La Babysitter Chow: New Flavor!

18 Jul

Chef Dinty Moore

dinty-moore

Chef Boy-ar-dee

Chef-Boyardee

Chef Franco American

il_340x270.696450759_tvdr

Chef Campbells

andy-warhol-with-soup-can-painting

If this roll call of classic American seventies canned cooking kings jars loose more than one memory of the dozens wherein mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, mom, dad, mom and the milkman, or dad and the piano teacher closed down the family cocineria for a night and/or days off to ‘play bridge’ or “talk to a man about a horse” and left dinner in the mildly capable hands of a daft teenager, then you too have beheld upon your lengua the sublime glory that be babysitter chow.

Usually pre home economics – therefore befuddled by any kitchen utensil more sophisticated than a can opener time was babysitter chow filled the tummies, hearts and arteries of my gring@ generation (Sandwich) though doubtfully that of Gens X, Y and Z. Always canned, often zesty, made with meat of an unknown origin, ever a treat big time, and offering roughly less than or equal to nutritional value of Alpo: Bow Wow!

Yum si, and yet as El Papa Grande of dos los ninos, speaking for my own family and on behalf of our babysitters, not a single product by these great chefs of yore shall ever pass through the lips and onto the palates of mi children. Not por que yo o mi esposa could ever be accused of not banning such delights from our home, no. We are neither food puritans nor paranoias. Tis por que the kids simply don’t care for it. (Okay, that and for now at least, my love for cooking for and feeding our lot simply won’t allow me to let anyone outside of the family or our local donut shop to make food for the table (and floor).) This of no duh doesn’t mean I won’t continue to feast on the Great Chefs of North America’s finest fixings.

 

416654696_93ff9ff0a1_m

I felt somewhat restricted to exposing my babysitter food fetish on a blog bound to comida Mexicana tipica with so few being of the Mexican persuasion, limiting myself ot a mere espousing  at some length on the glories of Chef Dinty Moore’s tamales, even then within the context of tamales rather than babysitters. (Scroll back if yer so inclined.)  So if you care to, imagine el jig I improvised in aisle 7B at the local Jewel when abracadabra these Beefy TacOs reached out and grabbed mi los ojos:

IMG_4134
Quicker than you can say “Honey, have you been using more glue and brown paper bags than usual? I’ve noticed since babysitter XXXX started we’ve been running out of that and Scotch Guard a lot lately?” I beelined to the cocineria to heat up a saucepan, rock a can opener, grab a tort and sink mi dentes into a spoonful of Chef Campbells appeal to the latin@ vote.

IMG_4136

Esta Good, you betcha. As great as the myriad memories of running wild and free in the house with the parents at the dog track and the babysitter huffed out on Testors and is that Beefaroni I smell burning on the stove top? Hellifiknow, check back with me in about 30 years.

IMG_4135

The Effervescent Influence of Bob’s Burgers, Frozen Burritios y yo.

24 Jun

 

Bob's_Burgers_original_characters

The esposa y yo spend far too mucho tiempo @ Bob’s Burgers. Because of my latent tendency to distrust anything popular (breathing, eating and breeding practice notwithstanding as well as the use of the word ‘notwithstanding’ and Shakespeare and sure, why not, music, diapers, 501s, reading, erotica, writing and lists and run-on sentences; the parenthetical) BB only recently topped our que. Lucky us, cartoons being cartoons, nothing on the show will age but the cultural references. The Happy Everlasting Animated Video Eternal of Netflix.

Netflix labels Bob’s as ‘cult TV’ which I take to suggest that what it lacks in mass appeal it makes up in mass suicides. I open ahora on Bob’s por que our bingeing is due in no small part thanks to Bob’s charms, hearty hars, parent/child empathy, and for me at least story-lines ripped from my memoirs (teenage son of a local lunch counter proprietor decades before “local” took to meaning “bourgeious”). Por ejemplo: Bob fires his kids from the restaurant who then become (spoiler alert) drug mules. That was me, not once but 7 times: fired by mi madre. (Yo Snowden, I leave the drug running rumors for you to hack out.)

Bob’s art most profoundly imitated mi vida largo in ‘Bad Tina.’ About a third into this fine episode, the neighborhood kid your parents warned you about, Tammy Larsen, shows her truant colors inspiring mi esposa to look over at me and pregunta:

4030837_orig

“Did you have any friends like that growing up? [pause for ill-fitting recollection] I did.”

[Lock-down pause]

“I was that friend growing up.”

