Greek lemon rice


“I want something else to get me through this, semi-charmed kind of life, baby, I want something else, not listening when you say goodbye”-Third eye blind

That song is totally about doing meth btw….but I think that the meth is really more of a way to deal with the symptoms of being human. That is what addiction is all about right? Trying to escape the mundane long enough to feel alive in an altered reality? I wrote this whole short story about riding trimet in the early A.M.’s and about how you see the same people waiting, and how there is an odd feeling of community even if you never even speak to each other. But I hand wrote most of it on a napkin and lost it, so this is what you get, and I am in a mood. Shall we begin?

I am currently equally fascinated and disgusted by others…I think human connection is the most intoxicating thing there is, but a double edged sword as it will easily stab you right in the heart 10 minutes after it changes your perception and gives you hope. People are an addiction, our bodies are hard wired for chemical and hormone flux just by being in the same room with someone.

You can actually feel electricity with some people, its equal parts ecstasy and fear. It only happens rarely, and I almost find it dangerous, to not be able to control yourself to the point that lizard brain takes over and gives you all kinds of delusions of grandeur regarding another human. I think maybe that is why we run from real connections, and it also depletes us as a species. We can control our image online, in real life you cannot, you are taken at face value, if the vibes aren’t there it’s apparent. Human connection is essential, but it is also becoming harder and harder to come by.

I think i’ve lived a sheltered life, due to the fact that at my age most folks already know the cruel and unusual side of humanity, whereas, I am still quite taken back and heart broken when another human discards my appreciation and efforts to connect. I felt jaded before, but since the beginning of the year I have had a few different exchanges that make me realize maybe I don’t even know myself and my preferences that well. I am really hoping it is one of those “transitional” moments that put you on a path towards enlightenment (I am an optimist at heart)…..but what if it is just a reminder that we all die alone, and that you can really trust nothing and no one?

I really wanna “seize the day” but reality can be so icky that I have just been binge watching “Mad Men” for two months while I do what seems like endless amounts of laundry (I think I hate the show really, America was never “Great” just real capital based,racist and sexiest). We have all had amazing short lived experiences that give you hope, but why must they quickly turn into months of self deprecation and insecurities based on the facts that there was some sort of failure in the connection. I used to think I was just like a hopeless romantic about things, but in reality, I’m just a backwards, old fashioned, naive weirdo, with limited life experience, who can cook(about the only thing I feel competent at). We focus so much on money and consuming stuff  that we lose what we as humans at the primitive level really need to be happy……connection to each other, to be in a tribe, to experience what we can in the physical realm, you can’t replace that with sex robots and virtual reality and the more we try the worse we will be as a species (still probably not as bad as “Don Draper” but at least he is handsome). Like always I am a walking contradiction and I must own that, but I am sure someone out there feels the same way I do. Without the bad, we don’t know what is good, but does it have to be this jarring to know the difference….is ignorance really bliss?

How often does fear stop us from living? Fear is really just anxiety, right? Anxiety in general is the worst thing, but it is also one my most defining character flaws…so who am I without the anxiety? What is so wrong with living fearlessly, not putting on a front and just being authentic about your feelings? If you figure it out let me know. So I continue to tell inappropriate jokes and not be taken seriously, as with most others, I am merely a cog in whatever reality you deal in, part of the background, and you get to define me as you wish……even if you are wrong…..and you probably are.

“I believe in the sand beneath my toes, the beach gives a feeling, an earthy feeling I believe in the faith that grows, and the four right chords can make me cry, when I’m with you I feel like I could die, and that would be all right.”

Let’s make some fucking rice shall we?

It’s pretty hard to screw up if you put in the love and effort….do everything with intention, just don’t expect the same in return….but hey this rice is real good!

Life is cathartic, your rice shouldn’t be.

2 cups rice, I am using regular long grain, white rice, but I have used basmati, jasmine, and sushi rice with varying degrees of success, just remember some rice is more starchy than others, just like some people are more likable than others, but you can have a good time with most anyone if the conditions are right.

3 cups of chicken stock, the better the stock the better the rice.

2 tablespoons butter

⅓  diced onion, small dice sucka.

¼ lemon juice

A drizzle of olive oil cuz it’s Greek food.

