Anger Burger

Hotto Keh-Ki!

Posted by on May 29, 2010 at 8:31 pm

You guys.  These hot cakes.

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I’m not fucking around.  Well, let’s back up: so, I’m walking through the Japanese market and I do an actual double-take (seriously, I’d like to see the security footage) at this box of hot cake mix.  I never before until that precise moment understood that I had an unrealized hot cake fantasy wherein inch-thick, supernaturally golden brown stacks appear before me on the wings of angels. And it’s not just me: a five year-old post at Brown Bread Ice Cream is all the proof I need to know I’m not insane.  I mean, about the beauty of Japanese hot cakes.

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I’m not interested in their little included packets of single-serve artificial maple syrup, but I appreciate the gesture.  And classically, a complete lack of English matters not at all when the infographics are useful enough:

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Apparently you vibrate a whisk with 100ccs of something white and an egg until your bowl shouts in Japanese, and then you add the powder mix.    I have to tell you, I was mesmerized and titillated from the start.  With an egg and a little under 1/2 C. of milk (100ccs is something like .42 fluid cups) the batter was the texture of frosting.  I added a few more tablespoons of milk until I could at least form a hot cake with it, even though I realize a lot of that magical loft comes from the thickness of the batter.  And the smell!  No kidding: vanilla cake batter.  Cake batter!  Even Mike had a lightbulb appear over his head.  Why haven’t we tried to make pancakes out of cake batter before?

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The only reason the hot cakes didn’t turn out exactly like on the box was from the shaking of my hands as I made them.  How illicit!  I mean, I’m the person that makes homemade  pancakes with ground flax in them for christ’s sake.  And here are these cartoonishly perfect, vanilla-cakey little patties that cooked up perfect in less than five minutes.

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We ate them and chicken sausages with our fingers like we were getting away with something.  Which we were, I guess.  We ate cake with sugar syrup for dinner.

I realized then what is so terrifically charming about certain Japanese foods: this idealized version of something crafted with no preexisting expectations in mind.  What’s this “hot cake” you say?  Like a cake in a pan?  Like this?  YES, CLOSE ENOUGH.

10 Posted in Obsessed

Bowl Noodle Hot

Posted by on May 27, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I just spent a couple of minutes driving around Seattle, looking for the name of the restaurant that we call “Bowl Noodle Hot,” named after an impatient waitress’ description of the goods.  And by ‘driving around Seattle’ I mean pushing my little Google street-view man around while hunched over my laptop in Los Angeles, California.  But I found it!  Szechuan Noodle Bowl, oh how I adore thee.  And I hate to link you to a Yelp article since I disapprove of Yelp’s twisted little rating schemes, but it’s as good a summary as any for what you’re in store for: harsh fluorescent lighting, peeling linoleum, long waits and brisk waitresses bearing trays of the most delightful Chinese delicacy: niúròu miàn.

The most deceptive translation is just “beef noodle.”  Perhaps the most common bowl of noodles in China (or so I’ve been told by unreliable sources) and for good damn reason: dark, rich, soft, unctuous, salty, sort of like phở’s evil twin.  And man, did I have a hankering for it.  Turns out: if you can make pot roast, you’re just some boiled noodles away from Bowl Noodle Hot.

And begin!

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There’s nothing very strange in Bowl Noodle Hot, in fact the only Asian influences are ginger and the spices.  Most recipes called for a few star anise dropped into the soup as it boils, but since I was short on the star anise I just dumped in some Chinese five spice powder, which contains the anise anyway.  It turned out great.

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And ah, my secret weapon.  That was a dud.  My Szechuan peppercorns have gone flaccid.  They gots no spunk.  I didn’t realize they could go weak from sitting around in the cupboard for years, but you live a little, you learn a little.  I put in nearly 1/4 cup of these and barely tasted them.

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A whole lot of stuff goes into a big pot and over the course of 4 to 6 hours completely disintegrates, so don’t worry your pretty little head about chopping.  Just find a way to get it into the pot.

