December 29, 2015

Chamomile Potato Soup

For best results, use only fresh-chopped Chamomile
I'm finally back from all of my crazy random world travels! And, the first post I'm making now that I'm back is a post for some Chamomile Potato Soup. That's right! It's another soup recipe. Pretty soon after the last one, and you might be getting sick of delicious soups, or just delicious warm things in general (last week was Hot Whiskey). Fortunately, I don't care right now! My heat's out, and it's so much winter right now that it's even winter in LA, so shut it. Shut your face and other bits. You don't like it, go start your own blog. But first make this weirdly awesome soup. Then regret all of the mistrust that you had in me, my soup, and the process we've implicitly agreed to whereby I snarkily teach you how to make awesome food, and you put a sock in it about me posting another soup recipe.


6 stalks Celery
5 average sized Potatoes
1 Onion
1 bulb o' Fennel
2 quarts Chamomile Tea 
2 cloves Garlic
2 TBSP Butter
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of Salt

The first thing you're gonna need to do, is have a whole bunch of leftover chamomile tea sitting around your freezing apartment. Or you can make some chamomile tea. Whichever. The point is to let it steep all up in there for a good bit to get some thick Chamomile flavor up in that tea. Otherwise passing British people will scoff at you, and then we'll have to start a war to save face over your weak weak tea. Once you've averted international incidents by not brewing terribly inferior tea, chop your Celery, Onions, and Fennel. It doesn't have to be tiny. You'll be blending the bejeezus out of it later anyhows. Melt your butter in a pot over medium heat. Add in your chopped vegetation along with an average human's pinch of salt (it was pointed out to me by my brother-in-law, that he didn't know how much an average pinch was. I'll give you the same advice I gave him: have everybody in the house pinch a pinch of salt, and form a salt pile. Then evenly divide it by the number of pinchers. Asked and answered!), and sauté for about 7 minutes. Then choppity chop up your Garlic, and add it in for another minute. Finally, roughly chop your Potatoes, and add them in along with another democratically average pinch of Salt, and your Black Pepper. Stir it around for a minute or so to let everything start to meld together. In flavor, that is.

Croutons added for reasons of awesomeness
Now it's time to fight every urge your body is telling you, and dump that tea all up on top of them there vegetables. I know, it feels wrong. It feels like you're going to ruin your vegetables, and ruin your tea, all in one swoop. What will the fictional British passers-by say then? I don't know, but I bet it'll be sardonic. But don't worry. It'll be ok. The Fennel and the Chamomile will form some complex sweetness and deep savoriness that'll make everything awesome. And if it doesn't, you can always drink some more hot whiskey until you think it does. But it totally will. Probably. Almost definitely. It did for me. The point is, pour the tea in the pot, add in another one of the People's Pinches of Salt, bring it all to a boil, and then simmer it for about 20 minutes, until everything inside is cooked, tender, and delicious. Then blend that sucker with a whirry stick of knifiness until it can't see straight anymore. Serve with something crunchy, and a smug sense of satisfaction watching your guests who questioned your soup choice licking their bowls. Welcome back to me blogging on a computer, y'all! I got the ability to post links, and I'm not afraid to use it. Even if I'm sending you somewhere super super weird, but still awesome. See you next week! Not literally! Unless you're stalking me, in which case I'll probably see you sooner than that. Or at least you'll see me. Either way.

December 22, 2015

Hot whiskey

The name pretty much says it all. It's my last night in Ireland, and I'm enjoying my last truly Irish hot whiskey. Oh, you haven't heard of hot whiskey? Because it's insane. One awesome airbnb host introducing me to it, and one awesome Bushmills employee actually putting some in my hand, has legit changed my life. It's the absolute perfect drink if you're feeling a little under the weather, or if it's just cold out. Or if you just like delicious awesomeness. What's that? Alcohol is a depressant and isn't good for your immune system, so you think you can disprove it being good for feeling sick? Cram your word hole. Because this is Ireland, where magic, and rainbows, and pure joy come from. And I've personally experimented, and it works. Why are you still arguing? Didn't I already tell you to shut it (I did)?


Irish whiskey

The first thing you're gonna need to do is go to Ireland. Because it's awesome. While you're there, stay in Ashford Castle. It's pricy, but insanely worth it. I'm seriously considering selling a limb so I can go back (unrelated question: how much do limbs go for on the black market these days?)
Seriously. I stayed in a castle. It has...battlements. It's legit. It's alsogot forests   and falconry and horses, and clay shooting, and pretty much everything a castle should have. So go there. Romp around the forest. Work up a chill. Then go indoors. And weep because life will never be this good again, and castle-less life isn't worth living. Now it's time to drink some magic!

