Category Archives: food

Ham. Also: I Moved.

Hey, so I live in Philadelphia now! Like, the one in Pennsylvania. Met who is almost undoubtedly the greatest guy in the world, but he lives ten hours away in the frozen tundra. So I quit my job, left my beloved little condo, grabbed my cat and my video games, and moved in with him like the sane and responsible adult that I am.

In freaking Philadelphia. I know! Weird.

So, here’s what’s been going on with me since:

I tried to sign up for a pottery class at the local arts council (which is actually really neat), but there were problems on the website and now the class is full, so . . .fuck those guys. I would have made the best, most lovingly-handcrafted red clay dongs you have ever seen, Arts Council. They would have been magnificent and veiny. You have only yourselves to blame!

Read this, though. I keep coming back to it every few days and laughing my head off. Things just go wacko with the machines in space, you guys. It makes a lot of sense.

I’m still bitter about not getting the tummy tuck in May because of my stupid kidney stone. Like, I lost all this goddamn weight, I should get to look hot naked, you know? So bitter. Bitter and entitled. I guess Syrians probably aren’t worrying about what they look like naked.

I’ve discovered a new love: espresso. I used to hate coffee, because I would legitimately get mad that it did not taste like it smelled. It turns out it never tasted like it smelled because of all the dang water in it! If you just make straight-up bean juice, then it tastes like it smells.

I made country ham and red-eye gravy (and biscuits, obviously) for my boyfriend, because he’d never had it. I was so surprised to find out that’s not a thing up here! Yeah, it’s called “country ham,” but I thought it was just a moniker, not an actual regional indicator. I had to order it because it’s not sold anywhere up here. I was quite pleased with how well it turned out, and it was the most southern I’ve ever felt in my entire life, other than the time I fashioned my own fiddle from a warshboard and three coonskin hats.

Anyway, since most of you are from outside Appalachia, I figure I’ll go ahead and explain country ham and red-eye gravy, too. Country ham is like. . .really, really thick prosciutto, maybe? That’s the best way I came up with to describe it when I was trying to tell boyfriend about it. It’s ham, but it’s cured and salted. You fry it with a little bit of coffee and a very tiny bit of brown sugar to cut the salt. Most people use a lot more brown sugar, or just skip both the brown sugar and coffee and pour a can of coke in there. That shit is way too sweet for me and I think people are insane. Most people think I’m insane for not liking sugar in my damn entrees, but sugar belongs in DESSERT and basically everyone else is wrong and I am right.

So after the ham cooks, you pour MORE coffee in the skillet and some butter to make red-eye gravy with the grease from the ham. It’s better than it sounds. I promise. I PROMISE. Unless you are a vegetarian, which some of my readers are, and you guys are probably retching right now and I am very sorry and I love you, but I also love red-eye gravy. Real red-eye gravy is just the drippings from the bacon and coffee, but butter makes it much smoother. It is evolved red-eye gravy. You can also put cream in there and turn it into a pretty bitchin’ smoky pasta sauce.

Yes, you will die if you eat like this on a regular basis.

I was most pleased with the biscuits. I’ve never had biscuits turn out right because I am many things: a gamer, an artist, a cubicle jockey, a hottie, a crazy person, but I am hardly a baker. I’ve been baking a whole bunch of shit up here though. Shortbread cookies, mostly. And now biscuits. I don’t really like biscuits, but I figured if I was going to make country ham for my yankee boyfriend, that he should have the whole experience. And he did. And I think he was bemused and a bit frightened by the whole thing. I also don’t think country ham was his thing, which is okay because it’s not really my thing either, but I really like red-eye gravy and there’s not much else you can eat with it besides country ham. The country ham is mostly a vehicle for the red-eye gravy.

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So, yeah. Ham. That’s what’s going on with me lately.

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Recipe: Spicy Basil Pork Stir Fry

Guys I just made the best stir fry I have ever made.  I wanted to make something a little bit like a Thai-er version of lettuce wraps, except without the lettuce because lettuce is basically just shitty watermelon, and without having to go to some godawful chain restaurant and paying $10 for it. So I made this up.

