Archive | October, 2012
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Easy Chinesey

31 Oct

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Have you ever tried this stuff?  If not, do so.  Before anyone loses their high-falutin shit about pre-packaged spices and such, let me make a statement about the foodie “I won’t sink to that level” moralistic sort of thing.  If you feel this way, lighten up, Francis.  These spice packets are good for someone who is learning how to cook.  Even though I know a few tricks now, I still love making this.  It’s easy, quick, and delicious….and it’s not that bad for you, either.

I serve this with grilled chicken.  Of course, I wanted to marinade the chicken for flavor.  I bought a bottle of oyster sauce some time ago and I wanted to use it.  So, I googled “chicken marinade, oyster sauce” and that sort of thing, and created a marinade to my liking.

1/4 cup oyster sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

I mix this concoction together and put it in a quart bag with a couple o’ chicken breasts about an hour before cooking.  When the time is right, grill them and let them sit for a while after they’re done.

For the fried rice, I follow the recipe on the packet mostly.  I’m a teacher, so I’m home by 3 o’clock most days.  For the “cold cooked rice” part, I make the three cups of rice and put the pan directly in the freezer for an hour or so.  Then, I transfer it to the fridge until I need it at around 5:30.   Instead of the peas, I will add veggies of my choice.  My sister-in-law left a bunch of frozen stir fry veggies after she watched the house a few months ago, so I used those.  I have to admit, I am 95% anti frozen veggie; once you eat fresh regularly, it’s hard to stomach the frozen ones.  But, in this fried rice, it works just fine.

I pile on some fried rice, top with some sliced chicken, and we’re partying like the opening band for Cheap Trick, although I doubt Cheap Trick drank sangria like we did with this.

And that’s that.

Until later, eat drink, and peace out.

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Central Coast Cheese Steak

30 Oct

I love steak. Truly, I could eat it every other night as long as it varied a bit. Last week on Steak and Sherlock Night, during which I was a man alone, I actually cooked two steaks: one for dinner that night, and one for my lunch the next day. This happens because I have gotten in the habit of buying an entire beef tenderloin from Costco and cutting my own filets from it. I package the filets for freezing in twos since I cook for my wife and me (the kid’s got a while before he gets his own filet). I get a bunch of really good stew meat out of it too, for pot pies and, go figure, stews (now that we’re in autumn with her russet-colored mantle and the winter’s approaching, more of that hearty good stuff will be on the menu for sure). Do I save money? Perhaps, but not much. I do get to cut up a big hunk of meat, though, which makes me feel muy sexy, but I digress.

When I cooked that other steak for my lunch, I used it to make a sort of cheesesteak sandwich. I toasted some bread, reheated the filet, sliced it, and then melted some cheese on there. I put some horseradish mustard on there for good measure. It was good, but meh. It needed something, so that’s where tonight came into play.

We made what I will name a Central Coast Cheesesteak, for no other reason than we made it on the central coast, where we live. It’s really just a cheesesteak sandwich, and a kick-ass one at that.

For one sandwich:

  • Filet mignon steak grilled to your delight: I am all about the tenderness here, so that’s why filet is best since I don’t have to rip the sandwich apart with my teeth just to get a bite.
  • Cheese: I’m all about Velveeta, the wife’s a cheddar kind of gal.
  • Carmelized onions (a tablespoon of butter in a pan and a few thinly sliced onions until they’re gooey and brown, and you’ll be wet)
  • Sourdough
  • Mayo, mustard, 1000 Island, or whatever you want

We coated the bread with mayo on the outside and grilled it in a skillet. The mix of the crunchy bread and the soft, cheesy filling is ridiculous.

We didn’t even eat sides because the sandwich was so much. And we didn’t drink anything with it because it’s Monday and I had a meeting to which I had to go.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

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Below is a persimmon from my tree in the backyard.  Nature speaks to me, sometimes.

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Blueberry Pancakes on a Sunday Night

29 Oct

I love nights like this.  Once in a while, breakfast for dinner just works.  It also rules that my wife wanted to make pancakes.  I wanted blueberry pancakes, but, alas, we had no blueberries except for blueberry pie filling.  Did this stop the woman?  Nope.  It made it all the better.

Interesting Points:

  • Once every two years, my wife will cook for me.  It’s not that she doesn’t want to.  I’m too much of a control freak to let her.  My back is thrown out at present, so I relented, to my benefit.
  • I could never figure out how come her pancakes are so fucking good.  They’re dense, flavorful, and altogether filling.  How?  She told me that she pats the cakes down as they’re cooking because she doesn’t like “cakiness.”  This is brilliant, in my opinion, because I don’t want air.  This is how she does this.
  • She strained the blueberry pie filling, but kept some of it to make blueish pancakes, which also did the trick on presentation.
  • My 4 year old child proceeded to forgo the pancakes in favor of mopping up the syrup with his bare hands.  How can you blame him?  If syrup had alcohol, Aunt Jemima would replace Jose Cuervo in a heartbeat.

Drink:

  • Cold beer and cold milk in a frosty glass.

This meal would be complete with a fruity sausage, but we were too lazy to go to the store.  It didn’t matter.

Until later, drink, eat, and peace out.

BLT on a Dry, Windy Day

28 Oct

On a lazy Saturday by 11 a.m., I have usually asked what we want for dinner.  Today, it’s the end of the month, so I am down to four steaks, two chicken breasts, and fixin’s.  So as we ping-ponged back and forth, we both finally came to BLTs.  It’s hot and windy out, so the BLT meal is light while having substance.  Happy Saturday!

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Taco Tuesday!

27 Oct

Preamble:  I have learned through time that when you make something from scratch, it is almost always better than the store-bought version (Bisquick would be one of the exceptions).  Such is the case with corn tortillas.  The masa flour is a couple of bucks, and you need a bit of salt, water, and a hot flat pan.  A colleague of mine, Miles, gave me a tortilla press which has made life a bit better, but it did take me awhile to figure out that I needed to put plastic between the steel and the dough ball in between the plastic.  Without the plastic, it doesn’t work no matter how many beers you’ve drunk.  The result kicks ass over any store-bought tortilla.  In any case, this is easy, healthy and filling to the nth degree.

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Steak and Sherlock Night

25 Oct

Once a week, my wife takes our kid to his great-grandma’s house to have dinner and check in. While I am not anti-social by any means, I keep somewhat of a distance from the in-laws, which I know is a common theme amongst many married couples. I used to go out and get some tacos al pastor and a beer, but then netflix came along and helped me create my solitary tradition, which involves cooking a steak my way, with all of the fixin’s my style, a bottle of red, a few beers, and no shirt, weather permitting, of course.

Actually, this will be the last Steak and Sherlock night for a while. Tonight, I will watch the last episode of the British Sherlock series, which is fucking brilliant, available to me from netflix at present. After tonight, I suspect I will go back to an eclectic mix of documentaries, indie movies, and suggestions from colleagues and friends. In any case, the spirit will remain, even though I will have to start calling it something other than Steak and Sherlock night, which kind of bums me out. In any case, here is the menu.

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