Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I can't do this all on my own...

The last month has been crazy.

My mom is doing good. She was released from the hospital about a week ago, and a wave of relief washed over me. Her thyroid is starting to work again, and she is down to 154lb from 225lb. The doctors took care of the fluid problem, stabilized her blood pressure, and determined that the mass that was found was not cancerous.


Now it's back to the food.

Things have been tight, but that really doesn't matter. Good food does NOT need to have a huge price tag attached to it. (STRONG!) Case in point, I make a great roast. Most people cringe when they hear the word "roast" and that's just sad. A good roast can be something of joyous beauty. A good roast has flavor and lots of juice and the perfect color! When I make the roast in question for Kerrie and I, I like to do up some pan-roasted rosemary potatoes and a small portion of Demi-Glace. I top it all off with some green beans tossed with a little olive oil and... TA DA!

Roast with Herbs de Provence, Five Peppercorns and Chopped Garlic
1 T Olive Oil
2-3 T White Truffle Oil
1 T Herbs de Provence
4 Cloves Chopped Garlic
1 t Coarse Sea Salt
1/2 T Peppercorn Mix, crushed
1 - 2 lb Beef for roasting (I use Chuck Tenders)
To start, pre-heat oven to 450F then pour 1 T Olive Oil into a oven-proof skillet or saute pan and rub around to coat bottom of pan.
Next, Mix together WTO, HdP, Chopped Garlic, Sea Salt and Peppercorns in a small bowl to make a thick paste.
Make 4 to 6 small slits on the top of the beef and rub ALL of the paste only on the top of the beef and into the slits.
Carefully place roast in the pan and set it in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and continue to cook for 15 to 25 minutes more.
(Depending on how rare you like your meat.)

There are very few things so sad as a person who needs to validate their dining experience with a huge bill. (After all this time it STILL gets on my nerves...) Would the real Food Baddies please stand up?

Good luck to Nick, recently of CG fame who appears to moving on to Cohen & Cooke. Shweet dude...

Lazlo Bane - Superman
Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
Beastie Boys - Hey Ladies
Jeff Mills - Late Night

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Gone For Good, Part 2.

My mom is... okay...

She is suffering from Hypothyroidism right now, and they're working diligently to get her fluid situation under control. As for The Mass, well... The Doctor is pretty sure it isn't malignant. All in all, things are not great, but they are looking good.

One thing that bothers my about the ICU is that there is a laptop stationed outside every patients room for diagnostics and controls of whatever situation a person might be dealing with... Now, maybe it's just me, but I don't really feel comfy entrusting my mom's INTENSIVE FUCKING CARE to a laptop running Windows XP. I mean, while we're at it, why don't we just blindfold Harr, give him a scalpel, and spin him around like you do when you're gonna crack open a piƱata!

Just my feelings on the subject...

Friday, December 09, 2005

You're gone for good...

My mom is in the hospital right now.

This is a very frustrating time for me. I'm constantly trying to keep work, the home life, and contact with my mom and brother in a somewhat balanced proportion. Everyday my brother and I talk about what's going on and it scares the crap outta me...

She has an extremely high white-count right now, massive fluid retention -especially around her heart and in her lungs, a "mass" of some sort in her pelvic region, and some silly thyroid problem.

So far, things are coming around. They used a needle to take out a lot of fluid, and they have started her on a medication for the thyroid problem. What worries me is the mass they found. Although there is no definite answer yet, it could very well be cancer. It could also be due to an infection related to the heart\lung\fluid issue. Either way, this is what I get to look forward to for Christmas.

As life moves on, so do we. I guess that's sort of redundant seeing as we ARE life. Sometimes, though, it feels like life is the things that are happening around us - not with us. Not because of us...

Tomorrow Kerrie and I get to make another trip to Toledo to see my mom. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of ICU's. I'm not a fan of any of this shit...

Morphine - Gone for Good
Massive Attack - Safe From Harm
Sineade O'Conner - Make me a channel of your peace
New Order - Regret
David Bowie - Golden Years
Gilber O'Sullivan - Alone Again, Naturally

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let me stand next to your FIRE!

Happy Thanksgiving Idiots...

Jimi Hendrix - Fire
Bob Segar - The Fire Down Below
Ohio Players - Fire
Bloodhound Gang - Fire Water Burn

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Show Must Go On...

First off, let me say: Fuck Fox Broadcasting.

Yeah, I said it. By yanking Kitchen Confidential and Arrested Development, I have come to fully hate Rupert Murdoch. Sure, he probably had no direct involvement with these two brilliant shows being cancelled but like a true American - I'll just blame him.

My Name is Rupert, I like little boys!

As I am in mourning, I shall do what most of us do when we grieve: I'll eat.

This week I have some really great things on tap for dinner. Most notably will be Friday night: Flat Iron Steaks with Amber Bock Reduction. (Have I ever mentioned my affection for Flat Irons?) Also this week: Pork Chops with Mushroom\Dill Cream Sauce.

At this point in the year I'd like to be doing some good hearty comfort food, but the weather hasn't really been cooperating. (Right now it's 71 degrees and we have a Tornado Watch in effect) Tonight I made a really good Boeuf Bourgignon, and last night we had Baked Penne with Chiffonade Romain tossed with my own homemade Parmesan Peppercorn Sauce. I guess, at this point in the year, my body is ready for crappy and cold weather. At this point in the year, I was thinking about a fire in the fireplace, drinking lots of Burgundy, and eating heavy and delicious comfort food.

For tonight, we're watching the skies for swirlycloudythingys and drinking Caucasians. The Dude Abides...

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

3/4 Cup Mayo
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 t Sugar
1 1/2 t Coarse Ground Pepper
1/4 Cup Milk
Dash Balsamic Vinegar

Combine all ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and Chill.

The Show Must Go On - Three Dog Night
She's a Lady - Tom Jones
Should I Stay or Should I Go? - The Clash

Monday, November 07, 2005

Down in the valley...

Last week, Kerrie's sister came to Fairfield and stayed for the night on her way to Columbus. We had a nice dinner, consisting of Cayenne Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Red Pepper Coulis, Avocado Puree, and String Beans. For dessert I made one of my favorite chocolate recipes: Chocolate Mink

Chocolate Mink
2 T Butter
3 1/2 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
1 Egg, separated
1 T Sugar

For this recipe you will need a couple of Oven Proof Ramekins.

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease bottom of Ramekins lightly.

Melt butter over low heat, then add chocolate and stir vigorously until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 5 minutes.

Beat egg-white until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff.

Whip egg yolk and add to chocolate along with a pinch of salt.

GENTLY fold egg whites into chocolate mix. Make sure whites are thoroughly folded in, but do not "flatten" batter.

Divide batter between two ramekins, then cover each with appropriately sized pieces of tinfoil. Place ramekins in center of baking dish, then fill baking dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Place dish in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove dish from oven, and place ramekins on a cooling rack and allow to cool UNCOVERED for about one hour. (Puddings WILL be gooey when they are pulled from the oven.)

When ready to serve, unmold onto a plate or simply eat right out of the ramekin.

I'm so freekishly tired right now. I felt very drained at work today, and didn't really feel like eating. No worries though, tonight we're having French Onion Steak Sandwiches.

Ciao Ciao!

"Would somebody PLEASE pass me the fuckin' asparagus?!?"
- Kevin Spacey

Otis Redding - Down in the Valley
Jeffries Fan Club - Dream Girl
Rollins Band - Shine
Incredible Bongo Band - Apache

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hey man, where'd ya get that lotion?

The past few weeks have made things a little tight. No more Mondays of starting a big pot of Demi Glace at noon and working on it for hours upon hours, or the classic Thursday where I put a chicken or a hunk of pork in the oven and roast it for 6 hours over a low heat.

No, those days are gone. I know I have Saturdays and Sundays to be in the kitchen, but there are other things to do. Like sleeping in, cleaning, grocery shopping, church, or just plain slacking off...

On the other hand, less time is NO excuse for me not to create some excellent meals. They just need to be less labor intensive. For example, one night a week now Kerrie and I do Salads for dinner. Last week we did Taco Salad (with my homemade Achiote seasoning) and the week before that I made Caesar Salads with toasted baguettes and homemade dressing. This week meessa thinks I'm going to make a salad of Grilled steak, tossed greens, apples and gorgonzola cheese.

Also, with the fall season upon us, I need to stock up the pantry with plenty of the usual provisions: Pasta, canned tomatoes, wheat flour, oats... The nice thing about fall is that comfort food is so much more enticing. Cooking and prep work seem less arduous and more fulfilling. Plus, a cup of steamy hot chocolate always tastes better when there is snow falling right in front of you.

I guess that's why, as a food baddie, I'm so torn about the seasons. I actually like the changing of the seasons, but I would NOT mind living on the west coast where it's "nice" pretty much all the time. (I'd love to be down in Ocean Beach at Your Mama's Mug right about now...)

This past week, Kerrie and I have had the pleasure of a roaring fire in the fire place almost every night. Last week we had Beignets and hot Cafe au Laits for breakfast on Saturday, and a nice Wine & Cheese plate on the Friday before. (Pears stuffed with Gorgonzola, Baked Brie, Sharp Cheddar, Provolone, and a bottle of CabSav)

I guess, and this is pretty obvious, there is food for every season. This week I'm looking forward to roasting squash then stuffing it into a crepe with fennel sausage, or maybe another round of that amazing Roasted Pork with Cider.

Tomorrow: Spinach and Spicy Sausage Lasagne. Mmm Mmm Good MuhFuh...

Lust for Life
No Fun
Some Weird Sin
Search and Destroy
I wanna be your Dog

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ain't life a mystery?

I'm very much looking forward to Saturday morning.

