tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal

23Nov/130

Who’s on first?

Dear J -

I hope you are doing ok and resting. I am taking the day to dig out of my many piles. One of which is to catch up here - this long forgotten evening of some store bought marinated flank steak, too crispy potatoes, and spaghetti squash.

Untitledlow effort

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And who won this game of Catan? or how poorly I did on Mama Mia!  Fortunately, there will be more opportunities to make a better dinner, and chance to do better on whatever game we choose.

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19Oct/130

Do it again

Hi J - I think I've satisfied cravings for Indian food for a while. How about you? First, we had take out from India Gate, then the lack of power at your house put us at Spice Route the following week.

In between the two meals of yummy India food, we managed a game of Settlers of Catan.

Untitled

Where we had a close game but you won!

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Then, you share this link, about friendships and games. Here is to more sharing my game nights with you and N. 🙂

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17Jan/130

Accidentally Alienate Your Friends

Dear Dinner People:

When I plan dinners, I usually start at one ingredient or one dish that I want to make and flesh it out from there. This week I just wanted to play 7 Wonders. That did not help with menu planning.

N and I discussed options. Lebanese lamb? Herb-rubbed beef tenderloin? Chili?

Chili won out, but specifically Terlingua Red chili like our DC area fav Hard Times serves.

My favorite item to order at Hard Times is Chili Bubba -- cornbread topped with two types of chili, plus sour cream, tomatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese. I always get Cincinnati and Terlingua Red (aside: when I was a vegetarian, I loved their vegetarian chili).

With some web-searching I came across a recipe for Hard Times Terlingua Red that had all of the notes on how to cook it for competition. Why not? While we were at the butcher shop picking up coarse grind beef, we picked up a pork chop. And I tossed it in the pot.

chili
J's chili

I had planned to eschew the beans since N keeps telling me he hates beans in chili. I was surprised when he suggested we add red kidney beans and black beans. I love kidney beans in chili, so we added a can of each.

In the end, the chili was not exactly like Hard Times Terlingua Red. I can't put a finger on exactly what was off. It was tasty enough for this chili fan, though.

jicama salad
jicama salad

I wanted a cool chopped salad to go along with the chili and work as a palate cleanser. I liked this jicama salad because it had cool and tang and crunch and sweet. When I found that recipe, it reminded me of one you made back in July of 2011.

A couple of weeks ago N and I went to Sazerac in Seattle. While waiting for our friends to meet up with us, we ordered two appetizers. One was bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed medjool dates. N remembered that they were stuffed with goat cheese, but I said it was blue cheese, so he bought that. I was wrong. N made his-my version. They were ok if you like savory dates.

stuffed dates
stuffed dates

I was determined that we would play a new-to-us game, 7 Wonders (BGG). I prepared. I over-prepared. I read through the instructions, set up a board, watched a How To Play video and then an entire game played out by the WatchItPlayed crew. Then I convinced N to play a 2-player round with me the night before you and G came over! I was determined that we were going to play 7 Wonders and that we were going to like it!

E's board, end Second Age
E's board, end second age

We played one game and I'm not so sure how we felt as a group. I think N felt good since he beat the rest of us by almost twenty points!

Learning all of the cards and iconography and how to win the game takes at least a game's worth of playing. I think it would have been much smoother the second time, but someone requested a break to formulate a strategy. Maybe we'll try again next time.

I do think the game scoring is fairly even. Even if you don't build your Wonder, you can make up the points on military or science or guild. That's where I think the gameplay is interesting. I can also see that it is frustrating because you aren't sure where you are relative to one another, especially if you are not seated next to someone!

After some tasty Salted Caramel & Strawberry Basil ice cream (thanks!), we played a round of... Uno.

Uno!
Uno!

Apparently our new Uno cards with the stupid design gave me a stroke but I still kicked y'all's asses handily. Chili power!

PS: sorry about all the hated food! I hope all the fritos helped mollify the menu made up of your hated foods.

3Dec/120

Thanksgiving Weekend Deserves Two Posts

Hi E!

Thanks for hosting Thanksgiving! We had a lovely time.

Due to some Very Serious Feelings on the necessity of potatoes at Thanksgiving, we supplied two of N's favorites. Plain ol' mashed potatoes and Bobby Flay's Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.

Too much fud

After our hockey game tonight, I talked to N and discovered that he does not actually follow Bobby Flay's recipe for the sweet potatoes. He does NOT use two cups of heavy cream! (my arteries thank him)

He takes 2-3 chipotles and puts them in a food processor with just enough cream to cover them and makes a paste. As he layers the thin-cut sweet potatoes in the pan, he spoons a little bit of paste over each layer. This makes for a more sweet potato-heavy dish but doesn't lose the overall effect.

I like sweet potatoes but I am not a big fan of the sweet-on-top-of-sweet casseroles out there with brown sugar and nuts and marshmallows. This dish is a recent favorite because the spice of the chipotles helps counter the saccharine of the sweet potatoes.

A couple of days later on this Thanksgiving weekend, we got together for tasty delivery (!) pizza and games. This is notable because we actually tried a new-to-us game!