“Oh my…I mean, of course.”

“The ring leader, the “bad influence”, everyone said “oh, he’s just trying to get attention” but really what was going on was I was trying to free my peers from the blood-sucking talons of authority, claws sharpened on the rotting corpse of regimented public education, remember how my very first day of kindergarten I talked all the kids at the bus stop to walk back to my house with me because “Who needs school when you have toys?” and then again in junior high because “Who needs school when you have MTV?” and again in high school because “Who needs school when you have Starship Fantasy ?” and when my oppressive authority figure of a mother fired me from the restaurant for the third or maybe it was the fourth time I talked my little sister into getting fired along with me because “Who needs to a job  when you’ve got roller skates?”

“I get it. I get it. You know you can’t ever tell our boys about any of this.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

[authoritative pause of the Roku]

“I swear on my mother’s cremains. I can even get them out of the closet it you like.”

[Satisfactory unpause of Roku]

Because “Who needs to tell anyone anything when you’ve got the Internet?”

“What was that?”

“I love Bob’s…and you.”

Okay, so I made up most of that last conversation from about “of course” on. A slight digression/diatribe may have followed mi esposa’s “Oh my” moment, with me prattling on about my being born with a rebel corazon kicking at my ribcage (Read: angsty adolescent internal hormonal drone warfare) and even setting up a table at my high school organization assembly for an “Anarchists Club” which of course rejected all applications but even before I could finish that spiel mi esposa’d fallen fast asleep not out of boredom – I quite often remind myself – but because unlike the animated universe of Bob’s burgers, raising even two boys, there’s rarely enough time or sleep to go around. And because we don’t run a family restaurant, preparing food for ourselves has become less of a chore or work and more like a special occasion, even when the definition of “cooking” gets broadened to mean unwrapping some frozen thing for the nuker.

For new families and/or because “Who needs a food blog recipe when you have frozen burritos?” let these IMOs be my bad influence on your poor eating habits.

 

PJ’s Organic Traditional Chicken

FullSizeRender (2)

Not sure which traditions the organic chicken followed prior to its beheading and karmic destiny to bring a smile to this burros tortilla and – in addition to a light tongue blistering – this consumer’s face. Savory C +

 

Amy’s Burrito Cheddar

IMG_3970

The only bomb of the bunch los ninos have a taste for (along with Cedaphil, sidewalk chalk and library books). Underdeveloped palates not the best judges. A strong stand-by: B

47th Street Pizza Lemonito Burrito

IMG_3969

Organic, Kosher, hormone free, no trans fat, lemon(?)really anything but what I expect in a frozen burrito and the best explanation as to why it tastes like lentil soup. Though the toro-beating tortilla made it worth the purchase. Like they say around my alma mater ASU: ‘D’s get degrees’: C-/D+

 

Good Food Made Simple  – Uncured Canadian Bacon

IMG_4061

There’s no accounting for good tasering and no cure for this sad, soggy, snapless schlub. F

 

Good Food Made Simple – Turkey Sausage

IMG_4109

Frozen burrito trope: the healthier the ingredients the nastier the texture and flavor:F

 

Good Food Made Simple – Southwestern Veggie

IMG_4155

Rhymes with wedgie: F

The Anasazi Burrito

IMG_4083

You know how they named all those Korean SUVs Santa Fe and Tucson when they have about as much to do with Down Yonder as a frozen burrito would the Anasazi? Except of course for the Adobe notes (as in mud not software) slightly better than hospital food: D

 

The evol line

No evol lost on this flight o deliciously packaged bass-ackward sottirrub.

IMG_4070

Shredded Beef: C

IMG_4133

Uncured Bacon (American): C

IMG_4064

Chicken Rice & Beans: C

And let’s not be afraid to call a wrap a wrap instead of racially stereotyping this ‘lean and fit’ (WTF?)  burrito because it’s spicy. This phony’s about a Mexican as Donald Trump:

IMG_4153

Egg White & Spinach: D

 

If you are still with me you may be wondering (like me): How can such healthy burros be a bad influence? All but Amy’s are so thoroughly unappetizing one scalding bite and you’ll be gunning it to the Late Night Taco Bell drive-thru soon as the kids are asleep even if you don’t have a babysitter or a car, not without first pausing Bob’s Burgers and finishing your beer, of course.

