caesar salad: veni, vidi, vici.

julius caesar.  the emperor, the legend, the man.  he was a politician, a general, a passionate lover, and a poet.  he conquered gaul, unified the roman empire, and was murdered by a bunch of guys in togas.

he was a man of many great titles and impressive deeds.  but the question remains: was he a chef?  and if he wasn’t, just who is behind the deliciousness that is caesar salad?

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you say “tomato,” i say “let’s make an awesome soup.”

guess what?  that beautiful girl i was talking about the other day is still sick.  which means the barrage of soup will continue until she gets better.

so far, we have had japanese soft shell turtle hot pot (a.k.a. suppon) at makoto‘s restaurant, miso ramen, kitsune udon, and potato bacon and leek chowder.  and all the while, i’ve been cramming tea into her every opportunity i get.

so when a friend and coworker of mine decided to hand me what appeared to be every leaf from an entire fully grown basil plant while we were at work the other day, i immediately began thinking of delicious things that might lift the curse of the common cold.  after about five minutes of deliberation, what i decided upon was toasted italian bread, a few slices of cheap man’s chashu, and creamy tomato and basil soup.

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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.

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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.

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the club sandwich: and i’m not even a member.

the term “club sandwich” is misleading for a lot of people.  some people think it is a particular sandwich composed of cold cuts, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  some people attach the word club to a frilly toothpick.  still others qualify any sandwich that has three pieces of bread as a club sandwich

because it doesn’t seem like this issue will be settled any time soon, i decided that i too should contribute to the quagmire of opinions.  if you ask me, a club sandwich, rather than being defined by its contents, seems to be defined by its shape and the sides with which it is served.

some club sandwiches contain roast beef, some contain mustard, some are served with pickles and still others are not.  but i challenge you to find a restaurant version of the club sandwich that isn’t cut into triangles and served with a side of some form of potatoes (whether chips or fries or potato salad).  although it might seem strange, it makes sense to me that the defining feature of a club sandwich is its sides and the manner in which it is plated (namely, cut twice instead of in half).

my personal club sandwich contains bacon, tomato, and three pieces of toasted bread, but that is where the similarities to your run-of-the-mill restaurant club end.  homemade chips, homemade condiments, and crispy home-cured bacon make my club a homey force to be reckoned with.

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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.

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breakfast: an american tradition.

i love breakfast, and i’m not ashamed to say it.  i can honestly and with 100% confidence say that, especially in the states, it is one of the most under-appreciated (if not completely ignored) meals in the course of a single day.  i make sure to wake up nice and early almost every day (including the weekends, i know i’m crazy) to make myself a good old-fashioned 1950’s style breakfast.

and as an avid breakfast fan, i’m here to tell you that while breakfast might not scientifically be proven as the most important meal of the day, it can easily become the meal that sets the pace for an entire 24 hours.  suffice to say, cereal won’t cut it.  if you start your day with cereal and some milk everyday, you are going to be sluggish and starving by lunch time.  it just isn’t good for you.

personally, i make sure to eat hearty.  eggs are a staple, and i always make an effort to include some fresh veggies and little bit of starch, too.  in all honesty, the only food group that i regularly completely ignore is fruit.  i’m not too big on sweet stuff, and high concentrations of sugar tend to make you crash later in the day.

today i was in rare form.  i woke up nice and early, made a big pot of coffee, and got to work.  my farmer friends have thrown produce at me left and right this month, so i resolved to use as much of the fresh goodies as i good today.  the result was absolutely delicious, super manly, and chock full of nutrients.

sometimes you just have to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you are from ‘merica.  and today was one of those days.

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