Monday, May 27, 2013
You know who doesn't have enough nacho dishes? The Amish. They are constantly asking me to post nacho recipes on the blog. They are also constantly asking me what a blog is. And by constantly, I mean that I may have never met an Amish person. Lot's of Mennonites, though.
Enough about the cultural bankruptcy that is the Amish lifestyle, we're hear to discuss nachos. Crispy chips, melted cheese, and often an assortment of meats and peppers and creams and beans and other meats piled so high that the bottom of the nacho dish begins to liquify from intense heat and pressure, ensuring that the chips are no longer crispy. At least that is what I assume happens.
The other week I was at a restaurant that had a potato chip nacho plate with blue cheese. It. Was. Awesome. Their dish used truffle oil on the chips, which is wonderful, but something I do not have. I tweaked the dish until I made something that made me start eating it, suddenly look down to find there was no more, and become very sad.
SWEET AND SPICY POTATO CHIP NACHOS:
2 Lbs. Russet potatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick (10 Lbs. for $1.99)
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil (17 oz. for $3.29)
1 Tbsp. Red pepper flake (3.75 oz. for $0.99)
1 Tbsp. Paprika (3.75 oz. for $0.99)
1 tsp. Hot sauce (17 oz. for $0.99)
Sea Salt ($1.49 per grinder)
Pepper ($1.49 per grinder)
Brown sugar (32 oz. for $1.49)
Blue cheese (5 oz. for $2.99)
Set oven to 400 degrees. Clean or peel the potatoes as is your preference. Slice them into 1/4 inch slices. If you do not have a mandolin, this will be a pain in the ass.
Once sliced, put them in a bowl of water with enough water to cover them. Combine the oil, pepper flake, paprika, and hot sauce in a bowl where you can fit all the potato slices. Salt and pepper to taste. Take the potatoes out of the water and pat them dry then throw them into the bowl and coat them well.
Place the slices on baking sheets and put them into the oven rotating the top sheet to the bottom after about 15 minutes. It should take 30-40 minutes for the chips to finish, but watch them. If your chips are not all uniform some will be done quicker than others. If you see a chip that's done (browned around the edges) remove it with tongs and set them on a rack to dry.
Dry the chips about 5 minutes. Add salt and brown sugar to taste. Now build the nachos by setting down a layer of chips and topping it with a layer of sprinkled blue cheese. keep going until you have enough. Turn on the broiler of your oven and put the nachos right beneath it. Remove when the cheese is melty and delicious looking. If you oven doesn't have a broiler just put the nachos in the still hot oven and watch to make sure the chips don't start burning.
I was very pleased with this concoction. It's like WASP nachos. Serve these at the country club and they may consider you for membership. Maybe. Probably not.
Monday, February 25, 2013
THIS RECIPE IS A LIE! Well, not really, but I wanted to start off with something dramatic. I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and the fact that this is a vegetable recipe makes it seem untrustworthy to me. Damn vegetables and their damn vitamins and minerals. Damn them. Ever since I started shopping at Aldi, however, I find myself buying and eating more fruits and vegetables. This may have to do with Megan always adding them to our cart, but I can't be sure.
My grandmother was from Alabama. She had a certain way to cook green beans that was extremely southern. As in green beans + bacon = cooking them together all day. The result was very tasty, but mushy. This recipe keeps the bacon, but leaves you with crisp beans.
There is wisdom in cooking vegetables with bacon (or deep frying them, but that's another post) especially for people like me who are not of the vegetarian persuasion. If you asked me to eat a bowl of nails, I wouldn't do it, but if you told me they were cooked with bacon...I still wouldn't eat it, but I'd consider it. There it is. Bacon makes you eat healthier.
BACON HARICOTS VERTS:
16 oz. fresh green beans ($1.39)
2 slices bacon diced ($2.99 for 16 oz.)
1/2 small onion diced ($0.99 for 2 lbs.)
1 tbs butter ($2.29 for 1 lbs.)
