Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stirred Up


The frigid climes incline Tamalehawk to master all manners of emergensoup. This garlic chickpea soup hit some kind of spot, a spot created by the steady stream of cold air that tends to blast through the floorboards of his nest and directly into his soul. This version involved chickpeas, shallots, a shredded potato, garlic, curry, cumin, coriander, and probably some other things along with the chicken broth. Simmer and then puree carelessly with an immersion blender, flecking your entire shirt with soup shrapnel while half-watching a demented version of Babes in Toyland with Keanu Reeves on TV.

If anyone has any ideas for soups that can be hastily assembled and pack the kind of serious flavor that challenges the swirling Chicago winds, please fire away. Extra points if it can chase away the flicker of shame Tamalehawk gets for not leaving his nest for an entire weekend.

Reporting For Duty


The second holiday highlight came entirely from Ladyhawk's wingtips. Tamalehawk needed only to sit back and bask in the wafting fragrance of these triple ginger cookies. Fresh, dried, and candied ginger combine like old partners in crime reuniting for one last mission, in this case the mission being to make Tamalehawk eat three before they even made it to the cooling rack. The verdict: dense, chewy, and addictive, like a good detective novel.

What else. Oh, Tamalehawk finally made it out to Kuma's for a vaunted burger after basically everyone in the world has already eaten there. Thanks to his brother, that is one less thing he should be openly ridiculed about. It was, as promised, incredibly memorable and he really felt like the blaring metal was a critical part of the experience. Definitely a Chicago staple.

Alight, Heavier


Tamalehawk wishes to thank you all for your patience during his accidental holiday hiatus. He looks forward to tending to the temperamental tirades this new year, full of hope that it will be replete with things to angrily eat. He has a lot of ground to make up for, so let's get started.

One of his bigger triumphs recently was this coconut cream pie, consisting of a trifecta of carefully composed cocomponents: a coconut pastry cream base, a coconut whipped cream, and toasted coconut topping. Hemmed inside a frozen crust because let's not get carried away here. This recipe was not hard at all and really delivered in a way that makes you proud, and not timid, about eating it for breakfast out of a coffee mug.

Diving In


Though this eggplant parmesan is a distant memory at this point, it is by no means forgotten. This caused Tamalehawk to reconsider his long-standing indifference towards the eggplant. Turns out, when sliced real thin, breaded, and fried, you get something all together delicious. He layered the golden planks in a casserole dish and parmesaned the hell out of them.

Also important to mention: the signature bean salsa of a gracious avocet, rife with diced mangos and a flurry of curry. After the bread ran out, Tamalehawk couldn't find a plane with enough surface area to inhale the terrific dip at the desired rate; thankfully there was an unfrosted sugar cookie nearby that was up to the task.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Against The Wall


Tamalehawk's endless quest for dessert forced his wing in the kitchen again, and after fifteen manic minutes of preparation and fifteen more in the oven, he had made what he had to admit were pretty terrific profiteroles. His first pâte à choux proved not too tricky, and he plans to ensnare a pair of √©clairs soon enough.

Since it was late and way past any watchable Bravo show, he skipped the custard filling this time and instead opted for a frantic baptism in an emergency ganache made in the microwave with some chocolate, a pat of butter for sheen, and cream. He ate three in a blink and polished off the rest of the ganache with a spoon because why waste that?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Help Wanted


Guys, it's chili season. The time of the year when Tamalehawk is confronted by his love/hate relationship with the one-pot wonder. He loves to make it but is rarely impressed by what the traditional compositions have to offer. Meat? Spices? Beans? He gets it. Sure, the myriad toppings offer a needed reprieve, but can't this American classic add a few more dimensions to its flavor profile? Even Googling "weird chili recipes" didn't yield the bounty of breakthroughs he was hoping for. Maybe the internet is a fad after all.

