Archive for the ‘What\’s going in my pie-hole today?’ Category

Thursday’s Recipe

July 27, 2006

cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Sugar Coated Raspberries

Molten Chocolate Cakes:

1 cup unsalted butter

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

4 teaspoons flour

8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use 12 regular paper muffin cups)

Garnish:

1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries, barely moistened and rolled in about 1/2 cup sugar right before serving

Melt butter and chocolate in medium heat-proof bowl over saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with hand mixer in medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.) Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. (If using smaller cups baking time will be shortened.) Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates. Top each with sugared raspberries and serve immediately.

Source: Allrecipes.com

Take 5 Contest

July 24, 2006

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All you creative Take 5 kids out there, must check this out!

You could win $10,000. Instead of entering our sad little thong contest, maybe this is what all that talent should be going to. AG remembers the talent we saw when we crashed Chevy Tahoe’s Make Your Own Ad site. That’s got to be worth something.

Master Cleanse aka The Lemonade Diet – Day 1

June 13, 2006

So remember when I had planned to hit the gym a whole lot during this extended vacation that I’m on?  Yeah, it never happened.  Instead, I’ve been sitting around, packing on the pounds while I do my job hunting from the comfort of home. 

Now a few years ago, a friend of mine went on something called the lemonade diet.  As Res would put it, she’s one of those “Austin Hippies” who’s all about organic foods and healthy eating and crazy shit like that.  The diet isn’t about weight loss, though that’s often a side effect.  This diet is supposed to help detoxify and cleanse your system.

There are 3 things that I’m supposed to drink on this fast:

1)  “Lemonade” – A combination of 10 oz of purified water, 2 tbsp of grade B maple syrup, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (preferably from organic lemons), and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper.  You’re supposed to drink at least 6 glasses of the lemonade each day.

2)  Saline Wash – A combination of 1 quart of water with 2 tsp of non-iodized sea salt.  Drink this at the beginning of the day.

3)  Senna Tea – This is a laxative tea.  You can also use Smooth Move, but no way was I buying something with that name.  You’re supposed to drink this at the end of the day.

I had been doing some research on this on various websites and also spoke with a couple of dieticians that I know and decided to go on and try it.  Last night, I went and got all of the ingredients that I needed.  I didn’t wind up buying the organic lemons.  For the cost difference, they didn’t seem to be worth it.  Keep in mind that I’m only partially employed and organic grade B maple syrup is a little bit more than the Aunt Jemima that you put on your pancakes.

Sidenote: Tater, from Fast, Inc. needs to STICK IT IN!

So I started off with the saline wash this morning.  It sucked, big time.  I was suprised that I was able to drink it down.  The recommendation is to chug it down and I drank it as fast as I could and you pretty much have to or you’re going to hurl.

I’ve also had my first glass of the lemonade.  It wasn’t too bad.  I think that I might have put in too much cayenne given how much my stomach is burning.  I also only used half of the recommended amount of maple syrup, which is suggested for us big girls.

So far, so good….but we’ll see how I feel when the hunger pangs start.  I’m off to drink another glass of lemonade.

 

In defense of mango salsa

June 11, 2006

First, a word about terminology. Although it has come to designate a very specific genre of Tex-Mex condiment for the hungry American, the Spanish word salsa merely means “sauce”, and so can refer to very different things. It comes from the homologous Latin word salsa, which means “salty” and is obviously derived from the Latin sal, “salt”.

The word itself refers to just as broad a range of preparations in Mexico as does sauce in the English speaking world. To whit: “Tabasco sauce” and “chocolate sauce” are clearly both “sauce”, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

For the purposes at hand, I should note that although most Americans think of salsa as a runny, red (and possibly piquant) tomato-based concoction which might more accurately be referred to as salsa picante, salsa roja, or (depending on the method of preparation) salsa fresca. These are most basically a puree of tomatoes, chiles (either jalapenos or serranos), onion, garlic, and cilantro. However, if you boil those same ingredients whole before pureeing them, you have salsa ranchera, which is EXCEEDINGLY delicious poured, still steaming, over fried eggs. You can also make a concoction similar to salsa roja using tomatillos rather than tomatoes, and this would be called salsa verde. This can also refer to a cooked preparation, however, such as the salsa verde that’s simmering in here in the Republic of Dogs Presidential Kitchens as we speak…destined to cover enchiladas de pollo with tangy goodness. In my neck of the woods, tacos are commonly served with a condiment that you might think would be called salsa verde (since it’s green), but it’s basically just pureed jalapenos, and is generally just called chile.