Salt and pepper to taste
First rinse off and prepare the green beans. By prepare them, I mean snap off both ends of the beans, and get rid of any that look like you might not want to eat them. One thing about Aldi produce is that it goes bad quickly. Do not expect to buy green beans and then cook them a month later. I have been assured by numerous people who have no background in agriculture whatsoever, that the fact that the produce does not last indefinitely is a good thing. I invite these people to go live on an organic farm and use ancient Chinese medicine that led to an average life expectancy of 40 and an infant mortality rate of 50%. I prefer my apples irradiated.
Now, boil enough water to cover the beans, and set up a bowl big enough to fit all the beans with some ice water in it. You can boil the water in a pot, but if you do it in a large saucepan, you will have to clean fewer dishes later. Once the water is boiling, add the beans for 1 minute. Then drain the beans and put them in the ice water bath. Take them out of the bath once cooled and pat them dry with paper towels.
Next heat up that saucepan again over medium heat. Once hot, throw in the diced bacon. Cook until there is enough bacon grease to work with, we don't want the bacon crispy yet. Add the onions and 1 tbs butter as well as salt and pepper. Start cooking those onions until they start to brown stirring frequently.
Now, add the the beans. You will only need to cook the beans until they are heated through, a couple of minutes. You can add more salt and pepper if you like. Just make sure it tastes the way you like, unless you're making this for someone else, then make it taste the way you like anyway. They're getting a free meal and shouldn't complain.
There you have it. Green beans with bacon and onion, or Bacon haricots verts if you're feeling fancy. Seriously, call it that and most people will think it's some superb French masterpiece, assuming of course you didn't screw up the recipe. If they don't think it's a superb French masterpiece, I blame you.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Remember how I said I was going to post more, then disappeared off the face of the Earth. Remember that? That was fun.
Seeing as my last post was in the summer and all about shellfish, and it is now the dead of winter, this post is all about shellfish. For those of you who have not lived in the Northeast section of the U.S., they have this awesome thing called a lobster roll. It doesn't make up for the horribleness of winter, but it comes close.
Lobster rolls are basically tuna salad sandwiches, but instead of tuna you use lobster. I KNOW RIGHT?! They are extremely prevalent in Maine, where the residents begin lobster fishing at age fetus. Even the McDonald's up there have lobster rolls. How strange is that?
"What are you eating?"
"Where did you get it?"
"McDonald's . . . ewwww*"
*The ewwww is for when the other person's head exploded from hearing that you can get lobster at a damn McDonald's.
2 frozen Maine lobster tails ($12.99) or frozen whole lobster ($9.99)
3 Tbsp mayonnaise ($1.99 for 30 oz.)
1 stalk celery ($0.79 for bunch)
2 Tbsp butter ($2.29 for 16 oz.)
2 hoagies ($1.79 for 6) or hot dog buns ($0.79 for 8)
2 leaves romaine lettuce rinsed and dried ($1.99 for 3 hearts)
Salt and pepper to taste
First, cook up the lobster however it says on the package. Here is how to cook the whole lobster from an old post:
Boil enough water to cover the lobster. Just dump the lobster in the boiling water, mesh bag and all. return the water to boiling and boil 12-15 minutes. Remove the lobster from the boiling water. Get rid of the lobster water, it stinks. Now it's time to get all the meat out of the shell. Get 3 bowls. Put the cooked lobster in one, use one for the meat and the other for discarded shell. The majority of the meat will be in the claws and the tail. Your hands are the best tools, but a kitchen knife and a rolling pin are good to have as well. By the way, you should let the lobster cool before you shell it. If you are currently burned, then I suggest reading the entire recipe through before cooking anything. Really, instant gratification only works if you want to be instantly gratified, or burned by hot lobster juice.
Once you have all the meat out of the lobster shell, chop it and the single celery stalk up.
Do not dice the lobster, you want big lobster pieces. add the mayo, lobster and celery to a bowl and mix it up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and spread it on the open hoagies or hotdog buns. then, toast them butter side down on medium in a frying pan or in the oven under the broiler. If you use the broiler keep an eye on them as they will burn and cause firemen to come to your home. Not sexy firemen either, the kind who are pissed off you don't know how to use your broiler.
