Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Devil's Workshop

Forget about idle hands -- it's a bag of peanut M&M's in cute Easter colors.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dear Duff Goldman: Oh Honey, No

Dear Duff,

I hate to say it, but my love for you is wavering. I never thought this would happen. I want to work for you. I want to steal you from your girlfriend (rumor has it that you like older women). I'm not saying I would go so far as to take up snowboarding for you, but I would be willing to go to the lodge with you and hang out in front of the fire with a book while you get your snowboard on. What I'm saying is, Duff, I'm a giver.

And then the other day, I innocently turn on my television, and what do I see? You, on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, eating shrimp heads. Shrimp heads, Duff. There is a reason that the head is the part of the shrimp that gets thrown away, and the reason is this: EW. I had to close my eyes, which interfered with my ability to see your cute face, and that made me sad.

I hope you'll think about what I've said, and refrain from doing anything squicky on television in the future. Please. I hate it when we fight.

Call me!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Genius: Black Drip Pans

I don't know about you, gentle readers, but I have to replace the drip pans on my stove about once a year. I know the directions on the package say to clean them after every use, and I'm sure that works just fine for people who only cook when the chef has the night off. For someone like me -- someone who cooks every day and doesn't even own a dishwasher -- it's not going to happen. I clean up spills as I go, I take the pans out and clean them periodically, but it's inevitable that one day I will look at them and say "these have GOT to go."

So conceive, if you will, of my delight in finding black drip pans at my local Walmart. For one thing, they are the color the pans will eventually turn anyway; for another, they have a porcelain finish that resists having foods bake onto it. Not to mention that they look pretty cool.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sometimes A Girl's Just Gotta Bake

You know how some days you wake up and feel like baking? No? Well it happens to me. After perusing my cookbooks, I decided to make Chocolate-Dipped Melting Moments, a cookie that requires shaping, two trips through the powdered sugar, and then dipping in melted chocolate. I felt like getting my hands a little dirty, know what I mean?

They came out great. Of course, there are four and a half dozen of them, but I find that freshly baked cookies are really easy to get rid of because people are always willing to take them off your hands.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feel Better Food -- With Recipe!

Perhaps, like my mother, you have been wondering how I'm feeling since I got back from my roadtrip. After a week of meals on the go and McDonalds: The Official Breakfast of Road Trips, I haven't been feeling so well.

So last weekend, I made a big pot of lentil soup and thawed out some wheat ciabatta that I had in my freezer. It was just what I needed -- delicious, healthy, and easy on my tummy.

Give this recipe a try, but feel free to make it your own. I rarely make this soup the same way twice. It comes out great with just water, but if you have chicken or vegetable stock on hand, go ahead and use it.

Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cups lentils, rinsed and drained (go ahead and use a whole bag if you have it, just increase the liquid slightly)
8 C. water
3 red bliss potatoes, peeled and cut in about 1/2-inch dice
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and saute until onion is clear, approx. 5-7 minutes. (I always season the veggies with salt and pepper as they saute.) Add cumin and garlic, saute 1 minute.

2. Add lentils and water. Stir. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook soup 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take this opportunity to clean up the mess you just made.

3. Add potatoes, then continue cooking 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes and lentils are almost done. Add water as needed to create a good soup consistency (the potatoes will thicken the soup quite a bit).

4. Add frozen spinach, raise heat slightly, and allow spinach to thaw in the soup. When soup returns to a simmer and spinach is thawed and stirred through, check potatoes and lentils for doneness. Keep simmering until desired texture is reached. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Food On The Road

All in a day's work for a food blogger.

My friends, I felt it my duty while I was in the southern states of this great land of ours, to investigate Sonic, a restaurant for which I have seen ads, but have never come across in real life.

The pros: The food was delivered by a cute boy on roller skates. Very tasty limeade.

The cons: The food is dreadful. It reminded me why I only eat fast food when I absolutely have to, such as on a road trip. The sandwich looks greasy, but it's not. It's actually a BLT that is soggy from sitting in an aluminum bag under a heat lamp. (The tots, on the other hand, are greasy. I guess I prefer my tots baked in the oven.) Also, you have to eat in the car, which is messy and uncomfortable.

A much better dining option is Mellow Mushroom, a pizza place with a funky 70s vibe. I had the Kosmic Karma pizza, which had feta and mozzarella cheeses, sundried and Roma tomatoes, spinach, and a swirl of pesto. YUM!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roadtrip Dining Highlights

Gentle readers, if you were wondering if I feel off the face of the earth, the answer is, yes, I have. I'm in a Motel 6 in Van Horn, Texas, trapped by illness and weather. Until you've had this particular experience, you don't know what falling off the face of the earth is.

In healthier days back in San Diego, I had a fabulous dinner at Maria Maria. I was too busy shoveling in the delicious vegetarian enchiladas and listening to the wonderful live music (no, not Carlos Santana, but still very good) to take a picture.

Another terrific enchilada meal, this one at Nati's in San Diego, with my brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, and my cousin's girlfriend. Not quite as good as at Maria Maria, but darn close.

Monica and I had to try Roberto's Very Mexican Food, simply because of the name. If by "very Mexican" they mean "very greasy," then the name says it all. This time I had the tacos.

I had no idea that ramen is an actual dish, not just something that comes in a square package with a packet of overly salty "broth." I stand corrected. My brother and his girlfriend took me to Shin Sen Gumi in Los Angeles for real ramen. It was delicious. Who knew?

This was the house specialty at the Sands Motel, Steak House, and Restaurant in Van Horn, TX: "crispy bacon and butter fried eggs between two golden brown pancakes." I had it for breakfast this morning, and it was delicious. Not the healthiest breakfast, granted, but between my body needing to keep warm in the frigid temperatures of Van Horn and fighting off the malaria or typhoid or whatever it is we have, I'm not worried about a few extra calories.