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listening to
the Tyra Banks show
because I’m stuck at home

drinking
lemon-ginger tea with honey
no, it’s not alcoholic, really

obsessed with
getting a Dutch oven
expensive little suckers, they are

overheard

From Tinkerbell:

I was at the gym and there was a cute little asian girl on the machine next to me. Some guy comes over hoping to pick up on her and says, “Hey little girl, what’s your name?” Her response, “Meat ball.”

field trip : whole foods yuppie supermarket

Morels are weird-looking, tasty mushrooms that are a tad pricey.

Left. Wow, when they’re dried, morels cost $239.99 a pound. Does that say “Sell By Sep 06”? I hope they mean September 6 of this year, and not September of 2006. Isn’t that interesting? Fungus can go bad. Maybe I can grow a mushroom on a mushroom.

Right. Some very lovely steaks.

Left. A standard-sized jar of spaghetti sauce for $9.99–because it’s gourmet.
Right. Quinoa!

cooking class

Back when I was in college, I spent my share of nights staying out late into the wee small hours of the morning. Food was always the final act of a late night, and, although there were endless fast-food burger joints and breakfast places open late, every once in a while, my friends and I would get a craving for Yoshinoya, a place that served teriyaki bowls and was open 24 hours.

Here is my gentrified version of Yoshinoya’s food. It is easy to make, smells absolutely delicious while cooking, and tastes great after a night of drinking.

Chicken a la College

We utilize one of the best techniques from college in making this dish–cheating. 🙂 I used to make my own teriyaki sauce, but it was a lot of effort, and I got lazy. A good store-bought brand saves time, and money, when it’s on sale. I prefer Lawry’s 30-Minute Marinades.

Tweakability Factor for this recipe is High

You can omit the cilantro, onions, and garlic, but then, it’ll just be Boring-Ass Teriyaki Chicken As Usual. If you like these key ingredients, increase the amounts (you may have to add more marinade) and amp it up!

Ingredients!

9 chicken thighs, or equivalent (skinned, and de-fatted, if you’re healthy like that–we’re not)

3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped or sliced or minced (see notes in recipe)

3/4 cup teriyaki marinade

cooked white rice

Debone the chicken thighs. If you’re saving the bones for soup, you don’t need to be extremely careful when trimming it from the meat. A little meat on the bone will add much flavor to your future soup. Cut the meat into cubes, or, as we have done here, strips about 1/2-inch wide.

I save the chicken bones in a box in the freezer. Wow, that made me sound like some sort of psycho-killer. I will feature the badass chicken soup at a later time in my blog, now that I have enough chicken bones.

Crush or roughly chop your garlic. If you don’t want to eat the garlic, crush the cloves with the flat side of your knife. That will make it easy to remove the garlic before cooking. If you like garlic, as we do, you can chop it roughly. If you REALLY like garlic, and you have the time, you can thinly slice the garlic, or mince it.

Toss the garlic in with the chicken.

Chop the cilantro leaves and onion. Use only the leaves of the cilantro and discard the tough stems.

Add both cilantro and onion to the chicken and garlic.

Add the teriyaki sauce and mix thoroughly. Using your hands is the most effective way. If you choose to use your hands, wash them thoroughly in soap and hot water before you touch the chicken.

Place the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Take out chicken and bring to room temperature before cooking, if possible. If your chicken pieces are small, this may not be necessary. If you are cooking whole chicken legs or other chicken parts, you will need to do this. Bringing meat to room temperature allows for more even cooking throughout–you won’t have an undercooked interior and an overcooked exterior.

Pour the chicken, vegetables, and marinade into a pan. Sear the chicken over medium-high heat for five minutes. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to low.

Cover the chicken and braise for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The smaller the pieces of chicken are, the faster they will cook.

Let’s make a cornstarch slurry. Yes, I love the word “slurry”, too. Just rolls off the tongue. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir thoroughly. You will feel the stiffness of the cornstarch lumps disappear as you stir. If you let the mixture sit, the cornstarch will settle to the bottom and you will have to stir it up again.

IMMEDIATELY after you have made your cornstarch slurry, stir it into the chicken. And I don’t mean pour it all in and stir, I mean stir while you are pouring it in. If you can’t handle that, I sincerely hope you don’t chew gum while you walk.

White rice. The bestest, most basic canvas of all meals collegiate.

Put the Chicken a la College on top of the rice and mix it up! The sauce-soaked rice is the absolute nuts.

Take the extra for lunch tomorrow. It reheats well.

100 days of pool : 27 days left

Ok, so, with no big tournaments on the horizon, I lose motivation for pool. Nah, that’s a lie. Life gets in the way.

[71] : Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tonight is my usual league night, but my cousins and their kids, and one tow-along (hi Steve!), were in town. I rarely get to see family, so I chucked league to the wind (sorry fellow teammates!), even though my team was in first, and I was in contention for the title of top shooter.

It’s good to have your priorities straight. 🙂

At dinner, I learned that one of my nieces/second-cousins is becoming quite the pastry chef. I will post pics of her cakes here when she sends them to me and we can all drool over them.

After dinner, I took a walk to my neighborhood bar and managed to play two games before getting hit with food coma. Chicken Piccata always does that to me. I’m thinking of making Chicken Piccata very soon at home…

[72] : Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I got a late start this evening so I didn’t arrive at the pool hall til about 10:00 p.m. When I got there, all the pool tables were in play. Suckage. However, one of the regulars let me play some three-cushion billiards with him for a half-hour.

He even tried to teach me some of the systems utilizing the diamonds along the rail. They were mathematically-based. I think he was surprised when I told him I was probably the only math-impaired Asian.

Nevertheless, it was a good session of billiards, if only because I never missed the pocket.

[73] : Thursday, August 9, 2007

I occasionally have s—ty health. Those of you who know me well know where it comes from. Anyways, the frickin’ freezing-ass temperature in my office doesn’t help it. So, I stayed home today and drank a lot of tea.

After dinner with my friend, I thought I was feeling pretty good and I decided I’d walk to the bar. I don’t like being stuck indoors. I started walking but after ten minutes, I could see it was an ambitious idea. I think it might have taken me 40 minutes to walk a half-mile. But, with true American grit, I made it to the bar, where I felt like I had a massive hangover without all the peskiness of having to drink.

I played a game, and lost. It was rather hard to concentrate. In retrospect, I feel bad for the guy I played who seemed like a genuinely Nice Guy. To make my life simple, I decided I’d answer “no” to every question I was asked. So, the conversation went something like this:

“Do you play a lot of pool?”

“No.”

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“No.”

“What’s your name? I didn’t catch it the first time.”

“No.”

“No? Is that an Asian name?”

“No.”

“Oh. You’re just messing with me, aren’t you?”

“No.”

Sorry, dude. Nothing personal. Just cranky with flu-like symptoms.

Le Sandbox

For the uninformed, Le Sandbox is the section of my blog that contains links to random/weird/funny articles, videos and other fun stuff on the internet. Click on the RED links below to start slacking and killing time now!

Fun Links

reuters, you have been owned

YouTube

The three greatest words in video.

[not sure how long it is]

japanese game show

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