The recipe I'm giving you is slightly more involved than the typical pub recipe. It's the recipe for the hot whiskey they gave me at Bushmills, which was the best one I had. Take a spice bag (a spice bag, apparently, is a bag you shove spices in to infuse the flavor into cooking liquids without the mess of straining spices. Or you could ignore the spice bag, and just chew your whole spices, like a man. A potentially toothless man.), and cram cinnamon and cloves all up in it. Dump it in some water, and boil it until it's good and dead. Then take a slice of lemon and a smidge of honey and throw them in the bottom of a glass. Add in some whiskey and some steaming-hot-spice-water. Twice as much water as you've got whiskey. Now stir lightly, and drink it down. You won't regret it. I guarantee it (not a guarantee). Then wander back into the Irish wilderness and tackle a new day of absolutely insane awesomeness. 

This isn't exactly the same. This is the hot whiskey from the airport hotel I'm spending my last night at. It's not quite as awesome as the stuff I got at Bushmills, but it's still fairly epic. Now I get to go to sleep so I can make my early morning flight and go back home to LA! (Seriously guys, how much can I get for arm. I can probably sell a couple arms. Don't ask whose.)

December 15, 2015


One thing I've learned so far in my crazy multinational adventuring, is that food can be expensive. And sometimes, even if you have the cash to shell out for that sweet sweet food, anything good can be hard to come by. But pretty much everywhere has some tasty weird gunk you can dunk a cracker into (I'm looking at you, hummus). Or some equally tasty nonsense you put on top of a cracker. Or whatever. Shut up. The point is crackers. They're the key to low-key food consumption on the go. Hung-over breakfasts way too early? Crackers. Car food while you're driving to an Irish castle? Crackers. Can't find your cache of local currency, but you'll be damned if you're going to an ATM when you know full well it's around there somewhere? Crackers. 


1 Cup All Purpose Flour (Don't let the name fool you. It's pretty much only for food purposes. And sometimes paper mâché purposes.)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Water
1 tsp Salt
Extra nonsense (optional)

This is one of those blissfully simple recipes that barely even need to be written down. Mix all your ingredients. Got that? I know it was complicated, so I'll repeat it slower. Mix....all....your....ingredients. Take a rolling pin, or any cylindrical object you have lying around (I'm looking at you, wine bottle), roll your dough flat, and slap it on to a baking sheet. The thinner you get it, the crispier your crackers will be, so use your judgement. Then take out your pent up feelings of helplessness and frustration on your dough by repeatedly stabbing it with a fork. The dough didn't do anything to you, but don't let that stop you. 

Once you've stabbed your dough, sobbed in the corner, put the fork down,  and calmed the voices in your head, throw it (the dough) into a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Cooking time can vary based on thinness (of the dough). Let it cool to room temperature, and then break it into little bits and take it on adventures with you! Or keep it whole, and eat a giant cracker on your own because all that dough stabbing apparently didn't fix all your issues. If you opted to make fancier chips, add whatever nonsense you like when mixing the ingredients. Seeds, garlic and fennel, thyme and rosemary, cheese and more cheese. Whatever floats your boat. Also, if you want a fluffier cracker, add 1/2 tsp of baking soda. This is all. Bye for now from Ireland!

December 8, 2015

Kubbeh Soup

So, I'm adventuring around a bunch of countries for the next couple weeks, and right now I'm in Israel. Which, it turns out, is awesome. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful, and they seem blissfully unaware of just how creepy their advertisements for eyeglasses are. 

I'm pretty sure this couple just finished feasting on the souls and flesh of the living before posing for this picture in their lensless glasses. But that's not really the point. The point, which you may have guessed by now, is that my sister made some crazy awesome soup for me over the weekend. And I managed to weasel it out of her (read: politely asked her for it). It's got pretty much everything I look for in a soup. Awesome flavor, variety of texture, and dumplings. Because dumplings are awesome. Seriously you guys. Dumplings. 


