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The Food Nerd’s Acorn Squash Bars

acorn The Food Nerds Acorn Squash Bars

Hello all, long time no, uh.. nothin. I’m sure I’ve used that exact phrase here before, but it has yet again been a too-long hiatus since my last post. Sorry! Anyway, today I spent another fun ass hour with my homey Dan Rodricks, a rare Tuesday appearance on the second hour of his show on WYPR. The subject was Thanksgiving dishes in general, but Dan was pretty taken by the dessert I brought along, essentially pumpkin pie, with my EZ crumb crust, and with acorn squash instead of pumpkin (in the above photo, it’s on the right, the more yellow one).

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Grilled Pizza

 Grilled Pizza

A few weeks ago, I’d been running around craving pizza ALL FRIGGIN DAY, but the thought of an overloaded pie with an underdone crust disgusted me more than usual, enough to defeat my sloth even. Solution? Grill it up son! I started doing this last year, after grilling flat bread and using that as a crust. Pretty good, but not actual pizza, per se.Homemade pizza dough is just too much trouble for the payoff, except for those few souls who are absolutely committed to perfecting it. I eventually found that some pizza places are willing to sell you balls of their pizza dough, which makes the process a whole lot simpler. My go-to spot is Angelo’s in Hampden, where a large dough ball is $3.50 (they also make a very good [UPDATE: The quality of Angelo's cheeseteaks has taken a brutal nosedive! Dry meat and not a lot of it... So bad I thought it must have been anomolous just a few days ago, but conversations with other fans confirm that for now, Angelo's has officially fallen off, as the kids used to say], if not very Philly-esque, cheesesteak). [UPDATE: Frozen dough balls are less than 2 bucks, work just as well, and can be found at most area Italian delis and many plain old supermarkets]

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Flower Mart of Shame

pic1 Flower Mart of Shame

Our favorite (i.e. only) guest blogger Brian insisted on ranting publicly about the erstwhile genteel-sounding Mt. Vernon Flower Mart.  Frankly though, I’m not a fan simply because it occurs on weekdays, further choking traffic in mid-town where drivers tend to be even shittier than your run-of-the-mill Baltimore non-driving stupid motherf…but I digress. Enjoy.

It’s the time of year that every sensible city dweller dreads. Spring kicks off various festivals and glorified flea markets that bring hordes of slack-jawed county folks pouring into the city to wander aimlessly, endanger pedestrians, and look the other way as their filthy spawn gleefully trash some poor bastard’s sidewalk garden. The only good thing about these nuisance events? The food of course! There’s something special about being able to walk a block from your apartment and enjoy a gyro, a waffle cake, and a beer or two while standing on the sidelines and checking out the jailbait as they shamelessly flaunt themselves about.

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Ribs…On…Saaale! (Say it like “Pigs…in…space” for full effect)

In case you don’t know, this is Pigs in Space.

ribs040902 Ribs...On...Saaale! (Say it like Pigs...in...space for full effect)

BBQ season ‘09 foodnerd-style has officially commenced! In what was surely a personalized message to me from the universe (or Safeway’s marketing dept., whatever) I trekked to the supermarket at 10:00 p.m. to placate a serious Stouffer’s French Bread pizza craving when I happened across a truly beautiful bit of signage:

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Hot Tamales and Fish Tacos (nudge nudge wink wink)

dan and h Hot Tamales and Fish Tacos (nudge nudge wink wink)

Sorry folks, stupid godaddy’s terrible ftp server is making my life miserable.  Anyway, last Thursday I was on the reddio with talk show extraordinaire Dan Rodricks, this time chatting about my round-up of tamales in the B-more area. It was in the annual food issue of Citypaper, and I gotta admit they might as well have called it  the Henry Hong special edition, because, pardon my French, but I was all up in that piece! I had the cover story about tamales, a normal ‘Eat Me’ about raw food (for which I got amazingly little flame), plus I was on the Eat Guide cover as the token non-black ethnic-type and I wrote a fair number of the mini-reviews therein. (Audio of the show inside)

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What, you think you’re a big shot now? Let’s see your pasta bake!

So I’m trying something new today, just to mix it up a little. Guest blogger! Yeehaw! In this case, my good friend Brian who has recently begun the sometimes humbling, but often rewarding journey that is experimental home cooking, AKA “Yum what is this it’s delicious?” “I dunno some shit I just made up” Enjoy!

pasta bake 4

Before things get too crazy, I believe introductions are in order. I’m a 30-something guy living in Baltimore who started cooking for real mainly to impress girls. (Fellas – remember not to set the bar too high on the first meal!) The neighborhood I live in has only one small grocery store within easy walking distance and I don’t own a car. Plus, I’m pretty lazy. Consequently, I often have to make do with a painfully limited selection of items for my culinary adventures. On the plus side, this lack of choice forces a bit of creativity to stave off boredom and/or full blown Five Guys addiction. By no means do I think of myself a master chef, I routinely “discover” basic herbs like they were the dead sea scrolls and use them with reckless abandon for weeks at a time, but I’ve made some things that I am pretty proud of, and I am always learning. Of course, I would like to use nothing but the freshest and highest quality ingredients, but due to the aforementioned lack of options and laziness, plus an occasional bout of penny-pinching, I sometimes cut a corner or two.

Henry has graciously allowed me to post chronicles of my triumphs and failures in the kitchen. I would have liked to present these feats as normal recipes with a nice bulleted list of ingredients and such, but unfortunately, I am terrible with measurements because I never use them. I season and cook by eye and by feel, so any attempt by me to assign units of measurement to anything that I’ve made would most likely end up in disaster. Also, I usually drink when I cook, so I can never remember exactly how much of what I put into any given dish. Every meal is an adventure!

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Ramen Review – Myojo Chukazanmai

ramen01 Ramen Review - Myojo Chukazanmai

First up we have Myojo Chukazanmai, which I’ve had little luck translating, but “chuka” means Chinese…anyway, the flavor I tried is “soy sauce with chili oil pack”, which is more aiming for a basic Chinese-style broth. They’re also available in more Japan-style flavors like miso. I originally thought they were a Japanese product, but now I hear tell they are actually made in Singapore. Hmmm. I will investigate. Ratings are on a 5 scale:

Price: $1.69
Flavor: 4
Texture: 4.5
Spicy: 0
Extras: Oil/Soy Sauce packet

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