January 26, 2016

French Onion Soup Sandwich

No before shot this week folks. Just jumped right
in there and got cooking. Also, I forgot.
Every so often, and idea hits your brain like lightning hitting a hairless cat. It's sudden, there's a lot of commotion (but still not as much as you'd expect), and you largely stop paying attention to what anybody else is saying at the dinner party. That's what happened to me Friday night when somebody mentioned in passing the concept of a French Onion Soup Sandwich. And, much like the hypothetical cat, I was struck. I started planning it out in my head, and before long I had formulated a plan, and I got to work on making some awesome and delicious food. That I didn't share with anybody because whatever cold or flu or bubonic plague I've got is clinging to me like its life depends on it. Which I guess it does, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. The point is, I'm not spreading it to the populace at large, so nobody else gets to try my delicious food. Leftovers are the only perk of being sick. Well, that and having an excuse to take a long shower in the California drought. #BankingOnElNinoGettingItsCrapTogether


6 Standard Issue Onions
4 Cups Of Vegetable Stock
2 Cups of Water
1 Clove Of Garlic
2 Slices Of Sourdough Bread
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Butter
2 oz. Fontina Cheese
1 average human sized pinch of Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of Salt

The first thing you're gonna need to do is chop the crap out of all of your onions using any technique you'd like. You don't need to go crazy and get tiny bits, because you want larger slices and/or chunks. Heat up your Oil, and half of your Butter in pan over medium heat, add in your Onions and one large human sized pinch of Salt (like the type of Salt pinch you'd expect from a Basketball player, or Neil Flynn) and sauté the crap out of those onions for approximately 3 lifetimes. You want them soft, brown, and delicious. Then mince your Garlic, add it in, and sauté for another minute. Add in your Water, Vegetable Stock, Black Pepper, and another pinch of Salt, bring the whole mess to a boil, and then simmer it for 30 minutes.

Yeah, you won't find that sucker...anywhere probably. Which
is a shame, because it's cuh-razy awesome.
Take the rest of your Butter, and melt it in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook your Sourdough Bread for about a minute, until it's brown and crispy, then flip it. Add your Cheese to one slice, and some onions you fished out of the soup to the other slice. Cook it until the cheese starts to get a little melty. Be careful not to burn the bottom of the bread. Combing the two pieces of bread into one awesome sandwich and keep it on the heat, flipping as necessary, until the cheese melts it into one cohesive unit of sandwich-ness. Then dip that sucker in your soup, and eat the crap out of it. Repeat as necessary until you run out of soup. Or sandwiches. Or sick days.

January 19, 2016

Baked Zucchini Fries

Is it just me, or do the Zucchini kind of look like they know
what's in store for them? Maybe I've been at this too long.
Ever since the dawn of civilization, when man first began to harness nature and shape the world around him, we've wondered what the hell to do with zucchini. Because they're everywhere. And they grow fast. Not patronizing aunt when you were a kid, "oh, you've gotten so big since I last saw you" fast. Zombie outbreak fast. So for tens of thousands of years we were stuck sitting in giant fields of roaming zucchini, trying to shove them under cheese, put them in soups, anything to thin the herd. Then, one fateful day, a solution was discovered. A way to make zucchini appetizing and stem their rampant growth. The word was spread, zucchini fries totally became a thing, and we never looked back.


4 Zucchini
4 Eggs
2 Cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs (You can either buy the pre-seasoned ones from the store, or add Salt, Pepper, Oregano, and breadcrumbs together yourself)
1 Cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1 Cup Flour
3 TBSP Ketchup
2 TBSP Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 tsp Hot Sauce
1 Average Human Sized Pinch of Salt
Cooking Spray

The first thing you're gonna need to do is get organized. Seriously. Because this is one of those recipes where you're gonna dunk chunks of something into lots of different gunk, and you don't wanna go out like a punk. So dunk your Flour and Salt in one bowl. Lightly beat your eggs until they know who's boss, and toss them in another bowl. Then mix together your cheese and Bread Crumbs in a 3rd bowl. This won't really help much, despite what cooking shows tell you, but the fact that you're so organized will make you feel better. Like you at least tried your best. Which will be comforting when your hand is covered in an inch-thick coating of eggs and breadcrumb gunk all the way up to your wrist, and you can't really pick up the zucchini any more because it just keeps slipping off of your nonsense-coated hand, and your phone rings, and it's an important call, but you don't actually have the manual dexterity to answer the phone while your hands are this messed up. But more on that later.

