City Gay and Country Gay

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Famous

This post at The Amateur Gourmet makes me feel more famous than having Grandma's recipe listed on Key Ingredient.

Almost Famous

A fancy recipe site has the spritz cookie recipe.

Grandma's Spritz Cookies

This was a cookie my grandma used to make during ...

See Grandma's Spritz Cookies on Key Ingredient.

Friday, June 20, 2008

By the way...

City Gay, you haven't blogged since February. I mean honestly. I'm sure our reader would like to hear from you. Unless you haven't been eating since February and just been living on the General's Juice; then, I guess you have probably turned into pineapple-infused vodka.

An original dish for the pasta file

Dear City Gay:

I've been struggling lately. It's five days until payday, I'm running out of food, and I'm tired of using my credit card to buy groceries. I started digging through my cupboard to avoid running to Sonic for a quick meal. I decided I had enough fixings for spaghetti, but I decided to alter it a bit by using some cream and vodka in the sauce. I have no idea what the exact measurements were, so the following recipe is a total guestimate.

This part's easy. Put water in a pot, throw in some salt, wait for the water to boil, and throw in spaghetti. Duh.

1 pound hamburger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can tomato soup (I think this is the country part; a better ingredient would probably be real tomato sauce.)
Italian seasoning
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vodka
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the hamburger with the minced garlic.
2. Add the tomato soup, Italian seasoning (maybe three tablespoons - I eye-balled this and just kept tasting the sauce), cream, and vodka. I also added about a ladle of the pasta water. Let this simmer for about 1o minutes (or long enough for the strong vodka taste and smell to tone down).
3. Drain pasta, and add the pasta to the sauce.
4. Toss with about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated Parmesan.

Yields: A crapload. Seriously, I'll be eating this for days.

I don't have a picture of it because, frankly, a picture wouldn't have been very exciting, and I was really hungry, so I didn't waste time photographing the meal.

I was surprised how good it was, but because I'm getting rounder by the day, I avoided seconds. I think the cream helps temper the taste and obviously creates a creamy tomato sauce. The vodka taste is subtle. I may not have let the vodka cook off enough because my head feels pretty good. (However, I'm also drinking wine right now, so that is the more likely culprit.) I imagine this would be better using a real tomato sauce, rather than a can of soup, and with fresh herbs, rather than the dried Italian seasoning.

This spaghetti was good in a pinch, and perhaps with a bit of fine-tuning, this could be a pretty good meal.

Country Gay

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hey, cupcake.

Dear City Gay:

It's been awhile. I hope you are recovering from illness and your gambling addiction. Maybe something sweet will brighten your life, and Paula Deen's cheesecake cupcakes could do the trick.

For the traditional end of the year party at which my clique bitches about the end of the school year, I decided to bring a dessert. I thought cupcakes sounded fun, and I thought cheesecake sounded delicious, so thank God Paula Deen combines the two!

The cupcakes are really easy to make, though I found them a bit frustrating. I didn't let the first batch bake long enough, and they pretty much deflated when I took them out of the oven to glaze. However, I discovered this didn't affect the taste or texture. I was more pleased with the second batch that had a nice golden brown color, but they also deflated a bit. I guess the deflation was good so that the glaze would fit nicely, but I was afraid they would just completely sink and be disgusting looking. But after refrigerating for a day and garnishing with fruit, I have to say the were quite tasty.

A bit of the evidence with the recipe to follow:

I bought a new hand mixer just to make these. I imagined the hand mixer my parents received as a wedding gift just wasn't going to cut it any more. The batter is easy to make and full of cream cheese and sugar. My teeth may have rotted a bit just by reading the recipe.

Right out of the oven, the cupcakes don't look incredibly special, even with the glaze. I had a couple of problems with taking them out of the muffin tin, which meant I had to eat a couple. Note: these don't really taste good until they are completely cooled and chilled. They are a bit eggy/custardy when still warm.

I think the fresh raspberries and blueberries make these nice individual desserts and definitely add a summer flair.

Recipe from Paula Deen & Friends: Living it Up, Southern Style
Three 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Kiwi or strawberry slivers, fruit topping or jam, blueberries or raspberries for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 regular muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
3. Fill the cups about half full with the batter. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and golden brown.
4. Make the topping: Combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla and stir well with a metal spoon or spatula. Spoon about a teaspoon on top of each cupcake and return to the oven for 5 minutes to glaze.
5. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. When they can be handled safely, remove them from the muffin tins and let cool completely on wire racks. When complete cool, place them in plastic containers with lids and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, decorate with slivers of freshly cut seasonal fruit, jam, or fruit topping, or 1 or 2 whole brlueberries or raspberries. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 dozen.

