Archive for soups

Adventures in Cultural Misappropriation – Madagascar

Posted in adventures in cultural misappropriation, baking, food, madagascar with tags , , , , on July 22, 2018 by uglydudefood

Recipes in this post:

Malagasy lasopy

Vegetable Biryani

Madagascar vanilla fruity clafoutis

Our first culinary visit into the heart of Africa, or at least off the coast of Africa where David Schwimmer plays a hypochondriac giraffe.

I don’t do any research for these things, but Rachel does, and apparently Madagascar cuisine is slurped up from both the Indian and French cultures. The end result is a soup that wouldn’t surprise me on an Indian menu, a rice dish I’ve absolutely ordered from our local kebab place, and a French-ish dessert.

Malagasy lasopy is a puréed vegetable soup. You basically take a bunch of vegetables, boil em in broth, and whiz the whole thing together in a food processor. The recipe calls for water and an animal bone instead of broth, but fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. You can probably do this with literally any vegetables, I stuck to the recipe.

Even with no seasoning/spices besides salt and pepper, the soup is a pretty good hit and gets good flavor from the turnip and green onions.

The biryani is a warm spiced rice dish. I substituted vegetable bouillon for the chicken bouillon, and I couldn’t find ginger garlic paste so I made my own. You’ll be horrified to know that my grocery cart at one point had both a jar of pickled ginger and a jar of “garlic paste” which apparently also had, like, parmesan cheese in it? Then I decided to avoid a complete Ugly Food meltdown and actually google the recipe for ginger garlic paste in-store and picked up a ginger root and effing did it. I ended up accidentally making like a cup of ginger garlic paste (only needed a tablespoon) so I ended up using it for a stir fry the next day.

Anyway, pretty good. It tasted about the same as restaurant biryani, although it made a lot more (and cost a lot more – not sure if it evened out price wise). Suggested wine pairing: Diet Mt. Dew.

The clafoutis dessert is kind of, I dunno, a flat custardy cake? At least mine was. I think the pan I used was too big. The recipe just said “tart pan,” man! Be clear in your recipes!

Anyway, it still tasted good as hell.

lol

And then the animals, who all had been pampered in the Central Park Zoo previously, learn a lesson about survival and not eating each other, and it sucked. I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT, I LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT, I LOKENTO MOGE IT MOTR IT, I LIKENTO MOOOOBE ITTTTT

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Meat George Jetson

Posted in food, health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2008 by uglydudefood

This is not a post discussing the merits of designing a life-sized cartoon character out of animal flesh.

This is a post about my falling-out with vegetarianism.

When I was dieting, I cut meat out of my diet entirely. It wasn’t out of any particular sociopolitical agenda, nor was it by the design of some radical “eating animals is wrong” mindset. Eating animals isn’t, I don’t think, particularly wrong. We have the enzymes. We have the teeth for it. It’s naive for humans to think that, as animals, we are “above” the idea of eating another animal’s flesh. Food chain, blahblah, etc.

We kinda sorta treat our food like crap, but that’s another story for another day.

I stopped eating meat because I was trying to cut fat out of my diet entirely. It worked for the most part. There were days that the very few grams of fat I received came from a Boca Burger here or there, and nothing else.

In my attempts to begin a healthier lifestyle of late, I did some research. Fat is an important part of a balanced diet. We should be getting anywhere between twenty and thirty-five percent of our calories from fat. This aids in insulation, healthy cell-function maintenance, and muscle-building, among other helpful bodily functions.

Oops. No wonder I’m always cold. I’ll just try to avoid saturated fats and trans-fats, thank you.

With that stumbling block out of the way, it was really only matter of time until I returned to an omnivorous lifestyle. The eventual cracking point was at Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill.

I am a seasoned calorie-counter. Caloriecount is my Bible. When I saw that Applebee’s had a “Weight Watchers” menu that included specific caloric/fat information, I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t have to nurse a Diet Coke until it was time to go home and nuke up some veggies.

With the exception of cake and onion soup (I was on a date, so onion soup was out of the question, natch), all of the Weight Watchers options were full of meat. Glorious meat!

I decided to go with the Italian Chicken and Portabello Sandwich (pictured above in all of its grainy, dark, cell-phoney glory).  Applebee’s calls it “Grilled, marinated chicken breast topped with sliced portobello mushrooms, a slice of tomato and chunky marinara sauce. Served on a wheat bun along with fresh fruit.”   I did not receive the promised chunky marinara sauce, and the mushrooms were flavorless at best.  As for the first taste of meat I’d had in over three years?  What kind of culinary pleasure did I experience on my grand reentry into the world of the societal norm?

Eh.  Tasted like chicken.

I may eat meat a few times a week at most.  Look forward to more vegetarian recipes and whatnot, simply because they tend to be more flavorful and healthful, and therefore worth more of my time.

Mike Spoodles’ Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by uglydudefood

For the past three weeks, I’ve been actually cooking. Homemade vegetable soup, sir. Sure, it’s a meal that requires absolutely no maintenance, but it is fresher than anything you’re going to nuke up in the microwave. In a world drowning in preservatives and sassafrass (the ‘frass is not to be confused with sassafras, which is a fresh oil used to make root beer and ecstasy), you can never have enough fresh, unrefined produce.

My favorite part about my Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup is that it is literally made of whatever you have laying around, assuming that whatever-you-have-laying-around is not your kid brother.

THE BROTH

Hobo Soup at workStewed tomatoes (canned–no salt added). This was a recommendation that initially turned me on to this “recipe” of sorts. You dump a can of stewed tomatoes (113 calories total) into a pot and add two- to four cans-full of water, making a nice, red, tomatoey broth. Any canned tomato will do, really. I accidentally bought diced tomatoes and they seemed to work fine (just fine). Watch out–most canned vegetables are doped up on sodium. Do yourself and your heart a favor. Go low-sodium and season your soup to taste later.

