Thursday, September 8, 2011

R.I.P. Little Wine Guy (2003-2011)

Requiescat in pace, faithful friend. You are gone but never forgotten.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fucking Badass Guide to Boiling Water

To answer your immediate question... yes, I'm completely serious. It is, indeed, very simple to boil water. Put water in pot, put pot on stove, turn on burner, and wait. That's about it. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do even this simplest of kitchen tasks... and, knowing you, you're probably doing it wrong.
I'm not going to bore you with the science fair explanation of how water boils. I'm not your third grade science teacher. If you haven't figured out basic fucking physical science by now, you're beyond hope and should just go lay in traffic. This is simply a look at some of the common misconceptions about boiling water, as well as the rules you SHOULD be following when you put a pot on to boil.

Salt should only be added to boiling water if you're looking to season whatever it is you plan on cooking in the water. Practically speaking, salt doesn't cause water to boil faster: if you were working with pure water, adding salt would lower the boiling point by one degree for every ounce you add, but since we're dealing with tap water, it makes no difference. That being said, if you're boiling something that you don't want to infuse with salt, don't add the salt.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fucking Badass Guide to Eating Cajun

I've never been to India or Vietnam, which I previously covered in Fucking Badass Guides. While you don't need to have visited a place to get a real sense of the food (thank you internationalism), it certainly doesn't hurt. That being said, I have actually been to Cajun country (south Louisiana, also known as Acadia, but more on that later) and eaten the foods therein, and if I were forced at gunpoint to choose a favorite cultural food-type, I might say Cajun. It really is just that fucking good. It doesn't hurt that the people are extremely nice, despite being some of the worst fucking drivers I've ever encountered in my life. Seriously, whoever laid out New Orleans should be dug up and shot. Four-way intersections without a stop sign? Let's drop that shit downtown! Sheer fucking brilliance.
Back on topic, you'll find two main types of food in this area of Louisiana: Cajun and Creole. Creole is more common in southeast Louisiana and New Orleans. Cajun is more common in southwest Louisiana, though there is a LOT of overlapping. While the foods are similar, the history and background is extremely different. For the purpose of this entry, everything is Cajun unless otherwise noted.

Shit You Should Know About Cajun culture

1. Cajuns trace their roots back to, of all places, Canada. The Acadians were French colonists who lived in eastern Canada. One day, the greatest dickbags in history (also know as the British) decided they wanted Acadia, so they took it in the Siege of Port Royal in 1710 (part of the French and Indian wars). Once the war was over with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Brits kept Acadia (eventually changing the name to Nova Scotia). The Acadians, wanting to stay French, moved as far south as their little frog legs would take them, showing up in the French territory of Louisiana around 1768. This was a great plan... except that the French were in the process of giving Louisiana to Spain. This left the Acadians in a very similiar situation to that time your family moved while you were at camp and forgot to tell you. Luckily for the Acadians, the new Spanish government was actually pretty cool, so they stuck around southern Louisiana, colloquially naming it Acadia.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Motherfucking Booze Time: Sake

This actually exists.
Japan used to be an exotic land of mystery, full of mythical creatures and people who routinely accomplished incredible feats of skill. Now, Japan is pretty much the weirdest fucking place on earth. It's a country that produces millions of hours of porno a year, much of it consisting of artistic renditions of young girls getting raped by alien tentacle creatures, yet they can't tolerate the sight of normal human genitalia. If you'd like another example or two, go Wikipedia the word tamakeri or watch a few Japanese commercials.
That being said, before Japan collectively stopped taking their medication, they created some really awesome stuff... swords, aikido, pottery, and sake (pronounced SAH-kay, not SOCK-ee) to name a few. I'd also like to note that the preceding paragraph is going to lead to some very disappointing Google searches.

The History of Sake or How to Make Booze out of ANYTHING!
Trying to date sake is like trying to date water. It's been around for as long as anyone can remember. The earliest written record of the drink was penned sometime in the 3rd century, which predates the fucking compass. The Japanese had been drinking sake for more than a thousand years by the time word that such a thing even existed reached the western hemisphere in the 18th century.
Sake production was solely the job of the government until the 10th century, when (who else but) monks started brewing it. They held the job for around 500 years, until average schmucks were finally allowed to open breweries in the late 1800s. Sake remained extremely popular in Japan until World War II, at one point making up a full 30% of national tax revenue. Rice rationing during the war really put a damper on sake production, which would never return to its former glory thanks to all the new, foreign booze pouring in.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Other Bloggers Doing Me

Recently, the owners of two really great blogs have prepared a couple of my recipes and posted about them. They were also highly complimentary of me, which should be met with immediate suspicion and disdain.

