Anger Burger

Now With Fewer Photos

Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Who is the douchebag with two thumbs that left her camera in Seattle?  THIS GAL.  I guess I’ll tell you later about the bitchin’ sushi dinner my friends threw.

Not that it matters, because I think we all know that I haven’t been documenting my cooking.  Between my day job and the Debbil¹ Hob, I’m more interested in eating than cooking, which means that Trader Joe’s frozen pasta dinners are on the goddamn menu.  Mmm, frozen dinner.

Still, I want to tell you about some keeper recipes from the last  month.

  • Pumpkin-Cardamom Rice Pudding.  My friend Amani told me about this recipe because we share (among other things) a near-psychotic obsession with all things cardamom.  It’s a solid recipe, and I actually had that rogue single cup of pumpkin puree that needed using, so this was that rare occasion where I didn’t need to buy extra ingredients.  Bonus entertainment: the single douchey comment someone left on the recipe web page.  I swear it wasn’t me.  I liked the recipe.  I want to make it again with coconut milk and almond butter to replace the pumpkin.
  • Collard Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits. Two of the two people I told about this recipe in person both made sour faces when I said the name of the recipe, which leads me to believe it deserves a name change.  Maybe creamed collards with cornmeal biscuits?  I think it’s the “cobbler” that throws folks.  All I can say is: it’s fucking delicious.  I added mushrooms and used Mexican-flavor, totally brilliant on a cold, rainy night.
  • Veggies baked in Apricot and Thyme.  Okay, so, there might be some refining that needs doing on this one, but it’s heart is in the right place.  The first batch of this I made turned out watery and the potatoes were raw in the middle, and I know the oven was holding steady at 350°, so I’m just going to go ahead and hazard a guess that either the oven needs to be set higher, or the whole thing cooked at least 50-100% longer or a combination of both.  But if you’re feeling experimental and not under tremendous pressure to get these cooked at an exact time, please make them.  The flavors are sublime together.
  • Warm Tuna and Bean Salad.  I used this one more as an inspiration than as a recipe, but the end result was so goddamn scrumptious that I’m giving you the link anyway.  If there’s one thing that you take away from it: poach your tuna in flavored olive oil.  You will not regret it.  I skipped the cranberry beans because I’m lazy and fuck that.  Otherwise I just made a heap of roasted, sliced fingerling potatoes and green beans, tore up the warm tuna over it and then quickly made a simple balsamic vinaigrette with the warm poaching oil.  And then I crammed about four pounds of all of that into my mouth.  And I felt awesome afterwards.

There!  Try those.  Report back.  I’ll get my camera and we’ll get this party back underway.

¹ Thanks to commenter Kim for calling it that; it stuck.

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11 Posted in Food Rant


Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I don’t think I yet made it clear that I’ve moved into my dad’s spare bedroom.  This is a temporary arrangement, and one that I’m deeply grateful to have as an option – I really believed I’d get a royal razzing for moving in with my dad, but every single one of my friends has said a variation of a deeply sincere “Oh, that’s nice.”  The tone is clear: it’s a unquantifiably lucky thing to have nice parents, and especially ones with bedrooms to spare.

Dad, I love you.  You’re the best dad ever.  Everyone agrees.  But THIS FUCKING STOVE IS TESTING MY PATIENCE.

This is the most astonishingly, completely, improbably inefficient and unusable cooktop ever manufactured.  I’d rather be cooking over a dung brazier in a mud hut.  But Sunday, you say, how can it be so terrible?  I’ll tell you dear reader: to begin with, the element takes a very long time to get up to heat, and then continues to ramp up to carbonizing sun-surface temperatures for just a moment before shutting itself off for upwards of two minutes at a time.

