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Breakfast freakout

9 Apr

Hi, world! It has come to my attention that two blogs linked to a post of mine in the past few days, and now I have a boatload of traffic on here when I wasn’t prepared. I mean, I’ve been pretty negligent about the blog recently (BLAME A GOOD LOOKING MAN, PEOPLE) and now I feel like the pressure is on to be really cute/likeable/readable to what is essentially a bunch of half-interested internet strangers, and I’m like WHOA HO HO I DUNNO IF I POSSESS THE CHARISMA.

So uh, as an act of desperation I am flinging a picture of my breakfast at you. That’s right, I’m pulling one of THOSE cards. Lazy cards. Last minute cards. I’m-at-a-loss-for-creative-output-on-the-spot cards. This is what you get. You’re welcome, internet.


To be fair, my life has pretty much rotated around taco trucks and breakfast foods lately, so at least this breakfast was topical. Let me explain! Recently the taco truck near my house inexplicably vanished, and after several very painful and emotional days completely devoid of any asada burritos, it was decided that DAMN IT, WE’LL MAKE ‘EM OURSELVES. That was last night. This morning, said good-looking man was like, feed me! I’m insatiable all the time! So I did what I always do and fried a bunch of potatoes and onions, threw in whatever was in the fridge (leftover burrito parts!) put some fried eggs on top and called it done. “Burrito hash!” Cover that in Tapatio! Make a smoothie to counteract the greasiness! Toast some obligatorily very healthful seed-bread when everyone knows they’d rather have sourdough! Boom, breakfast.

Tomato Jam, or, How I Became a Hypocrite & Hopped On The Food Trend Train

1 Jun

There are a few things I can’t stand:

French pedicures.
Small dogs that shake all the time.
Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” (in which he literally says “I know” TWENTY SIX TIMES IN A ROW. OH. MY. GOD.)
Incorrect apostrophe usage.
And of course, food trends.

There are more, obviously, because I am a Human Who Loves to Grumble, but I’ll stop there because that’s what we’re on about. I’ve previously mentioned how irritating I find food trends, though I can’t figure out how to link it back so I’ll sum it up for you here: I don’t like food trends because I probably already know what I feel like eating, and it’s not a cake pop, so please drop it already. Popular food trends just irritate me, probably because I’m somewhat lazy, fairly uppity, and pretty self-righteous, but maybe a liiiiiittle part of me is justified? Right? Because food trends make otherwise food-ambivilent people feel all gourmand-y just because they tried ramen and liked it! Well duh, it’s delicious! Start caring about food a little more, you indolent masses! Christ!

But now I will crawl off my soapbox because this post is all about how I’m a big ol’ hypocrite.


The other day at work we were a little slow, so I went across the street to the fruit and vegetable market, bought 2 pounds of roma tomatoes and set out to make the insanely popular tomato jam I’ve been reading about on every blog, cooking magazine headline, and trendy menu for awhile now. It’s been floating around for years, but I recently noticed it EVERYWHERE. I kind of wanted to hate it. But I didn’t. It was amazing. I was wrong! I’m sorry, universe! I followed Mark Bittman’s recipe because he is always right (I found his recipe on The Wednesday Chef), so much so that I’m fairly sure he’s related to the Dalai Lama. Here’s his recipe, from the NY Times:

1 1/2 pounds good ripe Roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.


1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

Yield: About 1 pint.

I first ran a special with the jam, bacon, a mixed greens on sourdough, which people seemed to really like. I couldn’t get enough of it at work so I came home and did the whole damn thing over again for myself. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s a great flavor combo that brings a hint of sweetness to savory dishes– it’s so versatile!

I was a sucker for the little bit of spice from the ginger and chili flakes. It goes with everything- I had it with eggs and toast for breakfast, with herbed goat cheese and salami on baguettes for a potluck, and on grilled chicken for dinner. Not all in a row, because that would be overkill, but still.

A little goes a long way with this stuff, too, so I still have leftovers (which included dinner for 6 and that potluck, so I was using lots). If I were into canning, this would be a good candidate, but since I am not at all motivated to go down that road, I’d suggest just halving the recipe if you’re concerned that you can’t use it up before it goes. So I guess I’ve got to officially stop knocking food trends… ’cause it looks like this mainstream food fad is actually pretty legit. But I swear to god, if cakepops don’t disappear from Pinterest soon I’m writing a letter to Al Gore to inform him that the internet is ruining food.

