never gonna give yuzu up, never gonna let you down.

i should apologize for the title of this post, but i won’t.  it’s awesome and i am 100% unashamed.

let’s go ahead and nip this in the bud.  there are, more likely than not, a fair amount of people out there reading this post and thinking “what is yuzu?”  there are a couple of answers to that question.

first, the short answer.  yuzu is delicious.

and now, the long answer.

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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.”

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re: strange horses and cooking on a budget

close your eyes and imagine you are a five-year-old.  it is your birthday, and your parents have tied a bandana around your head to cover your eyes with.  the time for presents has come, and when the big reveal finally happens, you find a mini-clydesdale standing in front of you.

it’s a horse, and as a five-year-old, you realize how awesome that is.  but once this realization passes, aren’t really sure where to go from here.  you don’t know if it will be your friend.  you don’t know if it is dangerous or not.  you aren’t even sure what an animal like a mini-clydesdale can be used for.  can you ride it?  do you take it for walks?  does it stay in your house or outside?  because you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you just kind of stand there slack-jawed in surprise and excitement and confusion.

now imagine that you are you, and the mini-clydesdale is the perfect 10.  i gave you a list.  i did a good job of telling you why i made the list in the way i did.  but i didn’t really tell you what it is good for.

so now, i’m going to teach you how to ride the mini-clydesdale.  that’s right, it is recipe time.

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the drowned chicken experiment (no, it isn’t a metal band)

i made chicken breasts this week.  i made mahimahi steaks.  i made fruit sauces, i made cream sauces, i made sauces out of vegetables and oils and cheese and all manner of ingredients.  but you know, i still didn’t feel challenged.  i feel like almost any person can at least imagine the ingredients of a sauce that would function as a topping for meat.  so i got to thinking, what about sauces which aren’t meant as a topping?

aren’t there sauces which are meant for more than just drizzling on top of a cut of meat or fish?  how about the sauces which are meant to drown the food you plan to eat?  i honestly couldn’t think of that many until i widened my perspective a little.  when i really considered it, i realized that most sauces served on chicken wings could be categorized as “drowning sauces.”

but honestly, chicken wings aren’t exactly the epitome of gourmet food.  buffalo wing sauce, hot sauce, honey mustard sauce, barbeque sauce, bleu cheese sauce, and ranch aren’t even close the category of food that i plan to cook in my kitchen (ever).

so instead, i resolved to buy two whole chicken thighs, chop them into bite-sized morsels, cook them with a little bit of salt and pepper in a frying pan over high heat, and drown them in three homemade sauces i deemed worthy.

spicy dark chocolate mole, hawaiian-style teriyaki, and five-spice chicken gravy.

feast your eyeballs.

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the breakfast sandwich: a forgotten art form.

sandwiches are a lot like mustaches.

a real mustache is a magnificent, borderline magical thing.  but so frequently those who sport mustaches don’t do them right.  they wear 1970s porn-stashes and soul patches and charlie chaplin mustaches.  they squander the potential of such a majestic form of facial hair.  some people are just too lazy to shave, the and result is what appears to be a growth on their upper lip.

like mustaches, negligence has led to sandwiches developing a bad reputation.  in most people’s minds, sandwiches are what you make when you can’t think of anything else, or when the amount of effort you can put into a meal is so lacking that all you can muster the strength to do is put things on two pieces of bread.

so i challenge you.  think about a sandwich you want to make.  don’t use american cheese.  don’t make a blt or club sandwich or egg salad.  don’t just pile random meats on.  actually take a few minutes and think about what ingredients would go well with others.  a well engineered sandwich can leave a really good feeling in its wake (and a super full stomach).

here’s one of mine.

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and then countless recipes sprang out of the woodwork.

i’ve been posting and cooking, and cooking and posting, and drinking coffee, and then cooking and posting some more.  occasionally, i even sleep.

but that archiving stuff, i’ve been neglecting that.

and so, in one fell swoop, i’ve decided to upload a boatload of recipes that have been skulking menacingly on the hard drive of my computer.

give them a quick once over if you have time, and should you feel the need, try cooking them once or twice and tell me what you think.  constructive criticism only makes us better, and i could certainly do with a little improvement.

mahimahi, pan-seared and swimmingly sauced.

sauce week continues uninterrupted.

sauces 4, 5, and 6 called for a slight change of pace.  sauces 1 through 3 were given the honor of adorning chicken breasts, and i think that may have been a little too easy for me.  so tonight i decided that only my favorite fish would do.  mahimahi, referred to by the japanese as shiira, has a super fresh white meatiness that is second to none.  moreover, it is notoriously tough to cook well.  the whiteness of its meat carries a downside; when cooked too much, it becomes heinously dry and nearly inedible.

i decided to challenge myself.  for the past few days i had been thinking about which sauces would be able to transform such an already magnificent fish into a masterpiece.  i decided on a garlic cream sauce, a shiso pesto, and a spicy mango sauce with mint.  i think everything went swimmingly.

feast your eyeballs.

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