The Beer Bitch

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Archive for the ‘Easy dinners’ Category

A few things

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Hi all.

What’s been going on?

Here are a few of things we’ve been eating lately. 

Ribs and potato salad.  To make the ribs:

Wash and dry the ribs.  Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook on the Webber with charcoal and wood until seared on the outside and smoky tasting (turn every 6 minutes or so, so you don’t burn the meat.)  Throw into the oven, covered and smothered in BBQ sauce and then wrapped tight in heavy duty aluminium foil.  Bake 3 hours at 250 F.  The meat will literally fall off the bones.

I used a store bought BBQ sauce which is tasty, but then made the mistake of reading the ingredients while we were sitting at the kitchen table.  High fructose corn syrup is not my favorite thing, and from now on we’ll be making our own BBQ sauce.  I should have made some in the first place, but sometimes I’m just lazy.

Then there was this:

Pesto and salad before.

Pesto and salad after.

Tasty, tasty pesto.

I used to think that I didn’t like pesto, because it was something my Dad would buy at the store and toss with pasta when it was his turn to cook.  Blech.

It’s a whole different beast when you go into your own garden and pick big bunches of basil leaves, grate some parmigiano reggiano, drizzle in some tasty local olive oil, mash up a lot of garlic cloves with a big knife, toss in a handful of toasted pine nuts, scrape the zest off a lemon and squeeze the fresh juice in, and then blitz it all up in your shiny food processor.

It was simple, quick and so delicious.  The next night we made a pizza out of the leftover pesto, with onions, bell peppers, sausage, kalamata olives and fresh mozzerella.  But I figured you were tired of seeing pizza pictures.

Speaking of things from our garden, here is a picture of the first little batch of tomatoes picked from the garden.  Nothing tastes like a fresh-picked tomato.  Farmer’s Market tomatoes are good, but not nearly as flavorful as a tomato still warm from the afternoon sunshine, and sprinkled with just a hint of crunchy salt.  It’s going to be a beautiful summer. (Remember I said that next time I’m bitching about the hundred plus heat around here.)

I tried to keep my still bandaged finger out of the picture, but failed.  Sorry.  You don’t want to see what’s underneath that bandaid.

There’s an update coming on the kimchi (hint:  it’s delicious,) but my camera’s dying, and I need some breakfast soon.

Have a great day.


The Beer Bitch

Written by thebeerbitch

July 21, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Easy dinners, Obsessions

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Playing Catch Up

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Um… hi.

Uh… sorry I haven’t written lately.  I noticed that you never call or write either though.

Whatevs.  I guess it doesn’t matter who’s to blame, let’s just catch up on what’s been going on lately.

It’s been frakking hot here lately.  It’s hard to cook when it’s 111 F outside.  It makes me want to shove the kegerator down the creepy stairs of the creepy basement, and make friends with the spiders.

Speaking of the creepy basement, I took a picture for you.

It’s scary down there, but cool.  Which makes it a good place to store my fermenting pickles and kimchi.

I can’t wait to try the kimchi.  Firstly, because kimchi is delicious.  Secondly, because I sorta made up the recipe as I went along, which could be especially distastrous.  I’ll give you the deets if things work out.  It should be ready to eat tomorrow.  (My lack of being able to follow recipe instructions is 100% of the reason I am a terrible baker.  I have switched to using a scale to weigh my dry ingredients, which has helped some.)

For dinner, we’ve had some roasted broccoflower (which I’m assuming was brocolli romanesco, but Trader Joe’s had the packaging all weird.)

Garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook ’til done at 450 F.  Should take about 30-40 minutes.  Those brown, seared bits are the best part.

We also made some spaghetti one night when I got home late.  Let me give you the recipe:

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

One can of San Marzano tomotoes smooshed up with your hands (WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST)

One onion cut in half, remove the skin

5 ounces of butter

Salt to taste

Simmer 45 minutes over medium low heat; which is about as long as it takes to boil the water for the noodles.   Throw out the onion.  Toss a pound of cooked spaghetti in the sauce.

I kid you not, this sauce will blow your mind.  SO SIMPLE.  SO GOOD.  Make this as soon as possible.  And whatever you do, don’t fuck around with it and use olive oil instead of butter, or add garlic and other spices.  Make it just the way I said to.  You’ll be happy you followed instructions when you’re licking the bottom of the plate to get up every last tasty bit of buttery, oniony, savory sauce.  Also, the onion doesn’t taste very good, so don’t be tempted to chop it up and mix it into the sauce.  I’m only warming you because I have made all these mistakes myself already, and regretted every one.

Serve with with arugula salad with onions, ricotta salata, lemon juice, and good olive oil. 