The cupcakes seemed to go over well, and I came home with just a few, which I'm sure I'll snarf down tomorrow for breakfast.

On a side note, I had my first escargot tonight. I can't say it was amazing, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The taste was good. (It was served on a mushroom with some sort of breading; it was kind of buttery tasting.) The texture was a bit iffy, but it was pretty much like eating a clam or mussel.

Hope to see you back in the kitchen soon.

Love always,
Country Gay

Monday, May 5, 2008

Photo Test

Dear City Gay:

My new digital camera has a food setting, so I tested it out at Red Robin this weekend.

The picture is fine and so was the hamburger smothered in bleu cheese. The onion straws on the burger were kind of soggy, though, which made made for an unintended chewiness. I'm sure the burger was completely unhealthy, but whatev.

Now perhaps I'll get back into the cooking mode. Yeah, it was the lack of a good camera that was keeping me from cooking. Yeah, that's it.

Country Gay

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saffron and Fire

Dear City Gay:

Here's an update on the outcome of Evin's birthday dinner. Since you were a virtual part of the grocery shopping experience, you need to know how everything went.

The meal, which came from the Vincent Price cookbook, consisted of a simple pea salad, steak flambeaux with a mustard sauce, risotto, and asparagus. Bread pudding provided a down-home, comfort dessert.

There were two notable parts of the meal: the ingredients for the risotto and the flambeaux.

First, the risotto called for a teaspoon of saffron. I had never paid much attention to saffron, but Jeff and I discovered we almost had to whore ourselves out in Fred Meyer to be able to afford one jar of this stuff. Rare and difficult to procure, saffron costs about $20 for a ridiculously small amount. Usually, spices fill the spice jar, but saffron is in a small bag inside the spice jar. I'm sure the teaspoon of saffron added something invaluable to the risotto, but beyond the lovely color, I'm not sure it added much to the taste.

Secondly, was the setting of the steak on fire. I'm fascinated and horrified by setting food on fire on purpose. I'm not sure exactly what was added to the steak (sprinkled with sage and rosemary) by setting them on fire, but it was certainly a spectacular sight. We cooked the steaks in two batches, and I wasn't watching Jeff when the second batch was flambeed; however, since my back was to the stove, I certainly felt it. Apparently, the flames were quite the sight.

Overall, the meal was a success, and I think Jeff and I need to open a Vincent Price restaurant, where he works as head chef, and I'm sous chef. We are talking about doing a Vincent Price meal monthly, which could actually keep this blog alive.

Sorry there are no pictures. One diner suggested I take a picture of my stomach to show where the food went, but I politely declined with a look of horror that there was no way I was putting a picture of my stomach on the blog.

Happy eating,
Country Gay

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Taste Like Snozzberries

I only got 13 out of 20 correct on the candy quiz.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Petits Pains au Chocolat

Chere homosexuelle de ville,

Using this recipe from Bon Appetit (via, I made small versions of pain au chocolat.

I believe pain au chocolat is one of France's greatest contributions to the world. I salivate at the memory of stopping by the bakery down the street from the Hotel St. Lambert to get a fresh pain au chocolat before wandering the streets of Paris. I have been able to get chocolate croissants on other travels, especially when visiting City Gay and going to Cafe Verite or stopping at the French bakery near the Pike Place Market, but none of these croissants ever quite match the taste of the real thing.

The recipe from Bon Appetit is simple and uses puff pastry and chocolate to create small pains au chocolat. The recipe yields 24 pieces, but I cut the pastry bigger and made a dozen. This created a doughier result, but I was afraid cutting the pastry smaller would create pain au chocolat that was too small. I used Hershey's milk chocolate, which, in retrospect, wasn't the best decision but it was handy. For further attempts at this, I will probably use a dark chocolate with a more refined quality than Hershey's. Nutella could also be an interesting filling choice.

Bon appetit, homosexuelle de ville!

Grosses bises,
Homosexuel de campagne

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thanks, Daily Soup

Tonight I made Daily Soup's winter minestrone for Bill, Bug, and the Foxes. I'd never had minestrone, let alone realized how easy it is to make. When I first saw the recipe called for cabbage and butternut squash, I couldn't imagine how the soup would taste, but after mixing everything together and adding the homemade pesto (Who knew this was incredibly easy to make, too?), the strong taste of pesto, garlic, and thyme was shining through. I probably could have eaten several bowls of this, but I held off.

While I don't own the Daily Soup cookbook, I really should. It's a winter staple for soup making with friends. While some recipes may seem complicated, the pay off of a good, solid soup is worth the time and effort of using a lot of ingredients. Go here to buy the cook book.

