October 19, 2016

Exploded Egg Rolls

What do you get when you explode an egg roll? If you answered something like "a mess," congratulations! You have no poetry in your soul. You're well suited for a job hurting others for pleasure and profit, like a tax collector or a lawyer. The rest of you, gather around. Because deliciousness is about to happen. Deliciousness stuffed in a wonton wrapper, and cooked up open to make a wonton cup full of awesome food and joy. You're welcome. Or as my Asian American friends would say, "you're welcome." Come on. It's 2016. Don't be that guy.


Wonton skins (If you can't find these fresh, go out and skin a wonton or two. Don't let their cries for mercy fool you into thinking they don't love being part of your delicious snack)
1 Chicken Breast
1 Bell Pepper
5 Button Mushrooms
1/2 a standard-issue Onion
1 tsp grated Ginger
2 tsp Soy Sauce
Toasted Sesame Oil
Cooking Spray

The first thing you're gonna need to do is cook your chicken breast. Boil it, bake it, stare at it funny until it gets uncomfortable and cooks itself from sheer embarrassment, whatever. If you can't figure out this part, just stick it in a 450 degree oven for like 20 minutes. Once your chicken is cooked, set it aside. Choppity chop your vegetables into tiny little bits (Pro-tip: washing them first can help avoid an embarrassing case of "dirt-face."). Now take your chicken, along with two forks and the sure knowledge that your hands are gonna be cramping up soon, and shred that chicken. Pretty much just stab it with the forks and rip it apart. If it helps you get into character, pretend you're a vicious predator mauling your prey. This is absolutely nothing like that, but I won't judge the fact that you totally went along with that for a second.

"They're too pretty to eat" is something somebody might say
about these. Somebody who doesn't understand what food is.
Heat up your oil over medium-low heat, and tosss in the chopped up vegetation, along with your ginger. Sautee that nonsense until the vegetables start to get soft, and the whole things smells like awesomeness. Then add in your chicken and soy sauce, and cook it down for another minute or so. Now it's time to deal with your wonton skins. Take a mini-muffin tray (I know, you didn't sign up for some fancy-dinner-party nonsense with a mini-muffin tray. You were just here to make dainty wonton cups dag-nabbit! Get over it.) and spray it down with your cooking spray. Then squish wonton wrappers into each little cup, generally being careful not to violently tear anything. Which is just how most of us go through life, but I guess it needed to be said. Anyhow, spray down your cupped-up wontons with a little more cooking spray, and then fill them up with your chicken and vegetable mixture. Throw that nonsense in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the wontons get brown and crispy. You might want to check them pretty regularly, because they have a habit of going from undercooked to charcoal pretty rapidly. And that's it! You've got little cups of deliciousness to serve to all of your fancy friends. Or to eat entirely on your own after staring at the phone for an hour wondering whether your should invite anybody over. Either way!

October 11, 2016

Yom Kippur 2016

Sadly, today there will be no hilarious recipe, full of the wit and charm you've come to love and expect. I know, I know, but I think one week off won't kill anybody. Probably. I'm like 60% sure. The point is, tonight starts the culmination of the Jewish High-Holy Days. A day called Yom Kippur, which, aside from being a day on which it's custom to refrain from food or drink, is considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It's traditionally a time for repentance, sorrow for past misdeeds, and a commitment to real change for the future. Sadly, often these vows to change, to be better, fall by the wayside in the coming year, but my personal belief is that the constant struggle to better ourselves is just as valuable, if not more so, than any specific change we could make. Working to better ourselves is a never ending journey. I tell myself that often, while sitting on the couch, watching TV, and eating chips directly from the bag. The goal is worthy, and in many cases achievable, but it's the desire to be better and the work we put in that is truly impressive. So good luck to each person moving forward this year, may you have peace within and without, and you stay classy, San Diego.

October 5, 2016

Roasted Vegetables

Brightly lit kitchen courtesy of my parents' kitchen, which
isn't located in an apartment that was built in the 1940s
Well, it's official. Autumn is here. You can tell from the crispness in the air, the dead leaves on the ground, and the pumpkin-spiced everything in the store. It's the time of year when our hardy forebears would start looking toward their root cellars to provide their meals. I'm the same way. Except I live on a 2nd floor apartment, so when I dug my root cellar, my downstairs neighbors got super pissed. Thankfully, unlike my root-grubbing ancestors, I live by a whole bunch of large supermarkets with produce sections. So even with the pending lawsuit over my root cellar, I can still get some vegetables, roast them up, and taunt my neighbors with their deliciousness. 


2 standard-issue Onions
2 bulbs Fennel 
2 lb. Mushrooms (any mushroom you've got will work pretty well here, but I like crimini mushrooms, because they've got an awesome flavor, they cook down well, and they look exactly like the depiction of a mushroom from every cartoon I've ever seen)
2 Bell Peppers
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

The first thing you're gonna need to do is chop your vegetables. For this recipe, there really isn't a wrong way to cut them. You just want everything to be roughly bite-sized. And yes, different people take different sized bites. That's why I recommend you line up any potential guests you have along a handy wall and, using a protractor and compass, measure each of their bites before cutting your vegetables. Or you could use your best guess. Once your friends and family have been probed and measured, and your vegetables are cut, toss them (the vegetables) into a bowl. Mix them together with your oil, pepper, and a large-human's pinch of salt, and then lay them flat on a baking sheet. You want the vegetables to be in a single layer, not stacked on top of each other. So if you need to, break out some backup baking sheets (Backup Baking Sheets sounds like it should be the name of the absolutely worst band from the 60s. Like, so bad that they'd have opened for The Turtles).

Warning: highly delicious. Only throw at neighbors if you're
out of rotten tomatoes and cabbages.
Take your carefully distributed vegetables, and throw them in a 450 degree oven. Leave them there for about 20 minutes, or until your house starts to smell super awesome. If your house starts to smell like burning, you may have left them in for a bit too long. If you notice flames coming out of the oven, wait and see if the situation gets any better. If the eggs on your counter start to cook despite not actually being in the oven, consult the appropriate authorities. Once your vegetables are ready, take them out of the oven and eat them. Or throw them at your neighbor through a perfectly innocent hole in the floor. I've heard it both ways.