Thursday, November 14, 2013

Delicious Brick of Chemicals.

America has a knack for turning beautiful, artfully crafted foods into cheap, fast, over-processed shit. We turned the lovely hamburger into a quarter pound of bone sludge, sawdust, and "meat droppings" with processed plastic cheese between a bleached bun. Yum!!! Don't get me wrong. I'm as addicted to those chemicals as everyone else and when you're broke, some loose change for a meal (whether or not it actually sustains your body) is nothing to sneeze at. I'm a fast food whore. I can't say no. I know that I can feed deliciously fresh cheeseburgers to my family for not much more money than the drive-thru crap but I have a problem. The junk (soon to be in my trunk if I eat too much of it) calls my name. I allow myself fast food once in a while. I have too or I will die. It's a fact. I need my tasty, beefy drugs!!!

Anyways, one of those foods that we have turned into a brick of chemical is the amazing noodle dish ramen. In Japan and Korea they have mastered the art of making pre-packaged ramen with quality. It's not just for college students or half elf mages who cant pry their lazy asses away from their WOW session. The good stuff is only par-cooked and dried and when cooked has a springy chew to it (unlike the icky version which is fully cooked and dried and the second you hit it with water it becomes mushy). They are actually quality noodles. Not melty, low class cardboard strings. Ick.

One of my favorite ramens is the Korean Shin Ramen. It's spicy and beefy and pretty complex for an instant noodle. I always add an egg and some scallion and if I have it a few slices of fish cake called Kamaboko. It's the perfect snack or meal when you're in a hurry. See, you don't always have to resort to a bag of scary mystery. Sure there are a few chemicals in shin ramen but at least I know what they are and that they are not so bad for you. xoxo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Filipino meets Korean meets Chinese meets Yummy.

Magandang hapon!!! Hey there friends and enemies keeping an eye on me. I hope your day is going well unless I hate you in which case I hope you are currently being force fed balut (vegans hide your eyes: Balut is Filipino fertilized chicken eggs with gooey chicken fetuses inside). Yum! I sure hope you brought your appetite! Anyways, enough talk of eating babies. Let talk about other super delicious things. 

I love Filipino food. Even though we have a pretty decent size Filipino community here in Seattle, there aren't very many restaurants to snack on the food. There are a few places out in the sticks but I don't want to brave the suburbs. Every time I leave the city (unless I'm going out into the wilderness to forage or soak up nature or bury the bodies) I am bluntly reminded: "Don't leave the city. It's scary out there. They'll eat your brains out there." There is one little joint in the market (called Pike Place Market if you don't live here) in the back of a cheapy "Oriental" dollar store market which consists of around ten beat up stools and a greasy, steamy window containing hot pans of beautiful Filipino delicacies. It's called Oriental Mart (or Ate Lei’s place depending on who you talk to). Grab some pancit (Filipino noodles) or chili beef and chat with the hilarious owner. There are different specials all the time depending on what Leila (the owner) felt like cooking. Everything I've ever had there was delicious and made with love and care.

However, in the summer months I tend to stay away from the market. I can't deal with the hordes of khaki cargo shorts and socks and flip flops that stagger around the cobblestones like lost, blind, sun-burned lobster-pig hybrids doped up on a volatile mix of cheese samples and big gulp sized frappuccino shakes. "OMG is that the very first Starbucks ever? Let's block traffic and take 17,000 pictures. We only have 90 billion Starbucks on our block back home so this is a real treat!" Ugh, I'd rather eat broken glass infected with ebola than deal with that shit show. Anyways, sorry for that outburst. In the winter months when the market becomes a little more local and quiet I love going there and filling my belly with some chicken adobo and pancit bihon. Last time I went there Leila smiled affectionately and said "My niece is one of you, referring to the fact that I'm a transgender woman." She then pulled out a picture of a pretty Filipino girl. "See, she's pretty like you." she said lovingly. I smiled and nodded and then she said "Eat the chili beef. I just made it."  I always feel welcome when I stop by. Slightly awkward, but totally welcome.

Anyways, this summer I made a sort of Filipino/Korean version of Pancit Canton to stave of my hunger for Filipino chow. It came out pretty damn damn delicious. I think Leila would have even liked it. 

Pancit Canton with Kim Chi and Beef

one package of pancit flour canton sticks/noodles (12oz)
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1 lb. ground beef or thinly sliced top round
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, diced
1 cup kim chi, thinly sliced
1 red Korean chili (or what ever chilies you like), thinly sliced
2 cups beef broth
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper tt

In a large saute pan or wok over medium high heat add the bacon and cook until rendered (4-5 minutes). With a strainer remove the bacon and set aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pan. Add the onion, garlic and chili and saute until translucent (3-4 minutes). Push the vegetables to the side and add the beef. Cook until browned and mix with the veggies. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the noodles and simmer until noodles are cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). Toss in the bacon and kim chi and serve. Garnish with fresh basil if you like. Masarap!!! xoxo

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wacky Packages.