Here is the recipe for the winter minestrone:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head cabbage, preferably Savoy, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bunch fresh basil stems (leaves removed), tied together with string
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
8 cups basic vegetable stock
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 red potatoes, cut into 1inch cubes
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 (3-inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 cups uncooked spinach radiatore pasta, or any spiral pasta
1 cup prepared basil pesto*
1/2 cup chopped scallions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.

Add the cabbage and sweat for 4 minutes, until wilted.

Add the thyme, basil stems, salt, and pepper and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the stock, squash, potatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan rind and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.

To serve, remove the basil stems and Parmesan rind, ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a dollop of pesto and the chopped scallions.

*Pesto Recipe

1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves (Use the leaves from the stems you put in the soup.)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Put basil leaves, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until ground. While blending, add the olive oil steadily until the mixture becomes a fine paste.

(Before going to the store to buy ingredients for the soup I suggested buying pesto, but this really is so easy to make that it's just silly to not make homemade pesto sauce.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Only in my Dreams

I want to eat like this.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yay football and pizza! It's sooo sooper!

Happy Thuper Bowl errybody. I thought I should share my new favorite thing in pizza innovations.

I'm not a huge proponent of large pizza delivery chains, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Domino's Pizza has taken online ordering to a whole new shiny interactive level.

Once you're done placing your order, you can watch the progress of your pie by checking out their "Pizza Tracker."

Without having to reload the page (because it's a Flash application), the pizza moves from prep to the oven to the box and to your door. It's mesmerizing. Don't ask why, just accept.

The other cool Pizza Tracker feature is you can rate the quality of the food, your feelings about the delivery driver and you're ordering experience overall.

OMG, my pizza just arrived. Gotta run! Go Giants!


I had to share this hilarious bit from a USA Today article about the Pizza Tracker:

"It's technology in search of a problem," says Brian Kardon, chief strategy officer at Forrester Research, a technology researcher. "I don't know how many consumers are twisting and turning over the state of their delivery pizza."

Domino's says plenty are. "It's an emotional roller coaster when you order," McGlothlin says. "Customers wonder: Did they get my order? Are they taking care of me? Will it show up?"

It's an emotional roller coaster, people! But calm yourselves... Domino's has the answer to your pizza anxieties.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Used to Love Bacon

I spotted the picture below at Serious Eats and had to find out more information. This is one of the grossest things I've ever seen, and yet I'm oddly fascinated with it. Maybe it's because it is all made of meat, and you know how I likes me some meat.

I don't quite understand the rolled up piece of meat on all of the pirates' laps. Does that represent something, or am I being dirty? It looks like the pirate is going to spank a Vienna sausage.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Never go to the grocery store hungry.

Hey Country Gay - I thought I'd update you on my dinner quandary since you were privy to it via phone.

I broke the cardinal rule of grocery shopping tonight. What could have been five easy dollars spent at McDonald's turned into thirty slightly-more-difficult dollars spent at QFC.

My dinner: A baguette with butter (not pictured), pickled asparagus (which I love, shut up), goat cheese gouda (had never heard of such a thing before) and a nectarine (which was surprisingly flavorful and juicy for January). I also purchased a couple of frozen food items for desperate situations.

I have to say, this is my favorite kind of dinner. The noshing dinner. I could eat random cheeses and fruits and vegetables every night of the week, especially if it involved a nice red wine. So, I change my mind. I'm going to go to the grocery store hungry more often. Or as long as I can afford it.

I also learned that my cheese board should NOT double as a cutting board. It said as much on a warning sticker, but I had to try anyway.

- City Gay

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We need a new outfit

Dear Country Gay,

As you can see, I'm playing around with the look of our blawg for fun. It's also my current procrastination technique to avoid the things I should be doing.

As you can also see, I'm not very good at drawing ---->>

It's completely unintentional, but completely fantastic, that my mouse looks like Norma Desmond.

Hit me up with some suggestions for the design. I'm just playing right now.

- City Gay

You must be crazy: Spam Musubi and Loco Moco

So sorry for my absence! I've had a hard time getting back on the food bloggin' wagon.

As you know, I was away for a week and a half in tropical paradise, Kauai, Hawaii.

If you've never been to Hawaii before, you might be surprised to know that, in general, the cuisine is pretty... how shall I say... low brow.

That's not to say the food isn't good or that you can't get a fancy meal. It's just that the people of Hawaii tend to enjoy simple comfort foods and fried meats over more creative cuisine.

Two perfect examples that spring to mind are Spam Musubi and Loco Moco.

