frances in the city


someday, I’ll be a professional eater.
November 22, 2009, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Chicago!, kitchen mischief

My social life revolves around food, and I’m not even embarrassed.

This weekend nearly 90% of all activity involved either the actual consumption of food or its pursuit. I think the other 10% was sleeping. Probably.

Saturday afternoon, Nate and I went grocery shopping. We also picked up some items for the food drive at our church, but we were mainly psyched to recreate Outback’s Aussie Cheese fries that night. To prep ourselves for the gluttony, we walked down to the Magnificent Mile Light Festival (I just made up the name. That may or may not be correct) in time to catch the fireworks. It’s a day-long festival for mainly out-of-town families, but there was decent people watching and plenty of firework-spectating, so we were ok. We met up with two fellow UIC tennis players and got hot chocolate and talked about the upcoming season’s prospects. I’m not on the team, but I try to pretend my conversational contributions are worthwhile.

Now. Enough context. Let’s talk about cheese fries. Outback’s cheese fries are the second best thing on the menu, directly behind the blooming onion. It’s not a difficult or unique combination, it’s just one that your cardiologist suggests you save for special occasions, like the third Saturday of November. The hardest thing about the cheese fries was frying the bacon. I managed to fill my apartment with smoke in under ten minutes. Fortunately (or unfortunately for real live fires), our smoke detector is located on the other end of the apartment, so we didn’t have any embarrassing interactions with the fire department. Nate stepped in and managed to perfectly cook the bacon after a few tries. I’m really self-conscious of how bacon-y I smell, but Nate says that it would be a very successful perfume. Eh. So after the bacon adventure, we covered a cookie sheet of french fries with a heavy-handed portion of cheddar cheese and the crumbled up bacon and stuck it back in the oven until the cheese gooed. Because that was not enough, we mixed up a batch of special ranch dressing according to an online recipe. Really, plain ranch would be just as good, but we wanted to cover all our bases.

I'm not sure this really needs a caption.

You guys, it was SO tasty. You can be all “It’s just cheese fries with bacon,” but it’s cheese fries with bacon. Nate said his stomach didn’t feel so hot this morning. I think he’s a wimp. My roommates and I are well on our way to having Guts-of-Steel. Nothing can stop us.

So right as we were finishing up, my roommate David got home from work and asked if we would be interested in making cupcakes. Of course, we couldn’t say no. That would be rude. So we made a batch of chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. They looked like this:

Have you met David? This is quintessential David.

David and I determined they weren’t chocolate-y enough, but we fortunately were able to remedy that with cream cheese frosting. Problem solved. Actually, name three problems that can’t be solved with cream cheese frosting. Yes, Caroline, this challenge should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy for you.

This morning Nate’s current roommate Nate and former roommate David (we try to recycle names where possible) came over for pancakes after church. They were not pretty enough to take pictures of (the pancakes, not the company), but they were tasty enough. Nate also cooked up the rest of the bacon. So I still smell like bacon. Cool.

This evening I’ve watched too much Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, downloaded/listened to John Mayer’s newest album (not instant gold, folks. slightly disappointing), and made minimal homework progress. What a productive Sunday!

For dinner I made peanut noodles. I know. Last food reference I promise. They were really good though. I will make them again. I kind of cheated the recipe, but we’ll keep that between us. The original recipe is here, but I’m putting my version below. Because I think out of all this food talk, you deserve a real live recipe.I divided this by 4, so the numbers were COMPLETELY different. That’s a lot of soy sauce. See. I can reign in my gluttony.

1 pound linguine (or your favorite long noodles)
½ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy. It was nice and textural. You can use creamy if you want.)
¼ cup hot pasta water
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 cloves minced garlic

Cook the pasta according to the box. Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, and sesame oil. Save some of the pasta water for the sauce and then drain the noodles. Add the pasta water to the sauce a little at a time until it’s smooth and creamy, but not watery. Add the noodles and stir with the sauce. Eat.

See? That was easy. And you’re full now! How great is that!?

Also great: I have work tomorrow, two classes on Tuesday, and then I’m clicking my heels three times. Goodness, I am super-psyched to go home for Thanksgiving. Thrilled. And, as you can tell, I’ve been conditioning my belly for eating festivities on Thursday. Game on.

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ll do you one better and give you FOUR.
1. “Hmm. This cupcake has too much cream cheese on it.”
2. “Chicago is burning down!”
3. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
4. Every problem EVER.

Comment by caromac

I feel stuffed and it isn’t even Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful time at home with your great family. Give them my love.

Comment by grandma

I sure hope your “Guts-of-Steel” are ready for that oyster dressing!

Comment by Dad

Sorry, but I can’t imagine your mother making oyster dressing.

Comment by grandma

[…] someday, I’ll be a professional eater. […]

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