That said, this batch was more memorable than most of his efforts, with the essential Worcestershire elevating the whole affair. A slow simmer in his cast iron pot made some complexities occur, and that was a promising start to what promises to be a long winter. So what else? What should he toss into the mix? Don't make him make a huge mistake and wind up wordlessly dumping a whole steaming pot into a snow drift.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Dawn


Tamalehawk asked the eternal question: Why eat pancakes for breakfast when you could eat chocolate-chip corncakes with pistachio pudding? He wakes up on the weekends visibly troubled by the endless potential buried in that first meal of the day. He doesn't want to let it slip through his wings with by succumbing to a regular bowl of cereal or toast. When the coffee starts brewing, it's like a race against himself in a fight against his stomach.

Which is difficult when you waste three eggs trying not to break the yolk for your daughter who would probably be just as happy eating petrified Cheerios from under the buffet. Thankfully, he only needed one egg, some straggling chips, and some leftover pistachio pudding from an emergency dessert the night before. Verdict: totally devoured, proving once again the power of the world's greatest nut.

Rise To The Top


Tamalehawk is aware that nearly every photo is woefully devoted to Gene's these days. He can't help the fact that their pork and beef exceeds his carnivorous needs both in quality, price, and atmosphere. Shifting gears to inspect the beef end of the spectrum, he finally found the ground chuck of his dreams: fine grind, deep red hue, and even marbling.

With a last-minute solo grocery flight and several beaks to feed, Tamalehawk heeded some sage advice for a family recipe on how to turn ground beef into a mobile dinner device. Shape some crescent rolls into a greased muffin pan and bake until you see that familiar shade of delicious. Stuff a reasonable amount of browned and seasoned ground round into your golden crescent rolls, melt your cheddar, and eat it out of wing like you might an apple, surveying your kitchen kingdom with a knowing nod.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Low and Slow


The account of Gene's mounting bounty recounted, here in the form of fork-tender boneless pork shoulder, traded at the deflated rate of a mere $2.99 a pound. This is prime meat for carnitas, though this time Tamalehawk seared it and braised it in a bacon-tomato broth with some garlic and sherry vinegar for three hours.

In the waning minutes he realized he could make a polenta foundation for the pork monolith. It turns out you just need a cup of cornmeal and a quart of liquid to make it happen, and some butter, cheese, and salt to make it worth eating. Tamalehawk stole some of the braising liquid. Make sure to grab the pot lid bare-winged, recoil in silent pain, and stalk around your kitchen in maddeningly concentric circles while football noises from the TV mask your palpable hunger-rage.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Sojourn


For the second trip to Gene's, Tamalehawk was determined to approach the butcher counter with a modicum of restraint, poise, and strategy. He started by securing some links, Polish and Italian, and completed his pork quatrefoil with an enormous pork shoulder and ground pork. He likes pork.

He bought like forty other things and finally somehow left the store in one piece. That night, the Polish feast included pirogies, potato pancakes, sausage, and red cabbage. Each a victory alone and when towered together onto a single forkful. Do yourself a favor and don't ever not be standing in Gene's buying wingloads of delicacies. The cannoli delivers too - he was going to save it for dessert but remembered that is a stupid expectation and ate it immediately.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eat To Forget


So when you're eating dinner at ten o'clock because you just got back from an awkward and contentious condo association meeting in the bowels of your building's bleak basement, Tamalehawk recommends reaching for the seriously serous splendor of a soft-boiled egg. Cook the egg in boiling water for about five minutes while you slice and fry your toast soldiers in a buttered non-stick pan. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and sea salt or don't but do, then eat until the last hour of your life is erased from your memory.

Expert cooking tip: Don't keep accidentally brushing your feathers against the side of the pan over and over again as you flip the soldiers in the burning hot pan because you're too lazy to get some kind of utensil.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Realm


So on Wednesday, Tamalehawk made these tortas for dinner and they were what he'd call a success. He got the chorizo, torta bread, and chihuahua cheese from Edgewater and forgot about four other things he would have put on them but all in all, a very satisfying dinner. He even toasted the bread in the pan of lingering chorizo grease, creating a crunchy orange crust that made him pause for a moment of silent reflection on the power of fat.

