It’s Cocktail Time!

It’s always really irritated me when Sandra Lee announces “It’s cocktail time” on her much-maligned Food Network show. It’s not that I disagree with her, per se, it’s just that coming from her…well, it smacks of self-medicating housewifery.

If I’m going to bust out the cocktails, it’s not going to be a “oh my GOSH! LOOK how cute this tablecloth is! My cocktail is inspired by the color of this beautiful tablecloth and matching cupcake tree!” No. It’s going to be more of an “oh my GOSH! Do you smell that grill heating up? That means it’s time to get CRUNK.” Only I don’t say crunk, for obvious reasons.

A couple of days ago, for example, it was a beautiful Friday afternoon, and we were firing up the grill for some poblano burgers on jalapeno cheddar buns. They were spicy. They were juicy. They were delicious. They were served with fresh steak fries, grilled corn-on-the-cob that was absolutely douched with lime butter, and a simple romaine salad with buttermilk-cilantro dressing. Woot! What could be better, right?

I have the answer to that. What could be better would be getting a touch sauced on a concoction so summery that it felt like rolling around in a patch of fire-ant-free grass in a bikini clutching a pink volleyball. So potent it felt like huffing white out from the mouth of a water bong. So pretty it was like…well, you get the picture. I bring you: The Honeydew Mojito.

It’s really simple, and utterly delicious. I recommend making a few. Or a lot, honestly. It goes down like buttah.

Honeydew Mojito
1/2 of a fresh, ripe honeydew, cubed
6 oz white rum
2 oz mint simple syrup
2 limes, juiced
club soda
ice

In a capable blender, spin the melon, rum, simple syrup and lime juice until it’s well-pureed. Fill a pint glass with crushed ice (or cubed, if you prefer). Fill the glass 2/3 of the way with the honeydew-rum mixture. Fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Stir, test for sweetness, and add simple syrup as needed. Garnish with fresh mint and a melon wedge.

I feel like you could fill a camelbak with this stuff, float it in the pool next to your raft, hold the straw in your mouth, and suck intermittently while reading a trashy beach book. I used to do it with margaritas all the time, and it’s a great way to keep pool drinks cold, while also increasing the risk of drowning when you try to extricate your drunk ass from the raft.

Fe

There is a new man in my life. I call him Vita-Mix. He’s stunning. He performs feats of great power, such as taking kernels of fresh corn, sliced Vidalia, and a touch of cream, and turning them into a frothy, delectable soup that leaps into your mouth, strips down to its bathing suit, and unearths a six-pack of Coors light tallboys.

The Vita-Mix, for those of you who haven’t been acquainted, is a blender. But not really a blender, since it’s better than a blender. That’s like calling John Elway a ball player. It’s more a fearsome-yet-tender lover of foods, able to go from the earth-shattering vortex of making wheat berries into a fine flour, or turning ice cubes into liquid frost, to a gentle caress of cutting butter into flour for pie crust, or a gentle tossing of avocado into guacamole chunks. There’s an element of “cup-the-balls” to the lowest setting that brings a tear to your eye.

It’s just amazing, and I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s going to become an even more integral part of my daily life, given my latest bout of crazies. It’s going to be whipping up protein shakes one after the other, with a carefree whir of its blades.

The thing is, Chris was sleeping in the other day and I was awake. This is always a dangerous state of affairs, but usually the only consequence is the dog wearing a hockey jersey, or the kitchen being the scene of an epic culinary battle, and me standing in the middle of it with bacon-flavored waffle batter in my hair. But this time, he woke up to find himself registered for the Ironman triathlon in October. It’s the Austin, not the Kona. Kona you have to QUALIFY for, and we are in no way qualified. Neither of us has ever done anything even weakly resembling a triathlon, and even if we had, the Ironman is way longer than, say, the Olympic triathlon. It will probably kill us. And my brother, as he’s doing it with us. But as they bury my sodden corpse into the ground, my hope is that they’ll stop, shed a single tear, and say “Kristie was bionic. And LOOK at those abs!” Sure, two marathons were incapable of unearthing an abdominal muscle of any kind, but maybe if I up the ante a bit…probably not.