In a medium pan, add olive oil and butter on medium heat, when the butter melts, add the onion, cook until translucent, about five minutes you can add a pinch of salt (I love Maldon salt) as they cook.

Add the rice, stir around a bit, don’t brown it, this ain’t rice a roni.

Add the stock, turn the heat up, once its at a boil, turn it to low, add the lemon juice,and throw a lid on it. At ten minutes of the lid being on, remove the lid and fluff a bit. Turn off the heat, wait ten more minutes, remove lid, fluff once more and eat.

A weird week and lumiconi

Lumiconi (Italian shell pasta casserole)

“I can’t make you love if you don’t”- Bonnie Raitt

But if you don’t love me I question your taste in general! What a week, also it’s been a while, too long actually I must credit my work mate in inspiring me to get back writing. I told him I was struggling with some mental hang ups and he said “well write something!”, he then told me he reads my blog and I remembered why I started doing this, aside from self preservation, validation that I am leaving my mark on the world even in a small way. when someone tells you they enjoy your creative output it is incredibly flattering, and flattery makes for an improvement in self worth which I am struggling with worse than usual . Anyway, I think I’m better when I work and I equate that to the immense support system I have at my current job. It helps develop me above and beyond my role of mother, caretaker, and wife, which is really how others see me. Most folks see things pretty two dimensional, which really limits the human experience if you ask me.

It’s monsoon season in pdx, not everyone can stand it, but the longer I live here the more I notice that instead of getting wet from the rain I just start to absorb the moisture. Heavy in the lungs like a lifetime worth of bittersweet exchanges, broken dreams, a bong rip of nihilism straight to the brain …it does help if you are a semi aquatic lizard being wearing a human suit waiting for the mothership to take you back to your home planet. The big brain fuck of the place, if you visit in July you want to move here….visit in January and you will start wearing black, want to start a minstrel death metal trio with heavy kazoo, and load up on vitamin D gummies, or you run back to wherever you came from….which is probably for the best, trust me the tweaked out ginger riding trimet, licking peanut butter straight from the jar off his grimy fingers may be more than the average rogue can stomach. 

Bad weather however, makes for great cooking! I made lumiconi (stuffed shells) and they were a hit! Make some, plus they are good if you need to eat away your feelings…actually don’t do that…the only thing worse than seasonal affective disorder is gaining weight on top of it…lol…I apologize if that came off fat shaming it wasn’t meant that way, it’s just another color in my rainbow of hang ups.

Awe fuck me! As I wrote this I missed my stop now I’m halfway to Washington state!  Weird week. At least I feel creative in the words of “the Beatles” “oh blah dee oh blah da life goes on”

How to make stuffed shells: buy some large shell pasta, they usually come in a 10 oz package. Cook them about 5 minutes in heavily salted boiling water, drain and rinse.

Pick some cheeses you like, I would always use ricotta, about a pound of whole milk, part skim can be watery. If you are trying to cut calories….uh…don’t make these. Along with your pound of ricotta you will want to add two eggs and about 1 cup shredded cheese of choice, I used like six but I am weirdo who had six on hand. Might I suggest, Mozzarella, parmesan, Romano, provolone, pick and choose your own adventure on that, add a bit of of salt and pepper and mix er up real good. Shove a tablespoon or so into each par cooked noodle then you get that chore done, you will want to have a 13×9 inch pan waiting with a nice pool (2 cups or so) marinara sauce, place your lumiconi in the sauce (its a pool party!) Meanwhile, before you even started this adventure you turned on the ole’ oven to a pipping 350 degrees. Now the topping is where this can get interesting…..I used bread crumbs, crispy prosciutto, more mozzarella, and some grated Romano. You could consider adding spinach to your cheese mixture, use meat sauce if you want or do you boo. I ain’t gonna tell no one if you get a little crazy what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen! When you have covered your lil swimmers in what ever you are into, cook em in that hot oven GBD and bubbly, about 35 minutes. Eat them with others! Or not. LOL

My next post will be all about public transit! Stay tuned!


Surf ‘n Turf Gyros

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.” -Tony Bourdain.