My new Job, however awful 5:30AM may be, does not run service on Saturdays or Sundays. (Weekends OFF!) So every Saturday Kerrie and I go an get a nice leisurely breakfast at one of a few places:

1.) Bee's Donuts. Amazingly perfect Donuts made very close to our apartment. None I have ever had anywhere can compare.

2.) Cinnabon. Best cinnamon rolls ever...

3.) Brugger's Bagels. I really dig their Asiago Bagels.

But this week Kerrie and I picked up some things for breakfast at Jungle Jim's. Specifically: Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix and Chicory Coffee.

Baxter and I once made Beignet's right after he came back from New Orleans, and my mom -ages ago- brought me a can of Chicory Coffee back from the French Market. In my head, there are few things better for breakfast than a freshly fried beignet and a Cafe au Lait. After a full work-week of pates, Forcemeats, savory mousees and a bunch of other shit normal people don't eat, this is a perfect way to start the weekend.

Also, congrats to Cafe Du Monde who re-opened to the public on Wednesday the 19'th.
Cafe Du Monde

Bad Religion - 21'st Century Digital Boy
Elvis - C'mon Everybody
Crystal Method - Comin' Back
Violent Femmes - Add It Up

Sunday, October 16, 2005

There goes my baby...

Happy Birthday Kerrie!

Kerrie celebrates her birthday today, and to celebrate the Trifecta of relationship events (Oct 2'nd = Anniversary, Oct 15'th = Sweetest Day, Oct 16'th = Birffday) we had a nice picnic at Winton Woods for lunch yesterday, Steaks au Poivre for dinner, Za's for lunch today, and Sitwells for a little quality coffee and cider action...

Happy Birthday Boo!

Monday, October 10, 2005

So tired, Tired of Waiting...

Saturday night, Kerrie and I went to see Waiting...

I will openly admit that I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this movie since I first saw it's preview several months ago. I, someone who's had to work for dirt wages in the shittiest of dive restaurants, thought this movie was hilarious.

It's a disgusting, over-the-top, gross-out kind of movie and I loved every minute of it. For those of you who don't know, the vast majority of commercial kitchens are not manned by White Coat Re-Re's yelling out things like BAM! and so forth... There are some mean, evil, dark and disturbing people back there folks, and this movie portrayed them in a basic, unfiltered light.

Kerrie made an interesting point, that this was the Food Service equivalent of Office Space. Almost... Office Space is a classic movie, but one that's just a lot of fun. The things that happen in OF never happen in real life. The things that happen in Waiting... do. They REALLY do...

Talking back to managers.
Sex in bathrooms, walk-ins, and occasionally on The Line.
Rampant drug use.
Disregard for food and stupid people.
Working to make enough money just to go out drinking.

You know, I could go on but why? Anyone who knows of my time at Cosmo's knows how evil Food Service can make a person. All in all, if you ever wondered what it might be like to spend a night in Las Vegas with Jeb and Edwards - this movie is a hilariously accurate peak into a very disturbing world.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me...

If you told me, one year ago, that I would be where I am now - I would have laughed myself silly, then kicked you in the nuts for messing with me.

None the less, one year ago today I met Kerrie for the first time. It was a cool October evening and we met at Cohen & Cooke for wine, a cheese plate and to see Billy and Russel Martin play an acoustic set. Kristy and Tom came out, Billy and Russel did that awful "Edmund Fitzgerald" cover we all hate, and I was told "...It takes a special guy to rock the tie!"

One thing leads to another, and one year later Kerrie and I are in Cinci together starting new and better lives together...

So to celebrate the first year, this weekend has been a food baddie spectacular. To start, we had a quiet 4-course dinner at home Friday night. I started with a beautiful Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup followed by a fairly classic Caesar Salad, then the entree plate of Beef Filets with Rosemary Demi Glace and Garlic Smashed Potatoes. The fourth plate, dessert, was an enticing and decadent Chocolate Molten Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Chocolate Sauce. We had a very nice 2002 Claret to go with the meal and it was amazing.

For dinner last night, Kerrie and I went to a nice French Bistro in Glendale called The Grand Finale. The food was exceptional! We each had strip steaks with Caesar Salads, mine done Au Poiver. Before we left, we were given complimentary Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake. Life, as they say, is good...

And Today is the day. It's funny how time slips away so quickly, but at least in this case I've enjoyed every second of it. One year -and a few hundred wonderful meals- later life is making sense to me. God, it feels good.

Love ya Kerrie. Love ya bunches...

Dean Martin - The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me
Bobby Darin - More
Daft Punk - Something About Us
Zimpala - New Home

The Grand Finale

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This is what you want, This is what you get...

Over the past few days, my focus has been for shit.

Recently, I've had a few spectacular failures with some of my desserts. The other night I made Lava Cakes and they were underdone. (It's hard to check a Lava Cake because the center is supposed to be gooey, just not Batter-Gooey...) Last night I tried making these chocolate cookies I found a recipe for in a book I have and they were not... right.

Despite those mishaps, I made an amazing dish the other night of Pan Roasted Pork Loin with Caramelized Shallots in a Hard Cider Jus. It was really, really, good.

Roast Pork Loin, Caramelized Shallots, & Hard Cider Jus
2-4 1"-Inch Pieces Boneless Pork Loin
1 1/2 T Butter
Shallots, 2 bulbs per piece of Pork
1 Cup Hard Cider
1/4 t Pepper (For Sauce)
Salt & Pepper (For Rubbing on Pork)

Pre-heat oven to 450F
Pat pork dry, then rubbing with Salt and Pepper.
Heat Butter in a heavy OVEN PROOF skillet over Medium-high heat.
Lightly Brown Pork in butter, 3 minutes per side or till nicely browned.
Place pork on a plate and hold till ready for heating in the oven.
Add Shallots to pan (And a little more butter if needed...) and cook till tender and just starting to caramelize.
Add Cider and Pepper and cook down to just about 3/4 Cup. Make sure to scrap up all those brown bits on the bottom - That's the flavor right there...
Return Pork to pan and place in the oven for about 8 minutes. Flip pork over and cook for another 8 minutes.
Serve Pork with Shallots and reduced Jus.

This is really an excellent AND quick dish to prepare. Paired with Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes and a colorful veggie like carrots or squash, this is an Arsenal dish. The kind you pull out in a pinch and people gush over. Seriously, try it...

Speaking of good food, on Saturday, Kerrie and I will be having dinner at a nice little French bistro in Glendale called Grande Finale. I'm very much looking forward to getting a good Steaks au Poivre. SamB's used to have a good one, but they nixed it from their menu. Come to think of it, they used to do a lot of things that were good but somehow managed to stop doing all of them. Hmm, weird...

Virus 23 - Order of Death
Plastic Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi
White Zombie - Thunderkiss 65
White Zombie - Electric Head pt. 2
Joe Tex - I Gotcha

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Die Monster Die! (Part 2)

You know, I don't like it when I'm made to look like a jerk. I'm perfectly capable of projecting such an attitude myself, so it's especially irritating when I talk-up a place and get the hose for it...

Case in point: Last week I went to this nifty little coffeehouse in Sharonville called Alreddy Coffee & Cafe. Literally, a big house with hardwood floors, classy wooden furnishings, lots of sunshine pouring through big windows, a very appealing menu of breakfast and lunch fare, and glorious coffee...

I loved it. I ordered a cappuccino, an orange juice, and a croissant sandwich. They were great. I mean, I was really into the vibe of the place and the food was good. Most importantly though, the coffee was spectacular.

As soon as Kerrie got home from work, I told her we needed to go for breakfast over the weekend. What can I say, I was into it!

But... (and there is always a "but", isn't there?)

Kerrie and I DID go for breakfast on Saturday and it went something like this: First off, the front door was locked. No real reason, just had it locked. The customers sitting at the tables in the front motioned for us to go around to the side door. Hmmm... As we went in, I got two menus from the girl behind the counter (who will hereafter be referred to as Princess) and she told me we should have a seat and she would come out an wait on us. Princess was neither rude nor pleasant, She was just there. (sigh) So Kerrie and I sat down and waited. After about ten minutes, I got up and went back to the counter. There was an older and more mature looking woman waiting on customers also, she came over to me and took my order - all the while Princess was toiling away wiping down the countertop and making coffee. I ordered an Indian Spiced Chai and a Mexican Fritatta for Kerrie, and a Cappuccino and a Belgian Waffle for myself. Top it off with two ice waters and I was told they would bring the drinks right out to our table. A few minutes later, Princess came trotting out with out hot beverages, set them down and walked away. So I got up and went to the counter, again, in search of silverware. At this point, the older woman seemed a bit put-off by my recurring trips to the counter. "We need to figure out who's waiting the tables today, OKAY?" she snapped at the Princess, then smiled and told me she would be right out with clean silverware.

Not a great start at all, but let me tell you... The food is good. Kerrie's Chai smelled SO good, hot and full of aromatic spices. My cappuccino was excellent. The foam was so thick, I stood my spoon straight up in the mug. My waffle was divine, too. It was light, crispy and perfectly cooked. There are many worse things in this world than a soggy, heavy waffle (Like a late-night drive with Ted Kennedy) but every once in a while a restaurant gets it so right, you just can't help but feel good...

Until you make your fourth trip back to the counter. They never brought out our ice water, and I had to go fetch. Finally, a man who was obviously part of the kitchen staff came out and asked if we were finished and if he could take our plates. He followed up by asking if we needed refills on anything. Oh, the irony! The one person who DOESN'T get tipped is the one who was the most attentive and polite.

You know, I don't mind going up to the counter to get stuff, IF those parameters are clearly defined at the beginning of the dining experience. When you say to a customer: "I'll be right out to wait on you...", well then... fucking do it! And don't roll your eyes when I come back up looking to be served Princess...

So I'm torn. Do I go back? I'm thinking "yes", if only for that fan-tabulous foamy capp... Sometimes, it's all about the coffee - ya dig?

