Hamburglers

Hamburgers. Meat pockets. Shredded brown bugs. Hamburglers. Stealing my sense of pride one crumble at a time.

My poor co-worker, maid of honor, lawyer and friend had to hear me ask 1,000 questions on how to make hamburgers.  I think I broke his brain with the weirdo questions I ask. How do you know when to flip it? How much oil do you put in the pan? What if it’s a non stick pan? What if it falls apart? What if I don’t mix it well enough? I just wish recipes answered the tough questions.

Apparently ground beef has some fraction number on it, who knew meat pickin’ involved math. I think this is the fat content? I still don’t understand, I just bought what I was told to buy. Why can’t they just write “fat or no fat” on it? Or something easier to understand.

We hosted some people over and I thought I would make hamburgers for the first time, if we all survived, than that means it was a great party!

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I was told to add egg, soy sauce, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to the ground beef mixture. Though I read online that you’re not supposed to handle the meat too much, don’t know what that was all about.

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I start stirring all of this stuff together with the meat in a giant bowl with a plastic spoon. Touching the meat from the packaging into the bowl was gross enough, I didn’t want to be tossing it around with my hands. But alas, you have to. Grossssssss. Such an odd texture and I’m not sure how you are supposed to mix it evenly with said texture.

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Then I try to form the patties with my hands, like the Internet says is so easy to do. I love how they give you measurements as if you’re using a ruler. Do they make those? Cooking rulers? I mean they make thermometers, they should make rulers too. I end up forming them like I do cookies, which is probably also incorrect. I make the bigger mistake of thinking the vegetarian could tell me if I was doing it right.

Joe’s mom comes over and I warn her that I probably messed it up badly. She has confidence in me, like she always does, but I’m tellin’ ya! She peels back the tin foil, covers it back up and starts to walk away. I ask her if it was right or not. So she points out what I could do better – the patties need to be bigger because they’re going to cook down, more round and more pressed together. I had cracks so the chunks of meat would just fall right off. Again, I was just thinking cookie slop – which usually gets bigger and stays together just fine.

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I didn’t do the cooking, that’s the scariest part. Joe’s mom made them lovely on the grill for all of us. And no one got sick or died, yay! Success!

On a personal note, this was a really exciting time to host family. Using our new gadgets that we got from our wedding – even though we don’t have enough/an even number of everything yet, we’re getting there! My favorite is these awesome W napkins my real maid of honor got us.

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As usual, judgement:

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Garlic Worms

One of the hardest parts about cooking is having the right amount of the ingredients and using them before they go bad.

Recipe says: 4 tomatoes, 3 cloves garlic, 1 cup basil, 1.5 pounds pasta, 3/4 cup olive oil, 1 pound brie = Tomato Basil Brie Linguine

I have: 4 tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, a pinch of basil, 1 pound pasta, 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 pound brie = Garlic Worms

So this recipe will work, right?

I’m a huge fan of brie although that shit is expensive. I couldn’t even find a pound of it on the shelf for sale. Basil goes brown over night basically so that’s always a wash, as delicious as it is. Pasta is sold in pound boxes, I don’t know where they get this 1.5 pound idea from. But I can always count on tomatoes to be there for me, I sure don’t get why they gotta be on a vine though.

Since I had all these odd measurements, I thought I should lessen the garlic and olive oil too. Yet this still came out tasting like a pound of garlic. Linguine also looks like worms. Garlic worms. I am eating worms that taste like garlic.

You basically chop all this crap and set it on the counter for 2-4 hours.

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It says to dice the tomato, so that means I cut it up in the most irregular pieces possible.

Oh, then it says to tear the brie into irregular pieces. Finally something I know how to do! Until I realize they’re just playing a sick joke on me. Have you ever tried to tear cheese before? Tear sticky cheese. It’s just stuck to my hands! Thanks a lot, I bet the cookbook people are laughing.

And then my trusty friend the garlic press, we meet again… PS: why is the garlic purple?

Basil, you smell so delicious, I love you, why you gotta brown so easily?