Summer is dwindling to an end, a bittersweet few months of losses, gaining perspective, and awkward exchanges. Between the periods of existential dread (there were several), it has been great, hot (hottest on record for August in PDX), and humbling. To all my people, who lost people, my heart goes out to you, life is always full of change and loss, I will never again assume that just because someone is here today they will be here tomorrow. My focus is on being empathetic to others and to leave judgement to the bored, and unintelligent folks who feed off of the pain of others. I’m not self conscious anymore about letting those special to me know I love them, life’s too damn short, I know it’s fucking cliche, but it’s so true. You don’t know if you will get another chance to tell them you love them (death, earthquakes, scientology, asteroids!), Keeping expectations low in return is good for character development. Love is the most beautiful and intoxicating of human feelings…..its trumps any drug I’ve ever done! Feel good about being mature enough to be vulnerable.
The death of Chef Anthony Bourdain by suicide was pretty demotivational for me. Like many folks I was inspired by him and his writing and saw myself in him. I wrote something a while ago about him before his death, I remember not being able to sleep and having to type it out:
“By the time I had given up on college and gave in to cooking, while being a student at a 3rd rate cooking school, the best selling book Kitchen confidential was all the rage. I read it and of course loved it, which led to reading Anthony Bourdain’s following works. I didn’t love it for the shock factor most got out of it, I was raised in restaurants and bars therefore, I was raised by the types of characters that readers found so shocking in Bourdain’s expose about the industry. These are my peeps, the criminals, the crazies, the misfits, the lost boys (and girls) of the blue collar biz. I learned to pour a keg beer at age four, so really none of his wild tales seemed out of this world to me, but the pleasure of the read was being able to relate and read a tale that you have in essence experienced to some degree, New York, NY is a bit different than my hometown and my current town of Portland, but I instantly felt a camaraderie with him.”
I think he will always remain a reminder to me that we are all mere mortals and that even those with what we want have their own demons to contend with. There were other losses of those I grew up with and at this time I don’t think I should elaborate more than saying that I never felt so hyper aware of how fragile existence is and how heavy it is…..dark….I am so worried mine will pass and I won’t appreciate it enough.
School is going back into session on Monday, and with every year that passes (way to fast!) I realize I don’t have any more babies….my son said something funny the other day, I was making him some soup for lunch, as I served him a bowl he looked at it and said “what?! No garnish?” he just turned 7 on the 4th of July. I put a quenelle of pesto on it and he looks at me and says “now that’s more like it”, he is sooo spoiled, to his future spouse…I’m sorry(kinda), but you better be able to cook..or at least good with garnishing LOL!
I like cooking a lot, but I don’t know if I want to try and emulate/cook other chefs food forever. Besides the fact, I would like to try my hand at running my own thing….Portland’s food scene for all its splendor doesn’t have as much souvlaki as a beer drinking city needs to have. I already have a pretty killer playlist put together for service…LOL. I’ve learned so much at every restaurant I have worked, and that education is beyond valuable, I am so much better than I was when I was actually way more confident in my skills. The more you hone your craft the more you realize you don’t know Jack! I am not ready to put my money where my mouth is anyhow. It takes a lot of courage, and financiers to run a risky biz like a restaurant. Like my dad always said growing up “Money talks, jive ass walks”. Plus having a restaurant, and doing it right, takes your entire life and dedication, I want desperately to travel as many places as I can. There has been a void in me ever since the mid nineties when my parents closed the restaurant, I think part of me feels that my work isn’t done here until I continue to keep the recipes and traditions of my blended family alive…I guess I do it here a little, but I love to cook for others and show my love to them, just as my family before me had. #itscomplicated I guess we will see what evolves….on that note I made surf and turf gyros!
I made the pita myself using Bon Apetit’s Recipe recipe, I added some toasted sesame seeds to the dough.
I grilled 2 pounds flat iron steaks marinated in my souvlaki marinade
Grilled shrimp, sprinkled them with “lemon pepper” before grilling on skewers
Not so secret sauce:
Equal parts:

  • Tahini
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • Herbs, a few tablespoons of fresh, I think parsley, dill, oregano, basil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of red wine vinegar

Combine till smooth
Cucumber julienned
Tomatoes
You really can choose your own adventure here… I meant to add red onion but forgot!
Place ingredients on bread and enjoy!