The Misfits - Famous Monsters
DJ Smash - Phonography: Vol. 1
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation
Massive Attack - Blue Lines
Black Sheep - Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Die Monster Die! Why Won't You Die?!

Last night was a good foodbaddie night.

I made a very nice dinner of Center Cut Pork Chops au Poivre, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Buttered Asparagus; and finished it off with a 2-Buck-Chuck Sauvignon Blanc. For dessert I made one of my favorite, and fairly easy, sweets: Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies.

Last night was a veg-out kind of night. The premieres of both Arrested Development and Kitchen Confidential were on last night, so Kerrie and I were parked on the couch for a good long while.

That said, I LOVED Kitchen Confidential. The show is very funny in many dark ways. From the backbiting to the pirating of employees to the inevitable slicing of human flesh, this was a very amusing half-hour for me.

Unfortunately, though, Kerrie got a bit squeamish when the Sous Chef, Steven, gets his fingertip cut off and blood goes everywhere. It was painful to have her ask that one special question: Does that really happen in restaurants???

How do you answer that question and not ruin dining out for someone for the rest of their lives? Anthony Bourdain, in his book "Kitchen Confidential", has this to say: I'm not evening going to TALK about blood. Let's just say that we cut ourselves a lot in the kitchen and leave it at that.

There is so much about the restaurant industry that people don't get. That "customer is always right" shit doesn't really fly anywhere in the world except here in North America. What's worse is that the average ass-hat diner believes that they are right. Unless there is something so spectacularly wrong with your meal or the service that it's apparent to EVERYBODY around (including the staff) don't get smart about it. Say it with the tip, but try you're best not to enrage the chain of people who stand between you and your food. Just don't. You may be King Shit in whatever little self-absorbing circles you roam through, but once you enter the cooks domain you are a mere peasant. All that matters to us is what we create and taking your money for doing it. The romantic notion of loving to serve the customer is steaming BS. THE OWNER loves serving you, but then again - refer to my previous statement about money.

Just remember, we the people work behind closed doors. We love doing what we do, but we don't love you. We love the food we create and the money you give us. Try not to make a bigger deal out of it than it really is. Losers...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
(This recipe is divided into three easy parts and can be assembled and baked in an hour or less...)
2/3 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/3 Cup Butter
2 Squares (1 oz. each) Unsweetened Chocolate

1/3 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Egg

Start by combining the Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt in a small bowl. Next, beat Eggs, Sugar and Vanilla together till smooth and pale. Gradually add in Flour mixture and set aside.

Melt Butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, stir continually so as not to burn the mix. Slowly add the Choco\Butter mix to the Flour\Egg mix. (This part works best with an electric mixer.) Once mixed, pour into a prepared 8" Square Pan.

Beat all the ingredients for the topping together until smooth, then drop by the spoonfull into the chocolate batter. Run a knife through the batters to create a marbled effect.

Bake @ 350F for 25 to 30 Minutes.

"It's like where 'Food' and 'Money' come to have sex!"
- Owain Yeoman, from Kitchen Confidential
"I'm dependent on my labor, for the texture and the flavor..."
- The Posies (Song of the Baker)

The Misfits - Die Monster Die!
The Posies - Song of the Baker
Boney M - No woman, No Cry
Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Apocalypse is just a change in the weather...

Friday night, Kerrie and I went out for the evening.

One of my favorite, albeit trendy, places to go in Cinci is Ludlow Avenue. Ludlow Avenue is slimmed down Ann Arbor-esque neighborhood teeming with artists and beggars and old, rundown buildings that house some of the best eateries I've ever experienced. Case in point, Kerrie and I ate at this amazing Italian Bistro named Baigio's. Small, intimate dining where the aroma of garlic and heavy cream practically knock you over when you walk through the front door.

But really, when it comes right down to it, I like Ludlow for one reason: Sitwell's Coffee House.

Sitwell's is the "Cosmo's" of Cincinnati. It's a funky little place to visit, loosely decorated with different types of art, postcards, posters, curtains and any other piece of crap they can staple to the walls.

It's an amazing "thing" to experience. The coffee, the people, the vibe... Kerrie and I stopped in for dessert and settled into the back half of the joint where you are allowed to not only smoke, but you're allowed to smoke cloves and no one makes a fuss. We shared a bowl of Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream, and each ordered coffee. I had a cappuccino and she had Kioki Coffee. The drink Kerrie ordered, although I only got a sip of it, was psychotically good: Dark Roasted Coffee mixed with Congac, Creme de Cacao and Kahlua. To round things off, there are all types of people roaming around this place. Some annoying, some working quietly, some we weren't able to tell if they were man or woman. (It's Pat!) Plus, the music selection was good. They were playing some sort of techno with tempos around 120-130BPM. What amazed me was how this did not hurt the ambiance for one second. If I had ever played Oaky or the Beat Junkies or Deep Dish at Cosmo's, it would have cleared the 3 PAYING customers out in less than 5 minutes.

I really love this place, truth be told. I feel comfy there. The sad thing is it makes me long for my days at the big ole C-Fuck, and that's not all that great of a thing to be wanting back into. On the upside though, it's inspired me to work all the harder on my tell-all about Cosmo's - And believe me, I'm telling ALL. Confession is good for the soul, right GL?

Sitwell's Coffee House

More Human Than Human - The X-ecutioners
Apache - The Incredible Bongo Band
If you want blood - ACDC
Quit Dancing - Highgears
Jungle Love - Morris Day & The Time

"Edwards got that rash from McCann..."
- Jeb
"What? Cuz I don't say things that are funny enough?"
- Kerrie on not having QotD in FBF

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I crumble like a Sugarcube...

Recently, it came to my attention that a lot of my clothes don't fit me anymore. And those items that used to be baggy, now fit comfortably. Since I no longer walk to work every day, nor do I walk around town to get breakfast or coffee or the occasional haircut, I've gained just enough weight around my waist to make more than a few pairs of my pants not fit.

So I spend 30 minutes on the treadmill every morning. I also lift a little and do some basic Yoga, but the focus is on the walking. I never realized what a huge difference that made to my weight until I was getting dressed one Sunday morning and had to "suck it in" to get my black suit on, which I just bought last September.

I don't eat badly, for the most case. Yes I still par take in the ritual of eating junk food, but not like I did when I was in High School. (Cold Pizza and warm Coke anybody?) But I'm also NOT on the Health Nazi regiment of eating either. You know what the difference between me and a health-nut is? Nothing. We're both going to die, only I'll have had Foie Gras, Baked Brie, Chicken Shawarma, Baby Lamb Chops, turkish coffee and a host of other Food-Taliban no-no's - And I've loved every second of it...

Anyways... Today on the treadmill, I got to thinking about the items I can't live without in my kitchen. Surprisingly, the list is relatively small. There are tons of gadgets and unique items I use frequently (My Ibrik for example) but could live without if life so dictated...

But it goes without saying, what CAN'T I live without? Here the short and crucial list:

1.) My Chef's Knives
No item so useful, so elegant, so sexy as a fine-assed chef's knife. I use Calphalon and keep four types on hand at all times.
8" Chef's Knife
6" Chef's Knife
5" Santoku
7" Santoku

2.) Calphalon Cookware
Oh yeah... I have a lot of Calphalon. The items that I use the most are my three saute pans (8", 10" and 12"), my two stock pots (8 Quart and 12 Quart), and my sauce pan (1 Quart). You just can't do much better than Calphalon - Giggety!

3.) Blender, Food Processor, and Hand Mixer
All three items, made by Black & Decker, have proven essential for dessert making. If you've ever had one of my cheesecakes and their accompanying sauces, they all start with excellent ingredients and these three WMP. (Weapons of Mass Production)

4.) Wooden Spoons
Plain, old fashioned wooden spoons. It would be a tragedy to wreck that sexy Calphalon cookware by scraping metal across the bottom of it, so I -like any sane cook- use wood. Hehehe... Wood.

5.)Gas Grill
Charcoal is family tradition. Fathers teaching sons how to stand around in front of a grill in checkered pants holding an MGD... Gas, on the other hand is a professionals must. When you have 6 to 12 to 20 people lined up waiting for an entree, charcoal dudn't cut it. I grill just about everything, as I rarely fry meats. Even in the dead of winter I try to grill as much as possible.

6.) Mix Tapes
There is something about the way I work... I don't know what it is about me, but I need music when I work. Punk rock, DnB, Slut Rock, Funk, Turntable, Trip Hop and Isaac Hayes. I need rhythm when I work, I need a beat... I try not to over emphasize what's on the tape, because I never want it to detract from my work, only to aid in it. I guess that's why I like electronic so much, very little going on lyrically but a lot going on with beats and grooves. Also, I hate it when someone brings a mix tape to the work environment and wants you to analyze every track in all it's artsy glory. HEY! I'm choppin' shallots here! I don't give a good fuck about some Weezer spin-off!

And that's really it. Those are the essential items. When I make dinner, I usually don't stray too far off that list. Yes, there are tons of other items like Mixing Bowls, Squeeze Bottles, Cutting Boards, Coffee Makers, and Cutty Sark, but they don't do much outside of provide for a well-stocked kitchen.

One item oddly missing from my to-die-for list is a Kitchenaid Professional Stand Mixer. I've wanted one for years and have yet to actually go out an buy one. Meringues, Cheesecakes, Breads, and a slew of other culinary delights could be at my finger tips if only I went out and got one. (ahem) Christmas is coming soon dear readers...

Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube
Isaac Hayes - Them from Shaft
Klint - Diamond
Richard Hell & the Voidiods - Love Comes in Spurts
Paul Oaknefold - Ready, Steady, Go

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I was made for lovin' you bay-bay...

There is a small community in San Diego called Old Town.

