Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunday #29: For Reals This Time

You know what's awesome about waiting a month to write a blog?

You forget so much that you allow yourself to just start making shit up. And you don't even feel bad about it! It's not like you're really lying either, because everyone knows that if you can't remember something you just fill in the gaps as you go along. That's just good story telling!

Besides,  who's gonna know?
(Shut up, Corina!)

So, that Saturday was beautifully sunny and warm1. I did some prep work at home to avoid spending three hours chopping vegetables at Corina's. She demanded that I document it.

So here:
I toasted me some nuts.

I shredded me some cabbage.

I chopped me some broccoli on
my orange stained cutting board.

And then these carrots became shredded

I loaded all of my prepped ingredients into a box with a crapload of other stuff.

Stuff I thought I'd want and thought she might not have in her kitchen.

Like bowls and seasonings and a spatula.

Corina just puts out bowls of kibble and Ensure for her kids at night.2 You know that, right? It's a miracle I got everything I thought she wouldn't have to fit into just one box. Thankfully I was able to trust that she had a stove.

Anyway, if you recall from the previous blog I'd decided to make Ginger Almond Rice and a ... vegetable mess.

Corina was going to do the Sesame Cilantro Chicken.

This was all very well thought out and agreed upon.

It been written in stone for months 3.


But lo, I get there and we start talking about production plans when I find out that Corina had totally not realized that's what we were doing.  We then had to make a trip to the store.

I think she planned things so we'd have to go. Corina loves to sashay around the Safeway with her latest conquest4. This is a known fact, ask anyone in Tacoma. It's why she's not allowed to go to the Albertson's anymore (she says she doesn't go because she just doesn't like it. I know better.)

Once we bought the chicken thighs (we both agreed legs rule and breasts are stupid) we headed home and I got to the booze mixing.

You see, booze is an important part of our relationship. It was neccessary that we get the sousing underway so that we might continue to tolerate each other 5

Denise's De-Pirated Wedding Punch Recipe

1- can DOLE Pine-Orange-Banana juice concentrate
1- can DOLE Orange Peach Mango  juice concentrate
1- tin can DOLE pineapple juice (maybe a concentrate, but not the plastic jug. Never the plastic jug. It tastes funny in a school lunch sorta way.)
1 - jug Orange Juice - no pulp

You mix all that in a container. If you're fancy you use a serving pitcher, but if you're Corina you go into a fit of rage 6 and smash the pretty purple serving pitcher your best friend gave you into a thousand pieces. What does that leave you with? A giant measuring cup. We did like Tim Gunn told us and made it work.

Then you add 1-2 bottles spumante to taste. Basically the amount  relies on how much of the OJ you use, and if you use more than one each of the concentrates. Have we talked before about how I don't do real recipes? Basically you want to unconcentrate the concentrates but with alcohol instead of water.

If you don't want this to be too boozy, or want to cut down on the cost, you could replace the spumante with soda water.  I like the spumante though because it lends flavor and drunkeness.
It is not without its dangers, however.
Consider yourself warned.

and finally you add the best rum ever.

We filled the container once.
The side said to mix in 3, but
we're not drunks over here.

Mix it up and serve over ice. Yum!
If you kept all the ingredients super chilled before mixing you could avoid using ice (and the unavoidable watering down) but we didn't.

I never got a pic of pretty booze filled glass. I really suck at that lately (always.) If it wasn't for Corina, we wouldn't have got the little ingredient cluster pic up there.

Perhaps you've noticed that there are some little airline bottles in the ingredients pic. We dumped that stuff in there too. It's okay to mess with recipes, especially the ones you don't plan on following in the first place.

 Okay! On to the cooking!

Corina's Super Cilantrofied Chicken!

Did I tell you how Corina completely forgot she was going to do the chicken? It's right up there, before the boozing, but in case you thirst for Corina stories I'll elaborate here.

We were there at her house, figuring out the booze and planning out the cooking stages. As I was breaking down what I'd be doing I  said something like "and that's when you'll want to put the chicken in."

Her face glazed over. Like seriously, it was as if she'd been making out with the Krispy Kreme's conveyer belt or something. Yes, that's a perfect analogy.

As she didn't seem to understand, I attempted to remind her.

"Remember Corina, how you mentioned this 'ALL THE CILANTRO' chicken you make and how it was tasty and then we decided to do Asiany type stuff from there and I said I'd bring some sort of slaw or salad or something and then put everything off until the last minute and then since it was going to be cold and leaky outside anyway I decided to do rice and vegetables and told you that over the Internet even, I didn't say anything about making chicken cause you were gonna? Remember?

Remember Corina?

