chocolate brownies, condiments, cravings, eating too much, eating until your belly hurts, edible obsession, Local foods, mid afternoon snacks, pairings, WTF

Shelf Analysis

‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are..”–Jean Anthelme Brilliat-Savarian

Some people get a kick out of going through other people’s medicine cabinents to see what secrets their friends and neighbors are hiding–and lets face it a good number of our friends and family are on some pretty fucking interesting medications. But, that just may be me projecting(Busy Brain is as interesting as I get these days). My little fetish is that I’ll snoop your fridge for an insight in who you are. With all of us either labeled, or self proclaimed as, ‘Foodies,” your refrigerator holds your modern shame. If I had taken this photo one hour later, you would have seen three cans of Pepsi Throwback on the top shelf. If I had photographed the vegetable crisper you would have seen a noticible lack of vegetables and and abundance of cheese: Petit Agour, Dubliner with Stout, Dubliner Cheddar, 8 year Gouda and VBC’s Herbed Chevre.

Some of our predilections are obvious and well established, like the ones in my family. I have a feeling if I were to walk right now into my mothers house and open her freezer, there would be 5 gallons of ice cream, frozen dinners and frozen meat. My sister, Rachael, would have left over pasta and meat balls and lots of milk for my three nephews and brother in law. There would be something in there made out of one of her cuilinary school books. I’m guessing there would be remnants of a cake.

This is a look inside of my refrigerator, something very few have actually seen the inside of–the most notable person being a vegetarian coworker I traumatized by showing off my pickled tongue to. I think my food experiments freak a few of my friends out. Hmm… that explains so much..

  1. Butter: Lots of it. This was actually bought to make brownies and polenta with. I ended up not even needing either pound.
  2. Cream Cheese: Plain. We rarely have bagels in the house and this was brought in to make a peanut butter cream for the middle of #7 in the next picture.
  3. Cat stuff. You know ‘Ashy Larry’ from The Chappelle Show? Our cat, Sophie, is a bit like that, minus the crack problem(she opts for catnip, bud and lemon grass). This is cost $10 and was suppose to help and she refuses to consume it willingly.
  4. Pickled Jalapeno’s. I’m actually not sure when I jarred these and, now that I look at the picture, am a wee bit afraid to open it. I think it will remain one of those fermenting things in the fridge that just gets moved around and never opened.
  5. White Truffle Oil. Fancy, I know. It’s only use has been for risotto. It expired last month.
  6. Hakushika Snow Beauty Sake. I’d like to say what I purchased this for but I can’t remember. It may have been after a trip to Pai Men. It may have been because I thought the bottle was pretty. It may have been because I thought I would actually drink it. I obviously haven’t.
  7. Cholula Hot Sauce. One of 5 hot sauces in the refrigerator at the moment. This is their chili garlic flavor and my favorite topping for scrambled eggs on a day off.
  8. Three Wishes Cabernet. Whole Foods answer to ‘2 buck Chuck.’ It cost $2.50 and was purely purchased as a cooking wine. It’s probably vinegar by now.
  9. Sriracha. Purchased to help recreate the Pai Men Pork buns we had for Thanksgiving dinner.
  10. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. Like many things purchased at TJ’s, this was bought out of pure curiosity over functionality or use in my kitchen. And, like so many other TJ’s branded things it wasn’t that fantastic. I believe this was used for a marinade. The only thing I buy from TJ’s these days is coffee.

  1. Polenta setting overnight to make ‘Crispy Polenta Fries‘ from Find.Eat.Drink. For us, the recipe should have been cut in half, or even 2/3’s, as it made a good 2-3 dozen thick cut fries.
  2. “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream”–Julia Child. I’m afraid of neither and often have both in the house. This was used to make the ganache for #7.
  3. Morimoto Soba Ale. I brought this into the house sometime over the past year because of a reading a while back that Joe @ PFC recommended it highly. Because I don’t drink beer I rely on others to turn me on to brews to bring home to the Missus. This was one of them and it’s been there for over 6 months. If it’s salvageable, it will be used to make tempura.
  4. Cranky Rooster Eggs from my Cape SoPo Winter Share. Since posting about it two months ago there has hardly been a day where these eggs have not been in my kitchen. Truth be told, my last pick up from the Winter Share had three dozen eggs in it. Three dozen for two people. The yolks, as orange, tall and firm as ever, have made me catch my breath more than once at the sight of how just exactly perfect they are. I probably shouldn’t have said all of this because now you’re going to scoop them up before I’ve placed my order. Jerks.
  5. The required slab of bacon. Uncured, smoked thick cut from Whole Foods 365 line. It was the least expensive bacon in the cooler and far from the best. Too thin(even though it clearly said ‘thick cut’) of a strip made for an easily overcooked, dry piece of bacon. Thankfully it was easily saved on a breakfast sandwich made with the above mentioned eggs.
  6. Beef Shank. I was going to braise it and went for short ribs instead. It’s now living in the freezer.
  7. Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies I dropped the ball on photographing these before they were devoured to the point of pain and then given to my co-workers to get them out of our sights. They were heaven. I added a bit of Mascarpone to the peanut butter mix and substituted some all-natural Nutella knockoff for the peanut butter in the ganache. This was at their final chilling stage.
  8. Castelvetrano Olives. The ‘Kermit’ Olive. So bright green that it turns people off. It seems unnatural but they are one of my absolute favorite olives and worthy of their own ‘Edible Obsession’ themed post. Think less briny and more sweet; A black olive in green clothing with more tanginess than meatiness to it’s flesh. Primary use: sliced and added to a four cheese quesadilla.
  9. Bay Leaves. All of my days off are spent cooking long projects, like braises, and it also includes stock making, whether beef, chicken or vegetable. So, naturally, I use a lot of bay leaves.
  10. Hellman’s Mayonnaise. There are three major things I just can’t make the ‘all natural’ switch to: Ketchup, Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise. I don’t care how bad it is, I refuse to part with it. From creaming up some deviled eggs(do you sense an addiction being confessed before your eyes??), slathering on a sandwich or going Dutch and having some with french fries, I refuse to compromise on mayonnaise. Not only is it a dressing in so many childhood linked food memories(like Grandma’s Potato Salad, Mom’s Deviled Eggs) but it just has a better flavor to me.
thai, Thai-o-rama, weird sauce combinations, WTF