Old Town is nothing special, per se. It's got some neat history, quaint shops, a few cigar stores, and some great food...

Jeb and I found this to be true when we ate at Rockin' Baja Lobster.

RBL is, as you may have guessed, is Baja-style cooking -specifically: Seafood- and it is Rockin'... The place is tucked back onto one of the side streets and apart from it's big sign, you would never think of it as a restaurant. Seriously, from the street it looks like a big fancy estate with a gate and lots of foliage.

The story goes, that Jeb and I were looking around for something to eat when we last went to San Diego. I had installed the rule that we could not eat ANYWHERE we could eat in Ohio. (No BK, Wendy's, Olive Garden...) As we were walking around, we noticed the sign from about three blocks back and headed towards it. As we crept upon the place, there was actually a debate about going in. Should we or shouldn't we? I really don't know why there was any doubt...

As you enter, the place appears to be like any other mid-range restaurant. Kind of generic, honestly. But as we waited to be seated, I got a better glimpse of the place, and it all started to make sense. The dining room is actually a open-air setting with a big awning over it. There was a fountain and a well stocked bar, plus lots of classic rock music piped in over the speakers. And by Rock, I mean ROCK... None of this Toto/Starship/Fake-Rock shit. Once seated, I ordered a Cutty with Lime and a glass of Ice Water, and sat back with a grin while listening to I was Made For Loving You by KISS.

The menu is pretty decent. Maybe my Ohio-tethered palette was fooled by the obvious. I doubt this was true-according to Hoyle-Baja cooking, but it was fan-fuckin-tastic. Jeb and I split the Big Baja Bucket for 2 and killed it pretty quick. It was overflowing with Lobster Tails, Shrimp, Marinated Chicken, and grilled Carne Asada.

It was a near Zen experience, because to my thinking - THIS is what eating is supposed to be about. Not what's the most expensive, not where you eat it, and not because it's trendy. It was good...

I've made some Baja dishes back here in Ohio, but they're not quite the same. The recipe, style of cooking and ingredients are exact, but there is something about RBL that can't be duplicated. If you ever make it out to California, I highly recommend it. There, ya happy Jeb?

Ray Nagin - Demi-Publican in 2008! Hey, you could do worse...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tap the bottle and twist the cap...

Decadence, thy name is Fudge...

Last week I went on a sugar induced flashback-Odyssey and made a batch of fudge. Not just any fudge though, the Big Daddy\Grand Puba\Dennis Farina of 'em all: Mackinac Fudge.

You see, a long time ago in a Galaxy not so far away, I went with Troy (of Crowz Nest fame) to Mackinac Island. It was a time when I was consumed with modems and working at Marco's. I had yet to decide what I wanted to do after high school and a summer vacation away from Perrysburg was something I hadn't had in years. This was July of 1993... (Insert Harp Strumming To Indicate Flashback Sequence)

Lets see: I had a goofy hair cut, bad glasses and was relatively ill-tempered. So not much has changed... Troy, His Mother, His Sister and I went to Mackinac Island for a nice week long trip. Once we arrived, I realized I was in an entirely different world. No cars. No modems. No Fast Food... I was in Heaven.

We stayed at the Windermere hotel and we ate at a variety of exceptional places. One of many places that will always have a place in my heart was Murray's Deli. Some of the greatest coffee I ever drank, I had at Murray's. And don't even get me started on 3 Brother Sarducci...

But what really got me, the point of epic and legendary proportions, was the Fudge. This is THE real deal. This is what being a Master Confectioner is all about! My mom told me to get some and gave me money to bring some back. Yes, she gave me a big bear-hug, said "goodbye" and told me she loved me, but what her eyes said was: Spend that money on anything else and I'll fucking kill you...

There are a few different places to get Fudge on Mackinac. I remember watching the May family make fudge through the window of their shop and being completely amazed. Their control over that molten chocolate was insane. It was magical. It was borderline UNHOLY! I wanted it...

Skipping ahead... I didn't get any Fudge right then and there. Troy and I had breakfast and explored the island. It was later that evening that I got my first taste of what a true culinary experience could be. Troy and I had stopped at Ryba's Fudge in search of some quality sweets after an amazing meal at 3BS. It was then and there that I changed. My life changed...

There are a few amazing moments in history that lead me to do what I do for a living. The first time I had a cappuccino for instance... Or that first time I had Calamari and realized how wonderful it could be when prepared properly. To have that Fudge, at that exact moment in time was perfect. It was destiny. Did I say I was in Heaven earlier? Well, that Fudge was Manna from Heaven...

Years later, I'm still haunted by the flavor and texture of such a divine product. So much so, that I made my own. This recipe comes directly from Ryba's via a book my mom got for me a while back called Mackinac Island Memories...

Old Fashioned Island Fudge

2 C Sugar
1/2 C Half-n-Half
2 One-Ounce Squares of UNSWEETENED Chocolate
2 T Light Corn Syrup
1/2 t Salt
2 T Butter
1 t Vanilla

Combine Sugar, Half-n-Half, Chocolate, Corn Syrup and Salt in Saucepan.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until Chocolate and Sugar is completely dissolved.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 234F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat, add butter and allow to cool to 120F without stirring.
Butter a loaf pan and set aside.
Add vanilla and beat vigorously until no longer glossy. (About 5 to ten minutes.)
Spread mixture into pan and allow to cool completely.

Tap the Bottle - YBT
Falling to Pieces - Faith No More
Soulful Strut - Youngholt Unlimited
Oh How Happy - Shades of Blue
Safe From Harm - Massive Attack
Oh! Sweet Nothing - Velvet Underground

Ryba's Fudge

The Windermere Hotel

May's Fudge


Monday, August 29, 2005

She's as sweet as Tupelo Honey...

The last week was a little frustrating. Both of the PC's I keep under my constant care just up and died within 7 days of each other. My Duron was saved merely by replacing the power supply so I'm back to Good with the journaling...

That said, I pulled a Corner Grill this past week and ran out of crucial cooking elements for no reason other than bad planning. I was irked because I wanted to make an Au Poivre sauce for some pork chops we had but realized that we were out of Heavy Cream. I wanted to make some Coffee Ice Cream but realized I don't have enough eggs... And so forth.

Today there is a small crisis in Cinci because some Asshat parked a tanker full of Styrene on some train tracks and left it there... For 9 months. Yup. No one noticed it for 9 months. They noticed it when it started shooting gas 300 feet into the air. THEN they noticed it, but for the previous 9 months - no big deal.

So to honor the mass evacuation surrounding this chemical leak, I brewed some perfect Turkish Coffee, put together a plate of Hummus and pita, and watched the Unrated version of The Dawn of the Dead.

Tonight, I have NO idea what I'm doing for dinner but I do know what I'm doing afterwards: I'm going to chill on the patio with Kerrie and a few Camel Crema smokes, and I'm going to make Cafe de Olla for the both of us. I hope it's raining too, as the sound of the rain in the trees is amazing from where our patio is.

Cafe de Olla
6 T Coarse Ground Coffee
1/4 C Brown Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Cloves
1 Small Orange, thinly sliced.
4 C Boiling Water

Combine all ingredients in a Press Pot and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
Serves 4

Tupelo Honey - Van Morrison
Groovy Situation - Gene Chandler
Most of the Time - Bob Dylan
Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
I am the Cosmos - Big Star

Thursday, August 18, 2005

There's a permanent crease in your "right" and "wrong"...

Yesterday I made the fabled Puerco Pibil.

I can still taste it too... It's every bit as good as Johnny Depp made it out to be in Once Upon a Time in Mexico without all the unnecessary gunplay. For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Desperado was alright, but Mexico is far superior. Plus the DVD contains a featurette on how to make Puerco Pibil, which is really the point here anyways - right?

I'll shoot the cook. My car's parked out back anyways...

I had a slight issue with the pork though. It calls for 5 Pounds of Pork Butt but I didn't think I would need that much so I bought a 3 pound chunk of Pork from Jungle Jims. What I didn't realize was that the pork was still on the bone. I'm not fond of boning meat as I am not exceptional with a boning knife. That's what butchers are for, alright? Considering the cost of meat and poultry now-a-days, I generally expect a certain amount of prep to be done for me. I know, I'm a spoiled kitchen whore...

Aside from spending 35 minutes trimming meat from bone and fat from meat, the dish came together flawlessly. I marinated the pork in Orange Juice and Tequila with the appropriate spices, then arranged the banana leaves in my Calphalon Roasting Pan, and slowly cooked the pork for just over 4 hours...

I would put the recipe in this journal, but there is really only one basic version of it and you can get it just about ANYWHERE on the Internets. Personally, I like this guys explanation of the recipe...

I Can Write: Puerco Pibil

Tonight I'll be making BBQ Chicken Pizza. I actually need to get my butt in gear and caramelize some onions. Oh, and get the dough started. And get dessert ready... Ugh, I need a cup of coffee and a nap.

My apologies to Jeb for making Pibil without him and listening to a lot of Sly & The Family Stone today. :/

GROOVES: Sly & The Family Stone
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)
Family Affair
Everyday People
I Want To Take You higher

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dream Weaver, you could get me through the night...

You know, I was pretty excited about my last post. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get done, and I was ready to bang it all out over the course of the afternoon. Well...

Right after I got done posting, I went out to the kitchen and realized I had no Sugar left in the house. Well, maybe -at best- 1/8 of a cup was in the bottom of the jar. I mean, not nearly enough to do ANYTHING except doctor up a cup of coffee.

So I made nothing Friday. After a nice Sunday of roaming and stocking up on groceries, I was ready to bust out a shload of stuff on Monday. But Monday came along... I got up at 6:00AM with Kerrie, put together her lunch and checked the Daily News (AKA: Fark.com) then posted a few comments in various journals. By around 8:00AM or so, I was feeling pretty tired, so I laid back down for what I thought would be an hour - TOPS. Well, when I rolled over at 1:00PM I realized I was screwed.

