Fickle Fork of Fate

Sacramento Food Adventures

So I'm in Sacramento for about a week with Cathy visiting her family, and no, I'm not planning a pilgrimage to the food birthplaces of Guy Fieri.

But between home-cooked Chinese meals (so good), there are occasional stops at localish places.

Yesterday's lunch was at a local counter-service Mexican chain, Dos Coyotes. Expansive menu. Huge portions. And I really enjoyed the burrito I had. Soft, fresh flour tortilla, tasty pulled pork, not a ton of rice. A bit sloppy, but really good flavor.

Tomatocalypse 2014

Every year, there is a Tomatocalypse.

Because every year, Driftless Organics offers a 20 pound box of Roma tomatoes for a nominal fee as an extra. And, since the weekly tomato haul consistently falls between Too Many To Use and Not Enough To Process, I spring for it, and then spend a weekend dealing with them so that I have frozen tomato products all winter long. The tomatocalypse.

Weird Use-Em-Ups "Lasagna"

So, I had some stuff.

From the CSA, I had an eggplant. I am also growing my own eggplants, and have at least three I could harvest if I wanted to use them right away or devote fridge space to them, so I really needed to use up the CSA eggplant.

I also had thinly sliced pork, leftover from last Saturday's banh mi.

Eggplant is a traditional lasagna item. Thin pork is kind of like a noodle. I had pesto, I had mozzarella cheese, I had fresh tomatoes, and I had leftover tomato sauce from another previous dish.

Trucklunch: Big Brother Almighty BBQ

I'm not a barbecue expert. But I am a bit of an afficionado. And I make what I think are a damn fine rack of ribs, the Alton Brown pulled pork, and a really good garlic-brined smoked chicken on a semi-regular basis.

So I'd been meaning to try Big Brother Almighty's barbecue food truck despite my Can Not Tell If Serious atheist's attitude towards the name. And on Wednesday, I did, ordering a small rib tips and a side of mac and cheese.

Sometimes I Have Good Ideas

So, today I'm at a Vietnamese-themed potluck, and because I love them, I decided to make banh mi. Party sub style, using two full-sized baguettes from Trader Joe's. But I decided to make grilled pork. Now, traditionally, the pork is cooked, then sliced. But I wanted bigger flavor than that. So I made a marinade consisting of:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha
Three inches of ginger
2 large cloves of garlic
One stalk of lemongrass
About 1/4 cup packed cilantro
The whites from one bunch of scallions

Trucklunch: Emconada

It only took a year, but I finally got around to eating a cone-shaped empanada, or emconada, from the food truck that sells them, Emconada.

What is it? Well, it's a cone of fried dough, stuffed with braised meat or seafood, served with rice or greens and a cup of salsa. Two of 'em plus the rice or salad is eight bucks, which is perfectly reasonable.

The meat's good! I'd rate the pulled pork among the upper end of food truck pulled pork - not quite Cafe Racer or Hola Arepa good, but better than most. The chicken was even better, with a brighter flavor.

Open Discussion 8/9

Let's try this again.

Sitting in a Pei Wei, wondering how awful their new sushi can be. I've spent the entire day on a Grand Rewiring to accommodate a necessary new receiver, so no kitchen time at all today.

Which capped off a largely uneventful week. I did make one tactical error - tried to make salmon cakes before realizing how few bread crumbs I had, so instead we had loose salmon piles.

Discussion topic for the week - your tactical errors. Not dropping stuff or burning things, mistakes in planning forcing course corrections.

The Ice Cream Orgy

If I'm gonna make ice cream myself, I'm not making strawberry. I'm not making vanilla. And I'm not making Americone Dream. I can buy those. I'm going to make ice creams I can't buy, or can't buy easily.

The nice thing about Costco is, you can get the base ingredients for about four batches of ice cream for less than 20 bucks. A half gallon of heavy cream is four two-cup measures. A gallon of whole milk. Two dozen organic eggs. Boom. You're ready. Everything else is flavors.

Open Discussion 8/2


So far, I've made a sweet corn and buttermilk base that's going to get churned shortly, and a raspberry ice cream that's going to get chilled overnight, churned, and have dark chocolate chips mixed into it.

Then, tomorrow morning, mango/cinnamon basil. And then I'll see how much dairy I have left. Turns out making custards is easier than I thought once I found out that you can either dip a spoon in it, wipe your finger along the back of the spoon, and gauge the resulting line, or stick a Thermapen in it and stir it until you see 170. Guess which one I picked?

Emergency Pickles

So, yesterday, I started a jar of emergency pickles.

I mean, I knew I'd be starting a jar of pickles eventually. It always happens when you have a CSA and that CSA grows cucumbers. But I thought maybe I had a couple of weeks.

But then I reorganized all the vegetables and found that one of the five cukes from previous weeks had gone bad. It had slimed the other cukes in the bag. And this week's box gave us two or three more. So, emergency pickles!

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