"Uh duhhhh" she replied.7

So then we went to the store where she got chicken thighs, cause dark meat is the way to go.

When we got home and she yelled at the chicken for being gross and disgusting and not good enough for her. 8

So she trimmed off the fat and the little tendony pieces like so:

Oh wait, that there is the chicken that she decided wasn't worth turning into dinner. She declared it too much of a meat-touching pain in the ass and threw it away.

Because she doesn't care about starving children either. It's why we get along so well.

The chicken Corina deemed worthy went into a pretty blue bowl.

To that, Corina added some glug-glugs of soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, a fistful of cilantro, a good couple tablespoons of sesame seeds and a big scoop of chopped garlic (a third of a cup? It's the big chopped garlic Costco container - you just dump it out until you're happy. Garlic is made of happy and we like a lot of it.)


Okay, so then we realized it was only around 4pm, and since we weren't old people we could wait awhile before dinner. Plus the chicken needed to marinate for a while and we had drinking to do.

So, with the veggies were chopped everything was ready to go. We were just waiting on the chicken and nursing home dinner hours to be over. So what were we to do?

You know, besides drink.

Dinner Preparation Half-time Activity

Corina sent her sons to fetch their dice bags so we could play a game. What'd she call it? Blargh? AngryScreamSound? ShitFuckDammit? I dunno, something.

Whatever they called it it was a lot like this one game you might have seen on Facebook.


When played alone on the internet in your cave of solitude it just makes you want to murder people, but in a group it was pretty fun. You can read the directions on the Wikipedia page I linked to. The only difference between how Corina plays and the directions listed on wiki is that if you get three of a kind - say three threes - but also get more threes on that or later rolls Corina doesn't let you increase your score.

She says it's because that requires more math than she's willing to do9.

Adding is hard.

As we played Corina did her best to make her kids roll until they went bust. Then she laughed and laughed when they did.

Man, I just love her.

Mark was the winner (remember Mark? He came too! He sat on the couch watching Netflix and drinking the one little boozy drink he was allowed [who loves diabetes? Mark does!])
I'm not sure why this is in black and white.
Probably because I wanted to be classy.

Oh hey, I forgot!
While we were having drinks and before notFarkle we enjoyed an appetizer.

I filled the empty corner with a can of chilled olives. They're supposed to go there. It's TRADITION! I'd reference the information in my good-hostess/serving/tablesetting cookbook but I know none of you are classy enough to have one, so I won't bother.

Corina called her oldest son down from his cave of manliness - on his phone. Uh, also via text.

We all knew that, but forgot. By the time he made it down there was one piece of pork and one olive.


I mean "awww10."

Okay, after appetizers and notFarkle we sat around the TV and watched half of O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Which is good, 'cause that phrase had been in my head for days. No, not days, WEEKS!

About the time John Goodman was crushing the horney toaded guts right outta Pete, Corina and I decided it was time to get back into the kitchen like good little womens (though now that I think of it, maybe frog guts just reminded us we had greens to cook.)

The chicken was put on a broiler pan and then into the oven at... some degrees.

While that was cooking we got on with the rest of dinner.

Sesame Ginger Rice and C.H.U.D. Greens
There is no group-of-ingredients pic for this. My bad.

The Rice:

The rice started with some olive oil, lots garlic, and a big squirt of ginger out of the ginger tube.

After a minute or so we added the rice. We used Jasmine rice because that's what I had at home. Plus it smells real purty.

I wasn't sure how much rice to make. I wanted there to be enough to feed everyone and maybe some left over? There were four adults and two children? Ya think... two cups of uncooked rice? That's 3/4 cups of cooked rice each.

I know, Let's do three!

So we dumped in three.
And then I put in just a little more... in case.
In case what? I dunno! There's a depression on! Maybe the neighbors were gonna come over with their begging bowl or something.

Ready for kibble.


The recipe called for chicken stock but we didn't have any and decided water would do us fine.

Once it was boiling we dumped in a cup or so of toasted almond, a fistful of chopped cilantro and basil, and brought it to a low simmer.

We covered it to cook for 20-40 minutes (somewhere in there, I can't remember)  and then we moved on to cooking the greens.

We started with a deep pot over medium heat and then added olive oil, garlic, a onion - halved and sliced thin, and mushrooms. Those got cooked until I decided they hated me too much to brown before the chicken was burned. Then we added shredded carrots.


And then the broccoli.
(No pic - shush, you've seen broccoli before.)

Once those were softened a teeny bit, I added the cabbage. It had been layered in a bowl with salt before leaving the house. This is to help it lose water in the bowl, rather than in the pot.