Unless you’re blessed enough to get your grubby manos on one of these (I luckily got the last one and have not seen them since. Manna from El Dio indeed):

IMG_3456

A+fckin A+mazing

I Hope The Russians Love Their Tamales Too

2 May

Dear Internet,

You’re probably too young to remember life during cold war time. The grade school “fire” drills, the monthly air-raid siren testing, Spies Like Us. Y so you’ll probably never have to fear total destruction courtesy of the USSR and/or John Lydon and Afrika Bambaata.

R-818308-1400280620-6208.jpeg

Mira or escuche or whatever, all that red threatening military might, muscle, and missile turned out to be about as powerful as the almighty Oz and/or a toilet paper roll. It seems for those of us old enough to remember them, the Red Square parades broadcast for the USofA’s viewing terror starred the latest in faux weaponry: as empty an Eminem threat.

283

Cut To: Desert Storm where it turns out the few SCUDs that may have actually caused bodily harm were in the parlance of the pyromanical Black Cat firecracker fiend:

3M5a5LD1T1-6

And yet, because there’s always an “and yet” which I have no idear how translate into espanol, even though the Russians were shooting blanks, the Russians were shooting blanks, the Russians were shooting blanks, while we learned to fear not what the USSR can do to US(ofA) Russia, well, not so much:

 

What made this think go off in my hypocampus like so many ladyfingers?

F-042F

A “holy crap tamales from Texas” purchase from the great Woodman’s of Aurora, IL.

 

Inspired packaging promised something world beating.

 

Contents turned out to be as dud as a SCUD. Flavor notes: empty Charmin roll, Desert Storm axle grease, Johnny Rotten gobshite, more dead than red.

 

Man, Nacho, Nachoman or Super Nachoman?

18 Apr

Praise Allah, Jah, Yahweh, Nietzsche y todos Los Dios por MLBeisbol esta en el aire. Literally, for me en Chicago aqui. The Wrigley Field extreme makeover be better both seen and heard from the friendly confines of our balcony – at least until urinegate passes. 

 Our apt complex’s western facing facade glows eves awash in the brilliant digital hues of a video screen so grandiose and HD one can count the whiskers on the scoreboard visage of Jon Lester’s chinny chin chin from the friendly confines of our balcony – at least until urinegate passes.  Compounded by a bombastic sound system quite possibly purchased from the old Shea Stadium on e-bay (blown speakers included) filling our living room starting-line up announcements and 7th inning stretches the Cubs and we are one.

Y ahora yo lustily await at least uno otra mas Wrigley makeover assault on mi senses: that of smell. Please St. Harry and St. Ernie let the upgrade to concessions – both stands and menus – include a yet-to-be installed jet engine ventilation system. Not to drown out the cheeky organ asides echoing across Lakeview rooftops. No. So that the unbeatable eau de beisbol wafts down Halsted Street and on into my nasal cavities y mi casita at gametime.

And if you are taking requests Santos y St Santo, charge the dominant scent not with that of the grill but of the nacho cheese pump. 

While to the noses and tongues of millions (and their gastrointestinalalogists) Proustian Wrigley Field remembrances smack of hot dogs, stale beer, chew spit and urinal mints past, the same no hablar o’ moi nariz. No whiff nor sniff not snort of Wrigley passes these nostrils without recalling golden, delicious petroleum nacho cheese and its DIO: Super Nacho Man.

….slow, gauzy, dream sequency dissolve por favor…The Summer of 1989. Cubs vs Mets. Wrigley bleachers. Heat + humidity = that trapped under a wet German Sheppard feeling. Maddux. The Hawk. Andre “Woo”.Grace. Andre “Woo”. Sandberg. Girardi. Andre “Woo”. Gooden. Mookie. Cone. HoJo. The Straw That Stirs Dykstra electrifying the bleachers entire into chanting “grab your balls” each time he storms into the outfield, to which Dykstra responds by vigorously hustling his crotch, spitting, then spinning around to face home plate.  popcorn. peanuts. cracker jacks. Harry Carey. Gallons of warm Cub soda y front row center Super Nacho Man: a 300lb glistening, sweaty, shirtless balding wonder of  tumescence, a drum tight party keg beer gut protrusion upon which precariously rocks a plastic nachos boat. Left hand lowers and raises beer goblet to wash down bites of hot dog delivered to mouth with right hand, pausing en route for a quick dip in the nacho cheese sauce. A soupy yellow trail runs between Super Nacho Man’s hirsute and ample breasts which he erotically mops up with the final bite of his Super Nacho Cheese Dog at the exact moment Dykstra normally racks his balls, only before he can, Nails stops dead in his cleats, beguiled and/or blinded by Super Nacho Man’s omniscience popping the golden nugget dripping with sweat, hair, cheese and spit into his maw then roaring, “C’MON LEONARD, GRAB YOUR BALLS ALREADY!’ launching the nacho boat into the ivy, the game nearly called due to his thunderous tortilla chip, beer foam, jalapeno, and nacho cheese storm.  