V8 Juice (low sodium, natch). If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a bouquet, V8 100% Vegetable Juice will work in a pinch. The reddish gunk is a mixture of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach (AND IT TASTES AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS). As a juice it is probably the most horrid thing known to man. As a broth? Well, it’ll do. Water it down to taste and plunk in your miscellaneous fillings. Tomato juice will also work, although at that point shouldn’t you get the actual tomato goodness of a can of stewed tomatoes?

Vegetable broth. Somehow there is an option even lazier than the previous two options. Available in convenient off-the-shelf can form, vegetable broth is the boiled-down essence of any number of stinky vegetables. You’ll probably fare better, though, making your own vegetable broth if you have the time.

OTHER BROTH ALTERNATIVES: Of course you could make the broth out of just about anything. You could use plain old water and spice it up. If you’re a meat-eater, you could obviously go for the old standby chicken broth.

AND NOW TO THE VEGETABLES

Once again, the sky is the limit here. Whatever you have that is fresh and lingering around your kitchen can go into this pot. As a for-instance, here are the things that went into my soup tonight:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper (my peppers were shriveling)
  • 100g fresh onion
  • 10g garlic
  • 2 beets
  • 3 spears asparagus
  • 30g baby portabello mushrooms
  • 10 radishes

Beets have been a must-have in my soups for the past week. Not only do they add a subtle hint of sweetness (which is sorely lacking in most vegetables), but they will turn your soup blood red. For a less-messy option, you can chop up an apple to offset the veggies with sweetness.

Other favorites of mine include: zucchini, cabbage, carrots, celery, eggplant. You can boil an egg (or an egg white) in the broth as well.

Experiment gone horribly wrong: fresh jalapeo peppers, which are apparently as unappetizing in soup as they are in bulk eating contests.

PREPARATION

After all of the ingredients are tossed into a pot willy-nilly, bring the concoction to a boil. Once your soup has been boiling for several minutes, reduce the heat and cover your pot. Leave covered until you are ready to serve. Everything will get tender. Your veggies and broth will begin to influence each other with their flavors.

This soup can serve one or many. The nutritional value of an entire batch is generally less than 400 calories. With that said, it’s a very filling dish. If you attempt to eat the whole thing in one sitting, your stomach will probably rupture.

I’d strongly recommend this soup if you are looking for a filling, low-calorie, fat-free meal, or just a way to experiment with new and different vegetables. The only thing missing is the stone.

My Pee Buddy ‘N’ Me

Posted in fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2007 by uglydudefood

Sour Grapes

Posted in fiction, food with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2004 by uglydudefood

We met in the supermarket. She was pushing her baby along in the shopping cart, which was stuffed with disposable diapers, jars of Gerber, diet pop, and TV dinners. I rolled my cart full of canned goods and bottles of liquor next to her cart and parked it. She was filling a small produce bag with sour grapes. I didn’t need any fruit at my apartment–I subside mainly on condensed soup and Jim Beam–but I was so smitten with the blonde beauty that I had to pretend. Inspecting nearby melons, I casually wandered closer and closer to my unwitting crush. As I meandered towards her, I noticed a tiny stud in her left nostril, glistening with the light of the produce department. She was my kind of girl, the type that probably had pink hair and a bad attitude in high school. I began filling a plastic sack with cherries, not cognizant of the actions of my hands. My eyes and my mind were on only one thing: the stunning vision in front of me. She couldn’t have been over twenty-one, but the lines on her face showed a wisdom–a wisdom that probably came from raising a child at such a young age.

“Hi.” The angel’s song had come from over my shoulder. I spun around, probably much too quickly to seem as suave as I thought I was, and made the first eye contact. Her blue eyes shot daggers right into my own, and instantly I was awestruck. Unable to speak, I sent a smile and a nod in her direction. She opened her mouth to speak: her gorgeous pink lips, contrasting beautifully with her white face, lifted to show pearly, white teeth. “I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve really been stocking up on the cherries there.” For the first time, I looked down at the basket of my cart. I had filled four produce bags with bright red cherries. The gorgeous, pale-skinned maiden arched her golden eyebrow at me as I brought my eyes back upwards to hers.

“Yeah,” I assented. “I love cherries. Keep a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Did I actually say that? I did–but what did I mean by that? Obviously, living in isolation for three years had dulled my wits to the point where I could no longer think on my toes. I looked at the girl for any sign of disgust or distaste, but I received instead a wide grin and the sight of rosy, blushing cheeks.

She introduced herself as Kate, and I did the same. Then, when I realized what I had said, I introduced myself properly. My bumbling mistakes must have seemed like well-timed jokes to the girl, because she just wouldn’t stop smiling at me. I was in love with this girl already, and I had only known her for all of thirty seconds.

“Anyway,” she said, “the reason I approached you is that while you were busy grabbing fistfuls of cherries, you accidentally grabbed my baby’s pacifier from her mouth. It’s in one of those bags, and I wanted to know if I could get that back.” I was dumbstruck as I stuttered an apology and fished through the heaping bags of fruit. Eventually, I came upon the pacifier and plucked it from its red grave. The girl snatched the pacifier from my hand and thanked me with a smile. With that, she wandered away towards the deli with bawling child in tow.

I dumped the multiple bags of cherries back into their green bin and walked away, red with embarrassment. I quickly paid for my alcohol and soup, rushed out to my car, and sped away. While driving, I realized that the events such as the grocery store incident were the reason I live alone and only leave to work and shop. I got back to my slum of an apartment, locked and deadbolted the door, and went immediately to sleep.