Zucchini Fries! Technically they're baked. But they're
definitely awesome. Like Mitch Hedberg
Cut your Zucchini into roughly french fry shaped chunks. It's really all a matter of preference. If you like bigger fries, cut them bigger. If you like thinner fries, cut them thinner. It's not that complicated. Use your Cooking Spray to grease up 2 baking sheets.  In small batches, toss your Zucchini bits in the flour. Then in the eggs. Then in the Cheese and Bread Crumb mix. And then lay them on your pans. After half a Zucchini you'll have given up all hope of not making a huge mess. After 2 Zucchini you'll have given up all hope of a brighter tomorrow. Once you're done (allow approx. 15 minutes of work time, interspersed with 3 hours of sobbing and frantically trying to feel clean again), throw those suckers in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. A little longer if your "fries" are thicker, a little shorter if they're super thin (Isn't logic fun?). While they're cooking, combing your Ketchup, Mayo, Balsamic Vinegar, and Hot Sauce to make an awesome dipping sauce. When they're done, eat the crap out of them. Bonus points if you manage to convince yourself that it's totally ok to eat an entire batch of them on your own because they're Zucchini, and they're not actually fried. I'm sure that'll totally work out for you in the long run.

January 12, 2016

Top Ramen Soup

All the best foods come in dried prepackaged rectangles.
This week is a little bit different from what I've done before. Normally, I make some awesome nonsense from scratch, and try to teach you all how to make it, all while taking no sass at all from the voices in my head. This week, I'm gonna show you how to take some super cheap, pretty crappy nonsense (dried rectangles of ramen noodle soup), and combine it with some other simple ingredients to make something pretty damn incredible. Because sometimes nothing's open, and you have to make do with what's lying around, or what you can buy at some sort of Kwik E Mart. And sometimes you get home from your trip to Ireland at midnight in the middle of the only legit cold-snap since you've moved to LA, you find out that your heat is broken, and you have to figure out some way to warm up with delicious food even though you're too tired to go to the store, because your flight was delayed 2 hours and then you had to sit on the tarmac for an hour after landing, so you try and find a way to utilize only things that have been sitting in your pantry or freezer for the last month or so. You know, hypothetically.


2 Rectangles of Ramen Noodle Soup
4 Cups Water
1 Standard Issue Onion
1.5 Cups Frozen Peas and Carrots
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Average Sized Human Pinches of Salt
2 Average Sized Human Pinches of Ground Ginger
1 Average Sized Human Pinch of Black Pepper
1.5 tsp Olive Oil

The first thing you're gonna need to do is forget 80% of what you know about those packages of Ramen noodles. If you never went to college or lived alone in your early 20s, you'll probably be ahead of the curve on this one. The next thing you're gonna need to do is mildly chop up your onion. You're looking for smallish chunks, but nothing too fine. If you were an onion serial killer, this would be like your sloppy early work. The stuff that the police eventually look back at years later to finally gather substantial evidence and catch you. Heat up your Olive Oil over medium heat, and sauté the crap out of your Onion along with half your Salt, half your Ginger, and all of your Black Pepper. Let it cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until the onions start to get slightly brown and smell awesome. Add in your frozen Vegetables, along with the rest of your Salt, and sauté until they're very definitely defrosted, and the whole mess starts to smell...well, even more incredible than before. During this time choppity chop up your Garlic, like a well-oiled garlic-mincing machine. Nobody's solving any garlic murders from these cloves. Add them in, and sauté for another minute.

