August 30, 2016

Blooming Onion

Australia: It's not just for being a jerk while playing Risk
Australia has given us some great things over the years. Kangaroos. A fantastic Simpsons episode. And probably other things. Also, thanks to Australian-American restaurants, blooming onions. Sure, some random diner in New Jersey claims that they invented it in the 70s, but that story has some problems, like how suspiciously far from Australia this diner is, and the fact that I don't know if it's true or not. So I'm assuming it was dreamed up in some dingo-encrusted office at Outback Steakhouse's corporate office. Which I'm totally ok with, because they did an awesome job. It's like an onion that's wrapped in fried deliciousness, and blossomed into the best thing ever. And then gave you a free car. And like 6000 superfluous calories. So it's exactly like Oprah.


1 cup Flour
3 Eggs
1/2 TBSP Smoked Paprika 
1 tsp Salt
1 large human being's pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Onions! (Yes, this recipe makes enough flour and eggs for more than one onion. Yes, that is a good thing, because after you serve your guests the first one, they'll immediately devour it and want another. Assuming you have guests, and aren't just sitting home alone making party food in an ever-growing sea of sadness and fry oil.)
Oil for frying! Any relatively neutral oil with a high smoke point! Like peanut, or canola! 

 The first thing you're gonna need to do is increase your insurance coverage. Because onions are pretty much full of water, and we're pretty much dumping one in a vat of oil. As you may remember, oil and water have a complicated relationship, whereby they try to kill each other, and then kill you for introducing them. Yes, you can help mitigate this by cutting your onions ahead of time and letting them sit in a sealed container overnight, but you're not gonna do that (For the record, that also would have helped your fried bits cling to your onions. Oh well). The point is, you're either gonna burn yourself, your house, or some combination thereof today. Isn't learning fun? Once you've made peace with your impending doom, whisk together your salt, flour, cayenne, and paprika in a bowl. Then take a separate bowl and whisk your eggs in it. You may be wondering where the onion comes in, given that it's a title character of this little adventure. The answer is now, or more accurately at the beginning of the next paragraph.

Chop the head off of your onion, and peel off its outer layer, like you're some kind of sadistic spanish-inquisition style torturer who's trying to convert onions to Catholicism (For those of you now wondering about onion anatomy, its butt is the brown, round, kind of stringy bit on the bottom, and the head is the bit at the top where the excess skin forms a narrowing point. Just like with people). Take a spoon, hollow out your onion's "core," (read: heart) and cut wedges into it, being careful not to cut all the way through to its butt. I know that was a little complicated, so I'll wait here for a few seconds while you re-read it a couple times and make sure you've got it down. Ready? Cool. Now comes the fun part, and by "fun," I mean "kinda of gross at first, and then a healthy mix of terrifying and potentially deadly." Take your onion, and dunk it in your flour mixture. Make sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Use a spoon to help you if you need it. There's no shame in relying on spoons. I'm hardly judging you at all. Once your onion is floured, set it aside for a couple minutes. Use this time to heat up your oil in a pot. How much oil? Enough to cover your onion. How big of a pot? Big enough to hold your oil and onion together. And yes, a smaller pot will mean it'll take less oil to cover your onion, saving you as much as one shiny dollar. But you'll have to make a deal with some sort of cruel and malicious deity to eyeball the amount of oil just right. Otherwise, it either won't cover your onion and you'll end up with garbage, or you'll have too much oil, which will spill all over the place, burning your hands, kitchen, and probably soul. All of which you'll then have to spend an hour cleaning up afterwards. So maybe go with a normal sized pot. 

Don't get me wrong, this tasted awesome. Anecdote over.
Using either a deep fryer, a candy/fry thermometer, or the maniacal guesswork of the damned, heat your oil to 350 degrees. Then take your onion (Remember your onion? It's a recipe about your onion), and dunk it in your egg mixture. Then, like two different OCD personalities trapped in one body, dunk the onion back in your flour mixture, again being certain to get floury goodness into every bit. Toss (or, you know, carefully and gently place) your onion into the oil, and fry it at 350 for about 10 minutes. The whole thing should kind of bloom open like it's inviting you into the halls of deliciousness, or, depending on the previously mentioned deity you made a deal with, valhalla. And that's it! Drain it on a rack, or a plate with some paper towels, grab your favorite dipping sauce (I like sriracha-mayo), and dig in. The pleasant ambiance of the warmth and gentle glow from your burning house is an added bonus.