Line the now toasted (but not burnt) bread with the lettuce and shovel in the lobster mix. Now, shovel all this into your face.
If you want to change up the recipe a bit, add some hot sauce, or Dijon mustard, or an old tire (do not add that last one).
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
So, the habit of one post a month seems to be hard to break. There's work, and all the other things that are not work that I have to deal with, like watching Game of Thrones. We also went on a Caribbean cruise. Neither Megan nor I are very well suited to the Caribbean climate, as we are both pasty to the point of being Morlocks. Luckily, we were on the largest cruise ship in the world, and there was plenty of shade and air conditioning to be had. There was also plenty of seafood. Lobster, scallops, and shrimp all made an appearance. Several appearances, actually. We would regularly sneak in to the concierge club for free champagne and food, including some amazeballs shrimp. I'm not sure what the recipe was, but these are amazeballs as well.
AMAZEBALLS ROASTED SHRIMP:
1 package frozen shrimp ($4.99 for 16 oz.)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil ($3.49 for 17 oz.)
Thaw your shrimp and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel the shrimp. Place the shrimp on a baking sheet and drizzle the oil over them, then salt and pepper them.
Put the shrimp in the oven for about 9 minutes or until pink and just cooked through. Now take them out of the oven (this is an extremely important step). You are done.
You can make a sauce if you like. The one I made was just ketchup and some horseradish sauce I found. These are great with or without sauce. I used the medium shrimp, but the jumbo would work just as well. This also may be the easiest recipe I've yet posted. You're welcome, lazy people. Eat these and pretend you're on a Caribbean cruise. Have someone bring you free champagne. That helps.
Monday, June 11, 2012
It is officially summer, by which I mean it is not yet officially summer. Damn Solstice. It is, however, hot, just a little muggy, and there are tourists everywhere. To me, that says summer. This is true if you are in North America. For some reason this blog has a good deal of traffic from Australia, so if you happen to be from Australia and reading this, just replace "summer" with "winter" and "muggy" with "Vegemite."
Since it is unofficially summer, I thought it would be a good idea to have a picnic, and needed some picnic type food. These certainly fit the bill. They are filling, tasty, and served cold, so they're particularly refreshing on those days you may develop swamp-ass. I should mention, the remedy is to eat them, not to apply them directly to the affected area. People will stare.
This recipe is includes things I like, but feel free to substitute veggies, meats, and cheeses you like. This is a pretty versatile recipe, so go nuts. If you use something like onions, though, I would cook them first. You can choose not to, but you will be wrong.
BALSAMIC TORTELLINI SKEWERS:
1 package stuffed tortellini ($1.99)
1/2 pint (20) grape tomatoes ($1.69 for 1 pint)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella ($2.69 for 8 oz.)
2 oz. sliced pepperoni ($1.99 for 7 oz.)
drizzle light balsamic dressing ($1.29 for 16oz.)
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese ($2.29 for 8 oz.)
Not for eating: bamboo skewers (I don't know if Aldi actually sells these. I've had a package for years, and we never seem to run out.)
First cook the pasta according to directions. Then, pour the pasta into a colander and rinse the cooked pasta under cold water. gather everything else together. If you decide to use any ingredients that need to be cooked, cook them first, then let them cool before assembly. Cut the rest of the ingredients into bite sized pieces. I cut the tomatoes in 1/2 and just guestimated the cheese.
Now put a tortellini on a skewer and follow it up with the other ingredients in any order you like. I try to go in a certain order that has all the ingredients on the skewer before repeating any single ingredient. This is because I'm a tad OCD. If your mental health issue is something else, like untreated paranoid schizophrenia, you might want to try putting on the tortellini followed by a live penguin, but not anything blue (blue is trying to steal your life-force). The point is, put on what you like in the order you like. I try to get 3 tortellini to a skewer.
Once you have all your tortellini skewered-up, lay them on a platter or Tupperware tub. Pour over the dressing, not drowning the skewers, but getting dressing on all of them.
