Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day off + No $$$ = Domestic Goddess

So, I cook for a living. I cook for other people, that is. I cook things that other people have told me to make, or things I have come up with that mostly had to be approved. So, sometimes, I want to cook for myself things that I like. And then sometimes I am very low on funds, and I need to cook cheaply. And so over the years, this has always been a trend, and I find that poor cooking can be some of the yummiest cooking!

Like the other night, the Food Pimp did sushi class. He didn't have sushi left over, because people are animals when it comes to sushi. But he did have rice left, so he made fried rice. This is weird, because I really don't know if he's ever made fried rice in his life. But it was delicious. Nothing fancy, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, veggies.

So today I went grocery shopping for the weekend. You have to understand, that for us - the Food Pimp and I (the food ho) grocerying is not usual. We make groceries one meal at a time, maybe 2. Don't ask why. Anyhoo, I went to Pancho's and used the usual strategy... go to the meat section first. So, I just looked for the cheapest per pound meat... chicken leg quarters.

So, chicken grosses me out raw. And then, I watch something like Food Inc, and it grosses me out even more. But 10# of leg quarters for $7.90, I get over the grossness. Plus I'm going to make adobo which means less handling of raw meat and cooking the hell out of it, so there's no samonella or bacteria. Sure, I could still get sick, but I'm not that worried. So I won't give you the adobo recipe, because I've posted it so many times.

But I'll list the ingredients - chicken, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, water, onion, eggplant, mushrooms. Yes, eggplant and mushrooms. I like to use these veggies because they soak up the adobo flavors. So, I browned the bay leaves and peppercorns, then added the onions. Then I took all that out of the pot, and I started to brown the chicken. Then I thought, why bother. Usually, it's to render fat out for flavor and seal in the moisture of the meat and because that's what they teach in culinary school. But when you're braising for hours, it doesn't need it. So I just added the peppercorns and stuff back in the pot, then added the vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar and water.

So I didn't have a pot big enough for 10#s, so I left 2 legs in the pot that I made the sauce in, and I put the rest in a half hotel pan with most of the sauce (aluminum baking pan) and covered it and shoved it in the oven. The 2 legs were for rush cooking for lunch. Now all of it is just sitting on top of the stove "cooling".

And I almost forgot the cookies baking, but luckily I'm blogging about them so I pulled them out at just the right time.

I made peanut butter ginger oatmeal cookies. All with ingredients I scrounged from the pantry and the fridge. I basically fused together a recipe from the internets, and a recipe from the oatmeal tub, and adjusted it according to what I had available. It is just okay for a cookie. I love good cookies, and I could eat them by the dozens. These are alright. But I didn't have to spend extra money to make them, besides the energy I used having the oven on. Am I the only one that used the Quaker oatmeal tub as a drum when I was little, or did everyone do that? I was always excited about that tub when the oatmeal was almost gone. Amazingly, I could never be a drummer and I have horrible rhythm. Yes, I do play bass, but I kinda fake the rhythm part with a lot of concentration.

But anyway, I'm not going to give you the adobo recipe, because if you want it you can search for adobo in my blog and find probably one or two recipes. I suppose I'll give you the cookie recipe, because it's probably been about 2 years since I posted any kind of recipe on this here little blog!

Peanut Butter Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 c peanut butter (this is all I had of some generic springfield brand stuff that the FP used in a cooking class)
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c powdered sugar (because I didn't see the bag of granulated sitting right on the counter in front of me)
2/3 c shortening
1 oz butter (because that's all the butter I had)
2 eggs
2 t vanilla (whatever amount of vanilla the recipe calls for, I usually double or triple it because I like it, I like it a lot)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder (just cause I found some)
1 c oats
1/2 c chopped ginger (because I was too lazy to grate or mince it - c'mon, it's my day off!)

Cream the pb, sugars, shortening and butter. Scrape the bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix. Add the flour and oats and cocoa and mix. Scrape the bowl. Add the ginger and mix it again. Lightly grease a pan. Space 2 oz scoops evenly apart on the pan. Bake for about 9 minutes on in oven, preheated to 350. They are done when they are golden. Take off pan and let cool before you eat one. It will be so much better if it doesn't crumble in your hands.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So, we've heard of Chin's, but never been. Now there's that one right on Convoy street that's opened. We haven't been to that one yet. So one Sunday we decided that was the day.

The Food Pimp was driving... because he's the man (contrary to some discounted rumors) and he was asking me which exit it was. I had no idea. I remember once or twice we had driven by and said, that's where Chin's is! But I still have trouble remembering what street our vet is on... I think it's Oregon. Anyway, the FP really knew where it was, he just wanted confirmation.