Climbing in your windows. Snatching your pantry up. So, I love finding new ingredients to cook with. Sometimes I'll go the Asian supermarket and just grab stuff that looks interesting or has super kawaii packaging. Oh look, that bottle has a picture of a little happy squirrel on acid holding hands with a crying squid. Aww I need it. I also like things with lots on exclamation points on the package!!!! That must mean that it's insanely awesome right? I sure think so. 

Here are five meals (all of which happen to be vegan) in which some fun ingredients were used (all tested out on my protégé Lucy). Some are wackier than others but all super delicious!!! Yes, they are all in the reddish brown color spectrum but it's not my fault that miss Lucy needs a quart of some form of hot sauce on everything she eats. She has a heat deficiency due to her cold black heart. It can't be helped. Anyways, here we go.

Filipino Black Vinegar Marinated Tofu Adobo with Red Pepper and Carrot. This one is pretty chill as far as crazy ingredients go. Aside from the black vinegar which is made from sugarcane and taste kinds like a really sour balsamic there is also a little bit of Maggi seasoning which taste kinda like soy sauce and Worcestershire mixed together. After marinating the tofu in soy sauce and black vinegar I seared it off in a hot pan with julienned red peppers, onions, carrots, and garlic. Added some of the marinade and a little veg stock and reduced a tiny bit. Yum.

Jerusalem Artichoke Angel Hair with Vegan Chorizo and Pimentón Spiked Tomato Sauce.
The Jerusalem artichoke pasta has a similar texture to whole grain pasta (which truthfully I don't care for) but better. I did a South American style fideo (noodles) with a spicy smoked paprika laced tomato and roasted red pepper sauce. I crumbled in some vegan chorizo (Field Roast brand) which actually has a pretty great texture and flavor. Not at all like some other brands which taste like spicy wet sawdust.

Szechuan Fried Rice with Fried Lemongrass Tofu and Chòu Dòufu (Preserved Tofu and Soybean). Fried rice made with tiny red Szechuan chilies that will burn your face off. I almost choked to death cooking this one. Chòu dòufu (also know as stink tofu or preserved tofu) smells like a rotten egg in a moldy wet sock. Here's the thing though. Cooked down it adds this amazing umami flavor that kills you with deliciousness. Super deep and rich and salty. A lot of people eat it raw which I cannot do. My gag reflex can't get past the lovely aroma. Super tasty cooked though.

Mushroom "Shrimp Ball" and Soba Noodle White Miso Soup.
I bought these taro root mushroom "meatballs" at Uwajimaya. They lay right next to the giant pink knobby fake ham logs. They're awesome. Firm and chewy in texture they really do well at impersonating shrimp balls. I would be fooled. The broth was white miso mixed into a little veggie stock and some soy and chili. Simple. Soba noodles are pretty much my favorite noodle. They are made from buckwheat. So yummy.

Vegan "Steak" and Kidney" Pie (Deconstructed)
Another Uwajimaya purchase, these fake kidneys looked like the inside of a bicycle tire. They were tasty though (although I've never eaten a tire so who knows). Lucy wanted steak and kidney pie but she is vegan. Damn you food network for putting terrible ideas into our impressionable minds! I also used boca meat crumbles for the steak portion and the usual suspects in steak and kidney pie. It was 90 degrees outside that day so instead of baking (screw that nonsense) I made a "crust" using honey panko and vegan butter. Lucy said it was delicious. Now I crave the real deal. Bollocks!

Anyways, try new things. Get creative. Have fun but don't stick your face in a hot deep fryer or juggle your chef knives. That would be dangerous. xoxo 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Seems A Little Fishy To Me.

Do you like seafood? At this point I would open my mouth with some cheeseburger spilling out and in a mumbled snickering voice I would say "See? Food." Bwahahahaha! I loved that one as a kid. Okay, my adoration for foul jokes has matured some what since then (when did I become so prissy? oh well). Unless of course you get a few 40oz malt liquors in me, then all bets are off.

Anyways, seafood. I wish we got to eat it more often in my house. It's just kind of a pain to get. Fresh and good quality fish requires me braving the human world and actually leaving my neighborhood (shudder). The sad grocery store over here sells "fish" that's either grey and stinky or it looks like it lost a fight with a pitbull. Bad fish is bad (you can quote me on that).  I prefer my fish to be perky and smelling of the sea, not the dumpster.

