Sunday, December 30, 2012

Effortless

A while back, I read an article written by a man named Steve Stuckey about feeling God.  In it, he describes joining the high school band without much music background and not having much of a sense of tone and... musical ability.  He didn't already have the ability to hear the nuanced differences in musical notes or discern timing and rhythm.  Over time, with perseverance, he gradually began hearing these subtle changes and grew better musically.  Even with born talent, we need to practice and learn music.  We just aren't born with proficient skill in the classical guitar.  We need to spend hours learning how to pick, developing the finger callouses, learning how to tune a guitar by ear.  And even then the best guitarists out there need days upon weeks practicing a single song.  Steve finished the other half of his article pointing out how this memory taught him a lot about how we can "sense" or "feel" God around us.  Over time, with practice, we will grow better at sensing His presence.  It takes time and effort to figure out how God speaks to us individually and how to discern His direction in our lives. 

I believe prayer is the Holy Spirit speaking through us.  When we pray and when we worship in song, dance, or whatever, we allow God to speak through our physical bodies.  The tricky part is that we often have ideas, desires, prejudices, anger, and other things in our hearts that cloud our ability to let God clearly speak through us.  When I first became a Christian, my prayers were very direct and influenced by what I wanted to say.  If I didn't agree with someone, I would basically pray that God changes their mind and make them agree with me.  Over time, my zealousness quieted somewhat.  God has been teaching me to allow Him to speak.  When I sing worship, I am learning that my inhibitions cloud the songs God is singing through me. 

When we begin to learn a hobby, it is not always very easy at first.  Prayer is like that.  It's weird and its vulnerable.  You say things that you wouldn't tell anyone on a normal basis... and in front of people you wouldn't normally open yourself up to.  Over time, though,  you get used to it.  Maybe you get a group of people you pray with on a routine basis so that it's not random strangers every time.  Maybe you close your eyes so that you can't see anyone and get self-conscious.  Maybe you shut everything out and imagine it's just you and God.  Maybe you read the bible before praying so that your heart is in the right place.  Whatever it is, it takes time and commitment.  It gets easier though. 

And that's the thing.  It's supposed to get easier.  I think what makes praying hard is that I expect things to come out of prayer.  It's the token Christian thing to say "I'll pray for that" when your friend or even stranger describes a problem  And what if things don't go my way?  It totally feels pointless then.  I struggle praying for my day because I don't always feel like I need God.  "It's just a drive to work.  It's just another day at work.  It's not a big deal."  Because I don't pray for my daily life, however, I lose the habit and stop praying for the big things altogether.  But when I start praying more often, it becomes less weird, less pointless, and more often.  When prayer isn't weird, it gets easier.  When the habit sets in, I pray without thinking (kinda the definition of habit). 

OK so here's the point.  I've been thinking over the past couple days about how marriage is like prayer in that sense.  When I first got married to Kaytie, I spent a lot of time and effort making up for mistakes I made.  Her family is one of those that spends A LOT of time together and this was another thing I had to get used to.  I grew up pretty independent of my parents and brother and so this was a very invasive and weird thing for me at first.  Over time, though, it got easier.  I'm happy to say that it's pretty effortless now.  I just learned to keep my own personal schedule pretty open.    I also needed to learn to open my own life up to let someone else besides myself make changes. 

I think marriage was never meant to be those ridiculous fairy tale weddings you see in the movies.  And yet it I also believe marriage was never meant to be the 24/7 fighting I grew up around.  Marriage isn't easy but it doesn't have to be difficult either.  And that requires practice.  We're all complicated people and it takes a lot of time to figure each other out.  In fact, couples I've talked to who have been married 30+ years unanimously agree that the learning never really ends.  There's a lot of past hurts, fears, prejudices, and brokenness that follows us into a marriage and we need each other to work these things out of the bond. 

And the only way to do this is by putting God at the center of the marriage.

Christians hear this all the time.  It's one of those generic tips that  you hear at marriage conferences.  God at the center.  God at the center.  You also hear a lot about how much work there is at marriage.  Sacrifice here.  Surrender there. 

The way I like to look at it is that marriage is about allowing God to shine through the holy bond between a man and a woman.  The ultimate goal is to reach a point where love comes naturally.  When just being together is easy.  And it takes a lifetime to get there because we are broken but spending the rest of our lives being repaired by the God who makes all things new.