I’m terrified, I’ll have you know. For one, I don’t really know how to swim. And also, I’ve never even biked half of the distance required. But I’ve got FOUR SOLID MONTHS to train, and am pretty stubborn. In order to help me maintain focus, I’ve prepared a statement for myself. I picture it being read by a hardcore voice in the background of a Gatorade commercial, only their electrolyte sweat isn’t yellow in my vision, but a kickass pink:

I am an ironwoman. Possibly iron alloy, though, since real iron is actually quite soft. I believe I am made primarily of steel, with concrete reinforcements covered in pink gang graffiti. My underpants are like rebar, but on the outside. When people don’t spend enough time around me, they become anemic. Their faces become pale and they feel weak. When you ask them what’s wrong, they may not know the answer, but it’s definitely a me deficiency. In fairness, though, in very large quantities I am toxic. As an ironwoman, I am very heavy. Sometimes, when I’m running, my legs start to weigh upwards of 300 pounds apiece, and it’s difficult to move them. People think it’s because I’m tired after running a mere half of one mile, but it’s actually the magnitude of my metallosity. I hope you understand. Swimming is also very difficult, not because I am a terrible swimmer, but because iron is so heavy it sinks. I’m basically fighting against my very nature…being made of iron. Sure, I’m a terrible cyclist, but it’s not my fault. If I were carbonfiberwoman, I’d be much lighter and on par with cycling technology. Everyone knows they stopped making bikes out of steel a long time ago because it’s hard to move something as dense as a chevy with just your legs. So life as an ironwoman is not easy, it’s not fun, it’s not actually very comfortable. But it’s something I will live through, because I am iron, and my half-life is over 1.5 million years.

You guys will spur me on, though. With your alternating bits of sarcasm and delicious foods being my only source of energy. Well, that and my protein shakes.

Angel bosom

Graduation ceremony was on Friday, and ended up being a lot of fun. I got to spend time with my good friends, listen to a pretty awesome speech by Brandon, and then hear an alumnus speak about how there are jobs in the San Antonio job market for chefs (hotjobs.com has not heard this information, and has failed to list any jobs whatsoever). The speaker, Doug Horn of the neopolitan pizzeria “Dough,” was someone I had not heard of, but it turned out being pretty valuable information in the end. I will explain this later. First, allow me to present the menu of items we got to eat, while I put away the better part of a bottle of white wine:

This was white tuna sashimi marinated in ginger-lime sauce that had a very similar consistency to Thai curry sauce. This ended up being a lovely surprise. I hadn’t been there during voting, on account of the honeymoon, so I was appalled when I got back to find we had chosen “white fish in ginger-lime marinade.” I do not eat white fish. I do not care how much you enjoy it, I think it’s gross. But I DO eat tuna sashimi, as you know. It’s the only thing I eat that swims well. So when the menu card announced it was tuna, I was beside myself with joy. I was also beside myself with a couple of glasses of wine at that point. It was crazy good, and I refrained from eating the untouched portion on the table from the girl to my left, because I don’t know her last name, and even I have limits.

Next came an unremarkable bibb salad. The dressing was hardly a whisper in the wad of lettuce, failing to assert itself and be like “hey guys! It’s totally cool that you’re eating this salad. Let me reward you with a kick of vinegar! *shazam* *pow*!” The pecans were solid, although I know for stone cold facts that I can get them for $11.99/lb at Central Market.