Anyways, I was feeling frisky the other day and decided to go outside and purchase some lovely fresh seafood. I donned my best "don't talk to me or I'll cut you" face and went to my favorite reputable fishmonger (I like to picture him with an eyepatch and peg leg even though he actually just looks like that one normal looking guy from that tv show I don't watch). I bought some beautiful tiger prawns and a few plump sea scallops. I then skulked back to the shadows of my cave and devised a delicious plan. "Oh yes, my little ocean friends. I shall gorge myself on your corpses." I said as I maniacally rubbed my hands together. Hmmm, perhaps I should have left that part out. I hope you think no less of me or have notions that I am in any way mentally unstable (I know where you live).

I ended up making Peruvian Tiger Prawn Ceviche and Seared Sea Scallops with Salsa Verde Criolla. I also made a nice herb and arugula salad with fresh green goddess dressing. It was delicious and I even cried a little bit. Perhaps it was the onion. Either way, I wish I could have seafood more often. Look I didn't even make one joke about our house being a clam shack filled with lesbian ladies (it's funny cause it's true). Not even one. Okay, I better go. I don't want to be shellfish and waste your time. Lol. Get it? Do you? Why aren't you laughing?

Peruvian Tiger Prawn Ceviche and Seared Sea Scallops with Salsa Verde Criolla.

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 lb unpeeled tiger prawns (use whatever you have that's fresh and available)
1/2 medium white onion, small diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp hot sauce (Tapatio or Cholula works great)
1 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper tt
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
1 habanero or jalapeno chili, minced
1 avocado, diced (don't dice until needed)

tortilla chips

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Add the prawns and boil for 30 secs. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the prawns. Shock the prawns in ice water to stop the cooking. Peel and devein the shrimp. 

In a bowl mix the all of the ingredients together (except for the avocado) and add the prawns and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Add the avocado and gently toss.

Serve the ceviche into small bowls or martini glasses. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with tortilla chips or saltine crackers if you like. Drink lots of beer with this one. Yum. xoxo

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eat it! I dare you.

Let's be honest here. We've all eaten things we've regretted. Perhaps you're drunk, or super sad, or someone dares you and calls you a wuss, or maybe you lost your sense of smell and taste while playing with fireworks and a gallon jug of bleach. What seemed to be an amazing idea at first ends up making you really sad and in need of a brillo pad and some more of that bleach we just talked about (to scrape that hate off your tongue or clean the vomit off the carpet).

But once in a blue moon you warily eat something that seems like it will be a nightmarish food experience. You take one quivering taste and realize that you have just struck gold. Tasty salty gold. You're standing there in the gas station with a belly full of malt liquor but no real sustenance to hold you upright. Glaring at a wrinkly moss colored hot dog rotating around a hellish glow stick behind a murky piece of grease coated plexiglass. "I need that right now in my mouth" you say to yourself and without a single shred of caution you put your sweaty rolled up cash onto the counter and point to the magical swirling "meat" carousel. Perhaps you should have asked the surly attendant "Excuse me, but how long has that wiener been sitting there?" or "Why is that hot dog green?" but you have made up your mind. It is done.

Okay well, that particular experience almost put me in the hospital with severe food poisoning but sometimes taking chances on strange things work out in a good way. Like the first time I tried chicken feet. Or the time I ate a chunk of Epoisses (a runny, slimy French cheese that smells exactly like baby poop mixed with dirty sock mixed with 30 day old rotting roadkill). Both of those things were amazing and delicious. I was pleasantly surprised.

Back when I used to be in punk bands and whatnot (before I got sick and my wrist imploded - long story) I used to stop at this crackmart (mini-mart or whatevs) and purchase pre-band-practice snacks. One combination of un-appealing but delicious munchies that I stumbled upon happened to be a spicy pickled meat snack and a large can of clam flavored beer. Sounds like a kind of horrible torture method but in fact it happened to be a winning combination of wonderfulness. The Hot Head pickled sausage is all wet and mushy. Salty and sour. Meaty and squishy. I bet you want one now, don't you? The Chelada is a can of beer mixed with clam juice, tomato juice, and lime juice. Lots of salty juices mixed with watery beer. It's like if you poured beer into your Manhattan clam chowder. So refreshing and delicious. I know it all sounds like a terrible nightmare but it really is delicious (perhaps in a super trashy kind of way but none-the-less). Sometimes in life you just need to put your pretensions behind you and eat a brain taco from a shady looking truck, you know what I'm sayin'? See something weird to eat? Try it, you just might like it.

Or you may end up in the hospital but at least you'll have a cool story to tell. If you're still alive of course. xoxo

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hell, Sweet Meat! or How I Learned to Love Spicy Hell Broth.

