Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hobbit Dinner

This is a recipe/dinner idea that I've pulled out occasionally since I lived in Chicago and became obsessed with the Lord of the Rings movies.  Shut up.

Hobbits eat well.  And often.  Remember Weathertop?  Of course you do.  Tomatoes? Nice crispy bacon?  A brace of coneys?  And don't even get me started on the deluxe DVD edition bonus scene with Samwise's special box of seasoned salt, which he was saving just in case they happened to roast a chicken en route to Mordor.  Frodo laughed his smug little patrician laugh at Sam, BUT THAT KIND OF DEDICATION IS WHAT ULTIMATELY SAVED HIS SORRY ASS.

Ahem.  So if you want to eat like a hobbit.  Here's what you do:

Buy a cast-iron skillet.  Seriously.  This will change your life, and I'm pretty sure the hobbits used one. So, authenticity right?  We cooked some locally-raised SAGE-PORK BREAKFAST SAUSAGES. But any kind of non-Italian sausage will do, I think.  Also, cook them in BUTTER.  You will of course season them with SALT and PEPPER, but also some SMOKED PAPRIKA, because as we've recently learned, you simply cannot go wrong.  When they've cooked enough, add some MUSHROOMS and YELLOW ONIONS, preferably from Farmer Maggot's crop, because HOBBITS LIKE TO STEAL.

Meanwhile, why don't you mash some POTATOES?  However you like to do this is fine by me.  Tonight we used two big russet potatoes, with a tablespoon of BUTTER, a splash of HALF AND HALF, and some crumbled BLUE CHEESE.

An essential second side dish is so easy AN ORC COULD DO IT.  Just take a couple of large, ripe TOMATOES. (we used some heirloom, ugli tomatoes).  Cut out the top part, and slice in half horizontally.  Then cover with more crumbled BLUE CHEESE, and stick them under the broiler until the cheese gets toasty.

"Even you couldn't say no to that." -- S. Gamgee

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hungarian Sausage & Cabbage Soup

First, before we get to the soup, I would like to apologize for taking so long to update this blog. I have been abstaining from the online social media world in 2011, as much as possible at least, and this blog has been neglected as a by-product. If you haven't eaten anything delicious yet this year, well, MY BAD.

But I'm here to fix that (hooray!), even if I have no photographs to prove to you that what I'm about to tell you should be received as gospel in your kitchen. Faith, people.

A couple weeks ago, I had a bowl of this soup at the little cafe where I'm attending grad school. It's called "Donna's", and Donna is an amazing cook, plain and simple. And this soup was the best of the best. I distracted her with a little satisfied-customer flattery in order to divine a couple ingredients, and then sought to make my own at home.

How easy is this soup to make? None more easy. Melt a tablespoon or two of UNSALTED BUTTER in your soup pot. Nicely done. Then add some CHICKEN STOCK and stir until the butter fully melts. Meanwhile, you'll have some shredded GREEN CABBAGE, or if you're like me and don't want to buy a whole head of cabbage, which is way too freaking much for this recipe, half of one of those little round containers of BRUSSEL SPROUTS, washed and quartered. Also, a thinly sliced (but not minced), YELLOW ONION. Throw this in the pot, with a healthy amount of SMOKED PAPRIKA, and a hundred or so CARAWAY SEEDS. Seriously though, you can put a lot of those in. Grind some BLACK PEPPER into the pot too. See if I care.

Ummm.... put a lid on it. Let the cabbage and onions cook down. Then add some more stock, a couple of diced POTATOES, a can of DICED TOMATOES, and a pound of SMOKED SAUSAGE (or "kielbasa" if you prefer, fancypants).

That is it. You probably won't even need salt. Wow.

So, about cutting down on ├╝ber-pervasive online social media websites, I just have two things to say:

1. It's time for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, to admit to ourselves and each other, that Ronald Reagan was not a very good president, or even a good one. He had a funny little voice though, and that may well be his best legacy.
2. I had a dream last night that I dropped acid and it made me talk very, very fast.

Whew! Had to get that out. You're welcome.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Leftover Adventures, Issue No. 2

Shepherd's Pie!

God bless shepherds. They're out in the Montana wilderness in rain and snow, drinking and loving, dodging lightning and driving sheep, and for what? For Randy Quaid to kick them out on their asses and send them back to Michelle Williams and Anne Hatha
way. The nerve! Still, they find the time to take some basic kitchen ingredients and whip them into something classic, quick, and passionately satisfying.

For this recipe, I used some leftover GROUND PORK and GROUND BEEF from when Wife of Mighty Bay Leaf made me birthday spaghetti and meatballs. I also had some BACON in the fridge. So I chopped up the bacon cooked it in a pan until it was almost good and crispy, then I added the ground mea
ts, and added BLACK PEPPER and MADRAS CURRY POWDER. It smelled pretty good I tell you what. When the meat was cooked through, I poured out the liquid and saved it for later. Then I added a jar of BEEF GRAVY to the pan. I'd theretofore never used gravy in shepherd's pie, so you might call that a Jack Twist. Then I added more curry powder. Finally, I poured the meatiness into a Pyrex 8x8 casserole dish.

Meanwhile, I mashed a couple Yukon gold POTATOES with some BUTTER and a splash of HALF AND HALF. I also chopped a medium YELLOW ONION and cooked it in the same pan I cooked the meats, with a little bit of the reserved liquid.

On top of the ground beef/pork/bacon, I put a strained can of SWEET CORN, then the onions, then the mashed potatoes. On top of this action, I added some chopped fresh PARSLEY, SHREDDED PARMESAN CHEESE, and some BREAD CRUMBS. I baked this in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for
about 20 minutes.

Shepherd's pie, I wish I knew how to quit you.