The main course was short ribs, risotto, and roasted root vegetables. This was pretty good. The short ribs were delicious, because short ribs just ARE. My beef (HA) with them is that they are just SO fatty. The jus in the braiser is always besmirched with billions of little fat globules, floating around visibly and taunting my bathing suit areas. Don’t get me wrong, I like fat. I use fat every day. But I don’t like the coated mouthfeel of overly fatty jus, nor do I like the dirty feeling of guilt that comes after I eat blobs of it (I just can’t get CLEAAAAN!). The risotto had been sitting for a few, and had congealed a touch too much, but was flavored well and looked like it had once been very creamy. Nobody knew WTF those little white sticks were in the front of the dish. They tasted like parsnips, but had the texture of bamboo shoots. Turns out it was parsnip core. I had to actually wander across the room and ask one of our chefs to find out. Who cuts off the good part of the parsnip and just serves the fibrous innards? Ah well, it was interesting.

Finally came dessert, which we forgot to take a picture of, but it was pretty unique. It was a creme brulee that was INSIDE a chocolate shell. Caramelized in there and all. How does one cook a custard in a chocolate shell? Obviously one doesn’t, but how do they make it appear so? There was a caramel sauce of sorts and a bruleed slice of banana lingering on the side. That chocolate, though…that was an enigma. Maybe it was cooked in silicone, frozen, unmolded, dipped in tempered chocolate? Maybe there is a Hogwarts of culinary pursuits, and I just didn’t get the invitation because my parents are muggles. Actually, now that I think of it, there is. It’s called El Bulli.

Anyway, it was all delicious, and I walked away feeling sated and delighted that I no longer had to show up each morning at 6:45 am.

We followed it up by visiting “Dough.” Not, like, immediately or anything. I’m only a glutton to a point. It was later in the evening. It ended up being an incredible find. It’s an unassuming pizza parlor in a strip mall, with a friendly staff and some simple outdoor seating, as well as tables scattered throughout the inside. All tables are in full view of the Italian stone oven, which is cool to watch. This is a restaurant that has Verace Pizza Napoletana certification, meaning it’s one of only 28 restaurants in the country that has been certified by the Italian board to be an authentic Neopolitan pizzeria. And man, was the food good. We ordered sausage and peppers to start, as well as a plate of stracciata, which is melted mozzarella curd, torn and served with fried pancetta and zucchini ribbons. My usual feeling on zucchini is that it is a bastard vegetable, but it was deliciously prepared, and went amazingly well with the crisp saltiness of the pancetta and the creamy decadence of the mozzarella curd.

At this point I did something brilliant, without even realizing it would be so. I asked our waiter to tell the chef I had enjoyed his speech earlier. I was being polite, and wanted to let him know that it had resulted in new patrons. He came running over, though, to discuss the dishes we had, and then got really excited and left. When he came back, he came bearing a gift so rich, so majestic, that I could have easily mistook him for the fourth wiseman. Burrata Caprese. OMFG. Like a little angel bosom, all creamy and white and perfect. Now, I’ve made burrata. It’s essentially mozzarella that has been hand-pulled into a little purse, and then stuffed with a mixture of creamy cheeses. Then it’s formed into a ball, just like regular mozzarella, and served warm and minutes-old (like mozzarella SHOULD be, whenever possible). But this, ah, this wondrous orb…it was a whole different beasty. First of all, it was softball-sized. HUGE. Then it was stuffed with a luxurious, velvety, incredibly flavorful filling of leftover, warm mozzarella scraps from the pulling process, as well as ice cream scoops full of mascarpone (Italian triple creme cheese). It was dotted with black truffle pieces, and served with fresh, local heirloom tomatoes and balsamic. We spread it on hot, buttered ciabatta toast that had been fired in the stone oven.

I don’t think Chris and I have ever made noises like that in public. At Alinea, we were too afraid, too self-conscious. At home, it’s sometimes difficult to sit down, silence things and EXPERIENCE our food, but at this place we felt right at home, oohing and aahing and immersing ourselves in the nectar of the Gods. We were even more delighted to find that there is something called a “mozzarella bar,” wherein you belly up to the counter where they prepare the food, and they had you wads of fresh mozzarella and mini-burratas on sticks while you drink Italian wine and watch them hand-toss pizza dough. All by the warmth and glow of the giant-ass stone oven. I imagine we’ll be there weekly.

