Sour: Pickled Sour Cherries

Thursday, July 30, 2015

-Life is like a bowl of pickled cherries: sour and sweet.-

I am a sour person. Not to mean that I'm unpleasant, but that I love sour foods. I'll go Granny Smith over Pink Lady any day, thank you.

It's odd... As a child, I hated sour foods. Sour candy, in particular. If you were a child of the 90's then you are no doubt familiar with one specific popular sour candy of the time: Warheads.

On the playground we would eat them in bulk as a sort of schoolyard dare, all of us fueled by the urban myth - which turned out to be true - of the kid who burned his tongue in the Warhead Challenge. (The challenge being to hold this sour candy under your tongue for 30 seconds.)

Also by "we," I mean, "everyone else." I was a wuss at sour foods as a kid, a sad fact that didn't help alleviate my persona as social pariah and teacher's son.

Today, I can power through theses candies like, well, candy.

It's also therefore no surprise that I often make pickles - sour foods at their best. Even more so when I pickle sour cherries.

Pickled sour cherries are a curious condiment. The vinegar actually tames the natural pucker of the cherries. After a month of curing they mellow, sweeten, and absorb the flavor of the pickling spices. The result is a sweet, sour, floral, and fruity pickle that it best served with bourbon.

Only one farmer in Sacramento grows them and they're only around fort a short time. This year I was quick on the draw and picked up enough to make a batch so that come fall when my bourbon habit picks back up I'll be ready.

For the recipe, go here.

Bad Decisions: Five Spice Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Friday, July 10, 2015

-A perfectly good way to torture yourself on a sweltering day.-

For the most part we actively decide against making bad decisions. We're taught to do so by both society and our own experiences.

-That pan is hot. Don't touch it.

-Use a condom.   

-Fireworks are explosive. Best not to launch one off of my head.

-Perhaps now is not a good time to take a scenic tour of Somalia.

-This cheese is fuzzy and green. Don't eat it.

-I shouldn't spend my rent money on a Playstation 4.

Then again, sometimes we make decisions regardless of the fact that they might be unwise. Perhaps the ill-nature of the consequences or the very disregard for the situation itself is part of the joy in making the bad decisions.

-I'm going to totally mix tequila and rum tonight. Also vodka. This will be terrible tomorrow and I acknowledge that, but tonight we gettin' crunk.

-I hate her. Time to donk up her shit.

-Texting and driving.

-I'm pretty sure I can still pull off this puka shell necklace I wore in the 90's and not get ridiculed for it.

-Pointing the cat's laser pointer at my husband's crotch will result in a hilarious outcome that will totally not include his genitals being turned to ribbon.

-I should turn the oven to 350F and bake cookies, even though it's 105 out today.

This last one got me recently. I had the AC roaring and I was sucking down glasses of iced tea like I was going to win a prize. However, I really wanted cookies, so it was gonna happen.

In the end? Worth it. So worth it. Chinese five spice is a secret weapon in baking and let me tell you that it belongs in a cookie.

So go. Make your delicious bad decisions. 

 Five Spice Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from the Vanishing Oatmeal Cookie Recipe from Quaker

1/2 cup, plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Sick: Gochujang Egg Flower Soup

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

-Also a con: pictures suck because it's, like, 10PM and I can barely function.-

Being Sick on Memorial Day Weekend

  • Putting that new juicer through its paces. Solid food is but a waning memory fading into the distance.
  • Stumbling on a new soup recipe that might be the greatest thing since Netflix began instant streaming. 
  • Husband and I are becoming terribly obsessed with binging Steven Universe on Netflix. ("I just had the best idea for an album cover.")
  • Mandatory liquid diet has caused me to shed weight. I gained two belt notches back! Fuck ya'll, I'm skinny again! 
  • Have mastered how to fit two giant cats and a corgi-like bean bag on me while I lay on the couch binging said TV show.
  • Dayquil is the best high ever. Don't know why kids think cocaine is where it's at. 
  • *barf*
  • Right ear keeps plugging. Cannot hear out of that side and I keep walking at a tilt. Was fun for a minute, until the hallway wall went all ninja and jumped me.
  • Missed a friend's wedding. Super not cool and had to physically restrain myself while hubby convinced me that no bride wants SARS as a wedding gift, regardless how nicely I wrap it.
  • I really want to eat that bacon in the fridge, but there is no way in hell it is going to stay down.
  • The very thought of bread makes me queasy. A disturbing fracture to my reality. Surely up is down. Dogs and bedding cats. Nothing makes sense.
  • Dayquil is the worst high ever. Apparently, I cannot actually fly, which is lame. 
Anyways, enjoy the soup recipe. Easy. Simple. Flavorful. 

