Fusion


It’s a decent show, I guess. It feels like a cross between Alton Brown and Giada in Paradise – you’re learning a lot about the food and it’s origins, and why it likely came into existence, but then, you’re in Marseilles or wherever the show happens to be – getting into situations that are unlikely at best, making out like you can talk to the owners of restaurants whenever, even if you’re not a television star.

Thankfully, however, there is no suggestion that you have to get by on $40 a day, or really, even care about going out to restaurants at all. He goes to the restaurants, talks about them and their histories, and then never actually sits down to eat. He makes food with the restaurant owner, and then moves on. I guess I’m a bit annoyed by travel shows in general, so my view is a little skewed. This is the least annoying of the lot, however, and I won’t turn the channel when it comes on – high praise, for a travel/food show. 

We had the Asian spaghetti today, as I recommended when I talked about it. Use your favorite brown sauce recipe, and pour over lo mein noodles with the meatballs. It was pretty good! I would definitely recommend this recipe, so long as you’re a fan of fusion comfort foods. Some people might want their fusion food to be fancy. Hah!

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Last night I made Thai burgers – and while the first time didn’t turn out so hot, these were spectacular! I used crunchy peanut butter this time, because Josh was so weirded out by the flavor of peanut butter last time. The crunch definitely helped, but you didn’t want to look at the burgers, as they looked sort of vile.

But! Close your eyes and eat up, because they were so good!

I mixed up 1 lb of hamburger and 3 slices of bread with, oh, about a 1/4 cup of crunchy peanut butter. (2-3 scoops with a normal spoon, until everything looked pretty sticky). Peanut butter is sticky! This will not be pleasant, sorry. Anyway, so I mushed and smushed and added 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and a teaspoon of hot chili powder. Mush and smoosh some more, and then make a little bowl in the meat, to which you add 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Yum! Mush, smoosh, and work into 8 patties. Put these in the refrigerator to think about what they’ve done. 

Anyway, so now you work on the peanut sauce. Saute 2 tablespoons of garlic in 4 tsp of oil. No, that’s not a typo. It’s a lot of garlic. Put every last bit in, or you will regret it! Also add to the oil 1/2 a teaspoon of that chili powder. Now, before you put that on the heat, measure out 1/3 a cup of peanut butter. Kay, now put the oil on the heat. Saute until everything smells good – 45 seconds on high. (Sounds like microwave directions, doesn’t it?) Then quickly add the peanut butter and stir, before the garlic burns. Add 2 tablespoons each vinegar and sugar, and stir the nasty out of it. After a good 2 minutes of stirring and heating, your nasal passages should return to the vicinity (mine always exit whenever I heat vinegar), and then add 2/3 c of water and 1/3 c of coconut milk. If you like coconut more than me, add less water and more milk. Just no more than 1 cup of liquid here, please. Stir this in, and then just leave it to simmer for 10 minutes. Done!

The burgers you gave your griller should be grilled now. Toss them on buns, cover with the peanut sauce (which is also good to dip chicken in, or as salad dressing), and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

As you might have noticed (no review of the Food Network Challenge last night) I was definitely at work. So I made man-man food. I also wasn’t at home when it was consumed, so: well, we’ll see how that goes.

I started in the morning, I boiled up a box of macaroni noodles and sauted up a pound of hamburger (big, deep skillet, you’re making a sauce in here later) and put taco seasonings on it (chili, cumin, salt, garlic powder – or you can use a packet). I put this all on a plate to reserve it, but I didn’t wipe out the skillet.

Then I made the cheese sauce: start with about 4 tablespoons of roux in your skillet and make your bechamel. I made mine very, very loose, as you’re adding a LOT of cheese. I used oil instead of butter in the roux, used more oil than flour, and a LOT of milk. Then I shredded about a quarter of a pack of pepperjack into my bechamel, as well as nearly 2 cups of cheddar. Lots of cheese. Sauce should now be relatively thick again. However, your noodles should also be done. Drain them, but it’s okay if there’s water still in the bottom.

So you stir the hamburger, cheese, and noodles together (I recommend using the noodle pot unless your skillet is deeper than mine). Then, put the whole lot into a baking pan. Top with bread chunks (you could also use crumbs, but Josh and housemate prefer 1″ or so chunks that get super crisp and braised in the oven.)

Then? I stuck it in the fridge, and put a note on Housemate’s (he always gets home first)  computer to put the oven on 400 degrees and when it was preheated, put the macaroni in for 1/2 hour.

And that’s what I do when I’m feeling nice. Otherwise, I make them make hamburger helper.

This salad, though it is, in fact, a salad, is absolutely Josh and housemate approved. So easy, too!

We use the Asian Ginger salad dressing from Archer Farms, and I love it! Cut up your chicken breasts into 1″ to 1/2″ cubes (I prefer chicken crumblies, so I go with 1/2″). This is much easier when the chicken is still mostly frozen, and it can thaw in the fridge. Put the chunks into a bowl and cover with 1/2 the bottle of dressing. Let it marinate for at least one hour, and then saute it for a few minutes until it’s done. While you’re waiting for the chicken to cook, wash out the bowl it marinated in very thoroughly, and then just stick the chicken coated in now-caramelized goo right back in the first bowl. Gotta love a dish that’s thus far only dirtied four dishes, right? Put the chicken back in the fridge.

Would you like it if that were all the dishes it dirtied? Good, ’cause that’s it. I just get the salad out of the bag for this (why make something any more complex than it needs to be? This is supposed to be fast and easy. Less than 20 minutes effort!)

Anyway, so you’ll want a bag of those chow mein Asian crunchy noodles, instead of croutons. You could add a cheese, but the Asian area isn’t exactly fond of cheese as a whole, and there aren’t any particularly “Asian” cheeses that I can think of. Sheep’s cheese is more common than anything, from what I hear, but no particular ways of preparing it are “Asian”, as it were. So you can leave the cheese off for a more authentic experience, even though it’s less like caesar salad that way.

So, assemble your salad as you like, and don’t forget about the reserved dressing. To quote Josh: “No, really, this is a good salad.”