We had a pizza. It was great. Very authentic. But I can only process a limited amount of incredible stimuli at once, and I was already feeling pretty shell-shocked by the burrata. I’ll go back for the pizza, but I might leave Chris for the cheese.

Sorry!

To those of you who commented on the last blog and had it deleted, it was an accident. I was republishing after editing for a typo, and it republished without the comments. I love you guys.

And I passed my practical, meaning I get to graduate tomorrow. Excitement. It went really well: shallow-poached snapper with sauce vin blanc and sauteed mushrooms (ew) and chicken fricassee (which Chris calls choi-choi-frick-choi-choi) with root vegetables and green beans. And rice pilaf. I even didn’t throw up when chef made me taste a bite of the snapper, and I thought that was a giant leap for Kristie-kind.

Chris and I are gearing up for a 4 day weekend (if you include graduation day), so I’m thinking of a good food project for this weekend. I’ll post when it’s done.

Busted

Hi guys! I missed you so million while I was in Jamaica, and I can’t wait to be back in your loving bloggery arms with tales of cakes and castles, dragons and dumplings, princesses and pine nuts…you know, the FOOD. But I have to take my final practical exam for certification tomorrow, so I have to study tonight until my eyeballs fall out. And I’m a little distracted from my studying, because I had to go edit my entire blog.

Why?

Because my school “located” it by having someone tattle. It’s the only student I’ve every complained about, and to be honest, I’ve written some pretty creatively horrible things about him in here. I’m talking descriptive, frequent analogies of his face and personality to female body parts. It was definitely never meant for him to see. But he was talking trash with his friends and they decided to google me. They found the blog, they went to administration (despite it having, um, NOTHING to do with the administration), and I got my ass served to me today.

A couple of quick things:

1-Why was I being googled by my nemesis? We have a long-running feud, with mutual dislike and sabotage, so I guess it makes sense.
2-What kind of adult tattles?
3-Why would anyone ever take this blog seriously?

It’s so clearly just a venting ground. And you know what it was called today? A “hate site.” Hate. For God’s sake. I don’t hate anybody. I hate Texas a little, but complaining about this classmate became almost a hobby, and I certainly didn’t hate him. I just didn’t LIKE him, and it made me feel better to come here and call him things. Toddler-like, but with more swear words and offensive analogies. My descriptions of him became a caricature, with all of its exaggerated traits and unflattery (not a word).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I feel terrible that he saw it. Taken out of my tone-of-voice context, it is really mean, and I don’t like to hurt people. I learned a valuable lesson about using peoples’ first names. Lesson: don’t. They will find out. Like ass-dialing with your cell phone, and then having your boyfriend hear you in the car complaining about his sexual prowess or something (has not happened to me, but I’ve HEARD of such a thing frequently).

I just don’t get how or why the school is involved. Or what was accomplished by them printing out the whole thing and saying they’re going to keep it. Or how they can say I “could be sued for libel.” I guess technically, calling someone a
“insert girl body part here” could be libelous if they treat it like a fact, but I really feel like this has been blown out of proportion. It seems to me just like a (albeit mean) case of silly name-calling. A blog is a blog. I’m not going to apologize for how I write, because the venting makes people who are frustrated at work and at home laugh out loud. Because vicarious rants make people feel better about their fight with their coworker or whatever.

From now on, though, no names and no smack talk about people I know. It ends poorly.

What do you think? Is a blog the business of a school? Are angry humor-writing and hate speech the same?

Now to study, and then writing and cooking full-time again. I can’t wait to be back!

The Final Guest-Blog (Maybe)

I will be picking my sister up late tomorrow evening. Then she will take over and wow you with her wit, food, and overall awesomeness. Thank you for reading in her absence, I am sure she will be thrilled to out-do me when she returns. (After a day or so. She really isn’t exaggerating when she says she is terrified of flying. She has to get pretty Hasselhoff’d to enter an airport, much less get on a plane).

