italian club: rescued from the pmk archives.

i have been told that some people feel something called “nostalgia” when they look through old photos they have saved on their hard drive.  i think if i had photos of places and people and events, i might know what that feels like.  instead, i have photos of delicious, delicious food.  and then only thing i end up feeling is the saliva running down my chinny chin chin.

here’s a gem i rescued from the depths of my sd card.

Continue reading

crostini: the toast with the most

bread.  let’s all be honest with ourselves, it’s just downright amazing.

just to quickly clear up any misinterpretations, when i say the word “bread,” i mean magical foods like challah, french bread, italian bread, pumpernickel, rye bread, pita, and even our unleavened friend matzah.  what i don’t mean is the nasty highly processed white bread that sticks to the roof of your mouth when you make a sandwich out of it.  are we all on the same page?  ok, let’s continue.

the invention of bread gave humanity all kinds of stuff.  it gave us sandwiches (arguably one of mankind’s most versatile and transportable foods), croutons, bread bowls, french onion soup, and a boat load of other things which make my life wonderful.  some historians even think bread was the innovation that inspired beer (although other historians believe exactly the opposite, namely that beer, as one of the oldest beverages known to man, was the inspiration for bread).

but let’s address the elephant in the room.

toast.  if toast was a liquid, i would bathe in it.  if it weren’t so darn crispy and scratchy, i would probably try to make an overcoat or some cool article of clothing out of it.  maybe a hat.  yes, i like toast that much.

roughly torn chunks of french bread, once toasted to perfection, accentuate the majesty of the already incredible fried egg.  toasted pumpernickel bread, raw garlic, and pickles have been the backbone of the russian diet for well over 100 years.  what would french onion soup be without a disk of toast slathered in cheese?  it would be run of the mill onion soup, that’s what.  i could go on, but i won’t, because i want to talk about the crostini.

the sweet, sweet crostini.

picture a super thin disk of toast.  then picture a smattering of two or three high quality delicious ingredients delicately nestled atop the aforementioned toast disk.  sound simple?  that is because it is.  but as our good friend lord polonius said, “brevity is the soul of wit.”

Continue reading

huevos rancheros: like nasa, but for chickens.

do you remember space camp?  even if you didn’t go to the official super-fancy nasa-sponsored space camp, you probably took some summer school course about space or something as a kid.  and if you didn’t do either of those, chances are you probably wanted to and felt super dejected when you friends told you all of their awesome space camp stories.

in any case, being an astronaut is one of those jobs that mesmerized me when i was just a pup.  of course, i was more into the idea of becoming the president or a fighter pilot or a scientist.  but if a random member of nasa came up to me when i was a six-year-old and told me i was accepted to the official astronaut training program, you bet your butt i would have gone without thinking twice.  space is huge and amazing and full of possibilities for six-year-olds, especially when the farthest away you have ever gone in your life is the public pool.

anyway, i’m pretty sure that six-year-olds think about becoming an astronaut like chickens think about becoming huevos rancheros.

like six-year-olds and space, most chickens probably have only a vague knowledge of mexican food.  never in their wildest dreams would they have considered that they would become a delicious breakfast fit for a latin american farmer.  i like to think that if i were a chicken and i was given a choice, i would go for the rancheros sauce without thinking twice.  sure, i could hold out for a while and hope to become sous-vide or chicken cordon bleu, but more often than not i would end up something highly processed and much less tasty (like kfc, chicken nuggets, or instant ramen flavor packets).

well, i suppose that is enough strange asides for now.  it’s recipe time.

Continue reading

cobb salad: domo arigato, mister robert.

i always wondered why a cobb salad was called a cobb salad.  when i was a kid, i always imagined that it had something to do with corn (which was of course perpetuated by the fact i had no idea what the ingredients of a cobb salad were, or how to spell it for that matter).  as i got older, i just assumed someone named it after a person or a place just like most other well-known foods are.

recently, my curiosity got the better of me, and i looked it up.  looking back, i kind of wish i never had.  it is, of course, named after the restaurateur who was the (supposed) original creator of the cobb salad, none other than a mr. robert howard cobb.

yes, you read that correctly.  his name was bob cobb.

poor guy.  at least he invented a delicious salad to soften the blow of having cruel parents.  thanks for not losing faith, buddy.  i dedicate tonight’s dinner to you.  this is my japanese-style take on your classic american man-salad.

Continue reading

tanabata: festival of stars (and barbecue, apparently).

for most people in japan, tanabata is a time to go to festivals, eat food that comes on sticks, and drink beer or other refreshing beverages.  for my friends, however, it is a time to go out in the middle of the nature, fire up the shichirins, and cook so much food that we could feed the russian army twice over.

everybody brought a little something to the party, and while we all thought what we brought was humdrum and average, somehow the sum of all of our dishes made for one of the most elegant and refined meals i have had in a long time.  the following is a list, in order, of what we cooked.

Continue reading