I've always loved spicy food. Not the hurts so bad I need a doctor from my burning, swollen tongue of hellfire hot but spicy enough to make me sweat and cause my acid reflux to punch me in the face. It wasn't until I moved to Seattle years back that i tried my first taste of Korean food. I wanted to try everything. So many new adventures to be had in my mouth (hmmm that sentence sounds oddly disturbing, oh well). Sitting before me in all it's fiery, red hell broth of spicy glory was a gigantic bowl of Soon doo boo Jjigae (Korean soft tofu and kimchi soup). I was enamored with it's salty, spicy, sourness. It was love at first bite (not to be confused with the terrible 1979 vampire spoof). Soft tofu chunks melted in my mouth and the pungent kimchi made my lips pucker. Also there was a lovely glistening raw egg yolk just begging to be stabbed, it's innards spilling bright yellow moistness all over my soup. I hope my descriptions make you feel all warm and fuzzy instead of dirty and in need of a shower.

Now, I'm pretty well versed in a few Asian cuisines but I had never tested my trusty knives on Korean food. I have never made kimchi from scratch before (I buy the Uwajimaya house brand which is pretty tasty). Perhaps that is a culinary short-coming that I must rectify (I don't know why but I always laugh when I say the word rectify. I have the brain of a five year old). Anyways, since that day I vowed to learn more about the nation's cuisine and since then I've made some damn tasty Korean dishes. Perhaps one day soon I'll even get around to making homemade kimchi. One day...

By the way, I tried to use an online English to Korean translator for the words 'spicy hell broth' and it came up as 매콤한 지옥 육수. However when I reversed the translation it came out as 'Hell, sweet meat". I like it. So anywho, I made a vegan version of Kimchi Soon doo boo Jjigae for Miss Lucy the other day. It was a solid A++ hit. I prefer mine with a raw egg yolk because I am an animal eater and I'm okay with that. Would you like the recipe? Well I've got a surprise for you, here it is!

Kimchi Soon doo boo Jjigae

1 pack soondooboo (soft tofu)
1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
2 small green (Thai) chilies, left whole
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder)
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
3 cups vegetable broth
1 red Korean chili, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
kosher salt to taste

In a mortar and pestle (or food processor) mash the small Thai chili with the garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil until it becomes a paste.

In a pot over medium high heat saute the white onion and ginger in peanut oil for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in the gochugaru and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic chili paste.
Then add the vegetable stock and kimchi, bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soondooboo (soft tofu) carefully with a spoon.
Garnish with sliced Korean red chilies, green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with rice or as is. 

Sit in front of a cool fan with an ice pack in your pants. Be sure to listen to 4Minute as you scarf down some Soon doo boo Jjigae and pound a couple of Hite beers. Enjoy. xoxo


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Clara Blue.

RIP Miss Clara Blue. I never meet a kitty who loved pork as much as you. I miss you so. xoxo

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dim Sum Nice Lookin' Gyoza You Got There.

Ginger Pork Gyoza with Abura-Age and Pea Vine Salad with Kim Chi over Steamed Rice

Okay, so perhaps I went a little too far with the title of this one. I try to bring my A-game but I have a migraine so you get what you get. Blergh. So... Every time I go to the ID (Seattle's Asian district) I do some shopping at Uwajimaya or which ever Asian market I fancy that day and pick up a giant bag of frozen gyoza. You know, those delicious little dumpling parcels of Japanese or Chinese porky or shrimpy or chickeny goodness. Generally they are pan fried and then steamed to crispy juicy perfection. Dipped into a quick sauce of rice wine vinegar, chili garlic paste, and soy sauce (maybe some sesame oil if I'm feeling frisky). Well, once in a while I pull out my trusty "I'm going to make that by hand and how you like them apples and I'll kill you if you come near me" sort of attitude. I'm a complex lady. 

My little gyoza soldiers all lined up for delicious battle.

This time around I made a batch of ginger pork gyoza. They were so tasty and blew away the frozen bag stuff I get. My only complaint was that I was lazy and didn't make enough to fill my whole freezer. They freeze perfectly on a sheet pan and once they are solid you can toss them in a giant freezer bag. When I have a pretty set of claws and whatnot I'm not very good at making the pleats by hand so I use my awesome little gyoza maker. Slap down a dumpling wrapper, a few teaspoons of filling in the center, a quick swipe of water around the edges, and press firmly to close. Easy peasy and Japanesey or Chinesey or whatever you pleasey. Ugh. Anyways, now off with you rapscallions and make yourself some dumplings. Now where did I put the aspirin?

Thank you gyoza maker for your help.
Raw gyoza for you. 

Ginger Pork Gyoza

3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili garlic paste (sambal)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
A pack of 30 gyoza wrappers

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage until it is tender but still crisp (about 3-4 minutes). Plunge into ice cold water, remove, and drain thoroughly. In a large bowl combine the ground pork, cabbage, green onion, ginger, garlic, egg, soy sauce, chili paste and sesame oil.