Yup, I slept away half the day without ever flinching. Normally I toss around a bit and sleep for no more than an hour and a half at a time. Sometimes your habits just catch up with you and nothing can be done about it. Unless you're me, of course, and drink LOTS of coffee to counter the effects of sleepiness.

Today there will be no slacking. I have to make that cheesecake, some Lemongrass Sherbert, and some peach sorbet. Plus I need to make a new mix-tape for my car. Yes folks, I am again mobile. (Shuddering at gas prices) Saturday morning I went out for donuts and came back with a Chrystler Sebring. How's that for impulse buying?

Yesterday, despite sleeping a F-Load of the day away, I managed to make some amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies. In my humbled and honest opinion, it's way too hard to find a good chocolate chip cookie. They are ALWAYS either very greasy or too dry or packed full of nuts or just plain gross tasting. So here:

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
1 Cup (2 Sticks) Softened butter
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Brown Sugar
1 t Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
3 Cups Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 375F
Sift together Flour, Salt and Soda in a small bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl, best together Butter, Sugars, and Vanilla. Add Eggs one at a time, incorporating well into butter\sugar mix.
Gradually add flour mix to batter and work dough till just combined.
Stir in Chocolate Chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes or just until golden.

Last night I made Tequila Lime Chicken with roasted Cilantro Potatoes for dinner. Very good indeed, although my grill is getting finicky in its age. I have two settings now: LOW and FUCK-HOT. Needs a little finesse, can you dig it?
Tonight is Fajita night. I'm excited for that. Yes I am...

Gary Wright - Dream Weaver
Dr John - Right Place, Wrong Time
Barry White - Never, Never Gonna Give You Up
Three Dog Night - Never been To Spain
Elvis - C'Mon everybody
Blondie - Heart of Glass

Friday, August 12, 2005

She Said: I could give you the world...

This morning Kerrie and I went down to the Clubhouse for their Continental Breakfast. They call it that, but it's really just Free Donuts, Bagels & Coffee. I am in no way above eating Dunkin' Donuts. A nice raised donut with chocolate icing and a cup of Hazelnut Coffee is a treat well worth partaking in.

Unfortunately, that doesn't last. Eating a donut is just an early morning snack, so by about 9:30 or so I'm hungry again. So this morning I made myself Scrambled Eggs with Parmesan Cheese, warmed Duck Confit and Sour Dough Toast. Yummy.

For today though, I have a busy cooking schedule. I need to make a cheesecake, get my Lemongrass Sorbet done, and possibly make some chocolate chip cookies. That's just stuff I need to get done ahead of time. After Kerrie gets home, I'm sure we'll go swimming and then dinner will be made. Tonight we'll be having grilled chicken legs with Sugarsnap Peas and roasted potatoes.

Speaking of dinner, my Lavender Demi Glace turned out very nice but was overpowered by the flavors surrounding it. I was hesitant to overload it with Lavender for fear of a heavy perfumed flavor but when I tasted it, it was beautiful. When I laid down the steak, potatoes and string beans though, the Lavender seemed to disappear. Very good, none the less.

Yesterday I was feeling a little wonky. Kerrie and I drank an entire bottle of Charles Shaw Merlot -which is nothing unusual, mind you- Wednesday night and it hit me sort of funny. I wasn't hung over, per se, but I felt "tired". We hadn't drank an entire bottle of wine in one setting since just before we left BG so I'm not quite on top of my game. Yup, the man Wes once referred to as a guy with a liver that's "shriveled like a prune" is slowing down. So sad.

But today I feel full of energy and ideas. I've jumped right into my copy of the CIA's Baking & Pastry - Mastering The Art & Craft and I'm easily coming up with new and silly ideas. So we'll just have to see how things turn out this weekend...

"The suspense it terrible. I hope it lasts..."
- Gene Wilder
"If you throw it at a wall, it'll shatter..."
- Wes, on the topic of my liver

The Pharcyde - She Said
St. Germain - Sure Thing
The Classics IV - Spooky
Fatboy Slim - The Weekend Starts Here
Tragically Hip - Grace, Too
Massive Attack - Angel
Foo Fighters - Walking After You
Medusa & DJ Spark - Cold Piece of Work
Morphine - In Spite of Me

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You're a sweet, Divine Thing...

Today I made my version of Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. As previously stated, Kerrie has developed a slight allergy to Tree Nuts. That's unfortunate because a lot of great things contain Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans... And so forth.

So I make Chunky Monkey without Walnuts here at home. Surprisingly, it's a fairly easy ice cream to make too. The last time I made it, I used Condensed Milk and chocolate chips. I wasn't entirely pleased with the texture of the Ice Cream, but it tasted amazing. Today, however, I created my own version from the ground up.

Jay's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
4 Egg Yolks
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 t Vanilla
1 t Sea Salt
4 T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Banana
2 T Peanuts, chopped

Start by Mixing the Egg Yolks with the Sugar until smooth and pale. Set Aside.
In a small sauce pan, combine the Milk, Cream, Vanilla and Salt and bring just to a boil - Stirring constantly so as not to curdle.
Once Hot, add Milk mix to Egg mix in a SLOW STREAM stirring constantly with a wire whip to prevent scrambling the eggs. Once combined and smooth, add cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
Return custard to sauce pan and place over LOW heat and stir till thick, about five minutes. DO NOT LET CUSTARD BOIL!
Place custard in a bowl and allow to cool to room temp, then cover and place in refrigerator until COLD.
When ready to run through an Ice Cream Maker, Mash up Banana with a fork into a smooth paste. Add to Chocolate Custard and pour into Ice Cream Maker in a slow stream. As ice cream begins to form, add Peanuts 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Once finished, return formed Ice Cream to freezer.

Aww yeah...

Last night, Kerrie and I went to see ROTS at the Cincinnati Mills. It's the movie the die-hard's were waiting for, myself included. But before the movie, we went to the Great Steak & Potato company for sandwiches. I was unimpressed. They smeared my sandwich with mayo and tons of ice-berg lettuce which I found to be super gross. I love a good cheesesteak and these were just nasty. Good fries though.

Tonight Kerrie and I will be enjoying some nice New York Strips I picked out at Jungle Jims this week. I'm thinking of starting with small Caesar Salads, followed by the main plate which will be New York Strips with Lavender Demi Glace, roasted Potatoes and String Beans, followed by my own Peach Cobbler with some Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Oh, and lots of Red Wine.

Next Week, I'm going to do a lot of Southwestern\Mexican cooking. I'm thinking Fajitas, Spice Rubbed Steaks, and the big-daddy: Puerco Pibil. For those of you who have NOT seen Once upon a time in Mexico, this is the dish that Johnny Depp's character always orders in every restaurant he is in. I'm excited because Jungle Jim's carries everything I need to make this dish without any special ordering. (Yes, even banana leaves!)

Also on deck for the rest of the week, Lemongrass Sorbet and a Double Layer Cheesecake w/ Chocolate Ganache. Oh yeah... Giggety Giggety...

Soup Dragons - Divine Thing
Elvis - Kentucky Rain
Piss Artists - I Want You Back
De La Soul - Keeping The Faith

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Come around to my way of thinking...

Today I made (am making) Spicy Mango Gelato.

The base has been made, but it still needs to be run through the Ice Cream Maker. That being said, it tastes so good! I tried a bit of the custard base and was thrilled to taste the sweetness of the mango at first, then the warmth of the cayenne seconds later...

Spicy Mango Gelato
3 Cups WHOLE Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1/8 t Kosher Salt
2 Ripe Mangos
Ground Cayenne Pepper

Start by peeling Mango then chopping the fruit into cubes. Put chopped Mangos into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with Cayenne. (You don't need a lot, just enough to "warm" the finished product.) Put into blender and set aside.
Bring 3 Cups Whole Milk, Sugar, and Salt to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as sugar is dissolved and milk is just it's boiling point, remove from heat and pour over Mangos. Allow to steep for 2 or 3 minutes, then blend thoroughly.
Once blended, strain Mango\Milk puree through a fine strainer into a bowl. (What you do with the left over pulp is your business...) Cover bowl and set in refrigerator to chill for several hours. (Base MUST be entirely cold for this to work.)
Once chilled, run through an ice cream maker till creamy and firm.

I decided on "Spicy" for this recipe because I still have some Raspberry Saffron Sorbet in the freezer. We killed all the Chunky Monkey and Orange Rose ice creams so this was my new creation decision.

As for the rest of the day, I was thinking about Roast Duck for dinner tonight. Not sure yet, as we still have some pork cutlets in the fridge (as well as a few steaks). Lasagne might be a good idea for tonight too... I dunno, quit bothering me already.

Urge Overkill - Sister Havana
LL Cool J - Going Back to Cali
Ugly Kid Joe - Everything About You
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Country DJs KNOW that I'm an outlaw...

The "heat" has returned to Cinci, so tonight I think there will be quality Pool-Time followed by a nice Tapas style meal...

Garlic & White Truffle Toasted Baguette w/ Gorgonzola Sauce
Flat Iron Filets w/ Balsamic Vinegar & Mixed Herbs
Romain Hearts w/ Provolone and Balsamic vinaigrette
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream w/ Port Wine Syrup

I really like the filets. They are inspired by a dish from Cafe Felix called Bistec la Pincho, and they are one of my favorite things in the world to eat. The flavor is sharp and unmistakable, truly amazing.

Speaking of being amazed, I've been noticing lately that there are more and more recipe's involving Kangaroo popping up everywhere I look. I recently read a recipe in Culinary Trends magazine for Kangaroo Carpaccio. That's right folks! The only thing better than eating Roo's Mommy is eating Roo's Mommy RAW!
Jungle Jim's actually offers Kangaroo meat, but it seems a little impractical to me. Mostly because of the price, I think, but also because Kangaroo meat seems to be a turn-off round'bout these here parts.

