City Gay and Country Gay

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.