Friday, November 26, 2010

The First Blanksbliving

Nick, Laura, and myself (otherwise known as “Blick,” “Blaura,” and “Blon”) recently celebrated the newly anointed holiday of Blanksbliving. A prelude to, or perhaps warm up for, Thanksgiving, Blanksbliving is an autumnal feast that celebrates gluttony, drunkenness, bowling, ice cream, and fine cinema. Blanksbliving should be observed the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. Here’s a look at the very first Blanksbliving.

The Bowling of the Ball Towards the Pins:
Almost every holiday comes with some sort of traditional activity, usually in conjunction with binge drinking, although in the case of New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day excessive alcohol consumption is the traditional activity. The Forth of July, for example, celebrates our country’s independence by blowing up small portions of it. Christmas has gift giving and religious lip service. Halloween has become national Show-Your-Slutty-Side day. Traditional Thanksgiving has Turkey Trots and football. Blanksbliving is no exception. On Blanksbliving we honor our forefathers’ struggles against small wooden objects by bowling heavy objects at them in an attempt to knock as many over as possible. Blick, Blaura, and I paid our respects at Capri Lanes where we each earned a variety of holiday commendations. Blick for fastest bowl and highest single game score, Blaura for most improved bowling and most Skee-Ball played, I for most wins and highest overall score. We gave blanks to all those who fell to the pins in the past by felling several hundred in return.

The Appetizing of the Feasters by Pizza:
The Feast can only begin after Feasters have indulged in an appetite stimulating pizza mini-feast. The first Feast’s pizza and cheese bread appetizers were delivered by Donato’s.

The Preparation of the Feast of Feasts by the Feasters:
Having worked up an appetite on the lanes we made a few stops for extra provisions before heading home to prepare the Feast of Feasts. Butter, gravy, alcohol, and more ice cream were on the shopping list, all staples of the Feast, as well as cutlery. For like so many before us we were without knives with which to prepare our meal. With everything properly assembled it was time to begin the prep. Blick began the Baking of the Brownies while I boiled water for the Mashing of the Potatoes. I must admit that I was nervous as this would be my first Mashing of the Potatoes but I was confident that my Blankfulness would carry me through. And it did!

With the two most time consuming portions of The Feast completed we began phase two of the cooking with Blaura’s Stirring of the Stove-Top stuffing and Blick’s Frying of the Bacon.

The feast was nearly complete, all that was left was the Heating of the Gravy and the Frying of the Turkey Dogs in Bacon Grease, perhaps the shortest cook times of any of the components of The Feast, these portions are just as important and significant to the feast as any other. Let not their short investments of time belie or belittle their importance.

The Heaping of the Plates:
With all the elements of The Feast in place Blick, Blaura, and I assembled our mighty food piles on the decorative Plates of the Feast. While the base foods of The Feast are universal, their arrangements are as individual as the Feasters.

The Drinking of the Booze:
With so much food to consume during The Feast, Feasters need a refreshing and seasonally appropriate draught to quench their deep down body thirst. While beers, both root and regular, would be fine libations, the drink of the First Blanksbliving was then and will forever be the Blank Blilliams. Comprised of Wild Turkey 101 and apple cider the Blank Blilliams refreshes the palate and esophagus while enlightening the brain, liver, and Q-Zone.

Just Desserts and Other Happy Endings:
A great and glorious feast such as this must surely end with a sweet coda. To this end we amassed an unrivaled stock pile of frozen treats. The First Blanksbliving Dessert Feast consisted of: But other personal choices can certainly be opted in assuming they are indeed Blanksworthy and delightfully silly.

The Viewing of the Movies:
Once the Feasters have finished at least one helping of the feast movies are viewed to stimulate the digestive process. Cheese-ball 80’s jiggle-fests and cult sci-fi flicks are the recommended course of action, but any exceedingly entertaining fare is fine so long as it promotes heckling or the recitation of the movie’s dialogue by the Feasters and further drinking and/or eating.

We certainly enjoyed the first ever Blanksbliving, we hope you can join us next year. If you are not able to for some reason, please celebrate in your own way and share the experience with the rest of us here on the blinternet.