Lay a gyoza wrapper on a flat surface (or in the center of your gyoza maker if you have one). Place a tsp of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Dip your finger in water and run it around to the inside egde of the wrapper to moisten, fold the the gyoza in half so that the edges meet perfectly, and then pinch the edges to seal. If you want to get all advanced you can try to pleat the one side by folding and pinching.

Heat a little veggie oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add enough of the gyoza to fill the pan without over-crowding and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover the gyoza and cook until the water is evaporated and the dumplings are cooked through (about 5-6 minutes). 

Make a quick sauce of a little chili paste or oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. I pretty mush do equal parts and sometimes add a little sesame oil. Enjoy dim sum at home minus all the yelling. <3 br="" xoxo="">


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What you got there in your pocket? Cuban Style!

So the other day I was minding my own business while grocery shopping and as much as I try to stay away from the frozen snack aisle. You know, the cheesy taquito, TGIF jalapeno popper, mouth destroying pizza rolls section. The awful, hypnotic hallway of brightly colored and magically delicious frozen chemicals sung me a sweet lullaby and I couldn't help myself. I had to fill my basket with these frozen, fried delights. They made me do it.   

It's not very often that I do reviews for pre-packaged food stuffs and whatnot but I thought it would be fun to throw these in the mix once in a while. Besides during my last trip to the store I came across a box of Cuban Style Hot Pockets. I had to have them. They had pickles and ham and Swiss cheese in them. Surprisingly enough they sort of captured the approximate taste of a real Cuban sandwich. Now, I'm not saying that they were a suitable replacement for the real thing. I'm just saying that they were tasty in that "I'm drunk or wished that I was drunk and hot pockets are the best thing ever" sort of way. 

The outside of the pockets were soft and doughy in attempt to replicate Cuban bread which was a nice touch. The insides are all white and drippy and it squirts all over you when you put it in your mouth (it's better than it sounds unless of course you already like that sort of thing in which case have fun). It's cheesy and hammy and pickley. Savory with a little bit of sour sharpness. They make me wish I had some more whiskey. But then I would probably want some more Hot Pockets. Which would in turn make me want some more whiskey. A vicious cycle indeed. Help me, I am trapped in a booze pocket nightmare. Or is this the best dream I ever had? I can't tell anymore.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chicken Fried Dreams.

Hello everyone. My name is Violet Séverine and I am a chicken-fried steak junkie. The first step to recovery is admitting that I have a problem. Awww who am I kidding. I've never been much of a quiter and I'm not hurting anyone so screw it. Chicken-fried steak til death!!! So yeah, like I said. I love the stuff. Fried meat smothered in gravy is always a good thing. Fried anything in gravy is delicious. I'd eat a used bandaid if you fried it and covered it in gravy. Perhaps that's the whiskey talking. Anyways, yeah. Did you know that chicken-fried steak has no chicken in it? Also I am sad to tell you that it is not prepared by a chicken either. But don't worry. It is still amazing.

When I was a kid my family would take the occasional Sunday trip to the "family friendly" (aka no diversity allowed) super-Southern meat-fest restaurant the Cracker Barrel (restaurant names don't get more ironic than that folks). They had a strange olde timey store up front where you could buy all kinds of Cracker swag. I would always get some mouth destroying rock candy on a stick and perhaps a coloring book. "Mommy, why are these ghosts riding horses and carrying torches?" Yeah, then we would get seated by our unnaturally smiling waitress and I would always order a chicken-fried steak with fried eggs and hashbrowns. And then maybe an order of biscuits and gravy. Oh and a side of sausage and another side of bacon. And maybe some corned beef hash. I was an insatiable little thing. I could eat 10 lbs. of meat and be happy as a carnivorous clam.

So the other day I was thinking about what makes chicken fried steak so delicious. Is it the steak? The breading? The gravy? Maybe it's the mystery of the chicken? Or perhaps it's the accouterments. If you guessed all of the above you would be correct. I decided I wanted to elevate the classic dish into something more refined (not that it needs any improvements to make it any more glorious but sometimes we must experiment in the name of delicious science). Here's my super fancy version:

"Chicken-Fried" Dried Porcini and Shallot Crusted Sirloin with Veal Demi-Glace and Organic Chicken Egg

(serves 4)
1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup dried shallots (found at most Asian markets)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
8 organic local farm chicken eggs
4 - 1/2 lb. top sirloin steaks, pounded 1/2 thin with meat tenderizer mallet
1 cup AP flour

2 cups veal demi-glace (I use a classic Escoffier recipe or Larousse Gastronomique or if you don't have the time or patience to make your own you can buy a decent pre-prepared one from D'Artagnan)

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
celery leaves (for garnish)
Crystal hot sauce
peanut oil for pan frying

Place the porcini mushrooms and dried shallots in a food processor or spice grinder. Pulse until finely ground. In a large bowl mix the ground mixture with the garlic powder and the flour and season well with salt and pepper.