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This time around I went with some gorgeous short ribs found at my favorite L.A. Japanese market, though I suspect that I won’t be doing that again.  They weren’t cheap and a small cubed chuck roast would do just fine.  Still, delicious.

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And there she goes.  That’s it.  I mean sure, it’s a little trickier – there’s some straining involved, and you have to dirty another pot to boil some noodles, but for the most part, you’re done with dinner.  I imagine that a slow cooker would work even better, but currently I am my own slow cooker.

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Hot beef!  Hot beef injection!  I’m telling you: the stuff that comes out the other end of this endeavor will startle and amaze you.  Wild animals will try to get into your house.  The President will show up (he did here, but we pretended like we weren’t home).  If you don’t eat beef, you will now.  If you do, you’ll hug yourself and fall asleep a happy kid.

Bowl Noodle Hot
the downside of this recipe is that it takes some intuition.  the beef can be done cooking in as little as two hours, but will most likely be exponentially better if you can simmer it for closer to six.  it also needs little additions of water here and there to thin it, which you have to just go by on taste – I can’t tell you how rich you want it, but I will warn that you can always add a little water while taking the water away is much harder.

2 lbs. short ribs, beef shank, chuck roast or brisket chopped into large cubes
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, left whole but smashed
5 thick slices ginger, don’t bother peeling
1 tomato, cut up
1 onion, cut up
a couple of green onions, cut into big hunks
2 – 4 tbsp. brown sugar
2 – 3 star anise or 1 tsp. Chinese five spice
Szechuan peppercorns
3/4 C. soy sauce
2 14oz. cans low-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp Kitchen Bouquet
2 – 3 cups water (added slowly, in reserve, as the soup cooks)
2 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar, if you have it – if you don’t, any vinegar will do

Noodles of your choice

  • Heat a large soup pot to medium-high heat and add the oil.  Add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, but don’t brown.  Add everything else but the water and the vinegar.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a very low simmer and let sit, partially lidded, for about 4 hours.  Give it a stir every once and a while to make sure all the meat is submerged.  If the liquid level really drops, just keep topping it off with some water to make sure everything’s covered.
  • If you have used a particularly fatty meat like the ribs, you’ll also notice at this stage a lot of floating oil on the top of the soup.  Using a large spoon, take a little time to spoon off as much of the fat as you can by gently tipping the edge of the spoon into the top of the liquid.  It takes a little skill, but you’ll get it.
  • When the meat is so tender you can pull the pieces apart with your fingers, carefully remove them from the soup and set aside.  Everyone else but the ginger and spices should be nearly disintegrated.  Carefully (HOT!) strain this liquid, pressing on all the gunk to squeeze all the deliciousness out of it.  I push everything but the ginger and spices through a sieve, and return it to the liquid.  Return the liquid to the soup pot and resume the low simmer.  Return the beef to the broth as well.
  • Now is your chance to taste everything for levels.  Is it just a smidge sweet?  No?  Add some more brown sugar.  Is it salty enough?  No?  Add a pinch or salt or another glug of soy sauce.  Add the vinegar and taste it – has it added a barely detectable tanginess?  No?  Add another spoonful.  Is it all spicy enough?  No?  Add some more Chinese five spice.  (Don’t add more whole spices, though, because that ship has sailed.)  If you want, you can add vegetables at this stage: baby bok choy is traditional, but big cubes of carrot, sweet potato and daikon radish are also lovely.  There’s also a strong chance you’ll want to water the soup down at this point, since it tends to be very strong — but not too much!  You’re going to be eating it with plain noodles and vegetables, all of which can take the strong soup.  It’s part of the appeal.
  • Meanwhile: cook some noodles in a spare pot of boiling water.  The best noodles will be frozen or fresh ones you get at the Asian market, any noodle you like.  Udon is nice.  So are egg wheat noodles (yellowish ones) like in yakisoba.  A lot of Chinese people in the States just use linguine, based on the online recipes I read.
  • Serve noodles in bowl with ladles of everything on top.  Serve with hot chili oil as a condiment.

