Cook With Sumo

Our 1st guest post… on cooking by Sumo. I believe that men should live like warrior kings and kings eat well. Plus if you can cook, you cut down one more way womynz can get you twisted, and cooking is a powerful game too. Especially for the brothers doing the three dates to get the bang. Third date is bringing her to your place to cook. You bullshit with her, she drinks wine, you show off your mad skillz in the kitchen and then its on. This is true of me as well as I generally need to play down the Bad Boy game and play up being a well rounded man about town……Here’s Sumo

 

Here’s the thing – anyone can cook. You don’t need to be a professional chef in order to put a decent meal on the table. Sure, it helps, but it’s not necessary. At all. The only reason why chefs are “better” at cooking is because that is what they have been educated and trained to do, in much the same way that a professional soldier is going to be better at combat than a non-soldier.
I am what you could call an apprentice chef. I currently work at a cooking school where our purpose is not to train people to be chefs, but rather to teach folks how to liven up their own kitchens a little bit. While we provide people with all of the recipes for the dishes we show them, the more important aspect, as far as I see it, is that we teach them a set of basic principles from which to build their repertoire.

If you’ve ever studied martial arts, it’s a similar process – first you learn how to stand properly, how to punch properly, how to block, how to move, etc., then you put everything together and start laying the smackdown on folks. Only in the current context, you’re laying the smackdown on people’s tastebuds.

What I intend to do with this essay is share a few basic thoughts with you, in the hope that it will aid you in any culinary adventures that you might wish to undertake. Comments, questions, and complaints are all equally welcome. Except the complaints will probably be answered with a smartass remark. I have to entertain myself somehow, after all.

To start, get yourself some decent equipment. A <a href=http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/06/25/cast-iron-cooking/>properly seasoned cast iron pan</a>, one or two stainless steel pans, a Dutch oven, and a couple of small to medium sized pots are a good place to start, and really all that you need to put out a decent meal. If you feel the need to buy some more specialized or “fancy” equipment, go for it, but for most applications, it’s not necessary unless you do a lot of baking. Certain baked goods are impossible to pull off without the right gear, such as cheesecakes, bunt cakes, and so on.

Avoid Teflon/non-stick pans for the most part. After time, the coating will start to flake off, which in turn may cause food to stick to them. The flakes themselves are pretty much harmless, but it’s visually unappealing to some people.

Also, invest in a couple of high quality knives. A 7 or 8 inch chef knife and a paring knife will cover about 95% of the jobs in a home kitchen. Again, if you find yourself engaging in more specialized endeavors, by all means, get more knives, but if you’re on a budget or just don’t have enough space, those two blades will serve you well. At my job, there are 3 highly talented, professional chefs who both teach the bulk of the classes (I get to teach one), and try to pound some knowledge into my thick skull. While they all have a number of specialized cutting implements, the knives that get the most use are the chef knife and the paring knife. Food for thought (yes, yes – bad pun. I know.). In addition to the knives, get yourself a couple of decent cutting boards. Wood or plastic, at least 18 inches by 12 inches, so you have plenty of room to work. I would recommend getting one specifically for raw meat, one for fish, and one for anything/everything else. Plastic boards are ideal for this sort of set up, as they come in multiple colors – red for raw meat, blue for fish, etc. Also on the subject of cutting boards, place a damp paper towel under your board before cutting anything. The paper towel with give the board a decent amount of “grip” on the counter, which will prevent it from slipping/moving around, which in turn will minimize the chances of your cutting yourself.

A food processor and an immersion blender would be the only other “essential” equipment that I would suggest you have on hand. A food processor is a blessing for large jobs of chopping, grinding, shredding, etc. and an immersion blender is just fantastic for making smoothies, milkshakes, certain types of soup, and just about anything else that needs to be pureed.
I collect recipes the way that young boys collect baseball cards (do young boys still collect baseball cards…?). I enjoy reading through them, as I get a lot of new ideas, but the important thing you need to remember about recipes is this: they’re <i>guidelines</i>, not <i>RULES</i>.

Don’t be scared. Alter a recipe to your liking. If you like one ingredient more than another, add more of it. If you don’t like something that’s in the recipe, substitute it for something else. Personally, I hate green bell peppers, so I swap in red or yellow bell peppers for the green without fail. Do whatever the hell you feel like doing; this is YOUR kitchen, after all. The only time I would recommend that anyone follow the recipe precisely is if you happen to be baking something. Baking is an extremely precise exercise that depends on the proper balance of ingredients, and I am not knowledgeable enough about the subject to understand how or why it works.