You rinse it before adding it in, duh.
I think some salt and five spice went in here at this point too. Probably some sesame oil also.

Then it's time to pour yourself another so you leave Mark to manage the pot.
Who's my helper! You are!

While that was happening Corina got the table set. She used a tablecloth, just for me!
She also used real plats to eat off of! Usually she just leaves her kids to eat out of the kibble dish11.

With the table set, the rice done, and the chicken pulled from the oven we were just waiting on the greens.

I stirred them.

And stirred some more.

Then I decided it was fucking dinner time and I was done looking at them. They were probably done, right? I mean, the broccoli was getting a little soft, so the paper thin greens had to be done.

We got everything and everyone to Corina's pretty white and red table.

Well, how'd everything turn out?

Dinner was good.

Her children were kind enough to sit in for "gooney thumbs up" and "courteously detested" since my boys were at their grandparents.
Thanks guys!

To serve, we dumped the rice in a large shallow bowl, garnished with green onion slices, and placed the chicken around it.

The greens went into a pretty blue bowl that was hardly worthy of them, what with the Lovecraftian relations they keep.
Apparently I didn't get a pic of just the greens.
I told you they weren't worthy.

Let's get this out of the way - Kale is disgusting. I don't believe any method of preparation could help me enjoy kale. It's bitter, which I believe is the reason it's been banned from one friend's FCF list. But that wasn't my real problem with it.

See, texturally it's just awful. It's like if some ancient tribe skinned a litters worth of some sort of critter - little mice maybe - and then dried the skins in the sun, painting them with some awful green, bitter extract or something. Then they gave them to your newcomer self as a friendly offering, convincing you that they were some sort of green that you just needed to simmer forever, but that would be nutritious and tasty and you'd just love if you gave it a chance - and oh, hey, don't eat any of the other vegetation around here. Poison, you know.

I like to imagine that this tribe did this knowing you'd be some sort of land stealing, biowar-waging bastards, and  that they laughed and laughed as they watched your starving ass try to choke down.

Because kale is that bad. Kale is revenge on a horrible people not worthy of better vegetables.

Uhh. yes. Anyway. Kale aside I enjoyed the other green food well enough. Corina made everyone, even her vegetable hating grown up son have some. Even though I knew he hated veggies in all fashions (and there was kale in this!) I served him up extra because he's a big growing boy. About the time I handed it to Corina I recalled his veggie detestment. Corina didn't realize I'd given him so much and all throughout dinner she kept telling him to eat more.

Hahahaha - good times.

The rice!
Everyone ate the rice. Corina's youngest son had something like three helpings, so at least I know he liked it.

I thought it was a little bland, and if I did it again I'd definately use chicken stock and/or some salt.

The almonds, not called for in the recipe, were a really good addition.

And the Chicken? The chicken was awesome. How could it not be? Salty soy sauce, a little sweet, CILANTRO!

We ate it all because it was good, but also because Corina has skills that I don't 12 The ability to adequately portion depending on how many mouths will be being fed that night.

See, she has five kids and she hates having leftovers in the fridge.  The fridge is where new and terrifying life forms evolve when you don't consume/dispose of your leftovers in a timely fashion. Corina feels she's caused enough damage in this world (five kids!) without bringing about a whole new plague.

She's gotten very good at  being able to make enough to feed everyone while also making sure there is little enough prepared so she doesnt have store it or toss it.

I, on the other hand, overmade everything.

Leftover rice:

Leftover greens:

We took home half the rice and the greens.

We never got around to eating them. The rice or the greens.

...the greens.

I'm afraid to go home at night. I see it's glowing eyes and those terrifyingly slimy claws. So far it's only in my dreams but I swear I can here it whispering between dimensions and I know it's only a matter of time.

It's coming.

And that's why Corina doesn't do leftovers.

Hmmm, now that I've had time to really recall events, it seems I may have been in error. I've attempted to resolve those errors below. Those that didn't require resolution required elaboration. That's still not lying.

I've noted them numerically.  If I was really smart I would have figured a way to make links on the superscripts but I couldn't figure it out! Uh Duhhhh.
1 - Wrong. It struggled to get warmer than 60-something, and was grey and stupid. Stupid of us to expect any better of July. We were going to grill. Hahahahaha!  Grilling in July. We so crazy.

2 - This is completely true, actually.

3 - Actually I chiselled it into a clay tablet, but it's the same thing.

4 - Of which she's had many. Many many many. I don't know why I even tagged this one. I guess I just want to assure you that I wasn't joking there.

5 - Okay, that's not true. I love Corina even when I'm not plastered mess - one that's puking in her toilet, peeling off her new tanktop to avoid the puke mess on it, then strutting around Corina's house in jeans and a bra like it ain't no thang - This how my first sleep-over at her house went. She still lets me past the front door somehow.

