Back when I was about 20 I worked at the Lush store in Old Orchard mall right outside of Chicago. For those of you who don’t know, not only is it the mall they hang out in Mean Girls (even if the set is NOTHING like the real thing), but it’s bougie as they come. So bougie in fact they don’t even have a food court, just random nice restaurants scattered randomly throughout.
Most of these restaurants were the type of situation where you pay $15 for a burger at lunch time, and the fries and drinks are a la carte on top of it. But the main beacon of hope for my broke ass was the Auntie Ann’s located around the corner from Lush. It was literally the only thing I could afford in the whole mall to eat, and because of it I developed a weird addiction, maybe even passion for pretzel wrapped hot dogs. To this day I still get pretzel dogs almost any time I go into a mall. It’s in my code at this point.
Since a big point of cooking at home is having stuff you can’t just get anywhere, I added togarashi into the pretzel dough, and on top as well. For dunking I recommend either sweet chili sauce or Chinese hot mustard. This recipe got me 10 hot dogs and a few little pretzel nuggets. Continue reading “Togarashi Pretzel Dogs”
Honestly there’s not much of a cool story to this. I just randomly got an urge to make a recipe with grapes because I think they’re sorely underused, and somehow thought peanut butter jelly and salad should have a baby.
Honestly how I got there’s a mystery but I’m glad I did. What I did was whip up a peanut dressing with a good hit of acid and a little spice and paired it with grilled chicken and the sweetest grapes I could find.
I ended up with a really cool childhood meets adulthood plate of food that I’m really into. And this is coming from a salad hater. So let’s get into it, yeah?
Continue reading “Peanut Butter and Jelly Salad”
Ok so in the past I’ve gotten bad about feeling the need to do some intense diet and exercising for the new year. I usually lose weight for a while, but end up feeling restricted, overworked, and not very happy by Summer. Instead for 2020 I’m going with a goal of “happy food.” I aim to cook what’s making me happy in that moment no matter how weird or out of my normal culinary zone it may be. I’m on a new path of chasing after happy dances.
That being said, like many of you this holiday season got me jacked up. Spiked hot cocoa, tons of red meat, and all the latkes I can eat are really cool, but I needed a major reset button to start 2020 feeling fresh and clean.
One of my favorite things to have in the morning is a huge mug of matcha to get me perked up and ready to go, which was the jump off point of this dish. The surrealistic pondscape consists of some of my favorite clean flavors: salmon, cucumber, nori, roe, and dashi. The effect is a really cool combination of oceany flavors from the fish and dashi with the earthiness of matcha to create something that feels very nature inspired.
Even though we’re in the middle of winter the lightness and freshness of this dish can’t help but make me feel like spring is around the corner. Another cool perk is it can be served at any temperature and still work.
Continue reading “Salmon With Matcha Noodles and Kinda Dashi Broth”
Picture it: Belton 2001. One day when the Marshall Primary School menu for the next week was released everyone’s attention was immediately captured by something we never heard of, bird dogs. None of the other kids knew what it was, and to add insult to injury none of the adults did either. Not even the lunch ladies!
What we got was a total game changer. Bird dogs consist of chicken fingers, bacon, honey mustard, and cheddar tucked into a hot dog bun. When I explain it to people who never lived in Anderson county, South Carolina they never seemed to get it, but honestly it’s so perfect. Somehow the hotdog bun proportions are so much more satisfying than the normal chicken sandwich and I will die on that hill.
Clearly I’m not the only one to think so because these little buns of glory became a cultural icon in my hometown. They worked their way into mom and pop restaurants, sleepovers, and I even went to a banquet where they were served!
If you ever wanted a super obscure southern dish that you can’t even find on Google that doubles as stoner food then look no further! I mean come on, look at that!
Continue reading “Bird Dogs”
Somehow, despite it being mid October we don’t have fall yet. To say I’m salty is a massive understatement. To bridge the gap between this weird fall one day summer the next weather I wanted to combine flavors that to me are quintessential to each season.
In the summer seafood is my favorite thing to make, and I’ve been on a huge salmon kick due to the health benefits. And then in the fall I’m all about decadent soups and curry. Then of course you have corn which is an ingredient that belongs to both seasons.