It takes me at least an hour to chop all of this up, but it’s so pretty…

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Time to boil the pasta, can I break these noodles in half first? It doesn’t say to, so I won’t. Oh, the noodles stick out of the top of the water, real cool. Oh, they slipped down a second later, okay then. More noodle power to ya.

Now I have to mix it all together, as if that is an easy task. Why would you combine really long noodles with a mixture? How is it supposed to get in the cracks and spread evenly? This would have been better with bow ties. Does it even matter what type of pasta I use? I HAVE QUESTIONS! I wonder if there is a recipe hotline. 1-800-RECIPE-HLP

I’m really glad I didn’t use the 3 gloves of garlic because this tastes like a pile of garlic. Joe ain’t mad doe.

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And the cats are all like, facepalm. facebutt. faceplant. faceplace.   IMG_0955

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The Worst Cook in America

Getting married is awesome because you obtain a bunch of new kitchen supplies. Most of which I do not know how to use. But I will say that they make attempting to cook more enjoyable. I couldn’t tell you what half the nonsense was in Crate and Barrel where we did our registry. Do we need this? What is this? Why is it this shape? I guess we are going to find out in the coming months while we attempt to use these new fancy bojangles.

I watch a lot of Food Network, which doesn’t aid me in my cooking techniques at all, but hey it’s entertaining. One day I caught an episode of the show The Worst Cooks In America. I thought to myself, holy shit, I could be on this show! A show dedicated to not knowing what you’re doing? How perfect! Basically there are 2 teams that learn from famous chefs and you get sent home if you don’t measure up to the challenge.

I decided to go on their website and see what the auditioning process is like. Like most companies, their website lacked the content I was looking for. It had casting dates for the past, so I wasn’t sure if I could fill out the application at anytime – I emailed them these questions and never heard back. Until a few months later, I got a response that casting was open and they would be updating their site soon (yeah right).

I headed back over and filled out the lengthy application. Then I received an email asking me to fill out an attached questionnaire, a day later I received a reminder to fill it out. Girl, slow your roll, I’m gettin’ to it. It had the same damn questions. How many times can I answer “What is your most embarrassing kitchen story?”, “Do you have any kitchen phobias?” Honey, there are not enough lines on this application for me to fill out my probs.

I was walking around Home Depot one Saturday and received a phone call from Cali and normally I don’t answer strange phone numbers, but I had a feeling. It was a casting guy! Asking me the same damn questions again. He was super nice and I enjoyed the conversation. This was shortly after the Baltimore Riots, so of course I was asked about that too. He said if they chose to cast me, he would call in the next few weeks…never heard back. Bummer.

But I would like to think this means I made it to the final rounds of casting and I am a runner up to being The Worst Cook in America. ;)

To combat this horrible horrible loss, my matron of honor got me a book for our wedding titled “The I Don’t Know How To Cook Cookbook”. This book is ahhhmazing! It has the definitions for everything you could think of, even SPOON! It has little tid bits like how to brown ground beef. All sorts of things to answer my daily questions when recipes don’t explain things fully. It also has a lot of vegetarian recipes which is always ideal. Only thing it’s missing is pictures, ha.

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I don’t think I ever would have made it passed the first round on Worst Cooks… I can’t even use a knife properly.

Plus, I’d miss my cats if I was gone for a few weeks. Check out these rad pics my matron of honor’s husband took the day of our wedding…

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BBLK PHOTOGRAPHY

Tofu shakin’

A tofu press may look like a strange torture device, but it is actually a magical and wonderful device.

Its got many plastic pieces along with a spiraly metal piece. I would think this spiraly metal piece could be use to harm someone, but really it is just helping your tofu out.

Don’t know anything about tofu? Don’t know why you have to press it? Sucks to be you, you’re missing out.

Tofu wants to absorb the flavor you are trying to put into it, so let it do its job.

No matter what type of tofu you buy – soft, firm, etc. It is a good idea to press the water out of it first. We used to do this by stacking a bunch of random heavy kitchen appliances on top of it. But now we have this sweet press!