None the less, enjoy this article:

Russians LOVE the Roo!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm no Superman...

I love Creme Anglaise.

I just do. I can't explain my love of this simple vanilla sauce, but I can tell you how I got to this point...

Flashback to 1994: I was a wide eyed food newbie with no true culinary experience whatsoever, I mean c'mon, my family is mostly German.
I was put together with three other people and our group was assigned different jobs on different weeks. One week, we were in charge of desserts. One of the guys in my group, Jim, brought up the idea of making a Creme Anglaise. I had no clue what he was talking about, but I was on board. Basically, we had to make enough for about 50 people over a 4 hour period of service. Simple, right? Absolutely...

We prepped it, got it on the fire and figured it would take about an hour to complete. The trick to an Anglaise, in my opinion, is the stirring. Constant freeking stirring. So we took 15 minute shifts. Jim started it, I went second, and a girl -whom I have since forgotten anything about- went third. The third shift fucked everything up. She whined about the stirring and the boredom and about the heat and... Okay, the point being that she didn't stick to the plan. She turned up the heat from low to just above medium and stopped stirring. We got vanilla scrambled eggs and had to scrap the whole batch. We couldn't even strain it, it was so gummed up... Disastrous.

Skip ahead to 2002: Jeb, Kristen, Baxter and I go to J. Alexanders one evening for dinner. We all ordered our entrees and went about drinking and talking about working. When the salad came to the table, it was garnished with a croissant glazed with Creme Anglaise. I didn't think much of it in the moments before I ate it, but as soon as I tasted it - I was hooked back in.

I hadn't thought about it for years. The initial failed attempt had long given way to other more spectacular failures. But that night changed everything...

Now I make a batch once or twice a year for various reasons. It's a sweet sauce, so I feel it goes better with pastries or sweet desserts rather than Caesar salads. If you're patient and have a use for it (Croissants, on ice cream, ect.) I highly recommend trying it. I'm going to drizzle some over a few of those amazingly good lava cakes I made the other night...

Creme Anglaise
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 T Vanilla Extract

3 Egg Yolks
3 T Sugar

Combine Milk, Cream and Vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Hold aside.
Combine egg yolks and sugar till smooth and not grainy. Gradually stir hot milk into egg\sugar mix.
Return sauce to saucepan, place back on stove over LOW heat.
Stir continually till sauce thickens slightly but DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and let cool slightly.
Cover and chill.

Seriously people, LOW HEAT. If you get impatient, you're screwed. And you need to Stir, STIR, STIRRRRRR! If by chance you get fidgitty and start to scramble the eggs, get it OFF the heat immediately and strain it two or three times until it's smooth and there are no lumps. Every second counts, regardless of weather you screw it up or not. Trust me, this sauce is easy but you need to be dedicated to it.

And that's it, I'm done.

Groove to this:
Groove Armada - Easy
Cornershop - Brim Full of Asha
Space Monkeys - Sugar Cane
Bran Van 3000 - Come On Feel The Noize

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Woke up this morning... And got yourself a gun...

I woke up this morning to the sounds of NPR cackling on about CRAPTAH. I rolled out of bed and made Kerrie lunch, and after she left I brewed some coffee and turned on the local news...

I was dismayed to find that a Cinci legend, a culinary giant to south-west Ohio, just up and closed it's doors for good Monday...

-Maisonette- was a restaurant I was very much looking forward to going to. This place was what "fine dining" was actually about. An actual 5-Star French restaurant so close to my front door, I could practically smell it. Apparently they were experiencing declining business in the Downtown Cinci, and their relocation efforts to Kenwood have been seriously hampered by typical zoning bullshit. Although very expensive, going to Maisonette for an evening was a goal I was looking forward to, and now...

On a lighter note, there were some very funny articles I read this past week relating to the food industry. Here are a few:

Burger King LOVES the Coq...

Who HASN'T wanted to extort money from Hardee's?

Yesterday, I made Portuguese Style Pork Cutlets with Skillet Roasted Potatoes and string beans. It was good, to be honest... I at first I wasn't so sure, though. The marinade, which later becomes the sauce, smelled pretty rank. White wine, minced garlic, paprika, cloves, and bay leaves macerating for 6 or so hours then simmered into a slightly thick sauce? I wasn't so sure. But, after reducing the sauce and grilling the cutlets, everything turned out very nice.

Today I'm going to make a Port Wine Caramel Sauce, plus I'm going to make a Port Wine Caramel. A few months back, I screwed up this recipe and was very unhappy about it. So unhappy that I got very short-sighted about the whole thing and scrapped the idea entirely. But a few nights ago, I woke up at -like- 3:15 in the morning and had an idea about it. I could make the firm caramel AND the sauce and pair them with a Chocolate Lava Cake. Word...

Groove to This:
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life (Live version, 1977)
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Don't Leave Me This Way
The Highgears - Put the Screws to Ya
Rob Zombie & Lionel Ritchie - Brick House 2000
Placebo - 20'th Century Boy

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Finally, a most disgusting heat wave has moved up and out of Cinci. For the past few days, the heat has been well over 90 degrees with such insane humidity that it's been registering up over 105F for almost a week.

Therefore, grilling and exercising have sucked and I've had the AC pumping a constant 75 degrees - 24/7. And to top it all off, I haven't had any coffee since Sunday. Too fuggin' HOT! Thankfully it's only about 70 degrees outside, it's overcast and there is a little rain "thing" happening right now.

So now I can have some coffee, today I'm digging on Chock Full of Nuts (A lil Escape from NY tribute) and thinking about the meals for the next week.

And speaking of meals, I wanted to make a Confit out of the ducks wings I bought last week. I WANTED to... I could not find duck fat anywhere at Jungle Jims and was later told they didn't carry it. I found Beef Bile but no duck fat. Yeah, real nice.

Kerrie's Sister, Bro-in-law, and niece came through this weekend for a nice little visit. While I did no specific cooking, there was some good dessert action that took place. I was asked by Sue, Kerrie's sister, if I intended to learn about confections during my impending pastry studies so I busted out my Caramel Truffles with Sea Salt. There was a sense of amazement when everyone ate them. Kind of a wonderful amusement with trying something new and liking it.

Apparently, though, the big hit was my Orange Rose Ice Cream. One of the less assuming desserts, but certainly one of the best I've ever concocted. Sue even left me a haiku:

The taste of happy
Blossoms in frozen splendor
Oranges and roses.

This week Kerrie's parents will be coming in to stay with us. I'm going to do up a roasted chicken with all the fixins on Friday. Tonight though I'm going to make up some Portuguese style pork chops. I'm not entirely sure about tomorrow though. I still have some Top Blade Steaks to kill off, plus I'd like to have some linguini with sauce.

Next week though, Duck confit with roasted shallots, Caesar salad with Parmesan custard, "something" (TBA) with carmelized onions, and Pork Cutlets with Rosemary Raspberry sauce. (A classic!)

Today's Groove Provided by:
KISS\Phunk Junkeez - I Love it Loud
KISS\Anthrax - SHE
Huevos Rancheros - Beach Blanket Blackout
Wu Tang Clan - In The Hood
ODB - Baby I Got Yo Money
Some Velvet Sidewalk - Mousetrap (Live version)
Peter McConnell - Imperial March (from Force Commander)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Everything of meaning becomes destroyed...

I made a (fairly) classic Demi Glace earlier this week.

I love Demi Glace. As far as sauces go, it is the mother of 'em all. It's rich, thick and delicious.

Demi is basically equal parts Sauce Espagnole and Beef Stock reduced by half then finished with Sherry or Red Wine. It's an amazing compliment to just about any dish, and what's more is that it is a quick fix to many weak dishes.

Like many of the pros, I keep an ice cube tray filled with this stuff and pop some out when I need it. Of course, most pros don't make their own any more, as it takes a long time to make... I started mine around 9:30 in the morning and finished it just before 5:00 in the afternoon. Is it worth it?


My favorite thing to do is make Rosemary Demi Glace, which is what I made the other day. But this coming week I'm going to try a Lavender Demi. I can picture it now...

I'll be sitting in the kitchen listening to the likes of the Manic Street Preachers or Son Volt, slowly reducing the sauce to thick syrup and occasionally stepping out for a clove and a cup of Turkish coffee. To be honest, I like the tempo of the work involved. It's a slow and demanding process. It's somewhat meditative, but it requires Focus. For all the high-stress movement involved with kitchen work, doing prep like this can be a welcomed treat.

Tonight I'll be making Crisp Skinned Duck. I'm excited, but I really should have picked up some Duck Fat while we were at Jungle Jims. Plus I still have to Flat Iron steaks in the fridge that I need to use...

Last night I made a Mayo cake with a reduced Orange Sauce. I garnished it with a light sprinkle of cocoa powder and a caramel truffle. I think Kerrie liked it... (Wink Wink)

Today's Groove:
Manic Street Preachers - Love's Sweet Exile
Staple Singers - Let's Do It Again
James & Bobby Purify - I'm Your Puppet
Sonic Youth - Bull In The Heather
Haircut One Hundred - Love Plus One
Sloan - Underwhelmed

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What you do to me...

Today I'll be making Chocolate Covered Caramel Truffles with Fleur de Sel.

I'll also be listening to a lot of Teenage Fanclub today.

I used to get these glorious lil truffles at Cohen & Cooke in BG, but they stopped carrying them. Then I would get them at the Chocolate Shoppe in Perrysburg, but that's a heck of a drive for 6 caramels.
When Jeb and I would work on SvsS music, we would sit down with Turkish coffee and eat these things while we would discuss our ideas for the sound. They really are amazing...