The animals survived and thrived during my stay here. Additionally, Willie Webber has improved his average workout score to around a 7 or 8 out of ten. His transition to Grown-Ass-Dog food should help him continue to improve. (Of course, Semper Fido puppy-pt will also be essential). The kitties are bored with us now. They realized we were not overly exciting or edible, so they have moved on for the most part. We “love them millions” as my sister would say.

Speaking of the animals, Willie spent the day at doggy-daycare because we went to the San Marcos Outlet mall. Texas still tastes like foot, but this mall was awesome. I am a severely attractive man, but an 800 dollar Armani suit puts me on another level. Somewhere Elwayesque… My love for Elway aside, I kinda got used to this state. Sure, there are fatties everywhere. Even the men and women in uniform are a bit putrid for my taste. Sure the commercials suck. Sure everything has to be “Texas-sized” (I have yet to see a “Texas-sized Abortion Clinic,” but I am sure it is somewhere in this state). But the neighbors are super-friendly, the food is great, and the gym is nice. I wouldn’t choose to live here, but I think I could grow to enjoy parts of this fire-ant-ridden Hell hole. That is as close to a compliment as I can give…

Food Time!

In order of consumption…

1st: Sacher Torte, pronounced: “Chocolate, raspberry, almond, and a couple other flavors I couldn’t put my finger on”

This cake was delicious in a wonderful way, but it was my least favorite of the three cakes. Fortunately, my fiance was in love with it. (Who would have thought I could be replaced by a cake that CLEARLY has an extra “e” in its name? I understand that different languages use different spellings, but this one just seemed excessive. I will have to go by Erike from now on in hopes of stealing her away from the chocolaty goodness.) The cake was dense in a good way, and the nuts added interesting texture to each bite. The raspberry, once again, was not overwhelming. Instead, it acted as a compliment to the cake.

2nd: Lasagnae (If she can add extra “e”‘s, so can I)

I have never been a loyal fan of lasagna, but that is because I do not like many cheeses. Many cheeses happen to literally taste and smell like foot, so I tend to avoid them. I know, however, that my sister has similar tastes. This was enough reassurance for me to try her version of the classic Italiane food. I am glad I did. It was very saucy, but not in the my-fat-daughter-is-a-bitch-so-I-will-just-say-she-is-being-saucy kinda way. It was the perfect amount of sauce to ensure that every bite would not be too cheesy. There was also a ton of lightly seasoned beef to go around. I will probably be disappointed by other lasagna in the near future thanks to her fantastic version of the dishe.

3rd: Beef Roast with Caramelized Vegetables

This dish was special to me. It is important enough to me that I couldn’t abuse it with extra letters. First off, it was by far the best. Secondly, it is one of the dishes I grew up eating with my family. My father would always sneak into the kitchen at night to snack while it stewed in its own deliciousness. My sister, the Spiteful Chef herself, would always steal ALL of the gravy. She would with zeal, and without remorse. It is hard to compare my mother’s Beef Roast to my sister’s, so I will not. What I can say, is that this dish blew me away. The meat was so tender that it was hard to eat without a spoon. The vegetables disappeared, as good vegetables should, into the buttery goodness of the broth/gravy pool the beef used as a home. The meat was pink and was not seasoned much from what I can tell. It was just a great example of a chef letting great food stand for itself. When my sister returns to writing on this blog, be sure to ask her about it. This meal was a bit too great to describe. I am surely not doing it justice.

Once again, thank you all for reading. As a readers go, none of you taste like foote. Another blog-post should be up within a few days featuring my sister. Needless to say, I look forward to watching her show off her intelligence and work ethic. She is wonderful. I love her millions.

Nom-Noms

I am sorry to say that there will be no pictures of the food because there is no way to connect our camera to the computer. There will be, of course, stunning descriptions to help you understand the awesomeness that each meal delivers. There are several foods that we got to enjoy.

