February 23, 2016

Twice Baked Potatoes

The potatoes think the worst is behind them. They think wrong
There comes a time in every man's life when he needs to cook potatoes. At one point this caused some trouble for the Irish, but by and large, it's worked out for humanity. Because potatoes have a pretty high excellence potential. But then again, they also have the possibility of bland crappiness if you aren't careful. In which case your only option is turning your bland crappy potatoes into alcohol, which you then drink to try and forget the unmistakable taste of underwhelming food and shame. Overcompensating for your spud shame can lead to bad decision making, stockpiling weapons, and the consumption of beets. The most egregious example of this in modern times was the rise, and eventual decline, of the Soviet Union. In the heart of the cold war, a secret government operation launched Julia Child deep into the heart of the USSR, where she made some awesome potatoes. Fewer potatoes were available for vodka, so people slightly sobered up, causing most of them to put down their beets. As a rule, a sober nation doesn't consume beets en masse. And a nation that isn't eating beets as a staple is a nation far less likely to go to war. Eventually this program led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, because everybody got too full of delicious potatoes to really care about communism. So long story short, potatoes are high risk, high reward.


4 Largish Russet Potatoes 
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Chopped Chives
4 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Milk 
6 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of Salt
An unspecified amount of Oil (Any generic oil that can handle a relatively high temperature will do fine. Like vegetable oil. Or another kind of oil. Or vegetable oil.)

The first thing you're gonna need to do is wash your potatoes. Because potatoes grow in the ground, and have you seen the ground lately? That place is gross. So try and wash some of the caked-on nastiness off of them. You don't need to go crazy with it, just kind of shimmy shake them under some water until the dirt remembers that it has better places to be. Dry off your potatoes so that they feel safe and secure, and then immediately betray the trust you've built by stabbing them repeatedly with a fork. The holes in your potatoes will let steam escape as they cook, which will prevent them from exploding. So really you're doing them a favor by stabbing them. Make
This is your basic inspiration for how you're interacting
with these potatoes
sure to tell yourself that while you struggle to sleep at night. Slather some Oil on your stabbed-for-their-own-good Potatoes, and then pat some Salt around them so that it sticks to the skin. So, just to keep track, we water-boarded the Potatoes, stabbed them, and then salted their wounds. And now we're gonna bake them in a 400 degree oven for 60 minutes. So for the subset of vegetarians who specifically chose vegetarianism because you hate vegetables and want to murder them, you're welcome.

Now it's time to talk about the next step. Because we're not regular baking these Potatoes, like a bunch of beet-eating communists. We're scooping their guts out, mixing them with delicious extras, stuffing the whole nonsense back inside themselves, and baking them again. Like winners. So let's get started. Once your Potatoes are done with their hour of baking, take them out of the oven and slice them in half. Scoop their potato-insides out of the skin, being careful to leave the skin intact. If you lack the will of the warrior, let them cool 10 minutes before attempting this. Otherwise, man up, grab them in your man hands, and deal with it. The delicious aroma of cooking meat will be your reward for being so manly. Take your Potato guts and mix in your Milk, Butter, Black Pepper, and your Sour Cream. Also mix in half of your Chives, half of your Cheddar Cheese,
Some people might say this is too much cheese. Some
people are fools.
and one large person's pinch of Salt. Stuff that whole mess back inside of the hollowed-out corpses of your Potatoes, top them with the rest of your cheese, and then bake them for another 20 minutes. Take them out of the oven, top them off with the rest of your Chives, and enjoy the delicious taste that can only be achieved by slowly torturing something and then stuffing bits of it where they don't belong. It's pretty much Potato Foie Gras. Totally worth it.

