Friday, April 27, 2007

Yesterday, as I was walking into the apartment, I saw these two birds wandering around right under our patio.

Most people would find a soft spot in their heart for these birds and watch quietly or maybe even feed them some stale bread. The first thing that ran through MY mind, though, was: "I wonder if it would be really hard for me to produce my own foie gras..."

"Mr. Butts says: Eat A Dick Lettuce-Huggers!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I love a good Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Last week at work we made a batch for a special catering for the Prez, and after that I had the idea in my head to do my own. The batch we made was very simple: Pound the chicken, swiss cheese and ham, breading, and fry. Personally, I think if you're going to make something as simple, yet completely amazing, as this you really should go all out.

Then again, I forget that not everybody has immediate access to Jungle Jim's. Thankfully, Kerrie was very patient as I admired the many different varieties of cured meats, smoked cheeses, and freshly baked breads. When all was said and done, I opted to go with a nice Havarti cheese and some Soppresotta for my filling, two beautiful 6.oz chicken breasts - pounded flat, and a hunk of toasted Italian bread.

I prefer not to fry when I make this dish, nor do I use breading. I like seasoning and roasting the rolled chicken breast. Maybe it's just because I like this presentation, or possibly some sub-conscious health-pansy thing, but roasting works here.

Roasted Chicken Cordon Bleu
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless - pounded flat
4 pieces Sopprasotta
3 pieces Havarti
Paprika, salt, pepper
Arugala, chiffonade
Italian bread, sliced thick

Preheat oven to 450F.
Start by pounding chicken flat.
Fold or cut Havarti into triangle halves.
Place 2 pieces of Sopprasotta, then three triangles of Havarti on flattened chicken. Roll tighly (Like a jellyroll) and place in a square baking dish.
Season with Paprkia, slat, and pepper.
Roast, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until fully cooked and cheese is melted.
During the last five minutes of the roasting, toast the slices of Italian bread until nicely browned.
Assemble by placing one roll of chicken on top of a slice of toasted bread. Garnish with chiffonade Arugala.

We enjoyed a nice Pinot Grigio with this meal. Pinot Grigio, I have recently found, may very well be my favorite of all the white wines. Either that or I got really lucky with my selection last time I bought wine.


"Slash out the windows
The curtains are drawn
Lock down the compound
Bolt it and guard
Divided and conquered
Then booted to space
Beg for survival
On the planet of race
Come on!
..And Bring Us Bullets! Bullets!"

- Rocket from the Crypt, Bring Us Bullets

Sunday, April 15, 2007

With the Winter finally winding down and a wet, cold Spring giving way to Summer, I decided to make a very nice Vietnamese dish called Pho.

Weather or not my version is/was a traditional "according to Hoyle" recipe remains in question. At work, I recently received a packet from Nestle Food Service entitled "A trip to SE Asia". Inside was the basic hodge podge of ideas mingled with advertisements for every Nestle product imaginable. Pho was the one thing that stood out for some reason. Perhaps it was the right combination of ingredients or the fact that it was fuck-cold and rainy all weekend. Either way, this delicious and simple broth was REALLY pleasing and exceptionally satisfying.

Beef Pho
2 qt Beef Broth
1 Yellow Onion, cut into quarters
1 large piece ginger, peeled and cut into cubes
2 Shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
1 Parsnip, peeled and cut with center removed
1 Cinnamon Stick
2-3 tsp. Fish Sauce

3 .oz wild mushrooms
8 .oz braised beef strips\cubes
1 package Rice Stick Noodles\Bahn Pho
1 bunch Scallions, cut on bias

1 Red Pepper, julienned and charred
2 .oz Bean Sprouts, rinsed well
1 Lime, cut into 4 wedges
2-3 leaves Thai Basil, chiffonade

Bring beef broth to a gentle simmer in a large pot.
While broth is warming, char Yellow Onion, Ginger, and shallots over grill.
When broth is at a simmer, add charred vegetables and Parsnip. Allow to steep for 25 minutes.
Add Cinnamon and Fish Sauce, steep for 5 more minutes.
Strain and keep warm while assembling bowls and garnish.

In each bowl, place rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions), then beef, then mushrooms and top with warm broth and scallions.

On small plates, artistically arrange Red Pepper, sprouts, lime, and basil. Serve as garnish with Broth.

Kerrie and I enjoyed this dish with a nice Sauvignon Blanc and Eddie Murphy's "Delirious". Still as funny today, at is was 25 years ago. Wait, what? 25 Years?

Oh no...

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly
The Doors - The End
Iggy & The Stooges - No Fun
Beastie Boys - So What Cha Want?
The Misfits - Die Monster Die
Rolling Stones - Street Fightin' Man

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I've been feeling a bit, I dunno, retro lately.

I've been playing a lot of NES and SNES, and now with Troy pulling VBBS out of the mothballs, I've been taken back to a time when all I was worried about was... well... Nothing.

It was a time when I had the stamina to stay up till 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and not miss a beat the next day. It was a time when I worked for the Big M. Yeah, delivering Pizzas may not have been the most glam job I ever held, but it definitely made me gobs of money. I remember, quite fondly, buying one of the first 14.4 modems that came out and always going to Charlie's or Ralphie's for obligatory late-lunch after School let out.

But, if one thing about my past is certain, I have a psychotic LOVE/HATE relationship with Pizzas. I have learned a lot of dirty little secrets about the franchise-pizza industry (From dumpster diving for receipts from competitors to making hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of pizza dough every day.) and, God help me, it's not all bad.

I have found, as I've gotten older, that I really do have an affection for a good Pizza. One with a fluffy crust, a slightly sweet sauce, various cheeses, and a fuck-load of pork piled on top. I have also found, as I've gotten older, that I shiver every time I walk into a pizzeria - knowing I did some shady shit for my former boss.

Nonetheless, I have moved on and found my own semi-corporate/semi-artisan formula for making pizzas. Check it:

I make a basic foccacia dough using Kerrie's bread maker, then I use Italian sausage, Cappicola, and Pepperoni for toppings. I like to finish it off with Provolone and a cheese mix of Mozzarella, Jack, and Parmesan.

Even now, 13 years later, I still love to make and eat a good pizza. There is something about a heavy pie and a nice bottle of red table wine that makes a night feel complete.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Oh, don't tell me about Family Suffering. My son went down to Earth once. I don't know what you people did to him, but he hasn't been the same since..."
- God, from The Simpsons

Happy Easter Folks!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The past few weeks have disappeared in a whirlwind of work, sleep, more work and a few good foodie moments here and there.

One of the better moments was making Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches for dinner last week. The best Balsamic-Chix-Sand I've ever had is at Cohen & Cooke in Bowling Green. Many days, Jeb and I would go over to Cohen & Cooke and have that Sandwich before we would work on music. It was something of a muse.

But now I'm 180 miles south and don't have immediate access to such things, so I came up with my own.

Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/8 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 T Dijon Mustard
1/2 t Onion Powder
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/2 T Sugar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t Dry Mustard
1/2 t cracked Black Pepper

Wash and dry chicken, then place in a zip-lock bag.
Combine all other ingredients, then pour into bag over chicken.
Seal bag and refrigerate overnight.


This is a great recipe I for grilling and then served on fresh baked Focaccia with some Saffron Mayo.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Saturday Night
Soup Dragons - Running Wild
D.N.A. & Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner
Information Society - Mirrorshades
Nirvana - Dive
INXS - Not Enough Time
Sweet - Fox on the Run

Recently, Kerrie entered a contest using Fliptrack and made a nifty slide show. Check it out, yo...