Thursday, July 28, 2011
Listening to: Bowerbirds
Wow, remember that? Live Journal nostalgia time.
Well, right now, I'm running dangerously low on money (I'm talking about $15 more than I owe for rent in two days in my bank account), so, shits wack, yo. So, I doubt I'll be doing anything exciting in the next 9 days. I'm currently sitting on a fridge stocked with frozen white fish, two chicken tenderloins and a package of hotdogs... so, we'll see how I do.
Luckily, I have friends in low places where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away, I'll be ok. A friend of mine recently came back to the states after living in Japan for a couple years. I'm not one to gush over someone's international exploits or elevate someone simply because they're "cultured" and "worldly," so I won't. She brought back some curry with her, Coco's brand Pork Curry or something like that, and then picked up a package of Spinach and Potato Curry at the local Indian grocery store, which I didn't even know existed. Hmmm... interesting.
She described a meal that she'd had in Okinawa that was a plate half curry and half rice with a breaded piece of meat in the middle. I couldn't make sense of what the dish was supposed to be, I assumed the curry was, itself, a rounded piece of food, and less of a sauce. So, I decided I'd supply the chicken, since, well, I'm good at fryin' up meat like the country boy that I am. I breaded butterflied chicken breasts using a milk wash, panko crumbs and flour with some seasoning. Then I pan fried the chicken in my cast iron and then baked it to ensure it cooked all the way through. It went very well. Impressed, even, would be the word.
The curry was simply boiled in bag. I was a little disappointed in that fact, but, curry is hard to make. I feel like, aside from the chicken, this was a very "pre-made" meal, but, fuck was it delicious. I don't eat Indian food very often, because of my sensitive stomach. I once had to drop a class because of eating Indian food, but that's a story for another time.
The evening culminated in watching Archer and Home Movies with friends, cause... well... nothing goes better with Indian food than H. Jon Benjamin. Well, I guess he goes well with everything. Especially burgers. Cause... you know... he's like the second coming of Jesus.
Monday, July 25, 2011
An obstinate feeling of unease washed over my body today. So, what did I do? I smoked and cooked. I fired up the old grill and made me up some burgers. What did I do with said burgers? Well, I tried to use the left overs from the pizza I made a week or so ago to make pizza burgers. But, the sauce had hardened and the veggies had gone bad. Too bad. So, I improvise. I sliced up a potato, oiled it, covered it in herbs and cheese, wrapped it up in foil and threw it on the grill. I improvised. Threw some grey poupon, worchestershire, garlic (that finely minced mess up there) and mayo in the food processor and made a sauce, seasoned the burgers, threw them and some bacon on the grill and put it all together on some toasted wheat bread. Very good. The sauce had a hotness to it with a bit of mustard bite. The bacon, though, did seem to cause a stir on the grill. Causing shit to catch fire. The salty taste of the bacon matched the sauce's taste pretty well, but I felt like the taste of the burger was lost in the bouquet of flavors on top of it. I really wished that I had good old fashioned onions and tomatoes for the burgers. I'd love to try my hand at lettuce, but I never eat it fast enough to keep it from going bad. Tonight did mark a drastic change in my life, though. Somehow, I feel a lot better about things than I did before.
It's true that my day at work wasn't that great. I mean, I did well, but the people there didn't seem to really respect me. I was working out of my element and nervous the first half of the day. Tomorrow I'll be back where I belong, so I'll be elated, I think, at the end of the day. A few open mics are coming up, my neighbor makes great fudge and I preordered the Collector's Edition of Old Republic, so... I guess I gotta save my money for this. Hold on to your butts. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's Warcraft time.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Goodlord in hell did I drink a bit last night. I was in a little country town and ate at a sunday morning breakfast buffet. This was my breakfast to combat the hangover. I have a soft spot for the type of breakfast a good, hard working man would have. And given the severity of the hangover, I made the decision to consume more calories for breakfast that morning than I did the entire rest of the weekend. Four slices of bacon, two sausage links, two slices of french toast, a biscuit with gravy and a mess of eggs is a bit much
Today I made my drunk fajitas for my parents. I'm currentlyz posting from a laundromat on a phone. So, it's a short post. My mother went a little crazy when I plated the food for dinner. And then told me Blair was crazy for leaving me if I cooked like this for her.
It's been a good weekend.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Well, here I am. Not posting about food again... just posting. I have a 7:30 meeting tomorrow morning, then a barbecue about 2 hours away, which I'll probably find myself slightly inebriated on beer with some old friends. Something that I need. So, I figured I'd do a Q&A while I try to drink as much Miller Lite as I can before I go to bed at Midnight. BEGIN!
(q) Dear Thom, I liked your blog when it was about food. Now it's inconsistant. Painfully so. As well, you're not posting about food, what gives?