As far as actual cooking goes, specific techniques may be required for certain dishes, but generally speaking, avoid overcooking your food.

I know, right? So simple that it sounds foolish, doesn’t it? Just think about for a minute, though – if you overcook vegetables, they become mushy and taste like baby food. Overcook pasta and it falls apart. Overcook meat and it becomes tough and dry.

For veggies and pasta, just bite into a sample during the cooking process, and once it reaches the point where you’re comfortable with it, then it’s done. While that may sound vague and annoying, just bear with me and try it the next time you’re in the kitchen. It will make a lot more sense then, I promise.

Meat is a little more complicated, but only a little. Invest in a meat thermometer, and you’re on your way to ensuring that you’ll never have to chew on shoe leather again. Whether you want to slice into the meat right away, or let it rest is entirely up to you.

What do I mean by “rest”, you ask? One school of thought says that after cooking, leave the meat alone for a few minutes (depending on it’s size – a steak should rest for 3 to 5 minutes, a roast or a turkey for about 30 minutes) in order to let the juices redistribute evenly. The other school of thought says that is rubbish. I tend to lean toward the “don’t rest” school, mainly since I hate waiting. *IF* any juices are released from the meat when you cut into it, just pour them over the meat or use the cut up pieces to mop them up, and eat ‘em. Problem solved.
One last point I’d like to make is <i>season your food</i>. You know how those granola crunching, hippie liberal pansy-asses go around screaming about how salt is bad for you? Fuck ‘em. Too much of ANYTHING is bad for you, but I can think of two damn good reasons to use salt just off the top of my head. First, the human body <b>requires</b> about 1500 mg (milligrams) of sodium per day to remain healthy. Second, salt is a flavor enhancer, so if you don’t use it in your cooking, your food will be bland. Bland food is an offense against the Food Gods. True story.

How do you know if you’ve used enough salt, but not too much? That’s easy – taste your food while cooking. If it seems a little bland to you, add some salt and give it another try. Add it sparingly, though. There’s an extremely fine line between maximizing flavor and over-salting your food. Also, keep in mind that salt draws moisture out of food, so when adding it to meat, ensure that you only do so immediately before you start cooking.

Well, there you have it, boys & girls. Cook With Sumo 101. If any of these tips helped you out, then my work is done. If you’re a better cook than I am and are laughing your ass right now, well…..at least I put a smile on your face. If you want to get a few more laughs at my expense, feel free to stop by my blog, <a href=https://cookwithsumo.com/>Cook With Sumo</a> and look around. Peace.

thanks Sumo, a great 1st post….. now its time for you to build on this one…..

 

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65 thoughts on “Cook With Sumo

    1. Sumo

      Not really sure what you’re asking, Bloomer, but lemon is most often used to make other flavors in a dish stand out a little more. It’s considered to be a flavor “catalyst”; it interacts with your tastebuds and makes any flavors that follow more pronounced.

      (And yes, I had to text one of the chefs to get that answer)

      Reply
      1. redpillgirlnotes

        Yes, that’s what I meant. Thanks! I know a caterer and it always amazes me how some fresh herbs and lemon and lime zest and juice and a few little tricks of flair really take a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. But he closely guards his secrets so I have been unable to replicate the effect! Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of it. Cheers! 🙂

  1. Liz

    Thanks Sumo! Awesome writeup. 🙂

    Here’s a question…I too love salt, and use it a lot. However, I only add it to meat after I cook it. The reason is, my mom used to tell me that cooking the meat with salt made it tough. Do you know if there is any truth to that? I’ve never chanced it, but it might just be an old mom’s tale.

    Reply
    1. BuenaVista

      I’m curious what Sumo thinks too on this matter.

      I think it’s the opposite of what your mom said. I’ve always heard that salt both serves as a desiccant and to break down fibers.

      My favorite steaks in New York are at Il Bucco and Raoul’s. Both rub sea salt heavily into the beef, prior to grilling. Bucco has a sideline in organic sea salt and they really use a lot. It is my favorite restaurant in the city.

      As I am mostly in rural america at present, even the good supper clubs serve their steaks unseasoned. I find them almost inedible.

      If you can find American wagyu, or a wagyu/angus hybrid, it can be almost better than sex. (Certainly better than bad sex.) I was going to provide a reference to a family farm in Iowa, but they appear to have gone bust. It was very expensive — probably too expensive for Americans — but it was the best, most tender beef I have ever eaten, and I used to commute to Tokyo.

      Reply
    2. Sumo

      Lizard, I think your mom is kinda sorta right, and kinda sorta wrong at the same time. As I mentioned above, salt draws moisture out of foods, hence my advice to only salt meat immediately before cooking. If you were to salt the meat more than a few minutes prior to cooking, and combine that with possibly overcooking the meat, then yeah – it’s going to end up tough and dry.