Monday, July 18, 2005

If ya holdin' up to brawl, then ya missin' the point...

Dennis Miller once made a brilliant point in his book, The Rants, about people who are obsessed with Infomercials and the crap that Late Night Dirt Merchants push on an insomniac society...

"(Ron) Popeil has convinced the American public that there's no need to go to the store and buy a 99-Cent box of Spaghetti when, for $129.95 and a couple days of Labor and Assembly, we can make a perfectly mediocre bowl of Tagliatelle from the comfort of your own Cinder-Block Based Trailer Home..."

That being said, I love making my own ice cream. I love making it myself, but I stick to a few loose rules of pragmatism. Basically, whenever I slip on my clogs and tie that flowing white bistro-apron around my waist, I think like I'm at work. Like I'm in a professional kitchen...

Case in point, I love Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - but I'll never make it at home. Why? Well, Vanilla Beans generally cost anywhere between 8 and 15 dollars a jar, and you usually only get two or three to a jar. After you factor in Heavy Whipping Cream, Eggs, Whole Milk and Sugar, you're WAY in the Red.

On the other hand, I love making things you'll never ever see at your local grocer. Raspberry Saffron Sorbet, Orange Rose Ice Cream, or specially designed Chunky Monkey ice cream for the allergy-prone among us...

I guess I find it funny that people buy crap that they could use so creatively, and waste huge amounts of time completing somewhat complicated tasks for an end result that could have been achieved with a trip to the Grocery Store.

So there...

This past week I did some grilled chicken, as thighs and wings were on sale. I find grilling chicken to be somewhat of a lost art. Mainly, and there is nothing wrong with this mind you, because people just salt and pepper a piece of Chicken Little and slap it on the irons. Again, that's fine but... I feel there is a more defined and enlightened way of doing up a lil Chick-Chick. Essentially, brine the chicken overnight. The difference in the end product is ree-dick-ooh-lass.

2 Quarts water
1/8 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Kosher Salt

Bring Water, Sugar and Salt to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Allow water to cool completely (Over 2 to 6 hours) and add chicken.
Soak Overnight.

No matter what you do after that, your chicken will be infinitely better. This past week I got 5 thighs and brined them all. The first ones I did I tossed with a Lime Vinaigrette and they were amazing. Last night I did up a few with a spicy cayenne based rub and they were equally intense.

So now I'm working out the menu for this week. Tonight we'll have Onglets with the classic Red-Wine butter and roasted potatoes. Highlights for the rest of the week though: I'll be making pizza, roast duck wings, and a cheese-and-wine type meal. We picked up a nice Chorizo\Mozzarella roll, some Italian bread, and Romain hearts at Jungle Jims yesterday, so I'm looking forward to making a big production out of it. Word Bitch! Chorizo like a MuhFuh...

Today's Groove provided by Pharoahe Monch. I'm also digging on Sweet's Greatest Hits and The Crystal Method's Legion of Boom.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I got a Lust for Life...

This morning I woke up and got started with my sunrise-routine...

I made Kerrie lunch (a nice Turkey, Swiss & Avocado wrap with Coarse Salt and Pepper) and checked Fark. I got some coffee going and looked up a recipe for Honey Lavender Ice Cream and just by luck, I noticed a pic in a banner of Anthony Bourdain. Turns out that he has a NEW show on the Travel Channel called No Reservations. This made The Jay very happy...

Bourdain is amazing. Funny thing is that he's an ex-junkie asshole who thinks quite highly of himself, but knows the business on every level. While the rest of the sheep are completely amazed by Emeril and his glorious stunt food, Bourdain has been running a classic French bistro in NYC while traveling the world drinking Vodka with mobsters and eating still-beating Cobra hearts. The man is insane, but he knows his shit....

"Basically, everything that makes this place GOOD would be illegal back in the states..." -AB

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Right Here, Right Now...

Last night I made Linguini with a Marinara and Meat Balls. I love the simplicity of Italian cooking. It's relatively easy, yet it comes out with a generally rich and defined flavor. The recipe for the meat balls, and I love telling people this, I got from Henry Hill's cookbook. For those of you from Lakota, Henry Hill was the center of the story Wiseguy which, in turn, became the movie Goodfellas.

Monday I made a quick dinner of Grilled Balsamic Mustard Pork with Baby Carrots over Mixed Greens. It turned out very nice, suprisingly enough. I'm finding I cook much quicker in my new kitchen with less space than my previous "full" sized kitchen. Weird, huh?

Speaking of the old kitchen, I have some interesting photos of some of my past culinary delights...

Grilled Endive with Prosciutto and Saffron Linguini, White Truffle Olive Oil and Balsamic Glaze

Butterflied Pork Loin with Baby Greens, Citrus Peel Confit and Rosemary Raspberry Sauce

Flat Iron Medallions with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Rosemary Demi Glace

All in all, decent presentation and great flavor combinations. And it tasted good too...

This weekend I'm going to brine some chicken thighs for grilling and I have a nice two-pound skirt steak I'm going to use for fajitas. (Insert Family Guy references here)

Today I'm listening to my own rendition of the music from Metroid and DJ Spooky's Under The Influence. Good Food, Good Music, No Dickle.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

That's the name of the game...

It's been a crazy two weeks...

We've moved, we've worked, we've played.

Truth be told, we ate a lot of takeout for the first week we were here. ("So sad..." - Kerrie) But things are now coming together, as we have found our preferred grocer, organized our kitchen, and settled into a nice relaxing cluttered mess of an apartment.

I have been keeping busy over the last two weeks by cleaning and setting up house. In the extra time I've racked up I've been baking, cooking and playing Metroid: Fusion. This week, in particular, I've made three types of ice cream, an apple crumb pie, lavender syrup, and my favorite meal ever: Flat Iron Steaks with a sherry cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and string beans tossed with olive oil. Plus I recovered the Space Jump Ability for the Varia Suit...

Last week, Kerrie and I went to see Batman Begins in IMAX. While at the theater, Kerrie had some Chunky Monkey Ice Cream and found she is allergic to yet ANOTHER type of nut. (Walnuts...) So when we got home, I looked around and came up with a decent recipe for my own Chunky Monkey. When all was said and done, Chocolate Banana goodness was enjoyed by all.

Among the other high points this week, Kerrie and I found the Cinci version of El Zarrape, had pizza at UNO, and enjoyed a leisurely evening at Sitwells drinking coffee, playing Trivial Pursuit and smoking cloves.

As things settle down, it's time for me to find a proper job and start baking full time. I've got lots of great ideas for the coming weeks and plenty of weird Cinci shit to write about... Ah Cinci, home to Riots, The Reds and Les Nessman.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

We Gotta Get Outta this Place...

Adios Bowling Green!

"Thanks for the bruises and you can keep the Stool samples..."
- Chevy Chase

- Homer Simpson

(Burger Art by Travis\Tee$)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Born just a little too slow...

Well, I finished out my two weeks at the Grill. I'm amazed as I might be the first person to ever leave without being fired or because of a prison sentence.

It was a quiet and simple exit yesterday. I trained Nick and Sasha on how to make a killer Strawberry Rhubarb pie, made some Gazpacho, and said goodbye to all the regulars.

Although, to be honest, the day was kinda wonky. Our payroll didn't show up, then there was a surprise visit from the Health Dept, and a bag of trash I was carrying to a dumpster broke all over the sidewalk. I was a little raw yesterday, now that I think of it...

I missed Cooking Under Fire last night. I really like that show for a variety of reasons. It's more focused on the talents of all the chefs involved, but then again, I would expect nothing less from PBS. On a similar note, I fucking HATE Hells Kitchen. For those of you from Lakota, that's not how a kitchen runs. When people stress out and yell a lot, that's when muhfuhs get their asses bagged with a Snoopy blanket and beaten with a Louisville slugger. Then again, I would expect nothing less from Fox. Although CUF is a reality series, it's so much more in depth. It feels real - the arguments, the failures, the accomplishments, the FOOD!

On a food tip, I'm thinking of what Kerrie and I will be eating for dinner next week and further on...

Chicken with Coffee Barbecue Sauce
Coffee Granita with Kahluah Whipped Cream
Lime Seared Flank Steak Fajitas
Flat Iron filets Wrapped in Prosciutto
"Creamsicle" Cake
Bar-B-Q Chicken Pizza

There is a kick ass grocery store in Cinci called Jungle Jim's. I've been there a few times before, but until just this week, I never realized how extensive their stock is. It's a world market with a full selection of cheeses, wines, and cigars in addition to their amazing meat and produce selection. Strong...

Today I'm listening to The Hollies Greatest Hits. Carrie-Anne and The Air That I Breath have been heard more than once today...

Jungle Jim's

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I'm the friendly stranger in a black sedan...

I realized today that I linked to the wrong mixer in my last post. I do NOT want the Artisan mixer! I am after the pro-series mixer, as that was the one I used to work with at Sufficient Grounds. Kitchen-Aid mixers are the most amazing tool to have in any kitchen. They are amazing for their ability at the basics, but also for making things like Pasta, Ice Cream and delicate creams that need lots of volume... I have to admit though, I just want the dull grey or off-white one. I dunno, I can't explain it. I just want everything in my kitchen to have an "industrial" feel. Whites, brushed steel, classic marble...

Tonight will be the last "nice" meal I make until Kerrie and I make it to Fairfield. This coming week will be consisting of lots of sandwiches and/or salads. Not that that's bad, mind you. I just have a lot of work to take care of this week with packing and finishing out my two-weeks at The Grill.

That being said, tonight I'm going to make Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic butter, paired with a Garlic Leek Puree topped with String Beans. I'm also going to bake up a loaf of Foccacia and do Apricots poached in white wine with fresh whipped cream.

Boo Yah Muh Fuh, Boo Yah...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Shake what yamama gave ya...

