Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, September 11, 2010


"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
--Pablo Picasso

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
--inspirational poster..?

A friend of mine inspired me with her pulled pork... here is my first attempt.

Gather ingredients:
Pork, Dark Chocolate with Chiles bar, Ginger, Garlic, Serrano Pepper, Heirloom Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar, Tamari, Coffee, Apple Cider Vinegar... the Pistachios made it in the picture, but not the dish... same with the Appricot.

Spicy Dark Chocolate.

More hotness via Serrano.
Yep, that's hottt.
Stay focused.


Cane Sugar.

Shredded Ginger.

Set Crock Pot to Medium High and wait.
For 3 hours.
...or 4.

I was doing pretty well for the first couple hours, but I was pretty excited for the first taste. I imagined the Molé my sister and I made shortly after she received her certificate from the Culinary Arts program at Red Rocks Community College. I was imagining the Molé at the authentic Mexican restaurant just the other side of Utah in Wyoming where my car broke down on my way back to pdx from Boulder, where after I had the Chicken Molé y un Cerveza, everything seemed like it would be all right.

I was imagining a milder version of the BBQ Sauce at that Ribfest I went to with Oscar in Fargo a few years back that burned my lips so bad the only time they didn't hurt for the next 2-3 hours was when I very intentionally, so as to optimize surface area airflow, breathed out. I believe that was called Nuclear Sauce. I was imagining that episode (season 8 episode 9) of the Simpsons where Homer eats five of those "Merciless Peppers of Quetzalacatenango … grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum" and he goes on a spiritual journey. His Spirit Guide is a Coyote voiced by Johnny Cash.

High hopes indeed.

After my first taste I knew I should have gone with my initial instinct of Whiskey & Coffee instead of Vinegar & Coffee. What was I thinking?! 2.5C of Apple Cider Vinegar?! The recipes I consulted had called for Red Wine Vinegar. I didn't realize ACV was so different.
Duly noted.
This was inedible. This was embarrassing. I had to fix it.

My brain went into this weird fight or flight reptile brain operating mode, so I didn't really take pictures for this part of the... process.
I'm not even sure what I put in there anymore. I'm sure a little bit of everything went in there, except more AC Vinegar. More Ginger and Tamari for certain, they're kind of my go-to ingredients when things aren't quite right. Possibly Horse Radish. Definitely more Serrano. I think some Baking Coco made it in there with more Cane Sugar. I think some Molasses made it in there with some Maple Syrup. Nope. Wait... it was a Maple Sugar bar shaped like Santa Claus. That I remember. I think I put in that Apricot and I'm pretty sure the Pistachios did NOT make it in, but I don't know for sure.
I finally snapped out of it after I put in another Chocolate Chiles bar. Those things are like $4 a pop. The whole idea of cooking for yourself is that you do it on a budget. With the Pork and those two Chocolate bars I was kind of going over budget. Not that I have a budget and formula and equation for this stuff, but you have to consider that cooking for yourself is not really worth it if you're spending more than a few bucks per meal, and that should include sides and accompaniments like Buns for Sliders, or Tortillas for Tacos. You might as well have someone else do it, someone who knows what they're doing, whose worked out the kinks and save yourself some time and frustration.
I mean I know that generally cooking for yourself is more healthy and one can be more mindful as far as local, organic etc goes, but time and money also plays into the above mentioned imaginary equation when considering one's diet.
But the Chocolate with Chiles bar set me straight, or made me stop and realize what I was doing. It A) see above and 2) would be a much more enjoyable experience were it eaten by itself so one could savor all the subtle flavor sensations instead of getting thrown into this mess of Pork and Dreams, like Jepthath sacrificing his virgin daughter to God for a victory.
Of course it didn't do anything, I needed at least a practical solution.

I waited another 4 hours or so before it seemed like the Pork was as easy to pull apart as I imagine Pulled Pork should be. I did my best to not add anything more until I had cleared my head and got in a better space.

It was barely half as good as I had hoped for, but at least it was edible.

And the Vinegar sauce wasn't so bad after a while. An acquired taste I guess.
I will definitely do things differently next time (i.e. no Chocolate or Apple Cider Vinegar).
It's never a failure if you learn something from it.

The Sauce that cannot be named (to the right of the Pork) settled down a bit and wasn't too bad as a Molé, although Molé & Pork aren't quite the match made in heaven like the good bedfellows Molé & Chicken are.
Plus it was time to make another batch of Careful It's Hottt, so I put some of the Sauce that cannot be named in it, so this batch (to the left of the Pork) was called Pork-ay Caliente!

The Pork was actually pretty good.
But not in Breakfast Burritos (and pictured above).
I found the Pork most enjoyable with a little slice/glop of Brie in little rolls as Sliders.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Salmon Noodle casserole

So there was some Salmon donated to the house, or rather discovered in the freezer that no one seemed to know anything about, either way, main ingredient.
I was just gonna do Rice or Quinoa, but then I saw this guy at the Farmer's Market selling homemade Pasta. Then I remembered my mom's Tuna Noodle Casserole from when I was a kid. So I thought I'd give it a try, with a couple substitutions.

