June 28, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Early in the morning, before they doll themselves up, cookies
are just shapeless motionless blobs. Just like the rest of us.
On multiple occasions here, I've posted recipes that I've adapted from things that I used to eat growing up. And sure, stealing things from your parents is harmless fun for the whole family, but rarely has anything been stolen quite as brazenly as this chocolate chip cookie recipe. There are no clever little changes I made to enhance the recipe, like altering the ingredients, changing the quantities, or slapping my name on it. This is just, straight-up, cookies that my mom makes. I wasn't even planning on making this week's post be cookies. It was gonna be egg salad. But then I went over to my parents' house for a minute, smelled cookies, and realized that egg salad is a garbage food for garbage people. I'll probably make it next week.


1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 
1.25 Cups Unbleached Flour
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed (Brown sugar is essentially sugar with molasses. So if you squeeze it, it packs together, kind of like wet sand. So make a sand castle out of brown sugar and a measuring cup.)
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3/4 Cup Butter or Oil (If you're using butter, because you have taste buds, 3/4 of a cup is the same as 1.5 sticks. You're welcome.)
2 Eggs
1.25 tsp Vanilla (Technically, my Mom's recipe calls for a "generous teaspoon of vanilla," but since that's totally not a thing that actually exists, I decided to change it slightly)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
No fewer than 12 oz. of Chocolate Chips

The first thing you're gonna need to do is find yourself a couple of bowls, or bowl-like objects. Fill once up with your various forms of flour (Personally, I'm guessing that the whole wheat and unbleached stuff got into this recipe because of my sister who, as a rule, doesn't eat white flour, consume any sugar, or enjoy life), along with your salt and baking soda, and whisk them all together until you can't tell them apart, even though some of your best friends are baking soda, and you swear you're not a bake-ist. Next, take a completely separate bowl, and cream your sugars into your oil or butter (butter). I used up my parentheses telling you the obvious truth that you should be using butter, so I couldn't use them to tell you that "creaming" is whisking the crap out of your sugars and butter so that the sugar crystals actually rip little holes in the butter, trapping air inside of it, and making it light and fluffy. So....make a note of it. And then whisk in your eggs, one at a time, along with your vanilla.

So, how's that not shoving burning hot cookies into your face
going? Asking for a friend.
Now it's time for the fun part, and by "fun" I mean "flour will be on your clothes until the day you die in a grease fire." Take your flour mixture, and start incorporating it into your sugar glop. Mix it in slowly, in a couple batches, and your clothes might live to see another day. Then add in your chocolate chips. It has been stressed to me that you cannot have too many chocolate chips, nor can you skimp on the quality of the chocolate. That said, some of these brands in the store are like 3 dollars per chip for some bespoke hipster nonsense. So for my money, I say don't get "uncle joe's chocolate-like chip-substance," and also don't get any chocolate chips that come with moustache wax and kombucha tea. Just get regular chocolate chips. And add them in to your batter. Then take a teaspoon, and scoop some heaping mounds of said batter on to baking sheets, leaving room for them to spread out, lightly experiment with drugs, and do their own thing, and shove them into a 375 degree oven until they're golden-brown and delicious. About 12 minutes. (Pro-tip: After they're done and you take them out of the oven, the baking sheet is still hot. So maybe get your cookies off of it before they burn on the bottom). Then try to wait until they cool before shoving them in your mouth so that you don't end up burning yourself horribly, despite the fact that everybody knows cookies are best fresh out of the oven. Enjoy your moral quandary!

June 21, 2017

Jalapeño Cornbread

We're gathered here today to mourn our dear friend Eggs...
In the hallowed halls of "foods that disappoint me," cornbread has got to rank pretty high up there. And don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean that I don't like cornbread. It's just that I (and, I assume, everybody) have memories of tasting delicious cornbread, that's light but somehow crumbly at the same time, but doesn't fall apart. This is the cornbread of my idealized youth. And I constantly try to find it. I will pretty much always get cornbread if I see it on a menu, or at a barbecue, or lying unattended in a parking lot, or whatever. And it always disappoints. I pretty much have the same relationship with cornbread that some people have with heroin. So in the spirit of not being perpetually disappointed, and of not ending up an empty[er] shell of a man, I decided to make my own. And in the spirit of lifting heavy things, I decided to make it in my cast-iron skillet. Which (spoiler alert!) turned out to be a pretty good call.


