Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Italian Sub

This week I didn't know what to make for my lunches. I lost my appetite a bit over some stress lately and I just didn't feel like making anything, I was grocery shopping just to pick up the basic things - milk, orange juice, cereal, eggs, etc. Then, while walking by the meat section, I saw a freezer full of meat sliced especially for Chinese fondue and I thought "Hmm, that would be good in a sandwich." Then it hit me. It's almost exactly the same as what they use in Italian subs at some of the greasy spoons around town such as George le Roi du Sous-Marin (which means George the king of the sub in case you didn't notice). The thought of those deliciously oily savoury meaty sandwiches had me convinced, I was eating Italian subs for my lunches this week. Also, they're simple and super easy to make when you don't really feel like cooking much. So here's what you need.


  • Submarine sandwich bread
  • Chinese fondue style thin beef slices
  • Genoa salami
  • Mozarella cheese slices
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 large sweet or spanish onion
  • chopped lettuce (preferably iceberg, but I had romaine. Whatever!)
  • olive oil
  • Italian herbs
If you want you can add some sliced tomatoes and mushrooms in there as well, especially if SOME of you HATE peppers. (^_-)-☆ Also, spicy marinated eggplants are delicious in there. But, I wanted to keep it simple. Besides, in my personal opinion, the tomatoes and marinated eggplants make the bread all wet and soggy and that grosses me out. Wet bread? Pfft! Get outta here!


First, you have to cut your vegetables. Don't chop them finely or in cubes because they will be falling out of your sandwiches and get all over the place. Slice them in long strips instead. If using tomatoes, slice them and cut the slices in half.

Dang! Had I bought tomatoes, I could've done the Italian flag!

The next step is to fry those veggies in oil and make sure they get all soft and caramelized. Heat a large pan on medium-low heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then throw in the green peppers and fry until soft, then set aside.

Repeat the process with the onions until they become golden and transparent.

Next comes the meat. Before you cook it, I just want to warn you that because the slices are very thin, they cook very VERY quickly. So, keep the pan on medium-low heat and lay the slices down in the pan and flip them as soon as one side is cooked  and put aside.

Do the same for the Genoa salami, but here's another warning. Because salami is very fat, your pan might smoke a bit. Be sure your fan is turned on above your stove. If you don't have one, open a window and blow the smoke out with a fan or something.

Once everything is cooked you should have a nice plate with all the necessary ingredients to make your sandwiches.

Now, preheat your over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a small toaster over, use that. It's even better! In the meantime, prepare yourself a sandwich with the slices of beef, salami, onions and peppers. (And tomatoes if you're using them.) Sprinkle some Italian herbs on top and add some cheese. Don't put the lettuce yet.

Pop that in the oven until the bread is toasted and the cheese is all melted. When it comes out, add the lettuce and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or whatever dressing you'd like. And there you have a most tasty Italian sub. Quiznos, eat your fucking heart out.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

¡Arroz a la mexicana! (Fancy Spanish for Mexican rice)

¡Holà señors y señoritas! This week I have been feeling exceptionally lazy. Mostly because I had a bit of a hangover after a little farewell party that my landlord organized for my neighbours. (Yeah, she's awesome like that.) Also, the weather is deathly cold outside. It's so cold that all humidity has been frozen right out of the air into snow and ice. The moment you open the door and take your first breath, it feels as if your lungs are about to collapse and you get in a fit of coughing for a few seconds. Then you get used to it. I think in lazy cold times like these, there's only one thing to do. Mexican rice. I made mine a little extra spicy to bring on the heat. It may be muy frío outside, but I'm gonna make it muy caliente.

Mexican rice is super easy to make. Especially the lazy way. You get a pound of ground beef, an onion,a green pepper, some taco beef seasoning, rice and oil. You chop and cook the onions and green peppers until the onions are transparent. Add the beef and cook it a little and add the seasoning with water and let that cook for a while until it thickens. Then cook some rice. When the rice is cooked add a can of tomato paste, mix the beef in with it and add a whole jar of salsa. BOOM! Mexican rice. But, lemme show you in pictures. I didn't almost burn my dinner taking these for nothing. Plus, you'll get a little surprise.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take 
a picture like this by yourself with a timer on 
a cell phone with no stand?


