Heeeey, I'm back!* This blog is about how to eat good on bitch money.

*This is a lie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giant Latin eatsplosion!

Continuing in the fine holiday tradition of cutting corners (eating out everywhere and turning random weblather into a blag), we have:

"this is bizaaaare! this is only the second time I've heard of pupusas in my life, the first time being about... three hours ago when I was paying for my pozole at La Tienda Latina.
Q. Donde esta las pupusas en mi hometown?
A. Ain't nans."

If you want to know what a pupusa is, go to here. I don't know what a pupusa is, having never seen one.

Pozole is red soup with hominy and meat and fresh vegetable shakings and lime.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Giant Asian eatsplosion!

Orlando sucks as hard as it is possible TO suck, except for the little Saigon neighborhood. Here are two reviews of the restaurant where we surfeited ourselves. The first one is mistaken on a few points, the second one points that out.

User Reviews for Chan's Chinese Cuisine

What a trip

10/11/2008 Posted by hello0420
My family and I went to Chan's three weeks ago. Some background info on myself. Born in Hong Kong (where the dim sum is delish) and I own a dim sum restaurant in the northern part of Florida. We decided to go to Chan's to compare the food and the service, and see how we could improve ours. After reading such wonderful reviews in this site, I was hoping to get amazed..but unfortunately I was not. After going to Chan's, I came to understand that mines is the best. In the parking lot-small of pieces of glass and big chunks, so beware where you walk. When we entered we were served tea and we did not know that they charged you 50 cents per person. We were seated near "the bar". Honestly, the atmosphere is a bit tacky and dirty. I did not even bother to ask for water because their glasses looked uncleaned. The food had the same aspect as the restaurant, tacky (old shredded lettuce as a garnish for some stale fried tofu) and the plates has residue on them. After ordered four plates we were out of there. When it was time to pay we received the check of $25 and take into account that we had ordered only four small entries. The owner seemed bothered when I asked her the price of each dish. I'm into the restaurant business myself, and even when I'm really busy... I will treat every costumers nicely if they ever have any inquiries. I warn every person who has the slightest thought of going into Chan's. No offense to the people who wrote previous reviews, but they are just enchanted with the thought of eating Dim Sum. If they ever had really good Dim Sum food and service, their reviews wouldn't be the same . I know that they see a lot of Asians families whenever they eat at Chan's, but most likely they are people like me who were there the only and the last time. I have my Dim Sum restaurant in the northern part of Florida, I don't advertise much because I have plenty of locals who already know of us. Good food and great service makes food yummy and satisfying = )

Chan's is good.

12/22/2008 Posted by NomNomNom
If you want to quibble over having to pay 25 cents for a bottomless cup of jasmine tea, better drive on to downtown Orlando as directed by the gigantic Houlihan's "Ur not a style-obsessed bravenewworld moron, ur axshully a foooodie!" billboard looming over little Chan's. There at Houli's you can get the handcrafted Mrs. T's long island ice teas you're used to in comfortably generic surroundings designed for discerning consumers such as you, all for your comfy accustomed price of $7 or something. If, however, you want to eat some divine dumplings, dump your vehicle somewhere in the substandard parking lot and cast your eyes at something more interesting than the ground as you walk into the place. That way you might observe something other than the broken glass that is underfoot everywhere in every slummy bit of every big glitzy dumb city like Orlando. You might see what is good (and not just good: superior) about that part of town. For instance, that Chan's has planted calamondin trees for hedges. This is particularly valuable when you leave the place packed to your back teeth with deliciousness and need a little eye opener citrus burst to avoid falling into a food coma and tumbling into the street. I love Chan's forever. It (and the other stuff in its environs) is the only reason I can think of to go to that benighted city.
Pros: it's like heaven.
Cons: it's in Orlando.

See, I just don't get this hello0420 attitude about restaurants--that plates and glasses have to be rubbed with a rag 'til they look clean or he will not deign. Does not anyone read. Is my question. Did not Orwell tell you that your glisteny steak on your immaculate plate that all looks so perfect was in fact dropped on the floor and stepped on ten seconds ago? Do you want your life run by people like Gordon damn Ramsey?

In our little town we just lost our best Chinese restaurant because of hello0420 attitude. The health inspector noticed a few roaches and some slime, so they threatened to close the place. It wasn't as if the food was transcendent, but it was pretty great to get a big shovelful of duck for $6 of a Sunday morning. The owner fled town in the dark of night without paying thousands of dollars in back rent before the health department could close him. No more $6 bottomless Sunday duckbowl. Thanks, hello0420.