In order of consumption…

1st: Raspberry Cheesecake

This cake was lucky to make it through day 1. I am a HUGE fan of cheesecake. I would wear a cheesecake jersey to most sporting events if they made them in my size. Sadly, the instructions made me wait a total of 4 hours before I could enjoy the delectable dessert (1 to thaw, 3 in the fridge to reach the correct texture). It was well worth the wait. The cheesecake was hard enough to keep its form when cut, but soft enough to melt in my mouth. The cheesecake was more creamy than sweet, which is what I prefer. The raspberry added an interesting aesthetic element to the cake. It was functional because it divided the cake into tiny slices. It was obviously done with free-hand, which gave it an obvious homemade appeal. The lines of raspberry didn’t overtake the cheesecake taste, as raspberry tends to do. Overall, this dessert will be hard to top.

2nd: Coq Au Vin (Pronounced-“purple chicken”)

I am wary of the French. They bitched a lot when President Obama gave them a DVD-set as the customary annual gift. The gave him a pen made of wood from an old famous battleship. Sure, Obama may have picked their gift at the airport last minute. But let’s be honest, who wants a pen made from the equivalent of the S.S. Retreat? The point is (no point, actually, just a useful transition) that I am wary of French sounding food. I am also wary of purple food. Needless to say I was wary of this specific food. It just happened to be delicious. The chicken practically fell off of the bone, and the accompanying mushrooms, carrots, and orzo soaked up the red wine flavor the chicken could not. It felt like grown-up food, which is a nice change from eating PB&Js; for three weeks because peanut-butter went on sale. Though delicious, I do think that the meal carried undertones of a devious nature. As I said earlier, I am pretty happy not being overly fat. My two siblings need for me to become fat so that their 19 year old rivalry can settle into the past. (My little sister was born on my older sister’s birthday. They feel that the only solution is for me to become fat.) This dish was LOADED with butter. I love me some butter, but this went far beyond flavoring and into artery-sabotage. Suspicion aside, this dish was delicious and surely more complex than I understand or described.

3rd: Enchilada

This was the kind of dish that surely took more time, effort, and quality ingredients than I can adequately appreciate. (Prepare to be underwhelmed with descriptive words) The top was crunchy and cheesy. It was thick, which surprised me because I can usually only make thin foods crispy. The inside was a great mix of red-rice, beans, tomatoes, green peppers, chicken, and beef. The chicken managed to attach itself to the sides, while the beef acted as a filler, mixing with the other motherless ingredients. The result was a “taste-sandwich” of sorts. There was a clear top and bottom, both crispy and lined with chicken. The inside provided the bulk of the flavor, without ruining the texture provide by the ends of the “taste-sandwich.”

4th: Jim Beam Tiramisu

I could tell I was in for a treat with this cake for two reasons:

1: It had the name of a liquor in its title.
2: The tin foil had a note, which read, “One Scoop Missing :-)”

I would generally define a “scoop” as a portion which can be removed with a reasonable sized spoon or scooper. She must have found a sand-castle shovel or something of that nature to remove this scoop. I could tell why I would only be getting three-quarters of the cake moments after taking a bite.

Sometimes, I wish I could just rest on my back and spray concentrated flavors into my mouth. It would remove the effort of chewing and, for the most part, swallowing food. This cake comes close to fulfilling that culinary fantasy. Each inch of cake contains the flavor of 10 homemade cinnamon rolls. Once in the mouth, the cake melts away within seconds, but the flavor remains for a good minute after the food is gone. It is like the food disappears. “Those tricksy Hobbits!”

Although I warned you that I am not the chef in the family, I do know my way around a grill. We had a simple and classic, yet delicious lunch yesterday. We bought some quality unflavored bratwurst at the grocery story. Then, we picked up my favorite beer: Arrogant Bastard (I know) from the Stone Brewing Company in Cali. I have heard rumors that it doesn’t matter if you use Keystone Light (Pronounced Kay-Stone-Eh if you are trying to impress chicks with your cultured-ness)or a nice beer. It seems common sense to me that a better beer would make a better beer-brat, but I am not sure. Any chef-folk who know the answer? Just let me know. Anyway… we poked some holes in the brats, cooked them slowly in the dark-and-hoppy microbrew, and cooked 1 minute on high heat on each side on the grill. Much like me, they were fantastic and my fiance loved them.