With Wrigley v.2 bleachers under construction until at least June, and piss cups de rigueur, yo suggest settling down on your belly homegrown – and IMO vastly superior – super nachos not unlike the platas flying around these parts.   Key ingredients: pinto beans from the stove top not the can; NM green chile; non-petroleum yellow cheese; leftover grilled meats; hot dogs and sweat optional. 

 Extra added bonus innings in your mouthole: Mi Esposa’s contribution: Chile Gringa Nachos. Ground chicken, onions, garlic, chicken broth, white beans, fresh scallions, white beans and Jilipepper from NM. 

  

(Yes, those are the dimmed lights of Wrigley blurry in background.)  

Viva Los Cubs!

Holy Weekend! Worshipful Pastrami Tacos got made (thank you J.Dilla act 5)

4 Apr

 


Rarely do yo concoct a dish whose brilliance transcends the words I typically choke up these blog posts with. In the case of these here pastrami tacos, only the brilliance of J. Dilla’s ‘donuts’ (the LP and 33 1/3 book, not some recipe) which just so happens to also be the source de inspiration, the late, great J. Dilla (Detroit Pastrami/comida y beats pastiche/delicious round foods resembling 45s) who moved to SoCal, home to a pastrami taco (@Astro Burger) even before meat hit hot slillet though this one comes from the Middle Coast. Recipe couldn’t be simpler/flava holier than shit. 

 

(Some assembly required)

1. Skillet fry super-fat thick-sliced pastrami (Detroit-smoked/scored in Skokie) 

  

Tong onto skillet warmed corn taco torts

  

Top what you like:

– Sangre del Kojak salsa caliente

– Trad. chopped onions y cilantro 

– Vinegary cole slaw

– Frijoles negros

– Sin queso y always, but always guacamole y squeeze o lime

 Edit   

Serve, chill.

Painting the Joy of Cooking Brown con AzChiNMexi Mac y Cheese

2 Apr

If there is a more all-encompassing gring@ cookbook I dunno it. The revised version of The Joy of Cooking is that of which I blog, not mine. The pre-PC original – on the otro mano – could at least pass for aboriginal. Recipes for vermin, including skinning instructions – IMO – transcend borders and ethnicity.

DRVDW

Yet like every other cultural icon worth it’s weight in insensitivity – The J o’ C got censored/edited by the PC Orwell wannabes in the PC 80s/90s. (Exception: Speedy Gonzales.) Thank god the copy I inherited escaped a Fahrenheit 451 ending, though the dust jacket lost to a gravy spill and and several fingers of bourbon on the counter of Southeners who may or may not have had slaves in the family were absorbed into its pages and spine.

 

 

So no, this copy’s geneology is anything but PC or artery-friendly. Yet, again, I knew I had to blow the cobwebs off Ye Olde JoC for some non dot.com direction with the culinary kindling left in la casa of late. Being stranded aqui (esposa y dos los ninos viaje en FLA) during Chicago’s final four March Madness Blizzards stirred up a hankering for a casserole as warm and hearty as a sweater mi imagniary abuela might have knitted you, between slurps of beaver tail soup.

 

Fresh out of squirrel and ammo, I deferred to a pollo chi-chis, marinated and grilled, tossed in the obligatory sack ‘o NM chile verde, and got slightly carried away with the Mexican oregano to give an otherwise high gring@ dish some much needed color. The latter resuced the dish when any one of the main ingredients went missing, curiously rounding out each bite should a chicken chunk or green chile slip off the spoon.

 

Mi Imaginary Abeula’s Big Ol’ Feliz Casserole alias

Painting the Joy of Cooking Brown

alias

El Mac y Cheese y NM Green y Pollo Sweater

 

 

 

Follow the instructions from Pre-PC J o C aqui

 


AZ/NM/Mexify con:

Pollo asado chunks (recipe is your call)

NM Chile Verde

Stir into the milk/egg “batter”

1 tsp Mexican oregano y 1 tsp NM red chile powder

Quatro queso Italiano blend + parmesean

Sprinkled topping: NM red chile powder/crunched up Donkey yellow corn tortilla chips.