With the incipient trendypantsification of “latin cuisine” (whatever that is), the word salsa has gained a much wider and looser currency. Although confusing (insofar as it gives rise to things like “mango salsa”), it is probably more accurate, since it brings the word back to its original broad meaning.

However. Most of these salsas nuevas are far less pourable than the mental image most Americans see when they think salsa. This is not without precedent. In my part of the world (south Texas/el norte de Mexico), we heartily enjoy a chunky sort of relish made of diced tomatoes, diced onions, diced chiles, and chopped cilantro. You might add a little lime juice to this, but that’s pretty much it. It’s not cooked. It’s fresh and a little crunchy, and nothing is better with barbacoa tacos on a lazy Sunday morning. This preparation is more broadly known as salsa cruda, but Tex-Mex parlance, it is called pico de gallo (the beak of the rooster).

Most fruit salsas are more like pico de gallo than salsa roja. They are chunky, rather than pureed, and therefore more like a relish than a sauce in the parlance of American cooking.

Second, the combination of fruits with piquant flavors has a long and honorable heritage based on the simple fact that it’s delicious. Whether it’s a dash of black pepper in a berry sorbet or the chili powder sprinkled over fresh fruit at roadside fruiterias across el norte, heat and sweet is a winning combination. That’s why salsas crudas made from mango or pineapple or orange or papaya are freaking delicious, despite what salsa-haterz like Almostinfamous might say in their youthful culinary bravado.

I suppose that the real proof is, as they say, in the pudding. Fortunately, these salsas are the simplest things in the world to make. If you can wield a knife, you can make these. It is a further instance of good fortune that these salsas are most satisfying with grilled meats, which Americans are mandated by federal law to prepare and consume at least once a week during the months of June, July and August. So give these a spin. Like Midniter, you may still harbor grave doubts about fruit salsas. Like him, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Mango Salsa

eat me, cobagz!!!1!

This recipe is based on one from the 1997 revision of The Joy of Cooking, which is an interesting measure of just how much American food as changed. However, comparing editions of Joy is an exercise for another day. Ethan Becker, whose smarmy editorial voice suffuses (and degrades) the entire revised Joy, suggests that “Papaya, pineapple, peaches or apricots can be substituted for the mango; basil or parsley can stand in for the cilantro”. I would concur with the first clause of that sentence, but violently reject the second. Call me provincial, but to my mind, replacing the cilantro with basil would basically sever the roots of this dish in the cuisines of Mexico, and make it…I don’t know. Something else. Possibly delicious, but not salsa.

So, chop up a small red onion and toss it in a bowl with 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice. Cube the flesh of two ripe mangos (not too ripe…those are best eaten standing over the sink, with the juice running down your chin!), and toss that in with the onions and the lime juice. Give it a quick toss – the lime juice will keep the mango fresh-looking. Chop and add the following: 1 small red bell pepper, 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (no stems, slackers!), 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (just squeeze half of a juicy orange, catching the seeds), and 1 jalapeno, sans seeds and membranes. Toss it all together, and season it with a small pinch of salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

I served this over strips of a flank steak that had been crusted with ancho and chipotle chili powders and seared. It would have been equally fantastic grilled.

Orange-Avocado Salsa

Ignore my Martha Stewart trappings, I'm delicious!

This is based on a recipe from the April issue of Everyday Food. I was frankly doubtful of this combination, but the picture looked so appetizing that I was forced to try it. To call it a “revelation” would perhaps overstate the matter, but this is really delicious with grilled chicken.

Whisk the juice of half a time with a teaspoon or so of honey in a medium bowl. Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and set aside. Cut away the peel and pith of one large navel orange Slice the segments into chunks and toss them in the bowl. Chop 1/4 of a medium-sized red onion and add it. Finally, pit and dice one firm, ripe avocado. Add it to the bowl and toss lightly. You’re done!

Friday Recipe Korner

June 9, 2006

This is base on a recipe from April’s Gourmet magazine, but it surprisingly doesn’t contain unicorn-tusk or platinum ingot or Polynesian sparrow tears or any other ridiculously unattainable ingredient. Also, it can be prepared without the assistance of the usual legion of servants. I made this for my brother and sister-in-law on Wednesday, and they loved it. So did M. Even baby Isaac was trying to get in on the action!