Here's an analogy / image that I like to use regarding this:  One time I was at a wedding where they had wine glasses stacked in one of those pyramids.  At champagne time, one of the waiters got up on a ladder and poured bottle after bottle into the very top glass.   As that top glass filled up and began to overflow, the spill-over began filing the glasses below and those glasses in turn began overflowing into the other glasses.  Pretty soon the entire pyramid was this giant fountain of overflowing wine glasses.  It was an incredibly beautiful and elegant sight but what I really noticed is that is an image of what worship really should be like for us.  For each glass, there was no effort on that glass to fill up the others.  Rather, it was filled to the brim with the drink, to the point where all it could do was spill over with champagne.  


Everyday I spend working to learn more and more about Kaytie and all the wonderful things that God does through her.  And yet, over time it's gotten easier.  Actually I gotta admit it's actually pretty easy.  It's not without struggle, don't get me wrong. I'd say the death of her mom posed the greatest challenge for us so far.  Not so much in danger to our marriage but really just shook us all to the core.  But when trials happen, we've gotten a lot better at handling them.  It's a lifelong thing but then we believe our marriage is a lifelong thing.

I think this is what prayer, marriage and life with God is meant to be like.

It takes work at first.  But let God fill you with light and soon you'll be overflowing with life.  And when that happens, the overflow will fill the empty glasses of your work life,  your family life, your marriage, your desires, your dreams... everything. 

Overflow and life can get just a little bit more effortless.

Happy new year!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daniel Tiger breakfast

Chloe watches daniel tiger's neighborhood and requested i make the strawberry pancakes she saw on the show.  Of course she did not take the time to write down the recipe so i converted my standard pancake recipe to have strawberries.  Check the fridge... crap no fresh strawberries.  Looks like we have a mostly empty costco bag of frozen strawberries... but frozen berries have like no flavor to speak of.  Well if we macerate the strawberries I could use the juices to flavor the syrup and the extra sugar would probably help the strawberry chunks.  Here it is..

Strawberry Sourdough Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup

Defrost and rough chop
3 cups frozen strawberries (before chopping)

Add to strawberries, mix, and set over strainer, collecting juices (about 5 minutes)
1 T white sugar

Combine with collected juice in small sauce pan, heat & simmer on med-low for 3-5 minutes to slightly thicken then set aside
1/2 cup Grade A or B maple syrup (i prefer B because it tends to have a slightly smokier flavor)

Mix together part one
2 cups white sourdough starter (I refreshed my starter the night before to 50% hydration = equal parts flour to water)
2 egg yolks (save whites, see below)
2 cups light sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk

Mix together part two
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup traditional rolled oats
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Whip to soft peaks
2 egg whites

Add part one into part two and mix until combined (ok to leave occassional lumps).  Gently fold in egg whites until for the most part combined but you should still see a few streaks / peaks of egg whites in the batter.  If you kept mixing you'd likely deflate the egg whites -> not the end of the world.  Finally gently fold in chopped strawberries, taking care not to turn the batter pink.

Cook pancakes (i use a 50% ratio olive oil / butter for greasing the skillet in between sets), pour syrup over and eat.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

responsibility

our lives change throughout the year and recently ours changed in a pretty big way with the addition of our new child.  holding the new baby in my arms, kissing his soft forehead, and taking in the new baby scent that is and always will be uniquely his, I realized that yet again, I need to be a bigger man than I can be on my own.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

I struggle, sometimes, with making friends with other guys my age.  I do not try to justify it and i'm trying to do better.  Some of it is a trust issue stemming from past hurts.  All too often I hear / meet men who run from responsibility of any form whether that be in the form of employment, finances, health, or in this case, parenthood.  The latter really hits me the hardest and motivates the majority of my lack of respect.  Countless times a year we hear of guys getting a girl pregnant only to run simply because they didn't feel they were ready to be a parent.  Who cares about what happens to the children as long as we achieve our dreams, right?

It's like when you wade upstream.  The water is forced to change direction for you because you have decided you don't want to live up to what people need of you.

I'm not a subscriber of the lifestyle in which you fill your life with everything except being around for your children and spouse.  I don't believe in searching for "me time" because I believe that by giving all of  yourself, God will give you more.  Within reason of course.  We parents should still shower and take time to eat and sleep.  I do not agree, however, with leaving your children in childcare because you "need" to go drinking and partying.

