Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Sandwich for the Wrong Side of the Tracks.

The sandwich is the greatest human achievement of all time. Meat, cheese, other stuff between bread. Let me tell you, there is rarely a sandwich that pisses me off. Now I've had some ugly bad sandwiches before but they almost always are the result of sandwich person being a cheap bastard. Don't skimp on the good stuff. Pile it on. But not too much. Like I learned in The Karate Kid, balance is the key. If I can't insert a sandwich into my mouth hole you have failed. Messy is fine and dandy but if I HAVE to use a knife and fork to eat my sandwich you have wronged me and I will have revenge. Don't be a sandwich loser. Be a sandwich winner.

So anyways, I lived in good ole' St. Louis, Missouri for a while during my angsty years. I was broke and hungry and full of sad emo tears and I needed cheap food that didn't taste like garbage (or actually was garbage). There is a delightful sandwich with strange origins from Gateway to the West. It's called the St. Paul sandwich. It was invented in the 1940s by a guy named Steven Yuen at his restaurant Park Chop Suey in Lafayette Square, a neighborhood near downtown St. Louis. He named the sandwich after his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was cheap and filling and used up easy to get ingredients. The St. Paul is basically a egg foo yung sandwich. Egg, meat (or meatless if you're a hippy), sometimes cheese. Sometimes bean sprouts and scallion. Either way, it's really damn delicious.

When I was a kid I made up a sandwich called The Hobo. I was 6 years old and imagined myself riding the rails, traveling from town to town looking for work with a hearty breakfast sandwich in my hand. I also wanted to be a pirate. So yeah, I invented a basic breakfast sandwich of eggs, sausage, and cheese. A more breakfasty version of the St. Paul. But i love the addition of bean chopped sprout and scallion. My family loved it and I felt as though I had really accomplished something. I also thought that perhaps now my mother would let me follow my train-hopping pirate dreams. Alas, she said no. It was a damn good sandwich though. So I give to you:

The St. Paul Hobo Sandwich.
(2 sandwiches)

4 slices of toasted white bread
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 lb breakfast sausage
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped bean sprouts
2 cloves garlic
2 slices American cheese
Sriracha mayo (just mix some hot sauce in your mayo)

In a non-stick pan over medium high heat add a little bit of butter. Saute the garlic and scallion for 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Add the chopped bean sprouts. Spread the ingredients out in a single layer in the pan and pour the egg over the top. Cook for 1 minute. Cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes or until the egg is just cooked through. Cut the omelet into four wedges. Take a slice of bread. Slather the hot mayo. Place two wedges of the egg filling. Add a slice of cheese. Slather the top piece of bread with mayo and top off the sandwich. Enjoy while you hop a train and get a job at a coal mine. xoxo

Thursday, October 15, 2015

You Are One Easy Chicken.

Listen, I like cooking away for hours like any food snob but some days I just don't have time for that kind of business. I'd like to set up lights and tripods to capture the perfect picture where the steam rises just so and the meat sweats perfectly (ewww) but some days my camera phone will just have to convey deliciousness in it's own charming but jinky way. I have a hungry family to feed and chronic illnesses to attend to. Before culinary school I learned how to cook from my grandmother and my mother. Some seriously delicious home cooking. I ain't afraid of chicken bouillon and dried herbs. Sure I know that homemade and fresh can be better sometimes but not always in my opinion. I prefer green bean casserole using canned green beans over fresh. Yeah, that's right. The gloves are off. Yeah, I'll buy a pre-roasted chicken from the grocery and it'll make delicious things out of it. Damn right I will. I happen to love Spam and American cheese and I'm not ashamed of it. I crave Doritos every night and drink Coke every day for breakfast. That being said I also love the salty mineral tannin in a perfectly braised Coq Au Vin. My favorite food is oysters on the half shell. I am caught between two world my dears but when it comes down to it, I just love food. Trashy food, junk food, classy food, expensive food, interesting food, comforting food, gas station food, fine dining food. I just really love to taste tasty things. Who am I to turn my nose up at how anyone cooks? I'm just a girl who loves to eat. Culinary degree or not. Just cook. Eat. Live and try to be happy while doing so.

So anyways blah blah blah. The other night I was not feeling well so I bought a rotisserie chicken. For my family of three I got three nights of meals out of it. On the first night I carved the breast meat and made Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad Wraps. On the second night I made Cuban Fricaise de Pollo out of the leg and thigh meat. On the last night I made a quick chicken stock out of the bones, wings, and back meat which turned into Pasta Fagioli with Spicy Fennel Sausage. Quick and inexpensive and incredibly delicious.

Cuban Fricaise de Pollo (Cuban Hunters Chicken)

2 chicken thighs and 2 chicken legs (roast it yourself or buy a chicken pre-roasted to save time)
1 15oz can dice tomatos
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Spanish olives, thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper tt

parsley for garnish
Spanish olive oil
steamed white rice

Shred the cooked chicken. Set aside. Heat some olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic for a few minutes (until soft). Add the spices, tomato, chicken meat, and the olives. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over white rice. Yum.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Cult of Bacon.

Hello friends and enemies. In my last post, The Sea is your Cure, I wrote about the greasy fingered dangers of an all fried food and whiskey diet. Sure, you need healthy-ish things in your mouth once in a while but lets not get fanatical or anything. I hope I didn't scare you all into an quinoa and kelp diet. I'd rather die a happy, slightly crunchy life than a sad life of exercise and crying. It's all about some sort of balance. If you eat triple bacon cheeseburgers a few day in row perhaps chill out a little and only have single bacon cheeseburgers the next few days. Balance. It's the key to life.

So anyways, bacon and tater tots. The two power foods at the top of the food pyramids. You need them to survive. I heard from the tv that tater tots and bacon, when cooked correctly, can grant you super strength similar to the powers you gain when ingesting pcp. Now, I don't know the science behind it but it was on tv so it's obviously true.

I really wanted pcp super strength so I made Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots with Smokey Three Cheese Sour Cream Dip. Take a frozen tot. Wrap bacon around it until it overlaps. Cut the bacon. Repeat. Fill a tray sheet while the oven preheats to 425F degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and the tots look crispy. I know that your first instinct will be to grab them straight out of the oven with your bare hands and shove them into you mouth hole but PLEASE LISTEN TO ME. They will melt your face and tongue to the base of your teeth. Let them cool a minute. I can't say I didn't warn you.

For the dip I melted 1 TBSP butter in a pot over medium heat and whisked in 1 TBSP flour and made a roux. Cooked it for 2mins. Whisked in 1 cup of heavy cream. Added a large handful of shredded aged white cheddar, a big handful of grated manchego (Parmesan would work too), and a medium sized chunk of Point Reyes blue cheese. Whisked until the cheese melted and the sauce thickened. Added salt and pepper and some smoked paprika. Then I whisked in a bunch of sour cream. Yum.

This dish is one of the best things to ever reach my stomach. I dream about it. I now belong to the cult of the bacon tot. You will too. Join us...