Across the street from Chan's is a huge supermarket (but not the hugest) where you can get advice about boiling live crabs (paralyze them by putting them on ice), durian fruit (there's one in my car, now, getting all warm and gooshy!) and mangdana essence. Mangdana essence is waterbug squeezins. They're useful in Thai cooking, apparently. If you can't deal with dirt and bugs, stay out of restaurants, especially the ones that look clean: they are trying to hide terrible things from you. Best to eat at the places where they whip the lids off and show you the cooked chicken feet or maybe the bowl of batterfried these. (Image from here: http://duckfatandpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/01/mang-da.html)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

spaghetti sauce, part II: I should've done part II for part I

This isn't going to build, now, there's no arc, because part II is less interesting than part I. I was thinking temporal, "beginning, middle, end," when I should've been thinking emOTional. That's the trouble with this "blogging."

Part II is stewed tomatoes. You just cut up a bunch of tomatoes and cook them for less time than you cooked the tomato paste tomatoes. If you add olive oil and garlic, your stewed tomatoes will have "depth!"

You do the same thing and don't bother to blanch and remove skins, just obliterate in the food processor about an hour or so into the cooking process when they're all amorphous and gooshy. Cook them 'til they look like the stuff in the cans.

I can't wait for part III: part III is going to be a real nail-biter!

Monday, December 15, 2008

spaghetti sauce, part one (of three): TOMATO PASTE

Tomatoes are way out of season, but the 'ponic tomato people at the market are keeping on keeping on and they have some interesting varieties worth investigating despite their lesserthan ponic-ness. I got four different kinds, including those 'Cherokee purple' (cultivars go in single quotes) ones. Everybody raves like they're great, and perhaps they are, but I prefer a more acid tomato, myself. Nevertheless I invested in the 'Cherokee purples' acause they are purple and I figured that feature coupled with their low acidity would make them superior paste tomatoes.

See, 'cause I was gonna make my own paste.

Which I did: I made my own tomato paste.

I made paste out of the purples and stewed tomatoes out of the other three kinds. (I didn't pay too much or any attn to what they all were, but they were essentially your basic snooze-a-rama store tomato, your on-vine tomato, and your high shoulders tomato, in red. I could've gotten yellow high shoulders tomatoes, but I just didn't go for it this time. I just wasn't feeling it for the yellow high shoulders tomatoes. Next week will it be their turn?)

So to make tomato paste what you do is this: cut your purples or plums or whatever into one-inch dice (That implies you have to be precise, but actually you don't. Three-inch wedge works just as well as one-inch dice. Just bash 'em up anywayworks). Put them in a steel stockpot and crank the heat 'til they start jumping around (do not burn). Turn the heat down and simmer for a long time, like an hour. Cool, blast in the food processor, return to boil, simmer 'til you achieve paste. Note that you do not have to parboil and remove the skins. You just obliterate the skins in the food processor. Time saving and less depressing in these scary economic dayz because you're using the whole tomato.

You can't imagine how fulfilling it is to see six pounds of big purple monsters slowly mutate into a cup and a half of delicious paste. You wouldn't think the paste would be so delicious on its own, either--it's just tomatoes boiled down. But turns out you can't resist it! Making tomato paste is really really fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Surprise! (The surprise was more clams.)

They were a new kind that is good raw or cooked.

Did you know that I'm not paying for these dozens of clams I'm eating?

Actually I am getting paid to eat these clams.

That is what I am trying to say about get hooked up.

In a economic downturn such as this, it's hard to beat getting paid to eat.

More CLAMS today!

And possibly a secret surprise item. I hope it's not more innovation from the geniuses that brought us the oyster powder we had that one time. Evidently somebody thought it might be a good idea to turn oysters into a ramen-flavor-packet-type powder so people could, I don't know, throw it in soup? Mix it into ranch dressing? Sprinkle it in their trail mix? Oyster powder not a good plan. Oyster tasters say NO TO THAT.

I shall report on the clams and the mystery item.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

it is possible to eat raw clams

They're really good, too.