(a) Well, as you've probably seen, I recently got dumped... or broken up with... whatever, with my live in girlfriend. I was intending to propose by the end of the year, but I guess things didn't work out quite the way they should. I've been burying myself in World of Warcraft (come join me on Blood Furnace!), work and drinking to try and keep myself a float. Being in my apartment is good for little more than reminding me of how much I failed at life, so I try to avoid it. So, hopefully I'll get cooking again, soon. I'll probably pick a few Claire Robinson recipes to make.
(q) I see that you take terrible pictures of your food and have "art" pictures, mind if I ask what kind of camera you have?
(a) certainly not. The old pictures are taken using a Sony Point'n'shit that belonged to my ex. I recently picked up a Rebel T3 (yeah, the starter level camera, I know...) which is matched up to one of three lenses. A Sigma 40-75 Macro (which is broken right now), a Canon EF 35-105 and the T3 18-55 kit lens. Prior to that I shot with a Rebel G (35mm) and an XTi. Going from 35mm and the old DSLR made the T3 seems like an amazingly sweet fucking camera. I'm relearning composition and form, so, bare with me on this.
(q) I see you use Revereware pots and pans, mind if I ask where you got them, they're hard to find.
(a) they came from my Grandmother's basement, maybe you should have read the blog before e-mailing me, imaginary reader. See this post.
(q) So, you play music? What kind of music do you play? What do you like?
(a) Like I've said multiple times on the blog, I've co-opted the country lifestyle. I love country music. Stuff like Bob Dylan, Damien Rice, Fionn Reagan and Conor Oberst is actually my absolute favorite. The last couple open mics I've played, I've played songs by those artists. I also enjoy third wave emo and 90's So-Cal punk. But, I guess... I literally like all types of music. If it's good music, I like it.
(q) Why do you work so much? Where do you work?
(a) For obvious reasons, I won't answer the second part. But, for the most part, I work so much because after Blair left me, the apartment echos with every bad decision I've ever made. Working 35-40 hours a week is the best way that I can stay out of the bad places of my brain right now. As well, I need to makes my money. You know? I do.
(q) Why are you doing a fake Q&A session?
(a) cause I'm bored and felt like making a post and didn't know what to do.
(q) What is your favorite beer?
(a) It depends. I really like to drink American Lagers like Miller Lite, PBR and Old Style when I'm looking for a good time. But, honestly, my favorite beers are almost always a nice, hoppy IPA. Hop Ness Monster is a good one, so is the Crooked Tree Double IPA. I highly suggest them. Lagunita's Hop Stoopid Ale is a little too much for me, same goes for the Two Brothers' IPA. I prefer to drink like a gentleman.
(q) What is your favorite Whiskey?
(a) Well, this is a two part question. I greatly enjoy Bourbon. I find Evan Williams to be very drinkable for a cheap price, but it kicks like a mule on acid. My favorite two bourbons are Maker's Mark or Wild Turkey. I have a distaste for Maker's Mark due to the fact that it was my "couch" whiskey when I was in a bad place a few years ago. When I say "couch" whiskey, I mean that there was a bottle under the couch that I'd take a hit from every once in a while. Wow, I'm sad. My favorite Irish Whiskey is actually Sullivan's. It's a very flavorful whiskey with a sweet touch to it. I love it. I drink my whiskey like a gentleman, now, though.
(q) So, you like to cook, what else do you like to do?
(a) A lot of things. I'm a well rounded individual. I enjoy shooting, cooking, videogames, playing guitar and eating at fine establishments.
(q) I noticed in one of your old posts you referenced a ".22," do you shoot guns?
(a) Yes, I do. I own several guns and enjoy the time I spend at the range. I enjoy it because it takes a 15 minute drive in the country to get to the range, I turn my phone off and for an hour, the only thing that truly matters in the world is the piece of paper 30 feet from me or the clay pigeons I'm shooting at. Yesterday, actually, I ran about 200 rounds through a Bersa .380 that left my hand bruised and tattered. I literally can't make a tight fist with it. Pictured is my awesome Spam Can of Bulgarian 7.62x54r.
(q) OMG! u have a rabit! sooooo cute!
(a) Yes... her name is Toki Wartooth. She's actually a boy, but recently got her testicles taken away, so she's a girl again. She is a beautiful chinchilla coat Mini-Rex who I wanted to take to rabbit shows until I found out she was a he and had to get him altered. Pronoun explosion.
(q) What is your favorite recipe that you ever cooked?
(a) oh... boy... this is a tough one... what do I say? I mean, the Chicken Fried Steak was probably one of the best recipes I've made. It truly impressed me. I didn't realize that I could cook like that. My favorite recipe that's an original of mine is my Pepper Jack burger.
(q) What is your favorite restaurant?
