You Don’t Know Jack About Sweet Potatoes

I’m writing this post-Thanksgiving blog later than I’d intended, mostly because I am just now able to get up from a large-bellied lying down 10352083_10154840203085551_2443959200363158904_nposition, and was able to button my pants. Things got a little ugly Thursday. Delicious, but ugly. Anyway, I cooked so much crap on Thanksgiving that I wasn’t really sure what to blog about, but decided that since my sweet potato casserole pretty much gives me a giant sweet-salty lady food boner every year, I’d go with that. I totally need to start making this more than once a year. It makes me happy.

Yes, I said ‘food boner’ up there. You’ve all had them. Don’t lie.

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Naughty potatoes.

Anyhoo… Seriously, this crap is delicious, and it’s totally the sweet potato casserole that’s almost impossible to screw up. I’ve been out of milk sometimes, out of vanilla sometimes, I don’t measure a single thing I put in it, and still, it always ends up as sweet and salty goodness. Also, it’s sorta fun to put the potatoes in compromising positions, like they’re having a big potato orgy. A potatorgy. Haha! Moving along now… Last year I had the brilliant idea to add bacon to the nutty crumbly shit on top (Because let’s face it, bacon makes everything better.), and this year I decided to throw some Jack Daniels into the mix (Because let’s face it, whiskey makes everything better. Except my dancing skills. Whatever. I’m a maniac. Maniac on the floor.), and as a result, I believe I have now achieved sweet potato casserole perfection.

9768_10154840203010551_2086811359213627466_nNot that I’m tooting my own sweet potato horn.

Ok, I totally am.

TOOT.

So, here you have it, ladies and gents, the recipe/non-recipe for…

Jacked Up Sweet Potato Casserole

Prep time: You’re looking at about an hour+ if you factor in potato-roasting time. But you can do other stuff while those are roasting. Like, your nails, for instance. Or a couple loads of laundry. Or you could get busy.

Cooking time: 30 – 35 minutes

Ingredients (Please note all measurements are approximate, as I pretty much just throw crap in as I go. Serious chef stuff right here, folks.):

For the sweet potato part:

  • Approximately 10 sweet potatoes (REAL sweet potatoes. If you even mention canned yams, you’re goin’ down.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels

For the crunchy, delicious topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (Use whatever nut you’re feeling. Haha! Sorry.)
  • Approximately 8 slices cooked, crispy bacon, crumbled
  • Course sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke some holes in your sweet potatoes, and toss ’em straight on the oven rack until they’re nice and soft and roasty, which should be about an hour, give or take. Side note: I like to put a giant cookie sheet on a rack under the potatoes because the gooey roasting sugar will start to drip out and could potentially cause a near-fire in your oven. Not that I would know. (Another side note: You could really peel and boil the potatoes, too, but I find that robs them of that roasty sweet potato flavor. So just do as I say.)
  2. Once potatoes are roasted, take them out, cut them open, and scoop out the mushy potato middles into a big-ass bowl. Those suckers will be hot, so you may either want to let them cool a bit, use an oven mitt, or just use your husband’s hands. What else is that bastard good for anyway?
  3. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.
  4. Now, you just dump the rest of the ingredients into the potato mush, and beat it like Michael Jackson intended, until it looks about the consistency of gooey quicksand. You could use a hand mixer, but if your potatoes were properly roasted all the way, they should be soft like buttah (New York accent), and you will not require anything except a giant spoon. 
  5. Once it’s all blended nicely, dump that into an oven-safe pan. Not a tiny one. A big one. Like, 9×13 would be lovely. Then, make your crunchy topping. This is the good part.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour together, then cut in the butter until it’s all crumbly and struesel-like. Then dump in your chopped nuts and stir it all up. Sometimes I like to sprinkle some more cinnamon in here, just because I enjoy cinnamon immensely. But you can do what you want.
  7. Pour the crumblies on top of the sweet potato stuff until it’s all covered up, and the sweet potato is all safely tucked into it’s crumbly buttery blanket for an oven nap. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and a little coarse sea salt on top.
  8. Bake that puppy for about 30 – 35, until the topping is nice and brown and delicious-looking.
  9. Then, take it out.
  10. And eat it.

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You have now achieved sweet potato perfection.

And that’s a fact, Jack.

