I’m an Eating Machine

9 Aug

I drove home to Seattle for a little change of scenery this weekend, and now as I write this I’m hunkered back into my favorite smelly-ass dive bar (my second living room), sipping a whiskey coke and comfortable. Well, minus the whole I-wore-shorts-to-an-establishment-with-only-vinyl-seats thing, but that comes with summer’s territory, I suppose.

I went to visit my parents, but on Friday night I passed their exit on the highway and headed to my friend Adam’s place, where we planned on catching up over everclear he’d procured from a someone in Oregon, mixed with pomegranate limeade  (Trader Joe’s, man, you deliver). He’d let a braised lamb simmer all day in a pot of mirepoix (celery, onions, and carrots, all diced up the same size) and broth, and after our first drink we decided it was time to eat. I didn’t take a photo since I suck at things sometimes, but it was incredible. We pushed all the empty Rainier cans and fraction-full keg cups to one end of his porch table, brushed off the cigarette butts, and ate food that I’d happily pay plenty for if I had any money at all. The stew was served over a cinnamon cumin yellow rice and sopped up with a loaf of rustic sea salt sourdough that I scored from work. Neither Adam or I had too much interest in food when we met in our drawing 101 class in my first months at college, but it’s pretty outstanding to see how much we’ve grown in that same direction. More than any of my other friends, he consistently amazes me with his ability to take a crappy cut of meat he scored in the bargain bin of a Safeway, throw in whatever he’s got in the pantry, and make these incredible one-pot wonders. He can procure a meal that cost him $6 to make last four days. That’s fucking talent, and I should figure it out. Well it’s a good thing we ate so much since it turns out everclear is STRONG. Who knew, right? After a few more of those we hit the university district and watched too many obnoxious non-pants-wearing girls celebrate their 21st birthdays while we sipped the cheapest whiskey we could buy (which tastes exactly like hot garbage juice from the bottom of an alley dumpster in July). Yikes. It only took a couple of those to realize we should hustle home and pass out since he had work in the morning.

I woke up on his couch and quietly snuck downstairs to fix myself some breakfast before he had to leave. I’d packed a ripe nectarine and his roommates who work at a bakery had left a giant bag of bagels on the counter for the taking, so I scrounged some dill cream cheese and retired to the porch table to read the paper while I ate. And by paper I mean the Seattle Weekly, so I ate some breakfast and read the “best of” food and drink reviews. Then I realized I’d locked myself out, so I read the rest of the paper and shivered in my shorts. And then Adam still wasn’t awake so I watched his neighbors yell at their dog in Korean and chain smoke on their porch. And then Adam still wasn’t up so I read the ads in the back of the paper. And THEN he woke up. Thank god.

Here’s my breakfast.

That morning I headed up to parent’s place and eventually among all of the inevitable family bonding plans discussions, mom and I decided to make some hummus before my dad’s work picnic. Not to bring, just in case we wanted to eat it later that night. Because we’re always thinking ahead when it comes to eating, eating, eating.

I pilfered a recipe from epicurious, but since I’ve never made hummus before, I wanted to up the quantity and switch it around a bit, so here’s what I came up with.

Simple Hummus
makes about 5 cups

7 garlic cloves, minced (I’m a garlic junkie, you can tone it down if you’re afraid)

3 1 lb. cans of garbanzo beans

16 oz. tahini

4 lemons, juiced

2 Tb toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup olive oil (I ended up adding way more in the process to smooth and thin it out)

1/3 cup chopped parsley

about 3 tsp salt

In a food processor blend up the garbanzo beans, salt, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the garlic, and the tahini. Make sure you stir up the tahini pretty well beforehand. I had to do this in two batches so the food processor wasn’t crazy full, but just get the mixture all creamy however you need to do it. I think I added about 1/2 a cup of water and some more olive oil in the process to make it a good consistency. Set the mixture aside in whatever bowl you’re serving in and clean out the food processor.

Blend the rest of the olive oil and the parsley, scraping the sides of the processor as necessary to emulsify the whole mess as best you can. Pour the olive oil mixture over the top of your awesome-tasty hummus pile and top with the pine nuts. Most places sell untoasted pine nuts, but to toast them you just throw them in a skillet over medium-high heat and shake them around until they’re toasty brown looking, about 5 minutes or less.

My mom happened to have a little bruschetta and roasted garlic cloves on hand, so we threw those on top. With this recipe I really recommend having something tomatoey to cut the nuttiness of the tahini.

This morning I’d requested Navajo Fry Bread for breakfast, but my family has always called them Puffs. I guess my mom’s mom still makes them every Sunday morning at her home in Virginia, though I grew up with them as a special occasion dish. Not because they’re difficult to make or expensive (quite the contrary!) but because they’re so fatty and make the house smell like oil. Yum. All you have to do to make these babies is buy some frozen dinner roll dough and let them rise overnight in a bowl covered in plastic wrap, then mash the dough balls together the next morning and fry them in a sizzling pool of oil until golden brown.

They go from this:

To this, just by adding some raspberry jam:

Be warned, it’s nearly impossible not to give yourself a stomachache from eating too many of these. Over the weekend I perused foodgawker for too many hours late at night and found a killer Navajo fry bread recipe, so I’m going to give from-scratch Puffs a shot pretty soon here. In the mean time, I’ll live off memory of the painfully fluffy and crunchy texture of those Puffs mom made me.

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