Pickled Onions & the Liberation of a Change in Perspective


OMFG! I have writer’s block like a mofo right now! Yikes….but honestly I think it is partially due to the fact that I don’t need the same level of outside vailiation from the internet I used to. Which I would say in a weird way is…progress. Furthermore I have been busy…for me…which is in no way busy for someone else…I am just speaking from personal perspective as I have no
other. I need to quit apologizing for things….someone told me apologizing too much makes you seem weak…which I am not. I was just in my hometown, as my mother has currently had some health/mobility issues. Watching your parents age is hard, and I think it may be because once you see them getting older you have to realize that you yourself are getting older as well, and that the clock ticks regardless of if you are ready for it. I also got an exceptional manicure, made it through all my shifts at work last week without a scratch! Impressive. Going back to where I come from is always emotional and strange, it was quite apparent to me this time that I have been gone a while, and how ill suited I am for the lifestyle there, which made me think that it is probably a good idea for people to move out of the 50 mile radius they were born in for a while, and if you leave and decide to go back than you know you are in the right place, but if you come back and it no longer seems like you are home, than you made the right choice to leave. It helps to gain perspective, and to figure out who you are without the huge burden of the expectations of others. I now thoroughly trust myself and my choices, whereas a decade ago I was constantly doubting myself in order to fit in a place that limited my unique qualities, how I look, progressive ideals, not to mention being judged by people who have already decided they dislike you based on the family you come from or the religion you follow or in my case don’t follow. I feel like the best gift I have ever given myself is that of reinvention, only possible by moving locations and I am now the happiest and most confident I have ever been! I’m not trying to sound judgemental at all, I just feel like moving out was the best thing I could’ve done for myself, and I would want this for anyone as it is incredibly liberating. It is hard to observe friends and family that are going through the same troubles I had but not knowing where to go next because they are “comfortable” in the only place they know. This time for the most part was good (I have lowered my expectations quite a bit which helps and I have figured out that your real friends make the effort to see you, screw the fakey haters, my fakedar is pretty good nowadays I can detect them a mile away and I pity the fools). I did have crazy insomnia this time, which is super sucktastic! The worst feeling I have had in while is being wide awake at 3am with a picture of yourself at 8 years old staring back at you. But for the most part I think I had great memories of the trip. Nuff said.
I need to talk about the March Degustabox, it was grand! Real good waffles, from Julian’s which I would totally use and pass off at my own! LOL. We loved the Oreo bar, the mint chocolate and cookies are the perfect mix of taste and texture.
The loacker crisp wafers were good but I probably would not buy espresso flavor since I have kids, but they were super good on mocha ice cream.
The 7days croissant was surprisingly fresh tasting! My kids loved it, it’s a little high in calories, fat, and sugar for more than a occasional indulgence. But if I was traveling and saw these I would buy one for some quick energy.
The Post great grains was really good, we will be buying this, it’s great as a granola alternative in yogurt. Will buy this again. Big pieces of almonds and coconut!
I liked the energy tea, it didn’t stand out from other similar products, I think I may be more of a coffee person.
The homebrew pickling packets were fun, the only critic I would have is that if you add all the dry ingredients, instead of having to add your own sugar, it would be more appealing to folks who don’t normally cook.
The brown rice milk from Elmhurst is a cool product, it is shelf stable, full of whole grain, and you can cook with it. I tried some and it is a bit watery to add to coffee, but I would consider using this in a tasty, vegan cream soup, or to make a vegan gravy with. It is a great product to have on hand when hosting vegans in your home or to make healthier choices easier.
On that note I will yap at ya later…..Happy cooking!