I think the hard part with being available to your family is that it's often misconstrued as being isolationist.  I think it's viewed as a sign of weakness when you don't spend more time with other people than your own family.

If you find yourself taking a vacation to spend more time with your children / spouse, then I think something is wrong with how your time is being used.  A vacation is not a remedy to your parental guilt and should not be used as one.  In fact, I think everyone knows those vacations never really fixed the gap that over-busy parents leave in our lives.

Becoming a parent is not a personality accessory.  You don't get to say "no thank you."  You take your weekly guy-hangout plans and put them aside in favor for being there for your new family.  Poker can wait.  Jack Daniels can wait.  Monday night football can wait.

I do and I don't understand how a guy can claim to be a man when he can't take responsibility for what he creates.  

Responsibility.

It's bigger than me.  It should be better than me.  It means I live outside of myself.  For people besides myself.  It means I give up things I kept for myself because I know in return I will receive far better than what I give.  It means stretching myself because I know all the my dreams and possessions will return to dust while the souls I live for go on for eternity.  

A free country lets me walk away from responsibility if it so much as makes me unhappy.  My "rights" as a US Citizen allow me to ditch my wife if I don't get my way and get another and another.  My forefathers died so I can have the freedom to do whatever I want and declare anyone who doesn't agree with me a "bigot."  My desires, my dreams, my ideas... they are all more important than anything and anyone who gets in my way is my enemy.  Mine.  Mine.  Mine.

Responsibility requires me to look at a situation and do the right thing, even if it means I may lose my "me time."  Even if it means I have to spend my valuable time with people I don't like or agree with.

It tells me that I need to be a bigger man.  And that a man gives everything for the sake of his family.  For his marriage.

I'm not perfect and in no way do I claim to be superior to other guys.  My inability to trust my peers doesn't stem from arrogance.  I feel that with each generation of men, we get weaker and more self-centered.  We claim our masculinity through a variety of excessively-large trucks, television sets, alcohol consumption limits, and such but in the end we grow farther and farther away from the men we are supposed to be... the men we need to be.  And yet, we continue to drift.  What happened to Promise Keepers?  Men of integrity?  What do you do with a generation of men who do not consider marriage a holy, sacred vow but instead an accessory?  Something to add to his social resume?

I didn't need the birth of a child to remind me of the calling I have received. But I do need the Bible to remind me how to live it out.

Sacrifice.  It's not just for Jesus.

That's the other half of responsibility.

Friday, July 27, 2012

shooters sandwich

no idea where this came from... a little research online tells me this is a version of a "shooters sandwich"

thinking of making this for kaytie's birthday or our wedding anniversary

God bless america!



From:                              Eric
Sent:                               Friday, July 27, 2012 8:05 AM
To:                                   Randy Wong
Subject:                          FW: F Chicken

From Kirk…. I thought you would appreciate this.

ER

From: Kirk
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 7:57 AM
Subject: FW: F Chicken



Ultimate MAN's dinner!!! 
Here's what you are going to need:

I used a loaf of hard crusted Italian bread, 3 rib eye steaks 1 lb. mushrooms, 1/2 lb. Swiss cheese an onion and 1 lb. of  bacon.



Hollow out the bread.





Cook all of this.

Try to leave the steaks a little rare as they will cook a little more in the sandwich.



Shove one of the steaks in the bread.





Sauce the steak.

I like to have to halves of the sandwich different so I use half thick worchschire sauce and half dijon mustard and horse radish sauce.



Add a layer of bacon.





Add a layer of Swiss cheese.





Stuff in as much of the mushroom and onion mixture you can.





Then add the other steak along with the juices from the pan.





Add a little more sauce.





Top it off with more Swiss cheese.





Put the top of the loaf back on.





Wrap it tightly in butchers' paper






Wrap it tightly in foil






Put a heavy cutting board on top to squish it down.







Now add weight and wait and wait

I used 140lbs of weight and let it sit for 4 hours.




Take weight off






Cut and enjoy.











