Archive for September, 2008

After the letdown that was Zebra Cake, my chocolate craving remained unsatisfied. Not in the mood to dirty up my kitchen baking something, I contemplated going to the grocery store to pick up a chocolate treat. Then I remembered I had no cash on me and my car keys were upstairs. Walking all the way upstairs and pulling out a credit card at the grocery store would have been far too much hassle. No, I couldn’t work that hard. I needed something easier. I needed chocolate cake from the microwave. Basically, you take a big mug, add a tablespoon of this, a tablespoon of that, zap in in the microwave, and presto, CAKE! I had a recipe back in college, which is lost now, so google helped me find one here.

Excuse the garish Ronald MacDonald mug, but here it was the biggest one I had. Here it is with just the dry ingredients added.

Add the egg, some oil, milk, and vanilla. Stir it up.

Three minutes in a 1000 watt microwave and here you go.

I didn’t even grease the mug and it popped right out.

Mmmm… I made a quick little cream cheese icing to go with it, yum!

5 Minute Chocolate Cake


  • 4 Tb. flour
  • 4 Tb. sugar
  • 2 Tb. cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tb. milk
  • 3 Tb. oil
  • Splash of vanilla


  1. Combine dry ingredients in the mug (flour, sugar, and cocoa).
  2. Mix in the egg, then add the oil, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Nuke in a 1000 watt microwave for 3 minutes.

I mixed a little cream cheese icing to go with it… I took about a tablespoon of cream cheese and just added confectioner’s sugar until it was the right sweetness. I thinned it out with a teeny bit of vanilla extract and water. I think next time I make this I will try to do a half oil and half applesauce, but this was really good!


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Zebra Cake…Great Success…

NOT! Ok, so this cake looked pretty cool, and I wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t want to follow that recipe because WTH is a glass of sugar equal to? Instead of following the recipe from Real Epicurian, I googled my way across the internets until I found another one. If you’ve looked at the Real Epicurean recipe, you have probably noticed that there is a recipe conversion in the comments… well Captain Obvious missed that one until I went to write this post. Anyways, the recipe I followed was a little different (no Sprite, canola oil instead of olive oil, etc.), but I figured I would give it a whirl. It was not hard to make at all, and making the concentric rings was pretty simple as described here. However, taste-wise, my cake was pretty blah blah bland.. Don’t get me wrong, it looked nice and it was edible, but was really nothing special besides to look at. I think I will try this one again using the Real Epicurean recipe. I think the Sprite will give it a little zing. You may also notice that my finished product had a coarser texture than the linked recipe’s. I will try again and repost in the next few weeks.

Making the circles… a work in progress

Sorry so dark. This is the batter ready to go into the oven

Hot out the oven

Not bad.

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This was floating around the internets and I was actually embarrassed at how few things I have tried. I consider myself pretty adventurous but I guess I have a lot to experience! Below I have bolded all the items I have eaten and crossed out everything I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole.
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (I am not a fan of Indian or Middle Eastern food, I will probably never try this)
15. Hot dog from a street car
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (I don’t care if it is all fancy pants… no).
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (was downright the sickest thing I have ever tasted)
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (I hate whisky, expensive or not)
46. Fugu (I’m not going to risk my life)
47. Chicken tikka masala (WTH is with all this Indian crap!?!)
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed donut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads (see number 23)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (Intestines, no thanks)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (tried both, never together)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (I’ve had plenty of lobster casseroles, but never this. I prefer my lobster plain old steamed).
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Out of the 100, items on the list, I’ve eaten 54. There are 12 things I would never try. That leaves me a lot to experience.

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I don’t think this needs much explaining, but I am on a kick of these. I hope to tire of them soon because all my pants are getting tight and it isn’t even October. Anyways, toast up a bagel and spread it with plain cream cheese. Layer thinly sliced Kosher Dill Pickles (Clausen, obviously), thinly sliced cucumbers (don’t ask me why there are cucumbers and pickles, just do it, it’s amazing), and thinly sliced tomato. I don’t think pickles and cream cheese quite make it salty enough so I usually sprinkle some sea salt on the top of the fillings. Top it off and eat it like a sandwich.

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A bartender at a chain restaurant gave me their margarita recipe. It’s the perfect combo… and very dangerous.


  • 1½ oz. Sauza Gold tequila
  • ½ oz. Gran Gala (its a kind of orange liquer)
  • ½ oz. Cointreau (ditto)
  • 2½ oz. sour mix
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Ice
  • Coarse Salt


  1. Rim margarita glass with salt. (Hint, instead of plunking the whole rim in the salt dish, I just pat the outside in the salt so it stays on the rim and not in the drink). Fill with ice.
  2. In a shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, Cointreau, Gran Gala, lime juice, and sour mix. Shake and strain over rocks in the margarita glass.
  3. Repeat as necessary.

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Vegan Rice Pudding

I’m not a vegan, but I created this dish for a friend who is. I would eat worms if they were cooked in coconut milk!


  • 1 c. uncooked jasmine rice (plain old white is ok too)
  • 2-3 c. water
  • 1 (14 oz.) can light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • dash cinnamon to garnish
  • (1 pat of butter if you aren’t making it vegan)


  1. Boil rice in 3-4 cups water. You want there to be more water than you would normally use, as if you were making pasta. Boil the rice for about 15 minutes. If you are using leftover rice, boil it for about 5-7 minutes until it is really soft. Strain the rice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine rice and can of coconut milk. Add about 1/3 cup sugar and the vanilla. Simmer on very low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until most of the coconut milk is absorbed. You may want to add more sugar, depending on your taste and the brand of coconut milk you are using. I have found with lite coconut milk, using closer to 1/2 cup yields a better result, while with regular coconut milk, 1/3 cup is sufficient.
  3. Transfer rice mixture into a shallow baking dish. Cover loosely with tin foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring once. The pudding is done when the coconut milk is absorbed.
  4. If you are not serving this for vegans, adding 1/2 tablespoon of butter makes it a little richer. Top with cinnamon.

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Tri-Tip Roast

This was my first shot at cooking a tri-tip roast. I am not a huge fan of pot roasts and braised meats, and other than beef tenderloin, I have not had a lot of luck with oven roasts. I didn’t have $50 to shell out for a slab of beef, so I picked up a tri-tip which was on sale – $7 and change for a 1½ lb. piece of meat! Not bad! I didn’t have propane for the grill and most every recipe I found online was for some sort of grilled southwestern or Asian roast (I had other non-compatible side dishes in mind), so I had to wing it. I think it turned out pretty good! I plan on making it again soon, so I will post a picture later.


  • 1½ lb. tri-tip roast, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • ½ c. red wine
  • 1 tb. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rub the tri-tip with salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, mustard, and basil. Put roast in a ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight.
  2. About 4 hours before cooking, add red wine to the bag.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.°
  4. Drizzle olive oil in a large roasting pan. Cook roast at 450° for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and cook beef for another 20-25 minutesm or until the meat reaches 140° for medium rare.
  6. Remove roast from oven and tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes and then slice thinly across the grain.

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