August 23, 2016

Chocolate Truffles

I was gonna write about me being a terrible Willy Wonka, but
got distracted by that oompah loompah who looks exactly like
Neil Patrick Harris.
Well, that's it. The olympics have ended. Which means that you've spent 17 days wishing you were in better shape than you were, all while sitting on your couch and eating chips directly out of the bag. It also means that the Paralympics are about to start! Which means you'll get excited for a second thinking that you must be a better athlete than some of them! That'll last 5 seconds, when you'll realize that overcoming crazy physical adversity to still attain a crazy high level of achievement in a sport is something you could never in a million years do. The bad news is, you're totally right. A couch dwelling chip-eater like yourself isn't destined for athletic greatness. The good news is, that means you can pretty much stay on that couch forever, and eat whatever you want. Even balls of chocolatey goodness topped with deliciousness, and rolled into a bite-size ball of awesomeness! Or take-out. Whichever's faster, because the opening ceremony is about to start.


1 lb. Dark Chocolate
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 TBSP Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 largish-sized human's pinch of Salt

The first thing you're gonna need to do is chop your chocolate into oblivion. You don't want any large chunks. This will get a never ending supply of chocolate smudges conveniently stuck to your knife, cutting board, body, clothing, and walls. You may have to move. But you'll end up with little chocolate bits, which you're gonna plop in a glass bowl. Now take your cream, butter, and salt, and bring all that nonsense just barely to a boil. Take it off the heat and immediately dump it on top of your meticulously melted chocolate. Whisk the crap out of your rapidly melting chocolate until the whole thing is smooth and uniform. Add in the vanilla, and stir lightly to combine. And that's it! Except totally not! Now we play the waiting game. Shove your bowl of chocolate goo (Ganache, to you people who either are culinarily inclined or have watched way too much food network) in to your friendly neighbor refrigerator, and let it cool for about an hour.

You may gain 3-5 delicious pounds by looking at this picture.
Line a flat surface with parchment paper/ Take your somewhat cooled goo and spoon a shapeless blob, roughly a tablespoon large, onto your parchment paper. Repeat until you run out of goop. Take your flat surface full of shapeless chocolate blobs, and shove the whole thing back in the fridge for another hour. (You may have noticed that this recipe has a whole bunch of waiting around time. I haven't noticed, because I'm an experienced cook-type person, and as such may-or-may-not have consumed a large quantity of culinary-grade liquor). Take your tray of solid goo balls out of the fridge, and roll them into vaguely spherical spheres. Any part of you and your home that wasn't previously covered in chocolate will be now, but that's cool because you're moving anyway. Now it's time to contemplate toppings. Because you have pretty much unlimited options. Just fill up a bowl with a topping, and roll a truffle in it until you, surprise, get chocolate all over everything! Stick the truffles back in the fridge for a couple minutes, and try again. I went with four toppings, sprinkles, cinnamon and sugar, cocoa powder, and crushed peppermint candies. But the sky's the limit! Are my flavorings better than yours? Sure, but don't let the fact that you haven't outclassed a professional (Gross exaggeration) at their own game get you down. You've got the Paralympics for that. 

August 16, 2016


In lieu of a priest, Egg and Lemon had their close friend Oil
officiate their weird, gross wedding ceremony. 
Mayonnaise gets a bad rap these days. We've spent decades just thinking of it as this weird, kind of flavorless sludge that we buy from the supermarket. I blame the corrupt media, fueled by the ever-more powerful Miracle Whip Lobby (Motto: when life gives you lemons, spend millions of dollars on advertising to try and get people to willfully shove lemons down their throats until either the lemon, or humanity, dies out). The fact of the matter is, back in pre-historic times they didn't have fancy store-bought jars full of over-processed, under-flavored, hyphenate-inducing goop. They just had their wits, and maybe a sharp stick if they were lucky. And now they're all dead. I still say that the store-bought mayo is a bad idea.


