Hashassins

Is anyone an Eddie Izzard fan?

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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!

Bahahaha.

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:

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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.
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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? 😉


Rags to Riches

I’m at a bit of a loss for words.

My friends, I just had a near out-of-body food experience.

Before I get to that, let’s cut to lunch.

Remember dinner last night?  Well, I cooked up some pasta and basically threw all of my leftovers in it for lunch.

Now- don’t get me wrong.  This is actually a healthy and satisfying lunch.  There’s carbs (brown rice pasta), protein (organic baked beans and chicken sausage) and vegetables (carrot sticks).  It tasted good.  Wasn’t the most exotic thing I’ve ever eaten, but it got the job done.  And I’m pretty sure the net cost of this meal was approximately 89¢.

But sometimes a girl’s got to put her fancy panties on.

And tonight, that’s exactly what I did.

Now, I’m not a girl who likes clubbing and wearing fifteen inch stilettos with a three inch skirt.  Nor am I the kind of girl who enjoys dresses that don’t allow for eating due to their corset-like styling.  But man, if there’s fancy food- I’m there.

**Braisified (Life) Tip**

You will never know what life will bring you if you always say “no” to opportunities.

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Tonight, I was invited by a coworker to be treated to a meal at the Four Seasons.  Now, it’s a school night, kids.  After the shenanigan that was Tuesday night I was tempted to stay in.   But it’s the FOUR SEASONS.  The restaurant there (appropriately named Seasons) is award winning!

So, after work we started our evening at Zed 451.  They have one of the best rooftops in Chicago.

I ordered a wine flight.

It was a Mark West pinot noir and two others.  The server took my menu away too quickly for me to remember what they were.  They were all good, though.  You can’t go wrong with a wine flight. 🙂

After our drink (or three) we walked over to the Four Seasons, I unbuttoned my pants and we got ready to EAT.

(I will preface the next section by saying that the lighting wasn’t ideal in the dining room.  But I had to take pictures of everything, so here we are.)

My appetizer:

Tuna tartare with toast, microgreens and a quail egg.

I’m not usually one to order tartare anything, but this was recommended and it was sooo buttery and mild.  I’d definitely order it again!

My entree:

Crispy chicken under a brick with veggies and a delicious au jus. Plus, the BEST polenta I’ve ever had:

I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer to my question “how did they make it so good?” is: “butter”, but I don’t care!  It was awesome!

This entire meal was amazing, but the standout, A+, teacher’s pet, can-do-nothing-wrong dish was my dessert.  I ordered the passion fruit chocolate soufflé and it was obnoxiously good.

It came with a little scoop of coconut sorbet and the little square on the lower left hand side is a piece of key lime fudge.

Check out the chocolate goo action:

I would like all of you to read the rest of this post with Berlin’s 80’s hit “Take My Breath Away” playing in your head.

It was one of the top 5 desserts I’ve ever eaten, and that says a lot!

You can see the passion fruit!

And the sorbet was awesome!

At one point our server tried to take the plate before I had licked it clean and I almost bit his hand.

Thanks to Amber and Michiel for an amazing meal!

And it just goes to show you- if you say “yes” to things without hesitation or second thought you can experience truly wonderful things.

That is how to take an average day of eating to a foodie’s paradise.

What’s the best meal you’ve been surprised with?

A Regressive Stance

Tonight I am not in the mood to be a big kid.

Last night was a long night and I’m pooped.  One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that when I don’t get enough sleep (ie, 8 hours) I regress back to my 6 year old self.   And tonight, owing to the fact that I only got about 5 hours (!!) of sleep I would like nothing more than a Yoo-Hoo and my ‘toons.

However, I did manage to put my big kid pants on long enough to make a delicious (and huge!) dinner for myself.

My inner child couldn’t decide what she wanted to eat, so the exasperated mother in me cooked pretty much everything that I had in the fridge.

I roasted some broccoli (an old favorite).

I snazzed them up with some Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper (definitely not suitable for children- hot!!)

I also roasted some sweet potato slices.

They didn’t quite turn into chips, but that’s ok- I kinda like them mushy. 🙂

I grilled the last of the jalapeño chicken sausage and topped it with a little cheese.  Why?  Because one of my core beliefs in life is that everything is better with cheese.  (Unless it’s a dessert.  And then it’s always better with chocolate…and sometimes cheese.)

See what I mean?

The last part?  Trader Joe’s organic baked beans topped with a drizzle of Trader Joe’s organic ketchup.

They were everything I remembered.

[insert contented sigh]

Now that my belly is full, I think it’s time to turn in for the night.  I hear Curious George is on.

What do you make for dinner when you’re too tired to think about cooking?