Tuesday, July 24, 2012

zelda

for the past few weeks we have been buckling down for the "finish line" and waiting for our lives to grow just a bit fuller than it already is. great bread has been baked, chloe's growing up really fast, and i've been thinking about how the concept of a nerd has been watered down by pop-culture.

anyways i haven't had much time to blog but here are a two Legend of Zelda themed links i thought worth looking at:

I don't know how i feel about this
Kaytie enjoys getting on my nerves by making fun of Link's features as feminine (which they are not... they are elvish... no one thought twice about legolas or any of the elves of middle earth) and this video does not help my case.  I appreciate her musical arrangement but... i don't know.  Link doesn't point his toes up in the air.  Ever.  Having said that, the costume is pretty rad.

You thought your parents were weird?
For those who think they have weird parents, imagine if you found this video tape amongst your parents old stuff.  For the record, no these are not my parents.  Although I admit i would be supremely jazzed if my parents were in this video.

Old Legend of Zelda Commercials
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcuQlwlM4bM&feature=related
#8 is my personal favorite

It's funny because it's true...
YouTube - Peach and Zelda boyfriends

And finally...
YouTube - Zelda and Peach catch up


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dijon marinated chicken and olives


Last week was marked with cooler weather and this worked well on one of the breezier, cooler nights.

2 tablespoons whole-grain dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves

2 chicken breasts

1.5-2 cups green olives
1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 pound tomatoes (i had romas on hand for this one)
2 cups white wine

Preheat oven to 425 deg F.

Mix the first four in a bowl and marinate the chicken breasts for 15+ minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven on medium high until just smoking and sear the chicken breasts on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side.  Remove chicken to a plate, lower the heat to medium, and add the wine and cook the alcohol off - about 1-2 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir, place the chicken breasts on top, cover with lid, and place in oven for about 10-15 minutes until mushrooms are just cooked.  I like my mushrooms just barely cooked as the residual heat from the dutch oven will continue cooking the mushrooms after you take the pot out of the oven.

Spoon into a bowl with lots of sauce and serve with bread.  We used toasted pita which made great spoons.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cucumber Caesar dressing



If you like Caesar salad, you should try this recipe.  It's my take on a lighter, newer version.  It's a cross between wonderful, summery tsatski and creamy, savory caesar.  It's almost a quarter of the fat and calories too. In case you haven't enjoyed tsatski yet:  It's a greek yogurt sauce that is magic on anything.  Greek yogurt with cucumber, garlic, and lemon.  On that side note, you should try it sometime.  We use it on sandwiches and grilled chicken.

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cucumber

Puree everything but the cucumber in a blender / food processor until smooth.

Shred the cucumber on a grater and use your hands to squeeze some (not all) of the water out.  Mix with the dressing and refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes.

Toss with your salad and enjoy a caesar that is lighter and zippier.  And feel great about yourself because you ate salad which is crisp and alive.

I strongly recommend you either grill or find someone to grill some chicken marinated in lemon, olive oil, and garlic to enjoy with this salad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ebelskievers


My father in law, Dan, has a specialty in that he makes ebelskievers on occasion.

I tried making them one morning before church thinking I could knock them out quick.

They're a pain in the ass.

Three things I learned from my experience:
1)  Do not skimp on the oil / butter / shortening that you use.  Otherwise the abelskievers will not brown properly and will stick and will drive you insane.

2)  These take a hell of a long time to make.  Do not make ebelskievers if you need to be somewhere else in the next 2.5 hours.

3)  They are worth the effort.

Here's the low-down:

Take a nice pancake batter recipe and make sure to whip the egg whites into soft peaks and fold them peaks into the batter at the very end.  I whipped my egg whites with the sugar from the recipe near the end of whipping to form a quasi-meringue texture.  This made it easier to fold the whites into the batter without deflating the egg-whites so easily.

Heat your ebelskiever pan (yeah, you gotta get some extra hardware for this.  DO NOT get that stupid "pancake-puff" pan that they advertise on TV.  That is of the devil and a perversion of what is Danish culture.  Get a cast-iron pan from Lodge Logic on amazon if  you can't find it anywhere else).  Drop a pat of butter and then a heaping tablespoon of batter into each well.  In about a minute or two you should be able to use toothpicks to rotate the little guys to brown the other side.  Give about two minutes and then remove and repeat for next batch.

These are delicious.  They're one of the first things Dan made for me when I moved here to marry his daughter.  When he cooks food for you, he does it in a way where you want to sit down and talk.  He's in a different stage of his life now and even though it's different, much of what I see now is the result of a life of struggle and rebirth in his own right.

