Feeding The Beast: What Do You Cook When Stuff Goes Downhill?

So, yeah. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But the tough still have to eat, right? I think I may have mentioned this in a food-related post a while back, but learning to cook is not only a necessary life skill and quite the money-saving “hobby”, it’s also pretty therapeutic. Anyway, some stupidly lousy news hit earlier today and as I hadn’t yet thought of what to make for dinner, my brain went into emergency mode. Or, I decided to raid the fridge and one cabinet here and make something relatively fast because I tend to have a few gloomy to grumpy visitors when the Titanic goes into re-sink mode.

Anyway, my foraging (can you forage in your own apartment? I can!) found the following:

One 16 ounce package of #22 pasta shells
1 28 can of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, or a jar of good quality pasta sauce (I flipped a coin and it was the sauce this time)
Half a container (about 4 ounces) of whipped cream cheese
About 1-1/2 cups of sliced white mushrooms
1 small block of part-skim mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1 8 ounce package of shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese.

You’ll also need an 8 x 12 or 9 x 12 baking dish or some other appropriately sized oven safe pan and about an hour of time, give or take.

Under normal circumstances most of those ingredients above would end up in a freshly made pizza like the one to the right. Yeah, I made that too a while back. (sings) I like thick crusts and I cannot lie!

But I was out of yeast and making a crust from scratch would have taken too long, anyway.

Speaking of anyway… Continue reading

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What’s Cookin’? Pizza for Practice Purposes Pleases People

a pizza

Just mushrooms and cheese on top of my non-patented “special” sauce. This got five more minutes in the oven, but eaten before I got to taking the updated photo. Darn guests, and their impatience to be poisoned!

 

Yep. I’ve been a bit too busy these days with a few things, but a guy’s gotta eat, right? In an attempt to save money, I’ve taken up part-time pizza making just for fun and to feed the occasional friend who drops by when I’m conducting my horrific experiments. In previous attempts, I’d used a few dough recipes “borrowed” off the internet, but my one major issue with all of them is my kitchen isn’t made for pizza (or any) dough manufacturing.

Between the moving around of stuff to make a work space, my big old ceramic bowl breaking (I’m on the hunt for a proper replacement), pre and post-crust cleanup, and not enough freezer space for a month’s worth of dough, it was a pain in the neck to spend more time making dough than making edible results with said dough. While poking around for pre-made options, it’s been a circus of lousy ingredient reads and stuff that’s too complex for its own good on the “easy” prep front. Continue reading

Tuesday’s Off: Slim Pickin’s Make For Less Guilt & A Clearer Forehead

Randazzo King Cake (Small)

Photo: randazzokingcake.com

Nope, no booze and King Cake plastic coin and beads, almost tiny toy baby-swallowing baccanal-fest follwed by a day of dirty forehead repentance for me, folks. I had a donut (okay, three), an extra cup of coffee and curled up with a few movies I needed to review plus a few games I’ve been meaning to finish up or start. Yeah, I’m boring as hell (sometimes), but that sort of reliable predictability is a specialty I’ve been working on for a while.

Anyway, yeah… I’ll be back on Wednesday with a few updates. You? You’ll be all bloated and guilty with some ashes on your forehead and promising not to do what you did again… until next year rolls around, right? I thought so. If I’m around, maybe I’ll hold your hair back with a two-foot long pair of tongs while you barf into something safe. But I won’t bail you out because you probably deserve a short spin in the can if you did what I heard you did. Amusingly enough, I don’t think I’ve ever had a slice of King Cake before, so I may need to at some point.

READS: Cooking for Geeks Will Make You Hungry For Science

Cooking For Geeks 2nd Edition

Yeah, I cook and you should as well. No matter haw daunted you are by the prospect of entering the kitchen to whip up something as simple as a boiled egg, the ability to prepare a meal is not only a necessary survival skill, it’s a series of victories as one overcomes fears and produces some very tasty results. Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks ($24.99) is not only a fantastic read, it’s one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever read. A cornucopia of recipes, food and other science lessons, excellent interviews with far too many chefs and other food experts to list, the book is both a page-turning revelation and a go-to master class in all sorts of kitchen knowledge. Continue reading

My Idea of “Throwback Thursdays”? Getting Rid of Spam & The Spammers.

spam-family-of-productsBleh. For some reason, I’ve been getting a lot more spam replies than usual to posts, but I moderate everything and none have actually gone up. I don’t include spammy robots and stupid links to troublesome sites under “free speech” at all, so I delight in deleting and reporting such nonsense.

That said, I do wish there was a means of zapping it at the source because who needs it at the end of the day? I wonder is spammers get spam and what do they do when they get it? Probably read it for tips on how to be more effective, I guess. Or not. Eh, I’d put a buck into a fund to create a free zapper of some sort that rejects spam while sending the spammer a cute little note that tells them “Thanks for trying, pal!” or something like that. I could see that note also being somewhat customizable so people who REALLY hate spam and spammers could let them know just what they could do with that unwanted digital trash.

And hey, sorry Hormel Foods, but you’ll have to live with your processed stuff in a can forever being associated with something not so nice. Granted, I did have some SPAM Musubi once when I went to Hawaii many years back and it was quite tasty. But these days, I’m trying hard to stay breathing longer, so my diet has evolved a bit.