Both blogs are excellent, so check them out. Also, while I have you here, I'm on Google+. So feel free to check that out too. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Goat Cheese Meatballs (with Spaghetti)

Ground beef
Sour cream
Bread crumbs
Goat cheese (crumbled)
Onion flakes
Garlic powder
Greek seasoning
Dried chopped onions
Spaghetti and Sauce
Everything from "Spaghetti with Meat Sauce" recipe, minus the ground beef.

I don't know if it's long tradition or just plain asshoishness that makes recipes for classic Italian foods so harshly debated and highly prized. Virtually everyone with an Italian last name has their great-grandmother's sauce recipe which, they claim, is better than a hummer from an Italian supermodel (pictured). In this respect, no food is more argued about than the simple, hard-working meatball. We're talking about a world of Italians ready to take a bat to anyone who would dare question their nonna's culinary expertise.
Yeah, well fuck that. My meatballs are firm yet melt in your mouth. Plus, they're all beef (no need for sausage or veal) which means you avoid having to make two pounds of balls every time you have the Italiano craving... and you will have this craving. Oh yes. My meatballs aren't even Italian; they're Greek, and you know what they say about Greeks: we're great cooks, great in the sack, and shitty with money. To add the pièce de résistance... goat cheese. Because goat cheese makes everything better. Suck it, Italy. Or, should I say, succhiare Italia.

A Word About Goat Cheese
Goat cheese has a taste similar to feta, though it's not as salty, since feta is brined. Other than being generally delicious, it has a few properties that make it great in meatballs. First, it doesn't really melt: it softens considerably but remains viscous enough that it won't get runny. This means your balls won't fall apart on you. It also really mellows out the acidity of the tomato sauce. Plus, it's non-dairy, so all you lactose intolerant folks can go hog wild.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Spicy Black Bean and Adobo Beef "Deadeye" Burritos

Black Beans
Mexican or spicy tomato sauce (El Pato is good and common)
Ground beef
Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Flour tortillas
Salsa con queso
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Whatever the fuck else you want (tomatoes and sour cream, for instance)

Back in December, I posted what was essentially a recipe for a black bean burrito filling that makes the best bean and cheese burritos you'll ever shove into your face, all for under four dollars. I said at the time that you can add other stuff later. Well, welcome to later. To make Mexican Standoff Burritos into Deadeye burritos, all we need to add is some ground beef and a sexy mistress called adobo. But first...

What the fuck is a chipotle pepper, exactly?
Chipotles are extremely fucking popular right now, but you might be surprised to learn that there's really no such thing as a chipotle pepper, at least not in the same sense as a habanero, poblao, or jalapeño that you can pick off of a vine. Chipotle peppers are actually jalapeño peppers that have been over ripened, dried, and smoked; a method perfected in Northern Mexico. This process jacks up the heat and gives it that signature smoky flavor. Oh, and it's pronounced [chi-PO-tlay], not whatever the fuck you idiots have been calling it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Meat and Potato Kebabs

Boneless chicken
Small potatoes (red, white, fingerling, blue, whatever)
Garlic powder
Skewers (bamboo or metal)

Meat and potatoes go together like strip clubs and glitter, beer and firearms, and choking and the Washington Capitals. Combine these two foods with the greatest method of cooking known to man and you have something pretty special.
There's something to be said about food on a stick. That something is "Hell yes, give me some food on a stick." The greatest thing about kebabs is that you're cooking a whole meal at once.  The hardest thing about kebabs is that you have to cook a whole meal at once. With your traditional kebab fare (meat and veg), this isn't that big a deal; just make sure to slice your meat small enough and everything will turn out nicely. But when you get potatoes involved, it becomes a whole other ball game. But it can be done, and pretty simply assuming you're not a dumbass. Also, we're going to lose the vegetables all together because fuck vegetables.
Ancient Persian preparing to grill out

