Thursday, April 30, 2009

WTF Thursday

Hat Tip to Out of Your Element Bethie for the title of today's post.

Hat Tip to WV Gourmet for finding this monstrosity

Who mail-orders CANNED CHICKEN??? And from Amazon. Honestly, if there were some little town in central Vermont that raised Ambrosial Chickens and used their New England ingenuity to find a way to make roast chicken taste good three months after roasting and canning and started some new-economy co-op, I'd try it...after hitting the lottery.

But alas, Sweet Sue is a moniker only, and it is part of Castleberry.

And Castleberry used to be a family BBQ canning company from Georgia.

And now they have 'corporate headquarters' in San Diego.

But if you do order one of these $49.99 cans of chicken, let me know. I want to interview you and turn the tape over to the appropriate mental hygiene authorities.

[UPDATE] I don't know if this is better or worse. That's SIX (6) 50 ounce cans of whole roast chicken for $49.99. Better because it's more 'value?' Or worse because you have to figure out what to do with 6 of the buggers?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Authentic" Flavor?

"Authentic" Flavor?
Originally uploaded by kitchen geeking
What does that mean? Authentic reproductions of flavors that can be found in nature? Does it mean the wings taste like authentic chicken? If not, what is inauthentic about it?

And doesn't "classic" imply only one flavor. THE classic buffalo hot wing sauce? I mean, once upon a time there really was an original flavor. It was both classic AND authentic.

Not having tried these wings, I cannot attest to the veracity of the claimed big, meaty, and crispy. Although wouldn't one prefer "chickeny" as opposed to "meaty?"

These are the thoughts in my mind this sunny Saturday morning.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Red Pig BBQ

Took a trip down to Asheville, North Carolina Tuesday and needed to kill some time so as to arrive and surprise Mom at her staff's party for her retirement. The staff was awesome and really wanted someone from the family there for mom. S couldn't make it and Bec has a job that precludes just rolling on down the interstate. So Dan-o it was.

Ended up driving through Jonesborough, TN and wandering around before grabbing some BBQ. Jonesborough ended up being a gorgeous little town in the former State of Franklin. The dogwoods were in bloom everywhere along main street and the International Storytelling Center was getting a fresh coat of paint inside.

Seems the folks of East Tennessee are okay with calling their Q Carolina BBQ. No rivalry there. Just good pork. Urbanspoon got me thinking BBQ. And REd Pig sounded like the right place.

Chez suggested a couple others as well via Twitter, but we settled on Red Pig with a potential stop at Cootie Brown's on the way back.

While that didn't happen, I was certainly pleased with the stop I did make. Check it...pork. Simple, tender, fell apart when they shredded it pork. No discernible super-seasoning on the pork. True to form, the pork gets sauced by you and you alone.

I went pick-one combo with slaw and baked beans as my side.

Strange twist was the italian bread garlic toast instead of plain old white-bread. I'd love to know if there's a story about that somewhere.

The slaw was thick cut, dressed lightly, and a hint sweet. The beans were tangy and of course included shredded pork.

Two sauces for your pleasure. Sweet vinegar goodness and kicked-up spicy style.

Fresh pies made daily. Fresh pies!

Red Pig makes its own iced tea as well. Wish I had paid attention to that when I first ordered. Diet Coke is good, but no substitute for real southern sweet tea. Grabbed a refill to-go of the sweet tea and absolutely marveled at its smoky, real brewed deep flavor.

Fantastic stop folks.

Congrats to Johnson City. Not just a line in an Old Crow Medicine Show song anymore. Thanks for the great food.

And you readers out there...get yourself down there if you're in the Tri-Cities for a race at Bristol or a camping trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Red Pig Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Heeeeeer's Cooooookout!

New pappy PG with little Mr. Brady. In honor of his arrival, and the first warm day of spring, we headed up to Ms. J's Spanish extravaganza in the FH. Tasty-ness follows.

First up was the sausage course. With the roast pepper and onion course. And the bread course. Damn that still looks tasty 20 days later!

New mandolins are cool. PG is cool. PG with a new mandolin is SUPER-cool.

Orzo. Onions. Cilantro. Grilled baby bok choy. Chopped peanuts. Peanut butter, orange, sesame dressing. Recipe in separate post to follow.

I don't need to say anything. You can see it all here. Pork wrapped in cured, garlic injected pork. Oh. My. God.

Previous pork in a cooked state. Randy's asian-brined pork too. Greco made a sauce. We all ate it. All of it.

A full plate of the cookout goodness. There were many of these made up. More, in fact, than there were people at the party. Yes. We ate more than we should have.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the cookout spread for the final courses.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Road Trips are AWESOME

Road Trips are AWESOME
Originally uploaded by kitchen geeking
More later, but I owe you folks some food! Here's what I'll be having for lunch today on my one night roadtrip to NC.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wait For It

I have photos and video of the first cookout of the season and will have to tell you all about it soon. Strangely enough, I seem to have less time to blog now that I'm job-searching than when I would take care of blogging between dessert and post-meal PBR's at the pub.

There are also some alleged photos of New York still floating around on the hard drive, including the stroll down 9th Avenue that included Afghan and German (and a side track to massive strips of candy bacon (yes I know, I'm a HORID wretch for not talking about that yet).

Let me tell you now, however, that friends who bring you Easter supper are the best kind, and that potatoes cooked in cream and butter then soaked in rich mushroom gravy on a plate can put a smile on anyone's face.