Crack open 4 eggs into a separate bowl and whisk until smooth.

Place a large skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet) over medium high heat. Add enough oil to cover 1" up the sides of the pan.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Using standard breading technique dip the steak into the flour mixture and lightly coat. The dip into the egg to coat. Then back into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess and place into the pan to fry. Pan fry each steak about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove steaks to a paper towel lined plate and let them rest.

While the steaks are cooking heat up the veal demi glace. It should be glossy and luscious and coat the back of a spoon.

Fry the eggs in a little butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon a fair amount of demi-glace on a plate. Place the chicken-fried steak onto the sauce. Top with a fried egg and garnish with celery leaves and hot sauce. Enjoy your fancy version of hillbilly grub and perhaps afterwards go to the opera without any shirt or shoes on and crack open a few beers. Enjoy yourself dammit! xoxo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Meatless in Seattle.

I eat meat. In fact I eat a lot of meat. I adore juicy chewy meaty goodness. I wasn't always a hot dog and cheeseburger loving fiend though. I had a good 12 year run of being totally meat free. Vegetarian to the core. When I was young and broke I would even sit through an entire service at the Krishna temple to eat free veggie food when that was pretty much the only place you could go and say the word vegetarian without someone looking at you like you just said you had syphilis or something. I even owned a "meat is murder" t-shirt (although it was pre-owned and happened to have pepperoni pizza stains on it). I also had two years of being vegan in which my skin turned a murky, sickly yellow. After lots of soul searching and salivation over Burger King menus it turned out it just wasn't for me. Everyone draws a line when it comes to what they will and wont eat. I just decided that my line of ethicality would be raised a little higher. Do I love animals? Sure I do. Do I love eating animals. Why yes, in fact I do. Everything on this planet that can sustain us is alive. Plants feel. It's a fact. We are animals. Some animals eat other animals. I have chosen to not eat people. That's where I draw the line. Unless of course they piss me off. Shhhh... Don't tell anyone. It'll be our little secret.

So recently my little besty friend Lucy has come to stay with us here in our cave. She happens to be a vegan who also can't cook (my lil' wife K burns water as well) so I have adapted my cookery to keep her from starving to death. Some nights we eat animal free and some nights I make her special fancy vegan meals while K and I eat a roast beast or whatnot. In the words of Lucy "who needs restaurants when you have Chef Violet to cook for you." Awww shucks.

In part one of Vegan Dinner for Lucy I made:
Zucchini "Pasta" with a Spicy Vegan Field Roast Sausage Sugo.

Here's what you need:
2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips
1 package of spicy vegan field roast sausage (or something similar), crumbled or thinly sliced
vegan "butter" (we use Earth Balance fake butter which has a pretty yummy taste/texture)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp harissa (or sub a little tomato paste and cayenne pepper)
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)

vegan cheese, shredded (I like the Daiya brand jack cheese for this)
fresh dill

Using a mandoline (if you don't have one, drop what ever you are doing and go get one now) I sliced the zucchini super thin longways and with the right blade attachment it shreds them as well essentially making long, thin strips (aka fake vegetable pasta). A little blanch in boiling, salty water for 4 minutes and then shocked in cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large saute pan over medium heat cook the onions and garlic in a little vegan butter until soft (about 4 minutes). Add the sausage and harissa and cook another 3 minutes. Add the veggie stock or water to thin it out. Add the zucchini and gently stir. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce thickens a bit and the zucchini is cooked through but not mushy (about 2-3 more minutes).

Plate the zucchini pasta with tongs and garnish with dill and shredded "cheese". Enjoy your delicious and satisfying meatless feast you have just amazingly prepared without the use of hippy chants. I promise this dish will not trick you into wearing harem pants or accidentally attending Burning Man. You will not get the urge to buy a digeredoo. Nope. I promise. xoxo

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pork and Beans is Made from People!

After the apocalypse I assume I'll be eating a lot of beans. That and perhaps some human flesh but I don't want to get into that right now (just read the book The Road and you'll now what's what). When I was little I would just sit there and pop open a can of Beanie Weenies (grey looking hot dogs chopped up in saucy baked beans) and eat them cold out of the can. I liked to pretend I was vagabond traveler riding the rails and getting into all kinds of trouble. I'd build fires and hunt for dinner. I almost caught a squirrel once with my bare hands. Actually I'm glad I didn't because I hear that they have to stab you in the stomach with a hypodermic needle like 50 times if you get rabies. I hear squirrel tastes like chicken which sounds delicious but frankly I don't like needles.