Book presents and breakfast feasts

29 Aug

My latest dilemma with this food blog is half the time I make regular-person food and even though it takes time and tastes good I don’t feel like it warrants the whole, “hey, let me just bust out my camera and photograph this for ten minutes before I eat it,” you know? What am I supposed to do, write about some fairly standard stir fry? I’d be like, so then I chopped a bunch of vegetables and added a bunch of soy sauce and spicy junk and oil and served it over rice like every other person in the world does 8,000 times a year. Please, read my blog. I’m desperate.

So you know, I’m just not gonna do that. Luckily when my sister, Beth and her boyfriend, Jeff visited me this weekend I scored something food related to take a photo of.

Beth works in a really sweet bookstore so she’s always throwing rad books my way. She brought this with her for me so that we could collaborate on an awesome taco night for my mom’s birthday next weekend. I haven’t decided which tacos to bust out, but prickly-pear margaritas and stuffed peppers are definitely on the list. Beth has good ideas.

They came up for a wedding and when I gave them the tour of my tiny little house, Jeff spotted my Bullet Bourbon bottle on my nightstand (I use it for a water bottle because it’s the only container that my cat can’t stick his face in. GUH.) and was like, “BULLET BOURBON. You two really are sisters.” And then I remembered my sister’s and my shared love of all things whiskey, so after C and I picked them up from the wedding shuttle we stopped by Uisce’s to check out their whiskey menu. Uisce’s is an Irish pub and known for their whiskey selection. Being a total sap for whiskey (a love song might be in the works…) I should’ve been frequenting this bar long ago, but last night was my first time in there. I avoided it because I was afraid… NOT OF THE WHISKEY. Of the bartenders. I had this fear of going up to the bar and being like, ONE WHISKEY, PLEASE, SIR! And them being like, you moron. It’s a whiskey bar. WHAT KIND OF WHISKEY. And then I’d falter and get embarrassed and skulk away because let’s be honest, I don’t really know shit about whiskey. One day when I’m staggeringly rich I’ll have a complete knowledge of the finest liquors that my monkey barkeep (who I will have trained to talk via a tiny robotic speaker) will have educated me about. But that’s not going to happen for at least another six months, and in the mean time I usually make the classy request of “whatever’s cheap tonight.” I know, I’m full of charms.

But I asked for the whiskey menu, balked at the space where Bullet should’ve been but wasn’t, then found out they had it, just not on the menu. So Jeff and Beth and I got our Bullet on the rocks, C got some ale, and ALL WAS WELL.

This morning I was feeling like an epic breakfast, so Beth and I ran to the Co-Op for ingredients. I made smoothies with kiwi, banana, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry (and orange juice and vanilla yogurt. YUM.)

my favorite glass.

Then I put together a scramble with crimini mushrooms and… oh wait. Hold on, SIDE NOTE TIME. Every time I buy or write about or talk about crimini mushrooms I say Criminy! mushrooms. Like I’m in the backwoods in the olden times and someone was like,”Snake! Snake in your boot!” And I go CRIMINY! Which, according to wikipedia, which I trust for pretty much everything, is a curse word from the 1600’s meaning CHRIST! Crimini mushrooms have a totally different pronunciation that I just can’t seem to grasp, so I’m gonna go ahead and call them Criminy! mushrooms. Every time. From here on out. ENJOY, SUCKAS.

Ok, back to the scramble: Criminy! mushrooms, yellow pepper, spinach, red onion, eggs, Tapatio hot sauce and salt and pepper. Easy peasy. Then we scored some English muffins (half of which were already moldy when we purchased them! Yes! I love surprises!) with blackberry jam homemade by two of my coworkers. DELICIOUS. Nectarines, chicken breakfast sausage, and it was a done deal. I’m still full.

So tonight’s plan includes mooooore fooooood! And mooooore driiiinks! My favorite things! The local gastropub, The Copper Hog is starting an industry night tonight for food service and bartender folks. You bring in your paystub to show that you are indeed a hash-slinging kitchen wench and they give you a membership card that gets you 20% off every Sunday. At least I think that’s how it works. Regardless, I’ve got my paystub all tucked into my purse, ready to get my card and get some Copper Hog goodies tonight. Score!

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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