Week 13: T Makes Food

The Plan: Make a different recipe for dinner each day for a week.  I am also recommending a song to go along with each recipe; I discovered that cooking and music go together like salt and flour (that is a good working combination, which I learned this week).  Finally, I will be ranking each dish on a scale for 1-5 pinecones based on taste alone (1 is I will never eat this again, even if someone else makes it and tries to force it down my throat and 5 is Oedipus good, in other words, good as a motherfucker)

This is a challenge that I feared for a long time. My dinner diet consists of mostly salads, and or smoothies, they are quick, easy, and most importantly require no stove/oven/measuring cups. Every once in a while I’ll employ a great personal chef friend of mine to break my dinner monotony, and treat me to something special, his name is Trader Joe, he makes the best food, but this week, I do it myself…

As V and I talked about this challenge, she advised I would be limited to one smoothie this entire week, I planned on making zero smoothies unless something went tragically wrong…needless to say I had a smoothie on day 1.

Day 1: Dutch Baby I

A couple friends of mine introduced me to my new best friend, his name is Chef John, and he has a cooking channel on YouTube, I think the show is called food wishes.  This guy is the best, I’m pretty sure if Betty Crocker and Zeus got together to have a baby it would be Chef John.  If you like to cook, check him out, you’ll love him!

Day 1’s recipe = Dutch Baby (there is nothing more fun than preparing to eat a Dutch Baby, I wish more delicious food was named after things that are generally considered inedible, please understand how great it is to say that you’re eating a Dutch Baby…High Entertainment)

So, what happened?  I bought a cast iron pan, lemon juicer, butter brush, and all the ingredients to make a Dutch Baby, I know you might be thinking “wouldn’t it be easier to make a Dutch Baby with a fertile and promiscuous woman from The Netherlands” the answer is yes, but as I am not in The Netherlands, I had to stick to making a Dutch Baby with Chef John, you could say we’re friends with benefits. The recipe called for clarified butter; that seemed way to difficult to make, so I used olive oil. When I poured it into the hot cast iron pan…poof!!!  That poof was me catching my kitchen on fire, well at least the pan, a dishtowel, and a size 1 TBSP, I dumped the burning pan of oil outside and caught a small pile of leaves on fire, by the time I put the fire out, everything was covered in sooty burnt nasty olive oil…lesson learned, when the recipe calls for clarified butter, use clarified butter!

Song 1= No Song, I didn’t realize how great it was to sing into a wooden spoon until Day 2.

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Rank 1: Solid smoothie 3.8 Pinecones

Day 2: Dutch Baby II

What the fuck is ghee you ask? I asked the same question, it’s pre-clarified butter, it has a higher burning point than regular butter and olive oil, so you won’t burn your house down when you try to make a Dutch Baby, it is also perfect for people too lazy to clarify their own butter like me.  Today, there was a baby in the oven, and then I ate it!  It was supposed to be 4 servings I ate the whole thing.  It tasted delightful.  Directions HERE.

Song 2: Faith (George Michael)

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 Rank 2: to repeat, it’s supposed to be four servings; I ate the entire baby        4.4 Pinecones

Day 3: Spicy Quinoa Salad

So today, I made another new friend, Chef John actually introduced me to her, and her name is Hilah.  Her and Chef John and I are totally BFFs. She has her own cooking channel on YouTube, He has his own cooking channel on YouTube, and V and I have the Tub, it’s a match made in social media heaven! Hilah’s channel is called Cooking with Hilah.  She’s funny as fuck, and makes cooking-life so simple, with the best array of recipes to choose from.  Just a taste of Hilah…she found a potato that looked like a nut sac, and so left it in front of the camera for the rest of the episode…classic Hilah!  It was insane how delicious this was.  Directions Here (The only change I made was squeezing a fresh lime over the final product, solid choice)

Song 3: Hits From The Bong (Cypress Hill) making food always seems like pot should be around, this song fit perfectly.

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 Rank 3: YES!!! 4.6 Pinecones

Day 4: Israeli Cous Cous and Cheese (macaroni be gone)

Back to Chef John for Day 4. I came in cocky thinking that I had this cooking thing down, you give me a recipe and I can make it happen.  Well the cooking gods of Pythia are not fans of hubris, and they made me pay.  I set everything up, measured out all my ingredients ahead of time so I could just add what I needed when I needed it, and just when my ghee was melted and the cous cous needed to be added, I dropped it all over the floor.  Cleaning up tiny cous cous balls is a pain in the arse, but lesson learned (don’t get cocky in the kitchen, and never fuck with the cooking gods).   Starting over…I even picked a more fitting song the 2nd go ‘round.  This dinner was magical; food makes me happy to be alive…seriously, HOLY SHIT!  Each bite made me want to give proper names to every one of my taste buds so I could thank them personally for the experience they have given me. Directions Here (The only changes I made were using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and using green chilies with the red pimentos)

Song 4a: I’ve got the world on a string (Frank Sinatra) too cocky for the kitchen, and so I changed it after the cous cous fiasco of 2015.

Song 4b: That’s Life (Frank Sinatra) Perfect; my sins have been atoned.

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Rank 4: This was soooooooooooooooooo delectable…4.8 pinecones…cheese!!!

