Archive for August, 2006

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It’s, like, a fruit

August 21, 2006

Dragon fruit

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Dragon fruit

So my husband tells me he has a special treat for me tonight. It tells you a lot about him that no, it wasn’t a fancy piece of jewelry, and no, it wasn’t a homemade dessert, and no, thankfully, it wasn’t a swift kick to my butt. It was a piece of fruit. (Pause.) Exactly.

At least it was an incredibly exotic piece of fruit (to me). A dragon fruit, to be precise. It looks like a poor man’s Faberge egg or a prop that went astray from that dinosaur movie, The Land Before Time.

(You just had to see my husband’s face when he pulled out. So excited and expectant. He was so delighted with himself. For my part, I look at him blankly. “What is that?”)

But my excitement quickly grew to match his as he brandished the giant chef’s knife and lobotomized it. Who doesn’t like to see things sliced open to reveal gleaming, seed infested insides?

So, I’ll cut to the chase and describe my experience of eating a dragon fruit. Inside, it’s a white, soft melon-type texture with hundreds of tiny kiwi-like seeds suspended in its heart.

Sorry to disappoint, but frankly, it didn’t really taste like anything — at least the one that our local Whole Foods provided. Kind of like an unripe honeydew. A nothing kind of taste, but still melon, with an earthy aftertaste. The texture was pleasant, though, and you can scoop it out with a spoon.

I let my husband eat most of mine…. So it’s only fair that you read his version of these events. He was the one, after all, who inflicted this food tasting on the family…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Calories be damned

August 18, 2006

Chocolate chess pie

Under that giant blob of home-churned vanilla ice cream lies a chocolate-y, pecan-y delight. My husband said it’s pecan chocolate chess pie, and the resident expert on things chocolate chess pie — Tessie — did not dispute him. To me, though, it tasted like a pecan pie that had gotten it on with chocolate pudding. Yes, a pecan-pie-chocolate-pudding love child (aka, apparently, pecan chocolate chess pie). And it was delicious. Velvety chocolate with a sweet crunch of pecans, all dripping with homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s enough to make me wish I went to the gym more often and deserved to eat this. (Fear not: I ate it anyway. Who could push that plate away?)

For those who aren’t tempted by things chocolate (there are so few of you), don’t despair that there’s nothing in this post for you. My husband also unravels the mystery of homemade pie crust in his explainer. See that thick, golden and flaky crust that the pecan-pie-chocolate-pudding love child is sitting on? It’s also magical. Read on for his secrets. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Cincinnati chili, baby

August 16, 2006

Coney. Ready for its closeup? A coney, Cincinnati-chili style, is a dog slathered with mustard, swimming in Cincinnati chili, dotted with onion and mounded with freshly grated cheddar. If only it were possible to take a bite out of a photo.

 

'Nati chili

A four-way (hold your laughter) Cincinnati chili platter. Yes, four-ways: 1. Noodles 2. Chili 3. Onion 4. Cheese. Makes perfect sense, no?

Cincinnati chili — and more specifically, Skyline chili — is an acquired taste that quickly becomes an unhealthy addiction. Unhealthy is easy to explain: It’s a meaty chili sauce splashed over spaghetti or a dog with at least 1/4 lb. of cheddar cheese piled on top. Acquired, because most self-respecting Texas-type chili people would not recognize Cincinnati chili as anything of the sort. And since I spent the first part of my childhood in San Diego, the cognitive dissonance of being told I was going to eat chili and being served this was, at first, too much. Chili over noodles? Chili without beans or peppers? What the heck? Why don’t they just all it “weird spaghetti,” I thought.

Fortunately, native-born ‘Natians don’t have to overcome this semantic difficulty. They’re served this stuff in their high chairs (or at least they sample the oyster crackers every chili parlor serves). So they quickly know the joy of ambling up to the counter of a chili parlor and asking for a three-way (I said, no laughing). And ultimately I got over my Cincinnati chili aversion to the point that I actually went through withdrawal when we moved away. It’s hard to come by in any place besides Cincinnati… which, once you’ve gotten the taste, will be hard to fathom. So, I insisted on hunting down some semblance of a recipe and making it. God bless the Internet.