Then on Thursday, Tamalehawk and associates headed to XOCO downtown for a mid-week lunch adventure. One thing Chicago superchef Rick Bayless does not do is mess around, and what he has created here is nothing short of a sandwich Valhalla. After a feeding frenzy of four tortas, guac, almond milk with freshly ground chocolate, and churros, Tamalehawk staggered out having forgotten all about Wednesday, and angry that any person would ever consider making a sandwich without Rick's strict supervision. Also, everyone, the churros. If the next thing you chew isn't one of these churros, then you should really retire your jaw because it has failed you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Search


Do you guys have any insane new ideas of what Tamalehawk can put into his risotto? For crying out loud, he is desperate for some kind of arborio revelation here. It isn't without a pronounced tinge of shame that he finds himself adding the same brigade of veg all the time. He is looking for a game-changer to make all the stirring and ladling worth it. Poblano lime? Peanut butter basil? Avocado tarragon? Blast his brain.

He did at least add lemon zest this time around, which lifted the whole endeavor up in a satisfying way. But he is hungry. And not just in the usual "eating a second full dinner at 9:45 at night so deal with that" kind of way - he is hungry for innovation.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A New Dawn


It's tough to discover modesty when photographing an enormous coiled homemade potato sausage, but Tamalehawk figured the best way to commemorate Gene's Sausage Shop opening in Lincoln Square was to portray in its natural state. Avert your eyes if such an abundance either grosses you out or makes you too hungry to live.

Tamalehawk and family visited Gene's Saturday night and was met with a crowd packed scapular to scapular for the rapt scavenging of the two-story butcher, bakery, deli, and international grocery monolith. Needless to say, it was a paradise of sorts, the kind of place Tamalehawk could spend a hundred bucks in the flap of a wing. Also, the phone number is 773-SAUSAGE, which wins all your childhood trophies and knocks over the display case.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jacket Required


One genre that Tamalehawk carried back with him from England was the potato-as-entree "jacket potato," wherein a giant potato is bedecked with a melange of toppings and promptly torn apart in a savage fashion. He didn't have the more traditional British beans or tuna on hand, so he opted for the distinctly American practice of taking a vegetable and suffocating it in cheese sauce.

In other news, he was wondering if it eating increasingly smaller dinners in order to justify eating a larger dessert is a self-destructive habit or a stroke of genius. He's not sure when that switch started happening, whether incremental, or triggered by Halloween, or in preparation for the holidays, but it has become a hardship that Tamalehawk will bravely endure.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Further Adventures


Tamalehawk has long subjected the imposing Strangeloaf to deranged experimentation, ransacking cabinets and pillaging his fridge for more balance, texture, and flavor to finesse into the perplexing mess before crossing his feathers and hoping for the best.

This time around, Tamalehawk managed to add leftover black beans, tomato sauce, carrots, spinach, onions, and bread along with the ground turkey, egg, and melange of condiments. He achieved the density and moisture he was seeking, and was pleased that all things considered, it was a pretty healthy endeavor. He felt perfectly justified in devouring dessert.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beyond the Grave


Enthralled by cauldron's sprawling haul, Tamalehawk celebrated Halloween by observing the annual tradition called Remembering Whether Or Not You Like Almond Joys. The verdict fell in the "strangely intrigued" column for the ersatz coconut candy, who's grainy, gelatinous center produce a texture that is somehow appealing in its revulsion.

All in all, Tamalehawk was comforted to see the haunted handouts haven't changed much since he stalked the streets as a plucky youngster - Reese's, Smarties, and Milk Duds - though he was surprised to see one neighbor was going old-school and sticking kids with Pixie sticks. Tamalehawk kind of admired the audacity of that dude's hardcore candy agenda before immediately throwing it away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Second Chance


Tamalehawk realized recently that not everyone loves muffins. He traces the muffin's malignment to several odious origins; stale towers of bran grenades at Days Inn continental breakfast bars, pallid Plexiglas prisons in gas station kiosks, and bland blueberry turds in a wicker basket at an 8 AM corporate quarterly meetings. It's really no wonder the muffin has become so divisive.