A Word About Kebab Versus Kebob
The word kebab comes from the Persian word kebbaba which means "to burn". It appears in the Talmud when describing offerings made at the local temple (usually burnt meat). Today, it's combined with the word shish (from the Arabic word for grilled meat) to describe meat grilled on a skewer. I'm not entirely sure what a kebob is, but feel free to keep calling it that if you find kebab a tad pretentious.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe requires use of a grill. If you don't have a grill or rudimentary knowledge of how to use a grill, disregard this recipe. Also, kill yourself.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Motherfucking Booze Time: Brandy

 There's a fuck load of science involved in allowing you to get shithoused at the bar on Friday night. Despite this, people have been creating alcoholic drinks since damn near the dawn of time. Fermentation was one of the first chemical reactions mankind figured out how to control. That puts making booze in the same class as making fire. This is some fucking fundamental stuff.
The difference between the method for making wine and the method for making whisky is essentially the same as the difference between baking and frying. There is, however, a sort of hybrid between the two that you've probably heard of.

What the Fuck is Brandy?
To understand what brandy is you need to understand the difference between fermentation and distillation. Fermentation is simple: yeast interacts with sugar to produce ethanol, which gets you drunk. Many popular alcohols are made in this way, including beer (fermented starches ranging from barley to rice), wine (fermented grapes), and mead (fermented honey). Distillation is the process by which you concentrate alcohol and other good bits from a fermented mixture. This is how you get rum (distilled sugar), whisky (distilled starches), and tequila (distilled blue agave). Basically, fermentation makes it alcoholic while distilling makes it super alcoholic.
So, finally answering the fucking question: Brandy is distilled wine. Basically, it's like whisky made with grapes. It tastes very earthy and smokey, like a good scotch, but with an undeniable sweetness. It isn't for the amateur drinker, no matter what Young Jeezy would have you believe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Top Shelf Ribs

Country style pork ribs
Barbecue sauce
Brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce
Apple cider vinegar
Bay leaves
Liquid smoke (optional)

Pictured: A man.
I am a man. I enjoy masculine things... beards, meat, tobacco, people getting hit in the face unexpectedly, and the late George C. Scott just to name a few. Occasionally I'll replace my middle name with a curse word... things like that. There are, however, traditionally masculine things that I don't care for: sexism, bathroom humor, golf, and ribs, for instance. Now, let me clarify that last item. I dislike ribs about 85% of the time, for one reason only: that ribby aftertaste. I don't know what it is or what causes it, but it sucks every fucking ounce of goodness out of ribs. It's there for hours afterward, just hanging around making your mouth feel like shit.
Growing up I never had this problem because I only ate the ribs my mom made... ribs that tasted like they're supposed to, with no fucking aftertaste. Ribs that define "fall off the bone" without even having a fucking bone to fall off of. We combine this method of cooking with a little sauce creation of my own to form a kind of meat nirvana which nothing but goodness may enter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Box on Twitter

Hello readers.
Look at Twitter.
Now at Fucking Badass Recipe Box.
Now back to Twitter.
Now back to the Box.
Sadly, the Box isn't on your Twitter, but if you stop being a colossal failure as a human being and follow the Box on Twitter, it could be.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


What You Need
Sweet or semi-sweet Riesling
Pineapple sherbet
Beverage pitcher

I was sitting on the couch in my boxers watching TV the other day and happened upon an episode of No Reservations featuring Tony's trip to Chile. During the first segment, I think, Tony is taken to a restaurant called El Hoyo in Santiago where he's introduced to a drink called a terremoto... a combination of a Chilean white wine called pipeño and pineapple ice cream. The word terremoto is Spanish for earthquake... the drink is so named either because it was invented for some journalists covering an earthquake back in the 80s or because it's supposed to get you inordinately shit-housed in a hurry.  Mixing wine and ice cream has just the right amount of fucked-upedness to make my ears perk up, so I wanted to make it. Thus I hurried to the magical internets to find a recipe. There I discovered plenty, all of which said "combine pipeño and pineapple ice cream". Real fucking helpful, assholes. So, I made my own.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fucking Badass Guide to Eating India