Pop the skewers in the fridge for a couple of hours. When you are ready to eat them, take them out of the fridge and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on them. Molto bene! Which I believe is Italian for, "I'm about to eat some skewers I just made, would you like to try them? They have tortellini, balsamic dressing, and cheese on them, so you might not want to have one if you are lactose intolerant." Such a strange and beautiful language. I'm surprised that phrase is as popular as it is. Seems oddly specific. Oh well.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
HORRIBLY NAMED DRINK THAT TASTES AWESOME:
Coffee ($4.49 for 12 oz.)
Almond Milk ($2.49 for 1/2 gal)
Irish Cream ($8.99 for 750 ml)
First step, make coffee. I used the whole bean coffee, which is the most expensive, but you can use any coffee you like. I also made the coffee a little weak. I imagine this would be even better with espresso, but we do not have an espresso maker. When the coffee is made, let it cool a bit then pour it into your ice cube tray of choice. Place the trays in the freezer and allow to freeze completely. You may notice that my cubes are long rectangles. Well, they're more than just that. They are these.
I have Han Solo frozen in coffeenite. Yeah. Next put in your glass 1 part Irish cream and 1 part almond milk. Stir, then add the coffee ice cubes. As you drink, the coffee melts and releases into the drink. It's great. If you don't drink booze, leave out the Irish cream. If you don't do booze or caffeine, then I'm very, very sorry. And you could use decaff.
Now, please use the comments to come up with a better name for this drink. That's it. Drink up.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
So, I hopped on Pinterest after being absent from the internets for a time, and I found something amazing, and by amazing I mean important to absolutely no one but me. Aldi is following my board for this blog. Megan immediately indicated that it probably wasn't really Aldi, as Dwight Schrute is apparently following her. In truth it isn't Aldi, but the PR company ALDI US has hired to run their Pinterest board (Weber Shandwick). This excites me. Not because I believe that Aldi will somehow sponsor me or become involved in any way (seriously, have you read this blog?), but because I can picture the PR folks coming to this blog, finding it amusing, then realizing they can never tell their client about it.
It's been about a week, so I expect the cease and desist letter anytime now.
I've also been told I do not blog enough. It's true I've been posting about once a month for the past two months, but I promise to post more. I have a whole bunch of microwave based posts coming up, and even bumped into someone who wants to guest post. I am so on the ball that I managed to not get any of her contact information. Yeah.
Anyway, how do you follow up two posts about eggs? A post about bacon. Megan calls bacon "meat candy" for good reason, because it is everything that is awesome about meat. It's crispy and it melts in your mouth. We use bacon to make great meats taste even better. Bacon is the official meat of your mom, it was also the first meat in space, and is so good it is now considered vegetarian by PETA. These are all facts that you should in no way attempt to verify. Facts.
HOT CANDIED BACON:
8 slices of thick cut bacon ($5.69 for 24 oz.)
1 cup brown sugar ($1.49 for 32 oz.)
1/4 cup hot sauce ($0.99 for 17 oz.)
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil. Fill a bowl with the hot sauce and another bowl with the sugar. If you have metal racks that fit on the baking sheet, I find that those are very useful. If you don't, use a broiler pan.
Take a slice of bacon and dip it in the hot sauce until it is fully coated. Lift the bacon and allow the excess to drain back into the bowl. Now put the bacon into the brown sugar and coat the strip of bacon with it. Now place the strip of bacon on the rack or broiler pan. Keep doing this until you run out of space for the bacon. Sprinkle any excess sugar over the bacon. If there isn't any excess sugar, the excess sugar is in the bag marked "brown sugar." Put the bacon in the oven and let it cook for 20-25 minutes or until done to your desired doneness.
I used the thick cut bacon, but you can use thin if you like. Maple flavored bacon is great for this recipe. Once the bacon has cooled a bit (it will crisp up as it cools) use some kitchen shears to cut the bacon into bite size pieces. We put this out at parties, and it tends to disappear. The spicy and the sweet mixed with the salty and that it's bacon makes this one of our favorite snacks. Megan was extremely happy as I tried to get the recipe for this right, because we had a lot of sugared bacon around the house. This puts most people in a good mood. That's it. Now go make bacon.