Friday, January 31, 2014

Finding Uses For Everyone's Least Favorite Candy, Round 2: Oven Baked Jalapeno Sweet Heart Poppers

After yesterday's fiasco, it was suggested that I try making either a cocktail or something that benefits from added bitterness. Instead, I ignored both of these good ideas and decided to try smothering them with cheese and wrapping them in jalapenos. I'm curious to see how the baking process and exposure to mild levels of capsaicin will effect the hardness of the candies, as well as how it will taste. I chose to go with baking instead of frying because there's really no need for these to potentially be horrible AND insanely high in saturated fat.

You need:
Sweet Hearts
6 jalapenos
3 oz of softened cream cheese
3/4 of a cup of shredded which ever cheese you like best
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tbs of milk
Spices to your taste, I'll be using Fire Eaters' Piri-Piri Style Spices. because my super cool friend Mik got me some.

Cost - $10 - $20

Preheat the over to 350 and lightly grease a baking tray. Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and spices to your taste. Onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika would all be good choices. Coarsely crush up Sweet Hearts (I used 10) and mix into the cheese. I'd advise covering them and using a mallet. They're surprisingly, almost worrying, resistant to blunt force.

Rinse the peppers and hull them. You can cut them lengthwise, cut them diagonally through the center to make little tubes, or (as I did) cut the top off and hull it with a knife, leaving the pepper whole. 

If you want to make the poppers spicier, add the seeds to the cheese mix. Otherwise, discard them. Put the flour in one dish, beat the eggs and milk together in another dish, and the breads crumbs in a third. Line them up in that order next to the baking tray to make it easier on yourself. If you like, add more spices to the bread crumbs and eggs. I added black pepper and garlic powder to the egg and some more Piri-Piri spices to the bread crumbs.

Spoon the cheese mix into the peppers. If you kept them whole, cut the other tip off so you can see how full they are and to reduce air pressure while you fill them. The mix is a bit thick for a pastry bag so I just used a spoon.  The skin of hot peppers is smooth and waxy, so you may have to put a bit of water on them before coating. It's a bit hard to get even coverage, so don't worry about it too much. Coat them in the flour, roll them in the egg mix, roll them in the breadcrumbs until coated, and set on the tray. 

Bake for 30 minutes.

You show me someone who says that they can make jalapeno poppers without them exploding and I'll show you a fucking liar.

I'm shocked to say this, but it's actually tasty. The tartness baked out and the candy dissolved so the cheese filling has a sweet, almost cream cheese frosting-like flavor and it complements the other flavors nicely. They're so spicy too. I can't believe it. Sweet Hearts actually improved something! Stay queer!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Finding Uses For Everyone's Least Favorite Candy, Round 1: The World's Worst Coffee Sweetener

Last night, I saw that my local grocery store had started selling these chalky little bastards.

They're probably even more disliked than candy corn. I snagged a box since they were dirt cheap and I figured I might find some use for them. I've decided to try and redeem this things by finding a way to make them tasty. Emi suggested that I try putting one in my coffee. Made sense to me, they are mostly sugar.

I added one to my cup and stirred for a few minutes to make sure it was at least half dissolved. It's entreaty to "Be mine" did little to stay my hand. Instead of acting as a sweetener, it made my coffee, which was black, several degrees more bitter than it had been previously. Emi agreed. Not only was it more bitter, the flavor stuck to our tongues for a good 5 to 10 minutes. I thoroughly regret this decision. God damn it, candy hearts. You're a wad of sugar and you can't even do the one thing that sugar is supposed to do. We'll see what else I can come up with later. Stay queer.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Every time I bring up mondongo to someone who did not grow up in a Latin household, they ask me "Is that like mofungo?" Yes, in that they are both food. The similarities end there. Mondongo is beef tripe stew. 

Still with me? Good.

It's usually served over rice and readily available at lots of Latin restaurants. It's actually quite good, if you're not really sensitive about texture. Luckily, they have it at my local grocery store. This particular variation is Dominican, but lots of countries have their own spin on the dish. I did want to make it myself but it takes forever, requires like a billion ingredients, and (as described in my post on fried tripe) boiling tripe makes the room smell like stomach acid. My apartment mates are my friends, I can't do that to them.