When we're born, God walks with us through life.  For some of us, tragedy strikes and we hurt.  For some of us, God flips our lives over.  Sometimes it sucks when he flips us over because our lives spill out and you freak out because it looks like the batter of your life is getting everywhere.  But He is an expert at abelskievers and after flipping you see the deep, carmelized, crispy browning that has been happening this entire time.  Sometimes we don't always notice that deep down underneath all the chaos and emotions of our lives, we are slowly carmelizing into a brisk, sweet crunch that can only happen from patience, practice, and heat.  And after he flips, we begin to brown the next side of our lives.  


Oh yeah on a side note, these are traditionally served with a sprinkling of a special type of large-grain sugar but Dan uses powdered sugar with much success.  We dipped ours in maple syrup from www.burtonsmaplewoodfarm.com

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fathers Day


I could have posted this on Fathers Day but I was caught up being with my family.

Yesterday was the baby shower for Ian who is not yet born but cooking in the womb of the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world.  Thank you everyone for your support.  I struggle with socialization and do not express gratitude as often as I should.  You challenge my soul to rise up and shine the light of God in ways I never thought possible.

And on that note...

My daughter is going on four years.

I can't help but day dream what she's going to be when she's older.

Own her own restaurant?  Naw, I don't want that kind of life for her.  Too much.

Maybe a few years and then to her own bakery.  A slightly better pace.

I don't know but i know a few things:

She helps me love my wife more than I ever thought.

She makes me aware of my own weaknesses and how I can be a better man.

She reminds me that life isn't always about efficiency, perfection, and order.

She makes me damn proud.

And with Ian just around the corner, I day dream again...

Of long afternoons with a family that cooks, bakes, and eats.

Because we love food.  Not the quantity of food.  Not the quality of food.  But the meaning of food.

Food brings us together.  Great food should be shared.  Enjoy real food in real quantities.  Every meal is a sacred gift from the Lord your God and should be viewed and enjoyed as such.

"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light."  - Luke 8:16

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things we ate over the memorial weekend

Spatchcocked Chicken with Harissa Rub
This is a zesty variation of my basic "chicken in a pot" technique.  Roast chicken can be incredibly easy in four steps:  1) Rub chicken inside and out with desired seasoning  2)  Put chicken in large dutch oven with a lid  3)  Bake chicken low and slow for about 2.5-3 hours  4)  Let rest for 30 min. then eat

It's really really really easy.  And almost impossible to overcook.  Well ok not impossible.  But by baking the chicken at a really low temperature with the lid on, it greatly reduces the risk of dry chicken breast.  

1 5-lb fryer chicken, washed and patted dry (remove them giblets!)
1/2 cup harissa sauce
1 lime
1 handful each of parsley and cilantro tops
1 head garlic

Using hands, separate skin from the chicken meat as much as you can.  Squeeze the juice of the lime into the harissa and rub into the chicken on and underneath the skin.  Chop the tip of the garlic head  off and stuff into the chicken, followed by the herbs.  




Place chicken in a large dutch oven, cover with lid, and refrigerate overnight.  About 3.5 hours before you want to eat the thing, preheat the oven to 250 deg F, place dutch oven with lid still on into oven at middle rack and bake for 2.5-3 hours.  If you like crispy skin, you can remove the oven and broil the bird in the dutch oven at the last 15 minutes of baking.  I don't mind either way so i typically don't bother.  It still tastes great and minimizes the attention i have to spend on it.  

Let rest in the dutch oven for 20-30 minutes before serving.  

Maple Syrup Gelato with Toasted Walnuts
We adapted this recipe from The Ciao Bella Cookbook which you should check out from your local library and make every single recipe from.  I'm experimenting with gelato that's easier on the waistline so i subbed out half of the milk volume with skim milk.  I also cut the sugar by about 15%.  For this recipe, the results were... incredible.

1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

6 T maple syrup (please please please use real maple syrup.  let aunt jemima find something else to do.  we used some from Burton's Maplewood Farm that kaytie's dad gave us)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped then frozen

Heat skim and whole milk to 175 deg F on medium low, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.  Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl.  Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring the milk into the large bowl (keep the pot, you'll need it), whisking while pouring.  Return the custard to the pot you heated the milk in and heat on medium-low to 185 deg F.  Cool completely and chill overnight.  

Gently whisk maple syrup into the gelato and pour into ice cream machine.  