There were some other meals, some were repeats and not worth mentioning, but I might save some for later.  You see, last night, while I was chopping up some toppings for another pizza I sliced straight through the top of my finger, through the nail, and I’m assuming right into the bone.  So, I have a mighty pain today, and Sean is laughing at me as I type away at my little laptop with my index finger sticking straight up in the air.

So, I may not be doing any cooking for a few days.  But, that’s not the say that Sean won’t be cooking, because we are cheap, and reclusive, and rarely eat out because it’s so much cheaper and easier to cook at home.  Also, we have beer here, and are finding it harder and harder to come up with reasons to go anywhwere but the Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s and the Firestone Walker for kegs.

Speaking of which, a beer might ease this pain in my throbbing, still bleeding little finger.

I’m gonna go have a beer and some pain killers.

We’ll have to talk about you next time.


The Beer Bitch

Written by thebeerbitch

July 11, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Pizza and wasting beer

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I’ve been a little obsessed with pizza lately, but it’s been really hot here.  Like 111 degrees F hot for a few days, and it is hard to get motivated to cook on days that hot.  I will note though: a cold beer sure is delicious when it’s hot oustide.

So, Sunday was the first day we’ve really cooked in a while.  Unforutanately, I had to work, so Sean said he would throw together the pizza dough for me.  Also unfortunately, one of my coworkers recommended using porter in the pizza dough instead of water.  Luckily for us, Sean made the dough as I suggested and made a second dough with porter.  Because the dough with the porter: EPIC FAIL.  What a waste of good beer!

To make a long story short, when I got home form work on Sunday at about 8:00, we lit the barbecue to grill our pizzas.  There was enough dough for 4 pizzas, so I started with one half of the original recipe, and one half of the one with the porter, and dumped the other two halves in the fridge for a later date.

The first pizza spent two minutes on the barbecue before catching on fire.  I hear about people grilling pizzas all the time, but we have already burnt two pizzas on our grill.  I’m starting to think this “grilling pizzas” thing is some sort of “urban legend.”

So, pizza number two, was an attempt with the porter.  The dough was flat, dense, and would not stretch.  I struggled with it for a few minutes, and then threw it, and it’s ugly twin sister, in the trash.

At this point I turned on the oven, which I should have done in the first place, but was loath to do so because of the oppressive heat.  Lucky for me it wasn’t such a factor at 10 at night.  When we finally did eat, at close to 11, the pizza was delicious.  I just think that from now on I might stick to recipes from reliable sources, and not some dude who’s diet consists mainly of beer. *

The toppings included: mozzarella, red onion, red bell pepper, brown mushrooms, salami, spicy soppresetta, and that old tomato sauce that is so simple and sooooooo good.

In the end I sprinkled the fourth pizza with fresh parmigiano reggiano, and served it with a little arugula salad, with sliced onions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and ricotta salata.  And, a tasty glass of Walker’s Reserve, the aforementioned porter.  It was delicious.

And all was good in the world again.

* I am a huge advocate of beer, and food, but not people who don’t really eat any food and just replace those missing calories with beer.  I’m just sayin’.

Written by thebeerbitch

June 25, 2008 at 2:20 am

Salad, Pasta and Pizza

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I am always looking for new recipes to try, and have been eyeing a few from Orangette for a while.  I keep finding myself attracted to recipes from mostly vegetarian sites, even though I am far from a vegetarian, and have an Anthony Bourdain-like disdain for vegetarians.  Weird, but true.  (Maybe my veggie obsession is why my brother has taken to calling Sean and I “dirty hippies who stink?”  First of all, we don’t even smoke pot, and second of all, I do stink sometimes, but never of patchouli or anything vaguely hippie.  Mostly I stink of sweat (it’s hot here!) and/or onions, but I digress…)

This Orangette recipe has been calling my name for a while.  I love onions, and I love cheese.  I pulled out my trusty copy of Mario Batali’s Babbo cookbook though, and found that Miss Molly of Orangette had substituted water for the chicken stock (which Batali said you could do, but still!  Do you see what I mean about vegetarians?  They are not to be trusted.)  Nonetheless, it took me a while to find the ricotta salata, but once it was in hand all I could think about was making this onion and cheese pasta.

But, then I got side-tracked again and noticed this salad. I decided I would make that too, but substitute ricotta salata for the feta because ricotta salata is so good.  It’s my new favorite cheese.

So I sliced up all these onions:

And we cooked them for a lot longer than the recipe(s) called for, but it still wasn’t long enough.  Everything turned out kinda blah.  I didn’t even take a picture of the finished product.

