Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday: leftovers

Tacos. Blah. Here are some more taco related images:
Taco Man is creepy as fuck. You should avoid being in a room alone with Taco Man. That isn't going to end well.
I'm pretty sure this is a slogan that only drugs could create.
Cat-Man is not a taco. Still, in the interest of safety, probably best to not be alone in a room with him either.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday: more tacos

Om nom nom.  I still can't figure out what my salsa is missing that makes it not as good as store salsa.  Had I remembered to look up the recipe, I probably would have made Julie's, since it is jello-winning.  I even looked at the tomatillos when I was buying ingredients.

Here's the best picture I could find from a google search of "taco bear:"
Apparently you can buy them.

The other important food related thing is that I've once again remembered that this:
once existed.  Conveniently, it's apparently easy to make today (sweetened koolaid lemonade + unsweetened koolaid grape), so I know what I'm doing this weekend.  The recipe makes a gallon though, and I don't think I have any container that big.  If I believe that packet weight above, I'm going to need to mix the two packets together and measure out ~0.2 ounces to make a single batch.  I'm pretty sure my kitchen scale isn't that precise.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday: taco day!

I was too hungry to take pictures.  Fry up super chunky cut bacon for funsies. Drain out all but a bit (tablespoon? probably around there) of the grease into grease tub when mostly done, then add in an onion sliced into thick arcs.  Once those are reasonably browned, add in the ground beef, along with the chopped up bacon. Cook cook blah blah, add seasoning, add water, cover and simmer.  Unconver and reduce. Entaconate.

I made some rice in the hope that that would help serve as a liquid buffer, and soak up the liquid from the meat/onions and the salsa.  That did not work as planned, and resulted in me having taco juice running down my hand as I ate.

No taco related pictures, as I used them all up last week. How about this?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This would have been more timely on Friday:

Hurricane Irene was such a jerk that it went out of its way to hit Pakistan, then came back to beat up the east coast, and is about to take a jump over to beat up Russia.

Also, here's a gif of Natalie Portman crying, which she apparently does a lot more than I notice:
Yes, there's a cat in there too. I don't know. The internet makes silly things. I guess we can say "hi" when it flashes on screen.

Sunday: Pineapple!

WF had Maui pineapples today for like $1 a pound.  Given that Hawaiian pineapples are by far the best pineapples in the world, I had to get one.  $3.50 later, I had this:
Time to dismember! Choppy off the ends:
Skin it:
Extract the fibrous core:
Repeat with the other half:

Super yummy. So sweet that even after eating that bowl of chunks, I only have the slightest hint of acid burns in my mouth.  It also has an almost creamy taste.  Delicious, and it makes me wonder why I don't buy pineapple more often since they're literally grown right over there <---.  

The main plan for dinner tonight was to make tacos, and make a salsa to go with it.  I then got a thing of WF deli sushi for lunch before realizing that it was nearly 3:00.  So, I think tacos will be a tomorrow dinner, and I'll just do some fast nachos for dinner instead.  I'm going to try to get the salsa made tonight (except I don't have any limes. Crap, I forgot that), so I have something to dip nachos in.  Then tacos tomorrow through thursday probably.  Next weekend is apparently Labor Day weekend, so I should make something Labor-y then.  I saw that WF has buffalo hot dogs, so maybe I'll do that.  Buffalo chili dogs would be good, but I'm not sure I want to make hot dog chili.  We'll see.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday: "fuck it, I don't feel like real food"

After being lazy all day and not bothering to get out of bed, I ran into the problem of not actually having anything to eat.  Since the plan was to get groceries this morning (a plan I completely abandoned), I had to find something else.

That led to me sitting on the couch and watching hurricane reports on CNN.  That was also not really a good solution to the "stop being hungry" problem.  I then remembered a chat from a few days ago about Jack in the Box.  I don't like Jack in the Box, but it is definitely a "fuck it, I don't feel like real food" place for me. I got a sourdough jack, no tomato, no mayo (the planet also hates mayo).  On the way home, I realized that I've only ever gotten a sourdough jack from JitB.  I'm not saying that my menu choice was set completely by a penny arcade comic, but that is the only thing I've ever eaten from them.

Also, like always, my food was largely cold by the time I got home.  Despite the fact that every other take out place is a longer drive to get home, they always seem to have kept temperature better.

