Sins against Italy – Carbonara

20131124-183313.jpgThe temperature in Chicago this morning was in the single digits. This isn’t OK. After I returned from California a few months ago, I realized that living in Chicago is a choice. I’ve deemed it a bad choice.

Nevertheless, cold weather is good for a few things:

  • Selling clothes
  • Killing off germs
  • Exposing people’s true self. Everyone’s nice when it’s 78 and sunny, but few people are nice in an arctic tundra.
  • Justifying eating more carbs

To the dismay of my female friends, I’ve yet–and hopefully never–to have any issues with carbs and gaining weight. I credit my Italian ancestry for this evolutionary advantage.

Tonight’s dinner was my first attempt at the Italian classic, pasta carbonara. I rarely have bacon in the house, so almost every dish I’ve made this past week has included a few strips. You may be asking yourself, “Why does he still have bacon left?” Valid question, but you’re the one talking to yourself.

This is often described as one of the easiest dishes in the Italian cookbook. None of the techniques required are difficult, nor does this take a lot of time. But it does require cheese–Parmesan or Pecorino. I had neither in the house and it’s too damn cold to go out again. Thusly, committing one of the gravest of sins for an Italian. I fear that if my ancestors saw the cheese-less atrocity tonight, they’ll curse me with pots of water that will never boil.

Here’s the rundown:

Serves 2-4, depending if anyone is hangry.

  • 1lb pasta, typically spaghetti or farfalle. I had rigatoni and┬ácampanelle
  • 2-4 strips of bacon, cut into squares (this is why I still have bacon)
  • handful or two of frozen peas
  • 4-6 kale leaves (cleaning out the fridge)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese. Other recipes call for cheese and cream/milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Salt/pepper
  1. Cook the pasta as directed.
  2. In a frying pan, cook the bacon. Once it’s getting crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place onto a paper towel. Bikini season may seem far away, but so will your toes if you eat a quart of bacon fat.
  3. Add the kale and garlic to the frying pan/bacon grease. Let cook on low for 3 minutes.
  4. The pasta should be done by now (~10 minutes). Drain it and save a half cup of pasta water.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, separate the egg yolks from the rest of the eggs. I’ll have to post a video of this at some point too. There are also lil gadgets you can use. Or you can use your manos. Beat the yolks with the cheese. Add the drained pasta to the yolks/cheese. Add the bacon and kale. Top with some bread crumbs and salt/pepper.
  6. Take a pic and post on instagram with the #bachelorbasics.

 

Eggs are Eggs, Jeremy!

eggs, bacon, breakfast

Some days you only have one slice of lunch meat left. And you know what they say. When life gives you an insufficient amount of meat for a sandwich, make an omelette. For some reason, that phrase never caught on as much as the one about lemons.

After a phenomenal concert last night at the Chicago Theater featuring Irvin Mayfield and the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, NOJO and some of my favorite Chicago players, I needed a bit of a lazy morning today. Whoever conceived of the 5-day work week should be found and [your violent act here]. I took today off anticipating a lethargic day ahead.

How to create this delicious omelette:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 slice of ham, chopped small
  • 2 strips of bacon, medium dice
  • a few slices of yellow onion
  • broccoli, small handful diced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Crushed red pepper, one shake
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 sprig thyme

I sauteed the bacon first. Then drained it on a paper towel. Cooked the onion and broccoli in the bacon fat for ~3 minutes. Put those in a bowl.

Put 1tsp oil in the pan and swirl it around. Beat 3 eggs with a fork. Dump the eggs into the hot pan and start pulling the rapidly cooking sides into the center. I’ll post a video of this at some point. The key is to not brown or burn the eggs, so you have to keep it moving. My pan was super hot so it was cooking hella quick, as they say in California. My intended omelette quickly morphed into a scrambled egg effort.

Dump in your veggies and cheese if you have it. Then either fold (omelette) or stir (scrambled) around. You can also eat this in a burrito. Just saying. Eggs take 3-4 minutes AT MOST to cook. Enjoy your second breakfast of the day.

Will Eating This Kill Me?

Eat by Date

One of my favorite games to play is “Is this still good?” with food in my fridge. Normally, I stick to a one-week cycle. That’s only for whether or not I eat the food. Oftentimes it stays in the fridge for more than a week. But most meats/leftovers are good for 4-5 days.

This site was promoted on Thrillist. Eat by Date is easily searchable for whatever is lurking in your ice box. They advise that guac only lasts 1-2 days in the fridge. I’d argue it only lasts 1-2 minutes before I devour it.

So before you gamble on those eggs for your breakfast, consult the site.

Confessions of a Carbivore – A Day Without Carbs

“Is there anything you don’t eat on a tortilla?” a friend commented on a recent food pic.

Looking through my food-heavy feed on instagram I realized the common theme: tortillas and carbs.

I recall learning about the food pyramid but my journalism background may have led me to invert it and consume an ungodly amount of carbs and whole grains. Thankfully my Italian metabolism destroys them like pac-man chomps ghouls.

Previously, I claimed there were only three things preventing me from being the next Bachelor:

  • larger pecs
  • abs
  • being a douche

Continue reading Confessions of a Carbivore – A Day Without Carbs

Hangover Breakfast Ideas When You Can’t Even

hangover-breakfast

Image

No matter how many times I go out and drink to the wee smalls, I often neglect to get that fourth meal to absorb that devil juice that makes me talk to random people at bars. This often leads to massive starvation when I wake up wondering just how many lemmings are hammering away inside my head.

After taking my morning after pill (Tylenol), I make some cereal to feed the whiskey beast in my stomach. Then I find it best to go slumber for a spell. Today I worked on an egg variation including hot italian sausage, red and bell peppers. Eggs are fantastic for their versatility. You can put almost anything in eggs. Anything. Even Tylenol.

For this hangover breakfast creation, I browned the sausage, red onion and peppers for about 5-6 minutes. Dumped it onto a plate once it was done. Then melted butter in my skillet. Once the butter was bubbling, I poured in two fork-beaten eggs. After moving the eggs around with a wooden spoon and allowing the runny egg into the created crevices, I added the sausage mixture back in, then folded the egg on top of itself.

Turn your phone off. Make some toast. Eat. Go back to sleep swearing off alcohol.

Breakfast Showdown: Me vs. Ronald Q. McDonald

Veggies and bacon

I was recently informed that McDonald’s southwest breakfast wrap was no longer available for a buck. Years ago, my boss used to grab them and during her carb-free days would ask me if I wanted the tortilla. I will go on record as to never turning down a tortilla. Ever.

Much like a drug pusher I was warned about during D.A.R.E., she hooked me on the breakfast burrito. It served as a gateway food. In a mere hours I would have the itch for bigger, meatier burritos that were affectionately referred to as “productivity killers” in the office. And yes, I do realize I was begging for her unwanted scraps a la Oliver Twist. Continue reading Breakfast Showdown: Me vs. Ronald Q. McDonald