You need:
A can of mondongo
(Optional) Rice

Cost: $1 - $10

Pretty simple, just pour it into a pot and heat until it's boiling. At least, it would have been pretty simple, but the pop tab broke off and I had to try to pry it open with a church key. Unfortunately, you can't just pour it through a small opening because the tripe is too big. I tried using a blunt end of a butter knife to gently push the lid into the can but I did it too hard, resulting in a geyser of mondongo splattering all over the counter and my cloths. Have you ever gotten splattered with tomato-based intestine broth? It's horrifying.

After taking 5 to change my cloths and rethink my life choices, it was pretty simple to pour it into a pot and boil.

Emi was, once again, willing to subject herself to my blog for my entertainment, even though she had no idea what the main ingredient was. She's such a trooper!

The tripe (and I know that's the only part of the soup you care about) tastes like beef fat, only with a stronger flavor. The texture is also similar to beef fat, but more tender and less chewy. Eating it with rice is preferable because the broth is a bit greasy. Many thanks to Emi for being so adventurous. Stay queer!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Canned Corned Mutton

Mutton is meat from an adult sheep. Some insist that it only counts as mutton if it's from a wether (a castrated male). Some insist that it tastes better when it's from a wether, for reasons on which it is probably best not to dwell. I really don't care either way. This is the first time I've ever come across mutton, canned or otherwise. According to the internet, most people don't like it, and it's tougher and has a stronger flavor than lamb. It is not an easy thing to find in the US.

I've been curious about mutton for most of my life, believe it or not. I always wondered why meat from such a common livestock would be so hard to find. I don't think I know anyone who'd had it either. This was extra weird to me after moving to my current apartment. My regular grocery store has, to name a very small selection, sheep testicles, veal brains, pig livers, entire guinea pigs, raw conch, and chicken feet. I've lived here for almost 2 years and I only discovered that they carried mutton 3 days ago. It was tucked away in the Mexican/Peruvian/Dominican aisle (despite the product being Australian) and there were only about 6 cans and two brands. It's surprisingly expensive too.The can I got was 7.99 for 12 oz, making it more expensive per pound than the fresh lobster they sell. The other brand was 50 cents cheaper but I decided to treat myself.

You need:

Canned mutton

Cost: $1 - $10

That's horrifying...

It's solid, soft, and chewy. The white stuff is pure fat and that makes it a bit creamy. The flavor reminds me a little bit of canned chicken, although that may be the salt, not that it's particularly salty. It does taste stronger than lamb, but it's still on the subtle side, although that may be because the fat is drowning it out.

If you microwave it a bit to melt the fat off, it tastes a bit like corned beef hash and it makes a good sandwich. I suspect that's how you're supposed to consume it but it's not bad cold. I'm still not getting why it's so hard to find. It's a little chewy but it tastes fine and it's much better than I anticipated. I'd like to get my hands on some raw mutton and cook it up myself. If I can find it, mutton might get a second appearance on this blog. I just hope it's less expensive per pound next time. Stay queer!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Korean Red Ginseng Candy

I hate ginseng. A lot. I hate it almost as much as I hate echinacea, although both herbs taste like dirt about equally. How much do I hate echinacea? It's part of why I hate hippies, because hippies love echinacea. 

I've never had red ginseng before. It'd never occurred to me that someone might take this hateful little root and try to make it into candy.

Unlike a lot of hard candies, this one actually has a noticeable scent. You can smell them as soon as you open the container, you don't even have to unwrap them. I think it smells like top soil. My room mate think it smells like her mom's bedroom...

But how does it taste?

Like a fusion of mint, honey, and dirt. No, seriously. It's like a cough drop that was made with dirt and they tried to hide it by making it too sweet. God, it's just as awful as I remember. Marketing this as candy is criminal. This is medicine. That's fine, just CALL IT THAT. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go cleanse my palate. Stay queer!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mayonnaise Biscuits

These are two things that I'd never thought to combine. You just don't DO that. I only found out today that this is a thing and I'm a having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around it. My room mate, Emi, said that she was both intrigued and frightened by the concept. Naturally, I started making them within the hour. I think these are Southern. They certainly seem like it. I'll have to ask my roomie from Georgia the next time I get the chance.

