Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Moved to a new blog! Check out A Cook and a Geek!

Hey everyone! Simple post here, straight to the point.

I’ll be blogging on a new site from here on out. Blogspot has been great to me, but I just wanted to relaunch with a broadened theme.

So loyal readers, please visit me at http://www.acookandageek.com/ !

Thursday, September 6, 2012

+5 Food of Eating Recipe Test #2: Olive Oil Crackers

Hot on the heels of the last +5 Food of Eating test for Peanut Butter and Jalapeno Hummus we have the an accompanying dish, the olive oil cracker.

I’ve baked many things, but I’ve never baked a cracker before, so this was a nice learning experience. While I can not say all cracker recipes are easy (as this has been the first time I’ve tried one) this particular recipe is in the straightforward category.

As for the result? It is very crisp and not too light nor heavy. I can see this working well with light cured meats and spreadable cheeses as well!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

+5 Food of Eating Recipe Test #1: Peanut Butter and Jalapeño Hummus

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been busy with lots of projects, including preparations for the +5 Food of Eating tasting party this Saturday. There’s going to be awesome food and games, and some awesome drinks provided by local brewery JP Das Brew!

As background, for those of you who don’t recall, I’m contributing some of my time in the kitchen to test some recipes for the upcoming tabletop gaming themed cookbook, +5 Food of Eating. Tiffany has been kind enough to let me blog about some of the recipes I’ll be testing!

This week I’ll be testing a recipe I honestly wasn’t so sure about, Peanut Butter and Jalapeno Hummus. I like hummus, and I like peanut butter and jalapenos, but putting them all together did not seem like the most obvious thing, but it did make sense on some level. Tahini is often located near peanut butter and I’ve had roasted pepper hummus too, so this is something still pepper related.

I have to say, it actually works! The peanuts are more complimentary than overwhelming, and the jalapeno pepper added a nice bit of kick, but I’m a bit curious how a serrano or a bit of habanero would do instead.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Having fun with Two-Can Spam: “Vietnamese Style” Spam

No, not a certain avian purveyor of artificially flavored corn circles, but two cans of that mechanically processed pork product.

So why Spam for this post? A number of reasons. One, I felt it’s been a while since I posted on r/asianeats, and this is… vaguely Asian, since I think my family is one of the few that does it this way (and since we’re Vietnamese that automatically qualifies it as Asian right?) And secondly because it is “boring to great” week on r/52weeksofcooking, and Spam was listed right there as a boring food.

I’m not sure what h3ather meant when she said that spam was boring. Don’t get me wrong, I know spam has an extremely large and outspoken contingent of detractors, and there’s a lot of negative adjectives that can be applied to it, but boring would not be the first word I applied to it. Since I actually like Spam, I will not repeat those words here.

Oh yeah, before I forget, nobody in my household eats a can of spam over a kitchen sink. We have however eaten it with a pocketknife on one of the sandy shores at Yosemite, along with baguette. After a long day of hiking, eating it like that in the shade is just wonderful. But I digress.


So, Vietnamese style spam, what is that exactly? It’s actually two dishes actually that go well with rice. Here’s some of the stuff you’ll need for both. Two cans of spam (well, one will do really) cabbage, onion, a red chili, garlic. You will also need a big of fish sauce. And that automatically ups the “Vietnameseness” of any dish. Well, it could also up the Thai-ness, Phillipinesness or Cambodeliciousness of a dish as well.

But, I’m Vietnamese, so I’ll call this Vietnamese-style Spam. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Citrus, Onion, & Beer Marinated Spatchcocked Chicken

Ah, spatchcocking. No, that isn’t something dirty (probably) and no, it’s not what they play with in Badminton. It’s a method of flattening out a whole chicken by removing it’s backbone so you can spread it flat across a grill so it cooks more quickly than leaving it whole.

I learned the essentials of technique and temperature from this link but used a very different mixture for the marinating process. Also note this is a recipe for grilling, so you will need either a gas or charcoal barbecue grill.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sortatash Version 2–Hot Sautéed Corn and Squash Side Dish

I’ve worked on this recipe a few times, tweaking it a bit each time. The last time I tried using it as a less wet alternative to salsa in the Yakisoburrito.

This time, I decided to make it completely a side dish, good for accompanying grilled meats and whatnot, and overall I am pretty satisfied with the result.

I replaced the rather thin wax pepper with a much meatier cousin, the pasilla pepper, and spiked everything with a bit of habanero.  The result is a satisfying, toothsome dish that will fill many a belly quite nicely.


Before I continue on with the recipe, please let me shill an awesome project again briefly. Tiffany Simmons is writing a cookbook themed around tabletop gaming, and it is going to be awesome. Yes, I am taking part of it as a recipe tester. And if you’re in the Northern California Bay Area and are free on September 8th, you should consider joining me in San Rafael for a gaming and recipe testing/tasting event, I’ll be cooking up a storm! Just check out the Secret Passage reward level!

Ok, now back to the sortatash recipe.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Theme is Green–Pan Fried Green Chili Peppers

First of all, a quick plug for the Kickstarter for +5 Food Of Eating, a geeky/nerdy cookbook to be written by the very cool Tiffany Simmons. Full disclosure, I am involved with the project as a tester. I will not be receiving monies directly from the Kickstarter however, so I’m not going to get rich off of this if it becomes one of those amazing Kickstarter smash hits. I do think it will be an amazing project though, so if you like the idea, you should give it some love!

Now to the post proper!

I do often think about themes for food; different types of cuisine, food for certain kinds of parties, food for movies, comfort foods, fried foods, and many more such categorizations have all been highlighted at various points. This is the first time I’ve considered color as point to highlight.

Do not get me wrong, I definitely appreciate color. The appealing redness of a rare steak contrasted with it’s perfectly browned exterior, the vibrant pink hue of strawberry ice cream, the calming yellow of sweet lemon curd, and the muted brick color of oven dried tomatoes are all visually appealing. But I have yet to cook with color as the goal in mind.

So, with the notion of color in mind, I’ll pay tribute to the color green, with a very simple but delicious treatment of the green mild chili peppers. The chili peppers are pan fried with garlic, salt, and drizzled with a squeeze of lemon.

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