Archive for the ‘Sides’ Category

I want those Risotto brothers dead!

October 14, 2009

Acorn Squash Risotto

I’m back again!  I know that in the movie, it’s probably the Rosato brothers, but whenever I watch Frankie Pentangeli gripe to Michael, I always imagine him just having a real big problem with some guys who just make risotto all the time because of how trendy and popular it is.  Or was I guess, it’s not 2006 any more.  Or 2004.  I guess I was thinking something along the lines of the “risotto wars” between Onstad and Téodor chronicled beginning here in his blog.  Judging from the food trends these days (and by food trends I mean what they make on Top Chef always), maybe it would be the Ceviche brothers.  What am I talking about?  Anyways, tonight I made a risotto with some acorn squash.



I have Spring fever

April 21, 2009

Springtime Bulgur Salad

You know the story:  Every year, on May second, Sean Kingston pokes his head out of his hole and if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of rain.  But if he doesn’t…

This is no joke.  The weather here has been kind of variable, but I have all the symptoms anyways.  I’m talking allergies AND the urge to mate.  Pollen’s got my sinuses all kinds of jammed up with headaches and nasty nuclear green snot, but I still just want to go around quoting Marvin Gaye lyrics to girls in oversized sunglasses.


Hummus amongus?

January 10, 2009


I was originally going to make a pun about Hummus firing rockets from Gaza or something, but I don’t want to be too topical, you know? Topical jokes are one of the lowest forms of humor in my mind, it’s too easy with not enough payoff in the end. I am one of few people who have stuck with SNL, watching it any time I’m home on Saturday night from the time that I first started watching it in high school. It seems that every time the show goes through a cast change, whichever age cohort that is the show’s key demographic decries the show as “sucking now.” It happened with fans of the show’s golden age in the early nineties, it happened with my age group when the show started featuring Kenan and Seth Meyer and Andy Samberg more prominently, and of course when your major players get shaken up, there has to be a transitional period. The thing is, though, the show is still funny during these periods if you know where to look: in the sketches that come after Weekend Update. This is where the weird, often improvised, and usually questionable sketches are thrown, after people get their fake news and turn the show off. One of the most hilarious Will Ferrell-era sketches was one where he played a doctor who had lost Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon’s baby. Tim Meadows played Dr. Stephen Poop who can do nothing for their baby, but can do the robot for $50,000.

Nowadays, SNL has had a rennaissance with their topical political humor; even going so far as to add an extra Thursday night political edition during election season. These efforts, while appealing to the masses I guess, leave me bemused at best. How easy is it to do a charicature of a public figure? No, give me the bizarre stuff remniscent of Kids in the Hall and Upright Citizens Brigade and The State (Lamps: the Musical anyone?). While I am glad that the light stuff has brought people back to the SNL fold, it has also lead to the show rehashing several sketches that were really funny before in an attempt to show them off to their new wider audience. Things that were hilarious, but should have been one-offs like Virgania Horsen’s Hot Air Balloon Rides (a sketch that played to Kristen Wiig’s strength of creating a full-fleshed and funny character perfectly) and Justin Timberlake’s Omeletteville got recycled, the same thing with the guys listening to an old song and reminiscing about increasingly bizarre moments in their lives, or even mediocre-at-best gags like Bill Hader’s Vinny Vedecci.

The online popularity of the Lonely Island-produced digital shorts has also been a huge (and hilarious) boon to the show, though I’m pretty sure they used to air in the third act as well. I am not against topical jokes and recalls to previously successful sketches, they both have their place (topical humor being a staple of SNL’s repertoire for years, especially during the cold open), I just wish that they weren’t the bulk of the show. I understand that you have to cater to your audience and give them what they want, but the producers would be well-served to let some of the more subversive sketches get more prominent time-slots.

I’m certainly not trying to be a hater, SNL has a ton to offer if people are willing to give it a chance.  Next time that you stay in on a Saturday night, try staying up for the stuff that comes after Weekend Update, maybe with a bowl of this delicious hummus that I’m posting as a MacGuffin to allow me to rant about the state of Saturday Night Live.



1/2 can of garbonzo beans (chickpeas, cecci beans, etc.) drained, saving the liquid

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

lemon juice

cumin (optional)

paprika (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Add in bean liquid or more olive oil or even some sesame oil and keep pureeing until it is the consistancy you desire.  That’s it.  You can also add anything you want to flavor the hummus from mushrooms to pesto to sundried tomatoes to roasted red peppers.  Whatever you want.  I decided to keep it pretty simple, but did add some amazing paprika that my friend brought me from Romania.

Garnish with some whole chickpeas and some more olive oil or tahini if you want to if you want to make it a dip. Enjoy with some pita or on a sandwich or however you want! I just had some on rye with avocado slices and some bacon. Daaaammmnnnn.

Makes with about a cup and a half(?)


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I had the blue box blues

January 2, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

Okay so here’s my penance for the trendy palmiers.  This is macaroni and cheese, and not “grown up” macaroni and cheese with truffle oil and pancetta, not fettucini alfredo, not gruyere and swiss mac and cheese.  This is old school cheddar cheese, elbow pasta, and bread crumbs on top.  Macaroni and cheese needs nothing added to it; it is so damn good you can eat it just by itself or as a side dish to something else.  Just a huge plate of this old stuff with maybe some broccoli that you mix in and then Sriracha on top is so delicious on a day when you are hungover as all dickens and you lost your wallet.  Man, get out of here.

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese


1/2 pound elbow macaroni

6 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered mustard

3 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg

12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper

Preheat your over to 350.

Boil a pot of water, salt it, and cook the pasta in it.

While the pasta is cooking, melt half of the butter in another pot and whisk in the flour and mustard, making sure there are no lumps.  Keep stirring the roux for about 5 minutes until it is nutty brown, then add the milk, bay leaf, and paprika.  Simmer this for about ten minutes, then pull out the bay leaf.

Beat the egg lightly, then stir it in a little bit at a time so it doesn’t cook in your sauce.  Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and add the Worcestershire sauce.  When all the cheese is melted and saucy, fold in the pasta and dump it all into a casserole dish.  Top it with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.  Melt the rest of the butter and drizzle it over the top and bake for about 30 minutes.  Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves one.  I’m serious, I will eat it all.

Macaroni & Cheese

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