Friday, February 10, 2012

Snack Time

A look at some of the things I've been snacking on in the first six weeks of 2012.

A Recipe
I ran into my buddy Phil yesterday and he said he still reads the blog every morning, but that he would love to see some recipes every once in a while. At the start of the year I had some friends over for meatloaf sandwiches, so Phil I will show you the recipe. First, find some meatloaf that you like. Some people have specific recipes for making it, but this is from Taylor's Ol' Fashioned Meat Market in Sierra Madre and is as good as any I have ever had. I bought about three and a half pounds. Spread it out in a pan and bake it in the oven at 375 degrees for one hour.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and cut it up into as many pieces as you like. Since I was having five friends over this evening, I cut it into six. Spread Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup on all the pieces. If you have a friend like Murph who would rather eat dog poop than ketchup, omit that step, as I did with the upper-right piece here.

Find a cheese that you like. I'm sure some cheeses complement meatloaf better than others, but really, anything you think will taste good will work here.

Throw a slice of cheese on each piece and put them back in the oven for ten minutes.

I like to use telera rolls from Super King Market in Altadena, and I add arugula and pickled red onions. I have been asked several times for my pickled red onion recipe. It is as easy as it gets: I slice up a red onion and then boil a cup of rice vinegar with a pinch of salt, pepper, and a splash of hot sauce. When the vinegar hits the boiling point I throw in the red onion, let it sit 30 seconds, and remove it from the heat. After a few minutes I pour the mix into a glass jar or plastic container and let it sit out on the counter. When it gets to room temperature I put it in the fridge. Usually I do this a day in advance, but even three or four hours in advance is enough time when the pickled onions are being added to sandwiches.

I heated a bowl of Rudy's BBQ sauce in the microwave for thirty seconds, then dumped it into this mini fondue pot that I bought at Bristol Farms years ago during some "Spring Sale" where I think the thing was on sale for five bucks.

Meatloaf sandwiches, barbecue potato chips, cold beer on a warm winter night. 

Pita Bread Pizza
God I love pita bread pizzas. They are so simple: sauce, cheese, pita bread. You can put anything else on them that you want, of course, but this is how I usually eat them. 

 A Farewell To Two Friends
I used up the last of the Spicy Garlic Sauce that Tracie bought me on some Trader Joe's carnitas, which turned out to be the last time I ever saw them there. 

Dog Haus At Home
Last summer my parents bought me, for my birthday, a slider press that has been featured here a couple of times. For Christmas, they gave me this burger press as well. I formed two patties with it and set about making burgers like Dog Haus does.
On my burger I placed cheese, slaw, french fries, and barbecue sauce, all on a King's Hawaiian roll. It was good, sure, but not nearly as good as Dog Haus. 

I attempted to make Elizabeth a version of her beloved Holy Aioli: caramelized onions, crispy bacon, American cheese and a homemade aioli. She said it was good, but again, this was not nearly as good as Dog Haus. 

Jack's Even Spicier Chicken
Around Christmas time I was at Williams Sonoma with Elizabeth. She was purchasing gifts for her office. I saw this sauce and decided I had to have it. Because I thought it would taste good or because the label reminded me of Ernie the Giant Chicken from Family Guy? I can't say. Who cares?

The next time I got a Jack's Spicy Chicken from Jack in the Box, I added the Kickin' Chicken sauce, some slaw, and two spicy pickles. It was good but I wouldn't go so far as to call it an improvement over the original.

 An Idea
If every package of Lean Cuisine came with a bottle of Trappey's hot sauce, they would be a lot less boring. 

Two Weird Salads
At Pavilions one day I decided to try this turkey salad, done in the style of a chicken salad. I don't think I've ever had one of these before. Turkey is my favorite meat, and I could see many ways that this could have been delicious, but it was not. The meat was just a little too dried-out, and for some reason I can't figure, they decided to add pineapple to the salad. 

However, the turkey salad was better than this "Chinese style chicken salad." It was cole slaw with chicken strips and limp noodles. Now, I've never been to China, so I can't comment on the authenticity of this dish with too much certainty, but I can guess.

The One Thing Better Than Pita Bread Pizza
Is English Muffin pizza. 

840 Posts Later
The second post on this blog was about White Castle burgers that I had altered - one with vinaigrette and feta cheese, one with balsamic onions and aioli. Three and a half years later, I'm still doing the same thing. Both of these sliders have extra pickles and crispy garlic onion strips. One has the Kickin' Chicken sauce and one had Sir Kensington's. Both were tasty. 