Tl;dr: I need to stop going to shitty Jack in the Box. Also get a food plan for next week sorted out.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday: That took a long time

It's good that I didn't try to make this yesterday.  Nearly four hours between starting cooking and finishing eating isn't really a "school night" kind of dinner.  No mise today, and I kind of got lazy about taking pictures a third of the way through, but let's try the play-by-play anyway.
Throw the lamb shank into a pan with some olive oil and brown the outside. Did I mention we're making braised lamb shanks?  We're making braised lamb shanks. So brown them.
Slice up a leak into five chunks about a half-inch/inch thick, and another chunk you'll use later.  Also garlic.

Take five pictures of varying crappy focus because your phone camera has a terrible time focusing in some situations.  Keep browning the lamb.  When you've done that, and it's reasonably brown, remove to a plate, and add the garlic and leek into the pan:
Harass the leek chunks with tongs until they fall apart and soften.  Watch that the garlic doesn't burn (mine was a bit close).
 Put the shank back into the pan with the leeks.
 Add salt, pepper, and rosemary.  I was going to use fresh, but Safeway had crap herbs today, so dried was the next best thing.
Pour wine over the lamb, until it's about half covered.  I had to use about a half of the bottle over the course of the braising, as I added more as the liquid evaporated.  I also added a bit of water towards the end to keep the liquid up.  This wine wasn't a bad fit. It's a somewhat sweet white, with some good fruitiness to it.  I used to use a cheap wine from Michigan when I was there, and it was also a fruity sweet white.  I think a sweeter wine is better than dry for this, because that helps keep the final gravy from being too overwhelming.

This is where I stopped taking pictures. From here, it's basically just two-three hours of waiting for the lamb to be fully cooked.  Roll it over every half hour or so to keep it moist, and ensure that the liquid level doesn't drop too far.  You'll know it's basically done when you have to be careful while rolling to keep the tongs from shredding the meat from the bone.

About a half hour before finishing, make some mashed potatoes, and scoop them into a bowl, and then top with the shank, leeks, and gravy (it's basically just wine, leek bits, and lamb fat. Trimming a really fatty shank is probably a good idea, but mine didn't look that bad).  When you do that, you get this:

The dark bit on the left is a mushroom...something that I made as a side.  I didn't take any pictures of this.  Basically, I put a couple of cloves of roasted garlic in the bottom of my big ramekin, sliced five or six mushrooms, thinly sliced that big chunk of leek, and then layered the mushrooms and leek.  I drizzled a bit of oil on each layer, and added sage/thyme/rosemary/pepper/salt as well.  Bake for a bit to brown the mushrooms, then add vermouth to let everything stew together.  When it's nearly done (about 30 minutes before serving), drain out any excess liquid, add some breadcrumbs, mix, and return to oven.  Just before serving, shred parmesan over the top, and bake until it's melted and crispy.

Even though it took forever to make, this was really good.  It's basically the definition of comfort food.  Warm, umami-y goodness in a bowl.  It is a bit more of a winter dish, but since I don't have winter here, it's basically just deciding if I want to be in a hot kitchen in august, or a hot kitchen in march.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Due to the crazy scheduling over at syfy, they showed the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.  I already knew most of the details, but had never actually seen it (or, until last week, any other episodes of ST:E).

Let's point out the big problem:

ST:TNG episode "The Pegasus":
ST:E episode "These Are the Voyages...":

The thing I can't understand is why they tried to shoe horn this story into that TNG episode.  I didn't really think it was that good of an episode the first time around.  Crazy admiral gets stupid while Captain Picard, who as you'll note in the above picture, has a whole damn day just for himself, sits around until Riker leads the mutiny of sanity against Crazy Admiral.  I don't really see how this "OMG Engineer Southern dies!" storyline really fits in with that.

Also, the constant callbacks to the other series are kind of painful. "The Next Generation," "All good things," etc.  If you can't write a decent story without filling it with in-jokes for people who have memorized all n-hundred episodes, then you simply aren't a good writer. Stop it. I guess we know why no one trusted Rick Berman with enough money to make any more shows, don't we.

It also would be nice if for the final big scene, the ST:E people could wear fancy clothes instead of the same crap uniforms they've been wearing all day.

Thursday: is lazy day

I didn't remember to get my lamb out of the freezer until this morning, so about mid-afternoon I decided that I didn't want to bother fighting possibly still-frozen meat, and that I'd just be lazy and pick up something on the way home.  Conveniently, I had these pictures already saved to describe what I got:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday: I'm pretty sure this is me

No exciting food stuff today. I finished off the leftover pancakes, and basically did the same thing as yesterday.  This means that tomorrow will need to be something different, but I'm planning on having that lamb shank.