You need:

Either self-rising flour or all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda.
Price: $1 - $10

Preheat your oven to 400. If you're using all-purpose flour, combine 2 cups it with 1 tsp of salt and 3 tsp of baking powder. If you have self-rising, just use 2 cups of that. Combine that with a cup of milk and 6 tbs of mayonnaise. Stir until combined.

Lightly grease a baking sheet and drop spoonfuls of the batter onto it. These were made with absolutely no love and I'm not even slightly ashamed of how sloppy they look.

Bake on the center rack until golden brown.

They're actually not bad at all!

Perhaps a brave new world of unlikely biscuits awaits? Stay queer!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

PB2 Protein Shake

My folks, both of whom are the sort of people who are very into Enya, herbal remedies, and nature hikes, gave me this.

I'm having trouble deciding whether their contributions to this blog are encouragement or a roundabout way of saying "we wish you had moved out sooner."

It's powdered, low fat, peanut butter. In terms of incongruity, the combination of "low fat" and "peanut butter" falls somewhere between "total contradiction of terms" and "spitting in the face of God". Silly Whole Foods hippies.

You're supposed to mix 2 parts powder with 1 part water. To its credit, it is gluten-free and very low in calories. 45 calories per 2 tablespoons, 13 calories from fat. Nice treat for the health conscious or a desperate attempt to make restrictive diets less miserable? We'll see. The internet is chock full of recipe suggestions for this product. In the interest of saving time, I selected an easy protein shake recipe. It calls for a scoop of protein powder but I would sooner put money towards a trip to Montauk than protein powder. That is to say, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever willingly pay for either. Instead we used some mixed drink I found at the local liquor store. Rum is protein right? Also you're supposed to use almond milk but fuck that.

I must say, Strawberry Rum Job is a horrible name and I'm positive that I would have called it the same thing if it had been up to me. Feelin' some cognitive dissonance here.

You need
A banana
Buzz Ball (which was a total rip btw. 3 bucks for that tiny thing.)
Honey (optional)

Price: $10 - $20

It's very easy. 2 tbs of powder + banana + 1 1/2 cups of milk + 2 tbs of honey + Buzz Ball + blender = done.

Obviously, it isn't fair to write this product off after using it for one recipe and incorrectly at that. I look forward to trying this again in something less poorly conceived. Stay queer!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wasabi Kit Kat

One of my apt mates was kind enough to get me one of those wasabi flavored Japanese Kit Kat bars for Christmas. Apparently the Japanese took Kit Kat bars and just ran with the concept. Just ran with it with more balls than anyone in the States ever will.

 "Oh snap, now we have super big Kit Kats AND Kit Kats with peanut butter! Hope your brains don't blow up from that reality bomb I just set off in your skull!", cried Nestle's US marketing department.

Across the pond, Nestle's Japanese marketing department looked up from the sales figures for blueberry cheesecake, strawberry, green tea, watermelon, purple sweet potato, and soy sauce Kit Kats and said "That's cute, bro" while trembling with barely concealed laughter.

I didn't make those flavors up and there's like 200 more. Kit Kat similar to the Japanese phrase "Kitto Katsu" which, according to wikipedia, roughly means "surely win". Apparently it's like a little good luck treat. Apparently, they take their good luck treats seriously over there. Really, this just shows how fucking lazy and timid food companies are over here.

US Kit Kats are Simple Plan, Japanese Kit Kats are Gang Green.
US Kit Kats are System of A Down, Japanese Kit Kats are Celtic Frost.
US Kit Kats are Hawthorn Heights, Japanese Kit Kats are Fugazi.
US Kit Kats are Brokencyde, Japanese Kit Kats are Good Clean Fun.
US Kit Kats are Lady Gaga, Japanese Kit Kats are Emily Autumn.

Awwwww, that's cute! It's really good too! It's coated in white chocolate and you really can taste wasabi. The thing is, and this is probably for the better, it has the flavor of wasabi but not the heat. That's really cool. Your move, US Kit Kats. Maybe you could just make them bigger again and bundle them with a 24 of Miller Light.

Stay Queer!