My Take On Banh Mi
I was craving a meatball sandwich one day last month but wasn't sure exactly what to do. I did not feel like the typical red-sauce-and-cheese variety. So I decided to go more in the banh mi direction. I slow-cooked some meatballs for a few hours, pickled a handful of carrot shreds, and mixed up a Sriracho-mayo concoction. When the meatballs were ready, I placed a few of them in a roll slathered with the sauce and added the carrots, cilantro, and pickled ginger strips.

This was a very, very tasty sandwich.

My Leftover Balls
The great thing about slow-cooking a bag of frozen meatballs is that there are plenty to go around. After I made my sandwich there was still a bowl of several balls. The next day I made myself a snack (twice): I heated some balls in barbecue sauce and added cilantro.  As good as the sandwich? No. But still pretty tasty.

A Memory
Did you ever read The Sheltering Sky?

“Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that.”

I was having a conversation with a couple of friends the other day and the subject of the mall in Arcadia came up. We were reminiscing about what the place used to be like when I suddenly thought of something that hadn't crossed my mind in two decades: Hot Dogs & More. It was small eatery on the bottom floor of the mall that closed sometime in the late 80s. When I was a kid I loved the place, and it was where I first ate corn dog nuggets. 

I can't believe a place I liked so much completely disappeared from my memory for two-thirds of my life. But I guess that happens. At any rate, I was hungry again for some mini corn dogs, so I got a package at the store and fried up a few of them. They were a nice snack, as always.

 The Bacon Sandwich That Broke My Tooth
Bacon, lettuce, mayo, jalapeno jam.

Bacon sandwich: 1 Justin: 0

Let's Just Say We Screwed Up Equally Here
At Bristol Farms I asked the guy behind the deli counter for a small container of chicken salad. He was so busy flirting with a female customer that he gave me potato salad instead. But then again, I was so busy looking at the cheese selection that I didn't notice the mistake until I got home and opened the package. I still ate it, and it was okay, but the chicken salad would have been better. 

French Garlic Pizza
Elizabeth and I got into a habit for a while of buying Trader Joe's frozen pizzas frequently. I realized it had been months since I'd made a pizza myself. So, using Fresh & Easy dough, I threw together a pizza of French garlic sausage (I'll be honest, I'm not entirely sure what that is), mozzarella and basil. It was a great pizza, although not so good that it didn't benefit from a few shakes of Trappey's. 

 Bird's Nests
Trader Joe's vegetable bird's nests have been featured here many times, but I'm including this picture because I think it's nice. I cooked the bird's nests in a skillet of oil and added some of the leftover Sriracha mayo from the above sandwiches and a few tears of basil.

Little Weenies
I picked up a package of miniature Nathan's Famous hot dogs at the store, and I was going to eat them during the Super Bowl, but between the bag of chips that Murph and I split and the massive platter of buffalo chicken nachos, I didn't need any more food. So the next day I heated them up.

Cole slaw and barbecue sauce.

French fries and Tabasco Sweet & Spicy sauce.

And my favorite: Zankou garlic sauce and crispy garlic onion strings.

I hope you have a good weekend.


Anonymous said...

another epic post, pp. ty!

Fritos and Foie Gras said...

1) does that cheese on the meatloaf sandwiches actually have mustard seeds in it? If so, what is it called?
2)Your photos ruined any chance I had of eating just fruit today. I need beef, STAT!

Bekah said...

My random thoughts...
-that meatloaf sandwich looks fan-frickin-tastic. I must find this ketchup.
-doctoring up White Castles is an art form.
-WTF puts pineapple in turkey salad? Just wrong.

Have a good one.

Karee said...

Posts like this is why I love your blog so much, you're so creative.

Banana Wonder said...

Extreme eats! I like how you prepared the meatloaf for burger action. Also, need to look into that fight club BBQ sauce... I think my Justin would be all over that. And those salads ARE weird!

Unknown said...

Big fan of your blog and it is quite inspiring!

Where do you get your fancy ketchup and onion strings from?

Emily said...

"If every package of Lean Cuisine came with a bottle of Trappey's hot sauce, they would be a lot less boring."

I think this sentence has two functions.

a) it pretty much sums up why I read this every day.

b) it pretty much sums up your entire blog.

Keep up the good work, dude.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Meatloaf for me on Saturday! Danke for the instructions hombre!!!

Bekah said...

I find it funny that no one comments on your tooth-breaking sandwich. ;)

mindful mule said...

I like, “A Memory,” and those Corn Pups looks fun and tasty. And, ooh, that book looks good, Morocco-y – Bowles, I presume – putting it on the list. Thanks.