Day 5: Tostones with Creamy Hatch Chili Sauce and Black Beans

I really cannot believe that I am here talking about tostones, which I have made and eaten.  Just a heads up, tostones are fried plantains, I have never heard of them before, let alone tried them, let alone made them.  I am sold.  Plantains are no joke, and the creamy hatch chili sauce was just stupid!!! I drank the leftover sauce (is that fucked up, is that what cooks do, it’s what I did).  I have to send a shout out to my pal Hilah again; she’s responsible for both recipes, and explained the plantain is like the punk rock of bananas, they are bigger with a tougher skin, and may be on drugs.  She also explained that she wanted to turn the Hatch Chili Sauce into a smoothie, I didn’t believe her, then I drank the leftovers…I am telling you it could be a smoothie!  Let me also say the serving size was for 4, and I ate it all (again). Directions Hereand Here

Song 5: Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell (Bad Religion) In honor of the punk rock banana.

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Rank 5a: Tostones…I obviously loved them, I ate so much.  The only draw back for me is all the oil used to fry them.  4.2 Pinecones.

Rank 5b: Creamy Hatch Chili Sauce…My only objection is that it may be too good, as I am not sure if drinking sauce is ever acceptable.  4.5 Pinecones.

Day 6: Crispy Smashed Potatoes w/Garlic Avocado Aioli

Today I decided to wean myself off my connection to Chef John and Hilah (I miss you guys already).  My original intent was to make avocado mashed potatoes, I still may try this after the week is over, but in my search for avocado mashed potatoes I found crispy smashed potatoes w/garlic avocado aioli. I wised up a bit today and cut the portions in half so I wouldn’t gorge, and regret when I can’t move later in the night…food is good, food coma is bad.  Avocado anything is bound to be delicious, and avocado aioli did not disappoint.  No mishaps tonight, the cooking gods must have been satisfied with my previous offering of cous cous.  Recipe Here

Song 6: (here’s a hint {bum bum bum…bum bum bum…} if you guessed Raining Blood (Slayer) you get a pass into the next round) Raining Blood (Slayer) There is just something about crispy smashed potatoes w/garlic aioli that calls for Slayer, maybe it’s because the guys from Slayer co-op a potato farm in North Dakota, or maybe it’s because they have the words ‘avocado aioli’ written on the back of their shoes during every live performance?  Whatever the reason, it was a fitting song for crispy smashed potatoes w/garlic avocado aioli.

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Rank 6:  Like I said, they were delicious, and while I like potatoes very much, at the end of the day they were still potatoes.  If we were using a potato metric they would obviously rank very high, but we’re using the Pinecone Scale of Truth, and on this scale I can only give crispy smashed potatoes w/garlic avocado aioli 3.4 Pinecones.

Day 7: Grilled Mediterranean Pizza with Wheat Crust.

I flew solo on this one…no Chef John or Hilah, or anyone else for that matter.  This was kind of a no-brainer, if I’m forced to pick a favorite food it would be pizza, and I’d choose it with no hesitation (specifically Jets Pizza).  I’m also a huge fan of Mediterranean cuisine, so it was a natural marriage contrived in taste bud heaven.  As there is no link to a recipe, let me break it down here for you just in case you become inspired to try it yourself…

Wheat dough, super easy to make if you have a bread mixer, and wheat flour.  You could also buy it premade.

Hummus (not tomato sauce on this pizza) also easy to make or buy premade

A jar of chopped artichoke hearts

Banana peppers

Sundried tomatoes in olive oil

Feta cheese (instead of mozzarella)

Minced garlic

Drizzled with a little olive oil

Put on a hot pizza stone and throw it on the grill until the crust is to your liking.

Song 7: This one was obvious, what would any sane person listen to when making grilled Mediterranean pizza with wheat crust…you got it!  Shake it Off (Taylor Swift).  Let me tell you, having this song on repeat while outside grilling definitely let my neighbors know how cool I am.  I bet they select me as street prince at the next block party.  I can’t wait, and if they don’t, well I just know that haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate, and I’ll just shake it off, shake it off!

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Rank 7:  Not to toot my own horn, but beep beep! (Is it fair to mention here that I am stoned on allergy meds and cough syrup?)  So, even though my palette is not at peak level due to allergy torture, the pizza was still pretty amazing (I know it’s hard to fuck up a pizza, but still.)  I could have drizzled it with a bit more olive oil, and a 2nd type of cheese would have made it even more enticing, I would also put more sundried tomatoes on it next time, but all minor details.  As far as pinecones on the Pinecone Scale of Truth = 4.2 Pinecones

The Wrap: T-makes food was a stellar week, I didn’t know I had it in me, obviously I couldn’t have done it without the help of my new besties, but we did it…after a crazy start things couldn’t have gone better.  I hope to throw down in the kitchen a bit more than I have in the past which shouldn’t be hard since I almost never threw down in the kitchen before.  So let me give out a couple awards and shout outs…

Shout outs: Chef John, Hilah, Trader Joe, Ghee, Fertile and Promiscuous Women of the Netherlands, and especially V…I’d still be eating a combo of smoothies, bag salad, and cereal if it wasn’t for her motivating this challenge.

Best Song Dinner Combo: Hits From the Bong and Spicy Quinoa Salad

Cookie Monster Meal of the Week (for making me look like this when I eat):Israeli Cous Cous and Cheese (I will be inhaling this again by weeks end for sure)

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