  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 jar (650 ml) of mild or medium salsa.
  • 3 tbs grape seed oil
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup of Uncle Ben's converted rice
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 spanish onion (or 1 regular onion)
  • 1 packet of taco mix
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (ay ay ay!)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt + pepper to taste


First, we need to chop our vegetables up.

Then, in a large pan, add 1 tsp of oil and cook the onions and green peppers until the onions are transparent.

Then add the beef and cook until almost completely browned.

At that point, add the taco seasoning mix with a cup of water and add the other spices in there as well if you want it more spicy. Don't add them if you want to keep it mild. And let simmer until it has thicken to a good enough consistency.

That's good enough.

Now, it's time for the rice. Of course, if you're a real pro and want to save time, or if you actually have a stove large enough, you can do this wile cooking the beef. First, pour about 2 tbs of oil in a large pit and stir in the rice. (1.5 cups) Then put on medium to high heat and stir the rice and oil until you hear it pop a little. 

Now, add 3 cups of water. WARNING: Be careful when adding the water. Water reacts with hot oil and might splash everywhere. Be sure to pour the water completely as to prevent this from happening. Then let the rice cook; it should take up all the water.

When the rice is cooked, reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomato paste. Empty the whole can in there and mix it until the rice gets all red.

After that, add the meat and the salsa, then stir to mix it all together.

Add some extra seasoning to taste with the cayenne pepper, red chili, etc.

And that's it! Es muy fácil! Now, let's eat!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Shish Taouk Chicken Pita

Since I made the German dish last week, I've had TONS of garlic sauce left. (I made a double batch.) I was wondering what I was going to do with what's left. I didn't want to throw it away because that would be such a waste. So I thought "hmm, what usually goes well with garlic sauce? SHISH TAOUK CHICKEN! DUH!". So that's what I did. It's pretty simple to make really. All you gotta do is marinade chicken in some garlic-y yogurt and lemon juice marinade with different spices for a couple of hours, impale that meat with skewers with some vegetables and roast that shish up in the oven and BAM! your taouk is done! You can serve that with a side of white rice or roasted potatoes, which are also easy to make. So here's how it's done.


  • 1 cup Yogurt (I used 1/2 cup yogourt and 1/2 cup of sour cream since I had both)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano or thyme
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp cardamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • salt and pepper
I made roasted potatoes so here are the ingredients.
  • 3 large potatoes (That's what I had handy, but use small round red potatoes instead, they're much better!)
  • olive oil
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper
And other ingredients to make the pita sandwich and sides
  • hummus
  • pickles (better yet, the purple pickled turnips!)
  • lettuce and tomatoes if you have any on hand
  • stuffed vine leafs


First things first, mince your garlic very finely.

Next, mix the yogourt (in my case, add to the garlic sauce from last week), olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic and spices all together in a big bowl to make the marinade.

Once thoroughly mixed, cut the chicken into large cubes of about 3cm or 1in. and dump them in the marinade. Stick that in the fridge for a few hours, say about 3-4 hours max.

Meanwhile, set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, wash your potatoes and cut them into cubes.

In an aluminum dish, drizzle some olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Mix it all up until all the potatoes are covered in oil and herbs.

Stick that in the oven until the potatoes are roasted golden brown and crispy.

Actually, mine could've cooked a bit longer I think.

Now, while those potatoes were roasting nicely in the oven, you should've cut the peppers and the onion into large chunks like so. And break down the onion so you can add the layers to the skewers.

When the potatoes are done, transfer them to a container or a plate so we can re-use the aluminum dish. After the chicken marinated for a while, take it out of the fridge and start making your skewers.

Stick that in the oven until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and moist and delicious.


Finally, open up a large pita, slather it with hummus, add a couple of slices of pickles and add the contents of a skewer in there. (Remember to remove the wooden skewer, stupid!)