3 Large Onions
1 lb. of lean ground meat (my sister used turkey, which was awesome. I wouldn't say no to ground beef though. Because beef.)
1 28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
7 Carrots 
3 Sweet Potatoes
1 lb. Semolina (traditionally kubbeh is made with bulgur. But that's not how my sister made it. And also, traditionally it's not made into soup. So shut it)
2.5 TBSP Smoked Paprika 
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Pepper
The juice from 1/2 a Lemon
An unspecified amount of Salt
A huge, but still unspecified, amount of Water

The first things you're gonna need to do is to gather all of your vaguely middle eastern friends. Then ask them, preferably from a distance, how to spell and/or pronounce Kubbeh. Then watch the ensuing chaos with malicious glee. And popcorn. Because it seems like every family calls it's something different. But whether you're making Kubeh, Kubbeh, Kubbah, Kibbe, Kibbeh, Quibe, or any other weird variant, it's all the same. So heat up 1/2 your Olive Oil over medium heat, finely chop 2 of your Onions, add in a normal human pinch of salt, and sauté until they're golden and awesome smelling. Then add in your Ground Meat and half of your Black Pepper, and continue to cook it until the meat's cooked through. This is easy to spot, because the drool in your mouth will get to the point where it actually impedes your speech. Turn off the fire, and set your meat mixture aside. 

Heat up the rest of your oil, again over medium heat, in a large pot. Choppity chop your last remaining onion, crushing his tiny hopes that he wouldn't share the fate of his fallen brothers. Sauté it with another pinch o' salt until it yellows and smells awesome. Chop your Carrots and Sweet Potatoes into bite-sized chunks, and add them in along with your Crushed Tomatoes, Paprika, Lemon Juice, the rest of your Pepper, and about 2 TBSP of Salt. Let it cook together for about a minute before adding in...just a ton of water. Picture all the water in the world. Then picture that you took about 12 cups of water out of it. That much water (the 12 cups, not the rest of the water in the world). Crank the heat to high, and bring that sucker to a boil. 

While you're waiting the approximate 1 lifetime for your pot to boil, make your dough. Combine your Semolina with an average human's pinch of salt, and 1.5 cups of water. Take a small handful of this goopy nonsense, and roll it into a ball. Gently use your finger to daintily from a divet in your dough. Then roughly cram as much of your meat mixture (remember your meat mixture? It was like 12 paragraphs ago.) into your divet, and stretch the dough around it to form a meat filled dough ball. Repeat as needed until you run out of meat, dough, or patience. Drop your fledgling Kubbehs in your boiling pot, and let them cook for a 1/2 hour. And there you have it! Delicious soup filled with awesomeness and grammar-based sectarian violence! 
And that's what I've learned so far in Israel. That, and how to haggle with cab drivers. And with everybody else. 

December 1, 2015

Turkey Stock

If you're anything like me, you've got the dessicated corpse of a turkey clogging up your fridge right about now. And you also once rode a roller coaster called "The Shock Wave" 10 times in a row at Six Flags. This post is more about that first part. Because leftovers are pretty much the motto of the week after Thanksgiving. And while there are tons of awesome things you can do with leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and whatnot, you can also just straight-up eat them and they'll be awesome. The raggedy old turkey bones that are infesting your life? Not so much. 


1 Turkey (deceased, defiled, and consumed)
2 cloves Garlic
2 Onions
1 lb Carrots
1 bunch 'o Celery
1 Parsnip
1 Turnip
1 Lemon
1.5 TBSP Salt
1 tsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of Water

The first thing you're gonna need to do is get over the fact that, like Ben Franklin before you, you've tortured and eaten some jive turkey. We all over it? Good. Now take the turkey corpse that you and your family have been picking at like incompetent vultures for days, and shove it all up in a pot. Cut up all of your vegetables (that's the Onion, Carrots, Celery, Turnip, Parsnip, Garlic, and Lemon, for those of you too deep in a post-thanksgiving food coma to pay any attention) into large chunks and toss them in on top of the turkey. You want to form a thick and even layer of vegetation over the body of the turkey to keep its delicious delicious soul from escaping and making its way to turkey heaven (or, if your turkey liked jazz and mixed dancing, turkey hell)

Add in your Thyme, Sage, and Pepper, and then add water until everything's covered in about 1.5 inches of water. Once your turkey sarcophagus of vegetables and water is complete (so that your turkey can carry deliciousness with it into the next life), crank up the heat to high. Let it get to a bare simmer, then clamp a lid on it and turn the heat down to low. Let it sit for pretty much as long as you have the patience for it to keep cooking. At least 1 hour. Then strain it, and there you have it! turkey stock! Which is super flavorful and awesome for making sauces and soups. And gravy. You know, in case you've still got some leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes, because you and your family lack the will if the warrior. 

For those of you interested in why this post looks a little different, it was written entirely on my phone, because I'm currently traveling on a crazy multinational adventure, because why not? And also because I was uncomfortable with not having tons of debt on my new credit card. So while I'm gonna still update every week for the duration, some updates might be a cool regional delicacy, or recipes I found that somebody else made, or crazy food adventures I had while nurturing my drinking problem. Or not! I haven't planned it out yet, because planning is for suckers and horticulturists. See you next week!