Munchkin

It seems that almost everyone who games keeps a Munchkin deck around. It's quick, it's funny (lots of different themed decks out there!) and it's not so RPG-y to deter the non-roleplayers, but is roleplaying influenced enough such that the roleplayers seem to like it as a sort of game snack.

It took us a while to get going. I was very frustrated that I didn't draw a Class or Race card until the very end of the game. The gameplay was pretty quick once we figured it out and I could see us playing it at the end of the night another time.

You won, but we realized later that you can't get to the winning point by buying a level/playing a level-up card, it has to be from killing a monster. I bet we won't forget that next time!

After Munchkin, I pulled out Carcassonne to avoid the usual suspects (Uno, the bean game, or Catan).

Tidiest Carcassonne board ever

My recollection of this game is poor. I lost. N or G won. They were close. I suck so bad at Carcassonne. Maybe I'll have to download it for my phone and start playing it more often.

See you next time!

20May/100

Food envy

Hi J -

Yesterday, I took the last of your lasagna (pic of the giant pan of lasagna) out of the freezer. I chopped up some salad basics, heated up a portion for G, and I made a leftover country ribs sandwich - pull apart meat + armadillo bbq sauce + safeway bakery crusty roll.  A low effort leftover dinner. Much later in the evening ...

G: your ribs sandwich looked really good. I want one now.

me: make a little one. like a slider.

G: can't. my eyes are bigger than my stomach. plus it is [too] late

Then when we were going to bed ... He mention it again. "I really wants a country ribs sandwich".  In fact, he would trade the very last portion of your lasagna for one. Lucky me, I will get some lasagna!

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13May/100

Triangle, Round, and Rectangle

Hi J -

Why yes, that is all three shapes of Mission Restaurant Style chips.

mission.jpg

G and I have have our preferences in crunchy snacks. He is (was?) a Lay's Potato Chips guy. I am a tortilla chips that comes in a brown bag + chipotle salsa person. When G wanted tortilla chips, he would get Tostitos Scoops. I remember a conversation four of us had last summer, when we were on the gucamole (!!!!!!!!!!) kick, how each of us have our favorite brand and shape.

A few weeks ago, when you served surf and turf fajitas, you had Rounds, I was (only slightly) surprised N and G both prefer the Rounds - something about the shape and the ability to scoop salsa and the fit of the shape in your mouth. (I think G has come around to the brown bag tortilla chips.)

So, I bought some triangles (I already had Rounds and Rectangles) and did a unscientific blind taste test with G. Here is the result:

  • He correctly identified the rectangle, but switched the triangle and round
  • Rectangles have the "best crunch", breaks easily
  • "Rounds tastes better"
    *the Rounds were a different colour than the others, not sure, may they differ batch from batch

In conclusion, he said he would sacrifice taste for better texture.

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27Jan/100

One size fits all

Dear J -

This morning I was chuckling to myself that it seems we each have our method to "fix" every culinary "problem". I offer some evidence:

G's solution:  use less (or more) to achieve desired results.

Exhibit #1 - Less spicy rub = Not spicy wingz
Last week, I reminded G to make less spicy wings, for the less-spice-liking folks on Saturday. He acknowledged and confirmed. When we were packing up to go, I noticed he pulled out his [spicy] spice rub.

me: "I thought you were going to make less spicy wingz?"
G: "Yes. I will just sprinkle less rub."
me: "Er." (I quickly throw together a non-spicy rub.)

Exhibit #2 - Just extend grilling time if the grill is not hot enough.

Some time ago, he was grilling [insert meat]. And I thought it was taking longer than usual. Finally he put meats on the plate. And I thought, huh, this is terrible.

me: "What happened?"
G: "The grill was too low. I thought I had enough charcoal. I just cooked it longer."
me: "Oh, why didn't you say something? We could have finished in the oven."

My solution: Just caramelize it. It will taste better.

Exhibit #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... As I look through my food pictures, everything looks like a dark shade of caramel. Whoops.

N's solution:  Add bacon.

Exhibit #1 - Pears and onion pizza is missing bacon.

N was raving about the pears & onions pizza Sh put together. The pizza tasted better than he thought, but felt it was missing something. He thought about it for a few.

N: "I know! It needs bacon. Sweet, salty, savory."

Exhibit #2 - Bacon explosion.

N made bacon explosion, twice.

J's Solution: Missing something? Add citrus or vinegar.

Exhibit #1, #2, #3 - Every time J thinks something is missing, she opts to add some (more) lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar.

J, "It will make it taste more fresh and punchy!"

See asparagus with capers,  lemony potato salad, pelmeni broth.

J, "Hm, not everyone likes their food quite as tart as I do."

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15Jan/100

Who makes the coffee around here?

Dear J

This morning, the wind and the rain (on the skylight) woke me up. So I thought to myself "let's make a bigger pot of coffee." As soon as the coffee finished brewing, G pulled out his travel mug and poured himself some coffee. Now I am out of coffee ...

I find it very tricky to make just the right amount of coffee. The end.

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