Onions, Phoenix Style

This is a very interesting recipe that came from my Italian Mama cook book, but I sadly was not able to do it correctly. Not for lack of want nor lack of ability, (for once) but for lack of proper materials.

What this recipe is, is onions baked under the ashes or cipolle alla brace for you Italian enthusiasts. I have no fireplace to allow an onion to bake under ashes. I don’t even have a grill. I have a very small balcony where I could place a grill, but I’m poor and cheap and therefore cannot justify buying a grill.

I considered buying some wood or charcoal and lighting it in my oven. I tried to think of ways to make this recipe work the way it was intended. Thankfully I realized that all my ideas of how to do it were dumb, messy, and pointless.

So I made this recipe the best way I could. What did I end up doing? I’m sure you are dying to know. I just baked an onion in my oven. That’s it. Really exciting stuff.

This recipe taught me a really lazy way to cook onions. I mean you don’t even have to peel the onion. You just stick that onion in the oven for 50 minutes. Obviously you’re going to want to peel it after it’s cooked, but even that process is easier. It’s like boiling tomatoes when you want to be able to peel the skin off easier. Same deal with baked onions. When they are already cooked, those first layers peel off easily.

After the peeling process is done, you cut the onion into wedges and drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add some balsamic, which I did choose to do. The end result turned out nicely. The onion tasted almost caramelized, even. I only ate one wedge after it was cooked, just to try it and saved the rest. I ended up using my leftovers for an impromptu chicken fried rice dish of my own creation. That turned out really good by the way, but it’s a secret story that I don’t want to tell.

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Onions baked without ashes

Chex Mix for your Barbecue Garden Party

I’m back on the Light & Healthy cookbook for another chex mix. This one is barbecue themed. I have a confession to make. I’m not really into chex mixes. Thankfully, I only have one more to go in this book. I keep bringing them to my acting class as well, where they are enjoyed and get eaten up. So at least I don’t have to eat chex mix by myself like the sad person I am.

I just realized a coincidence that I feel like sharing. I’ve mentioned an ex boyfriend on here in a couple of entries. You might remember him from my artichoke recipe. In fact, I think I will call  him Artichoke from now on. Anyway as much of a jerk Artichoke was to me, one of the good things we had with each other was being able to joke around.

For example, one night we watched Beetlejuice together and when the scene with Lydia that I have a gif of above came on he looked at me and said, “That’s you.”

I responded with another quote that took place earlier in the movie, which is, “My whole life is a dark room.”

His pet name for girlfriends is pook and my special pook power was being troublesome. I was his troublesome pook, which I admittedly found endearing and annoying at the same time. I learned to embrace it and when he’d called me his troublesome pook I would respond with one of those two quotes. It was our way of affection and my way of making fun of myself.

I do relate to Lydia’s character which I feel like people might find surprising, because I’ve never dressed like a goth or emo kid. I’m always being complimented on my nice smile and apparently I project a pleasant demeanor, but there is an inner goth/emo girl who lives inside of me. I also can be extremely goofy though. In fact I may have a split personality, I’m not sure.

Anyway, the big coincidence reveal is that today is actually that ex’s birthday. I’ll spare you all the other thoughts that have sprung up realizing this though, because I’m aware I’m really bad about editing my content and staying on track as it is.

Just know there are a lot of thoughts that spring into other thoughts that go down rabbit holes that lead to wonderlands of nightmarish qualities.

So let’s get back on track with the recipe, because today is day of barbecue snack mixes and not mad hatter tea parties.

The first step is to preheat the oven to 250. In a bowl you combine corn chex, tortilla chips, Melba toast, pretzel sticks,and smoked almonds. I couldn’t find Melba toast at Von’s and Trader Joe’s got rid of theirs, so I substituted with some dried toast cracker things that a Trader Joe’s employee directed me to. They were close enough, so you can substitute with that.

Set that aside, to concoct a special barbecue sauce. To concoct, you heat on medium low heat; butter, oil, barbecue sauce, chili powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper for about a minute. Once everything has simmered nicely you pour it over your chex mixture and toss.

Once tossed, you stick the mixture in a pan and bake for 45 minutes with stirring breaks every 15 minutes or so. It is suggested that after baking you allow to cool for about an hour. I ate a bite soon after and it was delicious, so if you want to stick it to the cookbook man, it’s safe to do so.