      Also, different cuts of meat vary in tenderness. Something like a ribeye steak is super tender, and can be cooked fairly quickly (on a grill or in a cast iron pan, for example) and still be buttery smooth. Brisket is fairly tough, and needs to be cooked slowly for a few hours. If a person wasn’t familiar with the different cuts of meat, and chose the wrong method, it’s possible that they might have thought that salt was responsible for making the meat tough.

      I would urge you to try seasoning the meat next time you cook, and see if you notice a difference from your usual method.

      Reply
  2. BuenaVista

    Love this subject (bachelor cooking). Many thanks, Sumo and Ton.

    First, Sumo notes what was the breakthrough moment for me as a home cook:

    “Alter a recipe to your liking. If you like one ingredient more than another, add more of it. If you don’t like something that’s in the recipe, substitute it for something else. Personally, I hate green bell peppers, so I swap in red or yellow bell peppers for the green without fail. Do whatever the hell you feel like doing; this is YOUR kitchen, after all.”

    A chef once told me: “If you use good ingredients, it’s hard to have a bad outcome. The recipe is a guide, not a formula.” This released me from worrying over much about recipe compliance, and I just have fun. Of course, as Sumo notes, baking requires chemistry class precision. I rarely bake, other than some bread (see below).

    ***

    I think that the tendency to over-cook food increases the deeper we move into rural sections of the country. On the farm, things were overcooked for safety. Where I am at the moment, I don’t dare order a steak medium rare, because it will arrive medium. I plead with the cafe to serve my chicken sandwich with some pink left in it.

    ***

    I love carbon steel (zero chromium content) and buy inexpensive Ontario/Old Hickory knives made from 1095 steel and you can get this steel *really* sharp (dangerously sharp). Their kitchen knives are functional not pretty; they also make useful implements like USMC bayonets. I begin a long cooking session by spending 10 minutes with my whetstone; when I’m in a hurry I like the SOG tactical knife sharpener. I was talking, drinking, cooking and entertaining three business partners — I preferred to have my investors over to the house, where I could cook for them — three years ago and made the mistake of running a knife through the SOG while yakking. (Many stitches and 50% loss of feeling in my left index finger later, I concluded I should sharpen my knives when alone with my thoughts.) I also have a couple of antique, carbon steel Sabatier knives.

    ***

    I like a good, crispy exterior to my steaks, so they need to be dehydrated a bit prior to hitting the flame or iron. I rub sea salt or kosher salt into both sides (I also like the taste of a well-salted piece of beef), cover the cut with plastic wrap, and toss it into the freezer for 30 minutes. Sometimes, just prior to grilling, I’ll rub sugar or molasses into the steak to get, again, an enhanced, caramelized crust. Sometimes I’ll sear both sides in a ribbed cast iron pan on the range, then finish the steak in the oven (I think this is the Smith and Wollensky method, in NYC).

    ***

    I was the steak cook at The Cattleman’s Inn in Gunnison, Colorado when I was a kid. The big grill was in the dining room where everyone could watch. So I’d have 20 cuts of beef of different sizes and doneness requirements on the grill at once while people watched, and everything had to come off to the right cooking spec at the same time, per table. An old cook taught me to touch the cooking steaks, and ascertain their doneness by feel: gelatinous–rare; springy–medium rare; etc. It worked pretty well and I still do that.

    ***

    Here is the salad I made up and serve as my ‘signature’ salad.

    1. sautee minced garlic in clarified butter. remove.

    2. fry chopped bacon in remaining butter. combine with garlic. (I live alone, so when entertaining I do this long in advance, then briefly microwave the mix just prior to pouring on the salad.)

    3. in salad bowl combine seasonings (I like salt, pepper, celery seed, rough/grainy french mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, whatever), add spinach and toss with fingers. I’m of the opinion that people use too much oil and vinegar, so I, to prepare 3-4 portions, use just a capful of each. YMMV.

    4. pour slurry of sautéed garlic and chopped bacon, hot, over the spinach.

    5. if standalone, dot salad with red raspberries for contrast in taste and color.

    6. makes a great base for a sliced steak salad/one plate meal, in which case I’ll slice up a hot and dripping ribeye and cover the salad, skipping the fruit. When I feel like messing around in the kitchen when I’m alone, this steak salad is often what I prepare.