1.25 cups Cornmeal
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (Pro-tip: Don't put the "all-purpose" label to the test. It's pretty much just for cooking and for making paper mache dinosaurs)
2 Eggs
1.5 cups Coconut Milk
1/3 Cup Honey
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 TBSP Pickled Jalapenos (Available in pretty much every supermarket. If you can't find em, any canned chiles will do)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1.25 tsp Salt

So, let's address the elephant in the room first. Yes, this recipe has no meat or dairy of any kind in it. Some might even call it vegetarian and/or dairy-free. In my defense, I know a decently large number of vegetarians, and they've gotta eat too. Also, I may have not wanted to go shopping. The point is, this is delicious and you need to stop being so judgmental if you every want to find love. Step one is taking your dry-goods, also known as your cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and whisking them together so that they can get to know each other, share some good times, and try to forget that they're going to get baked in an oven until they're golden and delicious. About a minute seems like long enough. What does flour really have to add to a conversation anyway? Now it's time to deal with your jalapenos. If you have a reasonable can from a reasonable brand, they should already be chopped into little bits. If, like me, you have nonsense jalapenos, you may have to chop them down to size on your own. So...get on that.

Slice it like a pie, cut it into squares, or just eat it like a
giant pancake. There's no wrong way to devour this sucker.
Once your (my) jalapenos are chopped, It's time to get cracking with your eggs (puns!). Whisk them into a homogenous egg-goop, and then add in your honey. The coconut milk and lemon juice together do a fair job of simulating buttermilk. Do you technically need to mix them together before you add them in? Probably not. But baking is a lot like witchcraft (Weird big hats, precise measurements of odd ingredients, used to trick people into loving you, the list goes on), so I didn't take the risk. In any event, add them into your egg-goop along with your jalapenos, and mix it together. Next, pour your wet ingredients on top of your dry ingredients, and mix them together briefly. You don't want to overmix. This is technically known as the "muffin method." Personally, I'm not sure that "add the wet stuff on to the dry stuff and don't mix it too much" actually needs a special name, but who am I to argue with nonsense? Anyhow, throw a little oil in your cast-iron skillet, and heat it up in a 400 degree oven for a minute or two. Then take it out, preferably without burning the crap out of your hand, add your definitely-not-muffin-mix into the hot pan. Then toss that sucker back in the oven for about 20 minutes. When it's done, it'll be crispy and golden on the top, and set in the middle. Then take that sucker out and do your best not to eat the entire thing yourself without sharing any with the vegetarian friends you mentioned earlier in your blog post. You know, hypothetically.

June 14, 2017

Cherry Jager Milkshakes

Yes, I've used this picture before. And no, I don't care.
It's that magical time of year again. That time of year when the birds sing, the flowers bloom, and the sun does its best to kill us all with its terrible terrible heat. At least, that's the way it seems in Chicago right now, where the heat has gotten so bad that the Cubs have been forced to just try and let their opposition wear themselves down, Rocky Balboa style, until the opportune moment to strike. That moment is apparently some time after the game is finished, but I'm sure it'll come eventually. The point is, the sun has it out for us. Again. Because, despite my repeated warnings about it, our federal government has done almost nothing about that dumb ball of gas that sits around in middle of our solar system, without paying any taxes, and expects us to just deal with it pelting us with radiation. So since our elected officials obviously can't be trusted not to kowtow to the powerful "sun lobby," it's up to me to find a way to keep us cool until we can get our sweet sweet vengeance.


1 Pint of Cherry Ice Cream 
2 TBSP Jagermeister
1 Cup Chocolate Milk

You may have noticed that there's not much to this recipe in the way of ingredients. Is that because like the famed inventor of the clock radio, William Taddly Clocksworth (prove me wrong), I'm a genius who took basic ingredients that were lying around everywhere, and combined them into something glorious that had never before been conceived of? Yes. Yes it is. Anyhow, step one is to take your ice cream out of the freezer, and let it get just a little bit melty. If, like me, you're living in an apartment that doesn't have any air conditioning, this should take about 12 seconds. Once this is done, add in your Jager, and stir that whole thing up to distribute it throughout the ice cream, and  throw it back in your freezer. This is one of the hardest parts. When you feel that blast of cold coming out of the freezer, resist the urge to just set up a tent and live there for the Summer. I know it's hard, but if you persevere you'll be rewarded with cold boozy deliciousness. You know, the American dream.
Semi-stolen Slurpee straws just seem somehow appropriate
for a boozy milkshake. 