Tactical Bacon? Oh-kaaaay. But Here’s What’s Really Good About This Can O’ Worms…

Tactical Bacon So, this exists and it made me laugh like hell because I know bacon maniacs will snap this up and load it into their man caves and woman holes (I guess that’s what you call a lady’s den of digital sin), survivalist storage and *yawn* overpriced “anti-zombie” apocalypse kits. Here’s the thing, folks: this product and a few others may actually be a way to clean out the gene pool if there’s such a thing as a survivable disaster scenario.

How? Well, as long as we normal folks hold out as best we can, the folks who stocked up on canned smoked cooked bacon will start to die off from heart attacks (you can’t just eat ONE strip of bacon!) or fight to the death over that last can of salty porky awesomeness. As long as there’s water to last and you’re off the streets during the riot hours, at some point in the not too distant future, the gunfire will cease, the scent of canned bacon will dissipate and once the grass starts to grow greener, the rest of us can step outside and over the bones of what remains of the human race after the Great Bacon War.

Tactical Bacon IIOr something like that. Get your own can(s) of Tactical Bacon if you want to HERE or Amazon, some fine sporting goods shops and other reasonably unusual emporiums where you’d think something kooky like this would be sold. My heart seized up twice just writing this post, so I can’t even look at bacon anymore these days… *sob*

Things I Learned @ Toy Fair 2014 (#1): Super Sprowtz Wants To Help Your Kids Eat Better*

ToyFair2014Well, besides there being way too much stuff for one person to cover without going slightly mad, I did pick up a few helpful life tips while poking round this year’s show. Below (and for the next few days) you’ll find those tips with a few products that come in quite handy for learning some essential life skills. Yes, this is a humor piece of sorts, but everything in these posts are things I saw and liked, so plugged it shall get. Onward!

(Thanks, SuperSprowtz!)

Sprowtz_1Eat Your Veggies! Super Sprowtz wants to change the way parents and kids look at and eat food and if their TF2014 presence was any indication, these healthy looking guys and gals are going to make a major impact over the next few years. Launched in 2011 by WILD Restaurant owner Radha Agrawal, the company is dedicated to getting kids to see and appreciate vegetables in a more positive manner using a wide range of media and fun activities to get them motivated and moving towards more healthy eating choices… Continue reading

Where’s The Beef? In My Belly With Some Sake…

Status

Okay, class. The wi-fi was DEAD at the library when I jetted back uptown after the great Sake in the City II event, or else there would be a post up already about my fun time at the event. Bleh. Anyway, I woke up waaay too early this morning, went out to do some laundry, lost some money in the process and had to make an emergency withdrawal (boo!), but the event and the three seminars I took made up for it. I’ll pop a post in about this tomorrow or Wednesday, but right now I’m BEAT from a long day and way too much sake. I’m not drunk at all, mind you – I just have a bit of a headache from sampling so many types and not having any caffeine at all today, so it’s a confused brain wondering where its real buzz is. Yep, I’m drinking a cup of coffee as I type this and yep, my headache is fuzzing away. A quart of water should take care of that sake swimming pool in my stomach, but I actually didn’t drink all that much (although I stopped counting at 16 samples of 16 different varieties). Okay- let me poke through my email, as I haven’t checked it since last night and I know my mailbox is PACKED. Back in a bit…

?-able Humor: Starfish Makes A Better Appetizer Than Rubber-Suited Dictator, I Say…

So, yeah… did you know that starfish are edible? I certainly wouldn’t eat one (at least there’s a 99% chance of that not occurring any time soon), but if you’re feeling adventurous or reading this while stuck on a desert island (wait, that’s a sort of oxy-moron, right?) that happens to have a wi-fi signal and you’re too silly to call for help because you don’t have a social network account and refuse to get one (you stubborn rabbit), well, now you have something to do with your time other than troll porn sites all day and fall out of that coconut tree while going for that last high-hanging fruit. Hmmm. I wonder if coconut goes good with starfish? Of course, if you hate the taste after all this work, the results in your stomach may resemble this Kamen Rider X clip:

(thanks, Hall of Fail!) 
Me? I’ll stick to the salmon, please. Thank you…

Japan Has A Resident Evil Restaurant. They’re Better Prepared For The Zombie Apocalypse Than We Are…

Theme restaurants are nothing new in Japan at all. In fact, poke around the internet (or even better, Tokyo proper) and you’ll find all sorts of cool to weird theme restaurants. Capcom has one for their Biohazard series (known here as Resident Evil), aptly named Biohazard Cafe & Grill. Here’s a video walk through to ogle and wonder when the hell the US is getting one. Sure, Times Square, Hollywood, Florida or wherever the hell Raccoon City is would be perfect, but don’t bet on it for a few reasons. I’d say sticky-fingered fans of the franchise would clean out the joint while it was being constructed. Yeah, you KNOW you’d be swiping those salt and pepper packets and “blood” ketchup by the box-load if you ever got a job there. That and hell, despite the US love for the macabre and all things zombie on a fictional level (er, unless you count those who REALLY think zombies exist), I can see all sorts of issues with parents protesting the restaurant even before it opens up. Hey, at least you know where your kids are all afternoon, Ma and Pa Kettle…