(a) Well, imaginary reader, my favorite restaurant depends on where I am. Station 220 in Bloomington is my favorite in Central Illinois. But, I honestly can't forget about Las Palmas in Naperville. Best Mexican ever.
And, here is the conclusion of the post: look at all the fucking ranch sauce I got at Denny's with my chicken wrap! WHAT THE FUCK!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
After a week of crippling sobriety and a lot of time spent with someone who really helped me work through some things, my Thirsty Thursday became a night of Clerks, pizza and an open mic. Dealing with living with the woman who broke your heart is tough, but I've been finding ways to cope with it, other than drinking until I pass out. In anycase, short entry. Not a whole ton to mention. It's a Boboli pizza crust coated with Olive Oil, homemade sauce, spinach, green pepper, onion and tomatoes. All diced fine, then topped with mozzarella and parmigiana. It was delicious.
The day was the best day I'd had in a long, long time. All thanks to the person who helped me make the pizza. So, life's starting to look a little better. Next time I do pizza, I'm gonna put those yeast packets in my fridge to use and make some homemade crust. It's what... like three ingredients? Shouldn't be too hard, just takes time. Time to get hopping on new songs to play at open mics. Seacrest, out!
PS, that sloppy cutting up there ain't mine. It was my special guest's. The end product was pretty well cut, though.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Ya'll may have noticed a drastic shift in tone on the blog. I recently broke up with, got dumped... whatever you call it, by my live-in girlfriend via text on our third anniversary after she disappeared for a day or two. So, it's hard to deal with some things right now. Given that we live together, I'm pretty afraid of going in the kitchen and making a mess or spending time down there. Going from plans of becoming engaged once I have a proper salary to acting like me and some girl I dated in highschool running into each by chance at a bar in our twenties is a pretty gut wrenching occurrence. I'm sure she won't read any of this. She always needed prodding to read/look/listen to anything I produced.
I've been trying to keep busy. With the new camera, I've been trying to get out and take pictures whenever I can, but this sweltering heat is just... deathly. And painful. I hate it. On the drive to work, everyday, I show up soaked in sweat. Other projects, I'm trying to keep in the basement. Away from her and where it's cool. New pickups in the Tele. Duncan Vintages, they sound sweet. Starting preliminary song writing on a new "album" to follow up my initial attempt a couple years ago. So, I don't know how much longer this blog'll be the way it is. When it'll return to normal, if it will. Who knows? Life as expected, aye?
PS: musical regression is on the table. Current playlist?
Alexi Murdoch: Orange Sky
The Good Life: Album of the Year
The Good Life: Empty Bed
Death Cab for Cutie: Potobooth
Brand New: Jesus Christ
Okkervil River: A Stone
Damien Rice: Volcano
Tallest Man on Earth: The Dreamer
Okkervil River: Black Sheep Boy #4
Bob Dylan: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Pedro The Lion: The Longest Winter
Commander Venus: Life as Expected
Okkervil River: Love to a Monster
So, that's a pretty whiny set of music... and that picture of that tele is so... forlorn and "country" with that shitty beer.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Since the break up, I think Blair has taken to try and be more independent. Upon arriving in the kitchen this afternoon I found a mess! A bonafide cooking mess! It seems that Blair purchased some flat bread, some chicken breasts and an avocado and made some sort of California style chicken flat-bread sandwich. Good for her.
I can't speak to how well she's taking all of this, but we seemed to get along today as roommates. Hope that keeps up. I think I'm doing ok. I'm not letting myself fall into the same traps as I did last time, and the time they gave me off of work has really helped me. I've been trying to keep as busy as I can to keep my mind off of it, but when I settle down to play some games or guitar or read, I go right back to it. And I definitely haven't shaken the instinctual drive to get wasted and watch Kevin Smith movies. That tropic behavior is one that I'm not even attempting to avoid yesterday and today. Tomorrow will be my first real day back at work since it happened. So, hopefully that'll go well. In the meantime, cheap rum and Kevin Smith to lull the pain away.
Jesus Christ, I just read this post and realized what a winy little bitch I'm being. I'm like the same melodramatic 21 year old Liz left, still. Way to grow!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Being in this state of mind sucks. I'm never drunk enough, but never sober enough to make sense. So I made this: a fucked up dish consistanting of feta wrapped in corned beef wrapped in chicken marinated in olive oil, salt and pepper topped with left over tzatziki sauce with a side of "Khorr's" creamy pasta... what the hell was that? It was halfway decent... nothing to write home about... but... now that all the beer and white wine is gone, I might be going for a vodka drunk that I won't enjoy... this is what's great about shit like this, "who the fuck knows!?" Right? Whatever....
Apparently, I am no longer dating the woman that I intended to marry, as of 10:50am this morning (our third anniversary, by the way). Learned via text after she disappeared for 24 hours. And couldn't so much as let me know she was ok. Then, today, after two hours, I got sent home from work. I know it was due to the store spending too many labor hours, but I have to think that it was also due to the fact that I was a bit of a wreck. So, I got home and organized.