Drizzled maple syrup = smoky robinson covered in custard

Swirled



About 5 minutes before you're done churning, pour the walnuts into the machine.  Transfer gelato to separate container to freeze until set.  Or you could consume the entire thing right there.  It'd be easier than letting it set.  Although I suspect the brain freeze would be murder either way.  

Eat me eat me eat me eat me now

Banana Bread
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t sea salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 + 1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup olive oil (did I??? i did)
4 mashed bananas
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups toasted and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.  Butter and flour 2 loaf pans (9 by 5 by 3 inches), knocking out excess.

Beat together eggs and sugar in electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.  (although really... do we always sift?  i don't know about you but i don't.  and my stuff turns out quite delicious.  well ok, i might get an occassional clump of baking soda but never enough to really bother me.  if you're feeling dangerous, skip this part.  in fact, down with the man!  to hell with the damn sifter, it's your banana bread loaf)

Reduce mixer speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, then add bananas, milk, and vanilla.  

Egg-banana-milk-vanilla mixture
Add dry ingredients and walnuts to egg mixture (you may need a bigger bowl), folding gently as you mix to ensure you don't knock out the air holes too much.  (this is another point where you can really just not care if you lose an air hole or two...  really, it'll taste fantastic either way.  just give it a shot at being careful and then count it as perfect.)

Divide batter between loaf pans and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1.25 hours.  I used a steak knife.




Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack.

Enjoy a fresh cup of coffee with this bread.  I suggest this:  Chemex Coffee Maker





Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Red Wine Tomato Sauce
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti pasta
2 T olive oil
1 medium or 1/2 large onion, 1/4" dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 can crushed tomatoes
3-4 cups leftover roast or rotisserie

Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta. 

Meanwhile, sautee onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent and brown.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute then add wine, olives, and bay leaf.  Cook for 3-5 minutes to burn off alcohol then add tomatoes and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes on medium low.  

Boil pasta to al dente then add directly to sauce.  Serve with grated cheese.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things I've been eating - 5.20.12

From greece to spain to north africa all in one bite.
Zena Foods has a stand at the farmers market in Carmichael park.  This stand has sauces and dips spanning over the entire eastern half of the planet from tsatski to harissa.  The vendor had us try a piece of pita with a sundried tomato and feta salad sprinkled on top of a spoonful of tabouleh.  We couldn't say no.  I also bought a container of harissa which i plan on mixing with a bit of mayo for a chicken lavash wrap tomorrow night.  

At home, we opened up the containers and I took things one step further by adding a dollop of harissa on top of the whole pile.  So many flavors.

I think their stand is at the carmichael park market every sunday.  Five bucks for a container of wonder.  Not a bad deal at all.  Esp. the feta salad.  




Masullo Pizza
You should check this place out on google maps:  http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=17796071621744584221&q=masullo+sacramento+coupon&gl=us&cd=1&cad=src:ppiwlink&ei=QWW5T_niJoaspQTZn5noBg&dtab=2

You're driving down the street looking for this place and then suddenly hey what?  there it goes.  turn around and try to find a parking spot in front of the restaurant, which seems more like a sidewalk than a lot.

Anyways, my favorite style of pizza is Neapolitan style crusts.  These are thin crusts that flop over when held from the rim.  The toppings were great but what really got me was the quality of the pizza crust.  Very lightly chewy with a subtle tanginess.  Oh did i mention they use a real firewood oven here?  Not a brick oven that is made to look like firewood but is really just gas.  Real wood fire.  The char on the pizza crust was a refreshing wake-up.

If you enjoy Neapolitan style pizzas, you should give it a shot.  $14-16 a pizza.  Definitely one per person so it's a bit pricey.  However, i think a great deal for an impressive place for a date.  If the later, I might recommend avoiding the one with anchovies.  However if your date doesn't mind, you really should try it.  And if your date doesn't mind garlic and anchoivies, you know that's a big plus.

Olives, red onion, fontina topped with a parsley - anchovy blend

Oyster mushrooms, bacon, and chopped sage with a very light cream sauce

There was also a red sauce pizza but by the time it got to the table i didn't care enough to take pictures.  Also, while it was very good, it didn't hold my attention like these two.

Pizza.  It starts with the crust.  You can get tasty toppings anywhere.  What's difficult is finding quality crust.