Serve that up with the roasted potatoes and some stuffed vine leafs and you're all set! That's how you make a chicken shish taouk pita!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Die Deutsch Abendessen

My sister is currently in Barcelona, Spain, as a foreign student. She is spending one semester over there to improve her Spanish. For the holidays, her boyfriend went to visit her over there and they spent two amazing weeks together. For Christmas, they went to Berlin in Germany, the home country of the original Tannenbaum or Christmas tree, to spend a few days and visit. While they were there they had a chance to taste a couple of the local traditional street foods. One that is a true Berliner Symbol is the currywurst. It's what street dogs are to New York, or clam cakes are to New England. It's basically a wurst sausage with ketchup mixed with curry powder and some additional curry powder sprinkled on top. It's a big thing there. Also, during Christmas time, they have Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas markets. These are little fairs with kiosks selling all kinds of items, souvenirs and foods. As a holiday tradition, they will sell gluhwein, a spiced up hot red wine and also champignons mit knoblauchsauce which is fancy German talk for mushrooms with garlic sauce. Apparently, they went crazy over the mushrooms and they had them every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I became really curious and I wanted to know what it tastes like. So when my brother in law came back I did some research to try and find the recipe and do it myself and have him be the judge of whether it was true to the original or not. Finally, my sister sent me the recipe over the internet from a German website. I invited my brother in law for dinner and made those mushrooms and their special sauce, with some bierwurst, kartoffelpüree (mash potatoes), some sauerkraut on the side and of course a couple of Köstritzer Schwarzbier.

I will share with you the recipe for the mushrooms an the sauce and show you how I prepared Die Deutsch Abendessen. Bear in mind, this recipe came from Europe, so all the measures are in stupid grams.


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 150 g of crème fraîche or sour cream (about a cup)
  • 150 g of plain yogurt (about a cup)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 kg of small button mushrooms (about 4 small packs)
  • 1 large onion (preferably sweet onions)
  • 1 heaping tsp thyme
  • 1 heaping tsp paprika
  • 1 heaping tsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (preferably white pepper)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 30 g butter (that's about 3 tbs of butter)
  • 1 heaping tbs of dried parsley
For the rest
  • 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes.
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pack of smoked & precooked German wurst sausage
  • sauerkraut


Before you start, set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. We will pop the sausages in the oven a little later when it reaches the right temperature.

For the sauce, it's fairly simple. Finely chop up the garlic. In a bowl, pour the crème fraîche and the yogurt, add the chopped garlic and thyme and mix thoroughly. (I made double the recipe here.)

Carefully wash the mushrooms with a bit of cold water to remove any dirt. Wash the potatoes with a brush under cold water, peel them and cut them into cubes. And then chop the onion into large chunky pieces.

At this point the oven should be at the right temperature. So cover a baking sheet with aluminum paper, add the wurst and pop it in the oven while we cook the mushrooms.

In a pot, either boil or steam the potatoes. It'll take a while to cook, so just do it now while we prepare the mushrooms.

In a very large deep skillet, bring the heat at medium. Add the oil and butter and melt. Add the onions and cook them until they become transparent. Then add all the mushrooms to the pan and quickly add the spices, herbs, salt and pepper. Make sure you sprinkle them all over and mix the mushrooms for the spices to spread and mix to all the mushrooms. Then let them cook over medium to medium-high heat and mix with a spoon from time to time to avoid anything from burning. Over time the mushrooms will shrink as they will lose water. Also, water may accumulate at the bottom of the pan. Don't drain it! That's where all the flavour is. Just wait until it thickens. When the mushrooms have shrunk and there's a thick sauce at the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat.

At this point, check if the potatoes are cooked. Stick them with a fork and they should easily fall apart effortlessly. If that's the case, remove from heat and drain the water. Pour the potatoes in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, salt and pepper to taste and mash them up. You can add a little bit of fine herbs in there as well as a little extra.

Take out the sausage from the oven and start serving! Serve a sausage, with some mashed potatoes, a few scoops of sauerkraut, a good serving of mushrooms and add the garlic sauce on the mushrooms. And there you have it. The German dinner, Die Deutsch Abendessen.

My brother in law helped me out tonight by chopping the vegetables while I was cleaning a whole kilo of mushrooms. He was also my guide to tell me whether I should add more spices to the mushrooms since he's the only one between the two of us who ever tasted the real thing over in Germany. Though it wasn't exactly the same, he was very impressed with the result and we had a very delicious meal.

Sua coche le gros!