Thankfully the end of the world hasn't happened yet (so the whole cannibalism thing will have to wait) and I can still cook up a nice meal on my rickety baby stove (seriously, why is my oven so small?). My take on pork and beans is perhaps a little more refined than the canned version but still fills me up with nostalgia and makes me think of my childhood dreams of train hopping and being a sidewalk card shark or con artist grifter.  

Seared Pork Chop with Black-eyed Peas and Spicy Andouille Sausage

(the pork)
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper tt
4 (1/2 inch thick) boneless pork chops
canola oil

(the beans)
2 cans of black-eyed peas, drained (technically it's a pea but just eat it and quit being a know-it-all)
1/2 lb andouille sausage, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (celery leaves used for garnish)
2 scallions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pimentón/smoked paprika
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Start the black-eyed peas:
Place a medium sized pot over medium heat. In a little canola oil saute the onions, celery, garlic, sausage, and scallions until the vegetables are translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the spices, black-eyed peas, and chicken stock and simmer until the sauce thickens (about 15 minutes).  

As the black-eyed peas starts to thicken start the pork chops. Before cooking the chops pat them dry. Mix all the spices together. Place a frying pan over medium high heat. Season the pork chops liberally. Put a little oil in the pan and sear the pork chops (about 3-4 minutes per side). Make sure the pork is just cooked through and remove from the heat to a cutting board. Let the pork rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Plate the black-eyed peas and top with the sliced pork chops. Garnish with celery leaves. Enjoy your pre-apocalyptic, human fleshless meal. xoxo

Friday, March 8, 2013

Super Kawaii Food Fun Time Oishii Show!

Onigiri Rabbits and a Heart Filled with Smoked Salmon and Topped with Furikake

Why so serious? Ya know, I subscribe to a lot of fancy food magazines and blogs and whatnot and the one thing that has always troubled me is the omnipresent snobby, richy rich snobbery (whether the writers are well off or not). Look I don't care if you sleep in a water bed filled with gold teeth and use thousand dollar bills to light your cigars. Good for you. I'm just tired of the snotty attitude that mainstream food writers have adopted. I could give a shit that you hand picked horned unicorn lobsters™ off the coast of Malta on one of your weekend getaways. That's great and all but it doesn't make you any better and happier than us poor saps who have to stoop to buying a fresh lobster down at the pier or at your local endangered species black market. All levels of food are worthwhile and every time some asshole turns their nose up at a hot dog octopus a baby kitten dies of erotic asphyxiation. No lie.

Octopus Hot Dogs Floating in a Sea of Ramen

I love bento. Japanese boxes filled with cute and tasty things. Fried squid eyes and heart shaped gelatinous shark taints are my personal favorite. Okay, I lied about that but I really do love bentos. Housewives in Japan take it very seriously when they pack their children's lunch bento. Onigiri, rice shaped into popular characters like Hello Kitty or Rilakkuma. Meat shaped into sea creatures and vegetables turned into jaunty hats. "My child must have the most kawaii bento or I will have shamed the family." Serious stuff.

Have fun with your food. It should be tasty and super kawaii! There's a time and a place for serious food (like at funerals, attempted poisonings, and at the opera) but there is also a desperate need for people in the food world (and the non-food world) to lighten up a little. Pull that skewered lobster tail out of your ass and have a little fun once in a while (unless of course you have that lobster skewer up there for fun in the first place). Let the Japanese learn you a thing or two. Cute food tastes better. It's a known fact. Yeah, you can eat a hot dog but wouldn't it be better if your hot dog was a dapper cephalopod? Of course it would be! Why have plain old curry rice when instead you could have rice shaped into a bear drowning in a tasty brown curry lake while holding onto a custardy egg "lifeboat" with chicken nugget "squirrels" dancing on top. Exactly. Life is short. Play with your food. xoxo

This video isn't mine but look how adorable this Rilakkuma bento is. Kawaii!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Picky Pick.

I love little picky pick meals. Small bites of complimentary flavors. Salty, sweet, sour, bitter, hot, cold, crispy, silky all in one meal. It's a very "un-American" way to eat. No I don't mean that eating small plates makes you a red commie bastard, although they are great for sharing. I'm just saying that the folks around here (especially in the rebel flag, gun rack, can-o-soup casserole baking, sweat pants wearin', feed bag regions) tend to want big ol' portions of one big, cheesy, gravy covered hunk-o-meat casserole and no, sharing ain't gonna happen with nobody dammit. You can have my deep fried, bacon wrapped, meatloaf crusted corn dog when you pry it away from my cold dead, bloated hands.

