Archive for Fast

So you think you can’t cook…..

Posted in Food, Gaming, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by urbannight

Here is another fast and easy recipe for those who think they are kitchen challenged or those who just don’t feel like cooking from scratch. Like when you decided to play Star Wars The Old Republic for May Fourth and you end up playing for three days straight.

1 pound

Start with a lb of ground beef. Brown up in a large sauce pan. Season with black pepper or cayenne (if you are like me) or both (something I also do). If you use beef with a high fat content (70/30), make sure to drain it. If you use beef that is too lean you sacrifice some of the flavor. Even thought I use seasoning I can still tell flavorless beef from flavorful beef. I use 80/20 most of the time because 85/15 has gotten really hard to find. I used to use it all the time.

Black Beans

Lets talk about black beans. These are my favorite. Even thought I’ve not gotten the knack of cooking with them from scratch. Canned black beans will save a ton of time and are great for fast, easy dishes.

Take one can and drain well. If you add water to the can, shake well, and drain again, repeating for a total of 5 times to get the water to run clear. Or put in a colander with small holes and rinse out the black stuff it is packaged in. They will cook up clearer (won’t turn your dish black) and it gets rid of a lot of the sodium it is packed in. Don’t worry, I will be putting sodium back in elsewhere. I use the rinse and repeat method to cut down on dirty dishes. I’ve been known to dirty a lot of dishes when cooking so I like to cut back on that when I can. Toss in on top of cooked beef.

Normally, I have a horribly low opinion of canned potatoes. Sliced and whole ones cook up horribly. I don’t have that problem with diced canned potatoes. Use one can and rinse but don’t worry about doing it 5 times. Just a couple of times to clear out the sodium. Toss on top of the beef and beans.

Now I add three cups of water and two beef bullion cubes. These are high in sodium which is why I try to get rid of it from the cans. I know there are other forms of bullion that are not so high in salt but I don’t know the amounts to get the results I want as I do for the cubes. Let simmer a while to heat beans and potatoes all the way through and to mingle the flavor of the cooked beef with the bullion with the beans.

Northwoods Fire

You can season this simply with black pepper. It will taste a bit like beef stew. Or you can use chili powder to have a chili like flavor. In that case, you may want to add a can or two of tomato sauce instead of water. I kept it soup like and used Northwoods Fire from Penszeys to season.

I would show you the end result but I ate it while I was typing this.   I just can’t keep it in the pan long enough to photograph.  It is too yummy.  There is more at home tucked up in containers for other lunches.  Yummy lunch.  I can’t wait until lunch tomorrow to eat the other bowl.    If you make proper servings with a salad and veggie side, you get 5 servings out of it.  I tend to put more in my containers and only get three servings.  It’s easier to do lunches that way and have a veggie heavy dinner.

The Monday Blahs

Posted in Art, Books, Education, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Tea, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by urbannight

I’m feeling particularly Blahish today.  I was up too late playing SW’TOR.  I hoped to get my Sith Inquisitor up to lvl 16 and on her ship.  Her first companion would be a freaky looking, non-romanceble monster.  But that is my Dark Path character and he is a good guide for convo options that lead farther down the dark path.  I plan to play a Light Path Sith and a Dark Path Jedi as well to see what happens. 

Shadowrun is on hiatus for 6 weeks.  The GM’s creative writing course is ‘kicking him in the ass’ and he feels he can’t do both right now.  He is up to still getting together on Mondays, just so long as it isn’t a game he has to run and put time, effort, and energy into.  I know I shouldn’t end a sentence that way, but my brain just isn’t up to rewriting the sentence.  I think it goes back to staying up way to late on a Sunday night. 

But there will be NO Monday meeting tonight.  I do have a dinner tonight with my stitching group.  Petrow’s.  Yummy food.  Reasonable prices.  Good conversation.  And I get to give a scarf away.  If I finish it at lunch.  I should.  There is only a small amount of yarn left and then I just have to stitch up the tails.