February 16, 2016

Blueberry Ginger Shot

The blueberries know this is a bad idea, but they're excited
to be a part of it. Never trust a berry named after a color.
So, I've been sick. What else is new? It seems like for the past month or so I've been getting sick a lot. But this time I got a fancy diagnosis, a couple prescriptions, and 2 shots, so I'm pretty sure any germs left in my body are trapped in germ POW camps, waiting for the antibody death squads to finish them off. But let's get back to those shots. Because, for the first time that I can recall, an alleged medical professional asked me to drop my pants and bend over. Technically she didn't ask in that order. Because initially she said the shot was going to be in my back, which turned out to be a lie. It was pretty weird, but whatever. People with 102 degree fevers don't tend to question medical direction. They spend their time on better things, like alternating between trying not to die, wishing they were dead, and pretty much turning into a drunk bear. Anyway, in honor of my unnecessarily large shot, I'm making an unnecessarily large shot. With blueberries. And ginger. In fact, forget the shot.


1/4 Cup Blueberries
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 oz. Rum
4 oz. Ginger Beer

Who says you can't make something awesome just because
you're sick? Blanket forts are awesome. Case closed.
Some might call it a bad idea to make an alcoholic drink while recovering from an illness and taking lots of antibiotics. But what is this? Communist Laos? America is all about not asking doctors questions we don't want the answers to, so let's make this drink. The first thing you're gonna need to do is chop up your Blueberries and throw them in a bowl along with your Sugar and Lemon Juice. The next thing you're gonna need to do is wait. Keep waiting. Has it been 15 minutes yet? No? Then keep waiting some more. Once your 15 minutes go by, use a spoon, fork, bag of rocks, or a couple swift uppercuts to smash the crap (pulp and juice) out of your Blueberries. Strain out the skins, and lay that pulpy nonsense down on top of some ice in an unnecessarily large cup for what's allegedly "a shot." Add in the rest of your ingredients. Stir lightly, and that's it! Or, if you thought ahead, you could have reserved a little bit of your Blueberry guts to sprinkle on top and make it all pretty at the end. And that's it again! Unless you want a garnish, because you're fancy, and can't handle life the way it really is, which is probably gonna lead to a harsh awakening some day, but today doesn't have to be that day. Then just toss some blueberries down in the sucker. And that's it. For real this time. Go...drink it. Do it now. I'm gonna go take a 15 hour nap. Seriously, that's it. Go home.

February 9, 2016

Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

Butterscotch and Oatmeal: a tale of seduction
Sometimes, as upstanding members of society, it's our historical duty to bake something awesome using oatmeal. Because without that bloody string of battles on the Oatmeal Plains, the Quakers would never have gained their independence (citation needed). Even if not for that absolutely true historical imperative, oatmeal gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to baked goods. Which is pretty crazy, considering how awesome oatmeal is, especially in baked goods. Yes, I get it. You love chocolate chip cookies, reached for what you thought was on when you were 5, and was sad to find out it was an oatmeal raisin cookie. Because you were 5, and had already had more raisins than you could possibly want. And now, in your PTSD addled mind, all oatmeal is that one cookie that hurt you all those years ago. But no matter how much deliciousness you deny yourself, and no matter how much innocent oatmeal you destroy with your vendetta, it will never be enough. So maybe man up, get over it, and make some deliciousness.


1.5 Cups Oatmeal
1.5 Cups Flour
1 Cup Butter (That's 2 sticks of Butter, which is much easier for everybody. Or at least everybody in the US. But all the fancy recipes measure Butter in cups, so now we all have to google how much Butter we're supposed to be using, like suckers. Thanks Obama.)
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2X 11 oz. package of Butterscotch Chips
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
2 standard issue Eggs

The first thing you're gonna need to do is let your Butter sit on the counter until it's pretty much room temperature. You're gonna convince yourself that if you just do all the other parts of the recipe first, the butter will be warmed up. This is a trap that your brain is setting because it thinks it's funny to watch you suffer. Brains can be jerks. The point is, it's gonna take a long while for that Butter to do its thing. So take a nap or paint a fence or something. Then whisk together your Oatmeal, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt in a bowl. Then take a separate bowl, and dunk in your Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Butter. Mix them together violently so that the sugar crystals rip through the fat of the butter, and air pockets form in the desiccated buttery remains. A process called "creaming." Mix your eggs, one at a time, into your creamed butter mixture, along with one of your bags of Butterscotch Chips. Now it's time to end the segregation in your community and bring everybody together into one bowl. But take your time. Don't rush things, or it'll never take. Dump about 1/3 of your Oatmeal mixture into your Butter mixture, combine, and then repeat until it's all in there. By the end it's gonna be pretty thick. You may have to get your delicate hands dirty from physical labor. If you're not used to it, you can find some awesome advice here.

