Friday, August 29, 2014

Hot Dogs Are Evil

My hands reek of hot dogs on dog school day. Eager to get Sesame back into a training program, I signed up for Canine Circus School, appropriately dubbed "art school for dogs." It has been years, DECADES, since I've purchased hot dogs, and all I can think of is pink slime when I purchase those things as training treats per the recommendation of the instructor. I buy them covertly, ashamed, at places where no one who knows I'm an Alice Water disciple will recognize me.  But of course, the first time I had my cart loaded with hot dogs, I ran into a coworker who glanced at my hand basket (Meyers hand soap, Seventh Generation dish wash tabs, and 4 packages of cheap ass hot dogs - 4 of theses are not like the other).  Then, he proceeded to keep me there to talk about work stuff, while sneaking multiple glances at the hot dogs. Busted! I thought about telling him that they were for my dog, but he's no nonsense guy who probably doesn't know of Alice Waters and who would think it frivolous to buy human food (and I use this term loosely) for a dog, so that would make it worse. 

Still, Sesame works her butt off for a nibble of hot dog, more so then she would if I offered her my homemade, dolphin-free tuna, pastured eggs, and Parmesan cheese treats.  For the first class, I bought organic beef hot dogs, but when the instructor came by and offered her the crap hot dogs, she did back bends for him despite her "stranger! danger!" issues. I was sold. Pink slime hot dogs it is! I bought my second round of hot dogs at Ranch 99, where a cart filled with 3-liters of peanut oil, 4 packages of hot dogs, a carton of fermented rice, and salted turnips doesn't make anyone raise an eyebrow.

Did you know that the cheap, pink hot dogs are made from chicken now? I was shocked! I thought they were pork, because that's what I thought they were when I was a kid, but when I checked out the $2 hot dogs at the store, they were either chicken or chicken/turkey mixes. My childhood memories of hot dogs are fond, and I remember that, as a kid, a special treat was the hot dogs filled with a nacho cheese sauce. I could nuke it myself for an after-school snack, along with Spaghetti-Os and canned beef raviolis. They tasted good, and I'd probably still eat those things today if I didn't worry about things like type 2 diabetes which, unfortunately, is a disease both of my parents now deal with on a daily basis.

The boy hates melon as much as I hate hot dogs, so since it's melon season and our CSA is giving us one a week (one too many according to him), I have had to come up with ways for the melon to be useful. Enter infused vodka. I still have a lot of lemon zest infused vodka and some other bottles of plain vodka, so I mixed the vodkas together and added half a chopped melon. Perhaps I've made the most disgusting vodka in the world? Or, just maybe, I'll have a good ingredient for cocktails. I already have some black cardamon infused vodka and a bottle of Thai chile tequila, and those have proven to be good cocktail mixers.

My CSA and my modest garden are providing us with loads of tomatoes, so I've been saucing them, roasting them, and stuffing them. Tonight's dinner is tomatoes stuffed with quinoa, brown basmati rice, fennel, dill, pine nuts, and tomatoes. Currently, it's sunny and hot during the day, but the fog rolls in by dinner time, so it's a good time to have the oven on. Stuffed tomatoes and peppers have become an end of summer tradition here. Any other tomato ideas are appreciated!

The boys like hanging out on the couch, and I've given up on making the couch forbidden. I slays me how each of them has to have their head on the pillow. Spoiled! Totally our fault, though, so I can't harp on them too much. Often, I wish I could join them on that couch instead of working/cleaning/exercising. Someone has to pay for their loafing, though!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Photo Tuesday

Mingus knows that the first rule about being a model is to work it, work it, work it! He can work it with a sleeping person in the background. I have a collection of photos taken with the boy sleeping and various pets draped across him, proof again that the boy can sleep through anything, even suffocation.

Sesame, as always, is more demure when she hams it up for the camera. That squeaky toy lays dormant until 5:30 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. What was I thinking when I bought it for her? It's like buying your kid a drum set!

Greaseball, as always, is boss. What you don't see in this pictures are two large dogs laying off to the side because they don't want to disturb him.

What is this? Why, it's a Soulritto: mac & cheese, fried chicken, collard greens, and yams all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. This is American food at its finest and fattiest, but boy was it good (especially when consumed with hot sauce and Arnold Palmers).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Roasted Tahini

Tahini is one of those ingredients that either camps out in my pantry for months, or I use it up in a matter of weeks. Since I'm going through the later phase, paying $11 for a small jar of roasted, organic tahini instigated a DIY project. 

1.5-lbs of organic, hulled sesame seeds set me back $6. Since I prefer the deep, nutty flavor of roasted  tahini, I opted to toast the seeds. In retrospect, I could have turned on the oven, but turning on the oven for such a small amount of seeds seemed wasteful.

After 20 minutes on medium heat, the seeds were toasted, albeit unevenly, and ready to blend.

If you do this at home, let the seeds cool. I didn't do this, so I ended up taking 2 sessions to blend the seeds because the container was hot to the touch.

The sesame seeds started off dry and I wondered if I needed to add oil. However, as I continued to blend and scrape down the sides, more oils came out and the mixture became cohesive.

After a few more minutes, the tahini was a smooth butter. Success!

Using 1.5-lbs of raw sesame seeds resulted in roughly 24-ounces (3 cups) of tahini, 50% more than the the jars of tahini I had been buying at the store. So, if I were to buy this, it would cost me $16.50 versus the $6 I paid at Berkeley Bowl West. I love it when a little experimentation leads to a better, cheaper solution!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

FIfty-Fifty is a Confused Cat

This was my submission to Confused Cats Against Feminism, and I'm pretty sure that it didn't make the cut. Was it too weird? Probably. It makes much more sense if you are a Dr. Who fan. Although, truth be told, I know more about this fez quote because of others talking about it so much. When I originally designed the hat, the thought of Fifty-Fifty donning the tiny fez was my motivation.

For those of you not clued in to the Confused Cats Against Feminism phenomenon, rest assured that Fifty-Fifty really is a feminist. The confused cats are meant to parody the Women Against Feminism website, which, sadly, is not a parody.

Thanks to Carey for her Photoshop skills. I tried adding text to the photo myself, but it made my eyes bleed. Photoshopping, wrapping gifts, and folding laundry are tasks that take me 10 times as long as anyone else, and the result is as ugly as if I had spent 1 minute doing the task. It's my anti-superpower. Now you know.


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