Recipe: Slacker poutine

Someone on Twitter mentioned poutine, which made me remember my potatoes and leftover brown gravy in the fridge.

So I present to you…

Poutine for Slackers

You will need:
* potatoes (Frozen potatoes or fries work great for maximizing the slacker nature of this recipe)
* brown gravy (You can get a can in the store to maintain the slacker name. Or do what I did: save some leftover takeout gravy. To give you an idea of how lazy this recipe gets, I used KFC gravy.)
* cheese (“What, no cheese curds?” I hear you cry. Dude. This is a slacker recipe, not a genuine attempt at poutine. Also, I didn’t have any cheese curds handy. Read that italicized part again.)

Got all that? Good.

1. Prepare your potatoes. If you’re using frozen potatoes you can just pop them in the oven or fry them or whatever the bag says. If you’re using fresh potatoes like I did, chop them up and throw them in some oil. Cook until they’re done. I like mine golden brown and a tiny bit crunchy.

2. Prepare your gravy. If you used the premade bag, you’ll actually have to make and stir the stuff. If you’re using a can or leftover gravy, pop the gravy in the microwave until it’s warm.

3. Place potatoes on a plate or other serving dish of choice. Pour gravy on top. Sprinkle cheese on top (I used mozzarella). Enjoy.

I was going to get a photo of the completed product, but that stuff disappeared in mere minutes. Another time…. oh who am I kidding, I’ll never remember.

Happy World Nutella Day! (and the best sandwich in existence)

Today is World Nutella Day, one of my favorite and tastiest holidays. We almost didn’t have a Nutella Day this year thanks to a cease and desist from Ferrero, the manufacturer of Nutella. Thankfully they saw sense and allowed Nutella Day to continue, leading to this post today.

My love affair with Nutella began in high school during my French Club membership. This was a casual affair, and I didn’t realize what a driving force Nutella would be until I visited France in college and ate Nutella on bread for breakfast.

Every. Single. Morning.

And this doesn’t include the many Nutella crepes I ate for lunch, sometimes with banana, sometimes without, from a street vendor.

Then I found Nutella at the store in America. And that’s where the fun and exploration really begin.

These days I almost always have at least one jar of Nutella in the house. Friends can count on me having one of the big jars around. Heck, when I taught and had to bring a lunch every day, I packed pretzels as part of the lunch… and Nutella to dip them in. This became a joke among my students and coworkers. But come on, who wouldn’t love something this amazing?

With that in mind, let’s talk my new favorite Nutella discovery: the Nutella, cookie butter, and banana sandwich. Those who follow me on Twitter know that I won’t shut up about this thing, and for good reason. This sandwich is nothing short of perfection.

I love banana and Nutella, I love banana and cookie butter, and heck, Trader Joe’s sells a cookie butter and chocolate swirl jar. That has to be good together, right? So wouldn’t all three together taste good?

I was right. But I wasn’t prepared for how right this combination would be.

“But Sushi,” you say. “I’ve never heard of this cookie butter. What is it? Where can I get it?”

Cookie butter, or for the uninitiated, perfection in a jar consists of cookies ground up to a spreadable peanut butter-like consistency. Trader Joe’s sells a cookie butter, along with Biscoff (you know, the cookie you get on flights). Cookie butter is magical, and I don’t usually keep it in the house because I can and will eat it with a spoon.

Got it? Good. On to the sandwich.

Cookie Butter, Nutella, and Banana Sandwich
(or the Best Sandwich In Existence)

Cookie Butter
1 banana (you can probably use other fruits, but this has given me the best results so far)
2 slices of bread

1. Toast the bread if you like.
2. Spread cookie butter across one slice of bread.
3. Spread Nutella across the other slice of bread.
4. Slice the banana and place it on the bread so it touches one of the spreads.
5. Put the sandwich together.
6. Eat! You’ll probably have banana left. Eat it if you like.

Seriously. This sandwich is just good. My stomach is rumbling right now because it’s hungry and I know it just wants this sandwich.

Just go try it. I’m going to hit post on this, then go home and make one in honor of Nutella Day.

The decimal makes all the difference

I’ve done a lot of math in my time and endured a lot of comments from people who not only aren’t great at math but who, whether intentionally or not, make obvious mathematical mistakes. Today at a Wendy’s drive-through I saw a sign that made me wonder if anyone proofreads the signs before hanging them.

Four sauces for a penny? Sure!
(Click for bigger)

Four sauces for a penny? I’ll take that. Better yet, I’ll take just one and watch you make change for this penny. Making change for higher denominations of currency would be cruel and unusual punishment. At this price I should buy four hundred for a dollar and sell the sauces for twenty-five cents each. I’d make ninety-nine bucks. Multiplying my money ninety-nine fold isn’t bad at all. Maybe I should look into this.

Meet the Frankenburger

My brother loves fast food. I don’t like most fast food, but my love of the occasional greasy bacon cheeseburger is undeniable, even if the grease goes straight to the heart afterward. At least it’s not Big Mac sauce, I tell myself. Some people love it. I’m not one of them, choosing to squirt ketchup and mustard (no mayo; that’s another condiment I avoid) on my burgers.

But what if you want to combine the best of every fast food burger? The sauce (if you’re into that), the vegetables, the burger, the cheese, the bun? Where do you start?

