Dude Food Intl #2: Lazy Man Pig Ribs

IMG_0058It’s the last family mealtime before Julie heads off to college.  Coach says ‘Have a seat, Julie, I’m makin’ ribs.’ Julie is all, ‘Why are you making ribs?!  You know I don’t eat meat!’  Mrs. Coach is like, ‘Just sit down and spend some time with your family!’  And little Gracie Bell goes ‘Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!’ and Coach yells ‘Everybody sit down and eat supper!’ and even though it’s chaos there’s a comfortable, nostalgic patina around the whole scene, because family, and also Julie is crazy and must have been born in hippie New Mexico or something because RIBS. 1

Even though brisket is the undisputed King in Texas, ribs probably rank right there as Crown Prince, or at least Court Duke.  I’m a Texan, from Texas, and always will be, but now I’m in Kansas City, and damn they have some good barbecue here.  The great thing is, ribs play equally well in West Texas and KC.  It’s, like, fusion.  Or a shared cultural experience. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Did you know they’ve got all of Friday Night Lights on Netflix?

Nomato = Rad Sauce

IMG_0055Tomatoes do not agree with the wife.

If I had my way, tomatoes and the wife would get along great, and we could all go out to a movie together, but sadly, this is never to be.

The wife likes tomatoes, even, but they just clash.  Sometimes personalities 1 simply don’t mesh, and there’s nothing that we can do about it but shed that wistful, lonesome tear and say goodbye. 2

But are we saying goodbye to red sauce?  That cherubic, apple-cheeked binder of the entire Italian-American smörgåsbord, that delectable dumpling of a condiment, sweet and sharp and earthy yet light enough to play host to a dazzling array of culinary stars, making each and every one feel perfectly at home? Continue reading

Notes:

  1. (or vegetalities)
  2. To tomatoes, I mean.  Goodbye to tomatoes.  Not the wife.

It’s About Time, Corned Beef.

IMG_0046In preparation for our most recent LOAF Night, which happened to fall directly on St. Patrick’s Day, I began two weeks ago the curing process on a hefty couple of slabs of beef chuck.

Two long, long weeks.  Fourteen days of looking at all that beautiful meat in the fridge every day, resisting the tiny satan telling me I should just eat some now, just take a little bit and make some hash or a reuben or something, just grab a smidge because once everybody comes over and finishes up then there’s not gonna be a bite left.

I struggled.  I struggled as we got more and more RSVP’s, until the final count was around sixteen.  I struggled as I cooked the beef on Sunday, knowing that the NOW COMPLETELY PREPARED corned beef was going to sit right under my nose for another two days.

And then there was a miracle. Continue reading

Dude Food Intl. #1: SMASHED SAUSAGE SMAGWICHES

IMG_0043I have made something new.

I say this with all modesty, and I do try to cite my sources when I am inspired by or directly following another’s recipe.  In fact, for this recipe, I used the marinade sauce and carrot pickles from this Traveler’s Lunchbox post.

But the impetus for the idea… the center of gravity for this… thing… the meat of the matter, if you will, is this: Continue reading

LOAF Nights and Corny Beef

Loaf Night (10)So our LOAF 1 Nights have been going on for several months now.  LOAF Nights are really just an excuse for us to have friends over for supper.  We were inspired by this Serious Eats article.  Originally it was supposed to be once a week and the main dish was always gonna be meatloaf.  Over time, we realized that we could not manage it every single week and stay sane, nor could we eat meatloaf every week (with an unknown quantity of leftovers to finish off) without detesting the taste, the merest whisker of a scent, even obliquely veiled references to loafed meat product. 2  So now it’s every two weeks, and the main course that we supply varies according to our capricious whims.  So far, I believe we’ve had enchiladas, gumbo, and pulled pork.  Maybe something else too.  I don’t remember.

Regardless, it’s been awesome.  It took several months of sticking to it, staying enthusiastic even if just one friend showed up, reminding people constantly, and just keeping on going, but now we have an ongoing thing where our friends show up, and we eat together and drink together and have a great time, and we don’t have to go out ANYWHERE.  THEY come to US.  As an introvert who really does like people but hates going out, it’s a dream. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. (Loving Our Awesome Friends)
  2. Meatloaf is awesome.  We want to keep it that way.  Have it once every two weeks and see if YOU don’t get sick as hell of it.

Here’s why I haven’t posted much lately…

OnionSmash - final

I’ve been busy with THAT.  Click on it, you’ll see.

If you’re too busy to click it, just know that it’s a complete ‘how-to-cook’ for busy, broke people who might have never picked up a pan before in their lives.  Because as we all well know, home-cooked meals are infinitely cheaper and healthier than takeout or convenience foods.

Why the hammer, you ask?  Because… maybe some people.. think that’s… how to cook…  Look, haven’t you ever just wanted to take a hammer to an onion?  I know I’m not the only one here.  It might be delicious!  You don’t know. Continue reading

Ultra-fast Stovetop Tuna Casserole

Tuna (3)This is what it’s all about.  You’re home.  You’re exhausted.  You don’t have time.  Maybe you have another job to get to.  You don’t want to cook.