Blappy Blanksbliving, Bleveryone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pozole (to be sung to the tune of "Volare")

I know, I know, you're thinking: "Man, I've been nixtamalizing corn all summer and fall, what am I going to do with all this hominy? Everyone I know is so sick of grits." I've got one word for you...


Traditional Mexican pork, hominy and chile stew. The pre-conquistador Aztec version used fresh human meat. Spanish priests switched it to pork because it apparently tastes very similar. You may want to leave that detail out until after everybody eats.

Here's a recipe I lifted and adapted from this random guy on the internet. His version seemed too heavy on the hominy for my taste. I do agree that the Hatch green chiles are the way to go here. They are hard to find, but worth it if you can get 'em. This is super easy to make. Sorry for the lack of pictures to prove it.

2-29 oz. cans white hominy
4-5 pounds pork tenderloin (cut into small chunks)
1 large yellow onion (finely chopped)
16 oz. green chiles, heat level at your discretion - NOTE: Don't sub jalapenos! Trust me.
1 tablespoon minced/chopped/pressed garlic
2 oz. menudo spice mix or chili powder
1 teaspoon dry oregano
salt (lots)
pepper (lots)
olive oil

In a large stock pot (the ingredients above will yield about 6 quarts) combine the hominy, chopped onions, garlic, oregano and green chile. Cover the ingredients with water, then add a little more. Add a lot of salt and pepper. I mean, A LOT. Put in what you think is too much, then add some more; it'll need it. Boil the mixture while you prepare the meat.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and brown the pork slowly. It doesn't have to be cooked entirely through, just sear the outside. Add a reasonable amount of salt and pepper here. You may have to do this in batches: 4-5 pounds of pork cubes don't conveniently fit in one frying pan.

Once the pork is browned, stir it into the stock pot with the other ingredients. Once it starts boiling again, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Stir, then bring to a boil again. Reduce heat, stir and allow this to simmer for about six hours, stirring about every 30 minutes to keep the bottom from burning. About half way through, add salt and pepper to taste.

For best results, ladle the finished pozole into smaller containers and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat and serve with grated cheese and yellow corn tortillas/tortilla chips.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unfortunate Muffin

Not my photo, but I saw these obscene pumpkin spice muffins at Tim Horton's this morning.

Caption contest in comments. GO!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

If You're Playing With Fryer, You're Going To Get Burned

Our readers around the world may not be familiar with the gastro-economic phenomenon of the $4 supermarket rotisserie chicken. What a blessed life I live, that I can gather up the change under the passenger seat of my 1998 Ford Escort and buy an entire fucking chicken. I mean, this is third world price, people! What has America come to? I blame Obama...

Wait, wait, wait. Wait.


If Obama was really responsible for $4 rotisserie chickens, the Democrats wouldn't have lost control of the House of Representatives. Everybody loves rotisserie chicken. Even you vegans secretly love rotisserie chicken - feel free to admit that in the comments section below.

What blows my mind is that I can buy a fully cooked chicken at the supermarket for less than a raw chicken. How is that possible? Cooks cost money. Fire costs money. Those little plastic bags (or trays) that the rotisserie chickens come in cost money. Unless these chickens are being roasted through a charitable donation from the Chubb Group, this goes against basic economics, which means that rotisserie chickens are inherently Communist.

So I bought one. Then I ate half of it. The next day, I had to come up with something to do with the other half. I didn't feel like just eating it off the bone again, so I decided to get creative. How about some BBQ chicken sliders?

First thing's first, gotta pull that chicken apart. A couple of strategic cuts separate the wing, leg and thigh from the rest of the chicken and a skilled blade liberates the breast meat from the carcass. I like to get my hands dirty (or rather, greasy), so I shred the breast meat by hand before chopping up the dark meat. If you decide to try this with the chicken still hot, you're dumb. Let it cool down or you'll burn your hands.