    ***

    For a really great, low-labor input rustic bread, I use Jacques Pepin’s one-pot recipe. My total input time is less than five minutes. I use an old nonstick Calphalon pasta pot, or a small dutch oven. I heavily grease the pan with butter. If a guy has a guest, he can prepare the bread the night before while cleaning up after dinner, throw it in the fridge, and in the morning, after 45 minutes, serve company hot, or hot and toasted, wonderful fresh bread. In bed with strong coffee, french preserves, irish butter, boiled milk. I added pepper and parmigiana cheese to my last loaf.

    http://onceuponaplaterecipes.blogspot.com/2012/09/jacques-pepins-easy-one-pot-bread.html

    ***

    My evaluation of restaurants is simple: if I can do better at home, the restaurant is a waste of time and money. I was traveling professionally, maybe 50%, for a long, long time and I just got tired of mediocre, fattening, and overpriced food in restaurants. Most women find it eccentric or disturbing that I’ll say, “Depends …” when they suggest we go out to eat. Every woman I’ve bonded with over the past 15 years, however, also enjoyed hearth and home, so we always did a lot of cooking. I am even more forward than Ton and I have often invited women over for a home-cooked dinner on the first or second date. I’ve also broken up with women for the simple reason that they see no reason to reciprocate.

    Reply
    1. Sumo

      BV, man…….I love hearing your opinion on anything. You could pontificate on the price of rusty razor blades in Croatia and make it sound fascinating.

      Your fondness for carbon steel knives just makes me respect you that much more. The only drawback to those is you have to be willing to care for them like you would for your children – they rust like crazy.

      Er….the knives. Not the kids. Never heard of kids rusting.

      Reply
    2. redpillgirlnotes

      Thanks for sharing that bv! Agreed its hard to find a resturaunt anymore with food better than one can make at home. Most places seem to all have the same reheated frozen stuff from the resturaunt supply place. I am going to try that salad for sure!

      Reply
  3. BuenaVista

    I’m going to shut up now, but before going, will note that real men have kitchen gardens. The difference in store- and home-grown herbs is staggering. A moron can grow salad greens and herbs, and thereby transform his table.

    Reply
      1. sfcton Post author

        Zaterran’s in my go to blacken powder. My ex had Cajun relatives and I can bang out a mean gumbo along with crawfish boil etc

  4. Cill

    Good one Sumo. What I like is, it’s simple.
    I made it sound as if I don’t like hunting any more. After the years have gone by, I still hunt for need red meat (I get my white meat from fishing and diving). Most of our hunts take us away from home for days. Preparing food with a couple of fellow hunters out in the Boonies is a most enjoyable thing.

    Implements:
    a Dutch oven: We take a digging tool instead, which doubles as a frypan heated over a fire.
    Knives: we take 3, one for killing, one for skinning, and a machete.
    Chopping board: we sometimes take a small board, otherwise we make a flat surface in situ using the machete, usually on a stump or driftwood by a river.
    food processor: Not needed. We chop up fine with machete and skinning blade instead.
    salt: we always take salt. We take sugar for quick energy in our tea.
    Pot: for boiling water.

    So it looks as if we have all the basics for cooking like you. My question is, Do you have any ideas on how to prepare game venison to tenderize it a bit ? I’ve tried all sorts of advice but none that make real gamey meat taste nice. (fresh gamey meat toughened by adrenaline.)
    Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    Reply
      1. BuenaVista

        Totally agree, Bloom. I do not want to eat at Sysco, where the low bidder carries the day, and the food is prepared by … who the heck knows. Arguably the most important thing we do each day is eat (especially so for us single people). And the mass of us eat factory food prepared by guys who can’t get factory jobs. No thanks.

        When I was working in Tokyo, my (Japanese) partner took me each night to a secret restaurant. (Tokyo is a city of undocumented secrets.) These all had 5-10 tables. I undervalued the ritual once in a sushi place. The chef was extolling, and demonstrating his knife-work. I asked to hold one of his hand-made, engraved, working knives. We nearly got thrown out. That’s a professional.

        One of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read is Pepin’s autobiography. It influenced my life, not just my eating life.

      2. Cill

        Thanks Bloom. A polite Kiwi would always beg you not to go to all that trouble, but I’m going to stay mum because I’d really like the recipe. It’s one of the great pleasures of my life to prepare a good feed with an appetite the size of Texas, and it would be that much better if the fresh game meat would do justice to our culinary efforts. Then we’d be happy as Larry, like when we lay back and eat it while the sun goes over the peaks and then the stars come out and we swap yarns about the best ways to drink Speights beer out of a 10 oz. glass and which is the best pub to drink it in. We’ll argue about that for maybe 15 minutes before we all drop off to sleep at the same time. Good as.