So, for anyone who might not know, Chin's is in a Holiday Inn. So when we walked in, there were the remnants of what appeared to be an italian restaurant, the buffet line, decor. But Chin's is Chinese. But you would never guess to look at the dining room. Because it just looks like a hotel restaurant. So, whatever time they open, we were there right at opening. Of course, no one else was there. So, at first there was a miscommunication, and we got the regular menu. But then they gave us the breakfast menu. I was glad there wasn't any secret code to get the good menu, like there can be in ethnic restaurants.

So, the menu wasn't too big, so it was pretty easy to choose 4 things. We were hungry, and we'd never been there, so big splurge. Plus, there was no prices.

So, I'm going to go with worst first. Dumplings soup. I think it was pork dumplings. They did look irregular, like they were handmade. But they were just dumplings in bland broth. And some of the filling in the dumplings tasted... questionable. That was disappointing - and I think I'm the one who picked it because I wanted soup and I wanted dumplings!

Rice cake with ground pork. Okay, I really liked this. The texture of the rice cake slices were tender. They were not sticky and glutinous and heavy like I've had before. I think it's funny the way sometimes in dishes you see the ground meat "worms". They are cooked without really being broken up, so they retain that original form from when it comes out of the grinder. Oh, I wish I had a meat grinder... for work or at home. I love making sausage, forcemeat, tube meat, pate, sausage... oh, I already said that.

Anyhoo, me rikey lice cakey. No, that was not a racial slur.... as an asian, I have a pass to make fun of all asian cultures, don't I? Actually, pacific islander... so I can make fun of samoans too... And besides, maybe I was just making fun of myself. When I was a child, it took a while for me to be able to say red, instead of wed. This was difficult, because my sisters and I used to play with this other Philippine family with four kids. I was the youngest of 7. They were hard on me. Whenever we played twister and I was calling - they made fun of me for saying wed and wouldn't move to the next spin because they were trying to teach me "red." I should thank them now. Listen ... Red rover red rover send Roger right over. Thankfully I eventually could say red so that I didn't embarrass myself during PE class. And just as a footnote, my family pretty much lost touch with the other family. Mainly because the parents told my hippie sister to stop hanging out with their son - because she was being his friend, and he possibly had a crush on her. No, not when they were kids, when they were well in their 20s. Unfortunately, the parents weren't sure how to raise their first 2 kids, and they completely sheltered them. The last 2, they were slightly more lenient with. This is me telling you as a sheltered kid that they were sheltered.... Don't you love delving into my past?

Dan dan noodles. Yummsters! These noodles were very...sesame pastey, and they had ground peanuts on them too. I love nutty things (insert dirty or psychiatric joke here)! So, I wish I could compare these to the noodles at Ba Ren, but that was so long ago that we had them at Ba Ren. Anyway, these were good noodle.

Smoked Fish. This was the first thing on the menu that the Food Pimp chose. It looked very scary. Specially so early in the morning. But the taste was not scary at all. It was delicious. It was... very balanced. Yes, it was black, but it didn't taste black.

So that's what we ate. It wasn't cheap, but they were big portions, and we had leftovers. We got home, and we realized we left the leftovers in the car. It was a hot day. We were glad we remembered to bring them into the house. We just didn't remember to put it in the fridge. The FP realized this when he got home from work. He tried to put the noodles in the microwave to kill the bacteria and try to eat it, but he decided against it. Like I said, it was a warm day. If my mom were here, she would have eaten all of it and not thought anything of it. And she wouldn't have gotten sick. She has an iron stomach. Not like the FP's american gastrointestinal tract....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homemade italiano!

So, last weekend... or was it the weekend before? I'm lost in time. Anyhoo, the Food Pimp said, let's make pasta. Which to any home cook, foodie, gourmand, chef, etc, is not a weird idea. Except for us. We have never in our almost 17 years together, ever made pasta at home. I confess, I'm not that experienced with it, and not that good. But the FP has been teaching cooking classes making pasta lately, so that's what he wanted. So we had linguini (or fettucini? I didn't measure the width) with meatballs. I made the meatballs, but they were with pork breakfast sausage and the tube o ground beef, and the sausage had too much... thyme in it. So, not my best work. But the FP made the tomato sauce too... very simple. And we had 2 cheap bottles o red whhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnne. Simple, yet nice evening. I can tell we're getting older, because years ago, we wouldn't have appreciated the pleasure of an evening at home like this!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

never tried convoy noodle house dishes

So, we go to Convoy Noodle House about once every week or two. The Food Pimp usually gets pho, I get bun or pho, or sometimes broken rice. The past few times, we've mixed it up a bit, got a little crazy.