Also be advised: this is one of those recipes that makes amazing left-overs.  Make a lot at a time and freeze the broth and meat into portions to serve later with freshly cooked noodles.  It just gets better and better.

23 Posted in Make It So

Just Call Me Mrs. Cleaver

Posted by on May 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have an entirely inconsistent streak of cleanliness. Generally speaking, it goes like this:

1) Get up.  Grumpy.  Get overwhelmed with clutter and/or dustbunnies.  Go on cleaning rampage.  Glare at Mike during cleaning rampage.  Calm down.

2) Guests are coming over. Frantically start cleaning.  Become hyperfocused on small things, like the grimy patch of floor between the stove and the cabinets, which I can barely even get my arm into to clean.  Glare at Mike.  Calm down.

Aside from this, bets are off when I’m making dinner.  At dinner, it’s a mid-war medic tent scenario, where whatever needs to be used gets used, and the gauze tape and the suture packs fall where they will.

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I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I’d like to keep a tidier workspace, but something about small galley kitchens just whisper “Fuck it!“  If I had a mega McMansion kitchen with something the real estate agent referred to optimistically as a “butler’s pantry,” the kind of kitchen entered with the secret password of Stainless Steel Appliances and Marble Countertops, maybe then I’d have enough room to keep my dinner-making from looking like it was raided by starving hobos on the lam from the fuzz.¹

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But I doubt it.  I suspect I’d grow to fill that space as well.

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Still, it’s usually worth it.   I mean, I clean up after I’m done.  And the end product, even if a modest bowl of tricked-out ramen, is usually enjoyed.

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I’m always suspicious of kitchens that have nothing usable on the counter tops, like those giant gift jars of oil packed with herbs and slices of lemon going wan and bloated-looking from years of UV exposure.  I’m not saying that everyone has to cook, not even close.  But the pretend cooking — let’s just say if you’re going to claim you cook, at least have the decency to stage a little splattered curry on the underside of your cabinets.

¹ Side anecdote: when I lived in a house on the edge of a freeway, a neighbor came over one day to tell me that her house had been broken into by transients. I asked how she knew they were transients, and she said “All they did was use up all my bread and peanut butter and jelly, and took a jar of pennies.”

15 Posted in Food Rant

Melody’s Coffee Kit Kat Update

Posted by on May 23, 2010 at 10:39 am

I asked Melody, who won the coffee Kit Kat bar, to share her thoughts on it, and she did so at her blog.  Hooray!  Never before in my life have things gone as smoothly as planned.

Except!  It appears her bar was a little melted somewhere in transit, though where it got hot enough to melt between Washington state and Sweden I can’t imagine.  Maybe the cargo pilot set the package on his dash.  I mean, that’s how I’ve melted chocolate before, so I just assume.

Anyway, it was sweet of Melody to turn candy into homework, so go have a read for me.  For her.  For me.

0 Posted in Drama!

The Miracle of Hunger

Posted by on May 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I started having this epiphany the week before last.  It was a slow one.  It started when one morning my mom, who I’ve already mentioned is rather sick and having trouble gaining weight, woke up hungry.  This is rare.  But first I have to go back a few days.

We discovered that an ideal breakfast for her (and anyone, really) is a bowl of noodles with fish.  For ease and because she likes the texture, we started with a brick of instant ramen noodles.  Throw the packet of chemicals away.  Instead, starting with two cups of water, we added a large spoonfull of dark soy, a large spoonful of light soy, a large spoonful of Japanese soup base (which is itself totally redundant since it’s mostly soy and fish stock, but somehow it tastes better) (I’m sure it’s the MSG, you can all settle down) and a big pinch of sugar.  When that got boiling, we added a half of the ramen brick and about six 1-inch hunks of raw fish.  We like to get the black cod and salmon ends and pieces from Uwajimaya in Seattle, because they are cheap, yes, but also because they are fatty fatty fatty.  Delicious!  The fish and the noodles then simmer down for at least five minutes, until the soup has a visible layer of fish oil bubbling on top and the noodles are soft.  Top with sliced green onion.

