Wednesday, January 5, 2011
henry heinz once said, "to do a common thing uncommonly well brings success". he would know, he made freaking ketchup and there's nothing more common than that and heinz is undoubtedly the most successful ketchup (and other condiments) company in the world. i like to cook but i've never made anything stunningly amazing like a diamond fruitcake or something like that, perhaps because no matter what you put on it, its still a fruitcake and fruitcakes suck. how do you think the word itself became a derogatory name? or the most stereotypically regifted christmas present? but i digress.
in my first semester at gordon college, i made a lot of different foods for myself and other people, from simple stuff like bacon and eggs to more complicated things like cinnamon bread. i even won an autumn dessert contest with my grandmother's apple pie recipe. my most common culinary creation, however, was the crepe. after i learned how to make crepes from my belgian uncle, i started to host "crepe dinners" for my friends and whoever passed by when i was preparing the food, usually on thursday nights. i wasn't that great when i started but people who came to the dinners seemed to enjoy them so i was happy and continued to do it. a big break in came when my friend katie asked me to make crepes for the french club. i can't remember how many i made, but it wasn't enough and they were gone way too fast. the next french club event was a little different.
i was planning on making a double batch again but katie asked if i had enough ingredients to make a triple. i said yes. then she asked if i could make a quadruple batch. i said yes, getting excited and nervous at the same time. so i did it. thankfully katie helped with the stirring, which in the case of crepes, is the most miserable part of the cooking process. but this was my culinary magnum opus so far. i made a quadruple batch of crepes, twice as much batter as i had ever done before. it took me two hours in total and i made 61 crepes and not a single one was burnt or torn. the best part was the french teacher, a french woman herself, liked them!
i've always wanted to be exceptional at something and while i understand that my crepes probably weren't as great as i make them out to be. but even though they weren't as good professional crepe makers (check this older post) i definitely do believe that they were good, really good even. and that was a success for me, because it was a common thing done uncommonly well.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
photo courtesy of nate mancini.
a wise man was once asked, "would you like a s'more?" and he responded, "how can i have more if i haven't had any yet?" these jokes and many other surround this staple of americana. yesterday night, i had the opportunity to make s'mores with some great people, nate mancini, amy coutant and her sister rachel, and nicky fantauzzo. we had planned on making them the traditional way with a campfire, but unfortunately our wood was wet so we had to give up on the fire and find out an alternate way of making them. someone had the idea of making them in the microwave. and i sarcastically thought to myself, "wow a microwave? are we feeling white yet?" but since i didn't have a better idea, i shut-ed up about it. it turned out surprisingly well. we would microwave two marshmallows at a time for 10-15 seconds and when they were finished, they were evenly headed and sufficiently soft to be suitable for use in s'mores. awesomely enough, there was no burning/charred areas like you get when you heat them over a campfire. further, they worked really well because when you put them on chocolate, or vice versa, the chocolate heats up and melts and that mixes the two flavors together. this, as you can imagine, tastes incredible.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
yeah!! gotta love the chicken wings. these guys are what make super bowl parties worth going to. (them and chips. and the game itself.) the spicy sauce which saturates the fried wingers is about as american as buffalos themselves. chicken wings used to be considered garbage and thrown out. then one day, frank and teresa, owners of the anchor bar in buffalo, NY, decided that they would cook them and see if they could get anyone to eat them. they had a novel idea: to soak the wings in hot sauce after being deep fried. it was a stellar success. buffalo wings are now among the most popular foods in the world. (at least in my world they are. i have them at almost every opportunity.) well i finally decided to make some myself. i took pictures throughout the process and posted them on the food blog's web album. and now without further ado, i present my recipe for homemade buffalo wings. 9/10 (they turned out a little crispy. but this i imagine could be remedied by less time in the frying pan.)
1. get the matierials 26 chicken wings uncooked. a pan of hot oil. a beastly looking knife for cutting flesh and bone.
2. if the wings are still attached to each other, cut them apart with the beastly looking knife. at the same time, have the pan of oil turned on high on the stove. when it begins to boil, it is ready to receive the wings.
3. drop them into boiling oil slowly. there is a very large chance that there will be splattering of hot oil all over the place so please have adult supervision. (not that adults are impervious to hot oil any more than kids are, but i needed a PSA in here somewhere to acknowledge the danger involved in making wings.) in my experience, a large pan can hold ~15 wings at a time so you'll probably have to make a couple batches.
4. cover pan with lid so the doesn't get everywhere. (the oil will get everywhere. there will be less if you cover it though. you can just expect to have a lot of cleaning up to do afterwords.)
5. take a look at the lovely wings. after about 12-15 minutes, they should be done. take the wings out and drain them on napkins or paper towels.