Friday is still a mystery.  I kind of want tacos, but that might just be a standard desire for tacos.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday: Continuing adventures in breakfast, but at dinner-time

Sausage today (package included) instead of bacon, a bit of cheese on the potatoes (they were a bit bland yesterday), and strawberries (since that was the last lonely peach yesterday).  I also got new syrup, which made a significant improvement in the pancake experience.

The sausage was better than I was expecting.  I apparently didn't see the "pre-cooked" label, as I was expecting it to be "fresh" frozen.  Still, it was tastier than most other sausage I've bought here, and since they precooked it, it wasn't as greasy.  I kind of wish the WF meat case sausage had a ranking better than "made of pig or pig products," so I could get proper fresh sausage.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday: I had the idea first

On Saturday, I had the idea to make pancakes for breakfast, or to do a breakfast-for-dinner thing.  Then, as I was watching my youtube subscriptions last night, I saw this:
That made deciding what to do for dinner tonight pretty simple.  I followed his recipe, because pancake recipes are basically all the same (a point he makes as well).

Cook cook cook:

Plate plate plate:

Pancakes with blueberries, a couple slices of the brown sugar/whatever bacon from WF, fried potatoes, OJ, and a sad alone peach that I sliced and macerated with a bit of sugar.  I am 99% sure that my maple syrup needs to be replaced.  It has a wonky flavor now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What the clusterfluff?

This was supposed to be a post where I have a picture of a slice of that oatmeal peanut butter bar along with the last of my clusterfluff ice cream.  Unfortunately, that picture seems to have gotten lost when I changed batteries on my phone.  Instead, we have this picture:

That's regular vanilla on the left, and clusterfluff on the right.  Both are from Ben & Jerry's, as can be seen by the cartoon cows all over.  I noticed this yesterday when I opened my freezer. I expect clusterfluff to be worse for me, as it's full of all sorts of fluff.  That's supported by the increased fat and calories.  It also has more sugar, so the carbs are higher (as well as the oatmeal clusters adding fiber).

The weird thing is the fact that the cholesterol in the vanilla is way higher than the clusterfluff.  All the vanilla ingredients are in the clusterfluff, so it's an issue of proportions.

Anyway, just something weird.

Sunday: Shrimp Roll

I've spent a larger-than expected part of today looking at pictures of shrimp (and similarly made lobster) rolls.  I largely disregarded the advice presented (as I'm not going to slather them with some horrible mayo sauce), but came up with this:

Yes, I understand that cheese and bacon aren't traditional ingredients.  I got potato-bread hotdog buns, as they were the biggest and squishiest available at safeway.  I really wish I could find some of these, but it looks like the side split is the only thing available.

My "recipe" took the shrimp, and quickly sauteed them in butter, and then as they were nearly done, splashed in some cayenne sauce to pep up the flavor.  This actually added less heat than the dried cayenne yesterday, probably because the sauce mostly mixed into the butter.  I had the bacon left over from yesterday, so it just needed a quick pass through the microwave.  I made a quick dressing of 1-part mayo, 2-part dijon, dash-dash-dash of old bay, and spread that on the bun, then added the lettuce.  This was a mistake, as the lettuce simply becomes an aqueduct for the shrimp juices to spill out onto your hand. Shrimp, bacon, cheese.

Very tasty, with just the right balance between all the ingredients.  Even the mayo-sauce worked well, as the mustard toned down the mayo until it only added a little tangy creaminess. I should have organized it better so that the liquids could soak into the bun, but that's something that can be fixed with napkins.

Late Night Baking: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Snack Squares

I need to not start things at 11PM if I want to be able to eat it before bedtime.  Anyway, this is the base recipe, changed as follows:

Ingredient rollcall:
  • 1/2c brown sugar (elephant section)
  • 3/4c crunchy peanut butter (1c measuring cup)
  • 1tbs vanilla extract (shot glass)
  • 1c flour (1c dry measuring cup)
  • 1c oats (monkey section)
  • 1tsp baking soda (walrus section)
  • 1/4tsp salt (also walrus section)
  • 1/2c milk (2c measuring cup)
  • 1/3c+ chocolate chips (alligator section. This was probably closer to 1/2. I just used the leftover chips I hadn't eaten yet)

Beat peanut butter and brown sugar together until creamy.

Add vanilla and mix.

Add all the dry ingredients, and then mix until you get something like that.  It won't look right, but that's ok.