Thai-o-Rama pt. 5–Mekhong Thai

I’m starting to get a bit depressed. When A., from Portland Food Map, threw out the idea of reviewing all the Thai places in Portland I was really, really fucking excited. I was. I thought this was going to be an easy excuse to be gluttonous and consume mass amounts of Thai food on a bi-weekly basis–one that the Mrs. couldn’t really argue because it was all in the good name of blogging. Now, nearly half way through the list I feel wronged, cheated and disheartened and I’m starting to get a wee bit bitter.

Oh.. Hello and Welcome to Thai-o-Rama pt. 5.

This round brought the lot of us to Mekhong Thai, neighbor to both Haggerty’s Brit-Indi and the space formerly known as Mexican Lindo on outer Forest Ave. From a quick glance at their menu, it looked to be pretty straight ahead Thai with noodles, curries and other usual Thai suspects on the menu with a Pho menu offered inside the restaurant, which I saw when I stopped in there this past weekend for take out. You also learn, from checking out their website, that they have establishments in both Kennebunk and Wells.

The space, from what I saw from the bar area was pretty bare, though there was a nook by the front door that openly housed old Christmas and Halloween decorations that looked like they were bought at the Goodwill up the road. One thing that stood out in the bar was a vent system that turned on and off in seven second intervals(yes, I counted). I could not see myself dining in comfort with the constant chugging of machinery in the background and was a bit glad I was taking the meal with me. Aside from myself, only three other people were in the restaurant and one sat at the bar for several minutes before any staff came out to greet him.

By the time I made the trip back home, I was salivating and still a little buzzy from the vent noise. And, at first glances, the food was going to make everything alright.

Going with our usual safe bets, we ordered up Crab Rangoon served with a ‘cocktail sauce’ and Thai dumplings which are described on the menu as “Steamed wonton skin stuffed with chicken, shrimp and scallions,served with ginger sauce.The Rangoon were pretty much identical to every other batch you can find in town, though the ‘cocktail sauce’ served with it was an absolutely foul blend of ketchup and some chili based sauce. It was sickeningly sweet from the ketchup and whatever sauce it was blended was in complete conflict with it. It was bad and sat unused. The dumplings were ok, but I thought they would have been paired with a lighter based sauce and not the ginger heavy soy one that was found in the to go container.

The Mrs.’ had the lunch portion of General Thai, their take on the Chinese dish of General Tso’s. To be honest, the color of the dish kind of turned me off, so I can’t speak on any aspect of it. When I asked her what she thought of it, she replied “It’s ok. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go there again, though.”

Now, when I opened up my container of Drunken Noodles with Chicken, I was quite excited. The dish smelled wonderful and the portion was more than generous. And, on the first few bites, I thought it to be one of the best. But then the burning in my mouth took over to the point of nearly being inedible. This wasn’t the feel good burn I normally associate with this dish, as it tends to be heavy with thai chilies–in fact the menu says it uses a chili paste in the dish– but something else. After a few pokes of my fork, I realized that there didn’t seem to be ANY thai chilies present whatsoever and the heat was all coming from what looked to be an insane amount of black pepper. Black f’ing pepper. Are you kidding me? Please..please tell me you’re kidding me. Please?

But, there was no kidding. In my rush to eat, I had completely missed the fact that this dish looked like someone had just taken a pepper shaker and dumped the whole thing in. Truly, I wanted to cry. I wanted to call them up and tell them that this, and their ketchup dipping sauce, was a crime against Thai food and everything I loved about it. But, instead, I got up and threw it out.

And a few hours later I chewed on some Tums to stave off the awful indigestion that had set in from the food and the disappointment of the whole meal. Scratch another from the list.

Mekhong Thai Portland on Urbanspoon