Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eating Out In Labor

Happy long weekend everybody! I am officially wrung out like a reusable vaginal sponge! This sedentary wordsmith has been running hither and yon so much that we’ve almost forgotten what our comfy hobbit hole looks like. From the Tower to the hills and back again. We’ve been all over our fair land in just a few days.

Tuesdays philly went over like gangbusters. And so now I can give to you the secret!

Not-Dan’s Philly Cheese

1 lb VERY thin sliced boneless ribeye steak
2 med red bell peppers julienned (about ¼ inch)
1 small shallot minced
1 clove garlic minced
¾ lb sharp cheddar cheese cubed
4 hoagie rolls
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bottle brown ale (Newcastle preferred)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

First, start your cheese sauce. Take the cheddar cheese cubes and place into a plastic bag and sprinkle with the flour. Close the bag and shake to coat cheese. Heat your butter and sauté your shallots until they’re glassy. Turn down your heat and add the cheddar cheese and about 1/3 of the ale. Stir and simmer, making sure to keep the cheese moving on the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn. Add in the cumin, paprika, turmeric and garlic, stir and reduce heat to low.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Now heat up your skillet and add in the olive oil. Season your beef with salt and pepper and place about 1/4 in the pan and brown on one side, then add in 1/4 of your red bell peppers and sauté with the beef. Working in batches, you can also toast your rolls if you prefer and assemble on the fly, or finish cooking your peppers and beef before you tackle the task. Simply open up your roll and squeeze in as much peppers and beef as you’d like. Then, placing the cut upright, ladle some of your hot cheese sauce over the filling, taking care not to overdo it and cover your hand in napalm-like lactose divinity.  Enjoy!

Then on to Wednesday and the Pub Quiz at The Landmark! As I heard the tale told, the jackpot was up around a couplefew grand! But alas, the sweet taste of victory and a buttload of cash was not to be had by the Central Valley Buzz team. Sadly, I was just bare assedly wrong on a few pivotal questions. Although I still stand by the fact that nitrocelluloid has been commonly known as celluloid since DeMille’s time. Yes, I’m pouting. No, it wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest at the end of the game. Nyah!

Thursday again saw us dashing off to The Landmark again for a dear friend’s birthday and pub crawl. The funniest part being that no crawling actually happened. Instead we tucked in for a quick dinner. Scalone again. I know, I know, the food blogger should try new stuff and rant about it. But I REALLY like the scalone there! Their onion rings looked gorgeous, if you’re into that sort of thing. Our dinner companions were mightily impressed with theirs, that’s for sure. We then moved onto the patio to relax and palaver over cocktails and enjoy the mild summer evening. One big perk was my introduction to a mixed drink called a Hi-C. Which, hands down tastes like the old fruit punch, but it masks an insidiously strong booze kick that’ll have you drooling under the table after a few. Alas, we’re unable to fully embrace the terrifying cocktail, for we cannot be drag-assing for…

Friday! And this evening we’re off to Mr. Chuck Leonard’s surprise birthday party at the City Arts Gallery. Mr. Mayor was taken off to enjoy a baseball game downtown to give everyone time to gather and set up. Then at the appointed hour this wizened old man was nearly sent fluttering from this mortal coil by the exuberant bellow of his many well wishers. After some smelling salts and the defibrillator, he was back up and delivering hugs to his friends and associates. Then off to the libation table to get tight! There was a fantabulous cold cut and snack spread. Which worked out fabulously for me since I was running on Pringles at the time. Of course the night rocked our little pink socks right the heck off. Even Chance the Friendly Pit Bull was having the time of his life as new friends and old chatted and danced the night away.

Saturday…ugh! I feel like a Kenyan distance runner has been using my liver as his left shoe. We’re due up in Coarsegold for yet ANOTHER good friend’s holiday long birthday shindig. There is nothing quite like being able to relax with coincidentally unrelated family in the wonders of the live oak, clear skies and beautiful vistas. But I’m also feeling tired, grumpy and terribly self indulgent. I love everybody to death and unfortunately missed out on the planned tacogeddon that night. But we opted to lay low and rehydrate, then duck out to Yoshino’s for some sushi. We had a newer guy as our sushi chef, but he was on point through the whole meal. We started off with some miso soup and a little plain rice, then she moved on to the snappy roll, which she loved. I opted for a couple orders of tuna and 1 order of yellowtail nigiri sushi (fish on rice). I used to not be a raw tuna fan, but at Yoshino’s they seems to always get really fresh and clean tasting tuna. Mmm mmm good! An order of beef sashimi and I’m full to the gills. What? Yeah, I said beef sashimi! It’s crazy good. A lightly seared piece of beef is sliced very thin and placed over daikon strings with a sweet-savory sauce and scallions. If you like rare beef, you’ll love this and it’s a great way to get non-sushi fans into the fun of Japanese cuisine. Good meal, relaxing evening, good cheer reserves are topped off and ready for GO!

Sunday and Monday have actually been more of 1 solid chunky day. I could wax poetic about my dear friends that you might not know or might actually be. Sufficed to say that we’re super, ultra, mega, blessed by a dearth of good people in our life. And they can cook! Dinner was The Most Perfect Green Chicken Enchiladas ever made by man. Good drink and conversation waxed clean through to sunrise at which point the morning shift kicked in. Talk about a wake and bake! Straight out of bed and on to proofing her cardamom rolls prior to their Faustian convectionary completion. They didn’t last long. But it did seem so long until dinner, farfalle with Italian sausage and a asiago primavera sauce. So damn good!

We even got some great and potentially life ending exposure to wildlife. First was a little bobcat kit that we saw staring at us from the shore of a nearby pond. So incredibly cute! We were told to beware that there was a mountain lion in the vicinity, but thankfully it took the holiday off, short of giving us all a start with a 3 a.m. yowl. But my most impressively boneheaded move was narrowly averted by Mrs. EOF. As we’re walking up a well defined dirt road, I’m dazed and entranced by an angus cow that appears to be magically floating around a pond, munching the plants. Aqua cow! A new breed! When I’m knocked to the side with a counterintuitively calm “Dude, snake.” She narrowly saved me from stepping right on the fattest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen and the first one I’ve ever seen outside of a cage. Thankfully, it appeared that he too had been partying all night as he barely took notice of us as we lurched past him. So, thank you Mr. Mellow Rattlesnake for not taking down the giant, pasty and (stupidly) barelegged blogger. That fact that I’m still alive and have both my legs still has totally made my summer. Here’s hoping you get to somewhere people don’t go and spread your snakey gospel of not biting dumb drunk insomniacs.