Yes, the recipe makes more than this. But after you sit down
and write a recipe, this might be all you have left.
Lube up a pan (a 9x13 pan works well, or a couple 8x8 pans. You're welcome), and press your clumpy oatmeal dough into it. Spread it out, and make sure your get as close to an even layer as you have the energy for. Leave some room on top because this thing will rise a bit while it's cooking. Take your remaining back of Butterscotch Chips, and sprinkle them on top evenly. I said evenly. Don't bother trying to spell out something with them, it won't work. Bake that nonsense at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until it's all browned on top, and smells ridiculous. Fight the urge to grab at the pans with your bare hands and shove that burning hot goodness down your gullet. Fight it harder. Seriously, I know it looks and smells awesome, but let it cool first. Your patience will be rewar-- you already ate it, didn't you?

February 2, 2016

French Fry Hash

Artist's rendition of me eating this food
Sometimes, as you journey down the highway of life, futilely trying to avoid the potholes of decaying hopes and youth, ever watchful for the police officer of injuring yourself on the toilet, you can get a little tired. So maybe you don't have the time or energy to make food from scratch, or eat healthy, or put on pants. So what? You don't need to apologize for it. Right? Right? Well who cares? Yesterday I gathered with friends to celebrate my having desecrated the Earth with my presence for another year, and I decided a number of things. Most of them involved which drink I was going to order next, but somewhere in there was the idea that making delicious and awesome food isn't something to be ashamed of, even if it's not some bespoke, cruelty-free, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, food-free, fun-free hipster nonsense.


5 oz. Cooked French Fries (That's about one large order of fries. If you don't have this lying around, trying going to literally any fast-food restaurant ever and asking for some)
1/3 lb. Corned Beef
1 Bell Pepper (I used half a red pepper and half a green pepper. Because I'm just that cool, but you don't need to shoot that high if you're not comfortable. You don't want to fly too close to the sun, melt your wings, and end up drowning, like some jerk in a labyrinth. Use whatever kind of Bell Pepper you want.)
1/2 an Onion
5 Button Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
An unspecified amount of Vegetable Oil

There really isn't much in the way of direction for this recipe. It's pretty straightforward, which is on of the reasons why I like it so much. Another is the delicious delicious taste. A close 3rd is the money I've received from the powerful Corned Beef lobby to promote their products and services. In any event, the first thing (Of like 4 things total) that you've got to do is choppity chop chop your Fries, Corned Beef, Bell Pepper, Onions, and Mushrooms into bite-size pieces. There isn't really a too big or too small, just make sure they're all about the same. Like the designers of airplane seat-backs, you're looking for uniformity of size. If you don't start off with it, you'll sure as hell have painfully molded it by the end of your trip. 
Unlike the grammatical composition of this sentence, there
ain't nothin' wrong with that
Anyhow, mix together your Garlic Powder, Paprika, Black Pepper, and Salt in a bowl (That was the second thing you needed to do, if you're counting along at home). Now heat up a pan on medium heat, coat the bottom of it with Vegetable Oil, and add in your uniformly chopped Peppers, Onion, and Mushrooms, along with 1/3 of your Paprika mix. Saute`for about 3 minutes before adding in the Corned Beef. Cook for another 5 minutes, and add in the Fries, and the rest of the Paprika mix. Let it all cook together for about 5 more minutes, then take it off the heat, put it on a plate, and immediately consume it, preferably next to a person who's eating a salad. Bonus points if you make obnoxiously loud grunts of appreciation for the food.