If you ever want to experience what a muffin can and should taste like, head to Angel Food Bakery, where the sour cherry variety or occasional ginger pear pairing will make your whole face remember the muffin's potent potential. These are so good that it is not without a flash of anger that you will place a piece in your tiny child's outstretched wing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Malus Domestica


And so begins Tamalehawk's annual apple gauntlet, wherein he tries to draft a rational strategy for dispatching a vast sack of apples that he carried across a mud-slung orchard in Wisconsin. He immediately started scouring scrolls, folklore, and oracles in an attempt to unlock the secrets of the ubiquitous autumnal orb.

Later, back in his lab, he kicked things off with an inaugural crisp. He added everything in his pantry, shoved it in the oven, and summoned his hunger. His largest flaw was panicking that it was drying out and basting the whole thing with apple juice half-way through. The result was an apple stew with some promising ideas - namely the raisins, dried cranberries, and amaretto, walnut, and almond topping. The missteps didn't stop Tamalehawk from drinking the whole dish for lunch the next day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Early Start


One benefit of Babyhawk's new habit of waking up yawning before the crack of dawn is the prospect of breakfast. Long his favorite meal, he normally forsakes it in exchange for a few more minutes asleep and dreaming about food. He has to say though, the smell of coffee and toasting almonds is an equitable alternative.

One quick look at his laughable larder, still reeling from its recent cleaning, revealed only oatmeal as an appealing premier meal. Though he's loathe to boil oatmeal in just water when it could be apple juice, coffee, or chocolate milk, swirling butter and brown sugar into a pot of anything will make Tamalehawk consider greeting the day with a modicum of positivity instead of the dubious half-scowl he typically fashions his beak into.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sweet Memories


Among the highlights of Tamalehawk transatlantic journey were the fifteen minutes he hovered in a wooden closet of a produce shop in the bucolic village of Dedham. Surrounded by fruits and vegetables nestled in crates and still warm from the earth, tree, or vine they were recently wrenched from, Tamalehawk wanted to cook a huge stew in the middle of the floor using only his unbridled enthusiasm as a heat source. Local baby leeks? Strange potatoes and mystical mushrooms? Come on! It was too much for him to take.

He thought he had everything under control until he tasted these local strawberries, whose color and luster could make you blush. He only needed to eat one to realize that all other strawberries ever consumed by anyone in the world were in fact stupid and fraudulent. Just to make sure it wasn't a cruel anomaly, he ate an apple, which immediately mocked him with its complete perfection and tasted sweeter than a tiny angel's prayers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stateside


Tamalehawk has landed back in the states, wobbly, weary, and pleased from over a week of eating until his beak conceded defeat. He returned home to a devastatingly empty fridge and a jetlagged appetite that didn't know whether to eat breakfast or dinner. He split the difference by dining on the classic pizza with a cereal chaser.

He did get to shake the crusted rust off his trusty skills to make a traditional British roast with shown potatoes. The best part was a batch of homemade Yorkshire puddings straight from the pages of The Joy of Cooking. Tamalehawk waited with his trademark lack of patience as the rolls exploded from the morass of fat, proving to be a winning recipe that Tamalehawk has already remixed in his mind in nine ways.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bigger Bite


What may look like a standard ham sandwich stands up to much closer scrutiny when the ham was carved by a third-generation British butcher, the roll (or bap) was steaming hot from the bakery across the street, and the whole sandwich was consumed inside the walls of 16th century castle ruins.

Tamalehawk continued to stretch his wings by coasting low over the high street, sipping teas and chomping chips and wondering if ale counts as one of his "5 a day."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Safe Landing


Having raced six hours into the future by touching down in the United Kingdom, Tamalehawk's biggest concern was all the eating he had to catch up on. Thankfully, he was immediately greeted with homemade scones, clotted cream, and jam. He ate three before setting down his bags.

The eating adventure continued with strange bacon, sausages, and premier austere beers. He soared over the ocean, communing with grizzled gulls and breathing in the sea spray. With no phone service, he's flying completely off the grid for the first time in a while, intent on descending for any delicious scent.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Crossing


Tamalehawk found a moment mid-flight to alight on a patch of the tractate, between planning to span the Atlantic and cleaning his messy nest, to perform one of his favorite functions. Breading and frying some cutlets. He paired it with something green for Babyhawk's sake and slaked his thirst with a High Life just so he could remember what it is like to cook again.