    1. sfcton Post author

      Dr Pepper seems to be my girls favorite. I’m kind of a snob these days and hunt over bean fields. Their diet fixed my issue with things being tough or gamey

      Reply
  5. BuenaVista

    A minor note expressing a personal peeve:

    I *hate* the bread knives that are sold in the usual Henckel etc. ‘matched set’ scam (pooh, a butcher block receptacle!!!) that everybody buys. They’re almost always 8″. So they’re too short, too light, and your fingers are seriously at risk if you’re sawing away at a crusty rustic loaf. Forget about it if you (as I do) slice your bread upon completion in consistent thin slices, because you freeze it because you only toast a couple of slices each day.

    So I endorse a commercial kitchen bread knife for $30, available on the net or a commercial kitchen supply store, minimum length 12″. Pro-grade tools rarely cost as much as the happy housewife crap.

    ***

    Sumo, you’re right, the carbon knives rust if it’s even humid, or your girlfriend starts crying for some reason. The housewives can’t put them in the dishwasher, we can’t put them away dry. Mine are rubbed clean, then wiped off with light olive oil. But I enjoy taking care of things like that, so it’s a pleasure and not a bother.

    If you have a suggestion for a more flavor-neutral oil (butter?) to cure the steel, I’m all ears.

    ***

    Other questions for Sumo:

    1. I’m also *very* interested in any technique for loosening and tenderizing wild venison, goose, and duck. The only way I can serve game is by slicing it very, very thinly. And I don’t like what I’m producing.

    2. Do you standardize on butter, or stock both salted and unsalted? I believe the standard rule unsalted is for baking, salted for everything else, but complexity reduction is my passion and I just have unsalted (and different kinds of salt).

    3. What’s your favorite cookbook/cookbook author? I’ve got 100, but it all comes back to Pepin, Child, Pellaprat, and Fannie Farmer, for me.

    4. What’s your preferred method for poaching an egg? Lately I’ve been doing it with a mesh strainer in a boiling pasta pot; love me a frissee salad with bacon/garlic and a very soft poached egg. (When I was eating in the car it was a drop of water, a tablespoon of butter, in a covered ramekin in the microwave. This is unpalatable at home.)

    5. How do you prepare your coffee?

    (Note to friends: if you make cafe au lait, it’s transformed — transformed — by using unprocessed milk off the farm, the kind that separates (cream on top)).

    6. I want to make my own cured ham this winter. Should be funny, having friends over and showing them the hanging carcasses in the basement. Any tips?

    ***

    Cill, thanks for your notes here and elsewhere. They’ve got me checking out winter flights to Wellington. My father loves NZ and says it reminded him of his native Iowa in the 1950’s, which just about sounds like heaven. Last night, in the farmer bar, I mentioned this to an inebriated fellow, native Wisconsin dude, to my left. For 30 minutes he told me glorious anecdotes of Kiwi life on the north and south islands. (Wisconsin is a rural, upper-midwestern state rife with nordics and germans, people who can run a combine, split wood, and nail a quarter at 100 meters. Again and again he was taken home for dinner and rest by rural Kiwis who respected his knowledge of motors, axes, and other tools. Of course, it was a bar so he could have fabricated the whole thing.) NZ also seems like a great place to fly little airplanes.

    Reply
      1. Sumo

        Forgot to mention, for neutral flavoured oils, try canola or grapeseed oil. Either of those should serve as a protective coating for your knives.

    1. Sumo

      BV, you’re stretching my brain tonight. I FRIGGIN’ LOVE IT!!!!

      1) Again, I don’t know anything about how to deal with wild game, but once I have a confab with the chefs, I’ll get back to you.

      2) Unsalted butter for everything, for a couple of reasons. First, it allows you to control the salt content of any dish (see above re: fine line between flavor & oversalting), and second, salted butter has a higher water content; I’m not entirely certain why this is detrimental, but the boys have all mentioned that this is “bad”. I’ll get clarification on that one, too.

      3) I don’t really have a favorite cookbook in the sense that you’re thinking of, but I have one that I’m ashamed to say I have a strong emotional attachment to, as it was a gift from the girl who ripped my heart out. Aside from that, I teach the Japanese cooking class at the school, so my Japanese cookbooks get the most use.

      4) I wouldn’t call it preferred, but the coolest method I’ve ever seen for poaching an egg was from one of the boys; he was teaching a brunch class about a month ago, and prepped a crapload of eggs by lining a ramekin with plastic wrap, cracked the egg into the ramekin, then tied off the plastic wrap. When it came time to poach the eggs, he was able to do about 8 at a time.

