Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eating Out Gardening Shenanigans

It hurts. Oh my god it hurts! 3 months ago, one of my pepper plants was putting out sweet, non-Fresno chile chumps…until, this morning, when I staggered my ass out for a bit of early morning gardening. Brimming with both piss and vinegar, I figure that I’ll have a snacky chuckle at my Fresno pepper plant’s sweet little pods while I jam out to some Zepplin.

Pride doth go before the fall does it not? SNAP! That first bite into, what is supposed to be a fairly warm pepper but have been nothing but sweet so far.

Great galloping asscrackers!! I ate a habanero sauce with pepper extract the day before on Chuckle’s show and I’d have kissed a festering baboon ass just to get this pain down to that level. Picture this…you have just woken up. You know you have drunk ogre stalking the house for the evening. But you wake up to dishes freshly done, an unwrecked house and said ogre, hacking and howling on the other side of the screen door, clutching half of a fresh green pepper and somehow trying to use 3 languages he doesn’t know to communicate that the pain is mind melting, yet the comedy of the situation is too funny not to laugh at one’s self.

In other interesting culinariosity, back on the Central Valley Buzz, beyond having some extremely hot hot sauce, there was naturally some cooking of my own going on. Having wrestled with some ideas during the weekend, in my usual fashion I decide to totally switch dishes the night before. Since I’ve been burning poor Chuck and the crew for almost a month straight, I figured it was time for something a little more soothing and cool.

And what’s cooler than cucumber sandwiches? I have no idea, being that I’ve never had them before. So that’s a perfect starter. But if it’s going to be canapés, then we’ll need a companion to round out the group. What to do? Let’s see, I do have this cookbook from the early 1900’s that has some incredibly odd dishes. And what do I find? But an anchovy and egg spread! And I sagely asked for a tin of the salty buggers just the other day.

The cucumber sandwiches are pretty straightforward. Take a packet of cream cheese that’s softened a bit. Toss in some minced garlic, some chopped fresh basil leaves, a little garlic some and some cracked black pepper. Make some toast point by cutting the crusts off some bread and slice into a triangular shape, then frying in a little butter until golden and toasty. Cut your cucumber in half and scoop out all of the seeds with a spoon, the slice thinly. Now you just assemble! Slap a layer of cream cheese on your toast points and then place a small fan of cucumber slices on top. And voila! English teatime is on.

The anchovy spread is easy peasy as well. Take about half a stick of softened butter, add garlic, paprika, anchovies and 2 egg yolks. Mash together until well combined and creamy. Assemble by smearing some on your toast points. And if you’re adventurous (or in my case careless) you can add some basil to this for another layer of flavor. They’re really quite nice and mild. You get a nice creamy mouth feel from the eggs as well as hints of salt and the sea from the anchovies, without it tasting like you’re eating bait. If you fear the tiny wee fishies, I’d say this is one of the least threatening ways to get introduced.

Both worked out quite tastily and were lovingly received. Especially, by the Ukulele King of the San Joaquin and South African ex-pat, Pieter Moerdyk. Who also stepped up to try the After Death hot sauce and was able to not only maintain his composure, but also sing a tune while I still felt like I was gargling the Sun. What a pimp!

So after the show we stopped in at the City Arts Galley for Boozestorming with Travis Sheridan. It’s a pretty interesting concept. First, everyone writes down a problem that they would like help solving. Then you grab and drink and wait for the fun to start. Then you sit down and are guided through a brainstorming session with absolute strangers while everyone enjoys cocktails and picks their brains for worthwhile solutions. It was a really great time and anyways, I’m a sucker for anything that lets me hang in a gallery with such beautiful art all around.

And so that brings us up to speed. The next personal culinary challenge is going to be coming up with an extra special dish for my baby niece’s first birthday party as well as sharing grill duty with the proud Papa. What oh what shall we come up with? Whatever it is, if it turns out well, you can be certain that I’ll be bragging about it here. Of course if it devolves into a messy disaster…that too shall be blogged about.