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I Feel Like Chicken Tonight (featuring guest blogger, Buddy)

Well, I haven’t cooked anything blog-worthy the past few days, unless you count opening a can of tuna and tossing a bag of steamed veggies in the microwave (It takes skill. Shut up.), and tonight… Well… Tonight, I came home from work to this:
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This is NOT a happy Buddy face. See, he’s pissed. He’s all “Who the hell’s this Mr. Ahi Tuna Man, Mom?!?! HUH??? Do you give HIM baths and clean under his balls?!? DO YOU?! WHY DON’T YOU EVER COOK FOR ME ANY MORE, YOU CHEATING SLUT?!?”. He may be cute, but he gets a little combative when he’s angry. Seriously. When he’s out of hand like this, there’s only one thing left to do:

The recipe/non-recipe for I Feel LIke Chicken Jerky Tonight, as written by Buddy. Ok, I took dictation. He’s limited by his lack of thumbs. And he’s too short to reach the keyboard.

(Pretend Buddy is talking. He sounds a little like James Earl Jones combined with Kermit.)

1. I look adorable and beg for chicken jerky, like this:

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2. PUT YOUR OVERSIZED MITT IN THAT BAG, LADY

1977120_10154806857625551_3877370805238828601_n3. Holy shit. Here it comes. I can’t wait! OMG It’s getting closer to my face! *drool*drool*drool*drool*

1016207_10154806857570551_2392837814245437254_n4. RAWR! Next time make it snappy, woman, or I’ll take off the hand.

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I can’t show you the rest, guys. It’s horrific. The brutality. The carnage.

R.I.P, little chicken jerky.

R.I.P

You’re Kale-in’ Me, Smalls (aka Just For The Kale Of It Pizza)

The past couple of weeks, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man (refer to The Birth Of A Food Blog Baby) and I have taken a mild interest in making our own pizzas. And by ‘mild interest’, I mean ‘frighteningly obsessed’. It all started with a food porn picture of an Apple Bacon Gorgonzola Pizza that he sent me. Yum, right? So I was all, “We could totally make that!”, but I was really thinking to myself, “The one time I attempted pizza crust from scratch I ended up feeding it to the ducks, and immediately thereafter was shunned by the duck community.”. However, the promise of an amazing pizza crust recipe from him had me feeling pretty confident. As it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d imagined. In my mind, I sort of pictured me covered in flour and yeast, like a bad ‘I Love Lucy’ episode. But, happily, I pulled that shit off. Like a boss. You can do it, too. I promise. This is totally Pizza Crust For Dummies down below.

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Now, let me explain something about flour here. My initial crust attempts 10411330_10154799206635551_4560581146858676753_nincluded 1 cup of all-purpose, and 2 cups of cake flour; However, upon doing further research, I discovered a fancy-schmancy Italian flour that supposedly makes super crackery/bubbly/chewy crusts. It’s called 00 Flour. It’s like Secret Agent Man flour. I’d never heard of it before, but found it at my local Italian grocery store. So for this pizza in this here blog, I used 3 cups of 00 Secret Agent Man Flour. Both crusts were pretty damn delicious. Crunchy on the edges with a nice pleasant chewiness towards the center. I did good. However, I am going to keep experimenting until I achieve pizza crust perfection. Mark. My. Words. Any pizza crust tips would be greatly appreciated. I’m no Master Chef. Help a broad out.10407049_10154799205920551_5659363561392826852_n

Anyway, we’ve also recently become very happily acquainted with kale. I’ve always been a little scared of kale. It doesn’t look very appealing, all green and leafy and intimidating. However, I was feeling a little nutty one day and decided to try some in salad form, and it did not offend my tastebuds whatsoever. In fact, it made me a little happy. It’s also totally healthy and full of fiber. I’m looking out for your digestive health here. You are welcome.

So I knew I wanted to throw some kale on this pizza, and it seemed like 150143_10154799204655551_5331264969881821428_nsome hot sweet Italian sausage and some salty smoky asiago cheese mixed with some creamy fresh mozzarella would be a nice combo. And it was. Had Mr. Ahi Tuna Man not been there, and had I not been trying to maintain some semblance of being lady-like and dainty (we’re still at the beginning dating stage where I still need to try to be sorta cute), I may have shoved my face directly into it. It’s totally natural. I should probably mention that I am a white pizza girl. There is a time and place for tomato sauce, but most of the time, I prefer to go sauceless. I’m a whore like that.

1511900_10154799204535551_305022219173206488_nSo here you go, folks! Your recipe/non-recipe for Just For The Kale of It Pizza

Prep time: I dunno. The dough’s gotta rise for at least an hour and a half, so do NOT start this shit hungry.

Cooking time: Meh, 9 – 11 minutes or so, depending how thick/thin you go. You have to just watch it. I like my crust thin and super-duper crispy, but if that’s not your thing, take it out earlier. Whatevs.