Lydia's mix of existential angst

Lydia’s mix of existential angst

Baked Radicchio Tied with Prosciutto

This recipe comes from Classic Pasta at Home. It reminds me of pigs in a blanket only with radicchio and prosciutto instead of hot dogs and bacon. It’s not as fattening which makes it not quite as good, but it’s still tasty.

The first step is to cut a head of radicchio from the stem into 6 wedges. Once you have your wedges you are supposed to brush each wedge with olive oil. I do not have a cooking brush so I ended up dipping a bit of oil in a pan and sort of dipped each wedge.

After that step you just take a strip of prosciutto and wrap it around the radicchio, drizzle more oil, and bake for 12 minutes or so.

The final result is quite good. The prosciutto comes out nice and crisp and pairs well with the radicchio.The radicchio is a bit bitter, but the oil helps negate that. It is a little difficult to eat gracefully though. You can’t just pop into your mouth. You can cut it, but for me it was like cutting a sushi roll. It just doesn’t seem right.

Radicchio in a blanket

Radicchio in a blanket

Deviled Eggs from the Third Circle

My latest recipe is from I Love Spice and is a slightly spicy version of deviled eggs. I have never made deviled eggs in my life so I was excited to try this out. I also used to hate deviled eggs. I thought they were disgusting, but I decided to give them another chance and now my soul belongs to the devil. Sigh.

Unfortunately I screwed this recipe up a bit. Not devastatingly so, fortunately, but I messed up the very first step which is boiling the eggs. Since I used to hate boiled eggs in general, I never really boiled them, so I looked up how to boil eggs on the internet. I Love Spice didn’t tell you how to do it. They were probably thinking, “How hard could that be?” Well, they don’t know the sad person that is me who can’t boil eggs right.

Anyway, the internet told me to place the eggs in my water before the water boiled and then to let it boil slowly. This was frustrating for me, because I wasn’t sure when the egg were ready. So I think I took them out too soon, making it difficult to peel the shell and the yolk to not be fully cooked. This created a problem for the filling, as you can assume.

Whether you boil the eggs successfully or not, the next step after peeling is to cut them in half and scoop out your egg yolks. Then you mashed the egg yolk through a wire mesh strainer, which I don’t have so I tried to just mash them up as well as I could without making it too liquidy.

You then combine finely chopped pimentos and Spanish olives to your mashed egg along with mayonnaise, tabasco, a bit of cayenne, salt, and pepper.

This recipe also called for a pastry bag to place the filling in the egg and I actually tried to find one at Von’s but had no luck. I ended up using a spoon and the spoon worked fine.

After you fill all your eggs, you garnish with leftover pimentos and olives.

My filling was not thick enough and when I bit into my deviled eggs it smeared everywhere, but they still tasted delicious. I’m pretty sure if I had boiled my eggs correctly this wouldn’t have been a problem. Hopefully I’ll do it right next time.

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Gluttonous eggs from the devil.

Strawberry Salad

For those of you who have read my other entries, you know I like to come up with what are hopefully funny and creative titles. I couldn’t for this one. I thought about Strawberry Salad…Forever, but that just felt too cheap. I imagined John Lennon and George Harrison coming to me late at night in spirit to chastise me for making such an awful joke in expense of their song. Then they would haunt Ringo and Paul until they came to visit me in person to do the same.

Speaking of The Beatles I actually like the movie Caveman, which stars Ringo, by the way. My brother and I used to watch it on HBO when we were kids. It’s not a great movie, true, but it has it’s moments. It still makes me laugh and it’s entertaining. Also some nostalgia is involved because whenever my brother and I would hurt ourselves my mother would ask us if we were pooka. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand that reference.

Anyway, because of this movie, Ringo was my favorite Beatle for a very long time. Then 500 Days of Summer (or 500 Days of Bummer as a friend of mine likes to call it) came out. In that movie Zooey Deschanel’s character also claims that Ringo is her favorite. I have such issues, ladies and gentlemen. I hate that movie so much and that character that I was like, “Ringo is not my favorite Beatle anymore!”

I really didn’t give the decision of my favorite much thought anyway. I grew up with The Beatles because of my parents and I didn’t really listen nor appreciate them as much because The Beatles were like second nature to me. Also I can be such a hipster. I didn’t want to be like everyone else and love The Beatles when I was young. I’m trying to let that go, but it became thing for me to not like what everyone else liked long before it was a thing. Honestly, it was. I am a purebred hipster, unfortunately. There’s a reason I turned out that way though and someday I’ll write about it.