Next, make some sauce. I had some leftover chipotle peppers from a recent batch of chili, so I decided to make a maple chipotle BBQ sauce. This was super easy:

  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (chop the peppers up very fine)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • a splash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove of roasted or sauteed garlic (finely chopped)
  • a liberal dash of onion powder
  • a conservative dash of celery salt
  • an independent dash of black pepper
Let that all simmer in a saucepan for about 15-20 minutes. It'll be spicy, but the maple syrup will give you a nice sweet balance. Add the pulled chicken and bring it all up to safe temperature.

Hmm, what's going to go well with a BBQ chicken sandwich? How about some seasoned potato wedges? But I don't have a deep fryer in my kitchen! No problem, because I'm smart. First, let's cut some potatoes into wedges. I did 4 potatoes, which was way too many...

I could just fry these as-is and they'd probably turn out OK, but if I'm going to create a makeshift deep fryer in my house, then I'm going to go all out here. That means breading and seasoning these little bastards. I went with a traditional three-step breading process: flour, egg/milk wash, seasoning blend. My seasonings were a 60/40 mix of flour and Italian bread crumbs, plus dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. I also had someone with lovelier hands than mine pop them through the stations while I tended to the danger grease.

OK, all joking aside: don't try this at home unless you know what you're doing. Delicious potato wedges are not worth the risk of starting a grease fire and burning your home to a crisp. If you are going to try this without an actually deep fryer (or FryDaddy), you need the following:
  • A deep pot (I used a small stock pot)
  • A metal scoop with either a wire mesh or slots to allow grease to pass through (DO NOT USE PLASTIC, DUMMY)
  • A bin to put the cooked food into
  • An oil thermometer (this is really, really important)
  • An oil with a high smoke point like peanut oil
Put about an inch-and-a-half of oil in the pot and turn on the heat. Mount the oil thermometer on the pot so that the probe end is in the oil (without touching the bottom of the pot). You're looking for an oil temperature of 350 degrees, which if you have a good stove and a good pot, you'll get to pretty quickly. Pay close attention to the oil temperature: too low and your food won't cook correctly, too hot and it will start to smoke, which will make your food taste bad.

Cook your wedges about 8-10 at a time. You don't want to overload the fryer because you won't get oil coverage over all the wedges. Use the scoop to grab the uncooked wedges and dip them in the oil. DO NOT DROP THEM IN, OR THE OIL WILL SPLATTER AND YOU WILL GET BURNT! If your wedges are thin enough, you probably only need to cook them between 60-90 seconds to get them golden brown and crunchy on the outside and fully cooked on the inside. Use the scoop to carefully remove the wedges from the fryer and put them in the bin. Sprinkle some salt on those immediately after taking them out of the fryer: potatoes accept seasoning more readily when hot. Repeat these small batches until the oil gets "dirty." If you're making a lot, you may have to strain or change the oil.

NEVER, EVER PUT FROZEN OR WET FOOD INTO HOT GREASE! IT WILL SPLATTER AND YOU WILL GET FUCKED UP! You probably should have a fire extinguisher nearby, because seriously, dude, I do not trust you.

Before I started, I turned my oven on to 350 degrees because I thought I might have to keep the wedges warm and I knew I would have to toast my slider buns. Once I had fried all the wedges, I threw them in the oven for about 4-5 minutes while I toasted the buns. Once the buns were done, it was all over but the plating.

This is the part where we put in the disclaimer about not being responsible for your loss of skin, property or life because you were a careless fuckhead. Seriously, go buy a FryDaddy or just let somebody else deep fry your food for you. Or don't deep fry anything at all, because you may not have heard, but it's not healthy at all...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bucket List

I was just alerted to this fantastic article recently run in Poor Taste magazine by sometimes WWEIL contributor and generally excellent dude, Erik Pepple. "The 100 Hundred Greatest Cult Restaurants in America" is an epic list--and not so subtle challenge to the gastronomically inclined--that scours our great nation in search of those joints that elicit fervent devotion and violent salivation from their customers.

Personally I would've liked to have seen Cleveland Heights classic-cum-crunchy diner, Tommy's on the list, as well as Columbus' Jenni's Splendid Ice Creams

Check out the article and see what Poor Taste has to say. See how many you've knocked out on your travels, and plot a new course to gastronomic enlightenment.


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