Deep Fried Christmas Dinner

This year marked my first holiday season as a pescetarian, which doesn’t jibe with traditional southern holiday meals that normally consist of ham, chicken, and black eyed peas made with bacon grease. All of which are fine, I’m just not eating them right now. So, my ever accommodating mother decided that this year we would be eating shrimp and grits. i however don’t like shrimp either so we decided on fried catfish AND shrimp. This I can do. But first…

Meet my mom.

This is Patty. She is a great cooker of comfort foods and cheesecakes. She will basically make anything to make her picky children eat dinner. And here is my mom’s kitchen..

My mom isn’t very impressed with her kitchen, as you can tell by the look on her face, but it’s kind of awesome whether she likes it or not. A few years ago she decided she hated the cabinet doors, so she took them off and adopted this door free shelving system. Not surprisingly my mom knows where everything is, all the time. And get a load of all those cook books.

Here is the set up for the shrimps.We made a pound of little shrimps fried in a tempura batter, pretty basic, but it was my first time making fluffy tempura, so I was super excited.

If you look in the basket you can spot a slice of chocolate french toast I had made for breakfast earlier that day, that I decided to fry. (FYI, it was awesome.) And some hushpuppies my mom was frying while I was frying the shrimps.

here is the setup for the catfish..

Here you can see the fish bits resting after coating. But before I coated the fish in the batter, I cut it into little strips, and then soaked them in a baking dish full of buttermilk for an hour. This makes the catfish less fishy tasting, and makes the meat more juicy after frying. I made the coating for the fish using flour, fine cornmeal and about a 1/2 cup of old bay seasoning. Here is a picture of my fingers during the coating process..

And here is Mom during the frying process..

And here is a big bucket of fried goodness.

AND THAT’S JUST THE CATFISH!

Although the menu originally consisted of shrimp and grits, we forwent the grits altogether, and my sister made her awesome four cheese mac and cheese..

This is just the cheese part of the mac and cheese!

Here is my finished plate, with all the fixin’s-

For the sake of comparison, here is the plate of my sister Dylan, who is a bona fide picky eater.

This is before she has even taken a single bite!!  At least she tried my beets.

After this we all took a nap! Merry Christmas Everybody!

 

Pierogi Fest 2010!

welcome to Pierogi fest shawn

On Sunday, Shawn and I had several hours free, and a unbelievably beautiful day on or hands so we decided to make the 30 minute drive to Whiting Indiana’s Pierogi Fest for some stuffed dough goodness. I have had my share of small town midwestern festival goodness, but  was really in for a surprise when I stepped onto the main drag at perogi fest.

Meet Mr. Pierogi! The Whiting Indiana Pierogi Fest official Spokes-pastry.

No Shit.

Are you kidding me?  This festival was out of control. And everyone was so happy! The perogi guy was running around high-fiving everyone, there was a guy dressed as a stuffed cabbage roll running a found being grumpy and hot…

Insanity. It was really A DREAM COME TRUE. I had never seen so many folks happy about pierogies and summer fun since the now defunct 185th street festival days back in Cleveland. The Whiting Pierogi fest has been on for 16 or so years and is 90% focused on Pierogi, and 10% focused on Polka. To that end, and to add to the ever growing list of costumed characters running amuck at the festival, there is even a lady named Polka- hontas who is the festival’s official polka ambassador/ mistress.

That being said, the reason we came here was pierogi. And we had a lot to pick from, and  many many lines to wade through to get to them. Which was not nearly as bad as one would think,other than the occasional asshole with a stroller every one we encountered was happy and incredibly polite. I sneezed three times while i was there and EVERY SINGLE TIME someone said “bless you.”  Impressive. We waded through the immense and incredibly polite crowd, and found at the far end of the fest Kasia’s pierogi booth selling pierogi for basically a buck a piece.

The selection was pretty standard, beef, beef and cheese, sausage, potato, bacon cheese and potato, spinach, cheese and jalapeno, sauerkraut, sauerkraut and mushroom… Shawn did a survey of seven. I did the same, but only the meatless options.

Pretty standard serving size, coupled with the ubiquitous condiment of choice.This stand also offered the classic applesauce and not so classic pico de gallo, but we decided to keep it classic and creamy.

get down.

All in all delicious. It’s pretty hard to fuck up a pierogi, and  it’s equally hard to reinvent the pierogi, not without risking pretentiousness.  I would say these did the genre proud, but no points for invention. But to be fair that is not the point here, the point is to eat starchy stuff and get down to polka, and that kind of stuff never goes out of style.

To end here’s a little video treat of the annual pierogi toss.

MEATOPIA 666

There once was a thing called “Meatopia”  (If I was a radio DJ I would be punctuating with air horn blasts the spaces between paragraphs, so imagine one sounding off now if you will.)

Don’t believe the hype. DON”T BELIEVE THE HYPE. I’m speaking for the little guy here. If you read a good thing about this farcical festival of food, you read an untruth.

Mista Bee buzzin with a review of the first annual “Meatopia” a so called food festival.

You’ve never seen a bee, a little flying bee, wait in a line of people to get some food before have ya?  But wait I did in several lines, waiting for a meaty morsel patiently, waiting waiting, and then as each food vendor ran out of food, you read that right, (food vendors out of food?) I was told along with all the people in line waiting “sorry we’re out of food.”

As each of the 30 “Meatopia” food vendors ran out, so on it went each line getting longer, and before a taste of food the vendor would inform the line “sorry all out.”

For two and a half hours I waited and was not fed a scrap. The bullshit of it all was the food was pre-paid for, I’d paid 45$ for 6 tastes. I thought innocently “Meatopia…six tastes…hamburger…hotdog..ribs…pulled pork…lamb…maybe some meat i’d never tried like rabbit?Yumms!  I’d bought a ticket online and I showed up hungry and with 3-4 hours left of this so called Meatopia. I expected to eat, heck I’d spent 45$, anybody living in Cleveland can feed their two kids for a week on that much cash. TRUE.

I’d say there was a hell and I was in it if I wasn’t a bumble bee.

Sad and Hungry, if it was Meatopia I’d witnessed the fall of it.

Final notes, I’d like to say damn Meatopia’s creators, kiss my bee hind now and in the next years to come jerks, and I’d also like to thank  Meatopia for ruining my afternoon. lucky I don’t sting ya.

2010 GSS jello mold competition highlights

This happened June 26th, 2010. These photos have been sitting in my camera for a little while now, which is great because it was able to preserve this memory for me! So apparently according to these photos, I remembered that I hosted the Jell-o Mold Design Competition at the Gowanus Studio Space. I got to eat all the jell-o I ever wanted to eat, and there were some awesome ones and also some that looked really crazy! Jello is crazy because you can make it look and taste however you want, and what makes it jello is the fact that it is jiggly, and flavored, and molded. I had a great time!!!!

Here are a few that I ate there:

Apple pie, everything here was jello, even the crust. This contestant made velvet cake and the pink coconut donut as well. These tasted awesome, and I’m pretty sure they won the Flavor Award as well.

This sushi was made with agar agar. Someone always pulls out the agar agar at the jello competition, and nine times out of ten they are asian and they know what they are talking about. This sushi was fruity and refreshing without the horse hoof aftertaste.

Tiles. These were awesomely sugary.

I can’t lie, didn’t eat these oysters, which were oyster and beer flavored? I pussied out.

I didn’t eat these either.

There were a few people really into this Pill theme.

This is classic. These were surprisingly pleasurably bitter as well because of it setting in the rind.

These CUPS were made of JELLO.

Not sure….

I can’t remember what this tasted like!! It was weeks ago!!

I was a little psyched on these really crazy tray presentations.

And CORN!! hahaha!! This person probably wins the WTF award, with their corn light bulb chandelier. The jellos here were deliciously savory.

This was the GRAND PRIZE winner this year. These bloody virgin mary’s were actually very strong in Vodka flavor as well. The flavor is unforgettably a solidified well-crafted bloody mary.

More pills…

I was really psyched on this as well and would probably win second place in the WTF category. These are inspired by the boobtacular turd processing plant in Greenpoint!! The flavor was a very pleasant raspberry vanilla.

This is supposed to depict the recent oil spill disaster.

This depicts something really crazy.

These crafty contestants made a Tiffany Lamp. The metal part is gum paste.

These trophy heads were my second favorite next to the bloody mary’s in the flavor category. It’s pork flavored and beef flavored. They tasted just like refrigerated pho broth.

These were the cute ribbons the winners took home. Congratulations!!!

Dumpster-diving cat turds

This is a little love note to all the dumpster diving, freegan, gray water using kids out there, doing their stinky shameless best to use up all of the crap businesses throw out everyday. This takes a special sort of diligence and commitment to ideals to proudly and prosperously live off of other peoples less than perfect garbage.  And it takes balls to have a bake sale, and make all of the pastries out of dumpster dived food..

but it takes extra big balls to make dumpster dived pastries in the shape of cat shit, and laugh and take peoples money in exchange for them.

The recipe for these is just a chocolate no bake cookie, rolled into a log shape, and then rolled in granulated sugar. Besides being delicious , these prove that basically anything can be a turd if  it’s brown and you roll it into a log shape. These were a lovely treat after a night of videos and beer, and all of the proceeds went to Odd Obsessions Video, which is an independently owned video store that operates like a co-op, being run almost entirely by volunteers, and specializing in weird, out of print , and cult favorites. Check them out today!