Ah, India. The land of those fucking ridiculous Bollywood movies. Seriously, why is no one saying this? Their movies are straight fucking insanity. I realize that there's a big cultural thing there, but I'm savvy enough to know when something was created in the depths of an ether binge.
Back on topic... the funny thing about Indian food is that there's really no such thing. India is such a huge, diverse place that calling anything just Indian is like calling a specific song music and expecting someone to know exactly what you're talking about. There are more than 30 defined regions that produce their own, often wildly different cuisine.
Now, this doesn't mean that every time you walk into an Indian restaurant you're going to see a wildly different menu. Far from it. Your typical Indian place actually specializes in food from the Punjab region of Northern India and Eastern Pakistan. This is where you get your tandoori bread, tikka masala, Biryani, and most of the rest of the foods you're familiar with. Punjabi cuisine is well-known for its wide range of dishes, with everything from spicy to mild and vegetarian to carnivore, including beef. That's right, the country famous for its spiritual love of cows does serve beef in many regions. To make things easier, I will continue to refer to all things Punjabi as Indian, unless otherwise noted.

Shit You Should Know about India

1. As part of their quest to be the biggest dickheads in history, the British got their first foothold in India around the time of the American Revolution and ruled until the Indian people finally kicked their limey asses out in 1950. Despite the relatively peaceful end to British rule (thanks a lot, Gandhi) the Indians did their fair share of Brit killing. They also produced some awesome propaganda posters.

2. Much like the food, there is no "Indian" language. There are more than a thousand languages spoken on the Indian subcontinent, 29 of which are spoken by more than a million people each. The most common, Standard Hindi, uses its own alphabet called Devanagari which looks like a cross between Elvish and Klingon. Luckily for us everything is approximated in English, so it's spelled like it sounds. Pronounce away!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motherfucking Booze Time: Cabernet Sauvignon

Young Earth Creationism at work
Wine has been around for eight thousand years. According to many young Earth creationists, the earth has been around for just less than 10,000 years. What does this mean? Well, first it means that young Earth creationists are fucking morons. Second, it means wine must be pretty fucking important for it to be on a list with "name all the animals", "figure out what this 'sex' thing is for", "avoid dinosaurs", and "plant fossils to confuse people 10,000 years from now". Over the centuries, lots of wine has been made, drank, and debated. It stands to reason then that the most popular wine in the world would be tried and tested throughout the ages. A taste so studied and reflected on that its very name evokes the essence of what wine is and should strive to be. Whatever it is, it certainly couldn't be an accidental creation less than three hundred years old that we didn't really know anything about until the 90s.

The History of Cabernet Sauvignon or Hangin' Tough by New Wine on the Block
Cabernet sauvignon originated in the 17th century. That's right, Cab is about as old as the Liberty Bell. Compare that with pinot noir, which has been grown in the Burgundy region of France alone since 100AD. Wine has been around practically as long as grapes, so it's not surprising that the history is somewhat hard to pin down for most varietals. Within the past 20 years, they've actually begun doing DNA testing on grapes to see where certain types come from. Before the late 90s, rumor had it that cabernet sauvignon was an ancient grape use to make Roman wine around the time of legendary historian Pliny the Elder. That was complete fucking horseshit. Cab is actually the offspring of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc, likely a chance crossing sometime in the 17th century. To recap: a grape called Cabernet sauvignon is a cross between a grape called Cabernet franc and a grape called Sauvignon blanc. We needed DNA to tell us this.
Despite its relative new comer status, Cabernet sauvignon is possibly the most well-known red wine in the world. It is planted in virtually every vineyard in every corner of the globe. Only Merlot is more widely available, a fact only true as recently as the 1990s.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Medium Rare: A Love Story

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you've undoubtedly learned a thing or two about steak.There's one subject concerning nature's most perfect food that I've avoided, and for good reason. That subject is: degree of cooking.
Degree of cooking (or "steak doneness") is a divisive topic to say the least. Everyone has their opinion. I'm normally a very live and let live kinda guy... tastes vary, and if you like something a certain way then that's the way you should have it. However, I have a real problem with one-half of the doneness debate, which I'm addressing now.
There are two kinds of people when it comes to degree of cooking, as illustrated in the following images:


As if you couldn't have guessed by the title of this post, I'm firmly in the first camp. However, I try not to be an asshole about it. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about steak doneness and, as a result, cooking and eating meat in general. It is these misconceptions that lead most people to request and then consume poorly prepared (overcooked) steak. It's akin to ordering a soggy bowl of cereal. These myths also keep many people from ever trying a properly prepared steak, for fear of death.
My aim is to address the four myths that cause most people to shy away from eating a properly cooked steak, starting with the biggest one of all, which I will now indicate with bold text and a large font.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mojito Part 2: La Moderno