6 - Or you just break it because you're clumsy and can't have nice things. Yeah, that or rage. I can't remember.

7 - She actually didn't say anything there. Or maybe she did. She might have said something like "oh that's right! I forgot all about it, crap! To the grocery store!" but trust me, "uh duhhhh" is close enough.

8 - I know just how they felt. She's so cruel! *tear*

9 - I don't know how she ever became a Neurosurgeon witout liking to do the maths /inside joke/Corina's personal misery.

10 - No, I totally meant the hahas. It was hilarious. I did feel bad though. Just a little.

11 - When not sharing the kibble dish, they usually use paper plates because FIVE KIDS. I fully expected it to be paper plate time, but Corina pulled out all the stops for me, baby!

12 - Lots of them illegal.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sunday Number What Now?

A couple weekends ago I went to my super-best-friend's house to make us all Sunday dinner.

It was Saturday.

I've decided that I've got about one good dinner per week in me, and whatever the day of the week it manages to land on will be Sunday Sunday Sunday!

So, yes.  We'd planned it out months ahead of time. "Planned" in that we said we'd have to get together sometime and make something sometime. Solid.

Eventually we pegged it down to sometime in July, because my kids would be in Yakima visiting their grandmother and it would lessen whatever amount of crazy that would be happening at Corina's.

'Cause man, that place is nothing if not full of crazy .
Much like this teapot, it would seem.

Not that the crazy isn't fun or anything, but given the massive amount of crazy I'm hauling around with me at any time, it's not exactly the best plan to try and blow the threshold.

Not my kitchen + house of crazy + worrying about food not turning out + worrying about my own kids' interactions = Bitch Ass Crazy

So, not the fun kind of  crazy.

Seen here: Super Fun Happy Time!
Also: How Corina paints the walls.

When I got there three of her brood were off doing things more fun than hanging out with their mother's dumpy friend and her less dumpy husband. Smart move, kids!

Given that, you'd think I'd have made less stuff but... no. Never!

The Menu
Sesame Cilantro Chicken
Sesame Ginger Rice

also booze

A couple weeks beforehand we tried to nail down what we'd make. We figured it'd be hot out, being the middle of July, so  we thought  - Grilling?

Corina suggested this chicken dish she'd made before, and I said I'd bring drinks and a couple of sides. 

I was thinking some cool, Asianish sort of slaw to go with the the flavors Corina'd mentioned would be in the chicken. 

Then I got really excited for making spring rolls. Turns out those don't hold over well. I'd considered bringing ingredients to put those together and making everyone fill and roll their own, but that also sounded... nerve wracking. And who's going to get excited for a slab of pork belly or shrimp with rice paper rolled around a lettuce leaf? 

No one, I decided. 

Well fuck them! I was damn excited for them! So I made them at my house. You know, just to be sure they wouldn't be group friendly. 
And they wouldn't have been, they take lots of sprawl. 

I have pictures, I'll tell you about it sometime. 

Anyway, in the traditions of myself, I took until the night before figuring out what I'd bring. 

I decided on rice, cause yay rice, and I decided to force upon the Nelson household all the braising greens Full Circle had sent me. I mean, I couldn't very well depend on the likes of one Maxwell Arthur to help me choke them down.

I'd enjoyed chard before, and some mixed baby greens were very delightful, but GREENS kind of scared me. 

I mean, they look timid enough, right?

But when I was looking up recipes and images, shit like this kept turning up.
It's watching you.

What. The. Fuck.

Okay, I'm not here to make fun of what other cultures eat. I watch Andrew Zimmern (jeezus did you see that? It's a wtf sort of day I guess) and I know that most of the weirdness of the fishhead comes more from my culture's tendancy to disassociate its eaters from the happy little faces animals have and all that but...

That claw thing?

It looks like someone braised the fingers off of a goddamn Gremlin!

Or worse...

Mom's wrong. I don't care how hungry I get, I'm not eating that.

Do you see it!!!? Do you see it's creepy little fingers poking out?

How the hell was I supposed to figure out how to cook the damn greens when recipes paired them with accompanyments like that? Fucking C.H.U.D. fingers?

There really is an argument made for not eating anything with a face.

Especially this face.

So yes - I figured I'd bring the sack of braising greens to Corina's and make them choke it down.
Best Friends Forever!!
To the cookery!
You know what?
This blog has been a long time coming.
Because I'm a horrible Drag Ass.
I believe this preamble to meal creation makes a fine blog all in itself!
So here ya go. You're welcome.