Today was a slow day, but it felt rushed.

I made an excellent Rosemary Citrus Sorbet today. It was a tiny batch, but I was completely amazed with the outcome because it's the first I've ever seen my Ice Cream Maker actually work. I need more practice at "creamy" frozen desserts, as none of them have ever turned out to be what I would call perfect.

Last night I made a very nice meal for dinner. Flat Iron Steaks with Fine Herbs and Gorgonzola Cheese wrapped in Puff Pastry, paired with Rosemary Infused Baby Carrots and Mixed Greens. I also made a simple Whiskey Cream Sauce (similar to the Au Poiver) to go with the Steaks and a batch of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Tonight I'm making a four cheese pizza. It's kind of a pain making dough without a proper mixer, but hey - I gots me two hands... When I make pizza at home, I actually long for the days of Marco's and their industrial strength mixer. Of course, we used to make dough in 50 pound batches and we had to do that like 4 or 5 times in only a few hours. Yeah... The "good ole days weren't always good", to quote a classic song.

Tomorrow is Meat Loaf at the Grill. I love Meat Loaf. So simple, and so satisfying. Comfort food - all the way. In the meantime, I'm listening to to a lot of Daft Punk's "Human after all" and Jim Carroll Band's "Catholic Boy". Check it...

Ciao Ciao!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Only together are we unstoppable...

The end of an era is coming...

Pretty soon I'll be done at the Grill, and off to explore new and better opportunities. I'm looking forward to a lot of things I guess...

Making Demi Glace in a new kitchen.
Eating pizza at Uno.
Coffee at Sitwells.
Wine an Foie Gras in front of my own fire place...

So much food, so little time...

A while back, my New Years resolution was to "rediscover my love of food". No, seriously... Some of my best food-related memories have been muddied by working in corporate chains and dealing with psychotic people. I miss the days of going to Cosmo's when Scott and Heather owned it, or that time Troy and I went to Murray's Deli on Mackinac Island. I miss pizza at Carly Cheenas (R.I.P.) or sitting on the dark side of Dominic's with a Cigar listening to "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra. So much has changed about this part of the world, that there isn't much left to appreciate.

I will miss being close to Ann Arbor, as I will always love Cafe Felix and The Jerusalem Garden.

I guess I'll miss Cleveland a little. No more day-trips to Little Italy, but Corbo's WILL ship their Lemon Biscotti anywhere in the nation. So I've got that going for me...

I've got a lot of great ideas for dinner this week. For one, I'm going to do some Cayenne rubbed Rib Eyes with spicy string beans. Another idea for later on is Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Butter, paired with Grilled Leek and Asparagus.

I still have Prosciutto and Sopprasata in the fridge, so I need to make some sandwiches. But then I'll also have to make some Saffron Garlic Mayo... Details, you know?

I'm listening to a lot of Air Cuba this week in addition to The Dirtchamber Sessions and the GO soundtrack. Good Grooving = Good Cooking.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I need somebody to shove...

Prep work is the backbone of any good food experience.

No matter who you are or what you do, you need to do the prep work first. But prep work, also know as Mise en place, is repetitive and time consuming. That's why it's important to always have a good mix tape on hand. I have one mix tape right now that's made up of nothing but Punk Rock and Drum'n'Bass which is perfect for chopping veggies or doing taters.

I've been making mix tapes for as long as I can remember. Road trips, kitchen work, exercising... I've got one for every occasion. I remember the lazy days of high school where Troy and I would make specific mixes for whatever reason, or when Mike Garcia and I would trade our custom mixes back and forth. Heck, some of my best stuff was done while I was at Cosmo's. (I've grown quite fond of a smooth chill out CD...)

But now I'm working on a new Prep Mix. And thanks to the advent of MP3's and my glorious MiniDisc recorder, I've got a great set ready to go...

Prep Mix #001
Iggy Pop - Repo Man (Instrumental)
Rolling Stones - Rip This Joint
Rhythm Heritage - Theme from S.W.A.T
Tomayasu Hotei - Battle without the Honor of Humanity
Crystal Method - Vapor Trail
Soul Asylum - Somebody to Shove
Deckwrecka - Sycosis
Crystal Method - PHD
Daft Punk - Robot Rock
Overseer - Horn Dog
Elton John - Saturday is Alright for Fightin'
CKY - Flesh into Gear
Cuba - Cross the Line
Mirwais - Disco Science
Iggy & the Stooges - No Fun
Fluke - Atombomb
Crystal Method - Name of the Game
N.E.R.D. - Rock Star (Jason Nevins Remix)
The Vines - Ride
Fatboy Slim - Yamama
Oasis - F**kin' in the Bushes
Elmer Bernstein - Staccato's Theme (Happening at Waldo's Remix)
The Misfits - Hybrid Moments
Jim Carroll Band - People who Died
Sex Pistols - My Way

This is just a basic idea for you. I actually have a lot more music to sift through and decide on. But what I listed above is a lite version mixed together for maximum coherency. (I need to find places for Oakenfold and The Propellerheads yet...)

Food Baddies need to groove. Buhleedat.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm the "one" natural one...

Ah, the simplicity of it all...

Last night I made Balsamic Chicken Breast sandwiches. The basic setup was to macerate the breasts in Balsamic Vinegar for one hour then cook them in a skillet. I dressed them up with some field greens and served it on a rosemary foccacia. Cohen & Cook has a very good sandwich which was my initial inspiration, but I scaled it back a bit for the sake of doing something simple.

Today, work was slow and I was sent home. Apparently my attitude towards the situation was characterized as "bad". So fuck 'em, I made Gelato. And not just any Gelato, Chocolate Chip Gelato! Yeah, that's right! I said it...

Tonight I think I will go with a classy Au Poiver sauce made with Bourbon for a few Flat Iron steaks I have in the fridge. On Saturday I'm going to do Coffee Rubbed Rib Eyes. Friday, however, is an Ann arbor run. Cafe Felix for dinner, and Trader Joe's for a case of wine.

Cafe Felix
Trader Joe's

Now... Dr. Bob asked for the recipe for the Mayo Cake. I feel somewhat obligated to grace the world with my recipe, because it is from scratch. So many recipe's call for boxed caked mix, and honestly, wassthapoint? My only advice, is to use a bundt pan to bake this bad-boy. The shape is conducive to keeping it moist. In a rectangular pan, the edges dry out a bit, and the center tends to fall. (shrugging shoulders)

Mayo Cake
2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
4 T Unsweetened Cocoa
2 t Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cup COLD Coffee
1 1/2 Cup Mayo
1 t Vanilla

Pre-Heat the oven to 350F.
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the coffee and mayo.
Mix till just combined, then add vanilla.
Mix till smooth, then pour into bundt pan.
Bake for roughly 30 to 45 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes out clean.

TIPS: Don't Over Mix
Don't Over Bake
Try using different types of coffee. So far, I like Highlander Grogg the best.

"Suppose I accidentally got my shit together..."
- MC 900 Foot Jesus (If I Only Had A Brain)

"Your voice penetrates, so lovely, like good coffee..."
- Zimpala (To the Bass)

"You know you want it..."
- Ralph Fines (Strange Days)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I'm down on Peppyrock Street...

It was a good weekend for the food lover in me. (I hope that phrase doesn't get me sued...)

Instead of Ann Arbor, which WILL still happen, Kerrie and I went to Poco Piatti Saturday night. Their food is intense! Personally, I love the grilled baby lamb chops. They're perfectly cooked and have a delicate flavor I could probably only wish to re-create here at home. Among other delights there was Calamari, Saganaki Kasseri (Cheese that's on FIRE!), Spidini Misti (Skewered Pork, Chicken and Lamb.) and of course, Chocolate Creme Brulee and Turkish Coffee. A-fuck-Mazing!

Poco Piatti

Sunday night, Kerrie and I stayed in so I could make a cheesecake and a Mayo Cake. (Yes, Virgina, there IS mayo in it...) I also made a red wine caramel sauce and screwed it up. It needed a measly quarter-cup of water more than I added, so I wound up with a piece of caramel rather than a syrup.

Tonight, however, will be good night too. I'm going to go a little more "inventive" this evening... Grilled Endive with Prosciutto, Lemon Saffron Linguni and a nice balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzle. I'm going for a lighter approach to my summer cooking. Should be nice...

Friday, May 27, 2005

Living a life I can't leave behind...

So here it is, my Food Blog. It only seems natural that I would start one eventually...

Actually, I shoulda done this a LONG time ago. But to quote Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel, "Shoulda buh da didna..."

Anyways, the subject is "food" - be it grilled baby lamb chops at Poco Piatti or a nice Steaks au poivre at home, I want to yell really loud about it! Good food should never be kept a secret...

For a long while now I've been writing in a food journal rather than blogging. Yeah, no... Seriously - Pen and Paper! I've been writing my ideas and sketches in a little black book and compiling a binder of notes on chefs and food topics in general. But now it's time to bring it all back to the Internets...

So to start, lets talk about tonight: For dinner I plan to pull off the Mix Grill. The basic idea is to serve chicken, steak, roasted potatoes, and green beans with a sauce. For the sake of the Food Baddies everywhere, my menu will look like this:

Mixed Grill
Herb Rubbed Chicken breasts and Rib Eye steaks, grilled to perfection and paired with roasted Rosemary Potatoes and lightly cooked Green Beans, served with a Demi Glace reduction sauce.

There is an Ann Arbor run in the works for tomorrow. My favorite restaurant, Cafe Felix, is the preferred destination for dinner. They have some of the most amazing Tapas cooking I've ever tasted!

Unfortunately, that's all there is for today. The hammock is calling my name so I'm going to bail. Next time I want to talk about the flourless chocolate cake I made the other day and the fuck-amazing port wine syrup that went with it. Till then, have some pancakes - BITCHES...