The first morning my mom actually polished off an entire bowl — which is about 75% more food than she can usually eat in a sitting — she looked at me in alarm and said “That was amazing.”  The second morning, the same thing.  The third morning when I came downstairs she was already puttering around to get the noodles ready, chanting and possibly threatening: “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!”

And still I didn’t have the epiphany, but the seed was there.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the airport thinking about pooping (true!) that it finally slugged me: we mistakenly refer to successful body functions as “normal.”   Perhaps it’s to keep sane, but we don’t seem to comprehend on a daily basis that we’re barely, frantically and awkwardly skipping ahead of catastrophic physical failure.   We hardly, if ever, think of the most basic of our functions:  wow, that was a success.

Now, I don’t believe in being grateful for things that are random, like health, but I do believe in taking pleasure from them.  The next time I felt myself getting hungry was on the plane, and it was with deliberate pleasure that I opened a bag of my favorite snacks and slowly consumed them, feeling the satiating rush like it was a glass of good sipping whiskey.  How magical.  How wonderful.  How much like drugs, and yet, all I am doing is answering a request my body sends me a half a dozen times a day.

A few days ago, I was walking home from the library and I was overwhelmed with the desire for a salad.  You may not know that I can’t eat salads; I have Crohn’s disease and my body handles raw vegetables like most people handle crushed glass.  It’s a great sadness in my life, but when I feel bad about it I remind myself that I can still eat bread.  Not to get all Pollyanna on you, but damn, if I couldn’t eat wheat, I’d be very nearly out of reasons to live.  Anyway, I decided that I was going to eat a salad come hell or high water, “high water” being explosive, agonizing diarrhea and black-out intense muscle cramps.

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I crafted my dream salad: mixed baby greens, chopped basil and cilantro, shredded carrots, peas, corn, and microgreens.  The only reason there wasn’t avocado was because I forgot to get one.  I made some simple vinaigrette and went at it.  I made plans to stay home the next day so I could writhe on the bathroom floor in peace.

But I felt fine.

Not being one to take things graciously, last night I decided to eat another salad.  Again, I waited.  Usually it takes between 1 and 12 hours for my digestive system to send me the FUCK YOU LADY care package, and still nothing.  I feel normal.  Good, even.  I have no explanation for this¹, but I will tell you something: those were some motherfucking satisfying salads and in no small part because wow, that was a success.

¹ Mike immediately hissed “It’s the vitamins!” but I don’t think four days of vitamins suddenly cured my Crohn’s disease. I wish it did, but I’m not that fresh off the turnip wagon. The amazing part here is that my body said in no uncertain terms: SALAD.  NOW.  WE PROMISE WE’LL BE GOOD.   I just now realized I think of my body as a plural.

3 Posted in Food Rant

Linus Pauling, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Vitamin C

Posted by on May 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

So, my dad never stops talking about vitamin C.  Are you sick?  That’s too easy:  vitamin C.  Are you tired? Well, still vitamin C.  Achy?  Blurred vision?  Tinnitus?  Broken leg?  Dog won’t stop barking?  Need a job?  FOR FUCK’S SAKE, TAKE SOME VITAMIN C.

To be fair, the answer to all the above should you ask my mom is “Take a shower.”  True story.  Sometime in my teens I started to notice that whenever my sister or I had any physical complaints my mother would say in her most medically professional voice (which is formidable — 20 years of nursing does that to you) “You’ll feel so much better if you take a shower.”  Now, in her defense, we were filthy ragamuffins and needed showers, but it wasn’t until I was older that I started to understand the wisdom of her advice.  You do always feel better if you take a shower.

Anyway, this is about my dad and his healthy man-love for Linus Pauling.

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In quick summary, since I’d rather that you read his book instead of relying on my paraphrasing, Pauling believed this: mega-doses of vitamins C, E, B and A are not only safe, but necessary for an ideally healthful life.  And this is contrary to what you’ve been told.