I will have more foods to update you on by tomorrow. I would love to hear any beers that make for kick-ass beer-brats, if you have a suggestion or two.

The cats are coming out of their shells, and learning to trust us. They are full of love and only vomit about once a day now.

I will not dance around the fact, Willie is a chub-chub. He is on his last bit of puppy food before he switches over to Grown-Ass-Dog (should be a brand) food. I have developed a Semper Fido workout plan to get him back in shape. He LOVES his workout… for the first 5 minutes. I am pretty sure he is terrified of his ball now that he knows he may have to chase it at a park. It is nice for us as well, because he passes out almost immediately upon getting back inside. He scored a 4 out of 10 on yesterday’s workout. Hopefully his score will improve throughout the week. (Point Breakdown: 4 points for effort, 4 points for time, and 2 points for cuteness. He starts with a minimum of 2 points, naturally.) Well, we are gonna take him on his first Semper Fido Physical Training session of the day. He is probably hiding under the bed.

That’s What I Like About TEXAS

Since the Spiteful Chef is in Jamaica, I will be the featured guest-blogger for the next few days. I must admit, my culinary wisdom pales in comparison to hers. She pays to improve her prowess, and I still regularly apply the sniff test to most foods I find in my apartment. (The great thing about MREs is that they always pass the sniff test because they have been engineered to have neither smell nor taste.) The funny thing is, I am the go-to guy in my apartment when it comes to questions about food. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that my room mates are single-handedly (3 handedly?) putting the Totino’s family through med-school. In other words, I kinda suck at cooking. Fortunately, I perform well when tasked with the best part of cooking…

Eating. The Spiteful Chef has been kind enough to provide me with 4 meals and 3 cakes to enjoy during my stay. I will provide you all with stunning analysis using descriptive words that the layperson can understand. (Tastes like foot, doesn’t taste like foot, etc.) I will also provide updates on the animals, partly to provide you with reassurance, and partly to remind me that if I don’t act like a grown-ass man, they will defecate in my luggage. Most importantly, I will carry on the proud family tradition of bitching about everything in life that falls below my arbitrary golden standard.

I have yet to eat any of the pre-made meals.

The animals are attacking my fiance. They seem to be prevailing.

There, with those two out of the way I can focus on bitching about Texas. If TX were a food, (which it probably is down here) it would certainly fall in the “tastes like foot” category. Immediately upon exiting the plane, I was overwhelmed by the overheated funkiness of this state. A lovely geriatric in a cowboy hat gave me a hardy (I think that word is ok in this state) “Howdy Yall!” I think their customer service department should try a more empathetic phrase. Maybe, “Welcome to Texas. Sorry.” Whatever, she was just doing her job. I will let that one slide. After leaving the airport, I found the vehicle and turned on the GPS. Let me introduce you to the Texas Highway System. When you were a kid, did you ever turn the two wheels on your Etch-a-Sketch as quickly and randomly as you could? If you did, you could have a successful career in the Texas Department of Transportation. My GPS revealed a cluster of black lines intersecting randomly and repeatedly. I almost reached out and shook the GPS, hoping I could start over. I must stop here, because I really want to give special attention to a Dairy Queen commercial that tugs at my heart-strings.

Every Dairy Queen commercial in Texas ends with a man drawling (new verb) the following phrase: “That’s what I like about TEEEEEEEXASSS.” You know what? I like ice cream. I like cookies and burgers. I also like not being a fat piece of shit. Maybe the obesity rate in Texas wouldn’t be 28.1% (CDC 2007) if there was something else to like in Texas besides Dairy Queen. I would get off my high horse and stop judging these people, but I am not a decent person.

I will get back to writing about food as soon as I get to try some. I look forward to updating you throughout the week, because That’s All I Like About Texas.