6. put in a container of some kind, a tupperware perhaps, and pour in a half a cup of hot sauce. close the lid and shake vigorously for a minute.
7. put the wings on a plate and consume.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
this is it folks. are you ready for it? if a sunset over the beach was a food, it would be an in-n-out double double because its beautiful. if albert einstein was a food, he would be an in-n-out double double because its genius. i would even go so far as to say, if abercrombie cologne were a food, it would be an in-n-out double double because it smells amazing. what i'm trying to tell you is this: that the in-n-out double double is the most perfect food i have ever tasted. if it were healthy and i could afford it (two very unrealistic things!) i would eat one every day. why would i say something like this? well let me break it down into its constituent parts. you've got two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame bun. oh wait, that's mcdonald's. and that's vastly inferior to the in-n-out double double. well, the description is mostly the same. two patties, two slices of cheese, lettuce, onions and tomato, (hold the tomato and onion for me. i took that tomato off before i ate the burger.) and secret sauce. (probably a variation of thousand island dressing) none of these ingredients is particularly exotic but the particular ingredients are very exotic. [/attempt to sound deep] what i mean is while you can't buy in-n-out cheese or in-n-out ground beef at the store, cheese and ground beef aren't really hard to find. so what makes these special? i don't know, they're just tastier than their counterparts in other restaurants and grocery stores. i wish i could describe it to you but unfortunately words do not exist to do so. let it suffice to say that henry heinz's quote on the back of heinz ketchup bottles is applicable to in-n-out burger's double double, "to do a common thing uncommonly well brings success". 10/10 (if heaven were a food, it would be an in-n-out double double.)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
one of the really cool things about in-n-out-burger is that they have a bunch of off-menu items that you can order. its a cultural thing. their actual menu has only burger, cheeseburger, fries, milkshake, and variations of those. but over the 50+ years that the chain has been open, people have invented new items. these off-menu items can be ordered as if they were normal items, but they're extra awesome since they come from the subculture that in-n-out followers belong to. with the advent of the internet, i can now bring you the official in-n-out burger's secret menu. there are actually other items too including the flying dutchman, which is straight up two burger patties with cheese. nothing else. in addition, you can ask for custom burgers and they are happy to accomodate. for example, the 100x100, a hundred patty cheese burger! in-n-out will be catering that at my wedding. word. but onto this particular item. these are fries "animal style". this is a serving of normal fries topped with cheese, grilled onions, and secret sauce. essentially its a cheese burger less the patty, lettuce, and tomatoes. and boy is it good!!! i'm not a huge fan of onions under almsot any circumstances. i say almost because i loathe them with any food except this one. in-n-out fries are already the best fries on the planet. they're all hand cut before being cooked in all natural vegetable oil. always fresh. never frozen. in-n-out burger doesn't use freezers, microwaves, or warming tables. everything is all fresh. the commitment to freshness and the use of high quality ingredients makes in-n-out butger the only recommended fast food chain in the book fast food nation. but i digress. this food is flippin' awesome! 10/10 (extra salt)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
i'm going to say "you're welcome" even before you get a chance to thank me. because i know you were wondering where God gets His juice. here it is. you're welcome. lemonade is, according to the ancient greeks, romans, egyptians, and americans the nectar of the gods. there is only One but He gets it at in-n-out burger. ok, i'm just speculating here but if i were God, i would get my lemonade here. in case you don't know, in-n-out burger is what all fast food chains should asprie to be like. there are about 150 resteraunts in the chain throughout california, arizona, and nevada. this is a privately owned enterprise owned by a Christian family. all of their food is completely fresh, never ever frozen. the potatoes are hand sliced into fries. (using an awesome pump action machine that you can see going through the drive though) and there are Bible verses on the cups and wrappers. (true story. supplimetal images [aka "proof that i'm not making that up"] are forthcoming.) but enough about the place and onto the holy water. i call this lemonade "holy water" because in-n-out lemonade is some of the best lemonade out there. this particular cup of lemonade didn't taste as good as usual. it seemed a little more watery. which is unfortunate because that will bring its rating down. but usually, its the best lemonade in the world because it combines the perfect balance of bitterness, sourness, and sweetness for the ultimate palate cleansing experience. on an unrelated note, its really really pink. 8/10 (unfortunately for the wattery-ness of it, i couldn't rate it higher.)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
here's another scotland food for you: apple pie crepe. admittedly, the apple pie part was stolen from america and the crepe part stolen from france, but it was scottish by virtue of the fact that it was made in scotland by scottish people in a scottish crepe cart. this was a pretty ordinary crepe, except of course that it had apples and cinnamon sugar in it. that made it way more tasty than a crappy crepe. 8/10 (it was pretty sweet. /pun)