30 June 2011

Breakfast Sandwich (Come at Me, Denny's!)

June 2011
Alhambra, CA, US


A request from Alina Frowne (Link):

Admittedly, that video has almost nothing to do with what I'm going to assault you with today. I've been cooking this woman stacks of hotcakes and pounds of sausages for years now. She'll forgive me. Maybe.

Instead, we're changing the game with an egg, ham and provolone sandwich.

An admittedly "CURRENT LEVEL" Sandwich
"But, Paul," you might be muttering to yourself, "that sounds so much like Denny's 'Moon over My Hammy' business. You're unoriginal."

Well, you're right about that first part, Denny's does provide that service (Link). The problem is, however, the dang thing is unseemly as hell and salted to the nines. When one makes contact with the sandwich, grease spews forth--a confusing tsunami smothering the Daiichi reactor cooling generators on your tastebuds.

"Am I on a 19th century merchant schooner?," you ask yourself as the salted hard tack bread reminds you of maritime sea rations. "No... these yellow sponges are definitely egg-like and this 'cheese' seems like it is intended to mold over a 4 month sail to Indoostan." Then again, the nutritional contents seem like something to combat Marine starvation.

Credit: Coheso Personal Health Management Tools (Link)
Worry not: let us achieve this sandwich under the 6 dollar sticker price and the other unwanted baggage.


Ovaries over My Thighs (working title)

1 Hygge Bakery Italian dough sandwich bread                      $1.00
2 eggs                                                                                  $0.75
1/4lb ham (the good stuff)                                                     $1.25
4 slices Provolone cheese (the "okay" stuff)                           $0.50
2tbsp salted butter                                                                $0.10
salt and pepper                                                                     really?
TOTAL:                                                                              $3.60

To be honest, I've got no clue about the nutritional content. I do, however, highly doubt that these add up to 180% DV cholesterol and over 100% DV sodium.

Cut the bread:

Mix the eggs:

Fry the magic:


Mission: accomplished.



26 June 2011

Shrimp Tempura Reckoning

June 26, 2011
Alhambra, CA, US


It was only a matter of time. This day had been years in the making. So sweet was the sun setting--an appropriate metaphor for what was about to happen.

Today: I made shrimp tempura.

Yes, that is a shredder used as a drying rack. What? I'm poor! Back off, pal!

This begins with a trip to Woori Market (Link) out in Little Tokyo. Excuse me, sir. Is that jumbo Thai shrimp for 5 bucks a pound? Yessir, I'll take all I can afford! A whopping 2.3 pounds! Getting ritzy up in here!

I planned out the recipe. America's Test Kitchen does a wonderful vodka batter tempura (Link) but seeing how I'm out of vodka and a subscription to the website, Tyler Florence will have to do (Link).

First we wash the shrimp of its sins. It's a baptism, baby!

(Click image for .gif)

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! (A-Trak goes a blaring)

Seltzer, egg and ice. It's a cure for a hangover somewhere in the world, I'm sure. Why did I not show you it with the flour? And for that matter, why did I not record the battering process? These are very good questions. Very good questions, indeed.

Here's something deep frying to distract you:

Ain't it pretty. A few turns and batches later, we have the whole thing done. Until we fry it again! Muahaha!

Then, since I am an unrepentant sloth, I switched out a very delicate and sharp dipping sauce for instant curry.

College has done terrible things to my sense of self worth.

Of course, this was done all on a lark. Next time, I plan to actually get on that vodka recipe. And probably drink the rest of the fifth which remains.


25 June 2011

The Hot Dog Bun Holy Grail

June 24, 2011
Los Angeles, CA, US

After a lifetime of enjoying what can only be described as man's no-homo gift to man, I've discovered how to make a hot dog bun.

This is an unqualified Good. Your life is meaningless without it.

Using Hygge Bakery soft dough and Evergood Louisiana Hot Link Sausages, I've taken something from my Chinese childhood and forged it into something nigh unspeakable.

I'm not satisfied, though... let's pick up this fight next week.



Zombie Crawls: A Silver Springs Encounter

October 2011
Silver Springs, MD, US


There were rumours--unsettling rumours. The dead would walk amongst the living in hundreds, if not thousands. And they were converging a mere 10 miles away from my apartment to harvest an intoxicating annual crop.

"Yeah. Everyone turns into a zombie for a few hours and then goes to bars." Paige (my partner intern at "All Things Considered")  spoke about the event as if it were completely normal.

I stared back at her with an existential dismay. What does it mean to be human? What science, evil or wizardry bring the dead back? Can one truly be friends with a zombie? I decided that I had to see for myself.

"Stop staring at me," said Paige. Either Paige was an emotional rock or she was a zombie sympathizer. I kept her in the corner of my eye for the rest of the day--just in case.


Panic cloaked in awe: zombies were real and they were massing at a tiny bar in Southern Maryland.

I quickly tacked on to a small squad of survivors which quartered itself in an alley nearby. In between zombie attacks and supply raids, they had spilt their dreams and histories to me.

"How long can we keep killing [zombies]? We keep losing survivors--there has to be a better way," Paula explains on why she won't use lethal weaponry on zombies in any circumstance. Instead, she has created a weaponized experimental cure for zombieism which she hopes will at least partially return zombies to humanity. Field tests have shown effective but only for a few minutes after injection.

Paula's philosophy seems well founded. Around the corner are non-aggressive zombie-activists, politely grunting and steadfastly holding signs advocating zombie rights.

"I don't know about that. We came down here to kill zombies. And that's what we'll do."

These three survivors had jumped on the nearest train to come to Silver Springs. It was a slow Friday night and when they heard word of the zombie uprising, they raided the nearest ammo depot in preperation for the fight. In the above image, "Bait" attempts to repair a snapped rifle. But he would have no time. There was movement in the zombie bar.

Piercing shrieks signaled the beginning of the rampage towards downtown. And in it, I could see unfortunate souls taken from mundane but otherwise normal and safe lives.

Whilst at their homecoming dance, the above group was hit with an airborne version of what they surmised to be a virulent zombie virus. Once they felt an uncanny taste for flesh, they tore up their formal wear and consumed their entire freshman class; fully embracing their new un-lives

A refreshing raison d'etre embraced by these nice folks.

And these

And these as well

Freed from their humanity, the undead--by the very definition of their new status--are born into a radical equality. In un-death, all are equal and beyond cliques and prejudices.

Others maintained much more of their humanity. Below is a wonderful pair of vegetarian zombies. Legitimate vegetarians at that; none of the Twilight "I eat animals but still call myself a vegetarian because Stephanie Meyer doesn't understand her latin root words" vegetarianism.

Truly, a sweet couple. They both survived the horde's breakthrough into downtown. A spearhead which was looking pret-ty good.

Paramilitary humanist groups were able to hold Main St. for a few minutes--just barely enough time to call for a few scattered reinforcements. Just enough time to evacuate civilians.

Once reinforcements arrived, the resistance met with crucial logistical mistakes. Easily flanked and unable to reload quickly enough, the survivors were torn apart and the battle ended predictably.

Very predictably.

In little over a half hour, there were no more survivors.

The horde, now dozens stronger, pushed  faster through downtown until it reached its target: the AFI's midnight screening of Dawn of the Dead. Amidst the last screams of human victims, the horde finally ended its unstoppable charge.

Filled to bursting with the customary dinner before a movie, the zombies did what zombies do best. They shuffled towards the box office and, ever so patiently, they waited.

Date night never looked so savage.