And made grits. Yummy, yummy grits. There's not much to tell, I made grits, but, instead of water, I used milk and then I put some cheese and honey in it to liven it up a bit. It's a little too salty, from the Gruyere, though. Ah well. Also, I have no qualm showing you that I'm drinking cheap beer at 2pm after getting sent home from work, I feel like I earned it. So... yeah. It's kind of strange, I've really co-opted the "good old boy" life style when I moved south. It's like, I'm just far enough south that I can be as country as I wanna be and play a telecaster, but I'm close enough to Chicago that the DIY ethos of the punk movement still haven't vacated my body. But, yeah, I love southern food and can't wait to get back to the Carolinas. In the meantime, au revoir.
Friday, July 8, 2011
So, it's Blair and I's anniversary on Sunday, and I stupidly did not request the time off to spend the weekend with her. I luckily had today off, so we hit up some stores and Chili's. I ordered ribs (second time I'd eaten ribs this week... I'm'a fatty) while she ordered some sort of odd chicken meal. Whatever. In anycase, I got the Memphis Dry Rub, and it was surprisingly good. Definitely not a slow smoked rib, but it worked pretty well. For the way they cook 'em, I'd have preferred a sugary sauce, but, it worked. The appetizer was an odd mix of battered jalapenos and onions. It was quite tasty. I guess I'd recommend Chili's in a pinch. I thought I took a picture of the appetizers, but I guess, instead I took a picture of Blair's drink, which was lime juice, cherries, triple sec and vodka.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Being a native Chicago suburbian, I have a sweet spot for the Chicago cuisine. From Chicago dogs made using Vienna skinless franks to Gyros to Maxwell Street Polishes to Deep Dish Pizza to the most perfect Chicago thin crust ever made, I love it all. I've dined at some wicked weird places in the city and eaten some weird things around the country, but I always come back to Chicago cuisine as one of my comfort foods. It's one of the reasons I love my Gyro burger recipe so much, it's a way to experience a Chicago meal with a twist.
Living in central Illinois, though, I can get plenty of gyros and Chicago dogs (done well at Windy City Wieners and The Rock) but the one thing I have not experienced since my move: deep dish pizza. While living with my parents before moving down here, I lived a scant mile from a Gino's East and would experience some of the best deep dish you'll ever know. I've eaten at the original Gino's and Giordano's. Down here, I don't even have an Uno's to go to. And that shit ain't good. The closest thing I can get is the grocery store freezer sourced Gino's East Frozen pizza. It does in a pinch.
The best way to describe the experience with the frozen Gino's East pizzas is this: it tastes like reheated Gino's the day after you bought it with a slightly stale crust and a touch to much salt. It does for the time being, but, ideally, I'll be eating me some Gino's again soon. Chicago, here I come!
In the meantime, I'll be eating dogs and gyros until I get back up there. Where can I get a Maxwell down here? And where the fuck can I get some Chicago thin-crust? I'll be damned if I've never had one better than Armand's in Elmwood Park. Oh, man. Time to put my yeast to use and make my own Chicago style pizzas, I guess.
Another short and to the point post. I had a slab of ribs in the freezer, While I was at work, I decided I was gonna make ribs and texted Blair to let her know that she should pull them out to thaw. I swung by Meijer to buy some potatoes, got home, mixed 1/2 cup bourbon with 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's and some brown sugar, coated the ribs in it, put the potatoes on the left side of the grill and fired them on low. The ribs were on the right side, without heat. They both cooked for about an hour and a half. I then stuffed some Jalapenos with cheese and grilled them for 15 minutes. The ribs were the perfect consistency, although the sauce was a bit chewy in a couple places, the ribs came off the bones easily, had very little gristle and were moist. Best ribs I've ever made. The peppers were ok and the potatoes cooked to the perfect texture. For an impulse meal, it was pretty decent.
To celebrate the day that Will Smith and Ian Malcolm saved the Earth from some renegade dinosaurs using a Macbook, I made burgers. Delicious, juicy, sweet ass burgers. My neighbor gave me his old gas grill. The thing is a bit of a mess, but, of course, for the 4th, I had to grill burgers for Blair. Who had this obsession with eating "something grilled" for no plausible reason, forcing me to buy a propane tank and then saying that my burgers were gross because I cooked them rare. I avoided using too many spices, since it's been a while since I grilled out, so I wanted the meat to really shine and not depend on the spice and I used salt and pepper only. So, that was fun. My peppers are coming in a little slowly, but, they're coming. That night, we went to the fireworks, where I got to use my new camera some more. Quick, picture time! Sorry about the blurry picture of the burgers, I'm still getting used to the new camera. Hopefully, my food photography will improve vastly.