Now my husband has taken that faithful to Skyline (king of chili parlors) recipe and forced it to submit to his will. The result is a spicier, and slightly hotter, concotion that is quite delicious. Although I still splash mine liberally with Tabasco. It’s the secret ingredient to making Cincinnati chili perfect. How some go without is beyond me…

Read on for my husband’s recipe and backgrounder… Read the rest of this entry ?

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Bread, beautiful bread

August 14, 2006

Rolls.

Who doesn’t love homemade bread? That smell. That taste. That hot steam rising out from the place where your teeth just ripped into it. That blob of butter slowly dripping off of the roll as it melts. Picture it. It’s kind of like porn, no? Bread porn.

I’m privileged to say that my husband actually makes homemade bread. And the recipe he’s included here for his version of Parker House Rolls (pictured above) is my favorite of his doughy undertakings. Since he started making them, Tessie and I clamored for these rolls at least once a week. We didn’t quite get to banging our fork-clenched fists on the table — but it was close. (Now that Tessie is gone, I have to carry on by myself.)

Even if you’re a homemade bread virigin (First a porn reference now this? What is it about bread?) I think you can tangle with this recipe.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Husband recommends the Hubby and his knives

August 14, 2006

Since we started this site, my wife and I have become avid readers of several others. There are a number of really entertaining and interesting sites. One that I think is the prettiest, and has entertaining writing, is the “Chubby Hubby.”

Today, Chubby Hubby has a great entry on sharpening your own blades. A sharp knife is very important. As much as it’s key to making a knife useful, it’s also a safety issue. Dull knifes don’t cut well, so they are more likely to slip. When that happens, your fingers run the risk of being caught in the fallout. So, I’d recommend you read the other Hubby’s thoughts today about sharpening. It may not be something you’d ever do yourself, but I think it helps to understand the nature of your tools.

Enjoy the entry.

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Birthday cake!

August 12, 2006

Carrot cake.

You’re thinking: If this is birthday cake, where are the candles? That’s very unfestive.

Even more unfestive is the fact that the birthday boy made it for himself. For shame, you say…. Look: He’s a cook, he insisted on making the cake himself. Plus, if I attempted to make a layered, homemade cake without the help of one Betty Crocker, it would be disaster. Anyway, a birthday boy gets what a birthday boy wants. He wanted to make his favorite — carrot cake — and I could only stand idly by… and of course, eat it.

Truly, this was the very best carrot cake I’ve ever had. And my co-workers — who got to eat the leftovers the following day — seemed to agree. It is the perfect balance of cakey, spicy sweetness.

If you care to replicate this feat without the help of a boxed cake mix, see my husband’s instructions. He tells you not only how to make this delicious carrot cake, but gives detailed directions on how to frost a cake. (For those who have slaved over a cake only to see it mauled by a disastrous frosting effort, this is a must-read.)

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On top of roasted flank steak, all covered with cheese…

August 11, 2006

Beef fajitas.

I didn’t think it was possible that my husband would try to upstage taco night. But he went and did it. Sure, there’s no puffy, fluffy, crunchy and delicious homemade taco shell. But look at the messy layering of delicious food: We’ve got steak. We’ve got homemade guacamole. We’ve got roasted red bell pepper. And of course we have two, yes two, different kinds of cheese. It’s beef fajitas, people. It was damn good.

This is the kind of work I’m willing to do with my food. (Read: Pile it on.) Fussy presentation is pointless when you’re going to roll it up and gnaw on it, right? And while the food in the pic above may look abundant, trust me, it’s possible to stuff way more beef into a flour tortilla shell. I did it that very night. Sure, some dribbles out of the bottom, but that’s why God made forks.

Here’s my husband’s recipe. If you go with far fewer fixin’s it would be OK… because truly, the flank steak was the best part. (Well, and the cheese.)

Marinated Flank Steak Fajitas:

Read the rest of this entry ?