Also, there's now a sign-up for the Vanilla Garlic newsletter. There's big changes a-coming, plus a free e-book as I work on it. More details to come, so if you like off-color humor and sarcasm be sure to sign up.
The Best Egg Drop Soup Ever For When You're Sick
When I'm sick I like a bit of spice in my food to help purge the ick out of my body, and this soup does the trick. Broth, egg for protein, crisp veggies, and plenty of garlic and ginger.

The spice comes from a huge dollop of gochujang, a Korean chili-soy paste that's plenty sweet and packs a mighty kick. (Here's a nifty video about the stuff.) Easily available at any Asian market. Sriracha isn't a great substitute, so try to find it if you can. However, it will work in a pinch, as will any great hot sauce. After tasting this soup, you'll quickly add it into your everyday cooking. 

Serves 4

4 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 tablespoon coconut oil (sesame or vegetable is also fine, but not peanut)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, grated
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon gochujang
2-3 medium bok choy, washed and chopped into thin strips
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

1. Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock and mix with the cornstarch until dissolved.

2. Clean the bok choy of any dirt and cut into thin ribbons. Set aside.

3. Place a wok or cooking pot over high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and gochujang. Fry for about 30-60 seconds or until very fragrant.

4. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, bok choy in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch and stock mixture and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for three minutes.

5. Slowly add eggs while stirring the soup. The eggs will blossom into ribbons as they cook in the broth. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately with crunchy bread (if you can keep bread down) and oolong tea. Bask in the awesomeness.

Roommate Hunting + Recipes!

Monday, May 25, 2015

-And no people who don't appreciate good food. Thanks.-

No posting recently as I've been swamped with a new project - more to come on that - and finding a new roommate. A task that, if you've ever done it before, you know is fraught with eighty kinds of crazy and many previously undocumented cases of shitcan insanity.

LGBT Friendly Home

Room for rent in a recently renovated home. Close to the river, Sac State, freeways, shopping, and light rail. Beautiful and well-equipped kitchen. Personal bathroom. Plenty of parking.

We're a gay male couple, (30 and 35). Very laid back, social, and easy going. One is a photographer and security officer, and the other is a and nonprofit developer and cookbook author. We come with two chill cats, and a well-behaved but derpy corgi. We're often out of the house working, but if we're home we are likely still working (sometimes gardening, cleaning, or cooking).

Looking for a roommate who is quiet, clean, and pleasant. 420 (if you have a medical card) and alcohol is fine, but no drugs. No pets. Gay or straight welcome to apply. Preferably male and around our age.

Rent is $475 + 1/3 of electric, gas, and internet Amenities:
-washer and dryer
-fully equipped kitchen (gas, not electric)
-high speed internet
-central heat and air
-fireplace in main room
-gas grill outside
-no water, sewage, or garbage bills
-14 fruit trees on the property
-guest room if you have out of town guests
-wall-mounted flat screen TV available for the room if desired

Give us a ring! We would love to meet you and show you the place!

Interviewing roommates can be dodgy. After all, you're welcoming total strangers into your home. Or, at best, friends of friends. It's awkward for everyone and about as fun as putting my contacts in with a cheese grater.

Let's go through some of our candidates...

Ol' Shifty: The proper answer to my question about if you're employed is not, "I do odd jobs on Craigslist or sometimes run errands for Jimmy." That's not employment, which is a concern to me as the person who needs to collect the rent. And who is Jimmy? I assume that's the guy who you sell crystal meth for? Eek.

Crazyface: Ever meet someone and they just have a look on their face that says, "You have beautiful eyes. I wonder what they would look like in a jar?" Well, I have...

Moonchild: He stared way too intently at Eat Beast during the time I was explaining the lease. When I inquired if he had any questions the only one: "What is Eat Beast's astrological sign? I feel he's a Taurus, like me." He then asked if he could dowse the house's energy. I jovially told him I burned sage and put lines of salt around the house when we moved in. He nodded gravely and agreed that both were wise decisions. I gather that even if I had given that joke a parade it would have passed right by him unnoticed.

Nope nope nope: "I'm looking for a room that me and my four chihuahuas can live in."

The Nudist: Look, I'm generally okay with nudity assuming it's just me and my hubby at home. However, I don't want to come home from work and be assaulted by your bits. At least he only kicked off his shoes during the interview.

Ugh… and so the hunt continues. Until then, I recommend you go to the following for some nifty food posts:

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