Noodles, vegetables, flavor, and crunchy bits. You're welcome
Now it's time to deal with your noodles, and how much you're supposed to forget about what you no longer know about them because your forgot it. Got it? Me either. Which is the point, I think. Anyhow, take a knife, and chop each dried noodle-loaf into 5 equal slices. Some crumbly bits are gonna break off from the slices. Don't worry, you haven't ruined everything. This time. Yet. Take your crumbly bits and put them in a bowl for later. Add your Water, along with the slices of Ramen, and all but one pinch of the accompanying Ramen "seasoning packets" in with your Vegetables and bring the heat up to high. Cook it for about 4 minutes, when the noodles soften. Take your crumbly extra bits of noodles and toss them with your reserved pinch of Ramen seasoning and the rest of your Ginger. Serve yourself up a bowlful of soup, top it with your spiced crumblies, and enjoy! I'm sure the memory of it will continue to keep you warm as you sleep in your cold apartment, waiting until it's day out so you can call and get your heat fixed. Hypothetically.

January 5, 2016

Hot Dog Pie

For the freshest sausage, ask your cashier if it was packaged
today, like 5 or 6 times. I'm sure he'll take good care of you.
When I was growing up, my mom would often make a dish she referred to as "hot dog pie." The practical effect of it was to feed the family with vegetables, starch, and protein on a budget, and to keep us from realizing that we were poor. Now if you ask her about it she refers to it as peasant food. This is a slightly gussied up version of that (because I can), with "hot dogs" replaced with "italian sausage," "instant mashed potatoes" replaced with "real potatoes," and "no mushrooms" replaced with "yes mushrooms." Why did she call it hot dog pie? Who knows? Traditionally, the word "pie" is considered to have originated from the Latin word for magpie. Because it was made up of a collection of random nonsense that somebody threw together, cooked, and ate. Because that's what you do if it's the Middle Ages. Well, that and die of the Black Death.


8 Standard Issue Potatoes
1 lb. Italian Sausage
2 Cups Peas
6 oz. Cremini Mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
3/4 Cup Soy Milk
1 TBSP Olive Oil
An unspecified amount of Salt

The first thing you're gonna need to do is fill a big pot with cold water. Dump your potatoes in it and crank up the heat. Then take a load off, because a big pot of water takes approximately 3 generations to boil. Pass this recipe on to your children, and instill in them the values to pass it on to their own children. Once that's taken care of, and your family heirloom water is boiling, it's time to really get started. Throw your sausage right up in your boiling potato water (I'm gonna go on record, and support the controversial statement that Boiling Potato Water is an awesome name for a Ska band. But then again, what isn't?). Let them boil freely, without any taxes or restrictions, for 10 minutes. During this troubling time of sausage boiling, comfort yourself with the chopping into itty bits of your Mushrooms and Garlic. Heat up your Olive Oil in a pan, and sauté your Mushroom bits along with an Average Sized Human's Pinch of Salt. Once they've started to shrink a bit, and are smelling super awesome, add in the Peas and Garlic along with another AHSP of Salt. Let it go for another minute or two before turning off the heat, and oh! By the way, it's likely been more than 10 minutes. Your sausages should be out of your potato water. If they're not, don't panic. Just shove your bare hands into the boiling water to get them out as fast as possible so that you don't bring shame upon your dojo. Or, take your time and carefully retrieve them with a kitchen tool of some kind. Like a dojo-shame-bringing wuss.

Yeah, that's got everything you need right there. Link in the
captions! First time! Enjoy it suckers.
Boil your potatoes until they get soft all the way through, like a Congressman. This should take about 30 minutes from the time the water started to boil (For the potatoes. Congressmen soften in closer to 20 minutes). Once they're done, drain out all of that potato-sausage-water (which sounds like a very Eastern European euphemism for using the toilet), and mash the crap out of them there spuds, along with 2 AHSPs of Salt, and your Soy Milk. Once your potatoes are the right flavor and consistency (smooth, and not quite salty enough, like Jazz played on the speakers in an airport), stir in the sautéed deliciousness your have in your pan. And enjoy. If my calculations are correct, this cost me about 13 dollars, and it made enough food to feed at least 6 people. If you take it closer to the original, with plain hot dogs and no mushrooms, you'd cut it down to about 9 dollars. So get out there and make some delicious food on a reasonable budget to feed your family. Or about 3 drunk people. Or 1 guy, who's really drunk