I had no idea how Spam came to be such a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, so I had to look it up. I mean, even Burger King offers Spam-related breakfast items.

According to Wikipedia:

The Hormel company's canned meat product Spam has been highly popular in Hawaii for decades. Hawaiians are the second largest consumers of Spam in the world, right behind Guam. Originally brought to Hawaii by American servicemen in their rations, Spam became an important source of protein for locals after fishing around the Islands was prohibited during World War II.

Spam Musubi

Image from Seattle Weekly

Spam Musubi is sort of like sushi with Spam instead of fish (except sushi uses vinegared rice and musubi uses salted rice). I didn't actually eat any this trip because I made the mistake of trying it three years ago at the urging of a friend and colleague of mine. I'll never forgive her.

I'm not even one of those anti-Spam people who turns their nose up at the mere mention of the canned meat. There's just something about the combination of a hunk of rice with a hunk of Spam wrapped with seaweed that displeases my taste buds.

Loco Moco

Loco Moco is a much more complicated beast and one that I actually understand. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of my Loco Moco experience, so I went Googling for some visual examples of the dish.

I found this beautiful example:

Photo from James Rubio's photostream on Flickr

But the Loco Moco I ate at a funny little place in Lihue called "No. 1 Chinese and BBQ Restaurant" looked more like this:

Photo from mmm-yoso

So, Loco Moco consists of a big hunk of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with a sunnyside-up egg and then slathered with brown gravy. A big pile of cholesterol, essentially.

And it's kind of delicious. I mean, it's not going to blow your mind with its flavor profile, but it is a quintessential kind of comfort food. At it's core, the real power of this dish is the rice that soaks up the gravy and the runny egg yoke. I wouldn't even need the hamburger. Some restaurants serve Loco Moco with the options of fish, chicken or Kalua pork instead of the hamburger.

Another oddity of Hawaii is that most platters of Hawaiian food are accompanied by a scoop of macaroni salad. Why? I have no idea.

The good news is, I've discovered a Hawaiian restaurant here in Seattle at the Uwajimaya market and they serve Loco Moco should I ever get the craving. I've already been there for a platter of Kalua Pork with cabbage and rice.

Craving some fine dining?

If you find yourself in Kauai and none of the comfort foods appeal to you, I strongly suggest you get yourself to Roy's in the Poipu Shopping Village.

Sure, it's located in a shopping village, but the couple of times I've eaten there, I've enjoyed the most perfectly cooked meats I think I've ever had (osso buco the first time, duck breast the second). Their saucier knows what the hell s/he is doing and the menu is incredibly diverse and creative. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

That's all for now... Aloha, bitches.

- City Gay

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Harden my Heart

Hi, City Gay.

I've never been a huge fan of bacon and eggs, but they sure did make a tasty dinner tonight (country style with ketchup, of course). I'm sure my arteries weren't thrilled, but whatever.

Country Gay

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Dear City Gay:

You created a monster when you sent the America's Test Kitchen cookbook. Last night was All-American Beef Chili night, which was scrumptious. I didn't let it simmer for as long as I should have because it was getting late and those helping to eat the chili would have killed me if I had said, "We just have another 45 minutes." However, the chili was fantastic and packed a nice punch with 1/4 cup of chili powder.

We should start investigating fun places to eat for our spring Not Quite the Gayest Trip Ever In a Fairly Non-Gay Place.

Love you long time.

Country Gay

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

O.M.G. Stew

Dear City Gay:

It's cold in the country, and a nice, homey remedy is a hearty beef stew. As I perused the America's Test Kitchen cookbook, the beef stew stuck out. One of the reasons, beyond its savory appeal, was the picture. The earthy look of the beef, potatoes, carrots, and peas seemed to jump off the page. While I wouldn't normally examine a close-up of stew, I love the texture of this stew.

Last night, I decided it was beef stew night. Making the beef stew is about a three hour process, but sweet Julia Child, it is worth the wait. The combination of flavors - most notably the sweetness of the red wine and thyme - create a flavor that conjures homestyle Sunday dinners.

Apparently, the stew gets better after a couple of days, so I'm excited about the possible taste explosion that waits for me tomorrow.

The recipe follows.

Come back to me, City Gay. I'm missing you something fierce.

Country Gay

Beef Stew
Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours (includes 2 hours simmering time)

1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (I bought the stew meat already cut up even though the cookbook advised against it)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (5 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 cup frozen peas

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry the beef with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half the meat, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with 1 more tablespoon of the oil and the remaining beef.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the empty pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, thyme, bay leaves, and browned beef along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

3. Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cover and continue to cook in the oven until the beef is tender, about 1 hour.

4. Remove the pot from the oven and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the peas and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.