You drill the spiraly metal guy on top of the tofu and the pressure sucks the water out. The water builds up inside the little torture container and then you can dump it into the sink.

Unless you’re me.

If you’re me, you forget one of the plastic pieces and you end up drilling the spiraly metal guy into the tofu itself. It’s cool, now we have some design going here. I can never be left alone, I swear.IMG_0647

Now if you do it right, you let it press for a little bit. Then you can fill the container with a sauce of your choosing. You can then sit the container in the fridge for a half hour or over night, whatever your little heart desires. The more soakin’ time the more flavor savin’ slime.

If you do accidentally drill the spiraly guy into your tofu, don’t fret. Just keep on trucking. Don’t forget to cut the tofu before putting the sauce in. If you’re me, you can’t cut straight and end up with the oddest shapes of tofu. If you’re an adult, your tofu turns out beautiful.

I then preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 45 min. We’ve been using teriyaki lately and after pressing, soaking and baking, you get a good little crisp to the edges.

Don’t hate on tofu until you try making it yourself. A lot of the times people try it at restaurants where it is too squishy for them. There are many ways you can make it, but I find this to be the easiest.

Tofu shakin, all around, pump that jam, while I’m chown’ down.

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(PS: check out Flat Rat Studio for more cool signs like this one)

Make your own mac n cheese they says, it’ll be easy they says…

Happy New Year!

Last year I made some mac n cheese and while a lot of dumb happened, it tasted like a lot of good.

“Easy Southwest Mac N Cheese” – easy they says…

I look at the list of ingredients and the first thing I notice is that I don’t like half of them. But I like mac n cheese, so I guess this will end up good. One thing I am definitely omitting is the onions, onions are not mac nor cheese in my experience, so it’s gotta be ok. Everything else can stay, for now.

First I need a big ol’ pot for just the garlic. Why such a big pot for just garlic? Do I put the garlic in the nutcracker press? I’ve never not done that with garlic, is this supposed to be different? I swore I read it 5 times and saw nothing about that. Because I am home alone, I text my trusty side kick Jackie. She says “are you sure it doesn’t say mince somewhere?” Oh, sure enough, it does! I was also doubling the recipe so it becomes like 4 little nubbies of garlic, pressed (minced? same thing?) into the big ol’ pot. Seems like a lot. This part you are supposed to combine with an onion, but I say hell no to onions. The recipe says that they should be “soft and transparent”, so I’m waiting for the garlic to appear this way and it’s just turning brown. Guess that means I burned it. Can I still eat it? Did I ruin the whole thing? I don’t care, lettuce keep going.

Turns out the transparent thing was about the onions, not the garlic. Good to know, thanks a lot, not specific directions. Not to mention the directions say “saute”, excuse me? Come again? You could at least throw a link in there to explain what “saute” is. You know I don’t speak mexican!

Here the cats are, trying to escape in case I burn the house down…

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Next was easy: Drain the diced tomatoes, then add them to the pot with the frozen corn and chili powder. Continue to sauté until the corn has heated through. At this point I assume saute means just leave the burner on and stir. Why can’t we just say that instead? I also never trust recipes with spices, they always call for so little of the spice. What is the point if you’re only using a little bit? I say go big or go home. I might regret this shortly.

Turn the heat off and add the drained pasta and Greek yogurt. Oooooooh okay now I get why we are using sucha big pot. I don’t particularly like yogurt either, but I am trusting this recipe here.

Stir until the pasta is coated in the creamy sauce. Add the cheese and stir until the residual heat has melted it into the sauce. If you pasta has cooled too much to melt the cheese, keep the burner on low as you stir the cheese into the sauce. Didn’t have to worry about that last part, thank jeebus.

Serve hot sprinkled with the sliced green onions. Well, my green onions were a bit old. I sent a picture to my trusty side kick to see if I could still use them. Just had to cut some bad parts off. I didn’t realize that they needed to be chopped super fine, I had chopped them kind of big. I don’t particularly like green onions, but it probably made sense for this recipe.