1 Egg Yolk (There are a lot of store bought devices, of varying levels of grossness, that will seperate egg yolks and whites for you. Or you can be a man, and use your hands. Your call.)
1 Cup Oil (I like to go with a relatively neutrally flavored oil, like Corn, or Light Olive. But follow your heart. Your gross, weirdly flavored heart.)
1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 a Lemon

This is another one of those recipes that seems like an awesome idea at first. Until you've been whisking a bunch of junk around a bowl for what feels like, at the minimum, 2 presidential terms, and your arm is having serious doubts about whether it wants to move forward with you as its running mate. But it tastes good, so let's get cracking. Take your egg yolk, salt, and mustard, and whisk them together in a bowl until they get a little bit lighter and frothier than they started. Take a second bowl and juice your lemon into it, being careful to keep the seeds from falling in with the juice. Add in your apple cider vinegar, and pick out all of the lemon seeds that brought dishonor upon your family just now. Take half of this mixture, and add it in to the egg mix, whisking like a frenchman. Which is a phrase I invented just now that doesn't really mean anything, but sounds like it should be offensive for some reason. Why are we only adding half of this mixture in? Because we need some liquid to suspend all of the oil we're about to add in, forming an emulsion, along with several emotional scars. But if we add in all of the vinegar and lemon juice, we'd have a super wet mix to start off with. Which would make forming the emulsion with our oil a lot harder. We're already whisking for the duration of one of Kanye West's interviews where he talks about how much of a genius he is for wearing ugly clothes. Don't make this harder on us. Don't be that guy.

Now it's time for the fun part, and by "fun," I mean, "oh god, oh god, why?" Take your egg mix, and start whisking the bejeezus out of it. While you're doing this, start adding your oil in. At first, you want to add it in painfully slowly. Just a couple drops at a time. Add it in too fast and instead of mayonnaise, you'll just end up with oily eggs. Once your emulsion starts to take form a little bit, and the pain in your arm has started damaging your spirit in addition to your body, you can start adding in the oil a little bit quicker, in a thin but constant stream. (Protip: Apparently a measuring cup is absolutely terrible for this job. Especially if you have to hold it while you're beating your mixture, causing large waves of oil to constantly threaten to splorp out into your fledgling mayo, each time giving you new and exciting heart attacks. I've heard squeeze bottles might help with this.) Once your oil is about half done, add in the rest of your vinegar and lemon mix, and then get back to whisking. The hardest part will be the end, but not because your arm hates you, and just wants to die. Well, not just because of that. You'll see your oil coming to an end, and your arm will be aching, and you'll just have the strongest urge to just pour everything that's left in and be done with it. This is the voice of failure talking. Ignore it. 

Fries sold separately. Go find your own
Once your oil is finished, you're pretty much done! Except that you've got raw egg in there. And sure, chances are it didn't have any salmonella in it, but do you really want tiny fish swimming around in your blood? Upstream? The fridge will help keep the bacteria from spreading, but to really kill it off you need some room temperature acid. Fortunately, you've got lemon juice and vinegar in your mayo! So, the conventional wisdom says to leave your mayo at room temperature for a minimum of an hour, but some people recommend closer to a day. They move it to the fridge where it'll last for about a week. And it won't last a week, because this stuff is good. Slather it on a taco, make some tuna, potato, or pasta salad, or even just straight-up use it as a condiment on fries and whatnot. Bonus points if you mix in a little sriracha. 

August 9, 2016

Orange Chocolate Cake

I can do that, but I don't wanna
The Olympic Games are in full swing right now. Those of us who care are spending our days watching the world's best athletes perform astounding feats of athleticism to try and bring home medals for their home countries. Also, synchronized diving is happening. Because while there are many Olympic events and incredible ordeals that you can look on with awe and wonder, some of them are really ridiculous. Who decided that ping pong is an Olympic sport? I don't know, but they were obviously smoking something. The point is, however, that we're all watching incredible athletes perform at the highest levels in front of the entire world. And watching something like that isn't really complete unless you're stuffing your face with cake.


2 cups Flour
1.5 cups Sugar
1 Orange
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Milk
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
1 average human sized pinch of Salt
Powdered Sugar
Cocoa Powder
More Milk!