Surprisingly, (because it was more of an afterthought, and to be honest I was a bit skeptical of all the ingredients but the cheese and the avocado) the salad was fucking delicious.  I could eat it every day.  Really.  It was crunchy, and bitter, and salty, and so satisfying in texture and taste.

So, after the disappointment of the vegetarian pasta ( I should have known better,) and the surprising yumminess of the salad, I decided we should make something we knew we would like last night.

Oh baby!  This pizza was good.

This pizza dough + this sauce + thinly sliced red onions + thinly sliced brown mushrooms + hot italian sausage crumbled and cooked = pizza that’s better than anything you can buy around here.

And we didn’t even have to leave the house.

And my brother can stop calling me a fucking hippie.

Written by thebeerbitch

June 17, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Easy dinners, Obsessions

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Two of my favorite things

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Written by thebeerbitch

June 10, 2008 at 12:02 am

Cuban Sandwiches

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I have a confession.

I’ve been thinking about Cuban Sandwiches for a while now.  I tend to get something (food related) on the brain, and then I can’t stop thinking about it.  And, I don’t know about you, but it’s really better for me to just bite the bullet, and make whatever it is that I’m obsessing about, or I end up eating far too much of something else to fill that gaping hole in my belly that is screaming out “FEED ME SOME CUBANS!”

But your belly may not be as bossy as mine is though.  I don’t know.

There was just one small obstacle in my way: Sean seems to be allergic to ham.  Like, break out in hives and be miserable allergic.  So it didn’t look like we were going to be eating Cubans anytime soon.

But then, the stars aligned, and we had homemade pickles and a pork roast in the fridge and we both thought it would be a good time to buy a little ham, and make the sandwiches, hives be damned!

Well, a little ham turned into a 10 pound bone-in beast.  In our defense the only way we could be sure it was real food was to buy bone-in, and that was the smallest one we could find.  Also, ham is super cheap.  I think we paid $15 for that monster.

The ham came home with us, went straight into the oven, and after a few hours I coated it with apricot jam, grainy mustard, and brown sugar.  It is sooooo good.  And, Sean may need to start taking some kind of antihistamine soon.  In large doses.

So, to make a Cuban sandwich here’s what you do:

Rinse and dry a pork roast.  Chop up an onion, and brown it in a dutch oven, and then brown the roast too.  (Simple: salt, pepper, cook ’til done.)  Throw the whole mess in the oven at 300F for 2 or 3 hours.

Get a big ham.  Rinse it, dry it, throw it in the oven at 350F for three hours.  Then glaze it.  And throw it back in there for another half hour or so.

Take it out to rest for 20 minutes, and slice it.

Now you got your ham, your got your pork roast, you just need some cheese (swiss is traditional, but not my favorite cheese, so I subbed in jack,) mustard, and pickles.  Pile it all on a roll, and if you have a panini press or some fancy thing like that, press that baby.  If you have a grill pan like us, just lay it on there and smush it with something heavy (like a dutch oven and a tea pot.)

Try not to burn one side of it in the mayhem of trying to get the dogs out of the kitchen.

Slice (or not) and serve.

Porky, hammy, pickly, cheesy Nirvana.

Totally worth the hives.  (I think… I don’t know obviously.)

Anyway, I’m sure there will be more ham adventures coming, because there’s still a shitload of it in the fridge.

And as always, don’t forget the beer.

Written by thebeerbitch

May 23, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Easy dinners, Obsessions

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Simple Pleasures

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I got home from work the other day to find this in our backyard. Is that not a lovely picture of beautiful Baja Daisies? There were also some Modelo Especials and some Dos Equis Ambers in that cooler. It was hot here, and cold, cold beers were definitely a happy welcome home from work.

Because it had been so hot, Sean and I decided to make a simple dinner out of the tomatoes that we bought at the Farmer’s Market, some bread I’d made that morning, and fresh mozzarella. We were in agreement that plain basil leaves are teh suck, so I broke out my flavor shaker, and mixed up a clove of garlic, a bunch of basil, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil to top our tomatoes. It was spicy, from the raw garlic, and deadly for our breath, but extremely tasty. The bread was good for piling on the deconstructed salad or for just sopping up the mess that the dressing left behind. It was maximum yum, for very little effort.

Pay no mind to all the dressing dribbles on the counter. I’m not perfect.

In other news, our pickles are AWESOME!

They’re the inspiration for tonight’s dinner: Cuban Sandwiches. I’ve been roasting pork in the oven for the last three hours, and it smells delicious. So, I’m off to the store for ham and some cheese, and I’ll be back later with pictures of all the porky, pickly goodness.

Written by thebeerbitch

May 22, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Easy dinners

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