All in all, it was actually very good! The burnt garlic didn’t ruin it, though I did use a lot because it was a bit spicy for me.

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Chickens stuffed with random junk from your trunk

Usually on Sunday nights I make myself a bland ass dinner. Bland ass chicken, bland ass mashed potatoes, and bland ass green beans. I take it to work as leftovers and my co-workers make fun of me for my super white meal with no sauce or flavor. So this time I decided to try to jazz it up, and guess what, my food still got called bland and even powdery. Well listen up, it’s time to make some chickens stuffed with spinach and cream cheese and other random junk from your trunk.

I liked this recipe because I already had most of the ingredients. My beef with most recipes is that it calls for 1/4 of something that I have to go out and buy and will never use again. Though, that’s my beef with this recipe too. 1/4 teaspoon of a spice, am I even gonna taste that? What is the point. I dernt kner. But the chef gods of the world tell me it’s how this shit rolls, so let’s roll…

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First ya make the filling.

1. 4 ounces of cream cheese – okay but my measuring cup is CUPS, how do I measure ounces? Oh cool, cup, you have ounces too. Except the damn cream cheese sticks to the spoon, how are you supposed to get this shit off? Maybe a handy fork will work. Nope, just getting more stuck. Did I mention I don’t even like cream cheese? Maybe a spoon will help me to get the stuck shit off the fork. Now I’m more stuck. I wish I could use an emoticon right now.

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2. Half cup packed, baby spinach, chopped – Why do they only sell ingredients in large ass sizes? I have this giant tub of spinach and I only need a half cup? Can I has moar? Will chopping it and not chopping it make it different measurements? I’ll let Joe do the chopping, because as we all know, I would mess this shit up. Let’s also put it in the same measuring cup the cream cheese was in because I don’t like to dirty more dishes and all this shit is going to the same place anyways. The toilet, amirite?

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3. 2 scallions – newp. bye. Half a jalapeño – newp. bye. Half teaspoon of salt – newp. bye. Salt is bad, mmmkay. And wtf good is a half of a teaspoon going to do? Seems super pointless.

4. 3 cloves (1 tablespoon) fresh garlic, minced – garlic still scares me since my incident with the nutcracker. I had Joe tear it up because I’m always afraid of doing it wrong, but then he made me crush it in the press. Though I am very impressed with myself, I crushed this shit like a boss. I guess I got some muscles since my last attempt at garlic.

5. Half teaspoon red pepper flakes and fourth teaspoon of ground black pepper – Add more really small measurements of spices because that makes fucking sense. Why do spices exist? Someone, somewhere was like Yo let’s make this really fine shit that people will go nuts for sprinkling it all on top of their food thinkin’ it taste all good. Placebo effect, I’m telling ya. Why do these tiny measurements exist too? I do not understand the point in something so small, how can it have an effect? If you say so…

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So now you mix all that shit together with a rubber spatula. First of all, whys it gotta be rubber? Does that prevent sticking? I thought we didn’t have a rubber spatula because for some reason I pictured them white. Whys it gotta be white? Doesn’t fucking work anyways. Clumps of cream cheese it is!

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Now to prepare the chickens…

The recipe said to butterfly the chicken breasts. What in the flying ferdinand is butterfly? It probably involves some fancy knife trick that I am not familiar with. You know what a better solution is? Just buy the chicken thinner, then you do less work, duh dummies. This bites me in the ass later…

1. Take 2 eggs and beat em in a bowl. Joe complimented my egg cracking skills, yay I can do something right!

2. Time to combine some more useless amounts of shit and I’m skipping the salt again – fourth teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (I have such a problem with these terms, freshly ground? It’s effing pepper), half teaspoon of italian seasoning (I had 2 jars, 1 with holes and 1 that opened up completely so I decided to use the wide open top in order to stick the measuring guy inside – yay efficiency), half cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 and a half cup panko bread crumbs (oops I only had regular type, that’ll do)

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3. Cheese. This is where I fucked up the most. The way the recipe was written, it was like I was supposed to mix the cheese into this bread crumb bowl mixture. But really I was supposed to save it to put on top of the creme cheese concoction. So anyways, it says 4 slices of swiss or mozz cheese. All I have is shredded cheese, so what do I do? Take out a slice of cheese and lay the mozz on top until I get myself a slice full of shredded cheese. Until Joe points out that these packages have measurements on them, so I can figure this one out easier if only I knew math.

