsticks and dangle them inside of drinking glasses. Let it sit and drain for about 2 hours, and you've got creamy, delicious, Ricotta! Which you can use in about 1000 different recipes. Or you can just dunk pita chips you bought from Walgreens into it and eat  it straight. Which I'm pretty sure is an Italian tradition dating back to the bronze age, when all they had were primitive proto-Walgreens. Enjoy!

September 8, 2015

Irish Apple Crisp

The apple racial divide is strong at the supermarket
So you're having friends over. Congratulations on having friends! Now comes the existential dread from knowing that they're quietly judging everything about you, including (but not limited to) your apartment decor, the food you serve them, and the gigantic collection of antique clown statues in your damn foyer. The key is in the dessert. Give them something awesome to remember, and to associate with your entire awkward night of Apples to Apples and dramatic readings of the Berenstain Bears. Alcohol might also help.


3 Granny Smith Apples
2 Gala Apples
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Oatmeal
1/2 Cup chopped Walnuts
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
2 TBSP Irish Whiskey (I prefer Tullamore Dew, because it tastes better and costs less than most other Irish Whiskeys. But feel free to waste your money on an inferior product. It'll almost be like you're a congressman!)
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves 
2 typical human sized pinches of Salt

The first thing you're gonna need to do is dice your apples. This used to take me a long time, cutting little wedges out and buying apple corers and whatnot, until I discovered an ancient secret: it doesn't actually matter if you get every damn inch of usable apple. Yes, excessive food waste isn't good, but wasting an hour to save half an ounce of apple is counterproductive. You heard me stereotypes of soviet Russia in the 80s. So hold it on a cutting board, and just slice off an entire side of it. Repeat 3 times and you're in business. Once they're good and choppity chopped, toss them in your Lemon Juice to keep them from turning into gross brown nonsense.

Throw your lemony apples in a pot along with half of your Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Salt, and all of your Corn Starch, Nutmeg, and Cloves. Got That? Good. Because if you messed it up nobody will ever forgive you, and only your creepy clown statues will love you. Just like last week. Saute` that whole mess over medium heat, stirring occasionally to show you care, for about 4 minutes. Add in your Whiskey, and keep it on the fire for another minute or so, and then dump it all in a baking dish. 

Goodbye hunger, hello diabetic coma! Totally worth it.
Now it's time to make some crumbly goodness. Take a bowl, and dump in...the rest of your ingredients. That's your Oatmeal, Ginger, Walnuts, Coconut Oil, and the rest of your Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, and Salt for you kids in the back who weren't paying attention. Mush it all together with your hands, and then splorp it on top of your apple mixture. Try to spread it out relatively evenly. Or don't, and call it "rustic." But we'll all know what it really means (it means lazy). Bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes, when it starts to smell up your whole house with it's intrusive awesomeness, and the topping is crispy. And that's it! Irish Apple Crumble! Except it's still burning hot, so probably don't have it until it cools down a little, or you find some way to fireproof yourself. Or just go at it and have a cool story to tell in the burn ward.

September 1, 2015

Fry Bread

From these humble beginnings, food was haphazardly made
Fry bread, at least in North America, was invented by the Navajo in the mid 19th century. They made it from the flour and whatnot that the US government gave them when it forced them to relocate far away from their traditional homes. Which is sad, and relevant, and touching. And is at least 10% of why I love this dish. The other 90% being a roughly even split of it being food I can drunkenly make at 3 AM, and random spite against traditional bourgeoisie bread, lording its fluffiness over the rest of us.


2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Hot Water
An unspecified amount of Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Thyme

The first thing you're gonna need to do is get ready to use your hands. The Navajo made this on the go, and I'm betting they didn't have rolling pins, or other kitchen gadgetry. Technically they didn't have baking powder either, and they used wood ash to make a lighter cake. Since I didn't want the fire department coming to my place (Again), I replaced it with Baking Powder. Get over it. Take a large bowl, and mix together your Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, and Thyme. Now it's time to take your hands from wherever it is you left them, and coat them with some of your Vegetable Oil. Why? Because if you don't, the next step will leave you with a giant mass of dough stuck to your hand. Which, unless you're planning on frying your hand, means you won't be able to eat it. So now that you're greased up, take your hot water, which you've heated in one of the traditional Navajo methods of microwaving, heating up on a cooktop, or turning on the tap marked H on your sink. Whatever method of water heating you chose, add it in slowly. You may not end up using all of it. The idea is for the dough to just barely come together into a cohesive lump of goodness. Cover this mix with a towel, and let it rise for about 30 minutes. If, like me, your baking powder is so old that you're relying on chicanery to see if it's still good, your dough may not rise all that much, but whatever you get will be worth the wait.

They're so good that you barely miss the wood ash at all
Once your dough has rested up for the big game, fill pan with about an inch of oil, and heat it up over medium heat. If you're using a fry/candy thermometer, you want to get it to the 350 degree area. Also, you're an embarrassment to the spirit of this dish, with your fancy superfluous kitchen gadgetry which I've totally never used, or recommended the use of on this very blog. Take your dough and tear off a small chunk. Roll it into a ball, and then start stretching it out into a disc. This sounds like a lot of esoteric nonsense, but just think of it like a little pizza, and you'll be fine. Probably. Take your dough disc and lay it into your oil. Fry it for about 4 minutes on each side, until it's golden delicious and super awesome. Drain it on a plate loaded up with authentic Navajo paper towels (I'm not an authority, but I think using inauthentic paper towels makes you racist), and that's it! Delicious food, made from almost nothing. I made it, and I'm still not 100% sure how that happened. And these things are super versatile. You can go all traditional, and top them with honey, or you can throw some herb butter on there, or you can even go crazy and add ground beef, cheese, and lettuce to make what they call Navajo Tacos. Or you can just finish them off with some salt and eat them plain. Which I may-or-may not have done to this entire batch despite grand plans for tacos.