Not what it may seem…

Sometimes things aren’t what they seem. For instance, this picture of my breakfast sucks. I took it lazily and without an eye for detail because I was hungry. But it didn’t taste sucky, it just looked sucky. It tasted delicious. Because it was Grand Marnier challah french toast on a puddle of creamsicle creme anglaise and topped with a tart orange glaze. I decorated it with tangelo supremes. And it tasted great in the way that only a decadent, delicious, sweet and sassy breakfast can. That’s why people love breakfast, you know. Because it’s a meal where you can have dessert and bacon in the same meal, on the same plate, without it being avant garde.

Pretty much everyone loves breakfast. Everyone except my brother, that is. My brother, Erik, HATES breakfast. He says it’s a culmination of foods that suck. He clearly doesn’t know any better. He loves bacon. He loves cake. He loves french fries. He loves butter. He loves to eat the centers out of loaves of french bread like a little tunnel-rat. So I don’t know what breakfast he’s really rebelling against. I have plans to fix this, specifically on Monday, May 18th at 10 AM. I’m going to make a welcome-back-breakfast-spread that will knock all of our respective socks off. I’m going to make him a waffle to end all waffles, and a spread of supporting (but glamorous) characters to really reel him in. He’s going to love it. Oh no. I’m a little drunk.

the point of all this is that I adore my brother to tiny little pieces. He’s a marine officer of sorts, graduating at the top of his rank, but is also really good at chugging beers and calling you out on grammar and spelling. You’ll love him. When? You may ask? Well, you’ll be given plenty of time to love him as he’s my guest blogger for the week I’m gone for the wedding. He’ll be watching the puppy and cats, hanging out, and eating premade food from the carefully labeled freezer and pantry section, and basicaly just keeping everything running well until we get back. And he’s bringing his recently betrothed with him to make sure he doesn’t set things on fire.

He’s startlingly intelligent and funny, and he likes to eat. You’ll love him.

His Name is Erik, and he’ll be around beginning in the next few days. Try to comment back to him a lot. He’ll like that. And when I get home…breakfast is ON.

What Real Men Eat


Well, it’s not this, that’s for damned sure. But WHY don’t real men eat quiche? It seems mighty manly, with its molecules of cholesterol swirling about in armies, grunting and spearing arteries with pitchforks of deliciousness. I mean, it’s like saying the bacon cheeseburger isn’t for real men. If real men can’t be defined by coronary artery disease, what CAN they be defined by? Hmm?

This was a fresh, buttery, flaky crust, topped with a mixture of eggs, cheddar, black forest ham, and fresh parsley and chives. Oooooh, and black pepper. All in a tart shell, which is the only way to make a pretty, perfectly cooked quiche if you ask me. If butter were crunchy, then that would be what this crust tasted like. And the eggs were fluffy and fresh with their herby payload. Gracious me. A cup of tea, some apple slices, and a wedge of this mofo and it was the perfect Saturday breakfast.

I’m proud to say that I’m marrying a man (not a REAL one, obviously) who likes quiche. A week from today, as a matter of fact. Which is why, when coupled with the pressure of finishing my last block of culinary school, I have been a lazy, lazy blogging whore for the last little while.

Planning a wedding isn’t a full-time job. I’m pretty low-key about the whole thing, rather than going all bridezilla on people. Finishing culinary school isn’t a full-time job, even though it’s over 8 hours a day of work. But put the two together, along with a crazy surprise bachelorette trip to Austin with my bestie Bex, and having to replan an entire honeymoon at the last minute since Chris isn’t allowed to go to Mexico on account of medical professional/piglet flu…I’ve been absurdly busy. So I apologize.

It’s not likely to get better any time soon, either. I leave for CO on Wednesday, wedding on Saturday, leave Monday for Jamaica (have since discovered that in my haste to find a honeymoon at the last minute, while still accounting for all the money we lost by cancelling the other at the last minute, I accidentally booked us at a resort that has an area devoted to nudists. Oops.), and get home on the 17th, in time for my culinary school practical final on the 21st and graduation on the 22nd.

I do keep my facebook all updated, though, so if you friend me we can keep up with each other until my return.