Monday, July 28, 2008

Ich Bin Ein Elitist

A Tip of the Toque to Glenn Beck.

Apparently, not long after Michelle Obama was proud of her country for the first time, Barack Obama is embarassed by it.

So his pastor says God Damn America.
His wife was never proud of America until this year.
And now he's embarassed by America.

Way to be a citizen of the world, Barry. Remind us again why that qualifies you to be President of the United States of America? Or why you'd even want to, considering how embarassed we make you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Northwest Has Been Berry Good to Me

I don't suppose that anyone who has read my blog for very long would be surprised that my most recent culinary experiment (from the ground up, not refining previous efforts) would be a Northwest variation on a theme from elsewhere. But this time, I decided to foray into Northwest-Asian fusion. We do, after all, share the Pacific Rim with Asia, and in fact the U of O is home to the Center for Asian and Pacific studies, and for a city of less than 200,000 Eugene has an amazing number of Asian restaurants -- mostly Chinese, followed by Thai and then Japanese and fusion.

I decided that I'd get into the fusion mood in a big way, and so the name of my dish reflects not only the fusion of Northwest and Asian cuisine, but also a fusion of my love of cuisine and really really atricious puns. With that in mind, I present to you:

Rasperryaki Glaze
1 1/2 cups red raspberry syrup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce
1 Tbsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Head to simmering, reduce by 1/4. Use as a glaze on meat, etc.

The other day when I did my hazelnut encrusted salmon, I'd purchased the sockeye whole and busted it down into fillets myself. Last night I fired up the grill and tried my glaze on the rest of that salmon, served it with grilled corn again, and paired it with a King Estate '07 Pinot Gris. I was quite pleased with the results. The glaze does have a hint of berry flavor, enough to give it some distinction, but not so overpowering that it loses the terriyaki influence, and the saltiness of the soy prevents the syrup from being cloying (a real danger with a sweet fish like salmon).

The Only Constant is Change

A while back I blogged on a recipe I developed on the fly, and then on my efforts to refine the recipe.

Well, despite my pleasure with those results, I continue to refine it, and here are the latest refinements:

1. 86 the cranberries
2. shallots instead of onions
3. roasted filberts, not raw
4. fewer filberts, more rosemary
5. deglaze with bourbon, not wine, and add apple juice before reducing

I served it with garlic mashed yukon golds and sauteed green beans this time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

I admit it... I love Lolcats:

more cat pictures

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do As They Say, Not As They Do, Pt. II

A tip of the Toque to Glenn Beck.

Just read the link, dammit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If King George commands, where specifically do we obey?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Fires

It's been a while since I had time to do any serious cooking at home, but tonight I managed to feed TFR well. The Lad needed a couple of items from the grocery store, so on the way home from Daycare we stopped and I got... THE BUG. A mood to cook mean struck me, so I went to town.

Dinner was pretty light fare, my old standby of cedar-planked hazelnut encrusted salmon, but it was special in that I was able to buy whole wild Alaskan sockeye and break it down myself (which means there's more in the freezer now). I topped it with a shallot and blackberry sauce, garnished with lemon zest. I forewent the traditional sides of a veg and a starch, and combined the two in some sweet white corn-on-the-cob, roasted in the husk on my deck grill. Wine Wine pairing was a dry Pinot Noir Rose from Hamacher.

Appetizers consisted of a ciabatta crostini topped with Oregon bay shrimp in cocktail sauce, garnished with wedges of avocado and finished with lemon juice, served with a cuba libre as the cocktail. Dessert was pound cake topped with fresh sliced strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If by a lonely harbor wall, she watched the last star falling, where is the love for whom she'll wait and hope and pray?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where are you if you're talking to a tourist whose every move's among the purest?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

In All Fairness to Barack Obama

Jesse Jackson was not being fair to Obama.

He really doesn't single out black people when talking down.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If you was lookin' for a place to get yourself out of the cold, to warm the frozen feelin' that was eatin' at your soul, where was it winter?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Boy, do I Have THEM Snowed....

A tip of the Toque to Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy:

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

In truth, I did rather poorly, from an academic standpoint, in high school. OK, to be fair to myself, it was more of a problem with application than information, but still, I highly doubt I'd have scored so well had I taken this quize back in the day.

Forget Hell, I'm in Limbo's Kitchen

Two weeks plus since graduation, and things have settled into a random pattern. I've discovered I have a knack for working under pressure, and I've concluded that I'd rather spend an entire shift on a slammed line than do an hour's prep.

The problem is I'm not getting the hours I need. This week and next are our busiest weeks of the summer, yet I'll be barely making 30-35 hours. That is more than during school, but it's still not enough. And the hours are spread out, often 3 or 4 hours a day for 5 days, followed by one full shift, and only one full day off. It doesn't help that the food I'm cooking does nothing to fire my passion. The straw that broke the camel's back was this coming weekend -- When I started the job I made clear that due to childcare limitations, I cannot work on Saturdays. But they scheduled ALL of us to work on every day of the 4th weekend, no exceptions, and missing a shift is a firing offense, called in or not.

I have been surprised to discover that my No Saturdays stipulation is not as much of a deal-breaker as I expected it to be. I discovered this because I spent all day yesterday canvassing the downtown Eugene area, as well as several outlying restaurants, dropping off resumes at at least 15 restaurants. I had 3 impromptu interviews, an on-the-spot appointment to come back for an interview, and had another call for an interview by 8:30 this morning. One of the impromptu interviews ended in a promise of a call, and another resulted in a call-back today. Of the two interviews today, one resulted in a promise of a call-back, and the other resulted in me being scheduled to work on a trial basis during the breakfast shift this coming Friday. I'm sure I'm going to get my ass kicked, especially since I'll be working 5:30 AM -- 2 PM, then going to my current job and working 5-11 PM. But I'm going to work that kicked ass off, and I'm going to get a better job -- better pay, better hours, and more importantly, BETTER CUISINE!

I really do love this work. A few days ago I ended up working solo during the lunch AND early dinner rushes because the other cook called in sick 15 minutes before shift. I was slammed, I was pissed, and I was HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE!!!!! As I worked, and stewed, and fought my way out of the weeds, I found myself smiling and thinking to myself, "at least I'm not at a desk anymore". I'm seriously better of emotionally doing this than I ever was answering tech support calls from pissy, computer-illiterate customers in a row of cubicles, while a supervisor stood at the end of the office, snapping a whip and shouting "Answer FASTER!" as a bald giant wearing nothing but a leather harness beat the rowing rhythm on a kettle drum.