Pork and black bean tostada and February degustabox


Well it’s been a rough go getting all my blog content switched over to AWS, but I think we are at a place now where I can get back to more frequent posting. I have officially binge-watched the entire “Ugly Delicious” series on Netflix…and I loved it! I do think the term “ugly” to describe tacos, pizza, and soup dumplings is weird…it’s not fine dining plating but I think regional cuisines have a certain style and technique that is truly stunning. Simplicity is the height of fashionable right now, from my perspective, and I would like to tell Kanye to get on making a bulletproof hoodie….as I think it could fit his branding well and I also think I want them for my kids! So Ye if you are reading this….send the royalties to mama!
After watching “Ugly delicious”, I found a lot of connection for me to the taco episode, Dave Chang was kinda being a hater about them, until he went to L.A. where his tune quickly changed after a few regional tastings. Where I grew up in Ogden, UT we always had a vibrant Hispanic community and growing up in my parents restaurants, I had many early caregivers and mentors of Mexican heritage. Today I work with some amazingly, talented, hardworking, and dedicated Mexican immigrants and I feel that they have a beautiful cultural heritage and it shows in their native cuisine. I felt really inspired to make my interpretation of Mexican cooking (gringo Mex with a dash of Tex, suck on that Bobby Flay!), it was also perfect because February’s Degustabox contained Mrs. Renfro’s Texas red beer salsa, and goya refried beans I wanted to test out. I instapotted (yeah, I have one, and I kinda, not totally, love it!) some pork sirloin roasts, super easy:

    Get 2 pork sirloin roasts: cover with aleppo pepper, salt, pepper, granulated garlic.
    Set instapot to saute mode and add 1 T. Peanut oil, add roasts and sear on all sides.
    Add 1 Cup of stock or beer, and set to slow cook for 3 hours and 30 minutes
    Shred!

I fried corn tortillas to a nice and crispy place, topped them with the Goya refried black beans, topped with pork, cheese, lettuce, and the Refro’s Salsa! The dish was a hit and super easy to get on the table on a weeknight. I would buy both those products again….the one thing about the salsa is it is a little on the sweet side, which is common with Tex Mex style jarred salsa, but the heat level gave a nice balance.
I made heart shaped pepperoni pizza for Valentine’s day with the Boboli thin crust, and boboli sauce. I wasn’t crazy about the sauce (here again the added sugar dull the tomato flavor for me), but my family didn’t seem to mind at all and the whole thing was consumed happily. I have always been a fan of Boboli’s crusts, they are convenient and tasty, I think my favorite way to use them is to make BBQ chicken pizzas.
The Tiger Tail mustard was a winner at our house, and at the price point it’s at I would choose this over the run of the mill supermarket yellow mustards.
I used the Thai inspired Spice Hunter rub in cooking liquid to steam large shrimp to serve in cocktails, the spice rub gave the shrimp a nice aromatic quality, and citrus kick. The cocktail sauce was made using the Sir Kensigtons Spicy ketchup, this ketchup made it easy to just stir in a little horseradish and make perfectly seasoned cocktail sauce. I liked both these products, and I am excited to use the rub on pork or chicken to grill.
I put the Luna bars in my kids lunches for school, and they loved them and wanted more when they got home! So in the future when I need a quick snack that they love and actually has nutritional value I would get them these.
The Lundberg family farms aged Cheddar chips were tasty with a “dorito-like” quality that everyone wants in a cheese flavored tortilla chip, so if you want a “healthyish” version of dortitos these could be a good replacement.
Well that’s all for today folks! Happy cooking.

Resilience


Well in reflection of the last year I have a lot to think about and little to say. I’m not exactly sure I should be preaching any gospel at this point. I find all the online, self-righteousness and broadcasting quite corny, and in reading some of my “expired” old posts, I cringe. In 2018 I think I will be trying to disconnect from the wifi more, and be present with the real people in my life who breath the same air I do, don’t tell me what I want to hear but what I need to hear. Self-awareness is something that has been a goal of mine, taking responsibility for being wrong, standing up to bullies, and communication. But I would be lying if I told you I got it all figured out, Don Henley said it best “the more I know, the less I understand, all these things I thought I figured out I have to learn again”. I got no answers, no highfalutin moral code to follow, I did start using chlorophyll supplements this year and I would recommend that to everyone….but I am not going to tell you how, and what you should do to live your life, because i’m still figuring myself out and working through my own stuff. I would say if you are the type that post about how other people should let go of the past, when you have caused them hurt, you should save it…i’m sure Harvey Weinstein would love all his bad behaviors and those affected by it to “get over it” but that isn’t how it works, that is why we should all budget our time wisely in dealing with the energy of others, but make sure and stand up for yourself, we all die alone, you are best asset you have. I started this blog to work through my loneliness and isolation associated with my move 6 years ago, a bad reality T.V. experience, and to keep track of what I cook…..I have been vulnerable publicly, been embarrassed, and comforted by how others take my rantings, but mostly it’s just me thinking out loud, it’s entirely self indulgent and is not meant to insult anyone but I appreciate any reaction I can get and I do take feedback seriously . For those struggling with hurt, I would say to trust that the universe will take care of those who treat others like doormats…..give it time….some folks gotta learn the hard way. Kindness, humor, and resilience are the coping strategies I am going to use this year. And I am really glad I am invested in cryptocurrency…..that is the icing on the cake that was 2017! “Life ain’t a track meet, it’s a marathon.” -Ice Cube