But this is a test of character.  You know you should cook.  You know that there will be many more situations like this, and that caving in to a McBurger every time will just leave you greasy, sad, and alone.  So here’s what you do: take twenty minutes to whip up this tuna casserole on the stovetop.  Hell, if you cut up your cauliflower during your weekly veggie prep, it might take more like ten minutes.  And you get a healthy, delicious home-cooked meal!  And that’s why you’re here, right? Continue reading

Meat! Loaf!

Loaf Night (4) I would do anything for meatloaf.  I would indeed run right into hell and back. 1  But I don’t need to.  Because I can make it myself.  I doubt that they have very good meatloaf in hell, anyway.

Last night, Juliana and I hosted our very first LOAF Night. 2  This is pretty much just us having a weekly open supper invitation for friends and family, where we provide meatloaf and whoever’s coming brings a side.  Wine flows freely.  Talking bones are loosened.  Good times are had by all.  And then I DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE HOME!  : D Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Yes, I would even do that.
  2. Loving Our Awesome Friends.  We were inspired by this article from Serious Eats.

I’m back! (now with 100% more chicken tikka!)

Tikka (1)It’s over.  I did it.  Sixty-hour weeks, with my full time job plus another twenty at a certain coffee franchise we all know and maybe not love, but frequent regardless.  It’s done!  And the goal of the whole thing has been achieved: there is a shiny new(ish) 1 Ford Focus sitting in my driveway.  We’re no longer a one-car family!  Woohoo!

But most importantly, what this means is that I once again have time to spend with you, my beloved readers.  So thanks, Mom.  I hope you enjoy the post.  (If there’s anybody else out there, well hey!  How’s it going!  How’d you find me!?)

In this episode, we’re gonna tackle a dish that has been very frustrating for me: chicken tikka masala.  Tikka has not been a frustration because of its preparation; it’s pretty dead simple.  It’s not the taste; that’s just good stick-to-the-ribs (British) Indian food. 2  It’s that, as simple and tasty and healthy and just all-around GOOD as chicken tikka masala is, I have somehow managed to avoid it on the blog until now. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 2004 is pretty new, right?
  2. Seriously, look it up.  Tikka masala is not real Indian food.  I think it was invented in Scotland or something.  I see it as the Brits trying to make a culinary apology for kidney pies and marmite.

So I’m a failure…

Photo 59… but I’m not gonna let it get me down.

I have discovered, after over two months with just a single post, that I do not have the energy level or maniacal drive necessary to work 60-hour weeks and complete two posts a week.  Hell, I’ve hardly been cooking at all; my wife, Juliana, has been honing her chops in the kitchen because I have generally been out working till, oh, 11pm or so.

I was finally able to scrounge together the will to come check the site, and I find that there are two hundred pages worth of comment spam.  So… yeah, sorry about that.  I’m cleaning it up.  If you notice that a comment you made and feel strongly about got deleted, let me know and I’ll search it out.  I like comments.  I really, really want real people to let me know what they think.  But two thousand ‘wow great article well researched food for thought try nike gold shoes not malware!’-type stuff gets in the way of that.  I know the bots aren’t reading this.  I’m just grousing.

But this is not the end of Feral Cuisine!  What little time I find in the kitchen is, by necessity, spent slinging together ultra-fast, stupidly simple foods that I can use for days as packed lunches and suppers.  Remember, I don’t have a car to drive home for meals, and I am working 8am-10/11pm most nights, so I generally have to pack TWO meals a day that are light and portable enough to pack in my backpack for biking to work, calorically dense enough to actually SUPPORT me for 14-hour days spent on my feet (plus, again, the bike ride), and tasty enough that I will want to eat them and not cheat and pull out my debit card at the Wendy’s down the street.

Juliana has been brilliant in the kitchen.  She is taking my random, scattered notes and experiments, and turning them into straightforward, step-by-step, freakin’ DELICIOUS recipes.  She took the Chicken Tikka Masala that I had been tweaking for a long time, trying to get it just right, and made it PERFECT: rich, savory, slightly sweet and spicy, and dead easy.  I can’t wait to share that recipe with you guys.  (I was gonna post it a long time ago, but then I had tikka at a restaurant, realized my version was nothing like the popular conception of the dish, and had to go back to the drawing board.)  She’s also figured out an awesome stroganoff, a kickin’ meatloaf, some curried chicken salad that is way better than the stuff I posted a couple months ago… In short, she’s awesome, and her culinary prowess is about to propel this blog into overdrive.

I’ve come up with a few things myself in my meager free time: oven-barbecued pork burnt ends that can be used for just about anything, and a stew that, quite accidentally, came out with a decidedly East-Asian flavor profile that was unexpectedly delicious.  I am also beginning work on a tutorial product for folks just starting out in the kitchen to start cooking restaurant-quality meals in the Feral style: healthy, high-protein, fast, easy, and delicious.

SO.  There is much more to come.  Just as soon as I whittle my work schedule a bit.  : )

-Josh