For his recent birthday, he received a perfect surprise - two pounds of premium Neuske's bacon from Ladyhawk. Any gift that comes in a temperature-controlled cooler is right up Tamalehawk's alley. He'll ration the rashers in a steady fashion. In other news, Tamalehawk is off to England for ten days, where he'll try his best to document any culinary wonders he tears asunder.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Born Again


Tamalehawk has been circling the churning skies, denied the time to ply his trade of tirades and abrupt judgments. To kick off his birthday weekend, he turned to Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with the orange frosting, a delicacy that used to elude Tamalehawk now safely back at his local grocer.

The second stunning discovery was that Cooper's, a barbecue artisan and sandwich crafter on Belmont, began in earnest of voyage into the dicey world of delivery. Finally, Cooper's now brought to his nest! The whole operation was tenuous - they didn't ask his address or phone number - but luckily Tamalehawk is an old pro at the whole process.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lower Point


With the lapsed tractate on the verge of collapse, Tamalehawk doesn't even have any kind of actual food time to capture on film. He can only inspect the neglected collection of condiments and sauces with nothing of sustenance to cover. Where he once surveyed an array of entrees, now portrays a display of decay.

Culinary wings clipped, Tamalehawk has been drifting from pizza box to take-out bag, crowned turned down, scratching his ear patch, pondering fonder times when his appetite unfolded before him like a map, with taste sensations waiting to be investigated and judged instantly. His darting eyes scour the skies for a brighter horizon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Low Point


Part two in the ongoing series Dinner as a Pathetic Failure, wherein Tamalehawk abandons his post as chief food strategist in favor of complete anarchy. In this times, you can find him clattering around the kitchen opening and closing cabinets and snacking haphazardly.

Tonight they dined on a first course of pretzels, crackers, and pickles dipped into cream cheese and honey mustard. Babyhawk ate some olives, grapes, and a granola bar that happened to be in reach. On to the main course, a frozen pizza that Tamalehawk barely had the energy to customize. Dessert, of course, was the plate of remaining blondies reanimated by the power of the microwave.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out Of Sorts


Some weeknights, Tamalehawk neglects the expected spectacle of a legitimate meal, choosing instead to each eat mangled red pepper strips dipped in ketchup from Babyhawk's tray as he stands over the garbage can. Glamorous, he knows, and worthy of a whole photo spread. Even though dinner was missed opportunity, he thought of all the room he was making for dessert.

He scratched a batch of blondies to fill the dinner-shaped hole in his stomach. Blondies involve a staggering shovel of brown sugar that gives them a golden hue and pronounced praline flavor. Having shattered his glass baking dish ages ago, he reached for the cake round. Circular and sliced, it's kind of like a quiche, so it counts as a square meal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Search the Skies


Desperate to not mess up the kitchen, eating out of a box topped the roster of possible options. Tamalehawk has a special place in his heart for foods that can be disclosed, dispatched, and devoured in one motion. It's the closest he gets to confronting his blunted hunting instincts - by observing the delivery man from his perch and grappling the sorry quarry in his drawing claws.

This pizza is from Apart, Tamalehawk's default choice for a pie-cut pizza that features a superior sauce-to-cheese-to-crust ratio as well as the persuasive delivery fee of free. One test it always fails: the critical fold and hold, wherein the slice decisively droops down instead of forming a crisp point for convenient consumption.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In Repose


Another vintage image from the halted vault. In addition to being the seminal comfort food, mac and cheese is perfect for experimentation. Impel the bechamel to view new heights with a precise spicing, boldly fold in whatever you're holding, and strew a slew of something crunchy on top - crispy shallots, for example.