Okay, so I've had a thing or two to say about a lot of small plates restaurants in the past. I hate small plate places where there is barely enough to share and you pay out the ass without even getting close to being full (or even sort of satisfied). Thankfully the fad has died down a bit so things are starting to get back to normal. There are plenty of small plate (sushi, izakaya, dim sum, tapas) joints that make me happy. The people of Japan, Spain, and China do it the best in my opinion. Lots of small dishes for sharing and meals tend to last a while. Less of a shove sustenance down your throat while watching reruns of Mama's Family sort of behavior and more of a spend time with people you like and enjoy the taste and art of food sort of thing.

Speaking of small plates the other day I made a plate of Japanese and Chinese offerings (I forced them to hold hands and play nice). I don't own enough small plates for everybody so I combined a few dishes onto single medium sized plates. I hope you will forgive me. Warm sushi rice with seared sesame Pacific sockeye salmon (say that ten times fast) and wasabi furikake, spicy black bean garlic prawns, avocado with togarashi, and steamed pork and shrimp gyoza with ponzu and sweet soy dipping sauce. It was tasty. Everyone was happy. The end. xoxo

Seared Sesame Pacific Sockeye Salmon with Wasabi Furikake

4 4oz Pacific sockeye salmon fillets, skin on
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
1 scallion, sliced on bias (set sliced green parts aside)
wasabi furikake
vegetable oil

In a large bowl mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, scallion whites, and garlic. Whisk together until combined.

Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Set a large skillet over medium high heat. Add enough veg oil to lightly coat the pan. Dry off the salmon fillets with a paper towel (reserving the marinade) and pan fry skin-side down for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets and cook another minute. Remove to a plate and let rest.

Add the saved marinade to the pan and reduce until it reaches a glaze consistency (about 2-3 minutes). Brush the top of the salmon fillets with the marinade. Top with furikake of your choice (or crushed nori and toasted sesame seeds). Slice the fillets and serve over rice or salad. xoxo

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You're the best around! No one's ever gonna keep you down!

Hello there loyal readers and fellow food eaters. Well here we are. 2012 is becoming but a bitter, distant memory (or The Year of Suck as I prefer to call it) and we're still alive to talk about it. I'll be honest, last year ran me over and kicked me repeatedly while I was down laying down in a fetal position (not the face!!!). Bruised and broken I still crawl up to a near standing position with an even greater appetite for deliciousness and destruction. So without further adieu: I present:

The Hunger's List of Happy Things I Put In My Mouth 2012

It was a down and dirty kind of year. Not too much fancy eating but usually I prefer the quick and honest stuff anyways. Sandwiches and all things made of pork. Sometimes, I'm just not in the mood for an "upscale $50 fried chicken dinner" if ya know what I mean. I'll take pretentious foam and tower food over badly done "upscale comfort" any day. At least I'd be amused. I want to punch expensive burgers in the face. Bleargh. Anyways, on with the show...

New Mexican Burger  - Lil Woodys (get some cheesy fries too!)
Pork Paté Bahn Mi - Seattle Deli
Croque Madame - Cafe Presse (get some frites as well)
Samish Bay Oysters on the Half Shell with Cocktail Sauce - Oceanaire
Spicy Pork Tacos - Marination Station (actually everything there is magical)
Truffled Razor Clam Chowder - Steelhead Diner
Bo La Lot and Crispy Imperial Rolls - Monsoon
Roast Duck Congee -  Ocean City Noodle House (or the cod congee)
Loco Moco & Spam Musubi Plate Lunch- Kauai Family Restaurant
Pork Cracklings - La Bete
Drunken Chicken Sandwich - Baguette Box
Tonkotsu - Samurai Noodle
Fish and Chips with Harissa - Pike Street Fish Fry
El Besito Caliente - Plum Cafe (not just best vegan sandwiches. One of the best sandwiches period)
Seattle Polish Dog with Onions and Cream Cheese - Comet Dogs (especially after a few drinks!)
Wet Super Prawn Burrito - Tacos Guayamas
Dungeoness Crab Roll - Pike Place Chowder (brave the tourists. It's worth it)
Pho Bò Viên - Bamboo
Katsu Curry - Hana (Nothing beats Japanese curry on a cold, shitty day)
Okonomiyaki - Boom Noodle
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers - The Rabbit Hole (while playing skeeball)
Pastrami Sandwich on Rye - Tat's Delicatessen
Veal Saltimbocca - Machiavelli's (especially with a whole bottle of chianti f-f-f-f)
Blackened Catfish with Grits and Collards - Kingfish Cafe (salty deliciousness)
Well, there it is. I'm sure I left out some stuff because my memory ain't what it used to be. Anyways, here's hoping that 2013 is even more delicious (and less treacherous)! xoxo