Meatless Monday: Black Bean Burritos

2014-10-27 at 17-20-49Mexican food scares the hell out of white Baby Boomers and I’m not sure why. The Father and The In-Laws would rather eat a bowlful of glass than a taco and for no good reason. Popularly, Mexican food is characterized as being hot, thanks to the mystery chile peppers that Speedy Gonzalez would slip to his threat du jour.

I also think that Taco Bell had something to do with it. I haven’t run for the border in a long time, but my memories of what’s inside the wax paper wrapper is not pretty. It is usually a sloppy mess of meat, salsa and sour cream with the smell of warm garbage. I don’t know why this was so appealing to me in high school, but I ate it like a champ.

Continue reading Meatless Monday: Black Bean Burritos


Grocery List: November 2, 2014

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My lead-lined stomach has always served me well. It has seen me through 37 years of too much garlic, too much olive oil,  way too much vinegar, far too many meals at McDonalds, and that time when I went to the Indian restaurant and said to the waiter, “I’ve never had Indian food before, so what would you recommend?”

I’ve had stomach viruses in the past, but they have generally manifested themselves as…how can I explain this…as sitting stomach viruses.

Friday night brought on  something new. I noticed that while handing out candy on Friday night for Halloween that I could not get warm. What I thought were fever chills were proven wrong after the thermometer said 98.3 degrees. At this point, I’ll could eliminate from the possible illness list was Ebola.

At 7:30 p.m., The Kid and The Wife were home and I turned off the lights (Side Note: It was an awful night. Our neighborhood is usually a six bagger, or I need six bags of candy to get through the night. This year, I had three unopened bags left plus a bunch of loose M&Ms.), covered myself in a blanket and fell asleep on the couch.

Now, conventional wisdom says that if you get the urge to vomit, that you should. Release the poison, right? I spent the better part of Friday night into Saturday morning fighting this urge. All the telltale signs were there. Salivating. Your throat expand. The feeling that everything you have consumed for the past 15 years was now collected in your esophagus ready to be reintroduced to the world through the same orifice that it entered. Depending on how you look at it, I bravely or stupidly fought it off. The resulting loss of Saturday, where I spent the day huddled in a blanket and consuming only Pepto-Bismol and Cheerios (though not necessarily at the same time), was more than a little annoying.

It’s Sunday and I feel human, though strong food smells are still throwing me off. The samples station at Trader Joe’s was doing “Szechuan Beef and…” I don’t know what. I saw the those three words on the chalkboard and immediately went the other way.

Tuesday Dinner: Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

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One of the things I learned early on about The Wife is that she really liked carbonara. It’s a great sauce, and for a long time, I thought it got its name from the black pepper, resembling coal loaded into charcoal burning carbonari.

Apparently,  I was wrong. According to Dr. Jeremy Parzen, a food historian, Italian translator and proprietor of the Do Bianco blog. He mentions the historical significance of the carbonari — a secret society of Italian revolutionaries — and the fact that alla carbonara is a Sicilian cooking style that uses cuttlefish cooked in its ink. So, the coal miner thing is out. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

Dave Makes Good Nuts

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I’ve never met Dave Gadlin, but he seems like a good egg. His company, the aptly named Dave’s Meat and Nuts, launches a Kickstarter campaign on Saturday in order to raise capital and capacity.

Dave, who identifies himself as the Chief Executive Jerk of Dave’s Meat and Nuts, a CIA-trained chef that spent years working in New York City restaurants. He got out of the Big Apple and relocated to California’s Napa Valley, where he may have been seen recently in newspapers nationwide cleaning up after an earthquake. Surrounded by quality ingredients and great partners, he set out to make Dave’s Meat and Nuts a full-time business. Continue reading Dave Makes Good Nuts

Meatless Monday: Sweet Pea Soup

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I’m not sure I can quantify The Wife’s dislike for peas. It’s odd. They are innocuous little things, full of vitamins and fiber, and they’ve never done anything to harm anyone, particularly her. Still, there she is, sneering at the little buggers when I serve them.

In an effort to get her to eat some peas and see if the appearance of the green sphere would take some of the edge off, I went with a soup from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. It’s a nifty little book. Anyhow, Kelsey purees the peas, mixes them with some stock and dairy, and BAM!, soup. So, how did it go over? Continue reading Meatless Monday: Sweet Pea Soup

Grocery List: October 25, 2014


Mr. DeLong. I blame him.

For the past week or so, I’ve been fiddling with WordPress code in an attempt to set up a new website. Some of the stuff is over my head. I cannot figure out how to set up the cute little tiles on the page that would direct one to a featured article or recipe. It’s in the template and it’s one of the reason I elected to use this particular theme. But, two journalism degrees later, I find myself staring at the 13-inch screen on my MacBook Pro with no idea what to do.

It’s Mr. DeLong’s fault.

You see, my guidance counselor was the one that said, “If you want to be a sportswriter, go to a good journalism school.” Never once did it cross his mind to say, “Listen dumbass, newspapers are dying. In 15 years, you won’t even be a subscriber. Start paying attention in class and do something useful like computer programming or software designer.”

So, instead, I’m writing my weekly grocery list post and thinking about how to deal with these stupid sliders on the page of the Al Dente 2.0.

Seriously, who encourages someone to “follow their dream” and do what interests them?

Thanks Mr. DeLong. Thanks a lot. The least you could do is figure out my website issues.

Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

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I have made mushroom risotto here before without thinking much about it. Usually what happens is that I sweat some mushrooms, make a basic risotto, and combine them at some point.

What I liked about this offering from Closet Cooking was that it took the mushrooms more seriously than the rice. You actually create a mushroom broth to supplement the flavor of the risotto. The recipe is for a true mushroom risotto, rather than just a risotto with mushrooms. Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

Wednesday Dinner: Rustic Chicken In Garlic Gravy

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Our second visit to Seasons & Suppers is a shot at Jennifer’s pan-roasted chicken thighs. We’ve talked at length her about how I prefer chicken thighs to other cuts of the bird, and I think we have even touched on my family’s attachment to garlic as an element of cooking.

Naturally, this recipe’s call for 20 to 22 garlic cloves caught my eye. The last time I cooked with this large quantity of garlic was a stab at sopa de ajo, where 30 cloves were put into play. Co-workers complained that I was emitting a garlic scent during the day and that they could not sit near me. I wasn’t sweating, but my natural Jared scent had been poisoned by a high concentration of garlic. I didn’t notice it until the first time I had to use the restroom that day. It turns out that eating large quantities of garlic has the same impact on your excretory system as consuming asparagus. Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Rustic Chicken In Garlic Gravy

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