If you've had a cooked clam and if you've had both raw and cooked oysters, then when you're thinking about what a raw clam would be like, you're probably close to right texturally, but you might be off on taste. You're also probably thinking, "ew." But it turns out no! They're less "ew" than cooked clams, which have that jaded, raspy-voiced, "left ajar all afternoon on the hot, tar-specked beach" quality we so often find in hard-living bivalves. And raw clams are far less "ew" than raw oysters. They are much more complex than an oyster, too, visually, texturally and tastily. An oyster is just sortof a gray morass. Not so our friend the clam. Not to dis the oysters, cause I love 'em, but boy, these raw clams! They're just great.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Now, when we haul off, as I recently did, and recommend people start eating on the darker side of poultry, we mustn't get all rose-colored-glasses about it, as I recently did, and imply that a person can just switch hit just like that, no problems, no setbacks, no period of adjustment.

Because dark meat represents a hurdle for whitemeat devotees.

I've seen a lot of terminology bandied about lately:
-not so fresh

The implication being that white meat is:
-not greasy

Let's take these one at a time, and let's take our time, the better to open our eyes to a new kind of way.

First, fresh.

If white meat is fresh and dark meat is not so fresh, the implication is that the legs of the capon, the goose, or the ostrich, died before the breast of the capon, the goose, or the ostrich. Wait, we need to decide on a species. A partridge. We are fixing to eat a partridge. Let's make it Danny Partridge--he's a good gateway free-range bird, since he's the Partridge most similar, phenotypically, anyway, to the Butterballs we're used to.

Okay, so picture this: it's Thanksgiving Eve in Alaska, and Sarah Palin has once again been required by the media to render up a fat load of soundbites. People are bored by her wackedout eyeglass frames by now, so she'll need a dynamic background for her mammerings. That, of course, means her unpaid illegal immigrant farm hand must hoist Danny Partridge up by his Keds, upend him in the giant metal funnel poultry-dispatcher and relieve him of his onerous life.

Consider that done. Now imagine we are looking at the brined, trussed body of Danny Partridge, ready for roasti-

-you know what, this is depressing; I have nothing against that poor little redheaded kid. He had a hard life. Plus the joke is getting old. I'm changing species again.

So Sarah Palin's had one of her howevermany children roast the bald eagle she got from the dude Bush just pardoned last week for shooting all those bald eagles, and the whole Palin clan is sitting down with forks and knives in hand, all ready to eat a really patriotic meal when suddenly the pregnant one's boyfriend pipes up:

"No dark meat for me, thanks, it's never seemed quite fresh somehow."

But all the meat on the bird died when the bird died. So all the meat is exactly the same age as all the rest of the meat. It is all of the exact same freshness!

Plus I'm pretty sure a bald eagle is entirely dark meat. Dark meat is simply muscle that gets used, as opposed to white meat, which is muscle that lies flabbily and unnecessarily and uselessly against the bone merely because it has been bred to be there. Eagles, being wild and free Americans, have not been bred to have useless meat on them. They use their breast muscles to do all kinds of wild free American stuff like fly in whenever they see a knot of buzzards on the side of the road so they can kick ass and get way more than their share of decayed armadillo.

Bristol's boyfriend sure is lucky he signed on with the Palin babymill. He must have spent his whole youth palling around with old washed up terrorists if he thinks it's okay to say the meat of the symbol of our nation is "not so fresh."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Offing the grid

Michael Pollan was on the TV last weekend. I am glad he will not be Agriculture Tsar because he can't differentiate between lie and lay and I know Our Leader can't stomach too many grammatical idiots in his administration. Despite the intellectual inadequacies and unfortunate resemblence to Hank Paulsen that render him unfit to serve this great nation, however, the Pollanator is right about one thing, and that's Victory Gardens. We spent about.... mmmmm... $25 putting in a couple of little gardens. We now have more bok choy and so on than we can jam down. The neighbor at the community garden has more you-name-it than he can eat, so we trade around. We spend maybe... an hour a week? max? messing with these little gardens. In exchange we have food to throw away. We're not using any inputs, we're just pulling weeds and eating whatever manages to grow without fertilizer. We're not doing anything to prevent freeze damage, other than maybe throwing a sheet over the plants. Totally inefficient. No concept of economies of scale. And here we have more food than we can eat for next to no money and less labor than it takes to drive to Walmart, park, and schlep-ass around the store dodging the gargantuae on their little rascals. Life is sweet! (That's a good movie. You should watch that movie.)