      5) French Press.

      6) This is another one that I’ll need to defer to my mentors. Stay tuned for more info.

      Reply
      1. sfcton Post author

        thanks Sumo I’ll be add most of your suggestions when I get back home….. expect the French Press…. damn cheese eating surrender monkeys won’t infest my home….naw I love my Kurge

      2. BuenaVista

        So … the plastic wrap doesn’t melt in the boil. I had not considered this.

        Interesting what they say about salted butter retaining water. I guess that means for a given weight and volume there’s less butter and also degraded performance in the pan. I hadn’t heard this.

      3. BuenaVista

        I ran an experiment today on the poached egg technique, with one modification. I cooked four eggs.

        a. as portrayed (knotting the plastic): performed as promised on two eggs.

        b. I also cooked two by tying off the plastic with twist-ties (paper ties with a metal wire core), instead of tying knots. In this way the pouch could be larger and the egg more appealing, in theory, because it wasn’t compressed. These two saw the plastic melt, though not until the egg was largely formed. I presume the wire in the twist tie heated enough to melt the plastic, while in sample a) the water temp was just low enough not to melt the plastic.

      4. BuenaVista

        Also, I used cooking spray on all four, but added a lump-teaspoon or so of butter (unmelted) at the bottom. This worked well.

  6. BuenaVista

    Again, I know I’m over-posting (eh, shoot me), but here’s a casual note on quick and easy asparagus:

    I had a lunch guest today and I forgot to buy garlic salt. So we olive-oiled up the asparagus, drizzled some salt and pepper (not much), and … then sprinkled McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning over all of it. (No shit: steak seasoning.) Into the Breville for 15 minutes and the best asparagus I’ve had in a while. (I know it sounds like a recipe — given the processed seasoning — from the volunteer fire department auxiliary, but try it.)

    Caveat: I like my food a little spicy. While cooking I’m usually smoking a cigar and drinking red wine, so I do like a kick on the palate. That’s why my salad has a couple of tablespoons of grainy french mustard stirred in, as well.

    Reply
    1. Sumo

      That’s similar to the way I cook asparagus most of the time – olive oil, salt & pepper. Either into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, or straight onto the grill. Top with a Hollandaise and it’s pure heaven, kiddies.

      Reply
      1. BuenaVista

        Yeah, she brought a Hollandaise over but it separated.

        I know I shouldn’t keep track of this stuff, but this is the first woman since 2001 who has showed up at my house with food to prepare on our behalf. This amazes me. I will often offer to cook so I don’t have to go out to a restaurant, at a girl’s house, and show up with the works plus half a dozen bottles of wine. When it’s over they say, Thanks! When are we going out to dinner?

        Incidentally, I was highly skeptical but dinner at a friend’s house, where there was a Breville countertop oven/broiler, convinced me. Mine is a convection model. They are as good as the reviews. For single people they are especially efficient.

        I have not yet dated a woman who cooks as well as I do. Girl#2 raved about her own lasagna… she used rague for the sauce. How lame. Speaking of which I make a great red sauce thanks to my MD and she makes amazing lasagna.

      2. Liz

        “Girl#2 raved about her own lasagna… she used rague for the sauce. How lame. Speaking of which I make a great red sauce thanks to my MD and she makes amazing lasagna.”

        Ragu? LOL! Oh dear God. I can’t even step into an Olive Garden.
        I’ve bet your MD makes a mean lasagna. She’s Italian, after all. My Italian cooking is pretty good (I’ve been told it’s amazing by actual Italians, and quite a few times) but I tire of Italian food and seldom make it anymore. My favorite food is Asian, really….either Korean (cheapest) or Japanese (most expensive but indulgent). I was in heaven, food-wise, when we lived in the ROK.

      3. sfcton Post author

        I enjoyed Korean food but they cannot do veggies worth a damn.

        We only have eye-tal-in once a week or so. I love it but I need a heavy beef diet to see me through the day

      4. Sumo

        Lizard, Japanese food should not be expensive, unless you’re going to an extremely high-end restaurant like Morimoto’s or some place that’s way overpriced. Cooking Japanese at home is both inexpensive and easy. Japanese is my speciality; ask me how. 😉

      5. sfcton Post author

        done my friend; I think the cut off is 2 links

        love chicken katsu…. but what I’d really like is kalbi sauce for korean style short ribs

      6. Sumo

        I realized just this morning that I’ve never made wonton soup; eaten plenty of it, but never tried making it. Might have to remedy that in the near future…

        Anyhow, spent about 2 hours this morning researching the dish, and I’ve found one that sounds pretty good. What I appreciate about this one is the level of attention that is paid to the broth. If you don’t have a good broth, you’ll end up with a substandard soup.