Of Mash-ups, Morita peppers y making out with El Marlboro Madonna Man.

14 Mar

Taylor Swift, for a moment there, seemed headed toward replacing carbon on the table of elements; as universal and seemingly necessary as air twas she. Had I held my breath another five or ten seconds for this media tsunami to pass. Had I not come up for air, me, Spotified, I might have stopped myself from listening to Taylor Swift ever since forever; death being the only escape.

Back when I stopped caring to keep up with the top of the pops the internet, always one to surprise/astonish/amaze/inform/annex all gray matter, started serving up these things called mash-ups. And sure as Instagram can make Hillary Clinton hip, saccharine ear fodder of the era suddenly became, well at least tolerable if not flat out hilarious. Until Metallica and Jay-z got sad people with madder computer skills than their own (as in none) were taking coke from the spoons of their baby-mamas, sharing these files meant fun. Then came lawyers. There went fun. So I pensared.

illegal-download-jpg

Mash-ups never went away, I did. Until now. Taylor Swift mashes with the best of them. I’ve seen it for myself. But because this old MacBook,  no jugar nothing streamed, I can surmise from a gander at the gifs accessorizing said mash-ups; these mash-ups are also really flippin’ awesome at partying.

The Taylor Swift colonization was all like a couple tetra-byte years ago, and now, sadly, Maddonna, after one of those unchoreographed old people falls (yeah, right?), has once again taken to flashing me in my brain pan and popping up in my inbox and adroning the hood’s back-alley walls. In an attempt to honor the grand dame of divas – ideally before Dame Judy Dench plays her in the Truth or Dare remake – I husltled up a culinary mash-up, reuniting a star-lit couple who’ve cleverly come together again via guerrila marketing:

IMG_3011

One part Madonna UK (shepherds pie) the other Sean Penn’s lengua (Morita/steak chili), this dish kinda actually eaten prior to these posters and these ruminations needed a theme more descriptive of the flavor than the origin story I originally planned to post along with it.

Cooked up btw Taylor and Madonna, the Oscars 2015 era, at first bite, I originally thought I’d struck on a sure-fire winning recipe for another cultural cranial colonization, culinary: some kids being the next top chef Food Network fodder, my version, with the rules based more in reality than on viewer demographics.

Me, your host: “The rules are simple kids. Choose as many pre-prepared courses as you like from the cafeteria line there, take it back to your table, and mash-up all the food on your tray, just like you do at school. We’ll then have our celebrity chefs eat every last bite and not be allowed to leave their seats until they do.” Believe me you, by leaving out the chocolate milk and spit, I concocted a sure-fire winner.


photo 2 (4)

 

And even this version de el origen should only be taken at face-value. Both the pie and the chili have their own origin stories.

The Shep-Pie origins, three words:

test-card-f

too much BBC. (Hence, the Madonna christening).

The chili, on the other mano, was a failed attempt to re-create a steak/pinto/chile chili I’d already blogged on too long about not so long ago. The ingredients remained the same but one: the chili pepper. For the uninitiated, like twas yo, moritas are smoked, dried red jalapenos. Their green cousins, the chipotle, are nothing less than smokey, juicy, god pods; one of el mundo mama’s most deliriously original and infectiously mliagros.  So you figure, morita = the second son. NSM. Moritas, at least the batch I bought (along with several other dried peppers who brought the divinity to Santa Sangre Salsa), prepped, chopped and stewed with steak, onion, garlic, pinto, salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, tasted like ash. ASH. And since for as long as we’ve known one another, Sean always has a Marlboro red dangling from his scowl, ergo this chili I deemed worthy of his namesake.

Which brings me to the third – or is it fourth – origin story: I work with several people with their own origin stories, in Mexico. It has been noted here antes how they’ve accused me of being “more Mexican” than them. Unbeknownst to me at the time of mashing up these two dishes, in addition to reuniting Seandonna/Madpenn and concocting a sure-fire “My Kid Can Out Cook Your Kid” champion, I also honored all of Mexico by not being the typical gringo/Americano and tossing out my epic chili fail. On the same night I brought my mash-up to work – a single serving – a co-worker who’d just returned from an annual family trip to Oaxaca shared a confession with me: ‘I am always reminded of how North American I am whenever I go home. This time, on the way into the cathedral in the zocalo I tried to toss out half a candy bar and missed the garbage can. The security guard came up to me and said ‘Senor, in Mexico we do not throw away food’ and so I sat there and guiltily ate it.”

I ate mine and lived to tell about it too….