There is a good reason why everyone loves The Beatles. They were a perfect quartet of talent and personality and they were able to transform their image and style with ease.

Plus, I watched A Hard Day’s Night for the first time a couple of years ago and it made me fall in love with each one of them. If you haven’t seen it, do so.

Back to this recipe though. It’s another easy one which is why I felt like talking about The Beatles. It came from my cookbook, Cooking Light. The authors of the recipe were kind enough to include a dressing recipe too which is your basic balsamic and oil dressing. If you are not aware of what that is, it’s an equal ratio of oil and vinegar sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste. The next step is to add sliced strawberries, onion, and basil with romaine lettuce. Then you lightly toss the salad with your dressing resulting in a light and tasty strawberry salad

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Amy’s Strawberry Salad

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Potpourri You Can Eat

My next recipe comes from The French Farmhouse Cookbook. I’ve started to really appreciate this cookbook because like my Moroccan one, it not only incorporates lesson of culture, but history as well.

This particular recipe is called Boiled Chestnuts with Star Anise. There is a whole two page section about the history of chestnuts in France before the recipe is even mentioned and to me it’s very interesting. Chestnut trees came from the Romans. After that, Chestnuts became a big deal to the French. In the past, chestnuts were the equivalant of potatoes to the Irish. Poor families could live off of chestnuts for months. They would even store some for later and grind up into flour for bread or as spices for soup.

The times have changed, however, and now it’s expensive for farmers to grow chestnuts in France. Although the author of my cookbook claims that it’s not a bad investment if you are patient. It can take four years for a decent crop though.

My favorite history lesson from this book was how it talked about farmers and their families.  Apparently chestnut season falls around the same time corn has dried on the stalks. I found this interesting on multiple levels because I had assumed corn was only grown in the Americas. It’s native to America, yes, but I don’t know why I had assumed it wouldn’t be imported to Europe. Anyway, in the evening after the corn was harvested, farmers and their families would snack on chestnuts, cheese, and wine as they husked.

This is such an easy recipe. It’s ridiculously easy. All you do is boil chestnuts with Star Anise. That’s it. You just patiently wait while they boil and let it soak up flavoring from the Star Anise.

After the boiling, you drain the water and take out the star anise. I actually left the star anise with the chestnuts, though, because I thought they looked pretty mixed in.

This recipe came to me right before I left Los Angeles to join my family in Indiana for the holidays. I thought this was perfect timing because chestnuts make me think of Christmas because of the Christmas carol song lyric, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

It was also perfect timing because my acting class was having a Christmas party. My classmates admittedly didn’t know what to do with them at first. I started to feel a little embarrassed that I had brought them, admittedly. One of my teachers joked that he thought it was decoration, because it looked like potpourri.

I wasn’t offended at all. It did look like potpourri. Eventually some of my classmates tried it and they were all surprised by how soft the insides were. We also made a lot of jokes about the old christmas carol and how the chestnuts weren’t exactly cooked on an open fire. We’re entertainers, what can you expect?

I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of my tasty potpourri but I’m sure you can use your imagination by combining the two pictures below.

Star Anise

Chestnuts

Hook-up You Square!

I’ve been wanting to write about love and my generation so badly, but have been afraid I’ll get too personal. Getting personal is very easy for me. I’m extremely good at it. Generally I’m ok with opening up my soul at first, but then later I feel embarrassed. It’s kind of like being an alcoholic. It feels great in the moment, while the alcohol is flowing in your veins and making you feel warm and fuzzy. Then it wears off and you start thinking, “Oh shit! What did I say? What did I do? Do I still have friends?”

It doesn’t help that I over think everything either. On a high level neurotic day I can sit and go through every word that I have uttered out of my mouth and I will evaluate on how stupid I made myself seem. People tease me about being quiet, this is why. It cuts out my daily debriefing of what I did or said wrong the less I talk.

Again, this isn’t an issue for me every day. Some days I’ll start to feel bad or embarrassed about something I perceived as dumb and I’ll decide I really don’t care. Those are the best days.

Obviously I have my flaws. As does everyone. I know this and other people should know this, but I get the feeling that my generation is constantly waiting for a “perfect” person. No one wants to deal with anyone’s flaws, not even their own. They just want a perfect person to fall into their laps. It’s either that or they just want to sleep with as many people as they possibly can, which I personally do not understand. It’s not my thing, but I don’t judge as long as said person is open and upfront about their goals.

