Is anyone an Eddie Izzard fan?


I am.  In a big way.  To the point that on long car trips I tend to recite 20 minute long excerpts from his stand up performances.  The poor souls locked inside the steel box hurtling along the highway with me at speeds too fast to take a gamble on tucking and rolling have learned to love him as well.

Of course, it doesn’t take much convincing to become a fan.  He’s just that funny.  And irreverent.  And other adjectives as well.

So naturally, a few years ago, when a Chicago stop for the show he was touring was announced, I got myself on Ticketmaster and bought a pair of seats.   They were nose-bleed seats, but I didn’t care.

The beauty of Eddie’s stand up is that it’s like watching an amazing jam band.  It’s not really scripted.  I’d imagine that he’s got topics to use as inspiration when he goes onstage, but the lines he comes up with on stage are pure gold.

You literally can’t write that stuff.

My favorite part of that show was when he started in on the topic of hashish, and how back in the day, assassins were trained and taught to smoke hashish to prepare them for their duties.  So, as he claimed, they really should have been called…wait for it…HASHASSINS!


Trust me, it’s far less punny and way more hilarious when he says it.

And that, my friends, was the longest explanation for a loosely relevant post title ever.

Ta da!

All that was to say that I made hash for dinner tonight.

A week or two ago, I saw a post for white bean hash on How Sweet It Is and decided that I needed to make it.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone and had to fudge the recipe a bit.

I didn’t buy bacon because as much as I love it, I know I’ll use 1/3 of the package and let the rest of it sit in the fridge while I concoct completely ridiculous recipes for it which we all know I’ll never make.  And then it goes bad.

But chicken sausage I can finish.  Especially Smoked Andouille chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s.

And potato is just necessary in my life.  Especially in hash.

Because this is the hash that I grew up with:


Anyone else?  Remember the teeny tiny cubes of potato?  How did they make them so small?

And as horrible as it is to emulate a canned food that is just about as close to SPAM as you can get, my hash has to have little cubes of potato in it.

Andouille White Bean Hash
adapted from How Sweet It Is

2 smoked andouille chicken sausage links, quartered lengthwise and chopped
1 leek, split, trimmed and rinsed in cold water
1 small potato, boiled until just tender and cubed
1 can cannellini beans
onion powder, chili powder, black pepper to taste
1 oz sharp cheddar cheese

Saute sausage over medium heat until beginning to brown, remove from pan.

Add leeks and potato to pan and saute in sausage renderings, plus additional oil if necessary.  Once the veggies begin to caramelize, add beans to pan.  Sprinkle with spices, stir.  Add sausage to pan and stir to allow flavors to mingle.

Top with cheese and allow to melt.

Jessica served hers with a fried egg.  I was going to do that, but I decided at the last minute that there was plenty of food without it.

The onion powder is a nice addition since leeks are basically very mild onions and it brings out the flavor even more.

I could eat a huge bowl of this.

Think if I offered Eddie some he’d join me?  Or would that be hasinine? 😉

You Know It’s Bad When…

…you don’t even want to make a stop at Trader Joe’s.

Usually I look forward to my weekly (ok, sometimes twice weekly) trips to the mecca of quality inexpensive food, but not so much this week.

I blame day light savings.

(Don’t worry, I did eventually make a stop at TJ’s.  No funk can keep me away for too long.)

Which may also be the reason why I’ve been craving potato chips like you wouldn’t believe.

Don’t ask me how the two are related.

I saw a recipe on Angela‘s blog a while back for salt & vinegar chips and decided that I need to make my own.

If you asked me to eat a chip of this variety 10 years ago I would have made a face that would make a baby cry but I have become a fan of the whole salt & vinegar phenomenon in recent years.  Alas, I had no white vinegar in my pantry.

Incidentally, I really don’t like the word “pantry”.  It sounds too much like “panty”.  Ew, gross.

Anyway, another flavor that I love is jalapeno.  Or really anything spicy.  I would sleep with this stuff next to my bed if it wasn’t weird:

So I found this recipe and decided to make a slightly less spicy and healthier version.  (ie, I didn’t have any habaneros and I’m not about to use a deep fryer on a Wednesday evening- too much effort)

I subbed out the habaneros for pickled jalapenos, which I always think have a more piquant flavor that I love.

After I let the potatoes soak for 30 minutes, I lightly patted them dry, re-seasoned and greased them with garlic salt and pepper and some olive oil and threw them in a 425° oven until they were golden brown.  I also flipped them once while they were baking to make sure both sides got some lovin’.

Craving, satisfied.

At least until tomorrow.

Well, Finally

The day has come.

After months of stringing you along, I’ve finally done it.

I made braised food.

Although the name of my blog is admittedly tongue in cheek, I’ve felt somewhat like a poser for a while having cooked not one single braised meal.

It is, after all, the method of champions.

If you’ve never been one to look at your dutch oven longingly, waiting for that moment when the perfect braising recipe will present itself, have no fear.  I promise it’s easy.  And surprisingly soothing.  Or maybe I’m just a freak of nature that likes getting a chicken stock facial from leaning over my cookware too often.

Check out this article for a basic how-to on the method.

The impetus for this dish was the chicken.  I’m a sucker for a deal, and bone-in chicken breasts were only $4 at Trader Joes.  You can’t beat it.

And since I was feeling kinda frisky today, I thought it was only fitting to make something spicy.

Spicy Beer Braised Chicken ‘n Veggies

The first thing you want to do is pat the chicken dry.  This is gross, but just do it.  You won’t get the crispy golden chicken you want if you don’t.  You start by getting a really nice crust on the outside of the chicken, and then let it rest and render out some bacon.  You don’t have to do this part, but it adds so much flavor.  I mean, it’s bacon.

Once the vegetables have softened, it’s time to deglaze.  This is my favorite part.  It’s when all the flavor comes to the party.  Basically, just add your liquid and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the dutch oven.

That’s basically it.  Then you just simmer away until the meat is so tender it starts to fall off the bone.

The trick is to use a heavy bottomed pot with a lid (hence the dutch oven) and cook over low heat.  You need to devote a little time to braising, but it’s totally worth it.

What you need:

Bone-in chicken breast

2 slices bacon (I used apple wood smoked, but any flavor is fine)

1 small onion, sliced

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 medium potato, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T chili sauce, or to taste

spices:  I used a sprinkle each of salt, pepper, cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper

12 oz beer

2 cups chicken broth or stock.


Sear chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown on each side, set aside.

Cut bacon strips into lardons (ie, into cubes) and add to dutch oven.  Once the fat has rendered, set aside.  Remove all but a little of the fat from dutch oven and add onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic and spices.  Saute until tender (about 6-7 minutes) and then add chili paste.  Once combined, add beer.  Let reduce for a few minutes and then nestle chicken and bacon back into pot, and add chicken broth.

Once the mix has come to a bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, simmering for about 45 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.  During the last 10 minutes or so, remove the lid and let the sauce reduce.  If necessary, add a teaspoon of corn starch to a bit of water and stir into mix to thicken.

There.  Now I don’t feel like a fraud.

What’s your favorite cooking method?  Have you taken a stab at braising?