To get more specific, the RDA recommends 60mg of C, but Pauling recommends a minimum of 6,000mg.  And despite being one of the greatest scientists in the world regularly ranked along side Einstein and Crick, despite winning two Nobel prizes (one for chemistry and one for peace), despite winning almost every scientific award you can think of, despite living well into his 90′s and staying physically¹ and mentally fit for the duration, despite being a certified genius, the thing Pauling is known best for is his “quackery” of vitamin mega-dosing.

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Basically, it goes like this: Pauling learned that the RDA’s daily requirement for vitamin C was 60mg, and that they came to this number because it is the minimum the human body needs to keep from entering into scurvy.  Take special note of that previous sentence: it’s the amount needed to keep from entering a fully diseased state.  Pauling quotes Dr. Albert Szent Gyorgi (emphasis is mine):

“… So the medical profession said that if you don’t get scurvy, you are all right.  I think this is a very grave error.  Scurvy is not the first sign of a deficiency, but a premortal syndrome, and for full health you need much more, very much more.”

In other words, if you’re taking the RDA vitamin C dose, you’re still deficient, you’re just not going to immediately die from the deficiency.  Uh.  Awesome.

Even now people struggle to dismiss Pauling’s work, citing that there’s no difference between people who took “normal” (read: low) doses and people who took mega-doses.  If you start to dig into these studies, particularly a large Mayo Clinic study that sought to disprove Pauling on almost every claim, you find a personal vendetta against him from another scientist who openly disliked Pauling for being anti-establishment².

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I don’t know what’s going on here, but I like it.

I’ve also found the regular truncated version of Pauling’s studies stated as follows: he thinks vitamin C cures cancer.  In fact, Pauling did not believe that.  He merely proved that people lived longer and felt better.

He was among the first scientists to openly advise the public to eat less meat, less sugar and to above all struggle to be happy.  This was during a political and social climate that encouraged the opposite: Meat is American!  Sugar means freedom!  And working hard is a patriotic duty!  And while he spoke gentle platitudes about the positive effects of happiness, underneath was a unapologetic, seething, number crunching genius who’d just as soon tell you that the intellectually sound thing to do would be to defer to his far more intelligent, educated experience.  And I for one am inclined to do so³.

So is my dad, who has been taking mega-doses of vitamins  since the mid-80′s, and to this effect: his doctors are always amazed at his health.  His cholesterol was too low and his doctor advised him to eat more eggs.  He rarely catches a virus.  The diabetes on his side of the family has never touched him.  He’s slender, despite eating a diet consisting almost entirely of spaghetti.  His blood pressure is even-steven.  I’m not saying he’s in perfect health (DAD, THE FOOT?  PLEASE SEE SOMEONE ABOUT IT?), or that these positives are a direct result of the vitamins, but it is worth noting that his parents, at his age, were already quite sick people.  It would seem he’s doing something right.  Of course, he’s batshit crazy, but I blame that on the mercury fillings in his teeth.

¹If you don’t count the fatal run-in with prostate cancer.
² Pauling had a habit of advising people not to go to doctors unless they were shooting blood out a stump from where there arm used to be, because doctors were not educated in what Pauling called orthomolecular medicine, or the careful monitoring of the body’s vitamin, mineral and fatty acid levels as a way to regulate health.  Pauling felt the human body was capable of healing itself of any illness a person might imagine (not any damage – I don’t mean to imply he felt the body could put itself back together after being blown up or anything) provided it had enough resources.  This is not quackery.  We know now that we could regrow lost limbs if we could just learn how to tell our DNA to do so.  Also: a lot of scientists believed that Pauling was a communist.
³I started ramping up to 10,000mg of C a few days ago. I was already taking mega-doses of B. I’ll increase the E and A when I know the C is stable.

22 Posted in Food Rant

Black Black Gum Winners

Posted by on May 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Well what have we here?

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Talia, I believe you’ve been acting up again?  Please report to the front office for your punishment.  And you, C Fierce!  I truly expected better from you.

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You head up to the office too.  And no running!  Your parents are going to be so disappointed.