The freezer's gonna make your ice cream super cold again. You know, like freezer's do. The alcohol in the Jagermeister is gonna help keep your ice cream from freezing solid, even though it's just as cold as it was when it was frozen. This is because of a fascinating process called "science." Take your boozy ice-cream sludge out of the freezer, and mix it with your chocolate milk. Sure, you can add toppings like whipped cream, sprinkles, and hope if you like. Who am I to stop you? But even without any of those things, this sucker is delicious. And, like with all delicious things, I'm left wondering why you're still here instead of consuming it at this exact very moment. Like, right now. Go.

June 7, 2017

Sweet And Spicy Baked Beans

Yadda yadda moved cross-country, globe-trotted, got a new
job, had it catch up to me. The point is, I'm back now. You
can tell from how you're actively reading my words right now.
So Summer came early. You can tell from the sweltering heat, rampant humidity, and annoying people with giant floppy hats. If your hat is large enough to cast shade upon an entire family of woodland creatures, I probably have no interest in talking to you. The point is, it's hot outside. And when it's hot outside, humans tend to throw barbecues so that we can eat our food out in all of that heat. Instead of inside, where we have things like air conditioning, and a somewhat less-dense mosquito population. Leading brand-name scientists believe that this is part of an important evolutionary trend known as "doing stupid things because they're expected of you." It weeds out the independent thinkers and radicals from our population so that they can go on to do the truly important work of furthering humanity's intake of McNuggets. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that you're going to get invited to barbecues, you're going to be expected to bring a side dish, and people will have already called dibs on bringing easy/obvious things like chips or potato salad. Welcome to baked bean country.


1 lb. dried Pinto Beans 
28 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 largish Onion 
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Rubbed Sage (Despite how it sounds, this is a real thing. You can buy it in supermarkets.)
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Chipotle Pepper
Olive Oil, for the sautéing and whatnot
An unspecified amount of Salt
An equally unspecified amount of Water

So....that's a lot of ingredients. Some people might look at a long list of ingredients and become disheartened, thinking that the recipe is going to be incredibly labor-intensive and tricky to pull off. Others might see it as a challenge they can rise to, to really prove to themselves that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Still others might think, "it's beans. How hard can it actually be?" These are the smart ones. Step one is to unceremoniously dump your beans into a large pot, which you'll then fill with water. Cover the pot, and let your beans soak for about 8-12 hours. While you totally have the option of using this time to sleep, or go to work, if you hover nearby your beans the entire time, eschewing responsibilities, common sense, and basic hygiene, you'll receive valuable bonus points that can later be exchanged for fantastic prizes (Prizes like eviction notices, cardboard box forts, and hepatitis). Once your beans have finished their soak, drain the water away, and replace it with exciting new water, to confuse and disorient your beans. Now it's time to strike. Turn the heat on to medium, and boil the crap out of your beans for an hour. Put a lid on the pot so that none escape.

I had something for this, but then I saw the deliciousness
and kind of lost my train of thought. 
While your beans are being viciously boiled, it's time to make the...everything else, I guess. Choppity chop up your onion and sauté it in your oil along with an average sized human's pinch of salt. Let it cook down until the onion gets translucent and starts to smell awesome. Then mince your garlic and add it in to the party. After a minute of stirring and salivating from the smell, add in your...all the other ingredients. I mean, chop up your chipotle pepper before you dump it in. But really, just toss everything in the pot along with a largish person's (Roughly Conan O'Brien sized) pinch of salt, and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. By now your beans should be killed to death, so take their corpses along with 1/2 a cup of the water you boiled them in, and dump them in to your sauce. Set it on medium heat and cook it for 10-20 minutes, or until it starts to look thick and kind of sticky. And delicious and whatnot. And that's it! Delicious baked beans, perfect to accompany any meal, indoors or stupid. Happy early summer!