Gather Ingredients.
Sweet Red Pepper, Serrano Pepper, Broccoli, Kale, Asparagus, Garlic, Mushrooms, Noodles.

Chop Ingredients.
Put in bowl. Or pot if all mixing bowls are dirty or being used.

Also doing the Vegan Alfredo recipe; Nutritional Yeast & Coconut Milk.

Yes, like that.

I added a bit of Oat Milk so it wouldn't be so dry, ya know need enough liquid for the Noodles.

Set oven, by the way, to 420 or so before this point.
Put Salmon in casserole dish.

Cover Salmon with Veggies.

Cover and Bake for 35-45 minutes.

35-45 minutes later, here we are.

Give it a taste test.

Hm. The Noodles are weird.
It's not baaad... but it's not that great either.
I probably didn't add enough liquid. I could have also pre-cooked the Noodles a bit.

It's still edible though.

Enjoy with a stiff drink.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

This is another for real vegan recipe, not a vegan-except-for-the-chicken kind of recipe.
I love Green Bean Casserole, but I haven't eaten it because it's generally a canister of French's French fried Onions on a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup & a can of Green Beans.

Enter the pawl-diet-friendly substitutions:
Cut the tail off.
Mix with Bread Crumbs & Flour.

Bake, between 350 & 400 or whatever.
Keep an eye on it, it burns easy. And stir it occasionally. Also add a bit of Oil.

While the Leeks are baking, nip & chop the Beans.

This step is probably unnecessary, (actually it is, I baked it once after this without pre-cooking the beans and it turned out fine, but whatever)... Saute Garlic.
Add Beans.
Lightly Saute.

Chop Shiitake Mushrooms.

Combine everything (except the Leeks) in a baking dish.
1 can Coconut Milk to 1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast.
Cover & bake for about 40, 45 minutes.

I kinda quit taking pictures at this point, except for the Leeks.
They kinda got burnt. I used the oven downstairs, and it's an unconventional oven. Plus other people were in the upsatirs kitchen, including my Sister!
Things were a bit chaotic.

This was one of my contributions to the Thanksgiving dinner.
I also made Cranberry Sauce...

And these re-fried mashed potatoes.

Two other people brought green bean casserole. One girl bought all of her ingredients at a convenience store for under $3: 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 Can Green Beans and, instead of the french fried onions... 1 bag of sour cream & onion Chips.


After it's done baking, sprinkle the burnt...browned leeks on top.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Veggies Patties Part 2

I'm gonna do it right this time. And by right I mean I'm going to remember to use Bread Crumbs (or Saltines) because I think that's why the Patties didn't turn out last time I attempted them.

I'm using Quinoa this time.
I know, I need to work on getting better lighting in the winter months, but trust me, it's Quinoa.
I forget the ratio, but it's quicker than Rice and Garbonzo Beans. This is Red Quinoa. Not sure why, but I'm told I like it better, or it's healthier or something.

While that's cooking, gather your Veggies.
Chard, Red & Yellow Peppers, Shiitake Mushrooms, Arugala, Garlic, Jalepeno Pepper.

Chop them all, but set the Arugala aside.

Again, this step is probably unnecessary, but I'm lightly Sautéing the Veggies first.
So Sauté the Garlic & Jalepeno.

Throw in the rest of the Veggies, minus the Arugala.

Keep an eye on the Quinoa.
It's done. Or almost, we don't want to over cook it.

In a separate bowl combine the Quinoa & Veggies & Arugala.
Season to taste; Tamari, Paprika, White Pepper, Chipotle Powder, Turmeric etc.

Don't forget the Bread Crumbs.
Add the Eggs.
I had quite a bit of Quinoa, so I'm using two Eggs.
I normally wouldn't do an experimental batch this big, but I didn't have enough Quinoa to justify saving the last little bit, so I just used all I had.

Mix it up real good.
Yeah like that.

I got a screwball for you too.
I'm trying Lentil Patties as well.
Just cook up some lentils.

Add Bread Crumbs.
And Egg.

Again, heating a pan with oil and throwing a small ball of Quinoa & Veggies or Lentils in and forming them into a Patty in the pan.
Like so.

They actually turned out pretty well.
Just as tasty, but much better structure-wise. I'm blaming the Bread Crumbs.

They were still pretty fragile. They held together pretty well when I flipped them, but broke apart easily enough once cooked. I don't think it would fare too well in a bun if you were to eat it like a Lamburger. Plus it was pretty dry, especially the Lentil Patty. I used some Faux Goddess Dressing my housemate Bob whips up, which is a Tahini based Vinegarette to spread and dip the Lentil Patties in.

I refrigerated the stuff I didn't use and I'm not sure if it's the temperature or the loss of freshness, but it didn't stick together as well the longer it was in the fridge.

Good luck and Enjoy