I hope you’ll try this. It’s exceedingly fast and easy, and I promise you’ll love it.  I served it with grilled italian sausages and grilled red onions.

Rigatoni with Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

To get started with this recipe, get a 28 oz can of peeled tomatoes in tomato puree. I like the Italian brands, and they only cost a few dimes more at my grocery store. You’ll also need two cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of your big knife but NOT CHOPPED, a generous pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of olive oil (I’d go with a fragrant extra virgin olive oil, because this sauce doesn’t have many ingredients, so you want each one to stand out), a little salt and a handful of fresh basil leaves. You’ll also need a pound of rigatoni (duh), and a cup or two of ricotta. Gourmet recommends making your own, and as soon as you’re done laughing at that, you can go to the store and buy some.

So, get a medium saucepan, add the 1/4 cup olive oil, and put it over medium heat until it’s fragrant. Toss in the pepper flakes and the garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to brown. Adjust the heat as necessary to be sure that the pepper flakes don’t burn. When the garlic starts to brown, scoop it out and toss it, since it has already imparted its scent to the oil. Add the tomatoes, their juice, and a pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened (about 20 minutes). Tear the basil into pieces and stir it in, removing the sauce from the heat.

While the sauce is cooking, boil up the rigatoni. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss it with the tomato sauce to coat. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano. (That’s Gourmet speaking. I used Parmesan, and it was great.) Top each serving of pasta with a dollop of ricotta. I know, that sounds a little weird, and I wasn’t sure my family would go for it. As it turned out, everyone loved the slight richness obtained by mixing the ricotta into the sauced pasta, and everyone wanted more cheese. So go figure, give it a try!

What am I putting in my cakehole today? Post-Lunch Edition.

June 9, 2006

Most of 1 Sea Island Seafood Platter (deep-fried bonanza, skip the fries and hideous “hushpuppies”)

1 Iced Tea (no sugar, because that’s nasty)

.5 box “Runts” hard candy

.5 box “Zours” extremely sour chewy candy

Another Prilosec

What am I putting in my cakehole today? Breakfast Edition

June 9, 2006

1 pot coffee (Starbucks Italian Roast)

2 75mg tablets bupropion

1 10mg tablet hydrochlorothiazide

1 Centrum multivitamin

1 500mg tablet vitamin C

1 Prilosec

1 bean, cheese & bacon taco from Pete’s Tako House

Krispy Kreme Giveaway

May 31, 2006

 

It’s always about the food here at RoD:

Krispy Kreme’s National Doughnut Day Celebration June 2

KRISPY KREME’S NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY CELEBRATION
TOPS LIST OF BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN JUNE

Stop by your local Krispy Kreme on Friday, June 2nd for a free doughnut of your choice.

1. Treat yourself on the sweetest day of the year! Friday, June 2nd is National Doughnut Day! Stop by your local participating Krispy Kreme and get a free Krispy Kreme doughnut of your choice!

Between summer vacations, camp, air conditioning and backyard BBQs, summer can take a toll on your bank account. The good news is that there doesn’t have to be a drought in your wallet just because the weather is getting hotter.

“Dough”-not-required opportunities abound during the first month of summer — providing proof that the best things in life are still free. Kick off these “Top Ten Free Things To Do In June” with a free Krispy Kreme doughnut of your choice at participating Krispy Kreme retail stores on Friday, June 2 in honor of National Doughnut Day.

Ephemera, Gastronomenonological and Technophallogocentrical.

March 12, 2006

Hello, Dear Reader! We’ve been busybusybusy here at the Presidential Palace over the past few weeks, and you may rest assured that what we’ve been busy with is of no real interest to anyone. I’ve been deploying SharePoint team websites for each workgroup in my agency (and learning how to develop, deploy and administer SharePoint solutions in the process). I also managed to get my greedy little claws on a beta copy of Windows Vista, which I promptly installed on my laptop. It’s definitely a beta, and therefore occasionally goes insane, but I will say that the new UI is slick. I know, who cares, but I spend most of my waking hours looking at Windows desktops, so a little sleek-n-sexxxy newness is nice every now and again. Also, I have to say that it seems to handle video and 3D graphics a hell of a lot better than XP Pro did running on the same laptop. “Search” is everywhere, and while I think that searches and indexed metadata are probably the future of managing your crap on your computer, for those of us who have been thinking in terms of directory hierarchies since Ye Olden Tymes of DOS, it’s a little disconcerting. Although I was able to install and use Visual Studio 2005 uneventfully, SQL Express doesn’t seem to like it here. Boo hoo, it’s a beta. But then I just open up a bunch of windows and use the 3D “flip” feature to scroll through them for a while like a chimpanzee watching the Oscars. I am easily amused.