3 Posted in Drama!

Black Black Gum – The Giveaway for the Discerning Blog Reader

Posted by on May 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Back in December I bragged about a batch of fudge.  Remember this?  And in the comments my friend Dan — who is also Anger Burger’s Master Tech Geek and therefore invaluable to me in a way that borders on weird, mostly in that I haven’t even updated to WordPress 2.9.2 because I don’t want to bother Dan if the site breaks –  told me that he made a mean fudge himself and that I’d have to try it.  I blasted off some comment about why didn’t he send me some.  I think I may have ruined the punchline of this post, but I’m sitting around yesterday all lah-te-dah, when the mail arrives.

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What is this?  I have no idea.  Why the hell would Dan mail me something?  Is it a bill for the site?  Is the bill really so big that he needed to USPS Priority it to me?

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WAIT A GODDAMN MINUTE!  I mean, actually, my very first thought was What the hell? because I didn’t remember about the fudge.  And then I actually shouted out loud (I have a witness) “I HAD A MEMORY!”  And indeed I did!  Dan said he’d mail me fudge!  And then he did!  I swear, if I didn’t already feel like I take advantage of this guy, I certainly do now.  Well, in a moment, because I’m going to make a bold claim: Dan, it’s good.  But can it go head to head with mine?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  We both know the two words that come next.

FUDGE.  BATTLE.

I don’t know when.  I don’t know how.  But Fudge Battle is coming.  It’s unavoidable.  And afterward, I hope you’ll still fix my code when I break it beyond repair.

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As a thanks to Dan, I want to send him something.  A pack of gum.  But not just any gum.  I haven’t yet written a love letter to Black Black, the best gum in the world, and that’s a shame.  If you’re the kind of person that spits out an Altoid for being too hot, you’re going to hate Black Black.  It’s like having a -15° winter storm come into your room while you’re sleeping and kick you in the face.  Your eyes water uncontrollably.  People around you gasp for breath and cry out for help.  Flowers drop petals.  Cats hiss.  Planes 30,000 feet above you experience turbulence.  And you’re asking, how can this possibly get any better?  Like so:  it’s also caffeinated.

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I’m sending Dan a pack of this miracle, and while I’m at it I’m going to send a pack to TWO OF YOU AS WELL!  Two lucky bastards other than Dan will have the wonderment that is Lotte’s Black Black.  You should know the drill by now, but in case you don’t:

1) You may only comment once.  If you comment more than once I will delete all but one of your comments.  To be perfectly clear: you will not be disqualified, you’ll just have all but one of your comments deleted to ensure you get the same chances as everyone else.

2) I don’t care what you say.

3) Contest closes at 8pm PST on Tuesday night – any comments made after 8pm will not qualify.

4) Anyone may enter.

That’s it!  And then off in the mail it goes.  Don’t thank me.  Thank Dan.

***CONTEST CLOSED!***

Stand by for results!

26 Posted in Drama!, Obsessed

I’m Hesitant to Call It Thai, But Here We Go

Posted by on May 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Thai people, avert your eyes.  It’s going to get ugly over here.

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Thai food is kind of an obsession.  For other people I mean, not for me.   It’s the strangest thing; I love coconut milk, basil, lemongrass, seafood.  Tom kha kai is my all-time favorite soup, the sourer the better.   I adore a good curry.  I’d eat almost anything served with rice.  But I rarely if ever search out “good Thai” as all my friends call it.  It’s the heat.  The mouth-blistering, weeping, projectile shitting spice.  I like it in theory, but for someone with Crohn’s disease it’s like a Type 1 diabetic winning Wonka’s golden ticket — fucking awesome, thanks.  Please remember to put some flowers on my headstone.

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I assume you’re asking me now: why not make it without the heat?  To which I am answering: listen, smarty, would I be sitting around on a Saturday morning blogging about dinner if I were as clever as you?  Feel free to answer that in the comments.