All aboard the Bitcoin express!

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Chicken strip salad and my quarter life crisis

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I am going to try and make this into a succinct essay, (probably won’t happen, but let’s give it a go) and talking about what having a quarter life crisis has to do with chicken strips. I will start by saying that I have made countless versions of this salad for probably a decade of my life. Nearly ten of my working years on and off were at the City Club in Ogden, Utah. My mother started there as a cook in the mid nineties, after closing our restaurant, and subsequently my sisters and myself worked with her or at Brewskis or at the other bars within the City Club family.
I started at 15, working night shifts making pizza with my sister Georgia at Brewskis….I loved it, back in those days the kitchen was right next to the stage and I remember loving to listen to the Kapp Brothers, or whatever local, or national act was there for the weekend. I never really was offended by the drunkenness of others and loved getting to at least be a spectator in the action. In high school I had a stint at a bagel shop, and then by 18 I was back being a prep cook at City club during the lunch shift, when I wasn’t half assing my way through general ed at Weber state University. From the best of my recollection this salad came on the menu in the late 90’s and was always a hit. It’s perfect in composition, and I always enjoyed assembling them and watching the patrons enjoy what I had assembled.
I moved to Salt Lake when I was 19 to go to University and didn’t go back to work(I did hang out there though) at the City Club until I was 27. By this point I was married to a successful computer whiz with his own business,had my culinary education, my first child, I was living in my newly built “dream home”, and was driving an only slightly used BMW, I had even done a cooking segment for PBS making Greek potato salad and won the Utah State fair beef cook off. From the outside looking in I seemed to have it all, I had done my best to achieve what a consumer culture deems “The American Dream”. But in all actuality the stuff didn’t make me happy, it made me feel caged and insecure of losing it. It was right about the same time as the housing crisis and our timing on our home purchase wasn’t optimal, my husband was in construction so he was stressed, miserable, and working constantly to pay for all of the stuff.
I started working to make money of course but to also remember who I was, I felt hugely guilty that “stuff” didn’t make me happy and that I was still the same flawed, unacceptable, weirdo I had always been, and that driving a BMW made you a target for road rage and speeding tickets! Cooking helped with the anxiety, following in my Mom’s footsteps I served Greek food as she had for specials, and loved reinventing Taco Thursdays. But within myself I was having an existential crisis, I was struggling to maintain an image that was never really who I was, but was what I was told to be, I started to drink a lot of vodka after my shifts, and escape my stress with karaoke and hanging out with some of the best and worst characters Ogden had to offer. I ended up quitting, I shouldn’t have, but it did drive me in the direction to being a truer version of myself, we got rid of the house, the car, moved to a new city, and got new jobs. Six years in and I have more than ever, in different ways, and I feel like I am living my own version of the “American Dream”, there is always room for improvement which is what I strive for. But, I would lying if I said I never miss making chicken strip salads for my favorite patrons, and drinking with the people who saved me from myself in a somewhat dark era. In the words of the star of maybe the best reality show ever, “Rock of Love” Bret Michaels “Every rose has its thorn”. If you are in Ogden you really need to go have the real deal, but if you can’t get there I will give you a guideline to make your own.
Iceberg lettuce
Shredded carrots
Green peas (thaw frozen ones)
Green onions
Chicken strips, like 2-3 per portion you are making.
Thin chow mein noodles
Sesame ginger dressing
Assemble in shallow, scalloped glass bowl for maximum authenticity.