P.S., if you are a strong partisan of the “Linux is Jesus, W1nD0w$ 5uXx0r5!~!!!” camp, please keep your opinions off of my blog. I personally have no strong feelings about this debate, but a) Microsoft technologies are my entire livelihood, and b) if I wanted to listen to the endless flood of bullshit that passes for the Windows v. Linux debate, I’d go read Slashdot instead of lamely pretending to have a blog.

Anyway, on to something that interests everyone! No, not that, the other thing! Food!

I finally got my square plates, and I heart them in a big way. Alas, I am not a billionaire heiress and spinster aunt like the infamous Twisty Faster, so mine came from Target rather than William Sonoma (we thought it would be fun to be able to buy some food to put on the plates before next month). I still love them. Everything looks like restaurant food when plated on these enormous rafts of white porcelain.

Today, the First Boyfriend was off at Fiesta Texas with one of his many sisters, her husband, and their exceedingly numerous offspring. I thought about going, in the same way that I occasionally think about suicide. Chalk it up to an occasional symptom of neuroses that are fairly well-managed with medication. Returning to my senses, I spent a relaxing day at home. I cleaned the apartment, shaved my “stubble” (which was approaching full-on “beard” status, causing even my employer, long accustomed to my slovenly and unfashionable ways, to enquire if I was “okay”), took out the trash (to the patio, where it will wait for the First Boyfriend to do his conjugal duty of taking it to the dumpster for my lazy ass), and just generally puttered around.

I also watered the plants. What plants, you ask? Why Dear Reader, those few tough and lucky plants that survived my gardening holocaust last spring! Suffice it to say that the ease with which one may coax seeds into sprouting gave me an entirely unwarranted sense of confidence in my ability to keep said sprouts alive and cause them to mature into plants that I could eat (which are the only kind of plants I’m interested in). Still, a few hardly souls survived. My rosemary is positively thriving, and will only get more vigorous as our balmy spring turns into the inferno that is summer in south Texas. My cilantro and chives both keep on keepin’ on. These three are my favorites, because the manage to live through my frequent failures to water my plants for three or four days at a time, and also because they grow back quickly after I hack away huge sections of their foliage to sacrifice in the flaming volcano of my eat-hole. Several basil plants have made it to adulthood, and while I cherish their sweet, tasty leaves (especially with tomato season coming up), they don’t handle my perpetual neglect as well. Their leaves sometimes actually die, so that after I give the plants their weekly watering, the chives and cilantro simply reinflate their parched cells, whereas the basil plants sustain actual damage. On the other hand, yummy, basil!

The rest of the plants are mostly pepper bushes. I hate them all. I planted seeds from a packet containing a mix of 6 different varieties of pepper. I assumed that I’d get at least one jalapeno bush out of the deal. Alas for me. All 16 or 20 of the plants that survived bear a red, longish pepper that while lacking the grassy sprightliness of jalapenos or the fruity savor of habaneros (both of which were in the mix), are infernally hot. Now, I like hot food, but I’m not talking about tongue-burning hot. I’m talking about the kind of heat where if you chop one of these, and then wash your hands, and then one hour later go to the little boys room, you’ll notice that your weewee burns where you touched it. This will happen to you precisely once, after which you will hate this pepper forever.

Then there are a few mystery-plants who trace their origins to a pack of seeds I bought at the gift shop of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens last spring. It was supposed to contain a mixture of medicinal herbs native to south Texas. Unfortunately, I lost the paper insert that identified each plant and explained its supposed medicinal benefits. They all look like weeds, and I hate them, but I can’t bring myself to kill them. Who knows when I might need to brew an infusion of one of them to cure gout or some third-word hippie bullshit like that?

Anyway.

Tonight, I cooked up a fairly tasty dinner for….myself. Here’s how it went down:

I took some boneless, skinless chicken breasts (non-free-range, non-organic, the kind they sell to poor people like me) and beat the shit out of them with a rolling pin until they were uniformly thin and flat.

