Habits & Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday, January 24, 2015

 -A delicious lack of self-control.-

I had intended to keep things nice and light with the start of 2015. A life filled with contemplation and reflection. Perhaps yoga, too.

I've always been bemused by the phrase, "drop it like a bad habit." We don't. Or rarely ever. Bad habits are like wet over coats. Clumsy, thick, and drenched. We get tangled up in them and once they finally fall to the floor they have to be heaved about, the mess cleaned, and tossed away. We pray that perhaps they'll end the way we hope a marriage doesn't; with one quietly gathering their belongings, and slipping out in the middle of the night without saying saying goodbye.

So it is the same with good habits, like trying to convince your body that of course it can fit into a shoe four sizes to small. JUST WORK AT IT! It used to fit back in college!

So yes, 2015 was going to be filled with cardio, core fitness, and salad with friends I didn't see enough of.

And then came the champagne brunch and the eight trays of homemade cinnamon rolls I made.

The habit may have left in the middle of the night. Then it came back and egged the house.

Oh well…

At least 2015 looks like it'll taste good with friends, instead.

-Commitment to oneself never involves frosting, which is why so often it fails.-

Culinary Ennui: Garlic and Parmesan Bread

Sunday, January 18, 2015

-It's strange how little I actually write about garlic on here.-

I'd like to take some time and talk about forgotten foods.

Right now, we need to be able to step aside and re-evaluate the foods we once loved, foods each of us once personally thrived upon once out of necessity, and re-embrace them.

For those of you who went to college or moved out on your own for the first time I want you to remember ramen. Remember? Those fifty cent packets of Styrofoam noodles and flavor pouches that you once subsisted on when you were penny poor and your couch was a hand-me-down? Lunch, dinner, and even a few breakfasts consisted of five-minute noodles and powders filled with MSG, sodium, and many other delicious and unpronounceable chemical compounds. If you learned how to really make it work and turn it into a healthy meal you started tossing the packets and began to use chicken broth. You sauteed garlic and onions, and added them to the soup. You plonked in slivers of radishes and the radish greens because a bunch of radishes were only a dollar.

You didn't bemoan these meals (well, not often). This was because they were your first foray into self-reliability. The ramen was a means of living and eating. It was a codex that brought your social circle together and gave you a common, affordable food to bond over. It was what got you through the slag of finals, the heartache of another electric bill you somehow had to pay, and what you made to celebrate the passing of both.

Now that you're years out of college, have found success, and sit at a desk for a grownup job how often are you eating ramen? When was the last time you even thought about it?

10 Reasons Lamb is Awesome: How to Roast a Leg of Lamb

Monday, December 22, 2014

 -It's like something out of a Flinstones cartoon.-

1. If cuteness had a flavor it would be lamb. Lambs are adorable when they are alive so this only makes sense that it comes through flavor-wise.

2. Because it gives you a big awesome bone that - when combined with stock, lentils, thyme, garlic, and a bit of sausage - makes for one of the most amazing meals you will ever eat.

3. Cause what the fuck else are you going to make a vinegar-mint sauce for?

4. Leftovers are amazing in sandwiches built with sourdough bread, bitter greens, Dijon, pickled onions, and more mayonnaise than should be considered healthy.

5. It gives you a reason to consume insane amounts of garlic. Not that you need a reason anyways, but justifications are always nice to keep in your back pocket.

6. Fuck vegetarians.

7. Fuck vegans, too.

8. I'm pretty sure lambs are threatening the ecosystem by eating grass, pooping everywhere, driving SUVs, trolling online political forums, and posting pictures of your children on 4chan just to be total dicks. You're doing your part to keep the earth safe by devouring them and and putting a halt to their evil ways.

9. It pairs well with white and red wine! What other goddamn food can do that?

10. Because you're encouraged to "cook" it by serving it practically rare. If you take it over medium-rare it just becomes leather. Put those freaks who like their meat well-done in their place and give them some education by serving a red-pink slab of lamb.

Bonus Reason. It's so easy to cook. My method is thus...

You will need:
6-8 leeks
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
a few good sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped (not dried, you heathen)
many sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped (again, dried just won't do here)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
many good grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
A leg of lamb (bone in, for fuck's sake), 4-5 pounds is more than enough to feed your family and give you leftovers.

Preheat your oven to 325F. Trim the leeks of their dark green tops and the tips of their roots; cut them in half lengthwise. Run them under a bit of water to get the grit out but keep the halves together and neat. Douse them in a bit of olive oil and hit them with some salt. Place them at the bottom of your roasting pan as they will absorb the drippings from the lamb and get softer than your gut and so savory you'll just die.

Now this next part you can do in a food processor, but I like to use a mortar and pestle so there's some texture and, somehow gosh darn it, the flavor it better. Plus, more fun. Place the garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper in whatever you're using to mash them up and mash away into a paste. Smear this paste all over the leg of lamb. Hit the lamb with another good sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Place the lamb on the leeks. Cover with some foil.

Roast for 20 minutes per pound, removing the foil after the first hour. You want the internal temperature to be between 130F and 135F, which is a nice medium-rare. Plenty of pink is key.

(If the lamb doesn't drip that much fat or juice, add a splash of chicken stock or water to help the leeks along. This is rare that I have to do this, but it does happen once in a while.)

Allow the leg of lamb to rest for 15 minute before carving and serving. This is lovely on its own, but some mint sauce, red wine vinegar, or just flake salt are nice accompaniments. With this and the leeks I usually serve just some bread and sheep's milk cheese alongside to keep it in the family. 

Attitudes: Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles

Thursday, December 18, 2014

-I roll them in cocaine just like Uncle Escobar taught me.-

(Originally posted in 2012. A favorite post of mine.)

So here's a little Christmas story for you all that should bring some cheer or cause you to bang your head against the desk so hard you black out. I inadvertently got an employee at Target fired from his job. Well, I was a catalyst. He did it to himself. I find it's generally hard to keep a job when you're a disrespectful douchecanoe; but, hey, that's just my opinion.

I went to the Target around the corner looking for a certain electronic gift for my dad. (He reads this blog sometimes - not always as a dutiful father should, dad - so I can't say what.) I went to the electronics section and inquired as to the item I wanted. The attendant, a very helpful and conciliatory man with a mighty neck beard that could shame all other neck beards, apologized and told me they were all out.

"What I can do is call the other store on 65th Street and see if they have it," he said with a smile.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger