Month: December 2008

Misoyaki Maki

We’d been invited to a champagne-tasting party, to which we were instructed to bring an appie or somesuch. Easy, right? Except that I totally procrastinated, and it started snowing. Hard. I didn’t want to press my luck and brave a drive to the store for […]

Rumple Minze hot chocolate

I got your Holiday Cheer right here. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate cocoa with Rumple Minze peppermint schnapps and marshmallows. Serve with Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate-Covered Peppermint Joe Joe’s for dunking. They taste like a cross between Girl Scouts Thin MInts and Oreos, with crushed candy cane […]

Pannetone French toast with orange-bourbon syrup

…or, Special Christmas Breakfast

I really haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit this year. No baking, no candy, nothing. I still have time to pretend I’m Russian, though, in which case the New Year celebration is more important. Technically, my people were German-Russian for a hundred years or so, and I’m calling that close enough. Ooh! Also, I found out recently that my great-grandmother was half Tatar (my father claims her conception was nefarious, but I can find no information that supports the claim that Mongol raids of the Volga were still happening in the 19th century). My first reaction was not surprise, or shock, but “omg, really? I’m part Asian? I knew it!” Now the slight almond shape to my eyes, my Nipponophilia and my hard-on for Stephen Chow makes so much sense. Being 1/16 Volga Tatar makes me practically Chinese, right?

But that’s neither here nor there, and is typical of my digressions. On my journey to Trader Joe’s (partly for sustenance, partly to escape cabin fever), I picked up one of my favorite holiday treats, pannetone. They didn’t have any of my real fave, the orange and chocolate chip (I honestly haven’t seen that kind in about a decade), so I grabbed the cranberry instead. Then I proceeded to forget that we had it for a couple days, just long enough for it to go a little stale.

Then I had the stroke of genius to make French toast with the pannetone (of course, now I find out that Giada deLaurentis makes it). I whipped up a quick batter of cream and eggs, orange zest, my homemade seven-spice and bourbon vanilla, a pinch of salt and a spoonful of sugar. I browned it in butter, then topped it with powdered sugar and a syrup of orange juice and zest, sugar and Maker’s Mark, simmered until thick and good.

Serve with a little holiday cheer (in this case, mimosas, but I’ll also accept “screwdriver”, a propos of Russia). S Novim Godom!

Elk sirloin chili with Beans

Any more, whenever I cook or even eat beans, I think of my buddy Ken Albala over at Ken Albala’s Food Rant. He doesn’t get as much traffic as all the Foodbuzz and Foodie Blogroll folks, which is a fucking shame, because he’s actually a […]

Broccoli rabe, potato and ham frittata

I am losing my fucking mind in all this snow. We were able to drive through it on Saturday night, when it was just a few inches, but yesterday chains officially became required on all roads and the highways are closed. I don’t have chains, […]

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and waffles. The first in a series I call Monochromatic, Yet Delicious. Some of my readers (particularly the ones who hail from exotic locales) have blank looks on their faces. It’s a real thing, I assure you, to eat fried chicken on waffles. And it’s really fucking good.

Chicken and waffles is an American dish that was invented by black people in the 1930s to serve the needs of Harlem’s hungry jazz cats after a show. They often played so late into the wee hours that by the time they were done, it was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast. Anyway, that’s the most widely-accepted creation myth. I think it might have a little more to do with the amount of grass those dudes were smoking, but that’s just my theory.

Chicken and waffles are a Thing. They are a thing for which I hanker, and only one joint in town (that I know of) sells them, and then only on Sundays at brunch. Even those waffle carts that are popping up all over NoPo are missing the boat on the chicken. As usual, I had to take matters in to my own hands.

Granted, my chicken is merely oven-fried (I hate frying, especially in a freshly-cleaned kitchen) with a corn flake crust, but it comes close. I like it spicy and crunchy, on a fluffy waffle (a basic baking powder-leavened recipe instead of Belgian for simplicity – I didn’t feel like waiting for a yeasted batter to do its thing). Smeared with maple sugar spread and butter, a little syrup for good measure, and you’re havin’ kittens, baby.

Enjoy with a screwdriver and Dizzy Gillespie.

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup

Working from home has its pluses and minuses. Minuses include feeling like you might literally explode from not having moved from the same few hundred square feet in more than 24 hours. Another minus is the constant distraction of cool shit like daytime TV, adorable […]


Quebec may have poutine, but we in Portland have a wondrous thing called totchos. They are effectively nachos, intelligently substituting the mundane tortilla chip with tater tots, and they are as good as they fucking sound. Suck it, Quebec. Totchos have many uses: first, doy […]

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

…or, Snow Day

We don’t get much snow here in Portland. We’re nestled so snugly between the Coast Range to the west and the Cascades to the east, and all that noise gets buffered out in our quaint little Willamette Valley. But once or twice a year, we get the veritable shit…er, snowstorm of Weather. And the city shuts the hell down.

Nobody goes to work or school on snow days. We all turn on the TV to check for road closures anyway, just to see some asshole on the news careening downhill, perpendicular to the road, taking out innocent parked cars in his wake (do yourself a favor and cue up Yakety Sax in another tab so you can watch the vid with a soundtrack). People always try to drive in this shit. People from sunnier climes (cough*Californians*cough) who think that driving up to Ski Bowl a few times a year qualifies as “driving in snow” experience. It’s comedy gold, really, for everyone except the owners of those parked cars getting pwned on the side of the road. Here’s to good insurance.

During inclement weather, I’m not so keen on leaving the house. I’ve been a bit slumpy anyway lately, and this doesn’t really increase my motivation to leave my couch, let alone step foot outdoors. I don’t feel like doing anything that doesn’t involve a blanket and sweat pants, and am eating mostly total garbage like totchos (yes, that is nachos made with tater tots) and Blue Box with ketchup. I’m not pregnant, I think it’s just the weather and the darkness. I spent 8 hours playing Chibi Robo yesterday, for fuck’s sake. Ain’t no cure for the wintertime blues.

Except maybe some hearty chicken soup with crunchy green beans, peas and carrots, chunks of creamy fingerling potatoes, cremini mushrooms and succulent chicken, and some tender gnocchi. The dumpling-like gnocchi sort of melt into the soup after awhile, making it nice and creamy-chowdery, and the broth is just shy of melted chicken demi glace, so rich and velvety, with plenty of fresh thyme and black pepper.

Serve with oven-warm rolls and Tivo’d episodes of How Clean is Your House.

“Chinese” Chicken Salad

I’ve put on a few holiday pounds that are kinda stressing me out, because it’s not even cookie and fudge go-time yet. I haven’t really felt much like cooking lately, or even eating, which is kind of weird. I was craving salad, however, and decided […]