While I was beating the chicken like a red-headed stepchild, I had some teeny tiny red potatoes parboiling. After the chicken was flat, I drained them taters and tossed them with some kosher salt, cracked black pepper, ancho chili powder, olive oil, and a finely chopped mixture of garlic and fresh rosemary. (I grew it myself!!) I stuck them in the oven and roasted them at 350 for a while.

Next, poured some flour on a plate and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I put a big skillet on the stove and fired it up, tossing equal quantities of butter and olive oil (“EVOO”, to quote the loathsome Rachel Ray). When the butter was nice and foamy, I dredged the abused chicken breasts in the flour and flung them into the searing fat. When they were nicely browned, I took them out and set them on a warm plate. After draining all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pan, I tossed in 3 minced shallots (okay, 1/4 of an onion, but it would have been shallots if I wasn’t such a pov), two minced cloves of garlic, about a tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary (that I grew myself!!), a pinch of crushed red pepper, and a few grinds of black pepper, and then let that saute until it was nice and fragrant. What can I say, I’m a mincing queen. HA! I kill me! Actually, Troy’s the mincing queen, but that’s another story.

Then I added a cup of low-sodium chicken broth the pan to deglaze it, and let that boil down to about a quarter-cup. Incidentally, I commend low-sodium broth to everyone, not out of some random concern for health (health is for weaklings), but because “regular” canned broth is so ass-puckeringly salty that you won’t really be able to add any salt to whatever you’re making.

So when that had cooked down, I added about an eighth-cup of balsamic vinegar and a couple of pinches of sugar, and then again let the sauce reduce to a glossy syrup. I briefly returned the chicken breasts to the pan to coat with the sauce, and then served them (to myself) with the now-deliciously-crusty roasted potatoes. Delicious! It got inserted directly in my eat-hole.

After that, it was time for dessert. Did I mention the chocolate mousse? Oh, I didn’t? Well, that brings me to another of my more recent favorite things: a little magazine called “Everyday Food”. It’s hardly new, but since I had only seen it on the same grocery-store-checkout-stand literature rack where one sees loathsome little booklets bearing titles like “Qwik-n-EZ Low-Carb Weeknight Crock-Pot Suppers”, I hadn’t ever read it. Or touched it.

Then one day, my assistant (who is constantly nattering on and on about his domestic life, “my boyfriend this” and “my boyfriend that”, etc.) mentioned that (surprise!) his boyfriend often prepared dinner with recipes from the “Everyday Food” section of the Martha Stewart website. Intrigued, I check it out, and low and behold, “Everyday Food” (in both it’s print and online incarnations) is indeed an Omnimedia production. Which makes it evil…but a different class of evil from the little cook-booklets that instruct bourgeois housefraus in the fine art of satisfying their lazy husbands and fat, hyperactive children with concoctions of ground beef and velveeta. So I subscribed, and I heart it in a big way.

The chocolate mousse recipe is from “Everyday Food” and it’s a snap. A creamy, luscious, chocolatey snap that fairly shrieks “EAT ME!”, demanding an immediate transfer from the cozy white ramekins to the acid-seared iron precincts of my belly.

Final random thought: “The Simple Life” is the most loathsome thing to ever arrive in my home via coaxial cable, and since my internet access is provided by the cable company, that’s saying something. “The Runway Project” is a close second. I can only surmise that these so-called “reality television” programs are where my fellow Americans have learned to behave like such coarse, inconsiderate, ignorant, selfish, loud-mouthed turds in public and without any shame whatsoever.

Someone posted a fairly thoughtful (if needlessly sneering) comment on my post about the Mohammed cartoon controversy, and I’ve been working on a reply to it. I’ll probably post it eventually, but don’t hold your breath. In the mean time, I will note that if you have a problem with sarcasm, hyperbole, or saying that people are being fucking babies, then you probably need to get your own blog or go read Ezra Klein or something. Sarcasm, hyperbole, and calling people fucking babies (while acting like a bunch of fucking babies ourselves) are pretty much the raisons d’etre of The Republic of Dogs. Well, that, and waging The Long War against those choads over at 3Bulls. And also making fun of Daily Kos. And…oh, fuck it, see above re: “acting like fucking babies ourselves”.
Oh, and Wednesday is The Mass of the Ides of March, which is an official federal holiday here in the Republic (on account of it being my birthday). You can find my Amazon.com wish list by clicking here. Just FYI.