To put that in running commentary form: I’ll set the dial to medium heat.  I’ll wait five minutes for the pan to warm.  I’ll set a grilled cheese on the pan, and nothing will happen other than a warm dampness.  Without touching the temperature dial, within a few minutes the sandwich will go from humid and sweaty to suddenly scorched in a matter of seconds, after which the burner will “maintain” the heat by not coming back on for several more minutes.  ENJOY YOUR HALF BURNED, HALF COLD SANDWICH, MORTAL.

For fun, the oven door has a very strong spring on it that requires that I put my knee on the door to keep it open.  While the oven is on.

In conclusion: get a Whirlpool Accubake¹ as soon as you can.

¹ Or as those on the inside call it, Satan’s Anus.

10 Posted in Drama!

What You Call One of Them Good Problems

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:19 am

I forgot how much having a day job rearranges your entire life.  I know, I’m punching me in the ear, too.  Nevertheless: bringing lunch to work!  Right now it’s fun, in a few days it’ll be getting old and by this time next month I’ll be eating nothing but pizza-by-the-slice and street meat.

In the meantime, I’m desperately addicted to this:

The short version is: it’s spicy juice.  The longer version is that they are sweetened, lightly flavored beverages with a smidgen of capsaicin in them, so they have a little bit of a burn.  The weirdest part is that my Crohn’s disease is not bothered in the least by it, and in fact the opposite.  I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, and the niacin-like rush of the capsaicin is no joke.

My only grief about the product is that I feel it could do with a little less sugar – while they don’t taste overly sugary, 40g per bottle is pretty much the upper limit of what I am comfortable consuming in a beverage and are what’s keeping me to one or two a week as a treat.  I guess I’m that nutbag asking them to make a sugar-free version, but there it is: some of us can’t digest sugar well and have to divvy up our sugar intake between the things we really can’t live without, like marshmallow milkshakes and bowls of Franken Berry for dinner.

18 Posted in Food Rant, Obsessed

If That’s a Mollusc, I’m an Otter

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I arrived in Olympia, I really can’t.  Each day has been a list of errands a dozen items long, and the overwhelming shadow of Thanksgiving approaches like a yeti while we hide in ice caves, our mouths covered with our mittens in an attempt to stifle our ragged breathing.

The other evening we grabbed a quick drink with Lady Sam, where I accidentally dropped a piece of cheese from Mike’s cheese fries into my shot of Jameson:

I thought this Online Pokies new drink should be called a Canadian¹ Roofie, but Mike and Lady Sam prefered the more brief and catchy Tuque.  I ate the whiskey-logged cheese to prove my womanhood, but I must warn you that it was more disgusting that eating the worm in the mezcal.

Olympia had changed a little since I lived here last.  It has become more… I don’t know.

I can’t quite put my finger on it.
¹ I am aware that Jameson is Irish, but I was drunk and now it seems appropriate.

5 Posted in True Story

Overheard in Olympia

Posted by on Nov 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Scene: Grocery Store

A woman and her toddler son are bagging vegetables.  An older woman needs to get to the same area and leans past the toddler while saying in a very kindly tone “Pardon me, babe.”

The mother smiles at the older woman and then says in a completely serious voice: “Just so you’re aware, some people don’t like the use of the word ‘babe’.”

“Oh, okay,” the older woman says, totally confused.  “Um, I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, I just thought you’d like to be aware,” the mother says.

21 Posted in True Story

Cupcakes and Squash, Unrelated

Posted by on Nov 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

It is to my great surprise that one of the thing I currently miss most about Los Angeles is Magnolia Bakery:

My friend Hatherly brought me a full box of a dozen cupcakes on our last day in L.A., and I ate them as I drove north along California’s central valley.  They sat on the floorboard of the Penske where they got rather warm, as though they were fresh baked and prematurely frosted.  They were indescribable ambrosia.

There are many great restaurants I’ll miss about that city, but most of them have analogues in Seattle and Portland.  As far as I know, that can’t be said about Magnolia.  And I can bust out a pretty mean cupcake of my own, but not that vanilla cupcake.  And, but I am not. I am furious.