White Miso glazed Halibut

misohalibut
Is direct communication such a alien concept? I can’t help you if I don’t know what you need, and I can only read minds occasionally.There is most definitely enough bullshit to deal with in life without over complicating things…..instead of putting up fronts, stating one’s needs would save everyone a lot of time. I read this article about how “ghosting” isn’t always a bad thing, because it helps people deal with rejection better than just being told “I ain’t into you/the conversation”, I think I’d rather have the truth, this is just one of the examples of the weird disconnect that technology has created in human interaction. Are we becoming a group of humans who can’t even communicate our feelings based upon the premise that the receiving end is too fragile to accept it?
Technology is great but don’t forget the whole point of living is sharing human connection, show up in real life and communicate how you feel, men, women, who ever you are…..I will use the words from Shania Twain’s 90’s hit, in regards to faux, online persona “That don’t impress me much”, try translating authenticity into it, now that’s the tough part.
Now without further adieu a no bullshit fish recipe:
Miso-glazed Halibut (serves two but easy to double)
2 -6 oz halibut filets
2 tsp. Sesame Oil
A few T. sesame seeds
1 recipe Miso glaze:
2 T. butter softened,I am obsessed with European style butter right now, so that is what I used. Yes there is a difference.
2 T. White miso paste
1 T. Ponzu sauce
1 T. sake
1 T. mirin
1 tsp. Chinese hot mustard (optional but spicy!)
Make your glaze by mixing all the glaze ingredients up. Heat a broiler proof pan over medium high heat with a bit of Pam spray or drizzle of high heat oil so your fish doesn’t stick and ruin all your fun. Place ¼ of the glaze on one side of fish, place in hot pan glaze side down, preheat broiler, flip fish after three minutes, and top with the rest of the glaze and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Broil 3-5 minutes checking often, should be brown and bubbly. Drizzle cooked fish with sesame oil and serve with rice (I used broken Jasmine rice), and veg (I julienned some romaine and tossed it with rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, and a bit more sesame oil, S&P.
This recipe turns out nice and will even impress your bitchiest foodie friends. Now go out there and actually speak to another human about ideas, the world and find a well stocked market to get your supplies.

Dee’s inspired teriyaki chicken burger

dees
One of my first memories is looking up at everyone’s legs from under a table in a restaurant trying with the best of my toddler -self skills to get out of the rather restrictive dress and shiny black shoe ensemble I was dressed in for some sort of event, probably one of those random times during my childhood when we went to the Greek Orthodox church or to the ward with Grandma Marion. I remember being snapped up right as i was unbuckling my shoe, by my mom, when I looked up a waitress handed me a balloon, with the “Dee’s” logo on it, growing up in Ogden, Utah, visits here were like a rite of passage to the developing Ogdenite. Dee’s also always had suckers in the front “for the road”, which my sister Georgia and I would play a game with, we would throw them in the road and whoever’s got smashed by a car first got their wish, Dee’s was on Washington blvd, or the “Vard” as we called it, it was the street the kids cruised on to meet potential love mates before tinder, or instagram existed, it was on the way to the Ogden Mall which was quite fancy in the 80’s and into the early 90’s, even being the location of the Tiffany “I think we’re alone now” music video…wow, seeing that typed out looks pretty hilarious, but I digress. The waitresses well into the early 2000’s wore old school waitressing uniforms with pink or blue pinstripe and lil’ hats, I always wanted to work there so I get my hands on one of those dresses and style it al’a Courtney Love (the debut “Hole” album years). I never got that chance but we did have our own restaurant across the street and many times after service some of us would go over and eat dinner there, you never want to eat at the joint you can eat at for free…LOL. The food was never great, this wasn’t like a “Jean George” moment, this was red state, plastic plate, bland, diner grub….but honestly, it was consistent, affordable, and not what we were serving at our place so I more than once enjoyed it! A good go-to order was the “chicken teriyaki burger” or you could have it with a beef patty…but something about the chicken made me feel more healthy. I am sharing my version of it, as I do feel sad that after 36 years as an Ogden institution, there before I was even born, and basically a place I went at least a few times a year my whole life closed down permanently a few years back. The owner just closed it one day, leaving all his long time employees and customers in shock. Times change, tastes change, and people die that is why it is important to always pay respect to the places of that past, regardless of how benign they seemed at the time:
You will need:
2 chicken breasts, split in half this will make four sandwiches, I brined mine for a few hours in pickle juice, but you can just salt and pepper them…Dee’s didn’t brine theirs. Or alternately you could use any meat or non meat “patty” you like.
4 slices of swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. Teriyaki sauce, choose your favorite.
1 cup of sauteed mushrooms, I think they used canned ones, so no judgement here…do you boo!
4 Sesame hamburger buns, lightly buttered and toasted for maximum authenticity.
Grill your chicken or pan sear whichever, cook it!
When your chicken or patty is to your liking, top with mushrooms, sauce and then top with cheese, yes, in that precise order or give up on the whole endeavour as it won’t be right, ok that is dramatic but there is method to the madness, cheese hold the mushrooms in like corset, “fat man in little coat style” and part of the beauty of this simple thing is the right bite, you need each ingredient in each bite to enjoy it fully.
Put it on the bun and add some lettuce and tomato if you like.
Nostalgic pleasure is sometimes the best kind, without a backstory a recipe means nothing, without feeling you really can’t cook and enjoy it all that much. Make things that ground you and remind you where you have come from so you can put that energy into your future….wow, I crown myself the “Queen of runon sentences” but we are on a budget here so I don’t have a copywriter. Happy cooking!
R.I.P. Dee’s Family Restaurant
3360 Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84401