Enter the Frankenburger. It combines what the testers believed to be the best of the Big Mac, the Whopper, and the Half Pound Double from Wendy’s. Of these three, I would only eat the Half Pound Double on its own, which is why I find the Frankenburger especially disgusting. Maybe that’s because of the sauce–and the vegetables. We must be careful not to neglect those.

Oh, and the fries. The addition of fries in a burger is new to me, but maybe they were added to this creation so the consumer can eat an entire meal in fewer bites. Fast food just got faster. Considering the majority of the Frankenburger that I would actually eat are made of Wendy’s components, I think Wendy’s is safe for now, especially since Wendy’s has Frosties.

The science of fast food?

I’m not big on fast food, but when they’re not slathered in salt, those thin crispy fries that are characteristic of fast food places are tasty. The problem is that you have to get off your butt, go to the nearest place that carries them, and order your starchy goodness. Mine happens to be Wendy’s, with McDonald’s another minute down the road. Then you can dip your newfound discovery in your condiment of choice and enjoy.

But what if you didn’t have to get out of the house just for fries? Many people have tried to make the perfect fry that resembled the thin fast food fry, and finally someone succeeded. This is the nerdiest look at food that I’ve ever read, and it’s well worth the read, even if you have to go to a separate page for the recipe. The writer obtains frozen fries from a fast food place, inspects the fries, and designs a recipe for the perfect fry. If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that you can’t order frozen fries from a fast food place. There goes my plan.

Cheddar Bay Biscuit Recipes

If you’ve been to Red Lobster, you’re familiar with the famous Cheddar Bay biscuits. Yes, they have a name: Cheddar Bay biscuits, the cheesy biscuits with just the right touch of garlic. I didn’t even know they had a name besides Cheese Biscuits of Amazing until today. Unfortunately, the recipe is a secret, so I have to hold my cheese biscuit craving for a trip to Red Lobster thanks to the secrecy of the recipe. (Also, look at those biscuits. Don’t they look delicious? I thought so.)

Because the recipe is secret, people everywhere have tried to recreate the recipe at home. This recipe is courtesy of a cookbook, and while it doesn’t use baking soda, it does use classic Bisquick.

Then I stumbled upon an Ask Me Anything post at Reddit written by a Red Lobster employee who included the recipe. These are two completely different recipes in the composition of the biscuits. I haven’t tried either of these but am now curious. Which one works?

Pop-up sushi on a stick?

I’ve eaten lots of things on sticks. Ice cream. Chicken. Shish kebabs. I’ve never eaten sushi on a stick, but I could order it and have it delivered straight to my front door if I wanted.

That’s not completely true. You have to attach the stick yourself, but for just thirty bucks you can get six packs of sushi poppers. Attach the stick and push the sushi out of the bottle. It’s sushi on a stick and those push pops that my mom would never buy me. After considering the price of ordering a sit-down meal of sushi and the novelty item, the price is quite reasonable, but this better be high quality sushi. You don’t get any ginger and wasabi, but it comes with a pack of soy sauce. Enjoy.

What’s really in that drink of yours?

I like milkshakes and smoothies, but some drinks take it too far. Have you ever taken a look at a nutrition label before taking a sip? How about considering the ingredients in those milkshakes at your favorite ice cream joint? You’re not alone; I don’t consider these things too often either. The folks at “Eat This, Not That” have, and they’ve compiled a slide show of the twenty worst drinks in America. Seeing your favorite drink next to a stack of ice cream bars knocks a bit of perspective into what you’re really feeding your so-called temple of a body. I’ll never see coffee drinks the same way again, even if I do go for smaller sizes. And to think that my brother tried to talk me into getting a Triple Thick shake at McDonald’s once. I’m glad their shake machine was broken.

Common myths about sushi debunked

I received an interesting comment a few days ago, and I can’t tell whether it’s spam or not. Whatever the nature, the request is amusing: to write more about sushi. The food, not me. This is a request I’m happy to fulfill, if only because sushi is delicious.

Let’s look at some myths about sushi and tell the truth.

Myth #1: Sushi is raw fish.
Truth: No no. Raw fish is certainly an element of sushi, but sushi isn’t raw fish. In fact, some kinds of sushi don’t even contain fish at all! Raw fish alone is sashimi, and quite honestly I need something else to go with the fish. Sushi is just a kind of rice topped with stuff. And yes, the stuff on top can include raw fish. The stuff on top doesn’t have to be fish, though. It can be anything: salmon, tuna, eel, and yes, non-meat options.

Myth #2: Vegetarians can’t eat sushi because it contains fish.
Truth: At least you didn’t imply that vegetarians can eat fish in the first place. That one’s really irksome. Not all sushi contains fish, remember? Go nuts with the eggs, tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables.

Myth #3: You’ll die from eating the raw fish.
Truth: Okay, this one has a little bit of truth in it. While it’s true that eating raw meat isn’t generally a good idea, sushi chefs are trained to prepare the meat properly so you don’t get sick. Even with that in mind, it’s not a good idea to gobble a ton of sushi. Trust me; I’ve done it and have suffered the consequences. Luckily for me that just entailed a long evening in the bathroom. Have some soup with your sushi, and you’ll be fine. It’s also not a good idea to prepare sushi at home unless you’ve been properly trained or you’re preparing a meatless version. No, watching the chef at your favorite sushi place once doesn’t count.

Enjoy your sushi! Eat responsibly, and don’t be afraid to try something new.