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 ├ęclairs 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.