On one occasion I got beef satay fried rice. Fried rice. Never have it anymore. I think it was a cold day, and I may or may not have been drinking the night before, and fried rice appeals to me. I know some people fear that rice is reused for fried from. That is, rice from another paying customer's plate or rice bowl. I'm sure some gross places do that. But I don't think they all do it. But I don't even eat fried rice very often, so I'm not too concerned. I get sick from all sorts of sketchy food here in California - 2 or 3 times from Albertson's ground beef. But we just had Albertson's ground beef for dinner last night, and I didn't get sick. So maybe I'm stupid, but I'm not too worried about recycled fried rice. Anyway, this was good, but, I wanted more vegetables in it. The frozen pea and carrot cubes just wasn't enough. Some cabbage or something would have been a nice addition. Anyhoo, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Food Pimp got all adventurous too and got the curry chicken stew. It looked bland and gross, but it was actually delicious and flavorful. It's rare that we both gamble and come up winners.

So, yesterday, I got the bun with lemongrass stir fried beef. It was pretty good. I think I like the short ribs and eggrolls and bean curd sheet better though. I think what turned me off was that the last piece of meat I ate tasted a little off, like it was about to go bad. Yuck.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ba Ren again and again

So, I think I could do a diet based on cold dish at the sezchuan restaurants. In fact, we've gone to Ba Ren a few times with little money in our bank accounts, and I've been determined to get 2 plates of cold dish, but of course the FP always has to bump it up with a couple hot dishes too.

So here's one configuration - bamboo shoot (this is a requirement) peanuts and the wood ear mushrooms with chilis. Man, this is some good shit. Get a plate of it, get some rice, and there's your meal.

This one has pig ear (another mandatory selection every time we go to Ba Ren), seaweed, and the spicy beef. So all these dishes have the "sichuan sheen" (I've never heard anyone say it before, but I just made that phrase up now, thus, the quotes. The rice is necessary to soak up the flavor of the sichuan sheen.

Here we have the bamboo shoots again, the wood ear, and the edamame and mustard greens. On the meat side, it looks like we've already dug into it before I remembered to take a picture. So it looks like we had the pig ear, the braised beef, and then it looks like the duck? Only one time have we seen the duck in the cold dish table, and it was good stuff.

Here in another visit, is the mushroom, the bamboo shoot and the edamame.

Then here is the pig ear, the braised beef , and the dried beef as well. I can't really decide which cold beef dish I like better...

Here is a mystery dish, and the stir fried cabbage with chili and vinegar.

Here is the stir fried beef with pickled pepper.

Here is the fish in chili sauce

Stir fried sweet and sour cabbage. This is probably one of our favorites. Cabbage. It's just so yum. Make a note, this is different than the stir fried cabbage with vinegar and chili. While both are good, I prefer the sweet and sour cabbage.

The best thing about sezchuan or sichuan cuisine is that it makes water sparkle in your mouth. For me, a Tsingtao is mandatory for refreshment (in lieu of the water) and water is for taste amplification. What do I mean? If you haven't gone to Ba Ren and tried this... do it now. So if you have sezchuan spice on your tongue and need to "cool" it, take a swig of beer. If you just had a bite of spicy sezchuan chili and peppercorn sauce and want to take it to the next level, take a swig of water. It makes the flavors effervesce in your mouth. It is the coolest thing. And then, when I stand up for the first time after gorging on all this food, I get a rush and always think I'm going to pass out before I make it to the toilet. I never have passed out, but one day I expect to. That will be embarrassing.

I would love to take some kind of hallucinagenic drug and go to Ba Ren and eat and drink water and feel the flavors with heightened senses. I would probably have a heart attack from the delirium of it all. Not that I advocate or do any kind of schedule I or schedule II drugs - I'm just making an educated guess, basing it on the research I've done on these illegal pharmaceuticals - such as when I watched the movies "The Trip" and "Yellow Submarine"

Ba Ren
4957 Diane Ave.
San Diego, CA, 92117-2045
Phone: 858-279-2520

Thursday, April 1, 2010

el borrego time

So, A couple weeks ago, we revisited El Borrego on El Cajon Blvd. So, if you haven't been there, just get your possibly round and heavy (trying to be pc here) rumpus up off the chair and get in your prius and drive to El Borrego now. So, if it's late at night, just camp out front until they open.

Anyway, I'll break it down for you. Get the lamb broth, 20 oz. So you say, but I'm going by myself, how else are you going to maintain that full apple shaped bottom?

Then get rice and beans, of course.

Nopal Salad. It's like pico de gallo with cactus. Num num nummy.

Then you also order lamb mixiote, which comes with garnish. Hopefully they clean those wooden spoons!

They give you a bunch of tortillas. So the best strategy is just put a little of everything on a tortilla and make a taco. Some of the meat is milder, some is dark and richer, it's all delicious though. Not cheap, but totally worth it!

So you may be wondering why I didn't really expound on how delicious it is? Because this is a first hand experience. I can't tell you how good it is.

El Borrego
4280 El Cajon Blvd.
SD 92105
Cerrado Lunes