Nong’s Noodz

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Wasn’t the eclipse amazing!? The media had made it out to be this epic traffic disaster, which it ended up being not so bad, not any worse than our usual PDX traffic! Work was crazy this weekend, however, I think the solar eclipse made everyone crave our food! Lines started outside before we even opened and didn’t stop! Aside from my usual cooking tasks, I also help bottle our signature sauce. We have to wait till we close one night a week to prepare and hand pour over 300 bottles!
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The bottled sauce makes it easy to prepare Khao man gai at home if you aren’t local, but I have found that it is amazingly versatile for other applications as well. I recently used it in perhaps, the best cold noodle dish ever! The sauce already has the perfect balance of acid, heat, sweetness, and salt, so it can serve as a short cut to making amazing dressings or even to use as a marinade.

Chef Nolan prepping bottles
Nolan prepping bottles

From peeling the ginger to putting on caps there is no part of our sauce process that doesn’t have the human touch, it isn’t an easy process, but the final result makes it well worth the effort and is a labor of love from start to finish, there aren’t too many products available that can really give you a similar experience to what you would have physically in the restaurant, and I am very proud to be a part of it.

Chef Nong, Rigo, and Gerrado sealing and transporting bottles for labelling
Nong, Rigo, and Gerrado sealing and transporting bottles for labelling

Nong has been bottling her famous sauce for three years and bottles are available in many stores in several states and online through the website. As you can tell from the photo above there is a very good chance that Nong herself helped to bottle the sauce you buy! Large batches of carefully prepared, temped, and authentic sauce are cooked in a large free standing stock pot, we have to maintain a certain temperature to ensure the best product arrives ready for you to eat.

Peter pouring bottles, sometimes we have races to see who can finish faster and be the most accurate...he always wins!
Peter pouring bottles

To make your own “Nong’s Noodz” you will need:
8 oz of noodles, I used dried wheat ramen noodles but you can choose your own adventure (rice noodles, zucchini noodles, even dried spaghetti would be great). Just make sure to cook them al dente and cool them.
1/4 cup Nong’s Khao Man Gai Sauce
1.5 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp water
1 cup veggies of choice, I used pea pods and shredded carrots but I bet jicama would be great as well!
I also added Japanese “Schichimi togarashi” pepper sprinkled on top and bit of fried garlic, both are great but optional.
Blend the tahini, Nong’s sauce, and water together until emulsified. Pour emulsion over cold noodles and top with veggies of choice, garnish with herbs or anything you like!
Dead simple. Noodz to build a dream on and did I mention they are vegan?! A little bit of love from the Nong’s crew in Portland, Oregon! Happy Cooking!

#noodzporn
#noodzporn