Now that you got all your bowls together with your shit, you’re ready to mix and dip and dance a doodle doo.

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1. Take your “butterflied” chicken *eye roll* and scoop some creme cheese mixture into the middle then roll that bitch up. If you’re smart, you’ll use a toothpick to hold it together. If you’re me, you’ll use your hands and YOLO

2. Dip that bitch into the eggs

3. Dip that bitch into the bread crumb mixture

4. Set that rolled up bitch in your pan. Water, rinse, repeat with the rest of your breasts. But be careful to not get any on your actual breasticles. If you did use toothpicks, don’t forget to take them out when it’s time to eat. That’s what the recipe says anyways, probably to protect idiots like me who will assume toothpicks are editable.

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5. Now bake these little bitches for some amount of time at some temperature (I can’t give all my secrets away). And if you’re me and didn’t butterfly your breasticles, you will end up cooking the chicken for way too long and it’ll taste dry and the mozz you accidentally put on the outside will just burn up.

Enjoy your pile of shit. Go be a vegetarian asshole. photo 4

The cats and their feet could not even be bothered with this recipe:

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Fire Roasted Slip -n- Slide

I am a fan of quick dinners. Preheat the oven and bake for 10 minutes, I’m there! Pizza sounds like a good, simple, easy dinner to make, right? Wrong.

We have slowly gotten better at making pizza. We started out by cooking it on a cookie sheet then we upgraded to using a pizza stone. We went from using shredded mozz to real mozz. We upgraded our brand and flavor of pizza sauce. We even went from using a knife to using a pizza slicer rolly guy jammy.

We even tried different types of dough – going from the usual Bobboli or whatever it’s called, to garlic dough from Trader Joe’s that you need to roll out and then we tried Naan. Naan is damn good! But of course we wait too long to make it and it goes bad quickly. Target only had thin crust doughs by Archer Farms this time around. I figured if they only had thin crust than people must like it so I shall try it, right? Wrong.

So we have this brilliant idea of using real mozz circles, tomato slices, classico pizza sauce and this fancy thin crust that says something about being fire roasted. If something says it’s fire roasted, I automatically assume it’s going to be good. We assemble this pizza on a cookie sheet at first and my god is it beautiful. I wish I had a picture of it, that shit was laid out niiiiiiice. We got this cool pizza baclamber for Christmas to help move the pizza on and off the stone. What is it called, pizza…peel! This whole thing seems like a simple deal, right? Wrong.

Time to take the delicious pizza out of the oven! And, well, there are no words…that shit just starts fallin off the crust like a slip n slide.

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That shit slid right off the crust onto the stone. We can’t remove the stone because it’s too damn hot. Some of it starts dripping down into the oven (our brand new, non self cleaning oven). I grab the cookie sheet so we can try and scoop what is left onto it. Somehow we get most of it into a big sloppy mess.

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While the pizza stone is covered in crap now. Anyone know how you wash those things? Apprently it isn’t suppossed to be “washed” so it can save its “flavors”. I never undersood things like that, people tell you to not clean something so you can cook again in your old shit and mix your new shit which apparently makes even more delicious shit. Doubtful. Now hand me the soap.

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We decide to eat it anyways, open up the cabinet and these cups come tumbling down and land on top of the pizza. JESUS BECKY! I just want to freakin’ eat ya’ll!

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So we eat it anyways, and it tastes just fine. I guess it didn’t need to be pretty in order to eat it.

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The best part? Our plumbing is screwy so we can’t use real dishes, the kitchen sink or dishwasher in order to clean this mess up. Better get our tongues ready because that’s all we got to get this shit clean.

This was the biggest fail that has happened in a long time. The cats didn’t even know what to do with us. So they just ate each other instead.

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