Fast forward to tonight, where Tamalehawk balked at a sauce that was turning awful before his eyes. He called a pasta audible, making an emergency bechamel pervaded with bacon essence, garlic, and cheddar. Normally Tamalehawk would toss the lost sauce directly into the trash in a flash a rage, but he instead kept his head and saved it for another adventure.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carried Away


Unpacking a stacked sack to unleash a Chinese feast is another lesser event that Tamalehawk cherishes, though it is rife with tension. Did the soy coyly deploy? Did lo mein strain through the container, campaigning to stain Tamalehawk's vanes? Quickly egg rolls are controlled, won tons are encroached upon, and fried rice is spliced into a crested nest for the mess of szechuan pork to rest.

Chinese food sometimes gets a bad rap, touted as heavy and hit or miss, but Tamalehawk loves the chance to dot hot mustard on broccoli and rifle through noodles, searching to unearth a squad of peapods. The next day, crouched and scowling at the barren expanse that is his fridge, he's happy to spot a trove of leftovers hiding inside.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Memory Lane


Another journey to spurned half-drafts that lay slack in the tractate. Here he finds himself transported back to mere months after Babyhawk first chirped. Tamalehawk strafed a busy sidewalk wielding this wobbly box of 25 award-winning cupcakes, on his way to a second store in search of icing you could write with, because Southport Grocery only had red or purple and neither of those are pink. Of course, pink comes out about as red as any red ever would, so it was all in vain. But, these are the things you have to do when your Babyhawk deserves the best of everything, including an extra exclamation point.

While her tastes have evolved, she'll still devour a cupcake or cookie (or "deek") with a disturbing precision that makes him proud. Though it's tough to stop from feeding her sweets from his extended wing, her strange affection for string beans seems compensatory.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Deep Cuts


Short on time this week, Tamalehawk took the chance to clean out his unpublished archives. Take these forsaken corncakes, for example, posed and composed hopefully for the photo that would linger languidly as an uncrafted draft for nearly a year.

In truth, Tamalehawk prefers corncakes versus regular pancakes, and abstains from just plain whenever something strange is within wing's reach. Chocolate chips, orange zest, or the pictured slivers of mango, he is always on the hunt for new wonders to behold in the folds of the bowl of batter. Suggestions always welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Exotic Lands


Unpacking the Indian food is part of Tamalehawk's enjoyment: a flurry of curries splayed on the table, restrained in containers in a display so lively it could rival a box a crayons. He immediately cracks open a samosa to prospect for fleeing peas to feed a squawking Babyhawk.

After all the foil is uncoiled and lids dismissed, there's a symphony of spooning and spilling, dunking and dripping until he is nearly paralyzed from the abdomen up by a rising spicy beatitude, his diurnal yearnings once again adjourned and fomenting nomenclature on the tractate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Round Two


In the thrilling middle installment of his pork loin exploits, Tamalehawk returned to Edgewater Produce for more affordable porcine finds. He soared for the warm, earthy flavors of Mexico. He anointed them with a coating of potent achiote paste, and added a mound more to the breading for good measure.

Don't forget to throw in your small container of languishing sliced red onions, letting them clamber in the amber bath of achiote oil. Consider drinking a spoonful from the sizzling pan. Realize that will melt your mandible and singe your auriculars. Color, crunch, flavor all high-five each other in your honor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bird Of Prey


Like many apt raptorials, Tamalehawk has a massive appetence for sprawling dishes of raw fishes. When spotting a quantity of maki buoyed in soy, he holds rolls in each halux and powerfully devours beyond all calls for decorum.

Recently Tamalehawk met an owl, heron, and eagle for the regal convening of a rib tradition. This time, they dined at Smoque, a BBQ place on Pulaski. With ribs topping the barbeqarchy, he didn't hesitate to order a full rack of the St. Louis style. He is a sucker for a crust of dry rub, blackened and chewy from a long slow slumber on satisfactory calefaction. Add sides of mac and cheese and baked beans, Tamalehawk couldn't help get back in line for a spasmodic peach cobbler audible.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Defiant Flyer

Tamalehawk took a haphazard stab at a slab of flank steak, and created make or break stakes by braving an Argentinian butcher who shot his way an array of looks that seem to say, "Just this once, stranger. Just today." Tamalehawk flew the coop, aliment flailing, with plans to master the plank of thankless flank.