Tools needed:

  • Stand mixer w/dough hook (It would be a giant pain in the ass by hand.)
  • Pizza stone (I suppose a normal pizza pan would work, but the stone is a pretty kickass thing to have.)
  • Rolling pin (For rolling, rolling, rolling.)
  • Pastry brush (Just for brushing olive oil on the crust. You could probably just use your hands. We’re all friends here.)
  • Pizza pan or giant cookie sheet or something (To throw the pizza on after you take it out of the oven. I’ll explain later.)

 Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (which is about a tablespoon)
  • 3 cups of flour (Like I said up there, screw around with your flours. Mix ‘em up. Get crazy.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cornmeal, just for dusting stuff so it doesn’t get all sticky and messy

 Pizza:

  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated mozzarella
  • Freshly grated asiago
  • Hot sweet Italian sausage (I cooked mine first, and sliced it into cute little rounds. But you can make your sausage your own way. Like BK.)
  • Fresh kale, torn into pieces, stems removed (Some people blanch this crap before putting it on the pizza, but I don’t see why. Raw worked delightfully.)

1. First, you put the lime in the coconut… Wait, that’s not right. What you really do is put a packet o’ yeast in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar, and dissolve that crap for about 5 minutes or so until it kinda looks like a gross yeast latte.

2. Then, toss 3 cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. If you are like myself, you will first use the dough hook to momentarily pretend like you are Captain Hook, which is totally cool and not weird at all.

3. Once the water/yeast is all foamy-like, turn your mixer on (I usually start at about a 2 speed, and crank it up to 3 or 4 as I go), and SLOWLY pour the water in. Let it incorporate verrrryyyyy sloooowwwwwly, like a freight train you’re stuck at when you have to pee really bad. Soon, it should start forming a cute little ball and pulling away from the sides. Once that happens, dump your ball into a bowl covered in olive oil and throw a kitchen towel over it so it can take an hour and a half nap and rise. Like Jesus.

4. Once It Is Risen, take it out, punch it down so it’s not all obnoxiously fluffy, and divide it into two. Yes, this makes two pizza crusts. So you can use both balls and make two pizzas here, or use just one ball, and save the other ball for fun later.

5. Throw some cornmeal down on a clean, flat surface (Like your countertop. I don’t recommend the floor.) and roll out the dough to your desired thickness. I do a combo of hand stretching and rolling pin rolling. It’s all very technical.

6. Preheat your oven to super hot, like 500 degrees. Stick your pizza stone in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or so to preheat it.

7. Build that pizza! No need to bake the crust first. Just throw some cornmeal on the pizza stone, toss the raw crust on, brush that baby with oil, and have at it. I went like this with my pizza: Kale, asiago, kale, mozzarella, kale, asiago, sausage. But this is your pizza. Do it to it, baby.

8. Put your pizza baby in the oven for about 9 minutes or so. Take it out before fire ensues. I recommend not being drunk while it’s cooking. You lose all track of time. Not that I would know anything about this.

9. Once done, take it out of the oven, and remove the pizza to a pizza pan or something, otherwise it’ll keep cooking on the stone, and we don’t want a burnt pizza baby.

10.   Let it cool for 2 or 3 minutes, bada-boom bada-bing, slice it up, and make your belly happy.

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 THE END

Side note: I should never be put in charge of grating anything. Exhibit A.

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The Birth Of A Food Blog Baby

I know what you’re thinking.

Just what the world needs, another food blog. *Sigh* I know, I know. I know how you feel. I did not want to be one of the hordes of chef wannabes trying to become the next… ummmm… famous food blog person. Yeah. Anyhoo… This all started with a boy and some Ahi tuna. You see, I’ve always been interested in cooking; I’ve even performed an emergency braising a time or two. Ok, not really. Sounded good, though. My point is that I met a boy. A fellow food and cooking enthusiast. That’s where it all started. He had me at, “Sear me some tuna, lady.”. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ve been cooking and eating together ever since. It’s been a magical two to four weeks. Maybe ‘magical’ is the wrong word. Whatever. You get my drift.

So, here I am. You guys (And by ‘guys’, I mean ‘nobody’, since this sucker is brand spanking new.) will be witness to my kitchen triumphs and disasters, and, if Mr. Ahi Tuna man dumps me, or vice versa, you will be witness to my overindulgence in homemade desserts. I’d say it’s a win-win for us all.

For my first recipe, though, I think I’ll keep it simple. Baby steps. Ha! Get it? Birth of a food blog? Baby steps? Never mind. Here you go:

Ingredients:
Cheap wine with twisty cap

Tools needed:
Any liquid-holding vessel

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Untwist twisty cap. Pour in glass. Drink. Repeat.

And that, folks, is how you give birth to a food blog baby. While tipsy.

Stay tuned. I’ll be less tipsy for the rest of my posts. Probably. For the most part. Maybe.