What You Need
Granulated cane sugar
Carbonated water (soda, seltzer, sparkling... just don't use tonic)
Fresh limes
Fresh mint
Light/White rum (decent quality, Bacardi or higher)
Highball glass

The classic mojito is like Desi Arnaz... a bit dated, but still fun, enjoyable, and pretty badass. You've made the classic mojito and enjoyed it, but as far as I'm concerned, there are a couple of problems. First and foremost is inconsistency. As many times as I've made them, every fucking one is different and it's next to impossible to get it just the way you like it. Personally, I like a nice kick of mint in my mojito. The classic I made for this blog ended up having more lime than mint. Sometimes I'll get it too sweet, or not sweet enough, or overly minty. The reason for this is our second problem... the use of a muddler. Muddling isn't very precise, especially when you're working with three ingredients. Plus, a bent spoon will work in a pinch, but if you're going to make these semi-regularly (and you are), it'll get real old real quick. I cannot justify owning a specific tool that is used in just one fucking drink. Luckily, our two problems have one solution... a little thing I like to call mint infused simple syrup. It's an easily measurable, easily mixable replacement for both the mint and the sugar, making the mojito la moderno a lot like Cuban model-turn-singer Mayra Veronica... trim, sleek, and just about perfect.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mojito Part 1: The Classic

What You Need
Powdered sugar
Carbonated water (soda, seltzer, sparkling... just don't use tonic)
Fresh limes
Fresh mint
Light/White rum (decent quality, Bacardi or higher)
Highball glass

Summer is slowly approaching and it's time to start thinking about my summer cocktail for 2011. This has been a personal tradition of mine for about five years... each summer I seem to pick one cocktail and stick with it all season long. Last year was the summer of the mint julip, a southern classic. This year, the mojito has her Cuban claws deeply embedded.
As far as I'm concerned, the mojito is a perfect cocktail: not too sweet or heavy with a great flavor and plenty of zest (from both the rum and the lime). Plus, Ernest fucking Hemmingway drank them, and the only thing that man liked more than drinking was killing shit with huge guns. He is truly a man to be emulated.
This is part one of a two part series, focusing on the classic Cuban mojito. Part two will be a my more personal twist on the drink... but it's important to know where you come from, so here's the classic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Motherfucking Booze Time: Stouts and Porters

Today is Saint Patrick's day and, more importantly, I'm heading to New Orleans tomorrow. These two things are pretty much unrelated... I'm going to Louisiana to see some friends for spring break and I don't need a fucking holiday to tell me when to drink. Everyone knows the best time to drink is now, followed closely by later. However, Saint Patrick's Day and my trip do have one thing in common: they're both to be a celebration of my favorite kind of beer.
I like my beer the way I like my women: dark, cold, slightly bitter, and filled with alcohol. Stouts (also called porters, but we'll get into that fucking subject later) are the darkest and among the most alcoholic of beers. Now, I'm not one to drink something just because it's loaded with booze... but when you're looking for something with a powerful taste, alcohol comes with the territory. I can't handle the generic, pissy beer taste of your Budweiser and Miller Lite. I want something with some balls. Whether you're a beer drinker or not, I urge you to give a stout a try. It really is a whole different league as far as flavor goes... and, hey, they even make some of them with chocolate.

The History of Stouts or The Best Way to Get Too Drunk to Carry Shit
The history of the stout/porter dates back all the way the 1700s. Like most booze history, the actual story is a little fuzzy at first... getting wasted for 300 years tends to change shit. Allegedly, the grandfather of the porter was actually a blend of ale, beer, and really fucking strong beer called Three Threads. This was a drink of the working alcoholic, primarily ship and street porters a.k.a. people whose job is to carry heavy shit. This was the primo drink for about thirty years, until a brewer managed to brew a single beer that had a similar taste (or it might have been brewed just because... this is one of those fuzzy areas) which he called Entire and the rest of England called porter after the folks that drank them. This same brewer was the first to age beer BEFORE it was sent out to the drinking public, lending even more punch to the brew.
Porters, along with dark, extremely alcoholic beers in general, were hot shit until about 1800, when the first pale ale was brewed. Tastes changed and porters got milder and milder, until most breweries stopped making them all together, leaving them behind as relics of a drunken century. With the micro-brew revolution, everything that was old is new again, and stouts are back in a big way.