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It’s happening, slowly.  A long while back I made a green curry from scratch that didn’t have any heat in it and it was great, though I didn’t own a Cuisinart at the time and had to grind everything into paste by hand.  By hand! Like a goddamn native!  Of some country other than America!

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And I also learned to make basil chicken, a meal that’s become a solid staple around the Anger Burger compound.  I find myself making it when I don’t really want to cook, if that helps you visualize how easy it is.  And it’s cheap, if you live near a Trader Joe’s or Asian market, less cheap if you don’t.  Bitch needs a lot of basil.  Just a warning.

Thai Basil Chicken, Sans Punch
this works with any ground meat, and I find that the Empire ground turkey from my local Trader Joe’s is our favorite, though ground chicken is a little easier to find.  you could use pork, but drain off the fat after frying but before adding the seasonings.  also, once I mistakenly bought the 99% fat free chicken and it cooked up into a squeaky, dry, inedible powder.  it was profoundly depressing.  also: this is way more authentic if made with Thai holy basil, but whatever.

3 Tbsp. cooking oil
5 -10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
2 lime leaves, very finely chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 – 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
4 oz fresh basil, chopped into roughly small bits

  • Make some rice.  Have all ingredients chopped and prepped and ready to go, because it comes together really fast.
  • Heat a frying pan to pretty high, add the oil and quickly saute the onion and garlic.  Don’t let them brown.  Add the meat by roughly crumbling it into the hot oil and then over high heat, continue to quickly break apart the cooking bits as they go.  With ground chicken and turkey, it’s important not to let it overcook.
  • When the pinkness is mostly gone, add the lime leaf, soy sauce, brown sugar and fish sauce.  It should be salty enough, but it may not be sweet enough.  Adjust to taste.
  • When the meat is cooked through, no more than 2 or 3 minutes longer, add the basil, stir through, and remove from heat.
  • Serve over steamed rice.

And the true test of a lazy meal: the leftovers are awesome, especially when scrambled into some eggs.  And the dog “accidentally” got some and then acted like she’d discovered fire.  So, everyone’s happy.

4 Posted in Make It So

Cheese and Corn Casserole

Posted by on May 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I can imagine this day.  Very few of us survive the attacks – at first, it’s exciting, like the movies.  The zombies aren’t the fast ones, but they don’t amble, either.  The only people getting eaten or turned are the lame and uneducated.  Anyone with the ability to nail boards over their windows and use a shotgun survives.  But after a couple of years when there’s still no way to stop them and hotspots flare up over and over and over again, and what starts out as a couple-year vacation from work involving zombies turns into a decade where sloppiness and exhaustion rule and one day you finally, really understand that the military isn’t coming to save you and the internet isn’t coming back and what is left on the shelves in the store is what you’re going to have to eat, at least until that too runs out.

You don’t say anything to your partner.  He’s not your partner from when the zombies first came – that one was turned years ago and can still be seen wandering the neighborhood sans an arm and a jaw – but he was available and had a large collection of shotguns and that was pretty appealing.  Anyway, you don’t say anything to your partner about how this is it, this is the end of humanity.  You’ll save it for later.  Some other day.  When you think of a nice way to word it.  You make the best dinner you possibly can from what you have available and when you put it in front of him he pauses.  Looks at you.  He knows.

This is the end.

cheese-and-corn-casserole

Cheese and Corn Casserole

4oz. egg noodles
1 can Spam
2 Tbsp. oil
3 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 can of corn (don’t discard liquid)
1 8oz jar Cheez Whiz
1 small can undiluted evaporated milk
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 small jar diced pimentos

  • Heat your outdoor oven pit to hot.
  • Cook the noodles and spread over bottom of a baking dish.
  • Cut the Spam into small pieces and fry in the oil until crispy and maybe a little burned.
  • In the saucepan, add the onion, garlic, mustard, corn (with liquid), Cheez Whiz, evaporated milk and tomato sauce and pimento.  Stir until combined.  Spread over the pan of noodles.
  • Place into oven pit until the afternoon hunting party returns.
  • Serve with cornbread made from a mix, of course, because where would you get fresh ingredients from.