Let me also tell you that necessity is the mother of invention and pantry-raiding.

And finally, let me tell you Happy Passover, Happy Easter, or simply happy Sunday. I hope you ate well today.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Big Game Jer and the Taquitos of Fire

Here's what happens when it's 74 degrees outside, Casa Garcia's deck is open, and Big Game Jer gets back from a trip at Cranberry Glades.

Taquitos, people, are deep fried rolled tacos. Stuffed w/ shredded beef and shredded chicken. The a la carte portion is three with sour cream and pico de gallo. The full menu item is two beef, two chicken, shredded lettuce, guac, and the ubiquitous unnecessary tomato wedge.

Margaritas? Well, they're just frozen and delicious.

Authentic chile rellenos were consumed. Cheese stuffed anaheim peppers with sauce? Yeah, also filed under does not suck.

Come get some.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yes! Bacon!

Indian Rice and Lentils with Whole Wheat Roti

Pantry meal three this week. Same old carrots and celery in the crisper. One lonely white onion, some lentils, some rice, some garam masala, coriander, and cardamom, and a groovy video on YouTube from Indian Vegetarian blogger Manjula.

Sauted the onion, carrot, and celery in butter and oil. Added in the spices. Deglazed with a dash of chardonnay. Added 1/2 cups each of basmati rice and lentils, 1 1/2 cups water, boiled, reduced to simmer, and waited 20 minutes. Goodness.

Mixed up the flour, salt, and water per Manjula's instructions, fired up the cast iron skillet, and had damn authentic-tasting roti in about 15 minutes. And Manjula has managed to be the #2 Google hit for "flat bread recipe". Can't beat that.

What a great, simple lunch/dinner tonight.

And once again, a dirt cheap meal for two.

Let's guess $0.50 for the rice, $0.25 for the lentils, $0.50 for the spices since they're a bit exotic, $0.10 for the wine, $0.35 for the vegetables, and $0.25 for the flour/butter for the roti. Dinner for two, $1.95.

This has been quite a week of working at home and cooking for one.

Don't worry peeps, I'm still more of a fan of cooking for crowds, and I still love bacon. I'll have some good-livin' cooking with a crowd blogging for you soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stella in the Summertime

Stella in the Summertime
Originally uploaded by kitchen geeking
Thanks PG and Matt!

Guess what Sam's has at the bar???!!!???

Tuscan White Bean Salad and Fried Egg on Toast

Another day working at home, another pantry lunch. Inspired in process by Michelle to be as cheap as possible in my between projects and paychecks days. Inspired in flavor by stuff I've done before. Inspired in practice by what I had in my kitchen.

Of course I wish I had been to lunch with Krista and Beth at the Sitar. Apparently, Krista went for my favorite baingan bartha and introduced Bethie to the joys of garlic naan.

I went closer to my (Western European mutt) roots and hit up the Tuscan-style when I saw I had a can of cannellini beans, some carrots, and some celery.

The recipe is quite simple.

  • one can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • two small carrots, diced
  • two stalks of celery with leaves, diced
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 t rosemary
  • pinches of chili flakes, salt, and pepper

Toss it all together in a bowl and let it sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to start to blend.

If I had been fortunate enough to have fresh sage in the pantry or on the window sill, I would have done that instead of the thyme and rosemary. But I didn't. So I didn't.

That was it. But I was more hungry than just the salad, had homemade bread left, and eggs in the fridge.

Y'all know me. There are a few things I just don't turn down.

Bacon is one. Fried eggs are another. Either with homemade bread turned into toast is a true masterpiece.

So I fried up the egg and put it on the toast. Both went down on the plate with the salad.

You can see those nice grill marks on the bread, right? My attempt at artsy photog-ing with the blurry background part that's just as much a part of the meal and the crispy-clear foreground, right?

The plate was of course from Fiestaware from the Homer Laughlin China Company.

And the cost estimate (adding in another slice of toast and another egg to make it a meal for two)?

$1.19 for the can of beans. $0.25 each for the carrots and celery. $0.50 for the pinches of herbs and seasonings/garlic. $0.10 for the oil. $0.20 for the eggs. $0.25 for the two slices of bread.

Lunch (or dinner) for two...$2.49!

That's only a quarter more than a PBR at non-happy hour prices at the pub. I mean, really, that's cheap.

Speaking of PBR, The Cheez is heading to the pub after work right now. And I'm going to join her.

Later gaters!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Penne and Lima Bean Alfredo

Getting back to cooking was more of a challenge than I expected. I'd been crashing on a project for the past 10 days (10 hour days, lots of writing) and was just drained. Better now after a couple long sleeping nights and some down time.

I still didn't have the energy to go to the store (especially after paying the gas, car insurance, two credit cards, rent, and health insurance bills today). But I did have the need to eat. Thankfully those two aspects of my life were not conspiring together against me.

I had half-n-half, the last runty piece of parmesan, butter, flour, penne (whole wheat), frozen limas, and a whopping hunger.

I went heavy on the pepper, and was unfortunately light on the cheese. Ended up being a good thick, creamy, cheesy, peppery sauce that coated all the pasta and beans. Not a bad thrown-together-in-haste meal.

Still sometimes amazed that I can just say "I'll rumage in the pantry," find ingredients for good food, and just make it.