        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/04/homemade-wonton-soup-recipe.html

        There’s also a “scientific” breakdown of the creation of this soup, if anyone is interested.

        http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/04/the-food-lab-wonton-soup.html

      7. sfcton Post author

        awesome Sumo. I think the broth is where I go wrong. I can find pre made noddles and won ton’s but the broth seems to be the point of failure.

        thanks again for your help

      8. Sumo

        Nii-san, you never have to thank me. You’ve provided me with far more knowledge than I can ever repay.

        The broth is the part where most folks make a misstep. It’s both the base, and the element that ties everything together. The foundation, if you will. Ain’t nothing wrong with buying pre-made noodles or dumplings; I do that myself on occasion. The broth, though – that’s one part that I feel absolutely needs to be done from scratch, and with love.

        you humble me little brother….. how about a post on broth’s in general? Soups are a weak area for me, this one being the one I want fix the most

      9. Sumo

        I’m not ignoring you, Nii-san. Been a busy week. I’ll try to put some thoughts together on making soup this weekend.

        lol when you can little brother there is no dead line. Good busy I hope

  7. Cill

    BuenaVista,
    “split wood, and nail a quarter at 100 meters”
    A Kiwi will prick up his ears at that!

    Any man will enjoy NZ as long as he’s none of the following (in order with worst at top):
    A wimp or “spineless”
    An arse licker (sycophant)
    A back stabber (damages other men behind their back)
    A bullshitter (liar)
    A stirrer (troublemaker)
    A whinger (pronounced “winger” as in “ginger” – a whiner or complainer)
    A blow hard (boaster)
    A dickhead or arsehole or prick (a general idiot)

    If you’re any of the above you’d best stay at home. Otherwise, you’ll make friends for life Down Under and life will be a box of fluffy ducks. (a Kiwi saying)

    Reply
  8. Cill

    BuenaVista,
    Heck, I looked at the above and it looks a bit hostile, not at all like a true Kiwi (social graces are not a country Kiwi’s strong suit).
    I think you *are* one of those who will have the time of your life down here!
    I’m not sure about Wellington though. It’s a nice little city but it’s windy, where all the politicians hang out. 😉

    Reply
    1. BuenaVista

      I was told to begin my tour at “the albion” and some other joint in Wellington. If I go I’ll be heading straight to the unpopulated areas. thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply
      1. Cill

        BuenaVista
        “the albion” at Wellington, your advisers had it right. “the albion” at Auckland isn’t too bad either.

        South Island:
        Don’t take a ferry over Cook Strait, fly instead in a Domestic flight to Queenstown. Tiny little planes. You’ll fly closer to a mountain (before landing) than anywhere else in the world. Hire a car at the airport or take a taxi to old Queenstown and hire a car there. Frankton Arm is a dump.

        If I remember the fine folks of Wisconsin rightly, you’ll be at home in the outback pubs of Westland, Central Otago (e.g. Ophir). You’d need to hire a car or a bike to do all those few places, there’s no “tour” for all that (a bike is a BIG experience in Westland). Hey, if you want to have a look at the end of the earth, hop over Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island and have a beer in the Oban. Arrange accommodation but be advised, this will be hick-quality fare. There’s nothing between Stewart Island and Antarctica except a few islands.

        North Island:
        If you’ve got the time, have a beer in the bohemian Puhoi Pub north of Auckland. (bohemian as in Chek or Slovak or something)

        Conclusion:
        This brings me full circle: “the albion” at Wellington. Mate, you might pre-pay for accommodation etc all over NZ, only to find you get stuck at “the albion” and don’t want to leave. No worries. NZ is easy mostly going people. Good as gold.

        Me:
        I’d invite you to my beach paradise but my first priority if I get the time is to join my mate Spawny for the Rugby World Cup. My second priority is to take my Great Grandmother on a holiday to her homeland in Scotland. My third priority is a visit to my travel-lust wandering brother now in Perth.

      2. BuenaVista

        Thanks for the tips, Cill.

        Of course, I’m just offering my services to alleviate the current NZ ‘man drought’ that you recently documented.

      3. Cill

        I just had a thought. Before heading Down Under, brush up on your knowledge of Rugby Union, the ultimate Kiwiana. There’s an exhibition match 1st November at Chicago between the world champion All Blacks vs U.S.A. (All “Blacks” is the NZ black uniform, nothing to do with race).