It may seem like a weird combo but it actually really works. I love the flavor of curry and salmon together, and then the corn adds nice little pops of sweet freshness.
Is it a fall or summer dish? Yes. Continue reading “Curried Corn and Salmon Chowder”
Truth be told I’m not the best about eating breakfast. I’m really bad about opting to sleep every available second during the work week and end up running out the door in a rush. As sad as it is to say, a good breakfast has become a bit of a weekend indulgence for me.
For my latest indulgence I wanted to go full country and make a broke and southern staple, fried bologna. It’s a similar concept to fried ham steak or bacon in that it’s crispy, salty, meaty goodness, just a little more humble. Like any good breakfast sando we have plenty of melty cheese and an overeasy egg on top. And then because I can’t help myself and love a good condiment; we have maple-mustard mayo to cut through the richness and add a little kiss of sweetness, like any good morning should have.
Continue reading “Double Decker Fried Bologna Breakfast Sandwiches”
The concept here is simple: We all love teriyaki, steak, and tacos. Why not combine all of the above in one dish?
A teriyaki marinade takes all of one minute to whip up, and is so much better and lighter on the palette than the bottled stuff. When you pair that blend of sweet and savory we all know and love with a spicy mayo and cool mirin slaw you have one of the most perfect bites of food.
And isn’t the whole point of a taco the hunt for the perfect bite? Continue reading “Teriyaki Steak Tacos”
Today we’re definitely putting the redneck in The Fancy Redneck. I mean what’s more country than putting a can of beer up a chicken’s butt, letting it just hang out in the oven for a while, and calling it dinner?
All horrendous visuals aside there is a method to this madness. The beer creates a nice steam inside the chicken that keeps it moist while cooking and gives a subtle eau de beer perfume to the meat. When paired with an ultra spiced compound butter for the baking the result is like a rotisserie chicken that your local grocery store could never.
Continue reading “Beer Can Chicken with Kickass Butter”
I think almost everyone in South Carolina is no stranger to a salmon patty. Typically it’s one of those things that’s associated with that deeeep country and no frills. But what if we jazzed it up and gave it new life?
Enter lemon, dijon, capers, and a parsley lemon sauce. Salmon, whether fresh or canned is one of those ingredients that deserves zip and pep. Finding the brightness of the ingredients under the crispy crust from frying the patties is a match made in heaven. Continue reading “Salmon Patties with Lemon, Dijon, and Capers”
Back in I want to say sometime between 1999-2001 I lived for when my parents would let me stay up late so I could watch the original Japanese Iron Chef. The drama, the chefs being themed on nationality, my dear sweet Chairman Kaga, and that fortune teller judge. What a time to be alive.
Those late (to a six-year-old) nights were pretty much my crash course in getting wild and creative. I remember they made ice cream out of EVERYTHING, namely squid ink, which I didn’t even know was a thing you eat, but now I adore. But this story leads to one place. And that is my first ever love/hero, Masahiko Kobe aka “Iron Chef Italian.” This dude made ravioli with chocolate pasta dough.
My. World. Was. Rocked. I went borderline rabid asking how is that possible, and if my mom would make it for me. She looked like I grew two heads.
Fast forward about 10 years. I’m a junior in high school. My mom, brother and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We stopped in a fancy chocolate shop. And there it was…a bag of chocolate fettuccine. I immediately flashed back to my Iron Chef days and tried to do everything to get that bag to go home with me, to no avail.
But guess what, mom? I’m an adult now and can make my own damn chocolate pasta! (I’m sorry mom, I love you.)
The biggest challenge was figuring out what sauce to make with it. I thought creamy, I thought mascarpone, and then I thought nah. I decided I wanted something that felt fresh to go with it. So I landed on raspberries and mint for freshness, with a punch of balsamic vinegar for intrigue.
This dish creates a bright, fresh, fun feeling that will have you asking if you’re eating chocolate for dinner, or pasta for dessert. Either way I promise you never had one like this before. Continue reading “Chocolate Pasta with Balsamic and Raspberry Sauce”