He scoured the depths of the web in search of marinades, unguents, and poultices, but didn't have any kind of time to soak, smear, and slather. He commanded his stand-bys of olive oil, garlic, and shallots for quick dip before casting it into the pan. Some accompanying veg dredged in the pooling juices and he was already looking forward to steak sandwiches the next day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inherent Eminence


Few things bring a wider grin to fill Tamalehawk's maxilla than a canned pantry salad. They come together fast, saving a few feathers of effort, to create something far greater than the sum of its sad abandoned cans. It's a story of glory for bygone garbanzos, a boon for unassuming tuna. A true tale of triumph really, stirring enough to pluck the hardest heartstrings.

Here cannelloni beans got the nod, a natural pairing with the stashed cache of tuna that lurks in the back of his cabinets. Inspired by a handful of donated basil, he mixed it with the misfits to best fit his tastes, which happen to include capers, olives, and red onion that day. Olive oil, vinegar, dijon, and seasonings made a refined and briny binding.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Heights


Tamalehawk has baked enough pans of banana bread to fill the bills of many herons, each time relentlessly experimenting to test the extent of the ubiquitous Musa. Many mash-ups suit the mashed-up fruit, including orange, ginger, cinnamon, any kind of nut, honey, or raisins. You name it, Tamalehawk has splattered it into a vat of batter and shoved it in the oven.

He thinks this may be his most inspired. Smashing a handful of stale, leftover cashew-caramel cookies from Trader Joe's, Tamalehawk created a treacherous topping to perforate the beige plane of banana matter. The caramelted over the toasted cashews to create a commanding crunch too good to let cool before devouring.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Taking The Risk


Tamalehawk was instilled with win even before beginning this dinner - he scored three meaty pork chops for a seriously scant $2.37 at Edgewater Produce, a regular stop on his grocery circuit. He likes to dive and hover low over the toppling crops, grabbing scallions in his talons and leeks in his beak. He never skips the deli counter, where everything is often fifty percent cheaper than Jewel. Don't sleep on the homemade salsa either.

He spotted these chops and set his expectations low - the center cut boneless are notoriously bland and overly lean. He breaded them steadily in a sea of seasoned panko breadcrumbs, making sure to lightly pre-oil the breadcrumbs for maximum golden crust. A few minutes and obligatory arugula leaves later, Tamalehawk was delighted by the sight of these finds, worthy of another spasm of his patented pleonasm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Stand Off


It is a trusted tenet for Tamalehawk that all patty melts should at first appear nearly menacing, copping a vicious visage that seems to shield you from fielding the unwieldy meal. The flailing onions hiss and whip dismissively, sure to slip stealthily from the deliquesced mess of cheese while the bread acquiesces. Luckily for Tamalehawk, he thrives on food that japes and eludes.

These monsters were made from garlic burgers purchased at Lincoln Quality Meats and packed a face-full of insane flavor. Even the raw meat smelled incredible, which is always a sign of a future fond memory.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Closer Look


Don't be schemed by the casual flashes of green - these deceptive vegetables hide a shameful secret. The whole sandwich is a study in bacon, from the delicate sheen of grease painted on the grilled artichokes and zucchini to the slight shimmer on the outside of the bread.

Tamalehawk couldn't resist dipping his new silicone basting brush in the brackish taupe bacon gold left over from the corn muffins. Just a delicate veneer of unctiousness summoned their inner ignominy and raised the flavor from perfunctory to wonderful. Also, melted chihuahua cheese that gets really stringy and clings together beyond Tamalehawk's wingspan.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Cultivar


Michael Pollan's complex codex wrecked Tamalehawk's head as he read it, stirring up a dozen or so tiny dilemmas for his heavily omnivorous lifestyle. Why doesn't he try harder to eat locally? Why are mushrooms so weird? Why is this part about corn so long? Despite feeling interminable, Tamalehawk was interested in learning about the dark mark that poor corn has worn for the last several decades on its journey from imperial cereal to sad scourge. He also largely stopped buying HFCS, because he felt he really wanted to take some kind of stand. While he never reconsidered his commitment to carnivory, he did make an oath to eat more produce and started reading labels as a matter of habit.