Add the milk and mix it in until everything sticks together.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Squish it down into the pan that isn't actually 8x8, but you never remember that fact, so you use it anyway.  This is going to magically result in bars that are twice as thick as those in the original recipe picture, which suggests that this pan is actually closer to 6x6.

Bake for ~25 minutes at 350. Then, let it sit for a half hour as the smell of peanut butter fills your apartment and taunts you.

It wasn't quite as good as I was hoping, although it does have a good flavor.  Had the pan been the right size, it would have cooked a bit more evenly, and I suspect that would have helped. It also would be good with the last bit of the clusterfluff, so I think that will be for tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday: Random crap salad

  1. Fry bacon, remove, drain grease into waiting tub.
  2. Wash and quickly fry asparagus in remnant grease and remove when bright green.
  3. Remove tails from shrimp, add back some grease, and pan fry, sprinkling a bit of cayenne over them.
  4. Wash lettuce and slice heirloom tomato.
  5. Make fast vinaigrette from olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a dash or two of old bay.
  6. Toss lettuce and dressing, then arrange toppings around.
  7. Add slice of cheddar before it goes bad and regret not buying a baguette or something bread-y to add a carbo-delicious side.
I don't really have a full week plan set up, but I have another quarter pound of shrimp, so that's going to be the center of tomorrow's dinner. I'm not so sure I want to do this salad thing again. Maybe I can pick up some bread and make a shrimp roll or something instead?  If I get a big enough piece (and some more cheese that I'll then need to quickly eat before it goes bad), I can see if I can do a fondue for monday/tuesday.  I don't have a pot, but I have a bunch of ramekins, so I'm sure I can figure out something.  I also picked up a really nice looking lamb shank today, so sometime this week that will get braised up into deliciousness.  This means I still need to do another trip to the grocery store, and that still only gets me up through wednesday.  

I kind of want tacos, too. :-/

I'm also thinking that I'm going to make breakfast tomorrow when I get up, so that will produce extra pancakes.  I could do a breakfast-for-dinner thing on monday instead, and that will pick up another day without having to do a grocery trip.  I've also been looking at this recipe for the past two days, so that might magically appear later this evening once I'm less full.  I'm a bit concerned that I don't have enough peanut butter, but it should be close.  That will give me a way to get rid of some of the oatmeal I bought last week when I made oatmeal muffins.

Corgi haet cowboy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday: A Perfectly Cromulent Solution

I finally cleaned the kitchen a bit, so pictures are back.  After eating cheese fries and a giant burger (or most of a giant burger. I chucked about a quarter because I was full. Also, I forgot to have them not put the mayo-mustard crap sauce on it, and that kind of put me off as well.), I figured that I should try to be healthier in what I ate today.  I picked up some fresh fruit this afternoon, along with some moderate quality deli sushi for lunch.  After a few healthy snacks and a pile of DVR'ed Twilight Zone episodes, I realized that it was 8:00, and I was getting hungry.  That's when the perfect solution presented itself: Milkshake.

Ok, I can hear the complaints now:
  1. Milkshakes aren't really healthy.
  2. That's way too much fruit for that cup.
This is where I point out that those two concerns completely cancel each other out.  Fruit's healthy. Milk apparently "does a body good," from what I've heard.  Peanut butter is full of protein and...peanuts.  Sure, ice cream isn't great, but I didn't use that much.

So it turns out that point 2 was actually true.  That was way too much fruit for that cup.  I dragged out my old Quality Dairy 64oz cup from undergrad, and blitzed it all up in that.  

The end result worked much better than I'd expected.  The strawberries basically sacrificed themselves simply to color the final shake.  The banana flavor is clear, as is the peanut butter.  Most surprising to me is that the peanut bits (since chunky is the One True Peanut Butter) stayed suspended and didn't sink to the bottom.

Other than the fact that I now totally feel like I need to brush my teeth, I think this works well as a Admission Day dinner. It celebrates....something.  Admitting that milkshakes are delicious, we'll say.

I'm not sure what the plan for next week is.  I don't think I'm going to the farmer's market tomorrow, mostly since it isn't the best place to try to come up with a menu plan.  I picked up a head of lettuce at the store today, so even though I paid twice what it costs at the farmer's market, I have salad-works for a few days. Maybe some shrimp on a salad? I still kind of want to do something with fish, but making my own fish sticks seems like more effort than I want to put in right now.  Then again, I'm full on delicious milkshake, so my motivation for making more food is pretty small anyway.  We'll see what's on sale tomorrow, I guess.

Those greedy fucking poor people

Via this totally authorized Daily Show clip.

Also, is it just me, or are those some really shitty fonts?