The first thing you're gonna need to do is develop the unrealistic opinion that you could totally do what those Olympians on TV are doing if you just started working out a little more. Once you've got that taken care of, you're in prime cake-gorging mode. So whisk together your salt, flour, and baking soda in a bowl. Then take another, even better bowl, and throw in your butter and sugar. Whisk the crap out of them to cream your butter ("creaming" butter is a concept we've dealt with here once or twice. Basically, it means violently whisk together your sugar and butter, forcing the sugar crystals to rip into the unsuspecting butter until the whole thing turns into a smooth sludge. This works best with room temperature butter, but if you want to be a rebel, use cold butter, and end up sobbing in the corner over your life choices, be my guest). Once your butter is creamed to death, whisk in your eggs, one at a time. Zest your orange, and chop the zest into itty bitty zest bits. Then add them in to your butter and egg mixture, along with the juice from the orange, your 1/2 cup of milk, and your vanilla. If you're smarter than I was, save a little bit of zest for later, to sprinkle daintily on top of your cake like you're fancy and have tuxedo pajamas, which apparently are actually a thing somehow.

Remember, if you watched people exercise while you ate it,
it totally has 1/2 the calories. 
Once you've finished mixing your second bowl, googling tuxedo pajamas, and subsequently buying tuxedo pajamas (you're welcome), add your dry ingredients into your wet gloppy ones in 3 equal batches, taking time between each batch to whisk everything together and freak out over whether your batter is getting too thick or not. Once you're done, grease up 2 round 9-inch baking pans, cover your grease in a thin coating of flour, and distribute your sludgy batter equally between the two pans. Throw them into a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. While you've got 40 minutes or so to kill, it's time to think about some frosting. Because shoving unfrosted cake into your mouth while watching fantastic feats of athleticism happen is un-American. Or maybe partially American. Like Guam. Don't be Guam. So take 3 parts powdered sugar, one part cocoa powder, and one part milk, and mix it together. The actual amounts don't really matter. Make as much or as little as you like on your cake. But keep the proportions 3 to 1 to 1 if you want it to taste right. Now that your kitchen is a powdery mess, take your cakes out of the oven. Slather frosting on top of each layer, and if you're already fancy enough to be rocking those tuxedo pajamas, add the layers on top of each other to make a double decker cake to shove in your face hole in a flurry of sweet orange flavor, denial, and calories. Happy Olympics!

August 2, 2016

Jalapeño-Citrus Bomb

Just like a jalapeño, resting on the backs of the working limes 
So I've been sick. Not any of the gross kinds of sick that you don't want to talk about around members of the opposite sex, but definitely the kind that makes you a little crazy, weak, and in need of hydration. Hydration and vast amounts of vitamin C. Because, as everybody knows, even though there's no evidence that vitamin C helps shorten or prevent illness (and the person who tried to convince us of it in the first place was a mad scientist who was trying to become immortal), at least it's doing something. And that makes us feels productive, which is important according to 3 out of 4 of the therapists I'm seeing. Especially when you're sick and quickly sinking into a vast pit of delirium.


1/2 a Jalapeño 
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 Lime
2/3 cup Ginger Ale
1.5 tsp Sugar

The first thing you're gonna need to do is...well, get up. Which isn't easy when you're feverish, delirious, and have already expended most of your energy wishing that you were either healthy, asleep, or dead. Next you're gonna chop up your jalapeño, with the stems and seeds removed. Because they're the spiciest part. And also because it's super weird to drink something filled with seeds, no matter what hipsters tell you (WARNING: link contains hipster nonsense). Throw your jalapeño bits in the bottom of a glass along with your sugar and crush it all together in a process called "muddling," which I've discussed "before," in other "drink recipes." Success is key here. There's always the chance that you might succumb to your weakened state and fail at even this simple task, signaling to your enemies that now is the perfect time to strike.
Possible side effects may include the return of a will to live

Assuming you made it this far and got your jalapeño nice and muddly, add in the orange juice along with the juice from your lime, and stir all of that nonsense together. Then top it off with your ginger ale. Take a separate glass, and fill it up with ice. Then pour your concoction over the ice and you're done! Now just sit back and relax, sipping your delicious drink, as your decaying body betrays you and those you love! At least the citrus will let you lie to yourself that you're proactively treating your illness, and the spiciness will help free your sinuses from their demons in a cleansing holy fire. Also, if you're one of those jerks who isn't currently sick (read: everyone who isn't me) you can also make this and enjoy it. Or, you can add tequila to it, and enjoy it even more.