Then there are people who over-romanticize their early relationships and/or first loves to the point that no-one can compete. They walk around like broken beings who will never love again, even if they find someone they like a lot. They just won’t ever let that person in because one time they got hurt. One time.

I understand these people better than the rest, but they also irritate me the most. Why? Well, because my pattern is to be all hung up on my last relationship. Then I’ll meet someone I like. If I start to like them a lot, I think to myself, “Hmm I really like this person. I bet if I give it my all and allow myself to let them in, I’ll like them just as much or more than the guy before!”

Guess what happens? Most of the time I end up liking them just as much or more because I let them in. If I don’t, I stop seeing them. It doesn’t matter how often I’ve had my heart stomped on and discarded, I keep trying. I keep trying because I like being in love. I like having someone to cherish and support. I like that more then I like holding on to someone who probably doesn’t give a shit about me anymore. I mean if they did, they wouldn’t have discarded me.

Unfortunately, the men I’ve encountered who are like this, never get to that point while they are with me. They hold on for dear life to a girl who doesn’t appreciate them half as much as I did. It’s irritating, it sucks, and it sabotages the relationship.

Most of my exes were hung up on an ex or some girl who was never going to give them the time of day. It was hurtful and damaging to my ego. It caused me to feel like I wasn’t good enough. The funny is, that most of these exes I also ended up hearing from years later. They all apologize for how they were and a couple of them even asked for another chance. It floors me every time.

Currently I’m in a similar boat as my annoying exes. I am hung up over my last boyfriend and I know its probably because I am over-romanticising our relationship. It doesn’t help that the man before him tore down my sense of self-worth to almost nothing. The man before him called me stupid often, told me I’d have the perfect body if I had a flat stomach, and called me a loser because I worked at a restaurant. He wasn’t supportive. I felt like I had to pull teeth to get him to help me with any acting endeavors. He wrote on facebook that my cooking smelled like death. He was a huge dick, but he wasn’t always a dick. He was very good about changing face the moment I had had enough. To this day, he doesn’t understand why I was so angry and hurt because he was a clueless dick. The worse kind right?

My last boyfriend was almost the complete opposite. He told me I was beautiful, talented, and ambitious. He always wanted to know what I was working on acting and cooking wise. He volunteered right away to help me with a self submitted video audition. If it took him awhile to text me back, he always apologized even though I was hardly ever worried or annoyed about it. He was just considerate like that. Things weren’t perfect with us, but I was ok with that. For me, they were darn near perfect. The things that weren’t, I felt were fixable. He even broke up with me in the sweetest possible way, but he still broke up with me and even though it’s been a few months I still miss him.

So my friends say, “Hook up with someone! Just get back out there and go on dates! Lots of guys like you, why don’t you go out with them?”

I am done, that’s why. If my last boyfriend or anyone knows him reads this, it’s not his fault. I’m just done. I’m worn out. I’m tired of getting my hopes up. I don’t even want to hook up with anyone and I feel very stubborn about it because that’s what everyone else does. I’m such a hipster about all of it. Sex and hooking up is too mainstream for me. I was into that way before anyone else was.

I’m making fun of myself, but it’s kind of true for me. I’m so sick of the shallow nature of my society. It’s everywhere. I stopped in a grocery store to get Starbucks today and caught a girl taking a selfie. I wanted to grab her and scream, “You are in a grocery store Starbucks! Why? Why are you taking a selfie? For god’s sake, just stop!”

I feel like everyone is so shallow. No one wants to look deeper into a person. We all just want basic pleasures. We want a 1000 followers, we want likes, praise, we want porn like sex, hairless genitals, naked snap chat pictures, and constant gratification. Gimme, gimme, gimme, but without any effort.

We want fantasies. We don’t want to deal with reality. To love someone who isn’t perfect is too scary and vanilla apparently. I’m tired of feeling bad for wanting something more. I don’t want meaningless sex. I want passionate sex. I don’t want to worry about getting off, I want to connect.  I want love. I want to look into someone’s eyes and have them know I will always do my best to be there for them and vice versa. I want to adore and be adored. I want a man to crave all of me, not just my body. I want flaws. I want little problems to work on. I want laughter. I want to share my hopes and dreams. I want love, love, love. Love isn’t perfect. It just is. That’s my opinion anyway.

Because I’m a curmudgeon