I also got a Tardis all drawn out.  I may stop at the fabric store and try to pick something out.  I think I’ll make it up into a throw pillow.  I’ve pretty much decided on two forms right now.  A bluework piece on black and a blackwork piece.  The advantage is that I can use the same basic outline.  I’ll do the easier one first.  I’m leaning towards doing it on black silk, black velvet, or black crushed velvet.  Not sure yet.  I’ll have to take a look at the fabric first.

The morning is passing in extreme tedium and I’m dying here.  I’ve planned, plotted, and toyed with all sorts of ideas.  I re-organized all the desk top icons.  I read an article last week on why John Carter tanked at the box office and am thinking about writing a blog discussing those points and explaining why it was actually a good movie and people really ought to go see it.  But then my brain reminds me that it won’t be properly awake for a while longer and that is too much work right now. 

I would be so much happier if the phone were ringing off the hook with new claim calls.  I love busy days.  Well, sometimes I hate them.  But I always love how fast they make the day pass.

I’m trying to work out my plans for Saturday.  I have a wedding shower to attend and an Austinian tea party to attend.  Thankfully, it is not on Sunday.  I have a stitching group that day.  It would have been too much to juggle.  I don’t have appropriate period dress, but that is okay.  If I have fun, I can always make something up.  The hostess is short and large chested as well and has patterns she figured out for dealing with that issue.  I mean Austinian as in a Jane Austin recreationist group.  Just in case people didn’t figure that one out.

I’ve known for years that I have too many hobbies.  I wish days were longer but people still only needed the same amount of sleep.  Then I might find time to do more of them.  Or keep them all caught up at the same time.  I suppose I better focus.  Maybe some serious caffeine will help.

Once Upon a Hamburger

Posted in Food, Life with tags , , , , , , , on September 22, 2011 by urbannight
The Burgers Went Missing

Hamburgers

Cheap hamburgers

Cheap crappy hamburgers.

 Cheap, crappy, warmed over, gas station hamburgers wrapped in foil gently aging under heat lamps.

Once upon a time these were the mainstay of long road trips when meal time rolls around and the nearest food joint is over an hour away.  They were the life saving ambrosia at 1:00 am when you’ve decided to drive through the night to cut out a hotel bill.

A thin slab of processed mystery meat a worrisome shade of grey and a plain old bun.  If you eat them too often you may get ill. But once in a while, under the right circumstances, they taste like the best thing on Earth.

 

Or they once did.

 

I slept late today.  I’ve been up until midnight or later all week long.  I wanted to squeeze every last second of sleep I could get this morning.  No time for making breakfast.

 

All I wanted, all I CRAVED was a crappy, foil wrapped, gas station hamburger.

 

No one had them anymore.

 

They had cheese burgers and strange potato things shaped like hot dogs.  They had crispy burrito things.  I’ve tried them before and don’t like them. It’s the strange, processed, mystery cheese they put in them.  I don’t like it.  The warming trays where the hamburgers used to sit are filled with breakfast biscuits with sausage, chicken or ham with cheese or egg and cheese. 

 

They have hamburgers in the cold section.  They make the break look fancier, put cheese on them, and are trying to make the meat look and sound more upscale.  But then you have to microwave it.

 

(Side note: if you are driving thought a state that does not tax groceries.  If you buy it cold and then heat it you do not get charged tax.  If you heat it first then buy it, you are charged tax.  Cold it is a grocery.  Heated it is fast food. Strange rule.)

 

I think that gas stations are trying to offer ‘trendier’ food in an effort to seem more upscale.  But they put cheese on EVERYTHING.

 

I like cheese.  I like it for itself.  I like to try different kinds of cheese.  I like it plain or on a cracker.  I do not like it on or in most foods.  And the strange cheese used in fast food is even worse.

 

You can’t find a classic, gas station burger.  At least not at the places I stopped this morning.  The type of burger that makes you think of Wimpy and makes you want to say, “I’ll gladly pay you tomorrow for a burger today” just for the amusement factor.  So many of the people working at gas stations are too young to recognize the quote anymore.

 

I did not get any of the alternatives.  I decided to skip it and mourn the passing of a cultural icon to convenient travel food.