Because I am low-carbing it, I made this as sort of a dry stir-fry, with just enough sauce to coat the meat (heh, meat.) But if you want to eat it over rice, and of course you do because you are a human being presumably, just increase the broth to a cup and stir-in like 3 tsp of cornstarch in the sauce.

So, on with the show.

pork

SHIT THAT GOES IN THE PAN

1 lb ground pork (or chicken, or beef, or tofu or rocks or whatever – it needs to be ground up though)

2 TB ginger

I didn’t measure the garlic, but you probably know how much garlic you like in stuff. I threw in about four cloves.

5 oz can of water chestnuts (WHAT ARE THESE THINGS)

A splash of oil

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tsp chili-garlic paste (Like this. Everybody’s got a boner for sriracha but I honestly like this stuff better. It’s a little spicier and not as sweet.)

1 tsp brown sugar

1 TB fish sauce (you heard me. If you leave this out I’ll know. I will KNOW. And I’ll come to your house in the middle of the night and put a bottle of fish sauce under your pillow.)

2 1/2 TB soy sauce

4 TB lime juice (fresh, preferably, but I’m not going to go all Martha Stewart on you)

Mix ingredients, set aside

STUFF THAT GOES IN AT THE END

A handful of basil – again, I didn’t really measure but it was a good handful of leaves

3 or 4 chopped green onions

—–

WHAT TO DO

So you mixed up all your sauce ingredients like a good kid. Now chop up the garlic, ginger, and water chestnuts. Or be super lazy like me and throw them in the food processor because knives are for hooligans!

Heat the pan on medium high, drizzle some oile in there, and toss in the garlic, ginger and chestnuts. Cook until the garlic and ginger are fragrant – about a minute.

Throw the meat in the pan and if it’s chicken or pork you make sure it is cooked right the hell up because I don’t want your lingering, worms-eating-your-intestines-horror-movie-style death from trichinosis or whatever on my conscience. Does that even happen? I don’t know. Either way, cook your pork. If I’m having to tell you that though, you probably aren’t really cooking stuff in the first place so forget I just said all of that. Just shut up and throw the damn meat in the pan.

After it’s cooked, stir in the sauce, making sure everything is coated thoroughly. Do that for a minute or so, turn off the heat, toss in the green onions and basil and enjoy!

RANDOM NOTES

To me, this didn’t turn out very spicy. I had to add some more chili sauce after I cooked it. But I would recommend you still stick with a tsp (or even half a teaspoon if you’re not real big on spice) and adjust from there. It’s easier to add it in than it is to take it out!

Next time I make this I think I’ll add cabbage and carrots. It would make it healthier and add more crunch.

A Postpourri

I’ve got a few random pictures to dump on you tonight – a little recap of what I’ve been up to since last we spoke.


posterSo see that rad poster with the bullfighter on it? It’s roughly 40 years old and came directly from Spain. It was my uncle’s, back when they lived in Italy in the 70s. We are cleaning out grandma’s house (which means I also got a buttload of vintage tupperware!), and I saw that poster, fell in love with it, and my uncle very generously let me have it. It’s not the best photo because my hands were shaky, but you get the idea how the beautiful yellow of the poster looks against the blue wall. I don’t know if that’s going to be its permanent home yet, but I like it there for now.


tiramisuI made tiramisu! It’s no bake and INCREDIBLY easy, as long as you know how to separate eggs and have a little electric hand mixer at least. I didn’t know how to separate eggs (I don’t do a lot of baking), and learning was. . .harder than I anticipated, but after I got that sorted out, it was smooth sailing. I got the recipe from here, but I substituted the coffee in the recipe for Godiva chocolate liqueur. It turned out beautifully. Do know that it involves raw eggs though, if you’re not into that.


wreathHow to be crafty, Casey edition: buy some shit at Michael’s, tie it together, hang it on your door. Boom, done. Now give me my show.