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!