Speaking of corn, Tamalehawk made these bacon-cheddar corn muffins for breakfast recently. Sliced, slathered with butter, and drizzled with honey, these golden grenades made the 59 cent box of Jiffy mix sing. The best part? A leftover mug of bacon grease, Tamalehawk's favorite forbidden condiment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Choosing Sides


Tamalehawk grabbed this cache of basking links from Lincoln Quality Meats, a trusted stalwart part of any Lincoln Square dance. This familiar ditty also always involves a visit to the The Grind, and an update on the massive two-story Gene's Sausage Shop that looms in the heart of the square itself, a stone fortress of a deli opening later this year. Seems like a butcher war is brewing.

This homemade Italian sausage made a cosmic connection with its produce soulmates, peppers and onions, in a very affordable one-pot meal that had Tamalehawk sipping the liquid at the bottom of the casserole dish with all kinds of abandon. He can't bring himself to apologize.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

On The Rise


Tamalehawk has secretly longed for a signature hash, a matchless morning marvel that beckons beaks from nearby nests and abruptly erupts from local lore to international infamy.

While he may still be waiting for a federal hash grant, this was no doubt a significant breakthrough. Tamalehawk tossed potato, onion, carrot, and apple into the snarling awaiting blades of his food processor. He squeezed the excess water out to ensure a brazen browning, spiced liberally, and fried until a concord of crunch and soft was created. Make sure to lay an over-medium egg on top so the broken yoke soaks into the savory shreds. Babyhawk also inhaled this one, dangerously wielding an adult fork with one wobbly wing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Power of Suggestion


It's true Tamalehawk might fight anyone who'd suggest there is something better than homemade cookies. It turns out, though, there's one exception: unexpected homemade cookies that, holy hell, are ridden with hidden hazelnuts.

These discoidal delicacies went from raw materials to totally devoured in less than fifteen minutes. Carefully crafted by Tamalehawk's brother, a persistent peregrine, as a reticent rejoinder to a casual challenge, Tamalehawk singed his wings eating these immediately from the oven. The next day, these four stragglers were still as soft as the day they were born.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In The Red


Plenty of lentils have met a demented end in the crowded and caliginous corners of Tamalehawk's cabinets. He typically picks a solemn sack of the red ones because they cook fast and have a pleasing appearance. He mentally catalogs his many intentions for them before promptly prodding the package into any open zone, crammed on cannelloni and draped over staples.

Luckily, Babyhawk loves these things, causing Tamalehawk to use them in a sudden soup including leeks, carrots, celery, and spices. Splash the veg with sherry vinegar while sautéing to get that critical acid in there. When the lentils were soft, he blasted it with his emulsion blender and finished with cilantro. Babyhawk beaked this for a week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blank Canvas


Maybe it was a lot to ask of a Triscuit. Maybe Tamalehawk should have been content to relent to the cracker's meager reason; eat it plain and refrain from the strain of glopping a topping on its cratered plane. But this wasn't just an idle snack. This was lunch.

Piled with peanut butter, celery, raisins and sunflower seeds, the cracker became a vast valley of promise and potential. Salty, sweet, crunchy and consumed in one bite, Tamalehawk wracked his brain for further modifications. Chili sauce? Pineapple? He vowed to visit the Triscuit lunch again. Also: Ten minutes into Top Chef and he is already enraged with that colossal douchebag Mike. Someone please suvee his face off.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

If It Bleeds


Tamalehawk accidentally presents Part 1 of the Use Your Arugula series, wherein he scrambles to save the tiny leaves from a grievous descent into the garbage by tossing them on top, tucking them in, or burying them beneath any other food item being consumed. As the sad yellow tinge starts to hamper their hue, he'll resort to just eating them despondently straight from the container.

Here, Tamalehawk tried in vain to painstakingly recreate the cover of Bon Appétit, and immediately butterflied the chicken upside down, misplacing the spine and exposing a cage of craggy rib bones. Thankfully arugula obfuscates his mistakes like Dutch hiding from the Predator. Get to the chopper!