In opposite news, I think I finally figured out butternut squash.

I used to really dislike it, primarily for it’s wet mushiness, but I keep cooking it in the hopes that I can squash-whisper it’s secrets.  My conclusion?  Cutting it smaller.  I finally roasted a pan of butternut squash that I really enjoyed, and by cutting it into little bite-size cubes and roasting in a few spoonfuls of coconut oil at 375° for an hour until the cubes started to caramelize.  Salt and pepper finished it off.  We mixed the whole pan into a pot of pesto-dressed pasta and crumbled goat cheese over the whole pile and called it dinner.  Not too sweet, not too damp.  Success.

Now I’m going to go mope around Costco with my dad.

9 Posted in Food Rant

This Really Happened

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 at 8:19 pm

4 Posted in True Story

Typical in More Ways Than Seems Possible

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

The punchline is that I went to a Star Trek trivia night and it sort of sucked.

I wanted my first night back on the town in Olympia to be worthy, and when my friend Fraoigh invited me out for Star Trek trivia I knew we were on the same page.  Unfortunately, it was at my least favorite bar in town, The Voyeur, and the entire thing relied on a room full of drunk people shaking noise makers – toy tambourines, bicycle horns, baby rattles – in order to be called on to answer questions.  Clearly this was not going to end well.

First, though, I had to be pissed off by one of the hosts announcing that “Anyone dressed in Star Trek outfits gets a drink!” and then when I, a dude and a girl in a short red skirt all showed that we had outfits, he gave the girl in the skirt a drink and ignored me and the guy.

There were a lot of other things handled poorly, and mostly it was my fault because I hate chaotic games and the more that people shouted answers over each other and before the questions were even finished, the angrier I got.  The final straw was someone answering that Majel Barret’s character as Deanna Troi’s mom is named “Roxanna” and the quizzer telling them “Close enough!” and giving them the points¹.

Also, let’s discuss this Klingon bloodwine:

I ordered it, of course, mostly because I couldn’t believe without physical proof that they were serving bloodwine cold – COLD! – and with kombucha as an ingredient.   But they were.  So it’s pretty official, I’m never stepping foot in The Voyeur again.

But can I tell you what makes up for all of this many times over?  During a break and before I decided to split early, I stood outside and said “This thing is stressing me out!” in response to which a guy turned to me, pulled a bottle of lavender oil from his fanny pack, handed it to me and in total genuine seriousness, expected me to self-aroma-therapute myself.  So I did.  It was not effective.

¹ Her name is Lwaxana.

Adventure on the Highways

Posted by on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I want to say up front that everything could not have turned out better. It really couldn’t have.  Given all the things that could have gone terribly wrong, and given that nothing did, I’d be the first to admit that I should just shut my trap and accept that we’ve been incredibly lucky.    But I’m me and I like a good yarn, so grab a Big Gulp of 7-11 coffee, buckle up and take a ride with me.

I don’t have photos to share and I don’t want to talk about why not, but I will try and share with you the gibbering terror of moving 1,100 miles through bullet points:

  • When you rent a moving truck, it turns out that when you ask for a specific size and they confirm it?  In the fine print it says that you will get that size or larger.  I reserved a 22-foot truck one month and advance thinking that the 22-foot was already ridiculously large, but that I could handle it.  When I went to the Penske place to pick it up the guy says to me “Oh, we give you free upgrade!”  I’m unclear what the fuck could be upgraded about a truck, but when they pulled a 26-foot moving truck around for me I basically shit my pants.  Seriously.  TWENTY-SIX FOOT TRUCK.  I realize that people drive those giant RVs and stuff all the time, but everyone I know who saw this truck said something along the lines of “They just let anybody drive off the lot with that thing?!”  Me being the highly suspect “anybody” of course.
  • We again used the REAL RocknRoll Movers of Los Angeles, and once again their premium fees are totally justified.  We  hired two guys for just labor this time, but they arrived on time, were downright jovial and packed the truck in two hours flat.  I wanted to pack them in the truck and bring them with us so they could unload it on the other end, but I didn’t have enough Rohypnol on hand.
  • We had the truck loaded two days before we intended to move and planned on cleaning and finishing up for one whole day, and man, was that even cutting it close.  We worked way too late, ended up all getting low blood sugar and being generally cranktastic and awful and then ate sad Subway sandwiches and passed out at 8 in the evening.  And then were woken by drunken partiers knocking on our front door at 1am, one of which who answered my dad’s gruff demand of “CAN I HELP YOU?” with the sort of peculiar and interesting response of “I was instructed to come here.”
  • Did I mention that my dad flew down just to ride in the moving truck with me?  He did.  He’s a pretty amazing dad.  Mike the Viking’s dad offered too, and we briefly debated letting the two of them move our stuff north and we’d just fly up.
  • It turns out the truck is so hugely massive in every way that Mike had to construct a wooden platform for me to place under the gas and brake pedals so that I could press on them while keeping the heel of my shoe on the floor.  I mean, I’m 5’6″ and have huge feet, so I feel like I have a pretty average body.  The brake pedal ended up being so hard that I had to literally stand on it to press it anyway, so that wasn’t fucking terrifying while driving through several major mountain ranges or anything.
  • Also, in order to pull the parking brake I had to put my feet on the dashboard to brace myself while I pulled it up.  It was seriously at the limit of my physical ability, which seems vaguely dangerous.
  • So, the morning that I leave I decide to take the 170 freeway north that connects to the I-5 – it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, just keep reading.  Anyway, I’ve driven this way a dozen times or whatever, no big deal.  But at 6am (yes, 6am) when we departed, in the black of pre-dawn, I missed the merge onto I-5 and realized the exact second that it happened that I was now driving toward Palmdale instead of north.  Why did I do this?  Because there is major construction and only a sign that read “PALMDALE – RIGHT LANES ONLY”  I figured at some point I’d get better instructions on when to merge for I-5, but nope.  While near tears and shaking with fear (remember: 26″ truck, basically no backing up allowed) I made a 15-minute detour around the middle of the Antelope Valley while trying to get back to where I was supposed to be.
  • I’d forgotten that I have a secret affection for the McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.  After 11 hours of driving a giant wall of a truck at 60mph, it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.
  • At some point in Oregon, the fuel tank gauge got stuck.  It was like fucking Apollo 13 up in that shit, doing math to figure out what our miles per gallon was, how far we’d gone and how much was left in the tank.
  • And then the anti-lock brake warning light came on.  The truck manual said that if it wasn’t blinking, to not freak out.  So I just freaked out a little.
  • My dad and I called in a drunk driver after we passed into Washington State.  First time either of us has done that, but the guy was seriously terrifying us and when I passed him on the left to just get away from him, we both saw that he had his hoodie pulled up over his head and was blearily rubbing his face while swerving over the lane markers, so we called 911.
  • We rolled into Olympia about 5:30 in the evening, I made Mike assemble our bed frame which was like those exhaustion tests the military does where they limit your oxygen and make you play patty-cake and stuff¹.  It took him about 500x longer than normal to do it, but he did it.
  • I had my friends John and Nathan come and help me unload the truck today and they totally busted ass and are my heroes for ever and ever.  I also gave them some money.  Not as much as it was worth to me, but it is what it is.
  • The morning was so bright and crisp and sunny and fall-y that it was breathtaking.  I even passed a friend while walking back from downtown after getting a coffee before unloading, and even though we haven’t seen each other in months the first thing he exclaimed was “This day is amazing!”  And it was.
  • And now that we’re done it’s pouring down rain; like I said, everything that could have wrong?  Didn’t.  Imma go eat now.

¹ Everything I know about the military I learned from An Officer and a Gentleman.