        You do that, walk into a NZ pub (bar) and show you have some idea of what Rugby is, and you’ll have Kiwis wrestling on the floor and punching each other out for the right to buy your next drink. Ask them an innocent question such as “Why do the Touch Judges keep allowing the backs to stand up offside on defence?” and you will have them throttling each other and ramming shoes down each others’ throats for the right to do the explaining. Then ask a real pearler, such as “Wasn’t it the Aussies who first brought that offside crap into the game?” and you’ll have a dumbfounded silence as they all wrack their memories and marvel at the depth and wisdom of your question.

        You do that, BV, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money by booking into a pub, any pub, never needing to look at the rest of the country, never having to pay for a drink, and becoming a Kiwi folk hero. They’ll automatically bestow a nick-name upon you, something like “The Wisconsin Whineray” or “The ‘Consin McCaw” (you’ll see McCaw in action if you watch that game – some say the greatest flanker of all time, in the No. 7 jersey). Cheers.

      4. Cill

        Soldier Field is sold out, but the match will be televised nationally on NBC starting about 2:30 Central Time in the afternoon… (I think. Not sure about the time)

      5. BuenaVista

        Cill, one of my college (american gridiron football) coaches played for the USA national rugby team. So we had a modest club rugby squad that I joined one spring, the hallmark of which was not any real knowledge of the game but hellacious post-match drinking bouts. I will definitely make a study of the real thing, before and if I visit NZ. Thanks again for the tip.

      6. Cill

        BuenaVista
        So you were a rugby man all along! I guess I should’ve known. Might I say, I applied the same training methods as yours.

    2. Cill

      Now this is why I talked about Rugby in the first place: to discuss the food you should eat with it. Remember Sumo’s advice not to overcook the veges. Some (in fact all) my female ancestors could have done with that advice.

      Rugby is a meat-eating game. Angus steak so rare it’s still twitching from the butcher’s hook, Hmm…. Maybe some of BV’s “American wagyu”? I’ve never tried that. Hereford is good too. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. “Nothing Too Fancy” is my golden rule.

      If you’re a vegetarian you’re probably not reading this, but if you are, fix yourself something meat-like using Sumo’s flexible style. Heck, I’m starting to feel like a bit of an expert in the culinary arts. Next thing, Sumo might offer me a job specializing in game meats, with special emphasis on wild boar. I’ll call my dish “CiLL’s Lip-Lickin Livin Tank (prime game pork for the discerning few)” (I’m not much of a marketer but I reckon that should SELL it, yeah)

      It goes without saying, beer is your beverage for watching Rugby. If you’re not a beer drinker, you won’t understand the physicality of the game. Definitely a single malt would be okay, but who can afford it these days? A bloke presented me with a 50 year old bottle of Glenfiddich which I drank straight from the bottle with a couple of mates on top of a cliff (lucky we didn’t fall off). Later my dad said “Eh? You drank it all in one go? Do you know how much that stuff costs?” After I bit of research I discovered it was a five-figure number of dollars down the hatch in one fun night, and life was just a box of fluffy ducks (again). Good as gold.

      Reply
    1. Liz

      Looks good, Bloom! 🙂
      Re: your question on Italian recipes…I don’t really use any recipes.
      I could make something up, but really it’s different every time and I never measure.
      Sauces and all that I just kind of throw stuff together. Pesto: pine nuts, fresh basel, olive oil in a food processor until TLAR (that looks about right), then freshly grated parmigian. My pasta puttanesca is just anchovies, garlic, olive oil, capers, tomato sauce and spices (sometimes I add crushed red pepper and/or cayanne to make it “arabiatto'”). I’ve made my own pasta (not for years though) and never measured then either.

      I’m very much a TLAR scratch cook. So I’m bad with ‘measurements’ and stuff. You’re probably better served by the recipes in that link than anything I could offer. 🙂

      Reply
      1. redpillgirlnotes

        Thanks Liz! I was noticing, as I browsed the recipes, that there seem to be certain ingredients over and over and over but in just different combos. SO I could see how once one gets the basic idea, it would be really easy to improvise from there. Yum! I am cooking up a storm thanks to that site, and my girls are loving it 🙂 I told them it’s all thanks to our long lost “internet” Italian Grandmas 🙂

      2. Liz

        I think a lot of italians cook that way (especially the older generation).
        Maybe because they’ve been through a few wars and had to work with whatever they had left on the farm.
        I do have one cooking tip for pasta, though. Cook to al dente and when you strain don’t shake it to knock off every bit of excess water. That will coat each piece in a little layer of starch/steam and keep it from sticking. 🙂
        I’ve seen people put a little oil in the water when boiling also…I never do, but it’s another way.

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